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Gouverneur, NY, 13642
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Silas Wainwright VFW Post 6338 to honor Ruth Mead as VFW Auxilian of the Year

Dan McClelland

by Rachel Hunter

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Ruth Mead of Richville will receive the annual Silas Wainwright VFW Post 6338’s Auxilian of the Year Award at the anniversary dinner on Saturday, March 9.

Ruth Mead is one of eight children born to Ernest Eugene McEathron and Rosa (Weiss) McEathron, and she got her membership in the VFW Post 6338 Auxiliary from her father, a World War II veteran, who joined the VFW in November of 1984. Her uncle Harold McEathron also was a member of the VFW Post 6338. The brothers dressed into their uniforms and attended parades, funerals, and veteran occasions for almost 20 years together.

Serving in World War II, Ernest was a corporal with the U.S. Army Air Force Detachment A 42nd Repair Squadron 42nd Air Depot from January 27, 1943 until his honorable discharge on June 22, 1946 from 1946 from Erlangen, Germany. Ernest’s enlistment in USAAF sent him from Fort Niagara, New York to Biloxi, Mississippi for training and then for a short time to Georgia before being sent to Fort Warren, Wyoming.

At Fort Warren, he spent eight weeks in auto mechanics training school, where he “learned to tear apart a GMC engine and put it back together without think nothing of it.” Ernest also did the same with personal carrier and Jeep engines. After mechanics training, Ernest was sent back to Georgia for “replacement depot” as he called it. At the Winter Robbins Air Force Base he was supposed to drive a truck but ended up in the 1180 QM Service Group where he performed clerical work and was not thrilled with this task.

On December 1, 1943, he and other troops were sent to Fort Devons, Massachusetts where they would be deployed overseas. After 13 days on the ocean, troops landed in Wales, England on December 13, 1943. From there, they were taken by train to Stony Cross, England. Ernest served our country in the battles of Northern France, Rhineland, and Central Europe for three years. He was decorated with the European African Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, Good Conduct Medal, American Campaign Medal, WWII Victory Medal, and Army of Occupation Medal.

At the time of his discharge in Germany, Ernest decided to stay and work as a supply clerk for the Civil Service in the Army, throughout different regions of Germany until 1953. From 1953 until 1954, Ernest stayed in Germany as a tourist until his funds were almost depleted and had to head back to the U.S.

During the post-war years in Germany, he was a sales commissary officer in the regions of Swabach and Erlangen and at some point along the way met Rosa Weiss, whom he married on May 16, 1953. The couple lived in Gouverneur for three years prior to buying their home in Richville in the spring of 1956.

Ruth (McEathron) Mead was born in Germany, but was raised in Richville. She attended the Richville elementary school and graduated from Gouverneur High School in 1966. She attended Harlem Valley School of Nursing and became a Registered Nurse. She also earned her Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing from SUNY Paltz. She married Vietname veteran Ronald Mead in 1978, and they made their home in Dutchess County, but moved back home in 2007 after her father passed away to take care of her mother.

It wasn’t long before she needed something productive to do in the community, and she joined the VFW auxiliary in October of 2011. She served as color bearer from 2017 to 2018, and now serves the auxiliary as chaplain. Her love for people has driven her to help the VFW Post 6338 in any way that she can – through Post 6338’s Monday Night Dinners, private function funerals and more.

“I love the people that I work with,” Mrs. Mead said. “I love serving the community and especially the veterans. There are a lot of veterans in my family. I want to make them proud. My Dad was very involved with Post 6338. I just want to do all that I can and I want to make my Dad proud… I enjoy being a member of the auxiliary.”

All are invited to help honor this year’s VFW Auxilian of the Year Ruth Mead at the Silas Wainwright VFW Post 6338’s Anniversary Dinner on Saturday, March 9, at the VFW Hall, 100 W. Main St., Gouverneur. Cocktail hour will be at 5 p.m., and dinner will be served at 6 p.m. For more information and to make reservations, call the VFW at (315) 287-4682.

Silas Wainwright VFW Post 6338 to honor John Holt as VFW Member of the Year

Dan McClelland

by Rachel Hunter

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John Holt of Gouverneur will be honored with the Silas Wainwright VFW Post 6338 Member of the Year Award at Post 6338’s Anniversary Dinner on Saturday, March 9.

Mr. Holt was nominated by Darryl Sapoff for his dedication to Post 6338. Mr. Holt serves as Post Adjutant, Service Officer, and Assistant Quartermaster.

