The Adirondack Museum third 2012 Cabin Fever Sunday series, “Nature: From Howling Wilderness to Vacation Destination” will be held on Sunday, February 12, 2012. The event will be offered free of charge.
Drawing on landscape painting, photography, traveler’s accounts, and other sources, this presentation by Dr. Charles Mitchell will explore the evolution of American attitudes towards nature. Beginning with perceptions of the American landscape as a howling wilderness, a wasteland to be tamed and transformed, the lecture will trace the social, cultural and economic forces that led to the perception of wild nature as something of value to be experienced and preserved. Key topics and figures along the way include the sublime, romanticism, Henry David Thoreau, Thomas Cole and the Hudson River School, John Muir, Ansel Adams, and the Lorax. Dr. Charles Mitchell is Associate Professor of American Studies at Elmira College. Mitchell has been on the faculty of Elmira College since 1993. Born in Brooklyn and raised in Lynbrook (on Long Island) he still occasionally refers to everything north of Yonkers as “upstate.” He teaches a side variety of courses in American cultural history, with specific interests in environmental history, the history of ideas about nature, and the representation of the landscape in literature and art.
This program will be held at the Adirondack Lakes Center for the Arts at Blue Mountain Lake, and will begin at 1:30 p.m. For additional information, please call (518) 352-7311, ext. 128 or visit www.adirondackmuseum.org.
With the snow finally here what better way to celebrate this cold season than Long Lake’s annual Winter Carnival. According to the Moonlighters Snowmobile Club President Jim Piraino, the Long Lake Winter Carnival is in its eighth year.
Piraino remembers the start of the Long Lake Winter Carnival as it began with the demise of the 100-Miler Snowmobile Race. He and other members of the Moonlighters Snowmobile Club looked for a way to continue to celebrate the winter season. “The ice became unsafe on Long Lake with the weather changing over the years,” says Piraino. “We wanted to continue to have a fun event but needed to adapt for those changes. The Town of Long Lake became a co-sponsor with the Moonlighters and added the cardboard box races. All the events, food and activities are free with some events even having a cash prize and are sponsored by the Moonlighters, Town of Long Lake or the Fire Department. We want people to come and focus on this fun town event.”
Annually the one-day event takes place the Saturday of Martin Luther King weekend with a playlist full of activities. The event will kick off with a snowmobile parade to the Mt Sabattis Geiger Arena. With the coronation of the festival’s King and Queen, the fun begins. Don’t worry if it’s cold, according to Piraino the bonfire starts at 10:00 a.m. and will be contained near the Mt Sabattis sledding hill and behind Geiger Arena. People can warm up near by while they watch the cardboard box races or while waiting their turn for any of the other events.
“All the events are located at the old ski hill,” says Piraino. “We want parents to be able to have fun while able to watch their kids. The cardboard sled races are great. You can only use cardboard and duct tape. There are different age groups and prizes for each category.”
Not only is Piraino president of the Moonlighters Snowmobile Club as owner of the Long Lake Diner he sponsors one of the events.
“The Long Lake Diner sponsors the ½ court basketball shot with a cash prize. Of course you have to make the shot with a snowball,” he laughs. “There are many other games such as a relay where we divide up the participants into teams and people have to put on fireman pants, jacket and hat and fill up a bucket with snow.”
Other events include an “adult golf shot” from the top of the sledding hill, ladies frying pan toss, kids’ balloon chase, the goalie’s day off puck shot (children shoot at half rink while adult shoot the whole ice rink distance) and a broomball tournament. Of course the sledding hill and ice rink will remain open throughout the day, when not being used for specific activities. After the broomball tournament, the Long Lake Winter Carnival will culminate with fireworks overhead. Click here for the complete schedule and times.
