Monday, August 25, 2014

Minerva’s Ella Lynch, Defender of Parental Rights

4aEFLynchTo the dismay of Minerva’s high-profile educator, Ella Lynch, the struggle for quality American schooling continued through the 1920s, seemingly based on that wonderful definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results. The newest plan to fix an admittedly broken system? Add another grade: kindergarten.

Concerned educators were baffled by the suggestion. Despite Ella’s proven system and successful organizations, the solution to a terrible public-school system was expansion of that very system? More of the same would surely do the trick?

While officials agreed that Lynch was correct about the value of teaching very young children, they decided that the disastrous school system was a better choice than having parents do it at home. Behind that plan were powerful forces: companies that, with an extra grade mandated in schools across the country, could sell more materials and services.

From another perspective, the plan was a direct threat to parental rights. Should mandatory kindergarten become law, children would be forcibly removed from the home at an even younger age. » Continue Reading.


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Monday, August 25, 2014

Upper Saranac Lake Boat Launch Upgrades Planned

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced that $475,000 in upgrades will be made to the Upper Saranac Lake Boat Launch.

The boat launch, located at the intersection of County Route 46 and Back Bay Road, is one of two public boat launches that provide access to Upper Saranac Lake.

The planned improvements include: » Continue Reading.



Sunday, August 24, 2014

Technology Today: A Letter from Thacher Camp

Letter from Thacher Camp Alas, the best laid plans… I am finally here at Thacher Camp on Indian Point of Raquette Lake for two weeks.  I had grand ideas of endless writing and to prepare, I had copied a treasure trove of my research files onto a 32 gigabyte flash drive and borrowed an old laptop from a friend.  Then I discovered on my arrival that the flash drive is dead.

What to do?  I began to think back to the precious few letters that I have which were written by George Hornell Thacher while sitting in the 1878 cabin, somewhere not far from this cabin in which I sit today.  He probably wrote on paper with pen or pencil under the soft glow of an oil lamp, whereas I am here with pen and paper under the pulsating glow of the Humphrey three-mantel gas chandelier that hangs above our dining table. » Continue Reading.



Saturday, August 23, 2014

Burying Beetles: Nature’s Undertakers

burying_beetleI don’t often shake down my cat for a dead mouse, but I did think it was fair, considering that he is always shaking me down for his cat food. I wasn’t going to eat his mouse. I needed it as bait, to see if I could catch a burying beetle.

Burying beetles, or sexton beetles, are nocturnal and they spend much of their lives underground. You’re most likely to find them under small dead animals, such as moles or mice, in a field, that is if you get there before the crows, raccoons, ants, worms, or bacteria do. » Continue Reading.



Friday, August 22, 2014

This Week’s Adirondack Web Highlights



Friday, August 22, 2014

Wanakena Footbridge Replacement Fundraising Underway

Wanakena Ice Jam BridgeSeveral nonprofits from across the Adirondack region have partnered to raise  funds to rebuild the historic and iconic Wanakena Footbridge in the Clifton-Fine community. The suspension bridge was destroyed in January, 2014 when an ice jam on the Oswegatchie River broke and slammed into its side.

Built in 1902 by the Rich Lumber Company, the footbridge provided pedestrian access to residential and commercial areas of Wanakena. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1999. Estimates put the full cost of construction at $250,000.

The Wanakena Historical Association has already raised nearly $38,000, but to extend the campaign’s, reach the Adirondack North Country Association (ANCA) has partnered with other local nonprofits to establish an online Adirondack Gives crowdfunding effort.   The Wanakena Footbridge campaign can be found on the Adirondack Gives website. » Continue Reading.



Friday, August 22, 2014

This Week’s Top Adirondack News Stories


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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Landmark Study Of Lake George Water Quality Released

the state of the lakeA major new report – The State of the Lake: Thirty Years of Water Quality Monitoring on Lake George - has been released by the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Darrin Fresh Water Institute (DFWI) and The FUND for Lake George.

The 72-page report is the result of 30 years of continuous monitoring that found Lake George to be in “remarkably good condition.” However, the report also outlines specific ecological factors that now threaten water quality.  Over the 30-year period of the study, researchers found that “while some of the threats to Lake George water quality have receded since 1980, others are worsening.”

The report finds that some of the greatest threats to Lake George water quality include: rising concentrations of salt from continued applications to control winter road ice; the high sensitivity of the lake’s ecological health to even modest increases of nutrient loading (from storm water runoff, septic and sewage systems, fertilizers, and more); and changes in the lake’s food web and fish community in response to invasive species and other influences. » Continue Reading.



