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Gouverneur, NY, 13642
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Wildcats throw Stoners in double OT thriller

Dan McClelland

by Dick Sterling

Once every generation or so high school football fans have the opportunity to witness a game that will stay in their memory for decades to come… Saturday’s battle of the unbeatens at Frank LaFalce Field, behind the Gouverneur High School between the hometown Wildcats and the visiting Potsdam Sandstoners, will be one of those epic games that fans will be talking about for years to come.

An extra point kick from a sophomore who had kicked exactly zero extra points during his initial varsity season, tried to erase the sound of the excited crowd, tried to dismiss the fact that every Potsdam player on the other side of the line was hell-bent on blocking his kick, did his best to fight off that “what if I miss” feeling… as Jacob Shippee received the snap, expertly placed the ball on the natural grass field that generations of Wildcats have played on over the years, Kyle Savage tried to drown out all the noise… chase away those butterflies… and kick the ball… Savage kicked the ball…

Potsdam failed to get a hand on it… everyone’s eyes followed the path of the football and the official raised his hands in the air, signifying that Kyle’s kick had, indeed, split the uprights… the kick gave the Wildcats a hard-fought 15-14 victory and stretched their regular season winning streak to 26 straight… and only two wins shy of a fourth straight undefeated league season.

Yes this was a game that we’ll remember for a long, long time.

The Wildcats had averaged over 50 points a game during their 4-0 start. They had scored 52 points in the opening quarter, they had only trailed for 93 seconds this season… they had certainly dominated every game they’ve played.

Potsdam also had opened the season in impressive fashion with four easy victories, outscoring their opponents 152-24. This was to be the toughest challenge either team had faced in 2019… and the big crowd that had come out to witness the battle on a picture-perfect fall afternoon, would not be disappointed.

Both teams’ defenses showed that they had come to play after a scoreless opening quarter that featured three punts, one series that was turned over on downs and another that ended with a fumble. Potsdam opened the second quarter with Quarterback Zack Kirka completing a pass on fourth down and eight for a first down, and running back Will Varney, considered one of the best in Section 10, reeled off runs of eight and 11 yards before polishing off the 66-yard drive with a six-yard touchdown run. Varney also ran in the two-point conversion to give the visitors an 8-0 lead with 9:24 to play in the half. ‘

The Wildcats received the kickoff and started the drive on their own 23-yard-line. Several running plays steadily marched the ball down the field. Facing a fourth down and 10, the Cats lined up in punt formation, but faked the kick and Joe Cummings gained 11 yards… just enough for the first down. Cayden Stowell ran seven yards to set up a first-and-goal and then polished off the 77-yard drive with a nine-yard touchdown run. Mitchell Tyler ran in the two-point conversion try to tie the score at 8-8 with 3:02 to play in the half.

For the remainder of the first half, and all of the second, both the Wildcats and Sandstoners defensive units did an excellent job in keeping the opponent off the scoreboard. Stowell stopped one Potsdam drive as he picked off a pass from Kirka. Potsdam put together a goal-line stand in which the Wildcats failed to score from the one-yard-line. The Wildcat defense sacked Kirka on two consecutive plays to break up an impressive Stoner drive. And, late in the fourth quarter, a 43-yard field goal attempt from Potsdam’s Nolan Anderson was blocked by Tyler Tupper. Regulation ended with the scored tied 8-8.

Overtime rules in high school football allow one team to attempt to score from 20 yards out. The opponent then has a try at their own 20-yard drive.

The Wildcats initial drive was thwarted by that goal-line defense of the Sandstoners. Any type of score by Potsdam would end the game. Varney carried for seven yards and then Potsdam were called for back-to-back penalties and turned the ball over on downs.

Potsdam got the ball first in the second overtime and left the outcome up to their talented running back. Varney carried for 7, 6 and 5 yards and polished off the drive with a two-yard touchdown run. The Wildcat defense was up to the challenge on the conversion attempt though as they planted Varney into the ground on the one-yard-line. Potsdam held a 14-8 advantage… but the Wildcats would have their chance to keep their streak alive.

Quarterback Caleb Farr called his own number on first down and ran for eight yards. On second down, Farr surrounded himself with his teammates, and Potsdam players joined the fray, as the giant crown marched steadily towards the goal line… Gouverneur would not be denied as the crowd pushed Farr across the goal line. The two-play drive tied the score at 14 and let the heroic moment up to their talented sophomore. The kick was good and the crowd, as well as the Gouverneur bench, celebrated one hard-fought, well-played football game.

Varney was the star of the Potsdam offense as he carried 28 times for 135 yards. The rest of the team gained a total of 15 yards. Gouverneur shared the running duties as Farr carried 19 times for 68 yards, Tyler had 15 tries for 63 yards and Stowell had a dozen carries for 60 yards and a touchdown.

Elsewhere in the Northern Athletic Conference, Watertown used a 60-yard pass on the last play of the game to beat St. Lawrence Central 28-24; Ogdensburg beat Malone 48-6 and Canton got by Massena 40-22.

Tonight (Friday), for the first time ever, the Wildcats will play a Friday night game under the lights at Frank LaFalce Field. Portable lights will be in place to illuminate the contest between the Wildcats and the Massena Red Raiders. Next Saturday Gouverneur will wrap up the regular season at Canton.

Saturday’s game was dedicated to the memory of George Gordon, a long time teacher and coach at both Gouverneur and Potsdam. Coach Gordon died in Syracuse on October 2… his 63rd birthday would have been on Saturday.

Gouverneur Pumpkin Festival a smash hit

Dan McClelland

by Rachel Hunter

The 2019 Gouverneur Pumpkin Festival was a smash hit this past weekend at the Gouverneur Fairgrounds. This was the eighth annual event, presented by the Gouverneur and St. Lawrence County Fair Association and the Gouverneur Area Chamber of Commerce.

It was also sponsored by RSI Roofing Co., Gouverneur Garden Club, Aubuchon Hardware, Community Health Center of the North Country, and Peace of Mind Home Inspection Services.

The giant pumpkin weigh-off contest was won by the sole entry, a 435-pounder grown by Lyle Hotis of Gouverneur. Gouverneur and St. Lawrence County Fair directors used a crane scale to determine an accurate weight. Festival-goers saw the giant pumpkin drop from a tremendous height during the Second Giant Pumpkin Drop on Sunday, September 29. Mr. Hotis also grew at 285-pounder that was used for the First Giant Pumpkin Drop on Saturday, September 28.

The crowd watched in amazement as the giant pumpkins were lifted by a RSI Roofing Co. crane, operated by Barry Turner of Gouverneur (who has volunteered his time since the inaugural Gouverneur Pumpkin Festival to make the event a success).

On both Saturday and Sunday, a giant pumpkin was released by the pull of ropes handled by various fair directors. In mere moments, the eyes of all the people in attendance went wide as the giant pumpkin smashed into smithereens on the landing below. Pumpkin, water, and numbered golf balls then flew all over the grounds.

Over 700 tickets were sold this weekend for the Giant Pumpkin Drops. Each entrant took a number, corresponding to a numbered golf ball that was put into the giant pumpkin before the drop. The top three golf balls that travelled the furthest were then determined, and the winners announced. Big cash payouts were promised, and the local winners were not disappointed.

The winners of the First Giant Pumpkin Drop were as follows: The top prize ($300) went to Wesley Besaw of Gouverneur, whose ball travelled 85 feet, 3 inches. The second prize ($200) went to Claudia Moulton whose ball travelled 62 feet, 1 inch. The third prize ($100) went to Courtney Hays, whose ball travelled 57 feet, 6 inches.

The results of Second Giant Pumpkin Drop will be released once they are made available to the Gouverneur Tribune Press.

The winner of the 2019 Gouverneur Pumpkin Festival’s Guess The Pumpkin’s Weight Contest was Art Mason of Brier Hill. He guessed 437 pounds on Mr. Hotis’ pumpkin, which weighed in at 435 pounds.

William Stamper of Russell won the drawing for the Gouverneur Area Chamber of Commerce’s basket raffle.

The winner of the 50/50 raffle drawing was Manny Laso of Canton, who won $61.

The 2019 Gouverneur Pumpkin Festival was complete with a wealth of fun activities and events for both the young and young-at-heart.

On both Saturday and Sunday, vendor displays and a craft show was held outside on the Gouverneur Fairgrounds and inside in the 4-H youth building. Many people commented that they were impressed by the number of vendors participating this year.

