March 27, 2013

Mountain Lake Services ready to reconstruct building


---- — PORT HENRY — Repairs to Mountain Lake Services fire-damaged building on Main Street are expected to get under way in a couple of weeks.

The building at 4326 Main St. was severely burned by an arson fire on Jan. 2, 2012, and has been boarded up ever since.

Damage was estimated at more than $500,000 to the three-story structure.

Joseph King, 44, of Port Henry remains in the Essex County Jail, awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty March 14 to felony third-degree arson and other charges.


King is a former residential aide at Mountain Lake Services who was discharged in 2007.

His attorney, Julie Garcia of Westport, said he has written letters of apology to the agency and others.

In court, Essex County Judge Richard Meyer said he’d accept the plea agreement and, on May 16, sentence King to four to 12 years in state prison.

Essex County District Attorney Kristy Sprague said the nonprofit human-services agency will be able to make a victim-impact statement at King’s sentencing if desired.

Elizabeth Rutkowski, assistant director of community and staff relations/administration at Mountain Lake Services, said they’re waiting for the impact statement to be mailed to them for completion.

“We will then make a determination if we will go to the sentencing.”


Meanwhile, a pre-construction meeting on March 7 that included the insurance company, a contractor and Mountain Lake Services staff was productive, Mountain Lake Executive Director Martin Nephew said recently.

“After reaching an agreement with our insurance company, the renovations to our Main Street offices are slated to begin within the next couple of weeks.

“We are proud of our employees for their flexibility and resiliency during the past year. We appreciate the community’s patience as we wait for the renovations to start.”

Nephew said it looks like all the issues have been resolved so that repairs can proceed.

He said the insurance company, Philadelphia Insurance Companies of Bala Cynwyd, Pa., will be hiring the general contractor and already has a firm it has used for previous work.


The Main Street building housed offices and the Mountain Weavers Fiber Arts Guild, where Mountain Lake program participants made handcrafted baskets.

Those operations were temporarily moved to other facilities that the organization, which assists individuals with developmental disabilities, runs throughout Essex County.

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