John Holt, born in Boston, Mass., fell in love with the North Country during his military career, which brought him to Fort Dum twice. He retired after 20 years on active duty and three and half years in the reserves. Mr. Holt was first stationed at Fort Carson, Colorado, and worked as a track vehicle mechanic, fixing tanks, armored personnel carriers, etc. He got out for a short time, and when he went back into military service, he became a generator mechanic at Fort Drum, NY.

“That’s what I did for the rest of my military career, just based off of mechanical ability. I have ended up working on everything from single cylinder Diesel engine all the way up to a 1790 cu. inch V12 Diesel. “That weighs twice what my van does,” he said. “It powers a 56-ton tank. Big engine. I worked on everything from generators to tanks to bulldozers.”

Mr. Holt was sent from Fort Drum to Germany, and was supposed to be there for two years, but ended up only serving there for one year because he got “caught up in of the lovely congressionally mandated base realignment closure moves.” He then was stationed at Fort Bliss, Texas.

“I was stuck on Fort Bliss for two and a half years, went to Korea for a year, finally got myself back here to Fort Drum,” Mr. Holt said. “I was here for four months and deployed to Kuwait for 15. Coming back from Kuwait, I was here for about six months and got sent to recruiter school. Came back from recruiter school and they sent me down to Central Massachusetts to be a recruiter, and I finished up my military career in recruiting. I retired from that.”

Mr. Holt said at first his recruiting numbers were low, but is proud that two men he recruited went on to serve with the Old Guard at Arlington National Cemetery. “So I may not have put in a lot of quantity, but I put in quality,” he said.

After retiring, Mr. Holt entered into civilian life as an appliance repair technician. “I pretty much learned how to fix just about anything,” he said. “As an appliance repair technician, I used to fix washer, dryers, microwaves, ranges.”

John and Julie Holt fell in love with the North Country and decided to retire here. Mr. Holt became disabled and now is a full-time college student, in his fourth semester at SUNY Canton where he studies emergency management with a minor in accounting. “Every semester I have carried either an 18 or 19 credit hour load, and I have a cumulative GPA right now of 3.97,” he said. He also is an accounting tutor at SUNY Canton. He aspires to work for St. Lawrence County in the Office of Emergency Services. Mr. Holt said he was looking for a career he could pursue even if he ends up in a wheelchair.

“It’s a daily fight with Rheumatoid Arthritis, and at least Emergency Management or Accounting is something I can do seated,” Mr. Holt said. “I don’t have to be up running around. I can’t fix things anymore. I can still fiddle around and fix them eventually but my body just won’t handle fixing diesels anymore. I am not even about to pickup a 75-pound starter again. But I can at least use the knowledge to help others. That’s what I like doing.”

Mr. Holt is also active in the community, also having membership in the Gouverneur Masonic Lodge No. 217, where he has served as worshipful master. He also is a director of the Greater Gouverneur Area Chamber of Commerce, have been voted in after becoming involved as VFW Post 6338’s representative to the local chamber.

“My plate is pretty full,” Mr. Holt said. “It keeps me busy. If you don’t keep your mind and your body busy, it goes to mush.”

Mr. Holt’s hobbies include Lego model building. His most recent project is a New England Patriots football helmet that his wife is able to wear, and did most recently during the annual championship game of the National Football League on Sunday, February 3.

All are invited to help honor this year’s VFW Member of the Year John Holt at the Silas Wainwright VFW Post 6338’s Anniversary Dinner on Saturday, March 9, at the VFW Hall, 100 W. Main St., Gouverneur. Cocktail hour will be at 5 p.m., and dinner will be served at 6 p.m. For more information and to make reservations, call the VFW at (315) 287-4682.

Let It Snow: Gouverneur students perform winter concert

Dan McClelland

by Rachel Hunter

The 2019 Gouverneur Elementary School Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten “Let It Snow” Concert was enjoyed by all at the Gouverneur High School Auditorium on Thursday, January 31. All were greeted and welcomed by GES Principal Charity Zawatski.

The concert was scheduled for Thursday, January 24, but it was rescheduled due to inclement weather conditions. The concert was conducted by Betty Hall, Gouverneur Elementary music teacher. Mrs. Hall jokingly told the audience that she would have to think seriously before planning another snow-themed concert, which caused great laughter to fill the concert hall.

The hard work of the students was evident throughout the entire hour-long concert. First up on stage were the pre-kindergarten students, who sang the following songs: “Snowball,” “I’m A Little Snowman,” “Mittens on my Hands,” “Five Little Snowmen Chant,” and “Ten Little Snowflakes.” A moment of great glee was when the students threw snowballs toward the audience during the “Snowball” selection. As the students left the stage, Gavin Tulley of Macomb volunteered his services and shoveled the remaining snowballs off the stage and out of the way before the kindergarten students took to the stage.

