Monday, October 11, 2021

Fire destroys local convenience store

 By 7 News Staff

Published: Oct. 11, 2021 at 12:15 AM EDT|Updated: 4 hours ago

TOWN OF MORRISTOWN, New York (WWNY) - A gas station convenience store was destroyed when a truck crashed through its walls and set the building ablaze.

According to Morristown Fire Department officials, emergency crews responded to the scene of 3667 State Route 37 just after 9 p.m. Sunday night, after a truck towing a race car heading north went off the road, took down a telephone pole, and completely entered the building. Officials on scene said the truck exploded, catching the store that houses a Tim Horton’s and Subway on fire.

Everyone inside was evacuated and none were injured. Morristown’s fire chief said crews knocked the fire out quickly, but the building was a “total loss.” He added the occupants of the vehicle were taken to a local hospital, and their injuries were not severe. St. Lawrence County Emergency Services officials told 7 News that hospital was Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center.

Emergency crews including the Morristown Fire Department, the Brier Hill Fire Department, and State Police were on scene as of 11 p.m. Sunday night.

Copyright 2021 WWNY. All rights reserved.

Sunday, October 10, 2021

Windmill Scuttlebutt

In my meanderings around the village I've encountered friends, neighbors and acquaintances all ready and willing to share the local gossip.  I posted some of that scuttlebutt on my Facebook page and drew an admonition from the Town Supervisor to be careful about spreading "fake" news.

I suspect that the stories gleaned over the past few days have more than a nugget of truth in them.  I admit that some may be embellished to a degree or in one case, at least, a bit of wishful thinking.

Let's start at the beginning:

The LeBlanc house (as I knew it in1975) was purchased by a Florida Lawyer named Cal and is being renovated by he, his girlfriend Jenna, a crew of workers and Cal's dad who is an electrician.  I've been given a preview tour and the prospective renovation is on tract to be spectacular.  No "fake" news here.

While at the post office yesterday and later in the day at the former Morristown Market/Dane's dinner I spoke with local friends and a contractor about the rumors circulating through the local gossip mill.

The red brick house across from the Market/diner on the corner of North Umberland St. and Main has been purchased.  Can't confirm what if any renovation has started.

The developer who had plans to replace the Harbor Inn with a new hotel restaurant a few years ago has reapplied for a permit to rekindle building said project.  In addition, he has purchased some additional waterfront property from Wright's Marina which will extend his holdings from the proposed hotel site on the bay to around the bay entrance to the condo complex.  Can't confirm whether or not he has had his permit application approved.

The former Masonic Temple has been purchased by someone from Texas.  Can't confirm the scuttlebutt saying that they propose to make it into a B&B.

I spoke with the owners of the Market/Diner last Thursday.  The place is for sale and they were expecting a realtor to arrive that day investigating for a possible buyer.  Can't confirm any sale agreement nor the speculation that an Irish Pub will be installed there.

The Charlton home on Morris street has been purchased.

The house across Morris St. from the Charlton house has been purchase by someone from the village.

The empty lot, formerly owned by Bill Bogardus, which abuts  Dr. Dunn's property has been purchased and is in the process of being clear-cut. (Update; 12 Oct., 2021. Heard the property was purchased by a man named Elliot Austin.  Possibly to build a storage bldg.)

The Dollar General store being erected just east of the village is progressing at a rapid pace and is projected to open on 5 December, 2021.

The sewer lift station being constructed west of Bay Street is nearing completion.  The bridge removal is projected to occur on 5 Nov. 2021.  And no walking bridge is being considered at this time.

Those are the facts as I know them to be.
Stay tuned for the next issue of the Windmill Scuttlebutt.


Friday, October 08, 2021

A stroll around the village.

 Yesterday started out as an overcast chilly day, but as the hours progressed it, the day, turned into a pleasant, cool, sunny day conducive to accomplishing a few tasks.  "There's no time like the present to turn over a new leaf."  I've been procrastinating starting up my walking routine to get ready for our return to Florida; today seemed like a good day to start.

