The combined stories of Alma Gatti and Jerry Walker reveal two offspring any parent would be proud to claim as their own. Their young lives were filled with activities and accomplishments, suggesting a promising future ahead.
Jerry (Cuthbert Orton Walker Jr.), an Arkansas native, spent most of his childhood in Little Rock. He attended the University of Washington in Seattle in the early 1940s, and roomed with three friends while working as a furniture-store clerk. Life was interrupted by World War II, and beginning as an army private barely a month after the attack on Pearl Harbor, he spent 30 months in Europe, the Pacific, and the Middle East. His service ended in 1946 as a first lieutenant whose awards included the Philippines Liberation Medal and the Bronze Star. » Continue Reading.
On Wednesday Edward Vandercar, 66, of Schroon Lake, was reported missing to the New York State Police in Schroon Lake. A search by State Police, the Department of Environmental Conservation, State Forest Rangers, and members of the Schroon Lake Fire Department was launched.
On Thursday morning a Trooper located snowshoe prints leading out onto Schroon Lake from the Horicon State Boat Launch. The Trooper was able to follow the print that led to an area of the lake that had open water. » Continue Reading.
On Saturday evening, August 22, 2015, at 7:30 pm, at the Long Lake Town Hall, Abbie Verner, Long Lake Town Archivist and President of the Long Lake Historical Society will present a program with slides and music about two men from the Soviet Union who drowned in Long Lake in 1925.
The two men, Isaiah Khurgin, and his colleague Ephraim Skliansky, were prominent Soviet citizens and active in the politics of Soviet Russia. The program outlines their backgrounds, their family information and the possible reason for their visit. » Continue Reading.
The body of a Canadian hiker who drowned in a raging Feldspar Brook while hiking in the High Peaks on Saturday has been recovered. State Police say that 34-year-old Julie Belanger of Montreal, Quebec, and a female hiking companion had been hiking Skylight and Grey mountains. A localized deluge of rain accompanied a line of violent storms that passed through the Adirondacks on Saturday and quickly raised the levels of local rivers and streams.
Belanger fell off a log and into the swift water of Feldspar Brook, a tributary of the Opalescent River in the Town of North Elba, and was swept away by the current of the flooded waters. » Continue Reading.
A striking old black and white photograph of a Forest Ranger posted on the NYSDEC Twitter feed recently caught my attention and captivated my imagination. The tweet read “Ranger w/pack basket putting up Canoe Carry Trail sign. Raquette Falls in the (Adirondacks) 1949.”
The ranger had a striking pose, wearing a Stetson, boots tightly laced half way to his knees. The ranger’s face was hidden from view, not surprising for a profession, that – especially then – toiled in the outdoors, their daily routine invisible to the public. I quickly tweeted back “Do you know who that is?” Unfortunately no one did. » Continue Reading.
This Fourth of July weekend use extreme caution at local swimming holes, and near raging rivers and streams. Fast moving rivers and streams can pose great dangers. Do not underestimate the force of moving water and strong currents. The high, fast water the Adirondacks is experiencing due to recent heavy rains was the cause of two deaths this week in treacherous currents.
A Whitehall man was swept under while swimming with family in the Mettawee River in Granville on Saturday. Also, a Franklin County man, a father of three, went over Rockwell Falls in Lake Luzerne on an inflatable raft on Sunday.
Adirondack history includes additional examples of people who have ventured into fast-moving waters with tragic results. For example, in 2003 four teenagers, two co-captains of their high school swim team, were drowned at the Boquet River’s Split Rock Falls after one entered the fast moving current and his three friends attempted rescues. Since the mid-1990s, five people have drowned in dangerous whirlpools of the Schroon River. » Continue Reading.
On March 30, 2012, Hamilton County Court gave Patrick Cunningham a second chance. It came with conditions and a warning.
Judge S. Peter Feldstein told the defendant: “My goal in this matter, as I said at the beginning, was to affect how you do business. Now, I understand, Mr. Cunningham, through your attorney, that you do not feel that you’ve committed any crimes and you’re perfectly within your rights and you’re innocent before this court, but I want to be sure you understand that if you engaged in the behavior alleged in the indictment, I have no doubt that you committed crimes.” » Continue Reading.
