Archive for September, 2009

The following are photos of the West End, Union & Orange Streets, St. Stans and Arnold Avenue neighborhood activities on the night of September 24th. I got busy talking to friends on the South Side and forgot to snap some shots!

West End Celebration

West End Celebration








Union & Orange Streets

Union & Orange Streets




St. Stans

St. Stans






Arnold Av. friends at McDonalds

Arnold Av. friends at McDonalds




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Mr. Rogers

On Thursday, September 24th, volunteer coordinators will host various “Meet Your Neighbor” events around the City. Amsterdam’s greatest asset is its close-knit community. Our goal is to protect and enhance this asset. We wish to encourage you to take this opportunity to network, to share ideas, and work on neighborhood self-improvement projects.

Grassroots activities are planned for the following sites:

La Cucina from 6 to 8:30 p.m.
Hosted by Rebecca Persico and Karl Baia. Pizza, pastries and appetizers.

West End Memorial starting at 6 p.m.
Hosted by Debbie Baranello and Karin Hetrick.
Cake, candy, a caricature artist, face painter, T-shirts made with the new city logo, balloons, and raffles of donated goods from various West End businesses. Money raised will go toward planting tulips in the neighborhood.

Corner of Union and Orange Streets from 6 to 8 p.m.
Hosted by Kevin Phelps. Music and APD canine demonstration.

McDonald’s on Market Street from 6:30 to 8 p.m.
Hosted by Paul Malmborg. Free soda and coffee.

St. Stanislaus Church parking lot from 6 to 8 p.m.
Hosted by Phil Lyford and Diane Hatzenbuhler. There will be refreshments served.

“At the center of the universe is a
loving heart that continues to beat
and that wants the best for every person.

Anything we can do to help foster
the intellect and spirit and emotional growth
of our fellow human beings, that is our job.

Those of us who have this particular vision
must continue against all odds.

Life is for service.”

– mister rogers neighborhood – fred rogers – 1928-2003

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The City of Amsterdam will be taking advantage of a great marketing opportunity. We will be upgrading our website with six (6), one-minute videos showcasing various aspects of our community (welcome, quality of life, education, health care & senior services, real estate, and business & industry). This is the result of our membership in the National Conference of Mayors and is free to our municipality.

You can check out the service at www.mayors.tv.

Click on the map of NYS. Next, choose a City on the left, say Binghamton or Glens Falls, to see what other communities have done. It is an exciting initiative that will maximize our potential on the web.

The spots will be scripted this Fall with a shooting schedule of next Spring.

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There are two really important links down there to the right in my blogroll.

The first is my whole expanse I cannot see.

Click on it, read it thoroughly, read about the author, and then ponder on your own life, your surroundings, your gifts and your trials. Then ask yourself,

“What am I complaining about?”

Next, click on Duane Keiser‘s link. Then ask yourself,

“What do I do on a daily basis to utilize the talents I’ve been given?”

There is enormous beauty in art, and art is everywhere if you look to see.

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In The Night Orchard

I know, because Paul has told me
a hundred times, that the deer
gliding tonight through tangleweed
and trashwood, then bounding across
Mount Atlas Road, are after his pears.

And who could blame them?
On the threshold of autumn, the Asian
imports, more amazing than any Seckle
or indigenous apple, start to ripen.
Then a passing crow will peck one open.

That’s when the whitetails who bed
and gather beyond Matson’s pasture
will catch the scent and begin to stir.
It’s a dry time, and they go slowly mad
for sweetness. No fence can stop them.

The farmers like Paul will admit
it starts in hunger, but how suddenly
need goes to frenzy and sheer plunder.
When the blush-gold windfalls are gone
and the low boughs are stripped

of anything resembling bounty, bucks
will rise on their hind legs and clamber
up the trunks. Last week Cecil Emore
found one strangled in a fork,
his twisted antlers tangled as if

some hunter had hung him there
to cure. We all remember what it’s like,
this driven season, this delirium
for something not yet given a name,
but the world turns us practical, tames

us to yearn for milder pleasures.
For Augustine, it was actual pears
that brought him out of the shadows
and over a wall, for Eve, the secret
inside what we now say was an apple.

Others have given up safety for less,
and I wonder, catching an eight-point
buck outlined on the ridge amid spruce,
if it’s this moonstruck nature that renders
the ruminants beautiful, or if we stalk

them out of envy, not for the grace
of their gliding, but for the unadorned
instinct that draws them after dark
into trespass and the need to ruin
the sweetest thing they’ve ever known.

