Monday, June 27, 2011

The Hidden Gotcha

Hidden in this article about the passed tax cap, rent control, SUNY increases, and gay marriage is an offhand remark about something that wasn't an audible part of the conversation--yet may have a significant impact.
An important part of the cap would prohibit a school district from raising taxes at all if voters rejected the budget twice. Currently, a twice-rejected budget leads to a contingency spending plan that has a fixed tax increase, sometimes as high as what voters shot down.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Free At Last

With the GOP taking credit (after all, when the Dems ran the Senate, they couldn't get it done), gay marriage passed in NYS last night.

One hopes that this welcome addition to the demographic will end up decreasing the divorce rate in NYS (surprisingly low already, compared to some other less liberal states).

Thursday, June 23, 2011

It's Not All Bad News

Back home to a snippet of good news from the state. First, backstory: I joined the school board when Olivia was 3 or 4 with the objective of getting a Pre-K program there. Dryden was then one of the last to get on board with such a program, and money was beginning to be available from the state. I lost my first vote on the topic, and it took another ten years and two more superintendents to get the program started. The first year, Dryden fielded enough kids to fill a classroom plus, so they got money for one classroom. The second year, they had a rise in interest and asked for money for two classrooms, which they received. The third year, numbers declined somewhat, meaning that only one classroom could be filled. (Our primary numbers have been in decline for some time, so this doesn't really reflect on the program itself.)

Perhaps in previous years, this would have been fine, but in today's Account-for-Every-Dime New York, moving from two classrooms to one counts as Failure to Maintain Program. In the budget for 2011-12, Dryden's Pre-K funding was cut back to $34K--not enough to cover one classroom.

So the principal got on the horn to state ed, and I got on email to our legislators, and this week, Senator Seward, R-Oneonta, came through with a check to cover the program for next year plus a bill to maintain our program and other such programs despite our apparent failure to thrive. As I read the bill (and I'm happy to have others do so and translate for me), we can't grow the program, but the state can't shrink it, either, a compromise that isn't ideal but will do. The bill passed the Senate yesterday. (I guess it was easier to stomach than gay marriage.) And Pre-K lives to serve 16 kids annually for at least a few years to come.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Still in NYC

There are so many reasons I would make a bad nurse. Luckily, L is feeling much better and is able to handle her own tubes and flasks, so I just need to adjust pillows, comment on fluid colors, keep track of medication timing, and buy food. Oh, and pick her up at the hospital and drive her to our "home" in the Bristol Plaza.

Tomorrow I will have lunch with Mollie downtown and dinner with Diane and Phil somewhere else. Somewhere in there, I will try to get some work done....

Friday, June 17, 2011


It's been a long time since I spent any time at all on the upper east side. I'm currently ensconced in the posh Bristol Plaza, a stone's throw from Cancer Central--Memorial Sloan Kettering, the Breast Center, and all the many surrounding health facilities. Behind a high wall across the street from MSK is Rockefeller University.

I stupidly brought my little car, because back in the day you could always find on-street parking with a tiny little car. Not anymore. The avenues are all timed meters, and the side streets have impossible schedules for anyone hoping to park longterm. So I'm in a garage, but I did manage to find one $7 cheaper per day than the Bristol's exorbitant prices.

Our apartment has a kitchenette, and I stocked up on Food Emporium salads and bread, so I can run home, do a little work, and have lunch. Days so far have been: Wake at 5, work till 8, walk 10 minutes to the hospital, hang out, go back for lunch, come back in the afternoon, eat dinner in the cafeteria (award-winning, but still a cafeteria), home after 8, watch CNN. A setback (arterial hematoma) means that L won't leave the hospital before tomorrow at the earliest. The apartment is the quietest place I've ever stayed in NYC. (It's a Milstein building, which explains how the CU prez has an in here.)

A word to the wise (or those with an in): If you have cancer, go directly to MSK. They don't mess around. The entire staff, from orderlies and cafeteria workers through surgeons, is unbelievably great.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Dryden Wins Awards

Dryden's Seussical, the Musical scored big at last night's CRT Awards at Cortland Repertory Theatre. Judges from the theater attend plays in every school district that inches into Cortland County, I think 16 in all. (Interestingly, some districts still manage to put on three or four performances a year.) Dryden won best supporting actor, best supporting actress, best ensemble, and best musical. And their performance of a medley from the show brought down the house. Here are Heather, Olivia, and Allie mugging before the show.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Required Reading

Yes, this about sums it up.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Eewww, or A Voter Scorned

Okay, what's worse: Congressman Weiner flashing his at young technogirls or ex-Senator Bayh opting to shill for the Chamber of Commerce?

Oh, never mind. I hate them both.
Heaven has no rage, like love to hatred turned...

Sunday, June 5, 2011


In honor of the friends we lost in the first 15 years of this 30-year-plague, when a diagnosis was still a death sentence....

Friday, June 3, 2011

Geothermal, Ho

Well, we've handed over the down payment, signed all the paperwork, and we're on our way to heating and cooling our house via the earth. Our splendid back yard will, in a week or two, be a pile of rubble, as the Gleason folks put in the thousands of feet of piping required to run the system. It will pay for itself in under a dozen years, as opposed to the two dozen it would have taken had we done this five years ago. After that, heat and cooling will be essentially free, except for the electricity to run the pump.

Will we stay here the dozen years it takes to see a savings? Who knows.

Paul will be documenting the work with a series of photographs that I will post as they happen.