A new atlas on the birds of New York reveals that during the past two decades over half of New York State’s bird populations have seen dramatic changes in their distributions, with 70 species experiencing significant increases, 58 species experiencing serious declines, and 125 species maintaining relative stability. Among the birds showing the largest increases in New York State are Canada Goose, Wild Turkey, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Carolina Wren, Peregrine Falcon, Osprey, Cooper’s Hawk, Bald Eagle, Common Raven, Turkey Vulture, and Merlin. Those showing the largest decreases are Henslow’s Sparrow, Red-headed Woodpecker, Brown Thrasher, Common Nighthawk, Purple Martin, and Canada Warbler. Resident woodland birds showed the greatest increases as a group, and grassland birds showed the greatest declines. These new findings, published this month by Cornell University Press in The Second Atlas of Breeding Birds in New York State, are the result of over 140,000 hours in the field by nearly 1,200 volunteers across New York State. The atlas, edited by two prominent figures in the field, ornithologist Kevin J. McGowan of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, and wildlife biologist Kimberley Corwin of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC), was initiated by the New York State Ornithological Association and implemented by the NYSDEC, which provided the funding, management personnel, oversight, direction, and data capture and management. The majority of the funding came from the state tax check-off program, “Return a Gift to Wildlife.”
According to the new study New Yorkers have considerably helped bird populations by planting trees and shrubs that provide food and cover, supporting conservation organizations, and participating in cutting-edge programs such as the Landowner Incentive Program.
The Second Atlas of Breeding Birds in New York State will be an invaluable resource for the DEC and other state agencies involved in land management and conservation, as well as counties and towns who make management decisions on smaller scales. Data will also be used at the national level by federal agencies, non-governmental agencies such as the NY Natural Heritage Program and Audubon, as well as universities across the country.
I asked Kimberly Rielly, Communications Director of the Ticonderoga Main Street Partnership five questions about the reemergence of the Ticonderoga Sentinel, which was published in Ti as a weekly from 1874 until 1982, with a short interruption and a try at daily publishing in the 1880s. AA: What is the current Ticonderoga Sentinel?
KR: The Sentinel is a community newspaper that serves as both the newsletter for Ticonderoga Main Street Partnership (TMSP) and a forum for articles on topics not typically covered in the conventional media.
AA: Why Sentinel?
KR: The Sentinel is the revival of the former weekly newspaper of Ticonderoga. Also, the local Ticonderoga high school sports teams are the Sentinels.
AA: Who publishes the Sentinel?
KR: The Ticonderoga Sentinel is written, edited, designed and published by TMSP’s all volunteer staff. Ticonderoga’s largest employer, International Paper Co., supports the Ticonderoga Sentinel by generously covering the costs of printing the newspaper.
AA: Who are the paper’s contributors?
KR: There are a number of Ticonderoga residents who contribute current and historical articles, historic pictures, cartoon illustrations, recipes and local bridge results. These contributors include the Town Supervisior, the Coordinator of the Heritage Museum, the Ticonderoga Town Historian, and many others who are interested in both the history and the future of Ticonderoga.
AA: Are there plans for more frequent publication?
KR: The plans for 2009 are to publish The Sentinel on a quarterly basis. PDF files of previous publications of The Sentinel are available on TMSP’s website, www.timainstreet.org.
Lookout Mountain, Whiteface’s third peak, is set for its Grand Opening on Thursday, January 8, at 1 PM. [UPDATE: Due to the weather conditions at Whiteface this will take place 11 AM, Friday, January 9]. The new peak will include three new trails beginning with The Wilmington Trail. This run is a 2.5-mile long intermediate cruiser overlooking the Wilmington Wild Forest. Lookout Mountain’s other two trails are expert runs called Lookout Below and Hoyt’s High. Lookout Below is about 1/5 of a mile long. Hoyt’s High was named in honor of Whiteface veteran ski patroller Jim Hoyt, Sr. He has been employed at Whiteface for over 50 years. This trail has a long and consistent expert pitch over its 4,182-feet length. Both runs will be opened later this winter. The official ribbon cutting ceremony at 1 PM will include ORDA Chairman Joe Martens, ORDA Board Members Ed Weibrecht and Serge Lussi as well as Wilmington Town Supervisor Randy Preston. Following the on-mountain grand opening activities, a special dedication to the Whiteface Region Visitors Bureau members will be made at 2 PM in the Lookout Café, located within the main base lodge. Complimentary hot chocolate will be served.
