Thursday, December 28, 2017

Broken Promises, Broken Bones?


Every winter it seems Plattsburgh City is going to be on top of the snow removal problem with public sidewalks.  Meetings are held, options are discussed and this time it will be different.

And every winter pedestrians are disappointed.  Back on December 9th the Press Republican ran an article entitled "City residents reminded of snow laws" that excerpted and paraphrased a Plattsburgh City news release.  As before public sidewalks adjacent to a property have to be cleared by the property owner within 24 hours after the city declares a snow emergency has ended.

And then there was this item from the news release: "If unable to remove snow/ice with hand-operated device, please make sure the sidewalk is covered by a substance to prevent slippery conditions."

Substances could be salt or a sand-salt mixture.

But long sections of sidewalk downtown remain covered with glare ice, extremely slippery, bare of any traction-producing substances.  And to add to the problem some sidewalks on properties remain treacherous.  

For example I almost fell while walking slowly and carefully on the icy sidewalks at the arts center.  One spot was extra slick but I caught myself in time.   No signs of salt/sand application. Apparently an artist is supposed to create new works with an arm in a cast.

Kudos to those who cleared sidewalks down to the bare concrete and then added salt.  Not everyone is an idiot or a scofflaw.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Garden Dream Becomes Reality

(C) 2017 Luke T. Bush


This evening there was a celebration of an idea becoming substance.

A crowd gathered for the unveiling of the Read and Grow Dream Garden ceramic mural at the Plattsburgh Public Library.  The mural spans the southern wall of the library, depicting a garden living its various lives, above and below.

Kate Messner read from her childrens book, “Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt,” which inspired the mural. She worked with illustrator Christopher Silas Nea to show the natural cycles of a garden during a year.

A young patron of the arts studied some details before the ribbon cutting.

The mural is not fully realized.  There will be a kinetic installation added to feature blue wooden orbs representing rain drops moving through plastic tubing, looping back to the beginning to demonstrate the water cycle.

Part of the kinetic installation was temporary put in place, the vertical tube with its corkscrew shaft lifting the symbolic raindrops up to the top to fall out and down.  Children with outstretched hands strained to catch the dropping orbs.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Nighttime Benchwarmer

Despite the colder weather this person found a comfortable place to relax and view his LCD screen, his backpack serving as a pillow. While taking this shot a city police car drove by. Two city officers got out to speak with him for a while.  A few minutes later I returned to the spot but no one occupied the bench: my photo op was gone.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Jumble Fumble

Can't fit all the ad copy in the proper space?  Then cover up the bottom of the Jumble puzzle, blocking yesterday's answers.

Press-Republican:  Excellence not only in journalism but also layout.

Wednesday, July 05, 2017


Check out the information provided by the accompanying image.  If a photographer is doing you a favor then don't take advantage of his free work.  Don't ask for everything like doing both stills and video and on top of that expect him to cover a multi-hour event from beginning to end.  Also if he spends time to sort and edit photos before emailing them to you have the courtesy to reply with a thank you.  Or does a Thank You cost you much more than free?  If you can't do that then stay the f*ck away from me.

Monday, June 19, 2017

City Hall Dirty Diaper: Day 6

PLATTSBURGH CITY, NY - 6/19/97 Apparently the answer to the dirty diaper in the City Hall parking lot is out of sight, out of mind. As you can see from the accompanying photo a vehicle has squished the diaper into a mud puddle, obscuring its true form. Take Pride, Plattsburgh!

Previous posts:

Friday, June 16, 2017

Same Crap, Different Day

PLATTSBURGH CITY, NY -- June 16,2017

Two days ago I posted an image of a dirty diaper in the City Hall Parking lot.  This evening I discovered that the same diaper is still there, a lovely decoration for all to enjoy this weekend as evinced in the accompanying photo.  Apparently no city employee can ID a dirty diaper or maybe they don't have the motivation to have it removed.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Advocates Adamantly Oppose Paratransit Bus Elimination

Will the proposed elimination of the paratransit bus service turn CCPT into a train wreck?

© 2017 Luke T. Bush


Irresistible force meets immovable object.

The force: Advocates for the disabled who are against the elimination of the paratransit bus service provided by Clinton County Public Transit (CCPT).

The object: County officials who contend that unless the paratransit service is dropped the whole public bus system will fail due to cost overruns.

Presently people in the disabled community use the paratransit service which provides door to door rides.  This enables the disabled to conduct activities like able-bodied citizens: shopping, getting to work or to a doctor’s appointment.

The county Planning Office proposes to shut down the paratransit service and shift its riders over to the fixed bus routes including those in the city.  City routes run on a one hour schedule without much extra time for delays.

