Yesterday (Sunday) at least 140 Scrabble players descended on Lake George for a National Scrabble Association Professional Tournament. They came from all over the east – Ontario, Quebec, New York, Vermont, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland – one of the entrants is Erica Moore of Midtown Manhattan’s Scrabble Club #56 who is blogging about her experience.
Clare and Carl’s, Gus’ Red Hots and McSweeney’s Red Hots are featured in the October issue of Gourmet magazine, which has a story on michigans. The North Country hot dog and meat sauce combo has made the big time.
Our last post concerning the impacts of global warming in our region drew a lot of comments and discussion – including a comment by the Engineer for the Barton / Gore Mountain Wind Project Jim McAndrew about our opposition to his project which we’ll address in a future post on wind power in our region.
One thing is for sure – the experts are warning. Sadly, as is that case with over-development of the Adirondack Park, expanded roads and trails, and lots of other issues which pose dangers to America’s largest wilderness area east of the Mississippi – many of our local commentators, local media, and local cit zens don’t seem to get it.
Take this tidbit from Ed Shamy at the Burlington Free Press:
The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) warned last week that if we don’t take immediate steps to curb global warming, Vermont and the other Northeastern states could face dire consequences by the end of this century.
Our winters could warm by 8 to 12 degrees. The length of the winter snow season could be cut in half. Our growing season could be extended by up to four weeks. We could tack three new summer-like weeks onto May and another three onto September and October. And spring could arrive three weeks earlier than it does now.
Shamy claims he wants to be concerned about “our grotesque automobile and factory emissions,” but really he’s thinking more about himself:
But most of the “perils” seem awfully appealing. If we don’t change our ways, we in Vermont will have winters more like Virginia, you say?
Is that a threat or a promise?
Gee, Shamy, that’s a funny column, but the fact is the threat is a real promise and it’s time people with an “authorized” voice such as yourself started taking it a little more seriously.
Though come to think of it, we only had two 90-degree days this year, so multiply that by three and you have six, which doesn’t sound all that rugged. I could live without more summer heat, but I could live without being a better cribbage player, too. Life is a mixed bag that way.
What exactly is left in your mixed bag when the big lakes no longer freeze, the maple trees are dying, the ski areas are slowly being put out of business, and the tourists move on to more suitable climes?
Ever wonder why the Albany Times Union has such a poor record in elucidating our warmer future? Maybe it has something to do with the big-wigs there, like Associate Editor William M. Dowd, who harbors old right-wing fantasies about global warming. Here’s a gem from a guy who I would guess doesn’t hold a steady interest in, let alone an advanced degree in climatology or environmental science:
I am not a believer in the theory of global warming.
Not that it isn’t getting warmer in some parts of the globe. It is, despite record cold spells and hideous weather across Europe again this year. No, I speak here of the unfortunately widely-promulgated notion that we humans have something to do with climate changes and have the power to influence it to a large extent.
Unfortunately, he’ll probably be long gone when it comes time to eat those words.
And finally from the “just doesn’t get it department,” we have StrikeSlip busy attacking the minds in the country’s most environmentally conscious state for “grandstanding” on global warming.
We know how this ends for the folks who just can’t believe in progress – slavery ends, women get to vote, we stop turning our rivers into sewers, we ban stuff that causes cancer, and we start taking our impacts (personal and otherwise) seriously – at least that the way we hope it happens, old media loudmouths be damned.
The second in our occasional feature of Adirondack Hacks which offer randomly organized links to make life in the Adirondacks easier – technology tools and tips, do-it-yourself (DIY) projects, and anything else that offers a better, more convenient, or healthier way of life in our region.
Ever wonder how much productive land and water you need to support your lifestyle? The Earth Day Network offers 15 easy questions to compare your Ecological Footprint to what others use and how many planets we’d need if everyone lived the way we do. The results are amazing.
The AWI offers a range of services to the public, including invasive species management, water quality monitoring, public education, recreation use studies, fisheries management, ecological studies, forest management and educational publications. Additionally, the program hosts the annual Adirondack Water Quality Conference at Paul Smith’s College.