On Saturday, the auxiliary to Silas Wainwright Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6338 held its Second VFW Auxiliary Annual Freedom Festival. Members were there to provide information about the various programs that they do throughout the year to support veterans, auxiliary members and local youth. All were invited to stop by and learn about scholarship programs the Auxiliary supports and sponsors locally, the VFW National Home for Children, this year' special project (America's VetDogs), and to find out eligibility requirement to join the VFW Auxiliary.

There was entertainment offered both days inside the FFA Building with appearances by the Matune Creek Band and Steelin’ Country. Many toe-tapping country and bluegrass hits were performed for the audience’s enjoyment.

Children were also invited to “ride the Cow Train,” a free ride that was created with the help of students at Southwest Career and Technical Education Center in Fowler. It had its first Pumpkin Festival appearance in 2018.

The Gouverneur Recreation Center also brought a variety of children’s activities for all to enjoy, including the following: crafts, a scavenger hunt, carnival games, Pumpkin Plinko, and much more.

Local children also enjoyed playing on the bounce house, obstacle course and huge slide that was on site during the entire 2019 Gouverneur Pumpkin Festival.

Many also enjoyed the wagon rides around the Gouverneur Fairgrounds, made possible by Bango Valley Percherons in Richville.

Food vendors – Mullins, Cotton Candy N More, and Nibble’s Snackery – were on site both days.

On Saturday, the Gouverneur Garden Club held its annual mum and bake sale to the great enjoyment of the various festival-goers. More plants and baked goods were available for sale on Sunday. The booth also featured a raffle for a framed painting by local artist, Nancy Holdstock of Gouverneur. The results of this drawing will be announced once they are made available to the Gouverneur Tribune Press.

The Fourth Annual Ripathon Fitness Event was held on Sunday morning at the Giant Pumpkin Drop Area. A worship service, conducted by the First United Methodist Church of Gouverneur, drew dozens of local residents to the Gouverneur Fairgrounds, and it was held in the new cattle barn.

About 200 chicken barbecue dinners were sold at noon on Sunday. The chef-in-charge was Fair Director Dave Bishop of DeKalb, who was assisted by many other fair directors throughout the morning hours.

A Pumpkin Cruise-In Classic Car Show drew many car enthusiasts to the Gouverneur Fairgrounds on Sunday, September 29. See related story inside this edition.

Face painting and temporary tattoos were available to all the children in attendance, due to the generous sponsorship received from the Community Health Center of the North Country.

All proceeds from the 2019 Gouverneur Pumpkin Fest were directed towards the building maintenance fund for the fairgrounds.

Ritchie helps rebuild Hammond CSD Playground

Dan McClelland

Senator Patty Ritchie (right) pictured visiting the Hammond Central School District Playground with District Superintendent Douglas McQueer (left)

Senator Patty Ritchie (right) pictured visiting the Hammond Central School District Playground with District Superintendent Douglas McQueer (left)

The Hammond Central School District has a brand new playground for it students, thanks to $100,000 in grants secured by State Senator Patty Ritchie.

“By encouraging students to get outside, exercise and play with one another, we are helping to improve their growth and development,” said Senator Ritchie. “That is why it is so important to me to secure funding for projects that improve fitness and increase activity in our local school districts.”

The funding allowed the district to purchase new fitness equipment for the playground and build handicap-accessible walkways that lead up to it.  The project was finished just in time for the new school year.

“Hammond Central School appreciates Senator Ritchie's tireless efforts on behalf of all students in her region,” said Hammond Central School District Superintendent Douglas McQueer. “Her diligence through the years has assisted Hammond to be able to purchase supplementary literacy materials, sports equipment and playground pieces for our students.”

In addition to this grant, Senator Ritchie has also helped the students of Hammond Central better understand the importance of agriculture and healthy foods by providing the district with $5,000 for her “Seeds of Success” program.

Assemblyman Blankenbush visits Gouverneur senior citizens

Dan McClelland

Assemblyman Ken Blankenbush (R,C,I-Black River) speaking to the Gouverneur Senior Citizens Club on Tuesday, September 10 at the Gouverneur Community Center. (Rachel Hunter photo)

Assemblyman Ken Blankenbush (R,C,I-Black River) speaking to the Gouverneur Senior Citizens Club on Tuesday, September 10 at the Gouverneur Community Center. (Rachel Hunter photo)

by Rachel Hunter

Assemblyman Ken Blankenbush (R,C,I-Black River) held mobile office hours, ate lunch with local senior citizens at the Gouverneur Congregate Dining Center, and was the featured guest speaker at the Gouverneur Senior Citizens Club meeting on Tuesday, September 10 at the Gouverneur Community Center, 4673 State Highway 58, Gouverneur. There were over 60 people in attendance.

“It's great to be here today, especially in this new facility... I have been here a few times. It's really good to be here,” Assemblyman Blankenbush said. “I guess I should introduce myself since some of you may or may not know me. I live in Black River, which is in that other county. I have been in the Assembly since 2011, and I followed Dede Scozzafava who was there before me.

“My district now is a little bit different since the redistricting. I used to have 10 more towns in St. Lawrence County than I do now. I only have seven. And they took the 10 towns away from me in St. Lawrence County and gave me 10 towns in Oneida. And so, I go from DeKalb down to 10 towns in Jefferson to all of Lewis and 10 towns in Oneida County... So now it is not just representing the North Country, it is representing the North Country and the Mohawk Valley. So, it's been different these last few years. But already, after the 2020 election there is going to be another redistricting. So, who knows what it is going to be like in the 2022 election.

Acting St. Lawrence County Clerk Sandra Santamoor (candidate for St. Lawrence County Clerk in the 2019 General Election) speaking to the Gouverneur Senior Citizens Club on Tuesday, September 10 at the Gouverneur Community Center. (Rachel Hunter photo)

Acting St. Lawrence County Clerk Sandra Santamoor (candidate for St. Lawrence County Clerk in the 2019 General Election) speaking to the Gouverneur Senior Citizens Club on Tuesday, September 10 at the Gouverneur Community Center. (Rachel Hunter photo)

“I can remember when I was not in the Assembly – when Dede was in the Assembly – when they redistrict, they put Dede in the same district as then-Bob Nortz from Lewis County, but what they didn't realize was that Bob Nortz also owned property up on the river, and he ran into different districts. But, who knows what they are going to do with the redistricting in four more years. I can't tell you what is going to happen, but then again, I'll be looking at something different again. I really don't like what they did when they redistrict St. Lawrence County. A lot of people will tell you that because of having so many representatives in Albany, it is a benefit for you. But I am not so sure of that because they chopped us all up. So, in other words, the towns I had in St. Lawrence (when you talk about Star Lake, Cranberry Lake, and all of those) I didn’t have anything on the river. And the person who now has that district is from Herkimer County. So for him to get up to his district in Potsdam area, Star Lake and all of those... he really has to drive through my district to get to his district. Redistricting is a thing that we have to live with. Who knows what is going to happen after the 2020 election.

“I had a few people ask me about license plates,” Assemblyman Blankenbush said. “For those who know me, know that I will not be in favor of making people replace their license plates, especially if the license plates can be read. A few years back, they put out license plates that – if you look at some of them as you are driving around – you can't really read them... That's not the people's fault that are driving those cars. That's the State of New York and whoever made those license plates. It is not the fault of the individuals, and in my opinion, those license plates were being replaced free... If you took them in right now, you can get them replaced free. If this bill is passed before individuals do that, the governor is going to want to charge you. So, if you have a license plate or you have friends that know that their license plate is deteriorating, you can take it to the DMV and get new license plates before this thing hits and we have to all replace our license plates. So, I believe it is a money grab from the governor... and I guess he can call it a fee rather than a tax. I am not sure when that is going to come out. I think it is on hold right now. I think there has been some backlash on that. I believe when we go back into session it's probably going to come back for the legislators to vote on that.”

“January is going to start my 10th year,” Assemblyman Blankenbush said. “I can honestly say that out of the nine budgets that we have voted on over the years, that this is the worst budget that I voted on since I have been in there for Upstate New York and the North Country. There's 10 parts to the budget. It's not just one vote for the budget. It's 10 parts. And this was the very, very first time that I voted no on all 10 parts to the budget. I didn't see any good coming out of the budget negotiations that happened this year. Talked to the Town of Gouverneur Supervisor Dave Spilman, Jr., for example, when they took the money out of what we call the pothole fund for the highway department... then we put it back in, and then we took it back out. If you live in the town, the town tries to do three miles per year to try to keep up with it. By cutting some of the money out of that budget, it was a really bad thing to do and hopefully we got it back in. But, whether we see it or not, that's another subject. I really didn't like the budget.”

