Saturday, February 25, 2012

Bay Blogger Covers Dip Details Missed Elsewhere

Complete coverage and the best photos of Polar Bear are available on - Brittnee Kriner - 2012 Polar Bear Dip

Bay Abuzz over Future of Bonnie Castle.....Polar Dip Attracts Crowds and Dollars for River Hospital

   The big chatter at the Polar Bear Dip in Alexandria Bay was about more than Brittnee and more than the tens of thousands of dollars raised for the River Hospital.
    What I was hearing was the sale of Bonnie Castle Resort (the hotel, marina, and restaurant) to the Garlock Family of Alex Bay. They are also related to the Fiacco's, well known restaurateurs from Potsdam.
     Muffler empresario Don Cole has owned Bonnie Castle for years, but the resort hasn't been updated in years and what was the rage in the 70s and 80s is old and stuffy now.
     I don't know all the details...that's up to the MSM to report on....but the facility is said to have sold for a song.
    Today was a great day as a huge crowd packed the bar and waterfront for the Polar Bear Dip which featured lots of people but was punctuated by Internet sensation Brittnee Kriner and waitresses from Watertown's Tilted Kilt.
     An organizer ask me to talk less about Brittnee and more about the Hospital.....Excuuuuse me....It was Brittnee's marketing that made the event even more successful. Nonetheless, we applaud the Hospital for their fight to survive.

Danica: WTF !

It was the second crash of the week for Danica and she managed a few expletives after it happened....It was on the team radio and if a guy said it , so what ? Anyway she will have some bumps in the road and she is still great for the sport.
Crashed by teammate, Danica Patrick 38th in Nationwide race –

WDT: Does Addie Heart Andy ? Doesn't Sound Like It

At a recent E-board meeting at the WDT, Assemblywoman Addie Russell led the publisher to opine that our representitive has little use for fellow Democrat and Governor Andrew Cuomo. Ms. Russell, the paper suggests, is unhappy with the Governor on education funding and pension reform. Ms. Russell takes the union stance on many of these issues and would seem an odd fit for a North Country often described as Republican.
Ms. Russell has taken edgy stands on gay marriage and gun control, but still appears headed for an easy and likely uncontested reelection.
Goes to show what can happen when Ted Ford is your political Svengali.
Watertown Daily Times Russell on Cuomo

GOP to Focus on Gilly Foes....Long Shot Eyed

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is well positioned to win a full six year term as New York's junior Senator, but Republicans may turn to a Manhattan attorney and political activist to carry the flag against her. Wendy Long is a former law clerk to Justice Clarence Thomas. Ms. Long is making the rounds of GOP county chairs in advance of the party's March 16 convention in Rochester.
The Presidency and the US Senate seat are the the two statewide races and Republicans will likely not win either, party poobahs want candidates who will not detract from local Republican candidates and scare people away from the B line.
With Convention Fast Approaching, Wendy Long Focuses on County Chairs Politics on the Hudson

Will Bam Suffer from Gas in the Fall....GOP Hopes So

Can gas prices be the swing issue that determines who the next President will be ?
Could be, because things like unemployement rates and deficits seem to already to baked in the cake of the electorate. Gas prices affect everyone, every week and it looks like the price will be in the fours this year.
Newt Gingrich is making gas his signature issue in a bid to get back in the hunt.
It's not that anyone has any silver bullet to lower prices, but the fact is gas prices are way higher than when Barack Obama became President and the issue can be hung on him due to his opposition to new drilling and rejection of the Keystone Pipeline.
Newt Gingrich’s gas price gambit -

City releases teacher performance rankings for the first time ever, after The Post files a freedom of information act seeking the data -

After a 17 month fight in the courts, the NY Post has obtained the performance scores of several thousand NYC teachers. The union fought the release and like any set of scores there are some at the top and some at the bottom.
What does it prove ? What does it mean ?
When you attend the school geographically nearest, you get the teachers assigned. There are also many other factors in a teacher/student relationship and there are things standardized tests don't take into account.
Having said all those things, the release of the scores hold feet to the fire and pierces the cloak of secrecy in Big Education.
What do you do if you find out your kid is headed for a class room with a teacher in the bottom five percent ? Beats me. It's like going to the emergency room. You assume the person treating you passed muster. Once you are there, there is little you can do about it.
City releases teacher performance rankings for the first time ever, after The Post files a freedom of information act seeking the data -

