WANAKENA WEEKLY #52 - 01/28/21 - 02/03/21

Happy Thursday! Happy February! Happy Birthday!


Reporting from tiny, remote village on the edge of wilderness though writing and photography

Wanakena, NY: Every Thursday (around noon) for the past fifty-two weeks, those with internet access were able to experience Wanakena through writing and photography in the form of a digital newsletter called Wanakena Weekly. Readers of the weekly newsletter discovered what went down, what was on the horizon, the weather, local news, plant and animal sightings, trail conditions, Kim and Thom’s Lost Dog Report, and more! Wanakena summer folks who had closed-up their camps for the winter were able to keep-up on what’d been happening around town. Friends of Wanakena as well as the general public may have found interest and entertainment in this attempt to document and archive some of the goings-on in and around Wanakena. Wanakena Weekly is ‘broadcast’ from behind the register of Otto’s Abode in Wanakena.

Last spring, with only five issues under Wanakena Weekly’s belt, Covid-19 changed everything. “What an extraordinary year to report on. Normally, Wanakena would be celebrating concerts on the green, public gatherings, spontaneous parties and more.” said Nolan Fedorow, author of Wanakena Weekly and co-owner/operator of Otto’s Abode. “As it turns out, some of my favorite topics to have written about and photograph were events that might have flown under the radar in a ‘normal’ year. For example: a rouge log naturally working its way down the thawing Oswegatchie River through the village. Every couple of weeks the log would relocate! It was one of the more noteworthy events transpiring during those early and unknown days of Covid-19 this past spring. Looking back, perhaps it was simply an enjoyable distraction from a seemingly unraveling world.”

So, what’s next? Fedorow plans to continue Wanakena Weekly for at least another year. The core of the project remains the same: what are some of the things going-on in and around Wanakena? Moving forward into Wanakena Weekly’s second year, Fedorow invites reader participation with the Wanakena Weekly project though writing, photography and cartoon submissions. Fedorow added: “The project has been ripening. I look back on early issues of Wanakena Weekly, It was really just figuring itself out. Maybe a year from now it will be a radio station or something.”

About Otto’s Abode: Otto’s Abode is a store/visitor’s center/exhibition and performance space located in the heart of Wanakena, NY right next to the post office. Visit Otto’s Abode in person at 6 Hamele street in Wanakena, NY or through their website: www.ottosabode.org, where you’ll find Wanakena Weekly. Otto’s Abode is celebrating five years serving the community.

… IT KEEPS SNOWING! And it got cold! -12 Sunday morning. SUPER CLEAR skies, full-ish moon. Blue sky sunshine cold freezing air. It warmed up a little bit in the upper twenties Monday – another crystal clear blue sky day. Wednesday Wanakeners woke up to MORE SNOW! We were forecast to get anywhere from 4-6 inches… when all we said and down we received closer to 10 inches! Clifton-Fine Central School District even had a SNOW DAY Wednesday. There's just under three feet of snow atop everything that could hold it. A snowmobiler mentioned this has been the best winter of riding he’s had in his entire life - he may have been in his 30s. Local snowmobile Facebook pages have photos riders took of MOOSE and BOBCAT! XC ski trails out into Five Ponds wilderness: damn fine! Trail broken and packed up the Moore Trail. Reports from Stone Manor indicate that as of last Friday there was STILL slush under all the fresh snow. May have seized up better from the COLD weekend. A link to the most recent town board meeting minutes: HERE 

- Subterranean gurgle. There is more ice and less running water closer to town – up on your way to Little Falls on the Oswegatchie, one will note MORE running water – still, no shortage of ice. Streams and creeks slice and weave their way atop the frozen and flowing river below. Snow drifted sculptures accumulate atop the ice. There is quite a bit of ice formed and forming along the rapids! The river still trickles through. RUSHES though in some spots (like Little Falls)! This past Fall we had some decent rain, and a few brief snow events which melted – this made for lots of water rushing down the Oswegatchie early on - and it’s been pretty cold this winter and therefore the RUSHING WATER has FROZEN! The flow has slowed since then… but the frozen-ness remains - AND GROWS! Currently the ICE JAM DANGER remains LOW. 

