Archive for September, 2010


And now, Grandfather, I ask you to bless the white man.
He needs your wisdom, your guidance.
You see, for so long he has tried to destroy my people,
and only feels comfortable when given power.
Bless them, show them the peace we understand;
teach them humility.
For I fear they will someday destroy themselves and their children
as they have done so Mother Earth.
I plead, I cry, after all, they are my brothers …

prayer for the white man – native american indian


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welcome to the wisdom of the world

May your journey
through the universal questions of life
bring you to a new moment of awareness.
May it be an enlightening one.

May you find embedded in the past,
like all the students of life before you,
the answers you are seeking now.

May they awaken that in you which is
deeper than fact,
truer than fiction,
full of faith.

May you come to know
that in every human event
is a particle of the Divine
to which we turn for meaning here,
to which we tend for fullness of life hereafter.

– sr. joan chittister – benedictine sisters of erie

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The Lincoln Avenue Neighborhood Association hosted a very successful party on a perfect Saturday this weekend. About a hundred people showed up over the four hours. High five to organizers Nancy, Tim, Fernando, Donna and Paul! They’ll be sharing their strategies and strength with the rest of us on Tuesday night at City Hall at 6pm. All residents are encouraged to attend to discuss neighborhood activities and plans across the City. Please join us!

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Fall, falling, fallen. That’s the way the season
Changes its tense in the long-haired maples
That dot the road; the veiny hand-shaped leaves
Redden on their branches (in a fiery competition
With the final remaining cardinals) and then
Begin to sidle and float through the air, at last
Settling into colorful layers carpeting the ground.
At twilight the light, too, is layered in the trees
In a season of odd, dusky congruences—a scarlet tanager
And the odor of burning leaves, a golden retriever
Loping down the center of a wide street and the sun
Setting behind smoke-filled trees in the distance,
A gap opening up in the treetops and a bruised cloud
Blamelessly filling the space with purples. Everything
Changes and moves in the split second between summer’s
Sprawling past and winter’s hard revision, one moment
Pulling out of the station according to schedule,
Another moment arriving on the next platform. It
Happens almost like clockwork: the leaves drift away
From their branches and gather slowly at our feet,
Sliding over our ankles, and the season begins moving
Around us even as its colorful weather moves us,
Even as it pulls us into its dusty, twilit pockets.
And every year there is a brief, startling moment
When we pause in the middle of a long walk home and
Suddenly feel something invisible and weightless
Touching our shoulders, sweeping down from the air:
It is the autumn wind pressing against our b
It is the changing light of fall falling on us.

– Edward Hirsch, from The Living Fire: New and Selected Poems, 1975-2010. © Random House, 2010

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may I face
with compassion

to enlightened life
may I abide
in true compassion

So that others
may know
their true Heart,
may I have
the wisdom
and True Knowledge
to bring out the best
in everyone

for this world
with all
and everyone
in it,
may I fight
in every way
for a better world,
for the generations
to come

any hardship
for myself,
may I abide
in the Energy
of the Universe,
the source
of wisdom
and compassion

may I have
true compassion
in sharing
the wisdom
of life and death
with others,
being present
in meditation,
of any shape
or form
of everyday life

this branch
of Love
of benefit

– steinar almelid

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The following is in response to a letter to the editor printed on September 16th in the Recorder.

1. The rose garden belongs to every taxpayer in the City of Amsterdam, as does City Hall.

2. The Mayor’s office does not keep the records that were FOIA’d for.

3. The project was legally bid out.

4. It is the Common Council, not the Mayor, that controls spending through the budgetary process. No department may spend outside of their allotted funds without approval of the Council. The monies in the line for upkeep of the building and grounds are allotted by the budget committee. The line is not further broken down into building or grounds and is expended at the discretion of administration once provided.

5. The garden lot was cleared because vegetation was destroying the property. The trees were cut down by hand over a three day period in 2009 by seasonal workers. They were unable to remove the roots, which were tearing up the building foundation, retaining walls and steps.