Assemblyman Blankenbush then continued as follows: “Some people ask me, “Why don't you get up and talk about what's happened this year in Albany?” I can tell you right now I was not very happy with what happened after the budget process. Some of the bills that we voted on this year, again it was probably the most no-votes that I have had since I have been there, starting with the abortion bill right up until the time of labor. I couldn't vote for that. But we are having a left-wing swing in New York, as probably everyone here has read about. What's coming next year? It's probably the legalization of marijuana. They decriminalized it a little bit this year, and I just think that it was a stepping stone for the legalization.

“They also passed – for the Second Amendment people who are here – the Red Flag Bill,” Assemblyman Blankenbush said. “If you listen some people, there's not really a lot wrong with the Red Flag Bill. If somebody shouldn't own a gun, they shouldn't own a gun. If they have mental problems or is going to hurt others, everybody can agree on that. However, if you read the whole bill, it takes away due process. If I call the Sheriff's Office and say, “I believe my neighbor is going to either hurt himself or hurt someone else.” They are obligated now to go to the court, ask the judge to give an order to take away the guns.

“Well, my problem with that is, if you are going to go to a judge, the person who owns the guns ought to be in front of the judge right then to answer the problem or the complaint. That's not what is going to happen. The judge is going to order the guns removed from the house. Then, that person is going to be able to appeal. The appeal is supposed to happen within six days. I don't know a court that works that fast, but that's what the bill says. And the problem I have with some of that is that I believe that individual who has been called on, if the judge is going to order that removal of guns, he ought to be able to talk to that individual, question that individual, and not just listen to a complaint that is given by a neighbor or an ex-spouse.

“Let's face it, if you are going through a divorce, it's not usually a happy time. I can imagine up here in the North Country that someone who is getting ready for hunting season... hunting season starts on Saturday, and somebody calls in and says that they think he is going to hurt himself or someone else, and they'll take the guns away. I just think you are taking away due process. I don't like that part of the bill. I agree with the concept that we should not have people who have some mental issues not have any guns. But I still think that individual should have due process. I think we are taking away the rights that some individuals have...”

Assemblyman Blankenbush then continued as follows: “People ask me all the time, “How can you vote against the Women's Equality Act?” Well, there's 10 bills in the Women's Equality Act. Then 10th one was the abortion one. I voted for all nine of them, except for the bill that allows abortion all the way up to the time of labor. And by the way, I have had several pro-choice individuals email me and call me, and say that they don't agree with that bill either... that they believe that the bill is going way too far, even to the point of if the baby survives the abortion, the doctor is allowed to allow the baby to lay there and die. Think about it, they now say that you don't have to go to the hospital to have the abortion. You don't have to go to a doctor to do the abortion. You can go to a clinic and have a physician’s assistant do it. I just think that's going backwards for women's health, not supporting women's health. So there's a lot of things on that bill that there was no way... but the nine other bills that were there, I support. But the 10th, I just couldn't support.”

“So, what is going to come this year, I don't know,” Assemblyman Blankenbush said. “All I know is that the last session was not a very popular session for Ken.

“The only other thing I can say is that when we are looking at 2020's election, and we're going to go into 2022, the State of New York is going to lose two congressional seats. So, the Empire State is shrinking. Over 1.4 million have left the state at the last count. We are going to lose one for sure, and I believe we are going to lose two congressional seats because it goes by population. The people are leaving the State of New York. I disagree with the governor. It's not because of the climate, it's because of the business climate. It's because of the taxation. It's harder and harder for businesses to do business in the State of New York.

“Years ago, before I qualified as a senior, I had a lot of people that were called snowbirds. They would leave the State of New York and they would go down to Florida for four months and they would come back. Well, they are still doing that, but they are really not snowbirds anymore because when they are coming back they have Florida plates on. They are changing more and more. The people that are in my age group that I know personally are now coming back and spending three or four months here, and they are going back to Florida... The people in New York City tell me that even though we talk about people leaving the State of New York, they are talking about some of the boroughs in New York City that have actually grown in population...”

Assemblyman Blankenbush then answered questions from the local senior citizens for several moments before introducing Acting St. Lawrence County Clerk Sandra Santamoor, who is running for the St. Lawrence County Clerk seat in the 2019 General Election. Assemblyman Blankenbush encouraged all those in attendance to take the opportunity to meet and talk with Mrs. Santamoor. A great applause sounded as Assemblyman Blankenbush handed the microphone to the candidate.

“Hi, for those of you who don’t know me, I was (former St. Lawrence County Clerk) Mary Lou Rupp's deputy for eight years. She trained me well,” Mrs. Santamoor said. “I am prepared to do the job. We have a lot of things in the works right now, but we will continue from what Mary Lou started – e-filing, e-reporting, it all saves the county time and money. Right now, I am in the process of getting a $125,000 grant to have all of our civil and criminal files digitized so that they are available. We are trying to figure out a way to move the road test site in Canton, so I am working with the State DMV and the Village of Canton. If anyone has been down Judson St. in Canton, they know we have the village buses on one side and road testing on the other, which causes a very dangerous situation. So we are working on that... Downstate business, that is our big one. We are still doing that. We make a lot of money doing that. It helps with the tax levy, so it is important to keep that business going.

“As well as you all know here locally, in Gouverneur, we put in a new terminal in there, so we now have three staff there. We are trying to keep on top of the downstate business and make sure that we are providing the best service that we can to the local residents. In a couple weeks we will be opening a new terminal in Massena, so we will have four staff there. We have three in Ogdensburg and 13 in Canton. If you all keep doing your business locally, we would appreciate it. It really does benefit everyone in the county. Hopefully, I look forward to serving you all for four years beyond this.”

At the conclusion of her address, Gouverneur Senior Citizens Club President Joanne Bitter extended gratitude to both Assemblyman Ken Blankenbush and Acting St. Lawrence County Clerk Sandra Santamoor for their speaking to the crowd gathered, and all gave a rousing round of applause. Other local dignitaries in attendance included Town of Gouverneur Supervisor Dave Spilman, Jr., Town of Gouverneur Deputy Supervisor Eldon Conklin, and Town of Gouverneur Councilman Eldon Conklin, among others.

The Gouverneur Senior Citizens Club then continued with their regular monthly board meeting at the Gouverneur Community Center.

Plow Days in Fowler to be held this weekend

Dan McClelland

Archive photo from 2018 SLVDHA Plow Days in Fowler. (Rachel Hunter photo)

Archive photo from 2018 SLVDHA Plow Days in Fowler. (Rachel Hunter photo)

by Rachel Hunter

The St. Lawrence Valley Draft Horse Association will once again show the power and utility of the draft horse at the 2019 SLVDHA Plow Days, which will be held on Saturday, September 7, and Sunday, September 8, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the Bill and Tina Siebels Farm in Fowler. The event takes place at the end of the growing season, the culmination of the club’s efforts to plant, grow, and harvest using draft horses and equipment.

Today, the gentle giant draft horses are seldom seen, almost lost in a world of high-speed, noisy machines that require industrial fuel to perform. But it was only a century ago when draft horses (along with mules and oxen) were almost everywhere, providing a practical, dependable, and renewable power source for pioneer-era industries such as agriculture, railway building, large-scale excavation and earth-moving, mining, logging, and road construction.

In fact, before 1910, at least 90 percent of all public works, agriculture, and resource industries relied on “horse power” to complete jobs both large and small.

For millennia, grains, fruits, and vegetables were produced manually by sowing seeds and using a scythe to harvest the crops. Hand-flailing the straw to remove the grain on the ground was a slow and inefficient way of processing. Innovations in farm equipment significantly increased the productivity of North American farmers. Double-width harrows, steel plows mounted on wheels, mowers, binders, threshers, and combines reduced the need for manpower, while dramatically increasing the horse power required to operate them. Improvements in harnesses and hitch design also increased efficiency.

The western market for farm equipment created a demand for stronger and larger horses to power the new equipment. Horse, farmer, and machine began working together to plant and harvest the crops. The last half of the 19th century saw draft horse breeding become both essential and profitable. Horse breeding programs flourished in the late 1800s and in the early part of the 1900s. During this time, many grain farms had more horses (as many as 10 or more) than people, with each horse working an average of 600 hours per year.

