Winter 2015 Wellness: Time to commit and quit

Giving up cigarettes requires a plan and positive support

By Michelle L. Graham

Columnist, Michelle Graham

Columnist, Michelle Graham

I always look forward to the start of a new year. It’s like the slate is clean and there is a chance for new beginnings or a new frame of mind. People often try to commit to an exercise program or healthier eating, but my favorite resolution is to quit smoking. I am not nor have I ever been a smoker, but having spoken to many smokers in my life, this may truly be one of the hardest, most difficult habits to break. [Read more...]

Winter 2015 Wellness: Don’t neglect your eye health

Annual eye exam is best way to catch problems early

By Dr. Grace Y. Burke

Columnist, Dr. Grace Y. Burke

Columnist, Dr. Grace Y. Burke

Fluorescent lights affect my vision. Is there something I can do to help with the cloudiness and glare from these lights?
Glasses that have antireflective coating may help with this problem by cutting down on reflections in the lenses. This will improve your visual comfort especially at night under fluorescents and while using a computer. Your optician can review with you all of the latest anti-glare technologies. [Read more...]

Winter 2015 News and Notes

WPBS-TV writers contest

PBS KIDS is accepting writers contest entries through Tuesday, March 31.

The contest aims to promote the advancement of children’s literacy skills by writing and illustrating their own stories.

It is open to children in kindergarten through third grade from Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties. The station plans to select local winners and award prizes in the spring. A panel of judges will rank the top 12 entries nationally, which will be announced this summer and featured on [Read more...]

Top titles by checkout at Flower Memorial Library

Top titles by checkout at Flower Memorial Library:

1) James Patterson: Second Honeymoon
2) Dan Brown: Inferno
3) David Baldacci: The Hit
4) James Patterson: Mistress
5) Elizabeth Hadler: Please Don’t Tell

Top five Ebooks at Flower Memorial Library:

1) Lee Child: Never Go Back
2) Jeanne Glidewell: Haunted
3) Susan Beth Pfeffer: Life as We Knew It
4) Bronwyn Scott: A Lady Dares
5) Lia Romeo: Dating the Devil

Books of local interest

L_UPF_RiversTale_1013WLost Pond Press, Saranac Lake, has released the suspense novel “The River’s Tale,” by Michael Virtanen, a political reporter in Albany for the Associated Press.
The book is a prequel to Mr. Virtanen’s first novel, “Within a Forest Dark,” which in 2007 won the Adirondack Center for Writing award for best fiction.

“The River’s Tale” centers on a woman who flees New York City and abandons an academic career to live with an aunt in a cabin on a remote stretch of the Hudson River in the Adirondacks. She lands a job as a whitewater-rafting guide and falls into a summer romance with her charismatic boss. Life is good until she discovers that the Adirondacks are not the safe haven she thought they were.

The book is $14.95 and is available at [Read more...]

Frederic Remington Art Museum presents awards

The Frederic Remington Art Museum, 303 Washington St., Ogdensburg, has awarded the 2013 Public’s Choice Award to Denny Morreale for his 2011 work Raurri at the Sandbanks following the 2012 Members’ Juried Art Exhibition that ran from mid-May to early September.

Mr. Morreale received a framed print of Frederic Remington’s 1890 painting, Antoine’s Cabin.

The award was based on votes by the public in person or online during the exhibition, which was open to any artist who is also a member of the museum. It included 49 works of art by 44 artists.

Juror Gregg Fedchak also selected the following prize winners at the opening of the exhibit: John Elwood Cook for Ice House, 3rd place; Lutz Scherneck for Two Fish Blue Pond, 2nd place; Judy Andrus Toporcer for Rear Window, best in show.

Three paintings were also sold during the show, with one third of the proceeds benefiting the museum and two thirds going to the artist.
The museum opened its 2013 International Juried Art Exhibit in late September. The exhibit is open to artists within 100 miles of Ogdensburg and can be viewed online at

The Frederic Remington Art Museum was founded in 1923 is home to an acclaimed and comprehensive collection of original Remington paintings, sketches, sculptures and personal artifacts.