Water is one of our key Adirondack resources and it’s good news that students from the Earth and Environmental Science Department at SUNY Plattsburgh have recently finished a two year long baseline survey of the hydrology and invasive species in the the 280-square -mile Boquet River Watershed. This data will contribute immensely to our understanding of Adirondack waterways.
If you are interested in being involved in water monitoring day, you might ask the US Geological Survey scientists from the New York Water Science Center to take you along on their trip with students to visit a stream gauge station on Onondaga Creek in Syracuse where they will gather water samples and conduct water-quality tests. The event is sponsored by the Onondaga Environmental Institute and the Onondaga Lake Partnership, and scientists from the Upstate Freshwater Institute in Onondaga County. For more information contact William Kappela at (607) 266-0217, ext. 3013.
Today Jessica Doyle over at Blog Herald has an interesting piece on plans to wall us off from our “neighbors” to the north. It’s a lengthy piece with lots of quotes, but here is the jist:
The U.S. Homeland Security Department announced Thursday that it will be installing high-tech devices along the border with Canada as part of a multibillion-dollar plan to reduce illegal entry into the United States.
Under the new plan, Canada’s border with the U.S. will, within three years, be patrolled by cameras, sensors, unmarked planes and watchtowers.
Apparently they are planning to install as many as 900 watchtowers along the Canadian border. Watchtowers! We can’t even think of a watchtower without calling to mind the Irish Pale, the Berlin Wall, and Internment Camps.
In the first step of the multibillion-dollar plan, the U.S. will implement the technology along a 45-kilometre stretch of border near Tucson, Ariz. This will be followed with similar security measures along the Canadian border.
A $67-million US contract was awarded to Boeing Co. for the implementation of the initial stages of the project.
Folks – who are we kidding besides ourselves. The idea of sealing off the longest undefended border in the world is ridiculous – it’s no wonder they gave the contract to one of America’s preeminent fear mongers and war profiteers.
Here’s a prediction – once the wall is built there will be a steady escalation in the criminality assigned to border-crossers until they start shooting them for leaving one country or the other without the “proper papers.” When the Berlin Wall was in action the zone between countries became known as the “death strip.”
Thousands managed to escape through or over the wall, which divided the city of Berlin for 28 years. But hundreds died trying to flee to the West before the wall fell  years ago — on November 9, 1989.
Some 5,000 East Germans escaped into West Berlin, often resorting to extraordinary means. They hid in hollowed out compartments in automobiles. Others swam, dug tunnels or piloted flying machines to freedom. One slid down a high tension line. Another hid between a pair of surfboards.
More than 170 of those killed trying to escape died in the Death Strip, where armed East German guards had orders to shoot to kill.
The most shocking failed attempt took place on August 17, 1962. Peter Fechter, an 18-year-old apprentice mason, broke for freedom across the Death Strip. East German bullets stopped his flight at the base of the wall. For 50 minutes he lay unaided, moaning, “Help me.”
West Berliners shouted “Murderers!” at the guards, hurled stones at U.S. military vehicles and threw first-aid supplies to Fechter.
Though the shootings are probably still some time away, here is the current problem for a region that depends on Canadian tourists and free trade with our LOCAL neighbors:
I think many Canadians are scared today. so scared that my Mom will not fly through the States on a much shorter route to reach Vancouver from NB to visit me. So scared that my two friends would not travel through the States driving from Vancouver Fredericton en route to live in Vancouver. I don’t believe that we are scared of the citizens of the US. I am not. But maybe we are scared that we won’t be able to get back home.
Relatively fewer hunters and natural predators combined with the amazing adaptability of some species has led to a recent boom in the populations of New York’s largest animals – moose, bear, deer, coyotes and bobcats. In the past few years a 400 pound bear was shot in the City of Albany’s Washington Park after it wandered for a couple hours around the downtown area. In 1997, a moose wandered Albany’s inner city neighborhood of Arbor Hill before being relocated. » Continue Reading.
