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“Acid Rain, Acid Snow” is November Meeting Topic

The Boonville Historical Club’s featured speaker for the November 1 meeting in the fellowship hall of the Presbyterian Church was local author, activist, and historian  Dr. John Slade, Woodgate, who spoke on the subject of acid rain, particularly its  effects on the Adirondack Mountains and everything that lives within the area. Dr. Slade is the author of the book, Acid Rain, Acid Snow,  published in 2000. He has  also written about 15  other books, including the epic American Revolutionary War novel, Bootmaker to the Nation (for more about John’s books see Club Vice-president Joan Ferguson was in charge of the meeting, since President Traxel had recently been hospitalized.

Dr. Slade signing a copy of his book, "Acid Rain, Acid Snow"

The club’s next meeting is planned for Monday, December 6. It will be a festive holiday celebration, with the singing of familiar Christmas carols.

We continue to collect items to send to our Fort Drum Adopted Platoon in Afghanistan, and members are requested to bring donations to the next meeting. Anyone who would like to help with this project, please call club President Barb Traxel at 942-4010.

Members have also been asked to put on their aprons and whip up something special for the Bake Sale during  the  Christmas on the Canal event at the Boonville Black River Canal Museum on Saturday, December 4 (for more information see

Ladies interested in joining the club, please click on our Membership tab at the top to learn more. You can also contact membership chairman Marilyn Fowler or Club Treasurer Vivian Brucker at or call 942-4251.

 We’ll be updating this site again soon, so we hope you’ll stop back and visit!

And comments are always welcome.

Club Historian Joanne Sattler (left) reads an early club program that belonged to Marilyn Fowler’s mother.

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Technology for Historians 101


Some of the attendees enjoying refreshments after the Oneida County Historians Association meeting. Left to right, Elmer Niles, Carl Saporito, Judy Routson, Earl Allen, Bonny Niles, Lou Parrotta, OCHA President Dick Williams, and Jean Williams. Thanks, Dick and Jean, for the delicious goodies!


I was honored to be asked to give a brief presentation to the Oneida County Historians Association (OCHA) on Tuesday evening, June 22,  about this blog. Not just the blog, but also  why we went with WordPress. The meeting was hosted by The Clinton Historical Society ( OCHA President Dick Williams is also a member of this group.    

The Oneida County Historians Association is an organization of  county municipal historians, local historical societies, and other such groups.  Although the Boonville Historical Club is not a society, we like to support local and county history.    

Hubby and I  dodged the raindrops on our way to the former Clinton Baptist Church, home of the Clinton Historical Society. Nevertheless, it was worth the trip: the topic was interesting and timely, and I enjoyed meeting like-minded people, all devoted to conserving our area’s rich history.     

On the agenda with me  were two excellent and very knowledgeable speakers, Phillipa Brown and Carl Saporito. Phillipa, or “Flip,” is the Waterville town historian, and Carl is webmaster and paginator for the Oneida County Historical Society (OCHS)  website (    

Flip maintains a colorful and interesting daily blog (, and has garnered many followers. She enjoys history and her blog, and she’s definitely a busy lady!  

Carl, too, proved his dedication to history. He  does a wonderful job keeping the OCHS website up and running. He’s well versed on the how-tos of being a webmaster and gave a thoroughly interesting talk about his duties.   

We all emphasized that modern technology is definitely a boost for all historians and historical groups. Easy to use and access, it  helps publicize any group and its activities.    

President Dick Williams  added to the program. He reinforced the benefits  of using free websites, blogs, e-mails, Twitter, Facebook, and other social media to attract more people to historical organizations and events. There are many sites available to help spread the word about preserving our heritage, and we should all take advantage of them!

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 Time has flown by so quickly!

  (I had started to update this blog several weeks ago, but unfortunately, with traveling to Florida and so many other activities to take care of lately, the post got put on the back burner. I do apologize for the tardiness!)

  It’s been over a month since we had lunch with our Fort Drum 10th Mountain Division Adopted Platoon. Several Historical Club members and two spouses met the 16 soldiers on March 10 at Buffalo Wild Wings in Watertown for lunch, just  shortly before their deployment to Afghanistan.

What a great group of young people! It was wonderful to meet them all,  to talk with them, and to learn more about their lives. It’s amazing that they are from all different parts of  the country.

