Friday, February 26, 2010

We're going to need a bigger tent

Welcome, boys and girls, to the greatest show on earth.

P.T. Barnum has nothing on Albany. Andrew Cuomo is still missing-in-action. GOP gubernatorial candidate Rick Lazio is David Paterson's new best friend. The Governor isn't running for a full term.

And now, a holdover from Spitzer-gate is announcing her intention to run for governor.

Plus, Hiram Monserrate is running for the seat he was just expelled from, via a 52-8 vote by his peers.

The Times Union's Jimmy Vielkind is reporting that Kristin Davis, the woman involved in the scandal that ended in Eliot Spitzer's resignation in early 2008, is planning on petitioning her way onto the ballot. You can read Vielkind's report here at Capitol Confidential.

Madame Davis will run on a platform featuring the legalization of prostitution and marijuana as a means of cutting into the state's massive deficit. She'll also campaign in support of gay marriage.

At this point, it will be interesting to see how lawmakers respond. Paterson has submitted his budget, unpopular as it may be, and the state has to do something. The ball is no longer in Paterson's court.

Paterson has a press conference scheduled at 3 p.m.

Reports: Paterson is cooked

The Associated Press is reporting that Governor David Paterson plans on officially suspending his reelection bid, only days after officially announcing it.

In the wake of the third part of a New York Times trilogy about the Governor, which detailed alleged tampering by the Governor and his State Police detail of a woman who was considering pressing charges for domestic violence against a top aid, Democratic support for the Governor has become all but nonexistent.

Paterson is expected to issue a release sometime today outlining his intentions.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Billy Demong claims gold medal

Years of hard work finally paid-off for Vermontville-native Billy Demong Thursday, as he out-skied everyone to take the gold in the men's large-hill Nordic combined event.

The victory was even sweeter for Demong and Team USA, as long-time teammate Johnny Spillane crossed the finish line right behind Demong to take silver.

Demong skied the 10-kilometer course in 25 minutes, 32.9 seconds. Bernhard Gruber claimed the bronze, 10.8 seconds behind Demong.

Congratulations, Billy!

Photo credit goes to Elaine Thompson of the Associated Press.

NYT's bombshell airs Paterson's dirty laundry

The third time might just be the charm at the old gray lady, as the New York Times ran its third piece today of an epic trilogy detailing, or maybe expediting, the fall of Governor David Paterson.

Unlike the last two stories, this one contains substantial amounts of quotes from the public record.

It alleges Paterson, and the state police, have gotten fairly involved with a domestic violence case against the Governor's trusted aid David Johnson.

Here's the NYT story.

UMP, fire tower hearings postponed

The state Department of Environmental Conservation has canceled a pair of public hearing scheduled for tonight due to inclement weather.

The hearings regarding the Unit Management Plans for the Hurricane Mountain and the St. Regis Canoe Area – Jay Mountain Wilderness Area were slated to be held this evening at the Keene Central School and the Freer Science Building at Paul Smith’s College respectively.

Included within the amended UMPs are provisions that would require the removal of the fire towers on St. Regis and Hurricane mountains.

DEC has yet to reschedule the hearings.

Police investigating fatal fire at St. Lawrence County farm

State police in Massena are investigating a fire that killed one migrant worker and injured three others.

According to troopers, the blaze broke out at approximately 3 p.m. Wednesday at the Maple View Dairy Farm in the St. Lawrence County town of Madrid.

Dispatchers with St. Lawrence County 911 received a phone call reporting a trailer fire on the farm. Soon after, firefighters and rescue crews from Madrid, Waddington, Morley, Lisbon, Potsdam and West Potsdam arrived on scene.

Upon extinguishing the blaze, firefighters located a deceased subject within the trailer. The individual’s identity is being withheld pending an autopsy.

Officials indicate the deceased, along with three others, were foreign workers employed at the Maple View Dairy Farm.

35-year-old Oscar Rufoio was transported to Canton-Potsdam Hospital and later transferred to Syracuse University Hospital, where he’s listed in critical condition. 34-year-old Carlos Perez was taken to Massena Memorial Hospital and later transferred to Fletch Allen Health Care – his condition is unknown.

A fourth man, 21-year-old Valente Francisco, was transported to Massena Memorial Hospital, where he was treated and released.

The St. Lawrence County Fire Investigation Team was on scene and is assisting state police in the investigation.

Behind the scenes video of SI cover shoot

Check out this behind-the-scenes video of the Sports Illustrated cover shoot featuring Lake Placid's Andrew Weibrecht, who took bronze in last Friday's men's super-G at the Vancouver Winter Olympics:

Sports Illustrated cover shoot

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Local snowmobile club donates to AMC

This is from Joe Riccio at the Adirondack Medical Center:

"Amy Durkee, left, a CT Technologist at AMC and secretary for Tri-Lakes Snowmobilers club, along with Ally Scollin, RN in the AMC ER, and Quoida Lauzon, an LPN student at NCCC, show off the stuffed Teddy Bears donated by the snowmobiling club to the AMC ER."