North Country Center for Independence (NCCI) Director Robert Poulin says this will mean problems for all riders if this proposal is approved.  Each city bus has a lift to accommodate riders with walkers and wheelchairs.  Using this lift takes time, meaning delays.  If more of the disabled are using city buses then the delays will keep accumulating during the day, he says, making everyone late.

Also the new system means less area coverage for rural riders and it will run only on certain days during the week.

"[The proposal] will leave a lot of people out in the cold,” he says.  “"People who need the service the most have no alternative."

At a recent meeting at NCCI advocates sat down with county officials to review the proposal, a discussion that ended up running for over two-and-a-half hours.  Robert says the Planning Board officials had made up their minds and wouldn’t listen to any alternatives.  Advocates pressed their case, winning a concession that the new system if implemented would operate under a three month trial.

But that concession doesn’t mean advocates are giving up with their opposition to the proposal.

"Our position is still that we absolutely oppose the elimination of paratransit in any way, shape or form,” says Robert.

Addressing the issue of cost overruns Robert says the county could do a better job of containing costs.  

Planning Board officials reject a standard fee for all buses, saying that the city routes are paying for themselves.  Robert explains a standard fee would help contain costs for the entire system.  As NCCI director he doesn’t pit one program against the other at the center.

"I've got some great programs [at NCCI] that cost me money to run them,” he explains.  “But they are valuable services, they help people in extremely important ways.  And I make up the shortfall with other programs that make more money.”

Also if a program isn’t working that well, he adds, then he consults with other centers to see how they successfully run the same program.  Robert thinks the county doesn’t take advantage of consulting with public bus operations in other communities for their expertise.

Instead of taking time to look at alternatives, Robert says, the county takes the easiest solution.  "In this county the answer seems to be 'cut, cut', and always cut from the people who need it the most."

Advocates will keep resisting the proposal.  There are upcoming forums where they will present their case.  Robert says that NCCI has offered assistance for people in the community who are starting petitions.

"We are going to explore every avenue because our goal is to stop this from happening,” he says.  He rejects the message to people in the disabled community that they should just stay home.

For more information on the upcoming forums and how to participate in activities against the proposal Robert can be contacted at NCCCI, (518) 563-9058, Ext. 101.

(Related article: )

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Opponents To CCPT Proposal: It Won’t Work

A CCPT proposal to shift paratransit riders to fixed bus routes, 
say advocates, will result in more delays for everyone.

PLATTSBURGH CITY, NY --  May 17, 2017

© 2017 Luke T. Bush

Advocate Patti King personally fears the proposed elimination of the Clinton County Public Transit (CCPT) paratransit service might lead to an unfair backlash against the local disabled community.

Presently the public bus service operates fixed routes and a paratransit service for the disabled.  The fixed routes – city and rural – run on a timed schedule.  The paratransit service is flexible, allowing door to door service.

CCPT is putting forth a proposal to eliminate the paratransit service and have all riders use the fixed route system.  To help the disabled CCPT will allow deviations from the fixed routes up to ¾ of a mile.

Fixed route buses have lifts for riders using a wheelchair or walker.  The city service has to maintain a schedule, one hour to complete each route.  When a disabled rider is picked up it takes time to get that person on and off the bus.  Wheelchair users must be strapped in, adding additional time.

Serving as a board member for the North Country Center for Independence Patti attended a meeting last Friday at NCCI for advocates and country officials to discuss the proposal.  The meeting ran on for over two and a half hours, each side trying to make its point.

Clinton County Planning Director Rodney Brown who also serves as the county ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) Coordinator said the county is running deep into the red due to cutbacks in Medicaid reimbursements for paratransit.  The proposal would help to cut costs.

Patti and other advocates contend the change is impractical.   There will be too many delays with the additional riders from the eliminated paratransit service using the fixed routes.

In the past there have been incidents where able-bodied riders complained about the delays to accommodate people in the disabled community.

“That’s an ignorant uninformed attitude,” says Patti.  She fears that such an attitude will grow, able-bodied riders upset with even more delays after paratransit is shut down.  “The disabled could endure the toughest part of the backlash.”

“We [advocates for the disabled] made it unyieldingly clear at the meeting we don’t support the change,” Patti says.  She thought the system would probably implode from the chaos.

Advocates persisted during the meeting, pressing their points.  Patti says her side was able to influence county officials to agree to a three month trial period with the new system.  “We wanted enough time to have the evidence it won’t work.”

She worries when the new system fails it could be an excuse for the county to shut down the entire service.

