When politics was fun

“New Research Laboratory to be built by the Trudeau Foundation on Algonquin Avenue overlooking Lower Saranac Lake. The picture is from architect’s 1961 drawings by the firm Distin and Wareham, who designed the new building. The National Institute of Health grant announced by Congressman Clarence Kilburn and Sen. Kenneth Keating yesterday will be matched by the Foundation for the construction of the lab at a total cost of $1 million, ($10,061,538.46 in spending power in 2024). The Foundation decided last year not to leave Saranac Lake and to seek the grant for the new facilities.” I had the privilege as Mayor of Saranac Lake, speaking at the opening dedication ceremony in 1964 with Assemblyman Hayward Plumadore.

People who have been around for a while love to talk about how much they enjoyed being in “politics.” It was interesting, it was rewarding and it was fun. I believe that politics, especially on a local level, can still be all of the above. And remember, you are performing an honorable service for your community.

So time marches on. After the village election just concluded, the Enterprise ran an editorial about the voter turnout, if I remember correctly, something like over 800.

When the Democrats flipped the village board in 1963, taking the majority for the first time in many years, the election left Republican Trustee George Stearns on the board and one Democrat, Myron (Rube) Skeels. The new mayor was John Campion, elected with trustees Charles Lavery and yours truly.

It was a bigger village back then. The voter turnout was over 2,000.

I just had a talk with Andrea Dumas, my favorite Franklin County legislator. She is also the mayor of Malone, vice chair of the Board of Legislators and majority leader — and guess what, she loves what she does and she does it well.

There was a picture in this column last week of mounted New York State Troopers from Troop B, the Black Horse Troop. I attempted to identify some officers, to no avail, but then later I received this information. I cannot attest to its accuracy. The troopers in the front row, from left, are Mike Ryan, Frank Whitelaw, Sean Donovan and Mike Downs.

One of the stories in today’s column is about Norm Dumas, Andrea’s great uncle, who had served for years as Franklin County clerk and that story prompted my phone call to Ms. Dumas.

When Norm campaigned in Saranac Lake, first with Gene Timmons and later with his pal Jake Hughes, who ran successfully for county treasurer, it would be a happy time in the village. They would just go door to door in every store and business and be greeted with open arms. They were bright and witty and professional.

Enterprise campaign story

“Norm Dumas and Gene Timmons, the Democratic nominees for County Clerk and County Treasurer have started a hand-shaking campaign in the Saranac Lake and Tupper Lake section of the county.

“Dumas, who has held the clerk’s post for the past three years, is campaigning on a non-partisan basis and has a slogan ‘service for all the people.’ World War II veteran Dumas insists that there are no politics involved in the operation of the county clerk’s office.

“Norm and Frances Dumas are the parents of eight daughters and one son, who Mr. Dumas believes is a future Mickey Mantle. Dumas is a life-long resident of Malone.

“Timmons, a World War I Marine veteran and former Mayor of Malone will be opposing Republican H. Wayne Brooks who is Clerk of the Board of Supervisors.”

I had the honor of speaking at Norm’s 90th birthday celebration at the Malone Country Club a few years ago.

Bussing issue in North Elba

“Lake Placid School District voters yesterday vetoed the proposition to transport two students who live beyond the ten mile limit prescribed by state law to St. Pius X High School in Saranac Lake.

“The vote was 476 against, 365 for the resolution. There were 16 void ballots, making a total of 848 who voted. It was one of the largest votes recorded in the school district.

“The resolution read ‘Shall the District authorize the Board of Education to transport children to non-public schools beyond the 10 mile limit for the school year of 1961-62 at no additional expense to the district?’

“While no additional expense would have been involved this year, the opposition apparently centered on the possibility of having to transport students much greater distances in the future, for example from Wilmington and Cascade. Most voters felt that approval this year would set a precedent which could lead to more expense and higher taxes.

“There was also a strong body of opinion which felt that the public should not have to provide transportation for those who attend private and parochial schools.

“Commenting on the vote this morning, Frederick Dennin, Lake Placid attorney and spokesman for the committee of St. Pius parents which had appeared at several board meetings, said: ‘All they have decided to do is not take two children on the bus that is now going to St. Pius when there is space available and it wouldn’t cost five cents more.’

“The school board had voted 3-2 against the move at a recent board meeting. They then voted unanimously to seek the direction of the district.”

Two serious injuries after Keene car accident

“A one-car accident occurred on Route 73, approximately 3 miles from the Village of Keene, N.Y. near Spuck’s Cabins (today the location of Owl’s Head Rustic, the yard highlighted with a 100 or so Adirondack chairs) at 4:00 yesterday afternoon. State Police stated that the vehicle, a 1956 Dodge station wagon, had left the north side of the highway and traveled 114 feet before striking a boulder and plummeting over it.

“The driver of the car, Bert Buford, suffered severe scalp lacerations, and a fracture of the left upper leg. Buford is 55 years old.

“The passenger in the car, Curtiss Ivey, on the critical list at Placid Memorial Hospital, suffered a cerebral concussion, a small laceration of the forehead, a puncture wound in the left foot, a double fracture of the left leg and a triple fracture of the right leg. Both men reside in Lake Placid.

“The car, which caught fire and trapped the two men for several minutes was completely destroyed.”


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