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Posts Tagged ‘central New York’

Our Snow Defines Us

We might as well stop fighting the funk and own up to it; the snowfall the central New York area gets defines who we are and the type of people we all. It’s not just regionally, but across the nation. I applaud the area for its prominence. lol

Syracuse Liverpool snow

You won’t believe this but last year the Syracuse area got around 73″ of snow, which was our lowest snowfall since the 2002-2003 season. That low and Syracuse still finished 2nd nationally; curse you El Nino!

So far this year Syracuse is sitting at 67.4″, most of that coming during the big storm in November, which counts towards the season. The last week temperatures have been in the 40’s… in January! Very un-CNY like, if you know what I mean.

Yeah, I know the north country gets a lot more snow than Syracuse does, but there aren’t any cities up there with a population of over 100K so that doesn’t count nationally. Still, I remember all the major snowstorms that used to hit Oswego when I went to college there, including one horrific day when I got on a bus just as a winter storm hit on the day before Thanksgiving that ended up being a 6 1/2 hour ride covering, what, 35 miles or so… and ending up at Wegmans on Route 57 and having my dad sitting in the car waiting for me (we didn’t have cellphones back then); win!

You want to know a secret? Have you ever thought about how Syracuse got to be known for its snowfall? It’s all about… sports!

Syracuse wasn’t on anyone’s radar as a destination before ESPN started broadcasting Big East basketball on its network back in the early 80’s. It quickly became a Monday night staple in basketball fans lives, and led to their having Big Monday games with other conferences across the country. Those early commentators often led with tales about the weather, which either mentioned the amount of snow or how cold it was and a legend was born.

Syracuse has won the Golden Snowball, which is a New York state fun competition for the snowiest city on a yearly basis, 11 out of the last 12 years, and 47 out of 75 years, although we get to throw out the first 11 years because, believe it or not, since the snowfall totals weren’t captured at the airport none of them are considered official for the contest. Winning 73% of the time isn’t all that bad. πŸ™‚ Syracuse is also the 5th snowiest city in the world; now that’s saying something!

There are a lot of people in the Syracuse area who hate being known for snow. I’m one of those people who basks in its glory. It’s better to be known for something that ignored and thought of as… well, not something special. πŸ™‚

Enjoy it people; unfortunately, this year I don’t see an NCAA visit for either basketball team… sigh…  

The Village, Town, City Problem

A few days ago, the Village of Depew, which is near Buffalo, voted to keep themselves a town instead of merging with towns of Cheektowaga and Lancaster. The vote was overwhelming for this period in time when it’s hard to get almost anyone to the polls. Around 42% of eligible voters cast their vote, and it won by 258% (72% of the vote); that’s pretty emphatic!

village dissolution Onondaga County

This type of thing keeps happening all over the state of New York, including here in the Syracuse area. There’s this constant battle between villages, towns and the city of Syracuse, with those supporting mergers looking at cutting expenses and (yeah, right) taxes, while those opposed to it not only don’t trust those other entities (even though they’re actually still a part of them) but want to remain a big fish in a little pond.

I understand it and I don’t.

I wrote a post about people ignoring stop signs and not even slowing down and complained that the town of Clay doesn’t care because we’re not revenue generating; I didn’t say that specific thing but that’s the reality of it all. Yet, if I were in the village of Liverpool I could probably at least get someone to talk to, present my issue, and someone would actually come out to take a look to see what I was talking about… and then possibly do something about it. Villages seem to take the taxes it collects from you more seriously than the other entitles and shows a bit more care to its residents.

I say “bit more” because of the part I don’t understand as well. Often the tax base is pretty low for a lot of villages, and Depew was no exception. The residents were told that they could save upwards of $1,050 a year in taxes while adding that the village is $8.2 million in debt. To make up that sum the village would have to tax every resident an extra $516.12 a year… that’s including children, retired people, etc. Even though the village residents are economically more sound than the residents in many communities across the state, even they don’t make enough to cover this.

