I took this photo because I’d been wondering what the farmworker housing in the news looks like.
Several reporters I know who have followed this issue for the past few years have come to the same conclusion: the Adirondack Park Agency would have granted a permit for these houses if the farm had applied for one; this is a battle of jurisdiction and principle between two well-lawyered parties.
The reaction of the farm’s owner, former Wall Street trader Salim B. “Sandy” Lewis, to his recent state appellate court win can be found on his Web site. The APA has not commented yet. But if the reporters are right, we should see the question of whether these structures are more essentially “farm accessory” or more essentially “house” ascend to another court.
- Lewis County Buses Ready to Roll
- Appeals Court Sides With Lewis Farm
- Betty Little: Republican Coup A Good Idea
- Verizon Pushes Cell Tower Issue Farther
- Old Mountain Road Discussion Under Way
- July One of Coldest on Record
- Tupper Doesn’t Support Rooftop Highway
- Temp Solution Reached to Border Dispute
- Association/Residents Now ‘Protect the Adirondacks!’
- DEC Fines Saranac Lake $1,500 for Road-Salt Pile
This week I’m posting from The Catskill Irish Arts Week in East Durham, NY. in a few moments I’ll be taking a class in beginner Irish guitar accompaniment. That may seem funny because I already accompany some Irish musicians but the truth is I need the fundamentals. Despite internet connection issues and cell phone service sparsity I’m attempting to give you a good overview of the activities I’ll be missing this weekend in the Adirondacks while attending this great week of all Irish music and bluegrass at Grey Fox.
You have two chances to catch a band called Jatoba. On Friday they are going to be at the Monopole starting at 10 pm in Plattsburgh. Then on Saturday they’ll be at the Waterhole in Saranac Lake; a free show starts at 7pm and it’s outside on the patio. Later that night stick around for The Hospice Benefit which aside from being for a phenomenal cause will offer a variety of bands to listen and dance to. I wish I could tell you more but the bands are a mystery as of Wednesday night, however, I’m sure it’ll be worthwhile night.
In Lake Placid at Lake Placid Center for the Arts (LPCA) on Saturday, the Claire Lynch Band will be giving an outdoor concert. The show should be wonderful as they’ll be sharing their Grammy-nominated bluegrass music with the audience.
photo: Eddy and Kim Lawrence
The NYS Senate granted unanimous approval (58-0) today to two bills designed to help three small communities qualify for economic development and community enhancement projects through money available from the NYS Department of State and provided through the federal Coastal Resources program. If signed by Governor Paterson, the bills would grant inland waterway status to Lake Placid, Mirror Lake and the Little River in the Town of Franklin.
According to the Adirondack Council’s John Sheehan, “these programs encourage comprehensive planning and sustainable economic development, especially projects that also help to protect water quality and other natural resources. Businesses and residents will be eligible for state and federal matching funds for business development and community beautification/revitalization programs.” » Continue Reading.
The Adirondack Park Agency (APA) will hold a legislative hearing on Tuesday, July 28, 2009 at the Forestport Town Hall on a proposed widening and improvement of a ten mile stretch of Route 28 from Route 12 (in Forestport, Oneida County) to the Moose River in the Town of Webb (Herkimer County). The project sponsors, NYSDOT and National Grid, will also be there to answer questions or address concerns about the design of the project. APA staff will be available to discuss the permitting process. The legislative hearing will start at 6:15pm.
Here is a description of the project and other details on the meeting which were supplied by the APA:
The project begins approximately 6 miles north of the intersection of Routes 12 and 28 in Alder Creek and terminates at the Moose River in McKeever for a total project length of approximately 10.3 miles. The project consists of resurfacing a section from the southerly limit of the project for a length of approximately 2 miles; a reconstruction section for approximately 2.5 miles through Woodgate and a portion of White Lake; resurfacing a section with minor widening for a length of approximately 1.5 miles through a portion of White Lake; and resurfacing a section for the remainder of the project for a length of approximately 4.5 miles through Otter Lake to the Moose River in the Town of Webb. There will be utility relocations throughout the reconstruction section to provide a minimum offset from the edge of travel lane of 16 feet. There will be additional isolated utility pole relocations within the resurfacing sections to provide the same 16 foot offset.
PURPOSE OF MEETING: This is an informal legislative hearing conducted by the Adirondack Park Agency pursuant to APA Act section 804(6) to receive public comment on the proposed project. The hearing will include introductory presentations on the project design by the NYS Department of Transportation and National Grid. Agency staff will take notes on the public comment. Comments may be submitted by verbal statements during the hearing or by submitting a written statement. Agency Board Members and Designees may be present to hear the public comments. The Agency Board will make its decision on the project at one of its monthly meetings at some time in the near future.