- warmish up near 30 Thursday and Friday. MORE SNOW! Perhaps 4-6 inches though the weekend and another 4-6 inches through the beginning of next week. It will cold, too. Teens by day and below zero by night. Just in time for a brisk Otto’s Abode FIFTH BIRTHDAY weekend. This weather forecast is brought to you by Wanakena’s own PATTIJACKNAN weather team – a Wanakener garage-pole-mounted weather station and crew. THANKS, TEAM! This weather station can be found at: https://www.wunderground.com/weather/us/ny/wanakena/KNYWANAK8 Also, always beautiful photography at the Wanakena Tracks facebook page.

– In this week’s Bargain Hunter there was a FULL PAGE AD describing details of this years’ White Out Weekend Festivities… in short: THERE ARE NONE! That being said, the WhiteOut Weekend Committee has put together a “checklist” of sorts. Participants are put into a raffle and will receive a gift certificate from a local business! Here it is in the Bargain Hunter! You can also find it online here: https://sites.google.com/view/adkwow and most likely on Facebook. Our annual winter festival, traditionally held on President's Day Weekend, in the Western Adirondack community of Clifton-Fine IS HIBERNATING FOR 2021. JOIN OUR MONTH-LONG WINTER CHALLENGE & ENTER TO WIN LOCAL GIFT CARDS! We will return to in-person events in 2022 with free, fun for the whole family! Including outdoor recreation, music & arts, food, crafts, interactive presentations, kids activities, snowmobile-accessible events and so much more! We boast a true wilderness area with a friendly, small-town feel. Come out & have a snow day (or two) with us! This event is put on by 100% volunteer efforts and the generosity of sponsors, donations & fundraising proceeds. Whiteout Weekend is a subcommittee of the Clifton Fine Economic Development Corporation.

- NEXT WEEKEND (the 12th) IS OUR FIFTH BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!! We’ll keep the fire going all weekend. Croquet court is tight. YOU SHOULD PAY US A VISIT! New Virginia peanut goodies in the shop. Judy James painting extended for another week – after that: Otto’s Abode FIVE YEAR exhibit – opening Feburary 11th. If you are around in-person and happen to pop-in to check-out what’s going on! There’s LOTS to look at; art, maps, historical displays, and MORE! Perhaps you’ll go home with something you did not realize you needed. Perhaps you’d find a perfect gift for someone. Perhaps you’ll go home with ingredients for a DELICIOUS dinner – or desert! Or snack! Or coffee! Your purchases down here at Otto’s Abode help keep us open and going all year long. Take some time out of your day, to go out of the way. Support our local year-round business! Why wouldn’t you want to purchase healthy, organic ingredients for delicious eats and at the same time support a local, year-round business that showcases EVER-ROTATING art/history/interest exhibitions, creations by local artists and musicians , trail goods and local information, books, maps, groceries, DANG FINE COFFEE and LOTS MORE! Come see why we call ourselves an ART-CENTRIC ADIRODNACK TRAVEL AGENCY AND INCONVENICNE STORE! Curbside pickup available - whatever you want – let’s do it!!!! Stuck at home? Bored? Looking for something to do? If you have not done so, you should poke around our website. www.ottosabode.org We've got all our previous art shows/music events from the past FIVE YEARS archived. You can experience ART that has already happened!!!! A great way to see what The Abode strives to provide! 

– The course played well this past week! ONCE IT WAS ALL DUG OUT! Banked turns still soft, but harden up in the sun. More snow on the way means more snow croquet to play. Another ten inches of fresh stuff needs to be cleared off before plan can continue. C’mon down and give it a WHACK!

: Northern Vermont in Late November, Oil Paintings by Judy James, Keene Valley, NY… Friends and Neighbors, Wanakena was once again adorned by a hiker- and happily, she paused here. In November we were visited by through-hiker Judy James. Who stumbled in here to Otto’s Abode for plenty of snacks, talk about Indians, the Path, and such. Soon she was back, crossing our suspension bridge with some paintings… The focus is scenes of Northern Vermont in late November. Judy feels that Wanakena people appreciate these late November colors: dusky reds; purples; spotted with melting snow over shades of brown leaves; low light on blue hills; plus, late-in-the-year river and lake scenes. Embraced within the dense air, feeling part of the environment- even the air has a texture to it. It is like through-hiking, all-around, being enveloped by nature. You are already in it. Look out from there. The “Hogback Road” painting may seem like a painting of “nothing” -- the barn is pushed over to the side and the viewer simply looks out with some periphery. It is a painting of being in the environment, late November. The outlook is from there. Enjoy this time of year. On view at Otto’s Abode 11/25/20 TO 02/07/21 (EXTENDED) 

