Wednesday, May 11, 2016

In the Interest of Transparency; Communications

The following is an email from Mr. Engelmann to Ms. Wood. We are passing it along so everyone will know about communications between the town and Rainmaker Network Services.

> From: Fred Engelmann <>
> Subject: Thurman Network management Access
> Date: May 7, 2016 at 6:24:58 PM EDT
> To: Evelyn Wood <>, Michael Eddy <>, John Youngblood <>, Gail Seaman <>, Susan Shepler <>, Jeanie Sprague <>
> Cc: Mark Shaw <>, Teri McNall <>, Mark Schachner <>, Lynn Engelmann <>, Ava Ashendorff <>
> Supervisor Wood,
> The attached file Thurman contains two PDFs from the documentation previously provided to you. I have copied Mark Shaw and Teri McNall of StoredTech, in case you utilize their network knowledge to verify your network management access.
> The helpful tips below can be provided to any qualified network technician or engineer, so they can verify the Town’s management access, which was and always has been available from any switch at any pole.
> These helpful tips should not even be necessary for any qualified network technician or engineer, as it is all industry standard and common technology. The individual configuration files, also previously provided, document all network parameters including port usage, DHCP service and remote access described below.
> The HP switches are used at all poles except Valley and Groff, which use the Ubiquiti switches for PoE.
> The 184.x.x.x  network is on the default VLAN, accessible from port 10 on the HP switches, and port 8 of the Ubiquiti switches. The MSM720 access controller supplies DHCP addresses in this range.
> The 10.x.x.x  network on the management VLAN is accessible on port 9 of the HP switches, and port 7 of the Ubiquiti switches. The SonicWall firewall does not provide DHCP, so any connected management computer will need to have a static IP configured per the IP addressing document.
> For remote access, the Town will need to obtain and configure a firewall that supports at least two IPSec VPN tunnels, as we had discussed last year. From the Town Hall, one tunnel would have a peer of the MSM720 WAN IP, for access to the 184.x.x.x network. A second tunnel to the SonicWall firewall WAN IP will provide access to the 10.x.x.x  network.
> If your consultant does not understand these common industry standard technologies used, I would recommend engaging Stored Tech to help.
> Fred Engelmann
> Rainmaker Network Services
> Adirondack Internet /Public Access
> Chestertown NY

Sunday, May 8, 2016

In the Interest of Transparency (cont'd)

  • The April 12, 2016 Thurman Town Board Meeting, Board Members were asked if they wanted some time to digest a letter addressed to them: the letter in question may be found below.\; 
  • The letter was dated March 14, 2016; 
  • There were sufficient copies for each Board member; 
  • The letter in question was requested to be entered into the minutes of the Board Meeting;
  • To date the letter has not been admitted to the Meeting Minutes.

Below, you will find a link to a Cover Letter to the Clerk, a link to a letter to the Board, an audio of a voicemail message left on Fred Engelmann's (Rainmaker Network Services) answering machine, and finally a dated email addressed to the Supervisor and all Board Members.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Donald Trumps Opinion of Women

I was searching for a particular vulgar thing the Donald had said recently towards women; I could not find it, as it turns out there are so many vulgar things he has said about women it proved impossible to find the exact one.

I will add my own opinion about my findings. The problem as I see it is not about being politically correct. It is about being respected and treated as an equal in the workplace, in the home and essentially everywhere in America, not shamed for our femininity when confronted with a strong, educated woman. 

Some examples can be found below:

Presidential candidate Donald Trump called a lawyer and breastfeeding mother “disgusting” after she requested a break from a deposition in order to pump, according to New York Times report on Tuesday.
According to the paper, lawyer Elizabeth Beck was questioning Trump in 2011 about a failed Florida real estate project. Beck, with her husband, represented clients who claimed to lose thousands of dollars in the deal. At one point, Beck, who had a 3-month-old daughter, requested a medical break which was contested by Trump and his lawyers, who wanted to continue, the Times says. That’s when Beck took out her breast pump to show that her request was urgent — she needed to pump for her infant. “You’re disgusting,” Trump told Beck before leaving the room.

In a 2013 episode of Celebrity Apprentice: All-Stars, Trump made a rather vulgar joke about former Playboy model Brande Roderick performing oral sex on men to stay in the game because, really, isn't a woman's place in the boardroom on her knees? The exchange occurred when fellow contender Bret Michaels told Trump that at one point, Roderick "got down on her knees and passionately said, ‘I want to do this.'" Trump took that to mean...

Trump: “Excuse me, you DROPPED to your knees?”
Brande: “Yes."

Trump: "It must be a pretty picture, you dropping to your knees."

