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LOCAL DOLLARS, LOCAL SENSE BOOK GROUP

A date has been set for a discussion of the book Local Dollars, Local Sense: How to Shift Your Money from Wall Street to Main Street and Achieve Real Prosperity–A Community Resilience Guide by Michael Shuman. Peg Johnston put out a call for people to read this book “because the missing piece for development of Binghamton is often the lack of capital–there has to be ways for ordinary people to invest locally.”

This will be the kickoff for a new community gathering, the Binghamton Cabaret, styled after the Science Cabaret. Topics relating to Binghamton development will be offered for open discussion, regularly on the Third Tuesday of the month (with changes for holidays) at the Lost Dog Cafe Violet Room. David Sloan Wilson of the Binghamton Neighborhood Project and David Currie of BRSC invite the public to the Binghamton Cabaret.

Participants may have dinner at the Lost Dog ahead of the meeting or just attend the meeting at 7:30pm

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Greenway Design Survey: Vote!

You can give input to the signage designs for the Rail Trails:

BMTS is in need of your input and opinion in the development of the Greenway Sign Plan and Design Guide. For project details, see “About the Greenway Sign Plan & Design Guide” at the bottom of this email.

We request that you go to the website at https://sites.google.com/site/bmtsgreenway/, click inside the photo above “Design Decisions”, and take just a few minutes to fill out the survey regarding the regional greenway system (RAIL TRAIL) name, sign design, and logo design.

Please complete the survey by Monday, July 16th. That will allow our consultants to provide another draft of logos for comment in advance of our working meeting with them, tentatively scheduled for July 26th.

About the Greenway Sign Plan & Design Guide

BMTS is contracting for professional services to create a Sign Plan and Design Guide for the Greater Binghamton Greenway (GBG) regional walking and biking trail system located within the Binghamton Urban Area. This task is included in the 2012-2013 BMTS Unified Planning Work Program, and will be funded by Federal Highway Administration Metropolitan Planning Program funds.

The overall objective of the project is to have this trail system recognized as a regional, contiguous system, as well as facilitate user access to and circulation throughout the GBG, by creating a uniform design & plan for wayfinding, regulatory, warning, and interpretive signing. The geographic region of the study will include the Binghamton Metropolitan Transportation Study (BMTS) Urban Area Boundary.

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Bigotry is Bullying, Fighting Bigotry is Not

Listen folks, calling a homophobic bigot a bigot is not bullying, just like calling a racist a racist or a misogynist a misogynist, isn’t bullying. And students and teachers actively working to create a school that is free from homophobia certainly isn’t bullying, it’s heroism. However, there have been several statements by public figures lately that have suggested that challenging injustice is a kind of reverse prejudice. For example, Fr. Johannes M. M. Smith wrote an opinion piece last month, responding to my comments at the June Pride flag raising at City Hall in which I stated that coming to our celebration and calling the gay and lesbian residents of this City the “exaltation of immorality”, “perversion”, “Satanic”, a “scandalous abomination” and in league with the “principalities of darkness” was bullying. He suggested in his statement that my characterization of him was libelous and bullying. It was not. And then last week at the Vestal School Board, in response to the passionate efforts to remove Tennessee State Senator Stacey Campfield’s picture from the school’s Wall of Fame for his homophobia, and inaccurate statements about the transmission of HIV/AIDS, the board president Ms. Meyer similarly suggested that these efforts were bullying. They are not.

Speaking truth to power is not bullying. But continuing to celebrate a homophobic bigot and forcing your gay and lesbian students to walk by his picture every day is. Taking away privileges (or honors) because of bad behavior is something teachers and schools are familiar with. It should be a pretty easy call for educators that hurting gay kids (as research shows the Senator’s statements actually do) is bad behavior. But just in case you’re not sure, on July 1st, the Dignity for All Students act became law in New York. This law mandates that schools intervene whenever possible to correct and prevent bullying and harassment and protect gay and lesbian kids (along with so many others that are often the targets of bullies). Let’s hope the Vestal School Board does their job and implements this law to the fullest and makes Vestal Schools safe for all their students.

Dr. Sean G. Massey
Faculty in Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies
Binghamton University

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I really can’t, I’m no Mahatma Gandhi

 

June 24, 2012

Do you really know Gandhi or even Martin Luther King, Jr.? You may think you do, but I believe that in some cases, we need to demystify our heroes so that we can more easily support their actions.
Recently we at teachpeacenow.org were given a little book, What Gandhi Says About Nonviolence, Resistance And Courage by Norman G. Finkelstein, to review. The book is quite readable as it “fleshes out” the self-contradictory nature of this Indian icon who nonviolently led his people to independence from imperial England. Subsequently, Gandhi’s actions served as a template for M.L.K., Jr.’s anti-segregation mission in southern America. Appropriately, both men are held in the highest esteem worldwide. I wonder if their mythic stories have inadvertently caused some of us to feel less able to emulate them.

