Saturday, March 2, 2019

Mohawk Valley Living #151 Adk Journal Andy Flynn

Oh, the good old days! Here is a video interview of me from 2008 when I only had four "Adirondack Attic" books published. Thanks to Gary VanRiper, Mohawk Valley Living and The Weekly Adirondack for the support over the past 16 years. This video was shot at the Old Forge Hardware store in the book section. Enjoy!

Friday, March 1, 2019

Adirondack Attic: Saranac Lake cure cottage stone pig

(Here is a blurb about a Saranac Lake cure cottage stone pig, first published in the "Adirondack Attic" newspaper column in 2004 and reprinted in "New York State's Mountain Heritage: Adirondack Attic, Vol. 2.")

By ANDY FLYNN

In Saranac Lake, taking the wilderness cure for tuberculosis in the late 19th and early 20th centuries meant getting plenty of fresh Adirondack Mountain air in the lungs. Spending time outdoors was an essential part of the curing regimen, and keeping warm in the winter was, as it is now, an ongoing challenge in the frozen “City of the Sick.”

With its peak population at about 8,000 people in 1930, the Franklin County village of Saranac Lake was a bustling health resort catering mostly to TB patients seeking the cure in sanatoriums and privately owned cure cottages. The world-famous Trudeau Sanatorium, founded as the Adirondack Cottage Sanitarium in 1884 by Dr. Edward Livingston Trudeau, sprawled over the east side of Mount Pisgah. Trudeau’s work inspired a health revolution in the United States and fed Saranac Lake’s economic engine until the Sanatorium closed in 1954.

The Adirondack Cottage Sanitarium was renamed in 1917 to the Trudeau Sanatorium after Trudeau’s death in 1915, according to the Trudeau Institute, a research facility founded in 1964 by E.L.’s grandson, Francis B. Trudeau Jr.

The architecture of Saranac Lake is unique because of its tuberculosis-curing past. Many buildings were constructed specifically as cure cottages, and others endured multiple renovations to keep up with the increased demand for wilderness-curing boarding space.

“By the locally evolved, time honored, unwritten definition, it is only the commercial private sanatoria, the big boarding houses bristling with porches, that can legitimately be called cure cottages,” wrote Phil Gallos in his book, "Cure Cottages of Saranac Lake."

TB patients sat in reclining chairs/beds on the cure cottage porches in all types of weather to inhale the balsam-scented air.

Some nurses used ceramic hot water bottles, also known as stone pigs, to warm those outdoor cure beds. The Adirondack Experience museum has several stone pigs in its collection, including the one featured on the cover of "New York State's Mountain Heritage: Adirondack Attic, Vol. 2." It was donated in 1994 by Susan and Glenn Arnold, former owners of the Noyes Cure Cottage on Helen Street in Saranac Lake. The hot water bottle dates to between 1920 and 1940.

(For more about this artifact and others from the Adirondack Experience collection, check out Andy Flynn's six-volume "Adirondack Attic" book series. Call Andy Flynn at 518-891-5559 or email him at adkhungrybear@yahoo.com and order your copies today; credit cards accepted. Volumes 2-6 are available - $18 retail. Say you are a "History Nerd" and save $3 per book.)

2019 "History Nerds" book sale

Hey, it's Andy. I'm looking forward to connecting with more "Adirondack Attic" readers in 2019 as I hit the road with some "Artifact Night" events around New York state.

As such, I'm offering a sale on all my books for anyone who emails me, texts me or calls me on the phone with the code: "History Nerds." My email is adkhungrybear@yahoo.com and phone number is (518) 891-5559. We can take care of the order by email or phone. I accept credit cards, checks and cash and offer free delivery to the Tri-Lakes region of the Adirondacks.

All these books are $15 each: "New York's Mountain Heritage: Adirondack Attic" volumes 2-6, "Saranac Lake Winter Carnival Memories" and the "Lake Placid Diet." If you don't say "History Nerds" you don't get the discount. The regular prices are $18.00 for each Attic book, $24.95 for the Winter Carnival book and $17.95 for the "Lake Placid Diet."

