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  1. Yesterday
  2. Jim

    Brand Park Pool

    Would you write to our city officials a letter opposing the demolition of this magnificent building? I offer the following letter that you are welcome to adapt and use, if you wish: Model letter: Mayor Mandell, City Manager Mike Collins, and members of the Elmira City Council: It is my understanding that you have made a unilateral decision to demolish the historic Brand Park Pool. As you know, the last appraisal of the building and pool was done in 2010, and no further professional examinations have taken place since then. Instead, the building has been irresponsibly and disgracefully neglected by our city governments. As a result, we do not know the actual state of the building and pool, as you, Mr. Mandell, pointed out in your recent interview with WETM news. Brand Park Pool belongs to all the people of Elmira. It has meant so much to this city, especially to those (like me) who used to swim, socialize, play and eat there. It is a truly vital and invaluable asset, for both its historic and future value to us, and I would like to ask the city to commission a new appraisal of the cost of repairs that takes into consideration all possibilities of restoration. If, then, it is found that the pool is not able to be restored because of cost, then we should at least consider preserving and repurposing the building for both public and private uses, such as sports activities in winter and summer, tourism, public events, artistic events and activities, and private events, such as business gatherings, weddings, and so on. I also believe that the people of Elmira should be invited to offer their opinions about restoration and re-use of the building. In addition, we should consider applying for grants and conducting a capital funding effort to pay for the restoration, if feasible. Until these efforts are made, in my opinion, the decision to tear down the building is unjustifiable, unacceptable and irresponsible. Sincerely,
  3. Jim

    Brand Park Pool

    Here is my complete message the Elmira City Council. If you have already read the section that appears in Nick Dubina's article, then scroll down and start reading at the paragraph that begins: "Have you noticed the catch phrase..." In 2015, when Mr. Mandell was running for mayor, he came by my house to ask for my vote. I told him that I was concerned about the state of the Maxwell Place fire station and asked for his thoughts. His reply was that the city didn’t have the money to repair it; so I suggested that he might consider setting aside a certain amount of money for restoration in the city’s budget each year. I proposed $100,000. Had he done that, the city would now have more than a million dollars for such use. Instead, as mayor he did nothing other than neglect it, like many before him, until 2020, when he and the city council gave it away for a song, a mere $1. It confirmed my suspicion that Mr. Mandell had no interest in Elmira’s past grandeur and no understanding of the value that its historical monuments bring to the city. Also, it underscored the city officials’ lack of a devotion to duty, the lack of imagination, vision, and stewardship, the willingness to take care of the properties that belong not to these officials, but to the people of Elmira, that has characterized our governments for far too long. Take the city’s failure to maintain our parks, in spite of the false claims this past fall by the mayor that he had, and I quote, “made vast improvements and investments in our City Parks.” After 7 years of our city’s neglect, you can be sure that nothing would have been done about the skate rink at Eldridge Park, for example, had not Andy Patros made a public stink about it. I also recommend you take a stroll through our parks if you want to get a true appraisal of their sick state. This is just one of many examples that typify the state of affairs in Elmira. We have been witness to years of neglect... And that neglect applies to many aspects of the city: we proudly claim to have a large number of Victorian houses in Elmira. So what do about them? Many, if not most, are boarded up. And what about the hundreds of rotting houses in the city? The city might cite you if you let your grass grow too high, but the evidence says that they couldn’t care less about the slumlords and derelict houses? Check this house out, for example, on Grand Central; or this one on W. Second St., about a block from my home; these are just 2 examples of hundreds of similar houses and of the failures of city government, failures by the way, that have contributed to this government’s regularly increasing the tax burden on you and me. So with that in mind, let’s turn our attention to the importance of Elmira’s history and to the Brand Park Pool. First, going back to the Maxwell Pl. fire station, one of the campaign pledges I made to Elmirans was to regain the fire station and purchase buildings used by the fire industry, for the purpose of creating a fire museum to celebrate that glorious part of Elmira’s history. Imagine what such a project would bring to the city? It would increase tourism, it would be a source of pride for our city and give Elmira publicity throughout the U.S. It would stimulate growth, improvement and investment throughout Elmira, and especially in the city’s 4th and 5th districts, districts that have been sadly neglected for years, and it would be a signal to the people of those districts that we care about them, and a signal to all of Elmira that we want the entire city to thrive. (to be a destination, a drive-to, not a drive-through, as I proposed in my campaign.) The same can be said of the BPP building. So, during last year’s campaign, I talked with lots of people