So, what was partly responsible for both the rise and collapse of the heavy horse in North America? The Industrial Revolution. The changes in agricultural technology peaked in the latter part of the 19th century. Demand for draft animals was spurred by growing transportation, construction, and agricultural needs. The year 1917, when the Ford Motor Company introduced the Fordson Tractor, saw the beginning of the trend moving away from horse power in favor of farm mechanization. The horse lost the dominance of the streets to the automotive industry rather quickly. As for the contest for the agricultural fields, the horse fought tenaciously but eventually yielded in many cases to steam and gas tractor power.

Since that time, the draft breeds have not only stabilized in numbers, but also once more enjoy a thriving trade. The stabilization of the draft horse population can be attributed to the dedication of draft horse breeders, as well as the decision of the old order Amish to reject tractor power in the fields.

The purpose of the St. Lawrence Valley Draft Horse Club is to promote the use of (as well as the ownership of) Clydesdale, Percheron, Belgian, Shire, Suffolk, and other breeds of draft horses. The club’s goal is to increase the number of people who responsibly own and enjoy draft horses. The club was founded over 30 years ago when there was a modest increase in interest in draft horses.

So much knowledge had been lost about how draft horses could be used, and the equipment suitable for working with draft horses, that the club began to gather that information and look for ways to share it with the general public. There has been a steady increase in interest in draft horses in St. Lawrence County ever since.

The 2019 SLVDHA Plow Days will be held on Saturday, September 7 and Sunday, September 8, at the Bill and Tina Siebels Farm, 362 County Route 22 (Farm To Market Road), Fowler. Exhibitions include plowing with walking plow and sulky plow, mowing hay, hay press, corn cutting, threshing, wagon rides, black smith, potato digging, sorghum press, dog/goat tread mill, cake walk, pony rides, raffles, refreshments. Also on Sunday at 1 p.m., there will be a parade, followed by the annual auction at 2 p.m. Admission is free for 4-H and FFA members. All others are a nominal fee.

For more information, call (315) 287-3533 or (315) 276-1135.

Don’t miss out on this opportunity to witness the power of the draft horse at the 2019 SLVDHA Plow Days!

Historic Walking Tour in Gouverneur draws crowd

Dan McClelland

by Rachel Hunter

Gouverneur’s history came alive on Saturday, August 24 as Town of Gouverneur and Village of Gouverneur Historian Joe Laurenza led a historic walking tour around Gouverneur.

Lance Rudiger of the St. Lawrence County Historical Association said it was just one of the several walking tours around the county that were presented by local historians, in partnership with the SLCHA.

A crowd of 20 interested local citizens first gathered at the Gouverneur Museum, and were greeted by the mouth-watering smell of the chicken barbecue. A total of 150 chicken halves were prepared by the Gouverneur and Edwards masons for the occasion.

Mr. Laurenza, who also serves as president of the Gouverneur Historical Association, started the historic walking tour at the Gouverneur Morris by saying the following: “Gouverneur, originally named Cambray, is named after Gouverneur Morris. He bought a total of 90,000 acres in three purchases. Cambray was first in the 1770s, and then the rest to Morristown, also named after him.

“Gouverneur Morris was a founding father, and a personal friend of George Washington. He held several government positions, and was minister to France. He was quite a ladies man and had many mistresses. He did not marry until his late 50s.

He never lived here, but traveled to the North Country at least twice. We have a copy of some of his diary trips here. The originals are in the Smithsonian. He had a stone house built in Natural Dam about three miles west of Gouverneur, where his land agents resided to oversee his property. The house is still there in disrepair. It was bought this past spring by a young man from Antwerp.”

Mr. Laurenza then showed the crowd a photo of the Gouverneur Morris house.

“Several books have been written about Gouverneur Morris,” Mr. Laurenza said. “One interesting fact is that he had a peg leg. There are two theories: He fell off a horse drawn carriage, or he jumped out of a window one night when a husband came home.

“He changed the name from Cambray to Gouverneur in honor of his mother, Sarah Gouverneur.

“Gouverneur was first settled in 1805 when the first seven families arrived. Dr. Richard Townsend was Morris’ first land agent who accompanied them from Warren County. Their names appear on the arch in the park.”

Mr. Laurenza then talked about the Gouverneur Museum as follows: “The Gouverneur Museum was originally the manse to the Presbyterian Church, built in 1904 with money donated by the Dean family. In 1974, the church decided to sell the manse and give the minister a living allowance. The Gouverneur Museum Board bought it, and it officially opened its doors on July 4, 1976 on the 200th anniversary of the U.S. The Museum is managed by a board of 11, and has about 30 volunteers. The main building has three floors of artifacts, and a one-room library/research room. Southwest Tech BOCES in Gouverneur built a building that is behind the museum. We also have the Gouverneur Annex at the fairgrounds. We also own a one-room schoolhouse that is 10 miles from the village.”

Village Park

“The Village Park was not a planned park, as is usually the case. It was just a wind-blown sand lot,” Mr. Laurenza said. “In 1834, Peter Van Buren, who owned one of the hotels on Main Street (across the street from the park), took it upon himself to plant saplings to preserve the area. He and local children drew water from the Oswegatchie River by ox team to water the saplings in the park. Nothing was done with the park for about 40 years. It was open to the public in 1873 by the village board. Elm trees were planted in 1873, but was all taken down in the 1950s and 1960s due to Dutch Elm disease. The park had several fountains over the years and at least two bandstands.”

Mr. Laurenza then gave the floor to Village of Gouverneur Mayor Ron McDougall to talk about the upcoming changes to the village park.

“We got a grant from Senator Ritchie last year, Mayor McDougall said. “Senator Ritchie was just here on Wednesday, July 31 during fair week, and we went through it together. Our engineers, Bernier, Carr and Associates, put together a plan. They are subject to change, some of the plans. The macadam is going to go, of course some of these flagpoles, and in particular, the Memorial Arch is in dire need of some work there as well. People think it is just going to be the gazebo. It is going to be more than just the gazebo. The macadam is definitely going to go…”

Much gratitude was extended to Mayor McDougall for his comments as the historical walking tour continued.


“The Fountain was placed in the park in 1876 on the 100th anniversary of the U.S. Independence,” Mr. Laurenza said. “The village spearheaded raising the funds. Funds were raised by the sale of $1 subscriptions. It was supposed to be in the park by July 4 of 1876, but arrived late and installed several weeks later. By 1957 the fountain was in disrepair. The Village did not want to pay for the repairs, and took it out of the park and put it behind the village barn. Frank LaFalce from Richville heard about it, and asked the village if he could have it. They let him take it to his home in Richville and he got it working again in his side yard where it was until 2010. Frank died in 1996 and his wife, Mary Ellen, died in 2010. She had willed it back to the village and Dave Spilman, Jr. volunteered to set it back up and got it working again. Dave continues to oversee it and runs water from the museum several times a week.”

Memorial Arch

“In 1905, on the centennial of the first settlers arriving in Gouverneur, the Memorial Arch was constructed in memory of the first settlers and those who lost their lives in wars,” Mr. Laurenza said. “There are several plaques honoring those who served in our armed forces. “Lest We Forget” was engraved on the front, and “Our Nations Defenders” on the back. The eagle was added in 1906 and donated by the Dean family. The eagle was damaged in 1988 by kids and was rebuilt and dedicated in 1990.

“The marble is from one of the nine marble quarries in the village.

“The cost in 1905 was $1,830.10. Donations came from businesses, individuals, sale of the centennial history of Gouverneur, and school children. Today’s cost would be in excess of a quarter-million dollars.”

The Lifesaver

“The Lifesaver is in our park because of Edward John Noble,” Mr. Laurenza said. “Noble was born in Gouverneur in 1882. He graduated from Gouverneur High School and Yale. His second job in 1912 was an ad man from a company in New York City. He was sent to Cleveland, Ohio where Clarence Crane was making candies. One was round white peppermint candy with a hole in the center. Noble suggested that to Crane to market the candy as aa LifeSaver. Two Reasons: A child could not choke on it if swallowed because of the hole in the center… and the other possible reason was life preserves on private or commercial ships were big, round white flotation devices. The Titanic sank in 1912.

“Crane did not like the idea and suggested Noble buy that part of his candy business for $2,900. He and a friend came up with the $2,900 and he got the recipe and equipment and moved everything he needed back to New York City. He rented an apartment and hired six girls. He also came up with the foil to keep it fresher. Other flavors were added beginning in 1929.

