Almanack Contributor Community News Reports

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 editor@adirondackalmanack.com.


Monday, September 7, 2009

The Almanack Reports: Forever Wired Conference

Tomorrow, Mary Thill and I will be headed up to Clarkson University in Potsdam for The Adirondack Initiative’s Forever Wired Conference. According to the event’s organizers the conference’s goal is “to advance creative work and lifestyle choices by promoting technology and services that encourage commerce and entrepreneurship with negligible impact on the natural environment.” The general idea is to “preserve the unique character of the communities that share the Adirondack Park with wildlife and recreation enthusiasts alike” by fostering exsisting trends in wired work.

More than 200 telecommuters, entrepreneurs, business people, educators, economic developers, government representatives, news media and others will be there (including New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli) to encourage regional economic growth in green tech commerce. That means widespread broadband, professional development and educational opportunities geared toward entrepreneurs, telecommuters, working professionals and others interested in responsible and sustainable economic growth in the Adirondacks. The goal of the Adirondack Initiative is to add (by 2019) 2,019 “corporate telecommuters, mobile workers, and working wired entrepreneurs to the region in support of green tech commerce and new economic opportunities that will grow the base of regional residents.”

In a series of posts tomorrow Mary and I will consider some of the challenges, report on what we learn, and offer route suggestions for the path toward growing a technological future in the Adirondacks.


Sunday, September 6, 2009

APA Meeting: Wind, Snowmobiles, Cell Towers, DOT, Lows Lake

The Adirondack Park Agency (APA) will hold its regularly scheduled monthly meeting on Wednesday, September 9 through Friday September 11 at APA Headquarters in Ray Brook. Meeting topics (detailed below) will include: two new cellular towers in North Hudson; the expansion of Adventure Bound Camps; a new permit application for wind energy projects; the 2009 New York State Draft Energy Plan; an agreement on travel corridor management between the Department of Transportation, Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the APA; DEC and APA guidance for snowmobile trail construction and maintenance; the classification proposals for land and water in the vicinity of Lows Lake and the Five Ponds Wilderness Area. The September meeting will be webcast live on the Agency’s homepage; meeting materials are available for download at http://www.apa.state.ny.us/Mailing/0909/index.htm » Continue Reading.


Sunday, September 6, 2009

Adirondack Autumn: The Raking O’ The Leaves

Ah, fall. That time of year that brings amazing colors to our lives, and tourists to our towns. For many it is the peak of the year. For others, it signals one more chore: The Raking of the Leaves.

Have you ever really thought about leaf raking? Why do we do it? Are those leaves a threat to our lawns? Or are they merely an eye sore? Do we do it because “someone” (probably a Victorian, and probably the same person who invented lawn mowing) decided it should be done and now it is accepted as another rule we must follow? (Personally, I suspect it is all a plot of the Lawn Worshippers.)

I know as a kid I loved raking leaves. They were dry, they were crunchy, they were light weight, and the piles were so much fun! You could jump in them, you could throw great armfuls at your friends and family (without anyone getting hurt), and you could stuff them into old clothes, creating scarecrows and porch decorations. But something happens when we grow up – seasonally fun activities like raking (and shoveling snow) become Chores. They are no longer fun. Instead, they are now Things That Must Be Done.

When I moved to the Adirondacks, I bought a house in a little “development.” My acre of property had exactly two deciduous trees, both black cherries that have seen better days. Sometimes I think they shed as many dead branches as actual leaves. For the first four or five years, I never even lifted a rake – there weren’t enough leaves to bother with. Since then, however, I’ve planted 11 apples, two pears, three crabapples, a red maple, a sugar maple, a couple elderberries, three dogwoods, three ninebarks, four serviceberries, three sumacs, three chokecherries, and two hawthorns, not to mention the grapes and hops. Admittedly, most of these are still too small to produce much in the way of leaves, but someday, should they all survive, I may be breaking out the rake once more. And I look forward to that day, because I need those leaves!