Piraino says, ”This is the third year we have the free transportation bus (5:00 p.m. – 1:00 a.m.). Anyone can call (518-354-1510) and picked up or wave the bus down. It will be driven around the town, going from restaurant to bar right from your hotel or home. You can have dinner at one place and drinks at another. It has worked out great. People can relax and have fun and not worry about driving.”
With winter finally here this looks like a great way to celebrate the next months of winter!
Concern mounted on Sunday among the Adirondack plane-crash victims after two nights in the wilderness. Clearing skies had brought the promise of rescue, but frustration set in as more than 20 times, planes approached the site but failed to detect the wreckage. Walking a mile or more from the crash led only to more cliffs, mountains, and deep snow. As the day wore on, darkness and cold changed their condition from miserable to dangerous. The temperature had dropped to well below zero, and the men were exhausted from struggling through the deep snow for bits of firewood.
As the situation deteriorated and death drew closer, action was needed. It was decided to drain some gasoline from a fuel tank and set a tree on fire. There seemed a good chance one of the few night fliers would see the signal. » Continue Reading.
This week marks the seventy-seventh anniversary of perhaps the greatest Adirondack rescue story ever. With all the inherent dangers of hiking, rock climbing, and navigating treacherous river rapids by canoe or kayak, this incredible incident ironically was unrelated to the most popular mountain pursuits. But when accidents occur while enjoying those pastimes, one factor above all can turn any outing into a life-or-death drama: weather. » Continue Reading.
A bridge on an important snowmobile connector trail on the Perkins Clearing Conservation Easement Lands was replaced in time for the upcoming snowmobile season, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has announced.
The new bridge replaces the old, deteriorating Mossy Vly Snowmobile Bridge on the Carpenter Hill Trail which connects the Mud Lake Road and the Jessup River Road in the Town of Lake Pleasant, Hamilton County. The Mossy Vly Brook snowmobile bridge provides a critical link between snowmobile trails on the conservation easement property. Historically, the bridge has been used as a bypass route around winter logging activities on the conservation easement property. Replacing the bridge eliminates the need for hazardous ice crossings by snowmobilers. » Continue Reading.
For my family buying a huge amount of gifts is just not in the budget. We are being selective and trying to make the gift mean something a bit more than just ticking a master list of “I wants.” Part of what we love about living in the Adirondacks is the opportunity to meet artists, make crafts and participate in activities together. I’ve asked my children to think about what they really want to receive and want to give.
For those around the Central Adirondacks Inlet, Indian Lake and Old Forge are celebrating an early Adirondack Christmas. Inlet and Old Forge are once again co-hosting an Adirondack Christmas on Main Street allowing people to walk through the local stores and peruse locally made crafts, meet store owners and truly get in the holiday spirit. The activities in Old Forge range from horse drawn wagon rides to meeting sled dogs. Perhaps free crafts at The View or seeing reindeer at Walt’s Diner is more to your liking. Throughout the weekend watch an unique performance of the “Cast of Bronze” carillon, a tower of 35 bells played using a keyboard.
On Sunday have breakfast with Santa and Mrs. Claus or join in the Reindeer Run at 1:30 p.m. which starts at the Goodsell Museum (antlers are provided) After the race take a break at the Strand and watch a holiday film (If you wear your antlers get ½ price matinee admission and a free small popcorn.) Well worth wearing antlers.
In Inlet, browse the shops and then stop by the Inlet Town Hall to have gifts wrapped for free. Enjoy a candy cane hunt at Arrowhead Park and a Children’s Holiday Film Festival, dog parade and tree lighting with Santa. Of course, that barely covers all that is offered. Keep in mind there is a shuttle that runs between the Thendara Station and Inlet for those not wanting to drive.
“Made in the Adirondacks” is the theme for the 14th Annual Indian Lake Country Christmas Tour (CCT), which gives visitors an inside view of the lives and work of more than 45 local and regional artisans and crafters.
