Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Bigger Better Bottle Bill Coalition Responds to Defeat

On June 1st the Bigger Better Bottle Bill was supposed to go into effect. Instead the bill’s implementation was delayed by a federal judge. Considered a landmark environmental victory, the legislation marked the first comprehensive update of New York’s 5-cent deposit law (known as the Bottle Bill) since it was created in 1982, and caps a more then seven-year campaign by a widespread coalition of environmental organizations.

The judge’s ruling blocked the collecting five-cent deposits on bottles of water until April 2010. The law would also have allowed the state to begin collecting 80 percent of unclaimed deposits, money which bottlers had been keeping for themselves. According to the Associated Press the ruling may cost the state “an estimated $115 million in unclaimed deposits on bottles for water and other beverages that it was to start collecting this year.” Judge Griesa also declared that a requirement for New York-specific bar coding on labels violates the U.S. Constitution’s commerce clause.

The following press release was issued by a coalition of environmental groups:

Groups Call on State Leaders to Fix Law, Protect Environment & Restore State Budget

Today should have been a historic day for New York’s environment. After a long campaign involving hundreds of groups, businesses, and recycling advocates, a significant victory was achieved when the Governor and the State Legislature approved the Bigger Better Bottle Bill this spring. The expansion to water bottles and other key elements of the new law were scheduled to go into effect today.

But in a surprising decision, late last Friday, U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Griesa delayed implementation of all the new updates to the bottle law until April 1, 2010. This ruling went well beyond what Nestle and the other water bottling companies were seeking in their lawsuit. It not only delays the expansion to water bottles, but extends to all other parts of the new law, including the transfer of 80% of the unclaimed deposits to the state and the 1.5 cent handling fee increase for stores and redemption centers.

As a result, the state will lose at least $115 million this year in revenue from the unclaimed deposits, which will throw New York’s recently enacted state budget out of balance. More than two billion water bottles will end up in the waste stream rather than recycled. And many small redemption centers who were counting on the increased handling fee will be forced to shut down and lay off workers.

How did this happen? While many businesses raised concerns that the new law’s labeling requirements were impossible to meet by June 1st, the Governor, Assembly and Senate failed to come to an agreement on amending the law in a timely fashion. As a result, the decision to delay the bottle bill was made in court. Although no one could have predicted the judge’s decision, this matter need not ever have reached the courtroom.

On Earth Day, almost 50 environmental groups presented awards to Governor David Paterson, Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith, and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver for enacting this important environmental law. Now, we urge them to do everything in their power to bring the bottle bill back on track as soon as possible so that our environment, our businesses, and our budget will not suffer from this judicial setback.

Members of the Bigger Better Bottle Bill Coaliton include:

Adirondack Council • Adirondack Mountain Club • American Farmland Trust • American Littoral Society • Bottle and Can Redemption Association • Buffalo Audubon Society • Citizens Campaign for the Environment • Citizens’ Environmental Coalition • Environmental Advocates of New York • Group for the East End • Hudson River Sloop Clearwater • Jamesville Positive Action Committee • Land Trust Alliance • League of Women Voters of New York State • Long Island Environmental Voters Forum • Long Island Pine Barrens Society • Natural Resources Defense Council • New York-New Jersey Trail Conference • New York League of Conservation Voters • New York Redeemers Coalition • New York Public Interest Research Group • New York State Association of Reduction, Reuse and Recycling • New Yorkers for Fiscal Fairness • North Shore Land Alliance • Orange Environment • People’s Environmental Network of New York • Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter • Sure We Can • Surfrider Foundation • Upper West Side Recycling • Wildlife Conservation Society


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

4th Annual Adirondack Literary Award Winners

The Adirondack Center for Writing (ACW) has announced its 4th Annual Adirondack Literary Award winners. The juried awards program honors books published in or about the Adirondacks in the previous year. The awards ceremony, which took place on Sunday at the Blue Mountain Center, is one of the Adirondack Center for Writing’s most popular events. More than seventy writers, publishers, and readers attended the awards ceremony this year. Adirondack Almanack announced this year’s submissions last week. Here are the winners:

