Adam G. Perl's Tiny Town Teaser No. 23, Vol. 7

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1. With 4 Across, playground retort
4. See 1 Across
5. Door sign


1. Bill passer?
2. Anonymous court name
3. Big stretch
Degree of Difficulty: Your call!

Holy Seeping Suburban Watershed: It's all downhill from Cayuga Heights

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Editor's note: Hilary Ann Lambert is a person with a driven curiosity; which makes her someone who gets things done. She's also executive director of the Cayuga Lake Watershed Network. When asked Lambert if there was any reasonable count of the number of creeks, streams, freshets, rivulets and intermittent runs in Cayuga Heights alone, she contacted an associate who provided the map of the Cayuga Heights area you see below ... Whew. That's not easy reading.

Why, you may ask, do we care how many of these hillside latrines exist? Visit us at our uptown office on North Sometimes Sunset Road during a gully washer (or, regional, "warsher"). The entire area transforms from a quiet wooded suburb with a few trickly creeks into a gigantic hillside seep. It's a wonder the whole place isn't in the lake. Maybe it is and we're in denial (no Egypt jokes, please).

To witness with eye and ear the torrents unleashed by a sudden heavy downpour is to feel unstable; an instinct to seek higher ground pervades the self until the storm passes and even the driveway into my garage apartment is a puddle of silt and vehicular toxins oozing mysteriously around my abode seeking its own level as water does.

So it's amazing to us that no ready count is available. Some ravines run dry for months. Add a little water and they'll pull down an oak and wash it across Remington Drive.

Our office is perched in a precarious geological and atmospheric zone. Several hundred feet up from the flats yet oddly the target for windstorms that veer from the north to the northeast or just come blowing in from the west. In our first week here a tornadic storm darkened the neighborhood for 48 hours straight; The Admin fell down stairs at night tracking what he thought for sure was a bobcat and suffered a concussion he never recovered from. That's another story.

Here then, is Hilary's story; while she offers the caveat "I am not a hydrologist or map-reading expert," we think she's being modest. What you see here is the first private citizen's rough count of almost every (visible) watercourse in this neck of the woods. Get out yer magnifying glass and scuba gear, Mabel, it's a fuzzy science.


From intrepid Researcher HL: "I have stared at this wee map until my eyeballs rolled back into my frontal lobes. I am counting the waterways that make it down the final steep slope to Rte. 13 and thus, one assumes, to the lake."


So goes:

1. BLUE-LINE: See the creeklets with blue lines? That means they are permanent, year-round, officially recognized as such by the authorities, and can be used to fight off permits for development etc.

2. INTERMITTENT: Dotted line streams means “intermittent,” part-timers, which flow when it rains, snowmelt etc. You can see that several of the blue liners are marked as intermittent further up the slopes, but gather enough water from the tiny side trickles in people’s backyards to be full-time at the final drop to the lake. Often when you actually check out intermittents in person, you will find that they run most of the year, but they are harder to protect in court (I did this stuff a lot in Kentucky, trying to protect streams from a landfill expansion, coal mines, quarries and highways). Except on the upper slopes, I do not see any dotted line streams. I do see the indentations – a sort of line of scallops – in the contours down the final steep slopes to the lake, which means they are places where the water has carved a small channel at one time or another. So I count them as intermittents.


Very fuzzy – approximate – !

NINE year-round brooks and streams.

These all reach the bottom of the final slope and make it directly to the lake via stream-channels or culverts.

NINE intermittent brooks and streams.

These all reach the bottom of the final slope and make it directly to the lake via stream-channels or culverts.

COUNTLESS RIVULETS The perhaps hundreds of tiny rivulets and future Grand Canyons that grace people’s backyards, joining the named/counted bigger waterways further downslope.

Named brooks, origins

Only two of the full-time waterways have names on the map, and are both “brooks” (smaller than “creeks”):

Renwick Brook – Its headwaters are in two wetland areas along Sapsucker Woods Road. From them, two small brooks flow downslope through Lucente-land and join into one bigger brook between Hanshaw Road and Kendal, and head downslope into the heart of Cayuga Heights along the steep W. Remington Road, under Route 13 to the lake at East Shore Park, near the CU Merrill Family Sailing Center.

