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News from Lake Placid, 1970

October 24, 2009

My neighbor, Jeff Wood, who lives up the road a piece out here on Route 86 in the Town of Harrietstown, was remodeling a house and found 25 copies of The Journal of Saranac Lake and Lake Placid. The newspaper editor was Fred Ellers and the associate editor was Bill McLaughlin.

There are two copies of The Olympian, a newspaper which Fred had founded on his own in 1968, which then morphed into "The Journal". Bill and Fed each wrote a column, Bill's was named, "With Malice toward Some" and Fred's was named "From Bouquets to Brickbats" and without a doubt the most read section of that 16 page tabloid.

The Oct. 1 issue was the first for the new Journal and Bill and Fred each wrote brief editorials. Here are a few words from Bill:

Article Photos

"The directors did not sign us on as a hired gun, you understand. Our ambitions circumscribe only that area pertinent to putting out a bright and interesting weekly, not weakly, publication which may, with time, become bi-weekly.

"Since our credo includes a tacit guarantee to stay completely local, we expect to involve ourselves with controversial issues as they arise and to retain freedom of speech even when in conflict with our co-workers, editors and board of directors.

"Our pages are open to everyone and we hope you will help us by your active support."


And a few words from Fred ...

"One of the problems that cannot be swept under the rug in the Saranac Lake, Lake Placid area is the always present drug situation. Next Monday evening a t the Harrietstown Town Hall and Tuesday evening at the Olympic Area addition, which we will gladly refer to as a Convention Hall when they start getting some conventions, a young man will speak on drugs.

"Unfortunately the Lake Placid Board of Education refused to allow the speaker into its school system to address the youth of the community. I know not what unknown reason they have for refusing time to Dave Avery but I assume the five board members read the prepared speech, or it's like before they gave their final no. I do not know how close the members of the board have been to the problem, I know how close I have been personally to it, and I would listen to the devil himself were he to speak against drugs."

School merger opposed

One of the big controversies of the day was the proposed merger of the Saranac Lake-Lake Placid school systems, and here are excerpts from a page one story:

"The second in a series of meetings on merger was held in the Lake Placid School auditorium Thursday evening and the newest member of the Board of Education, Dr. Hub Bergamini, came out strongly against the merger in any shape, form or manner.

"The towering, flying physician elected to the Board last spring after pledging to keep an open mind on merger, pro or con, declared in the meeting attended by some 104 taxpayers, teachers and other members of the community he was opposed to merger financially, educationally and in relation to the student body."


Village board goes to court

"The Lake Placid Village Board will begin legal action to obtain an easement for a water line outside the village.

"At their regular meeting Monday night, the five-man board voted to instruct their attorney, Norman Hess, to go to court to obtain an order allowing the village access to about 100 feet of property owned by Timberdoodle Company (owned by Fred Schwartz and located at Holiday Harbor) for the purpose of laying a main water line."

Wow! One usually does not find a follow-up to a story so easily. But in the October 29 issue I discovered this piece about the water line story. Following is an excerpt:

"Schwartz at one time asked for a $5000 easement fee and the right to move the road or build over it at some future date.

"Meanwhile construction on the main line continued on that portion just south of Holiday Harbor. When the backhoe reached a point at the intersection of Lake Street, Schwartz reared back and told the workers that this is as far as you go.

"Village workers said that two Lake Placid policemen armed with rifles appeared on the scene and, before any violence broke out, the matter, according to Mayor Robert Peacock, was settled to the satisfaction of all parties."


Fell appointed to F.S.I.U.

"The temporary commission for the organization of the World University Games, recently appointed by Governor Rockefeller, met in Lake Placid on Saturday, October 17, at the Olympic Arena. Assemblyman Willis H. Stephens of Brewster was elected chairman; Ernest P. Rangazas, representing the State University College at Plattsburgh, will be vice chairman. Rev. J. Bernard Fell of Berlin (New York) and Lake Placid was appointed to serve as executive secretary to the commission."



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