FICTION
Matt Bondurant, The Wettest County in the World
 (published by Scribner)

POETRY
Philip Memmer, Threat of Pleasure
(Word Press)

CHILDREN’S LITERATURE
Joseph Bruchac
, March Toward the Thunder (Dial Books)

PHOTOGRAPHY
Mark Bowie and Timothy Weidner, In Stoddard’s Footsteps: The Adirondacks Then & Now(North Country Books)

MEMOIR
Bernice Mennis, Breaking Out of Prison: A Guide to Consciousness, Compassion, and Freedom(iUniverse)

NONFICTION
Harold Weston (Rebecca Foster, Editor), Freedom in the Wilds: An Artist in the Adirondacks(Syracuse University Press)

EDITED COLLECTION
Editor, Ellen Rocco, Stories, Food, Life (North Country Public Radio) 



PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARD
Roger Mitchell, 


Lemon Peeled the Moment Before: New and Selected Poems 1967-2008(Ausable Press)


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

32-30: A NYS Senate Counting Coup

A few short weeks ago it was widely reported that upstate billionaire, Buffalo Sabres owner, and former NY gubernatorial hopeful, B. Thomas Golisano, retired to Florida to spend his retirement pursuing a favorite hobby: toppling the New York State Legislature. Yesterday he returned for a visit.


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Senator Betty Little and a Prelude to a Coup

“How are things in Albany? They’ve probably never been worse,” Betty Little said at an early morning breakfast in Saranac Lake Friday.

Making no attempt to mask her frustration with the Democrats’ ineffectual five-month-long reign over the New York State Senate, the Republican who represents much of the North Country was pessimistic as she gave an audience of Saranac Lake’s political, health-care, education and economic-development leaders her take on the situation in state government. She did not allude to any plans for a Senate takeover, but the candor of her remarks made Monday’s news of Republican blowback in the Capitol a bit less of a surprise.

Little was joined by Republican assemblywomen Janet Duprey and Teresa Sayward. All three represent Saranac Lake, which straddles two assembly districts.

The impending closure of Camp Gabriels minimum-security prison is draining a hundred jobs from the area. The inmates are moved out, and only a dozen or so guards and administrative staff remain on duty to shutter the place by July 1. The village got little encouragement on a reuse strategy for the facility.

“I mean there really is no money. We’ve got to face that,” Little said, complaining that the $132 billion budget passed by Democratic governor David Patterson and both Democrat-controlled houses of the State Assembly failed to reduce spending.

The three said executive-branch staff are in such flux that’s it’s difficult to know who the go-to people in state government are. Even things like the senate’s schedule are hard to divine, Little said. There are two weeks left in the session, but she doubted the Democratic leadership would stick to the deadline. Now it looks like the session might be prolonged no matter who is in charge.

“We’re spending a lot of time now trying to correct what was done in secret,” Little said, citing changes to Empire Zone rules and a new law that would allow drug offenders to seal drug-crime records if they feel that they have been rehabilitated of an addiction. “The new process seems to be put forth a proposal, vote on it and correct it because nobody has had a chance to look at it.”

Inevitably Senator Little was asked what she thought of New York’s 23rd District congressional seat, being vacated by Republican John McHugh, who is nominated to become Secretary of the Army. There are only three Republicans representing New York State in Washington, Little noted. “It could have been four. I have to say I know I could have won that seat,” she said, referring to the 20th District, where Democrat Scott Murphy just won a special election to replace Kirsten Gillibrand, who had been appointed to the U.S. Senate. Saranac Lake is split between the two districts.

In an acknowledgement of dysfunction in her own party, Little called for an “open process” and polling as GOP leaders begin choosing a candidate to replace McHugh. The Republicans must pick a person who can win the seat, not just a person who wants it, or else the party could be redistricted out of the state, she warned. In the 20th District party leaders reached over Little to select James Tedisco, the opportunistic former assembly minority leader, who did not reside in the district.

