WANAKENA WEEKLY #6 - 03/19/20 - 03/25/20

Happy Thursday from the banks of The Oswegatchie!

In an effort to “FLATTEN THE CURVE” Otto’s Abode will remain closed until further notice. We’ve got a PRINCE AND THE REVOLUTION tape playing on a little TV in the window – 1985 LIVE at the Syracuse Carrier Dome – mind melting. It’s even more quiet around here than it already was – which is just about as quiet as it gets. Clifton-Fine Central Schools are closed until 4/20. Ranger School locked-down (more info below), Black Waters CafĂ© closed – although they usually close for a month around now for “mud season”. UB's in Oswegatchie, Stone Manor in Cranberry Lake and Twin Lake in Star Lake COOKIN' for TAKE OUT. Folks out for walks, walking the dogs. Construction crews still working on houses around town; hammering away. Fighter jets still flying low overhead here and there. Mail truck still at 8:30am and 3:30pm. The gurgle of trucks on RT3 in the distance through the leafless trees. Mary at the Post office – STILL WORKIN’! Lots of birds. Carol says a beaver has been lingering around the culvert between the millpond and river – headbutting holes through the ice. And sand… lots and lots of sand.

Sunny, but cool last weekend; quiet. Close to forty Monday – low thirties and windy Tuesday with snow flurries. Wednesday morning beautiful blue-sky sunshine and in the forties, overcast developing though the afternoon. Next couple days are looking warm, rainy and near sixty tomorrow! ICE OUT! The River is open! Ice coming down the river! Since last weeks’ Wanakena Weekly chunks of ice have continued a slow trickle cascade down the open river damming up just before the footbridge; shuffling, tapping together, river burping oversized slushie. Snow in the forest remains solidified into a nice walk-upon frozen snowpack.
This past spring a storm blew over a large hemlock on the south shore of the Oswegatchie – halfway between the carbridge and the footbridge. The tree fell north into the river and laid there half submerged all summer. It didn’t cause any harm. Though the ice jam on Jan 14th wouldn’t be described as “big” or “crazy” it was enough to dislodge the tree from its resting place and carry it down to its new resting place directly below the footbridge. It has been resting there ever since. Throughout the winter animal tracks could be seen walking up to the branches sticking out of the ice, looking for something to nibble on. It remains where it had settled from the ice jam but could start to move as the ice continues to go out.

Walking over to Otto’s Abode or post office the other day, up on the porch steps, you couldn’t miss it: “OUT OF ORDER” scribbled on a piece of paper taped to the Watertown Daily Times newspaper machine – which had been turned around BACKWARDS so you couldn’t put quarters in if you tried. The machine never worked well in the first place, numerous folks around town have called WDT asking for a more reliable machine. Suppose no news is good news – anything going on in the world? Still there as of today.

Speaking of Watertown Daily Times, reporter W. T. Eckert who frequently writes for WDT paid us a visit a couple months ago interested in writing a piece about Otto’s Abode for Adirondack Explorer. Couple days later Mike Lynch paid us a visit to take some pictures. All in all a fun experience. Great job! Check out the article here ---> LINK
Ranger School News:

Latest Message from Director and Professor Dr. Michael R. Bridgen, March 12.

Last evening, we received official approval from SUNY to cancel our spring break and continue holding classes at Ranger School. Students will not be leaving campus. The faculty are working out a revised teaching schedule to accommodate this decision.

This decision is in response to the Governor’s directives to cancel in-classroom lessons, but we are one of the exceptions. Apparently, we are a “special” School.

The key principle we are following is that of “reduced density”. Our students are less likely to be infected with disease if they stay on campus. We are also taking other measures including:
Denying student visitors to campus
Cancelling field trips off-campus
Cancelling the Open House in April (we may develop a “virtual” Open House)
Cancelling groups tours or uses of the facility
Possibly holding some classes on Saturdays.

There will be other changes, and uncertainty is the rule of order today. I have already received useful suggestions from the faculty, from students, from food service staff, and I welcome any thoughts you may have as well.

The Ranger School is a special school. The College and SUNY recognize this fact. We produce graduates having the skills and talents needed in a world encumbered with numerous environmental problems. Our current students will have to address and solve unknown issues which only the future will define.

I am confident that we can get through this crisis well, that our students will be better for it, and the Ranger School will be strengthened by it. I greatly appreciate all of the service which each of you provide.

Mike Bridgen


ALSO… RS Director Mike Bridgen is retiring after this year… Here’s a message from their Facebook page:


Your Best Doc Bridgen Stories/Memories

Doc Bridgen is retiring this summer. We are compiling an assortment of stories and memories for your favorite "Doc Moments". This may be a story of a memorable lab as a student, a laughable interaction as an alum, or a quote or saying. Any and all submissions are welcome! Pictures would be great, too!

Submit a memory (email preferred) to be included in the collection by April 1st to:
Kim’s Lost Dog Report: There are currently NO lost dogs in Wanakena. Although Frodo was out wondering downtown the other day. But he wasn’t lost – simply looking for hot dogs without a home.

A State of Emergency has been declared in St. Lawrence County effective Monday, March 16, 2020 through April 14, 2020.

St. Lawrence County spring outdoor burn ban in effect March 16th – May 14th.

Any questions, comments, concerns, trail condition inquiries, legends, jokes, animal sightings, etc… feel free to email otto@ottosabode.org or call 3158483008 or pop-in the shop!

All for now!