Pleasant Ave Now Pleasant? My Weekly Journal

by Linda Kaidan

August 8, 2016 AM – Mysterious snow white maggots appear on top of trash can at 330 Pleasant Ave.

Trash can adorned with magnificent maggots :)
Trash can adorned with magnificent maggots

We all love Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs. But when I poked my head out front Tuesday morning, I gasped in surprise. There were at least 17 snow white maggots merrily wriggling atop my trash can. Perhaps they are a kind gift from a kindly neighbor? Like Arabian horses, those gorgeous maggots were best of breed. If they were intended to offend; they failed miserably. I’ve lived in West Africa and am a seasoned veteran of fly-infused beer and fresh bread with crisp-baked ants. As many survivalists know, a maggot-and-garlic sauté is tasty and nutritious.  Maggots are medicinal: They love to eat rotten flesh found in open sores and so are very capable of clearing up infection, even gangrene. (A chance discovery made when inspecting neglected battlefield wounds.)

August 8, 2016 PM -Funny drunk neighbors socializing at 331 Pleasant Ave help fix my car.

fix things with stuff you haveAfter an exhausting day slogging away at a fascinating yet horribly low paid writing assignment, I vegged out and watched one of my favorite series about a dysfunctional family living on a beautiful Florida Key near Islamadora. At 11:30 PM, someone knocked on my door. Since it was so late at night I screamed. My dog, Bear, joined in. I peeked out of the doorway to see who it was, but they were gone. And though it was pitch black and my car was locked, my brake lights glowed red. Not wanting my battery to die, I left the imaginary protection of my home armed with a shovel. After hurling some insults into the answering darkness, I tried to do something about the malfunctioning brake lights. The new, friendly neighbors across the street started joking around and I couldn’t stay angry. In fact, they made me laugh more than I have in the two years of being besieged here on Pleasant Avenue. Crossing to my side of the street, they disconnected my battery for me, and showed me how to reconnect it—I had to leave in the morning.  We all had fun. Perhaps this is our first experience of a new, reborn Pleasant Avenue.

August 10, 2016 PM –Punji stick finally pierces my foot in back yard at 330 Pleasant Ave.

Herkimer NY punji stake gifted nosy neighbors who call cops on drug dealers child traffickers
1 of many punji stakes lovingly crafted in my yard here on Herkimer’s Pleasant Avenue.

At night I went looking for dog Bear. She knows we haven’t many friends out there and tends to hide in the bracken: “Hey Bear! Come on in, supper… OUUUUCH! “

One of many punji sticks lovingly crafted by haters poked a ragged hole in the bottom of my foot. Later investigation revealed whole clusters in our yard.

Punji stake wound from traps set by Herkimer drug dealers and child trafickers in yard of nosy old neighbor
Punji stake wound from one of many  hidden booby traps rigged in my Pleasant  Avenue yard.

So I got a tetanus shot, x-rays and a prescription for antibiotics at Basset. Everyone was helpful, professional and nice.

And I also found out how to make a custom orthotic out of the white fuzzy cotton batting the podiatrist uses. I shaped it to fit to my foot, carving out a depression where the wound is, relieving pressure on the wound when I walk. Quite comfy.

Herkimer punji stake wound homemade orthotic Herkimer drug dealers child traffickersCustom homemade orthotic to help heal Herkimer punji stake wound acquired in my booby trapped yard. Guess I’ve pissed off Pleasant Avenue’s drug and child traffickers, again. 

Problems can help us meet new friends and learn how to do things better. And when you analyze a problem, you can often understand what’s wrong and figure out how to fix it. Solutions can be found in your own home with just the materials at hand. Critical thinking is fun, and often triumphant.

Don Heath and Paul remake Pleasant Avenue’s most blighted home

by Linda Kaidan

remake most blighted Herkimer home
Don Heath carpenter extraordinaire renovates 331 Pleasant Ave.

Three thirty-one Pleasant Ave looked like a blighted hulk long before we moved into the house across the street two years ago. It was indeed one of the most dilapidated homes in Herkimer Village. Fortunately, Don Heath and Paul are now renovating this home purchased at last month’s county auction. Their remake most blighted Herkimer home project is well on the way to success.