Congratulating St. Joseph’s Rehabilitation Center in Saranac Lake for being named one of the top 20 places to work in New York State, Assemblywoman Duprey added, “Where we’re working is not.”


Monday, June 8, 2009

Opinion: Election For McHugh’s Seat -An Opportunity for Local Media to Demonstrate Their Worth

Provided he is confirmed, which seems very likely, John McHugh’s elevation to Secretary of the Army means another special election fight here in the Adirodnack region. I railed here about the failure of local media to accurately report on our last Special Election, that for Kirstin Gillibrand’s 20th Congressional District seat. Outlets as varied as NCPR and the Glens Falls Post Star united in declaring from the beginning that there were only two candidates – not surprisingly they were those from the two major parties, two other candidates were all but ignored as irrelevant. During the 20th race local political writers and editors even blatantly defended their undemocratic actions on the grounds that they were the arbiters for all of us as to which candidates were “legitimate” and “relevant.”

All the local media’s nonsense and anti-democratic proclamations raised a constant barrage from local blogs who attempted to hold them to account. One response from Brian Mann at NCPR seems to have been a regular attack on bloggers for destroying the profits of local newspapers. His argument, expressed regularly by others in the old media business as well, is that the loss of our local newspapers will destroy our democracy. I know – it’s downright funny to actually argue that the loss of today’s local newspapers will actually hurt democracy!

Of course their arguments are ridiculous at best, self-serving and disingenuous at worst – but that’s what we’ve come to expect from local media. And why not, they are almost entirely owned by corporate interests, and if not, they have been educated on the corporate journalism model. Never mind that newspaper circulation reached a peak in 1993, long before blogs and other news aggregators existed; in fact, before the internet was any sort of real force in our lives (and not coincidentally at the height of both corporate media control and the power of their corporate two-party system). If the internet means the death of an old corporate media tied to the two parties that have dominated politics since the rise of corporate control of the presses, then good riddance.

Maybe I’m wrong – maybe a 23rd Special Election will prove to be the election that local media actually reports fairly and proves their worth. Maybe we’ll actually see an investigative report on the election that’s not tied to support for one of the corporate candidates. Maybe local media will cover all the candidates equally. It’s not likely, but it would be nice. Let me offer some advice – right now there are no candidates – when one announces, begin covering them, as each new candidate emerges, cover them equally until such time THEY say they are no longer a candidate. That’s called fairness, it’s a major tenet of the Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics.

So far, the Albany Project been the best provider of news and information about the potential upcoming 23rd Special Election. Here is a round-up of the reporting so far to show some of what’s already happening. First the old style media:

The Times Union’s Capital Confidential blog provides a list of Republican and Democratic potential challengers (let the bias begin).

Cap Con on what their 20th CD corporate candidate Democrat Scott Murphy thinks.

NCPR’s Brian Mann on how the race will be a repeat of the Republican-Democrat bruiser (there’s your first sports metaphor from me Brian) in the 20th CD.

Brian Mann on whether the Republican is really a pawn of the Democratic party.

Brian Mann on whether Republican DeeDee Scozzafava has a chance.

The Zach Subar and Nathan Brown of the Leader-Herald let us know that McHugh’s Republican Chief of Staff won’t run – thanks guys – are their any other Republicans who won’t run that we should know about?

Now for the local independent blogs:

The Albany Project lets us know through actual reporting that their are 103,847 voters enrolled (out of 392,006 total) who are not designated as Republicans or Democrats (including three Socialists!).

The Albany Project provides a detailed and well researched history of the district going back to 1830.

And a few others:

The Politicker’s (a mainstream media darling blog) reports on the Democrat and Republican chances twice.

Herkimer County Progressive on Why the Democrats can Win.

Jefferson Democrat on the Democratic opportunity.

Jefferson Leaning Left on the confusion among Republicans.

