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Two local veterans sent off in style Friday

Dan McClelland

by Dan McClelland

Two of Tupper Lake's most senior veterans were sent off on the North Country's most recent Honor Flight to Washington in style Friday.

Jim Frenette and Bucky Kentile, riding with their sons Jim and Bill, were escorted to Plattsburgh Friday afternoon by as many as 75 motorcycles, ridden by North Country veterans, and police vehicles, with lights flashing and sirens sounding. Riding with the bikers were John Girouard, Ed McMahon and several others from Tupper Lake.

It was a non-stop ride to Plattsburgh where the two men and their sons were put up for the night. The next morning it was off to Washington, D.C.

Over 100 local well-wishers gathered at the Emergency Services Building on Santa Clara Friday at about 2:30p.m. for the send off.

The start was a little postponed as everyone awaited the arrival of a car carrying another North Country veteran from Massena and the motorcycle entourage, which was about a half hour late.

Each year the North Country Honor Flight organization, with financial support from veterans' groups across the area, flies senior veterans from Plattsburgh Air Force base to the nation's capitol for a tour of the war monuments and an honor ceremony there. It's an often long overdue recognition of their service to this country.

The motorcade left under a huge American Flag, donated by the local Woodmen Lodge, and held aloft from bucket trucks by two village linemen- Chris Zaidan and Carl Larson. Helping on the ground was Tylar Shore.

In Plattsburgh the group of 15 and their 15 “guardians” were checked into a motel and honored at dinner in a local restaurant where they were addressed by retired Assemblywoman Janet Duprey, who is Honor Flight's director of operations and who sang their praises.

At shortly after 6a.m. the next morning they were escorted behind another parade of motorcycles, fire trucks and police vehicles to the Oval at the former Plattsburgh Air Force base, where there were speeches and well wishes offered by others associated with the Honor Flight organization.

One very emotional part was the acapela singing of “More Than a Name on a Wall,” by the Statler Brothers.

At Dulles Airport in Washington, D.C. the delegation was fed before they were escorted on a 40- minute bus ride to Arlington Cemetery, the group's first stop on the memorial tour. There they witnessed the changing of the guard and the laying of the wreaths.

The 15 veterans and their 15 guests visited all of the war monuments that day- including the World War II memorial, the Korean and Vietnam war memorials and the Air Force Memorial. Their bus was escorted between each stop.

Their day finished back at Dulles about 6p.m. for the flight back to Plattsburgh, landing there about 8:30p.m.

Jim and Bucky both said this week they were very moved by the event and they were both thankful for the opportunity to be part of this 31st North Country Honor Flight.

They expressed their thanks to the VFW post and the other veterans organizations here for permitting them and encouraging them to join this latest Honor Flight

Jim said they were very impressed too with Friday afternoon's turnout of family members and friends and to seeing that giant flag that greeted them on Santa Clara Ave.

“The comments we heard from so many here and at Plattsburgh and Washington reflected the thanks and hopes of so many that the sacrifices made of those who served will not be in vain,” Jim said.

“It is difficult to find the words to reflect our feelings after the monuments of these wars,” he noted.

Jim and Bucky suggested that people here should occasionally visit the war monument here on Park Street that carries the names of those from Tupper Lake who serviced and those who paid the ultimate sacrifice to help them understand how they felt seeing the monuments in Washington Saturday.

Both men said they were proud their sons could accompany them on this memorable trip.

Bucky said he and his traveling partner were moved too when they returned to Plattsburgh and were presented with packets of letters from family members and friends, and from North Country school children, all thanking them for their service to this nation.

“This was a day neither Jim nor I will ever forget!”

Bucky said they would encourage other veterans to go on future Honor Flights for the incredible experience it is.

Meet the candidates for town board on October 15

Dan McClelland

A reminder to all our readers that a “meet the candidates” forum to publicly present the four candidates running for town council next month and to hear some of their views will be held at the Knights of Columbus hall on High Street on Tuesday, October 15 from 6p.m. to 7:30p.m. All local voters are encouraged to attend.

Republican incumbents Tracy Luton and Mary Fontana are being challenged this November by Democrats Dean Lefebvre and Daniel “Boonie” Carmichael. The top two vote-getters will sit at the town board table as of January 1 and serve a four-year term. No other candidates for town office- town clerk, highway superintendent and town justice- are opposed this year.

The event will be hosted by the Tupper Lake Free Press and Stuart Amell's new Property Rights group. Free Press Publisher Dan McClelland will serve as moderator.

The event will feature opening and closing statements by each of the candidates as well as their views on three questions on current town topics. There will be no questions taken from the audience, due to time limits.

New substance abuse and recovery center to open here

Dan McClelland

by Dan McClelland


The village and town planning board hosted a public hearing on September 25 on the creation of a substance abuse outreach and recovery center, proposed for 64 Demars Blvd.

The building was at one time the headquarters of the LaValley and Woulf oil business and has housed various bars and other businesses in the decades since.

Planner Paul O’Leary said a public notice about the new facility published in the Free Press last month generated a call from an adjoining property owner who wanted to know what the project is all about. He said once he explained it to the caller, they were fine with it and had no issues.

The meeting was chaired by planning board member Jim Merrihew in the absence of Chairman Shawn Stuart, who was on vacation.

Lee River,s executive director of the applicant, Community Connections of Franklin County, briefed the planners on the project. Accompanying Lee was Suzanne LaVigne, the county’s community services director.

He said last fall a community focus group was formed in Tupper Lake to explore drug and alcohol abuse and how to help people who suffer from them. The primary purposes of the group is to get people connected to public services and to have a place for them when they are experiencing episodes, he noted.

“We will be also working with parents,” whose child may have an abuse problem, and helping them connect with available services to help their child.

“They can stop and talk with one of our staff and they will help them get connected to services.”

He said parents often experience great stress when their children are in trouble and having someone able to walk them through the various steps to recovery and the services available to help can lift some of that burden.

Various services are available to people here. “We can help them find housing, for example,” Mr. Rivers told the planners. Sometimes the new center and its sponsoring agencies can help provide financial help to pay the rent the first month or so.

“We also want to make sure they are not hungry, have access to food, to help transport people to services,” he gave as other examples of assistance.

“The recovery aspect is actually a coffee house, where they can come and help each other.” There will also be professional recovery advocates to assist substance abusers.

“We will be open seven days a week, 9a.m. to 5p.m.” He explained people often need services on the weekends, thus the seven-day a week operation. “They now will have some place to go” every day of the week.

“That’s an overview of what we intend to do to help people here. I could spend an hour explaining all we hope to do.”

With no comment from the public, the hearing was closed.

In the regular part of the monthly meeting board member Tom Maroun said he thought the new center was a good thing for the community. Doug Bencze called it “an asset.”

Jan Yaworski said she appreciated what the agency was doing to help folks in trouble here.

Jim Merrihew wondered about after-hours services, should someone need help late at night or early in the morning.

At pager service will be available to connect people to St. Joe’s Rehab Center and its staff, Mr. Rivers noted.

He said he and his staff are currently working with the village code officer to make building improvements. In addition to interior renovations, there will also be exterior siding improvements as well. The building has been freshly stained.

The project was unanimously approved by the planners.

New faculty members welcomed by school board

Dan McClelland

New faculty members welcomed to the Tupper Lake School District, from left: Andrew Heslink, Corinne Mather, Lindsey Maroun, Elizabeth Littlefield, Jacob Klossner, Whitney Bennett Britt, Amy Wilson and Mark Lienau. Not pictured are Heather Andresen and Melissa DeVirgeles (new school nurse). (Rich Rosentreter photos)

New faculty members welcomed to the Tupper Lake School District, from left: Andrew Heslink, Corinne Mather, Lindsey Maroun, Elizabeth Littlefield, Jacob Klossner, Whitney Bennett Britt, Amy Wilson and Mark Lienau. Not pictured are Heather Andresen and Melissa DeVirgeles (new school nurse). (Rich Rosentreter photos)

by Rich Rosentreter

The newest faculty members of the Tupper Lake Central School District were officially welcomed by the local school board Monday prior to its regular monthly meeting.

Each member of the school board lined up in the L.P. Quinn Elementary School library to formally introduce themselves, followed by each new faculty members giving a brief introduction.

First up was Amy Wilson, who graduated in 2005 from Tupper Lake. She said she has been teaching for eight years and is teaching high school math. She said she is happy to be working in her hometown school.

Mark Lienau teaches chemistry. He explained that getting a teaching certificate changed from Vermont to New York wasn’t very easy – but he managed to get the document with the help of state Senator Betty Little. He said he is happy he made the move to Tupper Lake and explained that his move was justified when he was welcomed by a large number students in the hallways that provided him with realizing the friendliness of the Tupper Lake community.

“It made me know that I made the right decision,” he said.

Lindsey Maroun graduated from Tupper Lake in 2015 and is a first-year teacher instructing the fifth grade.

“I think it’s just really exciting to be here,” she said.

Whitney Britt (formerly Bennett) was recently married and graduated in 2005 from Tupper Lake. She teaches Spanish.

“I like the seventh grade; it’s such a unique grade in which the students grow up so fast,” she said. “It’s great to be back to my old school.”

Elizabeth Littlefield said she worked in the school district previously from 2009 to 2016 and shared the sentiments of the local crop of new teachers. “I’m so happy to be back,” she said.

Jake Klossner also announced that he was born and raised in Tupper Lake and taught the previous three years in Kansas, where his mother is from and her grandparents live. He said he is happy to be in the district and dispelled the rumors that the other Mr. Klossner (Dennis) had changed positions from high school to teach fourth grade.

Andrew Heslink is the new health and physical education teacher and is certified to teach driver’s education. He said he has taught previously in other school districts and at the collegiate level.

Corrine Mather is the new ninth and tenth grade English teacher. She is in her first year teaching after recently graduating from SUNY Plattsburgh’s master’s degree program.

