Tuesday, May 31, 2016

City Hall Welcomes Pigeons

PLATTSBURGH CITY, NY -- May 31, 2016

Pigeons will be happy when they discover an open ingress in the dome atop city hall.  Apparently someone forgot to close the door behind him.  Pigeons will roost inside, decorating the interior with their white stuff.  Unless they are forced out by squirrels, raccoons and bats.

(Photo taken at 8:42 PM.  Everyone has left for the day.)


Composite photo: two images with different focus and exposure settings.  Images taken one minute apart.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Thanks To Channel 5

Thank you for another weekend of continuous broadcasts on all three of your channels.  Having access to such outstanding entertainment and information is greatly appreciated.    It reminds me of your classic motto: Alive With Five.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Why Isn't Tom Sharp?

Semi-scientific example. Webcast screencap from my laptop computer, cropped.  Tom looking kinda soft.  Imagine what this looks like on a 31 inch HDTV screen. 

(C) 2016 Luke T. Bush

No, you don't need an eye exam. Tom Messenger, WPuTZ-TV/Channel 5 weatherman, is blurry during the local newscast.  And so are the other forecasters.

Why?  Because while other programs on the station are in HD the local newscast is only in standard definition.

Pay attention when the Messner stands in front of a weather map.  You'll notice he looks soft.  Maybe there's also a  problem with the chroma key.  The old Dumont Network equipment that cheap WPuTZ bought at a yard sale doesn't work well with modern tech.

Fox 44 in Vermont says its newscasts are in HD and they sure look like it.  With all of its incessant bragging about having the best local reporting Channel 5 never boasts it has HD.  SD is waste of your HDTV's potential.  All WPuTZ has done is stay with SD but dressed it up to look like HD.  It changed the aspect ratio of the image from square box to wide screen.  Equivalent to putting a merkin on a diseased prostitute.

One of the station's subchannels, 5.3,  runs the MeTV network in SD.  But somehow Raymond Burr starring in an old black and white Perry Mason rerun looks sharper than Tom.  And Gomer Pyle is sharp in color.  Then again, Gomer is sharper mentally speaking than WPuTZ bloviators.

I view Channel 5 OTA (over the air) and too many times I can't watch any of the station's three channels.  My screen goes black except for the words NO SIGNAL.  Blank screens infrequently happen with a real TV station like WCAX/Channel 3.  Must be those old Dumont tubes at WPuTZ ain't holding up.

What a sharp Tom looks like.  Photo from Stuck In Vermont.

-   -   -


No Perry Mason for me tonight. All three WPuTZ channels NO SIGNAL.  Checking the signal strength the station is in the bad zone, maybe 40 percent.  And Channel 3?  Up around 90 percent.  Note that both stations broadcast from the same location, Mount Mansfield in Vermont.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Squeeze Play

Watch it when you swing open that passenger door.

(C) 2015 Luke T. Bush


A few downtown parking spots on Margaret Street have become a tight fit for any passenger leaving a vehicle.

Blue Collar Bistro has moved its sidewalk dining area right up to the curb.  In the past it was difficult for someone in a wheelchair to get by the seating when it extended from the entrance into the sidewalk.  Now there is a wide area between the entrance and the seating, eliminating that problem.  Kudos to the restaurant for becoming ADA compliant.

But another problem arises with the outdoor seating section abutting the curb..  Any car parked next to the chained off area ends up with a tight space on the passenger side.  An opportunity for scratched or dented doors.

You would think Plattsburgh Smart "[TM]" city officials would have anticipated this outcome.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Hey, *uckerberg – Enough!

(Click on image to enlarge.)

© 2016 Luke T. Bush

PLATTSBURGH CITY, NY – April 23, 2016

Facebook is trying to suck more free content out of users.  A while ago the service was tracking my browsing, copying a URL from my clipboard that it wanted me to share with others on FB.  I would open up my news feed and there at the top of the page was a pending post with a lifted URL.  I ignored it.  Don’t tell me what to share, *uckerberg.

The Daily Beast has reported that even if your Facebook app is closed FB still knows when you’re copying a link.  ( “Facebook Is Spying On Your Clipboard”  -- http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/10/21/facebook-knows-what-you-copy-on-your-iphone.html )

Now FB is at it again by tracking my locations and then asking me to review the places I have been. Free reviews? No way. FB claims that by posting reviews you are helping your community. No, you're helping FB. Isn’t it making enough with its billions of dollars in profit? Is it trying to out-parasite the Huffington Post?

I posted photos of an early morning fire on FB.  A friend noticed they were location-tagged with Meadowbrook Healthcare.  Nothing against Meadowbrook but I’m not changing the tag.  FB created the problem, they can fix it.

(Click on image to enlarge.)

Maybe by tracking URLs and locations Facebook is making money on the side with the NSA.

