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The comments below from our readers and do not necessarily represent the views of the Aurora Coalition, Inc.

L Holland - Aurora
April 21, 2008

To those who are wondering about the Zwigard geothermal mess:

Here are 2 links - notice that the project was supposed to be done in one day (it is still unfinished after 5 months) & that the property is supposed to be restored to its condition prior to any disturbance. Given the mess and the huge pile of stones that are piled up there, now, that is unlikely.

It is also unlikely that they will apologize for encroaching on our property. This geothermal mess extended several feet into the Holland property.

They tore down - and did not repair - construction fencing, they dug up our property, destroyed the grass, left rocks and large stones and mud, and wheel ruts. They have also left trash on the lakeshore that has been there for 5 months.

We were never officially informed about this project by anyone from the Aurora village government, although we are the abutting property owners.

Doug Staley is typically unresponsive, despite the mess having been brought to his attention several times.

The following email was sent to Mayor Gunderson, on April 6, 2009, and so far I have not received a response from him:

On December 1, 2008, the Zwigards began a geothermal project - and apparently abandoned it the same day.

The Zwigards project has left the lake and lakeshore littered with pipes and hoses. The village park is a muddy mess. Our property was encroached upon and dug up. There has been no regard shown for their neighbors or to the village from the Zwigards during the course of this project.

On Sunday afternoon the Zwigards threw some of the geothermal mess onto our property. I have contacted our lawyers and the mess will be removed from our property by the end of today, one way or the other.

How much longer will the village allow this apparently abandoned project to litter the lake and the village right of way?

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Student - Aurora
November 20, 2008

[You might want to check the info on the Guestbook]

I heard from some local residents that the Aurora Inn is going to take over Dories and fire everyone who works there. While several students obviously work there, I�m more concerned about my friends who work there who are not students. Has anyone else heard about this? Or is it just one of those rumors?

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November 19, 2008

[Answer to a Guestbook Question]

The MacKenzie Childs property is within the Land Claim and there is nothing preventing the Cayuga Nation from buying the property - not sure what would prevent them from turning it into a Casino.

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JAY O'HEARN - Aurora
October 10, 2008

[Protest car owner speaks]

If the "word on the street" is correct, and I find that my flat tires have only had the air let out of them this time, I will be elated. That is exactly what I assumed had been done to them last year, that people in Aurora don�t slash tires, and that it was only some kind of prank. Back then, the first thing I did was to try to blow them back up, expecting that I would be able to re- inflate them. Instead, I found someone had put ¾ inch knife holes in all the sidewalls. So my air pump was useless, the car needed to be towed, and I was out hundreds of dollars.

On the basis of last year's experience, this time I have assumed from the beginning that my tires have again been knifed. So I decided it would be a waste of my time to try to re-inflate them. But thanks to the 10/9 post on the Aurora Coalition letting me know, I will now to make an attempt to do so. If they are re-inflatable, I will blow them back up, amend my report to the sheriff, and change the material posted on the car pertaining to the vandalism it has incurred.

Of course, none of what has happened or what may happen to my car changes the fact that Ken Zabriskie resigned his Deputy Mayor post in frustration and disgust at what he later termed the "unchecked corruption" at work in our village. The car itself is only a sideshow.

When I met with the sheriff regarding this latest incident, I did make sure he understood that I had not inspected the exact condition of the tires, but that it was my assumption that they had been stabbed again.

As to the second part of the "word on the street" - the insane suggestion the post contains that I am doing whatever has been done to my tires � if a so called "witness" exists, I would love to learn their identity, as whoever it is who is willing to come forth and tell that kind of malicious and outrageous lie about me may actually shed some light on and provide a clue as to who is really behind this damage to my car. I�m not holding my breath.

What a relief it will be to me if it turns out that my tires and been deflated, and not knifed and ruined again. I will be spared a lot of expense and trouble. I will know shortly.

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ASKING QUESTIONS - Observing fom Elsewhere
October 10, 2008

[Yes she is, we were suprised, work is ongoing, and GF registers students to skew local elections]

I have a two-part question. The first is about the... Webb, Lyon, and the Holland property. Is the family that resides in Lyon house the same realtor handling PTR's multi-million dollar homes in Aurora? I recall that when Lyon house was purchased nothing was known about the new owners other than they were from NYC. Were you surprised to learn that there was a close connection with PTR? I know the house was in very bad condition - have they done a lot of rennovation work on it already?  Next�how many voting village residents side with Wells/PTR and their various plans and schemes for the village? I know the population without the students is well under 1,000...I don�t understand how these village board members keep getting re-elected if they are as bad as some say. Even if you work for Wells, voting is secret (or should be) and you can still express yourself in that way, even if you are reluctant to do it publicly, through press, on this forum, etc.