GOAL OF THE MEETING: To allow the public to express concerns regarding this proposed project and how it may positively or negatively impact individual properties or the community.
MEETING FORMAT: NYSDOT, National Grid and APA personnel will be available from 5:30 to 6:15, prior to the formal presentation, to address any questions or concerns that individuals may have about the design of the project or the APA permitting process. At 6:15 APA Deputy Director Mark Sengenberger will commence the formal portion of the hearing. He will introduce NYSDOT and National Grid personnel who will make brief presentations concerning the project objectives, scope, schedule and cost. During the presentations, the public can ask questions for clarification purposes only. Following the presentations, members of the public will have the opportunity to make brief verbal statements about the project. There will be a sign up sheet for any persons wishing to make public comment. In order to allow everyone to speak who wants to, comments will be limited to no more than 3 minutes in length and speakers will go in the order that they signed up. Members of the public can provide additional written comments to the Agency at or after the meeting. Town of Forestport and Town of Webb officials will be present and introduced at the meeting.
APA Project No. 2008-0216
NYSDOT PIN: 2018.60
The Adirondack region’s local energy bill is more than $600 million a year. Add in gasoline and the number soars past $1.5 billion a year. A new initiative seeks to cut that cost, and use the savings to help the region’s economy. The details of the region’s energy use are included in a new report, entitled the Adirondack Energy & Greenhouse Gas Inventory, that breaks down energy production and consumption. It details how money spent on energy flows out of the Adirondacks, draining resources from the local economy. The report, documenting the entire Adirondack region, is one of the largest regional energy and carbon audits ever produced in the United States.
“We’re interested in getting our hands on these numbers because we want to see how we could use the projected major changes in national and state energy policies to help build our regional economy,” said Ross Whaley former President of SUNY ESF. “If we could save just 10 percent of what we spend importing the energy we use locally we’d have $60 million more dollars a year that we could invest in the Adirondacks.”
The report was supported in part by The Wild Center and ADKCAP, a new initiative that says its goals are to channel federal and state efforts into the region to improve energy efficiency, support regional programs formed to help cut energy costs and waste, and create or save higher-value jobs that could have a lasting impact on the Adirondack economy. A year in the making, the final report that its backers say could lead to tackling energy waste and carbon pollution in the Adirondacks, is now available online http://www.adkcap.org/?q=audit.
Highlights? The report shows some big collective numbers. Almost 490 million gallons of gasoline are used to power vehicles in the region, more than 35 million gallons of fuel oil and kerosene and over 10 million gallons of LPG are used to heat area homes and hot water. Residential users inside the Adirondacks spend more than $25 million a year on electricity to heat their homes and $135 million a year on electricity for things other than heat, like running refrigerators and lights.
“When you become cognizant of the energy dollars being spent in the Adirondacks each year, one quickly realizes that we need to find an approach to keep some of those dollars here,” said Brian Towers of the Adirondack Association of Towns and Villages. “Obviously community leaders from around the region need to investigate every avenue from small hydroelectric, solar and wind projects to looking at ways of reducing municipal energy costs with bio-fuels. Any way that we can cut public energy costs has a correlating effect on property taxes.”
The report was prepared by leading research firm Ecology and Environment, Inc. of Lancaster, NY. It was commissioned to create a baseline for looking at energy consumption in the area and dovetailed with the strong interest of a number of area groups who were looking at the Adirondacks as a potential large-scale example of how a region could address carbon dependence and grow its economy. “The national conference held here was about how the United States needs to transition away from carbon as our main energy source. With this transition comes opportunity if we act fast,” said Stephanie Ratcliffe of The Wild Center. “It started people talking about putting the idea of aggressively implementing energy efficiency and developing new renewable energy sources here in the Adirondacks. This is one of the few times that environmental concerns and economic opportunities share the same goals from the outset.”
The Adirondacks as an Example for the Nation
“We think we have a chance to set an example for the nation,” said Kate Fish of ADKCAP. “If we can show that you can cut energy costs in a big way, and use the money to grow your economy, others can learn from what we do. We are a region of 103 living, breathing and working towns and villages with challenges a lot of other places can relate to. Making this happen here could mean a lot for people all over the U.S. who are wrestling with high costs of energy, and the need to rebuild their economies.”
Fish and others say the Adirondacks’ New York location and high visitation make it an attractive place for other organizations, including power companies, who are looking to test efficiency and renewable ideas. “We can be the first place to take on energy independence across a large area. If we can show that 103 regular towns and villages can break the grip of energy dependence and build our local economies in a sustainable way we could demonstrate something important to others,” said Fish.
