Archive for the ‘joy’ Category

About twenty-five volunteers of all ages came out today to participate in the creation of a mural on the East End. The first layer of colorful paint has been applied to the bottom of the wall; Lara Kulpa will be painting the top on donated scaffolding. Textured patterns will layer on top of the base design. This is part of an effort to turn this neighborhood around by nurturing the pride that these kids have in public projects (community garden, mural, and next, a mosaic wall!) It was a great day and showing by all. Everyone was patient, well-behaved, and very helpful. Thank you, dear lord, for the beautiful weather.





















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To all of the wailing and negative curmudgeons that said converting this plot of land below City Hall into a rose garden to save the retaining walls was a tremendous waste of money, this is what it looked like today.

It isn’t even in full bloom yet… and yet, it is fully magnificent with blooms.

I do hereby commit myself to making as many similar, small, significant changes to this City as I may during my time here. Peace out.

Double click on any image to enlarge.




















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Last Saturday saw the first concert of a planned summer series at Riverlink Park. It’s so great to see the park filled with 250 people just loving the music, the food, the venue, the evening air and the glorious sunset. Hope you’ll make it down this weekend (the Joey Thomas Big Band will be performing!) to see what all of the buzz is about!

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For years, I’ve watched the handball wall at the park between Guy Park Av. and Division Street be tagged by folks that are far from expressing their creativity. They are merely vandals. Again and again, we’ve sent crews to paint the profanity out, only to be hit again the following week.

Mind you, Liberty painted a mural in the same park three years ago and it has been untouched. So my theory is, if there is something cool on the wall, the criminals will leave it alone. With that in mind, I drove to Lowes, loaded up on spray paint, and have started a new mural at the park. I’m pleased with its beginnings and am sharing it here. The beauty about this wall is the second side that I am already planning for!

If you’re interested in tackling a wall too, give me a call at 841-4311. The more art, the better. My hope is that one of these anonymous taggers will be inspired to put up something beautiful instead of defacing another public place.

The wall: start

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“What we are is God’s gift to us. What we become is our gift to God.”
~ Eleanor Powell

The following are photos of some of the many gifts donated by Amsterdam’s “Christmas Angels” to families-in-need.

This all started when one individual contacted me on facebook saying that he and his wife had done well in life and wanted to help out a family that was struggling to provide for their children on Christmas. As this is not in my normal line of duty, I told them I’d check with some of the local agencies and see what they may suggest. Not twenty minutes later, another person contacted me to say that she was terribly embarrassed, but that she and her family had fallen on hard times this year (disabled, unemployed and relatively new to our city) and would I know how to get them some help. I was able to hook the two up and everyone was quite pleased.

The next day, much the same scenario happened, all within a twenty-minute span. Over the ensuing two weeks, thirteen families with 28 children were aided by 37 Amsterdamian angels! My office has acted as the conduit (and industrious wrapping elves) for these connections, as most participants wish to remain anonymous. We’ve received toys, clothing, books, music, movies, sporting items, candy, food, gift cards and more. That said, I’m totally blown away by this amazing show of generosity by people who don’t even know the folks they are giving to. This is a great and inspirational show of kindness. Better yet, this is the real spirit of Christmas.

Most everything is wrapped and ready to be picked up on Wednesday by our identified families. Thank you to all the wonderful, caring people that made this Christmas the best I’ve had in years.

small city. big heart.

bet your bippie.

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We’re set to go again! Join us downtown on Friday, December 16th for Santa’s visit, music, food, fun and fellowship. I’ll update as details become available.

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for Vince, with love.

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Thank you so much to the Recorder and Reporter Jessica Maher for this web interview. Please take time to visit the Recorder’s home page each and every day at the following link: best news in town.

Oh, and by the way, I misspoke. We have between 3,000 to 4,000 new visitors to our city website each MONTH!

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Today’s Fourth of July was marked by a beautiful event on East Main Street. The Buddhist group (World Peace & Health Organization) that has made St. Casmir’s their new home hosted a celebration of liberty, healing and peace in the parking lot across from the Church. Serendipitously, I had been made aware of the happenings a little over an hour before the affair began. My friend Karin called me when she noticed the stage being built this morning. I’m so happy she did. My daughter and I went to explore this new phenomenon.

We were greeted by radiantly, warm men and women that spoke beautiful english and made every effort to make us feel comfortable, offering water and familiar red cans of cold Coca Cola. I’m not sure if the sun shone so intensely today because of its normal interaction with the elements, or because it couldn’t resist such a welcome. We were seated before the stage by a constructed altar for peace placed under a flowing American flag. A woman named Jenny translated for my daughter and I throughout the presentation.

