Posts Tagged ‘Jay’

Monday, October 3, 2011

Dave Gibson: River Management by Backhoe

“It is unfortunate that dredging has proceeded without any guidance from river experts who could provide natural stream dimensions based on a rapid assessment of natural bankfull, pool depth and riffle spacing. Measurements that could be done in a few hours and eliminate years of lost habitat,” stated Carol Treadwell, Executive Director of the Ausable River Association (ARA).

Natural stream dimensions? Bankfull? Pool depth? Riffle spacing? What is this, a how-to manual? A certain amount of assembly required? Or a level of river awareness and fluency that any floodplain community had better strive for?

It is understandable why the small streams and rivers in this heavily damaged region of the Adirondacks (twice this year) may be viewed as marauding aliens and enemies which require a serious “talking to” by backhoe. The human and community impacts of the flood are enormous and gut wrenching.

Yet, post World War Two we keep building in floodplains, whether we know we are or not. A favored textbook reads: “The average annual flood damage nationwide… has continued to increase… The use of flood-prone land continues to rise faster than the application of measures to reduce flood damages. This continues to be one of the foremost challenges to land planners – finding ways to control the use of flood-prone areas, and ways of requiring those who seek the advantages of use of floodable areas to assume a fair proportion of the financial risk involved in such use” (Water in Environmental Planning, by Thomas Dunne and Luna Leopold, 1978).

Carol’s quote was submitted for a news release issued this week by a coalition of concerned organizations and individuals who live in these communities, along with a letter to Governor Cuomo seeking an end to floodplain management by bulldozer, and a meeting to assess how best to respond to the altered nature of these waterways in ways that are mindful of people, property, stream health, aesthetics and tourism on which so many of these towns and Essex County depend.

Carol denotes an apparent lack of “river experts” and related oversight of the heavy earth moving equipment moving about our region’s streams during the Governor’s month-long emergency authorization. The Ausable River Association has spent years studying the Ausable. Similarly, the Boquet River Association on the Boquet. NYS Department of Environmental Conservation and Adirondack Park Agency know something about the behavior and morphology of rivers and floodplains. NYS DOT has environmental experts who know how to manage highway rights of way without taking a proverbial two by four to the environment. So, where are they? It was good to read that the Essex County Board of Supervisors is calling on these experts to help them assess and, if necessary, adjust the in-stream work as may be necessary. Governor Cuomo should have had his environmental experts in the field overseeing any stream work a month ago.

Yet, our state agency experts and field managers at DEC, APA, DOT still seem unable to respond in a coordinated, effective fashion, despite the fact that the Emergency Authorization issued by NYS DEC on that fateful Sunday, August 29 states: “This Authorization hereby allows emergency work to occur in navigable waters, streams and wetlands regulated under Environmental Conservation Law Article 15 and Article 24. The work hereby allowed must be immediately necessary to address an imminent threat to life, health, property, the general welfare and natural resources. All work carried out under this Authorization must be conducted in a minimally invasive manner, consistent with the goals of the restoration work. Non‐critical work is not allowed by this Authorization. All work must be undertaken in compliance with the conditions below.”

The emergency authorization and all conditions for working in the rivers is found at the DEC website. Based on what Dan Plumley of Adirondack Wild has observed, many of these conditions are being violated every day, but this assumes that the equipment operators understand the conditions, and that DEC is on-site to explain them, which it appears not to be.

There is probably a strong difference of opinion whether the work to date has been “minimally invasive” and necessary to address imminent threat. At the same time, the workers in the streams and their supervisors are doing all they can with the information and resources at hand. Which gets me back to Carol Treadwell’s quote: “natural stream dimensions based on a rapid assessment of natural bankfull, pool depth and riffle spacing. Measurements that could be done in a few hours and eliminate years of lost habitat.”

What is she talking about? I return to and quote from Dunne and Leopold’s Water in Environmental Planning (1978). Rivers construct their own floodplains, laterally migrate, and deposit lots of sediment in the process. Over a very long process of movement the river occupies each and every position on the flat valley floor, with the river moving laterally by erosion on one bank and deposition on the other. That is the meander that rivers want to achieve as their way of expending energy most efficiently. In fact, really straight stretches of river (absent human channelization) are rare “and seldom does one see a straight reach of length exceeding 10 channel widths.”

Yet, the river does not construct a channel large enough to accommodate flood stages. The bankfull stage referred to by Carol “corresponds to the river discharge at which channel maintenance is most effective, that is the discharge at which moving sediment, forming or removing bars, forming or changing bends and meanders, and generally doing work that results in the average morphologic characteristics of (river) channels.”

The authors Dunne and Leopold continue: “It is human encroachment on the floodplains of rivers that accounts for the majority of flood damage. Because it is a natural attribute of rivers to produce flows that cannot be contained within the channel, the floodplain is indeed a part of the river during such events. It is therefore important that planners know something about these characteristic features, and thus possibly counteract to some degree the emphasis placed on flood-control protection works. More logical is flood damage prevention by the restriction of floodplain use.”