The platoon leader and our POC (Point of Contact) for the Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Reconnaissance Platoon (CBRN Recce), Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Brigade Special Troops Battalion (HHC, 1BSTB, 10th Mountain Division Light Infantry) was 2nd Lt. Kapua Ampong. Kapua’s Platoon Sergeant is SSG Jason Roberts. Under their command are 16 soldiers: SSG Tony Riggs, SSG Duffy Ewert, SGT Cole Etheredge, SPC Peter Walsh, SPC Michael Escoffery, SPC Thomas West, SPC Edgar Salinas, SPC Anthony Norris, SPC Bob Conteen, PFC Donavon Ditzler, PFC Jake Antignano, PFC Terrell Brownfield, PFC Joshua Henkel, PFC Jessica Cabrera, PFC Jade Fernandez, PFC Richard Gegekas. Two of the soldiers were unable to make the lunch because of job duties.

 Club members who traveled to Watertown to meet the soldiers were President Joyce Charboneau, Judy Routson, Daphne Larrabee, Peg Sawyer, Elaine Tompkins, and Barb Traxel, along with Keith Routson and Jack Tompkins.  

Shortly after their arrival in Afghanistan at Camp Spann, Kapua discovered she was being detached from the unit. She was sent to Bagram Air Force base to serve there as LNO (liaison officer). SSG Jason Roberts has now replaced her as our POC. We recently heard from SSG Roberts, who told us there were additional personnel changes.  In his email, Jason wrote:

I finally got my email up and working so I figured I would write you and let you know how everything is going.  The Platoon is good, a few changes were made shortly after we arrived here.  We lost Lt. Ampong, SSG Ewert, SPC Salinas, and SPC West as well as gain a few…a SGT Connolly, SPC Malave, and SPC Constance.  We are doing well though adapting quickly.  We go out a few times a week on mission, prep and train when time allows and try and let the guys have a little down time to unwind.  Most of the guys spend their time watching movies or playing on their psp’s, computers, xbox etc, read books and we built a horse shoe pit out behind our two buildings to help us unwind.  The weather has been ok it has stayed pretty nice so far, a little warm but bearable.  The food is good, most of the time, they have a BBQ pit for lunch and dinner along with the regular chow hall.  We have electricity in each room and hot water for showers. 

 Prior to hearing from Jason, we also had an email from Kapua, who wrote that she had made it safely to Bagram AFB. She says she tracks “all equipment and personnel coming and going to Spann from Bagram.” Her main job is “tracking people for R&R.”  We are sorry to lose her as our POC and wish her well in her new position.

We’ll soon be preparing packages ready to send to our adopted 10th Mountain Division soldiers. If anyone would like to donate items (see previous posts for what we’re sending) or help pay for the postage, we’d  be delighted to hear from you. Please contact us at or leave a comment here on this blogsite (don’t worry if your comment doesn’t  show up immediately; it has to checked for spam first!)

Thanks to our club president, Joyce, for most of these photos!


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Hello Again and Welcome to our Blog!

I just wanted to let you know that yours truly will be heard over the airwaves again on local radio station WBRV, the
Moose, on Monday, February 8.
I’ll be talking about the items we’re collecting for our Marines in Afghanistan.

I just happened to hear part of the recorded interview today, Thursday, February 4, and heard news director Brian Best say that I’d be on again Monday, telling listeners how to donate! I guess he broke the telephone interview into several short spots, and I heard just one of them earlier. The conversation was recorded Januay 18, so he’s been spreading it out over the past few weeks. I hope people don’t forget what it is he’s promoting! (To learn more about our local radio station, please visit

Also, club president Joyce Charboneau told me she’d received a call from our area  Pennysaver reporter about our projects. I had sent out a press release to them yesterday, and I’m so excited to hear they were interested enough to call Joyce for more information. We need all the help we can get.

Tomorrow, at the crack of dawn, Joyce and I will be heading to Watertown to learn more about our 10th Mountain Division soldiers, who are a part of our Adopt a Platoon project. We’ll keep you posted with all the latest news and developments.

Historical Club Members, including yours truly in the front center, wore red at our most recent meeting, to support National Wear Red Day on Friday, February 5, 2010. Also shown, left to right, Daphne Larrabee, Joan Ferguson, Barb Traxel, and Nancy Trainor.

Please visit us again soon, or if you have any questions, write to We’d love to hear from you. And of course, we’ll be happy to take any donations you can provide.  Thanks for stopping by!


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Why We’re Doing What We’re Doing and Thanks to BUMC

Thanks and appreciation to Boonville United Methodist Church, and especially to Administrative Assistant Crystal Dauback, for helping spread the word about our “Adopt a Platoon” collections, and for allowing donations to be dropped off at the church.  If you’ve read our earlier posts, you know that we’re collecting things for both our adopted platoon, as well as our adopted marines in Afghanistan.

