Posts Tagged ‘Warren County’

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Historic North Creek Newspapers Go Online

A “Notice!” was placed in the June 22, 1949 issue of the North Creek News by the Water District Superintendent Kenneth Davis and Supervisor Charles Kenwell informing local residence about the drought situation facing them over 60 years ago. » Continue Reading.


Monday, July 16, 2012

The Adirondacks Go To War: 1861-1865

Adirondacks in the Civil WarOne hundred fifty years ago this country was torn apart by a great civil war. The Adirondack Museum will host a weekend dedicated to remembering the Civil War in the Adirondacks, the men who fought it and their loved ones at home, this Saturday, July 21 and Sunday, July 22.  Visitors will be able to meet the members of the 118th Volunteer Infantry (the “Adirondack” Regiment”) and President Lincoln at a Civil War Encampment and learn the fate of Adirondack Civil War soldiers of the 118th themselves at a specially produced  presentation by author Glenn Pearsall on Saturday (7:00 p.m.) entitled “The Adirondacks Go To War: 1861 – 1865.”

In the Adirondacks many young men, boys really, left their hard scrabble farms and small towns for the first time in their lives to enlist. Learn what their thoughts were as they marched off to war and how they reacted to the horrors of war. Hear what it was like for the wives, children, mothers and father that they left behind, as well as the lasting impact of the war on the small towns in the Adirondacks following the war. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, June 16, 2012

Lake Luzerne Stories: Lily, Duchess of Marlborough

When Sally Svenson, a summer resident of Upper Saranac Lake and occasional contributor to Adirondack Life magazine, was writing Adirondack Churches: A History of Design and Building (2006, North Country Books)  she stumbled upon the life of Eliza Warren Price, known as Lily, Duchess of Marlborough.

Lily, who was born in Troy, NY in 1854, was reported in an old history to have provided the funds for a chapel at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Lake Luzerne. That turned out to be a questionable assertion, but Svenson found Lily’s obituary in the New York Times and was hooked on her incredible life story which is told in Lily, Duchess of Marlborough (1854-1909): A Portrait with Husbands (2011, Dog Ear Publishing).

Jennie Jerome, mother of Winston Churchill, was one. Consuelo Vanderbilt, wife of Winston’s cousin, the Duke of Marlborough, was another. But it is not widely known that there were three American women who married into the illustrious Churchill family of England in the last third of the nineteenth century. Lily was the third. Sister-in-law to Jennie and stepmother to Consuelo, she was, for a brief four years, the reigning Duchess of Marlborough and chatelaine of Blenheim, the Churchill family seat in Oxfordshire, and among the most stately homes in Great Britain. » Continue Reading.


Friday, June 1, 2012

Event: Lake George’s Sunken Fleet of 1758

On Tuesday, June 5, 7 p.m. at Thurman town hall underwater archaeologist  Joseph W. Zarzynski will present a talk on Bateaux Below’s study of “The Sunken Fleet of 1758,” a notable event at Lake George during the French & Indian War (1755-1763).

In the autumn of 1758, the British sank over 260 warships in Lake George to protect the vessels over the winter of 1758-1759 from their enemy, the French and their Native American allies. Many of the sunken warships were recovered in 1759 and reused by the British.  However, over 40 sunken warships were never retrieved by the British forces in 1759 and they offer underwater archaeologists an excellent opportunity to study these shipwrecks to find out about the colonial soldiers that used them. Zarzynski’s talk will give details on Bateaux Below’s 24-year-long study (1987-2011) of “The Sunken Fleet of 1758.” » Continue Reading.


Sunday, May 13, 2012

Thurman Townwide Sale Next Weekend

The annual Thurman Townwide Sale launches, rain or shine, on Friday, May 18th, and runs through Sunday, the 20th, with about seventy old fashioned yard sales all over Thurman. Volunteers will post hot pink banners, flyers and directional signs to let the public know about the sale and direct them to and through Thurman.

A map packet published by the committee guides shoppers to all registered sales. The map indicates locations of public phones and rest rooms and dining (but don’t expect to find a gas station), as well as which days each vendor plans to be open.

