The box's contents and the authors suppositions about their meaning are chilling, but are they fact or fiction? The only references to the Indian Lake Project online are to the blog, usually on paranormal forums, and once supposing that it was a viral marketing tool. However, real programs of government experiments have come to light through declassified documents in recent years, but few if any involved children. Is it possible that this is real evidence of another secret program? Or is it a fictitious project of someone who watched one too many episodes of the X-files?
To read the blog and judge for yourself, visit the Indian Lake Project. (It makes the most sense to start in the archives and read to the present day.)
Posted by Natalie
On a personal note, I'd like to make it clear that in the majority of races, I hate most of the candidates equally, regardless of party affiliation. Our choices this year are abominable. To me, the choice between Kirsten Gillibrand and John Sweeney is like asking whether or not you'd like a punch in the right eye or the left eye. Either way, you're going to get hurt, and probably lose your depth perception. This is the problem for at least one race in every voting cycle, and it's not a fun choice to make, and for the majority of voting Americans, it's one they choose not to.
Despite this, I'm a firm believer in voting anyway. Not participating in voting alone as a sign of protest doesn't say anything more to the powers that be than not voting because you are too busy/lazy that day. And that collective non-voice doesn't 'sap the legitimacy of the government' so much as it sends the message that people will just shrug their shoulders and continue with their lives, not caring enough about what the government is doing to pull a lever once a year.
Yes, of course, there is the slight possibility that a large enough faction of disgruntled citizens will overtake the current system (on a local, state, or federal level) and impose some sort of new order. But is it worth waiting until things get so bad that such a radical change is foreseeable? (Because as messed up as things are Upstate, I think we can all agree that it could get much, much worse.) To me, that's like gaining weight so you're fat enough to be eligible for gastric bypass surgery.
Also, the idea of cataclysmic overthrow is alienating to people who don't hold radical views one way or another, and quite honestly, I would hope we could do better than that. Smashing the current system and building anew is always an option, but is it possible that progress and reform could be more than just empty buzzwords? Can we possibly transcend the cycle of revolution, rise to power, decadence and decline, and just plain make things better?
Are people who don't vote still active and effective politically? You bet. But I think those who work for change and don't take advantage of the vote are shunning a legitimate avenue for the improvement of governance, or something that with work and participation, could become that legitimate .
Is once a year voting "disempowering?" As an act, no: I figure voting once is better than voting at all. As an act in our current system, I would again say no. You're just not as empowered as you could be. In a real democracy, we would all vote on all issues, great and small. But most people don't have the time, knowledge, or the wherewithal to do that. That's why elected representatives came to be. The more we make it clear that they're working for us, and the more accountable they are, the more equitable the system will become.
Some people may argue that a once a year vote is a token, a scrap thrown to the masses to make them feel relevant by 'the man.' But that's what we've let it become. To some degree, it will always feel that way in larger elections, when the individual act of voting is subsumed into the collective action of the many. But tokens can be important and useful for the masses as well, not just the powers that be that the vote allegedly placates. A collective yell of "hey, we're actually paying attention over here" is valuable in and of itself. Between that and other kinds of political action, we might just make the Upstate we love a little better. I think it's worth trying.
I'm sure Jesse (and others) would say I'm a middle-of-the-road pansy with far too much faith in the idea that people can make and understand both logical arguments and reasoned decisions. But, gosh dang it, I'm just an optimist that way. Now I'm going to go brace myself for a punch in the eye.
- Posted by Natalie
P.S. Coincidentally enough, the very first post on York Staters was about this topic.
I've always been annoyed at 'get out and vote' ads, such as P. Diddy's "Vote or Die" campaign last presidential election, as they seemed simplistic, over-paternalistic and patronizing. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm a big fan of governmental participation and democracy, but I have serious problems with voting in modern America in general, and in the coming election specifically.
The root of the problem, you see, is that I find once-a-year voting to be incredibly disempowering. The rhetoric claims that the government gains its legitimacy and we gain our influence by, one day a year, checking a box. It is inevitable that in an overwhelmingly two party system, individual voices and true concerns are not articulated and the vote becomes a simple bellow.
Moreover, by making that five minutes in a voting booth the ultimate essence of political action delegitimizes the rest of the political process. Politics, as I see it, is the debate and conflict that occurs in any society over the future direction of that society--politics is inevitable. However, it cannot be boiled down to simply which party is in control or the nature of the candidates running for office because not all power is concentrated in the hands of those individuals. In particular, I believe that there are three key nexuses of power that direct politics in our modern state: the governmental sphere, the economic sphere and the social sphere. The governmental sphere is made up of the apparatus of the government, elected officials, bureaucrats, military officers, etc. Power in the economic sphere is diffused along every exchange of goods and services; in practice, however, the power (represented by money) in this part of our system is increasingly concentrated in fewer and fewer hands. The final part of the system is the social sphere, which is the most amorphous, but is involved in the interactions we have with others and exchange of opinions and ideas. Power is centralized in this sphere through the use of mass media and the manipulation of symbols by powerful individuals. Of course, there is tremendous overlap in all of these spheres and a particular individual may hold power in all or none of the three spheres.
So when we concentrate our attentions on a single interaction with the governmental sphere once a year (or once every four years for many), we ignore the potency that is held in our economic and social interactions. We delegitimize and marginalize the potency we have in our own minds and pockets. Vote or Die? A slogan like that is an insult to mine and your intelligence and strength as social actors.
Now, you might be saying "that's all well and good, but of course you can still vote once a year and then fight for change in other ways the other 364 days of the year." This is true and I have voted in every election, even school budgets, since turning 18. But it was never done as a duty and it was always done because I believed in one of the options as superior than the others. My vote lends the legitimacy of my voice to a particular candidate, if I do not believe in that particular candidate but am simply voting against the other person, I am giving false legitimacy, false reality to the other candidate.
