Almanack Contributor John Warren

John Warren

John Warren has been exploring the woods and waters of the Adirondacks for more than 45 years. After a career as a print journalist and documentary television producer he founded Adirondack Almanack in 2005 and co-founded Adirondack Atlas in 2015.

John's Adirondack Outdoors Conditions Report can be heard Friday mornings across the region on North Country Public Radio and on WSLP Lake Placid.

He is also on the staff of the New York State Writers Institute and edits The New York History Blog. He is the author of two books of regional history.


Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Adirondack Price Gouging – Pottersville Nice and Easy

The price of regular unleaded at the Nice and Easy convenience store at Northway Exit 26 in Pottersville jumped 10 cents in less than 24 hours today. Last night the price was $1.75 per gallon, tonight it is $1.85 – apparently the regional chain has seized the opportunity provided by Hurricane Katrina and today’s raise in price of a barrel of oil above $70. The Almanck recommends contacting Warren County District Attorney Kathleen Hogan at (518) 716-6405 and the NY State Attorney General’s Office at (518) 474-7330 and demand they charge those responsible with price gouging. Also, contact Nice and Easy Corporate Headquarters and John MacDougall, company president and owner, and let them know you’ll be filing a complaint.

According to the Attorney General‘s office:

The law specifically provides that, in order to prevent any party from taking unfair advantage of consumers during an abnormal disruption of the market, the charging of unconscionably excessive prices is outlawed.

This law protects consumer goods and services vital and necessary for the health, safety and welfare of consumers, and applies to all parties in the chain of distribution, including retailers, manufacturers, suppliers, wholesalers, and distributors.

UPDATE: The price tonight (9/1/05) is $3.29 per gallon.


Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Farms and Factory Farms, CAFOs, CSAs, HANNYS, and Co-ops

Friends of Rural New York have been following closely the recent Lewis County spill, larger that the Exxon Valdez, of cow sewage into the Black River. Big fines may be on the way, but the real crime is that the DEC and local officials permitted a 3 million gallon toxic dump so close to the river. The Adirondack Almanack supports local farms and agrees that its time we made a clear distinction between factory farms:

That is a giant factory where thousands of animals are permanently kept, never feeling the sun on their backs or munching a blade of grass. A CAFO (Contained Animal feeding Operation) can generate thousands of pounds of manure a day, suck up hundreds of thousands of gallons of water, and throw in various chemicals to “sanitize,” promote decay and boost milk production. What do they do with all that poop? Well, after it’s settled in nasty lagoons around the neighborhood, where it decays and festers for a while, they suck it up into these huge tankers and spew the putrid mix wherever they can, the closer to the CAFO the better, because it’s quite expensive to haul all that fetid effluent way. En route, the neighbors are blasted by the stench, the noise and the dust for days on end.

And local family operated traditional farms. To those ends – a list of local farmers markets from the USDA, and a regional map from the Farmers Market Federation of NY. Finally, we need to take responsibility for our own food choices – two of our favorite choices are the Honest Weight Food Co-op (when we get down to Albany) and a local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) projects. HANNYS [pdf] (Hunger Action Network of New York State) has recently released two reports. The first “gives detailed stories of nine New York CSA’s that have reached out to include low-income members” and the second “is a report based on the results of Hunger Action’s statewide survey of CSA farmers. Findings include the fact that CSA’s keep $2.6 million in our state’s economy every year and protect over 1,100 acres of farmland” [pdf].


Sunday, August 28, 2005

Adirondack Tops Supermarket Update

Adirondack Almanack reported on the Tops issue early. The latest from Champlain has Price Chopper moving in, but apparently not in time.

The [Tops] Champlain grocery’s lease with Pomerleau Real Estate of Burlington expires Oct. 1.

“We’re trying to get them to stay a little longer,” said Champlain Village Mayor Jeffrey Moore, hoping to have that grocer remain until Price Chopper opens next spring.

