Posts Tagged ‘education’

Monday, April 2, 2012

Johnny Hayes: A Ticonderoga Musical Legend

In late 1935, young Ticonderoga saxophonist Johnny Hayes sat in during a performance by a traveling orchestra from Boston. His performance so impressed the band leader that a permanent position was offered. Hayes had recently completed a summer stint at The Deer’s Head Inn (Elizabethtown), followed by a tour of central and northern New York cities with his own band.

He accepted the offer and began traveling with the orchestra within two weeks. It was the first step in a journey that would link him with many all-time greats of the Big Band Era.

By 1940, Hayes was appearing regularly on radio and in major dance halls as first saxophone with Van Alexander’s Orchestra. Swing magazine called him a key component of the band’s great sound. Alexander worked with a number of orchestras during his career and is regarded historically as one of the great music arrangers.

In mid-1940, Hayes signed with Buddy Rogers of movie fame (Rogers was also husband of actress Mary Pickford), playing first sax on a nationwide tour. In 1941, he joined another high-profile band of the day, Shep Fields and His New Music.

Johnny next hooked up with bandleader Hal McIntyre, an original member of the Glenn Miller Orchestra. When Hal set out on his own, his close friend Miller provided financial support for McIntyre’s new musical group, for which Johnny Hayes played tenor sax. For two years running (1942–43), Billboard magazine selected McIntyre’s band as “the most promising new orchestra.”

The band performed in movies (watch the first ten seconds for their name, and further to hear them play), on the radio, at dance halls, and at all the top venues across the country. Their weekly gig, broadcast from New York City’s Commodore Hotel, was a big hit, receiving high praise in Billboard, Swing, and the columns of top music critics.

Johnny routinely performed the band’s tenor sax solos. (Many of McIntyre’s recordings, made with Hayes as a band member, have recently been offered on CD.) Hayes played with McIntyre into the late 1940s, but also appeared periodically with many other of the era’s greats.

Besides a few recordings with the Ziggy Elfman Band (star trumpet player for Tommy Dorsey), Billy May, and Tex Beneke (with Eydie Gorme singing), he played with the legendary Les Brown and the Band of Renown. Brown’s band was linked to Bob Hope’s performances for 50 years, including 18 USO tours. Hayes played with them in 1944 and on other occasions, leaving no doubt about his musical capabilities in the eyes of his peers.

In the late 1940s, he also played and toured with Skitch Henderson, another orchestra leader who became a show-biz legend (among his credits, Henderson was the original bandleader on The Tonight Show, which starred Steve Allen).

For all his success, perhaps the greatest accomplishment of Johnny Hayes’ musical life occurred before his orchestra career began. He was born in Ticonderoga in 1918, the son of attorney Richard Hayes and his wife, Lillian. At the age of three, his musical fate was nearly foiled by an accident: Johnny fell on a broken bottle, badly cutting his hand and severing a tendon. After an emergency trip to the hospital, the healing went just fine.

A signature moment in Hayes’ life came in March 1929, when Leonard Allerton of Catskill, New York, was hired to oversee the music program at Ticonderoga High School. Two years later, under his tutelage, 13-year-old Johnny Hayes was playing first clarinet for the Purple and White. He later turned his attention to the saxophone, and in 1933, in the New York State Music Contest at Syracuse, Johnny took fifth place among twelve contestants.

In his senior year (1935), hoping to earn another berth in the state finals, Hayes competed in the preliminaries at Massena, finishing first in Division Two for clarinet and first in Division One for saxophone.

At Syracuse, after facing off against 47 other boys and girls, he finished tied for second in the saxophone category. Landing in the top five made him eligible for the national championships in Madison, Wisconsin, but traveling that far was a pipe dream for most small-town folks struggling through the Great Depression.

Hayes had received financial support from the community for the Syracuse trip, and Leonard Allerton had raised Ticonderoga’s music program to a high level of performance, something the town was quite proud of. Everyone banded together once again, and with Ticonderoga businessmen leading the way, enough money was raised to send Johnny on his way.

Pre-performance jitters on the day of competition were normal, and were certainly capable of causing a sub-par performance. As if that weren’t enough, Johnny’s accompanist from the University of Wisconsin had failed to appear due to a flat tire while en route.

Disheartened, he was faced with going solo or withdrawing. Since he was the last scheduled performer of 42 in his division, Johnny delayed the decision as long as possible.

With three minutes to spare, his accompanist arrived. There was no time to prepare, so Johnny took to the stage and played “Emily,” the same tune that had earned him second place in Syracuse and a trip to Wisconsin for the National Music Contest.

Imagine the reaction in Ticonderoga that night when Johnny Hayes was voted the nation’s number one high school saxophonist. Best in the country!

