Saturday, April 30, 2011

High-Water Marks

Lake Champlain is over 102 feet above sea level, a new record caused by heavy rain and snowmelt being fed into the lake by various rivers. The lake hit flood stage at 100 feet on April 13th.

Where this fisherman is standing used to be dry land. Hiding under the water is a paved boat ramp on the Saranac River. This spot is just downstream from the foot bridge and the railroad trestle.

The lake has risen right up to the walls of the sewage treatment plant. If it keeps rising, one wonders what will happen.

Clare and Carl's second location, the summer eatery down by the lake -- or should I say almost in the lake?

Looking across the Saranac River at Macdonough Monument. Orange plastic fencing marks where the terraced hillside has eroded. Underneath the rushing water is a sidewalk and stone wall.

All images were taken on Friday, April 29th, 2011.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Bibliophile Heaven

When I walked into the second floor auditorium today at the Plattsburgh Public Library I encountered a busy scene, volunteers unboxing, sorting, and shelving books for the upcoming PPL book sale.

Twice each year the Friends of the Library hold a book sale to help raise funds. The spring sale is open to the public on Friday, April 29, and Saturday, April 30, starting at 9 AM each day. But if you want to get a jump on the sale, you can join the Friends of the Library for only $10. One bonus of membership is that you can shop early on Thursday, April 28, from 5 -7 PM.

For more info call 518-563-0921.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Take Pride, Plattsburgh!

What I saw today while walking down Margaret Street, residential section:

A car is parked next to the curb. A woman is helping a young boy into her car, holding his hand. In his other tiny hand he holds a plastic bag with Easter eggs.


The woman tells the boy to step carefully in the median lawn between the sidewalk and the street.

“Be careful,” she says. “Dog poop. Very nasty.”

By holding his hand and giving him verbal directions, the woman guides the boy over the piles of dogshit.

Not so cute.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Vandalism & Amnesty

Just An Accident

WPTZ-TV video frame.

As I mentioned in another post, I had a rude close encounter last month when someone in a SUV backed up at a good clip from a driveway while I was walking down a sidewalk. Fortunately all that was broken was a rib to my umbrella.

The Plattsburgh City police officer who showed up told me there was nothing that could be done; he couldn't issue a ticket. He summed up the situation with these words: "It was just an accident."

On Monday, April 15th, at approximately 12:15 PM a Plattsburgh City police vehicle was responding to a report of an accident when at the intersection of Cornelia and Beekman streets it was T-boned by a civilian vehicle. No one was critically injured but both vehicles suffered serious damage.

Even though this was just an accident it has stimulated some interesting online comments at sites sponsored by the Press-Republican and WPTZ-TV.

In a blog post I wrote last year I raised the matter of seeing Plattsburgh PD vehicles race by with only lights, no siren. So when I read the first news reports about the accident, I wondered if the police vehicle was running its siren.

I wasn't alone in asking that question. At the WPTZ-TV Facebook page, responding to the post "Traffic Alert for Plattsburgh," a couple of commenters said they had witnessed Plattsburgh PD vehicles speeding down city streets without sirens. One commenter said: "I've seen them run lights on Broad st- one nearly t-boned me but something told me to wait when the light changed- sure enough he came speeding through."

At the PR Facebook page someone wrote: "Yeah, stop abusing city police cars. How many times do cop cars use their lights without sirens to fly through red lights?"

The Plattsburgh PD was to release a statement on Tuesday morning, April 19th, which I assume was summarized in a Press-Republican article, "Officer and two others treated then released after crash." According to the article the preliminary investigation revealed that the civilian driver didn't yield the right of way and so he was issued a ticket. The Police SUV had both its lights and siren running, according to the investigation.

So it's said that the siren was activated but another detail was missing. In the newspaper article there is no mention if the driver who was ticketed had a green light, not expecting someone to run the red light. The article said the civilian driver was 84 years old, which led to some online comments about drivers who were too old to keep driving. (If the driver was young, let's say 18, then critical comments would have been about him being too young to drive.)

I went to the Plattsburgh PD site but I didn't see a press release about the preliminary investigation or a copy of the statement posted there. I did find a couple of items about unwanted cats being up for adoption. So I don't know if the police SUV was passing through the intersection against a red light.