In short straight sections in between meanders, stream pools and riffles alternate in consistent ways due to the creation of gravel bars on the convex side of a meander. “The distance between successive bars averages five to seven channel widths.” The alteration of steep (over the riffles) and less steep water (over the pools) is characteristic of rivers, as is the fact that meanders are steeper than the average straight section. I think this is the “pool-riffle spacing” Carol is speaking of. She may be suggesting that in-stream work should seek to maintain this kind of pool-riffle spacing, and ensure that stream slopes are not severely altered.

The worst thing to do, according to Dunne and Leopold, is to severely shorten a river channel with consequent change in channel gradient. “An imposed change of river slope can cause an instability quite irreversible in any short period of time, and is the most difficult change to which a stream must adjust.” It appears this is exactly what heavy equipment operators did to Johns Brook, and may be doing to other stream sections.

The authors’ conclusions may be ones which Governor Cuomo, DOT, DEC, APA, and Essex County should pay particular attention to: “Among the potential costs or disadvantages accruing from channel modification are: 1. Channel instability or effects of channel readjustment to the imposed conditions; 2. Downstream effects especially increased bank erosion, bed degradation or aggradation; 3. Esthetic degradation, especially the change in stream biota and the visual alteration of riparian vegetation, and of stream banks and channel pattern or form.”

Photos: Johns Brook, Keene, before and after channel dredging and grading by state-funded heavy equipment, photos by Naj Wikoff.


Monday, September 19, 2011

Adirondack History: Looking at Past Floods

Refrigerators can float. There are many things that can be learned from flooding, and that’s one tidbit that stuck with me from when my parents’ house took on about two feet of water more than a decade ago. When the water subsided enough to safely wade to their front door, I went there alone to assess the damage—but the door wouldn’t budge. Finally, it began to give an inch or two at a time. When I managed to squeeze in, I was more than a little surprised at what I found. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Adirondack History Heroes: Ages 15 and 4

Heroes are defined in many ways—strong, brave, quick to act, selfless—and for the most part, we expect those traits to be found among the ranks of mature, responsible adults. But in 1927, in a span of less than thirty days, the North Country played host to two acts of heroism. Added together, the age of this remarkable pair of courageous children comes to just 19.

One incident involved a pair of teenage boys from Jay, New York, who were the victims of an accident at about 10 o’clock one morning. As they rode together on a wagon loaded with firewood, drawn by a single horse, something spooked the animal.

The horse panicked, broke free of the wagon, and ran off. The boys and the load of wood were hurled violently to the ground. The left leg of 16-year-old Francis Chabbott was badly broken, while 15-year-old Asa Darrah’s right leg suffered the same fate. Darrah remained alert after the fall, but Chabbot was knocked unconscious.

The spill occurred about a mile and a half from the Chabbott farm, and Asa, in agonizing pain himself, feared his friend would die. No one was within sight or hearing distance of the accident scene, and rather than wait for help to arrive, Asa began crawling.

It’s hard to appreciate the grit, determination, and physical pain he must have endured, but young Darrah refused to quit. Three hours later—bruised, beaten, and exhausted—he reached the farmhouse and alerted the family. While Mr. Chabbott rushed to tend to his stricken son, a doctor was summoned from Ausable Forks to tend to both boys’ injuries. They survived, but suffered intensely, and for his efforts, Darrah was justly lauded as a hero.

The other incident occurred in the town of Martinsburg in Lewis County on the farm of Harold and Viola Hills. Viola was nearly nine months pregnant, about to deliver their third child. When mom went to town one day to shop for necessities, Katherine, 4, and Kenneth, 2, stayed with their father.

In order to still perform the day’s work, Harold took the children with him to the fields. It was a dicey proposition, attempting farm chores while watching his two young offspring. It wasn’t long before little Kenneth wandered off and found his way into nearby Whetstone Creek.

The water was still high from spring flooding, and as the two-year-old was drawn into the water, he cried out for help. The father was oblivious to what had happened, but his four-year-old daughter responded like a true hero.

With no regard for her own survival, and not knowing the depth or power of the stream, she entered the water and waded to where Kenneth was drowning. Katherine then plucked him from the water, but the footing on the riverbed was shaky at best, and the weight of her brother made it too dangerous to attempt walking back to shore.

Realizing her predicament, she held the baby above the water and screamed for help. This alerted Mr. Hills, who managed to reach the children before Katherine’s strength gave out. A catastrophe was avoided due to the quick thinking and bravery of a tiny child.

Though child heroes are uncommon, these two North Country youths performed their feats just 29 days apart. Asa Darrah’s story, with elements of grit, friendship, and character, was lauded in the press. And it’s a pretty safe bet that Harold Hills was properly chastised by Viola for his careless brand of child care.

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. He took over in 2010 and began expanding the company’s publishing services. For information on book publishing, visit Bloated Toe Publishing.


Sunday, April 3, 2011

Wilmington to Host Major Bike Race Qualifer

The Town of Wilmington has announced that the region will host the Wilmington/Whiteface 100k on June 19, 2011. Wilmington will serve as one of three qualifier series race host venues for the Leadville Trail 100 Mountain Bike Race, the best known and most prestigious mountain bike race in North America.

