Six years ago this month in 2009, the website binghamtonbridge.org was created by Stephen Schweitzer and Peg Johnston as a news site and calendar for the local progressive community. The newspaper called the bridge had been published for 3 or 4 years prior to that with decreasing frequency. Known for excellent political analysis and local coverage of progressive issues, the bridge finally could not afford the high cost of printing a newspaper.
Both venues were part of the Binghamton Independent Media Center, which is part of a global network of IMC’s. In some places, where freedom of speech is limited, the IMC’s are the only places where it is possible to speak out and organize.
Articles have been posted continuously on the bridge and a calendar has been sent out every week for all six years of its existence. Sometimes the bridge has been critical in getting the word out: when City Hall installed a digital “Cost of War” clock and critics dominated the mainstream media coverage, progressives were able to read posts from those who opposed the Iraq War. Another example was when Michael Libous, Senator Libous’ nephew, wrote an open letter about gay marriage. The Press would not print it, but when posted on the binghamton bridge site it became an issue that was covered by the media.
In the past two months, Peg Johnston and Shawna Stevenson have spearheaded a revitalization of the site. “It is our vision to have a place where progressives can communicate in an in-depth way about their activities and ideas,” said Johnston. “Grassroots activists can broaden their reach and deepen people’s understanding of their issues.” So far, Stevenson has changed the look of the site with a new banner of the many bridges in Binghamton, made the site more user friendly, and sorted out numerous technical issues. She has also streamlined the weekly e-calendar/newsletter to be more readable.
Next, the pair plan to recruit more “community reporters” to keep up the current rate of posts. Posting articles on the site can provide the “back story” for local organizing and provide history, background, national significance, as well as local initiatives. This is useful for folks who are not conversant in an issue, but want to understand it or possibly get involved. Groups can also advertise events and campaigns. Once an article is posted, a link or url is generated that can be shared with contacts via Facebook, Twitter, emails, or other outlets. These articles will last for years and can be found with the new search function on the site. “We want to build community through communication,” said Stevenson, “and help local projects increase their exposure.”
Registration to post on the bridge is simple with a valid email address, and posting articles and events easy to figure out. Click on the newsletter link on the right hand side of the site to sign up for the weekly e-calendar/newsletter. The site is managed by the Center for Gender, Art, and Culture, an umbrella organization for progressive projects. Donations are most welcome!
See this video by Markeee about mural artist Man One's recent visit to Binghamton.
Man One visits Binghamton NY, March 2014 from Markeee on Vimeo.
Do you believe in ghosts? Do you think that the spirit world can influence the earthly world? The show at the Cooperative Gallery for the month of April may have you wondering.
The series of charcoal and graphite drawings that are shown by artist Kathryn Niles are inspired by relics that were collected by a previous professor at Binghamton University, Charles Eldred. Kathryn, once a student of Charles Eldred, now teaches drawing to today’s students.
Kathryn not only occupies his office (where he died), but has taken his treasure trove of unusual still life objects and created a wonderful group of drawings that both graphically depict their subjects in artistically rendered drawings and have imbued them with life and vitality, very much in the spirit of Professor Eldred.
An outboard motor turned upside down expresses its personality and feelings in “Shame”, “Moving Forward” (a profile view of “Shame”), “Exhale” and “Looking Down”.
A metal faucet comes to life in “Preparing for Rain”. Knowing both the life it was intended for and sensing the water soon to come, the handle becomes its umbrella.
I leave it to the viewer to imagine the whimsical inanimate objects that inspired the rest of these lively drawings.
Those of you who have enjoyed Ms. Niles colorful paintings of the Grand Canyon in a previous show will be happy to know that for this exhibit she has captured the beauty of Quechee Gorge in Vermont. The gorge and the river running through it are the subject matter for three large oil paintings that show the colors of fall in New England. One of the paintings will leave to take part in the Binghamton University Faculty Show, and will only be exhibited at the Cooperative Gallery during the first weekend.
The artist’s diversity is further shown in five small abstracts that have a completely different feel from the nature paintings while using a similar color palette. The cadmium red echoes the leaves of fall and the Prussian blue the water of the river.
This show opens on First Friday, April 4 from 3-9 PM and closes on April 27th. There is a Special Reception on Sunday April 6th beginning at 2 PM. The hours of operation of the Cooperative Gallery are Friday from 3-6 PM, Saturday from noon to 4 PM and First Friday from 3 to 9 PM.
Southern Tier Actors Read (S.T.A.R.) in a staged reading of Aaron Sorkin's play about the invention of television.
Production dates are May 6 and 7 at 7:30 p.m. at The Cider Mill Playhouse
Rehearsals will be at selected dates during April, and May 4 and 5, no more than 8 total.
Roles require no memorization.
