Mountains and Valleys

Mountains of creativity are about to ascend on Saranac Lake with the Plein Air Festival. Artists will be out and about painting our beautiful scenery of mountains, forests, lakes, marshes and Saranac Lake’s quaint village. This is the sixth annual Plein Air Festival going on from Thursday to Sunday. If you are interested in the Arts as a painter, you can register online at saranaclakeartworks.com/pleinair. If you are looking for a beautiful piece of art to hang in your home or as a gift, take this opportunity to purchase one, stopping at the headquarters for the event, The Adirondack Artists’ Guild at 52 Main St. or attend the Show and Sale from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday in the Harrietstown Town Hall.

For more information, call Sandy Hildreth at 518-891-1388 or email shildreth@roadrunner.com.

Valleys of sadness from the heroin epidemic in the North Country that is sending a growing amount of kids into foster care. The demand this past year is putting a strain on families and social services. The need to find foster parents who will offer children a loving home has never been so great. These are young innocent children who are victims of numerous circumstances that need a safe and nurturing environment. Becoming a foster parent is a big commitment that requires extensive training and background checks. While fostering a child doesn’t make the foster parent rich, there is a stipend of between $14 to $20 per day for a child, depending on the age and special needs. So if you are interested in caring for a child during a crisis time in his or her life and giving them the support they need so desperately, contact the Department of Social Services. In Essex County, call 518-873-3413, go to the website www.co.essex.ny.us/ChildWelfare.asp or email linda.jackson@dfa.state.ny.us . In Franklin County, call 518-481-1827, go to the website, franklincony.org/content/Departments/View/25 or email michelle.breen@dfa.state.ny.us.

Mountains of cheer to those who are learning to read and those who help them to read. Celebrate Literacy Day on Sept. 8 by making a difference in someone’s life by turning him or her on to reading. You can do this by volunteering with the Literacy Volunteers of Essex/Franklin Counties by calling the Tri-Lakes office at 518-546-3008 or visiting online at litvol.com.

You can also help encourage children to read by reading to them before bedtime. Also with the new Common Core program, students are required to read more text, and what better way than to encourage them to read using the newspaper to broaden their horizons. When you donate as little as $5 to the Newspaper In Education program, it helps deliver newspapers for free to classrooms to use as lesson tools.

Mountains of joy for the Amish girls that returned home safely. Usually abductions like this don’t end well, so this frightening drama immediately generated neighbors, friends and families from around the nation to be on the outlook for their whereabouts.

We are all relieved that these smart little girls were able to escape and offer help in making an arrest of the alleged kidnappers. A grim reminder that there are dangerous predators out there that we need to be aware of, even in the rural areas like in nearby Canton.