- IS OPEN AND HAS ANNOUNCED: Due to C19 and warm winter trends, we will have 2 separate schedules. #1 IF THE SNOWMOBILE TRAILS ARE DECENTLY RIDABLE: we will be open regular days and hours (T, W, Th 8am-3pm. Fri & Sat 8am-7pm. Closed Sunday & Monday). #2 IF THE TRAILS ARE NOT DECENTLY RIDABLE, we will only be open Th 8am-3pm. Fri & Sat 8am-7pm. ***Due to COVID-19 restrictions, we encourage take-out - and WILL NOT let in more than we are allowed. If the door is locked, we are at capacity. But if you’d still like a meal to go, order online and it will be prepared in the order received - or - think ahead and schedule a pickup time. Come in smaller groups. CHECK OUT THEIR TRAIL CAM: https://www.gotsnowcams.com/gotsnowcams.htm 

WANAKENA HISTORICAL ASSOCIATION – The Wanakena Walking Tour is “closed” for the winter… but deep in the bowels somewhere, some folks are hard at work actualizing the WANAKENA HISTORY CENTER. Here is a message from their website: Five equal partners (made up of groups of families and friends) are forming an LLC (Limited Liability Corporation) each pledging $25,000 for a total of $125,000 to own, renovate and restore one of the original Rich Lumber Company houses at 21 Second Street to its original facade. Their dream and intent are to provide a location for a Wanakena History Center where the WHA can continue its mission to encourage greater knowledge of the history and to display and make available for study: artifacts, relics, books, manuscripts, papers, photographs, and other records and materials relating to the history of the State of New York and particularly of Wanakena and the surrounding area.

RANGER SCHOOL - There's a chance RS students are back and quarantining up there.... may have seen some card driving around with clean laundry and orange hard hats in the back. As of 10/25 the Ranger School Class of 2021 completed their in-person learning for the fall semester. We’ll wait and see and update about campus reopening to the public while students are gone. STILL NO WORD!!!! Previously: RANGER SCHOOL IS IN SESSION FOR THE 2020/21 SCHOOLYEAR, BUT THE CAMPUS IS CLOSED TO THE PUBLIC!!! That means no hunting. Here’s a message from the Ranger School: The Ranger School's James F. Dubuar Memorial Forest will be closed to the public for an indefinite amount of time beginning Saturday, August 15, 2020. The Cranberry Lake 50 trail, which passes in front of the school, will remain open. This action is necessary to protect students and staff as they begin a new academic year in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause, but it is a critical precaution as we work to ensure the health and success of the Class of 2021. Thank you for your cooperation. Here’s a story about it all: https://www.nny360.com/news/stlawrencecounty/property-sales/article_eeec3094-901a-531a-8a18-ab1b991b3a79.html CHECK OUT THEIR TRAIL CAM: https://www.esf.edu/rangerschool/webcam.htm 

WANAKENA CHURCH - CLOSED FOR WINTER! WESTERN ADIRONDACK PRESBATYRIAN CHUCH zoom-zooms every Sunday at 10:45 using meeting #6663654813 and every morning at 9am for a Morning Prayer. WANAKENA CEMETERY ASSOCIATION announced that Cremation Remains burial has gone up from $150 to $250. Also, there is no longer a backhoe charge for cremation burial because they don’t use a backhoe for cremation burials any longer.

- AS OF 11/25/20 THE NEW WANAKENA CAR BRIDGE IS OPEN FOR PUBLIC USE!!!! AS OF 12/22/20 THE TEMPORARY BRIDGE IS FULLY DISMANTLED!!! And as they’ve been saying around Wanakena: WE’LL BE DRIVING OVER THAT NEW BRIDGE IN NO TIME!!!!! And ALAS! WE DO! Now that the bridge is WIDE OPEN, watch out for speedsters!!!

DOCK AND PUBLIC RESTROOM - CLOSED FOR THE SEASON MID NOVEMBER… REASON: FREEZIN’!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yes, that’s right folks you heard it here! The dock at Wanakena’s public beach has been unhooked from is summer resting place. Where many a family and friend basked in the sun, picnicked and swam. This summer was particularly interesting considering the fact that the local Wanakena population was downright floored at the sheer number of out-of-towners day-tripping at the Wanakena Beach. The public restroom saw RECORD NUMBER OF DEPOSITS this summer as well. Folks were out and about during the pandemic and Bo’s State Park was packed to the gills all the season though! Many a joyous experience this past warm-weather season via the Wanakena Public Dock and Wanakena Public Restroom. Cheers to many more years!!!!

