Who can remember that 39 years ago another weekly newspaper was published in Lake Placid? The masthead read: "The Saranac-Lake-Placid Trumpet, Incif the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?" (1 Cor. 14:8)
I have two copies of the newspaper dated November 19 and 25, officially named The Journal of Saranac Lake and Lake Placid, from a collection on loan to me from Roger Foster.
Could you possible guess that the Editor of that weekly sheet was none other than Fred Ellers of Lake Placid with Bill McLaughlin of Saranac Lake as associate editor?
The logo of The Journal
In my opinion there never existed in this area a more volatile pairing of personalities than these two. I worked with both of them and the newspaper world was left with a big hole to fill at their passing.
Volatile is an easily misunderstood word but in this situation it means lighthearted and lively, easily aroused and suspicious. Each of the editors wrote a column (and everything else in the 16 tabloid pages every week) and the titles of the columns explain what I am having a tough time explaining
Bill's was named "With Malice toward some!" and Fred's was named "From Bouquets to Brickbats":
Comments from Fred's column
"Grind this between your upper and lowers. The hue and cry has gone on and on regarding the lack of deer in the last few years, yet the conservation department in Albany coming up, time and time again, with the old cry of deer herds that are bigger and better than ever. Lawrence and Nelson (Our Father who art in Albany) have advocated a federally controlled park of the six million acre Adirondack Reserve.
"In an area where the vocal minority, the walkers and hikers, keeps thousands of acres bottled up for snowmobilers non-use the users should become more vocal. Why should a fanatical group of downstate summer hikers have a strong voice in the winter time use of the forests when they don't get out of their trundle beds in the snow and cold, whereas the snowmobilers do?"
Bill defends the students
Here are a couple of items from Bill's column:
"With the traffic for Student Appreciation night at the Harrietstown Town Hall estimated at 2,000 over a several hour period the floor was a shambles on cleanup morning.
"Some of the citizenry who are anti-student would like to highlight the aftermath as an example of student litter. The fact is, anyplace in town would have looked about the same after a free beer and pretzel party and the elks Club and Durgans have often looked worse following a policeman's or firemen's ball."
"Pat Howard of Mohawk Airlines at Lake Clear is at least working during the strike. He spends half a day at the Adirondack Airport and the other half in Plattsburgh; he says it is better than not working at all, even though it means driving an extra 120 miles a day." (Apparently there was an airlines pilot strike).
News from page one
"Essex County's failure to approve master plan funds for North Country Community College has resulted in a secondary problem in raising college land acquisition funds in addition to operating costs fro the coming season. Commitments amounting to an estimated $25,000 already made for land purchases are the crux of the problem facing the NCCC Board of Directors."
"Lake Placid Chamber of Commerce elected five new members to their Board of Directors at the Holiday Inn Saturday night. "Happy Jack" Wikoff, Chamber President, was master of ceremonies and introduced the head table. But then the "tables" were tuned on him later when Bill Hurley, Jr., presented "Happy Jack" with a special award voted by the Board for his dedication and hard work throughout the year.
He then thanked all the members who had worked with him but in particular, he thanked Bob Urfirer for re-organizational work he had done."
With ink in their blood
Mary Thill and Mark Wilson had a retirement party (I believe it was Jacks fifth party) at their camp on Lake Placid for that venerable newsman of all newsmen, Jack Laduke. The newsmen and women gathered their, young and old, could entertain each other long into the night with stories of their adventures.
And as we stood around eating and drinking and telling Jack Laduke stories I think the ghosts of Bill and Fred were hovering in that rarefied air of an Adirondack afternoon just waiting to jump in with a couple of tales of their own.