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This summer I am working with AdkAction in Keeseville, NY in the Adirondacks. AdkAction has been creating projects that address unmet needs, promote vibrant communities, and preserve the character of the Adirondacks since 2011. They serve seasonal and year-round residents of the Adirondack Park and work in diverse project areas such as: community revitalization, food access, environmental stewardship, arts and culture, and broadband internet access. My primary focus has been on “The Farmacy” which began in 2017 and is a partnership between the Keeseville Pharmacy and AdkAction designed to make healthy food, sourced from local and organic farms whenever possible, physically and economically accessible to all Keeseville residents within the Pharmacy space. We partner with 6 local farms and a food hub to make high-quality produce, dairy, meat, eggs, and value-added products available in the Farmacy. Together with the Keeseville Pharmacy, we are trying to help vulnerable populations gain access to affordable, locally-produced food.
When the only grocery store in Keeseville closed down in 2013, residents had to choose between traveling to other areas for groceries or shopping for processed foods at convenience and dollar stores. At the Farmacy, we aim to increase access to healthy products for all consumers, while supporting our local farmers. The Farmacy accepts SNAP/ EBT benefits and is in the application process for WIC checks. We aim to help SNAP/WIC recipients access higher quality food with their benefits and to help farmers access this larger under-tapped market. But one of the challenges is supporting the local farmers, who must charge higher prices, while making the food accessible to low-income consumers. Additionally, there is a lack of education around what the Farmacy offers and the health benefits of local, fresh, and healthy foods.
We address the lack of access to local food and education by offering incentives and educational opportunities. My goal this summer has been to expand the Farmacy project, increasing education and outreach efforts. To increase awareness and education around using local foods, the Farmacy will be hosting three cooking classes this fall with a local chef. The classes will use products from the Farmacy to teach consumers how to best use the vegetables, meats, and cheeses. At these cooking classes, which are open to all SNAP participants, each person will receive $10 of Farm Fresh Cash from the Clinton County Health Department that they can use at participating retail locations, including to Farmacy, to buy fruits and vegetables. Additionally, we are applying for grants to offer incentives for fresh, healthy produce for consumers picking up their prescriptions at the Pharmacy. These outreach efforts will help us combat the cultural, socioeconomic, and physical barriers to food access.
As a political science major with a minor in environmental studies and an interest in food justice, my experience with AdkAction has combined my academic interests with my interest in community-based food projects. After Upstate Institute, I plan on going back to my home community of Portland, Maine to work with my county’s food security council. My experience in the Adirondacks has shown me how an innovative food project can be successful in a rural area with the support of a close-knit, connected community. Through my work this summer, I’ve been able to work in all parts of the Farmacy project, from communicating with local farms to applying for grant opportunities. I hope to take those lessons back to the projects that the council is doing, working with both farmers and low-income consumers to make healthy food more accessible.
For Immediate Release
A newly-completed scientific study of Adirondack wells showed that most wells that receive runoff from state roads are contaminated with salt. This study, conducted by the Paul Smith’s College Adirondack Watershed Institute comes on the heels of an earlier study that demonstrated that 84% of the contamination of surface waters by road salting could be attributed to state practices. This new study adds a high level of concern, since groundwater, the water we drink, can take decades or even centuries to refresh itself.
The study sampled nearly 400 private wells from across the Adirondack Park. The wells were divided into categories based on whether they received no road runoff, local road runoff, or state road runoff. Sodium levels in more than half of the wells receiving state road runoff exceeded New York State’s water quality guideline of 20 ppm (compared to 10% of wells that receive local road runoff). Chloride levels in 25% of wells that receive state road runoff exceeded the water quality guideline of 250 ppm, while none of the wells that receive local road runoff exceeded that level.
New York State’s Department of Transportation relies mainly on pure road salt (sodium chloride) for winter road maintenance, using more than any other state. Local crews mainly use abrasives, like sand, with a small amount of salt to keep the sand from clumping. The state’s use of pure salt explains why most groundwater salinity is due to the state’s practices, even though the NYS DOT maintains only 25% of the road network in the Adirondacks.