Ticonderoga looks out of luck. Elizabethtown may not be so lucky either (if that’s what you call getting a mega-regional chain in the place of a mega-international chain). You’ve got to hand it to the Press-Republican for working this story, especially considering all the serious news they have to deal with. Even if they don’t quite get it:

If Grand Union couldn’t make local operations profitable and Tops is looking for a way out of town, what’s to offer hope that another chain would come in? And, if not a chain, what local merchant would want to take on the responsibility for just one community?

Who do they suppose supplied these towns before the mega-marts?

This is a great opportunity to point readers to Dead Malls online. Wouldn’t it be great if folks near some of these dying strip malls could post the photos and give some details?


Saturday, August 27, 2005

Michael Virtanen on Adirondack Rock Climbing

Here’s the latest from Associated Press writer Michael Virtanen reporting from Keene Valley on Adirondack rock climbing.


Friday, August 26, 2005

It’s Safe To Say: The Peak Oil Crisis Has Arrived – At Least In The Adirondacks

We’ve been keeping tabs on the Peak Oil issue and the impact of high gas prices in our region. The AP reports gas crime is up, way up. The Capital Region People blog chimes in on the coming winter and the expected spike in natural gas and now we have an article on the impact on local government from the Press-Republican. And hey, remember back in April when they said “High Gas Prices Force Changes in Americans’ Lives” including the startling fact that:

The survey found that 58 percent of respondents have reduced their driving, 57 percent have cut back on other expenses and 41 percent have changed vacation plans to stay closer to home.

Maybe we can apply to Chavez who has offered to sell poor communties in America gas cheaply. That is if Robertson’s Fatwah doesn’t get him first. So let’s get this straight:

Increased Crime
Higher Heating Costs
Gas Prices Keeping People Home
Higher Taxes

Will some local media outlet start seriously reporting on Peak Oil and it’s impact in our region?

As 50 Cent would say…. “commitment from me – ah – not likely.”


Thursday, August 25, 2005

Are the Adirondacks in for big snow this winter?

Apparently, according to recent studies: “The Great Lakes of North America, the planet’s largest concentration of fresh water, are thawing earlier each spring, according to an analysis of ice break-ups dating back to 1846.” Could it also mean a later freeze and more lake effect snow for our region? Wouldn’t it be nice if we had a local media to explore this trend?

The latest Lake George freezes according to the Warren County Department of Public Works (full data pdf):

February 29, 1966
February 10, 1983
February 8, 1950
February 7, 1988
February 5, 1953

Years that Lake George did not freeze:

1918-1919
1990-1991
1994-1995
1996-1997
1997-1998
1998-1999
2000-2001
2001-2002

Largest single snowfall (Warren County):

38″ January 25-27, 1986
22″ February 16, 1958
22″ February 14-15, 1950
22″ March 3, 1994
21″ March 5, 2001
20″ February 4, 1961
20″ March 13, 1993


Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Big Brother on the March

We like to keep this blog local, but a recent post by baloghblog on events at Camp Crawford and Matt’s follow-up are worth repeating here.

And from the while we’re at it department we have this nauseating news from baloghblog who reports that in Utah, music loving children really are drug-addled criminals who need to be crushed with dogs, helicopters, assault weapons, and storm trooper gear. Wouldn’t it be nice if that hipster over at the PostStar had something to say about that? The folks at a local Indy Media Center did; and so did their bizarro world alter ego corporate media police state shills.

Kind of reminds us of police state attacks from some time ago.


Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Adirondack and Lake George Watershed Invasive Species

Take note Minutemen! The Top Five Terrestrial Invasive Plants for the Lake George Watershed as identified by the Lake George Land Conservancy “because of their ability to be especially detrimental to the health of our public lands roadsides waterways and backyards.” As reported in Adirondack Journal (August 20, 2005) (pdf):

Common Reed
Garlic Mustard
Japanese Knotweed
Purple Loosestrife
Shrubby Honeysuckle

A free training on invasive plants will be presented by the Lake George Land Conservancy on 9 to 1, September 24, 2005 at Pilot Knob Ridge Preserve in Fort Ann.

