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Editors’ preview of this week’s Lake Placid News

September 22, 2017

"Death at Wallface" is the top page-1 headline in this week's print edition. It's our sad duty to report that Alex Stevens, the 28-year-old from New Jersey who was the subject of a massive 10-day search operation in the High Peaks Wilderness, was found dead this Monday, Sept. 18.

Searchers found Stevens's body in a field of scree, or rock fragments, west of Wallface Mountain, with which Stevens was reportedly fascinated. An autopsy revealed he died of pneumonia, brought on partly by what he endured in the woods: getting soaked, freezing and running out of food. Based on the autopsy, Essex County Coroner Frank Whitelaw estimated Stevens had been dead only about three days before searchers found him, which means it took two weeks for him to die. He had set out Sept. 1 on what he said would be a three-day hiking trip. He was clearly underprepared. When last seen, by fellow hikers on Sept. 2, he was wearing sandals, shorts and a T-shirt. Whitelaw said he had no means of starting a fire.

The sadness and loneliness of his death is the subject of our editorial ruminations this week, and Justin A. Levine's outdoors column is about how to prepare properly for outdoor expeditions. (See below.)

Article Photos

It was a big week for breaking news around here. In another troubling development, we report on a 15-year-old Lake Placid High School student who brought a loaded handgun and a knife to school in a backpack he carried from class to class. Tipped off by another student, the principal detained him, and village police charged the boy with a felony. Now school officials are trying to take steps to ward off such a thing in the future, and some parents are irate that school officials waited 24 hours so police could investigate further before informing families.

In happier news, Antonio Olivero's "Small World" feature this week is about the new coach of the Jamaican bobsled teams, who is British. The Jamaican teams, frequent visitors to Lake Placid, have struggled to hire a coach and buy equipment, as we wrote about back in January. This week's story is an example of how, as Olivero writes, our Mount Van Hoevenberg track serves as an international Grand Central Station for sliding athletes, coaches and officials to interact, share and sometimes switch teams.

You can read all about the North Elba town supervisor and council races coming up for election Nov. 7; Lake Placid lawyer Brian Barrett is challenging longtime local leader Roby Politi.

The state prison in Ray Brook, Adirondack Correctional Facility, will soon be converted into a detention center for 16- and 17-year-old inmates, in keeping with New York's recent legislative decision to "Raise the Age" of adult criminal responsibility from 16 to 18.

There's also an in-depth look at the $18.5 million BOCES capital project, which was up for voting Thursday, and the formula by which taxpayers would pay for it.

Lake Placid Justice Bill Hulshoff shocked the village board at this week's meeting by resigning, and the village has a new clerk. Both of those stories are in this week's issue.

Also, a visitor from Troy fell to his death while scouting out a possible fishing spot under a River Road bridge over the West Branch of the AuSable River.

For kids, the Kiwanis Club's Teddy Bear Picnic is this weekend, and for grown-ups there's the Brewfest at the Olympic Center - plus many more events listed in our Placid Planner.

There's an obituary for Kathleen Quinn and death notices for Kimberly Barney, Priscilla Garrand, David Leon Hare and Susan Hinckley.



In a fascinating profile, Naj Wikoff recalls in detail Dr. Edward Hixson's prowess as a canoe racer as well as a physician. Frank Shatz tells some personal and perilous true stories about surviving World War II and barely avoiding the Holocaust in which most of his family members were killed. Martha Allen writes about how even in September, Christmas is quietly creeping up.

We also have two non-weekly community columns this week. Susan Friedmann interviews 9-year-old Holly Erenstone, newly inducted as the youngest honorary member of the Lake Placid Rotary Club, due to her two years of attending weekly meetings with her mother. Lisa Forrest gives on update an Lake Placid Public Library programs and seeks public input on how to handle computer classes.



With a tinge of fall foliage color starting to spread across the hills of the Lake Placid region, the fall golf tournament season has been in full swing the last couple weeks. Senior Sports Writer Lou Reuter provides readers with full reports of the Craig Wood-Ray Randall tournament and the Bar Fly Open on this week's LPN sports pages.

Also in sports this week, the Lake Placid High School boys cross country team is picking up momentum while the volleyball and boys soccer teams look to improve on slow starts to the season.



In the wake of a recent spate of search and rescue missions - some successful, others fatal - it is important to know the basics of backcountry travel before venturing out into the woods. On this week's Adirondack Expeditions page, Outdoors Writer Justin A. Levine provides a few suggestions for how people can take precautions in advance of their trip to ensure a safe experience.

Joe Hackett writes about the beauty and splendor of the fall season in his column this week, but also warns of the dreaded Lyme disease that can be contracted by both dogs and humans (even in the Adirondacks).

"Lyme disease is here, and it really sucks," Joe concludes.



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