Thurman EMS and Sugarload Mountain Senior Citizens both will hold rummage sales at the squad building on High Street on Saturday, and the Fire Company will distribute maps that day at Thurman Station, route 418. The map will be posted online at www.persisgranger.com several days before the sale, and copies also will be available at sites near all entrances to town, for those coming from Stony Creek, The Glen, Warrensburg or Wevertown. Find Thurman just 6 miles from Northway exit 23, Warrensburg.


Saturday, May 12, 2012

Small Scale Woodlot and Sugarbush Workshop

Many maple producers and woodlot owners want or need to be more active in promoting good growth of trees in their woodlot. Learn how to manage your trees for better production and safety.

Cornell University Cooperative Extension in partnership with NYS Maple Producers Association, and the NY Forest Owners Association to host a small-scale woodlot and sugarbush management workshop on May 17, 2012 at the Valley Road Maple Farm in Thurman, NY.

For more information and registration details, contact, Cornell University Cooperative Extension of Warren County at 623-3291.


Thursday, April 26, 2012

Dave Gibson: NY’s Public Wild Forest Lands

Public wild lands protected by law in New York State can fall under the public jurisdiction of a variety of state agencies. Some of them are part of the system of state parks administered by the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP). In northern Saratoga County and across the Hudson River in Warren County lie more than 4,000 acres of beautiful and protected public wild land, part of the Moreau Lake State Park. Much of this land was acquired by the nonprofit Open Space Institute from Niagara Mohawk, and then sold to the public in 1998.

Moreau Lake State Park tripled in size at that time, and is now the largest state park in the region. The six million-acre Adirondack Park north of Moreau Lake, of course, has a completely different legislative history and legal context. It is not part of the OPRHP system of state parks.

This past week, I joined an enthusiastic group of state park officials, staff, park friends, volunteers and concerned citizens at Moreau Lake State Park. The occasion was an Earth Day ribbon cutting at the park’s new nature center, led by NYS Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey. Moreau Lake State Park’s director, his educational staff and the volunteers of Friends of Moreau Lake were given appropriate credit for this new space and added capacity to work with school groups, some of the 400,000 annual visitors to this park. The facility “showcases State Parks’ commitment to environmental education…shared by experienced and passionate outdoor educators,” said the Chair of the Saratoga-Capital District State Park Commission Heather Mabee.

This was visible progress. I once worked as a part-time naturalist and recreation staffer at Moreau Lake and Saratoga Spa State Parks, so it was gratifying to see the greatly improved educational facilities, interpretive exhibits, and dedicated staff that did not exist in the mid-1980s. On the other hand, even in those days I experienced a strong connection to the Adirondack Mountains and the solitude and beauty of the wilderness each time I went to Moreau for a program or a hike. The forests at Moreau do, in fact, act as a transition between the Appalachian oak-pine forests and the northern mixed hardwood forests of the Adirondacks, while the elevation gains to the park’s ridge trails resemble those on many Adirondack hikes.

I was invited to the ribbon cutting for a different reason. Four years ago, Saratoga County Water Authority’s water intake and pipeline from the Hudson River were constructed through a section of Moreau Lake State Park, in violation, we felt, of our State Constitution’s “forever wild” clause that protects the Forest Preserve as defined in State law. Saratoga County is one of 16 counties in the state that fall within the legal definition of Forest Preserve. The vast majority of Forest Preserve lies within the boundaries of the Adirondack and Catskill Parks, but some falls outside these boundaries in the named counties.

Moreau Lake State Park was no legal exception, and it certainly has public wild lands characteristic of the Forest Preserve, so we challenged OPRHP’s allowance of the county water line’s construction through parts of this park. As readers know, the State Constitution’s Article 14 states that lands constituting the forest preserve “shall be forever kept as wild forest lands,” and “shall not be leased, sold or exchanged, or be taken by any corporation, public or private…” The Saratoga County Water Authority, a public corporation, had, in our view, unconstitutionally taken parts of Forest Preserve at Moreau Lake State Park.

Ultimately, the water line was constructed. Although the coalition did not go to court on these grounds, we came to a legally binding agreement with OPRHP that commited $300,000 of public funds to build educational facilities, like the park’s nature center; other funds to add to the park’s wild land acreage; and a commitment to manage large segments of the park as if it were Forest Preserve – although OPRHP is reluctant to name it what I think it truly is. A professional management plan is in place at Moreau, most of the wild land is managed appropriately as Park preserve land, and there is a visible educational and passive recreational emphasis at the park. There are well-advertised hikes, an educational staff is in place, and an active friends group helps the small staff serve the public, including area schools and youth groups.

