November 2023 Reporting Archives

News Briefs:

Her Job: Herding Cats

Newly-named City Manager Deb Mohlenhoff (photo courtesy of The Ithaca Voice)

(Nov. 30):  By now, most of us in rural Tompkins County know Ithaca is transitioning to a City Manager form of government.  And this week, the City revealed it’s picked its current Chief of Staff and long-time former Alderperson, Deborah Mohlenhoff, for the job.  She’ll move up to become City Hall’s top executive in January.

Generally, for me, City Managers leave a sour taste.  I’d rather a municipal executive earn her right to govern from the voters, not simply draw a paycheck.  But here, I make an exception.

Ithaca, as a city, is the most dysfunctional I’ve seen it in my 55 years living here.  Its incoming Common Council is the youngest, greenest, and most misdirected ever; 10 Alderpersons overdosed on activism, starved of institutional memory.

A couple of its youngest are students; here today, no doubt gone after commencement.  I doubt many of them remember the “old” Commons, let alone the paved State Street that predated it.

They show disrespect for the “quirky” Ithaca  the rest of us loved, but now have lost.  A “Harold’s Square” is no “Harold’s.”  Council’s meeting room is an embarrassment.  Ithaca’s police department is depleted, demoralized, and defanged.

Good Luck, Deb.  Ithaca needs a grownup in the room.  You drew the straw.  Manage well. / RL


Commissioner Candidates Announced

(Nov. 29):  Ten candidates, but not including the current chairman, will compete in the December 12th first-ever election for five seats on the Enfield Board of Fire Commissioners, a Fire District official announced late Tuesday.

The ten candidates, three of whom hold current, short-term Town Board appointments to the Commission, include Enfield Fire Chief Greg Stevenson, who would need to resign as Chief if elected to the Board.

Somewhat surprisingly, Jim Mathews, chosen by his likewise-appointed colleagues in August to chair the Commission, will not seek election.  Neither will Commission member Geoff Hollister.

The three current Commission members who will seek election for up to five-year terms are Highway Superintendent Barry “Buddy” Rollins, volunteer firefighter/EMT Robyn Wishna, and Marcus Gingerich, who has no other direct connection with the fire service.

Still other candidates include former Enfield Town Board member Robert Harvey, long-time Fire Company volunteer Larry Stillwell, and Alexis Comparetta, the Fire District’s volunteer Secretary.

The candidate announcements came six days after the deadline passed for applications and exactly two weeks before the Commissioners elections.

The complete list:  Greg Stevenson, Alan Teeter, Alexis Comparetta, Christopher Willis, Larry Stillwell, Robert Harvey, Robyn Wishna, Donald Gunning, Barry Rollins, and Marcus Gingerich.


BOE Support for Garage Grows

(Nov. 28):  No votes were taken, not even a straw poll.  But seven of nine Ithaca School Board members, meeting Tuesday, moved ever closer to building a new $40 Million District Transportation Facility and also, most likely, spending more money on other capital projects.

Karen Yearwood: “Be proactive.”

None of those attending Tuesday’s meeting spoke against the new garage.  Board member Jill Tripp brought the firmest idea to the table; a compromise of sorts.  She would package the bus garage within a bond issue that would also spend $10 Million in each of three years on other capital items.

“The environment that we have our people working in is just unconscionable,” Board member Eldred Harris told colleagues Tuesday. Both he and Karen Yearwood urged the district think big.  A consultant in mid-November had laid out three possible capital options to take to voters, ranging from $15 Million to $125 Million. Yearwood urged the district to be “proactive” and go for the top figure.

Harris suggested that the Board vote its preference that night.  But Board Vice President Moira Lang, conducting the meeting, held back, saying she needs more time to weigh the choices.

Most likely, the Board’s decision will come in December.


IPD Chief (Finally) Picked

(Nov. 27):  The officer-depleted, morale-compromised Ithaca Police Department will likely soon have a new man at the top.

Police Chief- appointee Thomas Kelly (center; courtesy The Ithaca Voice)

Outgoing Mayor Laura Lewis Monday announced her choice of Thomas Kelly, a Lieutenant with the Schenectady Police Department, to become Ithaca Police Chief, effective December 18th, pending Common Council’s (expected) approval.

