MOUNTAIN to Curt Stager, the dynamic Paul Smith's College faculty member who was named Professor of the Year for New York state by the by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. A professor of natural science at PSC since 1987, Mr. Stager's "paleoecology" research, showing what the climate was like ages ago and will be 100,000 years from now, is important to the world's current climate change dilemma, and his undergraduate students were able to help with some of that work. He is an ideal balance of caring teacher, high-level researcher and involved member of the campus community - plus he's a great banjo player.
He gave some of the credit to his professional surroundings, which is both true and kind: "I'm fortunate to be able to do work I love, in a place I love, with students who are really eager to learn - you can't beat that combination." That reflects very well on Paul Smith's.
MOUNTAIN to the state Olympic Regional Development Authority, especially the staff at its ski centers, for getting Whiteface and Gore ready to open two weeks ahead of schedule. Friday's Whiteface opening was the earliest ever. Good snowmaking weather and higher-tech new snow guns helped, but it takes a good crew to get the most out of those things. We, along with the region's business community, raise our ski poles to them.
Some might say the early ski seasons this winter and last poke holes in scientists' global warming models, but really, that kind of micro focus tells us little about the big picture. Likewise, November's weather tells us nothing of January's. The ski industry that does so much for our winter economy and recreation could still be endangered if the Adirondacks' climate becomes more like that of the Appalachians. That's why good workers and good equipment make a huge difference in a ski center's viability.
MOUNTAIN to sharp-eyed Tupper Lake village police officer Jordan Nason. After stopping a driver for not using turn signals and running a stop sign, Patrolman Nason observed a small amount of marijuana in the vehicle. A further search turned up more than 21 bundles of heroin, plus more than 20 hypodermic needles with which people inject the drug. One more drug runner is off the streets.
VALLEY to the continual influx of heroin and other hard drugs into our communities. It takes a sick-hearted person - possibly with a heart already poisoned by addiction - to prey on others, ruining their lives and taking their money with these devastating chemicals. It's sad to find so many of such people, and so many others who don't know how to say no.
MOUNTAIN to the village of Lake Placid for renovating a pair of public restrooms at the parking lot across from NBT Bank. Too bad Saranac Lake doesn't have such facilities to fix up, other than inside the town hall.
MOUNTAIN to the successful conversion to digital projection at the Tupper Lake and Lake Placid movie theaters. After seeing "Ender's Game" in the big screening room of the Palace Theatre in Lake Placid, we can assure you that the picture quality is much better than it was with the film projectors. With new sound systems, too - plus 3-D at Tupper's State Theater - this modernization assures us that these cinemas will be entertaining Adirondackers for many years to come.
The money to do this came from local moviegoers, which is a wonderful bond with these locally owned small businesses. It's not over yet, though. While the State Theater is in good shape, the Palace still needs your generous donations to convert the last two of its four screening rooms. The Hollywood Theater in AuSable Forks is even further behind.
It's down to the wire now. The movie industry will stop making 35mm prints of new releases at the end of this year - just seven weeks away - so if you want these theaters to stick around, donate now, either in person at the theater or online at www.adirondack.org/godigital.
A final MOUNTAIN to Saranac Lake-raised cartoonist Garry Trudeau, whose Doonesbury returns with new weekday comic strips today after he took five months off to to write and produce "Alpha House," a political satire TV show for Amazon Prime. When he announced in June he'd have to take a break from the strip, he expected it to be only for the summer, but it was more work than expected - as projects usually are. He resumed Sunday Doonesburys in September, and the weekday reruns end today. It's great to see Mr. Trudeau's sharp mind at work again.