In short, I am glad we reached the agreement we did. On the other hand, vigilance is still called for. All state agencies responsible for New York’s “wild forest land” should understand and embrace those responsibilities, and resist any kind of taking and exploitation of our wilderness for commercial or expedient ends. After all, our wilderness is a big part of what distinguishes New York State; and our “forever wild” Constitution is the envy of every other state, and every other country on earth.

Photos: Hemlock grove; springtime on the trails; nature center at Moreau Lake State Park.


Monday, April 23, 2012

The Beat Goes On and On:New Assignments for Post-Star Reporters

For the first time since sustaining deep staffing cutbacks late last month, the Post-Star has reassigned reporting beats to fill the gaps in its lineup. In the process, the troubled newspaper has officially abandoned Saratoga Springs as an anchorage for its southern reporting.

According to the staff contact page at PostStar.com, the new assignments are as follows:

• Primary responsibility for reporting news for Washington County—the beat covered by recently laid-off reporters Jamie Munks, David Taube, and (in part) Tom Dimopoulos—now falls to Jon Alexander, who will continue to cover Northern Warren County as well as the rest of the Adirondacks. It is an utterly insane beat divided in the north by the length of Lake George—by far the largest coverage map of any of the remaining Post-Star reporters.

• Dave Canfield, who shared the Saratoga Springs bureau with Dimopoulos, will now be principle principal correspondent for the Saratoga County Hudson River communities of Moreau, South Glens Falls, Fort Edward and Hudson Falls

• Business reporter Blake Jones will now add the Village and Town of Lake George to her portfolio.

• Crime and Public Safety reporter Don Lehman will also take on Warren County government in the shift.

• Both Omar Aquije and Maury Thompson will keep their beats covering Education issues and Glens Falls /Queensbury respectively.

The move away from on-the-spot Saratoga Springs coverage marks a significant departure for the Post-Star. With great fanfare the newspaper opened a collaborative bureau in the spa city with television station WNYT-News Channel 13 in March 2004. As reported by then Post-Star business reporter Dan Higgins, Saratoga Springs was a key battlefield in the regional circulation wars before the recession: the Post-Star the Daily Gazette of Schenectady, and the Times Union all staffed bureaus there in hopes of finding new readers among the booming population. The Gazette Saratoga Springs office has since closed (though they still have a bureau in nearby Ballston Spa) and the Times Union shuttered its bureau in March of last year.

In other personnel shifts at the Post-Star, Donna Smith has joined the advertising department replacing Matthew Gonroff, and Christine Scrivner has joined the paper in the newly created position of Circulation Sales Manager. The new position might prove to be a hot seat as the region’s newspapers brace for the semi-annual Audit Bureau circulations reports due out next week.


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

High Peaks Happy Hour: Basil & Wick’s, North Creek

The banner beneath Basil & Wick’s trail marker sign read Roadkill Throwdown. To the uninitiated, Throwdown is a Food Network show in which chef Bobby Flay challenges a chef in preparing a specific food. Throwdown in North Creek? How did we not hear about this? And what roadkill would be coaxed into fine cuisine? We were on our way to Long Lake for Happy Hour, but vowed to stop in on our way back through, hoping we’d see Basil & Wick’s chef Chuck Jennings take Bobby down. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

High Peaks Happy Hour: Pub on 9, Bolton

Having only been open since January of 2012, the Pub on 9 is the youngest pub we have had the privilege to review. So far, they seem to be doing everything right. Located south of the village of Bolton Landing, the Pub on 9 is on Route 9N, or Lake Shore Drive, between Diamond Point and Bolton. Operating as the Wooden Barrel in past years, new owners Bob and Noelle Schwab eagerly wait to see what their first summer will bring. Set back a comfortable distance from Route 9N, with plenty of parking, a large deck offering sunshine or the shade of table umbrellas, the pub is a perfect spot for entertainment, indoors or out.