Two meetings will be held at the Clinton County Government Center first floor conference room to explain the proposal.  The first on June 5th is open to the public, scheduled for 10 AM to 12 noon, and the public can be involved in the discussion.  The second meeting on June 6th , also from 10 AM to 12 noon, is for agencies affected by the change.   The public can attend but won’t be allowed to participate in the discussion.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Gee, That Must Be Wet Mud

It's been a drizzly/rainy day.  So that pile of brown stuff on the sidewalk must a soaked clump of mud that fell off someone's boot.  No dog owner would be so rude...

Friday, March 24, 2017

Another Snowplowing Genius

PLATTSBURGH CITY, NY -- March 24, 2017

(Note: You getting sick of all of these posts about sidewalks not properly cleared of snow?  I don't have a car: I mainly get around on foot.  I'm getting really tired of this bullshit.  With this problem the city guns its engine in neutral, making a lot of sound but going nowhere.)

Now this is really Plattsburgh City Smart [TM].  Another snowplow operator has created a snowbank blocking a sidewalk, this time on Lozier Place.
On the other side of this small mountain range the sidewalk is clear.  The snowplow operator just pushed the snow so far, stopping at the neighboring driveway. Brilliant.  A cleared stretch leading to a dead end.  I've seen pedestrians get annoyed when they start down one of these dead ends and realize they have to backup and go around.   At least the property owner has a open sidewalk in front of his place, just perfect for his own benefit but not for others.

Time to send out info to property owners and snowplow companies for hire to stop this nonsense.  Of course this is logical, plain common sense, but not Plattsburgh City Smart [TM].

Are You A Spry Senior?

PLATTSBURGH CITY, NY -- March 23, 2017

Here's a another snow hurdle blocking a sidewalk, this time on Court Street.  Once again a snowplow cleared out a parking lot but left an obstruction.  But most Plattsburgh City senior citizens are in optimal health: they can easily leap over any high snowbank to avoid the risk of walking in the street.  (As for the disabled -- well, they don't count, do they?)

The snowbank was found at the entrance to the Catherine Gardens complex.  The property provides housing for senior citizens.  Also note the Senior Citizens Council of Clinton Co., Inc. owns the property.

Plows blocking sidewalks with impassable snow banks wouldn't be a problem if the city spent a little time and money informing everyone about the situation.  Sending a letter to each property owner on how snowplowing must include clearing the sidewalk would help.

In the meantime have fun leaping like an Olympic athlete.  If you're able.

Flipping Off The Leprechaun

Discover Plattsburgh Irish Fest  Saturday   3/28/17

Can you flip the leprechaun into the target bowl and win a prize?  You have to put the hammer down hard to play

Monday, March 20, 2017

Not The Same World

PLATTSBURGH CITY, NY -- March 20, 2017

Life can be very difficult when you depend upon wheels, not legs.

This afternoon I saw a power wheelchair user having trouble moving along on a sidewalk section.  A pile of snow blocked most of the sidewalk even though sidewalks are supposed to be cleared the entire width.

While an able bodied person could just step over or around the pile the wheelchair user was forced to drive off the pavement, one wheel plowing through the muddy ground.  She was lucky: the weight of her chair didn't sink the wheel too far down, preventing her  to move.

She had to use the same maneuver two more times along the same sidewalk, working around snowpiles.

Her only other option was to back up and take her chances in the street.  I know someone with a power wheelchair who was forced to use the street one time due to an impassable sidewalk.  A person in a passing car yelled:  "Get out of the road, retard!"

So how are things in your able bodied world?

Saturday, March 18, 2017

What's The Story Behind This Monster?

PLATTSBURGH CITY, NY  -- March 18, 2017

This impressive mass is straddling the sidewalk in front of the CEF Library System building on Oak Street.  Wonder how it got there. 

What A Load: Plowing Through

PLATTSBURGH CITY, NY --  March 18, 2017

Well the sidewalk at 173 Margaret Street is now open for pedestrians.  I don't know if the property owner got the word about his responsibility to clear the sidewalk but a pickup truck with a plow showed up this evening, shoving away the deep snow.  It took some time with the driver backing up and pushing forward repeatedly but the job was done.  Kinda heavy-handed compared to a snowblower but I'm not complaining.  

Maybe after the next storm it won't take a complaint to get the job done.

Freed Ways

The sidewalks in these photos are now clear of deep snow.  But to produce such results you have to file complaints to the Plattsburgh City Department of Public Works, 563-7707.  After DPW sents out an announcement that a storm is over property owners have to clear sidewalks bordering their lots with 24 hours after the announcement.  The infirmed are excluded from the ordinance.