Ward Stone had an excellent discussion of invasive species on his WAMC program In Our Backyard this week. Here’s two links he offered:

New York State Invasive Plant Council
New York Flora Atlas

And why we’re at it:

New York Endangered Species
New York Protected Native Plants
New York Native Flora Association


Monday, August 22, 2005

Fun in Minerva

Sometimes camping can be fun, sometimes not.


Monday, August 22, 2005

Flickr: Fort Ticonderoga

The Adirondack Almanack is a big fan of Flickr. The possibilities of this kind of tool are endless.

Check out:

A Mohawk search

A recent trip to Fort Ticonderoga

Or a visit to Graceland

Or more locally: Tupper Lake

And while you’re at it, check out YouTube, the video Flickr


Sunday, August 14, 2005

Carol LaGrasse – "The APA is anti-family"

It’s hard to even know what to say about this, the latest “story” from Jim Kinney, an apparently untrained and unethical “reporter” with the Saratogian.

Whaley opened Thursday’s [Adirondack Park Agency] meeting by pointedly telling the crowd that no one was to discuss the investigation during the public comment portion of the meeting.

Carol LaGrasse of Stony Creek, Warren County, ignored the admonition and kept talking despite repeated attempts to silence her. She referred to an APA ‘preoccupation’ with porn.

‘The APA has made itself a laughingstock,’ she said.

LaGrasse, president of the Property Rights Foundation of America, also mentioned proposed APA regulations on the length of stays in privately owned campgrounds.

‘The APA is anti-family,’ she said.

Whaley responded with a list of APA accomplishments and projects.

‘I would hope that that would be a story the press would pick up over and over again,’ he said.

Got it, Mr. Kinney, thanks for all the “information.” You read the Associated Press report and talked to Carol LaGrasse – who has exactly not one accomplishment, and only one project – destroying zoning and development planning in the Adirondacks. Our bet is that this Kinney didn’t even attend the APA meeting – any takers?

The real crime is that we’ve lost two of the most important political figures in our area, the head of the APA, and the head of the Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA) in the same week – the Saratogian has decided to focus on porn, and no local or regional media (that we’ve seen / heard) has even bothered to report on the impact such a loss might have on the region.

Do the editors of the Saratogian really think we’re ignorant? Or we just don’t bother to read their paper? They certainly aren’t reading the competition, such as it is.

By the way, here is some more Kinney “journalism.” If anyone has any information about this right-wing shill pretending to be a reporter (or his bosses), please let us know. Where did he “study” journalism? Let’s work some blogger magic…

Kinney, Darling of the War Mongers
Kinney, Darling of the Anti-Choice Crusaders
Kinney, Darling of the Prison Industrial Complex
Kinney, Darling of the Gun Nuts
Kinney, Darling of the Xenophobes
Kinney, Darling of the Theocracy


Friday, August 12, 2005

James Kunstler Speaks… A Few Adirondackers Listen

A quick (and belated) report on James Kunstler‘s appearance at the Rock Hill Bakery Cafe in Glens Falls.

The house was full, the coffee flowed; after some technical difficulties with the cafe’s new video projection system Kunstler showed some great photos, many from the area, that clearly demonstrated one of his primary points: Developers need to stop “dishonoring the public realm” with poor design that makes places like strip malls, blank walls with sidewalks in front, etc., and start “showing generosity to the public realm.” As Kunstler put it: It’s not that Queensbury and places like it are “like everywhere else in America” – Tuscan villages are all alike and no one complains about them – it’s that everything in Queensbury and places like it is “uniformly crappy.” It’s hard to disagree with that.

Part of it is the Big Lie that we’re living. The next time someone tells us they live in Queensbury or some place like it, we’ll be asking why? Have you no sense of aesthetic? Do you enjoy living in a place you won’t even hang out in? Kunstler believes that because of a number of factors their suburban hell is on its way out – as he put it in the understatement of the night “we’re going to have to make other arrangements.”