Looking for men 30s to 60s to portray several characters; lab technicians, bankers, various friends and supporters of Farnsworth and his nemesis, David Sarnoff
Looking for 2 boys approx. 10-14 years of age to portray the Young Farnsworth, and the Young Sarnoff.
To set up an audition appointment, or for further information call Judy McMahon, Director, at
Binghamton, NY, April 2014 – This year the Women’s Student Union at Binghamton University is organizing a rally against sexual violence called Take Back the Night. We are currently working with multiple organizations such as the Confronting Racism Coordinating Committee, the Interpersonal Violence Prevention Program, members of the Binghamton Police Department, along with student organizations such as 20:1, Beta Iona Colony and the SUNY Broome Women’s Discussion Group. The goal of this event is to support survivors of sexual violence and is an empowering way for people who have experienced sexual assault, sexual abuse and relationship violence to reclaim the night they have all been conditioned to fear. This year it will be on Friday, April 4th at 8pm at the Peacemaker's Stage in Downtown Binghamton. Please note that Take Back the Night is an event for both survivors and supporters. Even if these issues have not personally affected you or someone you love, this is a great way to show support for people who have been affected by sexual violence and show them that there is a large community of people who support them.
The event begins with a candlelit march of survivors and supporters around town which will be held in the Downtown Binghamton Area for the first time this year. The second part of Take Back the Night is the “Survivors’ Speak Out”. During the “Survivors’ Speak Out”, people who have experienced these forms of violence, if they so choose, may speak out and share their stories anonymously in a safe place. This portion of the event will be at the cozy art studio 'Uncorked Creations' and will begin at approximately 9:00 pm. Due to the private & emotional nature of this event, it is requested that there will be no press coverage of the Survivors’ Speak Out.
This event is open to both Binghamton University students and Binghamton community members.
IVP has been working with some great folks to coordinate an event during Crime Victims Rights Week. We would like to invite YOU to Reclaim Your Rights. We have partnered with NYS Office for Victims Services, Crime Victims Assistance Center and campus departments to host an event on April 7th from 12:00 PM to 4:30 PM at Binghamton University in the University Union's Mandela Room.
Our goal is to inform both students and residents of Binghamton’s larger community on the resources available for survivors of crime, family and friends of survivors, and interested advocates. The event will feature a panel of resources for student and community crime victims, in addition to tabling opportunities for organizations, survivors speaking on their experiences and community art project.
I have attached our flyers. Please help us spread the word about the event.
Also, can you please help us find artists that would like to display their art at this event? You can find the event on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/210323159178106/?ref_dashboard_filter=up.... The event is also listed on B-engaged!
Thank you for all of your support! I look forward to seeing you all there.
Jessica Krohn, LMSW
Interpersonal Violence Prevention Coordinator
Decker Health Services, left side of the lowest level, room B05
Phone: (607) 777-3062
Just remember, you are never alone. 1-800-656-HOPE(4673) or ohl.rainn.org/online
It is an exciting time! VINES is partnering with the United Presbyterian Church of Binghamton, 42 Chenango St for use of office space in their building. VINES has never had an office before and is so grateful to have the ability to be more efficient and have staff, board and volunteers working together under the same roof!
We thank the United Presbyterian Church of Binghamton for their generosity in hosting VINES. We will be assisting the church in developing a garden on their property to serve their community meal. If anyone would like to help with this please contact LaurenATvinesgardensDOTorg ASAP!
We need your help!! We need some items to get set up in our office space. Can anyone help us with securing the following items? These are in order of greatest priority. If you have any items that you think might be helpful to us please call 607-205-8108 or reply to this email. Donations are tax deductible. Thank you!
Cash donation (so we can buy the items we need!)
3-4 Laptops and/or desktop computers: Preferably 2010 or later model
Workstation Space dividers
Filing cabinets (plus one that can lock)
Cell phones that have replaceable SIM cards
Conference or folding table and chairs (about 10’ x 5’ or so and 8 chairs)
Bulletin boards- Large sizes
Toilet paper, paper towels, cloth towels, sticky labels, notepads, file folders/holders, binder/paper clips, Postage Stamps, pens
Thanks everyone! We truly appreciate if you can contribute something. Or if you just want to donate some cash to VINES so we can secure these items, that is very welcomed and even more helpful!
Lastly we'd like to thank the United Way of Broome County for allowing VINES staff to use workstation space at the Lee Barta Community Center for the last year!
Community Garden and Youth Program Manager
Solar Up Broome and Tioga! Southern Tier Solar Works, a program to bring affordable solar power to the people in Broome and Tioga Counties, is now accepting sign ups to have solar installed onto residential homes.
· Visit on-line and sign up to attend a workshop near you at www.southerntiersolarworks.org .
· Visit STSW at the Southern Tier Home & Garden Show booth #170 at the Binghamton U Events Center, Saturday, March 29 (9AM-7PM) and Sunday, March 30 (10AM-4PM)
Incentives and pricing is better than ever. Financing and leasing means you can go solar for NO upfront cost.