Conservative blogger Political IV on Republican chances.

It’s amazing how much the partisan blog reports look like the old media reports – isn’t it?

You can follow the 23rd CD race here at Adirondack Almanack; we also cover politics more generally here.


Monday, June 8, 2009

DEC to Track Emerald Ash Borer with Traps

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is setting baited traps in ash trees across upstate New York in an effort to search for possible infestations of the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB), a tree-killing beetle. You will soon be seeing the purple prism traps deployed in treelines throughout New York, with a concentration in areas adjacent to neighboring states and Canadian provinces that have already detected this potentially devastating invasive species, including several Adirondack counties. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, June 7, 2009

Cornell Offers Green Jobs Forum in Warrensburg

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Warren County is working with Cornell University and the Workforce Development Institute of New York to host a Green Jobs forum on Thursday, June 25, 10:00am to Noon. The forum will be broadcast to Cornell Cooperative Extension Associations located in 14 counties across New York State via Cornell’s distance learning network. The forum is free and open to the public. Information on the following topics and issues will be addressed:

* what is meant by the term “green jobs”
* where and in what sectors of the economy do they exist
* information on available training programs
* what does the future look like for the “green jobs sector”

General information about the workforce development institute and information about what services are available to the public will also be discussed.

The Green Jobs Forum will also provide information on starting a home performance / home energy audit business. New York State currently has training programs in place and some financial incentives available to entrepreneurs and home improvement contracting firms that want to expand into the home energy audit field.

Seating for the Green Jobs Forum is limited so if you are interested in attending, please phone Cornell Cooperative Extension of Warren County at 668-4881 or 623-3291 to reserve a seat.


Sunday, June 7, 2009

Gardening for Butterflies and Moths

Most of us are familiar with monarch butterflies, those stunning Hallowe’en-colored insects that make phenomenal migration flights from the northern parts of North American to the hidden forests in Mexico. But if you mention painted ladies, people are more likely to think of old Victorian houses with bright new paint jobs, or women with questionable reputations, than they are butterflies. Likewise, thanks to ads for a popular sleeping remedy, luna moths are easily recognized by much of the American population, while Isabella moths remain mostly unknown (woolly bear caterpillars turn into Isabella moths). » Continue Reading.


Saturday, June 6, 2009

80-House Brandreth Park Project on Adirondack Park Agency Agenda

The Adirondack Park Agency (APA) will hold its regularly scheduled monthly meeting on Thursday, June 11 and Friday June 12 at APA Headquarters in Ray Brook. The June meeting will be webcast live via a link on the Agency’s homepage at www.apa.state.ny.us. Here is the meeting agenda:

The Full Agency will convene on Thursday morning at 9:00 for the Acting Executive Director’s monthly report.

At 9:15 a.m., the Regulatory Programs Committee will consider Brandreth Park Association’s large scale residential development project proposed for an 8,670 acre tract of land surrounding Brandreth Lake in the Town of Long Lake, Hamilton County. The applicant requests authorization, over a 100 year period, for new residential sites to accommodate up to 80 single family dwellings, a caretaker’s residence, a “gathering house”, five commonly owned guesthouses and up to four boathouses on portions of the tract. The creation of building sites is considered a subdivision under the APA Act.

At this time the committee will consider just the first proposed section which includes the subdivision into sites for construction of up to 44 single family dwellings and one or more of five planned guesthouses. Building footprints for these structures will not exceed 2,500 square feet or 35 feet in height.

Any future proposed land use and development will require separate Agency approval. All proposed development will be clustered within a 442 acre development area at the northern end of Brandreth Lake. No new land use or development is planned for the remaining 8,230 acres (95%) which will remain as open space forestland.

Next the committee will consider a second permit renewal for a convenience store, deli and gas station in the town of Greig, Lewis County.

Following this discussion the committee will consider approval for two general permit applications, one for structural stabilization of shorelines as watershed management projects or involving wetlands and a second for residential subdivisions involving regulated wetlands.

