Editorial: Mud Ball good tonic for season

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Over 175 people here came out Saturday evening to support the new arts and entertainment organization in town and to shake off the late winter blues. What resulted was a big party and just the right tonic after a far too long winter here.  
Spring dragged its feet this year until that Saturday, when the sun reappeared after a two-week long absence.  After weeks this month when the mercury didn't peek its nose much above 40 degrees F., and folks woke up to new snow most mornings,  it hit the fifties for party day.
Tupper Arts' first Mud Ball  drew its clever name, at least we thought it was clever, from the season which has traditionally marked close for the winter work of the loggers and lumberjacks here, and a time  too wet and muddy in the woods to go back cutting and hauling.
In our early years it was the time when lumberjacks came out of the woods with their pockets full of winter earnings, eager to spend much of it on wine, women and song.  Early bar owners and innkeepers welcomed the bounty, and often grew fat on it.
 The first time event at the train station was heralded by organizers as a big success.
Tupper Arts was initiated by Louise McNally over the winter and she has been helped by a small group of volunteers including  David Tomberlin, Russ Cronin, Paul Chartier, Wayne Davison, Liz  Cordes and the hometown publisher, who created Tupper's first Summer Sunset Series at the soon to be built bandshell and organized Saturday's Mud Ball.
Tupper Arts organizers modeled their new event after the ARISE Snow Balls in support Big Tupper, which were year after year  here earlier this decade.
Who turned out Saturday evening was an interesting cross-section from the community- from 20 somethings to well beyond social security eligibility.  Our   mother, Joyce, who is a trooper when it comes to arts and entertainment endeavors,  was the oldest in attendance.  She was in town to visit great grand baby Remi and see her two grandsons perform as part of a week long celebration  birthday later this week. Nana Joyce, who turns 92 tomorrow,  stayed for the whole show and loved it!
Guests arrived at the front of the station and entered along a walk framed with giant tires, highlighted by ornamental lights.  The massive old tires- some of them still muddy- were on loan from the county transfer station, with the blessing  of Manager Nelson Landry.
To move them to the site, and stack them in chest-high piles required the services of Jay Merrihew's and Adam Boudreau's Northern Diesel division of Kentile Excavating.
Mike Price, the company's talented mechanical guy and staffer Kody Churco used a company boom and trailer to move the giant tires, some of which apparently weighed a thousand pounds.  Consequently there were no takers among the volunteer decorators  to rearrange them later.  The tires are headed back to the transfer station this week. The Kentile Excavating owners and crew are a giving bunch!
Bales of hay also lined the entrance as well as creating islands inside to show off the baskets of thousands and thousands of pansies- always the hardiest and one of the first flowers of spring.  The yellow color was everywhere inside.
A truck load of hay and straw was donated by Moody Farms.
When the town crew moved the flowers in baskets from Lydia Kriwox's Usher Farms Friday afternoon aboard small dump trucks, we wondered if they would weather the ride, given the near-freezing temperatures that afternoon.  They wilted a little, but rebounded in the warmth inside.
In recent weeks the colorful baskets were prepared by Lydia Kriwox with the help of Louise, Ed and Donna Donnelly and their daughter, Jessie.
The Mud Ball was a brief stop for the thousands of pansies. On Monday they were headed to Park Street to the hangers of business owners who purchased them with the village as part of the village's beautification program, which Louise  directed starting last summer.
The pansies will be replaced with summer flowers in mid-June by the village and Louise's volunteers and then converted to winter arrangements in late fall.
About 20 flower baskets have been ordered for the Junction business district this week.
The Mud Ball hors d'oeuvres were prepared with skill by David Tomberlin and his staff at Well Dressed  Food.  Chefs Mary and Mitch outdid themselves.  They hung around late into the event to make sure the food kept flowing. The owners of the popular eatery on Park Street catered the affair at or below their costs.
David and his team received a big assist from seven high school students, who served the culinary treats from trays they circulated. They included Jacob Stradley, Noah Cordes, Kate Harriman, Stephanie Fortune, Alyssah Martinez, Lily St.Onge and  Sandra Kwasniak. Each was  very courteous, diligent and eager to please those in attendance.  Remarkable young people, all!
Jacob and Noah also peddled 50-50 tickets throughout the evening.
The evening's band, Ben, Jay and Ian were terrific, although we freely admit to our bias.  The crowd loved their music from the sixties and seventies, such old folk we are and many of the mud ballers stayed until the music finished at the strike of midnight.  Ben McClelland, our son, Ian Roantree, our nephew and new arrival at the hometown weekly and Ben's good friend Jay Martin, son of Ray and Laurie, donated their talent and their musical efforts to the inaugural event to support Tupper Arts and its future cultural endeavors ahead.  Incidentally the band is opening the Tupper Arts Summer Sunset Series, which begins on the eve of Independence Day, so plan to  catch them at the bandshell.
The lads really enjoyed the fact so many people danced and the applause to their tunes was robust.  Performers apparently enjoy playing more when people clap their approval and dance to their music.
The Mud Ball generated thousands of dollars for performances Tupper Arts will sponsor this year at the bandshell and other venues here.  The exact take wasn't known at this writing.
Contributing in a large way to the first time event's financial success were three local businesses whose owners are very community-minded.  Each made large donations to the Mud Ball.  Donations of kegs of delicious craft beer came from Mark Jessie and Joe Hockey at Raquette River Brewing.  Mark was also helpful in setting up their  station that evening, which was manned by a smiling Wayne Davison.  He liked that job, it seems. Mango wheat was the clear crowd favorite there.  
Across the room at another popular beer station were the products of Jim LaValley and his partners at Big Tupper Brewing.  The Touk and  the new summer ale were favorites there among the Mud Ball beer drinkers. Thanks, Jim, Rickey Dattola  and partners.
The Barbara Meade ticket counter at the station doubled Saturday as the wine station and board members Liz and George Cordes kept it flowing.  The wine came in many flavors and there were two sources.  Neil and Linda Pickering, who own Boulevard Wine and Spirits donated cases of wine to the party as their gift to local arts.  The Pickerings are very generous in support of all good things here.
Bill Merritt, the father of music teachers Liz and Laura, continued his very supportive ways of Tupper events and donated four cases of his Merritt Estate Winery products to help the event raise money.  His plan worked. Bill also had 300 wine glasses inscribed with the new Tupper Arts logo and his winery's logo as a keepsake of the fun evening. Those glasses were sold, some with wine in them, and will be at future Tupper Arts events this summer.   Bill's an incredibly generous guy whose done a lot for  the hometown of his children and his grandchildren.
Another highlight of the evening were the many door prizes, donated by a number of local and area firms, which included Laura Davison's Norwex products, Earth Girl Jewelry, Jessica's Cuts and Colors, Larkins' Deli, Park Street Nails, Mary Chapman at Ray's Wine and Liquor, Usher Farms, Well Dressed Food, Tupper Lake Supply, Christine Marquis and her ADK Bloody Mary Tonic, Cory and Lilian at Amado Restaurant and Cafe, Aubuchon Hardware, Raquette River Brewing, Merritt Estate Winery,  P-2's Irish Pub, Cabin Fever and Floral, local artist Ed Donnelly, Homenergy, Sevey's Point, Shaheen's IGA, Faith and Andrew McClelland's Spruce and Hemlock store, Stacked Graphics, the Village of Tupper Lake and Casagrain Gallery.
The door prize winners that evening were Erin Safford, Jackie Beattie, Sellin, Anne Churco, Liz Cordes, P.J. Kavanagh, boB and Sioux Collier, Cory Whitman, Shannon Surdyk, Rodney Bashant, Dianne and Jim Lanthier, David Naone, who also won the $150 50-50, Katie, Shawn and Joni Stuart (wow...three prizes in one family) and Tim Merrihew.
Other local firms like Day Wholesale and the Tupper Lake Free Press covered event expenses to help fatten revenues.  A regional food wholesale, U.S. Foods, donated a substantial portion of the food products that went into the  Well Dressed Food servings.
The fledgling Tupper Arts group also received help with on-line ticket sales from Adirondack Foundation, the tri-lakes not for profit organization that promotes Adirondack giving in a variety of meaningful ways and in robust fashion.
The broad base of support from the local and area businesses was a major factor in the success of the event, organizers said this week.
-And those who came to celebrate the changing season Saturday all seemed to enjoy themselves.  That was another mark of success for the event.
The best comment about the evening we heard came from a guest that evening who said “there was a really good feeling in the room Saturday...lots of good energy!”
Will there be a second Mud Ball next spring?  We suspect so!
-Dan McClelland

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Decorative concrete sections to be replaced like new

by Dan McClelland
Several pieces of missing decorative concrete in the uptown area which saw the extensive highway redo by the state two summers ago will be replaced like new this summer, a local resident was assured last week when the village board convened.
One block of the salmon-colored concrete with its decorative markings was removed in front of the Chinese restaurant on Park Street last summer and another section is missing near the corner of Wawbeek Ave. and Broad Street.
Jim Lanthier, well known local photographer, asked the village board Wednesday about any plans to repair them, adding: “-And will they be repaired to their original state?”
Mayor Paul Maroun said they would be.
Water and Sewer Superintendent Mark Robillard explained his crew was “mapping out” the water connections along the improved state corridor last summer to update his department's records  but several of the water shut offs couldn't be found.
The crew was successful finding a shut off under the sidewalk in front the Tupper Lake Free Press office with its metal detecter  without having to tear up the sidewalk.
But another in front of the Chinese restaurant was more difficult to locate.
Mr. Robillard said they were getting “hits” with their device there and so excavated the one concrete section.
When it couldn't be found, the general contractor on the state job, Kubricky, was summoned to help and that crew also excavated a plot with a tree planted in it next to the concrete piece where the shut-off device was found.
Mr. Robillard assured Mr. Lanthier that any and all repairs would return those sections to their original state.
Trustee Ron LaScala echoed that, noting the concrete color would be matched, as would the shallow nature markings.  The village apparently was given the decorative concrete stamp used to make those markings.
“-And the corner of Wawbeek and Broad?” Mr. Lanthier pressed.
“Like original,” the trustee assured him, noting the damage had been done by the Verizon company's contractor, Morrisonville Electric,  in order to complete the installation of  the cellular  company's   new infrastructure there.
Mr. Lanthier said he appreciated the village's attention to his concerns.

Shake mud off your boots and welcome spring at Saturday's Mud Ball

by Dan McClelland
Saturday evening's the time to kick the mud off your mudders and come inside the train station  to  party at Tupper Arts' first Mud Ball.  The goal of the benefit is to generate money to pay the performers in the group's Friday evening Summer Sunset Series at the new Lions band shell announced this week (see separate story this week).
The fundraising event to help bring more arts and entertainment to Tip Top Town marks the official start of spring in the North Country.
The dress that evening will be “Tupper Lake formal”-  pressed wool pants, cleanest plaid shirt and sturdiest, but practical  footwear.  Fox hats are optional. One of the organizers, Tall Paul Chartier, promises to wear his!
Come by yourself or with  your beau or favorite gal.
The Mud Ball has been mirrored after the Snowball, which raised thousands of dollars each year for about six years  in support of the ARISE volunteer operation of Big Tupper in recent years.  
“Despite the abundance of mud and even snow outside right now in this far too long winter, inside the train station there'll be spring on Saturday night,” explains an enthusiastic Tupper Arts organizer Louise McNally this week.
To help the fledgling group raise money for culture and arts endeavors, beginning this summer, the musical trio of Ben McClelland, Jay Martin and Ian Roantree have donated their time and talent to perform popular music  from the 1960s and  1970s that evening.  The musicians do a great job with the music of the Beatles, Neil Young, the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan  and other signature artists of that era.  Dancing is encouraged.
The kitchen elves at David Tomberlin's Well Dressed Food  started working today on preparations for the   platefuls of delicious hors d'oeuvres that will be served to the Mud Ball guests.  Several of the popular eatery's wholesale suppliers have made big donations of products to help with the event's fundraising.
A number of high school students have volunteered to serve the goodies from trays.
The price of the admission ticket (see advertisement this week for details) will include the entertainment, the food served and a complimentary glass of wine or craft beer.  Saturday's guests will also qualify for a host of valuable door prizes donated by local merchants and can also try their luck at winning the pot from which is expected to be a robust 50-50 sale.
The event will feature some of the best craft beer in the North Country- and perhaps the state- from stations featuring the products of Raquette River Brewing and Big Tupper Brewing, which are both donating generously to the event.
A variety of delicious wines will come from the shelves of Linda and Neal Pickering's Boulevard Wine and Spirits and from the vineyard of Bill Merritt's Merritt Estate Winery  in Forestport, N.Y.  Both companies and their owners are making substantial donations to the event to boost arts endeavors here for the enrichment of the local population and its visitors.
Tickets have been on sale all month from at a variety of places around town including Larkin's Deli, Well Dressed Food, Tupper Lake Supply, Tupper Lake Free Press, Boulevard Wine and Spirits, the village office, Cabin Fever Floral and Gifts and Jessica's Cuts and Colors and from individuals Joni Stuart, Lynn Quinn, Liz Cordes, Louise McNally, Shannon Bradley, Donna Sloan, Katie Stuart at the ROOST office and Donna Donnelly.  Those places and people will have tickets available through Saturday and tickets will also be available at the door of the train station that evening, so there's no reason not to go.
In order for ticket purchases to be tax deductible, checks should be made out to ARISE.
Tickets can also be purchased online at tupperarts.com and hitting the “donate” button.
The Adirondack Foundation, and its benevolent arm, Adirondack Gives...is also working with Tupper Arts these days to direct funds into entertaining and meaningful events here in coming months.

Tupper Arts to present Summer Sunset Series Fridays at band shell

Tupper Arts, the new hometown arts and cultural organization which was formed over the winter, this week announced the entertainment line-up for what its calling its Summer Sunset Series Friday evenings this summer at the Lions Club band shell.
The successor to the now defunct Tupper Lake Arts Council aims to introduce entertainment and arts endeavors to the band shell and other local venues, starting this summer.
It's been the intention of the new group this first summer  to showcase local talent or performers with a tie to Tip Top Town.  Each concert will be early Friday evening, beginning about 6p.m. or so and finishing well before dark.
Another key focus of the series is to bring local and visiting music lovers to a place each Friday evening that features  some of the greatest sunsets in the Adirondacks, when the suns drops behind Raquette Pond.
All performances are free to the public and entire families are encouraged to attend.  A donation basket will be circulated at all performances.  Funding for the series comes from the Village of Tupper Lake and from the fundraising of Tupper Arts, which begins this Saturday at the Mud Ball.
The Friday night series at the Flanders' Park band shell begins with a patriotic celebration on the eve of July 4th where local musicians George and Liz Cordes and Wayne and Laura Davison and others will offer many well known America favorites.  The aim is to get community residents singing along with them and in the spirit of the national holiday.
The performance will precede Tupper Lake's annual fireworks display- produced by the town and village through the chamber of commerce and always on the eve of the Fourth.
Beginning at 5p.m. or so on July 3 the local trio of Ben, Jay and Ian will open in the Lions new band shell before the patriotic performance, with popular tunes from the 1970s.
Three nights later on the first Friday in July, Crackin' Foxy, will entertain visitors to Flanders' Park.  The area group, featuring saxophonist Wayne Davison, will offer 1920s to 1940s jazz numbers as well as traditional Hawaiian musical fare.
On Friday July 13 Evan Bujold's Syracuse-based band, Late Earth is booked to perform at the Lions band shell.  The group, which has recently enjoyed some city-wide acclaim in Syracuse, performs alternative rock, blues and what it calls “antifolk.”
The entertainment of the early evening changes dramatically on July 20 when Tupper Arts volunteers booked The Guild of Thespian Puppets, a children-oriented puppet play based on popular folk tales.
On Friday, July 28 the Adirondack Arts Center at Blue Mountain, again under the direction this summer of George Cordes of Tupper Lake, will bring back Shakespeare to the park venue with the center's performance of Much Ado About Nothing.
The musical performers on stage August 3 will be the tri-lakes-based Springstreet Band, which offers popular rock.
The music turns to country and western the next Friday, when Ronnie Jones and his band offer some of the genre's favorites.  Tupper Lake's Brock Gonyea, who last year was an internet sensation with an early country and western classic he performed, has also been invited to appear on stage that evening.
On August 17, the area jazz group Moment's Notice, featuring Dan and Sadie Spada, are booked for the Lions band shell.
The musical mood moves to folk and traditional Adirondack music on August 24 when Rustic Riders and Joe Dockery will entertain park-goers.
The final performance of the Friday night summer sunset series will be the area rock and jazz group, Crowfeather, featuring ROOST staff Shawn Kittle.
See 'ya at the band shell Friday nights this summer.

More State aid good news for Tupper school district

by Dan McClelland
For the first time in recent years the Tupper Lake Central School District will receive what Superintendent of Schools Seth McGowan Monday called “a sizable bump in state aid.”
The board of education met in special session Monday for a budget briefing by Mr. McGowan and Business Manager Dan Bower, in the wake of the recently adopted New York State budget.
The new state financial plan for the 2018-19 school year adopted by the state legislature over the April 1 weekend saw substantial increases in aid for education.
The two administrators said they would have final figures worked out this week for board members in time for consideration of the new Tupper Lake school budget at a regular board meeting Monday.
At a budget forum several months ago administrators didn't have any realistic projections of state aid revenues to share with the board or the public, other than the figures in the Governor's January executive budget proposal.
Mr. McGowan said Tupper Lake's share of state aid next year turned out to be about $300,000 more than the Governor had proposed in the final budget adopted by legislators over the April 1 weekend.
“State aid worked for us this budget,” a very pleased superintendent told board members Monday.  In recent years the local school district has seen decreases in all the various aid categories- Foundation aid, building aid, transportation aid, etc.
This year all those categories saw increases, Mr. McGowan noted.
He said building aid for this coming year was a big factor in the overall increase, given the district's  participation in the current building project that will wrap up this year in all school buildings.
Overall, he said, state aid is up about 12% over the current year.  When the robust building aid isn't factored in, the education aid in the remaining categories will increase by 4.21%.
One of the reasons for Tupper Lake state aid increase was a decrease in local property values in the district three years ago.  Education aid is always keyed to three year old property values in a school district.
Mr. McGowan said he and Mr. Bower believe there will be no reason to exceed the  state tax cap in the district's tax levy next year.
Although the tax cap adopted by the state several years ago is universally referred to as the two percent tax cap, the two percent figure rarely comes into play.
The town and village here for example in recent years have seen tax caps far below two percent, when everything is factored into what has been called a very complex formula.
Many exemptions also come in to play which help school districts like Tupper Lake's.  Consequently, this school district has seen tax caps as high as 3.5% in recent years.
Unlike past years in the district when positions have been eliminated and retiring employees not replaced, that won't be the case this year, according to Superintendent McGowan.  “Retiring positions will be refilled and there will be no staff reductions!”
In last year's budget, provisions were made to hire an additional school librarian and a district psychologist, but candidates for those positions were never found.  Mr. McGowan said those figures would stay in the new budget, with the hope good candidates could be found to take those positions.
“It feels good this year,” after years of reductions, the school chief admitted that evening.
Mr. McGowan said his sources in Albany and the district's financial planners figure  that with this year being an election year, state aid figures should stay consistent for the next two school years through 2020.  “After that it's crazy to speculate!”
Dan Bower confirmed this year's budget would be under the state imposed tax cap.  The question for the district, right now however, is how much the district will be able to increase its levy on property owners and still stay under the cap.
A good part of any exemptions this year will involve expenses and revenues associated with the current building program.
Right now, according to Mr. Bower, the district is paying for the renovations done this first year of the program with bond anticipation notes, which involve short-term borrowing.  Within several years, however, those anticipation notes have to be rolled into actual bonds, financed over 15 or so years.  How all that financing figures out will determine the amount of building aid the district will get and exactly in what future year.
“But I don't see any scenario that we won't be under the tax cap this year...and that's very good news for the district!”
Mr. McGowan told the board members that his long-range goal for the district and its financing- if state aid holds in future years- is to be able to someday soon hire more faculty members at the high school to offer more elective for students like many neighboring school districts do.
“It would be nice to enrich (our curriculum) again!”
More faculty members would also help the district better address the academic needs of younger children coming into the school system each year, he told the elected school leaders.
Increasing the ratio of teachers to students in each primary grade classroom is one effective way to help students learn, he added.
“Maybe not this budget or the next one, but eventually,” he said of the need for more teachers here.
Board member Wayne Davison asked about school enrollment projections for this coming year and was told student numbers will be up slightly this coming year.
Mr. Bower called that fact “more good news” for the district.

Finger Lakes winery donates wines, wine glasses for April 21 Mud Ball

Bill Merritt, the owner of Merritt Estate Winery in the Finger Lakes, continues his very generous ways when it comes to Tupper Lake community projects.
Bill, the father of Tupper Lake music teachers Liz Cordes and Laura Davison, this week donated four cases of four varieties of his wine to this month's Mud Ball, the first fundraiser of the new Tupper Arts organization at the train station. Bill has been a generous supporter of many Tupper Lake benefits in the past including the Snowball.
Not only will Bill's wines be showcased and served at the April 21 event, he has donated nearly 300 souvenir wine glasses imprinted with the new logo of Tupper Arts, so almost everyone who attends the charity Mud Ball will have a keepsake of the evening.
Tickets to the event will go on sale later this week at a number of local venues including Well Dressed Food, Larkins' Deli, Tupper Lake Supply, Tupper Lake Free Press, Boulevard Wine and Spirits, the village office and Cabin Fever Floral and Gifts.  There are expected to be a  number of people around town selling tickets for Tupper Arts.  Some of those folks include Joni Stuart, Lynn Quinn, Liz Cordes, Shannon Bradley, Donna Sloan, Katie Stuart and Donna Donnelly. Tickets will also be available at the door that evening.  Jill Trudeau at the Adirondack Club and Resort is helping to coordinate the ticket sales.
Tickets may also be purchased in advance at the new web site launched by the new arts organization, tupperarts.com and hit the “donate” button.
In last week's issue an advertisement put the ticket price at $50.  They are, in fact, only $25 per person.

New “Tupper Arts” group founded on work of two previous groups here

By Dan McClelland
Publisher's note: Two weeks ago we carried a story about the creation of a new arts and cultural organization in Tupper Lake which is called Tupper Arts.  The key promoter of the group is Louise McNally, who has directed the Tupper Lake Art Show for the past two years and who organized last summer's Street Festival in the uptown business district.  The new group comes on the heels of a rich legacy of the promotion of the arts here with at least two different organizations.  Donna Sloan, who was instrumental in the work of the Tupper Lake Arts Council for decades, this week put together something of a brief history of those groups from old scrapbooks kept, from the minutes of meetings she kept as the council secretary and with conversations with key people who still live here.  We offer our thanks to Donna for that work.
On February 6, 1979 “Tupper Lake Presents...,” a new arts group in town was formed.  It was incorporated as a federal not for profit organization in 1979 and the designation was renewed five years later.
Some of the instrumental people were Fran Collier, who was the principle founder,  Ray and Dickie Jenkins, Molly Sherry, Chrys Dudbridge, the name a few.
On November 1980 a new “Tupper Lake Presents...” office established above Free Press building and there was no rent charged by the newspaper company. The group remained there for several years.
In November 1982 the arts council volunteers, along with community supporters purchased the long idle State Theater along with the leaders and board of Project PRIDE, the principle mission of which was to clean-up and energize the community.  The group leased to Jeff Szot (JS Cinemas) of Canton. Theater had been abandoned since 1975.  Years later the building was later sold to Mr. Szot and many of the initial investments were repaid. Muriel Ginsberg and Mary Mercurio were part of the  driving force behind Project PRIDE (People Really Interested in Donating Energy?), as were co-chairs Bruce VanVranken and Judy McCartney, who both became involved with arts council through PRIDE.
For the arts council and the community the years 1979 to 1993 were extremely active with many concerts, plays, workshops, musical groups, movies, dances, poetry readings, storytellers, instrumental and dance classes, children’s events, etc.
The files of the arts council during the years of 1993 to a decade later are missing, so information about its work would only be found after copious research in the annals of the hometown weekly.
From conversations she had with past members Mrs. Sloan found that bother Elaine Yabroudy and Newton Greiner were very involved in leadership roles.
Julia Gagnier and Erin Dangler took over at one point. They added dance lessons and violin lessons.
Their dream was to open a community arts center, but it never became a reality. That goal remains today in the new mission of Tupper Arts, according to Mrs. McNally.
The name “Tupper Lake Presents...” was changed to Tupper Lake Arts Council in 1997.
The years 2003 to 2014 saw a resurgence of activities by the  arts council. It was at one point re-named Tupper Lake Arts Council (TLAC). Eileen Hayes and Seth McGowan were the first co-chairs.  In many ways, through the hard work of volunteers, the arts and cultural group was re-energized. Others involved in those years were Beth Johnson, Karen Greiner, Randy Jones, Dan Bower, Trish Anrig, Meredith Warwick, Elise LaBrake, Sue Svoboda and  Donna Sloan.
Events include New Years Eve galas at the Wild Center, Celebrate TL Street fairs, Big Band dinner/dances, Pendragon plays, Shakespeare in the Park, Cabin Fever Art Classes, Opera Night at Little Italy, Mystery Dinner Theater, Night at the Races, scholarships given out for dance, instrumentals, and drama study, etc., etc.,
When Eileen and Seth stepped down, Beth Gagnier took over for a short while and soon after Trish and Meredith stepped up with Donna remaining as secretary
In 2013 the Tupper Lake Arts Council leaders contributed $10,000 to theater toward about $80,000 in new digital equipment, necessary to keep up the transformation to digital films in the industry.
The next year group leaders tried to energize and regroup, but there was not enough interest from people in the community.
In 2015, a much smaller group at the arts council took over annual art show from Goff Nelson Memorial Library staffers, who had run it for nearly a half century.
Later that year the board fell apart through lack of interest in events and only a handful of people doing it all.
In 2016 Louise McNally and Susan Lawson took over art show and moved it to train station for the first time.  The number of artists increased as the organizers looked to people from across the region.
Last year Louise took over completely, and moved the show again to the former Ginsberg's Department Store building on Park Street.  It was highlighted by the creation of what was called the “Celebrate Tupper Lake Street Festival,” which marked the completion of the state refurbishment of Park Street.  That was a big Saturday last August.
“Tupper Arts” will sponsor this year's August art show and a street festival, which is expected to run down the length of Mill Street from Park to the lake.
The new group and the two before it share a common thread: the willingness of local folks to work hard and volunteer their time to bring first-class entertainment through a variety of creative endeavors to Tupper Lake, its residents and its visitors.  Watch for reports and advertisements of “Tupper Arts” activities to come in upcoming issues.

Town leaders accept new Mt. Morris road

by Dan McClelland
With the blessing of Highway Superintendent Bill Dechene, town officials at a special meeting March 19 accepted a new road recently completed by developer Nick Brunette.  
The road offer was first presented to the town board at its regular meeting on March 8 by Attorney Kirk Gagnier, but without the highway superintendent in attendance, officials were cautious to proceed. Mr. Dechene had been out plowing with his crew all night the night before.
By town law it is up to a town highway superintendent to accept any new roads.  Under town law too, any accepted road must meet town road-building standards, which include among other things adequate drainage and certain depths of gravel.
Road work by Mr. Brunette apparently started five years ago, according to comments that evening.
The 1,300 foot long road, 50 feet wide, is situated behind No. 1 fairway and near the No. 2 tee area at the Tupper Lake Golf Course.  It leaves Tamarac Drive at a point between property owned by Peter Kinzel and another owned by his neighbors, Richard and Ellen Smith.
Mr. Brunette's new road will open up a 23-acre piece of property he owns there for development with seven new lots. The new road, which shaves a piece of the corner of a third lot owned by George Ross, ends at a section of acreage owned by Jim and Rickey Dattola.
At the earlier meeting Attorney Gagnier said Mr. Dechene has been inspecting Mr. Brunette's work since it began five years ago, and last Monday the highway chief confirmed that.
At the second meeting, the attorney said Mr. Brunette's subdivision won approval from the planning board, following soil tests and other development requirements.
The road butts up to property owned by Rickey and Jim Dattola, which brought the comment from Supervisor Patti Littlefield that should they ever want to develop that parcel, the access road is now there.
Mr. Dechene said Nick's new road meets all the town's current specifications for acceptance.
It was noted in the discussion, however, that Mr. Gagnier, who is also the town attorney and Mr. Dechene have been talking of late about updating the town's road acceptance policy.  Board members have also apparently been talking about.
Referring to any new specifications, the supervisor speculated the board may want to require developers to install a binder coat or asphalt surface on any road offered to the town in the future.
She said Mr. Dechene is currently working up cost estimates for future developers to apply at least the binder coat on any new road offered.
Councilman John Quinn offered the resolution to accept the new road with the initial acceptance of the highway chief.
“I'll move it,” he told his colleagues Mrs. Littlefield and Councilwoman Mary Fontana, “but I want to ask Bill, you've been involved...does it meet our specifications?”
Mr. Dechene said it did.
“So I'll go with his recommendation, because he's the man!” stated Mr. Quinn.
The motion won all three votes at the table.
Absent that Monday afternoon at 3p.m. at the special meeting were board members Mike Dechene and Tracy Luton.
As the discussion moved to the topic of a new committee to study town road specifications and acceptance policies, Mr. Gagnier wondered if the board wanted him to ask Mr. Brunette to serve, since he has been just through the process.
Supervisor Littlefield said that while he could be asked to serve on the new group, it might be easier just to have the committee interview him about the experience.  Other developers here may also be asked to meet with the study group.
John Quinn offered to serve on the new committee, and suggested Planner Paul O'Leary, Mr. Dechene and the attorney also be asked serve as well.  A motion later in the discussion appointed those four to the committee, with a completion date of two months from now eyed.
He said there were a number of things he'd like to see in any new road specifications developed, including, among other things a paved surface and engineering plan.
“Our specifications aren't bad...we just need to improve upon them,” the councilman noted.
Mr. Gagnier said the planning board members should also be involved in the creation of any new town road specs as those requirements are found in the town's subdivision regulations.
“We always want the planners to make sure any developer is keeping their eye on the road specifications!”
In the deliberations of the planning board he said there may be times when a small subdivision doesn't need to be served by a town road and a private road will do.  A waiver from the planners can make that happen, he added.
The supervisor suggested contacting officials in nearby towns where road acceptance specifications have been recently updated, to review those policies.
Bill Dechene noted that there should be a provision in any new set of road rules, calling for acceptance by the town to only occur between May and October- as unusual things can happen to roads in the winter and spring months.
He added that Mr. Brunette's new road had been completed and inspected by him in September.  “He completed everything I asked him to!”
He said turnarounds should also be required at the end of all future town roads, as it is often difficult for town snowplows and other large vehicles to safely turn around.  Mr. Dechene gave as an example a recent mishap where a school bus got stuck in Walter Zurawski's yard at the end of River Road, when it tried to turn around.
“Most times we have to use private driveways to turn around, and there's always the chance someone might shut us out!”
“I look forward to the construction of new homes in Mr. Brunette's subdivision,” was the supervisor's comment that afternoon on the issue.

New Lewis in charge now at Tip Top Electric

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by Dan McClelland
There's a new Lewis in charge at Tupper Lake's Tip Top Electric on Cliff Ave.
He's Nate Lewis, the son of Robert N. and Cindy Lewis of this village, and like his dad  before him Nate has been working for the family-owned business since he was a teenager. He's the third generation of the family to own and operate the well-known and well-respected Tupper Lake business.
Nate purchased the business from Bob at the first of the year, and while the name is the same, he's operating under a new limited liability corporation, Tip Top Enterprises.
After graduating from high school here, he studied electricity at Canton ATC  before joining the Tip Top Electric staff in 1999.  He worked summers there during high school and college.
The firm was started in 1953 when two local electricians- Bob Lewis, Nate's grandfather, and Darwin “Tony” Gensel, then both employed by King's Electric, went out on their own and jointly formed Tip Top Electric.  Their first headquarters was a garage on Arden Street, owned by Mr. Lewis' mother.
From the start the business was popular, catering to many local residents and their electrical needs and eventually winning more and more commercial accounts including the Altamont Milk Company and the Draper Corp. plant.
Over the years it gained many more commercial jobs including the electrical work on the original Big Tupper Ski Center lodge, O.W.D. Inc., Major Rod, Elliott Hardwood and renovations to Mercy Hospital.
Servicing the repairs of many area camps, including those at Big Wolf Lake and Whitney Park was also part of the successful business plan.
In 1955 the partners moved their business to Wawbeek Ave., across from Wawbeek Quick Stop and  1959 the partners purchased the company's present quarters at 15 Cliff Ave.
For years the partners did electrical repairs, some refrigeration work and the installation of electric systems.  For years too, beginning in 1957,  the place was the local headquarters of General Electric appliances and household goods.
For years the firm boasted three full-time employees, aside from the partners.  Shaheen Shaheen worked for the firm for many years.
The partners and their wives, Lu and Marie,  celebrated 25 years in business with an anniversary dinner with family and staff in February 1979.
In 1974 the younger Bob Lewis joined the firm on a full-time basis, after working there summers since he has 14 years old and after completing study in electrical technology at Canton ATC.
In September, 1982 the senior Bob Lewis died prematurely and the ownership of the partnership went to Mr. Gensel under a buy-sell insurance agreement the partners had forged years earlier.
In 1983 Bob Lewis purchased his father's half of the business from Mr. Gensel.
Leading up to that purchase Bob also started Lewis Insulators, working weekends and evenings installing insulation in a number of residences and businesses here in the early 1980s.  That company was eventually folded into the new partnership with Mr. Gensel.
Bob and Tony ran the business for several years together  until Bob eventually bought out his partner in 1986.
From that time on he ran the business as the president of his company, with valuable bookkeeping assistance from his wife, Cindy.
For a time too Tip Top Electric was a Skidoo dealership here.
In the late 1980s Bob introduced a heating and plumbing division to the company, which continues to thrive today.
Under Bob's direction the firm over the years grew its customer base in size and geographical area across the Northern New York and Vermont.
For many years Tip Top Electric has been aligned with large area contractors like Cascade Builders  and together they have tackled a number of large projects in Lake Placid, St. Regis Lake and across the area.  Locally they have also worked closely with contractors Bob Becker, Jim Frenette and others.
According to Bob, Nate has been running one of their crews for a number of years.
One of the firm's mainstays over the years has been plumber and electrician Chris Gallagher who has been with Tip Top for 25 years.
Other employees include Steve Gagnon, Ian Gillis and Zach Smith.
Bob will continue to work for his son, whenever he's needed.  He admitted this week it is satisfying to be able to turn over the business to his son.
When the Free Press interviewed Nate last week he promised to dedicate himself to the family business like his father and grandfather did before him.
“Tip Top Electric has a reputation of good work and good service.  We're known for honesty, hard work and doing right by our customers.  Those things are all priorities for me!” he told the hometown newspaper.
He said in addition to tackling various residential and commercial projects across the North Country, he is looking forward to more jobs at home what with the coming of the Adirondack Club and Resort.

Bandshell work to commence May 1; July 4 opening planned

 Contractor and clerk of the works Tom LaMere reviews construction plans with some of the people who will be involved with the building of the  new bandshell in Flanders Park at a construction meeting in the village office early last week.  From left standing are Excavating Contractor Mark “Chip” Lemieux, Trustee Ron LaScala, Electric Superintendent Marc Save, and Excavating Contractor Adam Boudreau.  Sitting at the board table were Trustee Clint Hollingsworth, Code Enforcement Officer Pete Edward and Engineer Kurt Bedore. (Photo by Katie Stuart)

Contractor and clerk of the works Tom LaMere reviews construction plans with some of the people who will be involved with the building of the  new bandshell in Flanders Park at a construction meeting in the village office early last week.  From left standing are Excavating Contractor Mark “Chip” Lemieux, Trustee Ron LaScala, Electric Superintendent Marc Save, and Excavating Contractor Adam Boudreau.  Sitting at the board table were Trustee Clint Hollingsworth, Code Enforcement Officer Pete Edward and Engineer Kurt Bedore. (Photo by Katie Stuart)

by Dan McClelland
The pouring of the foundation of the new bandshell in the Flanders section of the Tupper Lake Municipal is expected to take place on or about May 1, with the arrival of the timber peg framework and such about May 15.
The foundation will be poured by Moore's Flatworks and Foundations LLC, which was the lone bidder on recent village bids for the project. The firm bid $20,933 for all labor and construction  of forms for the foundation pour.
The village last fall awarded the contract for constructing the post and beam style frame to New Energy Works of Farmington, N.Y. for $76,890. The bid amount includes $70,960 for the construction of the framework, constructed of Douglas Fir and $5,930 for tongue and groove roof decking of the same wood.
With the wooden beams of the new performing arts structure will come a crane and crew from the timber frame contractor.
Once the skeleton is in place, the Lions Club volunteers and supporters in the community will devote a number of  days to roofing the bandshell, and installing the glass sides and storage-room rear area.  That work is expected to take place in the final weeks of May.
The construction schedule is, of course, based on the weather.
The excavation of the foundation area will be tackled by the village crew prior to the May 1 start and the electric crew will run new electric lines to the site to provide both temporary power for the building crews and for the electrical system that will be installed.
The crew will also install the 200-amp service in the structure and the on-site lighting planned, much of which will be at ground level.
Final details for the construction of the new building on the Raquette Pond shoreline at the base of Mill Street came together last Monday at a construction meeting of the various players, hosted by Community Developer Melissa McManus at the village.  Those who attended or who connected via conference call included Trustees Clint Hollingsworth and Ron LaScala,  General Contractor Tom LaMere,  Electric Department Superintendent Marc Staves, Adam Boudreau of Kentile Excavating, Mark “Chip” Lemieux of Lemieux Excavating, Engineer Kurt Bedore, Code Enforcement Officer Pete Edwards, Village Clerk Mary Casagrain, Lions Club President Dan McClelland,  Meaghan Lynch   from Terrain, a landscape architectural firm from New York City and bandshell designer Andrew Chary.
The plan is to have the transformation of the park area below Martin St. completed, for the most part, for an Independence Day opening of the new performance venue.
Contractor Tom LaMere has offered to oversee the bandshell construction. Tom is an active member of the Tupper Lake Lions Club that led the successful $40,000 fundraising campaign this past year that is part of the local share of the state grant won by the village from the state department of state to build the new performance park  with wide seating tiers down  from the Martin St. area to the shoreline area where the bandshell will be situated.
In front of the shell will be a 1,050 square foot dance area constructed of two-inch thick stone from Champlain Stone of Fort Ann. Engineer Kurt Bedore, who did much of the site work for the project and soil testing,  was able to secure the stone for the project at a fraction of the normal cost.
Mike Donah  has donated the services of  his Adirondack Fireplace company to lay the stone. The rectangular pieces will be floated in what is called “polymer sand.”  
The meeting last Monday began with a briefing by Mrs. McManus and Village Clerk Mary Casagrain of the village's procurement policies and bidding requirements. Also reviewed was the department of state's change order policy.
Andrew Chary was assigned to contact Phil Moore of Moore's Flatworks to insure everything was on track for the early May pour.
In the event the firm cannot fulfill its bid commitment, Mr. Chary was empowered by the group to contact a new concrete finisher that is currently working in the area.
Tupper Lake excavators Adam Boudreau and Mark Lemieux have both agreed to donate their talents and their firms' machinery to a major part of the project- the reshaping of the landscape there and new drainage.
It was noted there may not be enough fill on site to create the tiered seating areas in front of the bandshell and so arrangements will be needed by the village to bring in extra fill.  It will be trucked there in village trucks with village operators.
Mrs. Casagrain reported  the village currently has contracts with Paul Mitchell Stone Products and with Upstone Materials,  the company that last year purchased the Graymont Material company for sand and stone materials.
Engineer Bedore reported that his five foot deep boring tests at the bandshell site revealed nine inches of topsoil, twenty inches of loam and clay at 30 inches.  They hit ground water at 32 inches, he reported.
Pete Edwards said the site is both solid and well-drained so there should be a problem with heaving from the frost.
Mrs. McManus urged all those involved in the community project to keep close track of their hours, machinery hours and material purchases as all qualify as local contributions in the overall state grant funding of the major share of the project.



Brewski, Fire & Ice successful even without snow

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by Dan McClelland
This weekend's Brewski and Fire and Ice Golf tournament at the Tupper Lake Golf Course saw almost the exact same weather conditions as a year ago when the two events were first paired.  The lack of snow didn't hurt the fun, nor the turn-out.
Both this year and last year ample snow cover for both outdoor events in early February was wiped away in   repeated days of rain and unseasonably mild winter temperatures leading up to the combined event.
But despite the atypical February conditions,  the driving range area of the golf course was rocking with good times all afternoon!
The Brewski, sponsored by the Tupper Lake Chamber of Commerce and the Tupper Lake Lions Club's Fire & Ice golf tournament drew a crowd of well over 200 as people came to compete at winter golf or to sample the craft beer products of eight regional breweries or both.
This year's crowd came from all across the North Country and southern Ontario.
Like last year John Gillis and his volunteer crew of trail groomers had the golf course trails flat and well maintained- all ready for the Brewski, until the rains and thaw came.
In years past skiers and snowshoers have navigated the trails in the  woods at the golf course where they encountered craft beer purveyors along the way.  
Without snow last year the   four or so beer vendors were moved over to the Fire & Ice site on the driving range, as they were again this past Saturday.  With eight vendors and one distributor present they ringed the five-hole course.
The companies represented were Tupper Lake's Raquette River Brewing and Big Tupper Brewing, Valcour Brewing Company of Plattsburgh, Township 7 Brewing of Dickinson Center, Oval Brewing of Plattsburgh, Lake Placid Pub and Brewing, Big Slide Brewery of Lake Placid, Blueline Brewing and High Peaks Distribution,  which brought along products from Livingood's Restaurant and Brewery and Saranac Beer.
The town's tracked trail groomer and trailer, stewarded by Eric Lanthier, with help from Jim Frenette and others, came in handy moving kegs across the driving range to the vendors' booths.
Saturday brought an overcast day with no rain, with the mercury rising to the low 30s.  It made for a great day to be outdoors.  Last year saw a torrential downpour of rain at about 4p.m. and high winds during the day, but this year the day was calm and dry.
The Lions outdoor tourney, while only attracting seven teams of three, drew a tremendous amount of enthusiasm from both the competitors and the dozens and dozens of beer-drinkers who cheered them on.
After twin five-hole rounds the team captained by Vickie Pickering and her two minions- husband Ricky and Bob Beaudette, emerged as the champs with a best round of 19.  Vickie's team was the loudest of the tournament, spectators noticed. Vickie also routinely posed for passing photographers  throughout their rounds.
Second best Fire & Ice golfers were Bob Lewis and Hayden and Paul LaMere.  The good-looking trio boasted some big drives but inconsistent green play.
Our money was on the trio of Cindy Lewis, and Jim and Debbie Gaudet- but one never knows the intricacies of winter golf without snow, does one?
Competitive couple Pam and Scott Edwards, supported generously by the talent of Spencer Lanthier, claimed to be last year's best.  This year was a different story, apparently.
Mayor Paul Maroun, who has teamed up with Bill Maroun and Carol Fuller for a great degree of success at past tourneys, was conspicuous by his absence this year, a victim of the flu.  
No matter how the golfers finished every player seemed to enjoy this year's snow-free play.
Throughout the afternoon crowds of as many as 30 beer samplers moved from vendor station to vendor station to try out the products.  There were many excellent beer recipes shared including some impressive stouts which boasted alcohol contents approaching 11 percent.
Another popular spot that afternoon was around the Lions fire next to the cook shack, where there were often 40 or more folks gathered.   The freshly bucked-up wet pine donated by Gary Drasye and Lions Club President Dan McClelland's dry stuff underneath made for a nice afternoon fire the was enjoyed by many of the visitors.  The club president didn't singe his hair this year.
The Lions club organizers were happy Joe Salamy didn't ignite himself, as he kindled the fire initially.
The crew in the Lions cook shack was like a well-oiled machine, serving up Lions favorites all afternoon.  In addition to the usual Lions fare dogs and burgs, a big favorite that day were Shaheen's Supermarket sweet sausages, smothered in green peppers and onions. Working the grills with appreciated skill Saturday were Lions Chris Zaidan, Rob Drasye and Joe Salamy.  Helping too was Danielle Gagnier.
Free pickles from John and Patty Gillis'  till-less garden above Moody were a bonus each serving, thanks to the local couple who always help out at the winter event.  The few patches of ice which were present again got a coating of sawdust from the John's wood-working shop at the base of the mountain.
A number of other volunteers worked the registration booths inside the pro shop.  Chamber leaders Hayley McCottery and Sue Fitzpatrick stayed busy selling $20 Brewski tickets to well over 190 beer drinkers.
Selling 50-50 tickets and golfer registrations for the Lions there too were members Gerry and Mary Sojda, Bob and Sioux Collier and Tall Paul Chartier.
Chamber officials said this week the 2018 Brewski was the biggest yet in the half dozen years it has been run at the golf course.
An interesting and welcome addition this year was the availability of eight balloon-tired bikes brought by Zander Connor of the staff of Lake Placid's High Peaks Cyclery.
The business was apparently prepared to donated the use of cross-country ski equipment and snowshoes for participants, had the snow cover stayed.
Zander told chamber officials, the fat-tired bikes were very popular at Saturday's event, and more so than at other events he's taken them to around the region this winter.  People were riding them all over the driving range area and up and down the Big Tupper access road Saturday.
The office the chamber shares with ROOST on Park Street was very busy with calls in recent weeks from people all over who were eager to ski or snowshoe the Brewski.
The chamber's events director, Miss McCottery, told someone over the weekend she figured the crowd might have reached 500, had the snow cover held.  There were also apparently a number of other beer vendors who called to find out more about the Brewski and about coming in the future.
After three or four hours of winter golf and beer-drinking, many people in the crowd wandered off the mountain down to Lakeview Lanes, where the local bar was eventually  packed.
There it was announced that the winner of the Lions Club 50-50 drawing of $2,020 was Piercefield's Linda Pickering.  She may take Neil on a well-deserved vacation.
In all the Lions netted about $3,000 in proceeds from the Fire & Ice, which included the golf registration fees and the sale of signs advertising local businesses, which this year were posted prominently on the side of the cook shack in the absence of snow to stick them in.  All that money will be re-invested in Tupper Lake in the Lions community-service projects.
Spearheading the Fire & Ice team again this year were Lions Tom LaMere and Stuart Nichols.  More than a handful of Lions including Paul LaMere, Mark LaVigne, Gerry Sojda, Joe Salamy, Rob Drasye met with Miss McCottery, John Gillis and others most Tuesdays from Christmas on  at Tom LaMere's shop to plan the big February event- and their planning paid off, despite  an uncooperative Mother Nature!

Village board considering “discontinuation” of Balsam Ave.

by Dan McClelland
The village board is considering selling Balsam Ave. to the owners of Raquette River Brewing  to allow them access to a lot behind and above their popular brewery where they'd like to build a production brewery.
At last week's village board meeting Mayor Paul Maroun distributed a letter from the brewery owners, Mark Jessie and Joe Hockey, regarding the discontinuation of Balsam Ave. as a village street and set March 21 at 6p.m. as a public hearing on the issue.
A year ago this month the brewery owners asked the village to extend Balsam to access the lot currently owned by the Sarazen family and the undeveloped corner of Balsam and Berkley.  Village leaders sent the request to their attorney, Nathan Race, for his consideration.
Speaking to the village board a year ago Joe Hockey said “Balsam Street would need to be extended approximately 150 feet to provide access to the property. The extension would be built through a wetland. I contacted Adirondack Park Agency (APA) biologist Mark Rooks to look at the proposal. It was determined that the project would require a permit issued by the APA bypassing the JIF process. It is approximated that 7,500 square feet of wetland would be disturbed. This would require the village to mitigate (create new wetland) approximately 15,000 square feet. Mr. Rooks, while looking at wetland maps of the village identified a possible mitigation site.”
It was recently discovered that the street is actually owned by the town and at a recent meeting of the town board, the officials took steps to transfer it to the village, which typically owns streets in the village corporation.
Extending the street to the Sarazen lot will require crossing a local stream with a small bridge or large culvert and filling in some wetland areas.  Under Adirondack Park Agency law, when a wetland is filled, a wetland area at least twice its size must be created.
If the village steps away and sells the street, the sale would put the responsibility for and  maintenance of  the existing road, extending it farther to the private lot  and any required filling of the wetlands to accomplish the extension on any new owner.  In this case it would most likely be Mr. Jessie and Mr. Hockey.
Mayor Paul Maroun noted briefly that evening that the discontinuation of the street requires several steps for the village.
The only person to comment on the issue that evening was Trustee Ron LaScala, who said the brewery owners now own both sides of the short street, since Joe Hockey's recent purchase of the house at 137 Main Street.  “For us to continue the street will required a considerable investment in engineering and construction costs.  It may be better to discontinue (ownership) of the street!”
He said with the brewery's planned purchase of the lot for the production brewery and the owners' current ownership of both sides of the street, the street holds little use as a public street for the village.
Mark Jessie said over the weekend the construction of a larger-scale production brewery to produce more product for their patrons and to increase distribution is still very much apart of their plans.

New advisory group charged with charting brighter future for golf course

New advisory group charged with charting brighter future for golf course by Dan McClelland
A new sub-committee of the town board is being formed to thoroughly dissect the operation of the Tupper Lake golf course and to recommend ways to help it flourish in the future.
The decision to create an advisory group came at Thursday's monthly town board meeting following a long discussion between members of the town board and the Tupper Lake Golf Course board, who had been invited that evening.  Representing the group that operates the town-owned golf course here were Mike Sovey, president, Gerry Goldman, vice president and Jim Boucher, board member.  Bruce Smith, a long serving past member of the board, was also joined the lengthy discussion.
The golf course representatives that evening welcomed the help of a new advisory group, which will be chaired by Town Councilman Mike Dechene, who currently serves with Supervisor Patti Littlefield, on the town board's golf course committee.
Membership of the new five- or seven-member group was not exactly nailed down that evening with the board giving Mr. Dechene  a week or so to talk to a number of people in the community with a golfing background who might be interested in serving.  Names suggested that evening included former golf course board members Ray Martin, John Moore, Ron Belleville, Steve Skiff and Steve Stevenson.  The committee will also include at least one member of the current golf course board, possibly Jim Boucher, who has an educational background in golf.  Golf Pro Evan LaBarge is expected to be a member.
President Mike Sovey began the dialogue Thursday evening, presenting the board with a tentative schedule of events there this coming season.
Town Supervisor Patti Littlefield called it “a pretty full schedule,” and Mr. Sovey said he was confident the number of planned events would grow.
“We're changing the way we're doing things this year!” He gave as one example, a new decision not to close the facility to public play on tournament days from now on.  “We lose too much money on those days” by closing the course to non-tournament players, he explained to the town leaders.
“We're really trying hard to turn things around to try to make as much money there as we can!” Mr. Sovey asserted.
The supervisor told Mr. Sovey and his colleagues that they had been invited there that evening “as a preamble” to a decision to appoint an advisory group to take a close look at golfing trends in general and here in particular with an eye to important improvements needed.
“We want to look at all the things that go into the running of a golf course- revenues, membership, maintenance, etc.” she told them.
She said her board “has been watching closely in recent years” the declining financial and membershiip situation at the golf course and would like to establish a committee.  “We know you are struggling and we want to help!”
The operation has seen many board member changes in recent years, staff changes and equipment problems, she noted.
She said there would not be more than two town board members on any new advisory group, and certainly not three as that would constitute a quorum of the board.
Financial problems and membership declines are a common problem for courses today, Mr. Sovey told here.  “A lot of courses are closing.  We're working very hard” to keep this one open!
Mrs. Littlefield reflected on the dramatic  decline in members.  “The members have dropped from 500 about ten years ago to 100, right?”
Mr. Sovey confirmed her analysis.
She said one of the big issues for her board is the outstanding debt owed to the town by the golf course board for the overhaul of the upper nine holes about 20 years ago.
Under the agreement, she said, there's supposed to be a $30,000 payment on the town bond  every year through the close of the current lease in 2020.
“You're a little behind,” so we've asked the country club board in recent months to tell us what it can pay each year and whether or not “it intends to fulfill its obligations” to the town and continue to run the club.
“Your contract expires in 2020 and we need to know if you plan to renew- and hopefully you will- and are you proposing to try to make those bond payments!”
The supervisor said the delinquent payments of $30,000 last year and $30,000 this year is money owed the taxpayers of the Town of Tupper Lake, who “footed the bill” for the course improvements.  “We feel we have to protect their investment...and that's why we're having this conversation tonight!”
Even though the town has retired the bond which covered the cost of the improvements, $120,000 covering four payments is still outstanding, it was noted by her.
“There was no payment last year, and this year we've said to you what is your plan? You have to give us something,” Mrs. Littlefield told the delegation.
She said some people in the community have suggested forgiving the debt but in checking with the state comptroller's office she learned the debt must be repaid to the town.
“We have to work together to figure this out!” she asserted, and Mr. Sovey agreed.
She said it was the recommendation of her board- after discussions at recent meetings- to create a town board sub-committee comprised of people here with an expertise in golfing “to take an outside look at what's happening at the Tupper Lake Golf Course” and the sport in general.
She said the advisors would be charged with looking at the entire operation.
Using the group's recommendation after a six- or seven-month study, “we'll all sit together and determine the best way to keep this thing going...whether it's the club that is running it, the town board running it, or putting it out to bid to a private party who would like to lease a golf course,” the  supervisor stated.
She said her hope is the two boards will find the best solution without a lot of disagreement.
“This is all for the good of the town and the course, because we all want it to succeed!”
“Don't you think this is a good idea?” she asked, to which the golf course representatives indicated they did.
“We all work very hard!” Mr. Sovey said of his board members.  “My phone rings more often from the country club than from my place of work.  “We're beating our heads against the wall to find ways to increase our revenues...and they're not there, not in Tupper Lake anymore!”
He said the current administration continues to reach out to visitors and out of town residents to patronize the local 18-hole facility. “But you can't bring in outside revenues if the integrity of our course is sub-par...no pun intended!”
The board in recent years has devoted a lot of its resources to maintaining the place, which has taken considerable man hours and payroll, according to the president.
The board, he said, is taking some of its direction from “our very young and energetic golf pro, Evan LaBarge.”
“We're putting a lot of our trust in Evan and hoping he can draw more people from his many golfing contacts!”
“Membership has declined so much it's killing us!”
He said that every year they pray for a good year...and each year they keep hoping this will be the year!
Gerry Goldman said the board “reorganized the staff” for this year and what he called “a positive development.”
He said they know there have been several revenue opportunities overlooked in past years which they hope to revisit.
There are also a number of new ideas they hope to employ.
“Unfortunately I don't think any one of those things can solve an organic issue in the sport today that people don't want to spend four hours playing golf.”  He said there have been all sort of ways suggested to cut playing time, some of which have “horrified” veterans of the sport.
He called some of the new rules proposed “ridiculous.”
Mr. Goldman said a golf course in Tupper Lake is incredibly beneficial to the community- both for its recreational value and its promotion of tourism.
He said when the Adirondack Club and Resort comes- and it looks like it's coming- it will need a golf course.  The developers have promised their investors that, he added.
“I don't see any way the golf course isn't present and running- as we go forward as a community!”
He said the debt incurred by the club when the improvements were done and financed by the town “is legal and I don't think anyone would argue we don't owe you the money,” he told the town leaders.  But when the debt was incurred we had 300 plus members and now we're down to 100!”
Mr. Goldman said that while the course continue to take in solid green fees each session, the dramatic loss of members and the $600 they each contribute each year is crippling from a financial standpoint.
Mr. Sovey noted that in the face of declining members the club recently offered a twilight league membership at a reduced price of $275.  He said while that helped somewhat it generated only a fraction of the funds paid by full members who have left over the years.  “But $275 is better than no money,” he explained.
Councilwoman Tracy Luton said an elderly golfer who served on the board when there was 300 members told her recently there are few places as impressive as the Tupper Lake Country Club, sitting on a mountain overlooking a lake.
“Many of us were hoping the (ACR) development was going to come sooner than it has” and the years of delay have left the future of the golf course hanging in the wind.  
The developers intend to require their new lot owners on Mt. Morris and the lands beyond to become members of the hometown course, which should dramatically boost membership over time.
Ms. Luton said the arriving resort will dramatically improve course finances.
Mr. Goldman said consistent leadership has been difficult there since Golf Pro Brent Smith left some half dozen years ago.  “We're probably had a turnover on our board approaching 30 people since then!”  Some of the board members who resigned aren't even members anymore, he added.
The frequent turnover in board membership has created “a lack of institutional experience,” he said he feels.
Mr. Goldman suggested four or five long-time golfers and golf course leaders here who should be considered for membership on the new advisory group.
He applauded the creation of what he called “a new planning committee between the two boards, because new, good ideas are a necessity for us now!”
The supervisor agreed with him “the older guys” will bring history to the discussions ahead.
Councilman John Quinn said both of the board have a big thing in common- neither one wants the golf course to close.
He said he didn't want to see the town board running the facility. “I want you guys to succeed,” he told the course brass.  “If there's any way that it can be done through a cooperative venture between you and  w the town or outside partners, let's do it!”
Jim Boucher spoke up at that point.  “I began playing golf there when I was ten!”  He said he attended a golf course maintenance course in college, and worked for a time at private courses downstate but decided later not to pursue a career in golfing.  He said joined PGA at one point and was a member for many years, with the help of Brent Smith.
He said he only  joined the golf course board in recent months, after taking up golf again last year.
“I think I have a lot of ideas” to help the facility which he intends to share at upcoming golf course board meetings.
“One of the last years I worked in golfing was at a big private club in Albany.  At one point it celebrated its 75th anniversary and three years later it went bankrupt.  So it's very common for golf courses to fail!”
Participation in the sport around the country is dwindling, and for small town golf courses like ours the fight to turnaround membership declines is even more difficult, he told the town board.
He said one thing he has noticed this past year is the absence of children on the course.  “We need to get more kids involved.”
During the years of operation of Big Tupper Ski Center here, free skiing was routinely offered to local children.  That same thing could be done at the golf course, he suggested.
The supervisor thought many volunteers will come forward to teach youngsters how to golf and run programs for them here.
Mr. Boucher expressed confidence there are many ways for the local course to improve its revenues through various new activities.
Mrs. Littlefield welcomed his input and ideas in the new improvement mission launched that night.
Like Mr. Quinn she said she doesn't want to see her board running the golf operation on Mt. Morris, but wants the current arrangement to succeed.  Mike Dechene echoed that sentiment too.
Gerry Goldman told the group: “This is a small town, and if we don't pull together, we're done. We may be done anyway, but if the work ahead turns into a cat fight between the town board and the golf course board,” the facility's future is grim at best.
The best way to avoid conflict between the parties is open communication, Mr. Quinn stated.   “We all must be able to connect in a timely and efficient manner.”
The comment was in reference to the  frustration among town board members several months last fall when Supervisor Littlefield and Councilman Dechene weren't informed of golf course board meetings.
When Mr. Sovey told him his board's next meeting was February 20 at the VFW post at 5p.m., the supervisor said he and Mr. Dechene would be there. She said they would be looking for the name of a golf course board member to serve on the new sub-committee.  She said too they would bring a list of knowledgable golfers with them who are interested in serving to share with the golf course representatives.
Mike Sovey said his board is currently in need of a new secretary/treasurer, in the wake of the recent resignation by Stuart Amell.
Mr. Goldman said it is important for the town to charge the new committee with specific tasks as part of the study work ahead.
The supervisor said they intended “to lay out their plan” in full at the March 8 town board meeting.

Sports stars, media figure inducted to Sports Hall of Fame

Hall of fame 3.jpg
 Kathleen Bigrow

Kathleen Bigrow

by Ian Roantree
The friends, family and fans of Tupper Lake athletes came together on Saturday at the Tupper Lake Middle-High School to honor the latest inductees to the TLMS’ Athletic Hall of Fame.
After the Ladyjacks regretfully lost against St. Regis in a close game of basketball, players cleared the court in preparation of the ceremony.
Saturday was a mark for several significant moments. The ceremony marked the 30th anniversary of the Hall of Fame itself, having finding its inception in the 1987/1988 school year. For 30 years, the Hall of Fame Committee would induct 71 individuals including coaches, players and two teams—some of whom were in attendance at the ceremony.
But unlike previous inductees, one of the new Hall of Famers wouldn’t have been seen on the field or court, nor would they have been seen standing amongst the players on the bench. Instead, this newly inducted member of the Hall of Fame would have be seen all over the sidelines, finding the right angles for the perfect shots. The 2018 Hall of Fame ceremony saw the first media coverage member to be inducted.
“As we celebrate tonight, we are here to pay tribute and respect to more than just the contributions of the three we have here. We are here to celebrate the past and the present of Tupper Lake,” said Athletic Director Dan Brown, who initiated the event from a podium that stood beneath the southern basketball net. He continued, “the past is comprised of Hall of Fame athletes and coaches who paved the road for our current student athletes.
“The present is based around coaches and athletes who work hard to carry on what those before them have created—keeping tradition alive and creating new traditions for the future. The past would not live on without the present, and the present would not be here without the past. Celebrating the Tupper Lake Athletic Hall of Fame is a strong reminder of this.”
Mr. Brown went on to give a nod to those responsible for the night.
“The Hall of Fame committee has done an excellent job selecting tonight’s inductees and the level of intensity they utilize in determining their selections is impressive.”
Mr. Brown also made a shout out to past hall of fame inductees who had been sitting together in the bleachers to Brown’s right. “Without you, our athletics would not be what they are today.”
And lastly, Brown thanked the custodial staff for their support, and the athletic department secretary, Shannon Kelly, who was responsible for organizing the event and spent several hours doing so.
After finishing his opening remarks, Mr. Brown went on to introduce the first athlete to be inducted into the Hall of Fame that evening—Faith Bedore McClelland.
From the start her high school athletic career, Faith quickly made a name for herself both on the basketball court and on the soccer field, where she would be a fierce competitor, gaining a notoriety from her opponents, and a reputation from her team and classmates. Despite their love for their teammate and leader, some of Faith’s teammates hated practicing against her “because she was just so good.”
Faith was coached for five years by Jim Merrihew, beginning when Faith was named to the junior varsity team in eighth grade and then moved up to varsity when she was a high school freshman.
This week Jim shared some of his comments about her impressive high school career.
“Faith was ready to play varsity as a freshman and that was rare at the time.  She seemed comfortable with the older players and her teammates soon recognized she was a pretty good player!” he said.
The long time girls basketball coach remembered when he was coaching her JV team in a game against Northeast Clinton.
“There were four over-times and Faith got us into each over-time with her three-pointers.  Although we lost, it turned out to be a tremendous back and forth game; lots of fun for both sides!”
As a freshman on the varsity team she was often a starter and she saw a lot of court time, he also remembered.
He said that year Faith had a remarkable goal.  She was bound she would make 500 three-point goals in practices.  So every time there was a break in practice, during or before and after, she shot three-pointers.
The coach remembers her reaching her goal of 500 three-pointers.
Coach Merrihew called her a hard worker on the court and very driven.  In three-point goals alone, she was one of the top two or three players in the entire section, he noted.
He said Faith “pushed herself,” and was “very coachable,” in his words.
“She turned out to be one of a handful of girls I coached over the years who became assistant coaches on the floor.  They knew what everyone was supposed to be doing!”
“Faith didn't just score a lot of points, she was the complete game- good at rebounding, shooting, stealing, ball handling, foul shooting.”
As a top player she also made everyone around her better, he said.  His daughter who played with Faith told him that many times.
He also said she also inspired others around her to do their best.
Mr. Merrihew said Faith became a team leader as a junior and senior on the varsity team and she did it, in his estimation, “by performing on the court at a top level.”
Faith was also a remarkable defensive player. “She somehow knew what her opponents were doing...she'd step back for a moment and then explode, usually intercepting a pass and driving down the court to score.  She seemed to always know where the ball was going to be!”
“Faith was a player, a real competitor. No matter what, if it was practice, a game or simply seeing who could fill up their water bottle first, Faith wanted to do it the quickest and she wanted to be the best,” said Fred Short, who coached Faith but who unfortunately couldn’t attend the ceremony and send off his former star into the hall of fame.
While playing soccer, Faith and her teammates won several CVAC (Champlain Valley Athletic Conference) championships and became a critical figure in establishing the girl’s soccer legacy in Tupper Lake.
On the court, Faith continued to exercise her athletic abilities. By the end of her junior year, Faith raked in a total of 792 career points. Little did she know, she would come out even hotter in her senior year, scoring 402 points in a single season, bringing her total to 1,194 points, a “high score” that few Tupper Lake athletes could match or surpass. There are only four athletes that are in the “1000 point club” and Faith is the only woman to make the ranks.
A high point count isn’t the only significant feat that Faith earned as a Tupper athlete. Her other career milestones include being a three-time Division 2 all star, a three-time CVAC all star, she was a Press Republican all star in her senior year, and finished in second for points scored in the CVAC one year.
Even after leaving her high school glory behind, Faith returned to the high school to coach, passing down her athletic insights and abilities to the younger generation of Tupper athletes. Today, Faith is a caring, contributing member of the community, a business owner and mother.
After Dan Brown introduced Faith, he then introduced the next speaker, Gordie Duval, a retired track and field coach, who would then introduce the next athlete.
Like the athlete inducted before him, Josh Dupuis was known as a great athlete in more than one sport.
“Josh was a three-time first place all-conference defensive end and earned the respect of his teammates, coaches and just as important, the respect of everyone who played against him...especially quarterbacks,” said Duval.
Josh started playing football and baseball at a young age, both of which he excelled at. To stay busy during the colder months, he got involved with indoor track which “turned out to be a really good thing,” according to Duval, as that’s where Josh made a lot of his athletic accomplishments.
“His dedication in the weight room combined with help from his shot put coach, Charlie Hoffer, resulted in Josh improving his throws to establish school and section records along with a state championship title.”
During the indoor track season his senior year, Josh broke both the school and section record in shot put. The record was previously held by state champion and Tupper Laker, David Bedore, but when Josh threw the shot 60 feet and eight inches, he overcame Bedore’s record of 59 feet and three and a quarter inches. Unbeknown to Josh, his senior year would continue to be a fruitful one.
Later that year, during the outdoor track season, Josh became the first thrower in New York State to surpass the 60 foot mark, breaking the record that had previously been shared by Gene Thompson of Mineville and of course, David Bedore.
His outdoor track career would reach its peak when he made a 61 feet and 7 and a half inch throw later that season.
With that track record, Josh naturally went off to compete in the state championships where he placed fourth in the discus and became the overall New York State champion in shot put.
Josh’s sports career didn’t end after receiving his high school diploma. He attended SUNY Brockport in his post-secondary studies where he played football and track where once he again, he broke the indoor shot put record. Between indoor and outdoor, he was a five time All-American in shot put.
“I know I speak for the entire coaching staff and anyone who knows Josh in saying that he is a class act and role model for other,” said Mr. Duval, who invited Ted Merrihew and Charlie Hoffer to assist him in handing over the award to Mr. Dupuis.
The last inductee, as mentioned above, is the first media coverage personnel to be inducted into the hall of fame.
“She was something,” recalled Jim Ellis, who took to the podium to honor the last inductee of the night, Kathleen Bigrow.
“The tool of her trade was the camera. Kathleen would go to game after game after game. Football, basketball, baseball, track; what a great contest she had a chance to witness and document here in Tupper. Sports in the 1950’s saw great battles and she began to chronicle them during her time working for the Adirondack Daily Enterprise as a reporter, and later with the Tupper Lake Free Press. She reported on all sports. She was specially happy when women began to claim their place in the sports world.
 “I remember, she was here at one football game, and she got nailed on the sidelines and broke her leg while she was trying to take pictures!
“She was a tough competitor in her own right. She loved not only the fact that we had kids that were participating in sports, but the thrill of the games was the thing that really made her happy.”
Kathleen passed away in 2014 and left behind a legacy of the sports and stories she documented and the lives she touched through dedication to the community.
To accept the award, Kathleen’s great nephew and fellow hall of famer, Ray Planty approached the podium in her place.
Publisher Dan McClelland was also asked by Mr. Brown to say a few words about Kathleen. Although he abbreviated his comments that evening, after Mr. Ellis' praise, the text is published below:
“It's my privilege to be here this evening when the Tupper Lake High School Hall of Fame Committee honors my daughter in law, Faith, and my old friend Kathleen Bigrow.
“Kathleen was very generous, giving away more of her photographs perhaps  than she ever sold.  In that same generous spirit and another impressive photographer, Jim Lanthier found a rare shot of Kathleen with retired teacher Ed LeBlanc when they were out on Raquette Pond searching for what Ed used to like to call his pike-burgers.  Jimmy, who inherited Kathleen's extensive photographic collection, donated large photos of  Kathleen, Josh and Faith for the school wall of fame.
“Kathleen was ahead of a time.  She began a photography business here at a time when most women were stay at home moms.  She worked in a world of men- men who ran our governments, men who ran our schools and men, who for the most part coached our teams.
“A hard-charging, confident woman, we saw her stand toe to toe with her male counterparts in public discussions over the years, never giving an inch.  Kathleen loved to argue about taxes and politics.  A life long Democrat, she never swayed from her belief in her party.  If the Dems nominated a jackass for office, she'd tell you how well he or she “hee hawed.”  If the Republicans did, that was an jackass.
“In the 1950s  Kathleen took a job as the local correspondent for the Adirondack Daily Enterprise.  At the time Tupper Lake was covered by three or four regional dailies, in addition to the Free Press.
“Kathleen's vivid but not always factual reporting (she believed the truth was wasted on a good story) sold papers for the Enterprise, greatly expanding its circulation here.  The police blotter was her thing.
“She eventually had a falling out with Bill Doolittle or some other publisher eventually and moved to the Watertown Daily Times and filed stories and her many photos there.  The old timers here nicknamed her “Brenda Star,” after the fictitious female cartoon reporter.
“By that time she had already chronicled in thousands of photos of Tupper Lake events.
“When my former partners and I bought the Free Press from the Quinn family in 1977, one of the first things we did was hire Kathleen as a part-time photographer. It was a very wise move.  She was tireless and worked seven days a week.
“Kathleen had two major passions, when it came to covering the news.  She loved to chase ambulances, police cars and fire trucks.  Many times she beat the emergency vehicles to the scene.
“Her second passion where the kids of the community.  She loved to venture into the elementary school here to take photos of pupils working in their classrooms and on special projects.  She loved high school sports and she routinely took action and group photos of every Tupper Lake team over the decades.  It wasn't about winning or losing, it was about striving for success, doing your best for your team and staying healthy and happy as a result.
“In that regard I believe she is a very fitting candidate for our sports hall of fame.  If Kathleen was alive today she wouldn't have been happy with tonight's acclaim and she probably would have made a fuss, as she often did publicly.  But in her heart she would have been tickled!”
Saturday night Mr. McClelland closed his brief remarks by joking that if he had known Faith was going to become a McClelland, he would have paid more attention to her exemplary sports career when she was in high school.
This is how organizer Dan Brown summarized the impressive fraternity during Saturday's ceremony: “Our Hall of Famers have set the standard for play, broken gender barriers, and built traditions which everyone has come to love and respect.” Dan Brown said of the group during the ceremony.

