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Mountains & Valleys

MOUNTAIN — to the state Department of Environmental Conservation for planning to build restrooms at the River Street boat launch. Restrooms were in the original plans when the boat launch was proposed.

We are also excited for a Saranac Lake village proposal, funded with help from the state Downtown Revitalization Initiative, to build public restrooms in the Pontiac parking lot on Broadway next to Berkeley Green.

Lack of public toilets drives away visitors who would usually stay around longer. Lake Placid has four in the 2.8-mile walk around Mirror Lake; Saranac Lake is, at long last, catching up.

MOUNTAIN — to Kinney Drugs for no longer selling vaping and e-cigarette products. It’s good to see any company, and especially a North Country-based one, freely choosing not to make money on addiction — and whatever other health effects vaping may have, addiction to nicotine is certainly one of them. Feeding that addiction can lead to worse ones, and then there is the exploitation of getting someone hooked on an expensive product and milking them for years. Plus, vaping products obviously target teens, with their sweet-tasting flavors. It’s fine to keep these things legal, but we are glad to see people decide not to aid and abet this bad habit.

VALLEY — It was terrible to have to report on the drowning death of 4-year-old Ryder White this past weekend. As parents, we thought of how such a thing could have happened to our own kids, and we felt deeply for this Tupper Lake family. They seem to have a fair bit of local support, though, which reinforces what we’ve always known about our local communities. Still, little Ryder will be in our thoughts for a long time.

VALLEY — A recent public forum on consolidation of the village and town of Tupper Lake was great for bringing many people’s thoughts and ideas together, but supposed experts from the New York Department of State and Development Association of the North Country were not helpful about providing information dozens of inquisitive Tupper Lakers didn’t already have. The DOS and DANC officials kept talking about dissolving the village, but while that’s an important option, many people in the room already knew most of what they needed to know about that. What many want more information on is making the village boundary coterminous with the town and combining the two into one municipality that way.

MOUNTAIN — to messy fun, such as last weekend’s Woodsmen’s Days and the Warrior Run this weekend — both in Tupper Lake.

MOUNTAIN — to Tupper Lake’s new youth baseball field, and to an old tennis court in the Municipal Park being converted into a temporary skateboard park until a new one can be established. The ballfield took the place of the old skateboard park, and for the last year local skaters have had to try their luck all over town. Skating is popular, just like baseball is, and it needs a venue.

VALLEY — to a Binghamton man who called 911 while descending Blue Mountain to say his kids were tired, and wondered if he could drive up the truck trail to the summit — maintained to service an emergency radio tower — pick up his family and drive them down. The dispatcher properly said no, but then a forest ranger drove up and drove the man’s wife and 6-year-old daughter down while he and his 10-year-old son hiked down. We’re OK with rangers being merciful — their job is to help people, after all — but we hope the family was at least a little ashamed of themselves and that others don’t follow their example.

VALLEY — to multiple reports of hikers being rescued from the backcountry this week who didn’t bring headlamps. They got stuck out at night and had to rely on their cellphone flashlights — which burned out their batteries and left them in the dark. Please, hikers, don’t rely on your phones in the backcountry. Everyone who goes into the woods, even for a short day trip, should bring a headlamp or flashlight with full batteries (preferably with extra ones), and a physical map and compass. Also bring warm layers of clothing, rain gear and proper footwear in case the unexpected happens. The old Boy Scout motto, “Be Prepared,” should be at the top of your mind.

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