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Candle lighting planned to raise money for Gillis search

March 20, 2012
By JESSICA COLLIER - Staff Writer ( , Adirondack Daily Enterprise

TUPPER LAKE - The Tupper Lake Chamber of Commerce is trying to put together a fundraiser for the search for missing teen Colin Gillis.

The chamber has 200 paper lanterns, which a person can put a tea light in and the heat will make the lantern rise into the air.

Chamber officials want to sell the lanterns and light them on the shore of Raquette Pond at the Municipal Park at an event Wednesday night. The money would go to establish a Colin Gillis Fund.

Village officials said at their meeting Monday night that the state Department of Environmental Conservation's seasonal burn ban, which went into effect Friday, might get in the way of the plan. Tupper Lake Events Coordinator Faith Bedore has been talking about the issue with the DEC, said village Clerk Mary Casagrain.

Fire Chief Mark Picerno said a fire truck will be there in case anything happens.

Department of Public Works Superintendent Mike Sparks said that it's unlikely there would be any problems. The candles that are put in the lanterns are small and burn out while they're up in the air.

The village board gave the event preliminary approval as long as Bedore could work it out with the DEC.

Picerno sent an email to the press later Monday night with the burn ban regulations. They include exceptions for things like small cooking fires, ceremonial or celebratory bonfires, and campfires less than 3 feet in height and 4 feet in length, width or diameter. Picerno said he believes the lanterns would be well within those exceptions.

"I would think so. It's celebratory," Picerno said this morning. "I don't think there's a danger. ... They go up a mile, as high as a mile, then after that they just float back to earth."

The lanterns are made out of rice paper and are biodegradable.

Since the 18-year-old Tupper Lake man went missing a week ago, Tupper Lakers have been lighting candles and leaving their porch lights on to light the way home for the college student, an idea the Tupper Lake Moose Club spread through Facebook.

If the event goes through, it will begin at 8:30 p.m. at the Municipal Park, and the lantern lighting will start at 9 p.m.



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