Pleasant Grove – Its headwaters are in the ponded area just west of the Cornell Thoroughbred Horse Farm buildings around Bluegrass Lane (not so great for water quality). Crosses Pleasant Grove Rd by the cemetery (not so great for water quality!) and heads down into the heart of steep-sloping CH. Its final mini-gorge fall down the steep slopes is not marked in blue, which is strange because its upslope course is all blue (full-time brook). Maybe the waterfall was routed into a culvert to keep it off Route 13? One way or another, the blue line starts up again at the bottom of the slope on the west side of Route 13, where it gets mingled in with the engineered waterways and cricklets and drainage ditches, and makes its way to the lake next to the Visitors Center/Chamber of Commerce.

Likely names, origins for other blue-liners

At the north end of Cayuga Heights is a noticeable brook or small creek, perhaps named McKinneys Creek/Brook – it wanders downslope from Lansing to CH and finally arrives at the lake in the Town of Ithaca in one of the dense lakeside cottage areas.

At the south end of CH are two significant brooks that flow in steep, significant small gorges next to the tortuous routes of Klein and Wyckoff Roads. These gorges/brooks bracket the prominence/hill occupied by Carl Sagan and pals at the Lake View Cemetery (not so great for water quality). The more southerly of these two brooks is the longer one - has its headwaters in ponds/low spots on the east side of Pleasant Grove Road in the Robert Trent Jones Golf Course (not so great for water quality).

I would venture that the Lansing brook and the two southerly brooks are the natural boundaries of Cayuga Heights. I bet Carol Kammen or someone like that knows the history.

Not named on the map but is a biggie

The blue-line brook that reaches the lake at Willow Point, which travels downslope just inside CH at its north end, is a significant brook, competing with Renwick Brook for prominence. Its headwaters are the open areas among the houses just south of the Trip Hotel at Triphammer Market, and I bet was a bone of contention when that neighborhood was built. It flows around the north side of Kendal and graces many a backyard in the bigger-property area on the north side of Cayuga Heights as it heads downslope to the lake at Willow Point. Bet it has a name. (EDITOR: Let's NAME IT! TripMall Crick?).

Jurisdictional note!

All the named waterways start in the Town of Ithaca, excepting the one that starts in Lansing (possibly named McKinneys). They travel through Cayuga Heights, and all emerge for their final plunge to the lake back into the Town of Ithaca. I am sure there are meetings and agreements between CH and Ithaca for their management, protection and upkeep.

OK more detail than you needed or can possibly use.



Hilary Lambert


Thank you Hilary, what an insanely detailed answer to my question: Are we all gonna die in a mudslide? – The Admin

Last Updated on Thursday, 07 January 2016 13:43

Demo Memo: Almost a third of nation's eligible workers idle by labor accounts

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Seems like a lot of folks got their big break or are banking on a lucky streak

Or is the inactivity among America's unemployed something we've been expecting?

More than 87 million Americans aged 16 or older did not work in 2014, nor did they look for work—17 million more than in 2004. Nonworkers grew from 31 to 35 percent of the adult population during those years. What's behind the increase? A big factor is the baby-boom generation, which is inflating the number of retirees. The Bureau of Labor Statistics calls this the "age effect." Here are the four types of nonworking adults...

Slacker?: Hey Don't Look at Me! I put my time in at the Patent Office.

  • The number of adults not in the labor force because they are retired climbed from 31 million to 39 million between 2004 and 2014. Most are aged 65 or older.
  • The number of adults not in the labor force because they are ill or disabled climbed from 12  million to 16 million between 2004 and 2014. Most are aged 55 or older, but a substantial 45 percent are aged 25 to 54.
  • The number of adults not in the labor force because they are in school climbed from 11 million to 16 million between 2004 and 2014. Most are aged 16 to 24.
  • The number of adults not in the labor force because they are caring for home and family was 13.5 million in 2014, the same as in 2004. Two out of three are women aged 25 to 54.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, People Who Are Not In the Labor Force: Why Aren't They Working?