Friday, February 24, 2012

Mayors Speak Out on Pension Reform

   Channel 7 is doing a story on the Mayors and county and town chiefs who this week teamed with Mayor Bloomberg in support of reform of the public employee pension system in New York State.
    I am one of the Mayors weighing in because the wobbly and underfunded system only promises higher and higher premiums to local governments in order to cover the benefits of those already in line. It's a complicated topic, so news coverage is often spotty at best.
    While the Governor's plan does not affect those people in the system, it does introduce an optional 401K style plan that will allow predictable costs for government and portability for workers yet to come. Regardless of what's done, the next couple decades will be expensive for local taxpayers, trying to work past largess out of the pipeline.
     More and more the word "salary" tells less and less about the cost of a worker.  Pension premiums will soon rise to 32% of pay for uniformed services and the escalating cost of health premiums along with all kinds of hidden steps and other costs mean there are lots of $150K workers even in a small city like Watertown.
      Governor Cuomo's proposal provides a modest start. The Legislature should consider it.

WDT: Juror Vaugh Says Oxley Not Linked to Crime Scene

Should Wayne Oxley have been acquitted ? Former Ogdensburg City Councillor Nick Vaugh is quoted in this story as saying so. He was an alternate juror in the trail completed yesterday.
What do you think ?
Watertown Daily Times Oxley walks free

Early state budget on horizon - Times Union

An early state budget is being predicted but there is always a delay, so it will probably be on or about April 1.
The Governor wants it. Senate Republicans want it....They both feel the need to make Albany look like its working smoothly. Assembly Democrats don't feel that need, but it may not matter.
The pension fight is hard to predict. The Governor's proposal is pretty middle of the road, but the unions don't like it, even though the changes would affect no current workers or retirees.
Early state budget on horizon - Times Union

Weather Warning a Rare Thing This Winter

Winter is reminding us its still hangin' around with a weather warning issued for parts of the region including Tug Hill. No need to stock up on milk and eggs or panic. It sounds like run of the mill winter weather and may not even affect Watertown.
Friday storms...or at least Friday panic warnings.....are bad for business.
Many people are frightened by the missives from the National Weather Service, especially once the media megaphone has whipped up the populace.
    As for those wanting more winter for their recreation, I wonder if this late they may have lost interest and are looking forward to spring like the rest of us.
National Weather Service Watch Warning Advisory Summary

Conservatives Join Indians in Roughing Up GOP Senator

In the closely divided NYS Senate, last year's vote on same sex marriage may trump redistricting as a concern for the GOP as casino brawler and Senator Mark Grisanti has apparently lost the Conservative Party nomination to a Democrat seeking to unseat Grisanti.
Senator Grisanti was one of the Republicans voting in favor of the marriage bill. Normally the Conservatives are the "me too" party for Republicans upstate, ensuring victories in what are more closely contested races than Democrats face in NYC.
The Democrat is Charles Swanick, a long time Erie County legislator.
The state Conservative Party had vowed not to support those who supported gay marriage, although as a campaign issue now, I don't think it has much traction as many support the measure or at least ambivalent about it. Since passage, there has been no apparent unraveling of society from the handful of gay couples opting to get married.
Senator Grisanti and his wife were recently involved in a casino fracas with members of the Seneca Indian Nation.
In blow to Grisanti, Conservatives back Swanick for Senate - Politics - The Buffalo News

Thursday, February 23, 2012

A Murder of Crows

Did you know a group of crows is called a "murder" ?...not a flock...a murder of crows....Is that creepy or what ?
Murder of Crows, etc. « The Word Detective

A Canary Takes Up Residence on Pearl Street

   The recent passing of Panzy the cat certainly left a void for Zeppelin and I.  I am pleased to welcome a canary to my Pearl Street home.
    I got the yellow bird last Monday and already enjoy waking up to singing and chirping.
    My canary has no name yet....and after consulting a teacher friend of mine (yes I have NYSUT friends), it was suggested I open the naming process to those not jaded by life and politics.
    So if local elementary teachers want to get their K-2 students to submit names, I will be glad to provide the winning class with copious amounts of ice cream.
     Send submissions to

Thursday: Not Guilty Verdict In Oxley Case | WWNY TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports for | Local News

The third time was not a charm in the St. Lawrence County District Attorney's office as the object of their fixation for years was finally acquitted....Wayne Oxley walks.....
Thursday: Not Guilty Verdict In Oxley Case WWNY TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports for Local News

