It’s been two and a half months since a Border Patrol checkpoint was last staffed on the Adirondack Northway, but the federal agency says the North Hudson post is still in operation, though more sporadically than after it was established in 2002.
The checkpoint is temporarily down because the New York State Department of Transportation is doing roadwork in the section of I-87 southbound between Exits 30 and 29, says David Matzel, public information officer for the United States Border Patrol sector in Swanton, Vermont, which covers five northern New York counties. The post was last manned on May 11, Matzel says. Its infrequent use of late has nothing to do with budgeting, he says. Authorities decide to staff it “based on intelligence,” he explains. The intelligence pertains “only to immigration and terrorist activity. . . . Anything else we get past immigration is just a factor of someone trying to run drugs through there at the wrong time.”
The checkpoint has netted a lot of marijuana and ecstasy in its lifetime. The questioning stop was instituted in reaction to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Four motorists were killed when a tractor trailer rammed into a line of cars there in 2004. Since then, officials have added rumble strips and other safety measures designed to better warn motorists to stop.
Adirondack Park Agency Visitor Interpretive Center on Route 28N in Newcomb is hosting the Summer 2009 Huntington Lecture Series. Each lecture on Thursdays at 7:00 PM. Here is the remaining schedule:
July 23 – Wilderness Pioneer Bob Marshall’s Adventures in the Adirondacks Phil Brown – Adirondack Explorer
July 30 – Where, How Fast and How Far do Adirondack Deer Move? Exciting New Insights from GPS Collars Matthew Smith – Graduate Student, SUNY-ESF August 6 – Coyotes, Deer, and the “Landscape of Fear” Dr. Jacqueline Frair – SUNY-ESF Faculty and Robin Holevinski – SUNY ESF Graduate Student
August 13 – Minerals of the Adirondack Highlands Michael Hawkins – New York State Museum
August 20 – Vernal Pools: Teeming with Life and Mystery Mary Beth Kolozsvary – Biodiversity Research Institute at NYS Museum
Several reporters I know who have followed this issue for the past few years have come to the same conclusion: the Adirondack Park Agency would have granted a permit for these houses if the farm had applied for one; this is a battle of jurisdiction and principle between two well-lawyered parties. The reaction of the farm’s owner, former Wall Street trader Salim B. “Sandy” Lewis, to his recent state appellate court win can be found on his Web site. The APA has not commented yet. But if the reporters are right, we should see the question of whether these structures are more essentially “farm accessory” or more essentially “house” ascend to another court.
The NYS Senate granted unanimous approval (58-0) today to two bills designed to help three small communities qualify for economic development and community enhancement projects through money available from the NYS Department of State and provided through the federal Coastal Resources program. If signed by Governor Paterson, the bills would grant inland waterway status to Lake Placid, Mirror Lake and the Little River in the Town of Franklin. According to the Adirondack Council’s John Sheehan, “these programs encourage comprehensive planning and sustainable economic development, especially projects that also help to protect water quality and other natural resources. Businesses and residents will be eligible for state and federal matching funds for business development and community beautification/revitalization programs.” » Continue Reading.
The Adirondack History Center Museum in Elizabthetown is presenting the annual Bits and Pieces Festival, From the Center of the World: A Celebration of Lake Champlain, beginning Friday, July 17 at 11:00 am. An inter-generational group of actors takes on 400 years of history with reflections on the Quadricentennial. Five production dates are scheduled: three Fridays at 11:00am on July 17, 24, 31 and two Sundays at 4:00pm on July 26 and August 2. The performance project has been created in collaboration with the Depot Theatre, the Westport Central School and the Westport Heritage Festival. It focuses on seven pivotal moments in Lake Champlain history that have global significance. The moments are depicted through fictional characters using soliloquies to explore their personal connections to each event, the changing landscape, and the curious process of human “discovery.” The production moves the audience through and around the museum. » Continue Reading.
Today marks the anniversary of one of the worst storms in Upstate New York history. During the early morning hours of July 15, 1995 a series of severe thunderstorms crossed the Adirondacks and much of eastern New York. Meteorologists call the phenomena by the Spanish “Derecho” but locals often refer to the event as the Blowdown of 1995. A similar weather event / blowdown occurred in 1950. A Derecho is part of a larger family of storms called a Mesoscale Convective System (MCS), a complex of thunderstorms that becomes organized on a scale larger than the individual thunderstorms and which includes phenomenon like lake effect snow. An MCS can sometimes act in ways similar to a hurricane and can produce torrential downpours and high winds. Aside from the remarkable power of the weather event, another unique thing happened – a shift in public policy with regard to salvage logging of public lands. The State’s decision to forgo salvage logging was in stark contrast to federal policies at the time that allowed federal lands to be logged in similar salvage situations. » Continue Reading.