The bartender, Jon, is an enthusiastic, attentive, personable (and did we mention very handsome) guy with tireless energy and humor. His animated nature and quick wit kept us amused as he exchanged barbs with another patron, who asked that we not divulge his affiliation with the aforementioned bartender. He also told us a little about his participation in the Fire Tower Challenge, suggesting it as a theme for out next book. Hmm… The Firewater Challenge? We chatted with Noelle, who took a break from her daily chores to talk about the pub’s future plans.

Currently open Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 5 p.m. until 2 a.m., the Pub on 9 will add Wednesday and Sunday this summer, and plan to continue with Sunday operation through football season. This year they closed for the month of March and anticipate closing on Thanksgiving and Christmas. The generous dance floor rocks with musical entertainment on Friday and Saturday nights, and Noelle hopes to add a Karaoke Night on Wednesday nights for the summer, as well as live music on the deck when weather permits. The deck currently offers picnic table seating, but will have patio tables in the summer season. Suggesting that the cook probably doesn’t have much of a social life, the kitchen usually stays open until just before the bar closes, so don’t be afraid to stop in for a late-night snack. The restaurant will also be offering delivery to nearby motels this summer, something that is sure to boost their notoriety.

The Pub on 9’s huge (by our standards) three-sided bar seats 24 and is stocked with all of the necessities: an abundant draft beer selection (10 flavors!), coolers full of bottled beers, and much more than the basics on the liquor shelves. Pine predominates, from walls to ceiling. The spacious floor plan flows seamlessly from bar to dining to a large game room, creating separate but inclusive spaces throughout. Three TVs suspended stadium style above the bar allow viewing from all sides and there’s another in the game room. The 70-inch monster flat screen may be best viewed from a comfortable club chair in the dining area, but can be seen from pretty much everywhere. The atmosphere is simple, clean and spacious. Decoration mostly consists of mirrored beer advertisements and a neon Welcome to Bolton sign (which Jon took pains to point out, so we felt we should mention it). Happy Hour is from 5 to 6 p.m. daily with $1.00 PBR drafts, $1 off well drinks and 1/2 off appetizer pricing.

Already known for the hand cut fries and homemade soups, the menu also features signature specialties, the 9 Burger and the 9 Dog. Plenty of options are available on the menu and range from $7.99 to $12.99, but they already expect to expand their summer menu. Hopefully they’ll be breaking out the blenders too for margaritas and daiquiris on the deck. Pam suggested adding a nine-shot cocktail (the 9 on 9?) as a signature bar offering.

It’s difficult to describe a bar based merely on having had a good time. From Jon’s greeting as soon as we walked in, to introductions to anyone else who entered or passed through, we were made to feel like invited guests and familiar friends. As the conversation turned to the mild weather and early emergence of mint and rhubarb, we swapped drink recipes (our Rhubarb Margarita) with celebrity bartender Kate (her Summer Squeeze). Kate, of Frederick’s in Bolton Landing, offered her endorsement of the Pub on 9 as a keeper, and a definite contender for the top 46. It’s places like this, where drink recipes are exchanged and rhubarb plants are procured, that remind us that the Adirondack region is just one big neighborhood.

Kim and Pam Ladd’s book, Happy Hour in the High Peaks, is currently in the research stage. Together they visit pubs, bars and taverns with the goal of selecting the top 46 bars in the Adirondack Park. They regularly report their findings here at the Almanack and at their own blog, or follow them on Facebook, and ADK46barfly on Twitter.


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Happy 150th, Charles Evans Hughes

Maury Thompson at the Glens Falls Post-Star alerted us to a significant and pretty thoroughly overlooked anniversary. Wednesday April 11, 2012 is the 150th anniversary of the birth of Charles Evans Hughes: Glens Falls native, Governor of New York State, Associate United States Supreme Court Justice, GOP presidential candidate, United States Secretary of State, and Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court.

To that resume let us also add: Adirondack vacationer.
» Continue Reading.


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Adirondack Family Activities: The Adirondack Folk School

The weather in April can be a bit finicky, to say the least. Just as in any other season in the Adirondacks, there are inside options for entertaining ourselves.

The Adirondack Folk School in Lake Luzerne has finalized its 2012 schedule of over 200 classes focusing on the traditional folk arts and crafts of the Adirondacks.