Trump has a history of making crude remarks toward women. He reportedly said of his ex-wife Marla Maples, “Nice tits, no brains,” and more recently, he has called Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly a “bimbo” and a “lightweight” and said she had “blood coming out of her wherever” during the first GOP debate.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump denied he had ever called female adversaries some of the words Fox News host Megyn Kelly listed at the first GOP debate — "fat pigs, dogs, slobs and disgusting animals." In fact, he has used all of those terms.
During the first debate, Kelly asked about the "downsides" of Trump speaking his mind "when it comes to women."
Kelly: You've called women you don't like fat pigs, dogs, slobs and disgusting animals. Your Twitter account
Trump: Only Rosie O'Donnell.
Kelly: No, it wasn't. Your Twitter account …
Kelly: … For the record, it was well beyond Rosie O'Donnell.
Trump: Yes, I'm sure it was.
During the debate, Trump said that with some of the comments Kelly referred to "it's fun; it's kidding" and that the country has a problem with "being politically correct."

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

In the Interest of Transparency

This came across my desk this weekend and I wished to share it with you earlier, however, with the recent rains my satellite internet was not cooperating with me.
I am a supporter of Whitespace in our town and hope that this issue can be resolved.

I will not editorialize. The following is the write up in The Sun, a link to the letter Mr. Engelmann received, an audio of the voice mail message left on his machine, and finally his Letter to the Editor.

Thurman board and ‘white space’ engineer at odds
APRIL 20, 2016
3:00 PM
ATHOL — The town of Thurman’s award-winning wireless Internet-access system is working well, but the Thurman town board and the network engineer who designed and installed the town’s “white space” broadcast system are now involved in a contract and payment dispute.
Fred Engelmann of Rainmaker Network Services sent emails this week to subscribers of the white-space system citing that the town had not paid an outstanding bill of his, and it might impact his ability to operate the network.
The bill was for topology redesign of the white-space network for $8,223, according to a letter dated March 14 that he sent to the town board. That sum was in addition to the $38,500 he was paid according to a contract with the town to engineer the system, according to Thurman supervisor Evelyn Wood.
The extra sum was because the network was redesigned in late fall due to a town resident not allowing a pole to be erected on his property, Engelmann said.
Engelmann said that this winter he had doubled an original claim of about $4,100 and billed the town $8,223 after his original lower bill for topology design had not been included in a claim submitted to New York State for reimbursement through a pending $200,000 state grant. He said the redesign work was indeed worth $8,223, but he originally reduced the sum by half and designated the remainder as “in-kind services” to be listed in the state grant claim, with the expectation that he would in return be getting paid to operate the town’s broadcast system. 
April 19, Town Supervisor Evelyn Wood said the town board was withholding payment of the additional claim because Engelmann had been paid in full for his work, and that neither she nor the town board had authorized the topology redesign. Even if it was authorized, she added, boosting the bill from $4,100 or so to $8,223 would be improper.
“If you submit an invoice for a particular amount you don’t get to double it later because you feel like it,” she said.
Engelmann said this week he had indeed been paid for the engineering work as specified in his contract with the town, but he also had verbal permission from Wood to conduct the extra re-design work.
“I feel the situation is unjust,” he said.
Wood said she didn’t give him such verbal permission, and that in addition, the board also had some other concerns about whether Engelmann had indeed conducted his work in accordance with the contract. She said that after review of Engelmann’s work and the contract, the town attorney had advised the board not to make the additional payment.
The board met in executive session March 29 to discuss details of the situation, and are continuing their review of the issue, Wood said.
Both parties said they were willing to meet with each other to discuss the situation, claiming the other one was refusing to do so.
“We have offered to meet to discuss his concerns and get them resolved, but Mr. Engelmann has declined to speak with us,” Wood said.
Wood said that Engelmann had recently proposed to meet with the entire board to discuss a resolution, but only with the entire board present — which would violate the open meetings law.
Wood said that the white space system has been operating without any interruption, despite recent Engelmann’s warning letter to subscribers.
There are several new potential subscribers, waiting to obtain equipment and be connected, both Wood and Engelmann said. Wood said they’d likely be connected soon.
Wood added that Engelmann has declined to sign a contract for maintenance and operation of the white-space system, but this is not going to have any effect on residents’ ability to have Internet access in the future.
“Mr. Engelmann chose not to sign that contract. so were just moving along,” she said, noting the town board may decide as soon as April 26 at its next meeting to solicit new bids for the system’s operation.
Town undergoing state audit
In other matters, the town has been undergoing an audit since Aug. 12 with representatives of the state Comptroller’s office reviewing the town’s  purchasing, spending and accounting practices.
The audit is a routine undertaking, as the state conducts audits of all its municipalities and school districts every several years.
The last state audit of Thurman’s finances, examining the years 2007 and 2008, found a large surplus of money stashed in bank accounts, improperly gave $11,800 worth of time off to some employees, and didn’t require its employees to use a time clock. Since that era, the town has an entirely new town board and supervisor. 
Since Wood has been in office, she hired a professional bookkeeper to straighten out finances and comply with the law, while her political detractors have complained about the $30,000+ salary he was earning.
Wood said this week she welcomed the new audit. 
“We’re excited about having the opportunity to have state auditors come in and look at how we are conducting our finances and make suggestions if they need to,” she said. “We’ve taken a lot of classes and training, and we’re always looking for ways to improve.”