The Northern Forest Canoe Trail’s film festival in Lake Placid on Friday night will feature footage from all over the world, from Russia to Hawaii, from the Grand Canyon to the North Atlantic. But for many Adirondackers, the highlight will be a movie made by Saranac Lake resident Mike Lynch.
Lynch, an outdoors writer for the Adirondack Daily Enterprise, canoed the 740-mile Northern Forest Canoe Trail last summer—from Old Forge to Fort Kent, Maine—and has created a 37-minute film about his adventure titled Through Paddle. Click here to read my earlier interview with Lynch on Adirondack Almanack. » Continue Reading.
Nathan Brown, reporter at the Adirondack Daily Enterprise (ADE), longtime friend of the Adirondack Almanack, and son of Almanack contributor Phil Brown, is headed to a new job at the Middletown Times-Herald-Record in Orange County. Nathan (shown at left) has been at the ADE just short of four years, most recently covering Lake Placid, Essex County, and politics. The ADE was his first journalism job after graduating form SUNY Albany in 2007.
Taking over Brown’s spot at the ADE will be Chris Morris, who has left his job as WNBZ‘s News Director. Morris will continue to contribute to North Country Public Radio. At the ADE he’ll be covering Lake Placid, North Elba, and Essex County, including the political scene. Chris Morris was born and raised in Saranac Lake and got his start in journalism as a stringer for the ADE’s sports department. After graduating from St. Lawrence University he covered the Malone beat for the Malone Telegram. Morris later served as editor at the weekly Vermont Times Sentinel (Chittenden County). From there, he went on to take the news editor position at Denton Publications and later joined Chris Knight at Mountain Communications as assistant news director of WNBZ. When Chris Knight left WNBZ to join the ADE in June 2009, Morris took over as news director.
The latest media moves follow other recent local media changes. Also in June of 2009, Andy Flynn left his position as the Senior Public Information Specialist at the NYS Adirondack Park Agency Visitor Interpretive Centers and has since taken the position of Assistant Managing Editor at Denton Publications. Another Denton and WNBZ alumni, Jon Alexander, now covers Northern Warren County for the Glens Falls Post-Star.
WNBZ is in transition according to a statement on their webpage. Bob LaRue, News Director at WMSA in Massena, who provides play by play for WNBZ‘s coverage of Saranac Lake Football, is providing regional news updates and the station is currently looking for a new News Director. Meanwhile, Josh Clement has been manning the studio every morning to keep the news on the air. Freelancer George Earl continues to contribute to WNBZ‘s Adirondack Regional Report.
The region is fortunate that the Adirondack Daily Enterprise is covering each session of the Adirondack Club and Resort (ACR) adjudicatory public hearing. Their reporter, Jessica Collier, is doing a good job writing multiple, interesting stories about each day’s testimony and cross examination.
One of the witnesses reporter Collier covered this week (see Adirondack Daily Enterprise’s June 2nd edition) was Shanna Ratner. I’ve known of Shanna Ratner and her firm, Yellow Wood Associates, for many years. Adirondack Wild’s Dan Plumley contacted her to testify at this hearing during 2007 when he worked for the Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks because he knew she was not just smart and accomplished, but a thorough, deep thinker, and analytical. We were glad that she was retained by Protect the Adirondacks. Among many other projects, she helped the Adirondack North Country Association to develop a program seeking to add greater value to the region’s forest products. Yellow Wood offers a wide array of consulting services in rural, community development. Judging from her resume, Shanna has devoted a large part of her professional and personal life to helping rural communities survive and develop, if not thrive by focusing on the strengths of their people, their natural resource base, their histories and geography, and their talents for organizing. She has a Masters degree in Agricultural Economics from Cornell University. Among the publications she has authored or co-authored are: “Keeping Wealth Local: Community Resilience and Wealth,” and “Challenges and Opportunities for Rural Communities in a Rapidly Changing World.” She has reviewed a lot of resort development in neighboring Vermont, among other places, and has real-world experience to offer the hearing.
Among other points in her testimony this past week, Ratner challenged ACR’s assertion that “the majority, if not all, of the construction workers will come from the regional labor force” (ACR 2010 Fiscal and Economic Impact Study). Of those firms qualified to construct a resort of this large scale, Ms. Ratner testified that “these firms will use their own employees first, followed by subcontractors with whom they have previous positive experiences. Only after these avenues have been exhausted will they look for additional hires. It is highly unlikely that they would open a hiring hall locally; they are far more likely to work through their own internal channels and with their subcontractors to locate qualified firms and let the firms locate qualified individuals…It is highly unlikely that the ACR will provide a substantial boon to the many unemployed construction workers in the four county area” (Franklin, St. Lawrence, Hamilton and Essex). Under cross examination, she said that the ACR methodology for arriving at their employment numbers uses a simplistic formula not used by other serious resorts with which she is familiar.
