Monday, February 28, 2011

Friends Dinner:

I've been sworn to secrecy and have been threatened with severe pain if I reveal any of the happenings from the recent, Friends of 112th St. Dinner. I however, do not respond well to threats, so read my next Troy's Treasures for all the low-lites of the dinner,  and more on the antics of Tom Fox. If you can't wait that long to read about it, read James Franco ( Not the one nominated for an Academy Award either) in this coming Thursday's, Record. 

Welcome To NY --Empty Your Pockets Please :

   An interesting bill is being introduced by Queens Assemblyman Michael DenDekker. It would mandate registration- similar to a motor vehicle- for every bicycle in the state, complete with license plates hanging from the rear of the seat. Another separate measure is also being introduced which would force every commercial cyclist in the state to carry identification, and to have insurance. Of course, there is an initial $25 fee for the first year, and $5 each additional year for recreational cyclist -- with a $50 fee for commercial cyclist, plus the cost of insurance.
   One part of me says, damn them -- another tax,  and another way for them to keep track of us and what we're doing. 1984 anyone! But looking at the fee for commercial cyclist I say -- why not? It make sense, especially for the metro NY area,  with the high volume of commercial cyclist there. If you read the Post or Daily News on a regular basis, you always see stories of accidents between motor vehicles and bike messengers. Now the motor vehicle owner is mandated to carry liability insurance, register & have their vehicle inspected on a regular basis in NY State to operate his vehicle on public roads. Not to mention the pick pocketing fee's and taxes that commercial truckers must pay. Commercial cyclist use the same roads to earn a living -- so why does one have to pay, the other gets off for free, and is not mandated to carry insurance? Bike runs through a red light and smashes into your car -- you pay for the damage. Get what I'm saying here?
   As far as imposing a fee on recreational bikes.  What are they going to do -- have cops pull over a 10 year old for not having plates? Please! This is totally insane. But it is NY State, and I guess we should be used to it by now. I can see it now, cops writing tickets to a crying kid, who parents may not have had the extra $25 to register the bike. Or maybe a sticker check/road block on the Lansingburgh Bike Trail. Where does this nonsense end? Will parents using non-disposable diapers be taxed for the release of  excess Methane gas into the atmosphere, with parents using a non landfill friendly disposable diaper gaining a tax credit for containing the gas in plastic? Tax, after tax, after tax. Just once I'd like to see one of these state elected officials come up with an original idea to generate revenue from some place else other then the money tree they must think we all grow in our back yards. Not a peep from any of them over the sharp increase in gas prices -- but since more people are using their bikes as transportation due to the high gas prices, politicians figure that they'll need to make up the revenue from somewhere -- and we are their favorite well to dip into, aren't we?
   Write a letter to your local assemblyman and ask him to vote no on this bill. Tell him you're a bike rider, and as long as you're not breaking any laws -- it's none of their damn business, so stop trying to pick my pocket!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

My Dinner With Rob Gregor:

   A few years ago there was a candidate for Troy City Council named Rob Gregor. Now even though we were on completely different sides of the political isle,  we became fast friends. After his council run, Rob became Co-Chairman of the Troy City Democratic party. He had some very fresh and exciting idea's, and had the ability to put politics aside, in order to just get the job done -- a concept that seems to be on the wrong side of extinction.
   Now Rob is a very bright guy, and he all of a sudden decided he wanted to get a law degree, and begin a practice. After graduation, he went to work for the US Attorneys Office in Manhattan. Now Rob already had a degree in Hotel Management, and one day decided he would like to go to work in this field. So he packed up his things and bought a beautiful hotel in Kingfield Maine  - the Herbert Grand, which he's operated with his lovely bride over the past 3 years.
   He gave me a call a couple of weeks ago to tell me he was going to be in town, and we wound up getting together and having dinner at Dinosuar. Rob told me he was in the process of closing on a hotel in Lake George, with the intent of purchasing a few more at the Summer vacation mecca.
I'm thrilled that my friend is doing so well for himself, and I'm extremely happy that he's found a beautiful wife to share the journey with him. I was so happy, I let him buy dinner that night also!
   I really wish he was still involved with Troy politics though. Rob was an open minded type of politico, who was interested in only the bottom line -- helping the residents of Troy. He was, and is a bi-partisan type who's only concern was doing the right thing for the people. To bad he's moved on -- he would have been a great candidate for this years mayors race. Some of the jokers we have around here in political office, and who have thrown  their names into the hat for the mayors race, always tell you what a great job they're doing, and how transparent they are going to be. But it's nonsense & hot air in most cases. Just look at the ongoing Voter Fraud debacle. How in God's name can any person who's involved with that despicable case, even think about putting their name out there to lead our city?  I hope people see through the smoke screen. It's just ridiculous.
   Rob asked me to send his best to all of his friends here. He misses Troy, and was the kind of guy that you hate to see leave.I wish my friend well with his new endeavour, and I'm sure I'll be seeing much more of him this coming summer season. I'll have more on Rob's new business venture in the near future.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

You've Got To Have Friends -- Of 112th St. That Is:

The 34th Annual Friends of 112th St. Dinner & Political Roast will be held on Saturday, February 26, at St. Augustines Hall -- 4th Ave &; 114th St. Tickets are $35. Visit, www, for info on how to purchase tickets. With all the shenanigans going on in Troy politics these days, you can expect more than a few feathers to get ruffled that night. It's sort of like the Friars Roast, only a lot worse.
For more information, you'll have to read my Troy's Treasures column this Sunday, February 20th, only in this newspaper. If you've never gone, I suggest you grab a ticket, sit back, and watch the steam come from the targets heads.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Goodby John McLoughlin:

   I've lived in the Capital District for 51 of my 54 years on this Earth. There's many things which make our region unique, and in ways special. If you've lived here for a long period of time, you know who Nipper the RCA dog is, and where his perch was. You know where the best Italian restaurant is, and what car wash doesn't scratch your car. Local television personalities are like members of your family, with many of the local guy's and gal's in the business hanging around for many years -- the good one's at least.
   You tend to remember certain personalities like Rip Rowen, Bob MacNamara, Ed Dague, & Dick Wood. People you watched for many years. People who came into your kitchen or living room, every night at 6 & 11. One of the most recognizable in my life just signed off last night on WTEN. South Troy boy John McLoughlin said goodbye to viewers, viewers who knew and enjoyed his fine work over the years. He was a constant, an Irish uncle, a jokester, a face we came to know and trust.
   Now I don't know what led to John leaving a job, that many of us thought he would do forever. Did he leave voluntarily, was he pushed out? -- nobody knows for sure. If he was pushed out -- shame on WTEN, and I'd say it was a poor decision on their part. There's a lot to be said for continuity on local newscast. When you watched WTEN news at 6, John was always the guy with the BIG story. A professional journalist who always knew the correct time to throw a joke or two into his report, and when to play it straight. John was, and is a pro. I'll miss his style, wit, and professionalism, and will be looking forward to seeing him at the upcoming, Friends of 112th St. annual dinner on Feb 26.
   I watched his final broadcast last night, and I was appalled at the sign off they gave him -- a 60 second retrospect highlighting some of his reports. For a man who garners much more respect than some of the suits at WTEN who made this decision ever will, I thought there should have been more. Why not a 30 minute special show highlighting his life and career. He deserves it, and I think it would generate very high ratings for WTEN. He was highly respected by all who ever knew him or worked with him, a fact that seems to have been forgotten by his employers.
   Good luck to John in this, the next chapter in his life --- and GOOD luck to WTEN trying to replace him.