Are the Olympics sexist?

Only weeks before the kickoff of the Vancouver Olympic games, the IOC came under some pretty heavy fire for not allowing female ski jumping into the competition.

The IOC Chairman was quoted as saying that the rough landings associated with ski jumping are just too harsh for a woman's fragile little body.

This, of course, went over like the obligatory flatulence in church.

The more I watch the games, the more I see an apparent sex-based gender bias.

Female hockey players barely touch each other, let alone actually check, and never fight. Female bobsledders and lugers begin their runs at lower starting points, a move meant to reduce speed.

If we look at the biological facts surrounding the differences between the sexes, it can be rationally and objectively stated that, in general, women are smaller and built significantly more lightly than their male counterparts.

Darwin explained this through the concept of sexual selection, where males must compete with each other for access to mates, while females have the privilege of making the ultimate choice.

In short, males would be selected to be larger because we have to beat the crap out of each other in order to reproduce.

This begs the question: does the fact that women are smaller and less muscle bound warrant a viable justification for stripping some of the "rigor" from female sports?

Or, is this just an extension of an outdated Victorian ideal of the "proper lady?"

Thefts at Whiteface, employee arrested in connection

We here at WNBZ have been receiving reports about the arrest of an ORDA employee for allegedly steeling a fairly large amount of skis, snowboards and related gear from patrons of the mountain.

The reports were at least partially confirmed today by ORDA spokesman John Lundin, who told me that there has been an arrest of an ORDA employee for the alleged acts of thievery.

At last check, the state police are remaining tight-lipped about the incident(s), citing an ongoing investigation.

Although we have received a few tips from anonymous sources about who the alleged equipment pilferer actually is, nothing has been officially confirmed as of yet.
We will be sure to file a story as soon as more of the details are officially released.

Bill Demong takes silver in team event

Vermontville-native Bill Demong took home silver yesterday in the men's Nordic combined team event.

The four-man team of Brett Camerota, Todd Lodwick, Johnny Spillane and Demong (pictured here from left to right, photo credit goes to Charlie Krupa of the Associated Press) finished just five seconds behind Austria in a time of 49 minutes and 36.8 seconds.

The U.S. team started in second position following the jumping portion of the competition. Demong anchored the team, hitting the course about 14 seconds behind Austria's Mario Stecher. The two battled it out right to the finish, but Stecher got the edge coming into the stadium.

Adirondack Daily Enterprise senior sports writer Lou Reuter spoke with North Country Public Radio's Brian Mann following the race:

"Billy actually had a little bit of a lead on the last downhill, but he was unable to maintain that lead, there might have been another 500 meters to go," he said. "Bill was down 14 seconds when he started his leg and he ended up knocking nine seconds off; he was pleased, and everyone was pleased with a silver medal."

Brian also chatted with Billy's mother, Helen Demong, a music teacher at the Saranac Lake High School -- where Billy graduated.

"That was the most incredible race," she said. "The whole day has been spectacular. Watching our guys jump so well, and that relay couldn't have been better. Just incredible."

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

On the cover of the Rolling... er, Sports Illustrated

Andrew Weibrecht's face wasn't all that recognizable before last Friday.

That's not the case anymore.

This week, Weibrecht's image will grace the cover of Sports Illustrated, a publication that reaches three million subscribers and is read by some 23 million adults every week.

(Thanks, Wikipedia)

Weibrecht placed third in the men's Super-G last week to take home a bronze for Team USA. He's joined on the cover by fellow medalists Lindsey Vonn, Bode Miller and Julia Mancuso.

Weibrecht is from Lake Placid, and is one of many local athletes who've excelled at the games in Vancouver.

Ogdensburg Diocese gets new bishop

A spokeswoman for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Ogdensburg announced today that Father Terry LaValley will be the organizations next bishop.

The selection was made by Pope Benedict XVI.

LaValley is a native of Mooers Forks in Clinton County.

Saints men in playoff action tonight

The North Country Community College men's basketball team plays Adirondack Community College tonight at 7 p.m. in Saranac Lake. The Saints have had a stellar season so far, and tonight's winner moves on to play #1 seed Herkimer Community College at the Region III Tournament hosted by Jefferson Community College.

In other local sports action, both the Saranac Lake and Lake Placid boys' hockey teams have big playoff match-ups tonight.