The event’s schedule coincides with the annual Wilmington Bike Fest, which includes the Whiteface Uphill Bike Race, which will be held on Saturday, June 18. Wilmington/Whiteface 100k participants are invited to “Warm UP” by riding in the mountain bike division that is being introduced this year; a five mile race to the top of the Whiteface Veterans Memorial Highway.

“The event is a perfect fit for the destination, as it supports the Whiteface Region‘s brand as a biking destination, and will increase visitor activity during the typically slower shoulder season,” said James McKenna, President of the Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism/Lake Placid CVB. “This is another event that resulted from the cooperative partnerships that were cemented in order to successfully host the Empire State Winter Games. Kudos to the staff at the Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA) who facilitated the connection with the event organizers that ultimately brought this event to Wilmington.”

Showcasing some of the best places to ride in America, the Leadville Qualifying Series races will be held in America’s great mountains with races in the Adirondacks, Sierra Nevadas and the Rockies. The other two qualifiers will be held in North Lake Tahoe in the Sierra Nevada Mountains on July 10 and Crested Butte, Colorado on July 31. Each qualifying race will provide 100 qualifying spots to the Leadville Trail 100 Mountain Bike Race. The spots will be allocated partially on the basis of age-group performance and partly by lottery among finishers.

The Adirondack qualifier will traverse 100 kilometers of backcountry trails in the Towns of Wilmington and Jay and finish on Whiteface Mountain.

Since 1983, the Leadville Trail 100 MTB Race has been the pinnacle of the mountain biking world. Currently 103 miles in length and 11,500 feet of climbing, the ultra-distance event is a single- and double-track-style mountain bike race on one of the world’s most challenging courses. The weekend event is produced by Life Time Fitness and challenges both amateur and professional mountain bikers to steep climbs and descents, with elevation topping out at more than 12,500 feet. More information on the Leadville Qualifier Series can be found online.


Monday, January 24, 2011

Lost Ski Areas of the Adirondacks

Jeremy Davis is founder of the New England Lost Ski Areas Project (NELSAP) and author of two books on that subject. Last week I had the opportunity to talk with Davis about NELSAP, his books and lost ski areas of the Adirondacks.

Jeff: So, just what is a “lost” ski area?

Jeremy: It’s a ski area that once offered lift-served, organized skiing, but is now abandoned and closed for good. For NELSAP’s purposes it had to have a lift – it could be a simple rope tow or multiple chairlifts, but it had to have a lift. The size of the area or number of lifts isn’t important.

Jeff: And what is NELSAP?

Jeremy: NELSAP is the New England Lost Ski Areas Project, which I founded in 1998 in order to document and preserve the history of ski areas in New York, New England and elsewhere that are no longer in operation.

Jeff: What was the inspiration behind your founding of NELSAP?

Jeremy: As a kid, not long after I had first learned to ski, we took a family trip to North Conway, New Hampshire. On the way up I saw this mountain called Mount Whittier that had closed down about five or six years earlier, and it made me wonder what had happened. At the time it was still pretty visible, but now it’s almost completely grown in. A short while later, on another family trip to Jackson, New Hampshire, we saw another lost area from the top of Black Mountain, called Tyrol. Seeing those two abandoned areas sparked my curiosity and made me want to learn more about them, but there weren’t any resources back then. After that, whenever we took family ski trips, if we saw an old area on a road map that we knew wasn’t open, I’d drag my parents there to check it out. They were really supportive about that and found it fun. Gradually I collected more and more information – postcards, brochures and trail maps, old ski books. Then, while I was in college, I decided to put what I had on the web. That was October of 1998. Gradually, more and more people began to see it and they would send me more information. The thing that really catapulted the website was a Boston Globe article in December of 2000 on the front page of the New England section of the Sunday paper. By 7am I had more hits than I had gotten in a year. The traffic shut down the site and overloaded my email. The AP picked up the Globe story and it ran in what seemed like every New England newspaper over the next few weeks. The project just mushroomed from there. What we have up on the site now is just a fraction of all the information that we’ve collected over the years. It’s a lifetime of work.

Jeff: You’ve got nearly 700 lost ski areas listed on the website now, 19 of them are lost Adirondack ski areas.

Jeremy: Right, in fact those 19 areas are just the start. I think the real number is probably between 50 and 60 areas within the Adirondacks. We’re always looking for more information. If we can get to the owners, or the people who ran the ski school or managed the areas, that kind of primary source information is invaluable.

Jeff: Are there any lost Adirondack areas that you’re particularly interested in, areas that you’re looking for more information on?

Jeremy: Paleface, near Jay, is one. Paleface was run like a dude ranch, an all-inclusive resort with lodging, a bar and restaurant, indoor pool, and skiing. There was a double chair, a T-bar, and a dozen trails with 750 feet of vertical. It operated from 1961 until the early 1980s, and had been re-named Bassett Mountain near the end. Mount Whitney, also near Whiteface, is another one we’d like to gather more information about. And there are lots of other Adirondack areas that we have to research.