Don and Paul are true community leaders who lead by example

Paul and Don are no strangers to village renovations. They have already transformed more than 40 houses in the area. They are completely undaunted by this home’s condition. After removing 5 containers of trash from inside and outside this structure they quickly got to work re-framing the windows and residing the exterior. Don has already transfigured the front of the house – now a vision of perfect loveliness. Just see for yourself! Here are before and after shots.

331 Pleasant Ave Herkimer on auction June 4, 2016
Herkimer Property Auction June 4th 2016
Renovating 331 Pleasant Ave.
In just 22 days 331 Pleasant Ave looks so much better!

These urban pioneers have been a strong force for positive development in our community. They recognize and appreciate the true beauty of Herkimer Village and oppose with courage, talent and determination the negative forces set in motion by decades of economic depression.

Don and Paul love our village and its strong connection to our magnificent natural surroundings. They have countered the exploitation of two decades of slumlords and are a beacon of positive action for us all. Not only are they courageous renovators, they are also actively engaged in teaching others how to preserve homes and how to promote personal development, education and responsibility in our community.

Let’s follow Paul and Don’s positive example by sharing our talents and abilities with others and by taking responsibility for ourselves, our families and our community. Think about how you can share your time, skills and knowledge. Each one of us can make a difference. Now is a good time to begin.

Life Without Cash

by Linda Kaidan

I’ve just watched Season 1 of Mr Robot – free on Amazon Prime. The plot revolves around a tiny group of hackers who bring world banking to a halt by rendering their corporate data inaccessible, encrypting it with a virtually unbreakable key. As a result, all the economies in the world go bust simultaneously and everyone is free of debt, but without currency alternative. Will chaos follow when there is life without cash?

Surviving Economic Crisis

This plot seems likely to occur in real life – possibly at any moment. New quantum computers are millions of times faster than those widely used today and probably very effective at breaking the most sophisticated computer security measures. Destabilization of major economies can also be driven by climate change disasters like coastal flooding, famine and disease.

Business Insider offers a solution that replaces our current monetary system with one based on water or energy. Since these are basic resources used by virtually everyone, this makes lots of sense. Global banking disaster can be prevented right now and we should not wait for the inevitable hacker or cataclysmic event to make it so.

Taking Charge of Economic Stability at Community Level

We don’t have to be passive onlookers in the economic stabilization process. We can be proactive on the community level by producing local energy in our villages, towns and cities, securing a reliable water supply through rainwater harvesting, recycling water and plain old living in the right place.

Smart early first century people like the Nabateans lived in the desert, but managed to support a thriving agricultural community by effectively harvesting rainwater and storing it in cisterns below ground. Today, desert residents in New Mexico generate sufficient water for their homes with only 8 inches of rain per year. They manage this miracle by harvesting and reusing just about all the rainwater they get, transforming their homes into tiny oasis capable of offering year round comfortable temperature, sufficient water even for flush toilets and producing lovely interior and exterior gardens.

In Herkimer, NY we have endless fresh water and a history of generating clean hydro, solar and wind energy. We are in an ideal location to become a stable, sustainable community should disaster strike. But we are not there yet. Let’s make our community independent and sustainable now so that we’ll have basic needs like food, water and energy covered even when chaos reigns.


Tiny new satellites can guaranty that we will not all die from global warming

by Linda Kaidan

Tiny new satellites or Nanosatellites halt global warming
NASA Nanosatellite Cube Launcher 2013

Tiny new satellites are being developed at MIT’s Space Propulsion Laboratory. This breakthrough technology can support the delivery of solar shades in space to prevent earth’s atmosphere from continuously heating up.  With advances in nanotech, satellites can be as tiny as half an inch cubed. The tininess is important as it makes the cost of launching the them comparatively small.

Tiny new satellites called nanosatellites are a foundation technology for global warming prevention

This emerging generation of satellites is much smarter than those we have now. They have highly effective navigation and propulsion systems for ease of placement, and can return to earth on their own without adding to Earth’s orbiting space junk colonies.

Each satellite can deliver a space shade cluster capable of covering huge areas with reflective lightweight fabric that can be repositioned to precisely control the amount of solar radiation reaching the earth. With space shades that we can easily move and control, we can accurately regulate how much heat our atmosphere absorbs from the sun.