Neighbors of the Cold Spring Granite Company recently received notice from the Adirondack Park Agency that the company hopes to expand its quarry in Au Sable Forks. Cold Spring Granite is one of the largest stone manufacturers in the world and it continues to thrive, even in this tough economy. (In fact they are currently looking to hire a hand polisher and installer – apply in person at 13791 Route 9N in Au Sable Forks). Cold Spring Granite supplies products ranging from building facing, to countertop slabs, grave markers, and mausoleums. It has been privately held by the Alexander family for three generations. Cold Spring (of Minnesota) established the (subsidiary) Lake Placid Granite Company in 1957. Local residents complained over the mine’s expansion by 25 percent in 1988.
Here is the APA’s project description:
The project is a greater than 25% expansion of pre-1973 mineral extraction (Quarry) with a 70.10± acre life of mine. The applicant proposes the extraction of a maximum of 10,500 cubic yards of consolidated mineral, on an annual basis during a five year permit term in conjunction with the Department of Environmental Conservation permit. A total of 41.60± acres will be affected in the next five year term. The proposed mining operation will operate year-round, May 1-September 30, Monday through Friday, 6:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Saturday’s 7:00 a.m. to 12 noon, and October 1- April 30, Monday through Friday, 7:00 a.m. to 400 p.m., and Saturday’s 7:00 a.m. to 12 noon. Proposed blasting hours are year round Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Crushing and breaking of rock will occur during hours of operation. There will be no rock crushing, rock breaking, or blasting on Saturdays. On occasion there will 24 hour operations for the cutting of stone. The equipment to be used in the mining operation includes front-end loaders, bulldozers, dump trucks and portable rock crusher, excavators, generators and rock cutting saws.
The quarry shares a border with the Ausable Acres residential community. Public comments are being taken until July 23, 2008 and should be addressed to:
Michael P. Hannon Adirondack Park Agency P.O. Box 99 Ray Brook, NY 12977 (518)891-4050
Include the Project Number (2008-229) in any correspondence.
Local county fairs start this week, so here is our full list of Adirondack county fairs, listed according to opening date. As usual, I’ve included a few of the most important regional fairs as well. See you at the fair!
Mining was once a major industry in northern New York State. Small iron mines and forges appeared along Lake Champlain in the late 1700s. In the 1820s, the industry began to grow rapidly, reaching its peak in the mid-to-late 1800s. The story of mining is much more than minerals found and ores extracted. This Monday, July 13, 2009 Dr. Carol Burke will explore human aspects of Adirondack mining in an illustrated program entitled “The Adirondack Mining Village” at the Adirondack Museum at Blue Mountain Lake.
Part of the museum’s popular Monday Evening Lecture series, the presentation will be held in the Auditorium at 7:30 p.m. There is no charge for museum members. Admission is $5.00 for non-members. Burke’s presentation reflects an ongoing project that documents accounts of the daily lives or ordinary people who lived and worked in the now abandoned mining villages of Tahawus and nearby Adirondac (known in the 1950s as “The Upper Works”). Dr. Burke will share photographs and recollections of everyday life in these former company towns.
Carol Burke, a Professor at the University of California at Irvine, is a folklorist and journalist whose ethnographic work has produced books that document the lives of Midwestern farm families, female inmates in our nation’s prisons, and most recently, members of the armed services. Six months ago she was embedded with an army unit in northern Iraq.
Dr. Burke spends her summers in the Adirondacks and is currently documenting the everyday life of the once-flourishing mining village of Tahawus. Before joining the faculty at the University of California at Irvine, Professor Burke taught at Vanderbilt University, Johns Hopkins University, and the United States Naval Academy.
The broad story of mining in the Adirondacks is one of fortunes made and lost, of suicide, madness, and ambition, and the opening of one of America’s last frontiers. Mining shaped the physical and cultural landscape of the Adirondack Park for generations. The Adirondack Museum plans to open the completely revitalized exhibit “Mining in the Adirondacks” in 2012 to share this incredible history.