When all the kindergarten students had taken their respective places on the risers, the students sang the following songs: “Snowpants” by Anne and Dave Ellsworth, “Snow Is Falling Today” by Anne and Dave Ellsworth, “I’m A Little Snowflake” by Teresa Jennings, and “Mittens and Gloves,” by Anne Ellsworth and Teresa Jennings.

Great applause sounded throughout the concert hall as family members and friends cheered on the aspiring vocalists during the winter concert.

Special gratitude was expressed during the concert to all the people who helped to prepare the students for the special night through their support of the music programs in the Gouverneur Central School District.

Also to the Gouverneur Central School District Board of Education, Superintendent of Schools Lauren French, Assistant Superintendent of Schools Donna Runner, Gouverneur Elementary Principal Charity Zawatski, Gouverneur Elementary Principal Victoria Day, Gouverneur Elementary Office and School Staff, Gouverneur High School Principal Cory Wood, Gouverneur Central Transportation Staff, and Gouverneur Central Music Department.

And also, gratitude was extended, as always, to all the family and friends who support and encourage the students.

Gouverneur Central Plans Moving Forward to Hire SRO

Dan McClelland

by Jessyca Cardinell

As there has been more heightened concern and fear with sending students to school with the latest episodes of school violence; the Gouverneur Central School District administration and BOE Safety Committee has been looking into the possibility of hiring a Safety Resource Officer (SRO).

After many detailed discussions, the Safety Resource Officer position was voted into the budget by the community during the annual budget vote held in May of 2018.

Many throughout the community and school system have voiced that this Safety Resource Officer would enhance the safety at all four school district buildings, Elementary, Middle, High and St. James School. In the opinion of many, this SRO would also allow another confidant for students and staff to relay any concerning information to.

This topic has been thoroughly discussed and gone over throughout many of the Board of Education meetings.

This position was recently discussed once again at the Board of Education meeting held Tuesday, January 15. Mrs. Lauren French, Superintendent of Schools, was able to elaborate on the flow of things being set in motion.

“Lisa McGregor, Cory Wood and myself met with Trooper D'Ambro last week and got some very good ideas about expectations and best practices. Trooper D'Ambro is a wealth of knowledge on the subject.

“We are looking for a retired officer who will circulate through all the buildings, making relationships with students and connecting with the community. The successful candidate will work very closely with the administration team.” said Mrs. French.

The Board of Education Safety Committee, including BOE members Lisa McGregor, James Delity and Nick Ormasen along with High School Principal Cory Wood, Superintendent of Schools Lauren French and Business Manager Carol LaSala met on Tuesday, January 22 to discuss more details for the new position.

The Board Of Education Safety Committee discussed the details of the job duties, job posting options and contract prototype.

Moving forward, all items seem to be set in motion for this wonderful improvement to school safety for the Gouverneur Central School District.

Wonderful job to all administration and Board of Education members for working to ensure the safety of our students is a top priority.

GPD adds new officer to its ranks

Dan McClelland

Gouverneur Police Department’s newest officer, Nathan B. Sheen of Gouverneur, with supporters during his official swearing-in ceremony on Wednesday, January 2 in the municipal courtroom. From left: Village of Gouverneur Deputy Mayor Charles Newvine, Village of Gouverneur Trustee Rick Wood, Village of Gouverneur Trustee Troy Besaw, Jeff Sheen (Nathan’s father), Nathan B. Sheen, Village of Gouverneur Chief of Police Laurina Greenhill, Village of Gouverneur Clerk/Treasurer Barbara Finnie, Gouverneur Police Officer Jesse Sheen (Nathan’s twin brother), and Gouverneur Police Department Ptl. Alexander Daggett. (Rachel Hunter photo)

Gouverneur Police Department’s newest officer, Nathan B. Sheen of Gouverneur, with supporters during his official swearing-in ceremony on Wednesday, January 2 in the municipal courtroom. From left: Village of Gouverneur Deputy Mayor Charles Newvine, Village of Gouverneur Trustee Rick Wood, Village of Gouverneur Trustee Troy Besaw, Jeff Sheen (Nathan’s father), Nathan B. Sheen, Village of Gouverneur Chief of Police Laurina Greenhill, Village of Gouverneur Clerk/Treasurer Barbara Finnie, Gouverneur Police Officer Jesse Sheen (Nathan’s twin brother), and Gouverneur Police Department Ptl. Alexander Daggett. (Rachel Hunter photo)

by Rachel Hunter

The Gouverneur Police Department officially added another officer to its ranks on Wednesday, January 2 as Nathan B. Sheen of Gouverneur took the oath of office.