in Elmira, either in person or via social media. Most told me they would prefer to keep the building, even if the pool would not be included. Nearly all had no interest in a splash pool. What about the one that’s already there? Go have a look. It hasn’t worked for years. And the park facilities generally? Go by and check out the rusted swings and so on and, in the summer, the 3-4 foot weeds that adorn the playground. Do you really think a new splash pad will fare any better? And how could it replace the BPP? The people who used and loved the pool spent all day there; they swam and socialized and ate there, and they stayed out of trouble. (The city cut me off after “playground.” Why doesn’t the city ask the people of Elmira if they’d like to see it rehabilitated; why don’t they investigate current costs of restoration and look into grants for restoration; and why don’t they ask the people what uses they would recommend instead of making categorical decisions based on their own biases. I can think of many possibilities: summer and winter skating and other sports activities, arts programs and events, private and public gatherings, weddings, and on and on... The BPP building, which I like to call Elmira’s Little Roman Coliseum, is a fairly rare style. It is a period piece that would also bring tourism to the city, give Elmira another odd and beautiful gem to show off, and, like the Maxwell Pl. Fire station, bring pride and attention to District 5 and to all of Elmira. Given what the mayor stated about the fire station, it is no surprise that he also claims that it would cost too much to repair the BPP building. No one really knows the cost, however, either to fully restore or to rehabilitate only the building. In 2010 the engineering firm hired by the city gave an estimate of $1.6 million for repairs. That cost would be higher today, of course, but is it not worth finding out? We know that our city allocates funds in ways that are often mysterious, unjustifiable, and wasteful, like the $2 million of Covid grant money used to replace the sprinkler system at the city’s golf course. I ask you: how much does the sprinkler project benefit the city, the entire city? Can it claim to bring anywhere near the value of what would accrue to Elmira and Elmirans by rehabilitating and using the Maxwell Place fire station or the BPP building? And by the way, they don’t grow back. Historic preservation brings great value to communities: spiritual, economic, aesthetic, and cities and small towns in the U.S. that have recognized this truth are thriving. They know that these structures have character and charm, that they draw our attention and give us a sense of place and beauty, that they recall our past and that they defy the architectural uglification that has plagued city- and landscapes like Elmira’s over the past 70 years. And for those towns that don’t value their history, they muddle along in the suffocating mire of an unappealing status quo; in our case, it’s the give-up mentality of ‘72. Have you noticed the catch phrase that used to pop up on the city’s website? It read: Honoring the past, building the future. Whenever I saw that, I thought: what a joke, what a sham. It’s no longer on the webpage, by the way. I imagine they took it down after I pointed out last year the fraud that it expressed. I think they should put it back up, but with honesty. I suggest: Destroying the past, impoverishing the future. How many people have you heard say: “Elmira is a dump.” Maybe you’ve said it too. I don’t like to hear that any more than anyone. But enough people from in and around Elmira say it that we’d better take it seriously. Consider, for example, comparing the Maxwell Pl. Fire station with the fire station, city hall, etc., in Elmira Heights, now the property of the Heights Historic Society. Both these buildings were built in 1897. Drive by and do a comparison. Or ask yourselves about Elmira’s yearly loss of population, many of them young people who see few opportunities here; many others you may know, people who have been established here for years and have vested interests in our community but have moved away to greener pastures like W. Elmira or other nearby locations. Have you asked them why? Don’t these trends speak to you? Don't they say something about the failures of our governments to attend to the Elmra's needs? I came to Elmira in 2000. It is my home, and I love this area and the people here. But I can say to you that little has changed in the city since I first arrived. Some things have improved, in part due to the good work, vision and taste of some local entrepreneurs who recognize the value of heritage properties. And some things are worse, as the city continues on its visionless, undisciplined and piecemeal uglifying and malling (pun intended) of our city. Finally, my last word is for the people of Elmira. As you all know, nationally we are embroiled in a wrestling match about making America great again. What we all need to realize, however, is this: making America great, or greater, does not start at the Texas-Mexico border. It starts right here in Elmira. If we don’t show an interest in government, if we don’t demand transparency and accountability of our government officials, if we don’t vote, and if we don’t demand accountability of ourselves, we get what we have: wasteful, secretive, unimaginative, neglectful, indifferent to Elmira’s great heritage, in brief, bad government. We all have a chance to help regenerate a magnificent city, by saving the properties that are part of our soul and that will lead us to a grander future. If we fail to stop the mayor's destruction of our heritage, we will impoverish our future and contribute more and more to the decline of our city. Please do what you can to help this effort.