More and more consumers are looking for local foods. Community leaders are increasingly supportive of developing farmers markets and other venues for regional farmers to sell their products locally. A new website developed by the North Country Regional Foods Initiative – www.nnyregionallocalfoods.org – provides information on how to find regional foods and resources to help communities support and expand local food marketplaces.
The new website includes links to online tools designed to connect producers and consumers, research-based publications about North Country local foods, a calendar of local food events, and links to ongoing local foods work in the North Country. Publications on the new website range from how to find money to strengthen local food systems and guides to increase the consumption of local farm products to cookbooks, advice on how to serve local foods at events, and economic analysis of farmers’ markets and other community-based food systems.
The site also includes the North Country Regional Foods Initiative’s series of research briefs, fact sheets and recommendations intended for other farmers, food business owners/operators, consumers, policymakers and community & economic developers working to enhance and sustain agriculture in Northern New York.
The report includes social and economic impact data generated by local/regional foods operations and the Northern New York-based organizations that support them and a summary of the spring 2008 conference on the role of Adirondack North Country foods in community and economic development.
The initiative was developed through a partnership of the Cornell Cooperative Extension Associations of Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Hamilton, Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties and the Economic Development Administration University Center at CaRDI and designed to document how local food businesses and activities benefit the northern New York region and identify strategies for enhancing those benefits.
According to CaRDI’s Ag Economic Development Specialist, Duncan Hilchey, consumer surveys, in particular the Empire State Poll conducted by the Cornell University Survey Research Institute in 2007, show that 78.5% of the New York State residents age 18 and older buy local foods and 37.4% of that group said they go out of their way to buy local food.
Partnerships between producers, consumers, community and economic developers and local officials can serve as a model for bringing community members together to support other regional development efforts. Those interested in learning about and supporting local food activities in the North Country may now join a regional electronic network.
To activate entry into the [email protected] listserv, send an email to [email protected] with “Add me to the NNY Local/Regional Foods List” in the Subject line. More information on local and regional food initiatives is available from members of the Northern New York Regional Agriculture Program Direct Marketing/Local Foods team and the Community and Rural Development Institute (CaRDI):
Franklin County: Bernadette Logozar, (518) 483-7403, bel7[AT]cornell.edu
Clinton County: Anne Barlow-Lennox, (518) 561-7450, alb326[AT]cornell.edu
Adirondack Harvest – a community organization focused on expanding markets for local farm products so consumers have more choices of fresh farm products and on assisting farmers to increase sustainable production to meet the expanding markets; www.adirondackharvest.com
Adirondack North Country Association – a 14-county association committed to economic improvement. Since incorporation in 1954, ANCA has worked to create a greater sense of regional identity and pride through advocacy and promotion; www.adirondack.org/
Community and Rural Development Institute (CARDI) – Since 1990, the Institute at Cornell University has responded to current and emerging needs in community and rural development; works with Cornell faculty and staff, Cornell Cooperative Extension, and other state and regional institutions; http://devsoc.cals.cornell.edu/outreach/cardi/
Cornell Farm to School Program – provides resource development, educational programs, and evaluation to support efforts to increase the amount of locally produced food served in NY’s schools, colleges, universities & other institutions; http://farmtoschool.cce.cornell.edu/
Farmers’ Market Federation of New York – a grassroots membership organization of farmers’ market managers, market sponsors, farmers and market supporters, offering services to increase the number and capacity of farmers’ markets in NY, develop the scope of professionalism in farmers’ market management and improve the ability of markets to serve their farmers, their consumers and their host communities; www.nyfarmersmarket.com/
FoodRoutes – a project of FoodRoutes Network, a national nonprofit organization that provides communications tools, technical support, networking and information resources to organizations nationwide that are working to rebuild local, community-based food systems; www.foodroutes.org
GardenShare – a non-profit organization working to end hunger in northern NY; focuses on local foods; harvest sharing; farm-to-school; food security; home gardening; and public policy; publishes free quarterly newsletter and St. Lawrence County Local Food Guide; and operates the EBT terminal for Food Stamp Program participants at the Canton Farmers Market; www.gardenshare.org
MarketMaker – interactive mapping system locates businesses and markets of agricultural products in NY, providing an important link between producers and consumers; http://nymarketmaker.cornell.edu/
Pride of NY Member Search – The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets Pride of NY Program promotes and supports the sale of agricultural products grown and food products processed within New York State; http://www.prideofny.com/
USDA Community Food Systems – A Nutrition Assistance Program through USDA, contains general resources and information from farm to table and links to specific topics such as eating in a community food system; food entrepreneurship; and, community food systems research; http://fnicsearch.nal.usda.gov/fnicsearch.