The third-seeded Red Storm battle it out with sixth-seed Saranac Central School. Lake Placid, ranked #4, takes on fifth-seed Northeastern Clinton. Both games start at 6:30 p.m. -- SL plays at the Civic Center, LP plays at the Olympic Center.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Holy Carp!

New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, wants two sets of locks in Chicago immediately closed, even before legislation is passed to force them to be.

Gillibrand is joining numerous environmental groups, who worry that if the locks are left open, the two species of massive Asian Carp could find their way into the Great Lakes and spread throughout the entire region.

According to the University of Notre Dame, these damn things grow up to 100 pounds and four feet in length.

Bow hunting of the giant Carp is apparently catching on in the Midwest, as a quick Google search yielded dozens of tour guides willing to take a wanting Carp slayer out after these monsters.

Here is Gillibrand's Press Release:

Senate Bill Would Require Immediate Federal Action
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, today pushed the Close All Routes and Prevent Asian Carp Today Act of 2010, which would require the Secretary of Army to temporarily close the O’Brien and Chicago Locks as a temporary management solution to stop the spread of Asian Carp making their way into the Great Lakes and toward New York’s waterways. The closure would be a temporary solution until a long-term management strategy is developed. On Thursday, the EPW Committee will hold a hearing entitled “Efforts to Prevent Introduction of Asian Carp into the Great Lakes.”
“The Asian Carp pose a traumatic and long term threat to the Great Lakes and the enormous economic benefit the Lakes provide to New York and the nation,” Senator Gillibrand. “The Lakes help drive our economy, draw tourism, offer endless recreation and provide drinking water for millions of families. The Asian Carp could potentially destroy all of that, disrupting the food chain and disturbing the natural ecosystem permanently. We need to take aggressive action now to stop the spread of Asian Carp and establish a long-term solution that will keep New York’s waterways and natural habitats free from invasive species.”
In December, Senator Gillibrand wrote to the Army Corps of Engineers, Environmental Protection Agency, Coast Guard, and Fish and Wildlife Services, calling on the federal government to take immediate and bold action to stop this mounting threat. She also announced EPW Committee passage of the Asian Carp Prevention and Control Act, which would prohibit importing and shipment of the invasive species.
Just last month, New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo joined the legal effort with Attorneys General of Wisconsin, Minnesota and Ohio in supporting the Michigan Attorney General’s request of an injunction to close a Chicago canal connecting Lake Michigan and the Mississippi water basin.
Asian Carp are large, prolific and consume vast amounts of food – weighing up to 100 pounds and ranging as long as four feet – disrupting the food chain that supports native fish. Their large size, ravenous appetites and rapid rate of reproduction pose a significant threat to New York’s ecosystem. This aggressive invasive species could destroy the Great Lakes fish populations, devastating the $7 billion recreational fishing industry, tourism industry and the general economic well being of the entire region.
The economy and the ecosystem of the entire Great Lakes region are at risk because of the imminent threat of the invasive Asian Carp. Current efforts to control the spread of Asian Carp include two electrical barriers around Chicago where the Mississippi River links to the Great Lakes. However, these efforts have fallen short, as illustrated by evidence indicating that Asian Carp may have migrated past the electrical barrier. The DNA evidence found implies that the Asian Carp may now be as close as 6 miles from Lake Michigan, 20 miles closer than previously thought. The invasion of Asian Carp into Lake Michigan is significant, since at that point they will have the ability to migrate to all of the Great Lakes.

Written In Stone?

After nearly four decades, environmental groups and local governments are ready to take a risk and reopen the ever-divisive state Land Master Plan.

Over the last several months, calls for reopening the SLMP have grown louder.
The SLMP outlines acceptable and non-acceptable uses on state lands based on the land-use designation ascribed to it by the Adirondack Park Agency.

It also outlines if man-made structures are allowed or not on state land of a given designation.

Historically, both local governments and green groups have balked at the notion of reopening the SLMP out of fear that it could go bad for them, one way or another.

A DEC proposal to amend the Unit Management plans for the Hurricane Mountain Primitive Area and the St. Regis Mountain Canoe Area is yet another example of a situation that could call for SLMP amendments.

The proposed UMP amendments would require the demolition of the two fire towers in the areas, something that local officials argue is tantamount to selectively gutting the region's cultural history.

Some environmentalists are quick to point out that structures like fire towers are antithetical to the concept of Wilderness and therefore should be removed.

APA Chairman Curt Stiles has repeatedly argued that SLMP amendments aren't that pressing of an issue. He instead would prefer to see the agency's operating procedures revised through either new legislation or amendments to the APA Act itself.

So here's the question: After nearly 40 years, is it time to reopen the SLMP or is Stiles correct in saying that APA operating reform is of greater importance? If it is time to dive into the SLMP, what would you like to see changed?

Got syrup?

