Thursday, April 16, 2009

Adirondack Events for Mid-April

Rick Moody — author of Garden State, The Ice Storm, The Diviners and the memoir The Black Veil — will read from his most recent novel at 7 p.m. tonight at the Joan Weill Student Center of Paul Smith’s College. The event is free, sponsored by the Adirondack Center for Writing.

Kayaks are on roof racks and the Northern Forest Paddle Film Festival returns to the Lake Placid Center for the Arts at 7 p.m. Friday. There’ll be five shorts about canoeing, kayaking, waterways and the paddling life. Proceeds support the Northern Forest Canoe Trail. $8-12.

April brings the spring whomp. Old-time fiddle and harmonica duo the Whompers are back in town, 7:30 Friday at BluSeed Studios, in Saranac Lake ($10). Musicians are invited to bring instruments for a second-set jam. On Saturday night, Whompers and friends play at the Red Tavern, in Duane. The place is off the grid and off the map, and the dancing goes late into the night.

In the pastoral hill country east of Glens Falls and west of Vermont, 10,000 spectators are expected to turn out Saturday and Sunday for the Tour of the Battenkill, the largest bike race in the country. Two thousand riders will blow through downtown Greenwich, Salem and Cambridge, but the real character of the race comes from remote dirt roads that have earned the event the nickname Battenkill-Roubaix, after the Paris Roubaix of France.

In Bolton Landing, Up Yonda Farm offers a guided Cabin Fever Hike at 1 p.m. Saturday. The walk winds through the farm’s trails to a vista overlooking Lake George. On Sunday the farm will offer Earth Day activities all day. $3; members free.

Monday through Thursday next week, days start warming at the greatest rate of the year. Impatient? At the Adirondack Museum at 1:30 Sunday, naturalist Ed Kanze presents “Eventually . . . the Adirondack Spring.” Free for members and kids; $5 everybody else.

On Monday the Lake Placid Center for the Arts begins a six-session life drawing course, 6-8:30 every Monday evening through May. $55. Call (518) 523-2512 to sign up. Gabriels artist Diane Leifheit runs the course. She will also offer pastel plein air evening classes beginning May 20 (sign up by May 11). The first session introduces pastels and materials, setting up to paint outdoors and mixing colors. The following four sessions will go on location around Lake Placid (weather permitting), capturing the early evening colors. $95. 6-8:30 p.m. Wednesdays, through June 17.


Saturday, April 11, 2009

Wildlife Conservation Society Adk Program Event

The Wildlife Conservation Society’s Adirondack Program will be hosting a public gathering in Saranac Lake highlighting recent work. The event will take place Sunday, April 19, 2009 from 4pm to 6pm at the Saranac Laboratory’s John Black Room in Saranac Lake. Program director Zoë Smith will give a brief presentation beginning at 4:30 pm about the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and how the Adirondack Program bridges scientific research and community outreach to achieve wildlife conservation. Afterward, guests will have the opportunity to ask the WCS’s staff experts about Adirondack wildlife and conservation. The event is free and open to the public; refreshments will be served.

The Saranac Laboratory is located at 89 Church Street, just around the corner from the Hotel Saranac in downtown Saranac Lake, New York. For more information call (518) 891-8872 or e-mail (accp@wcs.org).

Based in Saranac Lake, the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Adirondack Program works to promote healthy human communities and wildlife conservation through a cooperative, information based approach to research, community involvement and outreach. The Wildlife Conservation Society works to save wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, global conservation, education and the management of the world’s largest system of urban wildlife parks, led by the flagship Bronx Zoo. WCS is currently running more than 500 wildlife conservation projects in 60 countries worldwide that work together to change attitudes towards nature and help people imagine wildlife and humans living in harmony.


Thursday, April 9, 2009

Leave No Child Inside Program at Adk Wild Center

The recipient of the 2008 Audubon Medal, Richard Louv identified a phenomenon many suspected existed but couldn’t quite put their finger on: nature-deficit disorder. Louv is a journalist and author of the New York Times bestseller Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder, is coming to the Adirondacks on Saturday, May 2nd to discuss the future relationship between nature and children. Since its initial publication, Last Child in the Woods has created a national conversation about the disconnection between children and nature, and his message has galvanized an international movement. Now, three years later, we have reached a tipping point, with the book inspiring Leave No Child Inside initiatives throughout the country.

