The Potsdam Chamber of Commerce has announced Fall Celebration, a new event to take place in Potsdam on Saturday, September 21st.
Fall Celebration and will feature activities for all ages to help promote local businesses and welcome the new season. The event will feature contests, a Taste of Oktoberfest, and business participation throughout Potsdam. » Continue Reading.
The North Country Center for Businesses in Transition has announced “Intergenerational Family Transitions, Creative Solutions and Alternative Structures,” an informational and networking workshop where North Country family business owners and regional business support professionals will share their experiences, set for Wednesday, July 10th from 8 to 10:30 am, at Anchorspace Potsdam, 71 Market Street, Potsdam. » Continue Reading.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC Region 6) Potsdam offices will be unavailable to the public through October 31, 2018, while the offices are relocated from Route 11 to 190 Outer Main Street, Suite 103, Potsdam, NY.
This is a permanent move. The public is asked to call the Watertown headquarters during this time of transition at 315-785-2263 during the hours of 8:30 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. » Continue Reading.
What a Raquette Music and Dance, the organization behind the Ives Park Concert Series and Caroling in Potsdam events have annouced their Cabin Fever Concert Series, starting on Saturday, February 25th at 4 pm in the Potsdam Public Museum, located in the Civic Center, 2 Park St, Potsdam.
The new winter concert series begins with a sitar and tabla Indian music concert with Tomek Regulski and SUNY Potsdam graduate Rob Morrison. The series also includes an evening of jazz with Bret Zvacek, trombone, and Paul Meyers, guitar, on March 4th at 7 pm; Don’t Tell Darlings, bluegrass and old-time country, on March 11th at 4 pm; and Miss Angie’s Music, children’s songs and shadow puppet theater, on March 25th at 4 pm. » Continue Reading.
Adirondack Architectural Heritage (AARCH), the historic preservation organization for the Adirondack region, will host a series of walking tours this spring in three communities with unique architecture. Free and open to the public, the tours will take place in Potsdam on May 14, Ticonderoga on May 21, and at Clinton Community College at Bluff Point on Lake Champlain on June 4.
Participants will join local experts and historians in exploring the distinct styles, materials and building designs, and the fascinating history of these very different Adirondack places. » Continue Reading.
After completing the training program and becoming America’s first trained nurse, several options lay before Potsdam native Linda Richards: head nurse at either of two hospitals, operating a nurse’s training program at another, or night superintendent of the Bellevue Hospital Training School in New York City.
While the others appeared more inviting, she chose Bellevue, with clientele from the slums: the poor, sick, mentally ill, and addicted. In her estimation, it was where she could learn the most and at the same time do the most good. » Continue Reading.
We all affect the lives of others, but the sphere of influence for most folks is limited. Relatively few among us substantially impact multiple generations, but the innovative work of a pioneering North Country native has affected nearly every American and Japanese citizen, plus countless others, for the past 125 years.
Malinda Ann Judson Richards, self-described as Linda Richards, was born in 1841 near Potsdam in St. Lawrence County. Her father, a preacher, named her after one of America’s first female foreign missionaries, Ann Judson. The family left Potsdam and moved to Minnesota when Linda was four years old, but just six weeks after arriving there, Sanford Richards died of tuberculosis. His widow, Betsy, moved the family to Vermont to live with her father. Linda later recalled fond memories of the relationship she shared with her grandfather during this time. They lived with him until he remarried in 1850, at which time Betsy purchased a nearby farm. » Continue Reading.
Last week the Watertown Daily Times reported a story that was disturbing on many levels. Knowing that it wasn’t equally disturbing to everyone (rest assured that bigotry is alive and well even in our lovely North Country) makes it even more unsettling. A snippet from the article said, “A Gouverneur man is worried about the safety of his family after he claims he was threatened by a Hammond man …. Ryann A. Wilson burned a cross and threatened to lynch Nigel A. Spahr, a black man ….”
If that is indeed what happened, it’s sickening in my opinion, but Wilson’s case will be settled by the courts. The point here instead is to address how we perceive ourselves in the Adirondack region. At the end of the article was this: “Sheriff Kevin M. Wells said the cross-burning was an isolated event. ‘It’s not something that occurs here.’ ” If only. » Continue Reading.