Executive Assistant Mary Stevens says,” We do have some nice classes going on this month with the majority of our programs ranging from a few hours to a few days. Currently we have courses such as ‘How to carve an Adirondack Loon,’ with Walt LeClair, and ‘Making Gourd Art’ as well as the popular ‘Stick and a Hike.’”

Stevens says that planning ahead is essential, as classes do tend to fill up. Classes at the Adirondack Folk School are geared toward individual attention, so attendance is intentionally kept low.

We are a small, non-profit,” says Stevens. “We are always open to having people interested in volunteering to come and fill out a registration form. Up until this year, 2012, the Adirondack Folk School was completely run by volunteers. We have 25 new instructors at the school this year for a total of 75. We are very excited to have them and all that they are offering.”

Stevens says, “Our whole goal is to promote the arts, crafts and culture of the Adirondacks. We aren’t looking for students with previous skills. We want people to able to walk out of class with a nice piece of art or something functional.”

“We have a number of classes for children,” says Stevens. “What we call ‘A Stick and a Hike’ is very popular. An adult comes with the child and they learn to carve their own hiking stick. During the morning the students learn about trail etiquette and what to take on a hike. Later they can enjoy the trails. It is a nice day to share for anyone ages 8 to 80.”

Other classes geared toward children are Nature Photography, Tinsmithing for Young People, Basic Blacksmithing, Fly-Casting Basics for the Young as well as Creative Clay Construction for Kids.

On April 21 the Adirondack Folk School will be hosting a free event called “Song and Story Swap” with singer and musician Colleen Cleveland. People are encouraged to share songs, stories or poems in a round robin, focusing on a specific theme. The Traditional Arts of Upstate New York (TAUNY) will be there with plans to record and present the evening of music on their website.

“We also have a new open air bread oven and will be teaching a series of cooking classes we didn’t have in 2011,” says Stevens. “We will be teaching a class on ancient grains and baking in a wood-fired oven. In the fall, we will be having a Colonial Fest and students will be using colonial cookbook recipes to make food by traditional methods, such as cast iron Dutch ovens.”

The Adirondack Folk School opened its doors in 2010, offering 90 classes to almost 300 students in that first year. Housed in the former Town of Lake Luzerne town hall building, the school hosts inside or outside classrooms in fiber arts, basketry, woodworking, ceramics, woodcarving, felting, quilting, blacksmithing, boatbuilding and more.

Photo provided by the Adirondack Folk School.

Diane Chase is the author of Adirondack Family Time: Lake Placid and the High Peaks, Your Four-Season Guide to Over 300 Activities. Her second family guidebook will be in stores summer 2012.


Monday, April 9, 2012

Mark Wilson: The Post-Star’s Public Shaming Policy

New York State keeps detailed motor vehicle accident statistics, compiling them year-to-year and county-by-county. Those data as well as the aggregate state figures compiled since 2001 are available online at safeNY.gov. The standards for data collecting and reporting have remained consistent since 2003, the year New York lowered the blood alcohol content standard for drunk driving, and the year the Glens Falls Post-Star initiated its policy on publishing names of teenagers busted for drinking.

Data in the following comparison are derived from police-reported accidents—collisions resulting in fatalities, personal injury or property damage. These records are more uniform within each region and over time than DWI ticketing, for example (another standard measure), which varies regionally and seasonally, skewed by periodic local crack-downs, check points, etc.

To get a sense of how the Glens Falls region’s statistics for underage drivers involved in alcohol-related accidents stacked up against the average statistics across New York, we set the number of alcohol-related-accident drivers aged twenty and younger both regionally and statewide against the number of alcohol-related-accident drivers from all age groups and compared the resulting percentages. A consistent drop in the regional percentage against the statewide percentage would suggest that the campaign was influencing underage drinking trends favorably.

The Results
While eight years of data form no solid basis for statistical analysis, the regional numbers—despite countervailing swings in the middle years of the range—seem to track overall with the statewide norms (even to the point of convergence with state figures in 2009 and 2010, the most recent years evaluated). While this may not be enough of a statistical sample to determine failure of the Post-Star’s policy and overall campaign, there is nothing here to encourage their advocates, either.