Far lesser accomplishments (even a single tackle in a football game, for cryin’ out loud) will often find today’s youth strutting around, pounding their chests, and celebrating their self-perceived greatness. Where’s my star? Look at what I just did! Ain’t I great?

In comparison, you have to love old-time, small-town America. After besting the top musicians in the entire United States, Johnny Hayes, saxophonist extraordinaire, returned home with a wonderful comment: “I feel swell.”

In the days when humility was a virtue, other folks took care of bragging about you or honoring your accomplishments, and that’s what Ticonderoga did. Johnny’s success was mentioned in the county newspapers, and a school assembly was held, citing his achievement and crediting Johnny, Mr. Allerton, and the school community for the fine results of their cumulative efforts.

Best of all, at least from my perspective, was the celebration held on the evening of his return. Johnny was greeted by the entire school band, decked out in the new uniforms of the Purple and White. Placing Hayes at the lead, they marched him through the streets of Ti in a fine display of hometown pride.

At one point, the procession halted on the corner of Montcalm and Champlain. Requesting a solo, the crowd was treated to Johnny’s rendition of “Home Sweet Home.”

Pound your chest all you want, but it doesn’t get any better than that.

Photos: Advertisement for the State Theater in Ticonderoga, featuring a movie with the Hal McIntyre Orchestra, and mentioning Ti’s own Johnny Hayes.

Lawrence Gooley has authored ten books and dozens of articles on the North Country’s past. He and his partner, Jill McKee, founded Bloated Toe Enterprises in 2004. Expanding their services in 2008, they have produced 19 titles to date, and are now offering web design. For information on book publishing, visit Bloated Toe Publishing.


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Adirondack Philosophy as Field Work

What happens to philosophy when we liberate it from the Ivory Tower and from the confines of coursework, academic publications and specializations that can feel like falling head-long down the rabbit hole? What does a philosopher become when she isn’t simply a teacher of curriculum, evaluated and validated by measurable outcomes? What is to be done when the hand-wringing and concerned looks of parents and friends turn into real questions like how in the name of all the esoteric nonsense will the rent get paid? Or more to the point: what are you going to do with this training?

Not to worry. When all else fails there’s always a coffee bar (been there). Or a low-level editorial job at a local newspaper (done that). And if the Gary Larson cartoon my mother sent to me years ago when I declared my intentions showing a “Philosophy and Bait Shop” is any indication, entrepreneurial opportunities abound. But all kidding aside, there is a reason that thousands (yes, thousands!) of us choose this route and my reasoning may be a little surprising: I am a philosopher because I want to be of service. The question of what becomes of philosophers and philosophy when we cut loose from careers that can be easily described and universally understood becomes yet more pronounced when we think about philosophy as a public profession. But there is rich precedence for this and I follow in the wake of great practitioners.

One such colleague is the 19th century philosopher William James who argued that the pragmatic (philosophical) method is a useful way to gain greater understanding about the world. For example, one perennial question that reaches into the culture of crime and punishment is whether we have free will or whether everything, and thus all of our behaviors, are predetermined. Another contemporary favorite played out in the vicious discourse between science and religion asks whether the world is material or spiritual? Philosophers in the pragmatic tradition continue to assert that we can use pragmatic principles to get a handle on what the practical consequences would be, if one or another of these claims about the world are true. But what comes after this “all the way down” thinking that we owe to James is where it gets interesting, and where the contribution of a public philosopher can be seen. Once we have traced the practical consequences of an idea and we have a working understanding of what those consequences mean for humanity, for environment etc. then philosophers are obligated to do something to advance whatever we resolve to be right or good! Only when we see the method through to its end, have we done justice to the term pragmatism that is from the Greek pragma meaning action, practice or practical.

This is on my mind because I’ve just returned from a conference dedicated to the work of American pragmatic philosophers. Here most of the attendees were “theoretically” committed to what could be called practical philosophy or philosophy that is focused on questions of agency and experience including what compels us to act in the face of injustice or conflict, what happens in that moment when we are not merely thinking but acting according to an ethical or moral code? Why do we sometimes fail to act and when we do (or don’t) what criteria can we measure our behavior by? As an applied and a public philosopher myself, I had high hopes for this crowd. From my work in the Adirondacks for the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry I take a mandate for action seriously. I’ve learned to appreciate the urgency of real situations that don’t present a clear path of right or wrong, of yes we should or no we’d better not. I understand that more often, like any complex set of realities, the way forward doesn’t resemble one well-marked trail and indeed the closer we look, the more possible directions are revealed.