But to be truthful, that's not why I started out.  I had the germ of an idea for a blog/Facebook post that started  niggling at my mind ever since, a few days ago,  I posted about a neighbor's house renovation.  The germination of an idea to provide  info to my fellow villagers that has been lost with the demise of the local newspaper.

In addition to the afore mentioned renovation project, there are two other big projects in or around the village and I thought a post pointing out the contrasts between these two projects would provoke some interest.  And what would a intriguing story be without a photo or two.  So off I start with a stroll down to the site of the Bay bridge's projected removal do to deteriorating infrastructure.  Mind you this project was decided a few years ago and certainly well before the village dissolved and came under town government's auspices.

The bridge fell/falls under the county highway department and they decided that the bridge, after being sited by the State bridge inspection team to be unsafe that they couldn't afford to spend the funds to bring the bridge back into compliance with the State's guidelines, and so it was decided to remove the bridge.

Since the residents on the other side of the bay would be negatively impacted, especially in regards to fire and ambulance service, it was determined that the village would, with Town assistance, build a road around the south end of the bay to ameliorate, somewhat, the negative impact of removing the bridge.  It must be noted here that interest in building a road around the bay and opening the area up to residential development goes back at least 40 years.

Of course work to remove the bridge couldn't begin 'til the road was built; it's been a few years in the making.  Finally once the road was completed and usable, a time period of at least 3 years, the bridge was closed to traffic.  Nothing obvious happened for another year until this summer. It's now well into fall and the bridge still spans the bay.

after I snap a few shots of the bridge project I decide to walk up and out of the village and along route #37 for about a mile or so to see how the new Dollar store construction project is coming along.  This project started late this past summer, maybe a month ago.  It is well along to completion and according to my neighbor will be ready to open on 5 December of this year.  So approximately 4 months from ground breaking to completion.  Amazing!  I wonder if a cost comparison would show the Dollar store construction to come in as less than the "govamnt job."

Just gonna leave that here for now.

In my return walk through the village I notice a lot that looks to be in the process of being clear cut and wonder what's a foot?

Next, along the path of my return trip, is the local building supply business and I stop in looking for some oakum for a sidewalk repair job I plan on completing once I return home.  "Tracy, do you have any Oakum?"  "Only some spools of small diameter; not what you're looking for I'm thinking?"
"Nope," I say.  "Well let me ask you this; who's clear cutting the lot up the hill next to Dunn's office?"
"Elliot,"  she says.  You know; the guy who lives next to the green apartments, He bought the brown abandoned house on Morris street right behind the lot you're referring to."
"Ah," I say.  "Well thanks for that Tracy."
"Yup, you know Bob, we're a wealth of information" she says smiling.

I browsed around and ended up buying a can of that spray foam stuff; thinking I can use it instead of the oakum.

At home I moved the lawn furniture to winter storage on the closed in porch.  Then did the sidewalk repair job; the foam worked even better than the oakum would have. Then caulked some cracks in the garage floor.  A productive day if I don't say so my self and too boot I got over 11,500 steps.  And, believe you me, my legs are screaming.

I mentioned to Di at supper that once again, as I have been numerous time through-out my life span, I am disappointed that no matter how much you exercise you can't build up any credit; stop working out for a few weeks and when you start back up it's just like starting over.  Took Motrin to facilitate sleeping last night.

Thursday, October 07, 2021

Government vs private sector project

It seems to me that the county project to remove the Bay bridge is taking an extraordinarily long time. Especially when you compare it to the swiftness of the new Dollar General store goin up on Route #37.
As you can see; the bridge is still there. I'm told the Dollar General is expected to open 5 December, 2021
I'm left to believe that the bridge removal is following the 10 year plan, while the Dollar General is following the ten week plan.
I'm gonna make a guess here that the total cost of the bridge removal plus the cost of building the road around the bay would have easily covered the cost of bringing the bridge up to safety standards; just saying.