Mayor Lewis chose Kelly over a second finalist, John Poleway, a retired police chief from Westchester County.

The leadership void at IPD has been painfully evident for not just months, but years.  Deputy Chief John Joly was named in 2021 Acting Chief following a predecessor’s retirement.  Lewis later recommended Joly for Chief, only to have Common Council refuse to ratify the choice.  Since spring, Joly has placed himself on leave and signaled plans to sue City Hall for reverse racial discrimination and workplace hostility.

All the while, the Ithaca Police force continues to shrink.

Ithaca will pay dearly for Thomas Kelly’s service.  Council has boosted the incoming Chief’s salary to $150,000, nearly comparable to that of the Tompkins County Administrator.


The Rights on Bikes

(Courtesy The Ithaca Voice)

(Nov. 27): They’re called “Terry Stops,” named after a legendary 1968 Supreme Court case.  Police have the right to detain people on “reasonable suspicion,” perhaps pat them down for weapons so as to protect both themselves and the public.

New York Courts have expanded defendants’ rights a bit in those sorts of searches.  And now the Rowan Wilson New York Court of Appeals has broadened those rights still further, giving those who ride bicycles similar protections to those who ride in cars.  It’s a controversial 4-3 ruling that reaffirms how this Court is trending left.  Wilson, the new Chief Judge, voted with the majority.


Koreman, Brown Back “Right to Die”

Signed on; Legislator Anne Koreman

(Nov. 22):  Eleven of Tompkins County’s 14 legislators, including both Enfield reps Anne Koreman and Randy Brown, have signed on to a letter in support of the “Medical Aid in Dying Act.,” the letter’s text released by County officials Wednesday and referenced briefly at the Legislature’s meeting the night before.

The measure, that was put before the State Senate and Assembly early this year, but has not advanced behind the chambers’ respective Health Committees, would enable terminally ill patients to obtain medical help to end their own lives.

Notably absent from the 11-signatory list were Lansing legislator and State Senate candidate Mike Sigler, Republican legislator Lee Shurtleff and Dryden Democrat Mike Lane.

“The Medical Aid in Dying Act would result in a practical, dignified, and responsible end-of-life option for Tompkins County residents who find themselves (terminally ill),” the letter states.

“We understand that some people feel that this bill opens up the possibility that an individual could be taken advantage of,” their letter continues, “but we also feel that the bill contains numerous safeguards to protect individuals from manipulation.”

Under the proposed legislation’s terms, the ability to access what some may term “doctor-assisted suicide” would be triggered by a 6-month terminal diagnosis.


T.C. Leg: Ditch the Fishwrap.

Ain’t what it used to be. But ads still go there.

(Nov. 21):  Bad news for Gannett.  Good news for government budgets; that is, of it ever happens.

In case you haven’t noticed, The Ithaca Journal covers next to no local news anymore.  Every year at about this time, the Tompkins County Legislature bemoans that fact, most particularly because State law requires Tompkins County—as well as all its local municipalities—to use Gannett’s daily as its only place to publish legal notices, and an expensive place at that.

Tuesday night, for whatever good it may do—at the same meeting it again grudgingly made its newspaper choice—the County Legislature adopted a Resolution asking the State Legislature to change its outdated law and allow legal notice postings in digital formats, like those the online news sites offer.

“Small daily print newspapers across the United States and in New York State have seen significant reductions in staffing and capacity to cover local news events, leading to lower subscriber numbers, and a lower volume of locally-relevant stories and features,” the adopted Resolution states.  It adds a change in law “would permit this body to publish notices with other local newspapers with an online presence, increasing access to public information and supporting more local journalism.”

The original Resolution would have backed a specific Assembly bill.  “That bill is going nowhere,” legislator Amanda Champion regrettably informed her colleagues, after conferring with Assemblymember Anna Kelles.  One suspects the newspaper lobby got to legislative leaders.

“We’ll make this more general,” Champion said in retooling what was finally adopted.  “Maybe there will be another bill.”