From Mark Wilson, who writes the newsletter for the Lake Placid Shore Owners’ Association (founded in 1893), comes news of the demise of the Lake Placid’s Lady of the Lake tour boat. She was on the same service as the Ethan Allen in the Thousands Islands until the 1950s and has suffered from regulations that grew from the tragedy at Lake George in October 2005. Here is Wilson’s full report:
The Lady of the Lake, longtime doyen of the Lake Placid tour boat fleet, has taken to the road. Since late summer the sleek septuagenarian has sat on her trailer at the edge of Route 86 in Ray Brook, looking westward.
Nostalgically, perhaps. Remembering Alexandria Bay and Hutchinson’s Boatworks where she was built in 1929, and where–until the 1950s–she shuttled among the Thousand Islands under the name Commander. According to General Hugh Rowan’s history of sightseeing boats on Lake Placid Lake Placid, Charles C. Grote brought her to Placid in 1958, re-christening her Lady of the Lake, competition for the Doris II, owned by George and Bliss Marina.
For nearly fifty years she served proudly, despite a docking accident which scuttled her in July 2006. According to current owner Michael Arico, statewide tour boat regulations enacted after the fatal capsizing of the Ethan Allen on Lake George in 2005 reduced the Lady’s passenger limit, effectively ending her career.
Arico attempted to sell her on eBay earlier this summer. By the end of August a buyer arrived with a custom-built trailer to tow her down to Eustis Lake, Florida. But the deal fell through at the last minute, ending any hopes the Lady may have harbored of a Florida retirement. And so she sits patiently, if somewhat forlornly, roadside, decked out in white (four months past Labor Day!).
If you have a special place in your heart for this once-proud-now-down-on-her-scuppers plier of Placid waters, and about 44 feet of dock space, call Michael Arico at (914) 456-2550.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Army National Guard #88 car of Dale Earnhardt, Jr. arrived in Lake Placid, N.Y. last night. The car is one of 12 that Junior will use during this year’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. The New York National Guard will display the car in front of the Olympic Center all day Friday before moving it to the Olympic Sports Complex for the 4th Annual Whelen Geoff Bodine Bobsled Challenge this Saturday and Sunday. New York Army National Guard Soldiers of the 2nd Battalion 108th Infantry from the North Country and Saratoga region will team up with NASCAR and NHRA drivers as brakemen for the two-man bobsled team competition. The National Guard is an event sponsor this year and a bobsled painted in the colors of the #88 “Guard Car” will be racing.
This year’s field of drivers is comprised of the following: NASCAR drivers Boris Said, Joey Logano, Philip Morris, Brian Loftin, Todd Bodine, Eric Curran and Tom Tolbert; and NHRA drivers Jeg Coughlin, Jr., Morgan Lucas, JR Todd, and Bob Vandergriff. Previously scheduled drivers Johnny Benson and Ted Christopher withdrew from the event.
