Author name: Peg Johnston


The Greater Binghamton Labor/Religion coalition invites our community to join us on Moral Monday, April 6 at 4:30 PM at the Federal Building on Henry Street in Binghamton where we will stand vigil and raise our voice for a fair and just Federal Budget.  

As poverty and inequality continue to grow, faith leaders and people of conscience will come together to call for justice and the common good.  The 2015 Federal budget has proven once again Washington continues to put large corporations, banks and billionaires above the poor and  middle class.*

We stand for the poor and vulnerable, our children and our senior citizens, those who cannot speak for themselves.  We do not stand for tax dodging corporations and overpaid CEO’s who reap the benefits of underpaid workers.  We are acting on our moral imperatives, and demand that our elected officials in Washington and New York create a budget that works for all, not the chosen few.


For more information visit:

Read the attached Paul Krugman column


Slow Art Day at Two Local Galleries

The Tate in London is in.

So are the Harvard Art Museums.

Ditto, the Philadelphia Museum of Art.  

And the Cooperative Gallery and Orazio Salati Gallery in Binghamton NY.  

These and 173 galleries around the world are celebrating Slow Art Day on April 11, 2015. “Slow Art Day is the global all-volunteer event with a simple mission: help more people discover for themselves the joy of looking at and loving art,” according to the website “Slow Art Day was created as a grassroots movement to empower museum visitors to change their museum experience. Unlike the standard 8-second view, Slow Art Day participants are asked to spend 10-15 minutes looking at several specific pieces of art.”         

The event is at Cooperative Gallery 213 on State Street and Orazio Salati Studio & Gallery at 204 State Street located across from each other in Binghamton’s Downtown Arts District. The program will begin in each gallery at 1pm on Saturday April 11th and will feature the work of Exhibiting Artist Members at Cooperative Gallery and the work of Orazio Salati and Provincetown MA artist Jerome Greene at Salati’s gallery. Participants will enjoy a brief introduction to the program by Judy Salton (Cooperative Gallery) and Orazio Salati. They will switch galleries midway through the event and follow-up with an open discussion over refreshments at the Cooperative Gallery.

 “Our Slow Art event will allow the participants to view the pieces with very little input from us but we hope to have a lively discussion afterward,” comments Judy Salton, organizer of the event. The event starts at 1 pm and the discussion, with refreshments, will follow at 3 pm. It is free and open to the public.

Contact Information: to RSVP:



Twitter: @SlowArtDay


Contact: Judy Salton or Orazio Salati

Phone: 607 584-4715 (Salton) or 772-6725 (Salati)

Slow Art Day at Two Local Galleries Read More »

The Southern Tier is going solar!

Southern Tier Solar Works (STSW), a program of the Binghamton Regional Sustainability Coalition (BRSC), is launching Solarize Southern Tier East (SSTE), to bring solar energy to our area.  SSTE offers homeowners and small businesses a path to energy savings that are fixed, predictable, and long-term.
The SSTE campaign will serve Broome, Tioga, Chenango, Delaware and Otsego Counties, and will partner with three competitively-selected, installer partners—Astrum Solar, ETM Solar/TAITEM Engineering, and Renovus Energy—with the goal of doubling existing residential solar in the five counties. The SSTE 2015 campaign is a limited-time initiative designed to incentivize “going solar” with the help of a streamlined site-assessment process and group discounts. Online enrollment will run thru June 10th. Early enrollment and contracting is rewarded through higher State incentives and earlier installations. Registration and all program information will be available at:
The public will have 10 weeks to enroll during this campaign.  The more people who sign up, the lower their cost becomes. Installations will begin this summer, with most completed before winter of 2015. Financing is available through NYSERDA’s Green Jobs Green New York program and through select banks and credit unions.
Two program launch events and more than 30 community meetings, brown bag lunches, and solar home tours across the five-county region – all free and open to the public – will give participants opportunities to learn what it takes to go solar.
Solarize programs jump-start regional solar markets, lower price volatility and bring energy independence to our communities. By increasing our energy efficiency and our use of renewable energy sources, New York can become a national leader in the clean energy economy. Solar power is the most plentiful, free, and constant source of energy on our planet.
Don’t be left out!  Be a part of an energy future that will benefit our entire society—from local job growth, to lower energy costs, to the improved health and well-being of our communities. Come to a Solarize Community Meeting this spring!