Thursday, August 21, 2014

Current Conditions in the Adirondack Park (Aug 21)

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This weekly Adirondack outdoor conditions report is issued on Thursday afternoons, year round.

Get The Weekly Outdoor Conditions Podcast

Listen for the weekly Adirondack Outdoor Recreation Report Friday mornings on WSLP (93.3) and the stations of North Country Public Radio. A narrative version of this report can be found at Mountain Lake PBS.

 

SPECIAL NOTICES FOR THIS WEEKEND

» Continue Reading.



Thursday, August 21, 2014

Ermina Pincombe: When Music (Like Food) Was Local

Ermina PincombeI’ve learned so much about the history and culture of my state (NY) and local communities in which I reside (Buffalo NY and Piercefield NY in the Adirondack Mountains) through the traditional music of these places.

Similarly, my interest in local and state history has informed my understanding and appreciation of the music of our forebears. Before mass media came into the home, you got your music as you got your food – from someplace local, mostly. The newspaper, perhaps. Travelling shows, yes. But also from people in your community. Family members, neighbors, coworkers. What did they sing about? And what can those long-forgotten songs tell us about a community? » Continue Reading.



Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Bauer: APA Must Lead State Land Master Plan Revision

Adirondack State Land Master PlanThe Common Ground Alliance (CGA) recently met in Long Lake. One of the break-out sessions focused on reform of the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan (SLMP), which is the policy document for management of the Forest Preserve. The Common Ground Alliance effort is one of a handful of organizing efforts around the Adirondacks where ideas are being collected to detail potential changes to the SLMP.

In its December 2013 resolution classifying the Essex Chain Lakes/Pine Lake Primitive areas and Hudson Gorge Wilderness area, the Adirondack Park Agency (APA) committed to examine several items for possible SLMP revision. Since then, there has been no action by the APA or release of a public memo detailing a schedule for the APA to follow up the December 2013 resolution. In this void, various APA Commissioners have made comments at APA meetings, as has the representative from the Local Government Review Board, that express the desire that the APA undertake a revision of the SLMP well beyond the scope of the December 2013 resolution.

The SLMP has worked effectively for 40 years. As a frequent user of the SLMP, I’m continually impressed by the durability and prescience of this regulatory document. Though it was written long before wildlands management developed as a professional field, it has served the Adirondack Forest Preserve exceedingly well. » Continue Reading.



Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Plein Air Paint Out, Auction Planned At View In Old Forge

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABeginning on Thursday, August 28th, artists will be found creating their works at View’s Plein Air Paint Out along the Fulton Chain, the Moose River, at the Farmer’s Market or in Old Forge.  Visitors to View during regular hours on Saturday, August 30th can see the Adirondacks National Exhibition of American Watercolors, preview the Annual Art Auction items and peruse the consignments works on sale.

At 5:30pm on August 30th, the View will hold its annual art auction. Over eighty original works of art, by the likes of Judy Soprano, Martha Deming, Catherine O’Neill, Stephen Fletcher and more, will be available. In addition to the auction there will be a raffle of a basket filled with over $1,400 worth of prizes, including an original painting by Joyce Hanson. » Continue Reading.



Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Diane Chase: Introducing Adirondack Architecture

IMG_5418My family has spent the last month showing off the Adirondacks to a young friend visiting from Holland. In a week he’ll be off to study architecture in Prague. We’ve hiked, canoed and camped as well visited Olympic sites, outdoor concerts and museums.

He has been fascinated by the amount of green space we have, off-grid living and sustainable landscapes. The last segment of his whirlwind Adirondack tour will be White Pine Camp in Paul Smiths and Great Camp Sagamore in Raquette Lake. » Continue Reading.



Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Newcomb Plans Biggest TR Weekend Yet Sept 5-7

TR Weekend 2The Town of Newcomb will celebrate its annual TR Weekend on September 5-7, 2014 with more events than you can shake a big stick at.  TR Weekend celebrates the town’s connection with Theodore Roosevelt, a naturalist, explorer, and historian from New York City who served as the 33rd Governor of New York State the 26th President of the United States.

TR was a leader of the Republican Party before helping to  found the Progressive Party. He is known for his energetic personality and his leadership of the Progressive Movement’s efforts to break corporate monopolies, regulate businesses (notably the food and drug industries), foster conservation, and expand public lands. His slogan “speak softly and carry a big stick, and you will go far,” is still widely quoted. » Continue Reading.



Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Paul Smith’s, SUNY Reach Recreation, Hospitality Agreement

paulsmiths_sliderPaul Smith’s College and SUNY Adirondack have signed a dual admissions agreement, making it easier for students in the Southeastern Adirondacks to earn a bachelor’s degree in recreation or hospitality.

Students who opt into the program will simultaneously enroll in both colleges. Upon completion of their associate degree from SUNY Adirondack, they can transfer into one of two bachelor’s degree programs at Paul Smith’s: hotel, resort and tourism management or recreation, adventure education and leisure management. » Continue Reading.



Monday, August 18, 2014

DEC To Remove Grace Peak Summit Sign

Grace.Lisa_GodfreyLess than two months after hikers placed a commemorative sign on top of Grace Peak, state officials have decided it must come down.

On June 21, a large group of hikers gathered on the summit to celebrate—with champagne and cake—the renaming of the 4,012-foot mountain from East Dix to Grace Peak in honor of the late Grace Hudowalski, the longtime historian of the Adirondack Forty-Sixers.

» Continue Reading.



Monday, August 18, 2014

Puddling: Butterflies at the Bar

Puddle_of_butterflies(1)Toddlers aren’t the only ones fond of mud puddles. Butterflies and moths often gather at puddles in large groups. I witnessed about thirty tiger swallowtail butterflies around a puddle on a woods road one spring, their yellow, black-veined wings twitching slightly, contrasting with the brown mud. Another time I saw a crowd of swallowtails around a pile of damp wood ashes in my yard.

This curious behavior is known as “puddling.” Although butterflies and moths get most of their nutrition from flower nectar, puddling provides another way to obtain nutrients, and replenish fluids. The insects use their long tongues, called proboscises, to deliver the fluid or other material into their mouths. » Continue Reading.



Monday, August 18, 2014

Minerva Educator Ella Lynch Goes International

3aBooklessLessonsIn 1922, another of Ella Lynch’s titles was published: Bookless Lessons for the Teacher–Mother, offering more help to those parents wishing to effectively teach their children. On that front, big battles were brewing. Attempts were under way to legislate rural schools out of existence and force centralization.

Lynch said that because tax dollars were taken from the public, “It is right that the state should assist in educating children. It is not right that it should absolutely control that education in everything. It is not right that parents should be obliged to feed and clothe their children, and take care of them in sickness, and pay their doctor and dentist bills, and be compelled to send them to school and have no voice in the substance or methods of those children’s studies. Our authority is weak enough now, goodness knows. Let us be careful how we weaken it further.”

She fought vigorously for years against allowing city-school policies to permeate rural America. Among the high-profile organizations supporting her contentions was the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. After studying American schools, Carnegie’s findings, said Lynch, “Have jarred the educational world, for it says that our system of public education is becoming alarmingly superficial, is fostering ‘educational farces,’ and building up ‘delusive courses.’ ” » Continue Reading.



Sunday, August 17, 2014

Flatwater Paddling On The Boreas River

Marty Plante on the Boreas RiverLike the Roman god Janus, the Boreas River has two faces. The lower part, from Lester Dam to its confluence with the Hudson, has some of the most exciting and difficult whitewater in the Adirondacks. During the spring runoff, when water levels are high, it provides a wild ride through Class 3 and 4 rapids while it makes its way to the Hudson.

But that’s not my destination for today. Instead, I’m headed for the Boreas’s other face: Lester Flow, the tranquil quietwater section that flows downstream of Cheney Pond. » Continue Reading.



Saturday, August 16, 2014

Sandra Hildreth: The Plein Air Phenomenon

N. Brossard in Saranac Lake. M. Kurtz photoAugust 21st through the 24th nearly 80 artists from Washington, DC to Maine, Quebec and Ontario, will be converging on Saranac Lake for the 6th Annual Adirondack Plein Air Festival.

Beautiful August weather (fingers crossed) and all the aspects of our region: mountains, lakes, bogs, waterfalls, woodland trails, panoramic views, rivers, farm land, “Great Camps”, historic sites and our small communities are all part of the attraction.

The other, if you haven’t noticed, is the growing popularity of plein air painting. The Festival concludes with a fantastic Show & Sale on Sunday,  Aug 24th, in the Town Hall in Saranac Lake from 12 – 3 pm. Over 200 wet paintings will be on display and available for purchase. » Continue Reading.



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