Earliest snow in 20 years blankets Tri-Lakes

(Eight-column Enterprise headline Sept. 16, 1986)

It reached 5 inches in the higher elevations, but the heavy, wet snow knocked trees into the highways, knocked out power lines and made driving hazardous. Here is the lead story by Meri-Jo Borzilleri:

“The earliest snowfall in 20 years blanketed the Tri-Lakes overnight with accumulations of more than an inch in many areas.

“Residents who went to bed Monday night woke up to a white world today and grudgingly hauled out winter clothing before venturing outdoors.

[I believe this lady is really Mary Tyler Moore]

“The snow came as a shock to locals who just a week ago had enjoyed a week of Indian summer with temperatures in the upper 70s. It was equally surprising to weather forecasters who had merely predicted cool temperatures and rain.

“Fourteen Niagara Mohawk crews from Potsdam, Malone, Gouverneur and Saranac Lake are working today to remove snow-laden trees from roads and power lines. Local police and firemen were also kept busy throughout the night fielding calls from residents wanting them to remove downed power lines and snow-covered branches bending onto roads, making driving hazardous.

“A town of Harrietstown plow and loader was busy as early as 4 a.m., working to knock snow off branches blocking roads. [I am sure it was highway super Craig Donaldson at the wheel!]

“Short power outages reportedly affected about 150 customers in the northern section of the village near the General Hospital of Saranac Lake.

“Niagara Mohawk District Manager Robert McIntire said that as of this morning, power is still out in the Rainbow Lake area.

“Arcing power lines, downed by snow-laden trees that fell across them, were so powerful ‘they lit up the sky like floodlights,’ according to Saranac Lake Fire Chief Robert Finn.”

“Arcing power lines carrying a charge of 13,000 volts burned two cars on Circle Street, destroying the vehicles.

“Firemen called to the scene at 2:56 a.m. today were forced to stand by helplessly and watch the cars burn until NiMo could cut the power to the lines.

“The cars parked about 10 feet apart in separate driveways, were already burning when firemen arrived on the scene. The downed wires were jumping so violently that the men could not get near the vehicles to extinguish them.

“‘One arc got the cars going and once it started they were fried’, said Finn, ‘there was nothing we could do.’ ”

Local news in brief

“Governor Marion Cuomo will pay a brief visit to Saranac Lake and Malone Thursday afternoon.

“Cuomo is scheduled to arrive in Saranac Lake at 3:30 p.m. for a tour of the Bionique Laboratories, a cell research facility just outside the village on the Bloomingdale Road.

“Dr. Michael Gabridge, President of Bionique, said the Governor is visiting to salute an expansion project at the lab scheduled for this fall. Bionique recently received a $280,000 loan package from the State of New York and Key Bank for the project.”

“For the first time in its history, the New York State Small Business Advisory Board will meet in Saranac Lake. The 9 a.m. Wednesday meeting will be held at the Hotel Saranac and is open to all, especially members of the business community.

“Irving Caplan of Malone, co-vice chairman of the Board will host the meeting.

“One of the highlights of the morning session will be a panel discussion on economic development in the area, presented by members of several local development agencies. Also on the morning agenda will be presentations by North Country Community College and the Adirondack North Country Association.

“Shane Graham ran for 90 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Saranac Lake Redskin Junior Varsity football team to a 28-0 victory over Peru on Saturday.

“Graham scored on runs of 10, 3 and 11 yards. Clint Niles scored the final touchdown on a 40-yard run. Niles had four carries for 52 yards. Scott Moody had four carries for 32 yards.

“The offensive line did an excellent job of blocking, said Coach Jim Hayden. The linemen are Pat Muzzy, Shawn White, Bill Donaldson, Kevin Brady, Sean McCarthy and Cy Ellsworth. The defense was lead by Niles, Bruce Higginbotham and McCarthy who had 5, 4, and 3 tackles respectively.

“The Saranac Lake Village Police Department is operating without insurance after the policy expired at midnight on Monday.

“‘There is no reason to panic,’ said Village Manager Richard DePuy today in the lapse of coverage that leaves police department personnel and the village unprotected if a lawsuit is filed against them.

“DePuy said because of the lapse, police have been instructed to refrain from ‘aggressive patrolling’, and will not look for minor violations.

“‘We are not going to ride up and down the street and look for somebody,’ DePuy said. ‘We’re not going to look for minor violations.’

“The village has so far been unsuccessful in finding a company to renew the National Union $1 million police professional policy that cost a little more than $8,000 in premiums.”