Meet the 2018 TLHS Sports Hall of Fame inductees

by Rich Rosentreter
Three new members were recently announced as inductees to the Tupper Lake High School Sports Hall of Fame - Faith Bedore McClelland, Joshua Dupuis and Kathleen Bigrow and there will be an induction ceremony taking place on January 20 to honor each one.
The Sports Hall of Fame was established in 1987 by the Tupper Lake student council, under the direction of boys basketball coach Steve Skiff, in order to recognize outstanding athletic achievement, dedication and service among the community, students and coaching staff.
Faith was selected because of her achievements on the basketball team, Josh for his accomplishments on the football and track teams and Kathleen, who passed away in 2014, was selected for her support as a fan and dedication to covering Tupper Lake athletics as a photojournalist.  
This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Hall of Fame and this will be the 25th class being inducted.
The Free Press recently contacted Faith and Josh to get their reaction to being bestowed with the honor of entering the local school’s Hall of Fame. Tupper Lake Athletic Director Dan Brown also provided the some information on the two student athletes.

Faith Bedore McClelland
Faith scored 1,194 points as a member of the Ladyjacks, the most for any female basketball player in Tupper Lake School history. She had 103 three-pointers averaging 1.3 per game. In her career, she had 64 games where she had double figures for scoring out of 83 total games.  
Faith played varsity basketball all four years of high school and in her career she was a three-year Division II All-Star, three-year All-CVAC All Star, named to the Press Republican All-Star Team (as a senior). Also as a senior, she was the second leading scorer in the CVAC and netted 402 points during that season.  
Faith said she was pleased to be represented among Tupper Lake finest student athletes who have been named into the Hall of Fame and it gives her a special reason to reflect upon the past.
“It is an honor to be inducted into a group that includes so many accomplished athletes!” she told the Free Press. “It brought back so many wonderful memories. As adults we kind of move on with our lives and get caught up in the day to day of here and now. It was nice to take a few moments to reflect on such a wonderful time in my life.”
Faith said that playing sports in the community is a time she will always cherish and fondly remember. She also praised the efforts of everyone involved in organizing and assisting in the school sports programs.
“I loved every single moment of Tupper Lake High School basketball. The smells, the sounds, the fans, my teammates, my coaches who spent endless weekends, evenings, holiday vacations, summers and more to give us the gym time that we wanted. It was such a special time in my life,” she said. “I would do anything to go back in time to play one more game!”
Joshua Dupuis
Josh was a 2004 graduate of TLHS.  During his sophomore year on the varsity football team he was named to the First-team CVAC All-Star Team as a defensive end.  He had 16 sacks and won the Unsung Hero Award that season. In his junior year on the team that won the Class C Division Title, he was named as the Press Republican All Area Football Defensive Player of the Year.  Dupuis also was named to the First-Team CVAC All-Star Team as defensive end for the second consecutive year.  
Josh also played indoor track throwing the shot-put and was undefeated in league meets. He finished in second place at the state meet. He also played outdoor track and again finished in second place at the state meet.  
In his senior year he played on a football team that earned another Class C Division title and Josh received the Outstanding Defensive Linemen Award.  During the winter's indoor track season he finished second at the state meet in shot-put for the second year in a row and broke the school record. He earned the Most Dedicated Award for his effort.  During the spring's outdoor track season, he threw both the shot and discuss. In shot-put he set a new Section 7 and school record - a record that was stood for 42 years within the section.  Joshua broke this record five times during the season.  At the state meet he finished in fourth place in the discus and first place in the shot-put.
Kathleen Bigrow
Kathleen, who worked for the Free Press and Adirondack Daily Enterprise covering sports among other things, passed away in 2014. The Free Press recognized her in an editorial as “Tupper Lake’s premier photographer for decades, was known by generations here as the hard-charging fictional journalist, ‘Brenda Starr.’ She considered it a compliment.”
The editorial also described one of her experiences taking photos of a Lumberjacks football game.  She was about 75 at the time.
“One time Kathleen was on the sidelines of a local football game when she was so affixed on the game looking down through her lens, she didn’t notice an errant ball carrier who bowled her over and broke her leg. That didn’t keep her down long though. She was back on the beat a few weeks later- hobbling to get to assignments.”
“Kathleen was one of the most dedicated and hard-working people I've ever known,” Free Press Publisher Dan McClelland said this week.
He said Kathleen, a native of Saranac Lake, began her career as a local photographer, shortly after her marriage to Bert Bigrow of Tupper Lake.
For a time she was the Tupper Lake reporter for the Adirondack Daily Enterprise and she loved the local police beat and filed many stories about some of the mishaps and arrests in the community.  In the 1950s and 1960s Tupper Lake was covered by a number of major regional newspapers like the Syracuse Post-Standard and the Watertown Daily Times and the Saranac Lake-based daily was trying to break into that market.  Kathleen, who sometimes began her stories with “Rumor has it...” and who was never interrupted by the truth, was credited with greatly helping the Enterprise grow its subscriber base during her years there, Mr. McClelland said.
After she left the Saranac Lake newspaper she continued to write local news for the Watertown Daily Times.  She also submitted her photographs to the Tupper Lake Free Press for publication on a regular basis.
“In 1977 when John Morris and I purchased the Tupper Lake Free Press one of the best things we did was to hire Kathleen as our part-time photographer.  For nearly two decades she covered almost every event in the community, taking thousands of photographs to that end.”  Kathleen was up every morning at 5a.m. to develop her photos in her basement dark room. She also worked in the Free Press dark room with a giant Kenro process camera, which converted her photographs through the photomechanical transfer process into screened prints suitable for the offset printing process, he added.
“Kathleen was a big fan of local sports and she attended and covered with her photography most junior varsity and varsity games here.  It would  be unusual here if you played sports in the 1960s through the 1980s that Kathleen didn't take your team picture.”
“She loved to see kids giving their all to their favorite sports and she dedicated herself to doing her best to chronicle that!” according to Mr. McClelland.
After Kathleen retired from the photography business in the late 1990s, she opened up an antique shop, The Sorting Gap, on Park Street and ran it for at least a half dozen years.  It was a place where many older locals stopped on a regular basis to catch up  on the news of the day.  Conversations routinely centered on Adirondack Club and Resort, of which she was a robust supporter.