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Global IMC Network

Lights at Walnut Park Improve Safety

October 16, 2013 by pegjohnston


Funding for Lights Made Possible By New York State Community Capital Grant Secured By Assemblywoman Lupardo

Mayor Ryan: Walnut Street Park Represents What We Can Achieve When Community Partners Come Together For the Common Good

BINGHAMTON, NY—Today, Mayor Ryan, Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo, City Council President Teri Rennia, and community partners unveiled new improvements to Walnut Street Park, which includes the installation of lights. Walnut Street Park is part of the Design Your Own Park project, a collaboration between the Binghamton Neighborhood Project, the City of Binghamton, and the United Way of Broome County to empower neighborhoods and restore outdoor play at a citywide scale.

“I’m proud that we have taken yet another step to provide our community with a safe and thriving city park,” said Mayor Matt Ryan. “This project represents what’s possible when residents, businesses, community groups, and city hall forge a partnership and seize an opportunity to improve our community.”

The most recent improvement to Walnut Street Park includes the installation of lights, which was made possible by Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo, who secured a $100,000 New York State Community Capital grant. Part of that grant has gone towards covering the costs of the lights, as well as providing funding for other DYOP projects. The addition of lights at Walnut Street Park will help enhance safety in and around the park.

Abortion Stigma Busting Video Competition

October 11, 2013 by pegjohnston


Really…?! Abortion Stigma Busting Video Competition
Push back against anti-abortion extremism with your video!

The Abortion Care Network is sponsoring the first-ever video competition to show the world how people feel about the current climate of extreme anti-abortion legislation and societal stigma against abortion. “We are looking for all kinds of videos, from personal stories to pro choice activism, from direct calling out of anti-choice legislators to flashmob actions, as long it busts current stigma against abortion,” according to Peg Johnston, coordinator of the event. “Video is an important tool in changing attitudes and giving voice to those who have been silenced.”

The deadline is January 6th, 2014 and the registration link is The link is also available on our website at or .

Videos must be no longer than 3 minutes but very short videos using applications such as Vines or Instagram area also eligible. There are three $200 Judge’s Choice awards and three Honorable Mentions. $100 awards will go to the individual and $100 will go to the winner’s abortion fund of choice. Videos will be shown at Abortion Care Network’s conferences, embedded on related websites, and used for promotional purposes by ACN.

We would greatly appreciate your sharing this announcement widely.

Binghamton Blueprint Charrette

October 11, 2013 by imc-editor

A charrette is an intense period of working on a design and the Main ST to Court St. corridor through Binghamton will be under scrutiny Oct. 19th for ordinary citizens to get involved.

Discussions Will Focus On Updating Zoning Code Along The Main And Court Streets Corridor

Blueprint Binghamton Is The Ongoing Update To The City’s 2003 Comprehensive Plan

BINGHAMTON, NY—Today, the City of Binghamton announced a week of opportunities for residents to participate in updating the zoning code along the Main and Court Streets corridor as a major component of Blueprint Binghamton, the ongoing update to the City’s 2003 Comprehensive Plan. The first discussion will begin this Saturday, October 19, 9:00am to 12:00pm, at the MetroCenter Atrium.

The City is considering adopting a form-based code for the corridor, which moves away from the conventional zoning emphasis on use and density to instead focus on building form and streetscape design. Updating the zoning code will help foster predictable building results, a higher quality public realm that reinforces Binghamton’s character, and encourage a more attractive and walkable Main Street.

“Form based code is friendlier to developers, more predictable, emphasizes what is wanted instead of what is prohibited, and comes directly from the community—which is the best part of all,” said Tarik Abdelazim, Director of Planning, Housing and Community Development. “That’s why Saturday’s hands-on design exercise is so important. What our consultant team hears from residents on Saturday and over the next few days will largely determine how our form-based code will be written.”

The City’s week-long exercise to discuss form-based code entails three major public events:
· Saturday, October 19, 9:00am to 12:00pm, Public Workshop at the MetroCenter Atrium
· Tuesday, October 22, 6:00pm to 8:00pm, Open House at the Project Design Studio located in the former First National Bank at 49 Court Street
· Thursday, October 24, 6:00pm to 8:00pm, Final Presentation at the Black Box Theater at Binghamton High School

To increase community input, the City earlier this month mailed postcard invitations to every property owner along the corridor, distributed email invitations through multiple listservs, and communicated extensively with Council members and elected officials at the County and State levels.

“The City may have secured the federal grant award from HUD to update our comprehensive plan, but Blueprint Binghamton has been driven entirely by the citizens who care deeply about creating a positive vision for our city,” said Abdelazim. “It has been very rewarding to see residents so engaged and excited about their city’s future, and we look forward to another inspiring week.”

Code Studio out of Austin, Texas, part of the consultant team hired by the City to carry out Blueprint Binghamton, will lead the form-based code design week from October 19th through October 24th. Based on feedback and input from this Saturday’s community event, stakeholder meetings, and one-on-one interviews with members of our community, Code Studio plans to leave Binghamton at the end of the week with 90% of the new code recommendations.
"We're excited to hold this hand's-on design sessions with the public, giving them the opportunity to express their view of the future of the Main/Court Street corridor,” said Lee Einsweiler, Principal, Code Studio. “Form-based codes are a great way to implement specific planning for a specific area. Zoning updates can help ensure we keep the places we want to save, and allow for the transformation of the sites that need redevelopment.”