The ceremony began with spirited drumming as the followers of Holy Master Ziguany Shang Shi assembled along the stage. The Master gave a compelling speech about the meaning of freedom and our shared destiny as caretakers of our neighbors and our country. He noted that there are no real differentiations between countries, races, or religions in that we are one as human beings, responsible for promoting health and world peace. He offered that the City of Amsterdam, USA may serve as a mecca for healing – physically, spiritually, economically and communally – and that his group will actively work to forge a connection between eastern and western cultures. Interestingly, after the program I spoke with the owner of a Chinese solar power industrial plant that plans to start-up operations here (hopefully in Amsterdam) and another individual that has drafted a business plan to promote tourism and housing development in our community. Evidently, our Feng Shui is very good here. We should greet these opportunities with open arms. We need all of the healing we can get.

It was a lovely way to celebrate the very tenants on which our country was founded.

These are photos of the group, their leader, martial art demonstrations, Tai Chi, dancers and the sitting “flight meditation” which was quite amusing to watch and apparently very enjoyable to take part in!

The group will be offering free demonstrations of their yoga techniques in August.
I’ll post an alert before then.

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There is more work to do, but even so,
I am proud to post the “befores” and “afters”.

The muralists will be getting together in the next week or so
to start the other projects.

The photos are nice, however, I urge everyone to take a ride downtown
for the real deal.

I’m tired, very sunburned, and very, very grateful.

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By the end of the day, we all felt like superman.

Members of the buddhist group that will repurpose St. Casmir's Church. Here, the group was constructing a peace alter. They hope to bring peace and healing to our community. May it be so.

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Dorothy Elizabeth Volk Thane, 90 years young followed by Ian D. Thane, 2010 AHS Graduate.

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The Amsterdam Waterfront Foundation will present the Boys of Wexford on Sunday, June 20th, 1:30 PM at Riverlink Park in Amsterdam. A talented array of musicians will perform Irish songs, Erie Canal and Civil War era tunes on their fifth annual tour of Erie Canal venues. The show will feature Don Sineti, folksinger, songwriter, part-time sea chanteyman at historic Mystic Seaport Museum (with one of the most powerful voices on the Eastern Seaboard!).

Riverlink Cafe will be open serving burgers, dogs, distinctive sandwiches as well as wine, beer and soft drinks. All Cafe proceeds will benefit the Amsterdam Waterfront Foundation in support of the annual Riverlink Concert Series – Saturday evenings during July and August.

Riverlink Park is located on the Mohawk River in downtown Amsterdam (NYS Thruway Exit 27) with parking on the upper level of the Riverfront Center (Route 30 North – entrance on right, opposite the Amsterdam Post Office).

Rain venue is the Irish American Club, 12 Yeoman Street, Amsterdam.

For information, call Paul at 527-5132.

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Just a quick update:

1. The Graffiti Clean-up will be from Friday, July 23 – Sunday, July 25. We are starting a “paint bank” at City Hall to better match some of the structures we may paint. If you’ve got a spare half gallon or so of exterior latex from a home improvement project, contact us at my office (841-4311) and we’ll store in our garage annex.

As was the case last year, if you know of any locations that you think need concentrated graffiti clean-up attention (an abandoned property or structure owned by an elderly/disabled individual), please contact my office. Also, if you know of individuals or groups that would like to be involved, please forward their contact information.

2. Donna Dickerson has secured a table at the American Legion BBQ/Craft Fair on Sunday, August 1. We will be able to hand out information and hopefully sign up some new neighbors. We also hope to raise a little money for our efforts as discussed at our neighborhood association meeting on June 3rd. Again, anyone wishing to volunteer a little time at this event, please let me know.

3. Again, our other Association dates are:

National Night Out: Tuesday, August 3
Fall Meet & Greet (possible clean up): Saturday, September 25

Keep an eye out for more information.

I greatly appreciate all that everyone is doing for the city. We’ll get the word out and make this all a tremendous success!

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Our Neighborhood Association Meeting will be held at City Hall on Thursday, June 3rd at 5:30pm.

We’ll discuss a schedule of events for the rest of the year, including a graffiti cleanup this summer and the fall neighborhood watch meet & greet, the crime control white paper, watch sign locations, and the desires/concerns of each neighborhood group.

BTW… we’ve had the side lot at city hall cleared of trees, stumps, and an errant groundhog. It’s been tilled and readied for a community garden. If you’ve got kids, a girl or boy scout troop, an aunt that can’t resist plants, or a green thumb all of your own, we hope you’ll pitch in. We’re looking for plant donations, expertise, and garden TLC. Call my office at 841-4311 if you are want to be involved or show up at tomorrow night’s meeting at 5:30. 61 Church Street.

Please join us.

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