Nanosatellite Launchers are under development by NASA

Space shades don’t solve all our problems. We need to stop polluting our soil, water and air while cleaning up the mess we’ve already made.  Nanosatellite delivered space shades can give us the time we need to recover from our ongoing climate change disaster. Perhaps this will become a major step in planetary weather control. The first flight of NASA’s Nanosatellite Launch Adapter System took place in November 2013.


Residential fire causes and prevention methods


Residential fire causes
Prevent your home from burning

Residential Fire Causes

There are numerous residential fire causes. Some of the causes listed by the National Fire Protection Organization are:

  • Cooking – Cooking fires are the most common cause of residential fires.
  • Electrical – These fires are caused by electrical distribution and lighting equipment malfunction. This is a major cause of garage fires.
  • Chemicals and gases – Oily rags are a frequent contributor to fires. Unstable chemicals can spontaneously combust. Such chemicals are often found in the process of meth amphetamine manufacture. There is a high risk of fire and explosion during meth cooking because of the volatile chemicals involved. Alcohol, paint thinner, gasoline and camping fuel are just of few of the dangerous ingredients that may contribute to fire.
  • Smoking materials – The National Fire Protection Organization reported that in 2011 19 percent of home structure fire deaths were caused by smoking materials.
  • Arson – This is an intentional destruction of property with fire as the means. The FBI recorded about 20 arson offenses per 100,000 people in 2010.
  • Fireworks – In 2011 fireworks caused almost 18,000 fires.

Protect your home from fire by taking precautions

The Federal Emergency Management Administration recommends some easy ways to protect your home from fire.

  1. Store flammable materials safely. Gasoline, oil, paint and propane should not be stored inside your home.
  2. Keep flammable materials away from your appliances.
  3. When charging an appliance do not plug multiple devices into the same outlet.
  4. Never use extension cords when charging appliances.
  5. Install a heat alarm rather than a smoke alarm in your garage.
  6. When cooking pay attention and keep things that can catch on fire away.

It is easy to keep safe

When you take means to prevent fire in your home you are keeping your family and your neighbors safe as well. Most preventative measures don’t cost any money at all. They are just common sense good behavior.



Mohawk Valley Volunteerism Drives Community Rebirth

Mohawk Valley Volunteerism can transform our community. Perhaps our Herkimer Village officials were embarrassed by derelicts milling about our Main St. area when an investor came to town. They shouldn’t have been. Even some of today’s most affluent cities, like Boston, have seen very hard times. Smart investors know that value is way more than skin deep. The above video shows how a community in Hawaii works together to share information about sustainability and manages events that drive their prosperity, promoting personal growth and self-esteem.

Delights of growing volunteers syracuse ny


Habitat for Humanity is an example of an organization that provides the opportunity to learn, help and gain experience. We can also consider our community as an organization that can provide self-help through education and volunteerism. Together we can become a model community for Mohawk Valley redevelopment.

Teaching what we know enriches our community

Rather than be embarrassed by disenfranchisement and economic hardships, we should see a special opportunity. The unskilled, underemployed and unfulfilled in our community can become our most essential assets when we implement high value solutions through community volunteerism. Some call this approach an “each one teach one” philosophy. When individuals in our community volunteer in sharing their knowledge with others they enrich everyone.

Herkimer Village’s nearly 8,000 people have many skills. Some of us know how to do carpentry. There are also farmers, cooks, musicians, dancers and gardeners among us. Others know how to write. By sharing our knowledge and abilities, we can transform our village into a model community.

Take the first step towards community self-improvement

We wouldn’t be the first to take this important step in community self-improvement. In an impoverished corner of India, under a bridge and without a classroom, two shopkeepers are teaching 200 young students who otherwise wouldn’t receive an education. These unpaid teachers are sharing their knowledge. The space is free and the students eager to learn.

It’s easy to begin this process of community improvement through Mohawk Valley Volunteerism. Are you willing to be a volunteer? Are you willing to be a student? What would you like to teach or learn? Can you share land or space? Let’s bring our talents together now! Write to me at and let me know what you think.


Linda Kaidan





Herkimer County Caves – exploring them and living in them

Believe it or not there are at least 38 Herkimer County Caves. Many more may exist, but have yet to be unearthed. It’s possible that the locations of some have simply been kept a secret.