You know the last village to be dissolved in Onondaga County? Eastwood… in 1926! The last vote for dissolution of a town in this area that I can recall was for Camillus in 2011, which was overturned by 59.17%. That doesn’t stop the talk around the area… especially from the top.

That’s because the Onondaga County legislature not only wants to dissolve villages, but wants to dissolve a lot of the towns as well. We don’t trust them much because a lot of the talk has been to move more of the money that could be potentially saved into the city; where would that leave the rest of us living in the suburbs?

There’s no guarantee that anyone’s taxes would be decreased either. An outgoing mayor of Clay years ago proclaimed that as the result of some action he’d taken that the town residents would be getting tax cuts of at least 10%. That didn’t come close to happening because those who followed him “found” shortfalls… and of course that’s passed on to the taxpayers.

Let’s see… big fish in small pond; can’t trust politicians; not enough money to go around… is this even potentially fixable? I’m hedging my bet on the side of doubt. Then again, the village of Macedon in Wayne County did vote to dissolve last year, and it takes place in March. That should be an interesting model to follow closely, even though they don’t have a large city like Syracuse to worry about.

What are your thoughts on this one?  

Fascinating CNY People I’ve Interviewed

I figure that since it’s a Sunday and, for some, the day before a holiday, that many people might not want to read a long article. Instead, I thought I’d give you a break and instead put together a post highlighting people from central New York that I’ve had the opportunity to interview on this blog, other blogs and my video channels. This is prepping you for a big time interview I’ll be posting here on Tuesday; that should get you hyped!

Isaac Bidwell

The first interview I ever did on this blog was with a local artist named Isaac Bidwell. He used to be a server at Julie’s Diner, but he’s since gone on the road publicizing both his art and his plush dolls. It also turns out that Isaac’s the only person I’ve ever interviewed three times, twice on this blog and once on my I’m Just Sharing blog. When I get a chance I’m going to interview him one more time because of the strides he’s made since the last interview in 2013.

The next interview to highlight was with Rich Kudlick, the owner of Reid & Zutant Insurance. Rich is a local insurance agent and probably my best Liverpool Chamber friend, always trying to encourage me to go to the luncheons. He’s an independent insurance agent, and I was glad to interview him because up until then I had no idea exactly what these people did.

The next one is probably one of the two strangest interviews I’m going share. This one was with Maria Snyder, who at the time was a CPA with her own consulting company who was also doing social media, and that’s how I met her. Now she’s a partner in Dimarco, Abiusi & Pascarella, P.C. and is a full time accountant. I’m sharing this one because the things she says concerning social media are still good things to read about.

The final interview I’m sharing from this blog also is with the second person I interviewed more than once (I’m talking about local people), but not twice on this blog, like Isaac above. She’s also probably the most famous at this juncture, so I honestly get to say “I knew her when”. πŸ™‚ This one is with Lauren Greutman, who used to go by I Am That Lady but has now become her own brand. Her specialty is helping people get out of debt and save money, which is why she made a great person to be the only one I ever interviewed for my finance blog.

On my business blog, which is called Mitch’s Blog (that makes sense, right?), I used to do a 5-question survey with multiple independent business owners. About half of those I interviewed are from out of town, but half of the rest are still in business, so those are the only ones I’m going to share. At that time I always asked the same 5 questions; I still think they gave pretty good insight. Those folks are:

George Chapman GW Chapman Consulting Danny Chawan Srim Enterprises Jill Hurst-Wahl, Hurst Associates Sean Branigan, Communigration Robert Whipple Leadergrow

As far as interviews go on my IJS blog, only two local people have ever been featured there. One was Isaac above and the other is Mark Dyson of Spinland Studios. This was one of those times when our Twitter accounts converged, and once I realized he was a local guy I thought he’d be a fascinating person to interview.

