Almanack Contributor Editorial Staff

Editorial Staff

Stories under the Almanack's Editorial Staff byline come from press releases and other notices.

Send news updates and story ideas to Almanack Editor Melissa Hart at [email protected]


Thursday, February 12, 2009

Two Adirondack Sites Make ‘Seven to Save’ List

The Preservation League of New York State announced it’s Seven to Save for 2009. As part of New York State’s Quadricentennial celebration, the Preservation League will use its endangered properties program, Seven to Save, to support and enhance the year-long commemoration of the voyages of Henry Hudson, Robert Fulton and Samuel de Champlain. In 2009, all Seven to Save designees are located in the Hudson and Champlain Valleys – in Clinton, Columbia (2), Dutchess, Essex, New York and Rensselaer Counties.

Two are located in the Adirondacks:

Gunboat Spitfire
Lake Champlain, Essex and Clinton Counties (1776)

Threat: Natural, including non-native aquatic species, and vandalism. This vessel was part of the American fleet which held the British at bay for a year and contributed to the American victory at Saratoga in 1777. The Spitfire is not only the most significant underwater archeological site on the bottom of Lake Champlain, it illustrates the interconnected history of the Hudson and Champlain Valleys.

Fort Montgomery
Rouse’s Point, Clinton County (1844-1872)

Threat: Deterioration, need for stabilization. Situated on the border between the United States and Canada, Island Point is where Lake Champlain enters the Richelieu River. It was first fortified in 1818 as the Northern Gateway linking the St. Lawrence and Hudson Rivers. Fort Montgomery was built in the mid-19th century and seen as a crucial fortification by Civil War strategists. This site symbolizes the shared history of these two nations.

The Preservation League will provide targeted support for these seven threatened historic resources throughout 2009, and will work with local groups to protect them. The complete list can be found here.

“We are looking forward to providing strategic attention, extra effort, and new tools to secure the future of these endangered resources for generations to come,” said Erin Tobin, the Preservation League’s eastern regional director for technical and grant programs. “We are delighted to report that through the community involvement and preservation strategies we have created together with local advocates, many significant properties have been saved.”

The Preservation League of New York State, founded in 1974, is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the protection of New York’s diverse and rich heritage of historic buildings, districts and landscapes. From its headquarters in Albany, it provides the unified voice for historic preservation. By leading a statewide movement and sharing information and expertise, the Preservation League of New York State promotes historic preservation as a tool to revitalize the Empire State’s neighborhoods and communities.


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Volunteer: This Weekend’s Great Backyard Bird Count

Bird and nature fans throughout North America are invited to join tens of thousands of bird watchers for the 12th Annual Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC), February 13-16, 2009. A joint project of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society, this free event is an opportunity for families, students, and people of all ages to discover the wonders of nature in backyards, schoolyards, and local parks, and, at the same time, make an important contribution to conservation.

Volunteers take part by counting birds for at least 15 minutes on one or more days of the event and reporting their sightings online at www.birdcount.org. The data help researchers understand bird population trends across the continent, information that is critical for effective conservation. In 2008, participants submitted more than 85,000 checklists, a new record.

Participants submit thousands of digital images for the GBBC photo contest each year. Last year’s winners have been chosen and are now posted on the web site. Participants are also invited to upload the bird videos to YouTube tagged “GBBC.” Some of them will also be featured on the GBBC web site. All participants will be entered in a drawing to win dozens of birding items, including stuffed birds, clocks, books, feeders, and more.

Businesses, schools, nature clubs, Scout troops, and other community organizations interested in the GBBC can contact the Cornell Lab of Ornithology at (800) 843-2473 (outside the U.S., call (607) 254-2473), or Audubon at [email protected] or (215) 355-9588, Ext 16.


Sunday, February 8, 2009

Adirondack Park Agency Meeting This Week

The Adirondack Park Agency (APA) will hold its regularly scheduled monthly meeting on Thursday, February 12 and Friday February 13, 2009 at the Adirondack Park Agency Headquarters in Ray Brook, NY. The meeting will be webcast live. The webcast can be found here: http://www.apa.state.ny.us

The Full Agency will convene on Thursday morning at 9:00 for the Acting Executive Director’s monthly report. » Continue Reading.


Friday, February 6, 2009

This Week’s Top Adirondack News Stories


Friday, February 6, 2009

Recent Adirondack Blogging Round-Up

This will be a new feature. I will be posting once a month on the best local blogging as a way to foster growth in the Adirondack Blogosphere. If there are posts that you think should be included, feel free to put it in the comments.


Thursday, February 5, 2009

Luge World Championships in Lake Placid This Weekend

The 41st Annual FIL Luge World Championships will be held at the Olympic Sports Complex in Lake Placid this weekend, February 6-8 . This is the second time that Lake Placid has hosted this prestigious competition, with the first being in 1983. That competition marked the first time ever that the FIL Luge World Championships were held outside of Europe. The 2009 World Championships features athletes from over 20 countries competing in the three disciplines of men’s singles, women’s singles, and doubles luge. This is the last major sliding event for the lugers leading up to the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, Canada.

The 41st Annual FIL Luge World Championships begin Friday, February 6, with the doubles competition at 10 AM. The women’s competition follows at 1 PM. Saturday, February 7, features the men’s races beginning at noon. The Lake Placid World Fest party starts at 3 PM and runs until 6:30 PM at the Mirror Lake Beach. This free community festival will have live music, food vendors, games, a kids’ area, fireworks and more! The final event of the World Championships is the team relay competition on Sunday, February 8. The team relay consists of a men’s singles slider, a women’s singles slider, and a doubles sled from each country, with the lowest combined time of all three disciplines winning.

Two-time defending Olympic Champion and five-time World Champion Armin Zöggeler currently leads the men’s World Cup overall field after seven races with 601 points. The Italian has won four of those seven races, the most recent World Cup race in Altenberg. Germany’s David Möller sits in second place with 525 points, followed by teammate Jan Eichhorn with 430 points.

Defending 2008 World Champion Felix Loch – the youngest luge world champion ever at the age of 18 – is currently in sixth place in the standings. The young German missed the first three races of the season after being injured during a training session in Whistler, British Columbia. 2002 American Olympian Bengt Walden is in 14th position in the standings while teammate Tony Benshoof is still completing extensive physical therapy and hopes to make his return to the ice on his home track during the World Championships.

The top three positions in the World Cup standings for the women are claimed by the Germans. Tatjana Hüfner, the reigning World Champion, leads the field with 670 points, having won four races so far this season. Teammate Natalie Geisenberger sits in second place with two wins on the season and 600 points. Anke Wischnewski has 462 points to take third. American Erin Hamlin is currently ranked sixth overall, with 268 points.

The Italian doubles team of Chistian Oberstoltz and Patric Gruber is leading the World Cup standings with 580 points. Oberstoltz and Gruber have won four races this season and have a 96-point lead over the 2002 Olympic gold medal team of Patric Leitner and Alexander Resch of Germany. Austrian brothers and 2006 Olympic Champions Wolfgang and Andreas Linger are just 14 points back at 474 points in third place. Olympians Mark Grimmette and Brian Martin of the United States have 268 points, which puts them in sixth place in the standings heading into the World Championships.

Tickets for the 41st FIL World Championships are on sale now. Single day tickets are $9 for adults and $7 for juniors (ages 7-12) and seniors (65 and over). Guests may purchase a Silver Pass good for all three days for just $19. Tickets may be purchased at the Olympic Center Box Office in person or by phone (518) 523-3330, online, or at any area Price Chopper store. Visit the ORDA Store on Main Street in Lake Placid to pick up FREE tickets, while supplies last. Visit www.lakeplacid2009.com for all ticket packages and more event information.


Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Wilmington Historical Society ‘Open Discussions’

The Wilmington Historical Society meets the first Wednesday of each month. “Open Discussions” take place at 7 p.m. (before the business portion of each regular meeting, staying is optional), and last about 45 minutes to an hour. All are invited to relate stories, bring news articles, photos or artifacts related to the topic of each meeting, or you can just come to listen.

Here is a list of Open Discussion topics for 2009:

Feb. 4 (Wed.): “Restaurants in Wilmington”

March 4 (Wed.): “Gas Stations in Wilmington”

April 1 (Wed): “Industry in Wilmington”

May 6 (Wed.): “Contributions of Women in Wilmington”

June 3 (Wed.): “Wilmington Campgrounds”

July 1 (Wed.): “Whiteface Mountain and Wilmington in Literature”

August 5 (Wed.): “Wilmington and Whiteface in Art & Photographs”

September 2 (Wed): “Agriculture in Wilmington”

October 7 (Wed.): “Motels in Wilmington”

November 4 (Wed.): “Stores and Shops in Wilmington”


Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Timber Rattlesnakes of the Adirondacks

The Adirondacks’ largest species of venomous snake will be featured at the Wild Center in Tupper Lake this Sunday (and three more Sundays to come). The Wild Center’s resident herpetologist Frank Panaro will present a program about the timber rattlesnakes found in Adirondacks which are listed as threatened in New York and are only found in limited areas in the region.

This event brings up a little historical note from Flavius J. Cook’s 1858 Home sketches of Essex County: Ticonderoga:

Elisha Belden was a near neighbor of Mr. [Gideon] SHATTUCK’s [at the south end of Trout Brook Valley – presumably in present day Hague near the Ticonderoga town line], . .closely following him in time of settlement [1793], tastes and occupations… Father Elisha was famous for hunting rattle-snakes, which he sent from the Rattle-snake’s den near Roger’s Rock, as curiosities to various parts. The stories of his captures of that reptile with a crotched stick, and of his particular power over them, are no less wonderful than well authenticated. In one of his trips to the den, on a Sabbath afternoon, he was badly bitten, but he said “it was because the varmints did not know him, as he was dressed up and had on white stockings – they thought he was Judge [Isaac] KELLOG.” At last going out one day alone, to fill a basket with this dangerous game, the old man did not return. When found he was sitting upon the rocks, leaning back, frightfully swollen and blackened with poison – dead. A snake, cut to pieces with his jack-knife, lay by his side, with fragments of flesh, thought to be a remedy for poison, which he had applied to the bite beneath his arm, to which, it is supposed, the chafing of his side against the cover of the basket, as he carried it had let out the heads of the reptiles. It was said, as before, that a change of clothes he had lately made put it beyond the wisdom of the rattlesnakes to recognize him, and hence his power over them was lost, but a better explanation was a half empty whiskey-bottle found near the spot whose contents had so fatally palsied the truly remarkable courage and skill of the old hunter.

Rattlesnakes were once a more common sight in the Adirondacks – Elisha BElden was a well-known entertainer with rattlers on the Lake George Steamships (he was on the John Jay when it sunk, for instance). Today we have few opportunities to see these amazing animals. Frank Panaro’s presentation will also include information concerning venomous snakes and venom in general in addition to a snake handling demonstration and a chance for you to ask questions. One of the Museum’s timber rattlesnakes will be in attendance for a close up view on the special live camera that lets you see the snake closer than you would ever see one in the wild.

The Timber Rattlesnakes of the Adirondacks program will also be held on Sunday, February 22nd, March 8th, and March 22nd at 1 pm.


Tuesday, February 3, 2009

OPINION: Who Is Teresa Sayward Working For?

Sometimes I think having so many conservative newspapers is a weird kind of blessing. Hoping to appeal to conservative editorial boards gives “our” politicians an opportunity to really show their true colors, and that’s just what Assemblywoman Teresa Sayward has done over at the Adirondack Daily Enterprise.

I think a lot of people who live and play in the Adirondacks would be astonished to hear that Sayward opposes state land purchases that would open land previously held by the rich and powerful to regular folks – places like OK Slip Falls – which Sayward opposes purchasing.

How about this nugget. In order to keep local prisons open (prisons we NO LONGER NEED and that costs us a fortune to operate) – Sayward’s wants to “privatize some of the golf courses, swimming pools and campgrounds.”

Who exactly are you working for Ms. Sayward? The people? Or your rich friends, lobbyist buddies, and fellow political hacks? Tell us, which campgrounds do you want to close to the public and why?

Why is it necessary to close the few public services we have and boost private interests in a economic climate that has decimated working people? Especially when that burden has been handed down to us by so-called private businesses by people like Sayward who have allowed them to run rough-shod over us all?

Maybe a bigger question is how can we keep reelecting a woman who wants to close public services (remember North Country Community College?) and hand them over to private interests?

Here’s a plan Ms. Sayward – EXXON/MOBIL has just recorded a record profit again this year of some $45.22 billion – how about taking some of what they have? It used to be ours anyway.

Stop taking ours.


Monday, February 2, 2009

Books: Why The Adks Looks The Way It Does

If you want to consider yourself knowledgeable about the Adirondacks you must own and have read Mike Storey’s Why The Adirondacks Look The Way They Do. That’s not hyperbole – that’s a simple fact.

Storey self-published this guide to Adirondack natural history in 2006 and sold out the first printing in the first year. The reason, no doubt, is that it’s readable and relevant. Storey was the former Chief Naturalist at the Adirondack Park Agency (24 years at the APA!) and he wrote the book we all need to keep in our car, backpack, and back pocket. In fact, my only complaint is the book’s format doesn’t make it easy to pack – it could have been a lot smaller, even with all the info and images packed in there!

This book is more than a guide to our local flora and fauna, more than a wildlife guide, it covers geology, geography, forestry, history, cultural anthropology, environmental politics, from the life cycle of the black fly to the problems of upland development. The diagrams, illustrations, photographs, are illustrative beyond comparison. From “Grenville Continent Rifting and the Lake George Rift Valley” to the illustration of a 50-years of a hemlock and yellow birch growing on a rotting log resting on a glacial erratic rock, this book shows you the basics and backs it up with detailed explanations. The tracks of common animals, identifying common birds, leaves, trees, fish, soils, insects, eskers, kettle holes – its all there and more.

This book will do what it says it will – explain, in vivid and easy-going detail, why the Adirondacks look the way they do. I’ve been thinking about doing a “Ten Books Every Adirondacker Should Own,” and when I do, this book will be on that list.


Saturday, January 31, 2009

This Week’s Top Adirondack News Stories


Friday, January 23, 2009

This Week’s Top Adirondack News Stories


Friday, January 23, 2009

Kirsten Gillibrand Will Take Hillary Clinton’s Senate Seat

Big political news this morning as an aide to Congresswoman Kirsten Gillibrand has told North Country Public Radio that she will be taking over the seat vacated by Hillary Clinton. Gillibrand beat john Sweeney for his seat in November 2006 and easily won re-election handily last year over Republican operative Sandy Treadwell.

According to NCPR:

Gillibrand is a moderate who opposes same-sex marriage and gun control. Long Island Democrat, Carolyn McCarthy, says she’ll challenge Gillibrand in the primary next year. Gillibrand will be officially named today at noon at an event in Albany. She will likely face stiff opposition in a special election in 2010 and again in 2012. Possible Republican opponents include former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former Governor George Pataki. But Gillibrand has proved herself to be a ferocious campaigner and fundraiser.

Governor Paterson’s pick sets off a round of political musical chairs across the North Country. State Senator Betty Little, a Republican, is expected to make a bid for Gillibrand’s seat. Should she win, that would trigger another contest for her state Senate seat. Other likely candidates for Gillibrand’s seat include Sandy Treadwell, from Essex County, who ran in 2008.

Here is the articles in the New York Times and the Albany Times Union.

All the stories we’ve followed about Gillibrand can be found here.


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Golden Arrow Retires 132 Tons of Carbon Dioxide

The Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort in Lake Placid, New York retired 132 tons of carbon dioxide for the month of December 2008. The Golden Arrow accomplished this by working jointly with the Adirondack Council and their Cool Park/ Healthy Planet Carbon Retirement Program. The program was created by the Adirondack Council to prevent thousands of tons of carbon dioxide from being emitted by power plants from Maine to Delaware.

The Golden Arrow committed to retire enough carbon credits to offset the total number of occupied room nights for the month of December. It has been estimated that the there are 100 lbs of carbon emitted per room night. The Golden Arrow had a goal to retire 100 tons of carbon credits through the program. A total of 2590 rooms were occupied at the resort for the month of December.

The resort through the program permanently retired 132 tons, which was almost one third more than their original goal. It was their objective to make guests and the public to understand that they can really help make a difference. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

NHRA vs. NASCAR Bobsled Race to Air on SPEED Channel

The second race of the 4th Annual Whelen Geoff Bodine Bobsled Challenge airs Sunday, January 25 from 4 PM – 6 PM EST on The SPEED Channel. This bobsled race features drivers from the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) taking on the drivers from NASCAR in a charity event. The Bodine Bobsled Challenge features NASCAR and NHRA drivers piloting specially-made bobsleds down Lake Placid’s famous track in fun races geared to raise money for the Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project. The New York Army National Guard has provided soldiers as brakemen for the bobsled drivers the past three years.

Race 1, which already aired this past Sunday, saw Todd Bodine snap Boris Said’s streak of five consecutive wins in the Bodine Bobsled Challenge to win his first gold in bobsledding competition. Bodine turned in a combined time of one minute, 39.18 seconds to claim victory. Joey Logano took silver with a 1:39.58. Larry Gunselman earned bronze with a 1:39.60.

In the NHRA versus NASCAR showdown, Team NHRA is comprised of Top Fuel drivers Morgan Lucas, JR Todd, Bob Vandergriff and Pro Stock driver Jeg Coughlin, Jr. This will be the third event for Lucas and Todd, with Lucas giving NASCAR driver Boris Said a run for his money in last year’s NASCAR versus NHRA showdown before losing to Said in the final round. Lucas has also won two silvers medals during this event. Todd is looking to improve upon his Top 10 finishes. Vandergriff placed ninth in his first race last year, and then lost to Lucas in the NHRA final round.

Coughlin is a four-time NHRA POWERade Pro Stock Champion, and is currently the two-time defending champion (2000, 2002, 2007, and 2008). Coughlin won the bronze medal as a bobsledding rookie in his first race last year, fifth in this year, and is looking to dethrone fellow NHRA competitor Morgan Lucas as the top bobsled driver on the dragster circuit.

The NASCAR field will be lead by five-time Bodine Bobsled Champion Boris Said. Said has commented in the past that maybe “bobsledding is in my genes” as his father Bob Said was an Olympic bobsled competitor.

Joining Said is NASCAR Sprint Cup rookie driving sensation Logano as well as the Bodine Brothers. Geoff Bodine is a co-founder of the Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project, Inc., and namesake for the Geoff Bodine Bobsled Challenge. Last year Geoff played the gracious host and didn’t compete in the races, instead giving advice and words of encouragement to the drivers. But this year Geoff climbs back into the pilot sled and is aiming to win his own event. Todd Bodine, the 2006 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Champion and brother of the Bodine Challenge founder Geoff Bodine, has participated in every Bodine Bobsled Challenge, earning his first victory in Race 1. He’s looking to upset his older brother and take home his second gold of the event. “Sliced Bread” Logano competed last year in the Bodine Bobsled Challenge, finishing eighth, and finished an impressive second to Todd Bodine in Race 1.

The Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project, Inc., was started in 1992 by NASCAR driver Geoff Bodine, and has built American-made bobsleds for United States athletes competing in the World Cup, World Championships and Olympic Winter Games. Monies raised from the Bodine Bobsled Challenge go directly to this project.

For more information on the Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project, Inc., or the Bodine Bobsled Challenge, visit www.bodynbobsled.com.



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