I look across the slate of candidates available to me and I am, in general, disgusted. Yes, I am opposed to issues like the Iraq War and a Mexican Wall that many of the Republicans agree with--I'm certainly opposed to their rabid support of unregulated Capitalism. At the same time, I look to the Democrats and I see a body that seeks to expand a paternalistic, inefficient and disempowering centralized state. I want Universal Health Care, but I don't want National Health Care. I don't want callous bureacrats in Washington having any more control over my life than they do today.
Furthermore, I look to the issue that is most key to myself--the restoration of true healthy community in the places where I live--and I see the candidates falling flat. Where is the plan for Upstate? Where is the recognition of the dignity of our lives? The candidates who claim to "fight for Upstate" are really only bragging about their ability to steal federal or state monies from the Pork Barrel, hence from communities elsewhere. I'm not interested in supporting my community, so much as I am in supporting communities in general. I am disgusted by the competition that our cities are forced into, scrambling over the scraps left over from deregulation and consolidation. A candidate who boasts his ability to plunder the national store for my benefit obviously has none of the moral prerogatives that I have. Would Jim Walsh's thievery be such a good thing if I lived in Appalachia? Or rural Idaho?
So I'm not going to vote this election and I'm not at all troubled about it. I know that I will have my social and economic voice for social change every day of the year and it will be undiminished by my actions on that November day. I also know that I cannot with good conscience give the legitimacy of my vote to any of the thieves presented to us as candidates. I look forward to your comments.
-Posted by Jesse
Firstly, there is a conference taking place at the FDR Presidential Library in Hyde Park, NY this Saturday, sponsored by the Preservation League of New York State, Hudson River Heritage, The New York State Council on the Arts and the National Trust for Historic Preservation called "Preservation Under Pressure" talking about preservation issues that could apply anywhere upstate, with seminars on scenic roadways and the possibility of community and design-friendly chain stores. It seems like it will be valuable for anyone in a community looking to learn more. And it's not to late to sign up! The registration fee is a mere $20 for a day of preservation fun, info is available on the PLNYS website. And I'll be there. Good times!
Secondly, there've been a number of new blogs on the scene in recent months, but I'd like to single out for honorable mention Excelsior! Ever Upstate, a blog by Stefanie, a life-long York Stater and a historic preservation student at Cornell, who is also very friendly. Excelsior! will appear on the sidebar with other additions this month as we continue our one-year anniversary updates.
- Posted by Natalie
“-Suddenly, as if a whirlwind had set down roots in the center of the town, the banana company arrived, pursued by the leaf storm. A whirling leaf storm had been stirred up, formed out of the human and material dregs of other towns, the chaff of a civil war that seemed ever more remote and unlikely. The whirlwind was implacable. It contaminated everything with its swirling crowd smell, the smell of skin secretion and hidden death. In less than a year it sowed over the town the rubble of many catastrophes that had come before it, scattering its mixed cargo of rubbish in the streets. And all of a sudden that rubbish, in time to the mad and unpredicted rhythm of the storm, was being sorted out, individualized, until what had been a narrow street with a river at one end and a corral for the dead at the other was changed into a different and more complex
town, created out of the rubbish of other towns.” -Gabriel Garcia Marquez; Leaf Storm, (p. #1)
Hemlock, New York - The fall comes and the leaves slowly begin to fall to the ground in the Western Finger Lakes region of Upstate, New York. Hemlock is one of those little such towns that populate the maps of this often mysterious region. There are many secrets about this old town that only a few people know, just like so many other places throughout the entire world. To say that Hemlock is rural would not be an exaggeration, however at the same time to say that Hemlock is undeveloped and untouched by humans would also be an understatement. At the risk of drawing attention to this sleepy little hamlet, I move forth - in hopes of sparking the passion and desire of those who realize the need for conservation and preservation.
Hemlock is an old town, with a long history of importance dating back before the conquest of what is now known as America and moreover as the United States of America. It is said that a long time ago, a glacier covered most of what is now Western, NY and as this glacier retreated it dug, what much later came to be known as the Finger Lakes. Although, it is believed that even before helicopters and planes started flying, and even before map makers made maps that one could buy and sell in a store, the native inhabitants of Western, NY knew that these lakes resembled the fingers of a hand way before Columbus started a genocide upon them.
Welcome to Hemlock, NY - officially known as the Hamlet of Hemlock, which to my understanding is actually (governmentally) a part of Livonia, NY. This place has had many names over time, but the name Hemlock has been the one history [sic] has favored. Some of the other names have been - Holden, Slab City, and perhaps something like O-Neh-Da Te-Car-Ne-O-Di, which means Up and Down the Hemlock. The name was given to this area from none other than the relation of Hemlock trees and the logging industry that developed along the shores of Hemlock Lake. No, these trees are not to be confused with the famous Hemlock poison of ancient Socrates philosophies. Hemlock trees are conifers, not plants like the one that eventually killed Socrates, but supposedly the tress are named Hemlock because of the resemblance of the smell between the poison and what later came to be known as Hemlock trees.
One of the main reasons why Hemlock, NY is such an important location is because it encompasses Hemlock Lake. If Hemlock Lake were a finger, it would be the second most western Finger Lake with the most western being Conesus. Hemlock Lake is only about a 5-10 minute drive from Conesus Lake, but it in reality they are worlds away. Conesus Lake - is like a human water park, similar to a theme park, i.e. Disney Land. Conesus Lake is a creation and test of a dense population living excessively around an important eco-system, this being the western most Finger Lake (okay, so maybe Disney Land is a little different, I actually don’t know because I’ve never been to Disney Land, nor plan on it). On the other hand, or should I say on the other finger (sorry for the lame pun), Hemlock Lake is almost completely untouched by humans destructive habits, making it one of only two Finger Lakes that are undeveloped. The other being, the neighboring Canadice Lake, which is about a 5 minute drive from Hemlock Lake and shares Hemlock Lakes astounding natural characteristics, with the exception of a couple of human blunders. The history of the area goes a little something like this.