If this kind of work is undertaken with and for the benefit of a range of communities, and if it is done in service to the public good, what does it look like for us in the Adirondacks and for me in particular? The answer is simple and I think, powerful. SUNY ESF owns more than 20,000 acres of land in the Adirondack Park, with an institutional mission to support research dedicated to advancing the scientific knowledge of Adirondack ecosystems. Through close collaborations with a variety of government and non-government agencies and organizations, ESF has had extraordinary success putting scientific data in the hands of policy makers. Policy makers have translated these findings into guidelines and strategies that continue to direct the future of the Park. With this kind of influence comes a three-fold responsibility: to ESF students dedicated to the pursuit of science, that they understand how their work will guide practical decisions on the landscape; to the Adirondack community who will be impacted by the policy implemented based on the findings generated through ESF; and to regional agencies and organizations, that they understand the ethical considerations involved in using this information to enact regulations that impact the complicated balance between culture and nature in the Park. SUNY ESF is on the leading edge linking good science with care for the communities that it impacts through a commitment to provide a representative entrusted with addressing the range of human impacts of this unusual partnership between scientific research and the policy that it advances.

During the conference I had a chance to talk about my work at ESF and the variety of publics that I interact with. In the process I realized that we at ESF, and in the Adirondacks more broadly, are doing what many in attendance and across the discipline are merely talking about doing. As the conference drew to a close, the Society’s President urged an audience of hundreds of academic philosophers to become involved in public discourse, to bring the philosophical method to bear on practical questions of ethics and moral right-doing, to reach out to communities in an effort to bring them into discussions and deliberations and to enrich the public space through competent and thoughtful facilitation of contentious issues. In effect, what William James said of Pragmatism can be said of the practice of philosophy, that it unstiffens all our theories, limbers them up and sets each one at work.

Marianne is a philosopher living, working and writing in the Adirondacks


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

North Country Technology Symposium Seeks Presenters

Information Technology professionals and organizational leaders are invited to share their expertise in I.T. at the North Country Technology Symposium on May 23, 2012 in Potsdam. The organizing committee is accepting proposals for presentations to be offered as part of a multi-track agenda of one hour sessions covering a variety of I.T. topics of interest to organizations in the North Country.

The North Country Technology Symposium is designed to encourage adoption of information technologies in the region’s Business, Healthcare, Government, and Community Services sectors through sharing of experiences, ideas and information by colleagues in the field.

2012 North Country Technology Symposium will offer:

* Several live, interactive instructor-led sessions on the latest I.T. issues including: Social Media, Mobile Devices & Apps, Video, Cloud Computing, Open Source Opps, FREE Web Tools and more.

* IT EXPO – Dozens of commercial provider representatives available to speak with you about the latest I.T. products & services on the market.

* Network with region’s I.T. professionals and access On-Site Technology Consulting Services. Registrants schedule appointments for one-on-one consultations

Visit the Call for Presentations website to submit a proposal before February 27, 2012.


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

4-H Adirondack Guide Program Orientation Thursday

The 4-H Adirondack Guide Program orientation meeting will be held tomorrow Thursday, February 16, 2012, at 6:30p.m. at the Cornell University Cooperative Extension Education Center, 377 Schroon River Road in Warrensburg.

The 4-H Adirondack Guide Program is a unique program designed for boys and girls (12-18 years old) who would like to explore, in depth, topics related to natural resources, ourdoor recreation and biological sciences and develop teaching and leadership skills.

Participants in the program, sponsored by Cornell University Cooperative Extension, advance from the Beginner Guide level, through intermediate, to full advanced 4-H Adirondack Guide status. As Guides progress through the levels they are expected to give back to the program by teaching review sessions and help in testing other youth at the end of each year.

Activities include field trips and classes, canoe and hiking trips, and community service projects. Topics taught include map & compass reading; canoeing; tree, plant, flower and wildlife identification; environmental teaching techniques; woods lore and safety; first aid and lifeguard training; outdoor clothing and equipment; wilderness trip coordination, and global positioning systems (GPS).

Participants have the opportunity to work with licensed Adirondack Guides, Forest Rangers, Fish and Wildlife Biologists, Foresters and skilled woodsmen. The program is conducted in an informal atmosphere, conducive to building confidence and self-esteem. Several aspects of the program are being underwritten by a partnership grant from Outdoor Nation.

For more information, or to register, call the Cornell Cooperative Extension office at 623-3291 or 668-4881. For additional information, ask to speak with John Bowe.

Photo: Tabor Dunn teaches Ryan Bailey, Jared Goodemote and Alex Knecht knots.


