Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Two New Venues For "First Friday" Art Walk

By Bryan Mercer

Two New Venues For "First Friday" Art Walk
February 18, 2012 Updated Feb 18, 2012 at 9:11 AM EST

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Diverse creative expression at two new First Friday venues, a national dance company performance, and several locations with Irish themes highlight Binghamton, NY’s next First Friday Art Walk on March 2.

At the first of two new venues downtown, United Presbyterian Church at First Presbyterian Church (42 Chenango St.) will host “The Human Costs of War and Pathways to Peace,” a presentation of artwork, music, videos and a model drone.

This presentation, sponsored by the Broome County Council of Churches and many veteran, peace and justice groups, will examine the emotional, psychological, environmental, financial and spiritual impact of war to soldiers, civilians, children and civilized society.

At the second new First Friday venue, Keri’s Salon and Spa (163 Washington St., next to Metrocenter), there’s a grand opening celebration, featuring music, tarot readings and 10-minute chair massage from 6-9 PM.

While art walking downtown, be sure to catch the nationally acclaimed Paul Taylor 2 Dance Company’s free community performances at the Broome County Arts Council/BCAC (81 State St., 5th Fl., Stephens Sq.) on First Friday at 6:15 and 7:15 PM. These two free dance performances are part of Paul Taylor 2 Dance Co.’s first ever residency at Binghamton University with a full production on Sat., March 10, at BU’s Anderson Center. Also, on exhibit at BCAC and open on First Friday is: “An Ongoing Journey: Paintings by Artist Joseph H. Lindsley” - A Life’s Work in Pastels, Watercolor, Drawing & Collage, which continues through Mar. 23, 2012.

Art walk enthusiasts can also enjoy some Irish themed shows this First Friday at:
**Lost Dog Cafe (222 Water St.): Irish Sounds of The Grady Girls, performing authentic Irish jigs and reels, slides and polkas of southwest Ireland, from 7-9 PM, and an exhibit in the restaurant by Mask Maker/Artist E. L. Downey with Finely Sculpted Leather Masks & Wearable Art (Thru Mar. 2012).

**RiverRead Books (5 Court St.): Music by Celtimorphosis, Celtic jazz fusion with Brian Hyland (Anglo & English concertinas, pennywhistle, harmonica, flute, accordion, bodhran & bones), and Chris Woodard (guitar & mandolin), from 7-9 PM. Featured exhibit for March: Photographer Geoff Gould: “China” - Photos.

**Garland Gallery (116 Gorgeous Washington St.): Irish Tunes of “Paddy O’Raube” a.k.a. Pat Raube, singer/songwriter, from 6-9 PM. Also, 30% off everything on the walls on First Friday.This First Friday Art Walk is presented by Gorgeous Washington Street Association (GWSA) and sponsored by M&T Bank, will feature 30 locations in Binghamton, downtown, west side, and south side, and open March 2 from 6-9 PM, unless noted otherwise.The First Friday schedule is subject to change without notice.There’s no BC Transit Trolley rides or tours during this First Friday Art Walk. Trolley rides and tours resume in the spring for the May 4 First Friday Art Walk.

For more information on March 2 First Friday, contact Nicole Howard (Interim Chair of Gorgeous Washington Street Association/GWSA) at Lost Dog Cafe, 771-6063, or visit GWSA’s website at:www.gorgeouswashington.com.

Vestal residents earn recognition from White House for flood-relief efforts

While they were sloshing through floodwater, hauling sodden garbage or making spreadsheets to disburse volunteers -- never once did volunteers Sharon Early and Bruce Barney, of Vestal, expect recognition.

But they got it -- from the White House, no less.

A certificate and letter from President Barack Obama were delivered by their pastors at First Presbyterian Church in Endicott last month.

This is the second year of the Martin Luther King Drum Major for Service Award, given to individuals who perform extraordinary volunteer acts of service with reliability and commitment that often go unnoticed. Its name comes from King's 1968 "Drum Major Instinct" sermon: "Yes, if you want to say that I was a drum major, say that I was a drum major for justice; say that I was a drum major for peace; I was a drum major for righteousness ... We all have the drum major instinct."

Sharon and Bruce's reaction: Thank you -- but why us, when so many deserved it?

About 175 people from the congregation pitched in, as well as hundreds of outside volunteers, said Rev. Jan Devine, who co-pastors with her husband, Tim. Together those volunteers put in about 9,000 hours power-washing walls and floors, maintaining and distributing equipment, preparing meals, housing guests, coordinating work teams and much more.
Several local faith-based and other nonprofit groups pitched in to help after the disaster, she pointed out.

Nonetheless, Sharon and Bruce assessed needs and designated volunteers, prompting the church to nominate them. Bruce, 50, and Sharon, 49, are both married with children. Still, they logged 10-hour-plus days, working continuously for three months straight.

Across the country, more than 2,000 awards highlighted activities such as helping homeless veterans gain access to services, starting afterschool programs for at-risk youth, and rebuilding the faith-based community in New Orleans, post-Katrina.

"There were recipients from SUNY Geneseo, Hobart and William Smith College in Geneva, and eight recipients in Syracuse," said Kate Enos of the Corporation for National and Community Service in Washington D.C.

The first phase of flood relief has essentially come to a close. Now begins the long-term phase of flood recovery-- rebuilding our community home by home, stated the nomination.

And that's the part about which Sharon and Bruce spoke most vehemently, diverting the spotlight from themselves to discussing the next wave of needs for volunteer laborers.

Needs have shifted, though. Now skilled hands are required to help with rebuilding flooded properties: electricians, plumbers, construction laborers, painters and others. While Sharon continues as unpaid staff in a building next door to the church -- the Monroe House, currently being converted to a hospitality house for incoming volunteers -- Bruce has been hired as Flood Recovery Project Manager by the Broome County Council of Churches.

Both Sharon and Bruce continue daily to earn their awards.

Neighbors columnist Valerie Zehl can be contacted at vzehl@gannett.com.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Deadline nears for handicapped ramps

REGION -- The deadline is March 1 to submit applications to determine eligibility for wheelchair ramps to be built this summer by Faith in Action volunteers of the Broome County Council of Churches.

For the fourth consecutive summer, youths working with adult supervision, will build wheelchair ramps at selected homes in Broome County without charge to residents.

In the past three summers, 38 ramps were constructed.

For an application, go online to www.broomecouncil.net or call Joanne Kays at (607) 724-9130 ext. 304.

-- William Moyer