Well study participant Kirk Peterson said “The contamination of our well with road salt has cost us thousands of dollars in ruined appliances and corroded pipes. We can't operate a dishwasher and have to replace faucets and other plumbing fixtures regularly because of corrosion caused by the salt. We've also had to replace most of our copper pipes and have been buying water to drink because of the adverse impact on our health. And now we worry about being unable to sell our house. We will hold the state fully responsible for these problems.”
A team of scientists, local officials, community organizations, and citizen activists has been pressuring the state for change for years and has worked with the NYSDOT in previous attempts at making incremental changes to the way the state manages its roads in the winter. Recently they presented these well-study results to state officials at the Departments of Transportation and Health. The state then announced more test zones with new attempts at reducing the amount of salt applied and has formed a strategic working group to monitor the pilots and suggest additional incremental changes. “We look forward to working with NYS DOT and DEC in coming up with a solution that will be good for all. Continued monitoring will gauge our collective success.” Said Randy Preston, Supervisor, Town of Wilmington.
“While we appreciate being invited to participate in the strategic working group and acknowledge that the pilots in Lake George and Lake Placid are a step in the right direction, we must insist that the state take a stronger stance to protect Adirondack waters. Based on the study, more than half of private wells located along state roads are likely contaminated with road salt, and we want the state to reexamine its entire winter road maintenance protocol and use the entire Adirondack Park as a pilot area for statewide reduction.” Said Brittany Christensen, Executive Director of AdkAction, a non-profit that has been advocating for a reduction in the use of road salt since 2010.
To help drive home the magnitude of the road salt crisis, Chris Navitsky, P.E., Lake George Waterkeeper, notes, “This is the acid rain of our time. And like acid rain, we have the ability to correct the negative trend that science is showing and protect our water resources, which are the vitality of our communities.”
The study was funded by AdkAction, The FUND for Lake George, and Paul Smiths College Adirondack Watershed Institute.
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Dan Kelting, Ph.D., Executive Director, Paul Smith’s College Adirondack Watershed Institute 518.327.6213 and email@example.com
Brittany Christenson, Executive Director, AdkAction 518.593.8753 and Brittany@adkaction.org
Chris Navitsky,P.E., Lake George Waterkeeper, 518.668.5913 X301, firstname.lastname@example.org
Randy Preston-Chairman, Essex County Board of Supervisors, 518 946-7179, email@example.com
Registration is still open for the second annual Keeseville Plein Air Festival which runs from June 20-24th. We are hoping to attract 35 artists and their families for the four-day festival, bringing another great infusion of creativity and energy into Keeseville.
We are also still signing up area residents to host the artists so if you know anyone who would enjoy having an artist in their home for a few days, please let us know.
Last year the first ever festival was a great success for both the artists and all the buyers at the Saturday evening preview show and party. Sixty paintings hung on the walls of the 1719 Block Gallery on Keeseville’s Front Street, the center of the four-day festival. Ausable Chasm and the river, the farms nearby, and the historic architecture of the village and 19th century factory were showcased on the canvasses of the 21 artists who participated. We sold over $8,000 worth of art created during the festival and helped renew civic pride in the area. The sales benefited the artists and 18% of the proceeds went to Keeseville community revitalization projects. This year’s festival promises to be even better so please save the June 23rd Preview Party date.
2018 Plein Air Festival Schedule
June 20: Painting Workshop and Community Tours: "Introduction to Plein Air Painting Approach" with the 2017 Keeseville Plein Air Festival winner, Kari Ganoung-Ruiz (8 AM-11 AM), with community tours in the afternoon and early evening to help artists become acquainted with the landscape.
June 21: Paint the Water: Artists are encouraged to paint the breathtaking AuSable Chasm or the calmer waters of the AuSable River that run through the town. Scenes from Lake Champlain and Augur Lake are also encouraged.
June 22: Paint the Town: Paint the beautiful historic architecture in Keeseville. Focus on the unique stone buildings, one of the three historic bridges, or one of the incredible homes downtown.
