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74 Trinity Avenue
Gouverneur, NY, 13642
United States

Local News

Filtering by Category: Featured

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.