Jeff: What factors led to these ski area closures? Were there any factors that were particular to the Adirondacks?

Jeremy: Well, you have the same factors that caused ski areas all over the Northeast to close down: insurance and snowmaking costs, the gasoline shortages in the ‘70s, bad snow years, competition and changing skier preferences. But there are some interesting cases in the Adirondacks: Harvey Mountain is a good example.

Jeff: What happened there?

Jeremy: Harvey Mountain was a classic, family-owned ski area on Barton Mines Road in North River, just a few miles up the road from state-run Gore. It had a T-bar, 400 feet of vertical, and operated from 1962 to 1977. It was a great alternative to Gore. But they weren’t allowed to have a sign advertising the mountain on Route 28 at the bottom of Barton Mines Road. They got around that by paying somebody to park a truck with a sign for Harvey Mountain each day at the turnoff for Gore, but eventually regulation and competition from Gore caused the ski area to shut down.

Jeff: It seems like there’s a good number of lost Adirondack ski areas that have been re-born: Hickory outside of Warrensburg, Oak Mountain near Speculator, Big Tupper. Is that unusual?

Jeremy: It is pretty unusual for a lost area to re-open, and there’s a unique, interesting story behind each one of those. Besides those three that you mentioned, several towns have their own rope tows that are still open: Indian Lake, Long Lake, Chestertown, Newcomb, Schroon Lake. A lot of people don’t realize those areas exist and are completely free. There’s also Mount Pisgah in Saranac Lake, which is municipally operated and very affordable. You’ve also got places like Willard, West Mountain, Titus Mountain (near Malone) and McCauley Mountain (Old Forge) that still have that local, more intimate feel. So we’re really lucky in the Adirondacks to have these smaller areas that can introduce people to the sport and be an affordable alternative to the big areas. Hopefully the number of ski areas has stabilized, and short of some economic catastrophe, we won’t lose any more.

Jeff: Will there be a Lost Ski Areas of the Adirondacks book, similar to the books you’ve authored for the White Mountains and Southern Vermont regions?

Jeremy: Eventually there will be. I don’t know what region we’ll do next, but the series will probably continue with a new book every two years or so until we’ve covered all of New York and New England. That will be eight books in total, so that’s a lot of work.

Readers who may have information to share with NELSAP are encouraged to visit NELSAP’s website or contact Jeremy Davis at nelsap@yahoo.com. Reader input has been a critical part of NELSAP’s success over the years.

Photos: Top: Spring skiing at Harvey Mountain (courtesy Ann Butler and NELSAP). Middle: Paleface Mountain (courtesy NELSAP). Bottom: Davis at Gilbert’s Hill outside Woodstock, VT, site of the first lift-served skiing in the United States (courtesy Jeremy Davis).

Jeff Farbaniec is an avid telemark skier and a 46er who writes The Saratoga Skier & Hiker, a blog of his primarily Adirondack outdoor adventures.


Sunday, October 10, 2010

APA Meeting: Wind, FireTowers, Mine Expansion, New Campground

The Adirondack Park Agency (APA) will hold its regularly scheduled monthly meeting this Thursday, October 14, 2010 at APA Headquarters in Ray Brook, NY. The October meeting is one day only.

Among the issues to be addressed will be water quality and shoreline protection measures, a change in the reclassification proposals related to fire towers on St. Regis and Hurricane Mountains, the Watson’s East Triangle Wild Forest Unit Management Plan, the expansion of Cold Spring Granite Company’s mine in Jay, a new 510 campsite campground in Fort Ann, and Barton Wind Partners will request a second renewal for wind monitoring masts located on Pete Gay Mountain near North Creek. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, September 25, 2010

Strategies for High Peaks Communities Workshop

The High Peaks communities are developing a regional strategy for community revitalization, sustainable economic development, enhanced public access and promotion of the High Peaks waterfronts as an important resource for recreation and tourism.

A workshop will be held on Tuesday, September 28th at 6:30 PM at the Town of Wilmington Town Hall at 7 Community Center Circle. The goal of this workshop will be to present the vision, goals and key projects and initiatives for community and regional revitalization identified by the High Peaks communities in the Revitalization Strategy. Participants will be asked for their input on the goals and priority projects.

The revitalization strategy includes the following communities:

* The Town of Keene including the hamlets of Keene Valley and Keene;
* The Town of Jay including the hamlets of Upper Jay, Jay and the Essex County portion of Ausable Forks;
* The Town of Wilmington; and
* The Town of North Elba and the Village of Lake Placid.

The strategy lays out a vision and set of goals to create a prosperous shared future for the High Peaks region including:

* Revitalization of hamlets and downtowns
* Developing a plan for cycling facilities and safe biking routes
* Creating more access to the Ausable River for locals and tourists
* Protection of the Ausable River and other water bodies
* Enhanced tourism amenities and marketing
* Investigating sources of alternative energy including hydro-electricity
* Developing a plan for trail head improvements and creating new local trails and pedestrian connections
* Protecting cultural and historic resources

The project is funded by a grant from the NYS Department of State through the Environmental Protection Fund and financial support from the participating communities.