ADKCAP, an umbrella group, formed after the ‘American Response to Climate Change Conference -The Adirondack Model’ held in November of 2008 at The Wild Center, is working with partner organizations and individuals to build on a variety of plans to turn energy savings into local benefits. Based on data in the report that shows that one third of all the energy used locally in the Adirondacks comes from home heating, a number of partners are focusing on getting effective region-wide access to programs designed to cut home heating and utility costs, including training a skilled energy audit and retrofit workforce. The initial actions being considered would also include logical uses of renewable sources including testing of new low emissions wood gasification systems that could use sustainably harvested local forest products. The development of a forest products-based energy system could also mean local jobs. Other local energy sources could include sun, wind and hydro, including small-scale hydro that could take advantage of standing local dams.
Groups involved with ADKCAP say that new job creation could encourage younger families to stay in the area, reversing the aging-population trend in upstate New York. “It has been demonstrated conclusively that one of the greatest home energy savers is preventing air infiltration. This can be a low-cost, high yield effort. Next, is improving the efficiency of the furnaces and boilers. Green home energy saving really is possible for everyone,” said Alan Hipps, Executive Director of Housing Assistance Program of Essex County. “Those are simple examples of how we can cut energy costs and create jobs at the same time.”
The renewable energy industry generated about 500,000 jobs and $43 billion revenue in the U.S. in 2007. The much broader energy-efficiency industry generated 8.6 million jobs and $1 trillion in revenue, according to a report issued in January by the American Solar Energy Society. The national study projected that the renewable and energy efficiency businesses could employ 16 million to 37 million people by 2030, depending on government policy.
“We need new jobs here, good jobs, and jobs that let us keep our natural character,” said Ann Heidenreich of Community Energy Services of Canton, NY. “We’re going to need to solve energy challenges one way or another, and this report gives us some of the basic tools to do the smartest thing, and be more in control of our future.”
Mike DeWein, an expert on regional energy issues and a member of the ADKCAP and Energy $mart Park Initiative (E$PI) steering committees, says the Adirondacks could do well by getting out ahead on energy efficiency issues. “We know the energy world is going to change in significant ways in the next 20 years, particularly because of national trends and policies going into effect in current state and Federal legislation. Places that get ahead of the curve will benefit, and the report sets the groundwork for the Adirondacks by moving initiatives and programs and being ready to benefit from those policies, as well as be ready for funding opportunities.” DeWein cited the internet revolution as an example. “Often when something big is happening it pays to “start the train down the track” to be ready for the opportunities rather than sit on the rail siding waiting for the train.”
The report was prepared for The Wild Center and ADKCAP, in consultation with The Adirondack Energy $mart Initiative (E$PI), by Ecology and Environment, Inc and with key contributions from Dr. Colin Beier of SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. The report was funded by the Adirondack Community Trust – Master Family Fund.
NOTE: This post is a reprint of the ADKCAP and Wild Center’s press release.
There are few things as equally hair-raising and awe-inspiring as a chorus of coyote calls. My first experiences with these were of the hair-raising variety when I worked at a summer camp in Lake Placid for three years right out of high school. We spent the summer living in canvas tents that were draped over wooden platforms. At night we could see the fire reflected in the eyes of the “coydogs” that lurked in the trees between the junior and senior camps. And then we would hear the howls…no, the wails…no, the…the… Words fail to describe the sound these animals make when they all sing together, but it was enough to make me wish that we had a lot more between us than a flimsy canvas wall.
These days I find myself enthralled by the coyote chorus that drifts through my bedroom windows at night. I poke the dog awake and we lie there listening to the music. However, there are admittedly still times when I am out walking the dog and we hear them, and they give me pause. Like the evening a couple years ago when we were coming home along the golf course and ran into a Wall of Sound. It was as though hundreds of coyotes had made a road block just around the bend in the road. I was fully convinced that we were about to see dozens of wild canines at any moment. I should’ve taken better note of the dog’s reaction, which was nil. Sound travels well in the cooler, damper air of evening; those animals, which sounded so close, were obviously further away than my imagination placed them.
The history of the eastern coyote seems to be shrouded in mystery. Where did it come from and how did it get here? A hundred years ago, there were no coyotes in the Adirondacks (or New York State). A hundred and fifty years ago we still had wolves. Foxes were our only other wild canid. So how did we end up with this large animal that has so nicely filled the gap left behind by wolves?
