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Adirondack Explorer

Monday, December 2, 2013

The Saga of Albany Jim (Part One)

This is not a story about Diamond Jim Brady (1856‒1917), who, during America’s Gilded Age, was a flamboyant, legendary businessman and philanthropist with an appetite for diamonds and other jewels. It is instead about Big Jim Brady, who, during America’s Gilded Age, was known for his own type of philanthropy, had an affinity for jewels, and was a legendary figure—as the handsomest and coolest of crooks. Big Jim is a tough subject to tackle. From a young age, he was cool, slick, and secretive about his activities, leaving an intermittent and very difficult path to trace. Adding to the challenge—4 >>More


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Military Voices: Helping Veterans Come Home

Tom Smith shouldn’t be alive. In Vietnam, he was a 1st Cavalry Division helicopter scout pilot. Helicopter pilots, especially scout pilots, flew through the heaviest enemy fire of the war. Cavalry Division scout pilots were hit hardest. Their attrition rates were twenty times that of U.S. Air Force pilots, their survival rate, forty to fifty percent, their life expectancy, three weeks. Tom’s job was to fly at speeds under 30 miles an hour at treetop level locating enemy, usually by drawing their fire. It took Smith a long time to realize he lives with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), a >>More


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Shopping Small in the Central Adirondacks

We try to find the time to make sure some of the items being sent to family and friends are “made in the Adirondacks.” That special moniker indicates a range of products from maple treats or rhubarb concentrate to elaborate bark-trimmed furniture. Since we live in the Adirondacks we are fortunate to be able to share some of the bounty with other family members not so fortunate. The advertisements for Black Friday specials come at such a steady stream of daily flyers and commercials that my head starts to ache. Black Friday may be the day to brave the mall, >>More


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Anthony Hall: When The Media Fails, The Public Loses

Since November 5, when voters approved an amendment to the state constitution to permit a mining company to mine 200 acres of Forest Preserve lands, we have learned much more about the proposition than we knew before the vote.  We always knew that the company proposed to mine the Forest Preserve, and everyone, proponents and opponents alike, thought it at least noteworthy that two environmental protection groups dedicated to maintaining the integrity of the constitutional clause that states that Forest Preserve lands will remain “Forever Wild,” supported the proposition. But we did not know that the state officials who were >>More


Monday, November 25, 2013

Lawrence Gooley: My Dad Lives On

Six days ago, I stood staring at an open casket, eyes locked on the face of my father. The funeral home had suddenly become familiar territory: Mom, at age 92, died just 15 days before Dad, who was 89. For more than a decade prior, my wife Jill and I saw them morph from my parents into what can only be described as our best friends. During that time, about 500 of our weekly Game Days cemented an unexpected bond and left us weak with laughter. Each session was like four teenagers gathering for hours of teasing and repartee. As >>More


Thursday, November 21, 2013

State Nears Decision In Railroad Debate

State officials are nearing a decision on whether to open the management plan for a railroad corridor that runs through Adirondack wilderness. The future of the corridor has been the subject of public debate for a few years. At issue is whether the rails should be removed to create a multi-use recreational trail. The state Department of Environmental Conservation and Department of Transportation held meetings in September to gather input from the public. On Wednesday, DEC Commissioner Joe Martens said staff at both agencies have been reviewing and evaluating hundreds of comments. Martens said a decision is not too far >>More


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Become Part of the Local Underground Railroad

This Saturday my family and six of my son’s friends will be celebrating his birthday by becoming part of the Underground Railroad. It won’t be the typical birthday party, but it is the one that my son wants to share with his friends. Presented by the Pok-O-MacCready Outdoor Education Center and the Underground Railroad Historical Association, the North County Underground Railroad Experience will be held rain, snow or shine at the Willsboro 1812 Homestead Museum on November 23 from 6-9 pm. This trip through local history is a mere $5 per person. Participants will play the roles of escaped slaves >>More


Monday, November 18, 2013

Benjamin Haynes, North Country Architect

No matter how long a life lasts, the residue left behind is often fleeting, and within a generation or so, most of us are largely forgotten. But it’s also true that every life has a story, and many of them are worth retelling. I often glean such subject matter from obituaries, or from gravestones as I walk through cemeteries. A tiny snippet of information stirs the need to dig for more, perhaps revealing unusual or remarkable achievements and contributions. A recent example involves Benjamin Wood Haynes, a native of Westford, Vermont, who lived and worked in northern New York in >>More


Thursday, November 14, 2013

Adirondack Foundation: New Name, Same Goal

The community foundation known as Adirondack Community Trust, or ACT, since 1997 now has a new name: Adirondack Foundation. “Over the years, our organization has frequently and too easily been confused with a bank,” said Cali Brooks, Adirondack Foundation’s executive director in a statement issued to the press. “Adirondack Foundation more accurately conveys our charitable purpose. While the name has changed, our mission has not: We will continue to lead and inspire the growth of generosity to benefit the Adirondack region.” Last fall, Adirondack Foundation’s Board of Trustees held a strategic retreat to examine the past, present and future of >>More


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Fred LeBrun: An Era of Private Sportmen’s Clubs Ends

As I write this, the debate is continuing to rage over how much motorized access should be allowed on former Finch, Pruyn lands sold to the state, but regardless of the decision, the age of private hunting and fishing clubs on those lands is quietly drawing to a close. We’re in the middle of a ten-year slide to oblivion for the iconic Gooley Club, the Polaris Mountain Club, and others, but this is a significant year in that slide. As of a year ago, there were thirty-three clubs leasing land from the Nature Conservancy, which bought the Finch, Pruyn properties >>More