Following the brief introduction session, District Superintendent Seth McGowan told the newest members of the local faculty that he is pleased with the new hires.

“I’m very proud of this group so far. I think we’re off to a great start,” he said.

Plein Air Festival coming to Tupper next week

Dan McClelland

Plein Air Fest copy.jpg

by Dan McClelland

Tupper Arts on Park Street will present its first ever Plein Air Festival, which is expected to bring the attention of talented artists around the region to the beauty of Tupper Lake.

The festival, which will also include a special preview party and an art show and sale, runs from October 8 to 13.

The event will be co-hosted by ADK Action, which reached out to local arts organizers to bring what is hoped will be a new tradition to Tupper Lake. The area group has helped put the new event together with the Tupper Arts volunteers.

ADK Action actively supports the hugely successful Saranac Lake Plein Air and two years ago initiated Keeseville Plein Air, which has played a key role in the revitalization of the community. It is a not for profit, non-partisan federally tax exempt organization that creates projects that address unmet needs, promotes vibrant communities and help preserve the character of the Adirondacks.

Artists coming here next week will have the opportunity to capture inspiring vistas and landmarks that have long defined our iconic town. Some of the many scenic places the artists will visit include the serpentive bends of the Raquette River, the Oxbow and its many marshes, Bog River Falls, the community's many mountains, ponds and lakes as well as statuesque landmarks like the historic Beth Joseph Synagogue, the Wild Center, the Tupper Lake Golf Course and its stunning vistas and the former Oval Wood Dish factory.

From October 8 to 11 artists will tour the community and erect their canvasses at various vistas which make this community unique. Residents will see these artists all over town and along state highways, putting artistic images on canvas.

On Friday, October 11 there will be a special preview party at the Tupper Arts Center from 6p.m. to 9p.m. where the public will get a first look at what all these artists have produced that week. There'll be an opportunity to buy some of these new and original pieces. Wine and cheese will be served. Well known Adirondack artist Gary Casagrain, who has a gallery on Park St. here, will jury the paintings and a $1,000 in prize money donated by ADK Action will be awarded to the best artists.

There will be a small donation taken at the door that evening to cover costs.

On Saturday, October 12 and Sunday, October 13 Tupper Arts Center will host a show and sale of all the artistic pieces created at the festival. Paintings and other art work will be for sale. The show is free and open to the public. On that Saturday the arts center will be open from 10a.m. to 6p.m. and the next day from 10:30 a.m. to 3p.m.

Oktupperfest returns to park this fall with Vintage Snowmobile Show

Dan McClelland

After a year’s hiatus, Tupper Lake’s beloved fall festival is returning, bringing the community together on shared love—beer, food, fun, live music and fall foliage this Saturday (October 5).

This will be the first time that the Oktupperfest will actually be held in October. Traditionally it has been the last weekend or so of September.

This will be the first time too it is paired with another local event.

The Oktupperfest will run from 1p.m. to 6p.m. at the Tupper Lake Municipal Park, on the gazebo side of the outer field.

From a lack of event-coordinating personnel, the Tupper Lake Chamber of Commerce’s Oktupperfest couldn’t come together last year but this year it’s coming back in full action.

“We’re trying to get something a little different going this year,” said lead organizer, Hayley McCottery, the former chamber event-coordinator who ran community events like the Brewski and the Phil Edwards Memorial Hockey Tournament. “It’s hard that we can’t be at the mountain, that’s what everyone knows about Oktupperfest.”

With support from the chamber of commerce, the festival is coming to fruition with the excitement and enthusiasm that the young events-coordinator brings to her projects. Although Ms. McCottery is no longer affiliated with the chamber, she’s returning to her old role temporarily to revive this event.

For over 30 years Oktupperfest was held atop Mt. Morris where the community informally celebrated the end of the short Adirondack summers, the beautiful red, orange and yellows of the changing season and the approaching winter where, back then, the community would go on to ski the slopes of Big Tupper months later.

The last Oktupperfest, in 2017, the event had to, regretfully, come down from the mountain for the first time. The event was held instead at the Tupper Lake Municipal Park due to the Adirondack Club’s developments that were underway on the mountain.

Despite the community’s unconditional support that year, the cold, rainy weather and overall environment at the park didn’t quite feel like an Oktupperfest that this community was used to. Something felt a little off.

A few locations were considered for this year’s event with the municipal park never making the cut.

Organizers considered Little Wolf Beach, Tupper Lake’s local vacation spot and the destination for the tri-annual Little Wolfstock, with its sandy beaches and its close-proximity to the downtown and the Adirondack Sky Center and Observatory, leaving opportunity for a diverse range of activities.

After further planning, Little Wolf Beach had to be ruled out. The beach’s water supply was shut off at the end of the summer which would cause issues with attaining food permits required by the food vendors that will be on site at the event.

Organizers came to a more-appropriate location, not far from the original Oktupperfest grounds—the Tupper Lake Golf Course. Unfortunately a wedding that day at the Burgundy Steakhouse made it difficult to stage the major event there.

So the decision was made to stage it again at the municipal park. The outer area of the park was the setting for this month's successful Rock the Arc and things there worked out well.

Organizers are hoping for great weather to make the event the best it can be.

Final preparations are coming together well this week.

Like a typical Oktupperfest, there will be plenty of activities for all ages to enjoy including archery tag, an inflatable obstacle course, a mechanical bull to ride, pumpkin painting and crafts. It will be a day of fun for the entire family.

Organizers are also getting Zorb Balls for the event, giant inflatable, human-sized hamster balls where anyone can roll, bounce and bump around in a safe and playful nature.

Local rock band Bitter Sweet will be providing musical entertainment, as well as Night School, a Tupper Lake favorite whose musical instructors will be teaching lessons on the changing leaves and German traditions. Night School will start to play at 1p.m. and Bitter Sweet at 3p.m.

Event-goers can also expect a variety of beer to enjoy, including craft beers and lighter options like Coors Light, Miller Lite and Bud Light.

Organizers are also working out food vendors for the event to provide a variety of foods to go along with the festivities. One popular food purveyor will be the Tupper Lake Lions Club which will be serving up hamburgers and hotdogs, smothered, of course, in the famous Lions caramelized onions.

All the monies generated at this year's Oktupperfest will go to benefit the Tupper Lake Rescue Squad, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary.

The chamber of commerce is always looking for additional support, sponsorships and volunteers. If interested, contact the Tupper Lake Chamber of Commerce at (518) 359-3328, or pop into their office at 121 Park Street.

This year marks the first time that the Oktupperfest will be paired with the Tupper Lake Snowmobile Club's second Vintage Snowmobile Show at the park. The snowmobile event will be staged around the Rotary pavilion.

That show begins at 8a.m. and awards for the best and most unusual vintage sleds will be presented about 2p.m.

Trophies will be awarded in nine classes: antique, trail 67-85, muscle sled pre-81, factory race sled pre-81, actively raced sled pre-1986, custom, cutter, mini and best of the show.

Entry fees are $5 per sled but $15 is the maximum fee.

Many vendors will be present and there are expected to be tons of door prizes.

Reese and Kelly Fleury are again two of the key organizers.

For more information call or text 518 524-2005.

“Bring Professional Baseball to Tupper” campaign launched

Dan McClelland

by Dan McClelland

The volunteers who are working hard these days to retrofit the municipal park ball field for next summer's arrival of the Tupper Lake River Pigs, in cooperation with two local groups, have launched an internet crowdfunding campaign to generate $10,000 to complement the $20,000 the village government has pledged to the project and another $10,000 donations raised so far.

All monies will be used to bring the hometown field up to Empire League standards

The local Empire League committee has teamed up with the Adirondack Foundation, whose program, Adirondack Gives, channels investors' money into popular community benefit programs, and with Tupper Lake's ARISE (Adirondack Residents Intent on Saving their Economy). ARISE, whose volunteers operated the Big Tupper Ski Center for seven years here, is an Internal Revenue Service 501-(c)3 corporation, donations to which are tax-deductible. ARISE has helped with fundraising on several other recreational projects here in past months.

The Adirondack Foundation's “Adirondack Gives” web site on the new campaign leads with the headline: Bring Professional Baseball to Tupper Lake,” which is the slogan of the new campaign.

As of Monday $675 has been donated to the $10,000 campaign.

The Tupper Lake River Pigs semi-pro team is the newest franchise of the Empire Professional Baseball League, bringing the total teams to eight in that league. The teams are from Saranac Lake and Plattsburgh and also from Puerto Rico, New Hampshire and Maine.

The league is considered a Rookie to Class A-level minor league baseball, meant to give players out of college an educational pro experience. Some players have been called up to the majors and other higher leagues, league President Eddie Gonzalez has told local supporters.

The Empire Professional Baseball League is a nonprofit operation that is completely funded by revenue streams such as advertisement sales, ticket sales, try-out revenues and donations. The young players assigned to the teams are compensated with housing, transportation and an expense stipend based on their classification.

“The Empire League is very excited to bring this team to Tupper Lake and looks forward o building a great relationship with community as well as bringing business to locals while making a huge economic impact,” the promotional information on the web site reads.

In addition to the village money pledged, the now non-active Tupper Lake Softball Association has donated $9,000 to the project. Tupper Lake Supply Co. has also agreed to donate materials for the construction of the two-tier deck which will house food and drink concessions. The new deck arrangement replaces deteriorated bleachers that the village was set to replace anyway.

The local committee has also recycled some of the fencing at the park for the use in other areas in what will be a completely renovated ball field when the River Pigs start their play next summer. Other coming improvements include new roofs for recently uncovered dug-outs, parking lot improvements, Amish style team lockers/change rooms, some field lighting improvement and grandstand netting.

The ARISE organization, directed by Jim LaValley, approached the local Empire League committee and offered to help, citing similar economic goals.