Annelies Taylor, Technical Supporter for the Indian Lake Country Christmas Tour says, “We give out a map with all the various activities and crafts at the Chamber of Commerce as well as at any of the crafters’ homes. There are over 27 stops with some places hosting more than one artisan.”
According the Taylor each crafter strives to decorate his/her house in a festive manner. Guests are also greeted with hot cider and coffee when welcomed into various locations. People will have the opportunity to see how and where each craft and artwork is made. The Adirondack Center for the Arts will also be presenting Rogers and Hammerstein’s musical Cinderella at the Indian Lake Theatre.
“There is also a children’s craft on Saturday from 10:00 a.m – 11:30 a.m. where children can have the opportunity to make a gift for someone else,” says Taylor. “Parents can stay or leave their children during that time. There will be someone in attendance during the craft so parents can use the time to do some shopping of their own.”
Adirondack Christmas on Main Street will take place throughout the weekend of November 25-27 in Inlet and Old Forge. The 14th annual Indian Lake Country Christmas Tour will take place November 25-26 at various times and locations.
Well, with these and more opportunities coming our way, it looks like everyone’s Christmas list can read, “Made in the Adirondacks.” Enjoy the holidays!
photo of Father Christmas used with permission of the Indian Lake Country Christmas Tour
Diane Chase is the author of the Adirondack Family Activities Guidebook Series including the recent released Adirondack Family Time: Tri-Lakes and High Peaks Your Guide to Over 300 Activities for Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, Tupper Lake, Keene, Jay and Wilmington areas (with GPS coordinates), the first book of a four-book series of Adirondack Family Activities.
* Please note the correct time for drop off to McCauley Mountain Ski Swap is Saturday from 8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.!
Being an active family, my kids seems to outgrown their sporting gear before I’ve finished tying up the laces. For other parents looking to outfit their children for the winter ski season, a ski swap is a nice starting place. A ski swap can also be a much-needed opportunity to clean house.
Generally the ski swaps are consignments where you drop off your gear, helmets, and winter clothing a day before the event. If the gear sells then you will receive 80% of the set sale price. Usually the funds generated benefit a special organization like ski clubs or ski patrols so the 20% commission goes to support the sport. It is best to ask what each ski swap’s arrangement is, as it varies with location. Keep in mind no “collector’s items” like wooden skis and only clothing in good condition. Ski Club Swaps
Lake Placid: November 5, 9:00 a.m. – noon In Lake Placid, the Lake Placid Ski Club/NYSEF Ski Swap is asking for any winter gear from cross-country skis, boots, roller blades, helmets as well as current downhill ski equipment. Any winter clothing in good shape will be accepted. For questions please call Lake Placid Ski Club President Carol Hoffman at 524-6914. This is the first year that Lake Placid Ski Club and NYSEF are doing a combined Ski and Skate Swap at St. Agnes Gym in Lake Placid. 80/20 split, no rear entry boots or straight skis and no gear donations. Drop off equipment to consign on November 4 from 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Queensbury, November 5 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. November 6, 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. This annual event at West Mountain is touted as one of the largest ski swaps in the area. Drop off for consignments is Friday (11/4) from 5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. and Saturday (11/5) from 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.. They are accepting any new and pre-owned ski or snowboard gear. No straight skis or rear entry boots. They are looking for any outerwear and accessories as well as skis, boots, helmets and snowboards. Proceeds benefit the West Mountain Ski Patrol and Race Team.
Old Forge, November 5, 9:00 a.m. – noon This annual Polar Bear Ski Club Ski Swap at McCauley Mountain will be the place to find deals on new/used ski and snowboard equipment. Drop off is Friday evening from 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. and on Saturday between 8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. They are looking for any winter sporting gear and winter clothing in good condition. This event is not restricted to ski or snowboards but will accept helmets, ice skates, hockey equipment and cross-country ski gear. This event will benefit the Polar Bear Ski Club, which sponsors ski races for youth in cross-country skiing, downhill and biathlon.
