Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Temporary Problems Don't Require Permanent Solutions:


Imagine losing a child to suicide. Tough, isn't it? Two years ago, one of my oldest, dearest friends had to deal with this reality.

   When someone takes their life, their family is left to deal with the aftermath, the pain, and the fact that they will never see their child again. By association, their friends also are effected by the event. Joe Mele and I have been like brothers for almost 40 years. I've watched my friend go through the pain, agony, and disbelief of the tragedy. Being he's a strong man, Joe decided he needed to do something, to maybe save just one parent from having to go through the same thing.
   Joe, along with his friends, family, and a willing partner in
Carrie Harkin @ Browns Brewing/Revolution Hall, put together an amazing event last year, to benefit the mission of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. What transpired last year was just off the charts, and beyond expectations. Around $12,000 was raised for the cause, with more than 500 folks attending. Attendee's were treated to what was described by rock writer Don Wilcock as the, 'Show of the Year'. I personally, have never seen quite the collection of talent on one stage as I did that night. This years event will offer more of the same.
   Our mission is to maybe just reach one person who's considering taking their life. To let them know that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem --That suicide takes your life and ends your pain, but gives that pain and suffering to your family -- That there's another way, and there's hope -light at the end of the tunnel. So join us on March 21, and help us get the message out.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Bring Your Sleeping Bag:

   It only comes once a year --thank God! The kickoff of the Lansingburgh social season begins on February 28, with the Friends of 112th St dinner.
Uncle Tucker Hulihan

50//50 raffle

Jim Lance
   This annual rite of passage, brings together old friends from all over the country. The camaraderie which unfolds as the night grows long, makes it seem as if nothing ever changes. Friendships are renewed through stories from the past -- with quite a bit of embellishment thrown in. Between the speakers, and the crazy skits, you sometimes need to pack a Depend undergarment. Nothing is sacred, no topic is taboo. With everything that's happened in Troy over the past year, I'm just going to bring my sleeping bag --cause it could be a loooooong one.

   The dinner began 38 years ago, by a group of friends, who had a small, impromptu get together at the late, Doug Ladd's home. It eventually grew into what it is today. Around 300 -350 men, pack St. Augustine's Hall every year for this much anticipated event. Every dollar that is collected is distributed throughout the community for worthwhile causes.

Here's the scoop on this years dinner:
*Where --St. Augustine's Hall
*When --February 28
*Time -- Starts @ 5p.m.
*Cost -- $35 (includes buffet, dessert, draft beer & soda)
* Tickets -- Available from any committee member. Also @ 41 Sports Bar, and at Grethen -Cahrenger Memorials

FYI: Read my Troy Treasure's column, appearing in The Record on February 15 for more details.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Elvis Is Not In The Building - The Bunny Is:

   Donny Elvis will not be performing at this years Easter Egg Hunt. However, Digital Media reported today that the Easter Bunny was spotted by paparazzi coming out of his hole, and was followed to the 111th St. area where reporters lost sight of him as he retreated under the Neil Kelleher Stage at Powers Park All reports indicate that he will be making a special appearance at tomorrows 9th Annual Easter Egg Hunt, but calls to both his press agent and manager to confirm his fuzzy tailed presence at the popular event, have not been returned as of press time.
   News crews from Fox, CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, & the BCC have set up camp from 110th to 11th along 2nd Ave., with news crews patiently awaiting his emergence. Word on the street is that Geraldo Rivera was spotted at Verdile's earlier this afternoon, along with an Oprah sighting at Chubby's Subs.
   The egg hunt happens tomorrow at Powers Park, beginning at 12 p.m.  Children between the ages of one & ten are welcome to attend.  Children with Special Needs of all ages are also invited.  Special thanks goes out to our community partners Hannaford & Whitney Young Health Center/Troy, and the Snowman, for their continued support. The Troy Salvation Army and the brothers and sisters of the RPI Inter Fraternity Council are also playing a large part in this years event. Mayor Lou Rosamilia, Parks Director George Rogers & the Troy TSU Unit also are instrumental in making the well received yearly event happen. 
   So join us on Saturday, April 19, 12 p.m., at Historic Powers Park for all the fun. Plus, Anderson Coopers picking up doughnuts and Italian pastry from Bella Napoli for everyone!!!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

