Over the past year, a lot has happened in the Tri-Lakes.
The sale of a county-owned nursing home, the search for several people missing, with some still unaccounted for, the killing of a now-famous moose and more have had people talking.
Now, the staff of the Valley News and Denton Publications has come up with a list of the top 10 stories of the year. This week, we will go through the list of honorable mentions. In the Dec. 15 edition, we will go over the stories that finished as the sixth through 10th best stories as voted on by staff.
In the Dec. 22 edition, we will review the stories that ranked second through fifth, based not only on staff voting but online voting by Valley News readers. Go to valleynewsadk.com, and look up polls under the opinion header. The poll link will also be posted on the Valley News’ Facebook and Twitter sites. We are also asking readers to submit comments as they cast their votes for these stories that can be used online and in print.
Finally, in the Dec. 29 edition, we will unveil the story that was voted number one. The choices for the top five are as follows (in random order):
•Essex County sells Horace Nye •Rail trail •Bruce The Moose •Colin Gillis search •Adirondack Club and Resort
Voting will be open from Thursday, Dec. 6 through Friday, Dec. 14.
The 114th Assembly District race
The year started off with the Valley News asking Jay Supervisor and Chairman of the Essex County Board of Supervisors Randy Douglas if he would ever consider a run for state office. He responded that the only way that he would was if state Sen. Betty Little or Assemblywoman Teresa Sayward were to retire.
Sayward, the former Willsboro Supervisor and Essex County chairwoman, did just that in March, announcing that she would not seek re-election in what was about to become the 114th Assembly District after the legislative map was re-drawn. Douglas’ name was immediately at the top of everyone’s short list of candidates, but he surprised his Democratic Party and the region, announcing that he felt he needed to stay in Jay and help the community recover from Tropical Storm Irene.
While the Republicans had already picked Warren County Chairman Dan Stec as their candidate to replace fellow GOP member Sayward, the Dems were left to scramble, eventually coming together to back Glens Falls lawyer Dennis Tarantino. Stec, backed by Sayward, ended up winning the election.
Saranac Lake shooting
Police arrested the victim, 55-year-old man William J. Martin of Saranac Lake, and claimed he was also the triggerman of a shooting late last month. Martin was charged with third-degree falsely reporting an incident and making a punishable false statement. Village Police Chief Bruce Nason said several sources who knew Martin helped them determine that the gun used in the crime, a .22 caliber rifle, which police found under the train trestle where Martin was shot, belonged to Martin. The charges stem from a Nov. 20 incident in which Martin called police at 6:45 p.m. and reported he had been robbed and shot by two white males wearing dark-colored parkas on the train trestle near Pine Street and Broadway.
Local leaders pass
Two former heads of the Essex County Board of Supervisors died recently, as Matthew B. Clark Jr., 85, died on Friday, Nov. 23, at his home in Lake Placid; while Joyce Morency passed away Monday, Dec. 3, in Potsdam.
Clark served the town of North Elba as the town clerk from 1954 until 1981, when he ran and won election to the position of town supervisor. He was the chairman of the Essex County Board of Supervisors from 1990 to 1991.
Morency had been supervisor for the town since her election in 1981, only the second female to be elected to the position, following Mildred Dobie of North Hudson in 1980. She built up a long list of county accomplishments, serving as county Republican Party chair, budget liaison, vice chair and chair in 1994-95, the first woman to hold the position.
Both were remembered for their dedication to their communities and service in political office, expecially by current North Elba Supervisor Roby Politi, who worked with Clark and battled cancer alongside Morency.
Old Military detour
Residents and visitors dealt with a major detour through the village of Lake Placid during the busiest months of the summer tourist season as highway crews took steps to try to ease the congestion of traffic, particularly on Saranac Avenue.
With part of the Old Military Road shut down for repaving through October, a detour through the village caused traffic headaches. The detour took drivers along Mill Pond Drive — starting at State Route 73 at the bottom of Mill Hill at the location of the former Downhill Grill — and Wesvalley Road all the way to Saranac Avenue — at the corner near McDonald’s.
The detour, which was supposed to last through Oct. 1, was extended into the latter part of the month in order to complete more work.