Rubio a Mormon Too "

An all Mormon ticket for the GOP ? Could be if Mitt Romney and Sen. Marco Rubio (FL) are on the ballot.....Seems Sen. Rubio...ostensibly a Catholic....was baptised in the Mormon faith at age 8 when his family lived in Nevada.
With everyone worried about who is a Christian and who is faith-based, this ticket seems a tough sell.
Every Mormon I have seen is well dressed and ready to get up early every day to go to work. Maybe that's why its such a tough sell in these slovenly times.
First Read - Rubio's Mormon past revealed

Danica Patrick OK after violent crash; Stewart wins 1st Duel –

Get it out your system Danica...Everybody had to crash now and then, so best to do it today and not on Sunday during the Big Race at Daytona.
As is the case with so much when she is racing....It's "Danica OK"....oh by the way, Stewart won the race.
Danica Patrick OK after violent crash; Stewart wins 1st Duel –

Busler: Can Hockey Come to Watertown ?

    It's a special day when Mel Busler calls to interview you for a story...How often does what I have to say make the sportcast ?
    Mel called today to ask about whether the Privateers hockey team which now plays in Alexandria Bay would come to Watertown.  There have been no formal discussions but the idea was among several floated as the team has had issues at its present location in Bonnie Castle Stables.
     Apparently, the team owner mentioned other possible locations at a press conference today.  The team plays in the Federal Hockey League which has teams throughout the Northeast US.
     The first step to even preliminary talks would be to meet these folks which I am glad to do.  There are many scheduling and logistical issues for discussion, but certainly it's worth a pow wow.

Spitzer Warns Cuomo: You’re Governor, Not King

New York's Hooker Happy Governor who labled himself an steamroller says the current Governor needs to limit his ambitions......Eliot Spitzer says Andy has to remember he is Governor, not King.
No he is not King, but Andrew Cuomo knows how to martial his powers and has political skills beyond those of Mr. Spitzer.
If anything, Mr. Cuomo needs to pick his battles and go full bore as he is with pension reform.
This is the last year of Andy's honeymoon....By next near everyone is looking ahead to 2014 and Mr. Cuomo will be looking at his own expected Presidential run in 2016.
The Governor needs to be aggressive. There are enough checks and balances to prevent him from being King.
Spitzer Warns Cuomo: You’re Governor, Not King

WDT: Developer says It takes time’ to Develop the Woolworth Building

Developer Michael Treanor says he is still committed to the Woolworth Building project, but other local business leaders openly have wondered about whether the project will go forward and whether a state grant is in jeopardy by delays.
Mr. Treanor has pledged to move ahead and says he will meet with city officials in the coming weeks.
Watertown Daily Times Treanor: ‘It takes time’ to develop the Woolworth building

WDT: Watertown Part of Scavenger Hunt

This sounds like a fun event to be involved in. Watertown will apparently be part of the "Fireball Run" film tour run by Universal Studios. The automobile scavenger hunt covers 2500 miles and involves visits to smaller communties not often on the celebrity radar.
We look forward to hearing more about the event.
Watertown Daily Times City chosen as host destination for ‘Fireball Run’ film tour

Pension Fight is Andy's Fight for 2012

New York's public employee unions say they will shut down state government over the issue of pension reform, meanwhile Mayor Michael Bloomberg is organizing his own group of local government leaders in support of the Governor's proposal for a Tier Six to the beleaguered pension system.
Just who is the Public Employee Federation to think "shutting down" government is their prerogative ? Don't let the door hit you on the way out. Most people are tired of these shutdown threats from the left or the right.
For Governor Cuomo, this is a signature issue for a reason. It means something. Reform of this system is essential to achieving control over expenses in local governments and school districts. It's tough to imagine long term economies without change.
There are other ways to achieve economy in the delivery of government such as reducing the number of taxing jurisdictions, but for the Governor, pension reform is where he is drawing his line in the sand.
This is not same-sex marriage. This is a war with the constituencies Albany has bowed to for years and failure will mean the ambitious Governor is suffering from Pataki Syndrome. A good first year co-opted and a reputation ground down by the status quo.
Pension power struggle rises - Times Union

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Republican debate: Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum get personal in Arizona - Alexander Burns -