For more information contact Melissa McManus, Project Coordinator (518) 297-6753.


Thursday, February 18, 2010

Adirondack Music Scene:Great Vocalists, Big Band, Jazz and Classical

Were I to be in the area this week, I wouldn’t miss Annie and the Hedonists at the Adirondack Mountain Club’s High Peaks Information Center on Saturday. This downstate bluesy folk band makes fantastic song choices and has a fabulous vocalist.

Another performance I would do my best to make is in North Creek, where wonderful vocalist is Maddy Walsh playing with Mike Suave at barVino, where I hear the food and ambiance alone are worth the trip. Here’s what we have to look forward to in the week ahead:

Thursday, February 18th:

In Canton, Open Mic at The Blackbird Cafe. This is a continuing talent contest and it starts at 7 pm.

Friday, February 19th:

In Potsdam, “An Evening with Elvis” with impersonator Joe Angerosa. The performance will be held at The Old Snell Auditorium starting at 6 pm with a $5 cover.

In Jay, JEMS Coffee House Series features Jazz Saxaphonist, Jonathan Lorentz. The performance is from 7 – 9 pm at The Amos and Julia Ward Theatre.

In Potsdam, The Count Basie Orchestra will perform from 7:30 – 9:30 pm. They will be at the Helen Hosmer Concert Hall at SUNY Potsdam.

Saturday, February 20th:

In Lake Placid, Annie and the Hedonists will be performing at 8 pm. They will be at The Adirondack Mountain Club’s High Peaks Information Center. They are a very good band.

In Ausable Forks, Capital Zen plays at 20 Main. Show starts at 9 pm.

In North Creek, Fingerdiddle performs at Laura’s Tavern starting at 9 pm. I know nothing about these folks except that they must have been liked because they’ve been asked back to the same venue within the same month. That’s a good sign.

In Lake Placid, Raisonhead is at Zig Zags starting at 9 pm.

Sunday, February 21st:

In Potsdam, The Metropolitan Opera: Live in HD Encore of “Der Rosenkavalier” . This held at the Roxy Theater from 1-5:30 pm.

In North Creek,Suave and Maddy play barVino. They’re on from 5 – 7 pm.

Wednesday, February 24th:

In Canton, The Manhattan Piano Trio will play at St. Lawrence University from 7 pm. Free admission at The Underground.

Photo: Annie and Jonny of Annie and the Hedonists.


Friday, December 25, 2009

Adirondack Music Scene:Acoustic, Brass and a Musical New Years Eve

Wow, it’s been such a crazy busy week that I nearly forgot to find out what gigs are happening where. Anyway, I hope everyone has been having a great holiday season and for those celebrating Christmas, I hope your day is very merry, full of friends, good food, family and ,of course, great music!

On Wednesday I did get to hear and dance to a great show put on by The Pine Ridge Rounders. They played the Waterhole’s First Annual Santa’s Ball and it was a successful first in my book. The bluegrass was hot and even though more costumes would have been appreciated, those that did participate made the Christmas Sweater Contest funny and gives us a new reason to get excited (did we need more?) over those familial yarn creations. Overheard comment from a Virginian: “They’re good but where’s the fiddle? “

First Night In Saranac Lake is my personal “must-see” this week. With an almost overwhelming amount of acts to check out, it’d be wise to start planning now. Two tips: get your buttons soon, they sold out last year and make sure you get to your event early as the venues fill up fast.

Saturday, December 26th:

In North Creek, Dreaded Wheat is playing at Laura’s. The show starts at 9 pm and lasts until 1 am.

In Queensbury, the UU Church is hosting a last Saturday of the month Coffee House & Open Mic Night. You can call (518) 793-1468 for more information.

Tuesday, December 29th:

In North Creek at the Tannery Pond Community Center, The Potsdam Brass Quintet will be giving at concert at 7:30 pm.

Wednesday, December 30th:

In Saranac Lake at Saranac Village at Will Rogers , The Dogs of Jazz will play for their New Year’s Eve Party which is held between 7:00 and 9:30 pm.

Thursday, December 31st:

First Night in Saranac Lake at multiple venues. I’ll be checking out Big Slyde at BluSeed starting at 7 pm, Frankenpine at Pendragon Theater from 8 – 9 pm and performing with The Dust Bunnies from 10 – 11 pm and 11 pm – 12 am. There are plenty of other great acts to choose from, so check the First Night schedule for details.

In North Creek at barVino, the Tony Jenkins Jazz Trip plays from 9 pm to midnight.

In Saranac Lake at The Waterhole, Pie Boys Flat (an excellent band) opens at 8 pm for Hot Day at The Zoo starts at 10 pm.

Photo: Mike Packard from Dreaded Wheat


Thursday, October 8, 2009

Adirondack Music Scene:Folk Music, Early Music and Coffeehouses

For most of the musical events happening this week – besides JamCrackers at BluSeed tonight – one has to travel a bit. With a little effort you can listen to some interesting music just outside the park. Saratoga, Burlington and Potsdam all have performances this week. Of course, if you’ve been hoping for some down time this might be the weekend. I, for one, will probably be checking out the play Greater Tuna again, this time at LPCA, because the acting was so brilliant.

Thursday October 8th:

In Saranac Lake at BluSeed Studios, Jamcrackers gets going at 7:30 pm. This is an evening of Adirondack folk music featuring Dan Duggan, Peggy Lynn and Dan Berggren. Dan Duggan is a renown dulcimer player and composer you can even hear his work on Paul Simons CD, “You’re The One”. Peggy Lynn and Dan Berggren are both singer/ songwriters. These three have a wonderful time performing together and BluSeed loves them. For reservations call 891 -3799.

Also a reminder that in Jay at the Amos and Julie Ward Theatre every Thursday at 7 pm, the Acoustic Club, sponsored by JEMS, meets. For more information call, Janet Morton at 946-7420.

Friday October 9th:

In Colton -exciting just because they so rarely have any event for me to post – the Zion Episcopal Church is starting their Fall into Fall Coffee House series. This one will feature a Brian Nichols and Keith Galluchi a high school musical duo and Chase Simmons comedian from the 6th grade. Sounds like something wonderful to support. It’s free and you can call (315) 353 – 2427 for more information.

In Saratoga – if you must see professionals – The Gibson Brothers are pretty sweet. They’re playing Lillian’s Restaurant at 8 pm and tickets are $20. Advance sales only. Call (518) 581-1604 to reserve.

Saturday October 10th:

In Potsdam at 1 pm at The Roxy Theater, The Metropolitan Opera will Broadcast Live a performance of Tosca. You can call (315) 267-2277. Tickets prices range from $18 to $12.

In Canton at 2 pm at St. Lawrence University, there will be an Early Music Singers Concert : “Salve Regina”. Here is part of the description I was sent by the Director of Music Ensembles, Barry Torres: Four varied settings of the Salve Regina (Hail, Queen of mercy), the most popular, and arguably the most beautiful of the great anthems to the Virgin Mary in the Roman Catholic liturgy. Each of the settings is based on the chant, which is believed by scholars to have been written by Hermann of Reichenau (1013-1054). Interspersed between these works will be songs by Antoine Busnoys (c. 1430-1492) and other instrumentals played by a recorder trio consisting of Laura Rediehs, Lynn Waickman and Barry Torres. For more information call: (315) 229 – 5184.

In Glens Falls at the Charles R. Woods Theater a Tribute to Bette Midler and Barry Manilow called “You Gotta Have Friends” will be performed. There are two shows one at 3 pm and one at 7:30 pm. For more information call (518) 798-9663.

Also in Potsdam at 8 pm, the New Hope Community Church holds it’s Second Saturday Coffeehouse. For more information call (315) 566 – 9413 or email: edandpatnoble@gmail.com.

Tuesday October 13th:

In Burlington, VT at the Fletcher Free Library, Robert Resnik is performing from 11 – 11:30 am. I’ve been reading up on this man and he sounds great. He’s the director of the library and hosts a weekly folk and world music show on VPR. This is for all ages, if I were in Burlington on Tuesday I’d go in a second. Call (802) 865 – 7211 for more information.

In Saranac Lake at 7:30 pm until 9:15 pm, The Adirondack Singers are holding rehearsals for their Holiday Concert on Dec. 4th. The rehearsals are open to anyone who wants to sing. No auditions and any ability is welcome. It’s happening at St. Bernard’s Roman Catholic Church every Tuesday night. Call 523 – 4213 for more information.

Photo: Dan Berggren, Peggy Lynn and Dan Duggan


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Another Adirondack Weed Season Comes To An End

The arrival of widespread frost marks the end of the harvest season for most local crops, and the close of cat-and-mouse season for North Country police and marijuana growers. Police made their biggest bust this fall in Jay, where from a helicopter they spotted about 800 plants scattered around the town and charged two men with growing about 300 of them.

Adirondack Life has just posted its recent article on the dynamics of local marijuana farming as well as this region’s separate role as a gateway for Quebec-grown hydroponic. It was reported by Adirondack Life associate editor Niki Kourofsky and Almanack contributor Mary Thill. Well worth a read.

The photo is an aerial taken by State Police of some of the 1,900 plants police discovered growing in a boggy area north of Irishtown, in the Essex County town of Minerva, in 2008. Police say the cannabis is the shrubby emerald green growth on the open bog. In September the tropical plants remain vibrant while native vegetation begins to fade.


Thursday, August 27, 2009

Adirondack Music Scene: Bagpipes and Folk to Rock, Blues, Jam Festival

As summer is winding down the music scene is still hopping. This weekend the big event is the Mountain Music Meltdown. However, there are bunches of good musical events taking place all over — everything from free outdoor concerts to a documentary about the origins of the banjo — starting tonight.