Saturday, February 11, 2012

Champlain Watershed Educators Opportunities

Since 1992, the Champlain Basin Education Initiative (CBEI) has provided professional development opportunities for educators who wish to teach their students about the Lake Champlain watershed. More than 700 educators have participated in workshops and graduate courses offered through the CBEI partners. A new web resource, WatershED Matters, has now been developed to compile the knowledge and teaching strategies used by recent course participants. WatershED Matters is housed within the Lake Champlain Basin Program’s website on behalf of the CBEI partners.

WatershED Matters features curriculum units and community projects currently being implemented by New York, Vermont and Québec educators. The CBEI partners expect the site to grow as educators suggest links to their favorite field trips and classroom resources for teaching about the Champlain basin.

“This resource tool has been in demand for several years by both teachers and the CBEI partners,” says Colleen Hickey, Education and Outreach Coordinator for the Lake Champlain Basin Program. “In recent years, nearly 40 educators have completed our eleven day watershed course and it’s great to be able to share what they’ve learned about the Lake, its tributaries and nearby resources.”

Champlain Basin Education Initiative partners currently include: the Lake Champlain Basin Program, Shelburne Farms, Lake Champlain Sea Grant-UVM Extension, ECHO at the Leahy Center for Lake Champlain, the Lake Champlain Committee, and curriculum coach Amy Demarest. Several New York groups have also assisted with educator outreach in the past year by implementing workshops about specific watershed topics.


Monday, February 6, 2012

Champlain Area Trails Writing Contest Winners

An independent field biology study turned out to be especially fruitful for both teacher and student. Every week since January 2011, Westport ninth-grader Peter Hartwell and mentor David Thomas Train have been exploring the Champlain Area Trails along shoreline, streams, wetlands, and woods near Westport. Those explorations eventually prompted them to enter the Champlain Area Trails Society Travel Writing Contest.

Hartwell attends the BOCES Special Education program in Mineville. To supplement the Mineville curriculum, he studies several subjects privately—including field biology with Thomas Train. “Peter and I spend time together every Wednesday after school in outdoor science explorations, and we wanted to share what we do and see,” Thomas Train explained. “He is an avid outdoors explorer, with great observation and drawing skills.” And Thomas Train is certainly no stranger to the trails of the Champlain Valley: He is the guidebook author for the ADK Guide To The Eastern Region. “I know the CATS trails well and am excited every time a new one is developed, more open space is protected, and I have a new place to explore!” Thomas Train said. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, January 22, 2012

24 Hour Adirondack Student Photo Contest

The Lake Placid Institute for Arts and Humanities is inviting all high school students in the Adirondack region to participate in a visual interpretation of their surroundings in the Institute’s program: “24 Hours – A Photographic Interpretation of Life in the Adirondacks”.

Photos must be taken within the Adirondack Park, from April 14, 2011 through April 15, 2012 and represent one hour of a day in the Adirondack Park. Each photo must be accompanied by a brief description of when, where and why the artist chose to photograph that particular scene or subject.

Entries will be accepted beginning March 1, 2012 and must be postmarked or submitted on-line no later than April 15, 2012. Entries must include the photographer’s name, age, grade, the hour the photo was taken, date taken, location of the photo, type of camera used, and the name of the supervising teacher. Photos must be able to be replicated in 11” by 14” formats. Entries should be sent to: LPI24Hours@gmail.com


Thursday, January 19, 2012

DEC Accepting 2012 Summer Camp Applications

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) will be accepting applications for its 2012 Summer Camp Program starting January 28.

The summer camp program offers week-long adventures in conservation education for children ages 11-17. DEC operates four residential camps for youth ages 11-13: Camp Colby in Saranac Lake, Franklin County; Camp DeBruce in Livingston Manor, Sullivan County; Camp Rushford in Caneadea, Allegany County and Pack Forest in Warrensburg, Warren County. Pack Forest and Camp Rushford also feature Teenage Ecology Week, an environmental studies program for 14-17-year-old campers.

“As the parent of a son who spent a week at Camp Colby, I can personally attest to the quality of the camp experience for teenagers and the valuable environmental lessons learned at a DEC summer camp,” said DEC Commissioner Joe Martens. “Many DEC camp alumni have followed their interests into careers in the environment and wildlife conservation throughout our 64 years of operating DEC summer camps.”

Campers learn about environmental stewardship through hands-on experience in the outdoors. They participate in a wide variety of activities including fishing, bird watching, fly-tying, archery, canoeing, hiking, camping, orienteering and hunter safety education. Campers also learn about fields, forests, streams and ponds through fun, first-hand experiences in these habitats. DEC counselors teach youth conservation techniques used by natural resource professionals, such as measuring trees and estimating wildlife populations.

Changes for the 2012 camp season:

Youth camp attendees now range from age 11 to 13.

