Friday, February 20, 2009

Ebenezer Emmons


1799-1863. As Chief Geologist for the northern New York State Geological District, Emmons is credited with leading the first recorded ascent up Mount Marcy in 1837. In a paper submitted to the New York State Assembly on this date in 1838, he gave the Adirondacks its name.


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.


Friday, February 20, 2009

This Week’s Top Adirondack News Stories


Friday, February 20, 2009

Alternative Home Power Program at The Wild Center

The Wild Center will be presenting a program by Jim Juczak on “Alternative Power sources for Your Home: Wind, Solar, and Wood” tomorrow Saturday, February 21st at 1 pm in the Flammer Theatre. There is a lot of information on alternative energy systems available and it’s hard to know what works and what doesn’t. Jim Juczak will describe how wind turbines, photovoltaic panels and wood heaters work and how they can be installed in your community or on your own home. As the cost of non-renewable energy rises, using locally produced, renewable energy systems will become much more important. This program will attempt to demystify and simplify your understanding of these important sources of power.

James S. Juczak is from Adams Center, NY has been a middle school and high school shop teacher for 26 years, with a strong focus on teaching his students practical skills. He and his wife, Krista, founded Woodhenge in 1997- it is an off-grid, mortgage-free intentional community. Their property is intended as a living museum for alternative energy, alternative structures and alternative food production systems serving as a working example in sustainability for local communities. They grow and preserve more than half of their food using traditional methods. Jim is on a leave of absence from his public school job in order to write, lecture and farm. His book: “The High Art and Subtle Science of Scrounging” will be published in the Spring of 2009. He was featured by the Science Channel’s Invention Nation program on building wind turbines from scratch.

For more information visit www.wildcenter.org or call 518-359-7800. The program is free for members or with paid admission.


Thursday, February 19, 2009

Canadians Prepare for President Obama’s Visit


Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Federal Stimulus and The Rooftop Highway

The signing this week of the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act–the federal economic stimulus package–has spurred a stampede of applicants for financial assistance from every state and every sector of the economy. The State of New York has posted a website spelling out how much of the overall $789 billion will come our way and roughly what types of projects will receive what share over the next two years. To wit: the $789 billion total is divided into $326 billion worth of tax cuts and $463 billion in direct spending. Of that $463 billion, $24.6 billion will come to New York State, and (for example) $1.1 billion of that will be distributed across the state for highway and bridge projects.

This cannot be good news for supporters of the Northern Tier Expressway (aka the Rooftop Highway), the proposed 175-mile four lane divided highway that would link I-81 in Watertown and I-87 in Champlain.

Endorsements from a diverse spectrum of politicians ranging from Richard Nixon to Hillary Clinton have kept this project limping along for nearly fifty years, an eternity for most public works concepts. Persisting doubts about the potential return on the estimated one billion dollar cost of the road have kept the roadway on the drawing board. Any hopes that the federal stimulus might rescue it from its bureaucratic limbo are now pretty well dashed.

While the final draft shows the roadway approaching the Adirondack Park no closer than two miles at its nearest point (near Ellenburg), the potential economic and environmental impacts would spread far inside the Blue Line. In 1999, The New York Times reported Neil Woodworth of the Adirondack Mountain Club supporting the road as a way to open up the western regions of the park to hikers, relieving the congestion in the high peaks. More recently, concerns raised over the impact of highways on wildlife migration patterns have conditioned the enthusiasm. In its conservation report issued last month, the Laurentian Chapter’s incoming vice-chair Peter O’Shea suggests it might be time to take the project off life-support before any federal stimulus money attaches to it.

One final, picky thought on the matter: Anyone who understands metaphor and knows the first thing about house construction can tell you that the nickname, Rooftop Highway is all wrong. Rooftops are exterior surfaces, existing above the space in question. Seen in this light, a Rooftop Highway already exists: Highway 401 just across our rigorously-guarded frontier in Canada. As for the proposed road above the Blue Line and below the border, perhaps renaming it the “Attic Crawl Space Highway” might help lower our expectations.


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Research Grants Announced at Trudeau Institute


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.


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Vermont Reports Maple Syrup Price Increase

According to a story in yesterday’s Burlington Free Press, Vermont maple producers are seeing a 16% increase in the price of syrup since last year. A poor sugaring season in Quebec, increased fuel, shipping and container costs and increased demand are cited as reasons for the increase.

In 2008, New York State surpassed Maine as the second largest maple syrup producer in the United States with 322,000 gallons. Vermont remained on top, yielding 500,000 gallons. By comparison, the province of Quebec produces over six million gallons per year.

The twelve counties which constitute the Adirondack Park account for nearly one third of New York’s maple syrup production, though most of the sugar bush lies outside the Blue Line.


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Dr. Trudeau and The Third Oldest Profession


Logging and tourism rate permanent exhibits at the Adirondack Museum. But the third-oldest industry in the Adirondacks goes on, uncelebrated, behind closed doors in the administrative offices.

Fundraising. It’s possible that more Adirondackers work in what is now vaguely termed “development” than in the woods. Yet we rarely admit that begging is a pillar of the regional economy.

An early master of the dignified grovel was Dr. Edward Livingston Trudeau, a pioneer of bacteriology and tuberculosis treatment (phthisiology), and a founder of Saranac Lake itself. His autobiography, published in 1915, should be mandatory reading for every Adirondack fundraiser.

While sailing on Spitfire Lake circa 1882, Dr. Trudeau unintentionally made his first hit-up of a wealthy summer person: “We spoke of the wonderful, bracing character of the air and the beauty of the woods, the mountains and the lakes, and I expressed the wish that some of the poor invalids shut up in cities might have the opportunity for recovery which the climate offered and which had done so much for me. . . . He seemed much struck with the idea, and told me that if I carried out my plan I could call on him for five hundred dollars at any time. This was the first subscription I received.”

It became a pattern. By the end of the book, gifts to his Adirondack Sanitarium were in the $25,000 range (about half a million in today’s dollars). It’s almost a refrain as every chapter about a new friend ends, “And Mr. [name here] became a trustee of the Sanitarium, and served in this capacity until his death.”

Asking friends — and strangers — for money brings millions of dollars to the Adirondack Park each year and employs hundreds of people at museums, hospitals, children’s camps, environmental groups, arts and youth organizations, schools, you name it. We also beg our summer neighbors unprofessionally as volunteers for libraries, fire departments, ski areas, hospice. [A post-posting note: “Begging” was Trudeau’s word of choice; he used it with candor and humor. I intended no offense, though some readers who are philanthropy professionals tell me they prefer other terms for soliciting gifts.]

Why bring this up now?

~ Ambivalence about Wall Street bonuses. (Bonuses of CEOs with lakeside Adirondack camps have built wings for local hospitals and museums and employ nonprofit staffers; taxes on them keep snowmakers working at state-run ski areas.)

~ Layoffs at local nonprofits, including the Residents Committee to Protect the Adirondacks. (So far, the successor to Dr. Trudeau’s sanitarium and laboratory, Trudeau Institute, seems unscathed.)

~ Just the charm of Trudeau’s book. Old Adirondack books are comforting in uncertain times; they remind us how little the place changes over the years.


Monday, February 16, 2009

Presidents’ Day Profile: William Henry Harrison

William Henry Harrison, our abbreviated president. Number eleven. One of only four U.S. Presidents born in February.

Longest inaugural address (about 2 hrs); shortest presidency (34 days); also shortest one hundred-day plan. Battled Native Shawnees in the Wabash Valley to accumulate their land in Ohio and (rather cynically) Indiana.

Connection to the Adirondacks: None direct (he died 51 years before the park was created). However, his nickname, Old Tippecanoe, sounds Adirondack-y and was also the name of early 20th C. Indian River guide & hunter Tippecanoe Knapp.


Monday, February 16, 2009

Public Comments Needed on LG Stream Buffer Regs

The Lake George Park Commission has finally released its draft stream buffer regulations [pdf] for the Lake George watershed. These regulations are the most important environmental action the Park Commission has taken in years and are important to the water quality of Lake George – over half of the water in the lake comes from local streams. The FUND for Lake George and Lake George Waterkeeper are asking folks to submit comments (deadline March 15th) to ensure that the Park Commission does not weaken these new rules. They have also published a special report Clear Choice: The Need for Stream Buffers in the Lake George Watershed [pdf] to help educate and inform the public about this issue. There is a Public Hearing Scheduled for February 24th at 11:00 AM at the Holiday Inn in Lake George.

The Albany Times Union recently published an op-ed by FUND Executive Director Peter Bauer on the need for the Park Commission to finalize new stream buffer rules.


Sunday, February 15, 2009

2009 Saranac Lake Winter Carnival Ends

The Saranac Lake 2009 Winter Carnival has ended. After the initial theme, “Hearts Afire,” confused locals–was it about tattoo art? 1970s soft rock record covers?–and failed to attract underwriting from leading antacid manufacturers, the carnival committee settled on the theme, “Pirates of the Adirondacks.” Appropriate in a region where self-image often involves lawlessness, affinity for alcohol, and (in the case of real estate developers) plunder.

If the economy doesn’t turn around soon, expect to see many of the parade day costumes reused come Halloween.


Friday, February 13, 2009

This Week’s Top Adirondack News Stories


Friday, February 13, 2009

Public Meetings on Lows Lake Controversy

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the Adirondack Park Agency (APA) have scheduled two informational meetings for the public on proposed revisions to the draft management plan for the Bog River Flow Complex. At each meeting, there will be a brief presentation on the amendment followed by an opportunity for public comment.

The meetings are slated for Wednesday, February 18th: » Continue Reading.



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