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Mountains & Valleys

October 31, 2011
Editorial by the Adirondack Daily Enterprise: Publisher Catherine Moore, Managing Editor Peter Crowley

MOUNTAIN - Bravo to the scientists who studied white-nose syndrome, an ailment that threatens to wipe out some species of bats from the Northeast, and determined that the white fungus on the bats' noses and ears is the cause of the disease, not a symptom. Some people have a hard time feeling sympathetic for bats. No, bats aren't the cutest critters in the forest, but neither are the bugs they scarf down. If you can't appreciate bats ecologically (as filling a natural niche) or religiously (as part of God's creation), at least try to consider it selfishly, by thinking about how many mosquitos and blackflies might bite you if we lose our bats forever.


MOUNTAIN - Bravo, too, to the engineers, government workers and volunteers studying and working to bolster and restore rivers and brooks ravaged by Tropical Storm Irene on Aug. 28, especially in the towns of Keene and Jay. In a previous editorial saying this kind of expert collaboration was needed, we said we thought some workers had done irreversible damage in dredging brooks and rivers. Now we're told by engineers who know more about it than we do that that bulldozing wasn't necessarily wrong, and that the fish will come back if the job is done right from here on out. Some trees have already been planted to solidify shorelines, and rock bars will likely be put in. It's a learning experience for everyone, and we're hopeful it will turn out better than we had feared.


MOUNTAIN - Congratulations to the scientists at Trudeau Institute, who recently announced internationally significant discoveries in their research of tuberculosis (Saranac Lake's signature illness) and listeria (making national news lately via contaminated cantaloupes). Saranac Lakers should all be very proud to have such a hard-working and high-achieving institution here.


MOUNTAIN - It's good to hear that state Adirondack Park Agency staff are providing positive guidance for the Adirondack Club and Resort in Tupper Lake. Staff are clearly and consistently arguing that the APA board approve the project with conditions staff proposed earlier this year. Rather than getting hung up on details, staff have dealt with them constructively, setting conditions that address the issues rather than finding reasons to stall or stop the project.

Even if the APA approves it, this resort and the hopeful people of Tupper Lake will be far from in the clear. The developers have set extremely optimistic sales goals that will be hard to achieve. Permit conditions to phase the project gradually - not starting phase 2 until phase 1 is done, etc. - would be wise for all involved.


MOUNTAIN - The Rotary Club of Lake Placid put on a well run, well attended and fun Trivia Night Thursday. The Enterprise team wasn't even close to winning, but we look forward to it next year. We hope the event raised a lot of money for Literacy Volunteers.


VALLEY - It was probably a bad idea for the Lake Placid Central School District to spend about $8,500 outfitting a new conference room in the district office building with $300 chairs and a SMARTBoard. It's not a big portion of the district's budget, but little things add up - like the iPads this district recently bought its teachers. Other local school districts' boards and officials seem to have enough sense of politics to think beforehand, "In times like these, I'm going to catch hell over this expenditure - better not this year."


VALLEY - It was definitely a bad idea for the New York State United Teachers union officials in Albany to give themselves big raises this year, as reported in Friday's Albany Times Union. NYSUT President Richard Iannuzzi got a 23 percent, $44,808 increase - more than the salary of some of the many teachers laid off these last couple of years - to $240,180. With benefits including use of a vehicle, his compensation package is worth $345,987. And yes, that comes from the non-optional dues of teachers whose jobs and wages are on the chopping block regularly these days.

Here's more from the TU: "NYSUT has strongly fought for an extension of the so-called millionaires' tax, which expires at the end of this year. The surcharge affects New Yorkers making $200,000 and up. The tax records show at least 21 NYSUT employees make more than $200,000 annually."

Maybe NYSUT members should consider a round of layoffs of their own.



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