The ARISE mission is to support economic growth in Tupper Lake, while respecting the natural resources that make our area unique. This includes tourism, manufacturing, development of the second home community and the service industry here.

More information about this campaign can be obtained from any of the local volunteers or by calling the Lake Placid-based Adirondack Foundation at (518) 523-9904.

Winged Eagles collecting bottles to fund Washington trip

Dan McClelland

Winged Eagles Bottles copy.jpg

Members of the winged Eagles are collecting bottles and cans for Franklin county kids to be able to go on the "Wonders of Washington” trip in 2020 and 2022. This is a 4-day trip to our nation's capital-Washington which some kids and adults may never otherwise see.

It will include tours of many national museums, the Capital building and a walking tour of several monuments. This will be guided by a professional tour guide to provide insight and engagement around our nation's history.

The youth will be housed at the National 4-H Conference Center and able to see what other programs are doing around the nation!

The educational tour includes a trip to the U.S. Capitol and a meeting with elected officials from your state. Tours of the Supreme Court, Library of Congress, Arlington National Cemetery, Mount Vernon, or Washington National Cathedral. A visit and chance to explore the Smithsonian Institution Museums. Seasonal cultural activities including concerts at The Kennedy Center and dinner theater shows and Discover the City at night and visit the Jefferson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Lincoln, Vietnam Veterans and Korean War Memorials.

White House photo stop and World War II Memorial Capitol Hill groups make their own appointments with Congressional Offices-Union Station Supreme Court Library of Congress National Archives, Iwo Jima Memorial, Arlington national cemetery, Smithsonian and holocaust museum and on way home National Zoo, National Cathedral and the Ford Theater also some down town to shop, eat and socialize. This is an opportunity for members to learn about the capital hands on, an experience they can bring back to the classroom.

The trip is expensive and costs $850 per member, starting at the age of 13. Because of the high expense we do lots of fundraising as to not put the burden on the families, thus why we start by collecting bottle deposit money. Feel free to drop off bottles and cans to Lauri Dukette and Nicole Partenio as the club is saving now and an account started specifically for these trips. Any and all donations are appreciated.

Big sodding effort greens municipal park infield

Dan McClelland

by Dan McClelland


When the Empire League's River Pigs arrive next summer to face their opponents they'll be playing on an infield freshly sodded.

That happened Thursday when a work crew from the state's Moriah Shock Incarceration Camp laid 22,500 square feet of sod that arrived by tractor trailer early Thursday from the company, Saratoga Sod.

The sod work follows the reshaping and raising of the infield with tons of black dirt provided and spread by Kentile Excavating in recent weeks, according to Trustee David “Haji” Maroun, who chairs the local Empire League committee.

The sod firm is also the place where the Tupper Lake Youth Baseball and Softball Association found its supply of natural green carpet for its project that wrapped up this summer.

The company lends to its customers a piece of apparatus that attaches to the back of a tractor to carry the large rolls of sod.

The sod cost the village $8,346 and is part of about $30,000 the board committed to in past months to fund a portion of the major improvements eyed for the local recreational asset.

The sod covered the entire infield and in front of the recently uncovered dug outs, Mr. Maroun explained. The labor, of course, was all free to the village, courtesy of the state prison system.

The plan, Haji said Thursday, was to start construction this week on the new roofs for the old dug-outs, which were filled with sand many years ago and capped. The excavation of the team areas was done in recent weeks.

New pumps were also installed in each dug-out, in the event rain or ground water seeps in.

Trustee Maroun said work will also be started soon on twin decks- each 16 feet by 63 feet- that will replace the old and deteriorated bleacher seating on the west side of the grandstand.

The top deck will be three steps up from the bottom one, he estimated.

The bottom deck will be handicapped accessible and at the eastern portion of the new spectator complex will eventually be concessions for drinks and food. Village plans for the rebuilt baseball field may eventually bring beer sales there for spectators to enjoy.

Beyond the newly sodded infield are the base paths and sections of the immediate outfield, which will both be dressed in a clay-type material before next summer.

“It'll be just like the pros and our new Little League field,” Trustee Maroun told the Free Press. “Years ago we wanted to do this, but just never got to it!”

He said they plan to use what is called “diamond point” clay, which isn't prone to blowing away as regular clay is.

As the sod rolled off the back of the tractor, the work crew from Moriah tugged and pulled into place with rakes.

Working alongside the inmates were committee members Jay and Rick Skiff- Jay driving the tractor and Rick unrolling the greenery. Jed Dukett and Royce Cole were also helping out.

The money allocated by the village so far covered the sod and about $4,000 in earth work and the committee is hard at work raising private donations for their field restoration. See related story this week.

The dozen or so inmates returned Friday to tackle other projects in the park.

The Moriah Shock crew is one of only crews in the state prison system that are out working in the communities of the North Country. For years there was a work crew from Adirondack Correctional Facilily in Ray Brook which worked in tri-lakes communities, and Sunmount DDSO in particular here.

Camp Gabriels also had a work crew before that minimum security prison was closed by the state several years ago.

Veteran Correctional Officer Larry Perry was one of the supervisors at Thursday's detail.

He said in their para military-style facility there are currently 165 inmates, including that day's crew of about one dozen. “We require military bearing from every inmate!”

All inmates address everyone as “yes sir, no sir” and are very polite.

“All these guys were hand-picked and they are a good crew,” Officer Perry said that day.

He called over Inmate Jones. “What's your crime, son?”

“Possession of a controlled substance...crack cocaine, sir!”

“What's your sentence, Mr. Jones?” asked Mr. Perry.

“Two years...six months at Moriah, sir.”

“Where's home Mr. Jones?” Mr. Maroun asked him.

“Manhattan, sir,” replied the young, black inmate.

“They love doing this,” Officer Perry told the Free Press. The men worked steady arranging the rolls of sod that day.

He said their 12-man crews go everywhere in the North Country, but rarely this far west.

This crew has worked recently in Cumberland Head, in Ausable Forks, at the Albany training academy, Lake Placid, Lake Clear sawmill. “Every year we go to Eastfield stadium, home of the Dragons, in Glens Falls. We flip their bleachers, paint them, anything they need!”

The correctional officer said he trained Trustee Maroun at Great Meadow when he entered the correctional service and they served together for a time at Comstock. They've remained friends over the years.

Helping to get the Moriah crew here too was the influence of Captain Jay Skiff and Lieutenant Rick Skiff.

“People don't realize all that we do at Moriah for our communities.”

“Every day we tackle a new project,” he said.

Thursday's detail was under the direction of a hometown boy, Sgt. Blake North. Blake also pushed hard with his superior to get his crew here.

Blake's brother is Buck, a long time organizer of the Tupper Lake Woodsmen's Association and they come from a long line of loggers here.

The younger North now lives in Jay.

“Blake put this whole thing together for you guys,” Officer Perry said. “He deserves all the credit!”

Sgt. North said his work crew are regularly at Adirondack, where it takes care of all the outside work. That facility no longer has a work crew, with its new juvenile population. “Some times,” he said, “we're there three days a week.”

He said his ties to Tupper Lake and the ties of the corrections officers who serve on the Empire League committee, helped influence his supervisor to authorize the detail in Tupper Lake, which is a little outside the crew's regular assignments.

Sgt. North said his facility sometimes runs eight or nine work crews at day, with up to 12 inmates on each. So the facility is making a big impact on community service and public projects all across the region.

It also gives young inmates a chance to learn real life skills.

“These guys are up every morning at 5:30a.m. for physical education and then it's work all day,” the officer said.

“We're big believers in this para military program,” stated Officer Perry.

He noted many of these young inmates, before they come to Moriah, had few marketable skills.

“From the day they step off the bus in Moriah to the day they leave after six months, you wouldn't believe the difference in them,” commented the sergeant. “Our program is working!”

Both he and Officer Perry said they want every inmate to succeed in their work program so they don't return to prison after their release.

“If they mess up with us, those inmates are assigned elsewhere in the state prison system to finish their sentences,” Sgt. North explained. Life is a lot tougher for them there, he noted.

“Moriah is where the staff members care about these guys. We want them to succeed and not come back!” Larry Perry added.

Ryan Frary buys Stuart-Fortune-Keough Funeral Home

Dan McClelland

by Dan McClelland

New Tupper Lake Funeral Director Ryan Frary (at left) poses with retiring partners Shawn Stuart and Brendan Keough outside the Cliff Ave. business recently.

New Tupper Lake Funeral Director Ryan Frary (at left) poses with retiring partners Shawn Stuart and Brendan Keough outside the Cliff Ave. business recently.

Tupper Lake residents now have a new funeral director to handle their final arrangements.

He's Ryan Frary, an energetic 27 year old with a strong passion to help people at difficult times in their lives.

Ryan's company this summer purchased Stuart-Fortune-Keough Funeral Home from Shawn Stuart and Brendan Keough. The new firm is called Frary-Stuart Funeral Home, as Shawn will be staying around to help out the new funeral director and his staff when he can.

Ryan's family has been in the funeral business in North Country communities along the St. Lawrence Seaway for decades.

His father Mike started working for Jimmy Phillips of Phillips Memorial Home in Massena as a young man.

Ryan's uncle, David, also worked for that firm. David’s son now owns the Phillips funeral home in Massena.

Both brothers attended mortuary school at Canton ATC.

Ryan's father after college worked for a time for the Lundy Funeral Home, situated in Carthage and Harrisville.

He purchased the LaLonde-Briggs Funeral Home in Ogdensburg in 1986. The family's State St. location soon became headquarters for not only the funeral home and its offices, but also for a medical transportation business, which the elder Frary started in 1994, and a monument company.

The transportation company was later expanded to Massena.

Talking about the need for ambulance services for the elderly, Ryan notes that by next year, 10,000 people in this country will be turning 65 years old each year. “That's the Baby Boomer generation!”

Ryan, the youngest of five children, grew up in Ogdensburg and attended local schools and went on to study finance at the University of San Diego in San Diego, CA, intending to become a stockbroker. With the job market still very shaky in 2013, he decided to head home after college and join the family business. Back in New York he completed mortuary school in New York City and completed his year-long residency in the family business.

Soon thereafter the company purchased the Adirondack Funeral Home in Harrisville, previously owned by the Sam Lundy family.

Frary Funeral Homes and Cremations Services currently operates homes in Ogdensburg and Harrisville, and now Tupper Lake.

Ryan purchased his father's share of the business in April, 2018.

He explained that part of the business involved selling caskets to other undertakers around the North Country, out of a warehouse in Heuvelton. Shawn and Brendan were his clients.

“Through that arrangement I got to know Shawn.”

Working with Ryan at the Tupper site will be an intern, Jade Kenyon, originally from the Buffalo area, and funeral director Dick Azar, who has been in the business a long time here.

Ryan said that what he calls hybrid funerals are becoming popular today where there is a time for viewing at either a funeral home or church, followed by a funeral service and cremation. The opportunity to view a loved one is very important, he knows, adding it helps with closure.

He notes that at one time wakes and funerals spanned multiple days, drawing it out for the immediate family. With modern transportation, now, people can get home or to the funeral site in less than a day.

The young funeral director said families often regret not having a funeral service when they go right straight to cremation or burial. “There is an emptiness families sometimes experience” when there is no service or viewing.

The building which Ryan recently purchased was built by the late Clarence Rennell in 1976 where he opened his new funeral home there. It was formerly the site of a paint and glass store.

At that time the Knights of Columbus lodge was next door in the apartment which was eventually purchased by Mr. Rennell and later by Shawn and Joni Stuart. Their son, Alex, now owns it.

Shawn started working for Clarence in 1993. In about 1998 he and two partners in Saranac Lake- Brendan Keough and Andy Fortune formed the Stuart-Fortune-Keough company and purchased the business from Mr. Rennell.

The company bought the Richer Funeral Home from Michael Richer and his family in about 2003, consolidating their services under one roof at the Cliff Ave. site.

Stuart and Brendan bought out Andy, the third partner, in 2007.

Shawn succeeded Clarence Rennell as county coroner in the mid-1990s after his retirement until about 2000. He stepped down for a time and ran again in or about 2009, and has served continuously since that time.

The four coroners are charged with investigating every accidental or unattended death in the county, and cover each other in this vast and remote county.

Of his time as both funeral director and county coroner Mr. Stuart said that he “has hoped he has helped people” here and around the county in tough time.

As a funeral director, he says he has tried to outline fully to people the various options at their disposal. “Some people and families know exactly what they want. Others however have never talked with loved ones about death and dying. They are eager to hear about the options.”

The veteran funeral home director has seen the industry change dramatically over the past decades. He says instead of full-blown traditional services, many people are now opting for what he called “limited services.”

Many funeral services today are held at the funeral, versus the church, where services were traditionally held, he notes. Many arrangements today are one day, not two or three.

Cremation has become a favored option for many now, according to the funeral director. His business uses Mountain View Crematory in Alburgh, Vt .

Since about 1994, the state barred funeral homes from owning crematories, many have been transferred to either towns, not for profit companies, or are grandfathered.

The Whispering Maples crematory in Ellenburg Depot, where many North Country residents have been cremated over the years, is now owned by the Town of Ellenburg.

Another option today for families is to rent caskets at funeral homes.

It's a humbler cardboard and plywood casket within a very nice casket and the inside one is the one that goes to the crematory. The outer casket is a little oversized to house the interior one where the body is placed.

The inner casket is lined with all the conventional materials that the deceased rests upon and the entire assembly can be removed by opening the one end of the outer casket.

“It's a perfect situation for families who want a traditional casket and setting for their loved ones, but who also want cremation,” he explained to the Free Press in recent weeks.

“The interior of the rental casket is brand new every time.” The outer shell can be used over and over, and when it gets damaged or scratched it can be returned to the casket company for refinishing.

It's a less expensive option for families, he notes.

Outside of business and his coroner duties, Mr. Stuart has also served for three terms on the town board and the town and village planning board, and currently serves as it chairman.

Shawn plans to be what he calls “a familiar face” at the new Frary-Stuart Funeral Home, helping out where he can. “Joni and I are hoping to do a little traveling and spending time with our grandchildren.”

Mrs. Stuart retired this year after 25 years as a school nurse for the school district.

This week the Free Press welcomes Ryan and his staff to Tupper Lake and offer best wishes to Shawn and Joni on their new retirement.

Rock the Arc will rock the park this weekend

Dan McClelland

by Ian Roantree

The Tupper Lake Municipal Park will be a hub of activities for all ages this weekend on Saturday, September 14 with the return of the Adirondack Arc’s annual Rock the Arc festival.

All proceeds from the event go to benefit the Adirondack Arc, a not-for-profit organization that supports the needs of people with developmental disabilities.

Throughout the summer months, rumors began to circle the community, stating that Rock the Arc wasn’t happening this year. Those rumors were mostly true.

“This year we thought about taking a break,” said Scott Stiles, CEO of the Adirondack Arc and chief organizer of the event. “But when word got around, we got a lot of feedback and community support.”

Because the games, activities and admission to Rock the Arc are free, the Adirondack Arc relies on sponsorship support and raffle ticket sales to keep the event afloat and successful. This year, the organizers were having trouble finding sponsors.

“After doing this for six years in a row, it’s hard to keep asking for sponsorships from the same groups,” Stiles said.

But at the last minute, the Adirondack Arc was able to get its sponsorships.

Sponsors for this year’s Rock the Arc include Hoffman Auto, Ralph Benefit Advisors and Hoffman Hanafin & Associates.

Rock the Arc will attract the likes of both the young and old with its variety of activities, games, live music, food and attractions.

The main attraction of Rock the Arc is the raffle drawings and the chance to win the grand prize of $10,000!

The second place raffle winner will take home $2,000, the third place winner will take home $1,000, the fourth place winner will take home $500, and five finalists will be awarded $200!

The winners of the raffle will be announced at 7 p.m. on Saturday evening.

Other prizes can be won through the raffles including a Webber Grill, and gift packages.

Younger crowds will get a kick out of the activities geared towards them like the jousting arena, bounce house, inflatable obstacle course, face painting, and kid kingdom. There will also be games commonly found at carnivals like the fishing derby game, ring toss, plinko and dart and balloon games.

There will also be lots of different food and beverages to enjoy. Typical of a Tupper Lake event—and for good reason—the Lions Cook Shack will be on site serving up delicious hot dogs and hamburgers, smothered in their famous Lions onions.

There will be popcorn and ice cream vendors to satisfy the sweet and salty tastebuds as well as a Honduran food vendor, adding to the variety of food choices. P2’s Irish Pub, like previous years, will be serving up beer in their beer garden providing the choice of craft and light beer.

Throughout the day, starting at 1 p.m. and ending at 9 p.m., live music will rock the park (and the Arc). Kicking off at 1 p.m. is local classic and 90’s rock group, Bittersweet, playing until 3. From 3:30 p.m. until 5:30 p.m. is jam band, Atom Ghost from Massena, and headlining the evening, playing from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. is pop and rock group, Night School.

After the music, at 9 p.m., there will be a spectacular fireworks display, a show you won’t want to miss.

Door’s open at noon on Saturday, providing a full day’s worth of fun and entertainment, and it’s all free!

First day of school

Dan McClelland

Local children returned to school at L.P. Quinn Elementary with wide eyes and varied expressions shortly after 8a.m. Thursday. Clockwise from top left were Erin Collins, a quartet of tiny gals- (from left) Kayleigh Clement, Heather and Eliza Bujold and Emilie Schuller, Sophia Callaghan and Aubrey Beaulieu, and Gavin Brown and Charlie Kavanagh. They were greeted at the door by school officials and by several village police officers, who wished them all well on their year of studies ahead. (McClelland photos)

School year began with new resource officers

Dan McClelland

by Rich Rosentreter

Resource officers Tom Fee with Superintendent Seth McGowan, welcoming students on rst day of school.

Resource officers Tom Fee with Superintendent Seth McGowan, welcoming students on rst day of school.

As the new school year begins there will be a new presence in the hallways – a member of the Tupper Lake Police Department to ensure the safety of the building’s occupants. Now local police officers Tom Fee and Geoff Carmichael will be armed and patrolling the L.P. Quinn Elementary School and the middle/high school and their duties will include more than just protecting.

Tupper Lake Village Police Chief Eric Proulx sat down with the Free Press a day after school started for the year to discuss how having a resource officer came about, the requirements for the position and the duties involved – along with other aspects of the post – one that is appearing throughout the country in response to the plague of violence in schools.

Resource Officer  Geoff Carmichael

Resource Officer Geoff Carmichael

The move toward having a resource officer in Tupper Lake was initiated when Chief Proulx said he was approached by School District Superintendent Seth McGowan to discuss the options to place a resource “safety” officer in the school.

“We started looking at the different scenarios and the way other school districts do it with retired law enforcement that are sponsored by the county, by the school district hiring their own safety officers, armed or unarmed, and the possibility of putting a full-time police officer in the school,” Proulx said.

Chief Proulx said research was conducted last year by both the department and school, and McGowan was in favor of the option of putting a police officer in the school. According to Proulx, he was limited budget-wise as any potential officer placed in the school had to be a seasoned professional – such as those in the local police department.

“I didn’t have the money to hire two cops because it has to be an experienced officer. You can’t take someone new out of the academy and place them as a resource officer,” Proulx said. “They just don’t have the proper training for a potential active shooter.”

Discussion went into numbers and Proulx said he proposed that the school district fund the two officers.

“We went from there,” he said.

Proulx said the school conducted a survey of faculty, and although he did not see the survey results, they came back highly in favor of having a resource officer in the school, in favor of it being a police officer and in favor of the individuals being from the Tupper Lake Police Department.

“The general consensus was that they wanted somebody from Tupper Lake that knows the kids and the kids know and whom they feel comfortable with,” Proulx said. “They didn’t want to have just some retired cop from this area or anyone else that the kids didn’t know.”

The school wanted two officers, one in the elementary school and the other in the middle high school. Proulx said then he had to propose it to the village board where those in favor were not unanimous as some were concerned about how the village would pay for the resource officer. He said he presented a cost that was broken down as far as salary, schooling, uniforms and retirement costs.

“We came up with a salary of what the cost was and came up with a number,” Proulx said, adding that it was eventually decided to put the issue up for vote in the school budget to deflect the cost from the village.

“There was overwhelming support. The positions were added to the school budget vote and passed,” Proulx said. “Then it became a matter of logistics with me figuring out how I was going to put two officers in the school.”

Although an issue arose from the police department losing an officer in the spring, Proulx said he managed to move ahead with the plan.

The selections

Once the plan to bring on two resource officers for the school was approved by voters, the selection and hiring process started.

Local officer and former police chief Tom Fee was the first selected to fit the role – and he had overwhelming support from the school and the required credentials, according to Proulx.

“Everybody loves Tom. He’s worked at the school. The kids know him, he worked as a substitute teacher, he has the credentials for teaching obviously, he was a chief here, he knows the law. He’s a perfect fit and the school was happy about it. So I selected him first,” Proulx said.

According to Proulx, Geoff Carmichael then expressed interest in the second position, and after some discussion and negotiations, he was given the second resource officer position.

“He is also a sergeant here and also retired,” Proulx said.

Both Fee and Carmichael were on patrol in the schools on the first day, Proulx said, although there still needs to be some planning as to finalizing Carmichael’s schedule.

The chief said that the police presence in the schools was accepted well by the school community.

“It was very well received,” he said.

More than patrolling

Although patrolling the school is a primary function of the resource officer, it will not be the only one.

Proulx said he had spoken to Fee, who communicated to the school’s faculty and suggested some additional lessons be given by the officers.

One example of the lessons that officer Fee will provide is giving instruction such as what a person should do during a traffic stop so it doesn’t go bad, Proulx said, adding that is a great topic that many people do not learn.

“He will teach other law enforcement topics that are approved by the school, just like any other curriculum,” Proulx said.

Both Fee and Carmichael are certified as general topic instructors, which is one of the requirements of the resource officer job, Proulx explained. Other job requirements are “a minimum of five years experience, it is preferred that they have field training officer’s position, which is technically a first-line supervisory position, certified as a general topics instructor, have a working knowledge of juvenile law, and we’re all learning that because the governor just changed the age of a juvenile from 16 to 17.”

Proulx said that there is also a community-relations aspect to the job, and as chief he has always worked to improve how the community’s youth viewed the police force, adding that an officer has been visiting the school for a number of years every morning.

“There used to be a huge disconnect with the youth. They used to always bad mouth the police, but now the students seem to know them, they know the guys,” he said.

Sign of the times

Having a resource officer in Tupper Lake schools is just a sign of the times, Proulx said, and he is committed to making sure the people in the schools are safe.

“The dynamic of the world has changed. Our country has changed with ‘How do we protect our schools,’” he said. “One of my big things is how will I keep our kids safe. (A shooting) could happen here and I want to make sure everyone is safe, that’s been one of my goals ever since becoming chief.

Proulx said although Tupper Lake has a low crime rate, it is still important to stay on guard – and having a police officer in each school is a preventive measure – but there are no guarantees there will never be an incident – or it will stop someone from causing harm.

“My approach is that I am not saying you’re not going to have some kind of incident in our school. It doesn’t have to be an active shooter. It could be somebody coming in and committing an assault. This position is not just me saying I want to stop an intruder with an assault rifle, the position is more than that,” Proulx said. “If that does happen, my school resource officer is not a one-hundred percent guarantee that somebody is not going to get hurt or killed either. It’s more preventative of us minimizing the trauma if it does happen. To try to prevent or minimize, that is the goal.”

“There’s a lot more to it than he’s just there to prevent an intruder. We’re doing instruction. Also part of their duty is to assess the schools for safety. They’re going to play a big role helping with the school’s safety plan. The officers will provide input with daily safety,” he added. “They’re going to be active all day long. They’ll be active with faculty meetings. They’ll be in meetings and informed about students who might be having issues. We want them to be involved with the daily life of the school district.”

According to Proulx, officer Fee even said he doesn’t want the position to be just sit in a room staring at the wall all day. Therefore, they will have teaching duties along with keeping a watchful eye on activities on school property.

“The officers may approach people on school grounds during the day. It might be somebody walking their dog on school grounds. They will approach and inquire: ‘Who are you and why are you here?’ They may not be doing anything illegal, but they are on school grounds,” he said.

Proulx reminded everyone that they resource officers are police officers and will be in full uniform.

“They come into work as if they were going on duty, it’s no different,” he said, adding that some people inquired about the schedules of the officers – but declined to provide those details for what he said are obvious reasons.

“The thought is that there is probably a resource officer on duty during school hours. The main thing is being in the schools when school is in session,” he said.

Proulx added that there have been discussions about having the resource officers at big extra-curricular activities and during parent-teacher conferences, which he said is a prime time for a problem to arise.

“Not that there’s ever been a problem, but from a law enforcement perspective when analyzing a school’s life, that is a perfect time for there to be a confrontation such as a parent assaulting a teacher who they are mad at. We will work on things as the school year progresses. In today’s climate those types of things are taken more seriously. We’re not singling out anything,” he said. “We look at what has taken place in our country, what the different events that have happened and what could happen. This is the route we decided to go. This year there will be a learning curve because it’s new to me and it’s new to the school. We’re going to work with the school district on what we need to do and what isn’t being done. At the end of the school year we’ll ask what did we waste our time on and what can we improve.

Feedback and training

One thing Chief Proulx stressed was the need to hear from the community as to how the resource officer initiative is working as it progresses into the future – and he wants to hear from more than just the faculty or administration.

“I’ll be looking for feedback from faculty, from all the faculty, and even the staff, the cafeteria workers, the custodians. I want to hear about the program and what people in the schools think,” he said.

“The main thing to remember about this is that it is the village police department, it is owned by the village taxpayers – even though they are school taxes, this is providing public safety to the village of Tupper Lake, which includes the school district. This position is not gong to take away from the level of service by the department to the village.”

“If you have car accident you will still get an officer on the scene,” he said. “You won’t have the excuse that they are tied up at the school. If our school resource officer has a sick day, somebody will be at the school.”

Proulx said having his staff trained for any potential situation in one of the schools is of primary importance.

“I am trying to keep my officers trained for any event. My guys can handle other threats but need to have training to be ready just in case,” he said, adding that people may not realize the number of guns that enter school grounds – especially during hunting season.

“During hunting season, the number of guns that come onto school property are quite a bit when parents come to drop their kids off at school. You’d never be able to stop that in this community, or any hunting community. People think we’ll be able to see the gums people have when on school grounds but that is not the case,” he said, adding that no laws are being broken when these guns are in the vehicles of parents – unless they have a concealed handgun. “There’s a lot to think about, but I think we are moving in the right direction. I was very glad that Seth approached me because it was one of those things that I was thinking about quite frequently, not so much the resource officer aspect, but how are we going to handle our school system if there’s an active shooter. It’s part of my job. It’s great how it worked out because before I was just having conversations with other colleagues in other departments. Trying to get training here in the middle of nowhere is hard. But I will keep working to ensure the safety of the Tupper Lake community – especially those within the walls of the local schools – the children of the community.

And having a school resource officer is a necessity in today’s world, Proulx said. “It’s a little more peace of mind for me and Seth. It’s a level of security that wasn’t there before.”

First TLYBSA dug-out erected Saturday

Dan McClelland

by Dan McClelland

While their leader Trustee David Maroun was directing the semi-pro baseball team name vote Saturday near the grandstand in the park, the rest of his Empire League committee here were building the first dug-out several hundred feet away at the new Little League field. The new field was a year-long project by the Tupper Lake Youth Baseball and Softball Association, with big help from the Tupper Lake Rotary Club.

“What our committee did today is even more important than the name vote,” said Jed Dukett as the committee members walked the Free Press scribe over to the Little League field to show off the new dug-out.

It's a dug-out in name only as the new shelter sits above ground just behind the left hand side fence of the field's new backstop.

In recent weeks too, the committee oversaw the actual excavation of sand in the big field's dug-outs, which were filled in by the village for safety reasons years ago.

Beginning first thing Saturday, before any of the voters arrived, the six of so volunteers erected a new three-sided building on a deck that had been constructed earlier by volunteers.

The walls and roof were framed and decked with sheathing and texture 1-ll. Asphalt shingles will be installed on the roof to keep the rain off the young players.

The open front will give the team and coaches in it a wide view of all field action.

Contractor Jay Skiff, a committee member, directed the work Saturday. Another local builder, Mark Davies, also helped run Saturday's volunteer crew.

“Mark deserves a big shout-out for all his help today,” said Jay Skiff.

The wooden materials used in Saturday's construction came from a gift to the field project from Tupper Lake Supply Co. A second dug-out which will mirror the first one and will sit opposite it behind the backstop fence on the right side, will be the gift of the Tupper Lake Volunteer Fire Department.

The first dug-out will be eventually dedicated to two big sports fans here: Ralph “Pinhead” Russell and Lawrence “Bummer” Brown.

The plan for the new baseball field is to keep extending the deck about the back of the backstop . Situated on it will be new bleachers, an announcer's booth, more seating and finally the second dug out.

The next building to be erected, according to Mr. Jay, will likely be the announcer's booth, directly behind the backstop. That is the gift to the baseball project of Carol and Jeff Denit.