Tonight at LPCA the movie Throw Down your Heart will be shown at 7:30 pm. Banjo player extraordinaire Bela Fleck took a trip through Africa to explore the origins of the banjo. Director Sascha Paladino captured the journey.

Also tonight in Raquette Lake at 7 pm, Steve Gillette and Cindy Mangsen will be performing at St. Williams Church on Long Point. This is only accessible by boat so call (315) 354-4265 to find out how to get there. These two are wonderful musicians who’ve been performing together for years.

On Friday the 28th there will be a bagpipe and fiddle concert in Keene. This free concert will be held at The Keene Community Center Pavilion starting at 7 pm. Tim Cummings plays the pipes and Pete Sutherland plays the fiddle. Both are extremely accomplished and Keene is very lucky to have them. There will be hotdogs, hamburgers, soda and baked goods for sale starting at 6 pm. For more information about this and upcoming events check out East Branch Friends of The Arts.

So here we are, Saturday’s Mountain Music Meltdown day. The festival takes place near Saranac Lake off of Rt. 3 on the way to Bloomingdale. Featuring nine bands, this all-day event is sure to be worth the $25+ it’ll cost you to get in. Here are just a few of the acts that are going to be there; the day starts at 11 am with Roy Hurd, and ends with Leon Russell who takes the stage at 8 pm. In between you have Raisinhead and my favorite “not to be missed” act is Joe Costa and his band Kikazaru who will be playing at 2 pm. Joe is a resident of Rainbow Lake. He plays banjo and sings traditional songs with a contemporary flair. You can pick up their excellent CD at Ampersound in Saranac Lake, the only music store left in the Tri-Lakes region. If you buy the CD there not only are you giving yourself great music but you’re supporting a local business as well. Also a cool bit of local trivia is that the cover of the CD was created by resident photographer Aaron Hobson.

On Saturday at the Village Green in Jay locals Drew and Annie Sprague are giving a free concert with their friends Suave and Maddy from The Blindspots. It starts at 6:30 pm. Drew is a great guitarist and singer who’s been performing in and around the Adirondacks for years. He was with The South Catherine Street Jug Band and is now with The Stoneman Blues Band. Annie plays the violin beautifully and enhances any music project she participates in. This is a JEMS production.

Later, at the Waterhole in Saranac Lake, Mike Suave and The Blindspots ride again. Doors open at 9 pm for cocktails and the show usually starts at 10 pm. You might recognize Mike from The South Catherine Street Jug Band and The Nitecrawlers, both North Country favorites. Their female vocalist Maddy Walsh is a native of Ithaca, NY.

Open Mic at Quackenbush’s Long View Wilderness Lodge in Long Lake this Saturday starts around 8-8:30pm. This is a great opportunity to get together with musicians who live way out there and don’t usually make it in for the regular open mics in the larger towns.

Other open mic news: the open jam that I speak so highly of at The Shamrock is taking a break for the next two weeks as the Shamrock does some renovating to their kitchen. If all goes well the jam will resume on the 16th of September.


photo: Joe Costa’s CD Cover by Aaron Hobson


Thursday, August 20, 2009

Adirondack Music Scene: Bluegrass, Musicals, Folk and a Brass Quintet

Starting tonight at the Waterhole in Saranac Lake, The Route 73 Back Porch Society is playing. The show starts early during the Art Walk which runs from 4:30-7 pm. I’m sorry to say I haven’t heard these folks yet but from what I’ve been seeing they play around quite a bit. I love their name and I’m looking forward to the day I catch up with them.

The Horseshoe Lounge Playboys are doing a little Adirondack tour and you can see them in 3 separate locales. On Friday they will be in Elizabethtown at the Cobble Hill Inn. On Saturday they will be at The Waterhole and on Sunday they will be in Old Forge for The Lake Front Concert Series – the show starts at 7 pm.

On Friday in Essex, After Five Brass will be performing at 7:30 pm. This is part of the Essex Community Concert Series. These concerts are held in the Community Church and are followed by refreshment and a chance to meet with the performers. There is a $10 cover.

Also on Friday in Tupper Lake at P2’s Aiseiri is playing Irish music starting at 7:30 pm. It’s a good place to have a pint and enjoy some tunes. These are the folks who are putting on the Irish Festival Labor Day Weekend in Lake Placid.

Starting Friday, in North Creek on Route 28 the Upper Hudson Bluegrass Festival is on! There are so many acts that it’s important to check out the line up on their webpage, I’m listing just a few. It looks to be a pretty big deal with plenty of camping space. Starting at noon numerous bands play throughout the day including Don’t Quit Your Day Job and The Warren County Ramblers continuing until 10 pm. Saturday starts at 9 am. The White Mountain Bluegrass Band is in the line up of the day, the founders of that group have been dubbed “Pioneers of Bluegrass” by IBMM. The Seth Sawyer Band is also on deck this weekend and the few YouTube videos I checked out were pretty nice – I’d like to see this band. Saturday ends with Tim Graves Band and Cherokee who start at 10 pm. and Sunday starts nice and early with a gospel sing at 8:30 am and finishes up with Smokey Greene from 4:30 until 5:15 pm.