Speculator, November 19, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. This is a new event for Oak Mountain and a bit different from the traditional ski swap. For a $20 “table” free (if reserved by the 16th or $25 after the 16th) the consignor can sell anything from boats, ATVs, snowmobiles as well as skis, gear and sport clothing. The only requirement is that it has to be sporting goods. The table fee will benefit the Friends of Oak Mountain, which continues to support upgrades to Oak Mountain. There will also be refreshments for sale.
“We have been working with the Adirondack Lakes Center for the Arts to make this an event for everyone,” says Long Lake Event Coordinator Denise Gagnier. “It is the third year for the Pet Fest and we wanted to work with our neighbors at The Center to provide an active event for the Columbus weekend.”
According to Gagnier, the Long Lake Oktober Pet Fest will host a variety of unique activities geared toward pet owners. There will be a pet agility course with everything from seesaw to hurdles. Owners can register their pets for a maze and the pet show. Prizes will be awarded for Best Pet Trick, Most Unique Pet, Look Like Your Pet and Best Stuffed Pet.
The stuffed pet can be anything from toy to taxidermy. Don’t worry there is plenty to do in addition to the pet activities. One unusual event will be the “Punkin’ Chunkin’. In years past the Harvest Fest held a pumpkin drop but this year “pumpkins will be flying.”
“We have made the event, in many ways, like a carnival,” says Alexandra Verner Roalsvig, Director of Parks, Recreation and Tourism for Long Lake. “There are various activities that will require a $1 ticket. Other events are free. The Punkin Chunkin is new this year. We are asking that people design their own catapult and we provide the pumpkins. That activity is free and we are hoping to see some real originally being shown while participants see who can launch their pumpkin the farthest.”
There are rules for the Punkin’ Chunkin’ Each participant will receive three pumpkins with a misfire being treated as a foul. Each pumpkin will weigh approximately 8-10 lbs. so plan accordingly. No cannons, ignitables or explosives, if that is where your mind is running. Eye protection and hard hat is provided.
Roalsvig is hoping the combined festivals will appeal to visitors and local residents. By keeping the ticket price for various activities at the one-dollar mark, people can pick and choose where to spend their money.
“The Kids’ Zone is going to have Magician Bob Shelley, pumpkin painting, bounce house and T-shirt painting. Each activity will require a ticket but it will be well worth the price,” says Roalsvig.
“The craft fair will be held under the tent and that is free. This year we invited the Long Lake Artisans to be part of the craft fair,” says Roalsvig. “We have wonderful handmade crafts like fishing flies, table runners, Christmas decorations, rustic furniture, fabric arts and a variety of candles. We insist that the products are homemade crafts. Boat builder Bunny Austin just refurbished a guideboat and will have it on display. It has an historic reference so people are encouraged to stop and talk to him about the guideboat and its story.”
Traditional German fare as well as maple cotton candy, Kettle Corn, gourmet desserts and a Saranac Root Beer tasting can be enjoyed while listening to the acoustic music of Adam Reynolds and John Hill.
Parking for the Long Lake Oktober Pet Fest can be found at the St. Henry’s Parking Long and the Long Lake Central School Parking Lot off Route 30. Call 518-624-3077 for additional information.
Photo: Chandler Seaman with his Prized Pumpkin at Harvest Fest in Long Lake. (Photo provided).
The Adirondacks are unique in many ways, not the least of which is the kinds of museums that emerge there. In 1957, the Adirondack Museum first opened at Blue Mountain Lake, graced with a spectacular vantage point on the lake below, and a mission to provide the narrative history of the Adirondacks through its art and artifacts.