The committee meeting will conclude with a staff presentation summarizing cellular projects constructed along the Adirondack Northway.

At 11:30, the State Land Committee will consider a proposed classification and reclassification of certain State lands under the jurisdiction of the NYS Department of Transportation to State Administration.

At 1:00, the Park Policy and Planning Committee will hear a presentation on the Agency’s map amendment process. Planning staff will explain the criteria used in approving map amendment requests, review Ticonderoga’s recent amendment which resulted in expansion to their Hamlet area and provide an example of a possible future Hamlet expansion in the Town of Westport, Essex County.

At 1:45, planning staff will demonstrate to the Local Government Services Committee a land use mapping tool developed internally to assist local governments with community planning and zoning efforts. This application takes advantage of a commonly used digital file format and will allow local communities to tap into the Agency’s computer mapping capabilities without incurring extensive software and training costs.

At 2:15, the “Community Spotlight” segment will feature Town of Bellmont Supervisor Bruce Russell. Supervisor Russell will provide an overview of his community and highlight important issues facing this northern Franklin County town.

At 3:00, the Enforcement Committee will come to order for an administrative enforcement proceeding related to alleged violations resulting from the operation of a junkyard without an Agency permit. These violations are alleged to have occurred along State Route 73 in the Town of Keene, Essex County.
On Friday morning at 9:00, the Economic Affairs Committee will convene for a follow-up to its April 2009 presentation on three successful manufacturing businesses in Essex County. This month’s focus is on small business development assistance that is available through the Adirondack Economic Development Corporation (AEDC) and the North Country Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Plattsburgh State. The committee will be briefed by Mike Conway, Adirondack Economic Development Corporation Executive Director, and Rick Leibowitz, Regional Director for the Small Business Development Centeron on small business assistance programs.

At 10:00, the Legal Affairs Committee will receive an update on the Agency’s proposed legislation involving affordable housing incentives, permit reforms and community planning funds. Staff will also provide a status update on current regulatory revision.

At 10:30, the Administration Committee will review proposed revisions to the Agency’s Policy & Guidance System.

The Full Agency will convene at 11:00 to take actions as necessary and conclude the meeting with committee reports, public and member comment.

Meeting materials are available for download from the Agency’s website at: http://www.apa.state.ny.us/Mailing/0906/index.htm

The next Agency meeting is July 9-10, 2009 at the Adirondack Park Agency Headquarters.

August Agency Meeting August 13-14, 2009, Adirondack Park Agency Headquarters.


Saturday, June 6, 2009

Make Way for Adirondack Turtles

Evening walks in the spring are utterly enjoyable, despite the blackflies and mosquitoes. Every trip out the door is like opening a gift: the anticipation of some wondrous thing, the joy of seeing it for the first time. Even though we expect certain events at certain times of the year (because they occur regular as clockwork), they still delight us when we see them. I suspect this is something that harkens to our primitive selves, like watching the flickering flames of a campfire.

Tuesday evening Toby and I took our walk down to the Hudson River, checking some of “my” nestboxes along the way. The sun was out and a nice breeze was blowing – almost enough to keep the insects away. We toured around the Information Center at the river’s edge, noted that the water level is back down, and then turned around, heading for home. I was thinking that fairly soon we should start seeing the wood turtles wandering the roadsides in search of good nest sites, but I figured that it was still a bit too cool, thanks to the recent cold front.

Suddenly Toby stopped, sniffing the road. We investigated the pavement, which yielded nothing that I could see, and just as I was turning back around to continue our walk, I spotted her: the first wood turtle of the season. She was on the side of the road, her back to us, standing completely still. She wasn’t very large; her carapace maybe eight inches long. I greeted her and stroked her shell, which she didn’t seem to appreciate for she tucked in her legs, tail and head, doing her best to disappear. A quick scan of the sandy road shoulders didn’t turn up any evidence of recent digging, so I’m not sure if she had already laid her eggs or if she was just starting to search for a site.