A Permanent Solution To A Temporary Problem:

   Suicide isn't the easiest thing to write about. Especially when you've seen the impact it makes on the lives of a family. It's even worse when that family is near and dear to you personally. One of my oldest friends on this planet, Joe Mele, lost his son Dustin to the disease just over a year ago.    Watching how it has effected his life in general, along with his health, is just so tough to see happen to someone you care about. Suicide is a permanent solution to temporary problem. Their suffering is gone, but the family must live on with the ever present pain. 
Back in December, after we watched an incredible performance by the Rascals, Joe told me that he felt he needed to do something to help others avoid the pain that follows a tragedy like this, that he and his family were living with. Being Joe & I have staged multiple fundraisers for those in need over the years, my response was, "let's do it then".
   As we normally do, Joe & I just ran with the idea, receiving unbelievable support from our friends in the local music scene. This Sunday at Revolution Hall, we're dedicating the day to Dustin's memory, hoping to get the message across to those living on the edge, that there is a way out. We've partnered with the 'American Foundation for Suicide Prevention', to put on what will be one of the finest collections of local musical talent ever in the Capital District on one stage.
   Many of the performing musicians, have gotten together over the past few weeks for rehearsals on their own time, so we can make this not just a huge jam session --but a real, first class musical production. The outpouring of support from publications like Metroland, the Record, and Internet music site, Nippertown, has been overwhelming to say the least. WVCR, Clear Channel, and WTRY have been filling the airwaves with talk, and announcements of the event. Esteemed rock writer/biographer Don Wilcock, as always has stepped up to the plate, spinning the event as only he can.
   After the event, we'll be properly thanking each and every musician involved, as well as all the folks who have put their time and effort into making this idea a reality. Carrie Harkin of Browns Brewing Co, as always, has been there for Joe & I in planning the event. The folks at Browns have a heart as big as the moon in my opinion.
   So join us this Sunday, beginning at 3 p.m., for one of the biggest rock shows, with some of the biggest names in local music that you'll ever see in this area. Suggested donation is $10, but if you would like to donate a bit more, nobody will complain. All money collected will directly benefit the local branch of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. There will also be a giant raffle being held, with some great prizes to be had. 
   If this event can spare just one family the agonizing pain I've seen this family go through --all the work & planning that's been put into this, will be well worth it. Hope to see you all there.


Monday, February 10, 2014

You've Got To Have Friends:

Yul Brenner, Mr. French, and Bobby Baccala at last years dinner.

Uncle Tucker Still Eats Pie Without A Fork
   The official kick off of the Lansingburgh social season will be happening this year on Saturday, February 22, At St. Augustine's Hall, beginning at 5 p.m. The Friends of 112th St. dinner is a time treasured tradition, started by a group of friends who shared a passion for their community. 

Tickets are on sale now for $35 at the following locations:
41 Sports Bar & Grill. Tom Burtnick's Barber Shop, or Grethan-Cahrenger Memorials.
Or, just see any of the active committee members listed:
Bob Kilgallon, Mike McDonald, Ron Bounds, Gene Blair, Mick Cahrenger, Kevin VanDenburgh, or everyone's favorite Civil War Vet, Tucker Hulihan.
   Don't miss Lansingburgh's party of the year. For more info, you'll have to read my Troy Treasures column, appearing this Sunday, February 16, only in the Troy Record --your hometown newspaper. 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Respect For The Badge:

   Before I began driving, my father told me something that has stuck with me throughout my life. "If you get pulled over, whether the cop was right or wrong, you answer him politely and always with respect. We'll get things worked out later." Dad wasn't one to dole out advice, but when he did -- I listened,  cause he was usually spot on correct.  
   Being I was bit of a free spirit in my younger years, I'm glad I understood that Big Vito was teaching me respect for the badge, which helped me out quite a bit during, as my mom calls it --my crazy years. As an adult, I'm proud to call many who wear, or have worn that badge, my friend. It's certainly not an easy job. Not in today's day and age. They are normal people, who must work an abnormal job. Many raising families, and getting their butts out of bed every single day to support them. When I go to work, I complain because I've got to deal with my boss every day. But every single day I go to work, I'm pretty confident I'll be going home to my family later.
   The topic of the day in Troy is the recent bar fight, and how the cops handled things. How everything transpired will all come out in the upcoming days. Jumping to rash conclusions is an easy enough task. Monday morning quarterbacks, and justice junkies are debating the issue in coffee shops, and restaurants city wide. Living here all my life, and old enough to have actually experienced the old Strip along River St. - it's not the first big bar fight I've seen, or have been involved in. The difference between the large bar brawls of my hey-day, and the most recent one, is respect for the badge.
   For those of you who don't know, 'The Strip' was a stretch of bars along lower River St. I remember in 1975 one HUGE brawl between a local biker gang and a big contingent of RPI jocks. It began at the Poly Sage, over to the Campus Inn, and then out to the street. There had to be more than 100 people, throwing punches, bottles, and anything else they could get their hands on. Four cop cars roll up, night-sticks out, and within seconds, most stopped fighting, except a few drunks with Poyeye muscles being stupid enough to go after the cops. The officers did what they had to do, and messed up a few guys pretty bad. When the last ambulance left the scene about a half hour later, Officers Charlie O Konski, and Charlie King (first African -American Troy cop), stood in the middle of the road and yelled -- "In the bars or in your car's!" Not one person in the crowd that was left, including myself, did not comply.
   This was respect for the badge. When a cop tells you to halt --you halt. When a cop ask's to see identification --you show him your ID. And when a cop tells you to stop fighting --you stop fighting.That's not servitude, it's common sense, and respect for the law. When I was operating my 'Burgh Watch' group, we witnessed quite a few arrest. I've seen officers being spit at, kicked, punched and called every vile name imaginable, while trying to detain a suspect. We watched criminal's of all colors being arrested, and all were always treated the same. If the officer was in danger, he did what the situation called for. 
   They are paid to Protect & Serve, they are not punching bags for the public.  I understand that it's a new world we live in, and things are much different than when I was growing up in Troy in the 60's & 70's. But one thing never changes, is that we are a society of laws. Good or bad --they are there for a reason. 
   8 police officers walked into that bar last Saturday morning, up against a couple of hundred people who had been drinking, and who knows what else. Just try to wrap your brain around those odds for a moment. Then think of your family. Put yourself in the middle of an angry mob scene, getting pepper sprayed, not knowing if anyone has a weapon -- what exactly were the officers supposed to do? We're just lucky that no one got shot in that situation, a situation that could have been diffused, if there had been quick compliance. 
   So now, I'm sure there will be some lawsuits, along with the political posturing. If the people in the bar had just left, none of this would have happened. Only a fool would believe that the police went in there just to bash heads, or do this because of someone's skin color.  They went in to do what they are paid to do, protect the law abiding public, and the streets of Troy. 6 officers wound up in the hospital. With the odds they faced, we should thank God that they all got to go home to their families. 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

# 1 Area Country Band To Invade Powers Park:

   Skeeter Creek will make its first appearance on the Neil Kelleher Stage this Saturday. The 7 piece Country powerhouse has been thrilling crowds in the Great Northeast over the past 5 years with their, 'In Your Face' brand of Country.
   The group now includes my favorite local female Country vocalist, Renee' Lussier. Renee over the years has performed at every major Troy event including: Troy Chowder Fest, River St. Festival, Troy Pig Out, The Uncle Sam Jam, and the Powers Park Concert Series. I remember the first time I heard her at the first Uncle Sam Jam in 2006. She was just 13 years old, and was brought up on stage by the North 40 Band to perform a few songs. Her immense talent delighted the crowd, and she was brought back multiple times to perform with her new band, Branchwater.
   Skeeter Creek is just such a high impact, over the top, pedal to the metal Country group, that their reputation as the 'best', just keeps growing and growing. Showtime is at 6 p.m. As always, there will be a giant 50/50 raffle benefiting the Central Little League, along with Tri City Valley Cat tickets, as well as gift certificates donated by Snowman Ice Cream. 
   There is a 'No Pet' policy in effect for each show, so please leave Fido, or your pet snake at home.