Community Meeting
Wednesday, April 15th: Vestal Public Library
320 Vestal Parkway East, VESTAL, NY  7:00-9:00 pm
Solar Tour
Saturday, April 18th: Owego-Apalachin
10 am – 2 pm
Registration information available by calling 607-342-3159
Community Meeting
Monday, April 20th: Broome County Public Library
185 Court Street, BINGHAMTON, NY  6:00-8:00 pm
Southern Tier Earth Fest – Exhibition
Saturday, April 25th: SUNY Broome Community College
907 Upper Front Street, BINGHAMTON, NY 10 am–4 pm
Community Meeting
Wednesday, April 29th: Spencer Town Hall
79 E Tioga Street, SPENCER, NY  7:00-9:00 pm

and other locations and time, please call

The Southern Tier is going solar! Read More »

A Bad Idea Part II Metro Center Parking

A Bad Idea Part IIA Guest Viewpoint was recently published in this space regarding the questionable conversion of the MetroCenter Plaza in downtown Binghamton into a ten space parking lot, at what amounts to about $35,000 a space.  Much has happened since that initial piece.

Members of the Commission on Architecture and Urban Design (CAUD) were the first to raise concerns about this project.  Other concerned citizens also raised meaningful points and voiced these in person at City Council Meetings.  As a member of the City’s Planning Commission at the time, I also voiced my concerns. We were all told by the Administration that CAUD approval was not needed, that our claims were inaccurate and untrue.  Good citizens raising questions were told Traffic Board review and approval was not needed, that our concerns were inaccurate and untrue.  Taxpayers watching the city’s spending habits were told that the Mayor could use unspent Bond Funds from another Capital projects without any other approvals, that our objections were inaccurate and untrue.  We were told that the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) was not applicable, that our concerns were inaccurate and untrue.

How time changes circumstances.  Since these concerns were raised, the Administration has now engaged CAUD, sought approval from the City’s Traffic Board, acknowledged the need for new bonding authority to fund this project and committed to compliance with SEQRA.  All of this begs the question, what was the Administration trying to do before these issues were raised?

I think the answer is pretty clear.  The goal was to circumvent the existing process, those checks and balances that are in place to ensure good governance, and deliver a quality project that benefits the public’s interest.  This was an attempt by the Administration to force this project through the process hoping no one would notice.  The ultimate goal of the project the benefit of a select few at the expense of the many.

So what can we say to this?  At the February 18th City Council meeting, Council members will have to decide whether to borrow the funds and ultimately build the project.  Is spending $350,000 of our tax dollars a good investment for ten parking spaces?  If we are going to bond, and borrow from our future, shouldn’t it benefit more of our citizens?

A colleague pointed out to me in an e-mail that it took three years of strong advocacy to get $25,000 invested in the ball park and bathhouse at Columbus Park. West End Park will get tens of thousands of dollars in investments this coming year, but largely because of a state grant. It took eight years to reach agreement to borrow $100,000 to tear down the First Ward Pool. Through the Design Your Own Park, resident groups on the North Side and West Side worked tirelessly for a few years to get $20,000 in public investments in new park spaces.

Neighborhood parks are used by thousands of our city's families, kids, and individuals every year! Is Council really going to approve borrowing $350,000 to build a ten space parking lot in the heart of our downtown, two blocks from the City’s three parking ramps, all of which are in dire need of repair?

Obviously if the City is to borrow there are better uses that will have a broader impact on our citizens and help build community.  We all, as citizens need to be paying more attention to what goes on in City government.  Go to the City’s website, review City Council, Planning Commission, and Zoning Board agendas and minutes.  Even better, reach out to your Council representative before the February 18th meeting and tell them to think twice about spending so much money to convert the MetroCenter public courtyard into a ten-space parking lot. Tell them to say no to “David’s Dead End.”