Bonus: "Better Days." Artists are encouraged to paint scenes of anything human-built that has "seen better days." In seeing structures crumble, we can often also find the beauty of nature and the potential for rebirth. A portion of proceeds from the "Better Days" paintings will go directly to supporting community revitalization.
June 23: Paint the Farms: Keeseville is home to several magnificent small farms. Artists are encouraged to paint the pastures, animals, and equipment that make these places so alive.
Special Preview Party - June 23, 2018, 6 PM-9 PM. This event will offer the public a first look and the opportunity to buy the paintings created during the festival. Wine and local cheeses will be available for this very fun event. $10.
Show and Sale - June 24, 10 AM-3 PM. Show and Sale continues. Artists can come to the gallery to speak with patrons or spend the day painting whatever they choose and enjoying the community.
Great news! We've received a grant from the Adirondack Foundation for $3270 for the Farmacy to do outreach and launch a series of cooking classes this summer. The cooking classes will be aimed at increasing the capacity of residents that receive SNAP and WIC benefits to be able to cook from scratch using ingredients from the Farmacy.
We've also been chosen to host a Colgate Fellow this summer. Colgate University chooses a handful of organizations each year to host one of its students for a summer-long fellowship that is fully supported by the university. Colleen Donlan, our Colgate Fellow, will help with the Farmacy project on a full-time basis from June-August. A decent stipend, housing, and transportation will all be covered by Colgate, so we get Colleen's help at no cost to AdkAction.
The Farmacy's SNAP application has officially been approved, which means that low-income people receiving government food benefits can purchase fresh local food at the Farmacy using their benefit cards. Dan Bosley, owner of Keeseville Pharmacy, has agreed to go to a wholesale model. Previously, farmers have been selling their products in the store on a consignment basis, meaning they stock products and receive money for what sells, but they also assume the risk and losses for unsold products. Now, the Farmacy will buy products from farmers at wholesale prices and keep profits. This is great for farmers because they are guaranteed to be paid for their goods, whether or not they sell. It’s also good for the Farmacy because it now has the potential to make a profit.
Johnsburgh Broadband Symposium. Our AdkAction Broadband Project Lead and former chairman, Dave Wolff, moderated a Broadband Symposium in the Town of Johnsburg on Monday, February 26. Representatives from Slic, the Broadband Program Office (BPO), Frontier, and Microsoft participated. After the Symposium, The Sun Community News came out with the headline, “Johnsburg receives clarity on broadband projects.” Over 70 people were in attendance, including Assemblyman Dan Stec and dozens of Johnsburg residents. The Sun went on to recommend that the symposium be emulated statewide.
Address Lookup Tool. The Broadband Program Office made a soft release of a new address lookup tool during the AdkAction February Broadband Conference call. The tool can be accessed on the New NY State Broadband Program website. By entering an address, one can find a listing of providers that currently offer broadband access at the address, providers that received a New NY Broadband Program award to bring coverage to the address, and a list of speeds and technologies offered.
Broadband Program Office Update
Jeff Nordhaus, the Executive Director of the Broadband Program Office (BPO), recently gave a presentation on the New NY Broadband Program at the APA Local Government Day in Lake Placid. The North Country REDC received 21% of the total investment from state, federal, and private funding from the New NY Broadband Program, more than any other region of the state. What is even more striking is if the 12 APA counties composed an REDC region, it would have seen $236.6 million in total investment (over 32% of the total funding). Click here to see Jeff’s entire presentation.
Next Steps: Dave Wolff is working with BPO to develop a template for a monthly communication from the BPO to towns throughout the North Country. The goal is to give town officials up-to date information (provider contact information, deadlines for completion, percentage, completed, etc.) on how the Phase 3 implementations are proceeding in each town.
AdkAction initiated a well and aquifer study last year in partnership with Adirondack Watershed Institute at Paul Smith’s College and with support from Cloudsplitter Foundation and the FUND for Lake George. Samples were collected from 358 private wells in the Adirondacks, spanning the entire region.