: Stone Manor Diner and Motel is OPEN! The Clifton Community Library will return to curbside service on WEDNESDAY'S ONLY. Tooley Pond Duck Decoy Showroom in Cranberry Lake is OPEN (call first)!!!!!!! John Dragun NEON ARTWORK and MORE down in Windfall… OPEN! Check out the Cranberry Lake Boat Club and The North Shore Hub on Facebook. The CRANBERRY LAKE FIRE DEPARTMENT has announced the FIRST STRIKE FISHING DERBY has been cancelled this upcoming winter due to COVID. The Cranberry Lake Fishing Derby is cancelled and the CLFD will NOT be checking and facebook-reporting the ice thickness as in years prior: FISH AT YOUR OWN RISK! LAKESIDE GENERAL STORE IN CRANBERRY LAKE IS CLOSED FOR THE LONG WINTER SEASON. 

OUT WEST: AMERICAN LEGION has been OPEN! Todd Hardware, Adirondack Pharmacy and Circle K in Star Lake are OPEN! Though we heard Circle K no longer sells beer! YIKES! UB’s, and Adirondack Rustics in Oswegatchie are OPEN! Community Bank in Star Lake re-covid-closed-up the lobby for in-person banking; ATM or night depots ONLY! Mountain Gate Redemption near Benson Mines is open FOR PORCH SERVICE ONLY. There will be NO ICE SKATING AT THE AREANA this winter – cause, ya know: covid. Bargain Hunter says The Town of Fine Offices are CLOSED to the public ‘cause of COVID-19. Coffee Fever IS CLOSED and announced: Covid numbers are up, and because of that, the numbers at the Coffee shop are down. It is so sad for me to say, but it makes the most sense for us to close down for a while. We will shut our doors on Friday, Dec 18, at the end of our day, 3:00pm. But this is not forever. We look forward to seeing each and every one of you again soon. Stay safe out there., Hillside Diner IS CLOSED FOR WINTER – back in the spring. Both Twin Lakes and SOS in Star Lake got a fresh paint job but remain temporarily closed since March 2020. Word on the street is Twin Lakes is re-opening SOON! The following is copy-pasted from the Fine Town Board Meeting hours from Wednesday 11/11/2020: Jeremy wanted the board to be aware that the Dollar General is looking into putting a store at the former Great American site. This would not be required to go to site plan review since it is not a change of use. 

– A couple weeks ago News Channel 7 out of Watertown ran a story about Clifton-Fine’s Newton Falls and some plans in the works! Here it is in a nutshell: More than 100 acres of what once was the Newton Falls Paper Mill will become something new. The mill was a major employer for Newton Falls, Star Lake, and other communities before it shut down in 2010. Andy Leroux, who used to work there as a papermaker and later was a vice president with Newton Falls Fine Paper, bought land behind the mill buildings that was used for wastewater treatment. Leroux cleaned up the property with help from a $22,300 grant from National Grid’s Brownfield Redevelopment Program. The cleanup, which cost a total of $89,500, was completed this fall. Leroux plans on building a Christmas tree farm, a maple syrup retail outlet, a fishing and hunting lodge and a campground. “The additional funding allowed me to complete the demolition and remediation in a shorter amount of time and plant my first Christmas tree seedlings for next spring,” said Leroux in a prepared statement. https://www.wwnytv.com/2020/12/10/land-behind-newton-falls-mill-cleaned-up-tree-farm-campground-planned/ 

KIM AND THOMS LOST DOG REPORT: As of today, there are NO lost dogs in Wanakena.


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! Wanakena Weekly archive here: http://www.ottosabode.org/p/wanakena-weekly.html Also, we probably wouldn’t turn down the opportunity to publish your submission! 

In all our wintertime and especially in this month, we have now and then days when the cold and boisterous North wind moderated his tone, and the “sweet South” breathes gently as on a summer’s day. They are Angels of Hope, reminding us of the spring time and the new life that shall come again from the death around us.” – The American Farmer February 1861

WANAKENA WEEKLY #52… that’s a whole year’s worth of WANAKENA WEEKLY! Thanks for reading! See you next week for #53