Hikers learn which trees will survive climate change

Black Rock Forest Director William Schuster points out small cottony puffs on the underside of the Eastern Hemlock’s branches. These contain the larva of the Hemlock Wooly Adelgid.

Black Rock Forest Director William Schuster points out small cottony puffs on the underside of the Eastern Hemlock’s branches. These contain the larva of the Hemlock Wooly Adelgid.

A fresh powder covered the ground as 20 people gathered in Black Rock Forest on a Saturday afternoon for a winter walk.  The excursion was led by Dr. William Schuster, executive director of the Black Rock Forest Consortium.

During the 90-minute, mile-long walk to the Upper Reservoir and back, Schuster highlighted five of the conifers, or cone-bearing trees in the forest, and commented on how they would react to global warming.

Of the over 60 species of trees in the forest, 10 of them are conifers. Schuster said the conifers were among the first trees to develop evolutionarily. During a time when there weren’t many animals on the planet, these trees would disperse their light, winged seeds through the wind. As animals become more prevalent, these trees developed other means of seed dispersal, using these animals as a secondary option.

Conifers have a  conical shape with branches that bend down so they are less likely to snap from the weight of snow.

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Zoning Board asked if dog service is a kennel

Lori Ransom, Arlene Roberts and Eileen Regan of the ZBA examine a map of the property surrounding Valentina Quinn’s house.

Lori Ransom, Arlene Roberts and Eileen Regan of the ZBA examine a map of the property surrounding Valentina Quinn’s house.

The Town Zoning Board heard a different type of appeal on Nov. 20. Normally, the board is concerned with measurements. A homeowner will ask for a variance when a proposed addition leaves less than the required space at the rear or side of the property.

But the request on Nov. 20 was different. A property owner asked for a definition. Was she merely walking dogs or was she operating a kennel? If  the ZBA determined that she was running a kennel, she would either have to desist or apply for a variance — since she had considerably less than the five acres the zoning ordinance would require.

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Winter Extravaganza snowballed

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Tom Lindemann decorates a tree, on Main Street, in preparation for Sunday’s Winter Extravaganza.

The Greater Cornwall Chamber of Commerce’s Winter Extravaganza has grown each of the last four years. The fourth annual event is this Sunday and Chamber president Joseph Dvash expects more than 1,000 people to attend. He believes Main Street’s Norman Rockwell feel is the reason why it’s become so popular.

Main Street will once again be closed, from Chadeayne Circle to Willow Avenue, to accommodate two horse drawn carriages. One-way rides will be offered between 3 and 4:45 p.m.

Those who choose to walk can stop to admire the holiday decorations shop owners have on display. From wooden cutouts; Christmas trees adorned with ribbons, beads, and lights; to evergreen wreaths and garland, Main Street will look like a winter wonderland.

Business owners will be offering refreshments to visitors such as hot cocoa, chili, or even the opportunity to roast marshmallows.

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The summer months fly by as camp seasons end

Photo by Jason Kaplan Village campers Ethan Greenblatt, Landon Lavallee, and Noah Chyla palaver while eating lunch.

Photo by Jason Kaplan
Village campers Ethan Greenblatt, Landon Lavallee, and Noah Chyla palaver while eating lunch.

Nearly 240 children attended summer camp in the town and village this year. Unfortunately, their season of fun came to an end this week.

Both camps featured a number of trips including visits to Splashdown, Tarsio Lanes, and the firemen’s fair.  It remained cloudy, but warm, when the town campers went to Splashdown, but the village campers had a little bit of help getting wet from Mother Nature – it rained half the day.

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Dragonfest: A grass roots event that really worked

File photo Two of the younger guests got acquainted at last year’s Dragonfest.

File photo
Two of the younger guests got acquainted at last year’s Dragonfest.

When the email came last summer, we could think of several reasons why Dragonfest wouldn’t work — the organizers started late, they picked a busy weekend, and no one knew what Dragonfest was.

Despite our pessimism, the event  was a success. Families showed up in the daytime, and a second wave of guests arrived at night. Many of them stayed past the time when the party was supposed to be over.

Now Cornwall is bracing for Dragonfest II at the Black Rock Fish and Game Club. The party will begin at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 2 and continue until whenever. Based on last year’s experience, no one has mentioned a closing time.

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Crowd ignores rain, hears Memorial Day stories

It was too wet to use a microphone, so guests moved up front, and mingled with volunteers in uniform, so they could hear.

It was too wet to use a microphone, so guests moved up front, and mingled with volunteers in uniform, so they could hear.

Since World War I, Orange County has lost 832 residents in battle. But we remember more than numbers on Memorial Day. We remember the stories.

This year’s observance was held in the rain. It was too wet to use a microphone. So American Legion Commander Peter Kurpeawski asked the crowd to gather around him — rather than stand across the street behind the rows of firefighters.

And in spite of the weather, there was a crowd. Judy Rothman and Tom Quinlan shared an umbrella as they received medals and plaques from the legion commander. Mrs. Rothman was a Red Cross volunteer in the combat zone during the Vietnam War. Mr. Quinlan has been a legion member for 42 years, and has served as both a post and a county commander.

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RiverFest lives up to intent

File photo The toy train makes its return as one of the children’s activities at RiverFest.

File photo
The toy train makes its return as one of the children’s activities at RiverFest.

When he was chair of the Town of Cornwall’s Economic Development Committee, Wynn Gold came up with an idea to boost tourism. Thus, RiverFest was born. Twenty years later, the annual riverfront festival continues to draw visitors from around the county, as well as from other states.

“I don’t think any of us planned on doing this for 20 years when we first started,” Gold said, “but we’re still having fun. We have a formula that works. People come down for the entertainment, others because they like craft fairs. The kids’ activities have grown exponentially.”

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Farmers Market prepared for the great outdoors

File photo The Cornwall’s summer farmers market returns at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, June 7, in front of Town Hall.

File photo
The summer edition of the Cornwall farmers market returns at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, June 7, in front of Town Hall.

This Saturday marks the last day of the seasonal farmers market, but additional opportunities to purchase fresh produce and other foods are just around the corner.

Weather permitting, Saturday’s market will be outdoors from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Munger Cottage. It will serve as a prelude to the summer farmers market which will run from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. starting on the first Wednesday in June through the last Wednesday in September. There will be no market on July 5, the day after Independence Day, and Sept. 6, the first day of school. The market will be set up on the lawn of Town Hall.

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One big difference in this year’s Sunrise Service

Rev. Tricia Calahan delivered the message at the Easter Sunrise Service at Ring’s Pond. The morning was unseasonably warm.

Rev. Tricia Calahan delivered the message at the Easter Sunrise Service at Ring’s Pond. The morning was unseasonably warm.

With one exception, the Easter morning rites at Ring’s Pond were like the Sunrise Services in the past. The same clergy officiated. The same musicians accompanied the hymns on their guitars. And, as usual, a pink stuffed bunny was perched at their feet.

Many of the worshipers were regulars. They arrived early because there was daylight before the service started at 6:30 a.m. (which is what happens when Easter lands in mid-April instead of late March).

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