Friday, June 27, 2008

So much to do, so little time...

At the beginning of the year David expressed his intent to blog more frequently. I've often echoed that intent, but neither of us are really succeeding. My Five Wells blog is mostly for fun - and for practice writing. I've managed to post there about twice a week lately, though I used to post daily.

This blog has loftier goals to keep people informed and engaged in local issues that affect our lives. Yet I'm barely managing twice monthly posts. Here are some of the reasons that I run out of time or energy before I get to this blog.

From yesterday's schedule:
  • Meeting with TC3 and other property owners around the area behind the town hall to discuss development of a trail from the TC3 dorms to the village.
  • Meeting with Ed Bugliosi from USGS to plan development of a new well for the Village of Dryden. This is more urgent that it sounds. The health department mandates that the water supply be able to provide water even in the event that one well has to be shut down for maintenance for up to five days. Even if the health department didn't mandate this, it would be a good idea.
  • Meeting with representatives of municipalities throughout Tompkins County to hear from the lawyer now consulting on the formation of a consortium to help control health insurance costs for municipal employees, Cooperative Extension regarding training for elected and appointed officials, Tompkins County Emergency Services about - well, emergency services, Tompkins County Planning reporting on the Cornell initiative supporting housing and transportation improvements. And after rushing through those topics we got to the highlight: discussion of dog control and the SPCA contract. This may sound less urgent that, for example, the Dryden Village well. But part of the question is, "Will the Town of Dryden really be paying $45,000 for dog control next year."
  • Scanning my mail and email to see if there's anything I have to respond to immediately.

Other hot topics this month:

  • Meeting with Village of Dryden officials regarding sewer use rates and plans for a new waste water treatment facility
  • Legislation requiring operating permits for places where hazardous materials are stored or hazardous processes are used and assembly areas accommodating more than 100 people.
  • Proposed improvements to the Ithaca Area Waste Water Treatment Facility
  • Planning for development of parks and recreation town wide
  • Transportation planning and the Rt 13/366 corridor
  • Hiring an assistant for the town bookkeeper

Routine monthly meeting commitments:

  • Bolton Point Water Commission
  • Dryden Recreation Commission
  • Dryden Youth Commission
  • Town of Dryden Planning Board
  • (The Zoning Board of Appeals, Conservation Board, Emergency Services Committee and Personnel Committee are doing fine with their appointed Town Board liaisons so I don't go to their meetings, tho' I'd like to sometimes.)
  • Ithaca Area Wast Water Treatment Facility
  • Tompkins County Council of Governments
  • Town Board meetings

Things that are pretty far down on my task list that I wish were higher up

  • Updating the town's hazard mitigation plan
  • Implementing the Comprehensive Plan
  • Publishing the 2007 Annual Report
  • Analysis of town energy use
  • Development of orientation material for new town board members
  • Housing and economic planning
  • Development of Personnel Department performance review program
  • Internal Audit
  • Search for new accounting software to improve financial reporting

Things I wish never had to be on my task list:

  • Returning calls to people who don't like the way highway right-of-ways are maintained.
  • Hmm.... there must be others...

Okay. I think I get it. If I write here more often, I can focus on specifics and maybe get some feed back. Now I'm going to go work in the garden for a while to think.

Friday, June 20, 2008

I had some time between an appointment on the west side of town and a meeting on the east side. Happily, I had my camera with me so I took the opportunity to pursue one of my favorite projects: capturing views that define the Town of Dryden. The tidiness of this Cornell research property east of Freeville is inspiring. I think it looks like it could be a model railroad layout.

Adjacent to the Cornell test plots is the Marquis farm. I think the Belgian horses you saw in the Dairy Day parade live here. And the Draft Horse Association meeting was here a month or so ago.

Pulling back from the view of the farm, this is a very different view. You can just make out the farm's silos at the upper right.

I've spent twenty-four hours beating down the knee-jerk feeling that this is a cruel wound on the surface of my beloved mother earth. Clearly, I need to know more about mining.

The NYS Department of Environmental Conservation Division of Mineral Resources (which needs a catchier name) says: "Remember, if it can't be grown, it has to be mined."


[I]n 2004 crushed stone remained New York’s leading non-fuel mineral, and salt move up to second place, followed by cement (portland and masonry), construction sand and gravel, and wollastonite. [Wollastonite?] These five commodities typically account for 98% of the State’s nonfuel mineral value which USGS ranked at $1.11 billion in 2004.

I recently finished a new garage with a concrete floor and bought several truckloads of gravel to extend the driveway to the new garage. So, this year I'm well above the average mineral consumption of 50 pounds per year. I have to ask myself, "Where the hell did I think it was coming from?"