Teenage Ecology Week attendees now range from age 14 to 17 and will be offered at Pack Forest from weeks 1 through 5 and at Camp Rushford during week 5.

All four camps will run for seven weeks, beginning July 1.

Children who have attended camp in the past may register for any of the weeks within their age range.

Campers may attend for more than one week. The fee for the total number of weeks must be included with the application (Note: campers may not stay at camp on Saturday night, so parents should make alternate arrangements if two consecutive weeks are selected).

DEC is also encouraging sporting clubs, civic groups and environmental organizations to sponsor a child for a week at camp. Those groups who sponsor six paid campers will receive one free scholarship when all applications are sent together.

Applications from both sponsors and parents can be postmarked starting January 28, 2012. The cost for camp remains at $350 a week.

For complete information, including when applications will be accepted, visit DEC’s website or call 518-402-8014. Interested parents may also sign up for the camps’ listserve on the same web page, visit the camps’ Facebook page at “NYS DEC Summer Camps” or contact DEC in writing at DEC Camps, 2nd Floor, 625 Broadway, Albany, New York 12233-4500.

Photo: A fishing lesson at Camp Colby. Courtesy DEC.


Sunday, December 18, 2011

Master Gardener Program Offered in January

Applications for the January 2012 Master Gardener Training Program are now being accepted in Warren County. Space is limited, so contact the office soon for more information and an application. Whatever your level of experience, the program can provide either new or additional information.

After enrolling in the course, participants are given a binder of information that supplements weekly presentations by Cornell University faculty, Cooperative Extension staff, and local experts on a wide range of garden topics. The topics include basic botany; entomology; soil health; home lawn care; vegetable, fruit and flower gardening; composting; organic gardening, and other practical and interesting subject matter.

If you would like to learn more about what’s going on in your own garden, share your gardening knowledge with people in your community, and you enjoy the camaraderie of fellow gardeners, please call Cornell Cooperative Extension in Warren County for more information at: 518-623-3291 or by e-mail at: warren@cornell.edu.

Photo by Master Gardener Bonnie Vicki, 2010.


Sunday, December 18, 2011

Clarkson Offers Courses For Local HS Students

Clarkson University’s Project Challenge, a unique academic program for local high school students, returns this winter with a choice of nine five-week courses. The popular program is designed to offer area students in grades nine through 12 an opportunity to participate in classes that are not commonly offered in their high-school curriculum.

Clarkson faculty and administrators teach the courses on Saturday mornings from 9 a.m. until noon for five weeks, under the direction of The Clarkson School. This winter’s program begins on January 14.

This year, the program offers four new courses: Emerging Leaders 101, Engineering for Life, How to Write a Short Story, and Intro to Entrepreneurship.

Emerging Leaders 101, with Brenda Kozsan and Kevin Lobdell, will focus on learning about the characteristics of an effective leader and developing skills through personal assessment, role playing, team- building, and interacting with invited guest speakers who will share their experiences.

Engineering for Life, with Melissa Richards, will be for all those students who have ever wanted to design and build their own rocket, tractor, roller-coaster, automobile, or robotic arm. In this class, students will learn how engineers are able to design the devices we see everywhere around us. They will even have the opportunity to design and build their own “Rec-Rube-y.”

How to Write a Short Story, with Joseph Duemer, will teach students the basics of fiction writing by the drafting and revising a short story. In each class session, they will read aloud one short story and consider how it is put together. Using these insights regarding plot, point of view, setting, and characterization, students will then work on producing their own work of short fiction.

Intro to Entrepreneurship, with Erin Draper, will be for all students who have ever thought about owning their own business. This fast-paced course will focus on the entrepreneurial spirit of students and allow them to apply classroom concepts in a “real-world” context. During the class, students will be exposed to leadership principles, team building, ethical decision making, financial statements, and marketing principles.

Blood and Guts: Medical History through the Ages, with Stephen Casper and Karen Buckle, will provide students with an opportunity to explore a number of different case studies from actual historical medical records and advance medical problem-solving skills. Whether students want to become a doctor or surgeon, enter a physician assistant program, work in physiotherapy, or are just fascinated by old stories of blood, guts and gore, ‘Medicine through the Ages’ will have something interesting for you.

Contemporary Moral Issues, with William Vitek, will have students examine a number of contemporary moral issues that challenge us as individuals and as a society. They will begin by exploring the nature of a moral issue, as opposed to a legal or scientific issue, and discuss the nature of a moral argument and outline a method that will assist in resolving moral dilemmas.

Know Your Computer: How to Make Your Home Computer Work for You, with Jeanna Matthews, will have students see what kind of data goes over the network when they surf the Web or use AIM, as well as look at traces of common attacks like viruses or worms. They will write their own Web page and learn to install an operating system from Windows.

