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Editors’ preview of this week’s Lake Placid News

September 15, 2017
By PETER CROWLEY and MORGAN RYAN (news@lakeplacidnews.com) , Lake Placid News

Week after week, New York state forest rangers are called out on search-and-rescue missions in the Adirondacks. Some become extensive, grueling, multi-day affairs, such as one going on as we write this, for a 28-year-old New Jersey man.

Rangers say they are getting tired, and that's the lead story in this week's Lake Placid News, under the headline "Rangers run ragged." It builds off of the search for Alex Stevens, 28, of Hopewell, New Jersey, who was last seen Sept. 2 near Wallface in the High Peaks Wilderness and remains undiscovered as we write this.

"What keeps me up at night is not only [the well-being of] Alex, but the possibility we might injure a searcher," forest ranger Lt. Brian Dubay said this week at the search's incident command post at the Newcomb firehouse.

Article Photos

Part of the reason for the searches is an increase in hikers - and inexperienced hikers.

"The good news," the state forest rangers' union head said, "is the public has discovered the Adirondack Park. The bad news is, the public has discovered the Adirondack Park. We have a lot more folks going out there who don't have the traditional skills for the outdoors."

Below that story on page A1 is an an Eye on Education feature about new seats in school. A Lake Placid Elementary School teacher, with her principal's encouragement, is experimenting with a variety of classroom seating options instead of the standard plastic-and-aluminum chairs. Gone - in her classroom, at least - are the teachers' scoldings for students to "sit up straight" or put "four on the floor" instead of leaning back in their chairs. With options ranging from stools to balls to mats to pillows, students can sit in whatever is comfortable, hopefully helping them focus on learning.

The Ironman 70.3 triathlon was last week's big event in Lake Placid - the start of a second, half-distance Ironman in addition to the 140.6-mile one each July. In a report on page A1, you can read how reporter Antonio Olivero connected with triathletes from Florida competing in Lake Placid on the same day Hurricane Irma swept into their home state. For them, the joy and struggle of racing was mixed with nervousness about their homes.

You'll find a lively interview with Lake Placid art painter Jacqueline Altman on our Arts page, thanks to correspondent Steve Lester.

Other news in this week's issue includes North Country School opening a second campus, primary elections in the towns of Jay and Keene, an alleged robbery outside a Saranac Avenue restaurant, the Blues at Timbuctoo music festival coming this weekend, and the latest tourism study of the region.

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PERSPECTIVE

"On the Scene" columnist Naj Wikoff reports this week on a special presentation in Keene Valley on how people's building patterns can hurt the environment.

Frank Shatz says countries in his native Eastern Europe are backsliding away from Western-style democracy and toward authoritarianism.

Martha Allen muses about the notion of baby boomers' memory being aided by a chemical taken from jellyfish - which are knot renowned for their poweres of mental recall.

Our editorial this week is a suggestion on how nickel deposits on plastic bags, as with bottles and cans, could reduce the number of these things that end up doing environmental damage as they absorb toxins and break down into small, problematic pieces.

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SPORTS

Triathlon took over the streets of Lake Placid once again last Sunday as the inaugural Ironman 70.3 came to town. This week's Lake Placid News includes results of all 34 local finishers as well as two write-ups from the half-Ironman event. Special attention is given to Amy Farrell of Tupper Lake, who was the race's top female finisher.

Triathletes are a special set, and they often understand each other in ways non-triathletes can't. On page A3 you'll find a story about an "Ironman Singles" dating page on Facebook where single triathletes can meet, flirt and compare experiences in an online zone restricted to those who are both, as the name indicates, Ironman athletes and single. Reporter Antonio Olivero caught up with a bunch of them meeting for drinks at a Lake Placid pub last weekend.

In other sports news this week, the fall high school season kicked into full gear as each of the Lake Placid teams was in action. The boys soccer team dropped its opening matchup against a Chazy team that has a traditionally strong program.

Lake Placid tennis players are doing their best to cling to the outdoor season, but the annual Lake Placid-Saranac Lake tournament often marks the beginning of the end. See who were the big winners in this week's LPN sports pages.

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OUTDOORS

Beyond our front-page report on the rangers, Outdoors Writer Justin A. Levine gives detailed description of hiking the Moriah Challenge's four mountains in a day. His account is a useful guide to those interested in doing this follow-up to the Saranac Lake 6 and Tupper Triad.

Meanwhile, columnist Joe Hackett echoes the lead story by bemoaning the steady stream of hikers and paddlers in the Adirondacks, and how the numerous searches are one of many negative consequences of that. He blames tourism promotion, the growth of "ultra-sports" and the conversion of activities such as hiking fishing into competitive, benchmark-driven pursuits.

"It has become painfully evident the Adirondacks have been over-sold and over-marketed, to the detriment of both visitors and locals alike," he writes. "In the course of a 40-plus-years professional career, I've never encountered such a situation."

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