She also punched holes in ACR economic multiplier figures. She argued that per capita costs of the sewage infrastructure are likely to be higher than estimated because of the risk of excess sewer capacity, and a lack of home sales to support those costs, leaving those burdens to the community. On town services, she pointed out that newcomers like ACR homeowners will demand better service delivery and quality, sending service costs up. On payment in lieu of taxes, Preserve Associates has no control over the value of the house that eventually gets built, so ACR can not predict accurately the assessed value. As a result, ACR tax revenue projections may be significantly inflated. She also argued that Tupper Lake must plan for peak use periods, and ACR figures for service demands only estimate average use periods.
In summary, according to her testimony, ACR estimates of local employment may have no basis in reality, per capita service costs may be higher than ACR’s application estimated, and revenues from payments in lieu of taxes may be lower because future owners are not required to build million dollar homes.
Not much of this testimony will be found in the Tupper Lake Free Press, where editor Dan McClelland unabashedly and uncritically shouts loudly for the ACR, shouts down anybody with concerns, and not just on the editorial pages. Would that the Free Press more broadly represent the community it serves and be reasonably impartial, knowing how many in town may badly want the ski area redeveloped, but who may be skeptical about ACR claims.
This week the Free Press chooses to only quote the financial and economic analysis of the ACR. In contrast to the even-handed coverage of the Adirondack Daily Enterprise, McClelland writes this week about Shanna Ratner and any witness put forward by ACR “opponents”: “the interesting thing about ‘expert’ witnesses is that they can be readily found anywhere. They often testify selectively to meet their employer’s requirements” (Ratner is not employed by Protect the Adirondacks, she is a paid consultant). McClelland continues: “APA Commissioners must listen to what the people of Tupper Lake and their leaders want in the development. What the ‘experts’ of the opposing groups testify must be considered by the board in the fashion it is delivered: paid for by the people who have an agenda to stop the resort.”
Putting an ACR-type application to the test of meeting rigorous standards of review that might actually withstand professional scrutiny, and thus better serve its local community and the park is not on the Tupper Lake Free Press agenda.
Roger Tubby died twenty years ago, in January, 1991, at the age of eighty. In Saranac Lake, if not the entire Adirondack region, people should be celebrating the centennial of his birth. If anyone wonders why, I hope this tribute to Tubby which I wrote for the Lake George Mirror in 1998 will help.
The Harrietstown Cemetery near Saranac Lake is a sloping meadow overlooking the Whiteface and Sentinel Ranges. My wife’s great-grandparents, who farmed nearby, are buried here. As we walk among the rows of headstones, we come upon one which is, if anything, more modest than its austere neighbors. Engraved in the stone are these words: “Ad Astra per Aspera.” Reach for the stars. This is the grave of Roger Tubby. “Ad Astra per Aspera” was Roger Tubby’s motto from youth onward. “At least I got close to some of the stars, earthbound, and even counseled one of them, President Kennedy, to reach for the moon, and beyond,” he once wrote to friends. Quite true, of course. He served, at various times and in a variety of capacities, Presidents Truman and Johnson, Governors Harriman and Carey, and candidate Adlai Stevenson, as well as John F. Kennedy,who appointed him U. S. Ambassador to the United Nations at Geneva. (And for years afterward it was the custom of his friends, if they happened to meet him if the street or in the hardware store, to call out, “Good morning, Mr. Ambassador!”)
Roger Tubby himself may have sometimes doubted that he reached the stars. As a young man, he wanted to be president, or at the very least a senator. But reach them he did, and not because he was an adviser to princes – powerful as that position may be. His greatest achievement may well have been his life in the north country. When he moved to Saranac Lake, he was aware that he was choosing not just a place to live but a way of life. As he himself once said, “I came up here because I wanted to live in an area, a society, where the individual still does have some personal responsibility and can still contribute to the community.”
I cannot claim to have known Roger Tubby well. He was a man of my parent’s generation, and their friend. Even as a teenager, however, I enjoyed talking to him, and because he enjoyed talking to younger people, he was a favorite of his friends’ children. Much of what I know about him comes from those conversations.
Roger Tubby, his wife Ann and their children moved to Saranac Lake from Washington in 1953. With the encouragement and perhaps at the suggestion of Adirondack writer William Chapman White, he and his friend Jim Loeb had just purchased the Adirondack Daily Enterprise. Before that, Tubby had been President Truman’s Press Secretary. After Eisenhower’s inauguration, he accompanied Truman back to Missouri. The President asked him to stay on there as his aide. Tubby declined. “I wanted to be independent,” he said.
When Tubby and Loeb began publishing the Enterprise, the north country was in the midst of one of its frequent depressions. “I thought we needed to work with other communities to bring things around,” Tubby recalled. “It seemed to me that promotion had been carried out in such a piecemeal way – village by village, resort by resort.” With the help of people like Nate Proller of Warren County, Tubby established the Adirondack Park Association, known today as the Adirondack North Country Association, or ANCA – a fourteen-county association whose primary mission is to create jobs in the Adirondacks.
The Association supported the construction of Gore Mountain Ski Center, the Prospect Mountain Highway, and, most notably, the Adirondack Northway.
“I was accused of being on both sides of the fence, because on one hand, I wanted to keep suburban sprawl from entering the Adirondacks, and, on the other, I felt that the Northway would fulfill our industries’ need for better roads and open the area to year-round tourism,” said Tubby.
He was elected chairman of a state-wide committee appointed to secure passage of a constitutional amendment authorizing the state to build the highway across Forest Preserve lands. Had the referendum failed, the Northway would have been built east of Lake George and along the shore of Lake Champlain. Tubby’s experience as a newspaperman and a press officer was put to good use. He organized public hearings, developed an advertising campaign and sent out press releases; he mobilized the local chambers of commerce and calmed the fears of the conservationists, many of who were initially opposed to the Adirondack route. Due in no small part to Tubby’s efforts, the amendment was approved by a majority of New Yorkers.
Tubby once said, “If we can have a decent level of employment here, or in any small town, there are real living rewards.”
One of the rewards of living in a small town, Tubby discovered, was that being useful to his neighbors could be as gratifying as serving his nation. “There’s much joy in being engaged with all sorts of people on all sorts of projects: joy in being intrigued or challenged by new ventures,” he said. If the performance of civic duty turned out to be a pleasure, it was a noble pleasure.
In one of our last conversations, when I was in graduate school, a story about a long-time town supervisor led Mr. Tubby to recall an essay by G. K. Chesterton, from which I quote:
“The man who lives in a small community lives in a much larger world. He knows much more of the fierce varieties and uncompromising divergences of men. The reason is obvious. In a large community, we choose our companions. In a small community our companions are chosen for us.”
Roger Tubby may have found his greatest reward in the companions his small town chose for him. He knew the French-Canadian logger, the Calvinist farmer, the merchant, the town supervisors. He knew them, grew fond of them, and became their loyal friend.They returned the compliment.
The village of Saranac Lake has dedicated a park in Roger Tubby’s memory. At least his name will live on. I hope that his example will, too; for it teaches us that small town life, far from being a substitute for life in the capitals, is a life worth choosing for its own sake. Roger Tubby appears to have thought it the best life possible.
For more news and commentary from Lake George, subscribe to the Lake George Mirror or visit lakegeorgemirrormagazine.com Photos: Tubby with President Harry Truman in 1952, when he was Truman’s press secretary; below, Tubby (left) with Adlai Stevenson in 1956.
I’m happy to announce that local journalist and WNBZ news director Chris Morris will be the newest contributor here at Adirondack Almanack.
Chris was born and raised in Saranac Lake and got his start in journalism as a stringer for the Adirondack Daily Enterprise’s sports department. He graduated from St. Lawrence University in 2006 with a degree in English writing and religious studies and covered the Malone beat for the Malone Telegram.
Chris then moved to Vermont and took the editor’s position at the Vermont Times Sentinel, a weekly paper distributed throughout Chittenden County. From there, he went on to take the news editor position at Denton Publications and later joined Chris Knight at Mountain Communications as assistant news director of WNBZ radio. When Chris Knight left WNBZ to join the Adirondack Daily Enterprise, Chris took over as news director – a position he currently holds. At WNBZ, Chris reports on Tri-Lakes and Adirondack region news and occasionally contributes at North Country Public Radio and for other upstate publications.
If the Morris name sounds familiar to regular readers, it should. Chris’s dad Don Morris has been a contributor on Adirondack paddling here at the Almanack for some time.
Please join me in welcoming Ed Forbes as the newest contributor to Adirondack Almanack. Ed graduated from St. Lawrence University with a degree in English, history and Canadian Studies in 2002. He went to work at the Adirondack Daily Enterprise in Saranac Lake, N.Y. as a reporter, covering local government and the Adirondack Park Agency. In 2003, he became editor of the Enterprise’s weekly sister-paper, the Lake Placid News.
Ed left the News in 2007 to pursue a master’s degree at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. Upon earning that degree in 2008, he joined the staff of The Journal News, in White Plains, N.Y. as page one editor. In March of this year he became interactivity editor. In that role, he is a member of the editorial board and oversees the paper’s blogs and social media efforts. Ed blogs regularly at ejforbes.com and lives with his wife, Emily, and their beagle, Kennedy, in Bronxville, N.Y.
Adirondackers are Winter Olympics junkies to begin with, watching snow and ice sports as enthusiastically as they play them. This year, with a dozen local athletes at the games in Vancouver, people here are all-out Olympic-obsessed.
One of the best ways to keep tabs on local athletes is through the Adirondack Daily Enterprise, which has sent two correspondents to cover the games in Vancouver. Senior sports writer (and great photographer) Lou Reuter is reporting on his second Winter Olympics, and managing editor Peter Crowley is covering his first. Both writers are there for the duration, and they are posting directly to the Adirondack Daily Enterprise web site each day. Reuter has been reporting on World Cup events in Lake Placid for some 15 years, interviewing top U.S. and world athletes. He knows the local competitors well—he’s been writing about Nordic combined skier Billy Demong since he was in high school, for example, and he’s especially knowledgeable about the sliding sports, since many bobsled and luge athletes and staff are based in Lake Placid.
It is remarkable for such a small newspaper to send such a big proportion of its staff, and it’s good reader-service. The reporters and editors back home are also putting in overtime in Crowley’s and Reuter’s absence and laying out extra pages for a daily four-page special Olympic section. Reuter’s and Crowley’s reporting can also be found in the pages and on the web site of the Lake Placid News, the Enterprise’s sister paper. Both are owned by Ogden Newspapers Inc.
The conference is open to all, and registration details are provided at the end of this press release from ACW: Presenters include Will Doolittle of the Glens Falls Post-Star, Mike Hill of the Associated Press and Brian Mann of North Country Public Radio.
Topics will include “How to Write A Compelling Story with a 24-hour Deadline”; “Tough Reporting in Small Towns,” how to effectively report tough stories even when they involve neighbors and friends; and “How to Make a Living as a Freelance Journalist,” strategies for building a sustainable income as a journalist working in the Adirondack North Country. This discussion will include nuts and bolts issues of multiple sales, quality control, contract arrangements, and deadline management.
A blogging panel discussion features John Warren of Adirondack Almanack and New York History, Brian Mann of NCPR’s “In Box,” and Adirondack Life associated editor Lisa Bramen, who blogs for the Smithsonian’s “Food and Thought.” That discussion will be moderated by Elizabeth Folwell of Adirondack Life magazine.
Jeff Goodell is a best-selling author and journalist. The New York Times called his latest book, Big Coal: The Dirty Secret Behind America’s Energy Future (Houghton Mifflin, 2007), “a compelling indictment of one of the country’s biggest, most powerful and most antiquated industries . . . well-written, timely, and powerful.”
Goodell is the author of three previous books including Sunnyvale, a memoir about growing up in Silicon Valley that was selected as a New York Times Notable Book. Our Story, an account of the nine miners trapped in a Pennsylvania coal mine, was a national bestseller. He is a contributing editor at Rolling Stone, and his work has appeared in many publications, including The New Republic, The Washington Post, The New York Times Magazine, and Wired. His new book, How to Cool the Planet: Geoengineering and the Audacious Quest to Fix Earth’s Climate will be published by Houghton Mifflin in the spring of 2010.
Will Doolittle grew up in Saranac Lake and started his journalism career as a 14-year-old at the Adirondack Daily Enterprise, which, along with the Lake Placid News, was at that time owned and run by his father. He has worked as a reporter and photographer at the Lake Placid News, reporter and city editor at the Adirondack Daily Enterprise and managing editor at the Malone Telegram. He has lived in Glens Falls for 16 years, working at the Post-Star in various positions including night editor, Sunday editor, features editor and, currently, projects editor. He has continued reporting during those years and has written a weekly column for the paper for about a decade.