Not surprisingly Post-Star editors have not brought statistical analysis to bear on their policy of shaming teenage drinkers. Nor have they cited the statistics in their periodic recommitment to the campaign. If anything they seem to be spurred onward by their own often overheated editorial rhetoric on the subject: “Underage drinking is dangerous and if you don’t believe me, I will show you the headstones.”

Ken Tingley publicly declared his own immeasurable standard for continuing the crusade:

“If there is one young person who learns the lesson, if there is one young person who gets grounded for life for embarrassing their parents, if there is one young person who pauses to consider whether to accept a beer at the next party because they don’t want to see their name in the newspaper, then it is worth it.”

There is little doubt, given the power and range of the Post-Star’s editorial voice, that the shaming policy and Mr. Tingley’s angry bluster have successfully reached any number of kids (and/or their parents). On the same token, given the contrary nature of so many adolescents, can anyone doubt that as many kids may have reacted (sadly) predictably to Mr. Tingley’s bullying and ignored the grim statistics, or worse, headed defiantly in the opposite direction?

The lack of movement of the underage drunk driving numbers against the backdrop of statewide figures suggests, at the very least, that some neutralizing backlash may be at work here.

The Broader Picture
One of the more troubling aspects of the Post-Star policy is its selective and asymmetric targeting of underage drinkers for the sake of reducing the deaths of young people in motor vehicle accidents.

In 2010 alcohol was the primary cause of 30.5% of all motor vehicle fatalities throughout all upstate counties across all age groups. Speed, by comparison, was the primary cause of 29.2%. The statistics in the three counties served by the Post-Star were quite different: In Saratoga, Warren and Washington counties alcohol was responsible for 20.6% of motor vehicle fatalities, claiming seven lives, while speeding was responsible for 35.3% of motor vehicle fatalities claiming twelve lives. Moreover, in 2010 speed caused 439 injuries across the three counties (31.9%), while alcohol caused only 174 (11.3%).

When you add to that the fact that teenagers are far less likely to drive drunk (accounting for 9.3% of all drivers in alcohol-related accidents statewide) and far more likely to speed (accounting for 22% of all speeding-caused accidents statewide), the math becomes clear: speeding—and not drinking—is by far the deadliest behavior by drivers young and old on our roadways. It comes as no surprise that the Post-Star is devoting none of its diminishing resources to publishing the names of speeders in an effort to embarrass them and their families in a misguided effort—no matter how well-intentioned—to alter their behavior.

Two final thoughts on this subject
This challenge to (and argument against) the Post-Star’s policy of publishing names of teenagers fined for drinking should not be interpreted in any way as condoning the behavior. While it may be a rite of passage—as even Ken Tingley concedes—it remains reckless as it ever was. When combined with driving it has abundant potential to be life-destroying. The sole concern of this post is that the approach undertaken nine years ago by the editor of the Post-Star to combat the issue may simply have made matters worse.

The Post-Star is in many respects a fine newspaper. It is, to be sure, a troubled newspaper belonging to a troubled corporation in a troubled industry in a weak economy. The last thing the editors and publisher of the paper should be doing at this stage is alienating its future readers and subscribers in a way that from any angle looks like a double standard. The Post-Star needs to descend from the bully pulpit and get back to its number one responsibility to the community: reporting news.

Read Part 1: The Post-Star’s War on Underage Drinking


Monday, April 9, 2012

Mark Wilson: The Post-Star’s War on Underage Drinking

Ken Tingley is back in his bully pulpit. Two Sundays ago in his weekly column, the Editor of the Post-Star defended his newspaper’s policy of publishing the names of teenagers ticketed for violating underage drinking laws. In blunt and patronizing language, the crusading editor took on a recent South Glens Falls High graduate who had dared to leave a comment on the Post-Star‘s Facebook page objecting to the policy:

Mr. Mumblo was probably playing video games and reading comics when we reported the death of 17-year-old Jason Daniels in Warrensburg on May 18, 2003, and four months later, the death of 19-year-old Adam Baker, also in Warrensburg.

The policy was best described in a harsh editorial that ran on June 12, 2011, nearly eight years into the campaign:

Underage drinkers get their names in the paper. We publish the names of all kids arrested for consuming alcohol. We hope the embarrassment factor helps serve as a deterrent to parents and their kids. Not only does the kid’s name go in the paper, it goes on our website. And the Internet is permanent. So whatever they get caught doing today will follow them the rest of their lives.