The swearing-in ceremony was held at 9 a.m. last Wednesday in the municipal courtroom. Village of Gouverneur Chief of Police Laurina Greenhill welcomed all in attendance, and gave the floor to Village of Gouverneur Deputy Mayor Charles Newvine for a few words due to the absence of Mayor Ron McDougall.

In his address, Deputy Mayor Newvine offered the following: “I think everyone knows why we are here. We are welcoming a new officer to the Gouverneur Police Department. He makes a good part of the team. He’s young. I think he is ready to work. If he wasn’t a good choice, I don’t think (Chief) Laurina (Greenhill) would have listed him on. So, congratulations to Mr. Sheen.”

Deputy Mayor Newvine then gave the floor back to Chief Greenhill, who said the following: “This is going to be a different life, once you swear-in, from this day forward. Every one of us, our moms, dads, brothers, sisters, family, friends, ourselves, are guarded by those who have taken the oath before us. And by swearing in, you are swearing to uphold not only the constitution of the State, but of this great nation, and I think the life of a police officer is a very noble cause… and your character will be defined by that. Know that Nathan Sheen is very worthy of this life, and that swearing in, that he will continue to be worthy of our cause.”

Chief Greenhill then invited Nathan Sheen to the front for the administration of the oath of office by Village of Gouverneur Clerk/Treasurer Barbara Finnie as follows: “I, Nathan Sheen, do solemnly swear that I will support the Constitution of the United States, and the Constitution of the State of New York, and I will faithfully discharge the duties of police officer according to the best of my abilities.”

Nathan B. Sheen of Gouverneur (left) signing the oath of office as he was welcomed to the Gouverneur Police Department in an official ceremony on Wednesday, January 2. The oath was administrated by Village of Gouverneur Clerk and Treasurer Barbara Finnie (right). (Rachel Hunter photo)

Nathan B. Sheen of Gouverneur (left) signing the oath of office as he was welcomed to the Gouverneur Police Department in an official ceremony on Wednesday, January 2. The oath was administrated by Village of Gouverneur Clerk and Treasurer Barbara Finnie (right). (Rachel Hunter photo)

Mr. Sheen then signed the oath of office as directed by Village Clerk/Treasurer Finnie.

Loud applause and many words of congratulations were given to Mr. Sheen following the official ceremony.

In attendance at this auspicious occasion, were dozens of village officials and employees along with Mr. Sheen’s friends and family. This included Village of Gouverneur Deputy Mayor Charles Newvine, Village of Gouverneur Trustee Rick Wood, Village of Gouverneur Trustee Troy Besaw, Village of Gouverneur Clerk/Treasurer Barbara Finnie, Village of Gouverneur Deputy Clerk/Treasurer Kristina Ayen, Village of Gouverneur Department of Public Works Supt. TJ Simmons and DPW employees, Village of Gouverneur Recreation Department Director Casey Canell.

Also, Gouverneur Police Department Chief of Police Laurina Greenhill, Gouverneur Police Department Ptl. Alexander Daggett, Gouverneur Police Officer Jesse Sheen (twin brother to Nathan Sheen who took the oath of office in October of 2016). Nathan Sheen was also supported at the event by father, Jeff Sheen.

Nathan B. Sheen was formerly employed with the New York State Police, Troop B.

GDAC commends IDA

Dan McClelland

Gouverneur Area Development Corp presenting a resolution of commendation to Patrick Kelly, Executive Director of St Lawrence County IDA. The resolution was given to the IDA in appreciation of their work in the opening of the Empire Mines. From left: Dave Spilman, Gouverneur Town Supervisor, Alex MacKinnon, President GDAC, Patrick Kelly, Executive Director SLCIDA, Ron McDougall, Mayor Village of Gouverneur. (photo provided)

Gouverneur Area Development Corp presenting a resolution of commendation to Patrick Kelly, Executive Director of St Lawrence County IDA. The resolution was given to the IDA in appreciation of their work in the opening of the Empire Mines. From left: Dave Spilman, Gouverneur Town Supervisor, Alex MacKinnon, President GDAC, Patrick Kelly, Executive Director SLCIDA, Ron McDougall, Mayor Village of Gouverneur. (photo provided)

At its regular December meeting, the Gouverneur Area Development Corporation (GDAC) presented Patrick Kelly, Executive Director of the St. Lawrence County Industrial Development Agency, with a Resolution commending the IDA for its work throughout St. Lawrence County.

In particular, the members of the GDAC expressed satisfaction with the IDA’s efforts to assist in the recent reopening of the Empire State Mines in Fowler and for its assistance to Cives for a proposed equipment upgrade.

