Posts Tagged ‘Arts’

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Fellowship and Followship

The Almanack realizes that some places in our region are languishing in rural poverty. But a story about a New Hampshire church group launching a mission to help Pottersville is just plain strange – but hey, they “definitely needed their help.” Even if they sit less than 200 yards from Word of Life Fellowship on Schroon Lake whose recent speakers (to thousands of fans) have included such fantastic representations of followship as guns and drugs runner Ollie North.

The Word of Life Standard of Conduct

Certain principles of conduct are a necessary part of the effort to establish an atmosphere within which the goals of Word of Life can be realized. For this reason, Word of Life requires associates of the organization to refrain from the possession or use of alcoholic beverages, tobacco, illicit drugs, from gambling and the use of traditional playing cards, from the participation in oath-bound secret organizations (societies), from social dancing of any type, from attendance at the motion picture theater, and commercial stage productions. Christian discretion and restraint will be exercised in all choices of entertainment, including radio, television, audio and visual recordings, and various forms of literature. Also, Christian discretion will be exercised in observance of the Lord’s day. Furthermore, it is expected that associates will actively support a local Bible-believing church through service, giving, and allegiance.

So much for that last line.

By The Way:

In New York City more than one-fifth of people (recent estimates put it at one-quarter) live under the poverty line. If the poor of NYC they were their own city (of about 1.7 million), they would be the fifth largest city in America [pdf].

Warren County is one of the fastest growing counties in New York – it’s ranked 11th in the state (out of 62). According to 2000 census data, the median household income in Warren County is $39,198. The national median household income in 2000 was $41,994. Warren County’s per capita income is about $28,020 (in 2002, an increase of 19.4% from 1997).

In Mexico – “a free market economy that recently entered the trillion dollar class” according to the CIA factbook – 40% of the population lives under the poverty line (that’s Mexico’s poverty line!).


Monday, July 25, 2005

Big Box Tops and Adirondack Blight

In the Adirondacks, Tops Supermarkets are ubiquitous to say the least. Many communities depend on Tops as the only supermarket of any size in town. Much of the fresh produce brought into the region is sold in Tops – in a number of places – North Creek, Schroon Lake, Chestertown, Indian Lake and others – the local Tops is the only game in town. Most had been Grand Unions until they were purchased in 2001. Some are still run-down and most offer a limited selection of fresh meat, fish and produce so it doesn’t bode well for a whole lot of us that Ahold, the multinational corporation that now owns Tops has abandoned it for greener pastures.

Tops is just a trade name, the real name of the company was the Niagara Frontier Services, begun in 1960 by Savino Nanula, Armand Castellani (the owner of Great Bear Market) and Thomas Buscaglia (a grocery equipment salesman) near Buffalo / Niagara (the later two are now dead). Tops along with it’s subsidy Sugercreek / Wilson Farms convenience stores were purchased by Ahold in 1991 in their bid to control America’s groceries [pdf].

Ahold just sold Sugercreek / Wilson Farms to “WFI Acquisition, Inc.,” – a corporate shield for Savino Nanula’s “The Nanula Group,” which is actually a corporation formed by Nanco Enterprises, Inc. and the New York City investment firm Bruckmann, Rosser, Sherrill & Co. Bruckmann, Rosser, Sherrill & Co is a coporation formed by former senior executives of Citicorp Venture Capital (who doesn’t even have a website they care so little about who knows about them) and, well, they are, you know.

But who knows what Nanco Enterprises is, though we do suspect the “Nan” in “Nanco” and the “Nan” in “Nanula” are one in the same – another shield from personal responsibility for what your corporate identity does, it wouldn’t surprise us it if was some kind of tax shelter as well.

Anyway… the question is, will Nanula and his good ole boys buy back the Tops in our midst now that Ahold has had its way with them? Or will they simply go the way many Grand Unions have – to abandoned blight. Its just another reason that the Big Box sucks… imagine what our towns and villages would have looked like had these “Super” Markets not replaced the locally owned corner grocery.

A great opportunity to mention that local baker Matt Funiciello, owner of Rock Hill Bakehouse, is hosting James Kunstler on Tuesday, August9th.


Friday, July 22, 2005

The Flag or Egret Question

Stopped into the local Post Office to pick up a new roll of stamps. “Would you like flags or egrets?” the postmaster asked. The Almanack is fine with egrets or flags (they’re only stamps after all), but the question struck us as funny… was the postmaster checking our loyalty?