Southern Tier Solar Works (STSW) is a community-led initiative to bring solar energy to homes and businesses in our region, starting with Broome and Tioga Counties. STSW’s first solar initiative is a volume-purchasing program that uses state and federal tax credits and incentives to markedly reduce the costs of going solar. This collaborative pilot program of the Binghamton Regional Sustainability Coalition, the Susquehanna group of the Sierra Club, Catskill Mountainkeeper and the Natural Resource Defense Council, is a time-limited initiative designed to help people “go solar” via a streamlined process and group discount. For this first ever program in our area, STSW has partnered with ETM Solar, a NABCEP certified solar installer in Broome and Tioga with 26 years of experience. Our growing list of area co-sponsors includes Cornell Cooperative Extension of Broome County and Revitalize Tioga. Those wishing to take advantage of the volume purchase incentive must sign up to participate before the enrollment deadline of May 20, 2014. The more people who sign up, the lower the price for everyone, so be sure to encourage your friends and neighbors to participate!
The Federal Elections Commission has estimated that in 2012, the first presidential election since the Supreme Court’s so-called Citizen United decision, a total of $7 billion was spent just to elect a president. On that same Election Day 2012, the states of Montana and Colorado each passed, with an average 75% of bi-partisan voters in favor, a resolution calling for a constitutional amendment to limit money in politics. Since then, 14 other states have passed such resolutions. In our own state, several local communities, including nearby Ithaca and Corning, as well as Albany, New York City and Buffalo, have passed a resolution in their local city councils to call for an amendment to the Constitution to overturn the Citizens United decision. It is time for our Greater Binghamton communities to speak out and join them.
It has become clear to increasing numbers of our citizens that our democracy is not just being influenced by, but is being taken over and controlled by, fewer and fewer, larger and larger entities like big corporations. We can no longer term this control and manipulation of our elections, extending even to the state and local level, a growing problem; as a result of Citizens United, the problem has been raised to the level of a full-blown catastrophe for our democratic process.
No matter our political affiliation, Americans have always believed that we could rely, at least to some extent, on our vote to speak for us in terms of our civic needs and opinions. However, we citizens are now faced with the obvious reality that our votes mean less and less, since elections, like arenas and baseball stadiums, are now being virtually bought and paid for by these large corporations with their almost unlimited budgets.
City of Binghamton To Announce Release Of Draft Comprehensive Plan
Plans Are Result Of Extensive 18-Month Community Outreach Effort
(CITY of BINGHAMTON, N.Y.) The City of Binghamton will announce the release of its draft Comprehensive Plan and Main/Court Street Corridor Plan on Monday, March 24 at 1:30 p.m. at City Hall’s 2nd Floor Art Gallery. Mayor Richard C. David will join members of City Council to announce the release. The plans are the result of an extensive 18-month community outreach effort known as Blueprint Binghamton: Forward Together.
“It’s important to raise awareness for public input in this process,” said Mayor David. “It’s important that residents voice their opinions and ideas about this plan, which will be a guiding blueprint for the growth and development of our community for years to come.”
A Comprehensive Plan is a state-mandated document that describes municipal policies and actions related to land use, neighborhoods, transportation, infrastructure, economic development and quality of life. The City’s last Comprehensive Plan was adopted in 2003.
The 2014 Comprehensive Plan is divided into seven mini-plans, including: Economic Development, Housing, Transportation, Infrastructure, Environment & Open Space, Land Use & Zoning and Community Building. Each mini-plan includes an analysis of existing conditions and summary of key issues, an overview of community input, a series of goals and objectives that relate to the overall vision of the plan and strategy recommendations and action steps to guide implementation.
The Main/Court Street Corridor Plan is a revamped zoning code for the 1.7 mile Main Street-Court Street corridor, excluding the downtown district. The new zoning code is “form-based,” focusing less on land use and density and more on size, form and placement of buildings and parking.
The proposed Code encourages mixed use development and walkability while significantly streamlining the approval process. Upon adoption of the Code, property owners and developers with find a clear, accessible set of zoning requirements.
Blueprint Binghamton was one of several initiatives funded by a $486,058 grant from the Partnership for Sustainable Communities, a federal collaboration between the Departments of Housing and Urban Development, Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Transportation.
The following public meetings are scheduled to collect and discuss comments on the plans:
· Monday, May 5th 6:30PM - Planning Commission Public Hearing – City Council Chambers
· Wednesday, May 7th 6:30PM - City Council Public Hearing 1 – City Council Chambers
· Monday, May 12th 5:00PM – Joint City Council & Planning Commission Session 1 – Broome County Public Library, Decker Room
· Wednesday, May 14th 5:00PM – Joint City Council & Planning Commission Session 2 – Broome County Public Library, Decker Room
· Wednesday, June 18th 6:30PM – City Council Public Hearing 2 – City Council Chambers