I am watching a little of this latest and 20th GOP debate and its pretty vacuous. Wrangling over earmarks and who voted for what back when.....
I was chatting with a local man who was in Ohio last week on business and while in Steubenville, visited a Rick Santorum event just to hear him out...My friend told me Mr. Santorum did fine on economic issues but became less appealing when he veered off into religion.
Republican debate: Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum get personal in Arizona - Alexander Burns -

Senator Notches Another Year

Happy Birthday Senator !
(15) Patty Ritchie

We Keep Expecting the SLA to Put a Finger in the Dike

The best way to reduce "underage" drinking is to do what we did in the 1980's. Just redefine the term. Used to be underage was 17 and under and that's a threshold most can buy into and enforce.
This 21 year old drinking age is a big failure. College presidents and cops alike say its nonsense and the somehow we expect a handful of SLA agents to enforce a rule few really believe in.
People under 21 are drinking all the time....not usually in licensed establishments but in basements and back roads. It's such a joke when soldiers returning from war have to be told they cannot play a frivoluous game like beer pong because some zealots have gotten to the State...Meanwhile they can go to the Class 6 store and buy as much 190 proof Everclear as they want.
Underage drinking cases soar in New York as State Liquor Authority enforcement staff is reduced - NY Daily News

HOTLINE a Pariah for Pols ?

Far be it from me to manufacture a controversy, but Middle Class Mike and I had a nice back and forth today on why candidates may be reluctant to appear on America's Favorite Noontime Talk Shoe....aka the HOTLINE.
I had invited the GOP Congressional candidates on the show and while neither has appeared so far, hope springs eternal.
Mayor: Is Greene Scared of Me? - YouTube

Police pension costs crippling Town of Southampton -

Look for lots of pension horror stories as New York's defined benefit retirement system reels under the cost paying pensions that far exceed the amounts set aside by employees and employers. Higher and higher contribution rates on current employees are being used to pay the obligations piled up over decades from generous benefits to gaming the system.
That will be a lobbying point this week in Albany, but don't look for the unions to roll over. Besides the only way to continue funding the current retirees is to perpetuate the current system. Or so they would have you believe.
Police pension costs crippling Town of Southampton -

Bronx community leaders want vodka billboard taken down - NY Daily News

No sense of humor in the Bronx.
Bronx community leaders want vodka billboard taken down - NY Daily News

WDT: City Passes New Alcohol Policy After Months of Discussion

The long debated alcohol policy on City property is passed. Now events will be done according to state law. In a time where the State is posting on-line the information about licensees, it is no longer OK for the way things were being done.
The new policy was prepared with the help of the former chairman of the SLA, so there can be confidence in its legitimacy.
Watertown Daily Times City passes new alcohol sales policies for fairgrounds, other facilities

Online liquor license map has industry leery - Times Union

The beverage industry is leery of a new on-line mapping program that shows disciplinary actions against licensees as they feel it will be misunderstood and misinterpreted by the public.
Actually I don''t think most people will care. Such records can be misleading for sure. A headline can scream about selling "contaminated liquor" when in fact it was some fruit flies in the bottom of a ten year old bottle of Christian Brothers.
These days there is also a naive notion that a handful of minor incidents by bone heads constitute anything more than people behaving badly.
Transparency is fine and this curiosity will be of interest to some. Most people will still size up a joint themselves when they walk through the door. As for fights, my experience is those who mind their own business are involved in surprisingly few of them.
Online liquor license map has industry leery - Times Union

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Mick's For Sale

The bar and nightclub business is rough....If you sit quietly and don't make much you are OK...but those who crank it up...generally want out...Such is the case with Mick's on Factory Street which is now on the market along with the vacant ThunderDome Nightlclub.....The price...$425,000.
People who have money...and people who invest money don't invest in bars and nightclubs...To much regulation...too much scrutiny...too much liability.
If you get too successful, you attract too much attention...It's a hostile business environment....
I wish Mick the best of luck in marketing his property...but its a tough sell..
202 Factory St, Watertown-City, NY 13601 :: Exit More Real Estate

City Council Hears Auditor's Report

    City Council learned tonight that City finances continue to be strong with an audit showing revenue exceeding projections in the past year and expenses coming in within budget.
    CPA Laurie Podvin outlined finances and said billing has improved in Parks and Recreation, but there is a problem with the City's trash sticker program with one vendor owing the City over $17,000 for the $2.50 stickers. The Great American owes the money and the accountant recommended tighter controls on credit for stickers.
      With just three of five Council Members present some measures were not able to be voted on including some ordinances and the sale of a property on Court Street.

