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Tag Archives: community

Thank You, Elks and Others

People have been helping people a lot this year, and I have had my share. Today I got a free turkey from the Elks Club, an offer they made to everyone who was laid off from my previous place of employment.  They sent a letter with a form to fill out saying you wanted a turkey and how many in the household.  Then they sent a voucher with instructions for pick up.

This morning, I went to Mary Street, where Herkimer Elks Lodge is located, and there were not many cars in front of me.  I had my mask on, as did the volunteers, and I did not have to leave the car. 

The view from the driver’s seat.

Two volunteers met me at the end of the street and looked at my voucher.  As I drove past, I thought to grab my phone and take a couple of pics for a blog post.

I stuck my phone out the window to try for a better shot.

Santa Claus handed me two candy canes.  I said I had to get a picture of him for my blog.  The other volunteers told me I could take him with me if I wanted.

“Hop in!” I said, but he did not avail himself of the invitation.

It was quite a fine Santa suit.

In addition to the turkey, they gave us potatoes and a box of stuffing mix.  The food was in a nice reusable bag.  What a generous gift!  A paper in the bag told me it was from the Doug Christman Project.

Several organizations involved!

Now that I am gainfully employed again, I must find ways to pay this forward.  In the meantime, the turkey is in the freezer, and we may use some of the potatoes tomorrow in a Shepherd’s Pie.

 

I Could Use a Cup of Coffee Now

I have been meaning to write blog posts about a couple of places I visited over the weekend (remember, it was Steven’s Fabulous Four Day Birthday Weekend).  Instead I have been tired and not writing much at all.  However, today I will try to get back on track with a well deserved shout-out to Moose River Coffee in Ilion.

We had originally planned to go to Moose River Coffee Friday morning but ended up hunkered down waiting out the winter storm.  I really love that Moose River Coffee, though, so I was happy we went on Saturday. For another reason, I knew they sometimes have bagels and if they don’t, they have sandwiches on Heidelberg Bread.  Yum!  As it happened, they had Everything Bagels, my favorite!  I got mine with cream cheese, while Steven got butter on his.

We found a table to sit down with our coffee and bagels, but we could have lounged on the comfy couch.  One table had a “Reserved” sign on it.  I watched with interest as a group of young people (at least, they were younger than me; I guess that’s an ever widening range) sat at it and began a game of Jenga.  I think it is pretty awesome for a coffee house to promote community like that.  Next to the comfy couch is a bookcase with books and a couple other games, so people are apparently always welcome to linger.

In fact, linger is what I like to do at a coffee house.  In this case, Steven and I did not, because we had other adventures to pursue.  However, I hope to return soon alone with my notebook.  I have a lot more writing to do.

Moose River Coffee is located at 70 Otsego St., Ilion, NY, phone number 315-895-0490.

 

Last Cup Till Fall

I forgot to write about Coffee with a Cop!  I’ve written about the program before. It takes place on the first Saturday of the month.  A police officer or officers who are on duty but not busy meet with any interested community members. We have coffee and treats, and we talk.  The meetings take place at various locations, such as churches or the library.  On Saturday, June 6, we met at Trinity Lutheran Church, 443 Henry St., Herkimer, with Officer Tiffany Hill and Herkimer Police Chief Michael Jory.

The idea of the meetings is to foster a better relationship between the police and the community. Discussions often cover a variety of topics.  Officer Hill talked about Community Policing, getting to know the people she protects.  Recently she had attended a parade and danced with kids in Meyers Park.  She was at a local school one lunch time and ended up signing autographs (nobody at the meeting was bold enough to ask for one).

She also told us about a foot pursuit where she ran across State Street and caught the guy.  Apparently somebody had leaned out of their apartment window to record it and posted the video on YouTube.  Some of those present had seen it. Oh, I missed a bet.  I should have found it and posted a link.  It was an exciting story.

“My job is so boring,” I grumbled.  Please note:  I don’t really mind; I can live with a little boredom.

We talked a bit about Main Street’s bad reputation, which I feel is not entirely deserved.  As with many such things, there is some truth and some exaggeration involved.  I said I would stubbornly continue to walk and run on Main Street when I felt like it.  Nobody seemed to think this was a bad idea.

I love my adopted hometown of Herkimer, but I know there is room for improvement. I like to think that Coffee with a Cop is a step in the right direction.  The program is taking a break for the summer but will restart in the fall.  I’ll be watching for fliers and scanning the newspapers to see when and where, as I hope others will be, too.

 

 

I Return to the Cops

For the past few months for one reason or another I have missed Coffee and Conversation with a Cop so I was determined to go last Saturday, May 30.