You may have read Crystal’s article about the club’s project in the January edition of the church newsletter, Tidings, which includes a list of  things we’re collecting.  Crystal emphasizes that it’s easy to  pick up a little something extra each time you  go shopping. And it’s  easier on the budget if you spread out your purchases. Maybe you’ll see some type of snack food on sale at the grocery store. Add it to your cart, and you probably won’t notice the extra amount on your bill. Do this each time you shop, and  your donations will  add up.

 Or if you’re shopping at Wal-Mart or a local dollar store, pick up something like a Chap Stick, a deodorant bar,  or eye drops for just a dollar or two.  And don’t forget to save the paperbacks, magazines,  or newspapers you’ve read (no matter how old they are) and add them to your stack. You might  even ask your family and neighbors to do the same!

When you’ve collected a bag full (or what you think is a reasonable amount) of goodies, personal hygiene articles, or  reading material, take it to the Boonville United Methodist Church office, which is on the lower level, and can be reached by the Ann Street entrance, or from the parking lot on the opposite side of the building (the entrance to the fellowship hall and  Senior Nutrition and Head Start programs). If you need more directions, call Crystal at 942-2626. She is in the office Monday through Friday from 9:30 to 2:30 (See Club members, of course, can bring donations to the club meetings. 

Are you wondering why we’re collecting these things? You may be thinking: Doesn’t the government provide the basic necessities to our soldiers? Well, yes, of course it does. But that’s the problem – it’s just the basics, and it’s our understanding that they often run out of these essentials. Here’s what the author of a website called wrote:  

Thousands of brave soldiers are deployed to Forward Operating Bases  (FOBs) in pretty rugged and primitive conditions. Some in remote outposts live in dugouts or hand built fort-like structures of timber, rock and mud sandbags.  In the WINTER, it is very cold and wet, and in SUMMER it is beastly hot, dusty and dry over there in Afghanistan.  Soldiers deployed to outposts and firebases are often dirty, hungry, bored, lonely, very cold, or miserably hot, and much of the time, in harm’s way.  Many do not have  any laundry facilities; the only water is what the Chinooks helicopters can deliver, so some only get a shower once a month.  Often, sanitary conditions are quite dispiriting.

And, as we posted earlier, the mother of a marine in Afghanistan, to whom we sent the first shipment of items we collected, had this to say about her son and his unit:

They can use all the help they can get. His unit is responsible for getting everything that anyone needs anywhere in Afghanistan by land convoy or by air. It is an extremely dangerous job…Any kind of food is much appreciated; there is a lot of contaminated food and water over there. They are in South Afghanistan, and were the first to go there. There was nothing there except desert.  They are building everything and living out of tents.

Our contact for the Adopt A Platoon Project, Mike Plummer, who heads the 10th Mountain Division Association, wrote these words:

“The thought was that if the community could somehow show their appreciation and pride to these Soldiers, the Soldiers would feel better about what they were doing and be less concerned about being away from their friends and/or family members.”

 So now you know! If you’d like more information, please visit the above mentioned site,, which has many more suggestions on what can be sent and what should not be sent to the soldiers. It also reminds us that these soldiers are young women, as well as young men. 

Thanks for your support! We hope to hear from you soon.


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Annual Christmas Dinner Meeting and Pearl Harbor Day

Nineteen ladies of the Boonville Historical Club enjoyed a variety of tasty dishes during our annual Christmas Dinner-Meeting on Monday evening, December 7, at the Boonville Presbyterian Church fellowship hall. Hostesses Vivian Brucker and Carol Kulpa did an excellent job of dressing the tables for the occasion and everyone looked festive in holiday garb. With the first significant snowfall of the season (even though it was just an inch or two), and a Christmas carol sing-along, the words “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas,” took on new meaning.

Left to right, Carol Kulpa, Vivian Brucker, and Glenyce Trainor

  Response to roll call was to mention a fact about Pearl Harbor Day. As most everyone is aware, it was on this date in 1941 – early on a Sunday morning – that the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, causing immense devastation, and thrusting the United States into World War II. It was a day that President Franklin Delano Roosevelt declared would “live in infamy.” Several members shared vivid memories of that historic date. Others presented some very interesting facts.  Although the following may or may not have been included, here are some statistics on the surprise attack.