“The business grew rapidly and he built a plant in Port Chester, NY in 1920. Outside the plant were several huge LifeSavers. When the Port Chester plant closed and the candy division went to Canada, near Montreal, the company was not going to move the LifeSavers. They offered Gouverneur this one because Noble started the successful business and was from Gouverneur. The Rotary Club paid to have it moved and erected in out park in 1987.

“Noble had several positions in FDR’s administration. In 1943, he purchased the Blue Radio Network, now the ABC Network. He was the only individual to own a national radio station.

“Noble loved and vacationed in the Thousand Islands. He purchased Bolt Castle from Bolt Family in the late 1920s when it went up for sale. The Edward John Noble Foundation owned it for 50 years before turning it over to the Thousand Island Bridge Authority.”

Presbyterian Church

“The First Presbyterian Church was built in 1820,” Mr. Laurenza said. “The present church is the fourth Presbyterian Church. It was built in 1892-1893 at a cost of $50,000 and was paid off in 1902. The parsonage, now the Museum, was built in 1904 with monies donated by the Dean family. In 1920, the beautiful pipe organ was donated by Jennie Dean.

“In 1968, Head Start began in the lower level of the church and is still there.

“In 2015, the Church and the Museum were added to the National Registry of Historic Places.

“There have been 23 ministers of the Presbyterian Church in its 202 years. William Skinner was the longest serving minister, 52 years.”

Baptist Church

“The Baptist Church was organized in 1811, but the first church was not built until 1822,” Mr. Laurenza said. “Services were held in people’s homes. The second church was built in 1850. This is the third church and was built in 1894 at a cost of $25,000. In 1976, there was a fire that gutted the interior and the back wall had to be replaced. There were over 40 Baptist ministers before Rev. LaVeck, in 1993, became the minister of Christian Life Fellowship which it is known as today. It appears the demise of the Baptist Church was the result of friction between the Liberals and Conservatives of the congregation. Today, the Christian Life Fellowship Church, besides being a church, is heavily involved in helping the needy. Rev. LaVeck started a food pantry several years ago that provides food for hundreds of families each month. The basement of the church has over 20 refrigerators and freezers and shelving that completely fills the basement. The aisles are barely wide enough for the workers and patrons. This is a wonderful ministry he has taken on.”

Gouverneur Library

“In 1886 a room behind the Reynolds Block, which was in about the middle of the first block on Main Street, was used as a library. The Women’s Christian Temperance Union donated $30 which was used to purchase furniture. The Library opened with a reception at which 40 books were donated by those attending along with several magazine subscription. Concerts and dinners were held to raise money to support the library. Before the end of 1886, more rooms were found in the St. Lawrence Block. The library had increased its volume of books to 300. Donations continued of money and books. It became a circulating library, tickets costing $1.50 a year or books were loaned at one-cent per day. There were several other moves before the present building was built in 1900. Judge James Smith and Newton Aldrich gave $8,500 towards the present building. In 1953, an addition was added to the back of the building made possible by Mr. and Mrs. James Papayanos, local business owners.

“The Gouverneur Reading Room today continues to be run by a board of 11 people. Finding sources are: School vote to tax area residents, Friends of the Library memberships, Arts In The Park Craft Fair, Town of Fowler, Town of Gouverneur, Village of Gouverneur, and letters sent out in the fall for donations.”

Gale Ferguson of Gouverneur told the crowd gathered that, when talking about the Gouverneur Library, it was important to recall the Gouverneur Library Loft Renovation Project that was undertaken over a decade ago, that was funded by great contributions from individuals, companies, civic groups, foundations, and state funding as well.

Post Office

“The present building of the Gouverneur Post Office was opened in 1917,” Mr. Laurenza said. “An officially designated Post Office did not appear on the Washington records until 1824. Prior to 1824, Dr. Richard Townsend, Gouverneur Morris’ land agent, had area resident take their mail to his office and pick up their mail there. Townsend maintained some sort of post service until the time the first official Post Office was established in 1824.

“Until 1904, people had to pick up their mail as rural free delivery did not start until 1904. Village delivery service started in 1906. I could find no record of what businesses probably served as Post Offices after Townsend left the area in 1817. For those of you like myself, old enough to have watched Westerns, we would see people picking up their mail in a general store or some other local store.”

The Wesleyan Seminary

“The Wesleyan Seminary has been long gone,” Mr. Laurenza said. He then sent a historic photograph around for the crowd to see. “It was where the Community Bank is today. It was built in 1840, and was a three-story structure with an attendance of about 140 students. It was operated by the Methodist Conference.

“The seminary began in 1827 as a Grammar School called Gouverneur Union Academy. In 1828, the academy was incorporated as Gouverneur High School. In 1836, the management of the school was transferred back to the Black River Conference of the Methodist-Episcopal Church. The building burned, and the photo I sent around was rebuilt in 1840 at a cost of $5,500. The name was changed to Gouverneur Wesleyan Seminary. By 1869, the building and facilities had become inadequate to their need and the seminary was relocated to the campus of the Antwerp Liberal Literary Institute.

“After the Conference pulled out, the town board voted to issue bonds for the benefit of the seminary and the New York Legislature approve this and operated for the next 13 years as a semi-private institution benefitted by State aid.

“In the early 1880s, the building became a Union Free School. A Union Free School District is a district resulting from a union of multiple common school districts. Union Free School Districts are governed by a board of education.”

St. Lawrence Inn

“The St. Lawrence Inn was built in 1894,” Mr. Laurenza said. “I wish I had been around to see it in its heyday. It was a beautiful building. It was the only five-story building in this village. It was sold in 1945 to the Watertown Mattress Company. Today, Patti Farley-Spilman owns that building and uses it for family storage. Her consignment store is next door.

“During its day, the St. Lawrence Inn was the place to stay in Gouverneur, even though there were other smaller and nice hotels. It was listed as a 50-room hotel with an elevator and was a leading hotel in Northern New York. As time went on, more rooms had private baths and telephones. However, even with its many owners and manager over its 50-year history, it was not much of a money maker and was frequently in debt.

“It had its own restaurant and had for many years at 5 p.m., someone from the restaurant would go out onto the sidewalk and ring a bell, like the early school bells. That was to tell anyone in earshot that dinner was being served.”

Kinney Drugs/Burt O. Kinney

“Burt Kinney was born in Gouverneur in 1873 and died here at age 83 in 1966,” Mr. Laurenza said. “The first Kinney Drug store was started across the street by Burt O. Kinney in 1903. The original drug store is part of several previous businesses. One of Kinney’s Pill Distribution Centers is located there now. Some of the corporate offices are still upstairs in the complex. There are over 112 Kinney Drugs stores most in New York and some in Vermont.

“Burt Kinney graduated from the Gouverneur Wesleyan Seminary. As a young man he worked in the Dewey and Perrin Drug Store. Mr. Dewey was very impressed with Kinney and paid for him to go to Albany College of Pharmacy. Kinney graduated in 1901. In 1902, he took possession of the drug business when Dewey retired from the business due to poor health. In 1903, he bought the drug store and changed its name to Kinney Drugs. It was slow going at first. The first day’s sales were $158, and his second day’s sales were $36. He worked hard to keep from going under. Patrons of the store were sure of a welcome, treated courteously and he willingly paid attention to their needs. It was never too much trouble for B.O. to search for a particular item for a customer. Customers loved him and employees enjoyed working for him.”

Talc Company

“The Loomis Talc Corporation building and later Supreme Court building is now in terrible condition and used as a home,” Mr. Lauremza said. “In 1928, Loomis Talc Corporation built their new corporate offices on East Main Street. The building is across from Stewarts on East Main Street. Loomis Talc was one of several talc companies in the area. It’s a two-story structure. At one time and maybe still, it was the only building in the United States made almost entirely of talc. Side walls are tile and stuccoed with a mixture of talc and cement. Interior woodwork has an undercoating of talc and oil, over which was used a paint with Loomis Talc as a base. The interior walls and ceilings are all of talc. The borders of the floors are talc and concrete. Loomite, which was a new product developed by the Loomis Company, was used in the foundation walls and in the construction of the approaches. The chimney is built entirely of crude talc as well as the retaining walls at the east and West sides of the property. Windowsills and coping are all constructed of talc and the walls of the basement are covered with a mixture of talc and water.”