Postcard Probe Quietly Dropped

(Nov. 20):  The Enfield Board of Fire Commissioners, which was earlier poised to order “referral to law enforcement” the circulation of anonymously-mailed postcards prior to a closely-divided referendum on the fire truck bonding, has now quietly dropped any official pursuit of the matter.

“It’s not up to us.  No one wants to be cops,” Chair Jim Mathews said after Monday’s Commissioners meeting, where the postcard controversy was surprisingly absent from the agenda.  Referral to law enforcement had been set for consideration at a meeting two weeks earlier, but a power outage cut short that session, and Commissioners never reached the topic.

What bothers Mathews and others is not that the anonymous postcards carried lies (they didn’t), but rather that the mailings gave the misimpression that the Enfield Fire District sent them.  It did not.

No one raised “Postcard-gate” during Monday’s most-recent meeting.  Only when asked after adjournment did Mathews acknowledge that legal counsel had encouraged Commissioners to drop the issue.  It’s best handled “offline,” Mathews said, suggesting that any potential criminal referrals are better made by attorneys, not the Board.


No Fire Audit? Good Reason.

(Nov. 20):  Enfield Fire Commissioner (and Highway Superintendent) Barry “Buddy” Rollins had asked at a Commissioners’ meeting two weeks earlier why the Enfield Volunteer Fire Company (EVFC) 2022 Audit was not yet on file with the Town Clerk.

This Monday night, Rollins wasn’t there.  But if he had been, he’d have gotten his answer.

Just as some Commissioners and their attorney were discussing whether they—or the lawyer—might need to make a Freedom of Information Law request to get hold of the needed document, Commissioner Robyn Wishna short-circuited the discussion.  “It’s not done yet,” Wishna explained, as to the audit.

Fire Company President Dennis Hubbell later confirmed Wishna’s answer.  ”I hope it will be done soon,” Hubbell said of the financial report, promising it to be filed with the Town Clerk as soon as finished.

Hubbell also reported to Commissioners the previous Thursday’s Town Board action.  “We did get stripped of our ARPA money,” Hubbell said.   The Board had redirected $20,000 in American Rescue Plan funds away from the EVFC to pay attorneys’ fees.

“I gave up arguing with the Town about it,” Hubbell complained. “It wasn’t worth the aggravation of getting our part of the money.”   The EVFC had sought the funds for equipment.

Even though $5,000 of the EVFC’s request remains unspent by the Town, the Company president doesn’t care.  “I don’t want anything to do with it,” he said of the left-over ARPA money—or for that matter, the Town Board.


Judges listened; we wait

(Nov. 20):  New York’s Highest Court heard arguments November 15th—yet gave no indication how soon it would rule—on a Democrat-driven move to revisit the 2022 Congressional maps that gave us Republican Congressman Marc Molinaro.

“Gerrymander” vulture

The arguments that day were procedural and technical.  New districting maps have not been drawn, nor were they in question that day.  Rather, the issue before the Court was whether the maps a Steuben County judge’s Special Master drafted two years ago remain good for a decade, or just for one, two-year election cycle.

The same New York Court of Appeals that heard last week’s case upheld Judge Patrick McAllister’s map-making in 2022.  But with liberal Rowan Wilson now as sitting as Chief Judge, the High Court has tipped left, motivating Democrats that last week’s arguments could lead to a 2024 mapping re-do.

A bipartisan Independent Commission would get the first crack.  But the commission’s tendency to deadlock could lead Democratic supermajorities in the State Senate and Assembly to gerrymander lines just like they attempted two years ago.  Unlike last time, Democrats hope the Wilson Court would sustain their partisan dirty work.

“There is nothing to show that the Legislature has learned its lesson  and that it’s not going to engage in a festival of gerrymandering if the court lets it rip,” Misha Tseytlin, lawyer for the Republican defenders of the 2022 maps, told the Court during oral arguments.