D. Byron Waite, writes in O-Neh-Da Te-Car-Ne-O-Di or Up and Down the Hemlock, published in 1883 (p. #1, ):
“There is no lake in Western New York that has greater demands for our consideration, or is faster gaining notoriety as a summer resort than this. Its cool, refreshing air, its pure waters, its lovely scenes; its beautiful points and picturesque nooks, and these old hills,all unite in one inviting, persuasive voice for man [sic] to occasionally step away from the tiresome routine of life and enjoy more of Nature inher pristine beauty and healthfulness.”Waite is never short of talking up Hemlock Lake, making him seem to my modern eyes, like a property agent or advertiser from the late 1800's. He also goes on to say that Hemlock Lake is the “Most attractive of all the beautiful chain of lakes which adorn Western and Central New York.” In my opinion, he might just be right, but that is probably because I’m a native of Hemlock and take great pride in this area.
Furthermore - while, the idea of beauty is in the beholder, Waite’s idea of Hemlock has seemed to stand the test of time, unlike many of the other Finger Lakes. As stated earlier, Hemlock Lake and Canadice Lake are two of the only undeveloped Finger Lakes, making them the diamonds in the rough of the Finger Lakes. However, they are not without their faults inflicted upon them by human beings: for instance, in the middle 1900's, Canadice Lake was heavily polluted by the smelting of batteries (basically, melting the battery in order to obtain the metal, while dumping the remains). The fish and surrounding environment have always been known to carry small doses of pollutant, perhaps due to this smelting process (notice: this is not to be confused with smelting; as in netting smelt [fish] from a creek or body of water). Hemlock Lake was also known to once house over 200 cottages on its lake front, however this all changed when the City of Rochester forced the removal of cottages along the lakeshore in the 1920's. Now a days, no one lives there - and you’re not allowed to swim in the lake, take a boat over 16 feet or so, an engine over 10 horsepower, and even access the property without a permit from the City of Rochester, among some of the few regulations pertaining to this area. On the other hand, the permits are free and easy to obtain and serve more as an informational resource to strangers than seeming like an unwelcome letter.
Why is Hemlock Lake undeveloped? Well, the City of Rochester has the rights to the land and water that make up Canadice and Hemlock Lake, owning more than 7,000 acres in the surrounding area. Since 1876 the two lakes have been a steady source of drinking water for the City of Rochester, with a January 24th, 1876 newspaper headline reading "Glory! Hemlock Water at Last!" Thus, one can realize the sheer importance of protecting these vital sources of water from our often dangerous hands, for not only do the organisms who currently surround Hemlock Lake depend on its strength, but almost an entire city also depends on it for clean drinking water, among other things.
Not only is the water a symbol Hemlock Lake, but there is also a somewhat recently discovered old growth forest along the south-western shores of the lake. According to research, this is possibly one of the oldest and largest remaining old growth forests in all of North Eastern America, with some of the trees dating to more than 400 years old! As with all good news, there is the negative and this old growth forest is worth a lot of money in the eyes of capitalist loggers; after all how else did Hemlock receive its name. I have heard that around the year 2000, this forest could be logged for up to $8 million - but should one really put a price tag on something like this? In my opinion, the answer is clearly no. What will be the future of this old growth forest? Well, unfortunately I’m currently unable to tell you, because it seems that in my ever present attempts to dig up information, no one is responding to what is actually happening to the trees at Hemlock Lake. When, the old growths came to public knowledge in 2001 - logging was being planned and implemented in the area, but the City of Rochester did agree to a two-year moratorium on logging 212 acres of trees along Hemlock Lake, but this was back in 2002. So, what is happening now? Good question, I wish I knew - when this all started, if I remember correctly, I wrote to the president of the USA, and multiple government representatives urging them to protect Hemlock Lake, but as usual I only received a form letter in return, in some instances I received nothing at all. While this is sad, it is even more shocking to find out that when I wrote to local groups this past summer, who have worked on preserving Hemlock Lake, I didn’t even receive a form response letter of concern, but rather nothing! Meaning, that they either don’t know what is going on, don’t care to respond to my letter, didn’t receive it, or are just taking their sweet old time (being about 3 months now, perhaps more).
Hemlock will always hold a dear spot in my heart for I have spent the majority of my life searching, adventuring, and finding the hidden joy of life within the wilderness of Hemlock. There are many things to hold dear - some of the few I’ve found about this small town have been: 1. the fact that 15 years ago one of, if not the only place to find a nesting Bald Eagle in New York State was at the south end of Hemlock Lake, now there are a couple more and they are moving to places outside of Hemlock 2. The series of three large waterfalls that run into Hemlock Lake 3. The black bears that lurk through the night and are said to inhabit the area surrounding Hemlock 4. The coyotes that howl in the night, unfortunately folks in Hemlock have been known to shoot them 5. The old ghost town that is behind the town of Hemlock, known as Jacksonville 6. The buried treasure of 1777, General Sullivan’s March Through Hemlock (George Washington ordered this march, resulting in the genocide of the natives) and the buried treasure remains, or does it? 7. The Catacombs that are hidden within the hills of Hemlock 8. More secrets than I wish to share
I’d like to spend the rest of my life living in Hemlock, New York - but we shall see what happens - writing from the hidden barn of desire amongst the burned out district of Hemlock, New York, I - Phaedo of the Land of Whiskey and Pumpkin Pie extend our greetings to you.