Japanese losses were minimal – negligible – in view of the victory they had won: 185 killed, one captured. American losses were staggering: 2,403 casualties (2,008 Navy, 218 Army, 109 Marines, and 68 civilians) and 1,178 wounded (710 Navy, 364 Army, 69 Marines and 35 civilians). The battleship Arizona saw the greatest loss of life, accounting for half the naval casualties. The US lost 169 aircraft and 150 were damaged.

While some people may want to forget past wars, December 7, 1941, was a significant day in American history. As one of our members mentioned, there is not enough media coverage these days of what happened at Pearl Harbor. 

 During the club’s business meeting, we signed Christmas cards to send to military personnel who have a local connection, discussed shipment of the items we’ve collected for the soldiers in Afghanistan, and voted to give a donation to Boonville’s “Feed the Reindeer” fund. The reindeer couple quietly reside in the Little Village Park each year at this time. 

 It was later decided that several members will meet on Thursday morning, December 10,  to pack the packages for shipment  to a nephew of one of our members, who is serving in the Marines in Afghanistan. He’ll see that they are distributed to others under his command (see earlier posts about this project).

We concluded our meeting by singing several familiar Christmas carols, accompanied by Glenyce Trainor on the piano, who did her usual excellent job. 

The club does not meet again until February 1, when our program will be about the history of the U.S. Flag, presented by Cathy Duncan. The meeting, which takes place in the Episcopal Church fellowship hall, is open to the public, so plan to join us at 7:30 p.m.

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Freedom Is Not Free

Thanks to the efforts of club President Joyce Charboneau, the Boonville Historical Club’s theme this season is  “FREEDOM IS NOT FREE.”

proud to serve

In keeping with this theme, during our first meeting of the season on  October 5, members decided  to participate in the “Adopt A Platoon” project of the 10th Mountain Division Association.  The 10th Mountain Division of the U.S. Army is based at Fort Drum, about 50 miles north of Boonville. (For more information, see

Troops were expected to deploy in January. The club would be matched up with a platoon prior to their departure from Fort Drum.  A list of suggested items to send to the soldiers was discussed, and the group was excited about the project.

At that  same meeting , we heard Kae Young, from the Fort Drum Public Affairs Office, talk about her job and her experiences visiting soldiers in Iraq and at Walter Reed Medical Center. Kae added to the  list of suggestions of what  the  solders in Iraq and Afghanistan would really appreciate. (

Kae Young and Joyce at Hist Club Meeting 5 Oct 2009

Kae Young, left, with club president, Joyce Charboneau

A few weeks later, however, we heard from Mike Plummer, the president of the 10th Mountain Division Association, and our contact for the Adopt-A-Platoon program. He told us that the project had been put on hold because the Army had cancelled  deployment of 3,500 Fort Drum troops to Iraq. Mike said he felt the troops would be sent to Afghanistan instead, possibly in the spring. 

At our  next meeting, on November 2, we heard another interesting program by  Father Sean P. O’Brian, parish priest at  St. Joseph’s Catholic Church,  Boonville, and St. Patrick’s in Forestport. A commander in the U. S. Navy Reserves,  Father Sean served as a military chaplain in Afghanistan in 2007.

Bob Jones, Joyce and Father Sean

Bob Jones, Boonville Chamber of Commerce 2nd VP, Club President Joyce Charboneau, Father Sean P. O'Brien, US Navy Reserves Commander, following a presentation by Father Sean at the November 2 meeting.

Prior to Father Sean’s presentation, the ladies decided that rather than wait for Fort Drum troops to deploy, we’d  “adopt” Christopher Coombs, a nephew of one of our members. He is a 1st Sgt. with the Marines  currently in Afghanistan. He has already served three tours in Iraq. Christopher’s mother wrote this about her son:

They can use all the help they can get. His unit is responsible for getting everything that anyone needs anywhere in Afghanistan by land convoy or by air. It is an extremely dangerous job…Any kind of food is much appreciated; there is a lot of contaminated food and water over there. They are in South Afghanistan, and were the first to go there. There was nothing there except desert.  They are building everything and living out of tents.

She also sent a list of items that her son’s soldiers would appreciate, and we decided to begin collecting these things to send to Chris to share with his company (see the next post for a complete list of items).

If you’d like to help us show appreciation to our military personnel, please get in touch with one of our members (if you live in Boonville, you probably know who they are!) or call club president Joyce Charboneau, at (315) 942-4835, or email her at or contact Judy Routson at   Thanks so much for your support!

We hope to hear from you soon.

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