So why don’t I drop Facebook?  Call it being in the belly of the beast.  I’m more than happy to track its greedy BS and report on it.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Early Morning Fire Destroys Margaret Street Building


Around 4 AM a banging/popping sound was heard in the area of 220 Margaret Street. *An unconfirmed story suggested the fire was caused by an electrical problem.* Plattsburgh PD and FD were soon on the scene.

The fire was intense, flames erupting from windows and the roof. The heat melted siding on a next door building, strips peeling away and dropping. Firefighters hosed down the siding to prevent another fire.

Besides apartments the front part of the building is a retail space that has been empty for some time. A bridal shop was the last business in that location.

*Edited for clarity, 9:45 PM, 5/22/16.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Tax Dollars Not At Work

(C) 2016 Luke T. Bush


They just stand there, black screens, severe rust.  Dead deteriorating kiosks.   A good chunk of money was spent for their installation, additions intended to guide visitors to local businesses.  The video screens are black; all downtown businesses must have closed.  A perfect compliment to Seagull Parking Lot by the marina.

The city is supposed to keep downtown attractive but these rusty tombstones don't add to the al fresco ambience.

Over the last 25 years since the enactment of ADA the city has whined it doesn't have the funds to provide more accessibility to people in the disabled community.

One time a major project was proposed across the lake in Winooksi, Vermont. A gigantic dome over the city with a monorail.  For obvious reasons this hash pipe dream didn't see fruition.

I'm surprised that Plattsburgh City didn't fall for this.  We would be tolerating a half-built dome, cracked, falling pieces hitting people and property. Complete with a broken monorail to nowhere.

Meet. Organize. Champion.

350 Plattsburgh coordinator Daniel Helmer, standing, right, speaks about an upcoming event, Break Free from Fossil Fuels.

(C) 2016 Luke T. Bush


Local activists met this evening at 30 City Hall Place to discuss global warming issues and plan for an event on Sunday.

Daniel Helmer, coordinator for the local 350 Org group, led the audience in practicing a series of chants that will be part of a public event on May 15.   On that day the activists will gather at Macdonough Monument to promote awareness of the global warming threat.  

From 12 noon to 6 PM  the Break Free from Fossil Fuels event -- under the auspices of 350 Plattsburgh, Adirondack Climate Coalition and other groups -- will feature a regional rally, carnival, and climate parade. This family friendly event is part of an international movement advocating green energy over fossil fuels.

For more info:  http://world.350.org/plattsburgh/      


Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The 9-1-3-0 Conundrum

(C) 2016 Luke T. Bush


According to an official report no person with a disability was denied a ride in April 2015 by the paratransit bus system operated under Clinton County auspices.

Consumers who use the paratransit service say trip denials were more than 0 last month.

Background: CCPT (Clinton County Public Transit) provides a regular public bus service and also a second service to people in the disabled community.  The county has hired McDonald Transit to manage the CCPT system.

Paratransit provides a vital service for people who have limited mobility such as those who need to use walkers and wheelchairs.  There's usually no problem for these people after they arrive to an accessible destination such as a supermarket or shopping mall.  The problem is getting to that destination.

While paratransit riders are grateful for the service some of them question the figures given out regarding trip denials.

At a recent meeting of the Clinton County Legislature Transportation Committee the numbers 9-1-3-0 were mentioned.  These numbers refer to the total number of trip denials per month during January, February, March and April this year.

There's an issue with how a trip denial is defined and recorded.

For example a rider needs a lift at 1 PM.  Under federal guidelines a one hour period is allowed on either side of that time, i.e., the bus may pick up the person within the 12 noon to 2 PM time window.

If the paratransit service can't provide a ride in that time window then it's counted as a trip denial.

But what can confuse the actual number is how a trip denial is considered. Using the same example let's say instead of the 1 PM pick up time paratransit has an opening the same day at 9 AM.  Since the person was provided with a ride a trip denial might not be recorded even though the negotiated time was outside the original time frame.

Also it's a trip denial if the rider has to schedule for another day.  That adds to the total if correctly recorded.

Accurate numbers are important.  Underreporting causes difficulties for consumers.  They call dispatch and most of the time end up with trip denials.  From their POVs the system is overloaded and so they give up trying to use it.

On the other side the county sees low numbers and assumes that demand is low, consumer needs are being met.  The county looks good but in actuality consumers are upset, even angry.

I spoke with two paratransit riders who disagree with the April goose egg total.  (Both requested anonymity.) The first rider said they had two trip denials last month.  The second one said from their personal experience they had one denial and was aware of others also denied in April.

It makes one wonder the accuracy of the totals for January through March.

So somewhere in the system -- from McDonald Transit to Clinton County -- something doesn't jive.  Where is the problem?  Unless riders complain to officials no one knows if underreporting is happening.

In the meantime the county says it is getting better data from MacDonald Transit unlike the previous company hired to manage CCPT.  Apparently the previous company wasn't properly recording trip denials.

But that has changed according to McDonald Transit and the county: proper reporting is being done.

While some paratransit riders say otherwise.