Real Medicine, with instructors from Clarkson’s new Physician Assistant Program, will provide students with an opportunity to learn about the real world of today’s medicine. Students will visualize X-rays of fractures and some splinting of the arms and legs. They will learn how to put stitches in, test their blood sugar and find out what happens when someone has a heart attack or stroke, and much more.

Saturdays with Grey’s Anatomy, with Mary Alice Minor and graduate students from the Physical Therapy Program, will provide hands-on instruction on diagnosing injuries and the study of anatomy and physical therapy. Each session will consist of active participation in the anatomy lab and ‘hands-on’ activities and/or exercises for the focused area.

Project Challenge courses will begin on January 14 and continue through the next four Saturdays from 9 a.m. until noon until February 11, with a possible snow date of February 18.

Schools that have participated in the past include Alexandria Bay, Brasher Falls, Brushton-Moira, Canton, Chateaugay, Clifton-Fine, Colton-Pierrepont, Edwards-Knox, Gouverneur, Herman-Dekalb, Heuvelton, Indian River, Lisbon, Lyme, Malone, Massena, Morristown, Ogdensburg, Parishville-Hopkinton, Potsdam, Sackets Harbor, Salmon River, Saranac Lake, and Thousand Islands.

Interested students should first contact their guidance counselor to see if their school is participating. Participating high schools may sponsor all or part of the students’ tuition. If the school is not participating, the out-of-pocket expense for the program is $140 per student. Enrollment in all courses is now available, but space is limited.

For more information, contact Brenda Kozsan or Annette Green at 315-268-4425 or kozsanbd@clarkson.edu.

Photo: Students in last year’s Real Medicine course practice their newly learned suturing skills.


Thursday, December 8, 2011

2012 Great Adirondack Young People’s Poetry Contest

The Lake Placid Institute will be welcoming submissions to its 2012 Great Adirondack Young People’s Poetry Program. One of the Institute’s flagship programs, the annual poetry program established in 1998 is now in its 14th year.

Last year’s judge, Dr Sarah Barber, a Visiting Assistant Professor of Poetry at St. Lawrence University, has agreed to participate in “Words from the Woods” again this year. “We need more poetry in the primary and secondary classrooms”, Dr. Barber stated last year.

The Great Adirondack Young People’s Poetry Program is open to all students grade 1 – 12 (including those home-schooled) within the Adirondack Park. Submissions will be accepted from January 16 to March 1, 2012 by email. Please make sure to include the poet’s name, age, grade, teacher, and school with all poems submitted. Two entries may be sent by each participant to: LPIpoetry@gmail.com.

The selected poems will be published in a book entitled “Words from the Woods”. Each poet is encourage to read their poem to the audience at an award ceremony to be held at the Lake Placid Center for the Arts. We want to thank the LPCA for generously hosting the poetry awards ceremony each year.


Thursday, December 1, 2011

Join the Land Use and Ethics Conversation

You are invited to contribute to the discourse, re-interpret the topic and skew the pitch. Join in the process and take part in influencing the way we think about land use and ethics. SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry’s Northern Forest Institute invites submissions for its Symposium of Interdisciplinary Scholarship in Land Use and Ethics, to be held at the Adirondack Interpretive Center on Huntington Wildlife Forest in Newcomb. See full symposium details here.

On its best day, philosophy succeeds in sending “the conversation off in new directions.” With a free exchange of ideas and a commitment to inquiry, philosophy as both catalyst and conveyor ought to “engender new normal discourses, new sciences, new philosophical research and thus new objective truths.”

I envision this project as an opportunity to open up the dialog around issues of land use and ethics on local, national and global scales. This is the place for ideas in-process, unfinished research and to introduce work in its various stages of development. We’re welcoming research from across professions and disciplines on topics related to balancing individual and community priorities with respect to land use and the associated expectations for human and ecosystem stewardship and social and environmental ethics.

I hope to see independent scholars alongside industry and agency professionals and students from across the humanities and the sciences. Presentations are meant to generate conversation around a variety of approaches to land use, the moral implications of these approaches, as well as the ways that they influence the ongoing debate over how to achieve social and environmental justice.

Philosopher John Dewey referred to active discourse as “breaking the crust of convention” and I’d like us to use this symposium to get together and get on with it.

For information on how to join the conversation email mpatinellidubay@esf.edu

References from Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature, Richard Rorty

Photo of Arbutus Lodge, compliments of Huntington Wildlife Forest, Newcomb, NY.

Marianne Patinelli-Dubay is a philosopher living, writing and teaching in the Adirondacks.