Photo: Adirondack Village, Near the Upper Works. From Benson J. Lossing’s The Hudson, from the Wilderness to the Sea, 1859.
On Lake Placid yesterday, efforts to contain recently discovered variable leaf milfoil moved forward on two fronts. As village officials prepared to close the village-owned launch on Victor Herbert Road—redirecting boat traffic to the NYSDEC launch next to the Lake Placid Marina—the Lake Placid Shore Owner’s Association released the first aerial photograph of the milfoil bed on Paradox Bay.
The photo, taken by the volunteer team of Lake Placid-based environmentalist and aviator Ed McNeil and Dr. Charles D. Canham, a forest ecologist with the Cary Institue of Ecosystem Studies, in Millbrook, was from a survey of the lake’s littoral regions in search of secondary establishments of the invasive weed. None were discovered. According to McNeil, the the favorable angle of the sun and the transparency of the lake water allowed them to survey to depths of about 12 feet. » Continue Reading.
The first Sprite Wet and Wild Wednesday, the weekly freestyle show featuring aerialists, debuts for the summer at the freestyle pool at the Olympic Jumping Complex tomorrow July 8 at 1 p.m. These weekly shows features freestyle and aerial athletes launching up to 60-feet into the air off of the kickers, where they execute a series of spins, twists and flips before splashing down in the 750,000-gallon pool. Athletes of all levels – from the beginner to World and Olympic champions – train at this site, which has one of only two pools in the U.S. where freestylers are able to perfect their moves. Current athletes training in Lake Placid include U.S. and World Champion Ryan St. Onge, and 2006 Olympic bronze medalist Vladimir Lebedev from Russia – both of whom have their eyes on the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver. U.S. Ski Team members Matt DePeters and Ashley Caldwell as well as Russian Anton Sannikov are all spending the summer at the freestyle training center hoping to make their respective Olympic teams as well.
During Wet and Wild Wednesday, visitors have a chance to win some great prizes and learn more about the sport of freestyle. Spectators can come early or stay late to ride the chairlift from the Base Lodge to the bottom of the 120-meter ski jump tower. From there, guests may take the enclosed elevator up 26-stories to the Sky Deck and experience a ski jumper’s view of the Adirondack High Peaks and surrounding area.
Admission to the venue is $14 for adults and $8 for juniors and seniors. The price includes entry to the competition as well as the chairlift and elevator ride to the Sky Deck. In addition, with the purchase of a $29 Olympic Sites Passport, your one-time entry into the jumping site is included. The passports can be acquired at any ORDA venue, as well as the ORDA Store on Main Street in Lake Placid.
The Adirondack History Center Museum will host two events in July that look at the landscape and built environment in Essex County. A reception, slide show and gallery tour by photographer Betsy Tisdale featuring the exhibition, In and Around Essex will be held on July 8th, 2009 at 4:00 p.m. The slide show highlights photographs not included in the exhibition and focuses on changes that have taken place in Essex, NY over the last 30 years. Light refreshments will be served including an array of pies contributed by Essex community members for a taste of hometown Essex. Donations accepted. Please call for reservations. Celebrating a Landscape of Culture and Ideas: 1609-2009, is the focus of this season at the History Center which is offering its next event on Sunday, July 12 at 4:00pm. A lecture by Ellen Ryan, Community Outreach Director at Adirondack Architectural Heritage (AARCH), features “What can we learn about people and their environment by looking at architecture?” The presentation corresponds with the exhibition currently on display at the museum: Race, Gender, and Class: Architecture and Society in Essex County. Please call for reservations. $10/non-members, $5/members, $2/students.
The museum is located at 7590 Court Street, Elizabethtown (corner of Hand Avenue and Court Street). For more information please contact the museum at 873-6466 or [email protected]
The Adirondack Park Agency (APA) will hold its regularly scheduled monthly meeting on Thursday, July 9 and Friday July 10 at APA Headquarters in Ray Brook, NY. The July meeting will be webcast live on the Agency’s homepage. The Full Agency will convene on Thursday morning at 9:00 for the Acting Executive Director’s monthly report. Here is the full APA agenda: At 9:15 a.m., the Regulatory Programs Committee will consider a proposal from the Franklin County Industrial Development Agency and Graymont Materials (NY) Inc. to undertake a two-lot subdivision and relocate Graymont’s existing ready-mix concrete batch plant from the Village of Tupper Lake to an existing 135+/- acre business park located on the westerly side of Pitchfork Pond Road in the Town of Tupper Lake, Franklin County.