Flower Library seeks book donations

Friends of Flower Memorial Library are seeking donations of books in good or excellent quality throughout the summer and fall for its annual book sale, which begins Saturday, Oct. 26. The sale runs for 10 days.

Novels, paperbacks, non-fiction, children’s books, compact discs, DVDs and VHS tapes are needed. Old textbooks, National Geographic magazines and Reader’s Digest condensed books aren’t big sellers and will be given away. Contributions may be left at the library, 229 Washington St., Watertown, during regular library hours.

Accepting submissions for writing contest

Jefferson Community College’s English Department is accepting submissions for its 2013 North Country Writers Contest. The contest is open to all residents and friends of the upstate New York region. The deadline for submission is Friday, Sept. 13. There is no entry fee.

Contest categories include: Short Fiction of 1,000 to 3,000 words; Poetry up to 100 lines; and Essay/Non-Fiction of 1,000 to 3,000 words. Submissions to all categories must reflect a connection to the north country, be previously unpublished work and be double-spaced in letter quality. Participants may submit up to three different works and past winners may submit works in a different category. The title, genre, author’s name, address, telephone number, email address and word count must appear on a separate cover sheet; only the title should appear on the manuscript itself. Entries will not be returned.

Winners of each category will be published on JCC’s website and receive a $100 prize. Pieces that receive honorable mentions will also be published online and authors will receive a $25 prize. Winners will also be requested to give a reading at the North Country Writers Festival reading at JCC on Thursday, Oct. 24. at 7 p.m.
Electronic submissions are preferred as a Microsoft Word attachment in rich text format (.rtf) to Submissions can also be addressed to: North Country Writers Contest, English

Department, Jefferson Community College, 1220 Coffeen Street, Watertown, NY 13601.

For more information, contact the JCC English Department at 786-2328 or email

Awards $40k in funding

The St. Lawrence County Arts Council in July distributed $40,000 in Community Arts 2013 grant funding in Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties for community arts programming from the New York State Council on the Arts.

Recipients are: Adirondack Mennonite Camping Association, Arts Association of Northern New York, B.E. Strong Memorial Library, Arts Committee of Clifton Fine Economic Development Corp., DeKalb Historical Association, Gouverneur Reading Room Association, Lewis County Historical Society, Lowville Free Library, Morristown Gateway Museum, North Country Players, Oxbow Historical Association, Potsdam College Foundation, Inc. & Community Performance Series, Sackets Harbor Historical Society, Sackets Harbor Vocal Arts Ensemble, Town of Colton (Tourism and Beautification Committee), Town of Lewis Library, Town of Waddington & Waddington Redevelopment Association, What a Raquette Music and Dance & The Northern Lights Orchestra, William H. Bush Memorial Library and WPBS-TV (St. Lawrence Valley Educational Television Council, Inc.).

SLC Arts will also distribute an additional $12,500 to artists in the tri-county area through Public Art Fellowships and the Teaching Artists’ Fund.

For more information, visit the council’s website.

Wine list honored by Wine Spectator magazine

The 1844 House in Potsdam has been awarded a 2013 “Award of Excellence” for its wine list from the national magazine Wine Spectator, in its August issue. The American bistro’s wine list includes wines from across the country, South America, the Finger Lakes and Europe, from Riesling to Malbec to Chardonnay.

Recipients of Wine List awards must have lists that “offer interesting selections, are appropriate to their cuisine and appeal to a wide range of wine lovers,” according to Wine Spectator’s website. The list must also include “vintages and appellations” for all wines and complete producer names. The list’s presentation and overall appearance is also a factor. Wine Spectator recognizes 2,870 restaurants with the Award of Excellence, for lists that “offer a well-chosen selection of quality producers, along with a thematic match to the menu in both price and quality” and that usually contain at least 100 different wines. Wine Spectator also awards the Best of Award of Excellence to 850 restaurants and the Grand Award to 73 restaurants, which usually have lists with 1,500 or more wines.

The 1844 House reopened in May 2006 under new owners, husband and wife team Brian and Jenny Walker. It uses an array of local foods from suppliers including the North Country Grown Cooperative in Massena and the Potsdam Food Co-op.

To view the 1844 House’s wine list and menu, visit