What in the world do I want all those leaves for? Unlike most Americans, I see leaves as Gardener’s Gold, not Yard Waste. When a tree sheds its leaves, it is also shedding a lot of nutrition. Well, maybe not a lot, but a fair amount. Leaves are the food factories of the trees. When fall comes, the trees (we’re talking deciduous trees here, not conifers) reclaim about 95% of the nutrition that’s left in the leaves, nutrition in the form of vital nutrients: potassium, nitrogen, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium, et al. Still, that leaves 5% of those nutrients behind. In the natural world, the leaves fall to the ground, decompose, and voila! those nutrients are returned to the soil where the trees’ roots can absorb them the following year. Since I don’t have a ton of leaves smothering my yard, I feel perfectly content letting falling leaves lie, where they can decompose and feed my meager lawn.

But the ideal, for me, is to get those leaves into the garden. Most vegetable gardens are at least somewhat nutrient deficient. Sure, we could all go out and purchase bags of fertilizer and work it into the soil, but why not save some money and use the fertilizer that nature is already giving us? Instead of raking the leaves and bagging them for the dump (a concept that boggles my mind), take those leaves and pile them several inches deep in the garden. Give them a good watering, which will alert the critters in the soil that something is going on. Then take your hoe and chop the leaves into the earth. The worms will love you, having all this wonderful food available to them throughout the winter. You can even top dress it all with a few inches of straw, which will also decompose over time, providing even more nutrients for next year’s veg. Come spring, your garden will be ready and waiting for those seeds you spent the winter selecting from all those gardening catalogues.

But maybe you don’t have a vegetable garden and you find yourself swamped with autumn’s bounty. Consider donating your leaves to your community garden, or to your neighbor who gardens. You might even get some fresh zucchini in exchange!

As for me, I’ve been seriously considering two actions to boost my leaf intake this fall: posting “leaves wanted” signs around town, and clandestinely swiping bags of leaves from the curbs of Glens Falls. Maybe you could save me from awkward explanations to the police (“Honest, Officer, I was just collecting leaves for my garden”) by bringing your leaves to me.


Saturday, September 5, 2009

8-Mile Reroute of Northville-Placid Trail Complete

A reroute of the Northville Placid Trail has been completed by Adirondack Mountain Club professional trail crews (under contract with DEC) to move the trail off Cedar River Road and into the Blue Ridge Wilderness; the trail has been constructed, marked, and is now open for public use. Although others are planned, this is the first of the DEC’s road-to-trail projects to be implemented on the Northville-Placid Trail.

Previously, the trail followed the Cedar River Road for 6.6 miles between Wakely Dam and the former McCane’s Resort in the Town of Indian Lake, Hamilton County. The new trail section – eliminating all but 0.7 miles of road walking – passes through old growth forest of sugar maple, yellow birch, hemlock and red spruce. » Continue Reading.


Friday, September 4, 2009

Weekly Adirondack Blogging Round-Up

  • MoFYC: ‘Socialism’ – American Style
  • Political Rapids: The Truth Will Set You Free
  • Adirondack Base Camp: Blogger/Tweeter Meet Up
  • American Heritage: TR’s Wild Side
  • The In Box: The Trials of Sandy Lewis
  • Herkimer Co. Progressive: Could Free WiFi Work Here?
  • Fly Fishing News & Tips: Adirondack Guide Backpack
  • Woods and Waterways: Rare Finds On Hudson Ice Meadows
  • Lebanon Daily News: It’s All Downhill From Here
  • International Psychoanalysis: Freud’s Adk Vacation

  • Friday, September 4, 2009

    APA Seeks Public Comments On Snowmibile Trails

    The Adirondack Park Agency (APA) is now accepting public comments on Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan compliance for proposed guidance on snowmobile trail siting, construction and maintenance on State Lands in the Adirondack Park. The draft document is available from the APA here. The public comment period will end September 30, 2009. The APA State Land Committee will deliberate whether the draft standards and guidelines are consistent with the State Land Master Plan at their monthly meeting on September 10th.

    The proposed document will follow-up the October 2006 Snowmobile Plan for the Adirondack Park’s Environmental Impact Statement. According to a press reelease issued by the agency today: “The 2006 Snowmobile Plan established a framework to reconfigure the Adirondack Park State Land snowmobile trail system through the Unit Management Plan process. The goal of this comprehensive plan is to improve safe connections between Park communities and minimize potential adverse environmental impacts. In addition, this plan promotes relocating snowmobile trails from the remote interior to the periphery of Wild Forest classified State Lands.”

    The following are highlights of the proposed document provided by the APA:

    Shift snowmobile use from the remote interior or Wild Forest areas to the periphery of Wild Forest areas.

    Establish ”community connector” or Class II snowmobile trails, to be located in the periphery of Wild Forest areas, with slightly wider than present standards (9ft maximum width; 12 ft width on curves and steep slopes over 15% grade);

    Establish “secondary” or Class I snowmobile trails which would provide recreational opportunities other than connecting communities. The Class 1 trails would be maintained at a maximum 8ft cleared trail width at all locations;

    Allow grooming of “community connector” trails with small tracked groomers;

    Allow grooming of “secondary” trails by snowmobiles with drags only;

    Ensure both “community connector” and “secondary” snowmobile trails will retain essential characteristics of foot trails;

    Ensure snowmobile route design, construction and maintenance activities will be carried out pursuant to Snowmobile Trail Work Plans developed by DEC staff in consultation with APA staff.

    Following the APA State Land Committee meeting on September 10th, the APA will continue to collect public comments for the full APA Board prior to the October 8-9 monthly meeting. Written comments received after September 30, will be provided to Agency members but will not be part of the official record. During the October meeting the Full Agency may render a formal State Land Master Plan determination on the snowmobile standards and guidelines document.

    Written comments should be addressed to:

    James Connolly, Deputy Director – Planning
    Adirondack Park Agency
    P.O. Box 99
    Ray Brook, NY 12977

    Or e-mail: apa_slmp@gw.dec.state.ny.us


    Friday, September 4, 2009

    This Week’s Top Adirondack News Stories


    Thursday, September 3, 2009

    Adirondack Music Scene: Irish Fest, Hobo Fest, Rock and Roll Musical

    The end of summer is arriving fast and the musicians are in tune to say farewell! With several festivals this weekend I don’t know how one can catch all of the other events but it’s always worth a try.

    This weekend is the last chance to see Smokey Joe’s Cafe at The Depot Theater in Westport. Performances are tonight, tomorrow and Sunday starting at 8 pm. The show is all Stroller and Lieber songs which are rock and roll tunes such as “Jailhouse Rock” and “Yakety Yak.”

    So, the first day of the Irish Festival gets into full swing starting Saturday at 11 am at the Ski Jumps in Lake Placid. On Saturday favorite piper Michael Cooney starts playing at 12:10 pm. Also in the lineup is P.V. O’Donnel,an Irish fiddler from Donegal. Martha Gallagher will be there too she’s our own skilled harpist with a strong voice. Mike McHale a wooden flute player will be up from the Catskills. He doesn’t have a website but his resume is extensive and he was inducted into the Traditional Irish Music Hall of Fame in 2000. There all sorts of other activities including irish dancing, contests and storytelling. It’s going to be a great 2 days.

    Saturday in Bolton Landing pianist Eric Trudel will be giving a recital of the 24 Preludes of Rachmaninoff. The recital starts at 7:30 pm and tickets are $25. This is the season ender for The Sembrich concerts this summer. I wish I’d known of it earlier as the list of performances was impressive. Eric Trudel happens to have been the true pianist in the movie The Pianist.

    Saturday night at the Waterhole in Saranac Lake Sven Curth is going to be performing. Sven writes very good songs and is one heck of a guitar player (and what a pretty guitar it is!). He’s appreciated around the park as a solo performer and singer/songwriter for the popular band Jim. The only thing I’d like to change about his performances is that sometimes they are too loud. He’s so good he doesn’t need too much volume.

    Sunday: HoboFest is happening in Saranac Lake at 28 Depot Street (behind Stewarts) and 7444 Gallery.
    So many great musicians all day for FREE!!!! One act that you can catch all day is the recycled drums drum corp – a group of cool people have made all of their own percussion instruments and will be welcoming incoming trains – these are very good drummers Kyle Murray,Colin Dehond, Eric Van Yserloo to name the ring leaders. Big Slyde is playing – I’m a huge fan of their sound which includes cellist Chris Grant, multi instrumentalist John Doan, fantastic guitarist Mikey Portal and the fabulous voice of John’s daughter, Hannah Doan. Another wonderful local musician is Steve Langdon playing his great versions of old blues songs mixed with a few originals – I hope. The Startlights sing oldies with great energy and beautiful harmonies. Their song choice often inspire audience participation. Also featured will be Just Jills a new all female band consisting of two very different voices, mandolin, and fiddle. These ladies are new to performing but have an excellent repertoire – I’m looking forward to whatever train hobo related songs they’ve come up with. Then you have the big acts: John Cohen , an original New Lost City Rambler, is a wonderful addition to the line up. A true legend, he was at Newport when Dylan went electric and ticked everyone off. Brian Dewan is fascinating. I’ve seen him a few times and he always comes up with the most interesting obscure songs. He plays the accordion, autoharp and sings. Last we will be treated to Frankenpine a very good band from Brooklyn. These folks do excellent covers of old time songs and have some very special originals as well. Former resident Ned P. Rauch wrote a beautiful fun tune for one of our newest locals – Lila – who’s proud parents are sure to have her there for the public debut of this happy sing-a-long. On top of all this planned music there will be open jam times so you may be hearing people who just pop in to sing a train song or two – maybe you’ll be one of them?

    Also Sunday in Bolton Landing Mike and Ruthie are playing at 12 noon. They are part of the Fabulous Folk Festival happening at the Roger’s Memorial Park Bandstand. All you have to do is listen on their lovely website and you won’t want miss this wonderful duo. Dan Berggren will also be there. Amazingly all of this is free to all who show up.

    photo: Michael Cooney playing the uilleann pipes


    Thursday, September 3, 2009

    Understanding Green Roofs At The Wild Center

    The Wild Center in Tupper Lake will present a program on what it takes to plan, install and maintain a green roof in the northern Adirondack climate on September 15th, from 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. The event is free to members or with paid museum admission.

    The session will offer the principles of green roof construction presented by two experts in the field. Dustin Brackney, project manager with Apex Green Roofs, Somerville, MA, who installed The Wild Center’s own 2500 square foot green roof, and Marguerite Wells, owner of Motherplants, a green roof plant nursery in Ithaca, NY, will each share their tips and techniques for successfully growing plants on a building’s roof in our harsh northern climate.

    Roof structure requirements and green roof material components will be discussed, along with plant variety considerations, the benefits to the environment, and the economics of creating a unique wildlife habitat that can reduce building heating and cooling energy cost.

    Photo: Chris Rdzanek, Director of Facilities, checks out The Wild Center’s Green Roof.


    Thursday, September 3, 2009

    Gore Mountain to Open, Improvements Planned

    The Gore Mountain ski area in North Creek will open Saturday for scenic Northwoods Gondola Skyrides, downhill mountain biking, hiking, and a BBQ on Saturday, September 5. The mountain will remain open on weekends from now through Columbus Day Weekend between the hours of 10 am and 4 pm. Two mountain biking camps will be held – September 12th and 26th for ages 10 and over of all biking abilities. $59 includes a full-day lift ticket, lunch, coaching from our experienced biking guides, and an organized hike. Gore Mountain’s Harvest Festival will take place on October 10-11th and feature the Ernie Williams Band and Raisinhead along with Adirondack vendors.

    Work is progressing on several improvements for the upcoming 2009/2010 skiing and snowboarding season. Several projects will improve the new Burnt Ridge Mountain area, a new Ski Bowl Lodge will open at the historic North Creek Ski Bowl, Base Lodge renovations, and a new terrain park moved to a widened Wild Air area, will all be augmented by an additional 30 tower guns and new groomer.

    At Burnt Ridge Mountain snowmaking is being added to the Sagamore Trail, a run rated most difficult that descends over 1400 vertical feet. Other Burnt Ridge projects include the opening of the intermediate Eagle’s Nest Trail, which will connect the base of the North Quad to the base of the Burnt Ridge Quad via the Pipeline Trail. The Cirque Glades will be enlarged due to an extension to the base of the quad, and a new access route to the Cedars Trail from Twister is being constructed.

    The new Ski Bowl Lodge at the North Creek Ski Bowl will feature modernized ticketing, updated food service, new bathrooms, and improved seating. A press release reported that “trail work towards Gore Mountain’s interconnect with the Ski Bowl continues, and the terrain and new lift for the area are scheduled to open for the 2010/2011 season.”

    Base Lodge renovations include a new retail shop, improved ticketing, and a new sundeck adjacent to the Tannery Pub & Restaurant.

    Photo: Roaring Brook View from Pipeline. A view of Roaring Brook from the Pipeline Trail, where another bridge will be constructed on the new “Eagle’s Nest” trail.


    Wednesday, September 2, 2009

    Rogers Rangers Challenge Triathlon Event

    The Rogers Island Visitors Center at Fort Edward is hosting the Rogers Rangers Challenge triathlon. The run, canoe/kayak, and bike event will be held (rain or shine) on Saturday October 3, 2009.

    The Rogers Rangers Challenge is dedicated to the memory of Major Robert Rogers and his Independent Company of American Rangers which were based on Rogers Island at Fort Edward during the French & Indian War (1755-1763). Rogers Rangers, forerunners of the U.S. Army Rangers, fought and died on ground upon which the challenge takes place. Local Native Americans described Rogers as having the ability to “run like a deer.” Participants in the event are encouraged to dress in period costume.

    The Challenge begins at the Hogtown Trailhead with a run over Buck Mountain to Fort Ann Beach at Pilot Knob (7.5 miles) and then a canoe/ kayak along the east shore of Lake George (3 miles) (a Compass is recommended due to the potential of thick fog). The final leg is a bike from Fort Ann Beach to Rogers Island Visitors Center, Fort Edward (30 miles). The race is limited to 100 participants and you must be at least 16 to participate. The entry fees is $60.00 per person which includes membership to Rogers Island Visitors Center, and entertainment & catered lunch for each participant.

    Participants must pre-register by September 12th; for more information e-mail Eileen Hannay at rogersisland@gmail.com or call 518-747-3693.


    Wednesday, September 2, 2009

    The Seligman Scandal, Antisemitism in Saratoga Springs

    Yesterday, I noted the newly released details of Fish Rock Camp, believed to be the first Great Camp built on Upper Saranac Lake. The camp was built for Isaac Newton Seligman, the son of banking giant Joseph Seligman. Today I’ll provide some background to the antisemitism that is believed to have inspired many Jewish Americans, like the Seligmans, to create their own camps and resorts in the Adirondacks.

    The story includes one of Saratoga’s most prestigious hotels, the Grand Union, luminaries like Ulysses S. Grant, the robber baron Jay Gould, and Boss Tweed and Tammany Hall. But it starts with America’s first department store mogul – Alexander T. Stewart. » Continue Reading.


    Tuesday, September 1, 2009

    Upper Saranac Lake’s Fish Rock Camp and Jacob Riis

    Marsha Stanley of the Upper Saranac Lake Sekon Association dropped me a note to say that she has spent the summer posting the history of Fish Rock Camp, believed to be the first of the great camps built on Upper Saranac in 1893. Marsha’s work included digitizing and placing online the camp’s guest register from 1905 to 1915. The guest book is replete with sketches of life at the camp, including the vignette at left from 1905, “Alfred in his Auto.” » Continue Reading.


    Monday, August 31, 2009

    Typhoid Mary in Saranac Lake Tonight

    The Adirondack Center for Writing (ACW) will end its annual Summer Program Series with the one-woman performance of Irish writer and actor Eithne McGuinnes as Typhoid Mary. The event, which will be held at Bluseed Studios in Saranac Lake tonight, August 31 at 7pm is free and open to the public.

    About Typhoid Mary (from an AWC Press Release) – In 1907, Mary Mallon, an Irish immigrant, who had, ‘worked her way up from nothing’, to cook for New York’s finest, was seized from her place of work by the NY Board of Health. Accused of being the carrier of typhoid fever, Mary was imprisoned without a trial on an island in the middle of the East River. Totally isolated, a mere ten minute ferry ride from her former home in the Bronx, Mary became a scapegoat; sacrificed to quell the rising public fear that a typhoid epidemic could spread beyond the poor. She became a pawn in the larger ambitions of George Soper; health official who was desperate to identify the first human typhoid carrier in North America. Was Mary maligned? Could she, as the authorities insisted, have carried typhoid, if she herself had never been ill with the disease? Here is the captivating story of a brave Irish peasant who fought tooth and nail for her freedom and took on the very powerful state of New York.

    Eithne McGuinnes is an Irish writer and actor. Her plays include: Miss Delicious, workshopped at Abbey Theatre, Dublin 2007; Tin Cans, commissioned by Dublin City Council, 2006; Limbo, Dublin Fringe Festival, 2000 and 2001; A Glorious Day, public reading, Abbey Theatre, 2000; and Typhoid Mary, Dublin Fringe Festival, 1997, broadcast on RTE Radio, 1998 and revived in 2004. Published short stories: Feather Bed (Scéalta), Anthology of Irish Women Writers, Telegram Books, 2006. The Boat Train, Something Sensational to Read on the Train, Lemon Soap Press, 2005. Her favorite acting roles include: Mary Mallon, Typhoid Mary, 2004 and 1997; Sr.Clementine, The Magdalene Sisters (Golden Lion 2002), Gracie Tracy, Glenroe (RTE Television). Recent theatre: Meg, The Hostage, Wonderland, Dublin, 2009; Olive, Dirty Dusting, Tivoli Theatre, Dublin; and Earth Mother, Menopause the Musical, 2008. Recent TV: The Roaring Twenties, No Laughing Matter, 2008. Other theatre includes: The House of Bernarda Alba, 2002 and The Marriage of Figaro, 1997, at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin. Cell, best production, Dublin Theatre Festival 1999 and Dublin Trilogy, Passion Machine – best new play, DTF 1998.


    Monday, August 31, 2009

    Hyde Museum Offfers ‘A Taste of Art’ Wine & Food Event

    In conjunction with The Hyde Collection’s exhibition Degas & Music, the Museum (in Glens Falls) is hosting its 7th Annual A Taste of Art … A Wine and Food Experience on Friday, September 18 from 6:30 – 9:30 PM. In keeping with French Impressionist Edgar Degas’ lifelong interest in all things musical, the wine tasting décor will evoke the feeling of a 19th century ‘café concert’ – a popular form of musical entertainment of the period featured in the exhibition.

    The evening offerings include a combination of various wines, complementary foods, and lively entertainment. Putnam Wine (Saratoga Springs) and Uncorked (Glens Falls) work together to bring in a wide selection of wines from New York and other US wine producing regions, as well as vintages from Europe, South America, and Australia. The wines are complemented by food samplings from a number of area restaurants including Adirondack Community College’s Culinary Program, The Anvil, Cherry Tomato, The Farmhouse Restaurant, Friends’ Lake Inn, Fifty South, GG Mama’s, Grist Mill, Luisa’s Italian Bistro, and The Sagamore. Davidson Brothers Restaurant and Brewery will host the beer garden in the Museum’s Hoopes Gallery.

    Attendees will be entertained by two musical groups – The Dick Caselli Trio and Alambic, as well a silent auction featuring music, food, and art-related items.

    Tickets for ‘A Taste of Art’ are $75 per person. Reservations are required and accepted on a first-come, first served basis. Those interested in attending should call 518-792-1761 ext. 23 or email bchildress@hydecollection.org. A special master class is open to Connoisseur Committee members (those contributing an additional $250 to the event). This year’s master class will focus on the wines which would have been familiar to Edgar Degas and his contemporaries. Because of the limited master class space, those wishing to join the Connoisseur Committee should contact the Museum at their earliest convenience.

    All proceeds from the wine tasting event will benefit The Hyde Collection’s exhibitions and educational programs through the Museum’s Annual Fund.



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