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Tamarac water tank set to go up

Dan McClelland

by Dan McClelland

The materials to construct the new water tank above Tamarac Village in water district No. 3 were on site earlier this month, awaiting installation.

In a report to the town board February 14, supervisor Patti Littlefield, said she had attended a meeting that day with the contractor and officials from the Development Authority of the North Country (DANC), who are overseeing the project for the town.

“It was on site late last fall, but then the weather got the best” of the installers, she reminded her board.

She said the heavy equipment to erect the sections of the tank arrived on site that day.

The installers hired to construct the tank were expected to begin this past Monday, she said.

“They are allowing two weeks” to bring it to final construction. “They have to allow time for the tank to cure and then water is added to the water main there and the tank is filled.”

The process of filling the tank with chlorinated water involves a lot of back washing and cleaning and testing” before it is ready for use, she explained.

She said also at the meeting were members of the village line crew for discussions on where new utility poles would be installed to service the tank complex. The tank will be connected by antenna to the other two village tanks to coordinate the flow of water in the village system.

The pad for the new tank was poured by the contractor, North Country Contracting last fall.

The “substantial completion date” for the project is the end of May, according to the supervisor.

The contractor will have to do “a little tidying up” on the road next to the No. 3 and No. 4 fairways where the new water mains were installed last summer, she said.

“When it's all said and done the hydrants in that water district will be functioning properly. Every resident at Tamarac will have a consistent flow of water plus there's room for expansion now on the mountain.”

“If and when something happens at the ACR they can come right down the hill and draw right out of the new tank!”

Train station wins grant for lighting improvements

Dan McClelland

Next Stop! Tupper Lake, the local not for profit organization, which built and operates the Tupper Lake train station, has been notified by the Adirondack Foundation that it has won a grant of $1,843 through its Generous Act program to add a new lighting system to the dimly-lit interior of the station.

The grant application was written and filed by Dan McClelland, chairman of the train station group.

The money comes from community-minded donors to the Lake Placid-based foundation, whose investment profits are put back into the community for myriad good works. Money is also given to the Foundation by many friends of the Adirondacks to be distributed to worthwhile community projects.

“We are delighted with the help of the Adirondack Foundation. Its generous gift will go a long way to making substantial lighting improvements inside our station, and in particular to better show off the exhibits of our new tenant, the Tupper Lake Heritage Museum,” Mr. McClelland said this week.

“When we built the station ten years ago, we underestimated the amount of lighting we needed in the great room for events there,” he noted. Three chandeliers provide most of the interior lighting in that section of the station.

Last summer after problems developed with the physical condition of the town's old Pine St. firehall the Next Stop! Tupper Lake board welcomed the Tupper Lake Heritage Museum to the large room of its building. Over the winter museum volunteers have been organizing and building exhibits of Tupper Lake historical artifacts for a June re-opening.

Museum Chairwoman Kathleen Lefebvre and several of her board members and Mr. McClelland are currently working with lighting professional David Naone of Tupper Lake to purchase the best system for the money. Mr. Naone has identified three good systems and has recently briefed the museum board on those. Some of tonight's meeting of the museum board is expected to center on his recommendations.

Mr. Naone has directed the lighting for numerous Tupper Lake High School musical and dramatic productions in the school auditorium over the years, giving generously of his time and talent. He also advised on the new lights installed in the high school auditorium, as part of the recent capital improvements this past year.

“Devoted groomers” honored with gifts from town board

Dan McClelland

Trail team members Jules Callaghan, Jim Frenette, John Gillis, and John Quinn

Trail team members Jules Callaghan, Jim Frenette, John Gillis, and John Quinn

by Dan McClelland

The men who devote many hours each year to making the town's expanding trail network at the Tupper Lake Golf Course the best it can be to ski or snowshoe on were honored Thursday by the Tupper Lake Town Board.

Councilman John Quinn, who is himself a grooming and trail maintenance volunteer on John Gillis' team, presented insulated vests that evening to John, Jim Frenette Sr., who was a pioneer trail groomer on the town's course on Mt. Morris, and Jules Callaghan. Unable to make the presentation were volunteers Eric “Shakey” Lanthier and Scott Chartier.

The new vests are the first souvenir garments here to sport the new James C. Frenette Sr. Recreational Trails logo, which was designed by the ROOST (Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism) staff. Earlier this year the town board named the trail system after Mr. Frenette.

The vests were ordered from and embroidered by Stacked Graphics.

“These are our gifts to our devoted groomers,” Supervisor Patti Littlefield said of the presentation that began Thursday's monthly meeting in the town hall basement.

She said she was delighted the pieces carried the new logo in honor of Jim Sr.

Councilman Quinn called the vests “just a small token of the town's appreciation” for all the trail-maintenance and trail-grooming work of the small band of volunteers.

John Gillis expressed his team's thanks, quoting the expression often heard from country singers that “it only takes ten years to be an overnight success.”

“We've crested!” he said, adding, this past season, in particular, was abundantly successful and the longest season to date. “We started grooming before Thanksgiving!”

The plentiful snowfall this year and the preparation to the trails to make them skiable drew hundreds of nordic skiers from across the North Country every winter weekend, it seemed.

This season over 600 individuals registered when they came to Tupper Lake to ski the course and another 500 people attended the chamber's annual Brewski, Mr. Gillis told the town officials.

He said the sliding hill, which is also groomed by his team “was wildly popular” with local kids and their parents all winter long.

A number of the trail volunteers were headed up to the course the next day to remove directional signs and attend to other end-of-season chores.

The supervisor remembered the telephone call from Mr. Gillis in 2011 after Jim Frenette, who has been grooming trails on Mt. Morris for over four decades asked him to help him out. She said John was looking for town help to maintain and expand what was already there.

“It was a whole bunch of people you talked to” to build momentum for the work you had planned, the supervisor told him.

Other core volunteers soon followed, under Mr. Gillis' leadership.

Mr. Frenette brought along a Free Press clipping that evening when Big Tupper Ski Area cut the official ribbon at the 1973 opening of the Mt. Morris network which was eventually expanded to the golf course site.

Jules Callaghan said he remembered making the sign for the new trail network.

In the off-seasons of recent years the town's trail team has also been at the center of volunteer trail-building efforts, which drew the help of many in the community. The new trails have been built in the woods, rather than in open areas, to protect them from the wind and the sun, boosting the season's longevity.

Mr. Gillis reported that evening that much of the Adirondack Park Agency permit application work has been completed for the new multi-season trail soon to be built, which in his words, will cover the entire “backside” of the course. “We're inching closer!”

Part of the trail work will involve the construction of three new bridges which will cross wetland areas, requiring the APA permit.

Much of the tree-clearing in the new trail right of way has already been completed Mr. Gillis, Mr. Lanthier and others up to where the first bridge will be built, Mr. Quinn noted. “Work has to hold off now until we get a wetland permit.”

“We're not slowing down, however,...we are going to get the trail done!”

He also reported that a feasibility study commissioned by the town through a grant program has pointed up the cost of paid labor to tackle the bridge construction to “be way high.”

He said the trail-builders will need some town funds for materials and predicted with numerous local volunteers, like the numbers which have come out at past trail-building work bees- the new trail and its bridges can be built for “a fraction of the costs” detailed in the study.

John Gillis agreed. “We put out a call and people show up. Hundreds have over the years. That's how all the trails have been done so far. I'd rather build it locally...people like the ownership... they get that community's what has propelled us!”

Councilman Quinn reported that evening that the town has filed the first piece of a grant application through the Development Authority of the North Country to the Northern Forest Council for funds to winterize the pro shop and make other changes to help make it a four-season facility. The town's first application last year was unsuccessful.