A woman drowned on a rafting trip in the Adirondacks yesterday morning, and State Police say her guide was intoxicated.
Rory F. Fay of North Creek, a guide for Hudson River Rafting Company, faces a charge of criminally negligent homicide, a felony, according to state troopers.
Fay was guiding two clients from Columbus, Ohio—Richard J. Clar, 53, and Tamara F. Blake, also 53—on a trip down the Indian and Hudson rivers. Before they made it to the Hudson, Blake and Fay were ejected from the raft, police say. Clar stayed in the raft and steered it to shore. » Continue Reading.
With days reaching into the 50s, but much colder waters in still in the mid-30s, it’s a great time to remind paddlers and other boaters of the dangers of falling overboard in cold water. Of New York’s 25 fatalities associated with recreational boating in 2011, almost a third of those deaths involved small paddled boats, when water temperatures were cold.
In almost every one of those fatal accidents life jackets were not worn and in some cases weren’t even on board at the time of the accident. The Coast Guard estimates that 80% of all boating accident deaths might have been prevented had a life jacket been worn. In New York, life jackets are required to be worn on any boat less than 21 feet in length between November 1st and May 1st. » Continue Reading.
No bones were broken. It’s a statement of relief that frequently appears in accident reports, emphasizing the fact that perhaps bones should have been broken, but due to amazing luck or some other reason, the victim survived perilous circumstances to emerge relatively unscathed. Stories of that type appear occasionally, and they’re always interesting.
It’s remarkable that in July 1895, three North Country survival stories appeared on a single newspaper page. Forget broken bones—it’s amazing that any of the victims survived. Yet among the three, there was only one broken bone. Fourteen-year-old Frank Blanchard of Buck’s Bridge, about eight miles north of Canton in St. Lawrence County, was driving a load of hay when he fell from the wagon. He unfortunately fell forward, and as the horses drew the loaded wagon down the road, it ran over his shoulders and neck.
Despite the brush with death, young Blanchard was apparently intact and reportedly on the way to a quick recovery.
Along the Black River in Jefferson County, Mrs. Carl Hart was performing a routine chore in the field, untying a cow for milking. As she did so, a train passed by, spooking the cow, which bolted for parts unknown.
The rope became wrapped around Mrs. Hart’s ankles, and in an instant she was being dragged to almost certain death. Her body bounced terribly across the rough ground and then into the underbrush, where branches and thorns tore at her clothing and skin. The resistance of dragging through the brush caused the rope to slide down until it finally pulled her shoes off. That may well have saved her life.
The cow continued, but Mrs. Hart was left lying unconscious in the brush, bleeding from a multitude of cuts and scrapes, and nearly naked, her clothing having been shredded. Noticing her unusual absence from the home for so long a period, Mr. Hart began searching, and about thirty minutes after the incident, he found her.
After carrying his wife’s limp form to the house, Mr. Hart tended to her wounds and summoned a doctor. When Mrs. Hart finally regained consciousness, it was determined that she had suffered a broken bone in her right arm. It was termed “a miraculous escape from a terrible death.”
In Chateaugay, ten-year-old Delor Bushey and some friends spent a hot summer day playing in the river above a waterfall. The strength of the current proved too much, and young Delor was swept downstream over the 35-foot-high falls.
Landing on his head and shoulders, he was drawn into the whirlpool at the base of the falls, and it was five minutes before his friends finally managed to pull Delor ashore, an apparent drowning victim.
His body was taken to the Bushey home, where a doctor found signs of life in the boy. But Delor remained unresponsive, and as the hours passed, hope faded.
Then, in the unlikeliest of outcomes, he regained consciousness about eight hours after plunging over the falls. On the very next day, he was out and about as usual.
Despite sliding along the rocky riverbed and dropping 35 feet, Delor’s final assessment was — no bones were broken.
Lawrence Gooley has authored nine books and many articles on the North Country’s past. He and his partner, Jill McKee, founded Bloated Toe Enterprises in 2004 and have recently begun to expand their services and publishing work. For information on book publishing, visit Bloated Toe Publishing.
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