Mayors to Rally for Pension Reform Next Week With Bloomberg

         Next week's New York's mayors descend on Albany for their lobbying sessions and one item on the agenda is pension reform. In particular the adoption of Governor Cuomo's Tier 6 plan than for the first time offers a 401K style defined contribution retirement plan.
         NYC Michael Bloomberg is rallying mayors on Wednesday as his office called today to see if I could make it. I can't, but gave them a statement of support for their press release.
          The NY Conference of Mayors holds its annual Winter lobbying day on Monday and its the first one presided over  by NYCOM President and Ogdensburg Mayor Bill Nelson.
         Meanwhile there is also a Regional Council meeting Tuesday in Potsdam which I hope to make.
It depends on whether I can find a fill in for the HOTLINE on Monday or Tuesday. Sure do miss Joe Brosk.

Pearl Street Plunged into Partial Darkness

    On an otherwise pleasant day, a brownout hit my block of Pearl Street today when a wire fell off the transformer leaving Fort Pearl and serveral residences with half power.
      National Grid crews responded promptly to restore full power in time for Tuesday evening.
      The Grid employee was very courteous and apologetic about the issue.

Short Council Meeting on Tap......If the Over/Under is 35 Minutes, Take the Under

    City Council will have three of five members present tonight as Councilmen Smith and Butler are on family vacations for winter break week.
    That should produce a short meeting as some items will be automatically laid over under the rules.
    This includes the sale of the former Berow and Monroe building which would require a four-fifths vote. Ordinances also cannot be voted on due to unanimous consent requirements.
    It's not all vacation as one Councilman will actually be meeting in Florida with consultant John Krol who is building the job description and marketing ad for the city manager search.
Turns out the two were vacationing at the same condo complex.
    The meeting has to last til 7:30 to accommodate a public hearing. Otherwise it would be over by 7:20..

Take His License ! Oh, He Didn't Have One Anyway

A 42 year old Carthage man didn't care about any "three strikes and you are out laws" on DWI. He was part of a small but persistent legion of boozers who don't care about the latest press release law on the matter.
These are people who don't care whether they have a license to be taken away from them. They drive anyway and there are lots of people on the road with no licenses. Some are drinkers, some are just people who don't see why they need permission to drive.
This past week, some Albany pols proposed this year's press release law....a three strikes and you lose the ability to get licensed measure. Police Blotter

Lack of snow hurting Tug Hill businesses - YNN, Your News Now

When the marketplace picks winners and losers, sometimes Mother Nature lends a hand.
The unusually mild winter is a big hit with many in business who see lower heating and plowing costs as a gift from the Heavens, while those winter-based industries are reeling.
Another plus is that save one Friday, there have been no days when customers could not get out and about.
With another week in the 40s ahead of us and the end of winter now in sight, I am thankful for the savings, but understand when outside factors affect business.
One thing is for sure, there won't be another winter like this one.
Lack of snow hurting Tug Hill businesses - YNN, Your News Now

New Haven Pizza Co. Closes Its Doors, Citing Upstate Economy

As restaurants and gin mills open all over town, the reality of business is that the herd gets culled too. The marketplace decides winners and losers and a business called New Haven Pizza in Stateway Plaza has reportedly closed.
The business was in a highly competitive field and the owners were not business saavy. The results were predictable.
This business got public sector assistance and was an example of when regular banks say no, they are sometimes doing you a favor. I remember starting my business and it was self funded and a slow process of building and upgrading that still goes on today.
New Haven didn't have a business model or a level of owner business saavy to work.
New Haven Pizza Co. Closes Its Doors, Citing Upstate Economy

WCAX: Hoffman Leaves Door Open a Crack

Doug Hoffman is leaving the door open....but 2012 is not 2010 and Doug Hoffman will not have the Conservative Party line to use as leverage in a race against Matt Doheny for the GOP Congressional nomination.
Mr. Doheny is a lock for Line C and the Indy nod on Line E. Neither minor party will allow their line to be an outlier this year and be accused of undermining the eventual GOP nominee who more than likely will be Mr. Doheny.
Complicating any intentions by Mr. Hoffman is Kellie Greene, a hard right rival who doesn't suffer from Mr. Hoffman's awkwardness on the trail.
My guess is Doug Hoffman doesn't run as, like it or not, running for these offices is a full time job both in campaigning and fundraising.
In both categories, Mr. Doheny has a big edge.
N.Y. District 23 primary redux - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Monday, February 20, 2012