So what difference does it make if the police vehicle was passing through a red light, even with its lights and siren on? I'm not a legal expert but I can still Google and see what the law says. Checking New York State Vehicle and Traffic Laws online, a police vehicle is defined as an authorized emergency vehicle when responding to an accident or other such incidents (section 114-b).

Under Title 7, RULES OF THE ROAD, Article 23 - OBEDIENCE TO AND EFFECT OF TRAFFIC LAWS, it's stated:

(b) The driver of an authorized emergency vehicle may:
1. Stop, stand or park irrespective of the provisions of this title;
2. Proceed past a steady red signal, a flashing red signal or a stop sign, but only after slowing down as may be necessary for safe operation;
3. Exceed the maximum speed limits so long as he/she does not endanger life or property;
4. Disregard regulations governing directions of movement or turning in specified directions.

So #2 and #3 seem to be sticking points. If the police SUV went through the red light, the driver was supposed to slow down "as may be necessary for safe operation." Of course, defining "as may be necessary for safe operation" is open to interpretation. And there's also some room for debate to determine at what point an emergency vehicle driver is endangering life or property. Something for a court of law will have to decide if there's a lawsuit.

That said, both the police vehicle and the civilian car did sustain considerable damage as seen in online photos and a video.

A lot of stuff to think about from what was just an accident.

Of course, the Plattsburgh PD could clarify this issue by publishing at its Website a press release answering the questions raised by the public with a copy of its preliminary investigation about the accident.

Until next time, please drive carefully.

Monday, April 18, 2011

A Matter Of Degree

Even without the coincidence there would have been some ado about the event.

Therapy Sports Bar and Lounge in downtown Plattsburgh had scheduled a modeling event with the entertainment company, Girls Gone Wild. GGW is known for its videos of partying young girls showing off their assets during events like spring break. The owner of Therapy Lounge stressed that no nudity or other rowdiness would be allowed in his club.

The night he was able to book the event, Friday, April 15th, happened to be the same evening that a Take Back The Night march would pass by his club. The march was to create awareness of violence against women.

No incidents were reported involving either the club or the march.

One point raised by at the anti-GGW crowd was that Girls Gone Wild exploits women. But isn't exploitation a matter of degree? After all, check this annoying pop-under ad that appears when you visit the Press-Republican Website:

Gee, are male readers supposed to be enticed to click on the ad for more details? Is that model dangling a bit more than car keys?


The Eternal Question

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Time To Step Up To A Permanent Fix

Six years later: It's deja vu all over again.

What's next for the public library front steps? Another patch job? Filling in the crumbling sections only delays the inevitable. After a while patch jobs end up costing Plattsburgh City more than permanently fixing the problem. Spend now, save later.

And here's another cliche to sum up the situation:

Insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly but expecting a different result each time.

Stop the insanity.

Monday, April 04, 2011

More Bad Images At My Bad Blog

See "Crap On City Hall" and "Location, Location, Location."

WARNING: Disgusting images.

Some might think I'm repeating myself. And I am because dog-owners keep repeating.

Interesting fact: According to Google Analytics I'm getting a few hits at that blog from China. Good to know that Plattsburgh, NY is gaining an international reputation for dogshit through my documentation.

Take Pride, Plattsburgh!

Springtime Splendor In Downtown Plattsburgh

Details here:

WARNING: Unpleasant images. And if it upsets you, don't tell me, tell the Mayor.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Ducky Quacks, Listeners Yawn

WIRY Radio "personality" Ducky Drake has discovered a great cure for insomnia. He keeps repeating the same pointless points in his twice-weekly commentary broadcasts.

A few days ago he was bloviating once again about the Plattsburgh Public Library. Instead of discussing an issue, Ducky attacks his subject, dissing his targets through his "Is It Just Me?" segments. Don't call his essays a commentary; a better term would be dissingtery.

Ducky is the same person who thought PPL should be shut down because other libraries like the one at PSUC could do the job. Sure, Ducky. I think WIRY should be shut down because a drunk on a CB radio with a bad record collection could do better.

Apparently Ducky is happy that PPL is having financial difficulties. He doesn't mention that because of the recent "deep recession" (that's an euphemism for economic depression) a lot of organizations and businesses are suffering. He suggests instead of getting money from the city, PPL should hold bake sales and put out collection cans.

I'm thinking about holding a bake sale and putting out collection cans for a special fund. It will be for the DUCKY, SHUT THE EFF UP campaign.

But there are those who accept everything that Ducky says without question. And for those believers, here's a special link just for you: