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.


Thursday, March 19, 2009

Spring Adirondack Wildflower Bloom Dates

Elsewhere in the Northeast, wildflowers are tentatively testing the air, while in the Adirondacks it’s still ski season. It won’t be long, though, till coltsfoot raises its fuzzy yellow head along roadsides.

Two of this region’s most-observant botanists made a study of when each native flower reappears in spring. The late Greenleaf Chase retired from the Department of Environmental Conservation but never tired of guiding friends to see rare blooms in rare places. Professor Mike Kudish, formerly of Paul Smith’s College, created a bloom-date chart for his book Adirondack Upland Flora.

And in case you think botany effete, consider that original Hall-of-Fame pitcher Christy Mathewson kept a list of flowers he found around Saranac Lake in the summer of 1922, when he was there to recover from tuberculosis. (An excerpt: “June 24, 1922: Musk Mallow, Pink Petals also White Petals!!!!”)

Starting with the vernal equinox tomorrow, daylight increases at its fastest rate, Kudish writes. The ground begins to thaw. Around April 5 the mean daily temperature begins to rise above freezing.

Here are Adirondack Upland Flora’s first median flowering dates (at elevations of 1,500 to 2,000 feet; if you live at lower elevations expect to see blooms sooner):

May 2: Trout lily, red maple
May 3: Spring beauty
May 4: Trailing arbutus
May 5: Dutchman’s breeches and squirrel corn
May 6: Round-leaved violet
May 7: Sweet gale
May 8: Sweet white violet
May 9: Painted trillium
May 10: Strawberry
May 11: Bartram’s serviceberry
May 12: Purple trillium
May 14: Leatherleaf
May 15: Blue violet, early saxifrage, Canada honeysuckle, kidneyleaf buttercup; most hardwoods begin to leaf out rapidly
May 17: Marsh marigold and sugar maple
May 19: Bellwort
May 20: Goldthread and toothwort
May 21: Canada violet and serviceberry
May 22: Witchhobble, downy yellow violet, red cherry (Christy Matthewson reported witchhobble blooms in April)
May 23: Dwarf ginseng
May 25: Red elderberry
May 30: Foamflower
May 31: Pussytoes

Shortly before he died in the early 1990s Greenie Chase made flower-finding notes for Kathy Regan, when she was staff biologist at the Nature Conservancy’s Adirondack Chapter. In late May, he suggested, visit Valcour Island to see ram’s head ladyslipper and look on alpine summits for lapland rosebay.

We’ll post more of Christy, Greenie and Mike’s bloom notes as spring and summer progress. You can see Christy Mathewson’s list yourself in the William Chapman White Adirondack Research Center of the Saranac Lake Free Library.


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Adirondack Canoeing Symposium

Canoeists understand the silent satisfaction of the paddle-powered glide. The late John Jerome, who wrote often of water and of the Adirondacks, described the aesthetics:

“[W]e paddled long enough that I began to feel the enticing sphere of energy in the water beside the boat — all the water I could comfortably reach with the paddle — and got the sense that by shaping it, pushing and pulling against it, carving it, molding it, I could make the canoe go where we wanted it to go. Playing with that added fundamentally to the sensual pleasure of the trip.”

If you’d like to increase your paddle pleasure, “obedience classes” for canoes are held each summer in the Adirondacks. Equal parts woodcraft and ballet camp, the Adirondack Freestyle Symposium promises to add “efficiency, grace and fun” to your boating. Registration just opened for this year’s gathering, which will be held July 19-23 at Houghton College’s Star Lake campus. American Canoe Association–certified instructors will teach a variety of levels, from basic travel technique to omering (an off-keel solo method).

Some advanced freestylers add music and perform a routine. But you don’t have to do that.


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

Traditional Irish Music for St. Patrick’s Day

If you like real Irish music, the northern Adirondacks is a good place to be this St. Patrick’s Day. Michael Cooney, an All-Ireland champion piper many times over, is playing in several venues.

Cooney was born in Tipperary, where he learned tunes from local fiddle and accordion players. In the 1980s he came to the United States, recently moving to Lake Placid.

With the band Aiseiri, Cooney will be playing today at P2s Pub in Tupper Lake 4-6 p.m. and at Kyna’s Pub in Malone 8-11 p.m. Wednesday Aisieri will play 12:10-1:10 p.m. at North Country Community College’s Saranac Lake campus, in the Connector (cafeteria).

A lot of bands play Irish music, but it’s rare to find musicians so dedicated to the old-country style. Aiseiri also features a singer, bodhrán (drum) and banjo player as well as another uilleann (elbow) pipes player who complement each other beautifully.

Aiseiri is organizing the second annual Festival of Ireland in Lake Placid, to be held Labor Day weekend.

Sláinte.


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

The 2009 Adirondack March Madness Bracket


Well, it is that time of year again, when office worker productivity takes a dive as all thoughts and computer monitors turn to the NCAA basketball tournament. For those of you who could not possibly care less about “the dance,” but resent having to do something useful while your co-workers squander their afternoons and paychecks poring over free-throw percentages and betting pools, your friends at Adirondack Almanack offer this equally pointless alternative: Our first (and possibly last) annual Adirondack Bracket…

Since late last fall, bits and scraps of odd Adirondack trivia and associated miscellanea ranging from the obvious to the obscure have been floating around the desk, vying for recognition and publication in one form or another. This weekend we finally got around to putting them all into a feed-cap, jamming the feed-cap into the computer disk drive and and generating a random list. We then proceeded to select the top 64 items from that list (with a few minor alterations) and plug them into our tournament bracket. In the coming weeks we will post the randomly selected outcomes of each pairing after each corresponding round of the NCAAs. As our Adirondack Bracket reaches its thrilling climax, we hope you will share your thoughts on the pairings and your predictions of the outcomes. Let the random acts of Adirondack mud Season mania begin.


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.


Monday, March 16, 2009

Kids Enter Big Tupper Ski Area Fight

It’s hard to believe that Big Tupper, the ski area in Tupper Lake with a vertical drop of 1,136 feet, has been closed for a decade. A pair of local owners threw in the towel in 1999 after a string of money-losing seasons.

Small and midsize ski centers are marginal businesses in the Adirondack Park. There’s only one still privately owned inside the Blue Line: Royal Mountain, in Caroga Lake, which balances the books by hosting motocross in the off-season. There are some little town-run hills, and the village of Speculator recently took over bankrupt Oak Mountain. The state Olympic Regional Development Authority’s larger Whiteface and Gore Mountains seem to be going strong in Wilmington and North Creek.

Tupper Lake has a long skiing tradition, and you can’t blame people there for wanting their kids to grow up on the home slope. Diana Foley, a town resident, is organizing a rally at the base of the mountain at 4 p.m. today for local students to show support for reopening it.

But strings are attached. Ever since the ski area was sold in 2004 it has become the centerpiece of a development plan that also includes 652 high-end home and townhouse lots, a 60-room inn and other amenities. Foley has spoken out in favor of a tax exemption for the Adirondack Club and Resort.

The project has become a sensitive issue, drawing questions about its scale, financing, tax breaks, new utilities and backcountry building lots. Inside Tupper Lake, there have been shows of political and public support. Some have questioned whether asking kids to wear ski jackets and carry signs shills them into a much larger debate. And to miss a point. Nobody is against skiing.

Foley said this morning that the kids are fully aware of the broader issues, and many young people came unsolicited to a rally in favor of the project last month. “I think the more noise we can make the better,” she said. “What are the students going to have when they graduate from high school?” There are few jobs in town, she said, and the resort as a whole, not just the ski area, would give Tupper Lake an economic boost

A memorandum from the developers detailing ski deals that the town will get as part of an exchange for creation of a new sewer district is distracting. Free skiing for Franklin County residents age 70 or older is nice, but free skiing for septuagenarians no matter where they live is standard across the country. Likewise free skiing for young children. Any Tupper Lake student with straight As or perfect attendance would get a free season pass. Whiteface and Gore’s Youth Commission Programs offer youth-group deals including six full days of skiing and a lesson for $103, regardless of grades or attendance. Titus Mountain, north of the Blue Line, offers similar incentives to young skiers.

Which is not to say that lead developer Michael Foxman doesn’t have a point when he argues that the ski area can’t be self-sustaining; the second homes are necessary to support it, he maintains, and so a hostage situation enters its fifth year.

His Philadelphia-based investor group originally planned to open a new base lodge and skiing by Christmas 2006, but the project is still in Adirondack Park Agency-ordered adjudication as well as mediation with three dozen concerned parties. The parties aren’t supposed to talk about it, but last month Foxman sent a letter to the Plattsburgh Press-Republican saying the plan remains alive.

He also noted that Big Tupper languished on the market for five years when the economy was “booming,” criticizing a suggestion by an environmentalist involved in the mediation that the town try to obtain the ski area and pursue other buyers. “Had it not been for the actions of [the environmentalist] and his peers (not the APA), your readers and their children might be skiing Big Tupper now,” Foxman wrote.

Organizers say Foxman is expected to attend the child rally today and a meeting of the Tupper Lake town board tonight.


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

James Tedisco and The GOP’s 20th CD Hopes

National media have framed the race for New York’s 20th congressional district seat as the pivot point on the National Republican Party’s path to resurgence. However, recent opinion polls of likely voters show that this might not be the slam dunk the party wants or expects. In fact the numbers continue a trend which has already become well-established over the course of this decade. If the trend continues, the GOP — fresh off a well financed loss in the same district — may be fulfilling Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity. And while New York Assembly Minority Leader Jim Tedisco’s hijacking of the Republican nomination may have been more a reflection of personal ambition than of party strategy, The RNC has bought into his dream quite conspicuously. If Tedisco and state and national party leaders are unable to stem the momentum of the rising Murphy campaign, this race may well become a showcase not of a political movement making a comeback, but of one coming undone altogether.


Friday, March 13, 2009

This Week’s Top Adirondack News Stories


Friday, March 13, 2009

Adirondack Blogging Round-Up



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