Almanack Contributor Community News Reports

Community News

Community news stories come from press releases and other notices from organizations, businesses, state agencies and other groups.

Submit your contributions to Almanack Editor Melissa Hart at [email protected]


Friday, March 27, 2009

Adirondack Blogging Round-Up


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

High Peaks Ranger Wins Alpine Stewardship Award

The Waterman Fund, whose objective is to strengthen stewardship of open summits, exposed ridgelines, and alpine areas of the Northeast, will present the 2009 Guy Waterman Alpine Steward Award to New York State Forest Ranger C. Peter M. Fish this Saturday, March 28th. The award is given each year to a person or organization that has demonstrated a long-term commitment to protecting the physical and spiritual qualities of the northeast’s mountain wilderness.

Pete Fish, a NYS Forest Ranger for 23 years, has served as a ranger in both the Catskills and the Adirondacks, and as an active member of the Adirondack 46ers and Catskill 3500 Club, where Fish has interacted with thousands of hikers on summits and in valleys. Through these organizations, as well as on his own initiative and time, Fish has educated the public about Leave No Trace, backcountry safety, mountain stewardship, and alpine hiking etiquette. He has assisted in training summit stewards since the early days of the High Peaks Summit Steward Program (a partnership of The Nature Conservancy, Adirondack Mountain Club, and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation). Fish has also worked on Ed Ketchledge’s (who received the alpine steward award in 2004) summit restoration efforts in the High Peaks Region. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Whiteface-Gore Offer Spring Skiing Deal

For the first time ever, Whiteface and Gore mountains are teaming up to offer the Ultimate Spring Season Pass, good for unlimited skiing and riding at either mountain through the rest of the 2008-09 season. The pass went on sale Sunday, March 22.

Adults (ages 23-69) can purchase the pass for $129; young adult passes (ages 13-22) are $99. The junior (7-12) rate is $69, and kids 6 and under ski and ride, as always, for free.

Whiteface and Gore mountains are holding the season pass rates for next season, 2009-10. All season passes go on sale Sunday for the greatest value. Adult full season passes are $690 if purchased by June 12. A payment plan is available payments due at time of purchase, July 24, and September 8. This is the best value if pass holders ski more that 9 times a season including holidays.

The popular Whiteface only non-holiday returns for $399 if purchased by June 12. This pass includes blackout dates of December 26, 2009-January 2, 2010, January 16-18, 2010, and February 13-20, 2010. The passes must be purchased by June 12 to receive as the pass won’t be available after that date. This is the best value if pass holders ski or ride more that six times at Whiteface only excluding holidays

Both mountains plan to stay open through April 12. Whiteface is hosting a Mini-Park Meltdown March 28, followed by a Retro Deck Party with live music by Ironwood. The Apple Butter Open moguls competition returns April 4, while pond skimming is April 11. Easter Sunday wraps up the festivities at Whiteface and Gore with the mountains hosting Easter services, brunch, egg hunts and more.

Senior (65-69), young adult and junior passes are available at both mountains. For the complete selection of pass offerings, visit www.goremountain.com and www.whiteface.com.


Saturday, March 21, 2009

Climate Change Insight From Historical Birding Records

On Nov. 1, 1933, Mrs. Bruce Reid recorded seeing both a male and female ivory-billed woodpecker in Texas. And on May 28, 1938, Oscar McKinley Bryans observed a ruby-throated hummingbird in Michigan, noting that the birds were most common when apple trees were blooming.

These are just two of more than 6 million personal observations scribbled and preserved on notecards in government files. The cards record more than a century of information about bird migration, a veritable treasure trove for climate-change researchers because they will help them unravel the effects of climate change on bird behavior, according to Jessica Zelt, coordinator of the North American Bird Phenology Program at the USGS.

That is — once the cards are transcribed and put into a scientific database.

And that’s where citizens across the country come in – the program needs help from birders and others across the nation to transcribe those cards into usable scientific information.

“These cards, once transcribed, will provide over 90 years of data, an unprecedented amount of information describing bird distributions, migration timing, and migration pathways and how they are changing,” said Zelt. “There is no other program that has the same historical depth of information that can help us understand the effect that global climate change has on bird populations across the country. When combined with current information, scientists will better understand how birds are responding to climate change and how to develop tools to help manage that change, especially for at-risk species.”

The millions of hand-scribbled cards sit in row upon row of federal green filing cabinets of ancient vintage in a modest and fittingly old office dating from before WWII. The cards contain almost all of what was known of bird distribution and natural history from the Second World War back to the later part of the 19th century, said USGS senior scientist Chan Robbins, who kept track of the cards’ whereabouts in attics and basements during the intervening years.

“When I go through the files, it is just amazing some of the stories that are recorded there,” said Jessica Zelt, who is an avid birder herself. “For example, one of our online participants recently wrote to tell me she had transcribed a migration card on purple martins by American ornithologist Margaret Morse Nice from 1926. It is exciting to see people today being linked to a piece of birding history.”

Participants recorded their name, locality and year, along with arrival and departure dates, date of abundance, and whether it was a species common in that area. Personal observations on the cards often caught the enthusiastic joy of a birder sighting a rare bird.

The collection, said Zelt, includes information on about 900 species, including some sightings of rare, extinct, or nearly extinct birds, such as the giant albatross, ivory-billed woodpecker and Carolina parakeet, birds whose very names make the hearts of avid birders go pitter-patter.

The BPP is joining efforts with the USA National Phenology Network, which has just kicked off a national program to recruit citizen scientists and professional researchers to monitor plant and animal life cycles, or phenology. The two efforts will complement each other flawlessly, with the BPP combining its expertise on historical bird data with the USA-NPN’s ongoing work to document changes in flowering, fruiting, migrations, reproduction, hibernation, and other plant and animal phenological events.

The BPP was started in 1880 by Wells W. Cooke, who wanted to broaden knowledge and understanding of migration. Eventually, famed scientist C. Hart Merriam expanded the volunteer network to include the entire United States, Canada and part of the West Indies. By the late 1880s the program had 3000 volunteers. Although the program was actively maintained by the federal government, in 1970 the program closed, until it re-opened again last year.

This program relies heavily on the participation of citizen scientists, said Zelt. It currently houses 6 million cards, which need to be scanned onto the website and then converted, solely by volunteers, into a database. Birders who want to concentrate on one particular group of birds can select that group or even a particular species.

To date, volunteers have scanned about 184,000 cards on hooded orioles, barred owls, spotted owls, scarlet tanagers, American redstarts, rose-breasted grosbeak and many other species. That leaves about 5,816,000 cards to go.

If you’d like to volunteer, visit the website. Remember that you can follow current sightings by Northern New York birders here.


Friday, March 20, 2009

This Week’s Top Adirondack News Stories


Friday, March 20, 2009

Adirondack Blogging Round-Up


Thursday, March 19, 2009

NCAA Div III Men’s Hockey Championship This Weekend

The 2009 NCAA Division III Men’s Ice Hockey Championship returns to Lake Placid March 20-21 in the 1980 Herb Brooks Arena at the Olympic Center, where the 1980 Miracle on Ice occurred. Each of the four quarterfinal winning teams will begin playoffs with a semifinal game tomorrow Friday, March 20. All games in the championship are single elimination games, moving the winners of Friday’s competitions into the final championship round Saturday, March 21.

The action begins with the semifinals Friday as Gustavus Adolphus takes on the University of Wisconsin-Stout at 4 p.m. Neumann College faces off against sixth ranked Hobart College, for the fifth time this season, at 7:30 p.m. The winners of each game advance to the championship match at 5 p.m. on Saturday.

The Gustavus Adolphus Golden Gusties enter the semifinals after a 2-0 upset over Wisconsin-Superior, number one seed in the Western Region. This is the second time the Gusties have made it to the NCAA DIII semifinals, with the last year being 1982.

Wisconsin-Stout comes to Lake Placid after defeating St. Scholastica 2-1, scoring in the last 37 seconds of the game. The win in the quarterfinals gave the Blue Devils a 10 game winning streak, and unbeaten in the last 15 games. The team has been dubbed the “comeback kids” due to overcoming 10-plus third period deficits. This is the first trip to the semifinals that Wisconsin-Stout has made.

Neumann College travels to the Olympic Center after triumphing over top-ranked Plattsburgh State University with a 5-4 win in over-time. The Knights move forward in the playoffs with a team led by 14 seniors and 20 underclassmen, 14 of which are freshman. This is the first time Neumann has made it into the playoffs and is currently enjoying a seven-game winning streak.

With a 25 win program-record, sixth ranked Hobart College handed Amherst a 2-1 loss in overtime and won a slot in the semifinals. This is the third time Hobart has made it to the quarterfinals and the second time the Statesmen reached the semifinals.

Prior to Saturday’s championship game, ORDA and Plattsburgh State University will be hosting the 2009 NCAA Division III Men’s Ice Hockey Championship Fan Fest at the Olympic Center from 2 p.m. – 4 p.m. just outside the Box Office entrance. Bring friends and family to this free event and enjoy live music featuring The Zambonis, games, food vendors and the Whiteface Mountain Prize Cube.

Saturday’s championship game will be broadcast live on CBS College Sports Network. The semifinals on Friday may be seen on a NCAA live web-cast by visiting www.ncaa.com.

All tickets for the 2009 NCAA DIII Men’s Ice Hockey Championships are currently on sale through the Olympic Center Box. Box Office hours are Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. The Box Office may be reached by calling 518.523.3330. Tickets are also available online. Ticket prices are $15 per person per game and $25 per person for the whole weekend. Group tickets are available for $12 per person per game or $18 per person for the weekend. Show a Whiteface lift ticket from Friday, March 20 or Saturday, March 21 and receive the group discount on your ticket.


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

John’s Ten Favorite Irish Songs For St. Paddy’s

Mary’s post on local traditional Irish music today inspired this list of “must have” Irish music everyone with Irish aspirations should know. Although these tunes are in no particular order, learn them and you’ll never spend St. Paddy’s alone.

Whiskey in the Jar – This classic tune is believed to have originated in the late 1600s or early 1700s. Since then it’s by been covered by The Dubliners, Thin Lizzy, Peter, Paul & Mary, Gerry Garcia and David Grisman, and Metallica. My favorite line: “I first produced my pistol, and then produced my rapier.”

Wild Colonial Boy – About 40,000 Irish convicts were transported to Australia between 1791 and 1867, many as political prisoners. There they continued to battle the British authorities as Jack Duggan does in this ditty – it doesn’t end well for Jack. My favorite line: “A terror to Australia was, the wild colonial boy”

Whiskey, You’re The Devil –
Whiskey leads our happy balladeer over hills and mountains. The word whiskey is an Anglicisation of the Gaelic “uisce beatha” (pronounced sort of like ishka ba) which translates as “water of life.” Today the Irish word is “craythur”; get The Pouges version. My favorite line: “Oh, whiskey you’re the devil, you’re leading me astray”

Finnegan’s Wake – James Joyce based his book in part on this song which includes the death of Tim – a hod carrier (a mason’s laborer) – and his subsequent wake at which a brawl breaks out, whiskey is spilled on Tim and he is revived. The Dropkick Murphy’s punk version is good craic. My favorite line: “You see he’d a sort of a tipplers way, but for the love for the liquor poor Tim was born. To help him on his way each day, he’d a drop of the craythur every morn.”

I Got Laid on James Joyce Grave – A Black 47 original. The band is named for the worst year of the Famine, Black 47. The song is an homage to Joyce and that says enough. My favorite line: “I Got Laid on James Joyce’s Grave, I was hoping that his genius would rub off on me.”

Wild Rover – A Traditional favorite you will hear on St. Paddy’s almost anywhere. It sounds like a proper old Irish drinking song, but in truth it is a Temperance song from the early 1800s. My favorite line “I’ve been a wild rover for many’s the year, and I spent all me money on whiskey and beer.”

James Connolly – One of my favorite songs of all time about the socialist labor leader, one time resident of Troy, NY, and commander of the Free Dublin forces during the Easter Rebellion of 1916. “With Pearce and Connolly bidding each other goodbye,” he was seriously wounded, captured, and taken to Kilmainham Jail where he was tied to a chair and executed. My favorite line: “So don’t give up your rifles boys, hold on to the dream, of a republic for the working class – economic liberty.”

Come Out Ye Black and Tans – Although Americans typically don’t know it, the half ale and half stout served as a “Black and Tan” is called a “Half and Half” in Ireland, and for good reason. The Black and Tans were a paramilitary group used to suppress revolution in Ireland in the 1920s. Their main targets were the Irish Republican Army, but they were notorious for their attacks on Irish civilians. My favorite line: “Come out ye Black and Tans, come out and fight me like a man, show your wife how you won medals out in Flanders, tell her how the IRA, made you run like hell away, from the green and lovely lanes in Killeshandra.”

Seven Drunken Nights – When The Dubliners play this song, they announce they can only sing five of the nights – the last two verses are generally considered too raunchy for the general public. If you hear them in the pub where you are, you know you are in the right place. My favorite line: “Your drunk, your drunk, you silly old fool, and still you cannot see.”

Irish Men Will Set Them Free – The beginning line – “In the jail that held McSwiney; In the prison where he died” – is all you need here, but there is more to this tale of women imprisoned for their “love of dear old Ireland.” The title is sometimes offered as “The IRA Will Set them Free.” My favorite line: “Twas the love of dear old Ireland brought them to a prison hell, but the ghosts of Pearse and Connolly, filled their lonely prison cell, Clarke and Plunkett stand beside them, McDonagh McDermott and Wolfe Tone, and all the voices of old Ireland, cry for us to bring them home.”


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

2009 St. Paddy’s Day Donegal Beard Contest

UPDATE: Photos can be found here.

Join your favorite Adirondack Almanack editor (yeah… me) at the St. Paddy’s Day Donegal Beard Contest, Gore Mountain Base Lodge, today between 1-4 pm; judging at 3 pm.

A Donegal Beard (also called a Chin-curtain or Lincoln) is a particular style of Irish hirsute appendage (facial hair) that grows along the jaw line and covers the chin – no soul patch, no mustache.

Contest Rules: All contestants must be clean shaven January 1st and grow a Donegal Beard by St. Patrick’s Day. On the day of the contest all beards must conform to the Donegal standard.

Contestants will be judged on the following criteria:

1. Length
2. Fullness
3. Style and Sophistication
4. General Manliness

Judges will be chosen at random from the crowd by three wise Adirondack women – the Donegal Biddies. Donegal Biddies are also responsible for the issuance of Clean Face Citations for violations of the Donegal standard. All men without a Donegal Beard are subject to a $1 fine.


Monday, March 16, 2009

State Parks 2009 Reservation Numbers Up

More proof that camping remains an inexpensive vacation option came this late last week when the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation announced that advance camping reservations are currently up 6 percent, noting that State Parks are booking record numbers of vacations.

According to the state, there are already 45,300 advance reservations for campsite, cabins and cottages for the 2009 season, a level that is more than 2,650 ahead of the total at same time last year. Advance reservations at state parks campgrounds have been steadily increasing in recent years, with a record 137,000 bookings in 2008.

OPRHP oversees 67 campgrounds with more than 8,000 campsites, 800 cabins and 41 vacation rentals. Reservations are accepted for campsites and cabins, from one day to nine months in advance of the planned arrival date by calling toll free 1-800-456-CAMP or online, www.nysparks.com.


Sunday, March 15, 2009

Champlain Valley Architecture Tours

As part of the Lake Champlain Quadricentennial celebration, Adirondack Architectural Heritage is presenting a new tour series, Architecture of the Champlain Valley. The series features half-day walking tours of eight towns along the lake, led by experienced and professional guides. Tours will be at 9:30 am and 1:00 pm on Saturdays in May and June unless otherwise noted.

May 2- Willsboro: One of the oldest settlements in Essex County, Willsboro has a rich history connected to agriculture, paper industry, stone quarrying, shipbuilding, and tourism.

May 9- Keeseville: Keeseville is a town with a long history as an industrial community that manufactured products from wood and iron ore using the power of the Ausable River.

May 16- Essex: Essex prospered during much of the 19th century as a shipping and ship building port, and today, as a National Historic Register District, contains many wonderful examples of various styles of architecture.

May 23- Elizabethtown: As the county seat, Elizabethtown boasts a large historic government complex, and a number of buildings that reflect the town’s social, political and economic importance.

May 30- Port Henry: Port Henry and the surrounding town of Moriah have the longest industrial history of any community in the Champlain Valley, beginning with iron mining and manufacturing in the late 1700s.

June 6- Ticonderoga: Historically associated with military events, Ticonderoga developed as an industrial town connected to paper manufacturing, and today offers more than three dozen buildings listed on the National Register.

June 20- Wadhams (10:00)/Westport (1:00): The hamlet of Wadhams lies just north of Westport on the Boquet River, and was once known for its industrial pursuits which supported the outlying farms. Though industry and agriculture played a role in the development of Westport, it has gained most of its identity as a summer resort town.

June 27- Ironville: In the town of Crown Point, the settlement of Ironville is the site of the Penfield Homestead Museum and was once the center of a thriving iron industry.

Attendance is free of charge, but advance registration is required. Reservations may be made by calling AARCH at 834-9328.

Adirondack Architectural Heritage (AARCH) is the private, non-profit, historic preservation organization for the Adirondack Park region. This is one of over fifty events in our annual series highlighting the region’s vast architectural legacy. For more information on membership and our complete program schedule contact AARCH at (518) 834-9328 or visit our website at www.aarch.org.


Saturday, March 14, 2009

19th Century Houseplants Program at Adk Museum

Nearly everyone who endures long Adirondack winters understands how important flowering houseplants and a bit of green can be to lift the spirits. An African violet on the window sill or a simple spider plant in the hall can make a difference!

Adirondack housekeepers felt the same need for “green” in a winter landscape a century ago. However, the practical challenges of indoor gardening would have been daunting. Before central heating and modern insulation — water sometimes froze at night, while overcast skies and the expense of window glass made houses perpetually dim inside.

Adirondack Museum Curator Hallie Bond will present “Mountain Greenery” on March 22, 2009 at the Museum, a program on the joys and challenges of keeping houseplants at the turn of the last century. Diaries, historic photographs, and regional literature document how Adirondack women once added cheer and beauty to a long, dreary season.

Houseplants were also treasured because they provided connections to others in the community. Adirondack women cut blooms for winter weddings or funerals and shared cuttings with special friends. “Mountain Greenery” will provide an interesting footnote to the history of nineteenth century rural life and offer tips about hardy heritage houseplants for today’s indoor gardeners.

Hallie E. Bond has been Curator at the Adirondack Museum since 1987. She has written extensively on regional history and material culture including Boats and Boating in the Adirondacks, published by Syracuse University Press in 1995 and ‘A Paradise for Boys and Girls‘ Children’s Camps in the Adirondacks, Syracuse University Press, 2005.

The program is part of the museum’s popular Cabin Fever Sunday series. Held in the Auditorium, the presentation will begin promptly at 1:30 p.m. Cabin Fever Sundays are offered at no charge to museum members and children of elementary school age or younger. The fee for non-members is $5.00. Refreshments will be served. For additional information, please call the Education Department at (518) 352-7311, ext. 128 or visit the museum’s web site at www.adirondackmuseum.org.


Friday, March 13, 2009

This Week’s Top Adirondack News Stories


Friday, March 13, 2009

Adirondack Blogging Round-Up


Thursday, March 12, 2009

20th CD: Eric Sundwall’s Petitions Challenged

The Adirondack Daily Enterprise is first out of the box with the news that two people have filed objections against the nominating petitions of Libertarian candidate for the 20th Congressional District, Eric Sundwall.

The objections were filed by Laurie Kelly Sickles of Ballston Spa and Donald J. Neddo of Waterford, according to state Board of Elections Public Information Officer John Conklin. Conklin said each is a general objection, or a statement of intent to file a more specific objection, which they have until Wednesday to do.

Neddo, 75, is a member of the Halfmoon Conservative Committee who ran for party state committee membership in 2008. He was formerly a school board member in the Waterford-Halfmoon school district. He was also responsible for organizing a number of rallies in support of the Iraq war in 2003, which he stopped doing after admitting that he had lied about having served in Korea when he is, in fact, not a veteran, according to the Times Union of Albany.

Sickles is a real estate agent and a member of the Ballston Spa Education Foundation.

Conklin said Sundwall had around 7,000 signatures on his petitions this year.



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