The New York Times claims New York—thanks to Judge McAllister—has one of the most competitive maps in the country.  Congressman Molinaro stands among several who benefited last time.  A Democratic gerrymander could flip those seats next year. / RL


Poor Jorge; Lesson Learned

(Nov. 17):  Jorge DeFendini, (now) outgoing member of Ithaca’s Common Council, learned a hard lesson this week:  Never, ever take the electorate for granted.

Alderperson-elect Kuehl (Courtesy The Ithaca Voice)

DeFendini, a member of the liberal “Solidarity Slate,” ran unopposed for reelection in the student-heavy Fourth Ward.  He held two ballot lines.  And yet he lost.

Cornell University senior Patrick Kuehl launched a stealth write-in campaign, largely campus-based.  Incumbent DeFendini, it’s reported, spent most of his fall campaigning for others, mostly working to unseat First Ward Alderperson Cynthia Brock.

DeFendini ignored his own constituents.  And guess what?  In a pitifully low-turnout election, they ignored him.  The current count has Kuehl with 49 votes; DeFendini, 40.  Elections officials say DeFendini can‘t catch up.

Moral here:  Never presume victory.  I do not.  Board of Elections filings will soon reveal that my campaign for reelection as Enfield Councilperson—using all my own money—spent $710 toward campaign mailings this fall; 528 individual letters, sent by me to you. That’s in addition to what we spent last spring in the primary.

Yes, I, too, stood unopposed on the November ballot.  But I received one of Enfield’s higher vote totals; more votes than did the unopposed Supervisor, whom I never saw campaign.

A vote is to be earned, not presupposed.  Jorge, you learned. / RL



EVFC President Hubbell (with Supervisor Redmond), Sept. 6th

(Nov. 16):  In a pointed email, rebuking Enfield Town Boards past and present, and read at a special Town Board meeting Thursday, the president of the Enfield Volunteer Fire Company (EVFC) dropped the company’s request—first granted, then rescinded—for $20,000 in American Rescue Plan funds to purchase new equipment.

The Town Board approved the funding back in May.  But then a Board majority clawed it back November 8th to pay the lawyer who oversaw formation of Enfield’s new Fire District.

“Unfortunately, those that voted to rescind ARPA funds to the Enfield Fire Company are not going to change their minds,” President Dennis Hubbell wrote Councilperson Robert Lynch (this writer), who read portions of his message aloud.  “I’ve seen it for 48 years; give the Fire Company money and then take it away.”

The announcement came as Lynch questioned the legality of the Board’s early-November action.  He argued state law required the evening’s Resolution, written on the fly, should instead have been posted online at least a day in advance.

Supervisor Stephanie Redmond pushed back.  She said a lawyer with the Association of Towns had told her the measure was legal, as its mid-meeting submission had come as soon as “practicable.”

Nonetheless, Lynch maintained the majority’s action had “violated the spirit” of the law in that firefighters were not alerted to attend and press their case.  Still, he added, the EVFC’s withdrawal rendered the matter “moot,” and he would not pursue it further.


Softening the Flycar Funding Sell

Anne Koreman: “They’re not receptive.”

(Nov. 16):  Much to committee chair Rich John’s displeasure, the Tompkins County Legislature’s Public Safety Committee Thursday softened the County’s proposed demands on rural municipalities to negotiate cost-sharing agreements for what’s now called the Pilot Rapid Medical Response (PRMR) system, a trio of flycars, staffed by EMT’s, positioned about the county.

A pair of amendments to a proposed legislative Resolution, crafted during more than a half-hour of debate Thursday, among other things, removed the hard-sell provision that “the Legislature shall approve the Memorandum of Understanding” (the funding agreement with the Towns) prior to commencement of the PRMR.”

“They’re not receptive in my area,” Ulysses-Enfield legislator Anne Koreman said of the cost-sharing models, one of which would charge Enfield $58,000 annually for the flycar benefit.  Koreman equated the PRMR to the Sheriff’s Department, whose expenses are  shared countywide and evenly, regardless of who might benefit.

Koreman was the only committee member to oppose sending the Resolution, even after amended, to the full Legislature, which will likely consider it in December.