The IDA was instrumental in obtaining low cost NYPA power, one million in initial operating funds, sales tax relief and help from the Workforce Development Institute with job training. All used effectively to assist and encourage the development and reopening of the Zinc production facility. The Empire State Mines have added almost 200 new jobs to the Gouverneur Area.

The IDA has a long history of assisting both existing and new business development throughout St Lawrence County and in all sectors of the economic community. The GDAC was founded in 1979 to establish and maintain various mechanisms used for improving and supporting Gouverneur area business and meets monthly at the new Gouverneur Community Center.

Gouverneur Hospital Auxiliary Gift Shop re-opened following location change

Dan McClelland

by Jessyca Cardinell

The Gouverneur Hospital Auxiliary proudly held the grand opening of the new location of the gift shop on Wednesday December 5, just in time for the holidays. The gift shop which offers a fantastic array of items to purchase was previously located on the ground floor level, but is now conveniently located near the lobby of the main entrance.

“Since we officially moved the gift shop up here on November 13, the change in location has been really great,” said Director of the Gouverneur Hospital Auxiliary Gift Shop Kim Halpin, who along with Robin Truax were contributors in getting everything moved around in order. “The community has been very supportive and responsive as well as the staff here. In just the first few weeks of being open we have seen a significant increase in sales compared to last year at the same time when we were located in the lower level.

“With the new location, the gift shop has much more space and visibility. The Gift Shop staff and the Auxiliary Board of Directors are very pleased with the new location and all the work done to remodel the area into the ideal location for this gift shop. Much appreciation goes to the Administration, Mr. Bender and the staff who made this all a reality.”

The Gouverneur Hospital Auxiliary opened the gift shop in October of 2012 with the Gift Shop Committee who were responsible for establishing the Auxiliary Gift Shop. These ladies included Donna Lawrence-Director, Bonnie Porter, Helen Kennedy and Kim Halpin.

As of now the Gift Shop is currently managed by Kim Halpin-Director, Robin Truax-Treasurer, Helen Kennedy, Carrie Porter, Bonnie Reed and Emily Nolan.

Extended hours are being offered for the holidays, including some Saturdays.

Wonderful work to all those involved in making this wonderful change for the gift shop.

The Gouverneur Hospital Gift Shop is currently seeking out volunteers who are interested in working in the Gift Shop in order to provide more convenient hours of operation. Those who are interested may call (315) 261-5753.

Presenters of the Gouverneur Hospital Gift Shop grand opening. From left: Robin Truax-Treasurer of the gift shop, Kim Halpin-Director of the gift shop, Linda Love-Auxiliary President, Bonnie Reed gift shop staff and Dave Bender, CEO of Gouverneur Hospital. (photo by Jessyca Cardinell)

Presenters of the Gouverneur Hospital Gift Shop grand opening. From left: Robin Truax-Treasurer of the gift shop, Kim Halpin-Director of the gift shop, Linda Love-Auxiliary President, Bonnie Reed gift shop staff and Dave Bender, CEO of Gouverneur Hospital. (photo by Jessyca Cardinell)

Santa Claus visits DeKalb

Dan McClelland

by Rachel Hunter

The inescapable joy of the Christmas season bubbled over the Town of DeKalb at the annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony on Dec. 2.

A throng of community members gathered around the town gazebo and were welcomed by Town Supervisor John Frary who then introduced DeKalb Junction United Methodist Church Pastor Martha Helmer who read the following poem:

“We’ve gathered to light our community tree, again. Hello, and welcome, each DeKalbian. A year has passed, but we’re here, at last – to sing a song or hum along. With friends music, food, and lights, we usher in the Holidays this night. We’re glad you’re here, this time of year. May your Christmas be bright. Now, let’s light the lights!”

Much applause sounded at the conclusion of the poem, and all then turned their attention to the gazebo where music students from Hermon-DeKalb Central School District entertained the crowd with several holiday favorites, including “We Wish You A Merry Christmas” and “Jolly Old St. Nicholas.”

As the last song was concluding, Santa Claus arrived perfectly on time in the DeKalb Junction Volunteer Fire Department’s 78, and greeted all in attendance.

Town Supervisor John Frary greeted Santa Claus, welcoming him to the Town of DeKalb and invited the local children surrounding him to help Santa light the town Christmas tree. The countdown began, and soon the town Christmas tree was bathed in multi-colored lights that thrilled both the young and young-at-heart.

Then taking the youths hands, Santa brought the local children over to the DeKalb Junction Fire Hall. All were invited to join the Hermon-DeKalb student choir in various Christmas carols. Refreshments were available, having been provided by the DeKalb Junction Volunteer Fire Department. And the local children had the opportunity to sit on Santa’s lap and tell him their Christmas wishes.