Some Hemlock Links
Hemlock Lake on Roch Wiki
Hemlock Lake on Wikipedia
Hemlock Lake NYS DEC GOV’T
Nature Conservancy on Hemlock Lake
Rochester Environment on Hemlock Lake
Hemlock Lake South End Photo
Some More Hemlock Lake Photos
Old Growth Forest at Hemlock Lake, Sierra Club
We know the story of Abner Doubleday, and the game 'rounders', and Cooperstown... well, baseball was probably around for 50 years before that, but anyway, the first professional leagues all had teams in Upstate. The National Association is regarded as the origin of the modern pro-baseball league, running from 1871-1875, and during its inaugural season had the Troy Haymakers of Troy, NY- 'though they were a dismal team and folded either at the beginning of their second season or before even completing their first.
The National Association lead to the National League(NL) in 1877, which is the same league that the New York Mets are currently playing in for the championship. The NL was the first appearance of a pro team from Buffalo, the Bisons, playing in the league from 1879-1885. Buffalo would reappear multiple times in multiple leagues, and even today there is a team called the Bisons there, playing in the International League(which is considered outside of Major League Baseball's professional major and minor leagues.)
The NL in 1879 also had the Syracuse Stars, who folded after one season, and saw the return of a team to Troy, the Trojans(1879-1882). During this time there was a veritable surge in baseball's popularity throughout America and Upstate; and as becomes the case with every team in Upstate- big cities win the spots in the league and the Upstate teams will be moved or just replaced.
The NL wasn't the only pro baseball league vying for America's attention at this time, the American Association emerged- challenging the NL's dominance. "The "AA" offered cheaper ticket prices and more liberal libations to its patrons, and became known as "The Beer and Whiskey League." 
The Rochester Hop Bitters/Broncos and Syracuse Stars join the AA near the end of its run in 1890, but didn't fair so well and folded. The AA ran from 1882-1891. 1890 also saw the return of the Buffalo Bisons- but in a different pro league, the Players' Association. The Players' Association(PA) was a league formed from the first players' union and was a very talented league because of how well the players were paid compared to the National League. But the NL quickly mended this and incorporated the players' union and some of the PA teams; alas, Buffalo is again dropped in favor of the new big city teams.
I figure the people of Buffalo really liked baseball because in the first form of today's American League, the Western League, 1893 until 1900 when it became the American League; the Bisons were back- if only briefly. "In the Chicago Tribune, January 29, 1901, it is reported that the American League voted to drop Indianapolis, Minneapolis, and Buffalo, and award new franchises to new backers in Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Boston." 
The Federal League (1914-1915) was perhaps the last real challenge to the dominance of the American and National Leagues. The Buffalo Buffeds/Blues emerge as the last major professional baseball team in Upstate, and then the story goes: "After the 1915 season the owners of the American and National Leagues bought out half of the owners (Pittsburgh, Newark, Buffalo, and Brooklyn) of the Federal League teams." 
"Release us now!/Release us now!/Before we forget what were are/lift up our souls in union!/Before we forget what we are/lift up our souls in union!/Inside us, there’s a nation/hidebound and unaware/of people’s insurrection/of the soul to kill despair/release us/now!"However, perhaps what defines 'hardcore' even more than its musical style, which often edges over into both the heavy metal and punk genres, is the subculture that surrounds it. Hardcore can perhaps be best defined as that genre of music that infuses the rebellious spirit exemplified in all rock, but especially within punk, with a program of social transformation. Hardcore is music with a message; far from glorifying 'sex, drugs and rock and roll,' hardcore musicians often offer profound social critiques while at the same time raging against oppression and offering hope for a better, more egalitarian future.
“We Live in Defiance of Empty Times!” chants the chorus of “Timebomb Generation” (2001) by the band Strike Anywhere. In “When the Angels Sing” (1996), Social Distortion says: “There’s gotta be a heaven/cause I’ve already done my time in hell.” Hardcore is a response to the perception of modern society as increasingly fragmented and atomistic, filled with alienation and lacking meaning or purpose. Much of this is a product of the destruction of the socio-economic framework of many urban areas, especially the Rust Belt, but also of the sterile lives that many found growing up within the suburbs.
Hardcore has a long history in Syracuse and Upstate New York, as evidenced from the sweatshirt I saw this evening that read "315 Hardcore 1993-2003." Throughout the late '90s, the Syracuse Scene became well known as a heartland of Straight Edge, Animal Liberation, Vegan and Hardline Movements. Clustering around musical groups like Earth Crisis, these kids fused deep ecology, animal liberation, straight-edge (rejection of all mind altering substances), sexual asceticism and angry punk rebellion into a potent mixture. Some of this can be still felt today: SARO (Syracuse Animal Rights Organization) had a table at the show with a banner that read "Against All Oppression," and there was a definite presence of Straight Edge kids (evidenced by the prominent black "X"s they wear on their hands). However, much of the movement has died away in the area and while tonight's show hadn't lost it's rage at oppression, it was more diffuse and generalized than the critiques of a decade ago. Despite it all, the music tonight was still catchy, the bands passionate and the mosh pit intense.
For those of you interested in stopping by and enjoying the 315 Scene, I suggest visiting www.315hardcore.com, and coming to next week's show at Westcott- doors open at 8pm, $7 cover, all ages allowed. See you there.
-Posted by Jesse
In celebration of our one-year anniversary, York Staters is proud to announce the creation of a new semi-regular column, similar to Tastes of the Region or our County Courthouse Series. Called “Stops Along the Way,” its purpose is to highlight those places in the paths of our lives where we pause. These are the little spots in life where we rest for a moment, gain knowledge, joy or assistance before continuing upon our myriad of journeys. These places are not destinations in the proper sense of the word, but are the planned or unintented links in the chain that makes up a trip.