Doolittle has won numerous state journalism awards and several national ones, as a reporter and editor. He has focused on investigative reporting throughout his career and often—in Malone, Saranac Lake and Lake Placid, especially—found himself investigating people he knew and often ran into around town. He has learned how to do the job in the most effective way, by making many mistakes. He is looking forward to revealing those mistakes to a roomful of reporters.
Mike Hill, in his two decades reporting for The Associated Press, has covered the state Capitol in Albany, the Sept. 11 attacks, crime, technology, culture and food. He has taught journalism at the University at Albany for five years as an adjunct and contributes to Adirondack Life magazine. He lives near Albany with his wife and two children.
Brian Mann came to the Adirondacks after working as a public radio journalist in Alaska and Missouri. He founded the Adirondack news bureau for North Country Public Radio and has won three national Edward R. Murrow Awards. His work appears regularly on National Public Radio. His 2006 book, Welcome to the Homeland, was widely reviewed. Mann is Adirondack bureau chief for North Country Public Radio and has built a thriving business as a freelance writer and producer. He will talk about strategies for building a sustainable income as a journalist working in the Adirondack North Country. His discussion will include nuts and bolts issues of multiple sales, quality control, contract arrangements, and deadline management.
The Adirondack Center for Writing (ACW) is a resource and educational organization that provides support to writers and enhances literary activity and communication throughout the Adirondacks. ACW benefits both emerging and established writers and develops literary audiences by encouraging partnerships among existing regional organizations to promote diverse programs. ACW is supported by public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency.
Journalism Conference Date: November 10, 2009 Time: 10:00 AM – 4:15 PM Open to all – $30 per person, lunch provided (call for group rates) Location: Blue Mountain Center, Blue Mountain Lake Contact: Adirondack Center for Writing, (518) 327-6278, [email protected]; www.adirondackcenterforwriting.org
Why, in a time of newspaper shrinkage — in circulation, ads, staff, content — are local papers creating new vehicles for fluff? The Adirondack Daily Enterprise this month launched an outdoor-oriented bimonthy (it’s possible some stories were missed by one, two, three or four of the park’s other outdoor-oriented bi/monthlies). The 16-page tabloid is called Embark. Now we hear that around Memorial Day the Glens Falls Post-Star will begin publishing a new weekly called the Edge, for the Lake George area. Here’s what an Edge staffer blogged that the thing (not magazine, not quite shopper, not newspaper) will be covering: “It will be around 16 pages of light-hearted feature stories such as weekly Q and As with bartenders.” The dailies are not hiring new reporters or investing in high production values for these throw-away publications. They take staff away from covering issues and redirect them to hike Mount Marcy or flab about how crazy their friends got at Lemon Peel the other night. That’s not news. It’s killing trees to put the most trivial of blog content to paper.
Admittedly blogs should have better things to do than dogpile on print media in a time of hardship (here, here, here and here are some of the dailies’ own accounts of budget cuts). I don’t aim to join that pack. Most online news sources would be nothing without the hustle and dig that real reporters give them to link and amplify; herein should be the strength and future of newspapers. Anyone with an opinion and a laptop can have a blog, but it takes a business plan, structure and a good staff to provide timely, well-edited coverage of courts, cops, public policy and yes sports on a multicounty level.
I subscribe to the Adirondack Daily Enterprise and depend on it for a lot of information. It needn’t care what I think, but the fact that only two out of sixteen pages of Embark are covered with ads while the front page of the paper has been filling space with photographs of tree branches and worms should tell the publisher something.
I also like the Post-Star. It has some of the best journalists in the North Country and Capital Region and did especially solid reporting on the Lake George Ethan Allen tragedy. The paper gets competition from the alternately interesting and weird weekly the Chronicle, whose publisher’s personality comes through loud and clear, giving it kind of a bloggy voice. But the Chronicle is nowhere near as informative. It’s unfortunate to see the Post-Star moving in that direction. Edge, a crayon-font attempt to take ad share away from the excellent but shoestring real community newspaper Lake George Mirror, seems ill-advised at best, mercenary at worst, wasteful either way. If the Post-Star will be editorializing about how important the existence of newspapers is to our democracy, I hope it will then explain why it’s squandering diminishing resources to cannibalize a colleague.
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