In July of 2006, the Wild Center opened in Tupper Lake, with innovative design and exhibits that integrate the science and beauty of nature in one place. The Wild Center, billed as the “natural history museum of the Adirondacks” has been extremely successful since opening, and continues to add exciting new exhibits each year. And in a truly inspiring stroke of recent good fortune (or maybe just good karma), these two museums were each bequested $2.4M from the estate of the late LiLinda Kent Vaughan, a member of both museums, and a long-time summer resident of Long Lake. Coming at a time when many museum funding sources have run dry, these generous gifts present an especially welcome and much-needed boost to the museums’ futures.
Dr. Vaughan was a Professor Emerita of the Department of Physical Education and Athletics at Wellesley College in Wellesley Ma, where she had led the department from 1973 to 1990 as chairperson and director. She held both B.S. and M.A. degrees from Russell Sage College, where she received the Aldrich Award for Proficiency in Sports. and received her Ph.D. in Physical Education from Ohio State University.
Throughout her distinguished career, Dr. Vaughan wrote numerous papers in her main field of sports psychology, and in 1970 co-authored the book (with Richard Hale Stratton) Canoeing and Sailing, a second version of which was published In 1985. Her appreciation for the wildlife in the Adirondacks and her love of the sporting opportunities also led her to develop an understanding of the environmental issues in the region.
An avid photographer in her spare time, Dr. Vaughan traveled extensively throughout the world photographing nature, and held a one-woman show at the Blue Mountain Center of wildlife captured on trips to Africa, Alaska and Antarctica. In a fitting culmination to her many lifetime accomplishments, the work of Dr. Vaughan lives on through the legacy she leaves to the two museums she supported in life.
Together, the Adirondack Museum and the Wild Center are instrumental in promoting the need for environmental protection of one of the last truly untouched frontiers in America. And they’re just plain fun to visit. Make sure to plan your next trip soon.
Photos: Above, view of Blue Mountain Lake from the cafe of the Adirondack Museum (photo by Linda Peckel); below, Trout Stream in the Hall of the Adirondacks at the Wild Center, and View of the Wild Center (Courtesy Wild Center).
The annual Harvest Festival at the Adirondack Museum will be held on Saturday, October 1 and Sunday, October 2. The event will include wagon and pony rides, music, arts and crafts, demonstrations, a giant leaf pile, and much more. The Adirondack Museum offers free admission to year-round residents of the Adirondack Park in the month of October. On Saturday, October 1, Radio Disney Albany will be on hand with music, games, and activities with a Harvest twist. Don’t miss Pumpkin Roll Relay, Best “Yee-hah”contest, Guess the Harvest Crop Gross, Scarecrow and Me Contest and more. Plus dress up in harvest themed costumes for a Costume Parade to get a special prize. » Continue Reading.
Each year Smithsonian Magazine teams with museums around the country to host its seventh annual Museum Day, allowing everyone to enter special organizations that cater from everything from the history of the Adirondacks to the Olympics.
Free admission is only available for those that sign online and download the ticket form. The ticket is good for two people per mailing address and valid email.
For our family it isn’t a matter of participating in Museum Day but which museum to attend. My son wants to venture far afield and go aboard the USS Slater. Unfortunately that particular adventure will have to be timed with a trip to Albany. Since we will be attending Indian Lake’s Great Adirondack Moose Festival, a trip to the Adirondack Museum will fit right into the plan.
Once again the Adirondack Museum will offer anyone signed on for a Museum Day ticket the right to enter its doors free of charge. (New for 2011, year-round residents of the Adirondack Park are admitted free every Sunday during the Adirondack Museum’s season as well as any open days in October.)
The Adirondack Museum houses twenty buildings on 32 acres of land, beautiful gardens and ponds. There are many interactive elements like the Rising Schoolhouse filled with paper crafts and era-specific wooden toys, a treasure hunt in the “Age of Horses” building, or explore “The Great Outdoors.” Keep in mind all paid admissions are valid for a second visit within a one-week time period.