Thursday, December 1, 2011

An Adirondack Folk School Holiday Gift Tradition

The coming weeks will provide lots of opportunities to shop for interesting handmade items, but one opportunity you won’t want to miss is the 2nd Holiday Gift Fair at the Adirondack Folk School in Lake Luzerne this Saturday, December 3rd, from 9AM to 3PM.

The quality of the folk arts products is the best you will find anywhere, produced by the students and faculty in the Adirondack tradition. The types of articles you can find for sale include handcrafted furniture and woodworking, basketry, caning, ceramics, photography, leathercrafting, fiber arts, paintings, and so much more.

A special preview members-only event for the school’s supporters will be held on Friday, December 2nd from 7PM to 9PM showcasing the arts and crafts that will be later on sale. An individual membership starts at $25 annually. Contact the school to donate and register for this event. Donations go toward expansion and outreach efforts to make this school a success.

Opened for just over 18 months, the Adirondack Folk Art School is the first of its kind, designed to preserve an American tradition in Adirondack folk arts that is usually passed down from family to family, friend to friend. The school provides instruction in more than 20 types of crafts throughout the year at its beautiful Lake Luzerne setting with more 90 classes and workshops.

The holiday gift fair is a great opportunity to see where the traditions of Adirondack folk art live on—and to pick up a few Christmas gifts in the process. While there, you can pick up a course schedule and talk to the instructors to learn more.

Photos courtesy of Adirondack Folk School.

Linda J. Peckel explores the Adirondacks by following the arts wherever they take her. Her general art/writing/film/photography musings on can be found at her own blog Arts Enclave.


Monday, November 28, 2011

Noted Local Philanthropist Nettie McCormick

In 1835, in the small community of Brownville, a few miles west of Watertown, was born a young girl who would one day impact the lives of countless thousands. Nancy “Nettie” Fowler, the daughter of store owners Melzar and Clarissa (Spicer) Fowler, was the victim of tragic circumstances at an early age. In the year of Nettie’s birth, Melzar’s brother convinced him to move 13 miles northwest to Depauville, where trade was considerably more active at the time.

While on a business trip to Watertown, Melzar’s team of difficult horses caused problems for a hotel hostler, who found it too dangerous to enter the stall to feed them. When Fowler himself tried, one of the horses reared and struck him in the head with its hoof.

The family was summoned, and three days later, Melzar died from his injuries. Nettie was less than a year old (her brother, Eldridge, was two). Clarissa ran the family business while raising two small children, but seven years later, she died as well.

Nettie was raised in the home of her grandmother and uncle in Clayton, on the St. Lawrence River. The household’s strong Christian bent would have a lasting effect on her future.

Uncle Eldridge Merick’s lifestyle—daily toil, active community support, and deep involvement in (Methodist) church activities—influenced Nettie’s own life choices. In an era when women were generally expected to be homemakers, Merick’s prosperity provided other opportunities for his niece.

Following local schooling, and beginning in her teen years, Nettie attended Falley Seminary in Fulton, Emma Willard’s Troy Female Seminary, and the Genesee Wesleyan Seminary in Lima, New York. She was active in the missionary society and taught for a year at the little school she once attended in Clayton.

Hard work, luck, and serendipity guide most lives, and so it was with Nettie Fowler. The world of high finance seemed the unlikeliest of possible components of her humble life, but on a trip to Chicago, she made the acquaintance of a man by the name of McCormick.

He was a strong Presbyterian, while she was a Methodist, and at 49, he was more than twice her age (23). Despite those differences, the two hit it off. Within six months, she began attending his church, and in January 1858, a year after they met, Nettie Fowler married Cyrus McCormick.

Yes, THAT Cyrus McCormick. The one who, as we learned in grade school, was the inventor of a machine that changed the world (the mechanical reaper). His business had made him a very wealthy man.

Both were considered very strong-willed, but disagreements and difficulties aside, young Nettie became her husband’s silent business partner. Together, they forged forward in industry and shared many philanthropic efforts aimed at churches, schools, and youth.

In 1871, the Great Chicago Fire destroyed the McCormick Harvesting Machine plant. While Cyrus was discouraged, Nettie insisted they rebuild and took the lead in the resurgence of the company. Seven years later, Cyrus’ health issues left Nettie running the business, which she did for six years. He died in 1884, leaving a will that provided for division of the company at the end of five years, and specified various philanthropic work as well. The estate value was estimated at $5 million (equal to $118 million in 2011).

Eventually, Cyrus, Jr., officially took over the company, but Nettie remained deeply involved financially and in business decisions. She also expanded her own charitable work on behalf of the poor while providing financial support to several organizations with the same mission. Nettie’s childhood influences of “giving back” were coming to bear in a very positive way.

