Mountains & Valleys

MOUNTAIN – to Harrietstown officials rezoning Ampersand Bay Resort for a planned resort development. It’s a beautiful property, and the owners’ proposed use is suitable, especially considering the long history of resort use on this bay at the east end of Lower Saranac Lake. From 1850 to 1888, the Saranac Lake House (generally called Martin’s and then Miller’s, after its successive owners) could house 250 guests. The subsequent Ampersand Hotel, a magnificent piece of architecture that lasted from 1888 to 1907, could hold 300 and boasted a nine-hole golf course, a toboggan slide and its own traveling baseball team, plus a complex of cottages. The Ampersand’s advertisements called it “the Saratoga of Lower Saranac Lake.”

Nothing like that has been there since, but the bay still has the lake’s strongest human presence, since it’s closest to the village of Saranac Lake and has the current Ampersand Bay Resort, a state boat launch and an array of private camps. It’s a great spot for a development like the one proposed, and we look forward to the resort’s glowing success.

VALLEY – to Tendercare Tot Center leaving the former Lake Colby School. The day-care and preschool center’s board can’t be faulted for following financial necessity, of course. The alternative was to let bills pile up further and to hope for an outcome that board members knew wasn’t realistic. Still, it’s a tough break for the families that suddenly lost their services halfway through the semester. Parents are scrambling to get their kids into whatever programs are left in the area, and kids have to adjust to new surroundings. For some, this is relatively easy; for others, it’s a serious hardship.

MOUNTAINS – to the local sportsmen and -women whose recent achievements remind the nation and world that the Lake Placid area is still a winter athletic hotbed:

-Hockey: Chadd Cassidy, originally from Lake Placid, is now head coach of the American Hockey League’s Rochester Americans, the top farm team for the Buffalo Sabres. He got the promotion Feb. 20 when his former boss at the Amerks, Ron Rolston, was named interim head coach of the Sabres. Therefore, Mr. Cassidy may be on his way to his dream of coaching in the National Hockey League, or he could be in for a long and happy career leading one of the AHL’s oldest and greatest teams. Whatever happens, it’s an awesome point of pride for Lake Placid.

-Biathlon: Tim Burke, who grew up in Paul Smiths and lives in Lake Placid when he’s not traveling, now stands in 10th place in the World Cup standings, having followed up his Valentine’s Day world championship silver medal with fourth- and fifth-place finishes in a World Cup mass start race this week. Teammate Lowell Bailey, of Lake Placid, is in 30th; last winter, Bailey finished 14th and Burke 20th. On the women’s circuit, Annelies Cook of Saranac Lake finished 14th this week to raise her standing to 49th overall.

-Nordic combined: 2010 Olympic gold and silver medalist Bill Demong started out this season struggling to overcome illness and get his game back on, but then on Feb. 24, in the world championships, he anchored his U.S. relay team to a bronze medal. Video of the last lap showed what a champion skier he is, leading the pack most of the way and holding off all but two of the world’s best on the final stretch.

Eleven months from now, these and other local athletes will be making our area proud in the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, and Enterprise Sports Writer Mike Lynch will be there to cover them. We’re proud to say we don’t know any other rural area that turns out so many Winter Olympians, or any other small-town newspaper as committed to covering them.