International Lace Mill

“The International Lace Mill is on the west side of the village on Prospect Street, behind the houses on the left side of Prospect Street. Most of the houses were company houses at the time,” Mr. Laurenza said. “The mill was built in 1902 and 1903. It was a huge facility. 1903 saw the first production run of lace products. The lace mill required importation of skilled weavers, mostly from Pennsylvania, and their families came with them. It was the first major source of employment of women in this area.

“In 1900, the federal government imposed a 70 percent tariff on the importation of lace and lace products, most of which came from England. The purpose of the tariff was to encourage domestic lace making.

“Lesser Brothers of New York City were importers and sales agents for English lace. They decided to seek a domestic source to produce their own lace. They canvassed their customers for suggested sites for a mill location and Anson Potter of Gouverneur, a dry goods merchant, recommended Gouverneur.

“In 1902, a Lesser Brothers representative came to Gouverneur to see if there was enough interest and financial backing for this new industry. There was. Construction began in 1902 on a 80,000 square-foot building of one and two stories. The exterior is red brick and there are acres of hardwood floors.

“Fifteen looms were imported from England. Each weighed five tons and were composed of 30,000 parts. By 1905, there were 10 looms and over 250 employees, mostly women.

“The mill closed in 1944. In 1945, Rushton Paper Mills bought the mill. Rushton Paper was in Natural Dam…”

Photos were passed around to show all those in attendance.

Much gratitude was extended to Gouverneur Historian Joe Laurenza following the walking tour.

Macomb Old Home Days offered great family fun

Dan McClelland

by Jessyca Cardinell

The Macomb Historical Association hosted the annual Macomb Old Home Day on the afternoon of Saturday, August 17 on the historical museum grounds. A great number of community members and families from all over came out to enjoy the annual event.

Gouverneur’s Silas Wainwright VFW Post 6338 members showed those attending the proper way to dispose of the American flag. VFW Post Commander Richard Fisher was able to explain the reason each fold was made. Members who assisted in the ceremony where David Vigeant (Ret. U.S. Army), Gerald Barker (Ret. U.S. Navy Seabees), Gary Walrath (Ret. U.S. Navy), Donald Payne (Ret. U.S. Army),and Karl Beck (Ret. U.S. Army). This is the second year Gouverneur VFW 6338 has presented this ceremony. Macomb Historical Association appreciates the VFW Post 6338 members for both their active and retired service to the community.

The aroma of a delicious barbeque chicken filled the air, as local band, Steelin’ Country, led by Michelle Bresett Robinson, played live for the event. In all, the Historical Association reported that there were over 140 chicken dinners sold with the extensive help from many volunteers. The chicken BBQ dinners were served with salt potatoes, salads, rolls, drink and cookies. Tablecloths and wildflower arrangements, provided by Rebecca Reynolds, adorned each table added a touch of class.

The youngsters attending the event had a blast as there were a great variety of games to play which included leap frog, ring toss, rock-paper-scissors, among others. Rebecca Reynolds, school marm, tended to the schoolhouse, supervising visitors both young and old. Many of the Museum’s school related items have been moved to the schoolhouse and are on display there. The schoolhouse was available for everyone to take a tour of and see the artifacts housed from so many years ago.

Museum tours were also offered by Macomb’s Town Historian Mary Matice throughout the day for those wanting to learn some of Macomb interesting history through various items well kept in the museum. Many visitors were from out of town, campers from surrounding lakes and Macomb natives who had moved away but returned for this event. Donation by Linda Hutton was made to the Museum in memory of Cyril Bresett, who had recently past and in past years was very involved in the Macomb Historical Association, as was his family. Joyce (Rayburn) King of Florida visiting with her sister Mary (Midge Rayburn) Young of Massena, donated her husband, Richard King’s, SFC-4 US Army uniform, where he served during 1964-1966 in Verdun, France and 1966-1968 Reserves. Mr. King passed away in 2009. Joyce and Midge are the daughters of Walter and Erma Rayburn, one of the many families who organized the Macomb Historical Association.

Featured in the Museum this year, was a display of the works by Robert Paul Rice, who passed away August 19, 2018. Paul, as he was known to many, contributed many Indian artifacts which he discovered in the area. As an avid rock-hound, he was well known in rock collecting circles. He also was a talented painter, and many of his works are on display in the museum.

A softball game, an annual part of the event, proved to hit it out of the ball park once again this year as many children and adults participated. The town highway crew did a great job cleaning up the area for the game and local man Jordan Sergel cleaned up the hay field so the game could take place.

Also present were St. Lawrence Valley Draft Horse Club members, Richard Clement with his decked out chuck wagon and Tim and Cindy Bango of Bango Valley Percherons who gave horse drawn wagon rides around the grounds, and gave everyone a sense of yesteryear travel.

There were a variety of vendors and crafters available with various items for sale. Locals Debbie Durham and Brandy French had a variety of embroidery items available. Ellen MacMasters of Pleasant Lake had her business Embears well represented. Michelle Blair and Nancy Wilson both had appetizing baked goods. Chuck Gonio of Macomb had a variety of his painted saw blades for sale as well. There was something for everyone attending.

Fisherman’s Cove owners Bill Law and Joanna Norsworthy generously donated many of the salads and, as well, a muzzle loader and various fishing gear to the event to be raffled off. The lucky winners of the merchandise were Lynne Matice of Gouverneur taking home the muzzle loader and Albert Wallace of Gouverneur winning the fishing gear.

There was a 50/50 raffle and a lottery ticket tree up for grabs. Dorine Tulley won the lottery ticket tree and Lynn Matice proved lucky once again as she took home $97.50 from the 50/50 raffle winnings.

Fantastic job to each and every member of the Macomb Historical Association for their tremendous efforts in ensuring that the annual Macomb Old Home Days was a great success.

Ed. Note: Much gratitude is extended to Deb Tulley contributed to this article.

Missoula Children’s Theatre presents Robin Hood

Dan McClelland

Robin Hood portrayed by Alexia Taylor, hits the target blindfolded in archery as part of the terrific musical put together by Missoula Children's Theatre. (photo by Jessyca Cardinell)

Robin Hood portrayed by Alexia Taylor, hits the target blindfolded in archery as part of the terrific musical put together by Missoula Children's Theatre. (photo by Jessyca Cardinell)

by Jessyca Cardinell

The Missoula Children’s Theatre was back for its 11th season, as it presented the musical tale of Robin Hood in the Gouverneur High School Auditorium on the Saturday, August 10.

The auditorium was filled with family, friends and community members excited to see the performance that the students in grades kindergarten through twelve have been working diligently to put together.

The students who participate in the musical have exactly one week to learn all their lines and choreography before the big day. It takes a lot of hard work, effort and courage for each student to learn this and execute it so well.

The tale of Robin Hood, a highly skilled archer, came to life on the stage. The students did a fantastic job portraying their characters and getting into the act. Alexia Taylor did a fantastic job in the lead role for the musical and ensuring a good laugh from everyone.

Robin Hood is driven into the Sherwood Forest, it is his duty to protect everyone from the criminals and injustice being done. It comes with all sorts of predicaments and complications. But in the end a wonderful fun filled story for all.

The cast of characters included Robin Hood (Alexia Taylor), Sheriff of Nottingham (Corryn Canell), Maid Marion (Aryonna Young), Marion’s Maid (Cora Porter), Prince John (Alex McDougall), Merry Band (Caleb Butler, Connor Canell, Allison Carvel, Hazen Given, Harley Neaves, Garrison White), Barron of Beef (Nick Canell) Countess of Crisco (Hannah Roderick) Duchess of Sandwich (Paige Kirby), Guards: (Joel Allen, Lily Macaulay, Lauren Ordway, Johanna Sloan, Turner Sochia), Horsemen (Jamie Bearden, Charlee Cudhea, Payton Kirby, Sophia Marx, Elizabeth (Zizi) Metcalf, Ellie Murphy, Brycen Parshley, Olivia Salazar), and skunks (Bella Allen, Karsyn Cudhea, Keelan Hinkson, Katherine Kammers, Frances LaPierre, Lilliana Poole, Matthew Poole, Madelyn Simmons, Nathan Sochia, Adalynn Tupper, Ava Weldon, Kathryn Weldon).

The assistant directors were Abigail Metcalf and Joshua Spilman. The accompanist was Beth Johnson. Sherwood of the Forest-Tour Actor/Director was Seth Hollen, and Tour Director was Christopher Martin.