“People are paying for services that do not help them at all,” John complained, arguing the PRMR would benefit his Ithaca City constituents little, since they have a paid Fire Department.  John warned he may ask the full Legislature to put back in the wording the committee stripped out.


Quick: File Fast.

(Nov. 16):  Like just about everything else with the newly-born, guidance-deprived Enfield Board of Fire Commissioners, another deadline has come crashing down upon us.  This time it’s the candidate filing cutoff for Fire District elections.

Posted on the Town website just Wednesday, Enfield gave notice that those interested in seeking any of five seats on the Board of Fire Commissioners in the December 12th District elections must file expressions of interest within just one week, by the day before Thanksgiving.

“Any person wishing to be a candidate for the position shall file their name with the Secretary of the Enfield Fire District by email to: no later than November 22, 2023,” the notice states.

The good news is there’s no petitioning requirement. A letter will suffice.  “Persons need only state that they desire to run for the position of Commissioner,” the announcement continues.

I know, not a lot of time to make up one’s mind.  Any or all of the current Fire Commissioners—appointed in August as a legally-required interim action by the Town Board—may (and are likely) to apply.  Fire Chief Greg Stevenson has also strongly indicated interest.

But the current Board of Fire Commissioners has become polarized, for political reasons well-publicized here.  December 12th could mark a bellwether election, with all five seats up for the voters’ choice to serve for staggered terms.  If you’re interested, please file your letter with the Fire District’s Secretary.  Because democracy works only when you step up. / Bob


What now, Kuma Club?

(Nov. 12):  It could become the biggest guessing game in Enfield:  What will the new owners do with the recently-purchased Kuma gentlemen’s club? Odds are they won’t bring back exotic dancing.

Enfield Codes Officer Alan Teeter informed first the Planning Board, and then the Town Board this month of the long-shuttered nightclub’s sale at auction.  It’s been closed since its former owner died amid the pandemic several years ago.

“They do not know what they’re going to do with that,” Teeter informed the Town Board November 8th, “except that it’s probably not going to be a nightclub.”

The new owners came into the codes office to seek a permit to demolish a dilapidated rear deck.

“It’s up in the air right now,” Teeter said of the new owners’ plans.  Yet he hinted they might open “a restaurant of some sort there.” 

“Maybe a café?” Supervisor Stephanie Redmond asked with anticipation.

“Any possibility of a cannabis dispensary?” this Councilperson followed-up.

“I don’t think so,” Teeter answered with a quiet chuckle.  “But you never know.” / RL


T.C. Budget Passes; Levy Rises

Self-congratulation after their budget vote.

(Nov. 12): On Wednesday, Nov. 8th, the same night that the Enfield Town Board approved its next year’s budget (see expanded story, posted here), the Tompkins County Legislature held its own budget vote, approving a nearly Quarter-Billion Dollar spending package that’ll for the first time in several years, increase the tax levy, in this instance by two per cent.  After legislators acted, they applauded themselves.

Approval came on a vote of 13-1.  Dryden’s Greg Mezey cast the lone dissent.

“I think an increase in the levy at this point is completely unnecessary,” Mezey said.  He cited an unassigned budgetary Fund Balance totaled last year at $72 Million.  “I feel rather principled that when we have such a strong Fund Balance, when we are in such a healthy position, there didn’t seem to be a lot of doomsday around our decision-making process,” Mezey observed.

“I didn’t plan on voting for this because I still think we could have zeroed this out,” Newfield-Enfield’s Randy Brown said, referencing the tax levy.  “But I am going to support it because I think it’s a true compromise.”

Officials estimate the budget will cost the owner of a Quarter-Million Dollar home about $1,325. / RL


Budget Passed; ARPA $$ Clawed Back

(Nov. 8):  By a quick, unanimous vote—and following a Public Hearing where no resident spoke—the Enfield Town Board Wednesday adopted the Town’s 2024 Final Budget, a $2.3 Million package that will hike the property tax levy by just over seven per cent.

But drama arose later in the meeting when the Board revisited and passed on a 3-1 vote Councilperson Jude Lemke’s motion to claw-back the $20,000 in federal American Rescue Plan (ARPA) funds the Town had earlier promised the Enfield Volunteer Fire Company (EVFC) and divert much of  the money instead to pay down the fees of the attorney who this year guided formation of an independent Fire District to oversee the EVFC.