From Demo Memo by Cheryl Russell

Russell is a demographer and the editorial director of New Strategist Publications. She is the former editor-in-chief of American Demographics magazine (then located in Ithaca) and The Boomer Report. She is the author of Bet You Didn't Know and other books on demographic trends. She holds a master's degree in sociology/demography from Cornell University.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 05 January 2016 19:54

Paul Glover's "Message from Metropolis" ... Tiny Town's Most Ardent Greenie Savvy As He Ever Was

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Paul Glover: The Red Headed Barbarian Who Tried to Help Tiny Town Be More Than a Festivilla. He now performs his good work on the steets of Philadelphia where a man of his talent, vision and drive is truly appreciated.
By Paul Glover
I have been asked by Tiny Town's editor to offer reflections on a city I haven't visited for ten years. For thirty years I raised my voice in Ithaca, so many among the city's eldest already know what I think. But Mr. Crawford has offered to pay me a dozen biscuits, so I will say it again.

Certainly Ithaca has changed since I saw it last. The gorges have carved a millimeter deeper. I hear there's a Starbucks in Tiny Town, and even a bike lane. Like much of the rest of the nation, some of the valley's residents are richer than ever, and many more are poorer.

Probably Ithaca is still dominated by Cornell, whose jobs inspire loyalty and obedience. The University continues to export experts who manage the machinery of civilization. While some graduates seek to solve urgent problems like global warming and imperialism, others plug their heads into corporate sockets. As ever, professors carefully cite what professors write about what professors wrote. The old guard guards the old.

Long ago I imagined Ithaca transforming into a giant eco-village, leading America toward balance with nature, and peace among nations. Fantastic though this seems it will happen sooner or later, by design or by default because, unless Ithaca profoundly rebuilds itself, nature will intervene. Sooner or later the costs of fossil fuels and war will deflate America's top-heavy infrastructure, while global competition will shred our dollars. Congress will outsource corporate research from Cornell to Burma, at a fraction of the cost. Then ivy will devour the Arts Quad and cover the town. Ultimately, Route 13 will become a wildlife corridor and the last Volvo will be nothing but a stain of rust amid weeds.

Back in 2003 Ithaca's voters declined my offer to be their Green mayor, for which I am grateful. It would likely have become both public and personal tragedy to have been given significant authority to do what I intended to do, because I intended to push it knowing the extent of resistance. My campaign platform was the most detailed ever published by any candidate for mayor, distributed to every door (thanks David Galezo!). It introduced "12 WAYS TO CREATE JOBS," "8 WAYS TO REDUCE TRAFFIC," "4 WAYS TO LOWER HEALTH COSTS," and "11 WAYS TO LOWER HOUSING COSTS." Most of these initiatives invited citizens to take direct control of land, law and money. Which takes power from speculators, bankers and bureaucracies. Thus would profound change have begun.

But Tiny Town had become exhausted by loud controversy, and preferred more amiable caretakers. During the preceding thirty years, political combat blasted shale from our hills when Ithacans fought Cornell and developers to confront highway expansion, suburbanization, nuclear power, shopping malls on wetlands, a massive incinerator, racist banks and military industrialists. Today, far as I know, comfortable liberal consensus rules.

Have I slept through Ithaca's latest significant changes, like Rip Van Winkle, or has Ithaca itself? Would the next mayor and council embrace the next such challenge to community control? In some situations it can be rude to be polite.
Life in Philadelphia is comparatively relaxing, for two reasons. First, I've got no expectation here that most people are committed to building a far better world. Survival is their greater goal. Second, there is nothing in Philadelphia that I've cherished since childhood and want to protect. This Metropolis of Brotherly Love fell apart decades ago. Philadelphia's commercial banks, school board, major corporations, universities and city council manage decay for their profit.  Yet the city, with 40,000 vacant lots, 700 abandoned factories, 80,000 hungry children, 42 percent dropout rate, and the nation's highest incarceration rate, is a fertile field for dreams.

I've enjoyed introducing children to nature by planting orchards here, organizing green jobs, teaching urban studies at the university. I've met thousands of people dedicated to reviving this city. Fresh ideas from other cities, like Ithaca, are often welcomed.

We will be remembered by our offspring either as bold pioneers or as mere consumers. We will bequeath them either solar showers or cold showers. Whether we live in a big city or a little one, Americans can solve problems and set powerful examples. Tiny towns should raise loud voices.

Glover was founder of Ithaca HOURS local currency, the Ithaca Health Alliance, Philadelphia Orchard Project, Citizen Planners of Los Angeles, and a dozen more organizations. He taught urban studies at Temple University and has written six books on grassroots economies.
____ Paul Glover (215) 805-8330 Facebook:

All images provided.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 05 January 2016 03:17

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