– R. T. Smith, from Brightwood. © Louisiana State University Press, 2004.

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To mark the sad anniversary of September 11, 2001.

Eight years ago today, unspeakable evil found its way to the heart of our land.

Eight years ago, we were shaken by a communal loss so enormous that even now we speak of it with difficulty in hushed tones mingled with tears.

Eight years ago, we lost a stunning 2,993 lives to senseless hatred on a day that was so startlingly clear and beautiful that it defied all reason. On that day, we rose, we bathed, we ate breakfast, we packed up the kids for school, we kissed one another goodbye, we noted the cool fall air, we drove absentmindedly to work or rushed to catch up with what was demanded of us. We were greeted by a sky so blue our hearts could have broken. Little did we know that they soon would.

We all remember where we were when the planes hit, the horrific images so unreal that I personally only remember them in black and white, of fire and smoke, the plumes of deadly ash, people scattering in panic frantically trying to call loved ones on their cell phones, crying… the impossibility of the buildings falling and the reality of the implosion and crashes. We remember survivors stumbling from the blinding haze as though cast in Plaster of Paris, covered in soot and a smoldering hole in the ground marking the end of the beauty of flight.


We remember the immediate response of the fire departments and policemen. We remember their strength and resolve in unprecedented confusion, and we remember the horror of our sudden loss of these first responders and the people they so valiantly tried to save…

We remember the aftermath of this murderous act as well… the twisted metal girders, the exhausted rescuers, the recordings of last phone calls to family, the photos, the flowers, and the handwritten notes fading on metal fences – finally blowing away with the onset of winter’s chill. If you have ever longed for someone, imagine the overwhelming emptiness that these acts created.

Again and again, as I have said so many times before, tragic loss at the hands of terrorists or in war is about the stabbing loss of families; fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, grandparents, children and the extended family we so warmly invite into our lives, our friends. The enormity of the loss of this one day rippled across our county with the severity of an unbridled tidal wave and touched each one of us.

Not one of us could escape this harm. Not one of us was unscathed, because not only had we lost so many that we had loved, we had lost our sense of security and we had lost our innocence.

It was the saddest of days.

But as great as our loss has been, so have we been blessed, because this much loss bears compassion, strength, generosity and healing. We have been blessed with a renewed nationalism and appreciation for the great gifts we were born into as American Citizens. We proudly stand up for the innocent and the weak and we stand against injustice.

We are closer for our loss and we love more deeply.

In closing, I now ask that you share this time with me in silently honoring our fallen heroes and friends, and share in our appreciation for our own brave men and women, our soldiers, our police force and fire department, for the protection they so freely offer us in times of crisis.

If you remember, do so knowingly.
If you pray, do so now.
If you love, love now.

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A small sorrow distracts;
a great one makes us collected.

– Richter

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This is, perhaps, the most inspirational story of waterfront development that I have ever heard of and one that we may take many lessons from. I learned of this initiative at the “Building Museums” conference in Washington, DC in 2005 and have been doing whatever I can to spearhead something of this kind of success ever since. The Waterfront Heritage Area, Riverlink Phase II, Bridge Street reconstruction, pedestrian bridge, downtown redevelopment, train station relocation, and traffic re-patterning all play toward our grand vision for the City of Amsterdam.

We are a much smaller city than Chattanooga, but we should think big. We can be the premier City along the Mohawk if only we can

Check out this link: Reconnecting to the River

By the Way, this initiative launched in 2002. This all took place in six years. The following is a synopsis of the journey from Nation’s Cities Weekly, March 14, 2005 by Lance Davis.

When Bob Corker was elected mayor of Chattanooga, Tenn., he set out an ambitious plan to bring industry and jobs to the city.

Something he didn’t plan, but pursued with equal vigor, was the redevelopment of the city’s riverfront.

Now, as he leaves office, he can say that he accomplished both goals. Corker met with Nation’s Cities Weekly last month to talk about recent redevelopment in his city.

“It’s been a great time to be mayor in Chattanooga,” said Corker. “We created tremendous synergy between business leaders, civic leaders, ministers and the city, and we’ve given encouragement to our citizens”

Chattanooga’s riverfront transformation, officially known as the 21st Century Waterfront Plan, is a massive project borne out of tremendous community participation and created in public meetings in February 2002.

The $120 million waterfront plan represents the largest public/private undertaking in a community known for such partnerships The project was completed with $69 million in public funds generated primarily from a dedicated lodging tax, and $51 million in private funding. The project will be completed in May.