So far, I have an "Adirondack Artifact Night" program slated for 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 10 in Wilmington, hopefully at the community center, sponsored by the Wilmington Historical Society. I last presented this program in Wilmington several years ago, and we had a blast!

Here's a description of the program:

Artifact Night is a time to share stories about family and local history with your community. People are invited to bring artifacts from home or work and tell stories about their objects during a show-and-tell session. Beforehand, I give a brief presentation on researching local history, showcasing stories from the Adirondack Attic History Project. The most fun is when people bring in “mystery objects” and the group collectively tries to solve the mystery. You don’t have to be a history nerd to enjoy this program, but it helps.

I hope to see you on the road this year with your artifacts and stories.

Sincerely,

Proud history nerd,
Andy Flynn

Sunday, June 3, 2018

PR workshop great training for school districts

As the Lake Placid News editor, I see a lot of press releases come into my inbox every week -- the good, bad and the ugly. Needless to say, I see a definite need to train organizations about how to properly write and distribute their press releases to newspapers.

I wish I got more releases from our local school districts. Most of what I get are very basic. A few include photos. Some are just news tips. It's all appreciated; I just wish I got more of them. My guess is that teachers and school staff are not getting enough -- or any -- training on sending out effective press releases to the local media, especially to their hometown newspapers, where parents yearn to see the accomplishments of their kids.

School districts should offer this kind of training, as it will yield benefits beyond their wildest imaginations. I'm not kidding. Empowering school staff to send the media news about all the cool projects they and their students are working on will ripple through the community -- first by having the news published and then by having people talk about the neat things they saw in the newspaper.

What I've found, working with the Lake Placid Central School District, is that when teachers, staff and administrators send me press releases or columns, they re-purpose those news items -- republishing them for the school's newsletter or website. So it's not just a news release; it's free content for the school district's publications.

It's great marketing. And, once the training is over, it doesn't cost the school district any money to get this kind of priceless publicity. Want your community flooded with "good news" from your school district? Empower your staff. Hire me to train them with "Press Release Essentials: Best Practices For Your Community Newspaper." It's worth the investment.

Learn more on the PR Workshop page.

Sincerely,

Andy Flynn
Writer, Editor, Publisher, Public Radio Producer

Friday, March 2, 2018

Press release workshop designed to save small businesses money

This week, I'm finalizing a new workshop designed to save money for small business owners, nonprofit organizations and people interested in starting a small business. It's called "Press Release Essentials: Get Media Attention on a Shoestring Budget."

The two-hour workshop was created so chambers of commerce and Small Business Development Centers could host a training event for their constituents.

As I was writing the workshop, I thought of the proverb, "Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime." The same is true with press releases. As a small business owner with a limited marketing budget, I know firsthand that I can't afford to hire a public relations firm to write and distribute my press releases. So I do it myself. And I'd like to teach others how to do it for themselves. It's an essential skill when you are running a small business or a nonprofit organization.

One of the fun parts of developing this workshop was getting advice from some of my friends in the public relations and newspaper industries. They reinforced what I had already written and added their own tidbits of knowledge and experience. Some of their frustrations with poorly written press releases came out when I asked them about their pet peeves.

"Too long. Don’t follow AP style. Missing information that forces us to call (no time or location, for example)," said Plattsburgh Press-Republican Editor Lois Clermont.

The bottom line is to make it easy for editors to do their job. Then you are more likely to get a release in the newspaper, and it expedites the process.

Sandy Caligiore, the media guy for a number of organizations in Lake Placid, New York, including USA Luge, the Empire State Winter Games and the Mirror Lake Inn, summed it up clearly when he said, "The best tip I can offer is that if you are going to issue a news release, you must make sure it contains real news."

I am looking forward to meeting small business owners and people at nonprofit organizations around the Northeast. I know I can make life better for them and help them get the media attention they deserve, all on a shoestring budget.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

10k race on hold during health recovery

I'm spending more time this week recovering from a health scare that sent me to the hospital for nine days, six in Burlington and three in Saranac Lake. