Mountains & Valleys

VALLEY to the horror one Tupper Lake couple experienced Thursday night – coming home from a Thanksgiving dinner to find their house on fire. What a nightmare. Our deepest sympathies are with Dan and Tina Baldwin.

MOUNTAIN to the valiant firefighters who braved frigid temperatures Thursday night to put out of the fire at the Baldwins’ home, and to the investigators who quickly found its cause and origin: electrical wiring in the basement.

VALLEY to the killing of Ward Wilbur Monday morning in his ex-girlfriend’s Saranac Lake apartment. She has been charged with second-degree murder and jailed without bail. We still don’t know entirely what happened, but police say she beat him with a baseball bat and stabbed him with a knife, and that the knife wounds are what killed him. Brutal. What a sad thing to happen in this otherwise safe community.

MOUNTAIN to the village and state police officers and the public attorneys, prosecution and defense, who are working diligently on the case of Ward Wilbur’s killing.

MOUNTAIN to the rarity of this kind of homicide in the Adirondacks. While we make such a big deal out of cases like this week’s killing of Ward Wilbur, many American cities see this kind of thing every week. Many, too, involve killings that endanger the public at large more than this one: drive-by shootings, for example. We are blessed.

VALLEY to icy, snowy weather at the heart of the Thanksgiving travel season Wednesday. We know of several car crashes in this area, but luckily there were no reports of injuries in those. We hope local people traveling far to visit family and friends arrived unharmed.

MOUNTAIN of wishes for wisdom, strength and endurance to the 25 members of the Moreland Commission to Investigate Public Corruption – who include Franklin and Essex County district attorneys Derek Champagne and Kristy Sprague – as they prepare to release their much-anticipated preliminary report Dec. 1.

VALLEY to recent buzz about the Moreland Commission recommending public funds for election campaigns. Instead of having taxpayers take on such a huge expense to pay for politicians’ lawn signs and TV ads, why not severely tighten New York’s campaign donation limits, which are among the nation’s loosest? Other things we think would help are shorter terms for Senate and Assembly leadership positions, and home voting for Assembly members so they could better avoid lobbyists. What we worry about most is that the Moreland Commission will recommend few changes, letting the status quo continue. That would make us wonder whether they’ve already been bought. There’s so much corruption in Albany, as recent arrests have shown, to suggest anything other than large-scale reform would be meek in the extreme.

MOUNTAIN to Dr. George Cook, who is retiring after 38 years of practicing medicine in Saranac Lake, Tupper Lake and St. Regis Falls. This also goes for his friend Dr. Roy Slaunwhite, who retired quietly this fall. These two doctors came here together and practiced together at North County Family Physicians. These doctors served an amazing number of patients – theirs were the huge caseloads of a previous generation of doctors – and cared for them deeply. We wish them well in their well-earned retirement.