Another museum offering a free pass is the Lake Placid Olympic Museum. This nod to Lake Placid’s Winter Olympic history offers great insight into the magnitude the Olympics played on the growth of Lake Placid in the Olympic arena. Guests can view an array of Olympic torches, an evolution of sporting equipment and a special video documenting the 1980 historic USA hockey gold medal win.
There are more museums just beyond the Blue Line that are participating as well. Take this opportunity and explore new areas or old favorites this Saturday, September 24th.
(Even though museums are generously offering a free day to all keep in mind it still costs money to run these wonderful establishments. A small donation can go a long way to help continue to provide these excellent facilities.)
A year ago Sacandaga Lake was added to a growing list of New York State waterbodies infested with a new invader, the Spiny Water Flea. The Spiny Water Flea hitchhiked from Eurasia to Lake Huron in 1984 in ship ballast water, and since then, has spread to Lake Erie, Lake Ontario, the Great Sacandaga Lake, Peck Lake, and Stewarts Bridge Reservoir, threatening aquatic ecosystems, fishing, and tourism. The Hamilton County Soil and Water Conservation District is taking action to combat this tiny critter that could mean big changes for our lakes. » Continue Reading.
The Adirondack Museum will hosts its annual Fabric and Fiber Arts Festival on Saturday, September 17, 2011. Fabrics and regional artists are featured at this one day celebration of spinning, weaving, quilting, knitting, knotting and all fiber arts.
There will be textile appraisals by Rabbit Goody in the Visitor Center from 9:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. and a variety of yarn installations, or yarn bombings, displayed throughout the museum campus during the event. Yarnbombing is a type of street art typically found in urban areas. Regional fiber guilds and artists will “yarn-bomb” more utilitarian parts of the museum in celebration of the fiber arts, and to showcase how traditional crafts like knitting and crocheting are being applied in new ways in the 21st century. This year’s event includes a crocheted SUV cover by Jerilia Zempel.
In addition to the yarn-bombing displays, the museum will also feature the Third Annual Great Adirondack Quilt Show on September 17. The show is a special display of quilts inspired by or used in the Adirondacks, and will be open through October 9, 2011.
Demonstrations during the festival include: art quilting with the Adirondack Regional Textile Artists Alliance; bobbin lace-making with Judy Anderson; mixed-media textile arts and quilting with Louisa Woodworth; quilting with Northern Needles; rug hooking with the Country Ruggers; a variety of wool arts with Serendipity Spinners and felt making with Linda Van Alstyn. Linda will offer informal sessions of make your own felt flowers for a $5 fee.
Museum Curator Hallie Bond and guest Rabbit Goody will offer a presentation at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. entitled “Weaving Through History,” telling the history of the weaving tradition. Presentations will take place in the Auditorium. Visitors will be able to browse and buy from a small group of talented North Country fiber artists at the vendor fair. Enjoy fiddle and guitar music by talented musicians Doug Moody and John Kribs throughout the day.
Hands-on activities include recycled rugs – help braid strips of blue jeans into a floor rug and placemats for the museum’s Little Log Cabin, or make a coaster for home from recycled tee-shirts. This year’s Fiber Fest will include an afternoon knit-in hosted by Carol Wilson. This will be an opportunity for knitters to work on a project in the company of other knitting enthusiasts, and to exchange tips with other participants about how to tackle tricky techniques. Knitters are highly encouraged to bring finished projects to display, as well as works in progress.
Visit www.adirondackmuseum.org for a list of fiber related workshops that will take place on Sunday, September 18, 2011.
There are so many festivals in the autumn that it is easy to be overwhelmed with the various opportunities. One reason that I do favor these annual events for my family is the variety of activities at each festival. As my children get older they want to have more input in the activities that we do. We find a festival offers a little bit of everything for my family of four. » Continue Reading.
Through a technicality in a poorly written election law, B. Frank Kathan was renamed Sheriff of Hamilton County in 1901 despite having lost by forty votes. Jim Locke, initially declared the winner, had already moved into the jail. When the decision was reversed, he stayed put, and the county had two men who claimed to be sheriff. Kathan pursued court options, while Locke armed his men and refused to surrender the jailhouse.