Now it’s time for the video interviews. Instead of making you go to YouTube I’m going to pop all the videos up here. If you still want to go to YouTube you can highlight and paste the link underneath the video & watch it there.

I’m starting off with the second strange video I mentioned above. What makes it strange is that one, I think the company has dissolved, and two, one of the stars is my buddy Joe Cunningham. This interview was for Swell Communications, and it was still both fascinating and entertaining:

This next interview is with my longest friend from this area, Chuck Price of Measurable SEO. He’s often a featured writer on Search Engine Journal and even though I’ve been in this world for a long time I’m always amazed at his level of expertise:

Next on the list is Steve Borek of End Game Business. He’s a certified business coach who now lives in the Philippines, but when I interviewed him he was living in central New York and he was my wings and hamburger buddy. πŸ™‚

Now we have Jesan Sorrells, president of Human Services Consulting and Training, which is geared towards conflict resolution. This was one of the most fun interviews I’ve ever had, one that even my wife laughed a lot at.

Last but not close to least is my ice cream buddy Joanne Del Balso, who owns No Fuss Accounting but is big into both social media (she’s presented at multiple organizations around town on the subject) and is big into local women’s organizations, most specifically the WBOC.

Well… maybe I lied about not having to do a lot of reading, but this particular post should be easy for everyone to consume. I hope you enjoy learning more about local business people and be sure to think of them if you’re even in need of any of their services or products.  

Post #202; Missed A Couple Of Days…

I guess I didn’t plan this correctly. I usually highlight my milestone posts every 100, but in the midst of writing a post a day in January it seems I just noticed that I had crossed the 200 post mark by a couple of posts. Since I’ve already postdated those other posts, and I’m not in the mood to chase them down and change those dates, I’m going to talk about the previous 200 as if those other two posts don’t exist… at least for this post. πŸ™‚

me & a babynot my baby πŸ™‚

I started this blog on January 22nd of 2011, which means I’m almost at my 6th anniversary here. I hit my first 100 posts in November of 2012. I just hit my 200th post on January 10th of 2017; it’s almost hard to believe it’s taken me more than 4 years to write 100 posts when I’m normally kind of prolific.

I get to add that I was out of town for about 18 months working on a consulting assignment in Memphis… Tennessee, for those of you who know we live close to a village of the same name. lol During that period I wrote only 22 posts here; that just won’t get it done. Still, that means I only wrote 78 posts in the other 28 months. That’s not the worst in the world but it’s not close to the standard I set for myself on my other blogs.

That’s actually one of the reasons I committed to writing a post a day this January, because I felt like I’d been slacking off around here. At the very least I should be writing two posts a month, especially since I gave myself approval to change the focus at the beginning of 2015 from just being about the central New York area to writing about pretty much anything I want to write about. Part of my commitment is to write more, promote more, and work on getting some advertisements or sponsorships for my efforts; that last one might take some time.

No matter; let’s get on with my norm… even if it’s not so normal. I always like to highlight my 5 most popular posts during the 100 article period… which this time is 4 years! lol The proof that I’ve done a pretty bad job of both marketing and keeping up to date with this blog is that every one of the top 5 articles visited in the last 4 years is within the first 100 articles I wrote; that’s pretty sad. Anyway, here they are, with numbers:

Horrible Experience At Village Burger In Liverpool 1,988 Filing A Small Claims Suit In Syracuse 960 5 Things I Don’t Like About Wegmans 715 Season’s Harvest Buffet At Turning Stone Casino 562 Collins, The Best Black Barber Shop In Town 466

Next are the posts that were the most commented on during the same period. This time around I only had 4 posts that had at least 10 comments; once again, my fault:

Creative Blogger Award Challenge 15 Blogging Get Together At Al’s Wine & Spirits 14 β€œWould You Rather” Book Tag Tour – My Version 11 Are We Too Busy For Real Networking? 10

That’s not good at all, is it? Then again, the first 100 only had 5 posts with more than 10 comments… though one of those had 44. Out of the 4 article above, only one of them had any significant comments from local people; I find that pretty interesting… don’t people in central New York like to read and support each other?

Bah; that sounds like whining, and I’m not that type of person (my wife would disagree lol). Instead, we push forward and move onward, which means it’s time to highlight my favorite 5 articles for the last period; this should be pretty easy to do, and for once I’m not going to copy any of the articles showing above:

My Top Ten Favorite Syracuse Basketball Players Of All Time Body Shaming – Why It Needs To End To Share Or Not Share; That Is The Question Of A Diabetic Healthcare Journey Are You Kidding Me IHOP? My Encounter With Pearl

That’s that; 3 concerning central New York, 2 outside of that realm. That’s about right I think; at least it should give me some impetus to write more here, promote more, and hopefully to get more people here, whether they’re local or not. I hope you stick around for what’s coming for the rest of this month and for what I’m hoping to do for the next 100 posts… which I promise won’t take 4 years to write! πŸ˜‰

Meanwhile, I figured I might as well add this… my new office design…  

It’s Hard To Deal With Restaurant And Business Closings

Last Friday night I got a text message from my friend Scott. He told me that Muddy Waters, a Cajun restaurant in Baldwinsville, which I’d written positively about regarding their shrimp and grits, was closing for good when they shut down on Saturday night. The reason he told me this is because one of the Christmas gifts we got from his family was a gift certificate for a nice dollar amount off a meal.

Uno's closed Destinyformer Uno’s at Destiny

My wife and I went there for lunch and enjoyed another wonderful meal. We were talking to one of the owners, who said they’d be opening at another location that they weren’t sure of yet but were planning on opening an Italian restaurant in that location… not that we really need another Italian restaurant in our area. lol Little did we know that later that evening, when we were doing a mall walk at Destiny, that we’d discover the Uno’s had closed its doors the previous week… wha?!?!? They were still open when I was there on the 27th, eating something in the food court…

The last few years haven’t been kind to me when it comes to restaurant closings. I lost the Friendly’s that was literally across the street from where I live, as it became Moe’s. I lost both Ruby Tuesday’s, one at Great Northern & the other at Destiny. I lost Cold Stone Creamery when stupid Tim Horton’s closed on Route 31. I lost a take-out Chinese restaurant in a plaza on Route 57 near Taco Bell when some morons decided to rob it and then set it on fire trying to cover it up; so glad those idiots were caught. And, even though I’m not a major fan of Dunkin’ Donuts, the kiosk at Great Northern is now gone and they’re closing the one in Shoppingtown Mall.

I understand that the economy drives these things but we don’t have to like them. We don’t have to like the fact that Macy’s is closing at Shoppingtown Mall after being there for decades under the Kaufmann’s name. We don’t have to like that two other businesses have shuttered in Destiny (and I don’t even remember what was there) and that the Sears Outlet there is closing as well (I wish I’d known that because I needed a new dishwasher). They’d also lost both IHOP and Optigolf in 2016 (neither one will be missed; yeah, that’s cruel… lol). Oh yeah, Toby Keith’s… We’re still wondering which branches of Key Bank and First Niagara will be closing. Finally, Hess gas stations left the area, to be replaced by Speedway; at least they were replaced, right?

I don’t think it matters whether or not any of these businesses were local or not. I think it’s sad that we get used to something being in one place and then suddenly it’s not there, whether we were a customer of theirs or not. I’m happy when someone else moves into those locations, but I’ve complained in my wish list for central New York about all the dying strip malls and commercial properties around town that are a plight in our area.

I don’t have any solutions to offer like I tried with Great Northern Mall. This is basically a rant of despair over lost and forgotten friends… at least some of them.

Have you lost a store or restaurant in the last few years locally that you miss?  

Copyright 2017