The basic theory is that the western coyote moved eastward. First it came to the plains and made a pretty good life for itself there. The plains coyotes, sometimes called brush wolves, were sometimes taken in by native people to work as beasts of burden. Because coyotes never really specialized, like wolves or foxes, they remained quite flexible in their behaviors, a trait that makes them highly adaptable to a wide range of habitats. It also makes them prolific breeders. As their population expanded, so did their range.
The evidence suggests that when the coyotes crossed the Mississippi River, some went northward into Canada, circumventing the Great Lakes, while others went east and south. The frontrunners found themselves in new territory that had no other coyotes around with which to mate. Most animals mate exclusively with their own kind, but canines seem to be the exception to this rule, and those early coyotes found nothing to mate with but wolves. The influx of wolf genes helped create animals that were larger than the originals and that started to show some of the social structure found in wolf packs.
So what about coydogs? To this day, children and adults alike talk about the coydogs they’ve seen. If you try to tell them that coydogs don’t exist, you’d best be prepared for a heated discussion, for they will not give up that notion. “My dad said that’s what it is” is a very difficult argument to refute. The first reported coyote-dog hybrid was in 1885, but whether this was scientific fact or anecdotal is conjecture. The first successful captive breeding of a coyote and dog was in 1937 and all the pups died. Captive breeding programs over the years demonstrated that coyote-dog hybrids end up with skewed breeding cycles, which result in pups being born early in the year when it is still quite cold and food supplies are low; most do not survive. Today eastern coyotes can certainly find plenty of other coyotes with which to mate, so there is no reason for them to set up housekeeping with feral dogs. Therefore, the likelihood of finding genuine coydogs in the 21st century is slim.
It wasn’t until 1944 that the first coyote was recorded in Quebec, but it seems that after that it didn’t take long for them to appear along both sides of the St. Lawrence River. Accounts of “wild hybrid canids” being trapped and shot in the Adirondacks were showing up in 1942 and 1943. The 1950s found these mountains to be fairly well populated with the new eastern coyote.
Today eastern coyotes are quite common throughout the Adirondacks. They have fairly good-sized home ranges (about 10 square miles), travel 10 to 15 miles a day, live in family units averaging three to five individuals, and eat a variety of foods. Many people suspect that coyotes are responsible for deer kills, and as a large predator they can and will take deer, but most of the coyote’s diet is made up of medium-sized prey, such as snowshoe hares and voles.
I have been fortunate to actually see coyotes on a couple of occasions. The first was a large specimen who was crossing my yard in the early morning twilight about eight years ago; it looked so much like a German shepherd that I had to do a double take. A couple winters ago a smaller coyote crossed the road in front of us as the dog and I were headed home from our evening walk. In both cases the animal glanced at me, took note of my presence, and then slipped into the forest and vanished. And that’s as it should be – a brush with wildness that leaves you with a memory and a yearning for more.
Photo courtesy of Daniel Bogan, PhD candidate at Cornell University, and Dr. Paul Curtis, DNR.
The Adirondack History Center Museum in Elizabthetown is presenting the annual Bits and Pieces Festival, From the Center of the World: A Celebration of Lake Champlain, beginning Friday, July 17 at 11:00 am. An inter-generational group of actors takes on 400 years of history with reflections on the Quadricentennial. Five production dates are scheduled: three Fridays at 11:00am on July 17, 24, 31 and two Sundays at 4:00pm on July 26 and August 2.
The performance project has been created in collaboration with the Depot Theatre, the Westport Central School and the Westport Heritage Festival. It focuses on seven pivotal moments in Lake Champlain history that have global significance. The moments are depicted through fictional characters using soliloquies to explore their personal connections to each event, the changing landscape, and the curious process of human “discovery.” The production moves the audience through and around the museum. » Continue Reading.
Today marks the anniversary of one of the worst storms in Upstate New York history. During the early morning hours of July 15, 1995 a series of severe thunderstorms crossed the Adirondacks and much of eastern New York. Meteorologists call the phenomena by the Spanish “Derecho” but locals often refer to the event as the Blowdown of 1995. A similar weather event / blowdown occurred in 1950.
A Derecho is part of a larger family of storms called a Mesoscale Convective System (MCS), a complex of thunderstorms that becomes organized on a scale larger than the individual thunderstorms and which includes phenomenon like lake effect snow. An MCS can sometimes act in ways similar to a hurricane and can produce torrential downpours and high winds. Aside from the remarkable power of the weather event, another unique thing happened – a shift in public policy with regard to salvage logging of public lands. The State’s decision to forgo salvage logging was in stark contrast to federal policies at the time that allowed federal lands to be logged in similar salvage situations. » Continue Reading.