According to Last Child in the Woods two out of ten of America’s children are clinically obese — four times the percentage of childhood obesity reported in the late 1960s. Children today spend less time playing outdoors than any previous generation. They are missing the opportunity to experience ‘free play’ outside in an unstructured environment that allows for exploration and expansion of their horizons through the use of their imaginations. In Sweden, Australia, Canada and the United States, studies of children in schoolyards with both green areas and manufactured play areas found that children engaged in more creative forms of play in the green areas.

Nature not only benefits children and ensures their participation and stewardship of nature as they grow into adults, nature helps entire families. Louv proposes, “Nature is an antidote. Stress reduction, greater physical health, a deeper sense of spirit, more creativity, a sense of play, even a safer life — these are the rewards that await a family when it invites more nature into children’s lives.”

In addition to Louv speaking about nature deficit disorder, more than twenty-five organizations from throughout the region will be present at the Wild Center to offer information, resources and inspiration for families. Through increasing confidence and knowledge in the outdoors, families can learn how easy it is to become reconnected with nature. Activities scheduled throughout the day on the 31-acre Tupper Lake campus will range from fly fishing and nature scavenger hunts to building a fort or just laying back and watching the clouds as they pass in the sky above.

Louv will also officially open The Pines nature play area at the Wild Center. The Pines is a new type of play area designed entirely with nature in mind. Kids are encouraged to explore the play area on their own terms and in their own time. The event will run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.


Tuesday, March 31, 2009

America’s Cup Returns to The Olympic Sports Complex

The Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA) and the United States Bobsled and Skeleton Federation will be hosting the FIBT 2009 Lake Placid America’s Cup Bobsled and Skeleton competition at the Olympic Sports Complex April 2 – April 5. Nineteen nations will be competing in this international competition, with 154 athletes competing within the four disciplines.

Lake Placid is the final stop on the America’s Cup Circuit. This race allows competitors to earn points and experience that are necessary for a world ranking that determines starting positions and seeding at FIBT World Cup, Intercontinental and World Championship levels.

Competition starts Wednesday, April 1 with two-man bobsled and women’s bobsled Race 1 beginning at 1 pm. Men’s and women’s skeleton Race 1 will be held Thursday at 9 am, with two-man bobsled and women’s bobsled Race 2 starting at 1 pm. The men’s and women’s skeleton Race 2 will be held Friday at 9 am with the four-man bobsled race following the skeleton race. The final event held on Saturday, April 4 is four-man bobsled Race 2 beginning the first runs at 9 am.

U.S. drivers take the top two spots in two-man bobsled with Mike Kohn leading the way with 689 points and teammate John Napier in second with 644 points. Australian Chris Spring is third with 500 points.

Napier tops the four-man field with 752 points. Poland’s David Kupczyk sits in second place with 549 points, followed by Milan Jagnesak of Slovakia with 448 points.

Canadian Amanda Stepenko leads the way for the women, currently first with 658 points. American Bree Schaaf is second with 630 points, and Elfje Willemsen of Belaruse is third with 420 points.

France’s Gregory Saint-Genies slides into first place with 720 points for men’s skeleton. John Daly of the U.S. is second with 510 points while teammate Kyle Tress sits in third with 363 points.

Tionette Stoddard of New Zealand is at the top of the leader board in women’s skeleton with 928 points. Japan’s Nozomi Komuro has 873 in second place and American Anne O’Shea is third with 780 points.

Entrance to the Olympic Sports Complex is $7 for adults and $5 for student/senior.


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.


Thursday, March 19, 2009

ADK Music Scene: Weekend Music Picks

Mike and Ruthy play Bluseed Studios in Saranac Lake at 7:30 p.m. Friday.

Michael Merenda and Ruth Ungar Merenda, who live in the Catskills, toured seven years with indie string band the Mammals before striking out on their own last year. “With a repertoire of old-timey twang, topical folk, and just plain love songs, their heartfelt vocal duets intertwine with lively fiddle & banjo,” the Bluseed Web site says. Tickets are $14.

Also Friday, at the Lake Placid Center for the Arts, violinist Mark O’Connor headlines a Hudson River Quadricentennial concert. O’Connor, who is classically trained but inspired by American folk, is joined by clarinetist Don Byron — who fuses jazz, classical and soul — and violinist Daniel Bernard Roumain, who’s into classical and hip hop. The three composer/musicians “have created new music inspired by the past, present and future of the Hudson River Valley.” Tickets are $15. The show starts at 8 p.m.

On Saturday at the Waterhole in Saranac Lake, Lazar Bear Productions presents Toronto-based Celtic rock band Enter the Haggis. Tickets are $18 in advance or $22 at the door. The show starts at 8 p.m.

OK, not music, but Academy Award–nominated writer and director Courtney Hunt will introduce a showing of her movie Frozen River, filmed in Plattsburgh. 8 p.m. Saturday at Willsboro Central School. Tickets $5 for adults, $2 under 18.

For more weekend ideas, North Country Public Radio has the region’s broadest online calendar of events.


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.


Thursday, March 12, 2009

Growing Your Energy Independence Program

Bruce Brownell, founder of Adirondack Alternative Energy, will present a program at The Wild Center this Saturday, March 14th at 1 pm titled “Growing Your Energy Independence.” Brownell has over 30 years experience in passive building construction, and has been constructing passive homes and educating on the topic throughout the north east. At 1pm Bruce will present on a unique method of home construction and can offer ideas for things you can do today to improve energy efficiency in your home. (proper use of drapes, pipe insulation, wall/floor/ ceiling insulation, sealing up cracks around windows and wall openings, window placement, use, air circulation, programmable thermostats, etc.)

There will also be an optional tour following the program which will be leaving from The Wild Center around 2:30. The tour, lead by Bruce, will travel to Lake Placid to visit a passive house that is under construction. The tour is optional and participants need to provide their own transportation.

The event is free for members OR with paid admission. For more information or directions, please visit the Wild Center’s website or call 359-7800


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Nor-Am Cup Alpine Finals Return to Whiteface

The USSA FIS Nor-Am Cup Alpine Finals will return to Whiteface this weekend, March 12-15. Over 100 athletes are expected to compete in this prestigious event that is a way up-and-coming alpine racers progress to the next season’s World Cup circuit. Every racer who wins a discipline title in the overall season’s events, as well as the runner up, will gain access to the World Cup tour. The Nor-Am competitions have not only seen many young racers move on to World Cup competitions, but many of these skiers have also moved on to compete as Winter Olympic athletes.

The ladies’ super combined and men’s super G will kick off the competition on Thursday, March 12 at 10 am and 1 pm. Men’s super combined and ladies’ super G will be held begin Friday, March 13 at 10 am and 1:15 pm. Men’s giant slalom and women’s slalom can be seen Saturday, March 14 at 9:30 am and 1 pm. The final events held on Sunday, March 15 will be the ladies’ giant slalom and the men’s slalom, beginning their first runs at 9:30 am.

Spectators are invited to come out and watch as some of the finest young Alpine athletes compete on courses that will be set up on the Draper’s Drop and Wilderness trails.

Volunteers are still needed for this event. If interested, contact Brian Fitzgerald at 518.946.7001 or via email at brian@nysef.org. Each email should include individual skiing ability and the volunteer position desired.


Thursday, March 5, 2009

400 Years of The Champlain Valley Event

Rich Strum, Director of Interpretation and Education at Fort Ticonderoga, will offer a program entitled “Conquest, Commerce, and Culture: 400 Years of History in the Champlain Valley” at Saranac Village at Will Rogers in Saranac Lake on Sunday, March 8, 2009.

Samuel de Champlain first saw the great expanse of Lake Champlain, the Green Mountains to the east, the Adirondacks on the west in 1609. New York State, Vermont, and the Province of Quebec are commemorating the 400th anniversary of Champlain’s explorations this year through a variety of programs and events.

Strum will provide an illustrated overview of four centuries of the Champlain region’s history. He will discuss military contests for control of the vital Champlain corridor, the role the lake has played in economic growth and expansion, the lasting impact of 150 years of French dominance in the 17th and 18th centuries.

The presentation will begin at 2:00 p.m. and is offered at no charge to member sof the Adirondack Museum and children of elementary school age or younger. Free admission will be extended to all residents of Saranac Village at Will Rogers. The fee for non-members is $5.00. 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.

Rich Strum has been the Director of Interpretation and Education at Fort Ticonderoga since 1999. He serves as North Country Regional Coordinator for New York State History Day. He is the author of Ticonderoga: Lake Champlain Steamboat, as well as two books for young readers: Causes of the American Revolution and Henry Know: Washington’s Artilleryman. He lives in Ticonderoga, N.Y. with his wife and daughters.


Friday, February 20, 2009

Bobsled, Skeleton World Championships Start Today

The Bauhaus FIBT Bobsled and Skeleton World Championships come to Lake Placid February 20-March 1 at the Olympic Sports Complex. The sliders will compete on the famous mile-long track down Mt. Van Hoevenberg with hopes of being crowned a 2009 World Champion.

This is the ninth time that Lake Placid has hosted the Bobsled World Championships, and the second time hosting the Skeleton World Championships, with the last ones being in 2003. The 2009 World Championships features athletes from over 20 countries competing in five disciplines: men’s and women’s skeleton, women’s bobsled, two-man bobsled and four-man bobsled. The competition consists of four runs over two days for each discipline, with the lowest combined time sled being crowned champion. This is the last major sliding event for these athletes leading up to the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, Canada.

The Bauhaus FIBT Bobsled and Skeleton World Championships begin on Friday, Feb. 20 at 8:30 AM with the first two runs of the women’s bobsled competition. Saturday’s action begins with the final two runs of the women’s bobsled event at 8:30 AM, followed by the first two runs of the two-man competition at 1 PM. Sunday morning also starts at 8:30 AM with the last runs of the two-man bobsled. The Team Event wraps up the first week of competition at 1 PM Sunday afternoon.

The second week of the World Championships starts with the women’s skeleton competition at 9 AM Thursday, Feb. 26. The women return to the track Friday morning, Feb. 27, at 8:30 AM with their final two runs. Men’s skeleton kicks off their competition at 1 PM with the first two heats Friday afternoon. The four-man bobsled teams begin their event on Saturday, Feb. 28 at 9 AM, followed by the final two runs in the men’s skeleton competition at 1 PM. The World Championships wrap up on Sunday, March 1, at 9 AM with the final two runs of the event, in four-man bobsled.

There are two Lake Placid World Fest parties slated for Feb. 22 and Feb. 28. The party starts at 3 PM and runs until 6:30 PM at the Mirror Lake Beach. These free community festivals will have live music, food vendors, games, a kids’ area, fireworks and more! Russ Cook and Brad Hurlburt as well as Zip City provide the live music Feb. 22 while Slyde and Raisinhead take to the stage Feb. 28.

Spectators at the Bauhaus FIBT World Champions can visit the Whiteface Zone each Saturday and Sunday during the event, located trackside, and pick up a lift ticket good for Whiteface from March 1 through the end of the season for only $25!

Sandra Kiriasis of Germany won her seventh straight FIBT World Cup title for women’s bobsled. Kiriasis, the five-time defending World Champion and defending Olympic Champion, earned 1679 points to easily with the title. Teammate Cathleen Martini finished the season in second place, with 1599 points, while Shauna Rohbock of the United States took third, with 1440 points. Rohbock won silver at the 2006 Olympics, and has two bronze medals from the World Championships.

Switzerland’s Beat Hefti won his first two-man bobsled World Cup overall title this season as he amassed 1581 total points to win the Joska trophy. Hefti, an Olympic brakeman, is in his rookie season driving on the World Cup. Andre Lange of Germany finished second overall with 1501, followed by teammate Thomas Florschuetz with1453. Lange is the defending World and Olympic champion in both the two-man and four-man bobsled. He has three Olympic gold medals as well as 13 World Championships medals, including eight gold ones. The last time the World Championships were in Lake Placid, in 2003, Lange won both disciplines.

Aleksandr Zubkov of Russia captured both the FIBT World Cup Four-Man and Combined titles. This was his first four-man title since 2004. Zubkov finished in the four-man standings with 1646 total points while Janis Minnis of Latvia finished the season in second place with 1549. Lange ended the season in third with 1251, followed by U.S. driver Steve Holcomb in fourth with 1224 points.

Zubkov won the combined two-man and four-man title with 2967 points while Hefti, the 2008-2009 2-man World Cup champion, was second with 2765, followed by Lange, 2752.

Germany’s Marion Trott won this year’s FIBT Women’s Skeleton World Cup Tour title. Trott won two of the last three races of the season to clinch her first World Cup title with 1572 total points. Great Britain’s Amy Williams barely held off American slider Katie Uhlaender to claim second place overall. Williams finished with 1468 points while Uhlaender was just two points behind with 1466 for third. Uhlaender finished second in last year’s World Championships at Altenberg, Germany, and is hoping to win the gold on her home track. 2008 World Champion Anja Huber of Germany returns to Lake Placid with hopes of retaining her title.

Alexander Tretiakov of Russia completed a sweep in the final races of the season to secure his first FIBT Men’s Skeleton World Cup title. Tretiakov finished the season with 1526 total points. German teammates Florian Grassl and Frank Rommel finished in second and third places, respectively. Grassl ended the season with 1453 points while Rommel had 1436. Rommel won the bronze medal in last year’s World Championships, while Grassl finished fourth. Defending World Champion Kristan Bromley of Great Britain, who finished tenth in the standings is returning to Lake Placid with hopes of winning another World Championship title.

Tickets for the Bauhaus FIBT Bobsled and Skeleton 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. Please visit www.lakeplacid2009.com for all ticket packages and more event information.


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Skate America Competition Announced For Lake Placid

U.S. Figure Skating has announced that Lake Placid will host 2009 Skate America. The international figure skating event is one of six stops on the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series. Competition will take place Nov. 12-15, 2009, at the 1980 Rink Herb Brooks Arena. The inaugural Skate America was held in 1979 in Lake Placid and this marks the sixth time the state of New York has hosted the event, and the fourth time it has been held in Lake Placid (1979, ’81, ‘82).

Skate America is an Olympic-style international figure skating event featuring three days of competition in ladies and men’s singles, pairs and ice dancing. The event attracts dozens of world-class figure skaters from all over the globe. Past champions include five-time World and nine-time U.S. champion Michelle Kwan, 2002 Olympic bronze medalist Timothy Goebel, 2002 Olympic pairs champions Jamie Sale and David Pelletier of Canada, 1992 Olympic champion Kristi Yamaguchi and 1984 Olympic champion Scott Hamilton.

Other stops on the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series each year include Skate Canada, the Cup of China, Trophée Eric Bompard (France), the Cup of Russia and the NHK Trophy (Japan). The Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final takes place each December and rotates among the countries that host the ISU Grand Prix Series events.

2008 Skate America was held at the Everett Events Center in Everett, Wash., where U.S. skaters won medals in all four disciplines and four of the 12 total medals. Johnny Weir, the 2008 World bronze medalist, won the men’s silver, while reigning U.S. champion Evan Lysacek took the men’s bronze. Reigning U.S. pairs champions Keauna McLaughlin and Rockne Brubaker garnered the silver in pairs, and five-time U.S. champions Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto won ice dancing silver.

The ISU also recently announced that Lake Placid will host an event in the 2009 ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series. The event will be the second of seven in the series and take place Sept. 2-6, 2009.


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 citizenscience@audubon.org or (215) 355-9588, Ext 16.


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

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.