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Columns

The write stuff

My mornings, while hardly as highly choreographed as Masonic ritual, are every bit as unvaried. I wake up late, tend to my flock and make my first pot o’ cafe du jour. After the buzz kicks in, I whip out my iPad and do what hundreds of millions of others do — namely, waste a bunch of my ...

Nine Supreme Court justices are not enough

A nine-member Supreme Court is a small sample size to judge issues. Each judge represents a data point to weigh in deciding the result. For every new case, this process starts over. With just nine judges, the opportunity for bias and skewing each judgment becomes very real. And that, along ...

The dinner party, part I

“This damned, ignorant, helpless den of a hamlick” — RLS to Charles Fairchild, speaking of Saranac Lake - For the people who still refuse to believe that Robert Louis Stevenson did not hate Saranac Lake, those words are their last line of defense. As typically happens, words are ...

Early detection screenings are essential

Closing out my career in the state Senate this year is bittersweet, as I have enjoyed and appreciate so much about the past 25 years in elective office. It has just been an incredible honor representing and advocating on behalf of the constituents of the 45th Senate District. Having been ...

The Smitty way — civility for the election

Dear colleagues and students: Voting is the touchstone of our democracy — so I want to encourage all to vote.  As everyone knows, this election season is very contentious with strong emotions on both sides. However, this year in our Smitty Pledge, we vowed to be “a good neighbor, ...

Safety first, then fun, then summit

Last Saturday, I was reminded of just how challenging shoulder season weather can be for those who aim to venture out in it. Setting out at 4:30 a.m., my good friend Bear and I were hoping to make some decent headway before showers that were slated to come and go all morning began. The goal ...

Sand versus salt — difficult decisions

There has been much discussion on whether to use sand and other abrasives or salt to treat slippery roads during winter. This is not an easy decision to make. There are pluses and minuses for both. More recently there is significant opposition to salt, but sand and abrasives also have a ...

A pandemic Halloween

The end of October brings lots of pumpkins — and Pumpkin Day on Oct. 26. It also brings witches, ghosts and other scary creatures, and lots of sweet candy treats on Oct. 31, which is All Hallow’s Eve, or Halloween. This year there is a pandemic, and everything is different. Most people ...

Trash panda

I recently learned that a nickname for a raccoon is a trash panda. Yes. I want to string those two words together all the time. I’m thinking of stickers and flags to replace window decals and political signs. We could start a club where we make plaques for our children’s rooms (Ok, just my ...

75th anniversary of the end of WWII

This continuation of the history of World War II was prompted by my friend Tim Fortune, who gave me a copy of the Enterprise dated Feb. 25, 1941. The war in Europe officially ended May 8, 1945, and the war in the Pacific officially ended Sept. 2, 1945, when the Japanese signed the ...

Lemmings

“I stood out front. I led. ... I know there’s a risk, there’s a danger.” You can guess who said that. But a responsible leader wouldn’t march us toward a cliff. We’re not his lemmings. Trump is the primary culprit. He’s modeled terrible behavior for his entire career by ...

A critical choice

This is a difficult letter to write. It’s difficult because it’s just one more about politics, the election, democracy, all subjects we are either obsessed or fatigued with. It’s also difficult because most of us are locked into our respective positions on candidates, and it’s unlikely ...

A mouthful of answers about canker sores

Parents have been asking me a mouthful of questions as to whether or not their child has a canker sore and what to do about it. Well, I don’t want anyone to be sore at me about this topic, so let me provide some information. - Are they contagious? About 1 in 5 children develop a ...

Twenty miles and a thousand smiles

While COVID-19 has ixnayed all my travel plans, my sense of adventure has stayed untouched. And thus a pressing question: What to do for excitement within the borders of the Tri-Lakes? Frankly, as far as I’m concerned, if you’re gonna be stuck anywhere during a pandemic, this is the ...

Humble spirits

October is a good month for a ghost story. So here is the tale of a humble spirit who for years haunted a cure cottage up on Charles Street. I heard this story from Eileen Black, who has lived in the house for many years and raised her family there. A ghost visited their home several ...

The ladies of the orchard

New York is the nation’s second-largest apple producing state. With more than 10 million trees, our roughly 600 commercial apple growers produce, on average, 29.5 million bushels of apples annually. And they grow more varieties than producers in any other state. Among them: McIntosh ...

Savoring autumn

The last ear of summer corn ... the last zucchini ... the last beautiful red pepper… the last summer cucumber ... the last tomato... Through modern transportation, we have these veggies year-round, shipped from farms in California. But they don’t taste the same. They’re not picked ...

Highway departments are not liable for mailbox damage

As winter approaches, and if you are among the many residents in Franklin County with a rural mailbox along the side of the road, pay attention to the rest of this article, as fixing your box in the middle of the winter is not much fun. If a property owner places his or her mailbox in the ...

Socializing in the new world

A few weeks or months ago, since I no longer can keep track of time, I had connected briefly with the parent of one of my children’s friends. It was brief and conversational, a reconnecting of acquaintances. As parents, we had never socialized, but our children had been friendly. We hadn’t ...