Many bright smiles were seen and laughter were heard throughout the event as local residents got in the holiday spirit at this annual celebration.

Gouverneur Museum to exhibit realistic handcrafted birds

Dan McClelland

Mary Jo Whalen with her birds, carved and handpainted by the late Hazel Tyrrell “The Pierrepont Birdwoman,” on display at the Gouverneur Museum from December 1 to 31, 2018. (Rachel Hunter photo)

Mary Jo Whalen with her birds, carved and handpainted by the late Hazel Tyrrell “The Pierrepont Birdwoman,” on display at the Gouverneur Museum from December 1 to 31, 2018. (Rachel Hunter photo)

by Rachel Hunter

The Gouverneur Museum will be exhibiting the bird carvings of Hazel Tyrell of Pierrepont, NY through the month of December. The collection is owned by Mary Jo Whalen of Canton and Sylvia Lake.

Hazel (McDonald) Tyrrell, also known as “The Pierrepont Birdwoman”, spent the last 22 years of her life, after retiring from the 129-acre McDonald family farm in the Cook Corners are of Pierrepont, mastering the art of carving and painting birds native to the North Country. She has been described as a “master of craftsmanship, as a woodworker in bird sculpture, the North Country has had none other just like her.” It is a testament to her skill with a common jackknife that her name is still recognized all these years after her death in 1967.

The earliest example of her work that has been identified was a Baltimore oriole, which was dated 1943 and signed later on the bottom. Other early pieces include a robin silhouette, a house wren roughly shaped from a wood block, a simply-painted bluebird on a plywood plaque, and several birds with twisted wire feet (later to become one of Hazel’s trademarks).

Hazel’s interest in bird carving started later in life after watching another Pierrepont woman who carved lawn ornaments for sale – and knew she could do something with her jackknife, which was always purchased at J.J. Newberry’s.

“At first Hazel went out and cut her own wood,” Whalen said. “The wood came from her woodlot. She would cut her own and do the whole thing. But then after a while one of the men from Canton said, “I’ll go out and cut it and it will be quicker for you.” For years she and her sister-in-law lived on the farm. They had no electricity. They were just there.”

Whalen still recalls her first visit to see Hazel Tyrrell and her birds. “She was in the country beyond nowhere,” Whalen said. “The road after you got out was a dirt road. The first time I went it was spring and she was beside the house plowing behind the horse, and she said, “This is the first time he has been out and he was pulling.” Her hands were sore.”

As a schoolteacher, Whalen said she wanted to be able to show the birds to her students. “I didn’t have too much money,” Whalen said. “I thought, “Maybe I could buy this one or maybe I could buy that one” and I did. I bought maybe five and they were $5 per piece. It wasn’t very long afterward that they were never at $5 per piece.” The desire to own more of Hazel Tyrrell’s birds did not dwindle after that purchase and Whalen continued collecting the handcrafted marvels – one bird at a time.

As Canton author Atwood Manley once put it, Hazel dressed for work and was usually “outfitted in old dungarees tucked into the top of heavy men’s work shoes, a much-patched blue denim shirt, and a tattered old Tyrolean hat perched on her head.” She worked constantly to perfect her techniques, style and repertoire.

As her birds became more popular, she would carve each piece, usually of basswood or pine, and then Hazel’s sister-in-law Dorothy would sand and oil it, and then Hazel would then paint meticulously under the rays of either a kerosene or Aladdin lamp. Her birds are almost color perfect and most are mounted as they would be found in their natural habitat all with her signature twisted wire feet.

Over the last 22 years of her life, it is estimated that Hazel carved over 6,000 birds of several dozen species. She constantly strove to get her birds “just right” and in addition to her “keen observation” of the birds in her feeders she poured over the colored plates and photos in numerous bird books. After word got out about her expertise everyone in town brought her dead birds to copy. She made patterns and kept them in an old cigar box in the barn. She worked hard to get the birds correct and most realistic tint of color and was always on the hunt for improvement.

“If there was a bird that died on somebody’ property, they would take it to her so that she could look at it, see the style and size, and the whole thing,” Whalen said. “I had a real hummingbird once. It stayed with me a month or so, and she came to my house because she wanted to see what the hummingbird really did look like. Because when you see a hummingbird, you can’t really figure that one out. So she stayed in the house over an hour.”

During her most productive years, Hazel Tyrrell created between 300 to 500 birds per year. While there are many examples of her most popular birds – like nuthatches, bluebirds, and humming birds – she also would accept commissions that became one of a kind. Whalen said that Hazel carved and painted one species at a time. “You had to wait until your order was done,” she said.