These “Stops along the Way” can be literal—the physical places we visit on our journies- or metaphoric. Or both. The purpose is simple: to expand our appreciation for the unique landscapes of our Upstate communities and the effect that they have upon our lives. What types of places can be included? A big tree that you always pass while walking the dog, the diner that you always stop for lunch while driving to your parent’s house or that spot where you always slow down the drive so that you can see the lake—covered in morning mist or glistening in the moonlight. It is these places that enrich our lives as much as any, but are ones that we rarely take the time to fully appreciate.
“Stops along the Way” celebrates the journey itself and hopes to call into question the goal-driven values that speed up and depersonalize our lives. Instead it promotes a view of life as a process—one in which we do not always have a goal in mind and never know the fully control the direction of.
To submit your Stops along the Way, please email us at york.staters (at) gmail (dot) com. Please feel free to visit our Mission Statement and Submission Guidelines with any of your questions. We look forward to hearing from you.
Firstly, the always astute Adirondack Almanack  has been discussing the effect that climate change will have upon that region of the world, someething Bill McKibben has been talking about at length for years.
Closer to home for me, Syracuse University has been on something of a "climate change kick" of late, beginning with Al Gore's speech before the Syracuse community at the Landmark a few weeks back. Since then, the University has opened up public debate on what can be done about climate change here at home. For me, perhaps the most profound statement to come out of those discussions was by Dr. Rachael May of EnSPIRE :
Just as the existence of a second home implies the failure of the first, our incredible expenditures in energy can be in a large part directly blamed upon the disentegration of our communities. Sprawl, long commutes, far-flung vacations, etc, etc. Strong, healthy communities just make sense in so many ways: economic, ecological, psychological and aesthetic. I'm glad that the connection between energy use and community decay was explicitly made.
Since that public forum, a working group called Global Warming Brainstorming has begun work trying to figure out how to break SU and ESF's energy addictions (they're taking suggestions). Even better news: this is part of a much larger movement of hundreds of universities around the nation dedicated to halting and even reversing climate change. It appears that there may be a reason that the NYT referred to students my age as "the Greenest Generation." Let's keep up the good work.
-Posted by Jesse
 "always astute Adirondack Almanack" how's that for alliteration? My English teachers at C. Fred Johnson Middle School would be proud as pie.
 EnSpire is the Office of Environment and Society at SU and ESF.
Editor's Note: York Stater's friend, Wild Turkey Desire, has submitted this document published by the Social Justice Club of SUNY Oswego for our perusal. It gives an excellent picture of some of the radical organizing taking place on some of our college campuses around Upstate New York and offers a few good articles for your perusal. Enjoy! -Jesse
By Us We Go
October 2nd, 2006
A Call Up: We here at the Social Justice Club of SUNY Oswego would like to extend our salutations and invite you to participate in our shared future. We have been a student organization on the SUNY Oswego campus for the last three years and are striving to keep the opportunity to organize and raise awareness in Oswego, NY open to all who are interested in working with us. If you help organize other campus organizations around Upstate, NY or for that matter anywhere in the USA - we would like to hear from you, lets do some networking and find out what has worked and what has not. Also, if you are interested in coming to Oswego, NY as a guest speaker - we would like to hear from you. We don’t have a lot of capital, but we like to think that we have big hearts. Furthermore, if you’d like to help us in any other way, shape, or form we would also like to hear from you. On top of all of this, we are also blissfully pleased to announce our first autumn edition of our newsletter/publication called The Get Free Times.
In case you’re wondering, The Get Free Times is a compilation of socially conscious writings, by people that are concerned for the struggles that continue to exist throughout all nations and peoples. Stepping away from mainstream media, they are ideas from real people who remain focused on freedom, justice, and liberty for all. Our first autumn issue is a full six pages of articles (front and back) written (for the most part) and complied by current and former SUNY Oswego students for your reading pleasure. Our first issue, highlights our history as a “club” on campus and what we have all learned from our experience, plus some other randomness to get you thinking, along with some art to make life a little more interesting.
A list of articles for the first issue include: (some online links have been provided)
1) Read This Before You Tear It Down by a Social Justice Founding Sister
2) The Social Justice Club: A History by Subcommandante Maslauskas
3) Internet Security: Big Brother is not only watching us, but they are
4) Spring Foward, Fall Back Down: What is the Social Justice Club?
5) The Last Three Years of the Social Justice Club: Success and Failure by Us We Go
6) The Assembly Line at Factory Oswego by Subcommandante Maslauskas
7) The Peoples Republic of Crumm Mountain Mystery by an Anonymous Oswego Student (first published on Yorkstaters here)
If you would like to receive a hard copy of our publication, we would be pleased to send you one, especially if you publish your own campus newsletter or your campus has it’s own version of The Get Free Times. For that matter, we would like it if you sent us a copy of yours, so please let us know.
You can contact the editors of Social Justice at getfreetimes [at] gmail [dot] com
On the silly side of life, we have a rather boring internet site that is sometimes updated with our writings, but not everything (the print edition is much more complete, take that computers!). You can check out the site by visiting
Get Free Times
Well, we look forward to hearing from you and hopefully bringing a lot of needed debate to our often dry campus discourse.
Lets Get This Party Started!
Part of Your Campus Anarchist Network
(Note: We’re not all anarchists, but some of us might be)
 We are not a vanguard of revolutionaries, but rather we had to use the name “club” because we receive our funding from every student on campus under the student association fee. We actually despise the term “club,” especially in reference to social justice, but you gotta do, what you gotta do.
