It was a blow to Utica College - and the entire community - when the college's dome collapsed last March during record end-of-winter storm Stella that dumped several feet of snow on the region in relatively short time.
Now, it's good to hear that the dome - a better one - is being reconstructed and is pretty much on schedule to open this fall.
Utica College’s Athletic Director Dave Fontaine said this week that he sees “a light at the end of the tunnel” after a process that gave the college a rare opportunity to make the facility even better.
“So, we’re not excited that the dome came down, but we’re excited about the opportunity to make some tweaks that we normally wouldn’t have been able to do," Fontaine said.
Oneida County and the City of Utica both have approved structural plans, Fontaine said, including a request to build the dome higher with a different pitch to help avoid another possible collapse.
UC's dome had become a landmark of sorts in the Mohawk Valley since first inflated behind the east end zone of Charles A. Gaetano Stadium on the Burrstone Road campus on Saturday, Sept. 5, 2015 - clearly visible on the city skyline from atop Deerfield Hill. The 125,000-square-foot facility measured 500 feet in length and was 275 feet wide and included an eight-lane track and other track/field facilities, four multipurpose courts for tennis, volleyball, basketball and other recreational sports; a 50-yard by 80-yard artificial turf practice field for use by field hockey, football, lacrosse, soccer, baseball, softball and other teams.
Fontaine said officials are aiming to have the fabric portion of the dome back up by Wednesday, Nov. 15, adding that work will still need to be done inside before it will be available for use by students and the community.
We agree with President Trump that there are too many government regulations, but in the case where lives are at stake, they are necessary.
That's why a decision by U.S. officials to abandon proposed plans to require sleep apnea screening for truck drivers and train engineers should be reconsidered. Sleep apnea victims are repeatedly awakened and robbed of rest as their airway closes and their breathing stops, leading to dangerous daytime drowsiness. Treatments include wearing a pressurized breathing mask, oral appliances or nasal strips to force the airway open while sleeping. Some severe cases require surgery.
But the Federal Railroad Administration and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration said recently that they are no longer pursuing the regulation that would require testing for the fatigue-inducing disorder that’s been blamed for deadly rail crashes in New York City and New Jersey and several highway crashes.
“It’s very hard to argue that people aren’t being put at risk,” said Sarah Feinberg, the former FRA administrator, who had issued a safety advisory in December. “We cannot have someone who is in that condition operating either a train going 70 mph or operating a multi-ton truck traveling down the interstate. It’s just not an appropriate level of risk to be exposing passengers and the traveling public to.”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York, said he will push the federal agencies to reconsider.
“There are some regulations that go too far, but this is not one of them,” Schumer said. “Repealing it will risk lives.”
Perhaps there is hope after all.
Orbitz.com created an interactive civics quiz incorporating similar content found in citizenship tests, and found that it was passed by 69 percent of the more than 2,000 American’s surveyed. Not bad.
But it could - and should - be better.
The test is pretty simple. Sample question: Who was the "Father of Our Country? a. James Madison b. Benjamin Franklin c. George Washington d. Alexander Hamilton
Can you pass? Try it at www.orbitz.com/features/the-citizenship-test/