                                               Dollar General on Rt. #37


                                             Bay Bridge from the bay side

Wednesday, October 06, 2021

A Memory of Voices


In the above photo, Helen is 22 years old and recently married and Joanna is 16.  Both were older sisters of my father and thusly called aunt by me.  Born and raised in small village of rural New York they each moved on as they "came of age."  And so when I came along 15 years after this photo was snapped they were well established in their adult lives.  Helen lived in a major city some 4 hours from my home and Joanna, by then a Grey nun of the sacred heart, resided in many cities as assigned by the motherhouse; Buffalo, NYC,; Jackson Heights, Washington D.C., and the Mother house in Pennsylvania.

My memory being like swiss cheese, lots of holes in it, is less accurate than in past times.  Although I don't think it was ever completely 100 % accurate.  I recall, as I grew up, Aunt Helen and Aunt Joanna coming to visit us and the numerous relatives nearby at least once a year.  I was made aware yesterday that they did not in fact visit every year, well at least both didn't always make a yearly visit.  But it was regular enough for me to think it a yearly occurrence.  They were delightful, down-to-earth aunts with a genuine affection for all their family members, even their youngest brother's namesake.

I always looked forward to their visits and the stories they would tell with vivid detail.  They exuded warmth and love and genuine fondness such that  I always felt comfort in their presence.

They both have long since gone home to be with their parents, siblings, and most important, their Lord.

Joanna first at age 81, and Helen, the last of all the siblings to pass on, at 93.

Sometime prior to their passing both my sister and I "interviewed" Aunt Helen and, fortuitously, my sister tape recorded their conversation.  Joanna resorted to using tape recordings to correspond with Helen due to Helen's failing eyesight in later years and she passed along one of those tapes to my sister. My sister had a cd made of both tapes and passed a copy along to me.

Yesterday I listened, again, to this cd.  Most of the family lore carried therein were stories I already was aware of but the point of telling you this is that the sound of their voices carried me back to those times when they would tell us stories of their growing up times. calm, matter of fact, lilting and soothing voices. It was as though they were sitting there and conversing like they were still here and present.

The memory of their voices gave voice to my memories.

Tuesday, October 05, 2021

Family migration

 People migrate, and that includes family,  When that happens close ties tend to be lost, and so it takes considerable effort to maintain relationships from afar.  It's possible but over time less and less contact is inevitable.  Couple that with the lack of questioning of family when and while present about our and their history; and continuity and complete histories are impossible to piece together.

A generation ago or two, families were larger.  For what ever reason, lack of reliable birth control methods, adherence to religious tenants, it was common for a family to have 10 - 14 offspring.  Due to the state of healthcare, early death of some children was also common.  Still families of 5 or 6 children growing to maturity was common.   To be sure, many of those offspring remained nearby their homestead.  Others, if for economic reasons alone, moved away.

Such was the case in my family.  First, my mother left her family and 4 siblings in Indiana to join her husband and start her own family here in Northern New York.  While I became well acquainted with two of her siblings, sisters, through their efforts in traveling to visit, I had minimal to zero contact with her brothers and more to my point here; all, 100%, of the numerous cousins of all my mom's siblings are complete strangers to me. All but one of her siblings migrated also, giving me aunts, uncles cousins, and first cousins once removed from coast to coast, north to south that I have never met.

My father did settle and remain in the area of his birth after his stint in the Armed Forces, but, alas, none of his surviving siblings stayed here.  In many, if not all cases, dad's siblings followed their aunts and uncles to communities hours, if not longer, away from the "homestead."

I discovered recently that a brother to my paternal great grandfather migrated to Michigan.  There is  2 - 3 generations of relatives I not only have never met, I never knew they even existed.