The volunteer participants of the Well Study received individual results a few weeks ago via email. We are holding a free public forum on May 30th at the Saranac Lake Free Library from 6:00 – 7:30 pm, during which Dan Kelting, Executive Director of Adirondack Watershed Institute at Paul Smith’s College, will present the results of the study and help participants understand their individual results in the context of the full study. The public forum is open to anyone interested in hearing about the extent and magnitude of road salt contamination of Adirondack groundwater.
The Adirondack Pollinator Project, established in 2017 with a goal of building understanding about the importance of pollinators and inspiring individual and collective action to help pollinators thrive, has developed an exciting new program for 2018. In collaboration with our project partners—The Wild Center and The Lake Placid Land Conservancy—the new program features a Plant Sale fundraiser, distinguished guest lecturers, screenings of a wonderful short film, a gift basket raffle, and an end of the summer Benefit Dinner. We will also continue to distribute APP project brochures and complimentary local wildflower packets at local farmer’s markets and other events.
Plant Sale: The plant sale will continue thru May 31. The most important thing you can do to help hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees in the Adirondacks is to plant a pollinator garden. With the help of Cook & Gardener Nursery, we have carefully chosen pollinator plants that will thrive in the Adirondacks. All of the plants offered have been sourced or grown from seed to ensure that they have never come in contact with neonicotinoids (a class of insecticides that are harmful to pollinators). We are offering large, blooming-sized plants for only $10 each. For more information, visit adkaction.org/plant sale (but hurry, as plants are selling out).
Guest Lectures: We are delighted to sponsor two guest lectures this summer:
1. The Pollinator Victory Garden Lecture, “Winning the War on Pollinator Decline” by Kim Eierman
June 11, 2018, 6 PM, at the Plattsburgh Wine Co., reception to follow
June 12, 2018, 6 PM, at The Wild Center, reception to follow
Kim Eierman is the Founder of EcoBeneficial. She is an Environmental Horticulturist specializing in ecological landscapes and native plants.
2. “Monarchs in a Changing World,” by Dr. Karen Oberhauser
August 10, 2018, 6 PM, at The Wild Center, reception to follow
Dr. Karen Oberhauser is the Director of the UW-Madison Arboretum.
Short Film Showings:
"A Ghost in the Making: Searching for the Rusty-Patched Bumble Bee,” by Clay Bolt
Everyone has heard about bee declines, but with so much attention focused on domesticated honeybees, someone has to speak up for the 4,000 species of native bees in North America. This 20-minute film shows natural history photographer Clay Bolt on a multi-year quest to tell the stories of our native bees, and one elusive species--the Rusty-patched Bumble Bee. Ideal for all ages.
June 27, 6 PM, Lake Placid Center for the Arts
July 18, 6 PM, Pendragon Theatre in Saranac Lake
August 22, 4:30 PM, The Strand Theatre in Old Forge
Daily showing all summer at The Wild Center
Gift Basket Raffle:
We will be selling raffle tickets for "The Ultimate Pollinator Gift Basket." The basket, with a retail value of $500, will include deluxe local wildflower seeds, candied honey teaspoons, locally-sourced raw local honey, beeswax candles, two bottles of outstanding wine, and so much more.
Save the Date for the APP Benefit Dinner:
Our 2018 benefit dinner will take place on Thursday, August 23rd at Moonstone Farm and Forest in Saranac Lake from 5:00 PM to 8:30 PM. Join us for a locally-pollinated 4-course meal in a blissful setting. Celebrate the vibrant colors, flavors, and smells of flowers and food with great company. Casual attire. Tickets are $100. To reserve: adkaction.org/event-2905861
For more APP details, visit adkaction.org/pollinators/
Dear Friends of AdkAction,
We are proud to announce the launch of our new logo and motto as part of the ongoing evolution of our organization.
Over the past seven years, AdkAction has grown and become a local leader in projects that serve Adirondack communities and the environment. We now are an organization with over 300 members and dozens of volunteers working on our seven active projects. As we continue to grow, we want our brand to reflect why we exist, what we believe in, and where we are headed.