Missoula Children’s Theatre was hosted by the Gouverneur Recreation Department at the Gouverneur High School with the support of the following local sponsors: Gouverneur Kiwanis Club, Gouverneur Lions Club, Gouverneur Masonic Lodge, Lawrence Manor and Price Chopper. Special gratitude was extended to Stacey Canell (box office and coordinating cast), Marilyn LaPierre (volunteering daily throughout the theatre), Gouverneur Central School District (for the use of the auditorium and lunches), and the Village of Gouverneur Board of Trustees (for their support of the program).

Much gratitude was also extended to all who made this event possible.

Gouverneur’s own wins demo derby

Dan McClelland

by Jessyca Cardinell

The finale of the Gouverneur and St. Lawrence County Fair – the Demolition Derby – draws a huge crowd to the grandstands. This year was certainly no exception as it was a packed house, filled with fans ready to root on their favorite drivers.

Before the event began, youngsters driving their power wheels lined up and had their own little derby. An adorable and fun sight for everyone attending to enjoy. Each child receiving a medal for their participation and great efforts.

It was then time for the official start to the annual Demolition Derby.

Derby cars in each heat lined up ready for the action to begin. As the flag waved signaling the start, the drivers pushed the throttle to the max, crashing into each other at full force. Smoke filled the air, as the cars were demolished one by one. Many were disabled and had to call it quits, until there was only one left still moving, being named the winner of the heat.

As the heats went on, tensions of rivals heated up and the fans went wild with enthusiasm. As with all derbies, safety is the biggest priority. Gouverneur Volunteer Fire Department was on hand to extinguish any possible fires that could occur. Also on hand were the Gouverneur Police Department and the St. Lawrence County Sheriff’s Department.

In the end, Gouverneur’s own Mike Blair (a previous winner of the Derby) was named the winner of the event… earning him $1,200 and the Bub Durham Memorial Trophy to take home.

The second place winner was Jeff Trapp of Gouverneur. He won a $600 cash prize and the Kenneth Sawyer Memorial Trophy.

Mandigo Auto Care in Gouverneur donated $200 in prizes with $120 going to the first-place winner, and $80 going to the second-place winner.

The 2019 Feature: Heat 1 (Tyler Bates, Matt LaRock and Spring Derby Winner Chris Ames), Heat 2 (Mike Blair and Cody Durham), Heat 3 (Donnie Scovil and Mike Smith), Heat 3 (Mike Walsh and Mike Durham), Heat 5 (Jeff Trapp and Drake Matthews), Heat 6 (Marcus Reeves and Mike Blair), Heat 7 (Brad Law and Mike Law), Heat 8 (Dave Blair, Jr. and Danielle Law), Heat 9 (Pat Murphy and Danielle Law), Heat 10 (Zack Travis and Jeff Trapp), Heat 11 (Allen Aldridge and Matt Brothers), Heat 12 (Chris Brothers and Mike Durham), Heat 13 (Adam Dean and JP Phillips), and Consolation Heat (Austin Smith and Dustin Snyder). The Powder Puff Winner was Sheri Harmer.

Congratulations to this year’s derby winners and all those who were able to take the win for their heat, an impressive feat.

Gouverneur celebrates Flag Day

Dan McClelland

by Rachel Hunter

The 2019 Gouverneur Flag Day Parade and Business Extravaganza, sponsored by the Gouverneur Area Chamber of Commerce, was held on Sunday, June 9 at the Gouverneur and St. Lawrence County Fairgrounds from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. to the enjoyment of the entire Gouverneur and North Country community.

Family-focused Flag Day fun commenced at 10 a.m., and all could experience the Business Extravaganza, featuring local businesses. These included: the First United Methodist Church of Gouverneur (strawberry shortcake social), Gouverneur Savings and Loan Association, Trinkets by Local Artist Paula Towne, Gouverneur Hospital Auxiliary, Gouverneur VFW Post 6338, Coughlin Printing from Watertown, Association of the Blind and Visually Impaired NNY, White's Lumber, Kinney Drugs, Gouverneur and St. Lawrence County Fair Association, Gouverneur Lions Club, St. James School, and 2020 Census Recruiters.

There was much on site for the local children as well. Kim Russell, sponsored by the Gouverneur Savings and Loan Association, did face painting and balloon animals. A bounce castle, sponsored by Aubuchon Hardware, was also made available. The Gouverneur Recreation Center also have games available for children in attendance.

Food vendors (who also have membership in the Gouverneur Chamber of Commerce) on the fairgrounds included: Whinee Wieners (Don Matthews). Mullins (Dan and Tina Mullin), Mr Ding A Ling (Jeff Stevens) ice cream truck, and Cotton Candy n More (Nick Ormasen).

There also were several farmers market vendors on site, including the following: Patti Francis (Raquette River Designs), Marjorie Cardinell (Jewelscent), Todd & Lisa McIntosh (L & T Jewelry & More), Roxanna Hanlin (Retro Roxy Sewing), Ruth Campbell, Margaret Tiernan, Darrell and Teresa Whitton (Wildlife Wonders), Oxbow Fire Department (raffle tickets), Joani Serviss (baskets), Linda Young (baked goods), Linda Brown (sewing, knitting, etc.), Diane Risley (artist), Carol Carr (sewing and fudge), and Rose Gillette.

Local DJ Bob Hughes also entertained with music throughout the day.

At about 12:30 p.m., the Gouverneur Elks Lodge No. 2035 with assistance from the Gouverneur Boy Scout Troop 21 and Gouverneur Cub Scout Pack 21 conducted the annual Flag Day ceremony. See related story inside this edition.

The 2019 Gouverneur Flag Day Parade commenced at 2 p.m. with a crowd of eager onlookers in attendance. It was announced by Tony Lynn of 95.3 the Wolf. Participants included the following:

The Gouverneur Elks Lodge No. 2035 led the parade. Members George Harder and Todd Menard-Harder carried the banner. Gouverneur Elks Lodge Secretary Jimmy Jackson, Past District Deputy Grand Exalted Ruler, escorted Gouverneur Elks Lodge No. 2035 sole surviving charter member, Robert Fuller of Fowler. Marching Elks officers carrying the huge American Flag included Exalted Ruler, Esteemed Leading Knight Gresford Speid, Esteemed Loyal Knight Tina Vanderbogart, Esquire Krista Wainwright, Trustee Rick Newvine along with other Elks member. Also, appearing was Elroy The Elk.

Local politicians marching in the parade included the following Town of Gouverneur Supervisor Dave Spilman, Jr., Town of Gouverneur Deputy Supervisor Eldon Conklin, Village of Gouverneur Mayor Ron McDougall, Village of Gouverneur Trustee Troy Besaw, and St. Lawrence County Legislator (District 5) Henry Leader (R-Gouverneur).

The Gouverneur Marching Wildcats, under the direction of Victor Corea III and assistants Ryan Burt, Lynn Kurdziel, Hillary McIntosh, and Jenelle Yeoman, showcased their talents. The drum majorette was Hailey Cook, and drum major was Jenneca Cook. Much gratitude was extended to the Ice Cream Bowl in Gouverneur for their donation of ice.

The Gouverneur Fire Department brought Engine 17 and Rescue 4 with firefighters Larry Whitton, Dale Johnson, Assistant Chief Jason Scott, Vinny Ferry, Cody Hadfield, Jon Scordo, and Jed Nichols.

The Oxbow Volunteer Fire Co. truck was driven by Bob Horton, and joined by firefighters Dave Storm and Mike Manning. They reminded the community that there were only six days left to purchase a raffle ticket to win the zero-turn lawnmower, trailer, and weed-eater from Oxbow Fire.

Also making an appearance were Daisy Troop 60234 of Russell and Girl Scout Daisy-Brownie Troop 60851 of Gouverneur.

Gouverneur and St. Lawrence County Fair Cow Train, built by students at Southwest Tech (BOCES), driven by Mike Wainwright. The Gouverneur and St. Lawrence County Fair is to be held Tuesday, July 30 to Sunday, August 4. For more info, visit

Silas Wainwright Auxiliary to VFW Post 6338 President Jeff Platt, Treasurer Sara Platt, and Chaplain Ruth Mead also joined in the parade.

The St. Lawrence County Dairy Princess Court was driven by Allen Martin. On the float were SLC Dairy Princess Chloe Renaud of Gouverneur, Alternate Princess Elaina Wainwright of Rensselaer Falls, and Ambassadors Leann Gotham, Kaylin Gotham, Abby Smith, and Sarah Rodee.

