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Mountains & Valleys

December 17, 2011
Adirondack Daily Enterprise

MOUNTAIN - Who isn't thrilled that National Grid electric bills will drop sharply in January? Residential bills are predicted to drop by about 6 percent on average, and some business and industrial users could see their bills drop 23 percent. That's great news for the economy. Businesses can use the savings to hire the extra workers they've needed for some time now, and ordinary people can use it to buy a car, renovate their home, go on a vacation or save for their retirement or their kids' college tuition.

The reason for the reduction is the elimination of the fixed Competitive Transition Charge, which was established with Niagara Mohawk in 1998 and extended in 2002 when National Grid bought NiMo. The state Public Service Commission deserves thanks for that. National Grid had wanted to extend the charge beyond its planned expiry date at the end of 2011, but the commission decided this wasn't necessary.


MOUNTAIN - The village of Saranac Lake is in the process of moving into the grand Harrietstown Town Hall, packing up its offices a block away in order to lease them to a biotech firm. Village and town officials don't always see eye to eye, so they'll be a bit of an odd couple. But moving in together is a good thing in theory, to build teamwork between these local partners and simplify the process of doing local government business. To make it work in practice is the task of the village and town officials. We're optimistic they will succeed and make future generations wonder why they were ever apart.


MOUNTAIN - We were excited to report this week that former Saranac Laker Richard Bachman, who learned to skate here and played Pee-Wee hockey at the Saranac Lake Civic Center until he moved away at age 12, has made his National Hockey League debut as goalie for the Dallas Stars - and what a debut! The 24-year-old shut out the New York Rangers in Madison Square Garden Tuesday night, nabbing 34 saves, but he also showed a lot of guts by leaving the crease to chase pucks. He dealt out some open-ice hits, and he also took a big one that sent his helmet flying. No big deal, he told a reporter afterward. He's an exciting player who's getting some individual write-ups in the national hockey media. That's tough for the injured goalie he came in to replace, but it's great for him and for Saranac Lake.

As of Friday, his team has won all three of his starts, and he's only allowed three goals. That's brilliant, but win or lose, we're behind him all the way.


MOUNTAIN - Lowell Bailey of Lake Placid is lighting up the international biathlon circuit this winter. He moved up to sixth in the World Cup rankings Thursday, and he hasn't had a bad race yet. That's wonderful. Tim Burke of Paul Smith's has also had some excellent races, although he's had a few not-so-great ones, too. We're always rooting for Tim and Lowell; they're great athletes and great guys.


VALLEY - A recent string of fires in this region is sad and scary: three in Tupper Lake - two apartment houses and then a family home Friday - the 106-year-old Zaumetzer-Sprague Funeral Home devastated in AuSable Forks and, farther afield, a house that burned to the ground in Malone. Also there were some fires were caught before they got too bad, like one Wednesday morning in Lake Placid, where plastic bins were placed too close to a baseboard heater. These give warning to everyone, especially in this time of Christmas lights, to be extra careful about fire safety. We're not saying these fires were caused due to carelessness, but extra caution could prevent future ones.


VALLEY - Watch out for kids crossing LaPan Highway (state Route 3) near Saranac Lake's Petrova School this winter. Unfortunately, the state Department of Transportation hasn't had time to fix a footbridge over the road since late August, when it was struck by a piece of heavy machinery being pulled behind a dump truck. That means students walking to and from the elementary-middle school are crossing LaPan at Main Street and Canaras Avenue, but even more so at Dorsey Street, which doesn't have a stoplight. Village police are doing their best to enforce the 30 mph speed limit, but it's up to local drivers to keep our children safe. Hopefully, the DOT can soon do its part as well.



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