One of dad's brother's migrated to the Long Island region and established a large family there.  Because we share a career choice, one of his children and I have maintained a close relationship.  I know not any of his siblings nor their offspring.

More than a few of my great aunts and uncles as well as aunts and uncles (dad's side) found the metropolis of Rochester, 4 hours away, a  suitable place to live.

After marriage, my sister established her home in the Rochester area and thusly acquainted herself with the large cadre of cousins and first cousins once removed as well as 2nd cousins.  When I started building a family tree program, some 15 or so years ago, she was invaluable in providing statistics with which to populate family history cards.

A few years ago I was invited to a gathering of cousins in Rochester affording me the opportunity to meet and engage with heretofore unknown relatives.  Thereby I was able to put a face with the info provided by my sister. That said, still, I have remained close to only 3 of those cousins and we do share family histories, making it easier to put together a genealogy with some sense of realness to it.

By happenstance and the pervasiveness of Facebook I came across a comment from a cousin to another cousin with whom I have stayed in close communication with.  Finding some inconsistencies on the less known cousin's page I contacted my sister to get the scoop since she had provided the original info. My program showed this girl's parents, my first cousin,  a husband and one child.  My sister updated me; this cousin has 2 children has been married and divorced twice and has been in a relationship with another guy for 5 years.

Effort, much effort is necessary to maintain family cohesiveness.

I did reach out to the lesser known cousin and we are now Facebook friends and can  stay current with each other's lives.

Monday, October 04, 2021


 Many moons ago, I say many moons ago because I've forgotten when I first purchased this program, I started populating a genealogy program to have a record of my ancestry and to be able to pass that knowledge on to my offspring and other relatives, should they so desire.   I pursued this endeavor fervently; searching public records for birth and death certificates, marriage licenses, social security records, censuses,  etc..  Asked questions of living relatives reminding myself that I wished I had had the forethought to do that when many of my elders were still here to communicate with. Gathering data, though time consuming, was/is relatively easy, and more so today with the internet.  Of course there was internet when I started, but the enormity of knowledge available today is far beyond what was available back when I started; I relied on old newspaper files and municipal clerks as much or more than the internet.

When I traveled away for my employment, eight years ago, my dedication to finding info and updating the program waned.  Even close family deaths and marriages etc, that appeared in the local newspaper were relegated to a pile of like scraps of paper loosely kept in folders labeled; genealogy.

Then 2 years ago my laptop died, sending up a message; hard drive not found.  By then I had an iPad and my laptop had been relegated to infrequent blog entries and even rarer genealogy entries.  All that to say, my internet needs were being met with a combination of iPad and smart phone and stifling my motivation to repair/replace my laptop.

With the advent of my retirement my inclination to revive  and restore to current times the dormant genealogy program rekindled.  However I was worried that the death of my computer may have wiped out and made irretrievable any and all info I had entered into the program.  Fortunately, also many moons ago, I purchased a program "Carbonite" which regularly backed up my laptop info.

Enter now a extremely intelligent granddaughter who helped me purchase a new laptop and go through the process necessary to have "Carbonite" repopulate my new laptop with the saved content of the old laptop,  Easy-peasy I was back in business.

Now that I'm entering the info from years of collecting info from newspaper obituaries and other sources the program has grown from some 900+ individuals to now 1,152 individual entries.  Of course not all those people are direct relations; spouses, spouses parents, their siblings and other relations are of course entered in an attempt to flesh out a community of relations going back to the 1600's to include not only my own, but also my wife's family as well as the families that our children married into.

Gathering and entering data, while not necessarily easy, is the easy part.  The challenge is to populate these entries with anecdotes and history which brings these people alive, so-to-spesk, making them real; relatable rather than just a list of dates and cursory facts.

My previous two blog entries are an example of what I'm referring to and this is the reason that talking to your older relatives while they are still here is so important to carrying family lore along to future generations.