The Adirondack Museum is offering an opportunity to encounter Adirondack raptors close-up as part of their Cabin Fever Sunday series. A Great Horned Owl, a Red-Tailed Hawk, an American Kestrel, and more will be on hand along with Adirondack Park Agency Visitor Interpretive Center Environmental Educator Rynda McCray on Sunday, January 11, 2009. This special bird-of-prey presentation featuring non-releasable education birds. Learn about special adaptations, habitats, and human impact on bird populations. The Newcomb VIC has five birds of prey. They include a great horned owl, a red-tailed hawk, an eastern screech owl, a northern saw-whet owl, and an American kestrel. All of the birds were rescued and received care from wildlife rehabilitators. However, none are able to survive in the wild. The birds work in tandem with Environmental Educators to provide “bird-on-hand” programs for the public. Rynda McCray is Center Director of the Newcomb VIC. She developed the Bird-of-Prey Program and has worked with live Adirondack raptors for the past 10 years.
The presentation will begin in the Auditorium at 1:30 p.m. Cabin Fever Sunday programs are offered at no charge to museum members. The fee for non-members is $5.00. There is no charge for children of elementary school age or younger. 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.
The Adirondack Museum has announced that it will offer a series of online exhibitions created especially for people who are unable to visit Blue Mountain Lake. Web exhibits can be found on the Adirondack Museum’s web site at www.adirondackmuseum.org.
December marks the launch of “Adirondack Rustic: Nature’s Art, 1876-1950,” the first web exhibit. The new online feature offers artifacts, text, and historic photographs from the special exhibition that shared the multi-faceted story of Adirondack rustic traditions. The web exhibit examines the rich history of Adirondack rustic in three units that examine furniture and designs inspired by wilderness, share stories of local men who hand crafted rustic furniture, and explore the lives and influence of wealthy Gilded Age railroad magnates who designed and built elaborate Great Camps.
The virtual exhibition is lavishly illustrated with images of rustic furniture and historic photographs from the museum’s extensive collections. The museum’s Chief Curator Laura Rice and Web Coordinator Erin Barton developed the content of the online exhibit.
In 2009 the museum will introduce “Common Threads: 150 Years of Adirondack Quilts and Comforters” as a companion piece to the special exhibition of the same name that will open at the museum on May 22, 2009.
I’ve been following the struggles of local business in the Essex County village of AuSable Forks. I asked Trudy Rosenblum who edits the Jay Community News to tell us about what’s been happening in her community. Here is what she sent:
AuSable Forks in the Township of Jay New York is feeling the first pangs of real hardship as the economic crisis arrives locally. Without warning Aubochon Hardware, conveniently located in the middle of the main street in Au Sable Forks, suddenly closed its doors. Now there are persistent rumors that the Grand Union in Au Sable Forks will also close along with several of the small businesses on the main street. People are very upset. They wonder what will become of this little town. Au Sable Forks was once thriving with large sawmills, a foundry and an Iron Works company. There were plenty of jobs and numerous stores, hotels, restaurants and entertainment for the local population. Like any town, Au Sable Forks has seen its hard times, but the little town always managed to pull through, somehow adapting and changing, although it has never managed to recreate the beauty and attractiveness it had in the early 20th century.
Now the town is smaller and much poorer. There is a large population of elderly. Jobs are few and usually a long commute away. There is no industry, and no large employer. Visually it is no longer the charming quaint little village of the past that could attract tourists. Busloads of sightseers will not be stopping in the Forks even though we have the natural beauty that tourists want to see.
So Au Sable Forks has been of late a town hanging on. Up till the latest crisis at least its population could obtain locally the necessities for living, but with the closing of the big stores even that will be taken from the residents. It is especially difficult for a rural village in a cold climate to carry on in a poor economy. People already financially strapped must find a way to pay higher prices for everything because everything must be imported from cities farther away.
