Thursday, May 19, 2011

New Handicapped Spot Nabs The Unsuspecting

Non-Standard Parking Sign Fooling Some


In the village from the Fly Creek Valley on Monday, May 16, Barbara Lyon parked in one of those 15-minute parking places in front of the U.S. Post Office, the one closest to Hoffman Lane.
When she returned, she found a parking ticket under her windshield wiper.  It stated she had parked in a handicapped spot.  The fine, $100.
“I was in a state of disbelief,” she wrote later in the official protest  form filed with village court.  “There was no universal handicap symbol (wheelchair) on the pavement.  No special lines on the pavement.
“Likewise, there was no wheelchair symbol on the signpost for that space.”
The sign bore small letters, “30 Minute Handicap Parking,” on a same-sized sign as the ones that say “15 Minute Parking” with the same-sized letters, only in blue.
The way the spot was marked is out of synch with instructions in the state’s manual that would-be drivers study, she said.
Lyon headed over to the police department at 22 Main, where she reports Police Chief Diana Nicols simply gave her the protest form to fill out.
Asked about the matter, Village Clerk Teri Barown said the village trustees approved converting the 15-minute spot to a handicapped spot in January. 
Village Court Clerk Mary Ann Travis said Lyon is not alone:  Several people have complained to her that they didn’t notice that the status of the space had changed.
However, she said, most then simply paid the $100 fine.  Others took copies of the protest form with them, but haven’t submitted them yet, she said.
Through Travis, Village Justice Leslie Friedman declined to comment on matters that might come before her.  And Trustee Lynne Mebust, Police Committee chair, and Chief Nicols didn’t return telephone messages.
Lyon was told that Brian Clancy, the Public Works superintendent, was responsible for erecting the sign.  When she raised the issue of improper signage, Clancy said a vendor had put up the sign and he hadn’t seen it, she said.  If it is improper, he told her, he would have it changed in the next few days.
“I have never even considered parking in a handicapped space and would not have today if universal signage and/or markings had been visible,” Lyon continued in her protest.  “I would have parked in another space, of which two were available.”
She pointed out that, less than 40 feet away on the opposite side of the street, is a properly marked space in front of the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
“Shouldn’t drivers on both sides of the street be looking at the same signs for the same designation of a handicapped parking space?” she asked.
even the world, opening up possibilities for a whole new local industry.
Now, said Mockoviciak, the closest USDA-certified plants are in Bridgewater to the north and Otego to the south, but the demand is much greater than those plants can meet.
Already, the new plant is busy, and it’s expected that this fall Althiser’s six-employee operation will be running 24-7 to meet the demand of processing hogs.
The Otsego County Industrial Development Authority, the county’s Economic Development Office and CADE (the Center for Agricultural Development and Education) helped make the 3,000-square-foot structure possible.
In an interview, Jill Harvey, a former aide to U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer, said the growing demand for organic meats along the Eastern Seaboard is making projects like this one a priority.
Larry’s benefited from an R-BEG, a USDA Rural Business Enterprise Grant, among other funding sources, Harvey said.  The $99,000 grant went to the IDA, which bought the equipment and leased it to the Althisers at a reasonable rate.
Because of the demand, the USDA is operating two mobile slaughterhouses in the Hudson Valley, she said.
While many in the crowd under the tent were friends and relatives of the Althisers, the organic-farming segment was well-represented, too, including beef-growers up from East Meredith.
There were samples of the Althisers’ kielbasa and hotdogs which, with USDA-certification, they can sell from the plant if they wish.
And Jim Andela from Krugerrand Farms, was down from his goat farm outside Richfield Springs with samples of the goat cheese.  He’s seeking a distributor in the New York City area.

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