Thursday, August 26, 2021

Golden Rebirth

 


© 2021 Luke T. Bush

PLATTSBURGH CITY, NY Aug. 26, 2021

Last year volunteers cleaned up downtown, cutting grass growing through sidewalk cracks, picking up trash, making the area more presentable.

But some volunteers removed some goldenrod growing near Macdonough Monument.  Maybe they thought it was ragweed. Goldenrod is beneficial to a number of insects including Monarch butterflies.

But the goldenrod refused to die and it grew back this year, providing food to a variety of insects. This meant I could once again do closeup photography of bees, wasps, locust borer beetles, and even tiny ambush bugs.

 

 

 

 



Saturday, July 10, 2021

New Mural Growing

 


A community garden is growing on the back of the building that houses Campus Corner Restaurant at 90 Bridge Street.  Once again Outside Art: Plattsburgh Art Project is creating another mural to brighten up Plattsburgh.

Dedication

 

After some modification to the original design the nature themed mural outside the Plattsburgh Public Library has been completed after four years.   On July 16th at 4 PM the mural will be dedicated to the memory of Jerry Seguin, one of the artists who worked on "Read and Grow: Dream Garden Mural."  The dedication will be held on the Brinkerhoff side of PPL where the mural can be seen.

Following the dedication there will be a memorial film about Jerry shown inside the library.  Attendees are advised to be prepared to wear masks depending upon the library's policies. 

Salute


Julius, great nephew of astronaut Michael Anderson, sits in a mini FB-111 jet 
reproduction during the Plattsburgh July 4th parade.  Michael Anderson died in 2003
during the disastrous re-entry of space shuttle Columbia.  He was born in 
Plattsburgh and at one time was stationed at the Plattsburgh Air Force Base.  
The Anderson family visited Plattsburgh to attend the dedication of the mural located
 on Durkee Street depicting the astronaut.

Sunday, June 20, 2021

Art As Activity Spot

© 2020 Luke T. Bush


Les Cosgrove (yellow shirt) explains her work as part of a video documentary.

PLATTSBURGH CITY, NY – 6/20/21

At first glance the paintings spread across the sidewalk outside 30 City Hall Place are fanciful images for young children.  But take a second look and you’ll notice a pattern in two sections.   Squares form a hopscotch layout.  The long twisty green band is a maze pathway through a school of fish.

There’s also a section with blank white fish, ready for sidewalk chalk artists to fill in with their own details.

Outdoor Art: Plattsburgh Public Art Project created the City-wellness installation through the work of primary artist Les Cosgrove with assistance by Amy Guglielmo.

The Clinton County Health Department provided funding through the Operation Lighter, Quicker, Cheaper grant program.  One aim of the program was to add activity stencils to a sidewalk or building so that people can play as they go.


Blank fish await for details to be added by young sidewalk chalk artists.


A-mazing artwork.


Tuesday, June 08, 2021

​BolaWrap: As Seen On TV!

Wow.  When I grow up I wanna be a NCIS cop with a BolaWrap gun.

 

 © 2021 Luke T. Bush

PLATTSBURGH CITY, NY – 6/8/21

In a previous article I discussed BolaWrap, a less-lethal/nonlethal device that fires Kevlar lines at a human target.  The lines immobilize the target by wrapping around that person, four-pronged barbs holding the lines in place.  This device is intended to safely deal with non-compliant people including the mentally ill.

Now if the barbs dig into thick clothing, no problem.  But the barbs can also dig into bare flesh.  A misfire could mean the lines could wrap around someone's neck instead of the legs.

In a demonstration video there aren’t any problems when someone walks away at a measured pace and is BolaWrapped.   But when someone is running they take a hard fall but fortunately in the video the target is on a soft lawn or sandy area. Someone slamming down on pavement might end up with a busted nose or loose a few teeth.  Is this the way to treat the mentally ill?

The last segment in the video shows a scene from NCIS: Los Angeles, a fictional TV crime show.  BolaWrap also appeared on another CBS police drama, S.W.A.T.  Talk about product placement.  And with TV production you can do a retake if the line wraps around the fleeing suspect’s neck or he takes a hard fall, breaking his jaw.  Save it for the blooper reel.

After stopping the suspect the NCIS agent observes how BolaWrap makes him feel like Batman.  Yup, let’s invoke comic book fantasy.  Some critics have called BolaWrap the Batman lasso.

Critics have observed that using BolaWrap on a mentally ill person is dehumanizing, treating them like an animal.

Coverage of an incident in Buffalo, NY shows the opposing views on BolaWrap.  In what appears to be a news article through GlobeNewsWire there was the successful use of the device when the police were dealing with a woman suffering from a mental health crisis.

"Police say they spoke with the woman for an extended period of time, asking her to get in a police car and receive medical evaluation. The woman refused, which police say prompted them to deploy the Bolawrap.