The McCormick business remained successful, but competition, particularly from Deering Harvester Company, began to make solid inroads. By the turn of the century, a merger between rivals was in the works.

One of Nettie’s sons, Harold, had (in 1895) married Edith Rockefeller, daughter of John D., the world’s richest man. When the decision was made to merge McCormick and Deering (and a few smaller companies) into a new entity called International Harvester, the family connection to the Rockefellers was used to ensure that the McCormicks remained in control.

On paper, they were the directors, but in reality, the entire business was owned and operated by J. P. Morgan, who had provided backing of $120 million ($3.1 billion in 2011) to finance the deal and direct the company’s future. That high dollar assessment seemed to vastly overvalue the new conglomerate, but Morgan knew well the path he intended to take.

The McCormicks were mere figureheads while J. P. ran the show. In no time at all, he managed to sully the McCormick name by incorporating the shady practices he and Rockefeller (and many others) had used to control most of the nation’s important industries.

The Morgan and Rockefeller banks, which provided monthly funding for payroll and other necessities to so many businesses, informed several farm implement companies that funding was no longer available. They faced sudden financial ruin—or they could sell to Morgan. They sold.

For those who resisted, the next step was denying the use of Morgan and Rockefeller-owned railroads for transporting the farmers’ products. The two men, of course, controlled most of the major transportation routes.

How successful were those tactics? They had already made J. D. Rockefeller the wealthiest man in American history, and had done much for Morgan as well. Two years after the harvester merger, with the competition removed, the prices of farm machinery more than doubled.

Such monopolistic practices (like the Rockefeller oil business) led to a stranglehold on commerce. Trustbusters battled against the financial titans for years, and the monopolies were finally forced by the government to dismantle.

After years of complaints from farming states, the feds finally took action in court against Morgan’s International Harvester Company. In 1912, control of business operations was returned to the board of directors (the McCormicks).

Eventually, the Supreme Court forced the breakup of the company due to Morgan’s monopolistic and illegal practices. In a remarkable turnaround, Cyrus McCormick’s business was restored, eventually regaining its good name and returning to the philanthropic efforts of the past.

By the time of his death in 1884, Cyrus had given away $550,000 ($10–15 million in 2011), a mere drop in the bucket compared to what wife Nettie donated as the company grew in value over the years. Her focus on philanthropy surged in 1890, and by the time of her death in 1923, Nettie McCormick had given away more than $8 million ($125–200 million in 2011). She supported private schools and institutions, plus missions and churches.

Beginning in 1887, McCormick donations had funded several buildings of Tusculum College in Tennessee, where Nettie was deeply involved in teacher selection, expansion of the curriculum, and many other aspects of college life. In her honor, every year since 1913, the school holds Nettie Fowler McCormick Service Day, during which faculty and students join in all sorts of charitable works and improvement of the school grounds.

She was fortunate to have married a very wealthy man, but in life, you play the hand you’re dealt. Many people in similar circumstances have done little to help others, and she could have settled comfortably into the ranks of the idle rich.

Yet, from the time she was in her early twenties, Nettie worked on behalf of the underprivileged, supported women’s rights, handled a major corporation, financed schools and theological institutes, and forged her own path.

On top of that, the great majority of her philanthropy was done anonymously, as evidenced by Nettie’s obituary, which cited donations to six institutions when, in fact, the record later revealed she had supported forty-six. Her estate was valued at $15 million ($192 million in 2011).

In her final will and testament, $1 million ($13 million in 2011) was designated for certain charities. The remainder was divided among the McCormick children with the understanding that they would be likewise generous in giving.

In 1954, when Nettie’s daughter, Anita, died, her holdings were value at $35 million ($284 million in 2011). Of that total, she donated $20 million ($162 million in 2011) to various charities. Mom would surely have been proud.

Photos: Above, Nancy Maria “Nettie” McCormick; Middle, McCormick Hall on the Tusculum College campus; Below, Nettie McCormick (Mathew Brady, 1862).

Lawrence Gooley has authored ten books and dozens of articles on the North Country’s past. He and his partner, Jill McKee, founded Bloated Toe Enterprises in 2004. Expanding their services in 2008, they have produced 19 titles to date, and are now offering web design. For information on book publishing, visit Bloated Toe Publishing.


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Philosophy: Considering Diversity and Equality

A while back I asked why it matters whether women are represented in science? I was interested to know if we care about whether a variety of communities show up in fields, professions and pastimes, why do we care? Is it simply a matter of increasing the number of loyalists to our mission, or does it come from an openness to change the very system that stands resolute like Uncle Sam declaring “I want you!” » Continue Reading.


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