The Potsdam area of St. Lawrence County is home to many citizens of great accomplishment. The achievement list is extensive: a US Secretary of State; a Nobel Peace Prize winner; a judge on the World Court; an attorney known as the “Trust Buster” for defeating multiple gigantic corporations, including Rockefeller’s Standard Oil Company; and a man who was the force behind the historic Kellogg-Briand Peace Pact of 1928.
There’s more, including a senator from Minnesota and a US Ambassador to Great Britain. By any standard, that’s an impressive list. What makes it truly mindboggling is one other fact: those are all the accomplishments of a single North Country native.
Frank Billings Kellogg had such a varied, successful career that even an outline of his life is very impressive. He was born in Potsdam in December 1856, the son of Asa Farnsworth Kellogg and Abigail Billings Kellogg. The family moved to Long Lake, New York, in 1857, and then relocated west to a small farm in Minnesota in 1865.
Five years later, Asa’s health problems forced fourteen-year-old Frank to quit school in order to run the farm. In 1872, the family moved to Olmsted County, where they assumed operations of a larger farm. These seemingly trivial events would play an important role in Kellogg’s career.
In 1875, when he was nineteen, Frank left the farm and moved to nearby Rochester, Minnesota, where he ran errands and did chores in exchange for the opportunity to read and study law in a local office. He worked on nearby farms to support himself.
Two years later, the young, self-taught lawyer was admitted to the bar, and within a year was appointed Rochester city attorney. In 1881, he became Olmsted County attorney, a position he held until 1887. During his tenure, Frank won an important case representing two townships against a railroad company, which helped establish his eventual career path.
He married Clara Cook in 1886, and in the following year became a member of Davis, Kellogg, and Severance, a new firm that for decades remained one of the top corporate law firms in the Midwest. Among their clients were some of the most powerful businessmen and politicians in the country.
For several years, Frank was a Minnesota delegate to the Republican National Convention, while also serving the party in several other capacities. In 1905, his reputation led to assignment as prosecutor of the Western Paper Trust for violating the Sherman Antitrust Act. His efforts forced the company to dissolve in 1906, and Kellogg became known as a “trust-buster.”
During the next several years, Teddy Roosevelt appointed him to similar ventures against several railroad trusts and Standard Oil, the massive corporation owned by J. D. Rockefeller, the world’s richest man. In each case, Kellogg won, enhancing his public persona. His victory over Standard Oil solidified the perception that Frank was the nation’s top trust-buster.
In 1912, he was elected president of the American Bar Association. Kellogg left Republican ranks to support Roosevelt’s presidential campaign under the Progressive Party, but in 1916, he returned to the GOP and became the first Minnesota senator ever elected by popular vote.
After serving for six years, Kellogg lost his re-election bid. In 1923, shortly after leaving office, he began his first diplomatic mission, having been assigned by President Harding to the Fifth Pan-American Conference, held in Chile. Harding died later that year, and when Kellogg returned, President Coolidge appointed him as US ambassador to Great Britain, a position he assumed for two years.
In 1925, Coolidge named him Secretary of State, and through 1929 he represented American interests around the world. Kellogg was a strong proponent of arbitration rather than military involvement to settle international disputes. He signed a record number of treaties during his tenure (more than eighty). The most famous of all was the Pact of Paris, often referred to as the Kellogg-Briand Pact.
In the years following the horrors of World War I, French Foreign Minister Aristide Brand called for a treaty with the US, specifically denouncing war. Kellogg was less than enthusiastic initially, wary of making the US appear weak.
But the concept aligned with his own beliefs, and Kellogg seized the opportunity, offering a remarkable counter-proposal: a treaty “renouncing war as an instrument of national policy.”
He pushed the idea for all he was worth, and in August 1928, an agreement was signed. Eventually, more than 60 nations committed to the alliance.
Though war continued in the years to come, Kellogg’s efforts were lauded by many as an honorable, honest attempt at eliminating war as a tool for settling differences. Until the signing of the Kellogg-Briand Pact, war had been accepted worldwide as a legal policy. There was no clause providing for punishment of violators, causing some to label the new pact as a futile effort. Others deemed it an idea well worth pursuing.
After leaving office in 1929, Frank toured Europe and America, receiving many honorary degrees and other laurels for his work towards ending international conflict. In addition to the French Legion of Honor medal, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1929.
A year later, Kellogg was elected to the World Court, but resigned in 1935 due to health reasons. He passed away in St. Paul, Minnesota, on December 21, 1937, one day shy of his 81st birthday. Death spared him the great disappointment of seeing world war afflict the planet less than two years in the future.
Though some dismissed his efforts for world peace as misguided and unrealistic, many others admired Kellogg’s adherence to a noble, worthy cause. To not pursue the opportunity would have meant giving up hope.
And as a man who rose from the humble beginnings of a poor farm boy, a self-educated attorney who reached the top of his profession, and a man who performed for years on the world stage, Frank Kellogg knew a thing or two about hope.
Photos: Frank Billings Kellogg (circa 1900); in the East Room of the White House in 1929, standing are Calvin Coolidge, President Herbert Hoover, and Frank B. Kellogg, with representatives of the governments that ratified the Kellogg-Briand Pact; Frank Billings Kellogg (1912).
Lawrence Gooley has authored ten books and dozens of articles on the North Country’s past. He and his partner, Jill McKee, founded Bloated Toe Enterprises in 2004. Expanding their services in 2008, they have produced 19 titles to date, and are now offering web design. For information on book publishing, visit Bloated Toe Publishing.
Clarkson University is now taking registrations at http://www.clarkson.edu/adk for the third annual Forever Wired Conference on Tuesday, October 4, in Potsdam.
The conference will offer a variety of sessions geared toward assisting small business owners and teleworkers in rural communities. Attendees will have the opportunity to discuss responsible and sustainable economic growth in the Adirondack region, and address the resources available to assist entrepreneurs in overcoming challenges. These sessions will offer workshops on:
– Telecommuting Tips – Overcoming Rural Entrepreneurship Challenges – Micro-financing – Government, Industry and Higher Education Collaboration – Doing Business Internationally
Professionals and organizations are invited to set up promotional displays at the conference to connect with other entrepreneurs who may be seeking their services. Free one-on-one consultations with experts from Clarkson University’s Shipley Center for Innovation and Reh Center for Entrepreneurship will also be available upon request, as well as networking with rural sector experts from around the east coast, who are helping with the sessions.
“The Forever Wired schedule is designed to bring a wide cross section of regional stakeholders together,” said conference chair Kelly O. Chezum, vice president for external relations at Clarkson. “We will cover professional development, networking and information sessions for working-wired entrepreneurs, mobile workers, corporate telecommuters and people interested in green tech commerce.”
Last year’s conference drew more than 250 participants from across New York State and included many seasonal residents of the Adirondack Park, as well.
The conference is a central component of the Adirondack Initiative for Wired Work, which is championed by a team of regional leaders and energized professionals dedicated toward creation of a sustainable economy in the greater Adirondack North Country. Through their activities, the Adirondack Initiative encourages telework, green-tech commerce and entrepreneurship from home offices and businesses with minimal impact on the natural environment.
“We must advance economic opportunities that will attract and retain our young people and bring meaningful employment into to the region,” said Clarkson President Tony Collins. “The Adirondack Initiative balances the environmental needs of our region, and is aimed at preserving the unique character of our Adirondack and North Country communities, which we share with recreational enthusiasts, tourists and wildlife.”
Clarkson University is expanding support services for teleworkers and entrepreneurs in the area. The Adirondack Business Center hosted by the Clarkson Entrepreneurship Center in Saranac Lake, N.Y. is equipped with wireless Internet, a conference room, quiet workspace, and will provide other amenities to the public. The built-in classroom holds sessions such as “My Small Business 101” to advance practical business skills of local entrepreneurs.
For more information on the Adirondack Initiative for Wired Work, or to register for the Forever Wired Conference, go online, e-mail email@example.com or call 315-268-4483.
Perspective. It is a singular word that can determine a life’s path, quality, and value to others. Those born to all manner of social and financial advantage, but with little change or improvement during their own lifetimes, can be perceived as relative failures, while those who strive to overcome physical, mental, or financial handicaps are viewed as accomplished, no matter what their ultimate achievement might be.
By that measure, one of the most successful citizens to ever have graced the North Country is largely unknown. He was an ordinary man blessed with athletic talent, and raised in a family of outstanding musicians. In the end, it was courage that defined him.
Dean Clute was born in Morristown, New York, on the shores of the St. Lawrence River in October 1893. The fourth of Amos and Henrietta Clute’s seven children, he was an average boy who enjoyed the usual pursuits along the river, as well as in Nicholville, a small settlement in the town of Hopkinton where the family lived for many years.
They also lived in Potsdam, but for most of Dean’s teen years the family resided in Ogdensburg. There he attained a measure of local fame for his skill on the baseball field. After high school, he found work on a Great Lakes lighthouse tender, a ship charged with servicing and maintaining the region’s lighthouses.
Among the many ports he visited was Rochester, and in June 1912, a marriage license was issued there to Dean Clute, 18, and Eva McLennan, 25, a girl with family in Ogdensburg. The two soon married, but just seven months later, in January 1913, Eva passed away at home. (It’s likely she died during childbirth. Dean told interviewers years later that he married at 18 but had lost his wife and child on the same day.)
It was an enormous tragedy to endure, but Dean soldiered on. Eventually he found work in a profession he knew quite well: baseball. Over six feet tall and sturdily built, he immersed himself in the sport and became a pitcher of wide repute in Buffalo, Rochester, and Watertown.
Manager John Ganzel (of Michigan’s famed Ganzel baseball family) liked what he saw and signed Dean to play for the Rochester Hustlers of the International League in 1914. This was no small shakes—the International League was Triple-A ball, just one step below the major leagues. Things were once again looking pretty good for the boy from Morristown.
Prior to the season, though, and less than a year after losing his wife and child, Dean began experiencing unusual aches and pains. The diagnosis was arthritis, a disease not generally associated with young, strong, twenty-year-old athletes.
And this was no ordinary case. The effects were so sudden and so debilitating that Dean was unable to honor his baseball contract. He visited several doctors and treatment centers, but no one could do anything to arrest the arthritic attack that seemed bent on consuming his body.
Within a year he was confined to a wheelchair, and as the disease progressed, Dean became bedridden. He moved to Watertown where he could be with family (his father and brother had established a successful contracting business there and built several commercial structures).
After three years of focusing on his own suffering and watching his limbs become gnarled and useless, Clute had an epiphany. His body was dying, but his mind was as clear as ever—so why not use it? His eyes could still move, which meant he could read, even if he needed someone to turn the pages for him. And so he began to read voraciously, ranging from philosophy to the great classics of literature.
As Dean’s condition deteriorated, it became apparent that home care was insufficient to meet his ever-growing needs. In 1922 he moved to New York City in hopes of finding a cure. Within two years, younger brother Walton (twin of Wilton) joined him there.
Despite every effort on his behalf, Dean’s health continued to decline, and by 1924 he was forced to enter City Hospital on Welfare Island (it was renamed Roosevelt Island in 1973). At various times Welfare Island hosted hospitals, insane asylums, and prisons. City Hospital housed hundreds of poor and chronically ill patients who were unable to care for themselves. Dean Clute, almost completely paralyzed from head to toe, had nowhere else to turn.
More than anything else, it appeared he had gone there to die. The loss of his wife and child, the disappointment of a sports career cruelly snatched away from him, and now a virtual prisoner within his own body—it was almost too much for any man to bear.
And then it got worse. In the hospital, Dean had maintained his heavy reading program, which seemed to be all he had left to live for. But arthritis, as cold-blooded and brutal as many other diseases, wasn’t content with paralysis. Clute soon developed problems with his vision, and as the condition worsened, he was given the stunning diagnosis: total blindness was inevitable.
Doctors told him it would happen in a year, perhaps two. How much could one man take? For Dean, even suicide was impossible—he couldn’t move! And yet ending it all was never a consideration.
His reaction to certain loss of vision was to ramp up his reading program and consume every bit of knowledge possible in the time he had left. The one-time athlete had surrendered to physical helplessness, but he existed within a brain still vibrant with energy. Dean’s growing intellect was now insatiable, and he read like a man possessed.