The style of the new seating areas Jay described as “grandstand seating” with step widths about three feet and wide enough to accommodate lawn chairs, much like seats in the main grandstand.

Tupper Lake's main municipal ball field and its landmark grandstand was built here as a Civilian Conservation Corp. project during the Great Depression.

“The same type of seating will be cloned behind the right side of the backstop,” Mr. Skiff explained.

For now the new dug out will be painted but it will eventually be sided with brainstorm siding, as funds materialize, he added.

“We're hoping to give it a stadium-look,” said Jed Dukett.

When all the seating is in place there will be seating for over 200 people, the committee members suspect.

The new seating structures are being designed in such a way that roofs could be added later that would tie into the two dug-out buildings and the announcer's booth, Jay Skiff told the Free Press Saturday.

“We're going to be building it so we can keep making improvements over the years,” he added.

Also planned near the field is a court yard with picnic tables.

Spectators can also stand by the lower, outer fences on both sides, as they have been doing at the games there in August.

River Pigs' name the favorite in landslide

Dan McClelland

by Dan McClelland

The River Pigs was the clear favorite in Saturday's vote on the name for Tupper Lake's new semi pro baseball team. It was the choice of more than two-thirds of the voters.

The informal vote staged by the Empire League's local committee in the municipal park drew an amazing 646 voters- a number which dwarfs turn-outs at many multi million-dollar school budget votes and November municipal elections here.

There were two voided ballots because two voters had selected two of the names, not one. There were two write-ins.

In the voting the Mighty Hemlocks was the choice of only two voters. Rowdy Bucks received three votes. Fifteen people liked the name Tupper Timbers. River Otters garnered 16 votes. The name Axemen received 26.

The second most popular name was the River Drivers, which received 124 votes.

That left the overwhelming favorite, the River Pigs, with 456 votes.

At noon the line at the tented polling station next to the tennis courts begin to grow. Nearly 130 people voted in the first half hour. Two hours into the voting, over 250 town and village residents had cast their ballots.

Manning the voting booth all six hours were Mike Russell and his daughter Christine. They also assisted with the vote counting at 6p.m., as did Mike Delair, Jessica Cole, Dan McClelland, Jim Lanthier and Rick Reandeau.

Each voter was asked to sign in, so that the total votes would match those who came to vote, and they did.

According to Christine Russell, about 100 an hour were coming to vote in a steady stream.

During the afternoon Rick Reandeau, whose new insurance agency is New York Life, and volunteers served hot dogs and hamburgers that Rick's company donated. The charge was $2 a piece and with over 200 sold, plus donations, it netted $1,011 for field improvements in the Tupper Lake ball field where the River Pigs will play, beginning next summer.

Late in the afternoon at one point Bob Fletcher, who coaches girls softball here, arrived, yelling “River Pigs!” He said he'd been campaigning all day at Shaheen's Supermarket where he works.

The entire vote count was live-streamed on Facebook by Royce Cole and Ron LaScala.

The vote total was sent by the local committee to Empire League President Eddie Gonzalez for his approval. Even though it's obvious he'll like the results, as it was his recommendation from the start.

“He still has to make it official,” explained Trustee David “Haji” Maroun, who heads the local committee. The trustee said he knows Mr. Gonzalez will be pleased with the support from the community for his name.

Trustee Ron LaScala said the “biggest fact of the matter is that this guy obviously knows his business...he knows what's marketable. Now, everyone has had their say. So let's let this gentleman run his business and then let's get behind him and support this team.”

He said the River Pigs was overwhelmingly the community's choice for a name for the new team.

“Let's move forward in a positive way on this new venture here!”

The trustee applauded the local committee for all its hard work on field improvements to date and for offering the community a chance to vote on a name.

Tupper residents can vote Saturday on a name for new baseball team

Dan McClelland

by Dan McClelland

Tupper Lake residents will have a chance Saturday to vote on a name for the new Empire League franchise coming to Tupper Lake next year.

In past weeks since the announcement of the coming of Tupper Lake's new semi pro baseball team there have been numerous letters to the editor and public comments in opposition to the suggested team name, the “River Pigs.”

The name was selected by League President Ed Gonzalez, after researching our community's logging heritage and finding the name that was a term for the men who rode the logs down rivers and across lakes to mills. Old timers have said the men were revered for their agility and skill, doing one of the most dangerous jobs in a dangerous industry.

In the face of the local opposition to the name, the local support committee for the Empire League, headed by Trustee David “Haji” Maroun, decided it would be in the community's best interest to give people a one-time chance to vote on another name.

The village board was set to mull the issue next month (see related story this week), but that won't be necessary now.

The vote will take place on Saturday, August 31 at the municipal park ball field between 12p.m. and 6pm.

Anyone wishing to vote on the team name will fill out a confidential ballot and place it in the box there. Everyone must cast your vote in person if you would like their voice heard, Rick Skiff, a member of the Empire League baseball committee said this week.

Tallying the votes after 6p.m. will be Free Press Publisher Dan McClelland and Adirondack Daily Enterprise reporter Aaron Cerbone. Seems the committee couldn't find honest people to do that.

The committee members have teamed up with Rick Reandeau of New York Life and together they will be selling hot dogs and hamburgers all afternoon, with all proceeds going towards the work being completed on the municipal field.

“We encourage as many of you as possible to attend, said Mr. Skiff. “It will only take a few minutes to cast a ballot. In addition, the committee members can answer any questions you may have concerning the field construction.”

The following is the list of possible team names chosen based on public suggestion with all names vetted through the Empire League president to ensure the names could be used. These choices are: River Pigs, Axemen, River Driver (another name for the men who rode the logs to market), Rowdy Bucks, Tupper Timber, River Otters and the Mighty Hemlocks.

Explains Mr. Skiff: “The team name that receives the most votes will be the name of the team coming to Tupper Lake next summer. This vote will be final. If you feel passionate about any one of these names, cast your vote and let your voice be heard!”

Trustee Ron LaScala, another member of the baseball committee, said he was not happy this week that Mr. Gonzalez has been asked to change his team's name.

“When has this community asked a private business to change its name? Never!” he stated.

He called it “offensive and unfair” to Mr. Gonzalez, who will be investing a lot of money in creating this new team for Tupper Lake, and said he has personally apologized to him several times in recent weeks.

The name controversy did, however, generate the kind of publicity that money can't buy.

Borrowing a term from social media, the story from the Adirondack Daily Enterprise went viral across the Associated Press wire service. It appeared in a number of national newspapers including USA Today and the Washington Post and was mentioned twice this week on the nationally syndicated Bob and Tom radio show.

This is the short piece in USA Today: “New York Tupper Lake: Organizers of a new semi-pro baseball team are rooting around for a new nickname after some residents grunted at the proposed moniker “River Pigs.” The Adirondack Daily Enterprise reports Tupper Lake Village Board Member David Maroun says the name of the Empire League will be changed. “River Pigs” was chosen to reflect the region's logging history, but some residents said it sounded demeaning.”

Tupper Lake Rescue & Emergency Squad turns 50 this Sunday

Dan McClelland


by Phyllis Larabie

On Sunday, September 1 the Tupper Lake Rescue & Emergency Squad will celebrate its 50th year in Tupper Lake. The officers and members will be holding an open house and family fun day. Everyone in the community is invited to 169 Main Street, from 11a.m. to 4p.m. There will be touch a truck including rescue, fire, police vehicles, Franklin County Stop DWI's Drunk Driving Simulator, Franklin County Sheriff's Department'a Child ID's, a bounce house, face painting, food, cotton candy, music and fun. It's all free and open to everyone.

Looking back in the popular history book Mostly Spruce and Hemlock, and searching through the back issues of the Tupper Lake Free Press and Herald in the late 1960s Tupper Lake was faced with a grave doctor shortage and was not able to maintain around the clock medical services at the then Mercy General Hospital. There was a growing need to expand the ambulance service due to the doctor-shortages.

Marcel Richer at the time provided the community ambulance service by transporting sick and accident victims to the Saranac Lake Hospital over 20 miles away. An average rescue call takes volunteers away from their families and jobs for just over two hours.

Ann LaVoy, the historian for the volunteer ambulance and emergency reported to Louis J. Simmons, author of Mostly Spruce and Hemlock that the new ambulance service was the dream of Robert Mensink, a business teacher at the local high school.

Mr. Mensink had some experience in a volunteer group before coming to Tupper Lake. David Wood and Robert went to Marcel with their idea of forming the new ambulance service. The three joined forces in organizing and getting the Tupper Lake Volunteer Ambulance and Emergency Squad service up and running. They enlisted the help of leading citizens like Harold J. Nichols, Paul Meader, Floyd Carmichael, Charles Bosman, John Stock, Charles F. Murray, Dan Dattola, Charles Dunning and Bernard Chartier and got the program off the ground.

At the first meeting of the Tupper Lake Volunteer Rescue, the volunteers heard from Marcel Richer who was the local funeral director and ambulance operator, was in favor of the volunteer ambulance organization. He stated that now was the time to start such an organization and not at the time that he would be forced to give it up. He explained the difficulty in obtaining qualified persons to assist him and if he became ill or retired the people in the community would need a new service.

On May 13, 1969 Tupper Lake held its first first aid course. It was under the direction of Charles Bosman and the training director for the newly formed Tupper Lake Volunteer Rescue and Ambulance. It was open to everyone interested in learning first aid useful in family life. It was also organized in the hope of getting people involved with the new ambulance service.

The course was taught by Charles Bosman, Bob Mensink, William Frenette and Vincent Lopardo.

Mr. Dattola so believed in the need of the ambulance service that he personally signed a note at the Tupper Lake National Bank to helped to buy and equip the first ambulance and started the first fund drive. He asked the local businesses for $100 and collected over $9,000. A Big Wolf Lake camp owner donated an impressive $4,000 alone.

In 1973 the members of the rescue squad presented Dan Dattola with a plaque for his major role in spearheading the first fundraiser which made the ambulance service a reality.