Most residents of the Genesee Valley have not been to the Abbey, but are familiar with its most famous creation, small, tasty loaves of Monk’s Bread available in groceries throughout the region. The loaves come in several flavors, including white, whole wheat, raisin and sunflower seed, each marked with the distinctive image of the Trappist monk on the front.
The Trappist monks, formally called the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance, is a Catholic order that strictly follows the rules of St. Benedict. While the Order is male and practices strict gender segregation, they do have a female branch (the “Trappestines”) Today there are almost 170 abbeys owned by the Order populated by around 2,500 monks and 1,800 nuns. Though the Order traces its foundations to the Rule of St. Benedict in the 6th century, it has recently gained world-wide fame through the writings of Thomas Merton. As a strict contemplative Order, the monks and nuns live lives of prayer and penance:
The day of a Trappist is divided between work and prayer. Manual work is preferred over other types of work and Trappist monasteries generally provide for themselves through the sale of goods produced in the monastery. Prayer is divided between the Divine Office, Lectio Divina and various other forms of meditative and contemplative prayer. Except for the ill, they abstain from meat, fish and fowl. To the extent that it is practical, they are expected to remain silent throughout the day and most especially at night. They are expected to live a life of strict personal poverty with few personal possessions and limited contact with the outside world.
"Strict Observance" does mean stricter silence, certain situations excepted. Contrary to popular belief, they don't take a vow of silence. However they will generally only speak when necessary, and idle talk is strongly discouraged. Meals are usually taken
in contemplative silence. (from Wikipedia, “Trappists”)
The bread delicious, if a bit small for the type of sandwhich that I enjoy, and the raisen variety in particular is an excellent as breakfast toast. While it is generally available in most Genesee Valley Wegmans and other stores, the best way to acquire the bread is to visit the Abbey itself.
Located on River Road, which, if one is heading from the Geneseo direction, is a right-hand turn off of Route 63/Genesee St. after Piffard and before Retsof. The bread store is open from 8 AM to 11 AM, 1:30 PM to 3:30 PM and 5:30 to 6:30 PM. If you get a chance, a detour into the devotional chapel (which is open when not in use) is a real highlight, it is one of the most beautiful small devotional rooms I have ever been in. However, don’t be surprised if you don’t see a monk (and if you do, don’t expect him to be interested in conversation); payment for the bread is optional and done through a small slot in the wall. Even without the option of not paying, the prices are exceptional—far lower than what one sees at the grocery- and there is much wider selection of baked goods: I remember pies, date or nut loaf, fruit cakes and brownies. The best news is that the bread itself freezes well, so you can stock up on the ocassional visit.
In conclusion, the Monk’s Bread and the Abbey of the Genesee are little local gems that definitely deserve a place on your table or a detour if you’re heading down Route 390.
-Posted by Jesse
The courthouse is also historic for its association with the struggles of Sojourner Truth, who successfully argued here for the return of her son unlawfully sold into slavery. A plaque in front of the courthouse commemorates her.
Please visit our previous installments of our ocassional series on county courthoueses: Broome County and Columbia County.
Posted by Natalie
Update: Check out Stefanie's paper on the Third Onondaga County courthouse
-Posted by Jesse
This morning, I glanced at The New York Times and was excited when I saw this article about cats genetically modified to be hypoallergenic. I remembered reading about a Syracuse start up company that was trying to isolate the gene that produces the protein to which 95% of humans with cat allergies react. The company Transgenic Pets received widespread press in 2001 in such varied publications as The New York Times and the Weekly World News. So I was hoping to see some news about an upstate success story.
Unfortunately, the story is a somehwhat fluffy (pun intended) piece about Allerca, of San Diego, a company with a waiting list over a year long to adopt one of their cats. So what happened to the Syracuse company? Was this perhaps another casualty of the much-maligned inhospitable business climate in Upstate New York? A little investigation was in order.
The founder of Transgenic Pets, David Avner, was an emergency room doctor in Syracuse when he started Transgenic Pets. After moving to Denver, an investor named Simon Brodie approached him about investing in the company, and signed a non-disclosure agreement in order to view Transgenic's business plans and patent applications, and incorporated Allerca with Avner as President, promising to invest $2.5 million in the company.
The money never came, and Brodie went to California and incorporated Allerca there within a month, and set up shop taking deposits on cats which have yet to be delivered. Transgenic is suing Allerca.
According to a 2004 article in the Denver Business Journal, David Avner was still an emergency room physician, but was now located in Highlands Ranch, CO. Why he relocated there from Syracuse is not addressed in any of the articles I found on Transgenic, nor is it addressed on the Transgenic subsidiary Felix Pets website.
While I can't seem to find a reason that the infant company left Syracuse, the cause of its problems is most certainly Simon Brodie. A very informative investigative peice by the San Diego Union Tribune details his other business ventures and practices, ranging for shady to illegal, and the trail of debt he's left behind.
There are entangled moral and ethical issues surrounding the practice of genetically modified anything, let alone pets.* But the case of Allerca goes beyond that, with some evidence suggesting that there might be fraud involved at best, and cruelty at worst, to say nothing of their infringements against Transgenic. In the Union Tribune article, there are serious questions that the feat of producing 400 to 500 cats in 2007 alone, and 10,000 cats by 2009, is improbable. It will be interesting to see if it can deliver on its promises, and if it can, what action will be taken by Transgenic Pets.
In any case, the genetically modified cat business has washed its hands of Syracuse.
In other animal related news, Catskill Game Farm is closing its doors this Monday. Later this month, the farms residents will be sold at auction.**
If you'd like to adopt a cat, you should visit WildRun, which is where I grabbed the picture of the NOT genetically modified cat above, Ginny, who is available for adoption.