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October 9, 2008

[Mayor and Trustees can be removed for such misconduct]

In NYS it appears that city mayors can be removed by the governor, but village mayors and trustees can be removed by an application -- from even just a single resident -- that brings charges before an appellate division of the state supreme court. (Our jurisdiction is the 4th Division which  meets in Rochester).

The Consolidated Laws of New York State, Article 3 Section 36 of the PBO portion
regarding Public Officers, reads:

§ 36. ... Any town, village, improvement district or fire district officer... may be removed from  office by the supreme court  for any misconduct,  maladministration,  malfeasance or  malversation in office. An application for such removal  may be made by any citizen resident of such town, village, improvement   district  or  fire district or by the district attorney of the county... and shall  be  made  to  the  appellate  division  of  the supreme court held within the judicial department embracing such town, village, improvement  district  or  fire  district.  Such application shall be made upon notice to such officer of not less than eight days, and a copy  of  the charges  upon  which  the  application will be made must be served with such notice. 

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L HOLLAND - Main Street
October 8, 2008

[Criminal acts contemplated by VB in public meeting]

I have read the minutes for the Village Board meeting of August 2008.  Right here.

What kind of village government is this, where one trustee suggests trespassing and the destruction of private property - and another enthusiastically agrees with the suggestion of that criminal act?

And then Trustee G Farenthold gratuitously offers his own critical opinion of a private citizen's personality. His irrelevant opinion is now a part of the official village record.   Is this proper discussion for a public governmental meeting, or more appropriate for a lunch table of Grade 8 mean girls?  Behavior like this from our Village Board is an embarrassment for all in this village.

The wrong person resigned.

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JOHN - Aurora October 8, 2008

[Drunk on kool-aid]

1. No, that's why there are elected officials, and if they aren�t representing you or the villages best interest, then you don�t vote for them. So I repeat if Tom G was so corrupt why was he re-elected?

2. No I cannot tell you his reasoning I am not psychic.

3. Again private property they are not obligated to get anyone's feedback or opinion on the issue if they are not breaking zoning or other laws, should they have gotten community feedback as a common decency perhaps, but they are not required too.

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October 8, 2008

[Unanswered questions for John repeated]

1) "But, should you � or I - or any one person, be the sole determiner of whether or not there is one [a sherrif sub-station]?"

2) "John, can you tell me why a police station was one of the items on George�s fake survey as something for the public to weigh in on, when unknown to most, there was already a police station in place here? Why does this kind of dishonesty not bother you?"

3) "So, are you saying that since it is Wells�s property being used, you see no reason why the local government should be involved in the manner in which our village is policed?"

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IT TAKS A VILLAGE - observing from elsewhere
October 3, 2008

[Rowland's businesses already have cameras on our streets.  And yes, they probably caught the tire slashing.]

I�m confused. What are some locals objecting to? The fact that some members of the village board made a decision without informing all of them? Or is it the nature of the decision itself - to create a sherrif sub station on college property, which would serve all of Aurora? It is a somewhat unusual combination, as usually a campus police force - and many college campuses have them nowadays - just concerns itself with the campus proper, not the town or city it�s in. However, since Wells owns most of the property in the village, it can argue that it is looking after its own interests, as well as protecting public safety. Is there an argument that crime in Aurora has risen in the past year or so? Reported crime can be easily fact-checked to see if there has been an increase. Since there wasn�t a police presence beyond the sherrif, who must deal with an entire county, what should be done to combat things like vandalism or unruly public behavior? Closed circuit TV cameras around the village? Hmmm, yeah, I�m sure that would go down real well with many of you! Yet, that�s what�s done in many towns, big and small, not only in the U.S., but in Europe as well. And who are these out of control kids who are flagrantly abusing drugs and alcohol in public? Are they local teens? If so, wouldn�t it behoove the long-time locals to look out for their welfare? I�m sure you must know their families. Or are they Wells students? Has Wells changed for the worse since admitting men? Has it brought in an unsavory element into town that didn�t exist when it wasn�t coed? It may sound priggish and uptight to assume that males in the mix would result in more criminal activity around town, but small, private schools like Wells sometimes don�t attract the best and the brightest - in fact, just the opposite. My experience with this subject, having sent two kids to private schools through college, has taught me that a lot of them can only get into small private schools because they are dysfunctional and have a lot of problems, including drugs and alcohol. Frankly, a lot of colleges won�t take them or kick them out, and it�s the colleges that are, shall we say, more financially needy who are more inclined to look the other way as far as antisocial behavior is concerned.

