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Tag Archives: First Baptist Church

Cleaning the Church for the Community

A handsome building, indeed.

I have felt sad every time I pass the former First Baptist Church in Herkimer, because it was closed and the building for sale. It is such a lovely building, and I feared it would go to waste and ruin.   I was delighted to hear that the Business and Professional Association of Herkimer had acquired it. It will be their headquarters and a multi-use space available for all sorts of groups and community events.  However, the building needs a lot of work, and the association needs volunteers to help.  Naturally, I said I would volunteer.  Of course, I am not clever or capable about carpentry or anything like that.  However, I don’t mind dirty, tedious jobs.  I figured there would be something I could do.  This morning, I did something, at least for a short time.

The first thing I had to do was sign a waiver, which I was happy to do.  I understand that organizations can’t be too careful these days.  I wandered into the church part (I’m not sure what that is called and Google was no help).  I saw some nasty looking dark spots all along the walls.

Gorgeous stained glass, BUT…

“Is that mildew?”  I asked.  It was.  I have a mildew allergy.  Well, maybe it would not be too bad to stay for a while.  I could leave before I actually started to wheeze.

This is actually after we cleaned a bunch of stuff up.

It is, I fear, typical of me that I went into the basement to help.  I knew the mildew would be worse in the damp basement, but, well, I said I would help with the dirty jobs and this definitely fit the bill.  The area pictured above was covered with wet tiles that had fallen from the ceiling.  Two guys and I gathered them up with shovels or gloved hands and stuffed them into garbage bags.  We had to use the shovels to knock a few stunborn tiles off the ceiling.  I know the guys did more than me.  For one reason, I was flatly incapable of carrying the full bags up the stairs.  But I helped.

LOTS of stuff to be cleaned up here!

Another room in the basement was even worse.  I was starting to have a little trouble breathing so went upstairs.

Another volunteer hard at work.

Another volunteer was placing plastic to protect the carpet prior to squirting bleach onto the walls.  I squirted some bleach.  I was ready to apply some elbow grease, but the other lady suggested I just spread the bleach around and leave it to soak in.  Yes, sometimes time is better than effort.  That is the principle I apply when I leave my dishes to air dry.

Unfortunately, I soon realized my breathing was not getting any easier, despite a break of going outside for a few minutes.  I had been there a little over a half hour, but there was no point in giving myself real problems.  I told them I would come again another time and put in another half hour or more if I could.  I like to think every little bit helps.  Then I had the bright idea of going home and getting my Tablet to take a few pictures and make a blog post.  I could help with a little publicity!

So this is where the bags of tiles I couldn’t carry went.


It’s a little blurry, but you can see what a beautiful church it was.


Another outside view.

The reason we’re working in the mildew and mess!

As you can see from the above picture, you can go to for more information about the Business and Professional Association of Herkimer. You can also Like their Facebook page.  And if I get to volunteer again, I’ll write another blog post.


Me and the Police

I saw on Facebook (an unending source of information) that Thank the Police Blue Ribbon Day happens from 9:01 p.m. Sept. 29 to 8:59 p.m. Sept. 30.  What better time, I thought, to make my post about Coffee and Conversation with a Cop (also known as Cup with a Cop).  I attended the latest session of the program last Saturday, Sept. 26, and enjoyed it very much.

The program runs the last Saturday of the month from 9 to 10:30 a.m. at First Baptist Church in Herkimer.  One or two police officers attend (as allowed by their duties).  Anybody in the community is welcome to come and chat.  I’ve asked questions about police procedure for that novel I keep trying to write.  We talk about the state of crime in the area, local police work, and many other related topics.

I confess that when I attend these sessions I am torn between an uplifting feeling of civic virtue and a sheepish acknowledgement that I am also looking forward to the refreshments.  Then again, as a community theatre colleague once observed as we contemplated with satisfaction a large crowd for dessert theatre, “If you feed them, they will come.”

While I enjoyed several cookies, I also contributed to a lively and wide-ranging discussion.  What I really liked about it was that people’s attitudes were geared to, “What can we do to make things better?”  The underlying thought seemed to be that we actually can make it better.  I found that refreshing and encouraging.

Sometimes at these sessions, when we get to talking about the state of the world, we fall into a bit of,  “Look at THOSE people!  They don’t show any respect!”  From there, it is a short step to, “It wasn’t like that when WE were young!”  Yes, I have done it myself, but I question the validity of the assertion.  One time an older guy (older than me at any rate) was bemoaning the younger generation, and I said to him, “You realize your grandfather said the same thing about you.”  Of course I was just guessing, but I bet I guessed right.

Officer Crippen, our cop for the day, did talk about respect, but he talked a lot about how much better things go when he shows respect to others.  Obviously, sometimes you have to tackle the bad guy, but often when you come into a situation, what first meets the eye does not tell the whole story.  He finds if he can ask, “What’s going on here?” and get an answer, he often gets a better result.  He said when possible, he prefers verbal de-escalation.

