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Barbara Lombardo of Saratoga Springs, NY, is a journalism adjunct at University at Albany and retired executive editor of The Saratogian, The Record and the Community News. Follow her on Twitter @Barb_Lombardo.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Wind turbines are elegant harnesses of Mother Nature's energy

Two of the many wind turbines
visible from the road en route
to Hamilton, NY
The photo I took from the car this past weekend barely caught two of the more than a couple of dozen wind turbines that poke over the hills en route to Hamilton, N.Y.
I can’t speak to complaints that the turbines make noise or harm birds, both issues that should be addressed.

But for those who don’t like their looks, I beg to differ. The turbines are elegant testaments to meeting a need for power smartly and creatively. They are showing up en masse in more and more places, harnessing Mother Nature’s unbounded energy.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Letchworth State Park: the peak of fall vacation

I'm tempted to call it gorge-ous. The views at Letchworth
State Part just after Columbus Day were spectacular.
Cleaning out the garage to make room for the cars before snow falls was a gratifying accomplishment on my vacation last week.

But what I really loved about this vacation was the breathtaking fall foliage enjoyed from four vantage points not all that far from home: to and from the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Mass.; an afternoon with fellow members of the Voorheesville High School Class of 1972 on George and Judy Klapp’s lovely homestead; an early evening on the gorgeous 60 acres of DZ Enterprise’s newest project in Galway, a place for parties, meetings and get-togethers amid ponds, trails and rolling hills; and, last but not least, a morning taking in the place that bills itself,
The Middle Falls has a railroad trestle in the distance and is a
stone's throw from the quaint Glen Iris Inn, which
offers this view if you're lucky enough to dine there.
immodestly but not too unreasonably, as “The Grand Canyon of the East” – Letchworth State Park, in western New York.

Letchworth is what I want to tell you about today.

One of Letchworth State Park's three waterfalls.
At its northernmost entrance is Mt. Morris, which accurately boasts about being “best town by a dam site.” It is home, after all, to the oldest dam of its type east of the Mississippi. Last week, as turkey vultures weaved overhead, the water was pretty much non-existent on the dammed side; my husband, Jim, who grew up in Mt. Morris, remembers how it was filled to overflowing when the valley flooded in 1972.

Several times a year we return to the town to visit my Jim’s father. But it had been years since we drove through Letchworth, long past the days of bringing the boys and even longer past searching for a place to neck. The park last week was a carpet of trees in bright yellow, orange, green and red, rising above the Genesee River and along the cliffs of three waterfalls. A bit past peak, it could hardly have been more beautiful – if you like that sort of scenery. I love it.

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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Grants available for literacy projects

There's money to be had for organizations that promote literacy, and I want to help give some of it to groups in this area.
The money comes from the New York Newspapers Foundation. I've had the honor of being a trustee for the past few years. We've funded a variety of projects, many that come from libraries and literacy organizations, and I'd love to see some applications from this region on the table.
Another round of funding is coming up, so I'm spreading the word in time for the Nov. 7 deadline.
Here's the press release with more details:
ALBANY >> The Trustees of the New York Newspapers Foundation are seeking applications for funding of projects that foster the development of literacy, with particular emphasis on innovative programs which involve networks of community organizations, and which can be replicated in other communities.
In general, grants are issued on a one-time basis and organizations are expected to seek ongoing support from alternate sources. Recent grants have supported community
wide reading projects, parent-child reading programs, and library projects designed to help recent immigrants to develop reading skills.
The New York Newspapers Foundation, a non-profit organization, was established in 1977 by the New York State Publishers Association (now the New York News Publishers Association). The purpose of the Foundation is to encourage the advancement of freedom of speech and of the press, study and scientific research in related fields, the promotion of education, and to assist those involved in all endeavors relating to the dissemination of information.
Organizations wishing to apply for grants from the New York Newspapers Foundation, and whose work is in keeping with the foundation’s goals, are encouraged to supply a brief statement (two pages maximum) describing their work and a project budget to: Diane Kennedy, New York Newspapers Foundation, 252 Hudson Ave., Albany, NY 12210. Application materials are available at
Requests should be submitted by Nov. 7.