“Hands, Pans, Flames and Heart”

AMANDA MORRISON / NNY LIVING
St. Lawrence Spirits Chateau executive chef Christian Ives poses in the dining room of the restaurant.

[Read more…]

A survivor’s marathon

North country woman beats stroke to run historic Boston race [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…]

A night on the river

‘Celebrity Chefs’ Event’ to benefit North Country Children’s Clinic

Local quilter Mary Knapp has donated one of her handmade quilts to this year's "Night on the River" silent auction, to raise money for the North Country Children's Home. Photo by Norm Johnston/NNY Living.

A popular spring event returns to the Clayton Opera House Friday, May 10.

North Country Children’s Clinic will hold its annual Celebrity Chefs’ Event, offering guests a gala river evening that includes a silent auction and food from the recipe files of some of the region’s most notable cooks.

This year’s culinary offerings are some of the favorite dishes of Coyote Moon Vineyard’s Phil and Mary Randazzo, USO’s Karen Clark, Samaritan Medical Center Foundation Director Beth Fipps, Freeman Bus Corporation and Clarence Henry Coach’s Rob Freeman, Timeless Frames’ Lisa Weber, and Bernier Carr’s Bernie Brown and his wife, Beverly.

To add to the festive atmosphere, the evening will feature “celebrity waiters,” including past recipients of NNY Business magazine’s “20 Under 40” honor, Jefferson Leadership Institute alumni, and other influential community members.

One of the evening’s highlights will be a silent auction that includes unique items donated by north country residents and businesses. Of particular note is “River Trees,” a 58-by-27-inch quilted wall hanging created by award-winning Watertown artist Mary B. Knapp. [Read more…]

Father, daughter to deploy with 10th Combat Aviation Brigade

Chief Warrant Officer 5 Michael A. Mogg and his daughter, Spc. Miranda A. Mogg, will soon deploy together with the 10th Combat Aviation Brigade to Afghanistan. They serve in the brigade’s Headquarters and Headquarters Company. Photo by Norm Johnston/Watertown Daily Times.

FORT DRUM — When Chief Warrant Officer 5 Michael A. Mogg receives briefings during his upcoming deployment to Afghanistan, they could come from a close source — his daughter.

Spc. Miranda A. Mogg, an intelligence analyst, will deploy with the brigade.

“For once she gets to tell me what to do,” joked Mr. Mogg, the 10th Combat Aviation Brigade’s master gunner. [Read more…]

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…]

Alexandria Central student heads to national bee — again

Dylan J. O’Connor spells one of his final words before winning the Scipps Regional Spelling Bee on Tuesday night at General Brown. Photo by Justin Sorensen/Watertown Daily Times.

DEXTER — “Bambino” made Dylan J. O’Connor, 12, a winner.

That was the word that is sending the Alexandria Central School sixth-grader to the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., after he won Tuesday’s regional contest at General Brown Junior-Senior High School. [Read more…]

Potsdam model walks runways in New York, Milan

Margaret J. Maurer was manager at the Isle of You boutique, Potsdam, before a friend sent photos of her to a Toronto modeling agency which recruited her for top runway gigs. Photo by Tom Newton/Special to the Watertown Daily Times.

POTSDAM — Margaret J. Maurer has been swept up from her modest life in Potsdam onto runways in New York, Milan and Paris.

Ms. Maurer, 25, was one of the models for Calvin Klein’s latest fashion line, strutting the stage during New York Fashion Week on Valentine’s Day.

She worked as manager at the Isle of You boutique on Market Street until the call came from the Elmer Olsen modeling agency in Toronto in January. Her first job came just a few weeks later.

Her mother, Pamela J. Maurer, remembers getting a call from Margaret at 6 p.m. on Super Bowl Sunday: “Mom, I have to be in New York tomorrow.” [Read more…]

SUNY Potsdam student recalls Oscars experience

SUNY Potsdam theater major ChaRon Brabham poses during the 2013 Academy Awards ceremony in Hollywood, Calif. Ms. Brabham was selected to help hand out Oscars after winning a short film contest.

POTSDAM — It was a golden moment for ChaRon Brabham, and she earned it.

The SUNY Potsdam theater student enjoyed a fairytale weekend in Hollywood which culminated in an onstage experience at the 2013 Academy Awards ceremony.

Ms. Brabham was among six college awards presenters selected through the national Oscar Experience Talent Search, sponsored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and mtvU. [Read more…]

Holocaust survivor Esther Bauer speaking at JCC today

Holocaust survivor Esther M. Bauer.

A woman who survived time in the most notorious concentration camp during the Holocaust will give a talk as part of Jefferson Community College’s “It’s a Beautiful Week” dedicated to mental health.

Esther M. Bauer, 88, will speak at 7:30 p.m. today in the Sturtz Theater about her personal memories of Auschwitz and the impact of the mass genocide on her life, and to warn that history can repeat itself. [Read more…]