Our new logo is clean, simple, and modern. It reflects our commitment to getting things done for the hardy mountain communities that depend on us to address unmet needs with our innovative projects. With each element of our redesigned logo, we have carefully considered the past, present, and future of our organization.
We chose a clean, simple logo that looks good on the web and in print. The two blue mountain peaks reflect the two A's in the initials of our organization's name and represent the mountain culture of Adirondack communities. You will notice that our name is written on one line with two capital A's and no space because that’s who we are: “AdkAction,” not “Adirondack Action” or “ADK Action."
You will notice that we've kept the same color scheme as our old logo, and that's because we still strongly identify with red and blue. Red shows a sense of urgency and importance; it is associated with excitement and passion. Blue is reliable and trustworthy, and it ties our new logo to the Adirondack Park, known to many as the "blue line." We bring passion to our work and always strive to be reliable and non-controversial.
We've also retained the symbol of the red check mark. It always feels good to check off a to-do list, and we pride ourselves on getting things done. Our new motto, "Create. Promote. Preserve.", is an abridged version of our mission statement. Finally, the font we have chosen is modern, clean, and sleek.
As always, we appreciate your membership, friendship, and a shared sense of community with our organization. AdkAction will continue to create projects that address unmet needs, promote vibrant communities, and preserve the character of the Adirondacks.
AdkAction Board and Staff
P.S. Our rebranding campaign was completed in-house by a volunteer committee and our Executive Director.
Dan Kelting of the Adirondack Watershed Institute at Paul Smith's College presents data on the regional salinization of Adirondack waters by road salt at the Mirror Lake Water Quality Workshop.
By BRIAN MOLONGOSKI
U.S. Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., wants to stop the Federal Communications Commission from downgrading its broadband standards for rural areas.
Earlier this year, FCC said it is considering a downgrade of its current minimum home high-speed broadband standard of 25 megabits per second download speed and 3 megabits per second upload speed. That standard was set in 2015, but now FCC wants to allow internet service providers to promote slower internet speeds to customers by setting the new high-speed standard at 10 mbps download speeds with only 1 mbps upload speeds.
This comes at a time when FCC is taking a closer look at whether mobile technology is enough to suit broadband needs in an average household.
However, Sen. Schumer argued that this would be a disservice to rural businesses and communities in upstate New York, who need high-speed connectivity to be profitable and contribute to the economy. Even mobile internet speeds, which can be spotty in more remote areas of the state, would not be enough to make up for lower broadband standards, he added.
“Too many rural areas in upstate New York do not have reliable access to high-speed broadband,” the Senate minority leader said during a conference call Wednesday. “It’s a real, real detriment to upstate New York.”
Sen. Schumer sent a letter to FCC commissioners Wednesday urging them to reverse their decision. He also noted that this could affect federal efforts to get every household in the country connected to high-speed broadband. Of the federal government’s $1 trillion infrastructure funding package, $20 billion would be dedicated to this goal.
“The payback would be enormous because we would have so much productivity,” Sen. Schumer said.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo launched a similar program for New York state a few years ago. The $500 million program, split into three phases, awards grant funding to internet infrastructure projects across the state. The third and final round of funding is slated to be announced later this year. Earlier this year, Sen. Schumer joined other lawmakers from New York state in successfully persuading FCC to allocate rural broadband grants to local internet providers, such as Westelcom. After the U.S. Census Bureau designated Watertown and Fort Drum as an “urbanized area” a few years ago, FCC said it could no longer provide the area with the funding it provides to providers in rural areas.
Westelcom is one of the north country’s largest internet providers through fiber-based broadband, and its services are used particularly for healthcare facilities and telemedicine networks. Without the rural designation, Westelcom would have lost nearly 96 percent of its anticipated revenue.
AdkAction.org is a 501(c)3 nonprofit. All donations are deductible. This site is secured.
AdkAction.org creates projects that address unmet needs, promote vibrant communities, and preserve the character of the Adirondacks.
PO Box 655
Saranac Lake, NY 12983