This is the time of year when turtles of all stripes emerge from the woods and waters to lay their eggs. They search for good sandy soil that is easily dug. Using their powerful hind legs, they scoop out holes and fill them with ping-pong-ball-like eggs. The soft, leathery shells allow the eggs to drop without sustaining any damage. Once they finish laying, the turtles push the sand back over the eggs, completely hiding all evidence of their labors, and then wander off to continue their lives in the woods (or waters) they call home.

But turtle survival is a tenuous thing. Temperature is important for the development of the eggs (it also determines the sex of the embryos). If the weather is cool and wet all summer, they may not develop at all. Then there are the predators. Like warm-blooded metal detectors, foxes, raccoons and coyotes sniff out turtle nests along the roadsides; when one is located, they dig it up and devour the contents. Sometimes nests are laid in sandy roadbeds only to later on be paved over by road crews. In the almost nine years I have lived here, have never seen a wood turtle hatchling. Snappers, yes, we see baby snapping turtles every year (they must be hardier souls), but never a baby wood or painted turtle.

From late spring throughout the summer I tell people to be on the lookout for turtles. If you see a turtle crossing the road, do your best not to hit it. Better yet, you can be a turtle’s best friend if you pull over and assist it in its travels. Most turtles you can pick up, gently, like you are holding a sandwich, and just carry across the road – take them in the direction they were heading and let them go. Larger snappers, however, you might want to lift with a shovel (I always have one in the back of my car – good for snow removal in winter, turtle removal in summer). And if you should find a turtle that was not so lucky, and was hit by a car but is still alive, put it in a box and call a rehabilitator. You’d be surprised what they can do with fiberglass and super glue these days!

Remember, too, that many turtles are protected by state law. This means you cannot legally collect them, either to sell or to keep as a pet. Likewise, if you should have a pet turtle, like a red-eared slider for example, never turn it loose in the wild! This is how non-native populations become established. Some non-native species are not problematic, but too many others become invasive, using up natural resources and pushing out native species which cannot compete with the aggressive newcomers.
Our native wildlife and plants are having a tough enough time surviving in today’s changing world – let’s not make things more difficult for them by introducing additional competitors.

Photo by Steve Silluzio.


Friday, June 5, 2009

Wilmington: New Multi-use Flume Trail System Opens

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has officially opened the Flume Trail System as the first trail system on forest preserve lands in the Adirondacks designed to allow mountain biking. Representatives and staff from DEC, the Town of Wilmington, the Wilmington Mountain Peddlers, Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK) and Whiteface Mountain Ski Area and the members of the public attended a ribbon cutting ceremony at the trailhead in the Wilmington Wild Forest. Earlier that morning volunteers spent time working on the trails. Afterward the Town of Wilmington and the Wilmington Mountain Peddlers hosted a barbecue.

The Flume Trail System includes approximately eight miles of trails for four season recreational activities including mountain biking, hiking, cross country skiing, and snowshoeing. The trails were designed to meet the specifications of the International Mountain Bicycling Association and include trails rated as easy, moderate and hard. The system includes a trail along the West Branch of the Ausable River and a hiking only trail to Flume Knob.

The majority of the trails lie within the Wilmington Wild Forest unit of the forest preserve, however, approximately two miles of trail are located on the Whiteface Mountain Ski Area, which is operated by the Olympic Regional Development Authority.

The Town of Wilmington strongly advocated for mountain bike trails during DEC’s development of the management plan for the Wilmington Wild Forest. In addition to the Flume Trail System, the management plan, which was approved in October 2005, also proposes a seven mile multi-use trail system in the Beaver Brook Tract, off of Hardy Road, designed to include mountain biking. The Town also appropriated funds to pay for the Adirondack Mountain Club’s professional trail crew to construct new trail segments at the Flume in 2007.

The Wilmington Mountain Peddlers have been involved from the early days of trail development at the Flume, and have also been strong advocates for mountain bike trails. The group has volunteered countless hours to construct and maintain the trails. They will continue to maintain the Flume Trail System under DEC’s Adopt-A- Natural-Resource program.