“At least you have a choice now,” he says, noting that until recently they only carried flags. We scanned the lobby wondering if someone was watching by video – and decided they probably weren’t – then noted that probably, flag stamps didn’t exist before the Civil War, and they couldn’t have been offering no stamps before that so…

It turns out the first flag stamp was apparently issued in 1869. Big brother discovered the power of “The Flag or Egret Question” somewhat later.


Thursday, June 16, 2005

We like beer…

Especially good local beer. Lake Placid Pub and Brewery’s UBU (as in “sit Ubu sit”) is an extra special favorite. We’ve always been a fan of the Saranac Brewery, though we were terribly distressed when regional favorite Utica Club left the shelves in droves. Sure Saranac is keeping the old F. X. Matt / Utica brewery operating, but Utica Club was a classic! So it’s with great hopes and anticipation that we look forward to the return of the old greats in a retro beer revival.

We’re glad Yuengling is back, but we still fear for Genny, and the now lamented 12 Horse Ale.


Friday, June 3, 2005

On The Road With Chicken Little

The Almanack doesn’t like to fall into the Chicken Little trap – even if occasionally, it does seem as the sky really is falling – or at least growing very, very dark [flash animation].

But lately we’ve been considering the raising price of gas, oil, and propane. There’s been a lot of talk lately about peak oil – the term used for the theory, backed by nearly all scientists in the field, that the world’s oil supply is limited and that the limit (the peak) is about to be reached. It’s all laid out here in this Vermont Guardian piece. It’s not a question of whether it will happen, but when; some say it will be in 2005-2006.

Like most Adirondackers we at the Almanack drive a lot – the nearest grocery is a nearly 15 minute drive, and we’re lucky – some have to travel more than an hour. Daily commutes to work alone can cost an Adirondack family 3, 4, 5, 6, hundred dollars a month or more. So is it any wonder that one Warrensburg man has made national news by being arrested twice in two weeks for stealing gas? [Just for media fun – read this version, and see how twisted others report (actually copied) this story – here, and here]

We all know the price of gas has skyrocketed since the beginning of the Iraq War – right? Well, not all of us. According to the Federal Energy Information Administration – a mouthpiece of big oil – there is “some good news.” According to EIA, the price of gas has fallen to the level of a year ago! Hurray! Adirondack Guardian has duly “reported” the good news – we’ll bet verbatim from the EIA press release. A better place to gauge the impact on our suburban consumer driven fossil fuel economy and its coming impact on us all is to check in with Jim Kunstler’s Clusterfuck Nation Chronicle – the author of Geography of Nowhere is really somewhere.

The cable station FX (in true Fox form) is simply prodding at our greatest fears, but riots and robberies over scarce and expensive gas are as sure to arrive as the yearly increase in the number of drive-offs at local gas stations – our man in Warrensburg appears to be the harbinger of things to come.


Monday, May 16, 2005

Real Reporting and the Saratogian

Recently ADK Almanack reported on the offensive, ignorant, undemocratic and slanderous reporting of local sex offenders by the right wing-nuts at the Saratogian. Last week the alternative weekly Metroland chimed in with an intelligent and fact-based look at the issue. Unfortunately, for reasons we simply don’t understand, Metroland doesn’t have a proper archive for their site (only this strangeness) so the story is here only until Thursday. Highlights of the article include the following facts drawn from the US Justice Department’s Center of Sex Offender Management:

  • Strangers rarely commit sexual assaults. Ninety percent of adult victims of sexual assault had a prior relationship (family member, intimate or acquaintance) with the offender.

  • Not all sex offenders reoffend. In fact, sex offenders are less likely to reoffend than other criminals.

  • Fewer sexual-offense crimes are happening each year. According to statistics from the FBI, the arrest rate for all sexual offenses dropped 16 percent between 1993 and 1998.
  • 30 percent of adult sex offenders were sexually abused as children. However, approximately 40 to 80 percent of all juvenile sex offenders, who commit for 20 percent of all rapes and 50 percent of all child molestations, were sexually abused.

  • It’s not cheaper to keep sex offenders in prison. A single year of high-level supervision and treatment in the community costs between $5,000 and $15,000 for each offender. A single year of incarceration, without treatment, costs approximately $22,000 for a single prisoner.