“How many times do we need to cut the Fire Company off at the knees?” Councilperson Robert Lynch (this writer) asked.  Lynch voted against Lemke’s resolution and also opposed paying the pile of monthly bills in which attorney Brad Pinsky’s $15,000 invoice was included.

Lemke maintained that with transition to a Fire District, anything the EVFC bought with the ARPA money would need to be sold or leased to the Fire District and that paying the lawyer’s bill instead would simplify paperwork.  But EVFC leaders walked out in disgust a month ago when Town officials last raised the potential clawback.  Those Fire Company leaders were not in the room Wednesday when the Town Board finally acted.


Powers, McCarty win in Newfield

(Nov. 7):  Incumbent Democratic Councilpersons Casey Powers and Heather McCarty coasted to easy reelection wins in Newfield Tuesday, as each secured another four-year term on the Newfield Town Board.

Unofficial results posted Tuesday evening at the Board of Elections gave Powers 488 votes and McCarty 483 votes, respectively.  Their Republican opponents, Christopher Hyer and Chad Rylott trailed, with Hyer securing 251 votes and Rylott 234.

Powers’ and McCarty’s wins maintain a three-votes to one majority among partisans on the Newfield Town Board, with Supervisor Michael Allinger serving as an Independent.  Allinger’s office was not up for election this year.


Insinga takes judgeship; Hay takes Tompkins

(Nov. 8):  Once again, Tompkins County proved on Election Day it’s the Southern Tier outlier when it comes to political preference.

Deidre Hay; popular in Tompkins, but not everywhere.

Despite lopsided local support for Democratic nominee Deidre Hay, voters across the 10-county, Southern Tier-based New York Sixth Judicial District elected Republican Cheryl Insinga to a seat on the State Supreme Court.

Tompkins was the only one of the District’s ten counties to give Hay a majority of votes.  The closest other county where Hay came close to tying was Cortland, where Insinga’s margin was within two percentage points.

District-wide, among those who voted in the Supreme Court race, Insinga won with 56,291 votes (51.7%) to Hay’s 52,572 votes (48.3%), according to Wednesday morning tallies filed with the State Board of Elections.

But in deep-blue Tompkins County, results were much different.  Hay, a Cornell Law professor, secured 13,031 votes (77.8%) to Insinga’s mere 3,708 votes (22.2%).

Some Democrats may fault Insinga for barely making her existence known locally, while Hay’s candidacy was widely promoted on social media and elsewhere.  Nonetheless, a well-placed Republican source says money was spent and Cheryl reached out.  “There’s only so much money to go around,” the source admitted.


Cynthia’s Swan Song

(Nov. 7):  One of the last centrist voices on Ithaca Common Council will apparently be leaving at year’s end.

Departing Ithaca Alderperson Cynthia Brock

Unofficial results from Tuesday’s elections show incumbent Democratic Alderperson Cynthia Brock losing to the far-more-progressive Democrat Kayla Matos, an activist and Southside Community Center leader.

Brock lost the Democratic Party’s nomination to Matos in June.  Tuesday, she fell short again, securing only 652 votes (46.1%) to Matos 761 (53.9%)  Uncounted absentee ballots are unlikely to close the gap.

The Brock-Matos contest was viewed by some as a bellwether election regarding the future of Ithaca politics.  With Matos’ win, expect Ithaca City politics to take yet another lurch to the left.

As expected, another Democrat, Robert Cantelmo, won the now much-less-powerful office of Ithaca Mayor, Cantelmo swamping a Republican opponent, leaving Janis Kelly in the single-digits.


Caroline Pro-Zoning Partisans Prevail

(Nov. 7):  Though it wasn’t a landslide, pro-zoning Democrats will likely continue leading the Town Board in Caroline.

Caroline’s Mark Witmer

Unofficial results Tuesday placed incumbent Democratic Supervisor Mark Witmer in the lead toward another term, Witmer securing 734 votes to Independent challenger Tonya Van Camp’s 646 votes.