Home heating costs have gone through the roof. If you don’t have a car, there isn’t public transportation (although just this month a shuttle bus has been announced that will go to Lake Placid daily) so one has to rely on the good will of friends or they have to do without. Take away their ability to walk to the local store for food and other supplies and you have a recipe for disaster. The closest large grocery store is in Keeseville, Lake Placid or Plattsburgh, all a significant drive away, if you have transportation.
The impacts that the store closings may have could be pretty awful. As times get tougher and resources dwindle and become more expensive to obtain both in time and money, one would expect to see a rise in depression and a lowering of one’s frustration tolerance. Along with the lowering of frustration tolerance and the negative effects from the use of escape substances one could expect a rise in abusive behavior. At risk will be children, animals, women and the elderly. There is an old saying that like attracts like. Negativity will attract negativity causing a downward spiral.
There are many people in the Township of Jay working hard to prevent this downward spiral. The churches are very active providing food banks, inexpensive clothing, short-term shelter and even money. The politicians are hard at work trying to prevent the stores from closing and offering new programs to revitalize the appearance of the town. The residents are trying very hard to patronize local businesses and hire local workers. And to lighten the mood Au Sable Forks now has a renovated movie theater and in Jay there is a new performing arts theater in full operation presenting plays, concerts, story telling, dance classes, movement instruction and painting and sculpture classes.
It is hoped that with all these people working so hard the dire predictions of gloom and doom can be aborted and the positive cooperative spirit can attract more of the same. What is really needed, however, is a long-term fix. People need local good jobs. There needs to be some sort of industry; relying on tourism just isn’t cutting it.
We need our political processes, on the local, county and state levels to succeed in attracting an industry to the area; something that will create new jobs and revitalize the local economy. In the current economic climate, however, this may be only a dream. The alternative is bleak. One only has to drive down through New Russia, for example, and see the foundations of the buildings that once housed a thriving little population. The forest has closed over and reclaimed that area. Is this to be the fate of Au Sable Forks?
Billy Demong of Vermontville (Franklin County, NY) is a Whiteface / Lake Placid athlete won his career fourth World Cup last week in Ramsau, Austria (nordic combined). You can read the full story here.
The State University of New York at Plattsburgh will host the 2009 Conference on New York State History, an annual meeting of academic and public historians, librarians and archivists, educators, publishers and other interested individuals who come together to discuss topics and issues related to the people of New York State in historical perspective and to share information and ideas regarding historical research, programming, and the networking of resources and services. The conference will be held June 4-6, 2009 More than fifty individuals present formal programs in concurrent presentation sessions, workshops, and the keynote address. Special consideration is accorded first-time presenters, graduate students, and local government historians. The conference is self-sustaining and is organized by a committee of historians from a variety of institutions across the state.
The conference is organized by the New York State Historical Association in collaboration with New York State Archives Partnership Trust and is co-sponsored by New York Council for the Humanities. Conference organizers are inviting individual paper abstracts, panel proposals, workshop plans, and other program presentations that consider any aspect of the New York State history over the past 400 years. Diverse theoretical perspectives and innovative methodological approaches are welcomed.
Those interested in participating are encouraged to discuss proposals and any conference-related ideas with Field Horne, conference chair, via e-mail at conference-AT-nyhistory-DOT-net. All proposals must be received by December 31, 2008 at 5:00 PM. If at all possible, submit an MS Word document by e-mail to the above e-mail address. A proposal should be a one-page description of each presentation-not the full manuscript-and must include the following information at the top of the page: paper and/or session titles, names, postal addresses, phone numbers, and e-mail addresses of all participants, and all equipment needs and scheduling requests. It should also briefly discuss sources, methodology, and argument. All program participants are required to register for the conference.
Commentators sought: Qualified commentators for sessions are needed. Please indicate your willingness, with your areas of expertise, in an e-mail to the conference chair.
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Champion Johnny Benson and NHRA POWERade Pro Stock Champion Jeg Coughlin, Jr. have signed on to compete in the 4th Annual Whelen Geoff Bodine Bobsled Challenge, slated for January 2-4, 2009 at the Olympic Sports Complex.
Benson, who competed in his first Bodine Bobsled Challenge last year, won his first NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Championship this year. Last year, the driver finished third in the final standings, and was runner-up to fellow Bodine bobsled competitor Todd Bodine in 2006. Benson is making his second appearance in the Challenge and is hoping to improve his bobsledding results. Coughlin is a four-time NHRA POWERade Pro Stock Champion, and is currently the two-time defending champion (2000, 2002, 2007, and 2008). Coughlin won the bronze medal as a bobsledding rookie in his first race and is looking to dethrone fellow NHRA competitor Morgan Lucas as the top bobsled driver on the dragster circuit.
The Bodine Bobsled Challenge features NASCAR and NHRA drivers piloting specially-made bobsleds down Lake Placid’s infamous track in fun races geared to raise money for the Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project. In Race 1, all the drivers will be competing against the clock as they take two runs down the track. Race 2 features head-to-head racing between the NASCAR and NHRA drivers, with the winner from each division squaring off in the final heat for bragging rights.
The NASCAR field will be lead by five-time Bodine Bobsled Champion Boris Said. Said has dominated the bobsledding field, losing only the first-ever Bodine Bobsled race to Kevin Lepage. Said has commented in the past that maybe “bobsledding is in my genes” as his father Bob Said was an Olympic bobsled competitor.
Joining Said is NASCAR Sprint Cup rookie driving sensation Joey Logano as well as the 2008 NASCAR Whelen racing series champions Philip Morris, Brian Loftin and Ted Christopher. “Sliced Bread” Logano competed last year in the Bodine Bobsled Challenge, finishing eighth. Morris, a 2007 Bodine Bobsled Challenge participant, is returning again this year after winning the 2008 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Championship. Loftin clinched the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour by a mere 30 points for his first career NASCAR championship while Christopher won the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Championship to claim his place in the bobsledding field.
Rounding out the drivers is Todd Bodine, the 2006 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Champion and brother of the Bodine Challenge founder Geoff Bodine, Daytona Rolex pole winner Eric Curran and19-year-old sprint car driver Tom Tolbert out of Ohio. Bodine has participated in every Bodine Bobsled Challenge and has started a similar support program for the U.S. Skeleton Federation. Curran, a road course racing ace, has competed in the NASCAR Camping World Series, American Le Mans, Grand Am Rolex, Koni Challenge and World Challenge GT series. He and Tolbert will be part of this year’s bobsled rookie class.
Coughlin will be joined by NHRA Top Fuel drivers Morgan Lucas, JR Todd, and Bob Vandergriff. This will be the third event for Lucas and Todd, with Lucas giving Said a run for his money in last year’s NASCAR versus NHRA showdown before losing to Said in the final round. Lucas has bought his own sled for this competition and has Said in his sights. Lucas has also won two silvers medals during this event. Todd is looking to improve upon his Top 10 finishes. Vandergriff placed ninth in his first race last year, and then lost to Lucas in the NHRA final round.
The Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project, Inc., was started in 1992 by NASCAR driver Geoff Bodine, and has built American-made bobsleds for United States athletes competing in the World Cup, World Championships and Olympic Winter Games. Monies raised from the Bodine Bobsled Challenge go directly to this project.
SPEED channel will again televise four hours of the Whelen Geoff Bodine Bobsled Challenge, on Jan. 18 at noon and Jan. 25 at 2 pm. MRN Radio has signed on to provide live coverage of the Bodine Bobsled Challenge all three days.
The Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project concept paid dividends with gold, silver and bronze medals in the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Game, the first time that the USA Bobsled Team won Olympic medals since 1956, and scored again with silver in Torino. New sled designs are being created by Bodine and sled builder Bob Cuneo of Chassis Dynamics in Connecticut. It will be tested during national and international competitions leading up to the next Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver in 2010.
Other sponsors of the Whelen Geoff Bodine Bobsled Challenge include Columbia Sportswear Company, MAC Tools, Racing Electronics, PPG, Lucas Oil, JEGS Automotive, Summitt Building Solutions, EXA and the National Guard.
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