Stand up and paddle

SUP Sackets Harbor co-owners Justin and Jamie McGiver instruct staff members of the Hops Spot, Sackets Harbor, in stand-up paddleboarding, a new sport catching on in the north country. Photo by Justin Sorenson/ NNY Living

New paddleboard sport gains momentum in north country [Read more…]

A new ‘normal’

No regrets for mother of two after life-altering surgery

Melissa Shelmidine sits at the life guarding station at the Watertown Family YMCA in downtown Watertown. After being an active swimmer and life guard, she had to have her left foot amputated due to complications from arteriovenous malformation. Photo by Amanda Morrison/NNY Living.

Melissa R. Shelmidine just wanted to live a normal life.

“I wanted it done. I practically begged a doctor to do it,” she said, Miss Shelmidine, a mother of two active, young children, a swimmer and a former high school athlete is, at the age of 24, learning how to get back up and running after having her left foot amputated.  Miss Shelmidine was born with an abnormal connection between the arteries and veins in her foot, an abnormality called arteriovenous malformation. The condition went undetected for most of her childhood, getting progressively more painful and debilitating into her teen years.

“What would happen is it would cut off circulation to parts of my foot. It was so painful,” she said.

The condition left her toes swollen, numb and discolored, lacking blood circulation. She eventually opted to have her big toe amputated, hoping it would relieve some of the pain. Her foot never properly healed.

“I had my toe amputated, but I also had more than a dozen embolizations done to try to minimize the problem,” Miss Shelmidine said. “Nothing was helping. So I met with my doctor and talked about having the foot taken off.”

Ninety percent of people with AVM have it in their brains. Though she suffered through her toes dying due to loss of circulation, she considers herself lucky.  Losing one’s foot seems traumatic and scary; Miss Shelmidine is upbeat about the life that follows her surgery. She talks about the amputation surgery as if it’s a dental cleaning. The surgery itself took less than two hours.

“My children understood the pain that I was in, that I couldn’t run around with them because of the pain in my foot, so they understood when I told them that I was going to be getting a new leg,” she said. “When I was at home recovering, my prosthesis hadn’t come yet and my daughter was a little confused and asked where my new leg was.”

Miss Shelmidine said she does not regret her decision.

“I didn’t have any depression, nothing. It’s been great. I was just so happy to get rid of it,” she said. [Read more…]

This is NNY: March madness

‘Fandamonium’ hits Beaver River community

It has been 34 years since the Beaver River community was as abuzz about high school boys basketball as it was this season.

The Beaver River boys basketball team took the Frontier League Class C-1 title in early March. That win was quickly followed by a chance at the state hoops title.
Along the seemingly unprecedented journey, a large following of fans trailed the Beavers. In a display not unlike that for other high school sports teams across the north country, Beaver River fans were loyal, loud and proud.

“Fandamonium” runs rampant during the late winter and early spring. High school basketball teams — girls and boys — advance to sectional and state tournaments, pulling along with them cars loaded with fanatics who don face paint and pom poms. [Read more…]

NNY Community Foundation honors Macsherry with Spirit of Philanthropy Award

Mary H. Macsherry

The Northern New York Community Foundation’s 2013 Spirit of Philanthropy Award is being presented posthumously to Mary H. Macsherry, a Watertown and Alexandria Bay resident who died in December.

Mrs. Macsherry, who was 94, was chosen because of her “years of generaous and caring work on behalf of many area causes and organizations,” a Community Foundation press release stated. [Read more…]

As season approaches, Antique Boat Museum exits ‘hibernation’

Photo by Brad Miller, courtesy Antique Boat Museum.

Spring has just arrived, but summer is close.

It seems even closer when you have a countdown.

Clayton’s Antique Boat Museum kicks off a 49 day countdown campaign on Friday to celebrate the 49th annual opening of the museum. The museum opens on Friday, May 10. The “Out of Hibernation” campaign will “unlock, or wake up, some of the unique artifacts and displays at the museum through various social media initiatives,” according to a press released.

To drum up interest, the museum is taking to Facebook and Twitter to give away speedboat passes and other prizes for those who ‘like’ the museum’s Facebook page,, or ‘follow’ the museum on Twitter, @ABM1000Islands.

Opening weekend, scheduled for Friday, May 10, to Sunday, May 12, at the boat museum, 750 Mary St., will include a free book for the first 25 paying visitors on Friday. All Daughters Day, an event aimed at mothers and daughters that features presentations, tea and other family activities. On Sunday, Mother’s Day, mom gets in free with paid admission of a child as well as a free flower for the first 25 mothers through the gate, sponsored by Gray’s Flower Shop.

In other ABM news, Michael J. Folsom, founder of the Sailing Seaway Clayton summer event and the Ship Watcher, a 1,000 Islands shipping blog, has been named director of marketing and communications. He is joined by Margaret E. Hummel, who has been promoted to events manager at the museum. Ms. Hummel joined the museum in April 2011 as events and marketing coordinator.

Maggie Rizer welcomes second baby boy

Photo courtesy Instagram/Maggie Rizer.

Late Friday evening supermodel, and north country native, Maggie Rizer took to her Instagram and Twitter accounts to announce the birth of her second baby boy, Quinnlann Clancy Mehran.

Ms. Rizer posted a photo, left, with the caption “Our little Mighty Quinn.”

Quinn is Ms. Rizer’s second child with husband Alex Mehran. Ms. Rizer gave birth to son Zander  on Nov. 23, 2011. The family splits their time between their homes in San Francisco and outside of Sackets Harbor on the shores of Lake Ontario. [Read more…]

Titus Mountain turns to maple

Beginning this weekend, visitors to Titus Mountain in Malone will have more to do at the ski center than just make ski and snowboard runs down the mountain.

Titus Mountain has expanded its facilities with a state-of-the-art maple syrup production “shack,” located near the base lodge of the ski area. The “Moon Valley Maple Sugar Shack” is the latest in a series of additions and improvements new owners have made to Titus, according to Brian Monette, principle for Titus Mountain. [Read more…]

5 Things Friday: March 1

1.) Fashion fund raising. Beginning at 2 p.m. Sunday is the annual “Teens for Miracles” Charity Fashion Show, sponsored by Children’s Miracle Network of Northern New York. Always a packed house, CMN had to increase the venue size and moved to the Bruce M. Wright Memorial Conference Center, 1291 Faichney Drive, for this year’s event. The event is hosted by Miss Thousand Islands 2012 Allison Carlos with an appearance from Shannon Oliver, Miss New York 2012. Dresses are provided by A Touch of Grace, Watertown. Admission is $10. For more information, contact A Touch of Grace at 788-6164 or the CMN office, 785-4053. [Read more…]

A fresh take on dinner theater

This Saturday, starting with cocktails at 5 p.m., the Community Performance Series is hosting “Gourmet Guys and a Gal” at Thatcher Dining Hall at SUNY Potsdam. The fundraiser features the CPS Summer 2013 Musical Theater performances from “Hairspray” and “Little Shop of Horrors.” [Read more…]

5 Things: New Year’s Edition

Despite the late arrival of snow and cold, there’s plenty of activities going on throughout the north country in celebration of the New Year. Whether you’re keeping it low-key on Monday evening and kicking off your resolutions first thing Tuesday, or looking for a night on the town with friends or family, we’ve got a few suggestions for you. Even though it’s not time for 5 Things Friday yet, we’ve compiled a quick list of some interesting ways to kick-off the New Year. Think of it as 5 Things Monday: New Year’s Edition.

[Read more…]