The new facility would be located on a 5.07+/- lot and include a ready-mix concrete batch plant, a boiler room, an office/lab, a stockpile area of crushed stone and sand, and parking areas. A self contained/recycling truck washout pit which would contain all material washed off/out of the trucks would also be located on project site.
Key issues include revisions to business park covenants, potential impacts to adjoining land uses, visual impacts and local approvals.
Next the committee will consider a second permit renewal for a single- family dwelling and temporary two-lot subdivision into sites in the town of Webb, Herkimer County.
The committee will also determine approvability for a Verizon proposed 74-foot telecommunications tower and 10-foot lightning rod for an overall height of 84-feet. The proposed tower would be installed east of the Northway in the Town of North Hudson, Essex County adjacent to the northbound High Peaks Rest Stop, which is located between exits 29 and 30, on Interstate 87.
Key issues include Agency Towers Policy compliance and co-location potential.
At 11:30, 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 1:00, the Park Policy and Planning Committee will consider a Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement and authorization for staff to conduct a public hearing for proposed map amendments to the Official Adirondack Park Land Use and Development Plan. The Town of Inlet, Hamilton County is requesting the reclassification of approximately 1,913 acres of private land. The proposals are located in four areas throughout the town and would result in the reclassification of:
• Low Intensity Use to Moderate Intensity Use; 203.4+/- acres • Low Intensity Use to Moderate Intensity Use; 23.6+/- acres • Rural Use to Moderate Intensity Use; 1043.7+/- acres • Low Intensity Use to Moderate Intensity Use; 642.6+/- ac
Following this discussion the committee will hear a presentation from Adirondack Association of Towns and Villages President Brain Towers and Jim Martin from the LA Group on the recently completed Adirondack Park Regional Assessment Project. The discussion will focus on the community infrastructure inventory that was conducted as part of the regional assessment.
At 2:30, the Administration Committee will hear a final reading and possibly adopt revisions to the Agency’s Policy & Guidance System. In addition, Acting Executive Director James Connolly will inform the committee about ongoing landscaping efforts at the APA facility in Ray Brook.
At 3:30, the Enforcement Committee will come to order for administrative enforcement proceedings related to alleged permit violations resulting from non compliant signage on commercial businesses in the Town of Ticonderoga, Essex County and an alleged wetland fill/disturbance violation on a private property in the Town of Hopkinton, St Lawrence County.
On Friday morning at 9:00, the Interpretive Programs Committee will convene for a presentation on regional events planned for the Quadricentennial celebration and events planned for September 19th at the Crown Point Historic Site.
The Full Agency will convene at 10:00 to take action as necessary and conclude the meeting with committee reports, public and member comment.
The Citizens Bank Summer Skating Series resumes this weekend with Freaky Friday and the Saturday Night Ice Show, presented by North Country Community College, this Friday and Saturday, July 3-4 at the Olympic Center. Olympian Emily Hughes, the younger sister of 2002 Olympic champion Sarah Hughes, placed seventh in Torino during the 2006 Olympic Games. She won the silver medal during the 2007 U.S. National Championships and has skated in many national and international events, including Grand Prix events. Jason Wong is the 2008 U.S. Collegiate National Champion and recently competed in the 2009 World University Games in China. Wong has won the New England Regionals in the junior, intermediate, novice and senior divisions and also earned the silver medal at the U.S. Junior National Championships in 2004. Wong skates for the Skating Club of Boston.
Joining Hughes and Wong on the famed 1932 Rink Jack Shea Arena ice will be skaters participating in the 77th Annual Miracles of Gold summer skating program. The skaters will perform their individual and group numbers during this entertaining event. Showtime is at 7:30 p.m. Admission to the show is $9 for adults, $7 for juniors and seniors. Children six and under may enter for free.
The ever-popular Freaky Friday show is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. in the 1932 Rink Jack Shea Arena. Students in the Miracle of Gold summer skating program create their own unique routines for this event. The skaters have come up with wonderful costumes and ideas, such as baseball players playing in Fenway Park, girls dressed in Poodle skirts, hula hoops and much more. This free event is a great way to support the figure skaters.