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I love this place!

January 27, 2014 - John Stack

The title is not new or surprising. Since I moved here 14 years ago, I knew almost instantly it was the best town there could be. But, even this little town can keep surprising me.

How do we treat guests to our town? With firsthand experience from 2000, I will say with open arms. Contrary to some recent former “non-local” businessmen, Saranac Lake will open their doors to you if you treat them well and give them respect. Recently, this has been brought to full light. Australian Paul McKay went missing on January third. The local news kept up on this, even though no one really knew him, and he was from 10,000 miles away. Unfortunately, he succumbed at the top of Scarface mountain, the sad after effects of PTSD brought on by his just completed service. That was enough to see that the locals cared for someone not their own . But..then they proved it. There was a funeral procession in Saranac Lake for army veteran Captain Paul McKay. Local veterans, village and state police officers and a forest ranger were his pall bearers. Who would have thought that? Letters were written to the paper. Talk about the horrors of war on returning vets were discussed. People identified with Paul McKay Thing is, I’m not surprised. This is who the people of Saranac Lake are.

On a less sad note, is politics. I of course write a lot about the complete dysfunction of politics in America. You wouldn’t know it by living here. Last week the Democrats held their Caucus for village mayor and trustees. Tom Catillaz and Clyde Rabideau were unanimously supported to run again as trustee and mayor. But so was Allie Pelletieri. Why is that so odd? When I moved here, for a short while, Allie was my next door neighbor. Great guy. Scout troop leader. Football 5th Quarter leader. By all accounts, has done a great job as trustee (mine included). So why the surprise? Allie is a Conservative, and was unanimously chosen to run by the Democrats. It truly does not matter your party affiliation, if what you really are is someone who is committed to the Village of Saranac Lake. That’s all any of the voters care about. They say local politics can be the most ferocious. From the looks of it, it seems we are doing this right. Finally, on a not so surprising note – the Ice Palace. Every year, swarms of volunteers help out with the building of the Ice Palace. Young, old, first-timer and grizzled veterans. They show up every year, braving extreme cold and extreme temperatures. Have you ever heard one complain? Say its not worth it? No. They can’t wait to challenge frostbite for the next year!! If you’ve lived here for just the 14 years I have, the volunteerism for the Ice Palace, and the Winter Carnival as a whole, you are not surprised. This is Saranac Lake. Its who we are. PS – I will be running the Ice Palace Fun Run this Saturday. I should be relatively easily identifiable (John Stack, County Cork and Kerry Counties, Ireland)


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Ice Palace 6 AM Jan 27 2014