Another topic that came up was the ever-increasing problem of heroin addiction.  We talked about societal and economic factors in the situation, as well as the more sophisticated techniques of the drug dealers and the police department’s troubles in combating them.  Long-range solutions, of course, are not easy to come by, but we discussed those, too.

As usual, the idea of all citizens being the eyes and ears of the police came up.  “If you see something, say something” is the rule the police would like us to follow.  This is not said with a “Squeal on your neighbor” kind of vibe but rather with the intent to help your neighborhood and make our community better.  An example of this was a question I brought up.  It seems a number of people in my neighborhood enjoy the night life, sometimes returning loudly at a late hour.  If I think I hear a fight, the police would rather I call them and be wrong than not call them and be right.  After all, the cops may be able to stop a fight before somebody gets hurt.

I felt it was a really good session and was glad I was able to attend.  Cup with a Cop has been going on for a year now.  One of the last things we talked about was how to expand the program, bring more people into the discussion, and let it spread to other communities.  One possibility is to ask other churches to host sessions. Another suggestion was to hold a Conversation at the library.

“Yes, the library,” I said.  “Then afterwards, people can stay and listen to Guitar Group!  I love that Guitar Group.”  It would make a wonderful blog post.


Scattered but Sick Saturday

Sorry, kids, but I feel like crap.  I’m going to give you a brief overview of my day, whine about my ills, and hit Publish.  That was your warning.  If you don’t want to listen to me whine, STOP READING NOW!!  SAVE YOURSELF!   (That last said in a sweeping dramatic tone with gesture, like the character in the disaster movie who sacrifices herself for others.) (I’m either taking myself pretty seriously here or else I’m being silly. You decide.)

I started this morning with Coffee and Conversation with a Cop at the First Baptist Church in Herkimer, NY.  This worthwhile community endeavor has been going on for a whole year now, and I support it wholeheartedly.  I intend to write a longer blog post about it. I had intended to do so today, but, well, shit happens.

Having eaten sweet yummy stuff at the church but not had breakfast, I was feeling a little upset of stomach.  I went home and had eggs,  thinking protein would counteract the sugar.  I guess it helped marginally.

I left the house shortly before noon, headed for Ilion Little Theatre (ILT).  I understood  that people would be working on the set for Lunch Hour starting at noon.  Lunch Hour, I believe I mentioned, is the first official offering of the ILT 2015-16 season.  I am stage manager.  Rehearsals have started and are going very well.  I chatted with the director about how well things are going, gave my opinion about a couple of set pieces under consideration, and other than that was not a whole lot of help.

That was when I started to feel like crap.  The lightheadedness that has plagued me lately came back.  I couldn’t handle it.  I went home.  After visiting with Steven when he came home for lunch (poor soul has to work most Saturdays), I took a nap.

And some more stupid stuff happened after I awoke, but never mind that now.  I am slowly becoming more open about admitting that I suffer from depression.  On the one hand, I think it is a good idea to become more open about these things, take away the stigma of mental illness, and encourage each other to seek help.  On the other hand, sometimes it feels like I am whining, asking for sympathy that I don’t necessarily deserve (although who can say what one truly deserves?  I’m asking seriously: who makes these rules? I’d like a word with them), or possibly seeking excuses to get less done than I might otherwise.

All that said, my depression has been making itself felt in full force for some time now.  Before I began this post, all I wanted to write was, “I am too depressed to write a post today.”  And look, I’m over 400 words.  I think I shall feel happy about that.  I hope you are all enjoying your Saturday.


Scattered Saturday Stroll

First, to give a health update (although people who go on about their ailments are usually tiresome), I woke up this morning with no light-headedness but with a dreadful headache.

Still, I felt marginally better so thought to go for a walk to the post office.  I had finished a letter to a friend yesterday at the laundromat (so two useful results of the heinous part of the day) (I think I mentioned in yesterday’s post that it was a heinous part of the day).  I wrote three postcards, got ready and headed out the door.

It was cool in the shade but warm in the sun,  the beginning of a beautiful day.  I had on my crazy old lady hat and was grateful I was carrying my purse, which contained my prescription sunglasses.  As always, it felt good on my legs to walk.  For the first block or so I had the vague idea to return home, put on the proper gear and go running instead.  On the other hand, I thought, still ill, no running for weeks, maybe a longish walk would be better.

To make it a longer walk, after mailing my things, I walked towards Main Street then down Green Street.  I noticed the newspaper’s building, an old, interesting structure.  “Evening Telegram” stands out in stone letters on the front.  In fact, it moved to a morning paper some time ago and more recently merged with the Little Falls paper to become the Times Telegram.  I am actually quite impressed that the area can support a daily newspaper, three if you count the Utica O-D and the Rome Sentinel (in fact, we subscribe to the Times Telegram and the O-D, although there is some overlap in their coverage).

I thought it would be a good idea if I came down and took a picture of the building before they update the sign, if they ever do. After all, an elegant stone sign, why not keep it up there for the sake of history?

I continued down Green Street past the First Baptist Church, which hosts Cup with a Cop every month.  That is a chance to sit down and chat informally with our local police.  I enjoy it very much, when I am able to attend.  Unfortunately, this month it was last week, when I had to work.  I hope to be there again.  For one reason, it is usually good for a blog post.