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JOHN - Aurora
September 30, 2008

[But now you are twisting your own words around]

To Appalled Local:
I am not sure if you just aren�t reading my posts or if you are just trying to twist my words around. I said if Mayor Gunderson is truly corrupt and not looking out for the village and its beliefs then why, was he re-elected. In regards to the Sheriff Sub-Station it is exactly that, they are not here 24/7, but would use it as a base when they are in the area. This essentially forces the one officer on duty overnight for the entire county, to at least pass through town. Which again given the drug use and vandalism is not a bad idea; and since my last post there was another act of vandalism. A certain car had all four of its tires slashed again, which I do not agree with, even though I do not support the use of the car. Do I think the community should have had a say in it, yes. Do I think the community has to have a say in the matter, no. As for the streets being unsafe after dark, they are just that, again another act of vandalism, and another weekend of drug use and drinking teens in the parking lot on Main St. Clearly if parents aren�t going to take issue with things their children are doing, then obviously the law should step in for their own safety. As I said before it�s not only a concern about destruction of private property, but also someone overdosing be it on alcohol or narcotics. Just a FYI I was born and raised in a small town, and as for you �Tough Guy� I�d be more than happy to show you how much of a sissy I am, funny how you are the one hiding behind an alias, and have nothing meaningful to say. As for my comments about Ken, all I was saying is that if I was dedicated to a cause and if I was serious about fighting corruption, I would rather sit on the board doing nothing, than give the corrupted officials another seat on the board. I never said that his resignation was because of paranoia and exaggeration; I said that about the Sub-Station. Again I was just trying to understand both sides of the issue but will not sit back and be attacked for doing so.

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September 28, 2008

[Repetitive rhetoric excised due to 1,000+ word length]
Obviously, John, you still don't understand the big deal.  So, you happen to think that a police station in Aurora is a good idea. I happen to think it is not.  But, should you � or I - or any one person, be the sole determiner of whether or not there is one?...  If this is a community-altering decision ... there should be some PUBLIC DEBATE. Not a secretly decided and secretly executed decision made by one person. Two of the village board members had no awareness at all that the police were already established here....

John, can you tell me why a police station was one of the items on George's fake survey as something for the public to weigh in on, when unknown to most, there was already a police station in place here? Why does this kind of dishonesty not bother you?... So, are you saying that since it is Wells's property being used, you see no reason why the local government should be involved in the manner in which our village is policed? Or that the elected representatives of our local government should not have any say in it?...

As you point out, Wells College and Lisa Ryerson have become our de facto village government � since they own all the downtown property and control so many jobs. But Aurora should NOT be Lisa Ryerson�s living room. And an unauthorized police base in our town holds more importance than a "picture on a wall". Lisa runs this place by coercion and intimidation, by threatening, tacitly or not, peoples� livelihoods. Do you honestly think that is the democratic, moral, ethical or just method of governing a community?! What country do you think this is?
Is it OK with you this time, simply because the police station is something you think is a good idea? What about next time, if Lisa mandates something you think is a bad idea? Then what? Try thinking a little.

Once again - you moved here in May? Of this year? And regarding Ken, are you questioning the judgment and knowledge and experience of someone who has lived in this village for almost 60 years, and who has been an integral part of the community and local government for decades? Who ARE you anyway? What do you think you know that Ken doesn't?... Why not try settling in for a while and listening for little while. You remind me of someone from the city who, in order to get out of the city, buys a house in the country then immediately starts complaining about the smell of manure.
You said that Ken Zabriskie's resignation is "another example of paranoia and exaggeration". How can you say that? You moved here in May! ... What makes you think that you can accurately judge Ken Zabriskie's motivation in resigning, after you have lived in Aurora for four months?
The real "paranoia and exaggeration" on display in this discussion lies in your loony assessment of the dangers of living in Aurora....

Lisa Ryerson, to use your metaphor, has turned Aurora into her own living room and has hung a police station on the wall. Lisa Ryerson employs our mayor, Tom Gunderson. She controls his financial security. Because she does, it is a widely held opinion that he does not dare cross her � even for the good of the village. That makes him a compromised mayor and big part of the "unchecked corruption" that Ken Zabriskie has publicly affirmed to be at work here.

