February 4, 2013

Cheers and Jeers: Feb. 4, 2013

CHEERS to the Town of Plattsburgh for placing an emphasis on pedestrian safety. When the Town Planning Board was considering a new housing development on Ampersand Drive (the road from Rugar Street into Consumer Square), new sidewalks were worked into the plan. The developer agreed to extend sidewalks from up near the stores down to the intersection with Rugar Street. That’s a much-needed improvement in that area, as pedestrians and bikers often make their way along that winding back road to shop at Wal-Mart and other stores in the plaza. (We suggest the town also increase the lighting along Ampersand Drive before someone is injured. At night, it is difficult to see people alongside the road because only one side has light poles at this time). Town Supervisor Bernie Basset told the Press-Republican, “We are trying, project by project, to make the Town of Plattsburgh more accessible to pedestrians.” That is a forward-thinking goal, as planners these days emphasize the importance of a “Complete Streets” concept that helps drivers, bikers and pedestrians all navigate around communities in a safe and accessible manner.

CHEERS to all the people who worked to rescue the Saranac Lake Ice Palace from Mother Nature. The palace is the focal point of the annual Winter Carnival, one of the community’s most popular events. Construction of the massive ice structure was going along fine, especially with recent frigid temperatures — until Wednesday, two days before the carnival was supposed to start. That’s when temperatures rose to an unseasonable 50 degrees. The mild spell continued a second day, with the thermometer near 40. Those two days of melt unveiled brown grass around the North Country and started turning the Ice Palace block walls to mush. But volunteers work too hard on that special structure to see it disintegrate; they immediately took action. The palace was covered with a huge tarp to shield it from the sun’s rays. Then, after temperatures dropped again, volunteers descended on the site en masse to repair the damage and fortify the fort. Crews from Moriah Shock Incarceration Facility, who have been helping with palace construction, proved their worth to the North Country again by helping shore up the palace. Thanks to this mini “miracle on ice,” the Ice Palace was ready to host crowds for one of the Winter Carnival’s best-attended events: the lighting of the palace and fireworks display last Saturday night. The carnival continues through next Sunday, and if you’re standing inside the palace enjoying the view this year, you have community spirit to thank.

 — If you have a Cheers and Jeers suggestion that you want the Editorial Board to consider, email it to Editor Lois Clermont at

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