The supervisor said this is actually an application to submit an application, which is the process that must be followed. Once the town is invited to apply the second submission is a very quick process- 30 to 60 days.

A year-round pro shop building would give skiers indoor restrooms and a warming place.

He also thought a small warming hut could be erected near the relocated fire pit adjacent to Cranberry Pond. An electric line is very near that site to furnish power to it.

“These improvements are necessary to making the golf course a four-season facility!” chimed in Councilman Mike Dechene.

“Maybe even a rope tow” for the sliding hill someday? the supervisor speculated.

Mr. Quinn also commended Bill Dechene and his highway crew, who he said were invaluable in terms of helping with the trail network's equipment maintenance and transporting of the machines to area dealers for service.

Preliminary village budget calls for spending hike of 2.79%

Dan McClelland

by Dan McClelland

On Monday at noon the Tupper Lake Village Board presented to the public a draft of financial plan that will guide the village's operation in the fiscal year beginning June 1.

The only people in attendance were the mayor and Trustees Clint Hollingsworth, Ron LaScala and Leon LeBlanc, along with Treasurer Mary Casagrain.

The proposed budget, which must be finalized this month likely after several work sessions, forecasts total spending this coming year of $3.048 million- a figure up by $83,016 or 2.79% over the current year.

The proposed budget covers spending in only the village's general fund which covers the operations of the village staff at the Park St. headquarters, the village fire and police departments and the department of public works (street and sidewalk detail). The village electric and water/sewer departments are funded for the most part by ratepayers of those utilities and do not affect the village tax rate.

In the preliminary plan, after $100,000 in unexpended balance from the current year is rolled forward and after revenues from other than taxes of $942,131 are applied, the balance of spending that figures into the calculation of the total tax levy in the village will be $2.005 million- or up by just shy of two percent (1.976%) from the total village tax levy this year.

If the budget is adopted without substantial alteration later this month by the board, the plan would produce a total tax levy of $58 below the state's permanent 2% tax cap which for the village this coming year will be $2,005,997.

In prospect for the village's 2019-20 financial year is a total tax valuation in the village of $141,759,758 which will produce a tax rate of $14.51 per thousand assessed valuation, based on this year's spending.

The amount of assessed property to share the tax burden next year (village tax base) is up by $274,344 from $141,485,414 this year.

The proposed tax rate of $14.15 is up by 25 cents per $1,000 from the current rate of $$13.898 per $1,000 or an increase of 1.78%.

The village tax rate five years ago in 2014-15 was $13.331 per $1,000. Based on a house in the village assessed at $100,000 village taxes were $1,333 per year then. This coming year that owner of that same house with the same $100,000 assessment will pay $1,415 in total village taxes, $82 or six percent more they did five years ago.

Eggs, kids everywhere

Dan McClelland

It seemed like early every Tupper Lake child gathered at L.P. Quinn in the late moments of the morning of Saturday, April 6, to participate in the Erin Farkas Dewyea Easter Egg Hunt.

There were kids and eggs as far as the eye could see.

Thousands of vibrantly-colored Easter eggs, each one filled with candy, stickers and toys, were strewn across the Rotary Track and Field athletic field and the school parking lot where school busses line up on a typical school day. At the strike of noon an air horn sounded marking the official beginning of the hunt which brought a stampede of little feet in pursuit of Easter surprises.

While the youngest of the group scavenged the wet grass of the football field, the older kids hunted their eggs in the parking lot.

Six children found golden eggs and won Easter baskets full of toys and goodies. Every child left with their baskets or bags filled eggs and a stuffed Easter bunny.

On site was the Easter Bunny himself, ready to greet the kids and pose for pictures.

The organizers offer their thanks this week to the many donations and support from the community, the Farkas family, the Dewyea family, and McDonald's. With the help from many student and adult volunteers, the hunt was a great success!The event is named each year after Erin, a remarkable teacher who left an indelible mark of many of her students during her time teaching at the school. (Ian Roantree photos)

Community comes out to raise $10k for Sparks family

Dan McClelland

by Ian Roantree

Last weekend, on Saturday, April 6, this community did what this community does best and came together to raise money for a noble cause.

While fundraising was a primary goal of the several events that underwent throughout Saturday’s afternoon, this group, lead by Tammie Lalonde and Andrea LaMere, also sought to raise awareness about cystic fibrosis while supporting the young and brave Aubrey Sparks and her family as she battles everyday with the disease, and to provided financial support for their medical travel expenses.

The fun-filled day started at 2 p.m. on Saturday at the State Theater with a showing of Five Feet Apart, a story of a young romance between two teenagers with cystic fibrosis. While the cost per ticket was $6, the State Theater’s Sally Strasser donated $1 from each ticket sold, which raised $123.

After the movie, the group moved next door to the Tupper Arts center where they massed for the starting of the Ultimate 65 Roses Scavenger Hunt. The scavenger hunt, orchestrated by Pam Jones, drove groups of four all across town in a wild race-against-the-clock event. A registration fee of $40 was required for each team to participate, and with a total of 92 players involved and 23 teams, the scavenger hunt gathered $920 for the cause.

The victors of the scavenger hunt were Kelsey Amell, Danielle Amell, Deolinda Jessie and Melissa DeVirgeles.

To wrap up the day, the community went to fill Raquette River Brewing and continued to raise money and support. With nearly 400 bodies packed into the brewery’s great room, 753 pints of craft beer and ciders were sold.

From 6 p.m. until they closed their doors and shut down their taps at sometime after 9 p.m., RRB donated $1 from every pint of craft beer and cider sold. Over 750 pints were sold that evening.

Funds were also raised through 50/50 and basket raffles, on-site donations and through the trinkets, magnet and bracelets sold to brewery patrons that evening.The winner of the 50/50 was Annie Furnia.

Over $5,000 was raised through the basket raffle, around $2,500 from donations and $1,082 from 50/50, coming to a grand total of $10,581 over the course of the day.

A day of fun to help Aubrey, raise CF awareness

Dan McClelland

Aubrey Sparks 1 copy.jpg

By Phyllis Larabie

This Saturday, April 6, the family, friends and the community of Tupper Lake will enjoy a fun-filled day of events to help raise awareness for Cystic Fibrosis and to help support Aubrey Sparks' Family on their medical journeys ahead.

The proceeds will help alleviate medical costs and travel expenses for the family.

The day's events will start at the State Theater, showing the movie “Five Feet Apart”, with showings at 2p.m. and 4p.m. The movie is based on two cystic fibrosis patients that fall in love, even though the hospital rules state they must stay five feet apart at all times.

Then it's on to the Art Center for the first of two scavenger hunts at 4p.m. The second is The Ultimate 65 Roses scavenger hunt from 4:15p.m. to 5:45p.m. This event is a race against the clock that consists of completing various tasks, constant laughter, photo opportunities, and making memories for the chance to win a cash prize. Teams should be made up of a maximum of four people and needs to include a licensed driver. Online registration is open now and ends on: Friday, April 5, 2019 at 6p.m. Participant must register their scavenger hunt teams at


The evening ends at the Raquette River Brewery End your evening from 6p.m. to 9p.m. with music by Slingshot.

The entire day is in honor of Aubrey Sparks, who just turned 13 years old on March 2 and was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis through newborn screening at birth.

Cystic Fibrosis, also known as CF, is a progressive, genetic disease that causes persistent lung infections and limits the ability to breathe over time.