Good government needs you!

Mark D. Bowers is a resident of Binghamton’s West Side

A Bad Idea Part II Metro Center Parking Read More »

IBM and Endicott residents settle toxic plume lawsuit

WIVT reports:

IBM and a group of Endicott residents have agreed to settle a lawsuit over the toxic plume. In a joint statement issued by the company and attorneys for the plaintiffs, the two sides announced that an agreement in principal has been reached to settle claims over alleged injuries related to IBM's former manufacturing facility. IBM has acknowledged a spill of the volatile organic compound trichloroethylene, aka TCE, in 1979. READ more at:
IBM, Endicott residents to settle environmental lawsuit

WBNG reported on the story:

The statement said the settlements will avoid "expensive litigation." Despite the proposed agreement, an IBM spokesman said the company is still committed to the ongoing environmental cleanup at its former Endicott facility.

IBM is blamed in part for contaminating ground, water and air with trichloroethylene, or TCE. The chemical was used to clean, finish and degrease metal in the computer manufacturing process.  READ MORE at:–291480091.html
IBM, Endicott Residents End Years-Long Contamination Lawsuit


IBM and Endicott residents settle toxic plume lawsuit Read More »

Reforming the Energy Vision

Last year, New York's policy-makers drafted a State Energy Plan that looked too much like the status quo. It was heavy on gas and light on concrete steps to get New York off dirty and dangerous fossil fuels and nuclear energy. In response, tens of thousands of us raised our voices at public hearings and in written testimony to demand a real plan for a renewable energy transition.

New York's energy planners are at it again, but this time, they have taken a 180. This time, they are challenging business as usual in New York's retail electricity markets, through a proceeding at the Public Service Commission called Reforming the Energy Vision (REV). There are some great opportunities in this process to move the state toward a decentralized renewable energy system, but there are also some major causes for concern. We must participate in the process so that we can ensure New York gets moving on a just transition to renewable energy.

Please join us at the Binghamton REV hearing on Thursday, February 12 at the Binghamton City Council Chambers, City Hall, 38 Hawley Street, Binghamton NY 13901.

An information session will be held at 6pm, directly followed by an on-the-record public hearing at 7pm. BRSC will host our own REV workshop 2-5 days prior to the hearing. Look for an announcement of details soon.

Last year the Energy Democracy Working Group (EDWG) was formed by the Alliance for a Green Economy, the Binghamton Regional Sustainability Coalition, Catskill Mountainkeeper, the Center for Social Inclusion, PUSH Buffalo, and The Solutions Project. The EDWG is a broad alliance of sustainability, environmental justice, affordable housing and other diverse community organizations working to be sure that New York's transition to a clean energy economy benefits New York's communities in general, and those marginalized from these benefits in particular. EDWG works to put the people of New York, not a handful of corporations, in the driver seat.

Building on AGREE's leadership, the EDWG and dozens of allies have successfully pressed the Public Service Commission (PSC) to hold eight info sessions and hearings across the state. The first was in Syracuse last night, where nearly 100 Central New York Residents spoke up for an energy system run by and for the people of New York State. This small victory is only the beginning.

A complete schedule with great information on REV is on the AGREE website. The official hearing announcement from the PSC is attached and linked at the bottom of this message.

Upcoming public hearings offer us the chance to determine what New York's energy future will look like. Don't miss this chance.

What is REV?
REV is a major overhaul of the way New York policy makers intend to pursue clean energy, and so far, the process has been dominated by utility companies, Energy Service Companies (ESCOs) and other for-profit actors. It's no surprise, then, that the proposals coming out the the proceeding would hand over much of the design and control over New York's clean energy programs to utility companies. The proposals would also phase out clean energy subsidies and the state's clean energy programs in favor of the market-oriented approach envisioned in REV.

The public's voice must be heard so that we can demand an energy future that is designed by and for New Yorkers.

Join the call for energy democracy, enforceable environmental goals, consumer protection and energy affordability.