 

The program runs from 9 to 11 a.m. on the last Saturday of the month at the First Baptist Church of  Herkimer on the corner of Green and Washington streets in Herkimer, NY.  The aim is to foster a better relationship between citizens and police, thus improving the quality of life in our village.  I am all about improving my beloved Herkimer.  Also, the session is a golden opportunity for me to ask questions about police work relating to the novel I am still trying to write.

 

Another bonus, for me at least, is the refreshments.  I enjoyed a nice cup of coffee and some homemade scones and cookies that were to die for.  I should have asked for the recipes.  But I digress.

 

Two officers sat at the tables when I arrived shortly after nine.  One was in a lively discussion with several participants, but the other looked free, so I cornered him with my novel inquiries.  Oh well, I guess “cornered” is an exaggeration.  I sat down near him with my coffee and scone, and opened my notebook.

 

He was gracious and informative.  I took care not to let my novel dominate the conversation but tried to think of questions that would be of interest to others.  Others sitting at our table also had questions.

 

One question that came up was what to look for if one suspected the neighbors of nefarious activities (nobody actually said “nefarious.”  I just like that word).   Batteries?  Chemicals?  It is not always easy to know if something is suspicious, because things can have multiple explanations.  For example, comings and goings at odd hours may indicate shift work.  A good solution is to get to know your neighbors, which of course is not always easy these days.

 

This idea of Neighborhood Watches was brought up. The officers emphasized that a Watch was just that.  If we observe something wrong, we should call the police and not try to take action ourselves.

 

“That’s how you become a headline,” I said.

 

The officers had brought fliers keeping your home secure.  I especially liked the one titled “Beware of the Bogus Caller,” which featured a cartoon of a man with an evil grin on the front.  The flier had good advice, but I thought it was a funny picture.

 

I only stayed and chatted for about an hour, because I had many things to do and a headache to contend with (just to throw in a line about my petty personal problems), but I was glad I attended.  I feel it makes me look at my village as a whole and gives me a different perspective from my usual Mohawk Valley adventures.

 

Second Cup with a Cop

I was delighted to attend the second Coffee and Conversation with a Cop at the Baptist Church on Washington Street in Herkimer last Saturday morning (perhaps you read my blog post about the first one). I feel so pleased that this is going to be a monthly event and have great hopes as I do for any project meant to improve my beloved adopted hometown.

The event ran from 9 to 11 a.m. I arrived shortly after nine, signed in and put my name on a name tag. Jamie Lester Bell, the First Lady of the church, remembered me from last time. She was on her way out, having double booked herself, but she took time to greet me. She also asked me to leave information on how to get to my blog. I said I would post a link on the church’s Facebook page (note to self: remember to do that).

No cops were present as I walked in. They were out on a call. Chairs were arranged around two separate tables rather than the U formation they had been in last time. People were sitting around one table having a discussion. I got some coffee and a cookie and chatted with some people I remembered from last time.

When I saw a uniform come in the door I called, “There’s a cop!”

It was Officer Steve Elwood, who I had met at the Herkimer Police Department when I registered for the DARE 5K. He looked at the plate of donuts and said, “Is this a joke?”

I don’t know why it’s such a cliche of cops and donuts. A lot of people like donuts. I look like I eat a few too many myself. But I digress.

Officer Elwood asked me how I did on the run. We chatted a bit about that, then sat down at a table and others joined the conversation. Another officer showed up, whose name I did not get, so we had a cop at each table with two separate conversations going on. The atmosphere was very informal, which I gather is the intention.

My table chatted about all kinds of things. My novel came up, because I had been asking Officer Elwood questions for it the day I registered for the DARE run. I’d better make sure I finish that novel, I’ve mentioned it to so many people.

We asked a lot of questions about police work in general and the situation in Herkimer in particular. I really enjoyed how it felt more like a conversation with regular people than a question and answer session. As we talked about problems in our community it became a more serious discussion about economics and societal ills. We discussed how bringing more businesses in, particularly on Main Street, would help everything.

My big takeaway, both this time and last month, was what we as individuals can do. “If you see something, say something.” For example, there have been burglaries recently where the thieves just took stuff out of a house and drove away with it in broad daylight. Did the neighbors even notice? If so, why didn’t they make a phone call?

I said that it might be a problem on my street, because there are several rental properties. People are often moving in and out. Even as I said it, I realized my solution is actually what I try to do. When I’m out walking my dog, I speak to people. I can’t say I get to know all my neighbors, but I have a better shot at recognizing somebody who doesn’t belong.

Obviously any community needs more than just sitting around talking, drinking coffee and eating donuts (I ate a donut; I don’t think any of the cops did). But I like to think this is a step in the right direction. I hope that some of us try to do something to implement some of the ideas that were expressed. And I hope to see even more people at next month’s Conversation. I plan to be there.