In August, 1969 a contractual agreement was entered into with the Village of Tupper Lake to house the ambulance and equipment in the Lake Street Garage and to cover heat, electricity, maintenance and gas for the vehicle. The ambulance was delivered on August 9. A contract was also entered into with the Town of Altamont which provided radio equipment including a base station at Mercy General Hospital and mobile unit in the ambulance.

On August 14, 1969 the first board members were elected. Robert Mensink was elected captain; Hubert Parent, co-captain; Charles Dunning, treasurer; Hubert Felio, secretary; and eight team leaders, Roland Richer, Dan Hinkson, Charles Bosman, John Stock, Richard DeForest, Vincent Lopardo, Tom Fortune and William C Johnson, Jr.

On September 1, 1969 the Volunteer Ambulance Squad handled its first call. The equipment consisted of a 1962 Cadillac and a 1963 Ford panel truck that was donated by Somers Garage. Besides answering hundreds of calls for sick and injured the ambulance service started stand-by service for special events such as Fourth of July and school sporting events. The volunteers held disaster drills and accident drills for training purposes.

The first Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) course was given in 1970. With no trainings available in Tupper Lake, volunteers had to travel to Saranac Lake and Lake Placid twice a week for four months to receive the required training needed under state law. EMTs are required to refresh their certificate every three years.

All members of the rescue had to complete Red Cross training and some had completed one of three Emergency Medical Technician courses (EMT). They held first aid courses for the police, schools, village employees and anyone who was interested in learning.

In 1971 the Tupper Lake Central School donated a one-acre lot on High Street to the rescue squad. In just one day the walls went up with the volunteered help of local masons. The cost of the completed building came in under $20,000. By this time the ambulance service consisted of a 1974 Medicruiser, 1971 Hi-Rise ambulance and a 1966 pick-up which members transformed to a crash truck that was equipped with a generator, Port-A-Power unit, other things need for night time rescues. They were all equipped with oxygen and two-way radios.

With the help of so many volunteers and the cooperation of local businesses making the many materials needed at cost the construction of the building and equipment was paid for by the rescue squad without any taxpayer support. The members relied on memorial donations from the community and fundraising.

The squad covered calls from half way to Long Lake, to Piercefield, Childwold and Conifer areas as well as the entire Tupper Lake area. This is still true today. The rescue also covers back up calls when needed to assist Long Lake or Saranac Lake Rescue squads in the event of major car accidents or an over abundance of emergency calls.

On May 9, 1999 the present rescue building located at 49 High Street was dedicated to Ann LaVoy and a plaque was mounted to the outside of the building. Ann was a charter member of the squad. She served on the squad for 30 years. Ann was an EMT-Critical Care Tech, Red Cross instructor, served as a secretary, rescue historian, day supervisor, Team 8 Captain, and chief.

On April 21, 1982 she was elected the first woman chief of the squad. Up to 1982, she was the first woman chief in the entire upstate area. Ann passed away on January 15, 1999. The board and members agreed that the plaque will be taken down and the new building will be dedicated in Ann memory in the near future.

In May of 1999 the Town of Altamont took the initiative to help with the shortage of trained rescue personnel by offering to pay half of the estimated annual salary of an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). They also provided that person's health insurance. The Town of Altamont did this for only a few years. The rescue began billing for their services to cover costs of the trucks, equipment, gas and to cover the cost of having EMT's on 24/7.

Ben Morin was the squad's first paid staff member who was hired, because volunteers were having trouble covering the schedule with Critical Care Techs. Ben covered most of the weekday daytime slots for Advance Life Support and did a night shift or two for many years. Once the squad officers started billing the income eventually allowed the rescue to improve. It was able to purchase the rolling stock and equipment without struggling so hard. The Town of Altamont was able to stop assisting with the funds to pay the paid staff.

The squad now functions on the money from billing the insurance companies and on the memorial/thank you donations from family and friends of those who have been transported and served by the squad.

The agency now has contracts with Piercefield, Town of Tupper Lake, Santa Clara, and Harrietstown to cover their territory which is covered under each town's taxes.

The events of September 11, 2001 will be forever embedded in the minds of everyone, from the families of those affected by the planes hitting the Twin Towers, the plane that crashed into the Pentagon and in the Pennsylvania field, to all the emergency personnel who responded to the aid of those in need.

Don Jaquish, deputy coordinator of Essex County Emergency Services at the time led a team of rescue volunteers into lower Manhattan. Also, 36 EMT's, and six rescue trucks from agencies in the Franklin County area went to help with the rescue efforts at ground zero. Volunteers from our local rescue squad traveled to assist, although they did not actually get the opportunity to assist in any of the rescue efforts, it is an experience that will stay with them. A few of those who had this opportunity were Brian Dukett, Danielle Amell, Rod Bashant, Shawn Larabie and Ben Morin.

Bob Collier started volunteering with the squad around 1976. He remembers being horns-waggled into it by Tom Walsh. He got into the his first EMT course that was taught by Vince Lopardo at the community room at the Ivy Terrace here in Tupper Lake. Bob was chief for a few years, and sat on the board for several years.

About 1983 he took the second critical care tech (CCT) class that was held at NCCC. Bob was also a county delegate to the Mountain Lakes Regional EMS Council for many years, stepping down about 1998. He became an EMT instructor in the mid- 80's and taught EMT and then CCT courses here in Tupper Lake and in Saranac Lake for a number of years.

He also did a First Responder Course in Newcomb. He later went on to paramedic school at Hudson Valley Community college around 1993 with the objective of getting a job with North Country Life Flight. He was hired for North Country Life Flight in mid-1995.

Around 2000 he changed jobs to become a full-time paid medic for Tupper Lake Volunteer Ambulance and Emergency. Ben Morin and Bob covered pretty much all the schedule. Bob was a valued member of the squad and retired in October, 2013. He took some time off, but when the squad needed some shifts filled in Bob volunteered. Bob enjoyed his time on the squad. He once stated, "I was always gratified when I could get a very sick patient to smile or laugh during our journey to Saranac Lake.” He recalls never wanting to or never did have to assist a child birth in the ambulance, he remembers having a few close calls but no cigars. He was always glad to see folks stand up to help cover the schedule whether as volunteers or staff. He frequently told folks, "there's no such thing as 'just a driver'".

The squad at one point had a crash truck. The first one was a mechanic's truck donated by the Draper Corporation. Initially it was equipped with fairly primitive hand tools but later with the Jaws of Life power tools. The squad had trouble getting the trainings and staffing for this, so they gave it up, when the fire department members here decided they would take over that responsibility.

On February 28, 1991, was a tragic day for the Black family. It was the third for the family since 1951 when Aloney Black, 30 and Stephen Black, 21, cousins died as a result of their vehicle going through the ice in the channel between Raquette Pond and the Big Tupper. An air boat had to be flown in from Warrensburg, and divers had to be brought from Plattsburgh. Mike Chartier and Guy Hurteau were certified ice divers but the state police wouldn't allow them onto the ice during the incident because they weren't part of an agency. The two realized there was a need for a dive/ice rescue. Mike and Guy and fellow diver Tommy Snye, first approached the fire department who turned them away. They then approached the squad whose leaders said, "ok, we'll start a team for ice rescue".

Ice rescue is different than a “dive team.” Bob went to an ice rescue in Westport shortly after the Black incident. It was after that he wrote the first ice rescue protocols and got a grant from Senator Ron Stafford to buy the squad's first equipment in that field. The dive team was organized and put into motion in 1994.

The volunteers are prepared and trained to respond to water-related emergencies including potential drowning victims, recovery of victims or objects. The team over the years has been involved in both open water and ice rescues. They were willing to respond to aid victims human or pets who have gone through the ice. The team is made up of different people with different skills. There are certified ice divers and some are certified regular divers. The team also has other members who are standby safety personnel to assist on the boat. The dive team's rolling stock is now made up of one rescue boat, one pontoon boat and the Dive 5 truck which carries all the equipment for the divers and gives the divers a warm and safe place to change into their gear.

In April 2002 the Tupper Lake Moose Lodge #640 made a donation of $500 to the dive team to purchase a new camera. The donation made it possible to purchase a new state of the art underwater camera. The camera attaches to the bottom of the boat, transmits underwater photos to a black and white screen. The camera includes a light, it records videos so they can be viewed later for analysis.

The dive team helps with the Tin Man that has taken place here in Tupper Lake for over 30 years now. Traditionally the team members put out all the buoys for the Tin Man as well as having a boat with divers, EMTs, and safety personnel, in the water during the swimming portion of the event. The team has also helped with the Lake Placid Iron Man event. The members have also been on stand by during the local fishing derby event that is held every February. If needed the divers are dispatched under mutual aid to Saranac Lake, Long Lake.

About 2012 the squad officers hired Jordan Favro, with the impending retirement of Bob Collier.

Jordan is a paramedic and lives in Lake Placid. He is also a firefighter and is an assistant chief in Lake Placid. Jordan handles all of the daily functions of the squad, from billing to ordering supplies, as well as covering rescue calls.

In 2016 the squad decided to hire a paid driver due to the shortage of drivers during the hours of 6 a.m. and 6p.m. Monday through Friday when most of the volunteers are at work.

In November 2016 the squad's board of directors applied for a special permit to establish its new headquarters at 169 Main Street, the former Bartel Motors. With the new rigs the squad had outgrown its previous location of 49 High Street.

At the November 2016 planning board meeting the permit was approved and the squad members moved forward with renovations to bring the Bartel building up to code for the ambulance. The upstairs of the building was converted to living quarters for the paid techs, while the bays were brought up to meet operational needs. A security system also had to be installed.

Chief Wayne LaPierre said he hopes that the state Department of Transportation will soon install a caution light that can be switched on as the ambulance leaves the bay to alert on coming traffic that the rescue will be entering the roadway.