Jeremy Lin: I'm not dating divorced Kim Kardashian

Why is it everyone who is a little bit famous suddenly has to confirm or deny dating Kim Kardashian......Now it's Knick's phenom Jeremy Lin's chance to deny dating the divorce who is famous for being famous.
Lin is a Harvard grad so may be a little cerebral for Ms. Kardashian.
Now I am ready for this kind of journalism......If Amaral calls to ask if I am dating a Kardashian, my answer is  "U Betcha !"
Jeremy Lin: I'm not dating divorced Kim Kardashian

WDT: Indy power struggle played out here, too

What you are saying is that Frank is the Mike Long of the Indy Party and Mr. Long is the Ray Harding of the Conservative Party.
Watertown Daily Times Indy power struggle played out here, too

WDT: Maple City Ponders Manager Search

The City of Ogdensburg is headed off on a search for city manager. Lawmakers are trying to decide how to move ahead after the departure of Manager Art Sciorra, who was hired some six years ago by a headhunter.
Maple City lawmakers are at square one in the process and are trying to decide who will interview candidates and how much they will pay. The Council should interview and not try to create a citizen's panel. If they hope to hire at a salary less than Mr. Sciorra, they will have to look at younger candidates and those already in the area.
While $80,000 is a goodly sum to many of us, it's not a sum that will attract the best and brightest from long distances. The Maple City, as will Watertown, needs a Council without personal agendas and with a willingness to engage in this important decision.
However, its important not to oversell the process and the position. You are selecting a manager, not a deity. Someone who is competant in finance, hard working, able to lead a large workforce, is honest, respects the role of mangers versus the electeds, conversant in all the nuances of NYS municpal law, and other duties as assigned.
Finding someone with all that price...will however require some divine intervention.
Watertown Daily Times Council members brainstorm search for new Ogdensburg manager

New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver not totally with Gov. Cuomo on pension reforms   - NY Daily News

It's no surprise Speaker Sheldon Silver is not on board with the Governor's pension reform plans although it would not affect existing employees except for limiting the practice of spiking overtime in order to enhance pensions draws.
The problem with the system is evidenced by the universal efforts to game the system. A 401 K style defined contribution plan is portable and predictable as what is put in is what is there.
The current definied benefit plan often results in benefits far in excess of what is contributed by the employee and more so , by the employer. That is why in 2015 local governments will be contriburting over 30% of a police or fireman's annual pay into the system in order to sustain current year benefits.
That's right, in order to keep the checks flowing, an $80,000 a year cop will see the municipality he works for put $25K + into the retirement system in order to cover current year benefits. That kind of math explains why anyone would want to stay in this system rather than just have the money contributed so far.
New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver not totally with Gov. Cuomo on pension reforms - NY Daily News

Swedish man Peter Skyllberg survives in frozen car for two months by eating handfuls of snow | Mail Online

An unbelievable story of survival. A 44 year old Swedish man survived two months in his car buried in snow a week before Christmas. He survived by eating snow and had no food.
Swedish man Peter Skyllberg survives in frozen car for two months by eating handfuls of snow Mail Online

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Grisantis Pressing Charges In Casino Fight

A State Senator involved in a fracas at a Seneca Indian Nation casino in Niagara Falls that resulted in his wife getting a concussion has decided to try and press charges against the assailants....Sen. Mark Grasanti and his wife Maria initially said they would suck it up and not pursue the issue further likely for fear it would create repercussions with the Senecas.
So far police have said their investigation was inconclusive.
Grisantis Pressing Charges In Casino Fight