From this it is hard to tell if the editorial board is angrier at the kids or their parents. The editorial proceeds to insult the children it hopes to protect:

Kids fib… Kids are lightweights… Kids are reckless… Kids are terrible drivers.

The final line of the editorial—A dead child is gone forever—reveals that the true target of the editorial (and the policy for that matter) is the parents; the humiliation of the children is merely a baseball bat to the gut to get their parents to pay closer attention.

Some History
On June 15, 2003, as New York State prepared to drop the DWI blood alcohol content standard from .1 to .08 percent, and after a succession of fatal underage drunk driving accidents in the region surrounding Glens Falls, Ken Tingley wrote a column outlining the Post-Star‘s policy on reporting crimes:

Here is what are (sic) policies are now:

• We don’t use the name of the child under age 16 charged with any offense – even if it is a felony – but we include the age, sex and town of residence. One exception: We will publish the name of any minor who is being prosecuted as an adult.

• We don’t use the name of the child age 16, 17 and 18 if they are only charged with misdemeanors or violations, but we include their age, sex and town of residence.

• We do use the name of minors age 16, 17 and 18 if they are charged with felonies.

• We do use the name of anyone 19 or older charged with any offense if the crime is deemed newsworthy because of unusual or interesting circumstances.

• We’ve also left it up to the discretion of the editor to print the name of a minor if major crimes or unusual circumstances are involved.

The column concluded with hints of transition:

With the recent debate over underage drinking in our communities, we debated recently whether it might do some good to start listing the names of teens arrested for underage drinking. We currently do not print those names unless there is a felony charge.One of our editors suggested that we should print the name of all teens arrested, that the embarrassment of arrest might be an appropriate deterrent for a young person, that it might even bring a weightier meaning to some parents who don’t seem to take the issue that seriously.It is something we will probably be looking at in the future.

The future arrived less than five weeks later when the Post-Star published the names and ages of six minors from Corinth who were charged with “the noncriminal violation of possession of alcohol by someone under 21.” The policy has remained in effect ever since.

According to data compiled by New York State, in 2003 the number of underage drivers involved in alcohol-related accidents in Saratoga, Warren and Washington Counties stood at 19. The number rose to 25 the following year and dropped to 17 in 2004. In both 2005 and 2006 the number of underage drunk drivers involved in accidents shot up to 42 and has been declining steadily toward the 2004 level since. 2010 is the latest year for which the state has compiled statistics.

In June 2008 after another cluster of alcohol-related traffic fatalities involving minors, the Post-Star ran an exasperated editorial under the headline “Message is not getting through.” It began:

We give up.

No one seems to be listening anyway.

Sanctimonious and preachy? Out of touch with reality? OK, we concede. You’re right. Underage drinking is a rite of passage. A tradition. We all did it as kids. There’s nothing that can be done to stop it. Kids are gonna do what kids are gonna do.So have it your way.

Naturally, the editorial does not give up and charges once more unto the breach to deliver the message. It ends with a poignant appeal to the reader not to let the newspaper abandon the crusade.

By this point, nearly five years along, the policy of outing teenagers charged with non-criminal alcohol violations —despite the absence of any evidence that it was doing any good— was so conflated with the broader cause of stopping underage DWI as to be inseparable. For all practical purposes, under guard of the sharp hyperbole of the Post-Star’s editorial position, unquestionable.

Next, Part 2: Questioning the Unquestionable


Saturday, April 7, 2012

Books: Johnsburg History Echoes in these Mountains

Glenn L. Pearsall’s Echoes in these Mountains, is subtitled “Historic Sites and Stories Disappearing in Johnsburg, an Adirondack Community,” but thanks to Pearsall, a tireless advocate for local history, those historic sites and stories are being remembered.

The geography of Johnsburg, the largest township in New York State, is central to Echoes in these Mountains. The book is arranged in chapters highlighting various historic sites, all with handy maps to help locate them on the landscape. That approach – locating historical stories around town on the landscape – is part of what drives Pearsall’s personal exploration of his town’s history, and what led to the answer to an interesting historical question. » Continue Reading.


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