I also want to mention that a performance of Smokey Joe’s Cafe starts Friday at The Depot Theatre in Westport. It will run thru September 6th with some special ticket price evenings (this Monday for instance) look at their website for details. The revue consists entirely of Lieber and Stoller‘s music – approximately 35 pop standards. I saw it on Broadway many years ago and was amazed at how many of the songs I not only recognized but could sing a long with.

At noon on Saturday in Lake Placid the LPCA presents the musical The Princess and The Pea. 50 children form the area will be part of this Missoula Children’s Theatre.

On Saturday in Lake Clear at Charlies Inn, local favorite, Steve Borst will be playing starting at 6:30pm.

In Jay on the 23rd Roy Hurd, Frank Orsini and Meadow are going to be presented by JEMS. Roy and Frank are seasoned performers and true Adirondack favorites. Meadow is Roy’s daughter – they sing beautiful harmonies together.

Photo: Horseshoe Lounge Playboys


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Adirondack Music Scene:Giant Panda Guerrilla Dub, Zydeco Moshers, Blues, and Irish

Shamim is away this week, so I’ll be offering up some tips to the great music events to be found in the Adirondacks this weekend. If you’ve only got time for a few shows check out Captain Squeeze and the Zydeco Moshers tonight in Luzerne, The Spirit of Degas opening on Friday, or Saturday’s Bert Phillips Memorial Chamber Music Concert in Luzerne. Here are the details for those and other great upcoming musically opportunities:

Tonight (Thursday, Aug 13) at 7 pm in the Town Park in Lake Luzerne you can check out (for free) Captain Squeeze and the Zydeco Moshers.

Also tonight you can check out the popular local rhythm and blues based Stone Man Blues Band at the Wilmington Beach in Wilmington. The show starts at 7 pm, and is free.

The Lake Placid Sinfonietta will perform this Friday August 14th, 2009 at 7:00pm at the Amos and Julia Ward Theatre in Jay, NY at the junction of 9N and 86. Robert Franz will be conducting. The Program will include Mozart “Symphony No.29 in “A” and “Overture to Figaro” also works by Grainger, Offenbach, and Strauss. Tickets are $20.00 and available at the Jay Craft Center or at 6:15pm on the day of the performance.

Somewhat musically related is the exhibit “In the Spirit of Degas: Art Inspired by Music” which opens with a reception on Friday (August 14) 5-7 pm at the Lower Adirondack Regional Arts Council’s Lapham Gallery in Glens Falls. The exhibit, which runs to October 4th, features the artwork of 49 artists who work was selected based on these instructions: “The artwork need not emulate Degas’ work or thematic content but should be the individual artist’s own interpretation of, emotional response to, inspiration from, conceptualization and influence by any musical genre, theme, or performance.” This exhibition is in conjunction with The Hyde Collection’s “Degas & Music” exhibit running through October 18. On September 17th Dr. Sheldon Hurst of Adirondack Community College will give a free talk on Degas in America within the context of Degas’ stay in New Orleans.

The Music By The River series is continuing in North Creek on Saturday (Aug. 15) with Giant Panda Guerrilla Dub Squad. This Rochester based roots and dub band promises to be the highlight of the By The River Series; the free show starts at 7 pm.

Saturday August 15 at 6:30 PM: Celia Evans and Bruce Brough and Co. An ecologist by profession, Celia’s folk music is inspired by the natural world of the Adirondacks. This event will be held at the Amos and Julia Ward Theatre in Jay, NY at the junction of 9N and 86.

On Monday, August 17, the Bert Phillips Memorial Concert will be held at the Lake Luzerne Chamber Music Festival. Members of the Phildelphia Orchestra’s Cello Section, the Luzerne Chamber Players, and special guests will perform works by Schubert, Mahler, Brahms, and Martinu. Bert Phillips was the Founder and Director of the Luzerne Music Center and founder of the Luzerne Festival who passed away last year. For information contact www.luzernemusic.org or call 1-800-874-3202.

Wednesday, August 19, the great Irish party band Hair of the Dog will be at Shepherds Park in Lake George Village for a free show starting at 7 pm.


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

ADK Music Scene: Tonight Jazz, Tomorrow Jazz and New Open Mic

Tonight in North Creek at barVino, The Tony Jenkins Jazz Trip is back. Show goes from 8 to 10 pm. A few of the great artists they cover are Thelonious Monk, Grover Washington and Jimi Hendrix.

Tomorrow night in Jay The Bill Stokes Jazz Ensemble is at the Village Green. This is an excellent band that encourages people to dance with their mix of swing, standards and latin jazz. Bring your lawn chairs and a picnic dinner as the show starts at 6:30 pm.

Also on Thursday in Saranac Lake at Grizle T’s ( 53 Main St.), they’re hoping a new open mic will catch on for the summer months. It’s going to be hosted by Bob Mann from Tupper Lake. There will be a sign-up sheet but no cover. Call (518) 891-6393 for more information.



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