Find out more about REV at the Alliance for a Green Economy website <>, where we have posted:
– A short video introduction to REV
– Talking points
– Links to all the documents

And while we are making our voices heard to the Commission with a duty to represent the public, find out how to make this a Renewable New York by promoting renewables and energy efficiency in your community.


Reforming the Energy Vision Read More »

Winners Announced in Bob Johnston Photography Show and Competition

4th BOB JOHNSTON MEMORIAL PHOTOGRAPHY SHOW AND COMPETITION SPONSORED BY Cooperative Gallery 213 and the Two Rivers Photography Club January 2 – 31st, 2015. The Cooperative Gallery 213 and the Two Rivers Photography Club are sponsoring the 4th Bob Johnston Photography Show and Competition January 2-31st, 2015. “This is an especially strong and exciting photography

Winners Announced in Bob Johnston Photography Show and Competition Read More »

Photo Competition Draws Nearly 100 Images

The Cooperative Gallery 213 and the Two Rivers Photography Club are sponsoring the 4th Bob Johnston Photography Show and Competition January 2-31st, 2015. “This is one of our most popular shows at the Cooperative Gallery,” according to Peg Johnston. “It speaks to how many great photographers we have in this area and their desire to share their art. Although the show is open to all regional photographers, joining with the photography club guarantees that we have beautifully executed photographs that this year range from stunning landscape and floral photographs to striking digitally created abstracts to a humorous staged photograph ala Cindy Sherman."  Photographs will be judged by a local professional photographer. Prizes and cash awards for the winners will be announced at First Friday, January 2nd at 7 pm at a reception for the artists open to the public.

The Competition is named for Bob Johnston, a lifelong photographer and gallery member who died in 2010. “Bob Johnston was an ‘Ansel Adams’ kind of photographer who worked mostly in black and white film and favored both urban and natural landscapes,” said Bill Gorman, also a photographer and member of the Cooperative Gallery. Johnston’s work was also featured in his daughter Peg’s recent “Binghamton: a Photographic Memoir.”

This fourth Exhibit, which will feature 98 images from 50 area photographers, is a tribute to his photography. Bob Johnston defined a good photo this way: “For me, the successful photograph is one in which both the abstract elements and the subject matter of the image reinforce each other to provide an emotional experience for the viewer.” The Cooperative Gallery 213, located on State of the Art, 213 State Street, Binghamton NY. is regularly open Fridays 3-6 pm and Saturdays 12-4 pm

Photo Competition Draws Nearly 100 Images Read More »

Fracking Ban in NYS!

Today brought a lot of big news, from diplomatic relations with Cuba, to the casino announcement, and most importantly to local activists, to a ban on fracking in New York State. Gov. Cuomo accepted and supported the final report of the Dept of Health. The Acting Commissioner Zucker cited the threat to the state's water and air quality, saying, "Would I want my child to play near a fracking site, drink the water, or breathe the air?"

Local organizer Isaac Silberman-Gorn was jubilant: "I've dreamed about a victory like this for the past 5 years. (It's an) Incredible victory, thanks to grassroots leadership and stacks of science!!! This happened because of the incredible pressure that all of us have brought to bear, and the huge body of science questioning the safety of fracking."

There is still action to take:
1. A victory rally, 1pm in front of the State Office Building, 44 Hawley Street!
We will celebrate and hear from former Mayor Matt Ryan. We'll deliver the clean Southern Tier water to Governor Cuomo's Binghamton office. After the rally, we will meet at the Citizen Action Office to talk about next steps in the movement.
When: December 18th, 1pm
Where: State Office Building, 44 Hawley Street, Binghamton

2. Citizen Action of NY's yearly holiday party! There will be friends, food, wine, and beer.
When: Thursday, December 18, 2014, 6PM-9PM
Where: The Relief Pitcher, 197 Conklin Ave, Binghamton

3. BOOK YOUR TICKET for the Binghamton bus to the State of the State! The rally is still on and we will absolutely be in Albany on January 7th.


Fracking Ban in NYS! Read More »

Scroll to Top