If you are entertaining the idea that Gunderson's re-election is proof that he can not be involved in the corruption here, think again. Think back to Richard Nixon. The break-in at Watergate was discovered in June 1972 and Nixon was re-elected in a landslide in November of 1972.... So what does getting elected prove about the ethics and incorruptibility of those in elective office? Not a damn thing. What an absurd argument.
... Partner, in these parts, you, Lisa, and George, are the only ones afeared of headin� into town after the sun goes down. In fact, Lisa seems afraid to walk around in Aurora in broad daylight. Gee, what could she be afraid of?
I find it perplexing that in this liberal arts college town, so many who pride themselves on being non-conforming, critical thinkers have turned a blind eye to this consolidation and abuse of power in Aurora. Big Money has dictated the direction this community has taken, with no dissent allowed or considered. Big Money has made itself felt, through the commands of Lisa Ryerson, into the heart of our local government. If there was ever a situation of a central power structure running amok this is it. If you doubt that, try talking to Ken....   

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TOUGH GUY - Dangerous Downtown Aurora

Believe it or not... it was actually a male who proclaimed his fear to walk his dog at night in Aurora!  That is nuts.  Since Pleasant, Aurora is attracting scardy cat and crybaby type so-called men.  Guess Pleasant wanted sissies in town, they are easier to control.

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ANNA  - Aurora

[Interesting observations]

Dear John�. This is not quite the same thing as hanging a picture in the living room. Just like some of the moves Pleasant made, this changes the cultural fabric of our village. It is, and was a devious move on the parts of Jim C., Georgie (the most un-democratic democrat I know), and Tom. What this village needed was a breather after Pleasant left. There was so much stuff she was allowed to get away with, and unfortunately her legacy seems to be the continuation of VB sneakiness.

The Board should not be entertaining neighbor witch hunts, they should not be giving favors to the college for things they already promised us, i.e., access to the village park by car, and C.J.�s house shouldn�t even be there, literally. It is time to stop inconviencing villagers. Losing Kenny was a big deal, Lili is now the only one not tethered to Wells.

As for our village�in case you didn�t know, this goes for the woman who's afraid to walk her dog at night (give me a break) as well, from the stories of old I hear, and know of, we play, alot. And by play I mean, we eat, laugh, and drink together, or at least we used to.  (Don�t get me started on the Fargo.) Unfortunately for you John, it does matter, the amount of time you have spent here. It�s not about the money you spend on your house, or the muckity mucks you put in your back pocket. New comers, for better or worse have to tread lightly; don�t assume you know, because you don�t.  I had to learn the lesson, it�s a right of passage. Do you think that the Holland�s would not have extended access to the lake to Paddington (they have always been generous), but when that family chose to get in the middle, and jump in the boat with C.J., the game was over.... Anyway enough rambling. My name is Anna, I don�t have to be anonymous any more.

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JOHN  - Aurora

[See above: views expressed here are not those of the Aurora Coalition, Inc., but are the openly shared opinions of our many readers]

Actually my name is John, not Robin. Just to clear up a couple things that you so eloquently pointed out. Yes I have not lived here that long, but who are you to try and alienate me for this reason, I have a stake in this community just as much as you do. I did read Mr. Zabriskie�s letter in the Auburn citizen and I quote "The main issue was how could a private entity (Wells College) with the cooperation of a fellow board member, circumvent the whole local governing body and establish an office for the Cayuga County Sheriff�s Office in Aurora." Now since they are a private entity and the building that they are using is private property, I see no reason why even involve the local government, if it didn�t want to. That�s like telling me that I can�t hang a picture in my living room. Before you go casting your judgment and tossing out childish insults, as if they would hurt my feelings, I AM AGAINST corruption in government, yet I am smart enough to choose my battles and act responsibly. I still think the sub-station is a good idea and if Wells wants to house it and pay for it go right ahead, because the last thing I want is my taxes to go up. If these officials are so corrupt I surely wouldn�t resign from a position that would potentially give them more power, because even if I was just there and not doing anything, that is one less vote, that they would have in their favor. If Mayor Gunderson is corrupt why was he re-elected, if he is not corrupt and just isn�t doing anything to fix the problem then why was he re-elected. Now as for my "Blanket Judgment" had you actually taken the time to read my post you would have read that I wasn�t casting blanket judgment on the village I said, "This drama is just another example of paranoia and exaggeration ON SOME PEOPLE�S PART". Thank you for proving my point though, greatly appreciated. It�s a little strange when someone who is just trying to get information on an issue, is immediately outcast and insulted for simply trying to grasp an understanding of an issue, or trying to see both side of an arguement. If this is how the organization acts and represents itself, i.e. slander, laying down when it is crucial to stand your ground, parking cars with flyers coving the windows along the street, then I can completely understand how nothing meaningful has been done to further your cause. You are so concerned about the appearance and respect of the community how do you think that looks to someone visiting the community. Because I will tell you when I saw this car parked outside of a local business when I was looking for a place to live it looked to me like someone hadn�t gotten his/her way and like an infant was throwing a temper tantrum on Main St.

