Mountains & Valleys

MOUNTAIN – to Floyd Lampart for finishing his amazing 11,346-mile bike journey around the perimeter of the continental United States Monday, and to his wife Martha for her strong support from the home front. The Lake Clear residents did it to help animal shelters: Because of his feat, people donated $17,000 for a fire suppression system at the Tri-Lakes Humane Society and more than $50,000 for laboratory equipment at the Best Friends Animal Society in Kanab, Utah, where the Lamparts have volunteered for many years. Floyd also took the opportunity to rescue a stray dog in El Centro, Calif., which his wife later adopted from a shelter there. Fuzzy is now part of their family. We are awestruck and appreciative.

MOUNTAIN – to the village of Tupper Lake for stepping up enforcement of a local law requiring people to clean up after their dogs go No. 2. This is far from just a Tupper Lake problem, but sometimes community leaders and residents ignore it, not wanting to make a stink or to have outsiders see that kind of news about their town. Good for Mayor Paul Maroun for trying to put a stop to it before any more people put their foot in it.

Perhaps the village should put the fines it collects from these violations in escrow toward a contract between the town of Tupper Lake and the Tri-Lakes Humane Society. All the towns around here except Tupper use the local humane society to avoid lost and stray dogs being picked up and euthanized. That would be a responsible move.

MOUNTAIN – to last weekend’s Hobofest music festival and Farm 2 Fork food festival, which once again had strong attendance, quality offerings and apparently good organization. Good work.

MOUNTAIN – to charity on a grim anniversary. Sept. 11 has become a “National Day of Service,” and we’re honoring that by hosting a food drive. Please drop off non-perishable food items from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 11 at our office, 54 Broadway, Saranac Lake. This is part of a three-county food drive organized through the United Way of the Adirondack Region Inc. The food will be distributed to consumers by Catholic Charities of Franklin County, Adirondack Community Action Programs in Essex County and the Joint Council for Economic Opportunity in Clinton County. Please be generous.

VALLEY – to the departure of Brian Mann’s column, Forwards from the In Box, which ran on the Saturday Opinion page in recent years. We used to compile the column weekly by skimming Mr. Mann’s many posts on North Country Public Radio’s In Box blog, and we, like many of you, noticed that he hasn’t been blogging much lately. This week he explained the reasons why: Much of his time is taken up these days reporting for “Prison Time,” an NCPR series on incarceration in New York and beyond, and he’s also doing more journalism for National Public Radio – plus, he’s trying to carve out more of a personal life than he’s allowed himself in the past. He doesn’t foresee a return to regular blogging anytime soon.

We’re glad he’ll get more personal time, but we already miss his thoughtful writing, which cut right to the heart of issues in the North Country and nationwide. It’s rare that a rural area has someone that devoted to top-notch news analysis. Whether you agreed with him or not, he got you thinking, and hopefully talking, and that’s extremely valuable.

VALLEY – to a drop in consumer confidence in August, according to a recent Siena Research Institute poll. New York state’s overall Index of Consumer Sentiment dropped 2 percent last month, and nationally it dropped 3 percent. That, by the way, is the lowest it’s been in 20 months – since December 2011. While New York’s score fell less sharply than the nation’s, it’s almost 9 points below the U.S. as a whole: 73.3 compared with 82.1. Upstate’s is even lower, at 71.1.

“Despite housing market resurgence, jittery financial markets and possible military involvement in Syria nearly twice as many New Yorkers have a pessimistic view of our five-year economic conditions compared to those with optimistic projections,” Doug Lonnstrom, professor of statistics and finance at Siena College and SRI Founding Director, said in a press release issued Wednesday. “Today, nearly as many consumers expect their personal finances to deteriorate as improve over the next twelve months. Early 2013 hopes have now faded.”

We’re seeing signs of economic progress in Saranac Lake, but apparently not enough people are.