Meanwhile in the race for two Town Council seats, Democrats Kate Kelley-Mackenzie and Tim Murray lead “Connecting Caroline” independents Kathryn Mix and Megan Slatoff-Burke.  Nonetheless, first results show only 29 votes separating Democrat Murray from Connecting Caroline’s Mix. Some absentee votes must still come in.

Democrats have generally led the initiative toward establishing Caroline’s first zoning ordinance.  The issue has split the community down the middle.  With Tuesday’s apparent wins, the march toward zoning will likely continue.


Outage Darkens, Halts Fire Meeting

Commissioners in the dark; meeting over.

(Nov. 6):  A widespread power outage, one that blackened all of Enfield Center, called to an abrupt halt Monday night’s meeting of the Enfield Board of Fire Commissioners, just 40 minutes after it convened.

As a result, Commissioners postponed a scheduled discussion of their potentially controversial referral to law enforcement of what their agenda now calls an “unauthorized pre-bond vote mailing.” It’s that flood of anonymously- circulated postcards that some claim caused the Halloween bonding referendum to be so close.

The early adjournment also delayed Commissioners from setting details of the December 12th Fire District elections, one when all Commissioners will face their first-time election.

The only item that received brief discussion before the blackout was Commissioner Barry “Buddy” Rollins request for additional financial information from the Enfield Volunteer Fire Company (EVFC).

Rollins said he’d asked the Town Clerk for the EVFC’s audit, but was told there was no audit received for 2022.

“We are currently in discussion with them (the Fire Company’s own attorney) to get some information,” Fire District assistant counsel Zach Longstreth, told the Commissioners.  “We want to see the audit.  It’s something we should be entitled to,” he said.

Utility sources blamed fallen wires along Bundy Road, a major feeder line to Enfield, for Monday’s outage. / RL


Enfield Gets a Grade of F

(Nov. 3): The following was posted by this Councilperson Thursday (11/2) on the Enfield Democrats’ listserv.  I stand by what I wrote:

“Something needs to be said, and I guess I must be the one to say it.

“This community, Enfield, earns a failing grade for its lack of public discussion of our current year’s local elections.  Both during the primaries and now during the General Election cycle, no organization—not the Democrats, the Republicans, the Grange, or anyone else—has convened debates, candidate forums, whatever you choose to call them, to allow aspirants for public office the opportunity to compare and contrast themselves with their opponents.

“How different this year is from 2019, the year that I first ran for Councilperson.  I remember the debate at the Grange, where we candidates had to defend both our principles and our past.  Why couldn’t the same have occurred this year?  And it should matter not whether some of our Town races stand uncontested.  Our residents need to know, nonetheless, where each of us stands.

“Our long-time incumbent Highway Superintendent is facing a challenge.  And for the first time in decades, we have a contest for Town Justice, with two aspiring young women seeking to follow in the footsteps of Judge Betty Poole and serve perhaps for decades.

“We, Enfield, need these candidates to stand up and tell us why we should vote for them, and not vote for their opponent.  Yard signs provide only name recognition.  They lack the true ability to persuade.

“Please, Enfield, two years from now, let’s do better.”

Robert Lynch, Councilperson


Planning Board Approves Two

(Nov. 3):  By “Breezy Meadows” standards, it’s small potatoes.  But the Enfield Town Planning Board Wednesday granted routine approvals to a pair of three-lot subdivisions in different parts of the town.

Following required Public Hearings, at neither of which anyone offered comment, planners granted each property owner quick, unanimous subdivision approval.

Owner Mark Smith proposes subdividing a 29-acre parcel south of Iradell Road just east of Van Dorn Road North into three building lots.  Likewise, owners Lisa and William Munzer propose splitting off two building lots; one of them two acres, the other six acres, from their 22-acre rural tract at the southwest corner of Black Oak Road and Enfield Center Road West.  Each road would front one of the new lots.  Most of the larger corner parcel would remain undisturbed.

Enfield law required the hearings.  Town planners raised no serious questions about either subdivision.