At the time, Hamilton County had two prisoners—one held by Locke in the jail, and one held by Kathan in his home. Kathan angrily demanded the right to take office, but Locke remained entrenched, defying anyone to remove him from the building.
If pushed further by the courts, Locke promised to subpoena all the voters in the county to confirm the intent of each individual ballot. The expense to poor, huge, and sparsely populated Hamilton County would be enormous. On March 12, the judge issued a confusing order. He refused to impose punishment on Locke for taking over the jailhouse, but also ruled that Locke had no jurisdiction, no legal right to the office of sheriff, and no power to carry out civil or criminal processes.
Still locked out of the jail under threat of violence, Kathan established a second sheriff’s office and bided his time. With further court action pending, he finally made his move a few weeks later. There are two variations of what happened next, but the violent version was recounted in May when the case went before the state supreme court.
On April 1, Kathan and a few of his men went to Lake Pleasant and staked out the county jail. When darkness arrived, he attempted to enter the building. Surprised to find the outside door unlocked, he stepped inside and faced off against Al Dunham, the lone jailer present.
Kathan, described as “a large and powerful man,” dropped Dunham with one punch and commandeered the office. (A second version of the story was much more benign. It claimed Kathan found the jailhouse unoccupied and simply took over.)
Now Locke was himself locked out. He countered by establishing a sheriff’s office in William Osborne’s hotel at Speculator—and the battle of the dueling sheriffs continued.
One of the sheriff’s duties was contacting jurors on behalf of the county. When the juror list was presented to Kathan (since he was the most recent court-approved sheriff), Locke obtained a certified copy from the county clerk’s office.
Jurors on the list received official notices from both Kathan and Locke, and both men submitted billing to the county board of supervisors for their work. To clear up the mess, the board tried to declare Locke the official county sheriff, but that directly violated the judge’s earlier order.
In response, the judge issued a summons demanding an explanation as to why the board itself should not be cited for contempt of court. It seemed like nobody agreed on anything (sounds suspiciously like today’s political environment).
Locke then filed a proceeding that required Kathan to prove he was entitled to the office. The significance of that move wasn’t lost on Kathan: Locke indeed planned to subpoena all of the county’s voters to court where they could verify the intent of every single ballot cast.
Meanwhile, the state appellate court finally ruled on Kathan’s original filing and declared him the sheriff of Hamilton County. Locke, true to his word, remained in the courthouse and began sending subpoenas to hundreds of county residents.
However, just a few days after the appellate court’s ruling, an unexpected tragedy took much of the fight out of Jim Locke. His write-in candidacy had been initiated by William Osborne, and his sheriff’s office was in Osborne’s hotel. Will Osborne had a reputation as the most fearless man in Hamilton County, a title earned, in part, for suffering a head wound in an intense gun battle during which he shot and captured a very dangerous criminal.
In mid-August, Osborne had been injured in a baseball game. In September, during Locke’s struggle to remain as sheriff, came a stunning announcement—Osborne had died of his injuries. After burying his close friend, Locke resumed the fight, but soon decided on a compromise based on leverage he now held—more than half the county voters had already been subpoenaed.
To avoid the great expense of continued litigation, which one writer said “would have almost swamped the county treasury,” Locke demanded compensation for having served as sheriff for the year since he was elected. The agreement also said, “It is understood that, in withdrawing from the case, Locke was not a loser through any previous legal proceedings.”
It was a confusing decision, but the county and Kathan agreed to the terms. Locke’s office was disbanded and the deputies he had appointed were dismissed. It had been a long, tempestuous year, but Hamilton County finally had one official sheriff. And, hopefully, a new set of rules governing write-in votes.
Photo: A few of the many wild headlines generated by the sheriff controversy.
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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