Today the Adirondack Almanack will begin a new occasional feature. Adirondack Hacks will offer randomly organized links to make life in the Adirondacks easier – technology tools and tips, do-it-yourself (DIY) projects, and anything else that offers a better, more convenient, or healthier way of life in our region.
Even though businesses can’t vote and the media is supposed to present all sides of the story, New York candidates for governor Eliot Spitzer and John Fasospent the day talking to the notoriously conservative New York State Business Council and the myopic Associated Press statewide meeting.
The first event was held at the Sagamore in Bolton Landing – not exactly a bastion of us common folk either. It really makes it clear who they are interested in impressing, and it’s not the actual voter but the candidate’s wealthy inside men (and women) in these organizations. » Continue Reading.
Though the season is all but over, it’s not too late to try out your own climbing iceberg! That is if you can swing the $2,500. It may be a great way to get the kids into climbing and once global warming comes into full effect you may have a fantastic relic of a time when icebergs actually existed.
Who knows – few, if any, are bothering to ask – is anyone conducting research in this area? If so we’d like to hear about it. In the meantime this week’s climate news may give us an indication of what we’re in for ecologically (if not economically) and it looks pretty bad:
Temperatures Still Increasing More Than Expected For more than 25 years Arctic sea ice has slowly diminished in winter by about 1.5 percent per decade. But in the past two years the melting has occurred at rates 10 to 15 times faster. From 2004 to 2005, the amount of ice dropped 2.3 percent; and over the past year, it’s declined by another 1.9 percent, according to Comiso. (Link)
Fluctuations in Sun’s Output Likely Not The Cause Known variations in the sun’s total energy output cannot explain recent global warming, say researchers who have reviewed the existing evidence. The judgment, which appears in the September 14 Nature, casts doubt on the claims of some global warming skeptics who have argued that long-term changes in solar output, or luminosity, might be driving the current climate pattern. (Link)
Storms Will Be More Powerful Human production of greenhouse gases is largely responsible for increasing storm severity, scientists say. (Link)
Higher Temperatures and More Droughts Expected Continental Europe’s extreme summers of recent years, characterized by heavy floods or killer heat waves, could be commonplace by the turn of the century, a climate study says. Its authors believe that changes in the complex relationship between air temperature and land moisture, driven by global warming, will cause European summers to suffer from chronic variability by 2100. (Link)
Plants and Trees at Risk The Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew has issued a “position paper” saying that man-made global warming is changing the outlook for plants and trees worldwide. (Link)
Polar Bear Threatened According to scientists from NASA and the Canadian Wildlife Service, increased Arctic polar bear sightings are related to retreating sea ice triggered by climate warming and not due to population increases as some may believe. (Link)
The EnglishGarden Will Be a Thing of the Past Britain‘s legion of gardening fanatics were warned Tuesday to get ready for global warming which threatens to spoil the traditional English country garden of legend. The immaculately mown lawns and flourishing flowers found in gardens across the country may become a thing of the past if stereotypically rainy Britain continues to struggle with drought and warmer weather. (Link)
So what does all this mean for us? Warmer temperatures? Less snow and ice? Fewer wetlands? More Hurricanes reaching us? Bigger winter storms? Damage to plant and animal populations?
And what are the financial factors for the Adirondacks, a region that depends on its natural environment for so much of its economic life?
And as important – why is our local media not bothering to ask these questions?
UPDATE 9/18/06: Almanack Reader and Lake Champlain Committee Staff Scientist Mike Winslow points us to his new article (response?) “The Heat is On” published today about the effects of global warming on the lake. Excerpt:
Physical changes mostly involve the temperature of the lake. Higher winter temperatures mean reductions in winter ice cover. Such reductions have already begun. Prior to the 1950’s it was very unusual for Lake Champlain not to freeze in a given year, but of late, an absence of ice cover has become a fairly regular event. Higher temperatures mean the lake will stratify earlier in the spring, setting up a warm layer of water over a colder deeper layer, and stay stratified longer. A 1979 study stated stratification in the Main Lake typically began in early June. Over the last four years however, stratification has begun in early to mid-May. Higher temperatures and a lake of ice cover means increased evaporation from the lake. As a result, there is a general agreement, at least in models of the Great Lakes, that average water levels will fall. However, changes in local precipitation patterns greatly influence any such predictions, and such changes may differ between the Great Lakes region and the Champlain Valley.