Posted by Natalie
* It is interesting to note that Simon Brodie is affiliated with the Geneticas Life Sciences company, of which Allerca is a subsidiary, and that another subsidiary company is Genetiate, which among other things proposes a product/service/something called NightSave Deer, where it implants jellyfish genes into deer to make them phosphorescent and thus more visible to motorists at night. Both the Genetiate website and the Geneticas Life Sciences websites no longer exist, so we can only assume that that idea has been shelved.
** This article says that Owego and Catskill are nearby. Huh?
To add your story (or that of a friend) to our collective effort, you can send them via e-mail to info@genevahistoricalsociety
The participating museums are the Geneva Historical Society, the Yates County Genealogical and Historical Society, the Cayuga Museum, the History Center of Tompkins County, the Chemung Valley Museum and the Ontario County Historical Society.
Geneva Historical Society
543 South Main St
Geneva, NY 14456
Submitted by Anne Dealy
For the first time, we are going to feature in this monthly column someone who was neither born in Upstate New York nor currently lives here. However, I think that most York Staters will gladly join us in recognizing this incredible importance that Bill McKibben has had for both the region and environmental thought at large.
This last Friday, I attended a conference sponsored by the Adirondack Museum entitled Living with Wilderness: Community and Nature in the Adirondacks. The day-long event featured several prominent environmental speakers discussing the struggles that Adirondack communities are caught in trying to balance the demands of a healthy society with those of a healthy environment. The intriguing nature of the Park, and what makes it globally unique, is what McKibben referred to as “creative tension” surrounding the ever-present question within the Adirondacks: “can we coinhabit this world?”
It is this question that lies at the heart of all of McKibben’s works, which repeatedly demonstrate a profound respect for the natural world and a desire to find a place for human beings within it:
"...Human beings--any one of us, and our species as a whole--are not all-important, not at the center of the world. That is the one essential piece of information, the one great secret, offered by any encounter with the woods or the mountains or the ocean or any wilderness or chunk of nature or patch of night sky." --The Age of Missing Information, p. 229
Perhaps McKibben’s best know work was the seminal End of Nature (1989), which was one of the first calls to arms regarding global warming written for the general public. This incredible and cogent, if somewhat depressing, work is today a standard-bearer for the general environmental movement.
What many do not know is that McKibben wrote this text while living in Johnstown in the Adirondack Park. This “landscape of hope” (his words) has inspired a number of his works. In fact, I’m currently reading his latest, Wandering Home, where he travels by foot from his current home in Middlebury, Vermont, back to his old home in the Adirondacks, exploring how people throughout this landscape are attempting to remake their relationships with the land. Like so many prominent environmental thinkers before him, New York’s great experiment has profoundly affected the way he views the land and the people.
And so, despite his lack of current York State credentials, we here at York Staters salute Bill McKibben, the “best known American environmental author in the world.” We also recognize that he stands in for any number of lesser known writers, poets, scientists and philosophers that have been inspired by the land and the communities of Upstate New York—their work may not be as well known, but is no less important in the grand picture. To all of you, we thank you for your hard work and encourage you to continue.
-Posted by Jesse
Articles by McKibben
 More on this seminal event to come.
 Such as Teddy Roosevelt, Gifford Pinchot, Verplanck Colvin, John Marshall and Ralph Waldo Emerson
 A quote from a professor friend of mine who teaches environmental studies at SUNY Potsdam.
Why Regionalism? (by Jesse) Published on December 18th, I believe that this piece did more to get our name out and start debate than any other (See my response to the other blogs: Regionalism in the Blogs). In this essay, I challenged the primacy of the "American" identity and called for the establishment of local identity and the concept of the 'region.'
The Mid-Hudson Valley: Biological and Cultural Estuary (by Natalie) This essay explored the boundaries of regions (in this case Upstate and Downstate) where two ways of life wash up against one another. She utilized the biological analogy of an estuary.
Visiting Eunice. (by Jesse) We have become somewhat known here at York Staters for our sometimes bizarre road trips throughout Upstate. This one has been mentioned to me by a few of the readers as one of their favorites. It details a frustrating search for a haunted mausoleum north of Unadilla and how a group of bored young men work to inject adventure and mystery into their lives. Features a poem by Joe Sullivan.
Buffalo and New Orleans, Sisters in Suffering (by Jesse) I have gotten a bit of flak for this piece, which I still quite proud of. It compares the one-day destruction of New Orleans to that of decade-long dismantling of Buffalo and how both can be viewed as a product of over-dependence on unresponsive, unrepresentative centralized bureaucracies (corporate and federal).
Tastes of the Region: Mary's Pizzeria (by Sean Kirst) This essay by guest columnist Sean Kirst (op-ed writer for the Syracuse Post Standard) is part of of our ongoing series on local foods (Tastes of the Region). In it Sean talks about returning home to the devastated post-steel town of Dunkirk, NY to find the pizza that he loved from his childhood.
I hope you enjoy these pieces and I look forward to any comments you might want to make.
-Posted by Jesse
America Today: We are living under a corporate occupation; government by the rich, a fascist social order which uses propaganda to control people minds. And when you get close to describing the mechanisms by which the middle class and the poor are being exploited, describing who really holds the power and how they maintain it, the police are called out, people are arrested, or threatened with arrest, and are harrassed and intimidated in various other ways.
The proof is right here in Binghamton, folks. Wait until you hear this story:
Did you ever see the movie called "The Matrix"? This movie portrays a futurestic world where masses of people act kept alive in fluid-filled containers as fuel cells for a gigantic machine, while brain implants provide computer-generated dreams of freedom. Many people, when faced with the truth, choose the dream, because the reality is too frightening.