  4. Little lambs are so soft, cuddly and cute! In my mid-teens, my siblings and I were given a lamb which I promptly named “Lambie.” Very original, huh?! It was only intended until something better came to mind, but nothing ever did. She was a twin, abandoned by her mother and given to us by our cousin, Robert, from his flock. I don’t know the breed, but she had light gray wool with a black face and black legs. As Lambie’s main caretaker, I took responsibility to make sure she was fed. Following my Dad’s directions, I made a gruel with oatmeal, water and evaporated milk, feeding it to her in a glass bottle which had one of my brother’s bottle nipples attached – we were good at making do. And I loved to watch her little tail go “ninety miles an hour” while she drank! Lambie was small, not very old, so we kept her in a box near the old-fashioned wood-burning kitchen stove to keep her warm. It was too cold to put her out in the barn all by herself without her mama. Even our mutt, Pepsi, of terrier and other unknown parentage, liked nothing better than to jump into Lambie’s box to check out this new arrival to our menagerie. And I’m sure Pepsi wondered why this little one said “baaaa” and didn’t whimper like a puppy, but she contentedly mothered her adopted baby anyway! Eventually, Lambie went to her pen in the barn, and followed me wherever I went. It was fun to watch her spring up and down as she played and ran about the yard and nibbled on the grass. Occasionally, she tried to wander beyond her guardian’s protection until called back to my side. Though I never considered myself her “shepherd,” in reality I was. I provided food and water for her, protected her, and kept her from harm… until the vet diagnosed her with Listeriosis, or circling disease. Nothing could be done for her and we had to put her down. Crying so hard I could barely see, I insisted to my Dad that I would dig the grave at the edge of the raspberry patch and bury little Lambie all by myself. Such were the thoughts that came to mind after writing the poem below which is based on Jesus’ parable found in John 10:1-21. Here, we read that the Good Shepherd knows each one of his sheep, and He calls them by name. But the sheep also know their shepherd, recognize his voice, and follow wherever he leads them. Should a stranger enter the fold, the sheep will not follow him… instead, they will run around wildly or just run away en masse, simply because they aren’t familiar with the stranger’s voice. Perhaps, under cover, a thief may come near the flock, pretending to be their shepherd. He may disguise himself and draw a few young, inexperienced sheep away who think they’re following their shepherd. Or perhaps a predator might sneak up on an unsuspecting lamb and lead it astray. Disoriented and lost, the lamb follows the predator to supposed safety. Soon it becomes obvious that the predator is not its shepherd… but by then it’s too late. Except, the true shepherd with his trained eye realizes what’s happened. Like another of Jesus’ parables in Luke 15:3-6, He seeks out His precious lamb and brings it back, or willingly fights off the predator to rescue his little lost lamb. Listening to its Master’s voice, the lamb turns around and joyfully runs back to the safety of the flock… and there it stays, feeling content and peaceful under the watchful eye of its protective shepherd. And I thought, how like those sheep we are… As Isaiah 53:6 says, “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” We have a tendency at times to follow what sounds and looks so good, what seems so right… only to realize later that we’ve been duped… we were on the wrong track… and we need someone to save us. That special someone, the Master, the Good Shepherd, would do anything for us, His sheep… especially those who have wandered off or been drawn away by a predator. Not so the hireling who doesn’t care much about someone else’s sheep. With only a little provocation, he’d as soon run away than fight for the lives of the sheep under his watch. Just as my heart ached and cried for the loss of my little precious lamb, so the Good Shepherd of our story aches for the lost, and would lay down His own life to protect and save His precious sheep from harm. And isn’t that what our Lord, our Good Shepherd, our Master, has done for us? May we always hear the love in our Master’s voice within