Also marching were the Gouverneur Boy Scouts Troop 21 and Gouverneur Cub Scout Pack 21.

Sandy Santamoor for St. Lawrence County Clerk rode in a military vehicle from Fort Drum, owned by Stewart McCollum. She promoted her eight years as deputy county clerk, and her commitment to leading with experience and dedication.

The Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired of Northern New York serves Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties. They reported that they are celebrating their 100-year anniversary this year.

Gouverneur Lions Club marched, featuring Lions Club President Betsy Cummings, Lion Tom Cummings, Lion Tiffany Tuttle, Lion Lisa Dunkelberg and Daimon, Seeley, and Tucker Tuttle.

Also in the parade was Joe Wing, life member of Gouverneur VFW Post 6338 Auxiliary, and Jr. Vice President of the VFW Auxiliary.

St. Lawrence County Sheriff's apparatus, driven by Deputy Devin Thomas, concluded the parade.

Flags and balloons were distributed throughout the day (having been donated by Northern Federal Credit Union, Newvine’s NAPA Auto Parts, and the Gouverneur Chamber of Commerce). Much fun and excitement was had at the Gouverneur and St. Lawrence County Fairgrounds as the Gouverneur community joined together to celebrate Flag Day. There is much hope for the event's continued success in the years to come.

For more information about the Gouverneur Chamber of Commerce, visit

Cub Scout Pack 2035 holds inaugural Pinewood Derby

Dan McClelland

Cub scouts show their enthusiasm as the derby cars cross the finish line during the first-ever Gouverneur Cub Scout Pack 2035 Pinewood Derby on Saturday, March 30 in the Gouverneur Community Center. (Rachel Hunter photo)

Cub scouts show their enthusiasm as the derby cars cross the finish line during the first-ever Gouverneur Cub Scout Pack 2035 Pinewood Derby on Saturday, March 30 in the Gouverneur Community Center. (Rachel Hunter photo)

by Rachel Hunter

The first-ever Gouverneur Cub Scout Pack 2035 Pinewood Derby was held on Saturday, March 30 at the Gouverneur Community Center.

The pinewood derby is a racing event for unpowered, unmanned miniature cars. With the help of adults, Scouts build their own cars from wood, usually from kits containing a block of pine wood, plastic wheels, and metal axles.

The first pinewood derby was held on May 15, 1953 at the Scout House in Manhattan Beach, California by Cub Scout Pack 280C (the present Pack 713). The concept was created by the Pack's Cubmaster Don Murphy, and sponsored by the Management Club at North American Aviation. Murphy's son was too young to participate in the popular Soap Box Derby races, so he came up with the idea of racing miniature wood cars. The cars had the same gravity-powered concept as the full-size Soap Box Derby cars, but were much smaller and easier to build.

The pinewood derby had a sensational first year. Murphy and the Management Club of North American Aviation sent out thousands of brochures to anyone who requested more information. The idea spread rapidly, and competitions were held across the country, mainly with recreation departments and nonprofit organizations including the Los Angeles County Department of Recreation. Of all that early enthusiasm, however, only the Boy Scouts of America made it part of an official program. The National Director of Cub Scouting Service, O. W. (Bud) Bennett, wrote Murphy: "We believe you have an excellent idea, and we are most anxious to make your material available to the Cub Scouts of America." Within the year, the Boy Scouts of America adopted the pinewood derby for use in all Cub Scout packs.

In its October 1954 issue, Boys' Life publicized the event and offered plans for the track and a car, which featured "four wheels, four nails, and three blocks of wood." In 1980, the design of the block was changed from a cutout block, consistent with a 1940s style front-engined Indy 500 car, to a rectangular block. The tires were also changed from narrow, hard plastic, to wider "slicks."

The force accelerating a pinewood derby car is gravity; the opposing forces are friction and air drag. Therefore, car modifications are aimed at maximizing the potential energy in the car design and minimizing the air drag and the friction that occurs when the wheel spins on the axle, contacts the axle head or car body, or contacts the track guide rail. Friction due to air drag is a minor, although not insignificant, factor. The wheel tread can be sanded or turned on a lathe and the inner surface of the hub can be tapered to minimize the contact area between the hub and body. Polishing the wheel, especially the inner hub, with a plastic polish can also reduce friction. Often one front wheel is raised slightly so that it does not contact the track and add to the rolling resistance. Axles are filed or turned on a lathe to remove the burr and crimp marks and polished smooth. More extensive modifications involve tapering the axle head and cutting a notch to minimize the wheel-to-axle contact area. Packs can establish additional rules for what, if any, modifications are allowed. In some areas, no changes can be made to the axles or wheels.

A second consideration is the rotational energy stored in the wheels. The pinewood derby car converts gravitational potential energy into translational kinetic energy (speed) plus rotational energy. Heavier wheels have a greater moment of inertia and their spinning takes away energy that would otherwise contribute to the speed of the car. A standard wheel has a mass of 2.6 g, but this can be reduced to as little as 1 g by removing material from the inside of the wheel. A raised wheel can reduce the rotational energy up to one-quarter, but this advantage is less with a bumpy track.

Another consideration is the track itself. A track that is mostly sloping, with little flat at the end, can allow cars with minimal mass in their wheels to shine. However, a track with a steep slope and then a long flat section can penalize such cars due to the quick loss of energy they experience once they have reached the bottom, when all potential energy has been transferred to kinetic and rotational energy. Such cars will take a lead on the downslope, but may be passed by cars with more energy "stored" away as rotational energy on the flat.

A proper lubricant, typically graphite powder, is essential. Wheel alignment is important both to minimize wheel contact with the axle head and body as well as to limit the contact between the wheels and guide rail as the car travels down the track. There are 32 friction causing surfaces on a pinewood derby car. These include the surfaces of all four wheels which touch either the axle, the body or the track and the surfaces of all four axles which touch the wheel. Neglecting to polish and lubricate any of these 32 surfaces will result in degraded performance. The center of mass of a typical car is low and slightly ahead of the rear axle, which helps the car track straight as well as providing a slight advantage due to the additional gravitational potential energy.

Considering all this, the cub scouts in Pack 2035 worked hard to perfect their cars in the weeks leading up the big race, and each scout proudly brought their entry to the pit display area in advance of the race last Saturday afternoon. A crowd of spectators amassed alongside the track area to see the derby cars race. At the announcement of Cubmaster Chris Gates, the Pinewood Derby commenced with the help of many adult volunteers and cub scouts. The Hermon-DeKalb Cub Scout Pack 144 donated their old three-lane pinewood derby track to Cub Scout Pack 2035, which was utilized at the inaugural pinewood derby. The judges deliberated for a few moments after the pinewood derby, and then the award ceremony commenced.

The trophies were created by Cubmaster Gates, and featured a slanted top to display the winning derby car. The trophies were announced as follows: Jax Spicer (First Place Trophy), Mason Hilton (Second Place Trophy), Gregory “Junior” Haines (Third Place Trophy), Eliot Haines (Most Original Trophy), Carter McGill (Most Creative Trophy), Qhuin Langille (Raddest Rod Trophy) Damian Travis (Judge’s Choice Trophy), Nathan Zeller (Slowest Roller Trophy), Abel Halladay (Coolest Paint Job Trophy), Mitchell Romans (Most Outrageous Trophy). Also, from the friends and family competition, Aubree Spicer won the Scouts Choice Trophy, and Pack 2035 Committee Member Linda Gilbo of Richville won the Best of Show Award.

The cub scouts also received patches for their participation in the pinewood derby.

Great applause sounded at the announcement of all the trophy winners. Good sportsmanship was displayed throughout the entire event.

Much gratitude was extended to the Town of Gouverneur and the Village of Gouverneur for allowing Cub Scout Pack 2035 to utilize the Halford Brothers Community Room at the Gouverneur Community Center for this event, and special appreciation was given to Dave Spilman, Jr. of Gouverneur for all of his assistance throughout the event.

The cub scouts enjoyed pizza and refreshments at the conclusion of the pinewood derby, and had the opportunity to get their pictures taken with their winning trophies and derby cars. Many impromptu derby races were held following the event.

All participants in the Gouverneur Cub Scout Pack 2035 Pinewood Derby qualified to participate in the district pinewood derby, which is to be held on Saturday, April 6 in Hermon.