Many communities in the last five years have moved to adopt form-based codes, from urban metro cities like Miami and Denver, to places like Peoria IL (pop. 110,000); Gulfport, MS (pop. 65,000), which was ravaged by Hurricane Katrina; and Malta, NY, a rural town of about 11,000 outside the Capital region.

“More and more I present projects to the City that have zoning restrictions that are realized as being illogical, such as requiring a building setback along commercial streets,” said Jeffery Smith, Architect and Blueprint Binghamton Steering Committee Member. “This setback, while required by zoning, would leave the appearance of an open empty void along the streetscape. Such may be desirable for sprawling suburbia, but not a thriving City. I look forward to a more logical zoning code appropriate for Main and Court.”

For more information on Blueprint Binghamton, please visit the website or contact Melissa Enoch, Sustainable Development Planner, at 772-7028. For more information on Form Based Code or Code-Studio, please visit and

Please see the attached flyer for all the information and dates of public meetings..

Obama's Stealth Attack on Social Security and Medicare: The “Debt Ceiling” Smokescreen

October 8, 2013 by NewEarth


Obama's Stealth Attack on Social Security and Medicare
The “Debt Ceiling” Smokescreen
October 08, 2013

The media is ratcheting up “debt ceiling” hysteria to launch a surprise attack on Social Security and Medicare. President Obama has already stated that he’s willing to cut so called entitlements as part of a broader strategy for reigning in the debt. In 2011, during tense negotiations with GOP congressional leaders Obama made it clear that he was prepared to sell out his base by slashing vital funding to the old and infirm in order to reach a “grand bargain” with the opposition party. Here’s what he said at the time:

“We keep on talking about this stuff and we have these high-minded pronouncements about how we’ve got to get control of the deficit and how we owe it to our children and our grandchildren. Well, let’s step up. Let’s do it. I’m prepared to do it. I’m prepared to take on significant heat from my party to get something done. And I expect the other side should be willing to do the same thing — if they mean what they say that this is important.”


October 5, 2013 by activ60


In the first wave of incendiary downsizing in 2010 Broome County clinical social workers were encouraged to take a $10,000 pay cut and go work for a private non-profit agency who had just been anointed as a certified OMH outpatient clinic. Our local senator approved of this as two clinicians would also move to the state GBHC Children’s Clinic at higher pay. There was a delay in service since the building and psychiatrist were not ready. Three years later OMH proposes to close inpatient children’s services that are a critical continuum of services and waste your tax dollars spent on that refurbished building. There continue to be wait times at the other agencies. There was never a wait at the Clinic.

Clinicians were not involved in any of the planning. There was not a ‘plan on paper’, nor public hearings, nor consultant study, rather there were a lot of smoke and mirrors and vagueness. Is this the way most men seek employment? There is an underlying gender effect since most social workers are women. The new mantra is that a clinician should be able to ‘pay for their position’. Do you hear others with higher salaries being told that? Or to give up their benefits? And to have a defunk union is a worse slap in the face.


October 3, 2013 by activ60


As a point of reference in 2009 the Broome County Mental Health Clinic had 14,391 regular visits, another 1511 brief visits and 2394 group visits for a total of 18,296.
The BC Commissioner of MH states that OMH licensed programs, i.e. which now includes Private non-profits like Lourdes and Family & Children’s Society, will have 12,050 contact visits in 2014.

The ‘retirement purge’ became paramount during the Fiala administration. So if every
Department continues this attrition requirement indefinitely that abolishes positions, a department could cease to exist. Everyone who has left the BCMHC has not been replaced.

In 2009 there were 26 clinicians and as of Dec 2013 there will be 3 fulltime and 3 part time clinical social workers. Another Psychiatrist is cutting hours and adding them to the contract agency and there will be only one part time nurse practitioner out of four left for medication management. In 2008, 1718 adults and 425 children were served. In 2010, 1200 adults were served and 51% were seriously and persistently mentally ill (SPMI). In the same year 250 children were served and 48% were SPMI. The Children’s Unit was closed in Dec 2010. 12.5 staff positions were eliminated. In 2010-11 OMH approved Lourdes and Family & Children’s Society applications for licensure as mental health clinics. They were encouraged to seek such.


October 3, 2013 by activ60

One Size Does Not Fit ALL

It is interesting that the elected officials who subscribe to the Unshackle NY clamor about unfunded mandates make no plea for the mentally ill of our community. Since 2000 or before the County Mental Health Clinics in New York have been gearing up for transition to the Federal ambulatory patient group (APG) payment rates that were supposed to go into effect in September 2012. These rates also were part of the Medicaid Redesign and Medicaid Managed Care and Family Health Plus plans for clinic reimbursement. The ruse is that these billable units of service do not cover the cost of the service (practitioners and overhead). Thank your Congress representatives for that. In addition, as the Affordable Care Act starts people who make too much to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to qualify for the federal subsidy and those who make income under the poverty line are not eligible for subsidy either in states that rejected the ACA Medicaid expansion.

A report in June of the White House Summit on mental health noted that public spending on mental health services has been slashed across the country in recent years, driven by the recession and by a zeal to shrink government. Were you aware that there was a NYS bill proposing the Mental Health Public Awareness Tax Check off last session?