Continuing on I came to the path over what used to be a hydraulic canal, a favorite place of mine to walk or run.  My legs were feeling a little tired by now, so I felt I had made the right decision not to run.  On the other hand, my headache seemed a little better.  I was setting a brisk, steady pace, which I have read is good for producing pain-fighting endorphins (why is my computer telling me “endorphin” is a word but not “endorphins”?).  That is one thing about not walking with a cute little doggy.  You can set a brisk, steady pace and not stop to let someone sniff every few feet.  That said, I would rather have my dog.  However, I do not mean to whine about my loss.

I continued walking for a little over a half hour, so I felt I had gotten some exercise.  My headache returned in full force almost as soon as I stopped walking.  I say this only to give an update, not to further complain (although I realize it may be difficult to tell the difference).  Later, after decongestant and a nap, my headache had gone to be replaced by the lightheadedness (again, UPDATE, not COMPLAINT! Sheesh!).

I did enjoy my walk.  I hope to take another one soon.  Happy Saturday, everyone.


I Return to the Cops

For the past few months for one reason or another I have missed Coffee and Conversation with a Cop so I was determined to go last Saturday, May 30.


The program runs from 9 to 11 a.m. on the last Saturday of the month at the First Baptist Church of  Herkimer on the corner of Green and Washington streets in Herkimer, NY.  The aim is to foster a better relationship between citizens and police, thus improving the quality of life in our village.  I am all about improving my beloved Herkimer.  Also, the session is a golden opportunity for me to ask questions about police work relating to the novel I am still trying to write.


Another bonus, for me at least, is the refreshments.  I enjoyed a nice cup of coffee and some homemade scones and cookies that were to die for.  I should have asked for the recipes.  But I digress.


Two officers sat at the tables when I arrived shortly after nine.  One was in a lively discussion with several participants, but the other looked free, so I cornered him with my novel inquiries.  Oh well, I guess “cornered” is an exaggeration.  I sat down near him with my coffee and scone, and opened my notebook.


He was gracious and informative.  I took care not to let my novel dominate the conversation but tried to think of questions that would be of interest to others.  Others sitting at our table also had questions.


One question that came up was what to look for if one suspected the neighbors of nefarious activities (nobody actually said “nefarious.”  I just like that word).   Batteries?  Chemicals?  It is not always easy to know if something is suspicious, because things can have multiple explanations.  For example, comings and goings at odd hours may indicate shift work.  A good solution is to get to know your neighbors, which of course is not always easy these days.


This idea of Neighborhood Watches was brought up. The officers emphasized that a Watch was just that.  If we observe something wrong, we should call the police and not try to take action ourselves.


“That’s how you become a headline,” I said.


The officers had brought fliers keeping your home secure.  I especially liked the one titled “Beware of the Bogus Caller,” which featured a cartoon of a man with an evil grin on the front.  The flier had good advice, but I thought it was a funny picture.


I only stayed and chatted for about an hour, because I had many things to do and a headache to contend with (just to throw in a line about my petty personal problems), but I was glad I attended.  I feel it makes me look at my village as a whole and gives me a different perspective from my usual Mohawk Valley adventures.


Another Conversation with a Cop

I think the local cops are cool. I am reminded of this once a month now when I attend Coffee and Conversation with a Cop at the First Baptist Church in Herkimer, NY. I had some good conversation there last Saturday, Sept. 27.

The event runs from 9 to 11 a.m. the last Saturday of the month at the church on the corner of Green and Washington streets. I got there just after nine. Rev. Tenolian Bell, the church’s pastor, greeted me. I got myself a name tag, a cup of coffee and a scone. I sat down and opened my little notebook.

Two officers I had not met before were there. I’ve met different cops each session. They have all been pleasant, friendly and informative. This time I met Officers J. Reska and K.R. Allen. Rev. Bell told us these two had appeared on the original poster advertising the first Coffee and Conversation with a Cop. I thought that was kind of cool.

Traffic was a big topic this time. At one point, a certain right turn only corner came up. Someone wasn’t sure which corner it was. Officer Reska tried to elucidate.

“If I had a piece of paper…”

I immediately pushed my notebook and pen over to him so he could draw a little map of the corner in question. We talked about inconsiderate people not obeying the signs. If the police aren’t right there, the person is probably going to get away with it. Sometimes the police are close by but are en route to a more urgent call.

A call came in during our conversation, and both officers had to leave for a short time. I took the opportunity to ask Rev. Bell about something he had mentioned earlier, that he had been an investigator for a D.A. We talked about his experiences and path to the ministry, which I found very interesting.

When the cops returned, the recent rash of car break-ins came up. Officer Reska said in many cases the car owners had not locked their doors. I always lock my doors, but felt it would sound smug to say so.

We also talked a little about the officers’ backgrounds and experiences, and police work in general. I feel I am getting a real picture of the Herkimer Police Department. I took a flier for next month’s session to hang up at my work. I hope more people start attending Coffee and Conversation with a Cop. I look forward to more conversations myself.