UPDATE 9/18/06: Almanack Reader and Interim Director of the Center for Environmental Programs at Bowling Green State University Philip G. Terrie suggests the following studies:
J. Curt Stager and Michael R. Martin, “Global Climate Change and the Adirondacks, AJES: Adirondack Journal of Environmental Studies 9 (Spring/Summer 2002), 6-13.
The New England Regional Assessment (NERA) is one of 16 regional assessments, conducted for the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP), as part of the National Assessment of climate change impacts on the United States. The National Assessment is directed by response to the Congressional Act of 1990
The Almanack keeps and eye on eBay for unusual items related to our region. This week an extensive list of advertisements for various resorts, hotels, and more have provided interesting reading. One of the more unique is the classic ad for Gaslight Village in Lake George, shown here. We’re glad to see that the convention center proposal for the former amusement park site is all but dead and the Post Star is now reporting that:
The Warren County Finance Committee on Monday unanimously recommended the full Board of Supervisors authorize the county to contribute up to $1.3 million of the $4.1 million purchase price [for the Gaslight Village property], with the village and town of Lake George each contributing $950,000, with the rest paid by private entities.
One of the proposals is an environmental project designed to mitigate the now painfully obvious effects of siltation from the stream than runs near the property and into Lake George where an enormous sand bar has developed over the last 20 years – a project that’s long overdue for a site that’s been an abandoned eyesore for too long.
UPDATE: Democracy in Albany has a timely discussion of the situation in Albany where their last coporate convention center the Knickerbocker (or Pepsi, or whatever they’re calling it now), like the Glens Falls Civic Center, continues to cost more as local leaders push for another convention center.
Regular readers have probably noticed a few changes here at the Almanack (thanks in part to Beta Blogger), but I thought I’d review them and seek your input on how to make the only regional Adirondack blog even better.
An Adirondack news feed has been added at top right. So far, it hasn’t been as nice as we would have liked, but having the latest google news about the Adirondacks does offer a little something extra. Verdict: not sure if we’ll keep it; we may move to a topix feed instead.
We’ve added a section at right called “support the almanack” where you can:
Visit our Amazon store (make your purchases through the link and we’ll get a portion of the proceeds).
Submit one of our stories to Digg or make us one of your Technorati favorites; by doing so you help bring more readers – more readers, more support, support we could certainly use.
Subscribe to one of our RSS Feeds – we recently started using Bloglines as our newsreader – and we love it! No more dozens of open tabs or windows, easy reading, saving stories, and searching. If you don’t do RSS – we highly suggest you do.
We’ve made reading some of our more popular stories easier by adding some sections at right. Thanks to our new tags at the bottom of each story we’ll be able to occasionally highlight stories on particular topics. Some of the offerings we have as present are:
A selection from our collection of stories of danger and disaster.
A selection of some of our favorite posts from the past year and a half.
An opportunity to sample some more of our stories by type/category/tag.
An opportunity to read stories by county.
A revised Archive of all our past Adirondack Almanack stories.
A new blogroll of Adirondack blogs – these are all local blogs and local blogs only. Adirondack bloggers have come a long way in the past two years and we’re happy the community of Adirondack Blogs is growing steadily. When is the first Adk Blogger Picnic?
A newsfeed of recent stories we’ve dug on Digg. These are stories that are probably not directly related to the Adirondacks but are somehow relevant to our mission or Adirondack news and information.
There are some new features as well in the works including link dumps on specific topics. We hope you like the changes and look forward to your comments and suggestions. feel free to e-mail us at adkalmanack[at]gmail[dot com].
The Adirondack Almanack is a public forum dedicated to promoting and discussing current events, history, arts, nature and outdoor recreation and other topics of interest to the Adirondacks and its communities
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