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ANONYMOUS 2  - whereabouts unknown

[Yes, it does read like propaganda]

You don�t understand the "big deal" ???  How incredibly dense or biased you must be, not to grasp the big picture and the real issue here. Since it is beyond your understanding, here it is in a nutshell: the method used to create this police station in town vividly illustrates how the nature of this community is being determined by people who weren�t elected to do so. And how the due process of discussion and approval was ignored and circumvented by George Farenthold, Tom Gunderson and Lisa Ryerson. More people than those three should have a say in whether there is a police station here or not.  This is highly unethical behavior and is probably illegal.

Too bad your value system or your intellect does not allow you to see this. It is pretty obvious and shouldn�t have to be explained.  Read the letter that former Deputy Mayor, Ken Zabriskie, sent to the Auburn Citizen.  If you are too lazy to look for it, I will sum it up for you in two words: "UNCHECKED CORRUPTION".  And this comes from someone who has tried to work with these people for years. And has now finally had enough of their unethical practices.  I am amazed that you will not see this.

You should be more afraid of this back room power grab and the hijacking of an elected government by Wells College than you are of someone beating up your porsche.May 2008? Why don�t you try living here for a little while before you pass your hysterical and ignorant blanket judgement on the village. Or, was your whole spiel just propaganda, Robin?

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[It's not about the sub-station, it's about how the deal was done.  And all that hasn't been done.]

I don�t understand the big deal being made over the sheriff substation in Aurora. After moving to the area back in May I quickly realized that there was a sense of lawlessness here in the village after the sun went down. Underage drinking and illicit drug use take over the Village Park and parking lot next to the post office, and numerous accounts of vandalism and private property damage in the village. This has blatantly and openly been happening for a while, with no action taken by the village. I am glad to see someone stepping up to the plate and looking out for the welfare of decent citizens of the village, who would like to be able to walk my dog down the street after dark without worrying about my car having a baseball bat taken to it, or being harassed by drunks and drug users. Is it really going to take someone dying whether from violence or overdose for the community to realize that something needs to be done? Of course when that does happen, which it inevitably will, the college will be blamed for bringing outsiders into the area and corrupting the community. This drama is just another example of paranoia and exaggeration on some people�s part. Bottom line there needs to be a stronger presence of authority in the village, and it is not uncommon for colleges across the county to have police substations housed in campus buildings, not only for the safety of college students but for members of the community and visitors to be safe as well.

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[Advice for people who don't read the Forum]

These are certainly sad times in our village. Lived here for 30+ years, and never thought things could come to this. Ken's very public resignation should have opened the eyes of these 3 key people. Here are my suggestions on how perhaps to start healing in this village. Take them for what you think they are worth.

LISA � you must realize you have done a miserable job of fostering and maintaining community relations, and with Ken's resignation, you have allowed things to spiral out of control. The best thing to do now is reach out to the community, commence a dialogue, admit some mistakes, offer compromises, and come out of the fortress of silence you seem to have created for yourself. As much as you may want to, you can�t really hide out in a place the size of Aurora.

GEORGE � Cease the sneaking and the aggressiveness�use your position on the board to avail yourself of the proper and legal procedures on your many initiatives. You need to understand that you can only push people so far before you are beset with negative consequences. Tactics such as the ones you have been using are poor politics, surprised you don't see that.

TOM - You can only roll over and play dead for so long. You have serious responsibilities as mayor, and if you feel you are in a position where you are prevented from carrying them out, you should consider stepping down. You have given much to this village over the years, but the situation as it exists today is bringing embarrassment to your office and to Aurora. You need to show some impartiality and independence from the desires of Wells. I realize this may be difficult and that any real improvement in Aurora has to start with Lisa Ryerson.

This forum established December 2005.