“When the city set out on the waterfront plan, I said no money would come from the general fund. Within 90 days of that announcement, we had $50 million in private investment,” said Corker.

The plan includes major expansions of the Tennessee Aquarium, the Hunter Museum of Art and an extensive renovation of the Creative Discovery Museum.

On the south shore, the project includes the creation of public green spaces at Ross’s Landing Park; 2,500 linear feet of recreational mooring facilities; the connection of the art district to the downtown via First Street and a new pedestrian bridge; the creation of a new city pier; a narrowed Riverfront Parkway that better accommodates pedestrian traffic; a passage-way underneath the parkway that connects the Aquarium Plaza to the river; and additional parking facilities

Several parcels have been set aside that will allow for immediate on-site private development, bringing additional housing and retail units to the urban core.

Along with first-class recreation, entertainment and cultural facilities, construction will soon wrap up on two mixed-use developments that will feature residential, retail and public parking near the Chattanooga Green and along First Street near Walnut Bridge.

The projects, investments in downtown Chattanooga totaling more than $30 million, are expected to add more than 136 new housing units

The city has been able to use the waterfront plan to leverage private investment and industry to Chattanooga. A report released to the city council in December showed more than $2.1 billion in investment citywide, with about $875 million in the downtown area.

Major projects that have occurred or been announced during this time period include:

* $200 million BlueCross BlueShield headquarters

* $30 million Electric Power Board Headquarters

* A $17 million rental housing development on Chestnut and 6th

* The creation of significant new student housing for the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC)

* A massive $84 million Hope VI project that is transforming the Alton Park community

* Major retail projects in Brainerd, East Brainerd and Hixson

* Major new residential developments underway in East Brainerd and Hixson

* Multiple mixed-use developments that are underway or have been announced on the North Shore

* New housing in the Tiftonia community

* Construction of a new Engineering Building at UTC

“Business leaders are using the waterfront plan as part of their reasons to relocated or remain in Chattanooga. They see it as a quality-of-life issue for their employees, and because they want to live in a city where things happen and where they can be a part of that,” said Corker.

As the waterfront nears completion, it has generated $100 million in new down-town mixed use and residential development, which is either completed, underway or has already been announced.

BlueCross indicated the implementation of the Waterfront Plan was key in its decision to keep the company’s headquarters downtown.

Also spurring continued growth is the city’s decision to double the size of Enterprise South, an industrial park developed by the city and Hamilton County.

The expansion Hill add 1,787 acres to the park, bringing the total acreage of Enterprise South to almost 3,000 acres.

The acquisition places the entire former Volunteer Army Ammunition Plant site–some 6,000 acres–under control of the city and county, which have been working with the General Services Administration for eight years to acquire the property.

The city has also brought in a $23 million interchange that Hill connect Enterprise South with Interstate 75.

“We see Enterprise South as one of the most important urban industrial sites in the United States,” said Corker. “By buying this land we have secured a future for the coming generations in our city.”


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my city.

My city wakes up early.
Quietly sprawling, stretching its arms
before the sun rises.
My city wakes up early
because it knows there is work to be done.

My city keeps its nose to the grind.
Lifting, pushing, sweating,
and always keeping an eye on what is next.
My city keeps its nose to the grind
because it knows that pain is progress.

My city loves.
Not the easy kind of love, but the honest kind of love,
that tells you what you need to know when you don’t want to hear it.
My city loves
because it is loyal.

My city challenges me.
It frustrates me, and takes me places that are difficult,
pushing me to wiser conclusions.
My city challenges me
because it wants me to grow like it has.

My city sleeps hard at night.
The kind of sleep you earn by rolling up your sleeves and getting it done,
praying for the dreams of its people.
My city sleeps hard at night
because it works hard at day.

My city wakes up early.


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The community is invited to attend a memorial service to quietly mark the sad anniversary of September 11, 2001 at Riverlink Park. The event will start at 7:30pm.

7:30pm Recorded music as participants arrive.
7:40pm Welcome.
7:45pm Silent communion for 10 minutes.
7:55pm Silently drop a wreath in the river with a blessing.
8:05pm Light candles.
Community sing along… God Bless America, I’m Proud to be an American and the Star Spangled Banner.
8:15pm Gun Salute. Flag ceremony: veterans to fold flag and present to the AFD/APD for the public safety building.
8:20pm Silent communion for 10 minutes.
8:30pm Ringing of the AFD brass bell to mark the end of the ceremony

This is about remembrance, silent prayer, the beauty of music, and the love we have for our community and our country.

September 11, 2009 • 7:30pm
Rain or Shine. No politics.

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