our heart and follow His leading… The Master’s Voice Linda A. Roorda Like gentle sheep we’re prone to wander Easily enticed by things of this world But at the sound of our Master’s voice Will we then heed or continue headstrong? ~ The Master’s words will not lead astray Seeking the ones who meander off Softly calling each one by name With tender words of comfort and peace. ~ When storms arrive and release their fury The shepherd guides his flock to safety. How like our Master who longs to embrace And bring us home to rest in His arms. ~ When wolves appear like gentle sheep clothed With flattery smooth they strike unannounced Their intention dark, the naïve to deceive Serving their needs, the meek to destroy. ~ Then words of wisdom are soon directed At wandering lambs who have left the fold Calling them back to a sheltered life Protected under the Master’s great love. ~ Unlike the hireling, He lays down His life Whatever it takes to gather His own Take heed to His call and flee from the foe Lean into His arms of mercy and grace. ~ Like a good Shepherd is our Savior Lord With care He protects each sheep in His fold It matters to Him whose words we follow The call of folly or the Master’s voice. ~~
  5. Last week
  6. Jim

    Brand Park Pool

    Below there is a link to the excellent report by Nick Dubina of the last Elmira City Council's meeting, including video recordings of my remarks and Mr. Mandell's response to me, as well as Mr. Dubina's research on the pool. The last engineering report, which showed that the Brand Park Pool could be restored, was done in 2010. The story of the pool is one of neglect by many mayors, including Mr. Mandell, who in his response to me first claims that the pool is not restorable, Later in his response, he admits that he has no idea what the cost would be to restore it, and he also reveals that he has never considered any other possibilities, such as removing the pool and restoring only the building. Nor has he asked the people of Elmira what they might like for its future. His interest in the history of Elmira is nil, and he has no understanding of the value that would come to city with the care of its historical properties. Look at what he did with the Maxwell Place fire station. Like other mayors, he neglected it for several years, then sold it in 2020 for $1. It is a monument of great importance and value to the city and to the district where it stands, and treating it in this manner is a shameful disgrace and insult to the City of Elmira. In the end, his casual disregard for the fire station and for Brand Park Pool will cost a great deal in tourism, attractiveness, historical value, pride, character, and charm to our city. Consider also his failure to do anything about the Court House in 2016, when the city first learned of the problem with the tower. How much wasted money have those 8 years of neglect meant for the city? As you probably know, we are now up to about $4 million for its restoration. Regarding the mayor's comments about the fire station, the building is an important link to Elmira's fire industry history. Dumping it off to an individual is an insult to Elmira, especially for $1. As for putting it on the tax rolls by selling, that is a joke and a fabricated attempt to hide the real reasons. The value that would come to the city in the future as a historic monument or museum in celebration of the fire industry is far greater. This callous sale is another typical example of the visionless waste of Elmira''s great resources and money. My message to the City Council can be found in Mr. Dubina's article, and I will post a more complete version here later. Please read it and consider acting to stop this senseless destruction of such a valuable asset. The Brand Park Pool building belongs to us, not to the unilateral, whimsical decision of an unimaginative, visionless mayor. The building belongs to all of us. Brand Park Pool could have been "saved and repaired" in 2010, report says (mytwintiers.com)
  7. a good start would be for Washington to stop supplying cash and weapons, followed by no more excusing their actions and no more vetoes at the UN
  8. This isn't even about the bathroom anymore. Several posts I saw from people who know the parents who pitched a fit, indicated they have been dressing that child as a girl since he was 2. The whole thing is just bizarre to me.
