Monday, December 18, 2006

It's Coming...

I apologize for the lack of posting recently and I hate to admit that the posting will indeed be limited while I’m at home. I will still try to post at least twice a week, though. Forgive me if I’m late as it gets closer to Christmas.

I’m going to keep this post very short, but I do have something interesting to note. On a personal blog of mine, I made a discovery in a recent post (take a look at it here). After this experience, which is detailed in the aforementioned post, I came to visualize the positive steps that are being made towards establishing our “flat world”.

I understand that McDonald’s is a powerful company, but the fact that this multi-billion dollar corporation would invest in WiFi seems to prove the value of wireless internet. I recognize that McDonald has the leisure of having the funds in order to venture into a project like this—but, the fact remains that in such a business there would be plenty of investigation before going out and implementing WiFi. Why can’t the McDonald’s in Cortland have this? Does the McDonald’s in Cortland have this?

As I have mentioned before, many times, it seems that the internet is such a valuable tool to promote a business. I’ve investigated the use of the internet to make a website, but I haven’t discussed how wireless internet could be beneficial. First off, and most obviously, having wireless internet would eliminate any excuses as to why any company should NOT have a website. But, furthermore, there are other advantages than just accessibility.

A restaurant (any in Cortland) would benefit from this, specifically, because the patrons would have another reason to spend time, and money, at the establishment. I think it would be obvious why a library or bookstore would benefit from this. But, what about a retail store? How about this:

I need to go shopping but there’s no one to watch my kid brother. He doesn’t want to leave our house, and he is already starting to get restless. I get to Main Street, and there are a couple of stores that I can buy my dad’s Christmas gift; my brother is already rambunctious—should I go to Store A or Store B? I can buy my dad’s Christmas gift at both, but Store A has WiFi. So, I decide to go to Store A, and luckily I have my laptop with me. My brother quietly works on an online webquest that he needed to complete for school; I peacefully pick out my father’s gift.

I know this is a slight stretch (as there are many other factors to keep in mind), but it must be acknowledged that there are legitimate reasons why this would be advantageous. As I write this I can’t help but remember Thomas L. Friedman’s novel The World Is Flat. If Santa hasn’t come yet, you all should ask him for a copy… He says everything I’m alluding to, and more. Cheers, Cortland.


Thursday, December 14, 2006

Holiday Cheer

Looks like Cortland is having a First Night Celebration after all...Lloyd emailed this to me...sounds like fun!

Meet the Artist Night

Thursday, December 14th, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Cortland’s creative talent will converge on the historic Beard Building at 9 Main Street for an evening of art. Meet the Artist night is an opportunity for the community to talk with the local artists who are showcasing their creative talent at the Beard Building Gallery.

The Cortland Downtown Partnership and the Cultural Council of Cortland County are pleased to offer the Beard Building Gallery, 9 Main Street, for the last art show of 2006, Winter Nights & Lights. The show is free and open to the public November 9th, 2006, through January 5th, 2007.

This thematic show, Winter Nights & Lights provides the community with access to local art and serves as a fundraiser for replacing the lights that decorate downtown Cortland’s street trees. More than 20 pieces of work including photographs, water colors and oil work as well as sculpture are on display at the Beard Building Gallery.

During the past six months Downtown Cortland has seen, updated facades, new businesses, and an updated south Main Street. But, the lights decorating the thirty-four street trees along Main Street are almost all burnt out. Cortland’s Downtown Manager, Lloyd Purdy estimates downtown needs over 3,500 new bulbs to bring the trees “back to light”.

“Raising money through art is a unique way to showcase two aspects of Downtown Cortland that have been underappreciated for too long – the art scene and the beautiful streetscape found Downtown.” Said Lloyd Purdy, Cortland’s Downtown Manager.

“With the success of the first show at the Beard Building and the positive response to the Studio and Gallery Tour, the Cultural Council is pleased to be a co-sponsor of Winter Nights and Lights.” said David Beale, Executive Director of the Cortland County Cultural Council.

The Downtown Partnership is a non-profit dedicated to a more active, vibrant and sustainable Downtown. Through economic development initiatives, beautification programs, event promotion, and business development the Partnership is working to cultivate a downtown that supports commerce and culture.

“Culture is an important component of an active and vibrant downtown,” said Lloyd Purdy, Cortland’s Downtown Manager. “People visit downtowns because of the experience of shopping, dinning, and socializing. Cultural opportunities can be a draw that brings visitors downtown.”

Another light-centric downtown draw - First Night, Downtown Cortland's New Year's Eve Celebration, will also help raise funds for the lights on downtown's street trees. Donation barrels will be accessible during First Night so downtown visitors can make their contribution to a bright future for Downtown.


Tuesday, December 12, 2006

That's a Wrap

It is beginnging to look a lot like Christmas. It's also the end of the semester, which in my case means time for reflection. This semester was my last one taking classes. I will student teach in the Spring and then be officially done with Cortland. Well I'll never be done with Cortland. Even if I move away it will still always hold a special place in my heart. I attended SUNY Cortland for 7 years; during that time I met my fiance and realized my path in life. Over the past three years I've been studying to become an English teacher. It wasn't until last week, when we had our pre-student teaching meeting, that I finally felt ready to move on from student to teacher. I can't wait to have my own classroom. But one thing I've learned from taking English 506 (which allowed me to take part in this project and learn to blog) is that teaching is a never-ending learning process. English 506 or Computers and the Study of English has taught me volumes about how to incorporate technology applications like blogging into the classroom.

Reading through some older posts I saw that Christine from the Cortland Standard commented on one of Ray's posts. I had the opportunity of meeting Christine at a couple of the Cortland Downtown events held at the Beard Building. She is very nice person who shows enthusiasm for her job. I think it's interesting though that she said she was enjoying reading the blog. Christine is in her mid-20's like Ray and I, of course she's interested in the blog! Maybe we didn't do our jobs to advertise but I think we need to educate downtown Cortland and teach them what a blog is. The Cortland Standard could have their own blog, so many news shows have one now. Christine, if you're still reading, what would you say to writing a Cortland Standard blog? I'd surely read it!

Because of English 506, I now know how important technology is for today's society and most importantly the future of education. We see it everyday in PDA's, cell phones, laptops, and iPods- just to name a few. Teachers need to incorporate technology applications like blogs, wikis, and podcasts into their classrooms. If students see other blogs like this one it might encourage them to get involved in their community. I think it's important for school districts (as well as college campuses) to get involved with their communities and learn about technology. It's no longer the wave of the future- it's here, now! Here is a post from my English 506 blog. Enjoy and happy holidays!


It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas...

There are only 23 days left until Christmas morning; this means I only have about 20 days to do all of my Christmas shopping. I always end up rummaging through the picked-over gifts last-minute. This could be different. Unfortunately I have to travel all the way to Ithaca or Syracuse to do my Holiday shopping—and I just don’t have time to do that until he semester is over. Boy, it would be nice if I could have an opportunity to do it all in Cortland…

We all know how beneficial a strip-mall, or shopping center, etc. would be to Cortland; people and businesses would flock from miles to get a piece of what Cortland has to offer. I’m not going to sit here and proclaim that we should just put in a mega-plex and all of our problems would be solved. While this may be the case, it’s not easy to do what I just suggested.

Here comes that issue of money again. OK, so, I understand that it’s not feasible to put in a shopping plaza. But, why can’t we have some higher name stores… Am I reaching too high, still? Sure we have a Radio Shack but why can’t we have a Best Buy. I’m positive that (and I’m told that downtown Ithaca is dealing with a similar situation) we have no place to buy clothes. Here’s a thought.

Why couldn’t we convince some clothing businesses to come to Cortland and set up shop? I’m not going to pretend that I know anything about business, but I’m also not going to ignore the benefits that some trendy clothing stores would bring. And lets be honest, these stores would thrive throughout the year near a college campus.

This is an actual Away Message from an anonymous AOL Instant Messenger User who is also a student at SUNY Cortland:

Auto response from Imsoanonymous: library, final, library, final
i’m going to buy myself something nice for doing all of this hard work! : )

I’m sure that this girl (who preferred to stay unnamed) would love to be able to go right into a clothing department store in Cortland and buy a new shirt; I’m also sure that the clothing department store in Cortland would love to have her business. It just makes sense!

I know that I’m asking a lot when making an enormous request like this, but I just can’t get past the idea of it. What would it take to make something HUGE happen? I’ll do my part. Let’s make something ensue.

Well, it’s the end of the semester for me, folks. Katie and I will be presenting the Cortland Downtown Blog tonight! I have some good news, though. I will be continuing to blog on this website even after the end of this semester! See you then, Cortland. Cheers.

Oh, yeah... and MERRY CHRISTMAS!


Bringing Ithaca Here

It’s the end of the semester and a lot of the students of C-State will be heading home for the Holidays. So, Cortland, how do you handle this?

I’m curious to know how many students who are originally from Cortland go away to school. This summer I came up to look for an apartment, and there were a lot of college-aged people at the bars.

[Side Note: I couldn’t travel three and a half hours all the way to Cortland to look for an apartment and not check-in at the bars downtown for a while.]

This is going to be the second year, in a row, that I’m going to work a wedding at the Alumni House on New Years Eve. I’ll admit that I was really upset about this last year. I had to miss out on my family’s New Years party, and I had to travel to what I thought was going to be a ghost town. In hindsight, though, I can admit that I was way off.

There were a lot of people in Cortland on New Years Eve last year. (furthermore, there will probably be a lot of people here this year considering the Cortland Standard Building will drop the ball--See caption to the right). It was and will be a sight. The bad news is, though, that the rest of the winter it seemed to be more like what I had imagined. I think I’ve come to a realization…

Don’t get me wrong, what I’m about to write has no bearing on the fact that I still think it is completely necessary to try to integrate the college and the city more. But, I think that maybe there’s a different problem. It seems that there is no real reason for anyone from surrounding areas to travel to Cortland. There’s no great shopping mall, there’s no real mind-blowing restaurant, and there’s no gimmick (besides the ball dropping).

Maybe I went too far in stating there is not real reason for anyone to come to our city. I, like all of you, know that there are plenty of reasons to come to Cortland. Heck, sometimes, I walk down Main Street just for the atmosphere. I’m skeptical as to believe that someone would want to come from Ithaca to walk down Main St., though.

Could we set this as a guideline? Let’s do something that people from Ithaca would have to come to Cortland to see/do. The ball drop on New Years Eve is a perfect example! What do you think, Cortland? Cheers.


Tuesday, December 05, 2006

My apologies for neglecting the blog the past few weeks. The semester is coming to a close and I've been caught up doing work for all of my classes. I just wanted to make a quick comment about something I noticed when driving downtown yesterday. First off, add Mark's Pizzeria to the list of storefronts that's been refurbished. It looks great, especially next to the newly made-over Woodman's Pub front. As I tried to get a closer look at Mark's, from my car, I noticed something painted on the window. It said "Now accepting Connections." Most people might not know what that means...but I sure do and think it's great. The connections account is part of the on-campus meal plan. The meal plans have changed since I lived on campus. But I'm pretty sure the Connections account has stayed the same. The account works like anATM/Debit card and can be used in the laundry rooms, vending machines, and dining halls. But Mark's Pizzeria is also accepting Connections now. This is a great option, especially for those students who don't like to carry cash. More businesses should accept Connections, it would encourage students to spend more money downtown shopping.

That's it for now...more to come soon.

Dear Downtown Cortland Business Owners,

I’ve remembered something when I published my last post (I planned on mentioning this earlier, sorry). When I was writing the posts about the restaurant dilemma I had a hard time finding websites for the businesses. Besides The Blue Frog, I couldn’t find one restaurant in downtown Cortland that had a website. I’m a strong believer in technology and I think it’s absolutely absurd that any business would not have its own site. It’s not like it would cost money! This post goes out to you, Cortland business owner.

First off, take a look at The Blue Frog’s website. It’s a simple website that was made using the You guessed it folks, is a free application that anyone can use to design, publish, and maintain a website. Also check out Google Page Creator which is a similar, maybe even superior, application (it is also free).

It’s hard to believe that any business owners don’t have the time or the know-how to create a website for themselves; creating one could only help! For those worried or intimidated by the idea of building one, let me assure you that it’s no harder than following some clear and simple directions.

This idea brings me back to one of my first posts (did everyone read The World Is Flat, yet?). The detail that downtown Cortland needs to integrate technology more into everyday processes. I understand, as I stated before, that maybe not everyone has daily access to the internet, and I also understand that there is a ridiculous fee to use the internet at the library, but I don’t think that there is any room for excuses at this point. Go to the library or the college (maybe you know a friend!) and spend an hour or two constructing a website. It will do wonders for your business (it definitely can’t hurt)! Heck, I’ll even help out if you ask nicely.

Also, while I was surfing through The Blue Frog’s site, I noticed that this business also created a MySpace page. And, low and behold, the number one friend of The Blue Frog’s was another downtown business, Ultimate Music. I know MySpace is a very controversial social networking site, but I bet if you asked the owner of this coffee shop if it helped she’d say yes. Maybe I’ll e-mail her; I can do this because there is an e-mail on the website!

Even if someone were to feel a little uncomfortable making a MySpace page (it’s still a good idea in my opinion), there’s no justification for not having a website. It’s free, it’s easy, and it’s extremely beneficial. The best part of having a website is that I, the almighty blogger, will also link to it—even extending the promotion of your business further. With all kidding aside, I’m sure we can all see the benefits now. Cheers.


Drastic Times Call For Simple Measures

Everyone who’s been through a semester of college can identify with the dreaded end-of-the-semester rush. Every semester that I’ve studied at SUNY Cortland I’ve felt the anxieties that arise from the reality that EVERYTHING is due in a week. There will be no more time to procrastinate. I’m sure that most of the other students at C-State suffer in this same way. This could be an interesting development for downtown Cortland.

I’ll be frank in saying that nothing truly makes me feel better during this week of hell. I consume a lot more energy drinks and coffee than a regular person should, but it never brings the stress level down. This is, and I assure you, a VERY demanding week for most students. I’m thinking, though, that there is a way for downtown Cortland and the SUNY students to gain a symbiotic relationship through which both parties benefit.

I’ve mentioned before that one dynamic that we all should reach for is a unification of the college and the community. I’ve also mentioned the idea of bringing the college students downhill to Main Street to indulge in the available restaurants. Well what if at this time (finals week), when I know that most students aren’t going to have the time to mosey on down to Main Street, some of the businesses traveled up the hill? The Blue Frog could serve discounted coffee at a desirable location near the library. This would indeed help the students and it would definitely promote the wonderful coffee at The Blue Frog. I don’t see why we couldn’t do this. It wouldn’t cost any money for anyone, right?

Sally, who has been studying hard for her Biology final tries a fresh iced (or hot, we are in Cortland) coffee from The Blue Frog stand and loves it. After she aces her final, she decides to walk down the hill, to Main Street, to have another cup; she even heads back there multiple times the next semester. Looks like a positive situation to me.

One problem that I’ve found was that the students, especially the freshmen, are incredibly unaware of what downtown has to offer. This would be a slight remedy to this problem for sure. Think about it, Cortland. Cheers.