6. When the vegetation began to grow back this year, it was determined that the best course of action was to hire the work out, as our DPW crews have been working to maintain our crumbling water distribution, sewer and street systems and would not be able to attend to the lot expeditiously.

7. Once the lot had been cleared, the thought had been to put in a community garden. Members of the Historic Preservation Committee felt strongly that the lot should be restored as a rose garden, as it had been in the early 1900’s. I followed their urging.

8. The roses were purchased on sale in June from a city-owned business. They were less than half the cost they had originally been marked, just $288 for 24 mature bushes. They are now on their second bloom and are all doing very well. The bridge urns were restored and are located on a 6′ x 15′ rectangle in the middle of the lot made of pavers. The pavers were put into place by the City Mason in a couple of hours.

9. Realistically, it will take one to four years for a relocation committee to gather information, do cost/benefit analysis (stay/go), make a decision and move City Hall, in the unlikelihood that that is what ends up happening. I say this because this has been discussed every four or five years for decades and city government is still in place.

It is irresponsible to let the property decline while this is rehashed yet again. We are removing asbestos from the basement that was identified as a health risk a decade ago. With a very limited budget, we have painted the interior, refurbished an outbuilding, offices and closets, repaired drainage, refinished stairways, carpeted, and continue to make cosmetic improvements to the building and grounds. I have repeatedly asked for funding to repair the roof, gutters, porticos, windows and back patio, but apparently we don’t attend to larger projects until there is an emergency, much like the boiler during the Emanuele administration. That project had been identified well before it became a high cost repair.

If blight is the biggest complaint of our residents, is it appropriate to allow City Hall, our proud seat of government, to fall into a state of disrepair? Shouldn’t we serve as an example to the rest of our property owners as to the importance of property maintenance and historic preservation?

10. This administration has not been spending uncontrollably. To the contrary, operations are run prudently and we’ve made progress in strengthening our fortunes. We’ve garnered a larger percentage of sales tax from the County than any previous administration, which amounts to at least another $500K a year in our budget, and our bond rating is exemplary.

The fact is, city fund balance has diminished because of rising costs associated with contractual obligations, health care and retiree benefits, and state mandates. This coincides with the global economic crisis. We are not alone in our trials – almost every village, town, city, county and state in the Country feels the effects of these difficult financial times.

If we are to achieve our vision for a prosperous and stable future, we need thoughtful debate, resourceful activity and intelligent suggestions. Attention to matters as trivial as roses at City Hall (though stopping to smell them is encouraged) only leads us off of the path we need to walk.

“Problems are not stop signs, they are guidelines.”
~ Robert Schuller

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prayer of forgiveness

The following was found written on a paper in the coat of a dead girl at Ravensbruck, a German concentration camp for women. Approximately 92,000 of the 132,000 women there died from gas chambers, malnourishment, sickness, and other violent acts.

“O Lord, remember not only the men and women of good will, but also those of ill will. But, do not remember all of the suffering they have inflicted upon us; Instead remember the fruits we have borne because of this suffering — our fellowship, our loyalty to one another, our humility, our courage, our generosity, the greatness of heart that has grown from this trouble. When our persecutors come to be judged by you, let all of these fruits that we have borne be their forgiveness.”

All my petty grievances fall away every time I read this.

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The City of Amsterdam’s website has been updated with the addition of six introductory web videos. The video tour book spotlights our main attractions, opportunities and amenities: quality of life, real estate and relocation services, education, health care and senior services, and business/industry. The videos may be accessed on the lower right hand quadrant of the City’s home page: www.amsterdamny.gov

Since its beginnings in 2009, the website has served residents and visitors as an important online tool, fielding the interest of 3,000 new visitors a month. City Hall and departmental information is available, as are tax/utility payment schedules, permit & licensing forms, economic development resources, news updates, a photo gallery, the community events calendar and more.

Interestingly, we saw a jump in August by another 2000 new, unique visitors to the City website, ending with a grand total of 4,999. Tourists, perhaps? Relocating businesses or families? Global investors? Hmmm.

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