Modern man can live in caves

The list below was reprinted from the website. Caves have been used for thousands of years as homes for humans. But today more than ever before, they can be a source of shelter and serenity. Protected from weather extremes yet capable of providing warm and inviting living spaces, they might be exactly what you’re looking for in a home. Even if they’re not your cup of tea, they do make for great fun exploring.

An organization dedicated to researching caves is The Northeast Cave Conservancy. They are interested in caves and limestone areas where stalagmites and stalactites form. Collecting geological, biological and hydrological data is important to them. So is keeping recreational cave explorers safe.

Keeping safecave dwelllers circa 3000 bc Russell-Cave-66

Dangers of cave exploration include hypothermia, getting lost, being hit by falling objects, slipping on wet surfaces and falls into pits and crevices. Check out this true very scary story of man who disappeared in a cave.

Handy rules for cave safety can be found in this free online handbook.

Do you live near a cave?

Herkimer County Caves (reprinted from

“200 foot cave, Ice Cave Mountain 39-66mr,67p
3-D fracture maze, Ice Cave Mountain 23-107r
400 foot cave, Ice Cave Mountain 39-66m,67r
60 foot cave, Ice Cave Mountain 39-66m,67r
Austins Cave 44-60r,61r
Bottomless Pit 3-21r,37-95r,44-21h,23rg,24m
Buttonhole Cave (see also Schroeders Pants Cave) 3-21r,41-73h
Cave Disillusion 10-69d,24-136r
cave near Jordanville 25-24r,34-52r
cave on county line 25-4r
Chyle Hole 24-137r,25-4r
Corregidor Cave 32-61r
Cullen (Kenyons) Cave 22-79o,27-29dm,44-59r,61r
Cupids Retreat 44-110rx
Daves Crevasse 39-65m
Diamond Cave 3-21r
dig in Herkimer County 28-119r
drains below Little Falls 38-28r
fissure cave south of Van Hornesville 34-131r
fissure in Van Hornesville 25-4r
fissures south of Van Hornesville 21-35r
Hinmans Cave 29-119r
Ice Cave Mountain Cave 34-24r,36-88r,39-64rp,65m
Kitchen, The 34-131r
Moss Island pothole caves 22-63d, 40-43r
Mountain Ice Cave 39-131dm
RCRB Cave 36-90r
Rogers Crevasse 39-65m
Schroeders Pants Cave (Buttonhole Cave, Herkimer System) 5-84a,21-9a,64d,35-75orah,36-108r,37-79p,81rp,90arh,91arh,92ah,95r,
Septic Tank Cave 21-44r,37-137r
silver mine, Stark 34-131r
Split Rock Caves 24-137rx
Stairstep Shafts Cave 10-69d,24-136r,38-61r,44-45r
talus caves near Summit Mtn. 32-61r
Zurlos Pants Cave 3-21r,37-95r


Herkimers empty pockets – New County Attorney takes all

Herkimer County has recently budgeted $134,661 for its first full time attorney, Robert J. Malone. In a county with a population as small as ours and with one of the lowest median incomes in NY (ranking 50/62) this seems more than a little bit excessive.
Do Herkimer demographics support this expenditure?
How many people live in Herkimer? According to the US Census Herkimer County has a population of 64,519. The median household income is $45,000. With tax burdens in NY already nearly 50% higher than US average, Herkimer’s expenditure on a full time county attorney is simply an extravagance that we cannot afford.
What does $200,000 buy?
Supporting the College Now Program, the Herkimer County Legislature approved a $200,000 appropriation that allows high school students to enroll tuition-free in Herkimer College. What essential program won’t come about because of our new investment in a full time county attorney?
Appointee Robert J. Malone will be going from a part-time to a full-time position, with a salary of $134,661 and benefits. Savings from creating one full-time position would be approximately $1,500, according to county officials.
What are typical County Attorney salaries?
According to current statistics, an average county attorney salary is $53,000 and the maximum is $105,000. However, a NY county with a similar population, Columbia County, has a senior attorney and support staff with a budget as high as $425,395 in salary, plus pension and health benefits in 2012.
Small counties need to be especially thrifty when making spending choices. Easy-come Easy-go will not work for us. Civil servants shouldn’t get a bonus for serving the public good.