Latest News From Around The Town of Preble, NY:
As I write this, there are many phrases being used, that just a few months ago had no place in our individual lives. COVID-19 has changed the world. The “new normal” is still changing daily. “Social distancing” is the new catch phrase. While many things have changed, the Preble Highway Department has been working every day as essential employees doing an essential job.
The highway garage has allowed us to work safely. Our spring work is underway. A fifteen to twenty percent cut in summer expenditures is planned to make up for expected decreases in revenue. The state funding programs (CHIPS, Pave NY & Extreme Winter Recovery (EWR)) are in the final state budget, however, Governor Cuomo has held the option of cutting state funding through the year if necessary.
The Preble Town-Clean-Up, originally scheduled for Friday May 1st & Saturday May 2nd , has been tentatively rescheduled for June 5th & 6th. From 7:00 – 3:30 both days. This may change based on the status of New York Forward in our region. We will announce any changes on our web site and Facebook page.
Should you have any questions or need additional information, please call me @ 607-749-2710.
By Jim Doring
What is a victory garden, you may ask? Victory gardens were started by the average citizen during World War I with the intention of growing vegetables for family consumption in mostly urban areas to help with the war effort. Rural people had always had a history of growing gardens as a means of sustenance, but for urban dwellers, this activity was something new.
The home-grown production of fruits and vegetables not only relieved the nation of producing a percentage of the community’s food supply, but also of the burden of transporting the food from the farms into the cities. The movement made local food production possible and it gave people a sense of pride to help in the war effort where otherwise they could feel helpless.
During World War I, soldiers were fighting overseas at the same time that the Spanish flu was raging around the globe. The victory garden movement was so successful that at its peak production, “it’s estimated that home, school and community gardeners produced close to forty percent of the country’s fresh vegetables from about 20 million gardens.”1
The victory garden movement was revived during World War II. “Gardens flourished on the home front because people were eager to cultivate something beautiful and useful in times of great stress and uncertainty.” 2 It was my grandfather, who lived in Queens near JFK airport, who introduced me to his still existent and thriving victory garden as a child during the 1960s. He would take me out to the backyard to help him pick tomatoes, peppers and a variety of other crops. My father carried on the tradition at my childhood home in Suffolk County and I have continued the practice of growing a large part of my own food requirements here in Preble.
After World War II, as the economy expanded, employment was plentiful and people realized that it was easier to work at their jobs than to grow their own food. A garden was hard physical work without guaranteed results. As people felt more secure in their economic well-being, victory gardens were mostly abandoned and turned into lawns.
With the recent economic shock of the corona virus, many unemployed people have decided to once again start up gardens. These modern gardens have been renamed from victory gardens to pandemic gardens. The scenario at this time in history is not world war, but the economic fallout from the corona virus. There are currently many forces at play that are converging to create a situation where food supplies may not be as plentiful in the future as they were in the recent past.3
On April 13, Kentucky Congressman, Thomas Massie warned of food shortages, resulting from plant closures and broken food distribution infrastructure. As we do our regular shopping, we see empty shelves and shortages first hand. These current events have exposed the shortcomings of our just in time food supply chain. We see the paradox of shortages in some areas and surpluses in other areas. The surpluses are to the extent that farmers are actually dumping milk and plowing under crops due to the sudden lack of demand in the specific markets that they serve. Meanwhile other people go hungry. Growing a vegetable garden can provide a physical outlet for exercise, and the satisfaction of personal pride by producing a needed tangible product. This is something that the individual can do to alleviate the stress and the challenges of the current times. Just as our great grandparents and our great, great grandparents had to rise to the challenges of World War I and the Spanish flu (The Spanish flu infected one out of three people and killed 50 million people worldwide)4, we can rise to the challenges of the corona virus and the economic difficulties that are present and yet to come.
1 NY Times 3/25/20
3 The Guardian 4/20
4 NPR 4/2/20
As everybody knows, the world has changed in a significant way since our last newsletter. During these unprecedented times that we’ve been living through, of global lockdown, we can feel helpless as individuals.
There are several things that we as individuals can do to improve and to help safeguard our own personal situation. I will mention two actions that can be taken. One is to maintain a strong immune system. Health experts have recommended various vitamins and minerals as dietary supplements to strengthen the body’s natural immune system. The second action that an individual can take is to grow a vegetable garden. New gardens started this year are sometimes called pandemic gardens. This phrase is a take-off from the old victory gardens. We have an in-depth discussion in this article.
The Preble Town Board is still conducting monthly board meetings while maintaining social distancing and wearing masks as municipalities are deemed essential services. Board meeting audio and video files are posted on www.preble-ny.org.
Regretfully, due to the current crisis, the Preble Memorial Day Parade will be cancelled this year.
It is believed in some professional circles, that the economic fallout will be significantly greater than the damage of the virus itself. The circulation of money has slowed down drastically. Governor Cuomo has recently reported a 61 billion-dollar state deficit. The state is in dire economic crisis. Cortland County’s financial state is also dire. The Town of Preble has always had a history of financial responsibility. The Town of Preble is debt free. The town owns all of its buildings, trucks and equipment free of any encumbrances. However, the town is greatly dependent upon sales tax revenues and various state funding programs. We are anticipating these revenue shocks in the near-future, therefore we are already considering reductions in our 2021 budget to reflect these realities.
At Your Service,
Preble Town Supervisor
The annual New York State DEC burn ban runs through May 14th with residential burning allowed to resume on May 15th. Open burning of debris is the largest single cause of spring wildfires in New York State. When temperatures are warmer and the past fall's debris and leaves dry out, wildfires can start and spread easily and be further fueled by winds and a lack of green vegetation.
Now that nice weather is finally here, remember, open burning of household trash is prohibited and releases dangerous compounds including arsenic, carbon monoxide, benzene, styrene, formaldehyde, lead, hydrogen cyanide and dioxin, among others.
Do Not Burn Household Trash❗️
- Burning trash is prohibited statewide in all cases. Our existing incinerator rule already prohibits burning household trash in wood stoves, fireplaces, and outdoor wood boilers.
- DEC recommends that you recycle all appropriate materials (such as newspaper, paper, glass and plastic) and compost your organic kitchen and garden waste.
- Burning leaves also is banned in New York State. We encourage you to compost leaves.
- Disposal of flags or religious items in a small-sized fire is allowed if it is not otherwise prohibited by law or regulation.
See this NYS DEC article for full details: https://www.dec.ny.gov/chemical/58519.html