MLK weekend update

Seven below zero this morning.  The dogs very quickly went about their business.  Snow conditions are, well, horrible.  Icy crust over a minimal base.  No snowmobiles seen or heard today.

The ice on Loon Lake is about a foot thick, and clear.  Very little, if any snow on the lake.  Two groups of ice fishermen were out– one from Inman, the other a neighbor from across the bay, and his guests. Lots of perch, no Northern Pike.  A good weekend to be out on the ice.

I cut wood for the fireplace and the pizza oven.  Went out grouse hunting, without Porter (too cold for his paws).  You know how you can tell someone grew up in Western New York? They still put plastic  shopping bags on their feet before they put their winter boots on.

Adirondack Daily Enterprise – Letter

I have a Letter to the Editor in today’s edition of the ADE,  reprinted below. My apologies to those who already received this.

Confirmation Hearings and the Lost Art of Cross-examination

Every once in a while, I  appreciate my legal  education and training.  At the moment, I am finding the Senate confirmation hearings for the Trump Cabinet appointees painful to watch and pretty pointless in direction.  It appears next to impossible for a sitting U.S. Senator to ask a simple question with a cogent follow-up.  We would be better served if the questioning was conducted by second-year law students, participating in a mock-trial competition.  That won’t happen, so I offer up the following advice,  in the hopes that I can stop yelling at my television.

First, do your homework; know your subject.  We have a lengthy record of statements from the President-elect from the campaign.  Use his exact words; catalogue them, and ask the appointee if he or she agrees.  Second, keep it simple.  Ask a question that a sixth grader would understand; this way, hopefully, your fellow Senators will follow your line of questioning. Keep your questions direct and short.  Most importantly, ask a question! Do not make a statement.  Do not grandstand.  Third, be prepared to follow up.  Know what you want to accomplish when you raise an issue.  You should be prepared to explore a line of questions on an issue.   Fourth, listen (this one is hard, I know).   You need to go with the answer you are given, which is not necessarily the answer you anticipated.  You need to be flexible.  It is just not enough to read a series of  questions provided to you by your Staff.  This is an interactive process.

These simple steps will help us all get through an examination of the Cabinet appointees, understand their points of view and get a clear picture of their adherence to the pronouncements of the President-elect.


Frontier Town Redevelopment

Governor Cuomo has been traveling around the State announcing his programs for the upcoming year.  One in particular is very interesting.  The Governor proposes spending up to $32 million to re-vamp the site of the Old Frontier Town at Exit 29 of the Adirondack Northway. The proposal includes plans for a NYSDEC campground and day area along the Schroon River, an equestrian camping and trail riding area and  visitor center.  Paradox Brewery also plans to invest $2.8 million to expand its operations at the site. It is receiving $200,000 in incentives from the Empire State Development Corp.

It’s a Small World

I am doing some work with a national environmental organization, seeking to mitigate impacts associated with large scale infrastructure projects.  My point of contact is a friend  who lives in Houston.

My contact called me this past Thursday night, informing me that two of her colleagues, from Maine and Virginia, happened to be in Albany for a meeting with NYSDEC, and wondered if I could meet with them for coffee, early Friday. We set this up.  

I had never met either of these gentlemen before, but it seemed that we moved through the same, but parallel universe.  Their meeting at NYSDEC was with an old friend– someone I had paddled the 90 mile Adirondack Canoe Classic with back in 1994 and 1995. Like me, both had degrees from Forestry College. Like me, they were raised in Upstate New York, and I knew folks from their hometowns, including the brother in law of one.

But there is more.  Both had lived in Saranac Lake. And one, while working for International Paper, had been married on the Summit of Loon Lake Mountain.

This was the most intriguing cup of coffee I have had in a long time.  I think we discussed work stuff for about two seconds. It would be great to work with these two in the future, but I am actually looking forward more to our next cup of coffee.

New Year’s Weekend at Loon Lake


Conditions are perfect.  We have about a foot of snow, and a Winter Weather Warning for another 6 inches tonight.

The snowmobilers are out and having a great time.  I went out, and ran the grandkids up and down the road.

The sledding hills are in great shape. I used to take my kids to the golf course, until I realized the hill on our road leading up to my house is perfect for sledding.  We have 60% of the grandkids here, and they have begun traveling with friends.    The dogs had a great time, chasing the kids on their sleds.

I have seen several people skiing on the lake, and there are several tracks through the woods.

There is an ice fishing colony rising up on Molasses Bay.  There is a large blue tarp structure right off our camp.  Several four-wheelers are on the ice, checking tip-ups. Made me feel like a slug for not being out there…

I made a conscious decision not to hunt today.  So Paula and I flushed several grouse as we walked through the woods. As I drove down Route 26, I observed a single drake Mallard standing on the ice next to the only open patch of water in the area.  I stopped and we had a brief conversation.  If I had bread, I could have fed him, probably from my hand.

I have my son and his friend splitting wood (for the next pizzas….).  Nice to have some help.

We just watched Frozen.  For the 48th time (second time since Christmas Eve).

Hopefuly everyone is going into Saranac Lake for First Night.  I am wiped out.  As are the dogs– 3PM and they are all sleeping.  Saske is  snoring…. I will join her shortly….

A very nice day

Kinda makes up for yesterday.  Monday night to Tuesday morning we had heavy rain  and melting snow.  It then froze.  Our road was a sheet of ice.  Had to break out the STABILicers, just to walk the dogs.  Had the fire going all day.  

This morning, we woke up to flurries.  About three inches of light fluffy snow.  Gave us some traction on the ice.

I took out one of the snowmobiles.  The unplowed roads were nice.  The snowmobile trail  on the old D&H Railroad Right of Way was just a series of ruts, with frequent patches of slush.  Not fun, and not really safe.

Firing up the outdoor pizza oven for dinner…..