"The device allowed police to transport her to Erie County Medical Center for evaluation without anyone getting hurt, according to police.”

Note that GlobeNewsWire distributes press releases, not actual news articles that look at all sides of an issue.  GNW’s stated purpose is to disseminate press releases to a maximum audience while increasing SEO.

As for a real news article vice.com covered both sides of the controversy.  The incident in Buffalo included some extra details.

The BolaWrapped woman was only wearing a t-shirt in freezing temps.  A witness told a local news radio station the woman wasn’t given warm clothing or a blanket after she was snared.  The witness added that a mental health professional was on the scene but no attempt was made to calm the woman down, deescalating the situation.

Sometimes it’s worth the effort to read a press release to the very end.  The GlobeNewsWire has a disclaimer entitled Cautionary Note on Forward-Looking Statements – Safe Harbor Statement.  In part this disclaimer tells readers the forward-looking statements can mean risks, the Company’s actual results might be completely different from the Company’s statements.  It goes on to cover all bases including “government regulation,” “defects,” “litigation,” and even “outbreaks of disease.”

Ever see such a disclaimer at the bottom of a news article?

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Bad Wrap?


 

© 2021  Luke T. Bush

PLATTSBURGH CITY, NY – 5/25/21

Hooks?

The other day WCAX-TV news showed the demonstration of a new non-lethal / less-lethal restraint for when police are dealing with an uncooperative person.

The demo was held at a local fire department with law-enforcement officials and the city mayor in attendance.  The device created by Wrap Technologies is called BolaWrap.  It was inspired by a throwing weapon called bola used to entangle fleeing animals.  A bola is a combination of connected thin cords (usually three) with weights on each end of the cords.  When thrown the bola spins through the air until it makes contact with the target’s legs, wrapping around the legs to immobilize the animal.

BolaWrap is a high tech version of the bola but instead of weights it uses hooks, each one with four prongs, to entangle the target.  The lines are made of Kevlar.

In the videotaped demo Mayor Chris Rosenquest is seen standing still and then there’s a flash-bang, the lines wrapping around his pants, hooks holding the lines in place.

But the mayor was standing still, not running.  Also noted in a front page article in the Press-Republican (weekend print edition May 22 & 23, 2021) the Wrap Technologies representatives asked the mayor to wear thick sweatpants over his normal clothes.  He stated the hooks didn’t hurt.  But what if someone is wearing thin pants or shorts?  I’m guessing that at the high velocity the BolaWrap is fired (513 feet per second) the hooks would find it easy to penetrate soft flesh.  The BolaWrap trainer during the demonstration mentioned that flaw.  Also when the person is wrapped and stays still, no problem.  But if they try to move the hooks dig in.

During the WCAX news segment a Wrap Technology representative stated that BolaWrap would stop injuries and lawsuits.  If there’s a real screw up I can see someone losing an eye.    (No lawsuit, huh?)

A photo accompanying the PR article shows the mayor standing with his arms crossed on his chest.

The Washington Post mentioned in an article published last year that at one demonstration a police chief got hooked in one of his hands.  He stated: “I had my hands too low and it was my fault.”

According to a Reuters article the electric shock from Tasers killed 49 people in 2018. The search is on for a less deadly device.

It’s commendable that the recent effort for police reform is considering other non-lethal / less-lethal devices to control a noncompliant person.  Wrap Technologies says their device can be used to restrain a mental ill person or someone on street drugs..  I can imagine how a severely agitated mentally person or drug user would react when trapped by a BolaWrap.  Instead of spending more money on high tech devices governmental entities should use their funds to support mental health services.


Sources:

“As death toll keeps rising, US. communities start rethinking Taser use”  Reuters  https://reut.rs/3hSYOya

“NY authorities demo alternative use-of-force tool”  WCAX-TV news  https://bit.ly/3casRhd  

“That's a wrap: Police see demonstration of BolaWrap restraint device”  Press-Republican (online version)  https://bit.ly/3uif3Y5  

Saturday, May 08, 2021

Take A Walk On The Wild Dark Side

 



© 2021 Luke T. Bush

PLATTSBURGH CITY, NY – 05/07/21

Jim Kobak’s art captures your attention, images creating haunting impressions.

Friday evening the Strand Center for the Arts held a reception for an exhibit of his phantasmagorical portraits and other eldritch paintings.  The exhibit will be on display until May 28th.  Contact SCA at Info@StrandCenter.org or call (518) 563-1604 for more information.


 Artist Jim Kobak (left) views some digital images.
 
 


Friday, May 07, 2021

Voted As Most Improved Newspaper in Publisher’s Network

By Luke T. Bush


The Press Republican beat out 90 other newspapers in the CNHI, LCC chain for showing the best improvement: https://bit.ly/33oGKTQ

Here’s evidence of how they’ve improved with this item about two people being transported to the hospital:

The headline as written implies that only one person should ride a boar at a time or face danger.


Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Walking Advertisement

 

 
Do you like walking around giving free advertising for a corporation?  I only saw the front view of the jacket on the Columbia website.  After I opened up the package I found COLUMBIA emblazoned on the back in large letters with its logo.


Returning to the website I discovered I was supposed to hover the cursor on the  image to see the back view.  Next time I'll be more cautious.

Monday, March 15, 2021

Ms Zee: Irish Lass

 

 

As holidays near and seasons change Ms. Zee keeps up with appropriate attire.  The mannequin watches the street from her front window at the WNBZ 106.3 FM studio on City Hall Place, Plattsburgh City.  For St. Patrick's Day Ms. Zee wears the green.

 



 

 

Monday, February 22, 2021

Pop For The People

 

© 2021 Luke T. Bush

Inspired by the works of Andy Warhol the Plattsburgh State Burke Art Gallery has exploded with pop art by local artists. The exhibit will be on display until March 12.

Due to the pandemic Plattsburgh State Art Museum is closed to the public but faculty, staff and students may visit at reduced capacity. If you belong to that listed group you can visit from at Monday through Friday from noon to 4 p.m in the John Meyers Building.

M.I. Devine curated the exhibit. Saranac Central High School students under the mentoring of art teacher Amy Guglielmo have contributed works.

For more information call 518-564-2474 or visit https://www.plattsburgh.edu/plattslife/arts/art-museum/museum-exhibitions.html.

 


Friday, February 12, 2021

Project Peacock

 



© 2021 Luke T. Bush


The pandemic added to the insufferable winter weather has forced me to spend more time than usual in my apartment. It’s bad enough frigid temps wear and tear on me when I’m outside but also my camera has a rough time. And with my comorbidities I have to avoid hanging around most places so I don’t catch something in the air or on a surface.

I’ve been getting back into closeup/macro-photography, the art of making the small big. One main problem is greater magnification means less depth of field, the area in focus with a subject. DOF can be narrow as a millimeter or less. A shallow part of the object is sharp while the rest is a big blur.

Enter focus stacking. I carefully take a series of shots, focus “slices,” meticulously working from front to back. Then I open that series of images in a focus stacking program that combines the sharpest part of each image, magically making the area of sharpness deeper.

A friend used to raise peacocks and he gave me some feathers. Now with focus stacking I can now really explore their color and details.

 (Click on each image to enlarge.)

 


 
 

 



Wednesday, February 10, 2021

No More Rusting And Buzzing


© 2021 Luke T. Bush


PLATTSBURGH CITY, NY – 2/10/21

An information kiosk that has been deteriorating for years – a symbol of wasted taxpayer dollars – has been removed from City Hall Place.

As I have detailed in a previous post the kiosk and others like it were installed around around the city as the PlattInfo project. Visitors could walk up to the kiosk – it roughly resembled a chrome coffin standing upright -- to check the viewscreen for details on local restaurants and other businesses.

Two major problems with the project. The software was proprietary, meaning the city had to go to the original coder to update or make changes. When the kiosks started to fail the city would probably have to pay the coder to make fixes. The other problem was new technology made the PlattInfo service obsolete. Visitors could get the same info more conveniently on their cellphones and tablets.



The City Hall Place kiosk stood next to the Verdantique Park plaque, creating a study in contrasts. While the plaque stood the test of time rust ate through the kiosk’s chrome exterior. Repainting the kiosk didn’t help: the rust returned. The viewscreen was usually dark. On occasion ghosts would appear, advertisements floating up, in some cases for businesses long gone.  You could hear electricity still feeding into the unit, a constant buzzing. 

Estimated cost for each kiosk ran from $2500 to $20,000 dollars.

The last time the City Hall Place kiosk attracted any attention was when a little girl was amazed by a giant spiderweb spread across the viewscreen hood..


So add PlattInfo to the other grand mistakes the city has made without enough forethought.

 

Sunday, January 03, 2021

Blinking Lights: Alien Manipulation?

 © 2021 Luke T. Bush

 

PLATTSBURGH CITY, NY – 1/3/21

The other evening after sunset I noticed some of the downtown streetlights were
 flashing on and off. Mysterious. Alien manipulation? The reason why I thought of
 aliens was the Twilight Zone episode “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street.” 
A strange object is seen in the sky during daylight.  The power to the neighborhood
 goes out.  At night unnerving events drive the neighbors into mass hysteria. Maybe
 one of them is an alien. Below is a trimmed copy of that episode’s conclusion. 
I highly recommend watching the entire episode.
.


 
 
 
Plattsburgh City's new mayor provided a more probable explanation.