When you receive an email from someone named Morgan Fukumoto, you do one of two things: 1.) mark it as spam or 2.) check to see if the sender is talking about pancakes. This morning, the latter was the case.

Tomorrow is National Pancake Day -- a holiday created by investors at the International House of Pancakes. That's not true, but for all my research, this holiday seems to have very close ties to IHOP.

FACT: IHOP was the first business to use the letter "i" as a prefix. FACT: I just made that last comment up.

Okay, all joking aside, here are some quick facts about National Pancake Day provided by Mr. (or Mrs.) Fukumoto:

* Pancake lovers donated nearly $1.5 million to children's charities, far exceeding the fundraising goal.

* IHOP served 2.5 million free pancakes on National Pancake Day 2009.

* All of the free pancakes served on National Pancake Day 2009 would have created a stack more than 20 miles high.

* Since the inception of National Pancake Day in 2006, IHOP has raised more than $3.25 million and given away more than 6.1 million pancakes to support charities in the communities in which it operates.

* National Pancake Day 2009 was IHOP's largest one-day event in the company's 51-year history.

Trouble for Smith, Meeks?

The New York Post reports that a pair of New York Democrats may be in some hot water over a charity set up to help victims of hurricane Katrina.

State Senator Malcolm Smith and Assemblyman Gregory Meeks, both Democrats, launched New Yorkers Organized to Assist Hurricane Families following the devastating hurricane. But Louis Rainey, who worked as an unpaid adviser for the project, says victims "never got a dime" from the charity.

Tax documents say the charity raised $31,000 -- but returns say just $1,392 was paid out. At the time, Meeks told the Associated Press the funds were being used to "help sustain displaced evacuees."

Smith and Meeks both declined comment.

Check out the New York Post report here.

Here comes David...

New York Governor David Paterson was at his alma mater over the weekend to officially announce his campaign for a full 4-year term as governor.

Speaking at Hofstra University -- where Paterson attended law school -- he predicted victory. He left Long Island for stops in western New York and Rochester.

No challengers have declared, but most New Yorkers expect to hear from Attorney General Andrew Cuomo by the end of March. Cuomo is heavily favored in a potential Democratic primary match-up next September. He also has the edge in fundraising, with $16 million on the books compared to Paterson's $3 million.

Paterson's approval ratings tanked last year, but have recovered slightly as many New Yorkers view his efforts to solve the state's fiscal problems favorably.

And, some pundits have become critical of Cuomo for not making his intentions known. Several potential AG candidates are waiting for Cuomo to make up his mind.

Where do you stand on the potential Democratic battle? Or are you gunning for Republican candidate Rick Lazio?

Saturday, February 20, 2010

John Brown Farm slated for closure

This is by no means the first place you'll read this -- but officials confirmed yesterday that the John Brown Farm historic site in Lake Placid is slated for closure in Governor David Paterson's 2010-2011 Executive Budget.

However, North Elba Town Supervisor Roby Politi told me Thursday there's "no way we'll let the John Brown Farm close."

"I see it as an opportunity for the community," he said. "If in fact the Governor decides to cut those kinds of costs, this is a perfect fit for the town of North Elba because we have a designated Park District here that was established for the 1932 Olympics. Those lands adjoin the John Brown Farm. If the state decides this is the route they want to go, the town of North Elba would certainly step up to the plate and takeover that facility."

It was also rumored the Crown Point historic site would close, too. My colleague Jon Alexander did some digging Friday, and told me that was not the case and the site was not listed among the 41 parks and historic sites released yesterday.

Fans gather at the LP Friendship Center

Not much going on in the Tri-Lakes today, but because I'm bored, I'm posting this photo, which was being circulated by Jon Lundin at the Olympic Regional Development Authority. It shows some fans at the Vancouver Olympic Winter Games gathering at the Lake Placid Friendship Center in Whistler. "The friendship center highlights Lake Placid Olympic legacy as a host city for two Olympic Winter Games, while giving athletes, dignitaries, visitors, sports organizations and the media a place to gather during the 17 days of the winter games," Lundin said in a release accompanying the photo.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Weibrecht wins bronze

With a solid contingent from the Adirondacks, it was only a matter of time before a hometown athlete took to the podium at the Vancouver games...

Lake Placid's own Andrew Weibrecht earned his first piece of Winter Olympic hardware Friday, placing third in the Men's Super-G.

Stand back nonbelievers

Watch out Tri-Lakes. The WNBZ news team now has a blog, which I guess you figured out if you made it this deep into cyberspace. Hopefully, this becomes a place for Chris and myself to further discuss an issue we are covering, link to other stories of interest and have an ongoing conversation with our listeners.
If you like Talk of the Town, then this just might be the place for you.


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