Sound a bit familiar? Today, I was escorted out of Binghamton's Rec Park by about eight Binghamton City police officers, as I sought an official from the American Cancer Society to discuss the "Making Strides Against Breast Cancer" event.
I first approached volunteers working for the Crowley Foods table. They spoke to me with smiles on while I asked them the standard questions, "how long have you sponsored this event?", etc. But as soon as I asked, "have you ever heard that milk causes breast cancer?", they refused consent to be videotaped any longer and asked me to leave.
I then spoke to Sonia, a young photojournalist from WIVT / Newshannel 34. I told her that I would be willing to be interviewed if she wanted another side to the story. She said she did not want to hear the other side, and that I should speak with her news director on Monday, Jim Ehmke. As I tried to tell her my thesis, that this is a fake news event, funded by industry, she replied, "that is a different story".
The local organizer, Gina Chapman, refused to speak with me, phoned Binghamton Police, and had me escorted out of the park. I complied, under protest. I am an independent journalist attending a public event! Why should I be forced to leave?
It's funny about the eight cops. That is also the number of women working in the local media, representing every major media outlet, whom I asked to speak to about how the local media covers breast cancer.. All refused to speak with me, including the Official Spokeswoman of the event, WBNG's Julia Sansom! Doug Mosher from Clear Channel Radio was at the event and also refused to speak to me.
My general background thesis is simple:
- Industrial society is toxic, making us physically ill, spiritually lacking and morally depaved.
- Our Western medicine has failed to make us healthy, and in fact, profit provides an incentive to keep us sick!
- Our media system fails to inform us about the realities of our world, and in fact, our media deliberatly keep us ignorant and confused.
- Capitalist profit corrupts everything it touches, medicine, media, industry, the military, banking, education, government.
Specific thesis about breast cancer and local media:
- The "Making Strides" event, the American Cancer Society, the Susan G. Komen Foundation, and "Breast Cancer Awareness Month" are public relations scams funded by industry in order to keep people ignorant and confused about the actual causes of cancer. (please read Jim Hightower's "Middle of the Road" book, ISBN: 0060929499, for a detailed account)
- Women are being told a lie, that "early dectection with mammograms is the best way to fight the disease", yet: Early detection is only effective once someone already has the disease! Breast Cancer is largely a preventable disease, yet prevention is almost never discussed! Prevention which would cost less, and is generally less harmful than the bizarre medical procedures used to treat the disease. Mammograms are not without risk of a) false results and b) actually causing the disease!
- Women are being injured and disfigured by bizarre medical procedures (disfiguring surgery, extremely toxic chemo-"therapy", and radiation). Yet local women are complicit in the bizarre medical practices, and the media disinformation campaign.
- Local businesses like Crowley Foods, a supplier of dairy products, are major funders of local media and this event, which is curious, because according to my research, dairy is a major contributing factor towards casuing breast cancer. There is sound science behind this assertion: Explore many other links
On Friday and Saturday, my new TV show premiered about breast cancer. It will repeat next week. I outline my thesis in this show. If you are interested, I hope you can watch it. An outline of my thesis is here: http://home.stny.rr.com/bhuston/breast%20cancer%20talk.html
I wish I could offer you some advice of what to do about this. Call Mayor Ryan and the Chief of Binghamton Police and protest my harrassment.
- Binghamton Mayor Matt Ryan (607) 772-7001
- Binghamton Chief of Police Steven Tronovitch (607) 772-7090
Call local media and ask them to cover the ALL SIDES of the Breast Cancer "Awareness" story, about causes and prevention. REMEMBER: Broadcasters are obligated by law to serve the public interest. Television station licenses are up for renewal next year.
- WBNG News Line: (607)729-9575 News director: Greg Catlin, GM: Bob Krummenacker
- Fox-40 news: (607)798-0070 News director: Suh Neubauer, GM John Leet
- Newschannel34: (607)771-NEWS (6397) News director: Jim Ehmke, GM: John Birchall
- WSKG: (607)729-0100 News: Ken Campbell/Crystal Sarakas, GM: Gary Reinbolt
- Clear Channel Radio: (607)584-5800 News: Dave Lozzi / Doug Mosher, GM: Joanne Aloi
- Time Warner Cable: 607-644-1293 VP of Public Relations: Dave Whalen
- Citadel Radio: (607)772-8400 News: Bernie Fionte, GM: Mary Beth Walsh
- Press and Sun Bulletin: (607) 798-1151 (Newsroom), Executive Editor: Calvin Stovall (607) 798-1186
607-724-1755bhuston @ stny.rr.com Bio is here: http://home.stny.rr.com/bhuston
I can't believe how quickly time has passed, but a full year has passed since we first posted here on York Staters. It's been quite a year and we're still gung-ho about the project; for our one-year celebration, we've got one or two little surprises planned that we hope you'll enjoy.
To recap a bit of this past year: at the point of writing this, we've had a total of 18,767 visitors to the site and 35,082 page views. We're currently at our highest rate of visitation ever, with a daily average of 95 visitors!
In this past year, we've seen an explosion of interest in Upstate New York as a region and a state of mind and we've been more than pleased to be along for the ride. One might even say that there has been a general rebellion against taxes, NYRI and state government inefficiency and corruption. Perhaps Upstate is finally shaking off the complacency or fatalism of the past thirty years and finding its voice? We certainly hope so.
Whatever happens, we hope to be here to bring a bit of perspective and to give a voice to whoever finds a need for one. As long as you keep reading, we'll try to keep writing.
-Jesse and Natalie
Edit from Natalie: Actually, we started at the end of October last year. But I think we're going to celebrate this whole month, because we can ;o) Jesse and I have discussed some interesting articles and additions to the blog to mark the occassion, so stay tuned! And, as always, we welcome your submissions.