In addition to work by their professional crew, the Adirondack Mountain Club has organized numerous volunteer work projects to upgrade existing trails and construct new trail segments at the Flume. An ADK volunteer trail crew will be constructing a new trail to connect the Flume Trail System with the Whiteface Trail from the Wilmington reservoir this summer.

The Whiteface Mountain Ski Area has allowed some of their trails to be included in the Flume Trail network for the free use of the public. These include a scenic trail along the West Branch of the Ausable River, utilized by bikers, hikers, and anglers. Mountain bikers can pay a fee to access the ski areas other 25 trails and the gondola to the top of Little Whiteface. Crews from Whiteface also assisted in the construction of some of the initial trails in the trail system. A proposed hiking only trail to Bear Den Cliffs, will be constructed in the future on the Whiteface Mountain Ski Area lands, and will be open to the public as part of the Flume Trail system.

The Flume Trail System can be accessed from trailhead on Route 86, approximately 2 miles west of the hamlet of Wilmington or from the Kid’s Campus parking lot at the Whiteface Mountain Ski Area.


Friday, June 5, 2009

Adirondack Weekly Blogging Round-Up


Friday, June 5, 2009

This Week’s Top Adirondack News Stories


Thursday, June 4, 2009

ADK Music Scene: A Mix of Pros and Amateurs

This weekend boasts an interesting mixture of professionals and amateurs. From an All-Star Open Mic to an African drumming and dance troupe, both incorporate experienced and inexperienced performers. Often jams and sessions have that kind of mix too – in this way everyone learns something. Amateurs learn to improve their skills and pros learn to improve their patience.

But first . . . there is nothing amateur about the band Atlantic Crossing, which will be at The Amos and Julia Ward Theater in Jay on Friday at 7 pm. They play a mixture of traditional songs and instrumentals from New England, the Celtic British Isles and French Maritime Canada. Music to get your feet tapping and spirits soaring.

On Saturday June 6 you have a choice:

The All-Star Open Mic Night, at BluSeed in Saranac Lake; all the winners and some of the hosts of the past season will be performing, the Dust Bunnies and the Starlights among them. What fun – you get to hear an eclectic mix of poetry and songs. Performers travel from all around the region for these democratic events. Some of the newer performers have a chance to let go of some of their first time stage-fright jitters because this will be their second time in front of an audience – they’re pros now, right? Since this is also a chance to support BluSeed the cover charge will be $6 instead of the usual $3. The performances start at 7:30 pm and will be well worth it.

At the Amos and Julia Ward Theater in Jay there will be a performance by Wulaba Drumming and Soma Beats Dancing. Show starts at 6:30 pm. I saw these folks doing their thing at the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival Rotary Show this year and it was great – very energetic and uplifting, made me want to join the class. Admission is $5.

Sunday June 7:

There is a recital to be given by the students of the accomplished Saranac Lake multi-instrumentalist Sue Grimm – obviously it’s not professional but so cute! It’s being held at BluSeed at 2 pm. You never know, you might see a future star just starting to shine.

In Long Lake at The Quakenbush Long View Lodge on Deerland Road there will be an open jam held from 4 – 6 pm. Call (518) 624-3879 for details.


Thursday, June 4, 2009

DEC Reminder: ‘A Fed Bear is A Dead Bear’

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is reminding campers, hikers and homeowners to take precautions against unwanted encounters with black bears. There are approximately 4,000 – 5,000 bears in New York’s northern bear range, primarily in the Adirondacks. Bear populations have been increasing in number and expanding in distribution over the past decade.

Black bears will become a nuisance and can cause significant damage if they believe they can obtain an easy meal from bird feeders, garbage cans, dumpsters, barbecue grills, tents, vehicles, out-buildings or houses. When bears learn to obtain food from human sources, their natural foraging habits and behavior are changed. » Continue Reading.


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