  9. Hell, as long as Josh is QB I’ll sit on the sidelines for $250k a year and help them get under that salary cap. I wouldn’t have to lift a finger.
  10. Alcohol : Brains not developed enough until 21 Sex: Not mature enough to consent until 18 Guns: Not mature enough to purchase until 18/21 Contract age: Not mature enough until 18 “I want to change my gender.” “How brave!” Regardless of age. Look, I don’t care what an adult decides to do to or call themselves. What I do have a problem with is children being so young and either being exposed to conversations about sexuality or adults in their life going to such extremes because the kid says one day they wanna be ____. I wanted to be a ninja before I was 10 years old for chrissakes, but my parents didn’t change my name to something more Eastern and dress me in ninja gear! We need to pump the brakes on this topic a little. And even me saying that out loud makes me a bad person to many. If the teacher told the kid they couldn’t use whatever bathroom they identified with, he did, in fact, violate state law. Which shouldn’t come as a surprise because they drill the students rights laws into school staff brains every school year. As for bathrooms, I don’t understand why Americans get so bent out of shape about who pisses where. Take the space that’s already available, split them into smaller, “one-holer”, gender-neutral bathrooms and problem solved.
  11. I can’t wait to see what lunatic they replace him with.
  12. Well then, maybe they can get another pharmacist in the Village Plaza location. Pharmacy closes at 5 weekdays and not open at all on weekends. I'm about ready to move my stuff to Walmart.
  13. I don’t know how this can be resolved when Israel wants to eradicate Hamas and Hamas wants to wipe out Israel. That leaves the Palestinian people in the middle with no where to go.
  14. That’s really sad, I just started watching Curb Your Enthusiasm recently and his character has some really funny moments already. Larry David’s remarks on his death were particularly sad “Richard and I were born three days apart in the same hospital and for most of my life he’s been like a brother to me. He had that rare combination of being the funniest person and also the sweetest,” David said. “But today he made me sob and for that I’ll never forgive him.”
  15. Governor Kathy Hochul today announced steps to combat the youth mental health crisis, following a convening of students, faculty and mental health professionals at Mohonasen Central School District. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 1 in 4 teens have considered suicide, a significant increase from a decade ago, and for teenage girls, that number rises to 1 in 3. In response to this crisis, the Governor’s actions announced today will expand mental health support for children across the state, protect them from harmful social media features, and ensure their voice is heard. “Our kids are in crisis, and as the adults in the room it's our responsibility to help," Governor Hochul said. “The mental health crisis is one of the biggest challenges we face, and I'm committed to giving kids, parents and teachers the tools they need to address this issue.” Expanding School-Based Mental Health Clinics Governor Hochul announced $20 million in start-up funding for school-based mental health clinics and launched a rolling application, which will make it easier for interested schools to access state funding. With support from a school wanting to establish a clinic satellite, providers can now apply for start-up funding on a rolling basis rather than through the state procurement process previously used. This effort is part of the Governor's State of the State commitment to put a school-based mental health clinic in every school that wants one. Licensed OMH clinic providers can now submit an application to establish a school-based satellite clinic through the Mental Health Provider Data Exchange. Every new school satellite clinic will automatically be eligible for $25,000 in start-up funding. High-need schools, or those where more than 50 percent of students are classified as coming from an economically disadvantaged household, are eligible for an additional $20,000.
  16. If you wondered why we have a Leap Year ( like today ) and what would happen if we didn't do it, read here.
  17. surprise surprise....snowball is creeping around the barnyard again. they pulled this crap in 2016 and it was proven to be made up
  18. true, however, maybe there are people out there that are willing to hold true to their convictions....ever have the thought or dream where you stand on the mountain top, looking down on ALL the stupid bullshit in the world, yell STOPPP!!! at the top of your lungs only to be ignored? Maybe in his mind this was his way of not being ignored and getting folks to listen( not holding my breath though). Anymore i can really see why some people feel driven to violence( think going postal); it seems the only way to shake a certain group of society out of their focus on self, even if only for a fleeting moment
  19. Perhaps if the cost of using the grounds for other activities weren’t so prohibitive that would become a possibility once again .
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