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Many Hands Food Coop

Hey folks! The Many Hands Food Co-op (MHFC) is looking for volunteers to help canvas in Binghamton this upcoming weekend, Friday April 13th and Saturday April 14th! MHFC is a start-up project, meaning that the Binghamton community is currently looking to run a coop soon in downtown Binghamton!
To register please click below- it takes less than 2 minutes:
https://docs.google.com/a/binghamton.edu/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey…

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Gateway to Binghamton:

Gateway to Binghamton:
Mayor Ryan and Partners Break Ground on Court Street Gateway Project

Improvements include the street’s first repaving in 25 years, multi-faceted streetscaping, reverse angle parking, traffic calming devices, water main valve replacements and a modern roundabout at the Court/Chenango Street intersection

$2.7 million Phase I investment funded 95% by federal and state funds and will support 23 local jobs; roundabout feature will improve traffic flow, accounts for just $37,500 in City funds and will save more than $260,000 over 20 years

Project one of many City has undertaken in recent years with federal and state funds; despite strong advocacy by Congressman Hinchey, Senator Gillibrand and others, such projects have slowed in last two years due to budget cuts in Washington and Albany

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Save the Castle on the Hill

The magazine Dwell is sponsoring a contest to save historic buildings and the Inebriate Asylum or Castle on the Hill has been nominated by PAST. Please, Please, Please, vote for this project!
at this link: http://new.dwell.com/contests/rethinking-preservation/submissions/new-york-state-inebriate-asylum

New York State Inebriate Asylum

The New York State Inebriate Asylum, built in 1858, was the very first facility in this country for the medical treatment of alcoholism. It was founded by J. Edward Turner and designed in the Castellated Gothic style by architect Isaac Gale Perry, who would go on to become one of New York State’s leading architects. Fifteen years after admitting its first patients, the Inebriate Asylum closed and the facility was converted into an “Asylum for the Chronic Insane.” As a mental institution it continued as the central building of an expanding, self-sufficient mental health campus that at its peak housed 4,000 patients. In 1993 part of the façade collapsed, the building was evacuated and it has remained vacant ever since. In 2008 its 150th anniversary was celebrated. This building should be preserved because of its historical pioneering significance in the treatment of alcoholism, its strikingly unique style of architecture, and its service as a mental health institution for well over a century. Known locally as the “Castle on the Hill,” the building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it is a National Historic Landmark, it is abandoned and deteriorating.

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Blood on the Tracks

For any male coming out of high school in the 1960’s, the Vietnam War became a dominating imperative that could not be side-stepped. The rudimentary process of registering for the draft became an increasingly nerve-wracking rite of passage as the war began to escalate, first with troop deployments followed in short order by body bags. Patriotic fervor and duty often became resignation and despair as the war seemed to have no end; the psychological state of the country worsened as criticism went from academic teach-ins and mass demonstrations to civil disobedience and sporadic violence.

One person who “covered the water front” in this regard was S. Brian Willson, who spoke at the First Unitarian Society of Ithaca on Thursday, November 10th. Seeing him step onto the stage gave me chills. Although six years older (age 70), I looked at him as I examine myself and my actions from that time period. We both have graying hair, but his body is much less complete than mine having a pair of prosthetic limbs, limbs that were not lost during the war but as a consequence of it. Willson had come to relate his journey of life as exemplified in his recently published book “Blood on the Tracks”.

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101 Reasons to Ban Fracking

 

101 Reasons that High-Volume Hydraulic Fracturing (HVHF) Needs to be Banned in New York State
EACH OF THE FOLLOWING 101 REASONS, IF TAKEN ALONE, IS SUFFICIENT TO BAN HVHF.
TOGETHER THEY INDICATE UNBRIDLED GREED AND APATHY TOWARD LIFE …
GOVERNMENT-APPROVED CORPORATE HOMOCIDE.
WHO IS STANDING ON THE SIDE OF LIFE, TAKING THE ROLE OF PROTECTING AND PROMOTING THE PUBLIC HEALTH AND WELFARE?
1. If risk to our aquifers were the only reason HVHF needs to be banned, it would be sufficient.
2. If risk to our food quality and supply were the only reason HVHF needs to be banned, it would be sufficient.
3. If risk to our air quality were the only reason HVHF needs to be banned, it would be sufficient.
4. If risk to runaway climate change were the only reason HVHF needs to be banned, it would be sufficient.
5. If HVHF’s externalized costs were the only reason HVHF needs to be banned, it would be sufficient.
6. If the lack of disposal solutions for produced water and drill cuttings were the only reason HVHF needs to be banned, it would be sufficient.
7. If roadways clogged with heavy trucks, moving through established communities were the only reason HVHF needs to be banned, it would be sufficient.
8. If increased crime were the only reason HVHF needs to be banned, it would be sufficient.
9. If increased traffic accidents were the only reason HVHF needs to be banned, it would be sufficient.
10. If jeopardizing the lives of emergency response teams were the only reason HVHF needs to be banned, it would be sufficient.

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Economic Development and the Cost to the Citizens

 

by Dave Duncan
previously printed in the Bridge newspaper, but still timely

For many years the municipalities of Broome County and the County itself have been suffering from a drastic income shortfall. Reasons include the decline in population related to the manufacturing plants that have relocated elsewhere, the declining real incomes of the remaining workers, an increase in lower paying services jobs, the aging of the population and the necessity of maintaining the crumbling infrastructure. The problem cannot solely be attributed solely to current or past elected officials.

We are now in a position where our representatives and the Chamber of Commerce tell us, that we, the average residents must pay more taxes, while at the same time having our basic services cut. Each new budding politician campaigns on the platform of correcting the mismanagement of prior office holders but when it comes to protecting the interests of the financial and corporate elites, nothing changes. Yet there is another, unexplored, part of the equation.

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