By 1926, after two years at City Hospital, total blindness enveloped him. His life now consisted of darkness and immobility—virtually every person’s nightmare scenario.
But there was that word again: Perspective. Dean focused on what he COULD do rather than what he couldn’t. He could still talk and he could still learn.
Next week: Part 2 of 3.
Photo: Dean Van Clute with two attendants. The inset in the upper right is a closeup of Dean’s face (1932).
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.
Amphibians in the Adirondacks face a wide range of challenges — but a new project aimed at citizens and scientists alike could help ease some of those threats, says David Patrick, a Paul Smith’s College professor who is director of the Adirondack All-Taxa Biodiversity Inventory (ATBI).
The ATBI is organizing a series of hour-long, family-friendly workshops to show people how to monitor amphibians and their habitats. Researchers will use the data collected by observers in order to help with amphibian conservation efforts. Habitat destruction, invasive species and diseases, climate change, and deaths caused by vehicles have led to declines in many of the 32 species of amphibians — 14 frogs and toads and 18 salamanders — found in New York State.
“One of the best ways to help in conserving these animals is to learn more about where they are currently found, and the types of habitats they are using,” Patrick said. “These workshops will show where you can learn more about these animals, how to identify them, where to find them, and the information that can be collected to aid in their conservation.”
The ATBI is a coalition of several academic institutions, state agencies, not-for-profit organizations and other groups.
Workshops are free and open to the public. They are scheduled for 6:30-7:30 p.m. on the following dates:
* Thursday, March 31. SUNY-Potsdam, Stowell Hall, Room 211.
* Wednesday, April 13. Adirondack Interpretive Center, Newcomb.
Prof. Glenn Johnson of SUNY-Potsdam, co-author of “The Amphibians and Reptiles of New York State,” will host the events at Paul Smith’s and SUNY-Potsdam; Stacy McNulty, an ecologist with SUNY-ESF, will host the event in Newcomb with Patrick, who is also director of Paul Smith’s Center for Adirondack Biodiversity.
For more information, contact David Patrick at (518) 327-6174 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.paulsmiths.edu/ATBI.
SUNY Potsdam’s School of Education and Professional Studies, in partnership with the College’s Department of English and Communication, invites submissions from area elementary, middle and high school students for the 2011 North Country Peace Poetry Contest.
The North Country Peace Poetry Contest is open to students in all K-12 classrooms in both public and private schools in Northern New York. Students are invited to create and submit original poems on the subject of peace. Dr. Viki Levitt is a poet and a longtime judge for the contest, and beginning this year she will serve as co-director with Dr. Jennifer Mitchell. They are taking the lead as organizers, with guidance from Dr. Sharmain van Blommestein, who coordinated the contest for several years.
“The Peace Poetry Contest provides an opportunity for young writers to express their own concepts of peace through the creative act of composing original poems. Their poems offer all of us the chance to contemplate the ideal of peace and to celebrate each others’ visions of it,” Dr. Levitt said.
Peace is a uniquely human concept, and it affirms the human spirit. Though this contest holds no formal position on the current state of world affairs, the College wants to honor the ideal of peace through young students’ writing.
Judging will occur in February and March. Contest organizers will select about 80 poems for publication in a poetry calendar with the title North Country Schools Peace Poetry, 2011. Winning students and their teachers will receive free copies of the poetry calendar, and will be invited to take part in a poetry reading on the SUNY Potsdam campus to celebrate their contributions and accept their awards.
The deadline for submissions is February 11, 2011. To submit an entry, send it via e-mail to email@example.com. For more information, call (315) 267-3152 or visit www.potsdam.edu/academics/AAS/peacepoetry.
SUNY Potsdam senior archaeological studies major and Rochester native Jonathan Reeves is spending his fall weekends digging burial pits with stone tools like those used by Neanderthals in the College’s Lehman Park.
Reeves, who is also a member of the SUNY Potsdam men’s soccer team, hopes to demonstrate evidence of ritual in Neanderthal burials by trying to dig graves in the same method and style himself on campus. Neanderthals are extinct members of the Homo genus classified either as a separate species or as a subspecies of humans, Homo sapiens. By finding out more about the effort and thought put into the method used to dispose of the dead, Reeves hopes to find out more about the mindset of Neanderthals.
“I wanted to look at how long it would actually take to bury one of these individuals. Is it that exhaustive? Can it be done by one person, or do you need multiple people? I wanted to put a number behind this effort,” he said. “The second thing I wanted to do was see how that number fit in with the rest of the stuff that we know about the Neanderthal lifestyle.”
Reeves ordered special flint tools made just like those used during the Neanderthal period. Called scrapers, the rock implements had a variety of simple uses-one of which was freeing soil while digging a grave. The student uses several sizes of scrapers to dig, and then uses his hands to remove the dirt from his hole.
He has dug two burial pits so far, based on the dimensions of sites where Neanderthal remains have been found in the past. One was a smaller rounded grave like one that archaeologists found the remains of a Neanderthal child in. That burial pit took Reeves three hours to dig. He solicited the help of three other students to dig a large deep rectangular pit like one that a Neanderthal adult was found in as well.
Reeves records his heart rate throughout the digging, and that of his volunteers, so he can mark how much time and effort it took.
“My arm gets really tired, and I get a bruise on my hand from holding the scraper. The first time, I got a half an hour in and realized I’d barely gotten anywhere,” Reeves said. “My thought is that for the Neanderthals, they’d really have to want to do this, even if they really just wanted to bury the body to cover it up and keep predators away. It takes a huge part out of the day for a hunter-gatherer, and there would be easier ways to dispose of a body.”
Since Neanderthals had a semi-nomadic lifestyle, leaving their various campsites to hunt during the day and returning only to sleep and eat, Reeves found it interesting that they would choose to bury a body in that location. He also wonders, since other Neanderthal bodies have been found that were not buried, if there was a symbolic choice involved for those that were.
“I can’t say that they believed in an afterlife, but it seems there definitely was a social component, that the group members felt that this was an important loss. The burials say something about the connection that individual had to the group,” Reeves said.
Reeves is an anthropology major and is earning his minor in geology. He hopes to attend graduate school to further his studies in archaeology.
SUNY Potsdam has been training students in archaeology for more than 40 years. The College’s interdisciplinary program includes coursework in archaeological methods, history, art and geology.
This weekend one has the opportunity to see Renee Fleming in the title role of “Armida” the Rossini opera now playing at the Met in NYC. Now, not only can you see this spectacular show in Potsdam but LPCA has jumped on the Live in HD experience and I, for one, can’t wait to check it out.
A calendar of upcoming events follows: Thursday, April 29th:
In Canton, Best of Open Mic CD Release Party at the Blackbird Cafe. The show runs from 7 – 9 pm.
Friday, April 30th:
In Lowville, Bruce Robison, a “Texas songwriter”, gives a concert at the Lewis County Historical Society. This is presented as part of the Black River Valley Concert Series and starts at 8 pm. Tickets are $18/22 at the door. For more information email: firstname.lastname@example.org .
In Blue Mountain Lake, a Student Recital and Art Exhibit will be given at the Adirondack Lakes Center For The Arts. The reception will begin at 6:30 pm. This is a family friendly event and tickets are $3.
In Tupper Lake, the Adirondack SingersSpring Concert is at the Holy Name Church. The concert runs from 7:30 – 9 pm for a suggested donation of $5/3. Please call (518) 523 – 2238 or 891 – 5008 for more information.
In Saranac Lake, the Adirondack SingersSpring Concert will be held from 2 – 4 pm at St. Bernard’s Roman Catholic Church. Suggested donations are $5/3. Please call (518) 523 – 2238 or 891 – 5008 for more information.
In Queensbury, the Lake George Chamber Orchestra will be performing Beethoven’s 9th at 9 pm. This concert will be held at the Queensbury Campus of the Adirondack Community College. The theater is in the Humanities building.
The Adirondack Almanack's contributors include veteran local writers, historians, naturalists, and outdoor enthusiasts from around the Adirondack region. The Almanack is the online news journal of Adirondack Explorer. Both are nonprofits supported by contributors, readers, and advertisers, and devoted to exploring, protecting, and unifying the Adirondack Park.
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