“She was always gracious,” Whalen said. I asked her, “Is there any possible way we can put a worm (in the robin’s beak) and a fish (in the kingfisher’s)?” “I don’t know,” she said. “I’ll try it.” And she did. This is the first one she did with the worm, and the first one she did with the fish with the fins out. She said, “Never going to make another one like that because I took more time and it took more skill than the whole bird.” Now after that, she made the fins so they were tight. They were just lines…”

Later in the 1960s, when she and her sister-in-law moved away from the farm they “treated themselves to electricity” but Hazel never thought the light was quite right for producing the correct colors.

“It was a different ballgame,” Whalen said. “She had always painted at night by kerosene lamps so when she had electricity, the light was different. She had a hard time trying to adjust to this. And she didn’t get as much work done because she was closer and people could drive in the winter. And many went, many went. She had people all the time.”

Hazel Tyrrell never advertised and didn’t even have a sign near her farm to attract customers. But people from all over found her and her birds, and were happy when she agreed to sell them a bird or two.

“At one time, my father was in the hospital at Ogdensburg, which was run by the nuns,” Whalen said. “This one particular one was upped from her job in obstetrics to be the head one, and her assignments of course was to visit every patient. Well, with obstetrics, that was all women. She was ringing her hands because she had to visit a man. So, the regular nurse came around… and said, “What are we going to do?” My father said, “That’s fine.” And he wanted me to bring some of the birds, so that he would be the first man that she would go to, but that there would be something to talk about. In doing that, she became very interested and asked when she and her other nun friends go and visit the lady. So in the spring, I took them and they had a wonderful time.”

Today, her birds can be found occasionally at a local auction or estate sale and it is not unusual to witness a spirited bidding war ending in a high price for one of Hazel Tyrrell’s colorful and realistic birds. Hazel lived a full life and had many friends, each of her birds is a testament to her way of life and artistic legacy.

The Gouverneur Museum at its annual open house on Saturday, December 8, 1 to 3 p.m., will host a reception for the public to greet Mary Jo Whalen and see the fine specimens of Hazel Tyrrell’s handiwork in her collection. The bird species on display will include the following: robin redbreast (with worm), woodcock, killdeer, bluebird, cardinal, chickadee, nuthatch, woodpecker, blue jay, goldfinch, cedar waxwing, grosbeak, kingfisher, and owl.

The birds that are known to stay around the North Country throughout the winter months are perched on a log display that Mary Jo Whalen’s father made specifically for the collection.

In addition to the reception, the exhibit can be viewed on Wednesdays or Saturdays, 1 to 3 p.m., during the museum’s regular hours of operation. There is no admission fee to the museum.

Remembering Those Who Served

Dan McClelland

by Rachel Hunter

Veterans Day (originally known as Armistice Day) is commemorated every year on November 11 to mark the armistice signed between the Allies of World War I and Germany at Compiègne, France, for the cessation of hostilities on the Western Front of World War I, which took effect at eleven o'clock in the morning on November 11, 1918.

Celebrating the 100th anniversary since the armistice was signed, it was at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day on the eleventh month (November 11, 2018 at 11 a.m.) that the Annual Veterans Day Observance in Gouverneur, organized by the Silas Wainwright VFW Post 6338 and the James Maloy American Legion Post 0065, and opportunity for local residents to honor all those who have serve and continue to serve this great country with valor, bravery and dedication to the cause of freedom.

Master of Ceremonies Michael Webster, US Navy (Ret.) and Past Commander of VFW Post 6338 stated the following: “We are here to remember those who died and fought in World War I. Actually, it wasn’t World War I. It was the War To End All Wars, later to be remembered as World War I. I know it is cold today, but I want you just for a moment to remember those who were in the trenches, they didn’t have the luxury of arriving in a car, spending a few minutes here, and then going to a warm place again.”

VFW Post 6338 Chaplain Gerald Barker gave the invocation. The Pledge of Allegiance was led by VFW Post 6338 Commander Richard Fisher and American Legion Post 65 Commander Gloria Weldon.

VFW Post 6338 Commander Richard Fisher and American Legion Post 65 Commander Gloria Weldon then commenced with the Presentation of Wreaths.

The Presentation of the Flowers was conducted by Jeff Platt, VFW Post 6338 Auxiliary President, and Deanna Cline, American Legion Ladies Auxiliary President.

The Presentation of the Yellow Rose was conducted by Gold Star Mother Nancy Cappellino.

Lynda Andrews, Daughters of the American Revolution descendant, offered the Presentation of the Red Rose.

A wreath was presented by Steve Cline of Sons of the American Legion.