Newzjunky: Old Dogs New Tricks and Crappy Newspaper Executives

I am sure this story got posted on Newzjunky for the headline..."Crappy Newspaper Executives" is a phrase the hierarchy at the upstart 'Junky" cannot resist.
Beyond the swipe at newspaperdom, the premise of the essay by a long time Canadian newspaperman is spot-on (that's a relatively new media cliche).
The writer correctly points out the death-grip-clinging to the old notion of top-down media and publishers and editors as gatekeepers connecting the events of the world to the great unwashed.
A sort of egalitarian view of journalism tinged with the requisite greed needed to allow construction of a San Simeon on the backs of readers and advertisers.
As the Internet creates "participatory" and community-based journalism, the push-back was evident the past couple years with the largely feigned and manufactured outrage over the Mayor writing a blog. The tumerity to communicate directly to the people using skills acquired in my own news career brought outrage from the local MSM, particularly at the Times.
Much of it was dressed up as Nixonian concern over release of state secrets kind of like suggesting  I am the Daniel Ellsburg of City Hall. Then there was the unction over the blog being too risque for community standards.
Well, despite a candidate who mouthed those bromides and reporters who kept asking me to respond to concerns expressed by a handful, the voters spoke by ignoring the protests of those enamored with a bygone era.
Media is changing and ironically "old media" is in some ways best positioned to respond as they have infrastructure and institutional knowledge. Instead some ex-old media guy like the one who runs Newzjunky came along and ate their lunch, especially with younger consumers.
I see the trend in doing the HOTLINE call in show. Old agendas don't drive the conversation anymore...No longer is today's show all about what was the story du jour in yesterday's paper. I am not saying that to be mean..its the way it is.
Everybody is bypassing the old ways, and if I am the heretic for having a blog, my good friend Patty Ritchie should be burned at the stake for her extensive use of Facebook to tell the public what she is up to. I actually enjoy reading her posts and seeing what she's up to. I know it's not the sole measure of her service, but it is a way to judge what's considered too pedestrian by the 'gatekeepers."
While I may poke fun at the MSM from time to time, I respect serious journalism and hate to see old models disappear under the weight of new technologies. I think they are getting over the blog issue, so maybe the thrust can be updating the platform.
Old Dogs New Tricks and Crappy Newspaper Executives Digital First

ESPN Cans Worker Over Lin Comment.....Meanwhile Lin Mania Continues in NYC as Knicks Win Again

A clever headline in bad taste has cost an ESPN staffer his job.....The reference to Knick phenom Jeremy Lin as a "Chink in the Armor" following a poor performance and a loss was not the brightest move. It was on a website for a few minutes and the Network apologized....
Whatever happened to getting called into the boss's office for a reaming and a "don't do it again". Now someone has to be sacrificed on the altar of liberalism ? No 'teachable moments" for the fired staffer.
As for Lin, he led the Knicks today in a comeback win over the Mavericks.....The 23 year old Harvard grad has been a thrill for Knicks fans.
ESPN employee dismissed after 'offensive' Jeremy Lin headline -

Still Whistling, But the Graveyard is Fading from View

    As this perhaps record mild Winter of 2011-12 has played out, many didn't want to talk about our good fortune for fear we would jinx it....
  Instead we all indulged the false modesty about how were concerned with the snowmobilers and skiers (we are not) or that we would get slammed with a vibrant second half to the season....(still could happen, but current forecasts give a week of clear sailing)
   Now people are changing their tune...They are talking like we do have a chance to escaped unscathed. The light Winter is being talked about in the past tense, as in "this was the mildest Winter in since I moved here back in the 70s."
    One pessimist told me he is convinced the threat of snow is over but that the real danger is another ice storm.
    That could be, and there will be some more snow. Somebody at the water cooler will still chill newcomers with a story about getting a foot (or was it two feet) of snow on Mother's Day.
      All I know is we will see 40s this week again and even with the extra day, February is done...You can stick a fork in it.
      I am getting cocky about Spring.

Where In The World is Rick DeFranco ?

Where is he now ?
As his commercials gradually work their way out of rotation on NNY airwaves, Rick DeFranco lives his new life far away from the North Country...He is in Helena ,MT where he lives with his new wife Chris.
According to Facebook, Rick works in radio but he has appeared on Big Sky television.
Rick was one of the most liked local personalities and was smooth on the air.
(16) Rick DeFranco

Postal Service seeks 50-cent stamps -

The way things are changing due to technology, it's certainly easy enough to imagine a day without a Post Office. However the idea of not having the mail carrier at my home or business every day is a hard concept to grasp.
Raising the price of a stamp to 50 cents does not shock me. To take a card or letter and drop it in a box and have it hand delivered several states away or just down the block for just a pair of quarters is actually a bargain. After all, if you were at Fort Pearl and I ask you to walk a letter down the block to Shooties and offered you fiddy cent to do it.....well most people would tell me to get lost.
The Post Office has a bloated business model and uncontrolled costs. Like making a decision to open the Library on Sundays, nothing is easy....from the products they provide, to who they hire.
If setting the price at fifty cents were the only thing needed to fix the Post Office, I would say yes, but lots of everything changes are needed....And yes, one of those changes may some day be, not having one.
Postal Service seeks 50-cent stamps -