About 70 people were in attendance including at least one Lake George area developer (he was sleepy and left early, a victim of intellectual laziness) and Glens Falls Post Star Maury “I’m a nice guy, I just have no spine” Thompson (example), who was recently heard arguing that it’s proper that the Post Star is hosting a mayoral “debate” with only the two most conservative candidates allowed to attend. Independent mayoral candidate Esmond Lyons was there with plenty of intelligent things to say about the local situation – apparently none of the other candidates thought the opportunity to hear one of America’s foremost and insightful writers on development, a man who lives in Saratoga Springs and was using specific local examples, was even worth spending a few minutes hearing out.

Thankfully, Adirondack Progressives is engaging the Warren County community in serious intellectual and exploratory dialogue. Word has it, that Matt, the owner of Rock Hill and an active member of the Green Party and Adirondack Progressives, is about to accept a position on the National Green Party Committee.

More as we know more…

Also:

baloghblog had this to say this week about Americans with their heads in the Sand regarding another of Kunstler’s main point – the peak oil situation and the coming emergency.

CNY ecoBlog explored the sell-off of Exxon-Mobil’s upstate NY properties and what it means for us.

Glens Falls blogger Brian, the (Fairly) Young Contrarian also reported on Kunstler this week.

And just as a reminder that they lie, we have:

Hundreds of Truckers Protesting Gas Prices

US Trade Deficit Nears New High As Oil Imports Surge


Friday, August 12, 2005

Adirondack Lingo: Mountain Language

Need to bone up on your ADKspeak? Check out this flatlanders guide to Adirondack language.


Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Adirondack and New York State Map Round-Up

Ever since Alan McLeod (host of A Good Beer Blog) turned us on to NYCO’s map of upstate bloggers, (and yeah, he likes maps too) and its recently inspired CNY ecoBlog’s local ecology news map, we’ve been wanting to do a really cool map round-up – so here goes:

If you don’t have Google Earth yet – you are missing out. Terra Server is great for a pay site that’s slow but provides nice printing capabilities, but Google Earth is just plain cool. The detail is amazing, just zoom in to Lake George and take a look at the sedimentation and you’ll see what we mean. Will this level of satellite photography and mapping eventually let us discover all those illegal camps and illicit dumps as well? We can only hope so – of course if we can see the world from space with a few clicks, can you imagine what big brother is doing?

It’s really something that Google Maps can give us a good idea of who dies first in a nuclear attack, but we’re more interested in the old stuff right? So here is:

And More Generally:

Yeah… maps are neat-o.



Suggested Reading

The Adirondack Atlas


Tuesday, August 9, 2005

Adirondack Almanack Demands: Glens Falls Post-Star Must Register As A PAC

Want to understand why we are where we are? Why increasingly it seems as though Americans are living in some sort of strange fantasyland? Look no further – it’s all right here at Letters to the Editor:

Maybe, if the Post Star got its head unstuck from deep within its own posterior and actually covered the other three candidates (even a little bit), it wouldn’t be a foregone conclusion that the next mayor will be yet another unimaginative, uninformed, two-party type with deep development connections and a love of the franchise and big-box concepts. Unfortunately, their heads do seem stuck pretty far up in there!

We couldn’t agree more. It seems clear that now that the Glens Falls Post-Star has used its pages to overwhelmingly support only candidates from the Republicrats, that they must, by law, register as a Political Action Committee.

Have any doubt that our local Democrats have even the slightest clue about how to combat the ignorance? Just check out their webpage, as hollow a shell as their ideas.

And speaking of the fantasyland o’ fantasy fuel and forever fights for the freedom of foreigners. James Howard Kunstler offers his latest and baloghblog offers commentary on it.

By the way, Kunstler will be at Rock Hill Bakery in Glens Falls tonight at 7 pm, thanks to the Adirondack Progressives.


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