Roland Roderick conducted the Presentation of Wreath from Gouverneur Students.

Jeff Forsythe then offered a bagpipe selection of “Amazing Grace.”

The guest speaker, former Village of Gouverneur mayor and current Town of Gouverneur Councilman Curran Wade, made the following address:

“This is an exciting day for us, for everybody. One hundred years ago armistice was proclaimed after World War I. I am very proud of that, and that is what I want to express today is the pride that I have to address you as a former Army member and my family. I am proud of each and every one that started back years ago.

“I was going through some relics, some cards, some pictures years ago and I found a letter from my great uncle, Custer Mitchell, who fought in World War I in Germany. He had sent the letter to my grandmother, talking about what he did. I am very proud of that. And with it was a little pennant that had United States Army on it. It’s over 100 years old. I am proud of that.

“My uncle fought in the Battle of the Bulge in World War II, and I am very proud of that.

“My other uncle was a medic at the Army hospitals in Germany, and in Belgium, and I am proud of that.

“My son-in-law was a Marine, and he was in Japan in the 60s. My other son-in-law didn’t make it home. God bless him, he was in the Army. This brings us to present day. My brother-in-law was in the Marine Corps. He fought in the Far East and was in Japan.

“That brings us to my father, Curran E. Wade, Sr. who helped build tanks. He was a triple engineer and worked in the steel mills in Alabama. I saw some of those tanks going down the railway going north to the various forts and overseas.

“Other people I am proud of are my kids. My son-in-law is a Brigadier General, and he is in charge of the Army National Guard State of Vermont. David Manfredi is his name.

“My other son-in-law just retired as a major in the Marine Corps, and was attached to the Pentagon, and continues to work at the Pentagon after his retirement.

“And as for me, I spent six years in the Army, 18 months in Korea.

“I hope this brings to the point that I am trying to make. You have to be proud of everybody that you know that was in the Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps and that contributed to our country. I am very proud, and on the 100th anniversary – the eleventh hour, the eleventh day, the eleventh month. God bless each and every one of you, God bless America, and God bless our veterans.”

The honor guard salute, conducted by Sergeant-At-Arms Karl Beck, was offered by the joint VFW and American Legion combined firing detail. At the firing of the third volley and the sergeant-at-arms completed his commands, taps were played by Jenneca Cook.

The benediction was led by Ruth Mead, VFW Post 6338 Auxiliary Chaplain.

Michael Webster then gave closing remarks, and then invited all to the VFW Post 6338, 100 W. Main St., Gouverneur, for a delicious beef stew luncheon where all were encouraged to “thank the veterans of our community for their service and sacrifices, for our freedom.”

Much gratitude was extended to all who participated or attended the ceremony.

Local dignitaries attending the observance included Village of Gouverneur Mayor Ron McDougall, Village of Gouverneur Clerk/Treasurer Barbara Finnie, Town of Gouverneur Supervisor Dave Spilman, Jr., and Town of Gouverneur Deputy Supervisor Eldon Conklin.

Hermon Cub Scout Earns Two High Honors

Dan McClelland

Jack Velez, a 10-year old Cub Scout of Hermon-DeKalb Pack 144, received two prestigious Cub Scout awards on Oct. 26 before crossing over into the Hermon-DeKalb Boy Scout Troop.

The first was the “Arrow of Light” Award which is the highest award and rank that can be earned by a Cub Scout. This can only be earned by 5th graders and includes earning certain required Adventure Pins including “Building a Better World”, “Duty to God in Action”, “Outdoorsman”, and “Scouting Adventure”. In addition to the required Pins, a Cub must also earn one of 18 elective Pins.

Jack went beyond the minimum and earned all 18 Adventure Pins which is rarely done.

In addition to earning the AOL Award, Jack Velez earned the STEM-based “Charles H. Townes Supernova Award”. This is an extremely difficult science award for Webelos Cub Scouts and Jack is the first Scout on record of Longhouse Council having earned this award. His efforts toward this award included having to research five famous scientists, earn five Adventure Pins, visit a rock show, construct a simple working electrical circuit, do five mathematical activities at home, find interesting facts about Charles Townes, learn about a STEM-based career, participate in a STEM-based activity at a Scout event, and do two science experiments with one showing the Scientific Method. He worked with Supernova Mentor, Huda Suliman of Liverpool, NY who is also the Committee Chair of Troop 333 in Cicero, NY and the STEM Advisor for the Oneida District.

Jack greatly enjoys the Scouting program and has aspirations in earning every merit badge possible along with earning the Eagle Award. He also wishes to become a scientist for NASA and enjoys learning about engineering, chemistry, and nuclear science.