On March 1, 2017 the Tupper Lake Rescue will officially move into its new location at 169 Main Street.

In 2018 the Tupper Lake Rescue Squad purchased a brand new 2019 PL Custom medallion series vehicle with a “medic in mind” interior layout and mounted on a 2019 Ford E450 chassis. On August 2, 2019 the brand new ambulance took its first call.

The squad currently has five rigs, Dive 5 is a 2000, Rescue 569 is the newest rig is a 2016; Rescue 767 is a 2006, is used for the dive team, The squad is made up of approximately 40 members. It currently has five volunteer EMT's, one paid driver, eight paid employees that travel from Canton, Saranac Lake, Lake Placid, Massena and Malone.

If anyone would like to make a donation to this very worthy cause, checks should be mailed to the Tupper Lake Volunteer Ambulance and Emergency Squad at PO Box 901, Tupper Lake, NY 12986. All donations are greatly appreciated and will be used to help with the cost of acquiring supplies and new equipment. The squad is also always in need of volunteers. If anyone is interested in becoming a volunteer, they can contact any member of the rescue or stop at the station and pick up an application.

The squad members appreciate the ongoing support from the residents of this and neighboring communities.

46th Tupper Lake Art Show features local artists

Dan McClelland

Art Show copy.jpg

by Ian Roantree

Hundreds of artworks hang in Tupper Arts. They’ve been there since August 14 and will remain through to September 7. Those artworks are part of the 46th annual Tupper Lake Art Show which is displaying artworks across a variety of artistic media including paintings, photographs, ceramics, woodcrafts, sculptures and more, all made from artists young and old.

Exhibit visitors can expect landscapes, still life, portraits and abstract works that will captivate any art lover.

Nearly 60 artists, some local, some not, are featured in this exhibit. Despite their geographical differences, each artists shares one thing in common: they all have a connection to our community and town in some way or another.

Whether it be they’ve spent their lives since youth camping around our lakes and in our forests, or they’ve been taken and inspired by the natural beauty of the Adirondacks and of Tupper Lake, which is apparent in some works, ones that feature familiar flora, fauna and bodies of water.

The artists featured in the Tupper Lake Art Show are Susan Whiteman, Annoel Krider, Yvona Fast, Pam Belleville, Ted Merrihew, Andrea Grout, Marie Cogar, Bev McKeown, Ruth A Freeman, Joe Cavallaro, Trisha Best, Pete Van Dien, Casey Dunn, Jill V. Burke, Jim Bullard, Stacey Pope, Marilu Andre, Mary Michelfelder, Joe Sellin, Rena Sellin, Colleen Kenniston, Gary Larsen, Ruth Christie Crotty, Jeanne Vincent, Janice Lockhart, Susan Brandi, Linda Benzon, Lynda Mussen, Rebecca Bissonette, Lloyd Bayer, Barry Lobdell, Jeri Wright, Dan Hausner, Megan Pickering, Kimberly Nicolle, Jacqueline Hornstein, Paul Chartier, Robert Keough, Gary Casagrain, Mark Kurtz, Sally Neenan, Eleanor Sweeney, Sandra Hildreth, Janet Yeates, Barbara Keough, Mary Shaheen, Beth Johnson, Tina Siebel, Newt Greiner, Dennon Waluntus, Jacqueline H. Altman, Pamela May, Michelle LeBlanc Blair, Randy Jones, Kim Bedore Weinheimer, Randy Tate, Gail Marirea, Jaime Meade and Brenda Hollis.

There’s also several works created by the talented students of Tupper Lake Middle High School, many of whose artworks were on display in the high school library back in May for the 2019/2020 school budget vote.

In these works, a viewer can see the application of artistic techniques like color blending, texture, and illustration—techniques learned and perfected in the classroom.

Those artists are Logan Sparks, Sandra Trabakoulus, Riley Strader, Allie Bishop, Alex Dukette, Kaylee Rabideau, T. Fox, Ashley Harris, Kate Harriman, Emily Burns, Grace Mitchell, Molly Sullivan and Logan Dominie.

This annual art show lines up with a few Tupper Arts milestones. Last week, on Wednesday 21, Tupper Arts celebrated their first anniversary. Tupper Arts also officially became a non-profit organization, having received status as a 501c3.

County paving help falling off?

Dan McClelland

Town officials here reacted to news reports that the Franklin County Highway Department will not do as much as it has in the past to help towns get their roads paved this year.

Reacting to recent news reports about the changing county highway department operation, Deputy Supervisor John Quinn told his colleagues this month that helping towns now with paving of roads is “now a low priority” for the county.

In the past the county highway department has brought its paving machine and a crew to help Tupper Lake and Harrietstown town crews tackle their early fall paving projects.

“It doesn't do much good (for the county) to tell us in late October that we're now yours to help, when the batch plants are closed and there's no asphalt,” asserted Mr. Quinn.

He said he was aware Harrietstown officials have expressed their dissatisfaction with the new county highway department plan.

Mr. Quinn said he has discussed the issue with Highway Superintendent Bill Dechene and Supervisor Patti Littlefield at length in recent weeks.

He said while he wasn't fully aware of the history of the county helping towns to pave their roads, he said he understands that many towns and the county purchased the paving equipment cooperatively years ago. It has been shared since.

“-And now the county is saying we may not have the time to serve all towns! We have our own needs to meet!”

He said it seems the county has encountered some scheduling and manpower problems and “it is making a county problem a town problem now!”

The councilman said the towns in southern Franklin County get “precious little help” from the county. “Our tax dollars go north, as a rule.”

“We need to ask our county legislator (Paul Maroun) to push that issue and free up the county paver to help us out!”

“We got a quote for paving (not including materials) of $5,500 per day. That's a budget killer!”

Supervisor Littlefield said she recently met with other town supervisors in Malone, as part of a process by which town supervisors meet with county officials and others periodically to talk about government efficiencies and how governments can work together to save taxpayers money.

“The topic of paving came up at the last meeting. The gist of it is...and we haven't officially been told...we're not getting the county paver this fall.”

She said the county's aim this year is for the county road crew to pave county roads which have been neglected in recent years while the equipment and crew has been sent to towns and villages to help them with their projects.

She added the crew has been assigned here in recent years, and to other towns. “This year, however, they are saying they want to pave county roads that have been let go, because the county paver has gone to towns to help.”

Complicating the paving work by the county crew is the fact, she said, that the state first takes product from the various batch plants around the North Country and the mix for the state is different.

“The batch plants cater to the state. So we can't get our asphalt each year until the state finishes getting theirs.”

The supervisor noted that sometimes that just leaves weeks at the end of each paving season for the towns and counties to get their paving jobs completed.

“So while I agree with John- the county needs to revamp the way it does things, but if the county is saying it's a one and done year thing,” something could be worked out for this one year.

If the county takes too long to do all its work, before it comes to help the towns, it is likely it will be too late to do any paving this fall as the batch plants close in late October, she told her board members.

The supervisor said several paving projects here were budgeted this year using state CHIPs money. “The money we use to purchase asphalt and lay it down each year comes from the CHIP!”

She said she wished John Klimm, who has been pushing the town to use those funds to fix his Upper Park St. sidewalk (see related story this week) had still been present that evening to hear that.

She said that his figure of over $300,000 the town has received in the past three years was correct. “And even if we used all of that and added more, that wouldn't be enough to pay for that new sidewalk!”

In answer to a question from Mr. Quinn she said some of the CHIPs money each year goes into the highway department budget for paving and paving materials and all of it is accounted for in the town books. “Every penny!” she stressed.

Again in response to Mr. Klimm's assertions earlier that night, she said the CHIPs money each year is used for many other things- roads, sidewalks, culverts each year in the work done by the town crew.

She said it was less than a year ago that her board learned it was responsible for caring for sidewalks along state highways here. “So it is unfair to accuse the town of not spending its money on a sidewalk that up until 12 months ago we did not know we might be responsible for!”

Mrs. Littlefield said the town is still in discussions with the state DOT about what's the best solution there: fixing the old sidewalk or removing it.

After talking to many of Mr. Klimm's neighbors the jury is still out on that.

“We are not going to jump into spending $300,000 on a new sidewalk until we know it's the right thing to do!”

“-And that may take a while because we know things in government take awhile. There's a process!”

On another paving issues discussed by town leaders on August 8, Councilman Mike Dechene wondered who was responsible for new striping on Stetson Road that the county crew paved last fall. He said traveling the road at night was dangerous without stripes.

Highway Superintendent Bill Dechene said the county crew was planning to do it this fall.

“The county highway superintendent told me they didn't apply the reflective, epoxy paint on last fall because it was too cold,” the supervisor said. Temporary paint was apparently used in it place but it wore off over the winter.

“The county superintendent told me he planned to do it this year,” she added. “He indicated to me he would do it when they came up to pave!”

“When you are driving there at night on a wet highway, without stripes, you don't know where you are driving,” Councilman Dechene stressed.

“The southern part of the county- paying most of the county taxes”- continues to get the poorest service from the county!

Plenty of great pieces in Tupper Lake Art Show underway now

Dan McClelland

Over three dozen local and area artists' officially opened the Tupper Lake Arts Show with a reception and “meet the artists” event last Wednesday. The show, which features some very exquisite and detailed artistic pieces, runs through September 7 so there's plenty of time to take in all the talent between now and then at the Tupper Arts headquarters at 106 Park Street. Jim Lanthier provided the Free Press this week with this great group shot of most of the artists, photographers and sculptors participating.

Over three dozen local and area artists' officially opened the Tupper Lake Arts Show with a reception and “meet the artists” event last Wednesday. The show, which features some very exquisite and detailed artistic pieces, runs through September 7 so there's plenty of time to take in all the talent between now and then at the Tupper Arts headquarters at 106 Park Street. Jim Lanthier provided the Free Press this week with this great group shot of most of the artists, photographers and sculptors participating.