CF is a genetic disorder that affects mostly the lungs, but also the pancreas, liver, kidneys and digestive system. Although there has been significant progress in treating this disease, there is still no cure and too many lives are cut far too short.

More than 30,000 people live with the disease in the US. It is a complex disease that affects each person differently.

Aubrey was diagnosed through a sweat test and blood test. She is the only daughter of Artie and Meaghan Sparks and has two brothers Taylor, 22 and Anderson, 8.

The family was devastated and totally unprepared for the difficult news they had received. After several appointments and some research they had a better understanding of Cystic Fibrosis (CF) and how it may affect Aubrey.

Artie and Meaghan became determined to do everything in their power to help Aubrey live a full, happy and healthy life. They learned how to do manual chest physical therapy and administer inhaled medications which became part of every day life.

The first year went well and Meaghan stated it seemed as if the CF had gone away.

After that things began to change and then came a rough year and a half.

Aubrey was hospitalized several times for pseudomonas infection and her weight was dropping at an alarming rate. The doctors encouraged Artie and Meaghan to have a feeding tube placed in her. Unfortunately, Aubrey had complications. The lining of her stomach did not adhere to her intestinal wall. After some time things began to turn around and they slowly began to see the benefit of Aubrey's “tubie,” as they called it. It saved her life, stated Meaghan. Things went well for the next five years.

In the fall of 2012, Aubrey started having problems with her sinuses. She has undergone four sinus surgeries because of the sticky mucus from having CF plugged her sinuses almost entirely. The surgeries were beneficial.

The past few years have been tough. the family takes it one day at a time. In 2017, Aubrey was approved to try a new CF medication called Kalydeco. She was able to begin the new medication while she was hospitalized in November 2017. She had been doing well until recently when she began having stomach issues.

Aubrey is an amazing, strong young lady. She is loving seventh grade. She played on the modified volleyball team this past fall. She continues to play the clarinet in band, and is a member of the chorus. She was recently in her third school play. Aubrey is also a writer for the Lumberjack Lyre and a member of the SADD. This year she also joined the modified basketball team. She has recently been named to the Junior National Honor Society.

Aubrey loves to be with her family and hang out with her brothers and cousins Grace and Maddie. She has so many great friends in school. Aubrey is living her life to the fullest and her family is so very proud of her.

The family and Aubrey have began the Make A Wish process. Her dream is to go to Paris.

Meaghan stated, “we look forward to the future and will continue to take it one day at a time. Life is good and we should all remember to BREATHE!!”

Laughter is timeless, imagination has no age, dreams are forever.

Come out and join Aubrey and her friends and family this Saturday.

Dog owner drops legal action against town after

Dan McClelland

Mark Dewyea late last week withdrew his small claims legal action against the Town of Tupper Lake for the balance of veterinarian bills he owed for his tiny dog's over one dozen surgeries last year. His action came after his outstanding bills were satisfied by two anonymous donors.

In August 2018 Mark's tiny terrier, Jackson Browne, was attacked in the front yard of the family's Fourth Ave. home by a German Shepherd that had escaped from a village patrol car. Village Patrolman Mike Vaillancourt and town dog control officer Wayne LaPierre had picked the dangerous dog up earlier and tried to recapture it near the Dewyea driveway after it escaped from the rear of the patrol car.

The bigger dog grabbed the tiny 12-pound dog by the neck and head and nearly killed it, resulting in about $5,000 worth of surgeries at the High Peaks Animal Hospital in Ray Brook to save it in the weeks which followed. Officer Vaillancourt shot and wounded the 130-pound attacking dog, saving the smaller dog's life.

On Thursday, March 14, the pet owner appeared before the town board to ask it to pay the $1,572 balance of the bills at the veterinary hospital, where the dog was cared for over four weeks.

He said the reason he was putting some of the blame on the town was because the dog control officer was partially responsible for “corralling” the dangerous German Shepherd into his front yard.

“If Jackson Browne had been out on the street when he was attacked that would be an entirely different thing and I wouldn't be standing before you tonight,” he told the town officials that evening.

Asking the town leaders for help, he said their insurance company, the New York Municipal Insurance Reciprocal, had denied the claim he made against the village and town last year. Both the village and town have the same insurance carrier. According to Mr. Dewyea, the claim was denied by the company because neither municipality carries negligence insurance.

He claimed that through the actions of their police officer and dog catcher, the village and town governments here were negligent.

In reviewing the claims openly that evening Town Supervisor Patti Littlefield revealed that the village board agreed to pay $1,572 after NYMIR denied the claim.

A Go Fund Me campaign generated another $325 and after the German Shepherd's owner paid a small sum and after other payments of about $625, a balance of $1,572 was left that Mr. Dewyea wanted the town to pay.

After some back and forth between Supervisor Littlefield and the pet owner over the documents re-presented to her that evening, the supervisor announced she felt it would be setting “bad precedent” for the town to pay a claim their insurance carrier refused to pay.

She listed some of the payments made on the bill by the various parties.

Mrs. Littlefield promised Mr. Dewyea to pursue the matter with Town Attorney Kirk Gagnier and get back to him at some point.

She also suggested he pursue legal action in town small claims court, which he did Wednesday, before Judge Len Young.

He told town officials on March 14 he didn't want to sue the town, but the outstanding bills left him no choice if the town didn't help him.

Because the local town court cannot hear a case against the town government, the decision where to hear it was referred to County Judge Robert Main.

The action didn't get that far, however, as a veterinarian from the High Peaks Hospital called Mark Friday and told him his bill had been satisfied by two anonymous donors.

A few minutes later Mark said he called Court Clerk Laurie Fuller and told her to rip up the paperwork against the town.

Mark said Monday he was very thankful for the gifts to clear up his bill at the animal hospital and happy he didn't have to sue the town.

Several members of the village board- including Trustees Ron LaScala and Clint Hollingsworth and Mayor Paul Maroun- were upset with their counterparts on the town board who didn't immediately help Mark Dewyea with some of the hospital bills, as they had done.

Village officials were also upset with the town supervisor for reading all the payment amounts aloud at her board meeting.

“I think the town board members should be ashamed of themselves for not making good on this small invoice that is a lot more detrimental to Mr. Dewyea than it is the town,” Trustee Hollingsworth was quoted as saying last week.

Trustee Ron LaScala said last week that good boards have to sometimes look beyond the legal question and act on the side of what's ethical and what's moral. “Sometimes it's all about doing the right thing!”

He said Monday he was pleased to see the two donors step up and help the local pet owner out of a tough situation, none of which was his fault.

Temporary water easement notices create ruckus

Dan McClelland

by Dan McClelland

The flurry of the temporary water easements sent to all village water customers early last week from Engineer Kevin Feuka's C2AE office in Canton created some discomfort for some people here.

Trustee Ron LaScala, who oversees the water and sewer departments, acknowledged that in this report to the board Wednesday.

“I'm sure you've all got some phone calls from some people who are not happy,” he told his colleagues that evening.

He encouraged unhappy customers to speak with Superintendent Mark Robillard or other village administrators who understand the legal requirement.

The temporary easements are necessary to give the village's contractor permission to enter customers' residence to install the new water meters/monitors.

The legal documents must be signed and notarized and returned to Mr. Feuka's office before any work can be scheduled.

“I can tell you as a board member that if any damage is done to someone's property during installation (of the new devices), it won't be coming out of the homeowner's pocket if it is due to the village's negligence or the contractor's negligence,” Trustee LaScala assured the community that evening.

“That's been the number one question put to me,” he said of water customers' concerns.

“People can relax” that the work won't cost them any money.

“We are being forced to install these water meters. Not a single member here wants to put them in.”

He said the requirement came from the state Department of Environmental Conservation when it came time for the agency to license the drawing of water from the new wells at Pitchfork Pond. Village leaders were apparently caught off guard by the mandate, according to their recent comments.

Mr. LaScala said it made no sense to sue the state agency to prevent the installation of the devices at the property of each water customers “because we were going to lose!”

“It's all part of what we do here...and we don't always get what we want!”

“People had some honest questions, and we've tried to answer them as honestly as we can!”

“The water department has undertaken a huge infrastructure project here” and the water meters are part of that, he explained.

Mayor Paul Maroun said he too has received calls from some “agitated” water customers.

“We're going to work with everyone.”

He said there were approximately 2,400 letters sent out. Everyone who uses municipal water in the town or village got one.

He said the easements expire in December 2020- a time frame which would give the village and its contractors time to finish the installations.

The devices will be installed just past where the water pipe enters a property in its basement. An alternative installation will be inside a well pit in the lawn, where there is not a basement in the residence.

“We are liable from the time we go in until we leave,” he said of the process.

Retired water and sewer staffer Gary Drayse has been retained to supervise each installation.

“Gary's been in most of the cellars in the community and he will make sure everything is set before we leave the premises.”

“No homeowner will be liable for anything...for any of the work done!” he assured residents.

“We are going to make this as painless as possible...we will work with people around their schedules!”

The mayor said they will attempt to tackle one neighborhood at a time.

“I know there are people here who are very upset, but we are upset too. If we want to get well water from the wells where we spent a ton of money, we have to do it this way!”

Ron LaScala said the devices will be good to have in the community. “These are not meters...we are not using them to charge for the water.”

They will be used by the village “to track its water loss” through the entire system. Water loss is what the DEC is very concerned about, he noted.

He said several summers ago the village spent weeks looking for a major leak in the village system and there was plenty of overtime rate paid village employees to eventually find it. With the new monitors, he said, that will be avoided in the future.

“It will save ratepayers a lot of money, because in the future they will not have to pay to clean and chlorinate water that through a major leak would just have been wasted.”

Mike Dominie welcomed as new electric chief

Dan McClelland

board copy.jpg

Mike Dominie was welcomed by the village board last week as the new electric department superintendent, replacing retiring Marc Staves.

Mr. Dominie began his village career as a mechanic for the department of public works. After two years he took a position with the electric department, serving as lineman for about 13 years and as department foreman this past year.

Posing with him were Trustees David “Haji” Maroun, Clint Hollingsworth, Marc Staves, Mayor Paul Maroun and Trustee Ron LaScala.

On Mr. Dominie's appointment, the mayor said he was happy that a successor to Mr. Staves was found within the department and that “continuity” of leadership will be maintained. “We're going to have Mike with us for a long time!”

The mayor and trustees also paid tribute that evening to the work of retiring Marc Staves. The mayor said Mr. Staves has agreed to work with the village on a number of upcoming projects on a part-time basis. “His expertise will not be lost to us!”

Mr. Dominie noted it will be helpful to him to have Mr. Staves assisting the department in the months to come so that the leadership transition will be smooth.

Trustee Clint Hollingsworth, who directed the electric department as a board member, had great praise for Marc Staves.

“It's been great working with you!” he told him that evening.

He said in all his dealings with the superintendent, he always brought innovation and great thought to every discussion. “You were always thinking outside the box!”

He said Mr. Staves routinely brought novel ideas and a fresh outlook to the issues before his department and the village in general.

The trustee credited the administrator with the village's new electric car installations, with the preparations for the new department garage and with the various upgrades to the village system over the years.

“I always enjoyed going upstairs and talking things over with you, Marc!” the trustee told him.

Mr. Staves said he too had enjoyed working closely with the trustee.

Dress a Girl chapter melds love with needles and threads

Dan McClelland

by Dan McClelland

Lions Club past president Stuart Nichols presents a club gift of $250 to help underwrite some of the expenses of the local Dress a Girl chapter. Pine Grove co-owner Donna Philippi and Librarian Peg Mauer hold up two of the dresses local volunteers made recently at a recent Lions Club meeting. (Dan McClelland photo)

Lions Club past president Stuart Nichols presents a club gift of $250 to help underwrite some of the expenses of the local Dress a Girl chapter. Pine Grove co-owner Donna Philippi and Librarian Peg Mauer hold up two of the dresses local volunteers made recently at a recent Lions Club meeting. (Dan McClelland photo)

The Tupper Lake chapter of the international organization, Dress a Girl Around the World, boasts of some dedicated and hard-working members whose hearts are behind their needles and threads.

“Imagine a world where every girl owned a least one dress,” is the international organization's motto.

Librarian Peg Mauer, who is a leader of Tupper Lake's chapter, told the story of the initiative to the members of the Tupper Lake Lions Club in recent weeks.

The way it works, friends, co-workers, church group members, families get together for a night of sewing once a week or once a month or once a season and sew dresses for underprivileged girls in poor countries around the world.

Proponents say that providing a new dress to some girl without one can change that girl's destiny. Women everywhere know that a new dress makes them feel good. So imagine never having had one! A new dress tells each girl that God loves them and that someone else loves them too- and enough to have made a dress for them. That often makes a difference in how the recipient feels about herself.

Pastors in poor countries around the world report that a girl wearing a new dress presents the appearance she is well care for and may discourage would-be predators, who typically prey on these victims. A “Dress A Girl” label is attached to the outside of each new dress. It apparently sends an additional message that each girl is under the care of an organization, giving her a layer added protection from those who would seek to harm her like predators and human traffickers.

In this modern day and age, it's incredible how prevalent human slavery is.

“It's like a little badge of protection,” Mrs. Mauer noted that evening.

The effort is part of the ministry of Hope 4 Women International, which if funded solely by tax-deductible donations given by supporters in this country and around the world. The ministry is based in Forest City, Iowa.

Mrs. Mauer told the Lions she learned about the organization about ten years ago when her sister was making dresses for a large chapter in the Rochester area.

Peg asked her sister to come to Tupper Lake to talk with a group of local women interested in forming a chapter.

“We started making dresses in the spring of 2014 in Long Lake. Our goal there was a 100 dresses and we accomplished that.

A group of amateur seamstresses started meeting in Tupper Lake in October of 2018.

“The goal of Dress a Girl around the world is to provide dresses for little girls who have none!” These are mostly girls from Third World countries.”

She distributed photos of little girls- many of them orphans- wearing little else but a couple of pieces of frayed cloth, literally held together with threads.

“By making dresses for them they look like they are cared for.” She said that has a tendency to dissuade potential perpetrators who might grab and enslave them.

“They look nice...they must belong to someone...I better not mess with her,” is what a criminal might think, she explained to the Lions.

“It really does reduce human trafficking!”

Mrs. Mauer brought along with her to the Pine Grove Restaurant that meeting sample of dresses the local group has fashioned.

“We make dresses for girls six months old all the way up to size 14,” she explained.

Many of the recipients are young black girls. “So we try to use fabric that is substantial and not flimsy.” She said that way when the dresses get wet they are neither clingy or revealing.

She said the organization's biggest challenges are shipping and distribution to needy children.

“So when we learn someone in our community is going somewhere” outside normal tourist destinations “we ask if they could take some dresses in their luggage.”

Such was the case recently when dresses were carried by Maureen Peroza on a recent trip she took to Haiti.

“In October our ladies were really cranking out the was amazing. In November we learned that the Tupper Lake Baptist Chapel each year sends out these Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes carrying footwear and other materials for different-sized boys and girls.”

The volunteers at the church agreed to send out the tiny dresses in the shoe boxes. “They just wadded them up and tucked them in!”

“That took care of 38 dresses we made in October and November.”

She said she later learned that Maureen was going to Haiti on a mission to help poor children there and 64 dresses went along with her.

She brought with her that evening pictures of the local retired elementary school teacher distributing the dresses to needy girls in that impoverished nation that shares its Caribbean island with the more prosperous Dominican Republic.

Many of the dresses, she said, are distributed through missionaries working in poor countries around the world.

Maureen, upon her return from Haiti, told Peg that with presentation of a dress often comes the blessing: “I bless you with this dress. May it keep you safe and bring you joy!”

Typically the distribution of the dresses go through local missionaries who know of the needs in each place.

Mrs. Mauer said her chapter doesn't care where the dresses go, only that they find young girls who need them.

“So when I approached Maureen she told me she was going to the Haitian Island of le Gonave. Her program is called 'Days for Girls.'”

The aim of that program is to provide absorbent cloth materials used by girls for menstrual purposes so they are not banished once a month to what are called “red tents,” she told the Lions.

Peg said Mrs. Peroza was delighted to take the local group's dresses on her mission visit.

Mrs. Mauer said that their organization ships finished dresses instead of donating sewing machines and fabric so people could make their own clothing. She explained that most of these countries are “so dirt poor” there are neither the facilities nor the electricity to make dresses.

“There are so many barriers right now” for these impoverished people to make their own clothing, she added.

In Haiti, for example, many people are homeless and spend their days when the tide is out on on the beach, often called the salt flats. Tarps and tents give them temporary shelter from the sun. They must move in from the beach when the tide returns.

“That's where the poorest of the poor live in Haiti. They have no homes, no jobs...nothing!”

Many dresses from Dress A Girl go each year to impoverished countries on the African continent. Missionaries, individuals like Maureen and humanitarian teams hand carry the dresses there.

Mrs. Mauer said she has been asked how the chapters can make enough dresses to clothe the millions of young women around the world living in stark poverty.

“Dress A Girl starts with one girl at a time,” she said of its overall mission. “It makes a big difference to those girls who do not own a dress!”

In Tupper Lake's chapter, most of the fabric is donated. Members often canvass the local thrift shops in search of good quality fabric to buy. It's often a dollar a bag, said Mary Sojda, a local Lion who is one of Tupper's dress-makers.

The dresses made here take about an hour to cut out the fabric and sew the pieces together. Often added are decorative pieces around the neckline or on the sleeves to make them pretty. Pockets and elastic waist bands are sometimes added too.

Mrs. Mauer said the members also put together bags with all the materials needed to create a dress. They are used by some volunteers who like to make their creations at home.

Around the country, chapter members often make dresses for American girls living in impoverished sections of the nation like some of the Native American reservations in the southwest and for people in Appalachia.

This organization is devoted to the needs of poor girls. There are other ministries that cater to poor young boys.

The local chapter will meet on Saturday, March 30 from 10a.m. to 4p.m. at the Goff Nelson Memorial Library for its next dress-making session. Everyone interested in helping is invited.

People may bring pieces of sturdy cotton fabric with them, if they wish, as well as cutting wheels and surgers.

Participants should bring a sandwich for lunch and soup will be provided.

Town lease with golf course leaders extended

Dan McClelland

by Dan McClelland

The lease between the town and the country club board of directors was extended last week for another seven years.

Aside from the time extension little was changed in the new contract.

“As you know they've had some financial troubles in recent years,” Supervisor Patti Littlefield told board members Mike Dechene and Traci Luton, the only two present that evening. “Right now, however, there's a lot of energy and excitement on the golf course board and they are all in!”

In recent years the club leaders haven't been able to make their $30,000 lease payment on the town bond that financed the renovation of the upper nine, nearly two decades ago. Instead, Mrs. Littlefield noted, they have been paying $10,000 per year on the debt.

There is about $70,000 remaining on the note.

The idea now is to have seven more years to pay $10,000 a year to satisfy the debt.

“At the end of seven years the entire debt owed to the taxpayers of Tupper Lake will be paid,” Mrs. Littlefield explained.

“It's exactly the same lease that they had, just changing the dates.”

The current lease was due to expire in 2020. The new lease will expire October 15, 2026.

Councilman Mike Dechene said the move has precedence here, when the payments were lowered from $50,000 per year to $30,000 and the lease extended a number of years ago.

The supervisor said as a town-facility, the town board is anxious to see it flourish.

At a recent meeting attended by her, Mr. Dechene and the golf course leaders it was agreed that the town would try to “partner” more with the golf course, as to the purchase of new equipment on state contract, available through the town.

The supervisor said she had recently met with Rob Foster, the equipment steward at Craig Wood golf course, who is associated with MTE-Jacobsen, a company that makes golf course equipment.

“He gave me a big spreadsheet that we want to share with the golf course board.”

“They need a fairway mower and a sidehill mower, which comes with many attachments.

Mr. Dechene said it's called a Ventrac machine which comes which comes with dual wheels on both ends. Its designed to not dig up the terrain and can be used for mowing near the greens and tees, as well as the fairways.

“It's got great stability on the sides of hills.”

The utility vehicle also comes with unique mowing decks, which can mow on both sides of a hump at the same time, he noted.

He said one of the recommendations of last summer's Friends of the Golf Course study committee was that the town should use its ability to buy on state contract to cut the prices of new golf course purchases.

“We're not going to purchase the equipment, but by purchasing their equipment through the town they can do it at state contract prices.”

That represents a big savings, he added.

He noted that previous golf course boards use to to take advantage of that town benefit, but recent boards haven't.

“It was the committee's No. 1 recommendation!”

Job fair at Tupper Lake High School

Dan McClelland

The Tupper Lake Middle/High School will be holding a Job Fair on Monday, April 29 held in the High School Library from 2-4 p.m.. If you are an employer seeking summer or full time employment and would like to reserve a table please contact Andrea Stuart at the high school, 518-359-3322 ext. 2006. Community members are welcome to attend! We would love it if you could join us!

Lanthier presents town with Oval Wood Dish Corp. aerial shot

Dan McClelland

Town Board Photos copy.jpg

By Dan McClelland

On behalf of Tupper Arts and himself, Jim Lanthier presented a framed aerial photograph by Kathleen Bigrow of the Oval Wood Dish Corp campus on Demars Blvd.

At the center of the photograph was the company's headquarters, which became the town hall.

Mr. Lanthier said the piece might be appropriately hung on one of the walls of the new two-story entrance area which has been substantially completed.

The photograph vividly shows the six or eight homes in Sissonville, the company's factory homes.

Supervisor Patti Littlefield called it “an excellent gift,” and thanked Mr. Lanthier. She promised it would hang in the new front entrance gallery, which already sports a Rick Godin aerial shot of Big Tupper Ski Center taken decades ago and several other attractive pieces that were donated to the town.

“We'll find a good place for it!”

Mr. Lanthier inherited the photographs and negatives of the well known local photographer, affectionately known as Brenda Starr.

In recent weeks he has been working on the new show at Tupper Arts, “Through the Lens of Kathleen Bigrow”- covering 50 years of Adirondack photojournalism.

Mr. Lanthier complimented the board on its near-completion of the new $400,000 entrance addition.

He called the town hall a very historical building, given its long affiliation as the operational base of the large company which dominated the village's economy for many years.

Talking about the building Mrs. Littlefield said one of its unique features is that the paneling in each room is fashioned from a difference species of wood.

There are some antique fixtures in some of the offices that won't be replaced.

The basement court room are where the board meets now sports new energy efficient lighting, which replaced relatively dim track lighting, according to the supervisor.

That was done with grant money through the village and the New York State Power Authority. With grant money too new fixtures were installed on the main floor of the building, she said.

New furniture in the new entrance area was also purchased with grant money.

“We try to do things with grant money if we can. That way we're not using taxpayers' dollars,” she noted.

The supervisor said that once the stone work around the entrance pillars is done in the spring, she said she intends to schedule an open house to show off the entrance area.

Kathleen Bigrow show is a trip back in time

Dan McClelland

by Dan McClelland

Stopping at the Tupper Arts center to view its new photographic show featuring the works of well-known Tupper Lake photographer Kathleen Bigrow is like taking a step back in time.

In the gallery are over 200 images of Kathleen's works- Tupper Lake buildings, social activities, sports teams, wedding parties, major events, former residents, etc.

The show is called “Thru the Lens of Kathleen Bigrow,” 50 years of Adirondack Photo Journalism.

Each visitors to the Tupper Arts headquarters is given a 12-page hand-out which identifies many of the photographs on display. It also contains an order form where people can order reprints of Kathleen's photos to underwrite some of the cost of the show.

It also carries a brief profile of the photographer and the art center's work with her collection, published below.

“According to a 2008 Adirondack Life magazine article, in the early 1950’s a young Kathleen Bigrow, reporting for the Adirondack Daily Enterprise, decided to buy her first camera when the photographer assigned to her showed up late to a press conference that she was covering. With $300 borrowed from a local bar owner (her loan request was turned down by commercial banks), she began a long career in photo journalism. Long before the age of digital photography, Kathleen’s husband, Bert, built a darkroom in the basement of their home so that she could develop her films in time for press deadlines.

“Over the years she honed her skills as an accomplished photographer. From comments of those that knew her she was a gritty no nonsense reporter who never said no to a story.

In his book Mostly Spruce and Hemlock, Louis Simmons states “no record of the newspaper people of the community would be a complete without a note on Tupper’s lone woman worker in the field, Mrs. Kathleen Bigrow, who has covered the Tupper area from some 25 years for the Adirondack Daily Enterprise, and has represented the Syracuse Herald-American and Syracuse Post-Standard here for many years. An indefatigable reporter and photographer, she has earned a reputation for tireless, thorough day in day our coverage of the local news and has compiled an impressive file of photos of events and personalities in the community over the years.

In 1977 she joined the staff of the Tupper Lake Free Press and was its photographer for nearly 20 years.

Kathleen passed away in 2014 at the age of 91.

The Kathleen Bigrow Film Conservation Project

Tupper Arts has been given a valuable resource that has historical significance to the Adirondack region. The vast photographic collection of journalist Kathleen Bigrow has been generously donated to Tupper Arts by Jim Lanthier Jr. The collection includes thousands of film images taken over the 50 plus years of Kathleen’s career. Tupper Arts has begun an effort to catalog, digitize and archive these wonderful images. In addition to protecting the collection, Tupper Arts goal is to make the collection available to the community.

“The exhibition is the center's first attempt to share Kathleen’s unique vision and artistry.”

At the heart of the new display is photographer Jim Lanthier Jr., who spent hundreds of hours preparing for it...creating the photos from Kathleen's negatives, mounting them and sometimes framing them. The presentation was impressive.

Jim furnished the art center with modern computers, scanners and printers in past months to begin the preservation project.

Tupper Arts volunteer Ed Donnelly is working with Mr. Lanthier in the massive cataloguing process ahead.

The show runs through April 27 and admission is free.

St. Patrick's Day Party again raises thousands for football program

Dan McClelland

A few hours before the start of Saturday's Football Booster St. Patrick's Day party at the Knights of Columbus hall there were still a number of volunteers devoted to last minute details. We caught some of them in action.

From left were Chris Delair, Christina Russell (in front), Jim Facteau, Mike Russell, Jim Pryor, Carl Sorensen, Travis Dupuis and Paul Pickering. Out in the bar area the LeBlancs- Dave and Diane and their daughter, Danielle, had drink preparations all ready to go. Before the guests arrived was this impressive collection of 300 cupcakes and 100 mini brownies, made will skill by Amy Boudreau.

This year's event was again sold out, as it is almost every year, and thousands of dollars was raised for the support work of the Football Boosters, whose contributions to the football program have exceeded in worth well 'over a half a million dollars.

One of the big highlights of the annual March event, besides the great Irish fare and the festive atmosphere was the big drawing.

The grand prize of $5,000 was shared by Mary LeBlanc and her son Leon Jr. and Stacy.

The $2,000 second prize went to Rick Godin.

Three $1,000 prizes went to Patty and Ian McLear, Sam Gaff and Pat Cook's dinner group. Reggie Bishop won the $500 fourth place prize. The $250 prize winners were Zig Akiki, Chris Keniston, Paul Lefebvre and Russell Bartlett.

There were also ten folks who got the $100 price of their ticket back: Amy Arsenault, Leona Kavanagh, Laura Davison, Teneille Gonzalez, Kevin Willette, Arlene Mace and Lauri Dukette, Nicole Desmarais, Rose Courtney and Dominic Dattola, Cooper LaBarge and Rick Scranton.

Records retention project underway

Dan McClelland

by Dan McClelland

The village board took the first step last week in beginning what could be a major records retention project that will secure important documents in perpetuity. The village and town leaders are working collectively on the project, which will be largely grant funded.

At Wednesday's monthly meeting the board voted unanimously to engage the firm of K. Sickler Murphy, conditional on grant funding in upcoming months.

The firm will be charged with reviewing all village and town old records, and making recommendations to both boards on what should be kept and what should be discarded.

The firm was one of two companies that responded to recent bid offerings and its charge was the lowest.

The second part of the retention project will involved a much larger government grant which will provide the necessary funds for a firm to scan and preserve all documents that the both governments want to retain.

State funds coming for energy storage facilities

Dan McClelland

There is expected to be state funding ahead for the development of energy storage facilities like the one the Tupper Lake Electric Department and others have been studying this past year.

At February's village board meeting Electric Superintendent Marc Staves said there has been an announcement from the Governor's office and from the New York State Energy Research Authority that money will be made available for these energy storage facilities to be built.

“If we find out through our study that a facility would be worth it to us, there'll be money to get it implemented,” he told the village leaders that evening.

Last year Mr. Staves and his counterpart from the Lake Placid Municipal Electric Department, Kimball Daby, began discussions with the Adirondack North Country Association's Nancy Bernstein and Professor Tom Ortmeyer of Clarkson to begin preparations to launch a feasibility study of energy storage in the two municipal electric systems.

The study is seen by the four proponents as the first step in determining whether storing power during low-use times of the day in the course of a year can shave peak demand periods and loads in times of high electrical consumption like winter.

In both municipally-owned electric systems, when heating and other costs in winter exceed their hydro-power allocations, the departments are required to buy more expensive coal- and nuclear-generated powers. The systems and their ratepayers pay the price for the expensive power. Tupper Lake receives bout 19 megawatts of hydro-generated electricity, which runs about four cents per kilowatt hour, before it has to buy the more expensive varieties which can run 14 cents per kw. In Lake Placid, the hydro-allocation is about 29 megawatts per month.

At a meeting of the four last year Mr. Staves speculated that storing electricity with large batteries could be “a no wires” solution to staying under the 19-megawatt mark and thereby reduce costs here.

Professor Ortmeyer of Clarkson's electric engineering department is something of a battery expert. Another battery expert who recently joined the college's faculty is expected to help with the project.

He said that “battery technology” is advancing rapidly and the costs of acquiring the large units are coming down.

Ms. Bernstein, who is ANCA's energy specialist, said these large batteries now come encased in large shipping containers for placement next to substations, like the village's on McLaughlin Ave.

Kimball Daby is aware of at least one electric facility in the region which successfully employs batteries to keep its costs down. Solar power is also used there to help charge the two megawatt systems of batteries.

One of the things the study will look at for the two communities is the feasibility of installing solar fields on “Brownfield sites” or polluted tracts in each town, which can't be used for much else, Mr. Staves told the Free Press this week.

In many places the electricity stored in large batteries is used to cut power needed from the grid during day-light hours when system-wide consumption is typically higher and then the batteries are re-charged overnight when energy consumption in a system is usually lower.

How much can new batteries on the market store?

“That's the purpose of the study,” noted the professor in an earlier interview. He also said the study would, among other things, determine the years of payback on the purchase of any giant batteries.

NYSEDRA's reviewed the study group's preliminary information in a submittal in February, 2018 and invited it to complete and submit a feasibility study by late June, which it did.

“There's a lot of interest in New York State in promoting energy storage,” according to Ms. Bernstein.

The local group received “the go ahead” late last year and “the kick off meeting” occurred last week, Mr. Staves said this week.

The work ahead now is for the two municipal electric departments to furnish its billing and use data to Professor Ortmeyer and perhaps one of his engineering students who will be formulating the data and plugging it into various formulas.

Mr. Staves said there will be various energy-saving options explored in Prof. Ortmeyer's computations in the months ahead.

“If the study finds its feasible” and practical to use batteries to shave peaks of usage and save the system and its customers money then the village board will make the decision to install the battery system, he explained.

The forthcoming funding he spoke of a the February 20 meeting would help the village system buy and install the large batteries.

The new study should also show that if battery storage works well here, it should work in other electric systems, according to the professor.

At the first meeting here last year Mr. Staves said Tupper Lake derives 80% of its electricity from “green sources.” Any new battery storage system would increase that percentage.

The cost of the new study which just began will likely run about $75,000 and 25% of that will come from Clarkson to advance its knowledge and curriculum about high voltage electric systems, Professor Ortmeyer said in the interview last year.

Planners approve Spruce and Hemlock, Stacked Graphics relocation to 115 Park

Dan McClelland

by Dan McClelland

Andrew McClelland, at the recent town board meeting, discusses his plans for the new building.

Andrew McClelland, at the recent town board meeting, discusses his plans for the new building.

The town and village planning board last month unanimously approved a new joint retail and service business venture at 115 Park Street that is one of several new arrivals in the uptown business district that is expected to breath new life in the place.

Only volunteer Scott Snyder was absent from the seven-member board's deliberations that evening and there was only one thing on the agenda.

Representing the business owners again that evening was Andrew McClelland, who with his wife, Faith and brother-in-law Pat Bedore formed the new limited liability corporation Chum House, LLC, which purchased the former Newberry building from Joy and Vin Moody last fall.

Faith and Andrew's Spruce and Hemlock, which they started about four years ago at 52 Lake Street, will occupy the left hand side of the large two story building. In past weeks both sides of the building have been extensively rewired, with the addition of a third service entrance.

Half of the left hand side of the building had the original hardwood flooring. Brandon Moeller of BTM Flooring resanded that half and restained it a dark mahogany stain to match new hardwood flooring he will install in the back half of the large front room, which in recent years was the fitness center.

Beyond that 2,700 square foot space, there is another 700 square foot room, where the new owners hope in several years to add a mini-cafe and bakery.

The decorative tin ceiling has been scraped and repainted and all of the chandeliers replaced. There will be new wall sconces every 12 feet or so.

More insulation was added to the 12 foot high interior walls on the perimeter of the entire building.

On the Spruce and Hemlock side, new drywall was installed by Pete Desmarais and his son earlier this winter.

On the right hand side of the building next to One Group, many of the acoustic suspended ceiling tiles were replaced and more ceiling insulation was added by Andrew and Pat.

New drywall was also applied to all interior walls, after they were firred out to permit the addition of more insulation by the owners.

The Stacked Graphics partners will do their screen printing, embroidery and sign-making from the 2,000 square foot first floor, and expect to eventually expand production in the 4,000 square foot basement, which was high enough to use for retail sales when Newberry's was there the 1940s through 1970s.

On the second floor of the building is one occupied 1,200 square foot apartment.

The front apartment was gutted by previous owners, but boasts the large double-hung windows on the front of the building which offer a complete overview of the business district.

The building owners hope to renovate that large three-bedroom apartment in the next year or so.

A preliminary meeting by the board a month or so which began the special use permit process drew no comments from the general public in the days since, Planner Paul O'Leary reported to his board that evening.

Free Press Publisher Dan McClelland noted that in an editorial several weeks he praised the coming changes, including this new joint venture, to the Park St. business district and asked if that piece could be included in the minutes of the meeting. His request was granted.

Village Code Enforcement Officer Peter Edwards, who attends all planning board meetings on behalf of the village, said it was good to see new “young owners taking these buildings” and putting them back in local service.

He said Mr. and Mrs. McClelland and Mr. Bedore have a grant dream and are “doing this right, taking these building which have been let go or neglected in recent years.

He said it is apparent to many that many buildings are undergoing restorations “and it's good to see that.”

Mr. Edwards said the owners of the two businesses going in there have “great business plans.”

With that the public hearing was closed by Chairman Shawn Stuart and the regular part of the meeting was opened.

Volunteer Jim Merrihew began the discussion. Last month he had asked the owners to provide for that night's meeting a front view of the building, along with the signs planned there.

Mr. McClelland provided the board with those color renderings, showing the existing facade, which was redone in rough cedar and cedar shake overhang in recent years.

He said their drawings of the new signs that evening would be close in nature to the actual once they will construct in their sign shop once winter breaks.

The Stacked Graphics sign will be made of cedar with raised letter in a metal frame, he told the planners.

The Spruce and Hemlock sign next door will be a custom-cut shape, sporting the business' logo. Both signs, he said, would be above the respective doorways and be about 10 feet long and three feet high.

The Stacked Graphics sign will look like old wood, whereas the Spruce and Hemlock sign will be brighter and cleaner, he told them.

“We were going to make them look similar, but then we didn't want people to confuse the two, as they separate businesses.”

The lighting of the signs and the storefront will be overhead sconces- gooseneck in appearance and shedding the light downward, in keeping with the community's dark skies lighting requirements.

He said the lights will be similar in design to those at Well Dressed Food down the street.

The door on the Stacked Graphics side of the building will lead into the company's front office, where their clients can place orders or pick up shipments.

Behind the two storefront windows, they plan to hang curtains to block the public's view of their printing and embroidery operations in the back.

“We want to keep it so if you look in from the street or the highway, you won't see all of our machines.”

The partners, with the help of a machine from Kentile Excavating, moved those large and heavy production machines from the Free Press rooms to their new quarters in the past two weeks. The machines have been serviced by company representatives in the past week and are now in full operation at 115 Park Street.

He said the front windows will be decorated in keeping with the changing seasons. Andrew thought his wife would lend her decorating talent to that effort and perhaps even use some of the space to promote her wares next door.

“We're not opposed to possibly renting that storefront area some day,” as we move some of our operations to the basement area.

That depends too on insulating and putting more heat in the underground quarters, he added.

That would free up space in the front of the building on the main floor, according to the entrepreneur.

“At the moment, however, we need all that main floor space until we can take over some of that basement area.”

This summer the building owners will be replacing the flat roofs on the two-part building with modern roofing materials and pointing up some of the exterior masonry brick which needs work.

The partners will also looking at quotes this year to install a cornice around the top of the building, similar to the work done around the top of the former Ginsberg's building this fall, Mr. McClelland noted.

“We want to preserve the building and part of that involves stopping water from getting behind the brick facade.”

The planning board members had nothing but positive comments to share with Andrew that evening.

Volunteer Doug Bencze, for example, called it “a good project.”

Jan Yaworski wondered when the businesses would be open and was told they are currently printing now at the new Stacked Graphics location.

Once the new floor at Stacked Graphics is done early this month, Faith will begin moving in her inventory and new displays in time for a late-April or May 1 opening there, Andrew said.

“I'm glad we have another storefront that will provide two new businesses,” said Dave St. Onge. “That's great for the community and our main street!”

Of the three business people, he said it was good to see these young entrepreneurs in Tupper Lake.

Tom Maroun and Chairman Stuart both called them “good projects” that will be good for the community.

“It will be great to see the greater foot traffic” in the uptown business district that Spruce and Hemlock is bound to create, Mr. Stuart added.

Andrew said his wife is excited to see how much their new location will boost sales at her already popular business. He admitted it was always a challenge to direct people to their former location on Lake Street.

Mr. St. Onge said the visitors who come to Park Street to dine may also become the patrons of the new stores coming to the business district.

“Right now when we are in there working, even in the off-season, we see people wandering about, looking in store windows,” Mr. McClelland told the planners. “After they eat, there's not much else for them to do right now and so they leave.”

He said the arrival of The Adirondack Store, Birch Boys and The Row will be good for everyone in retailing on Park Street.

The planners wished Mr. McClelland and his partners good luck on their new ventures.

Red and Black Players kicked off their shoes with Footloose

Dan McClelland

by Ian Roantree

The last time the Tupper Lake Middle High School’s Red and Black Players presented a musical, they captured an essence of a bygone era through vibrant and gaudy dress in Guys and Dolls. A year later, the Red and Black Players did it again, brining to auditorium stage to the 1980’s, where the clothes were baggier, the colors clashed, and ponytails were lifted straight up with billowy hair ties, or scrunchies, as we know them.

Adapted for the stage from the 1984 movie of the same name by Dean Pitchford and Walter Bobbie, The Red and Black Players presented their latest production, Footloose, over the weekend on the evenings of Friday and Saturday, March 8-9 and Sunday afternoon, March 10.

Possibly one of the most recognized movie musicals, Footloose, although receiving mixed reviews upon its 1984 release, has remained a timeless classic. The movie’s original soundtrack saw composer Tom Snow and lyricist Dean Pitchford teaming up with rock artists of the era like Kenny Loggins, Sammy Hagar and Karla Bonoff creating a memorable soundtrack that would survive on radio airwaves long after the movie lost its cultural momentum.

The band that got to play these 80’s pop hits was made up of Liz Cordes on piano, Karin Ryan on keyboard, Laura Davison and Dave Fortino playing woodwinds, Michael Portal and Superintendent Seth McGowan on guitar, Wayne Davison on bass and Jeff LeFebvre on drums and percussion.

The musical’s title track and theme has become one of Loggins’ best-known songs and is easily recognizable from generation to generation—even the generation that would bring the story to life 35 years later.

Once again, as they did last fall with Aladdin Jr. and Animal Farm and last winter’s Guys and Dolls, the multi-faceted cast and crew of the Red and Black Players continue to set the tone for the quality of showmanship and production that emanates from Tupper’s theater club.

The show’s leads, Noah Cordes and Sophia Martin, along with their supporting cast, Johnathan McCulloch, Sadie Johnson, Alyssah Martinez and Caitlynn Flemming—all seniors—are proof and product of this district’s art departments, which has allowed them to hone in their skills and passions throughout their high school careers and made a showing of it on the stage.

Other seniors who were unseen on the stage, but integral behind the scenes as crew members were Danielle Delair, Alexia Goodwin, Patricia Bankich, Matthew Whitmore, Kassandra Sipler and Ben Jones.

Meanwhile, Tupper Lake juniors Jayce Clement (who took to the stage for the first time in this production), Bryce Davison and Stephanie Fortune can be projected to lead the stage in forthcoming musicals as they fill the shoes of the seniors who will be leaving behind their place in the spotlight of a Red and Black Players’ production.

Also spotted amongst the 35 cast and crew members were the young seventh graders Garrett Dewyea and Raegan Fritts, who played the parts of Jeter and Bickle, and who had previously led the fall middle school musical as Aladdin and Jasmine in Aladdin Jr.

Shae Arsenault, who played Irene, and Cody Auclair, who played Garvin, both performed supporting roles in Aladdin Jr. alongside Dewyea and Fritts. These young actors and actresses will undoubtedly continue to thrive in the creative and supportive atmosphere that the Red and Black Players provide for their next six years.

Other middle school students on-stage and off were Olivia Ellis, who played Coach Dunbar, Emily Rose Roberts who played “The Cop”, Meika Nadeau who played Wendy Jo, and crew members Genna Carmichael.

Other cast and crew members include Karen Bujold who played Principal Clark, Jessica Mitchell who played Betty Blast, Lowden Pratt who played Lyle and Cowboy Bob, Nolan Savage who played Wes Wenicker, Emily Sipler who played Lulu Wenicker, Emileigh Smith who played Eleanor Dunbar, Lily St. Onge who played Urleen and Jenna Switzer who played Travis. Crew members are Johnathan Jauron, a spotlight operator, Kiana Nadeau, Zachary Smith and Molly Sullivan.

While students play a huge part as stage and lighting crew, there is also faculty members, parents and community members who make the show possible and offer their support in making Red and Black Players productions happen.

The man behind every Red and Black Players production—and the club’s patriarch, if you will—is George Cordes who acts as stage director, but also responsible for set design and construction. The matriarch of the Red and Black Players is Liz Cordes who is Director of Music for the production and as mentioned previously, the pit band pianist.

The production’s assistant director and stage manager was Danielle Lamere. Lamere also managed props and along with Mrs. Cordes was in charge of costumes.

The production’s choreographer is Emily Brown, a professional choreographer and a Lake Placid Center for the Arts dance instructor. Footlose is the third production she’s been involved in with the Red and Black Players. Brown choreographed Guys and Dolls and Godspell.

Overseeing the technical aspects of Footloose is none other than Dave Naone, a former Red and Black Players actor and current Technical Director and Lighting Designer. Naone is typically known to control the lights for the show and did so with assistance from Kasandra Sipler with Matthew Whitmore and Johnathan Jauron operating the spotlights.

Other special thanks goes to the mother of a former Red and Black Players actor, Dorran Boucher, Crystal Boucher who organized meals for the hardworking cast and crew. Even with her son being a graduated student, Mrs. Boucher still came out to assist with Tupper’s theater program.

Special thanks also goes to other parent volunteers, the Tupper Lake Volunteer Fire Department, Maurice Fortune, Lisa Jones, Amy Lalonde, Father Douglas Decker and St. Alphonses Church, Kim Weems, Tom Dodd and the Lake Placid High School Musical Theater program, Vicki and Gloria, Amy Ferrel, Mr. McGowan, Mr Bartlett and the entire community for filling the high school auditorium with love and support throughout the weekend.

You can catch the cast of Footloose perform their numbers once more on Thursday, March 14 at Big Tupper Brewing. A raffle will take place that evening to benefit the Red and Black Players.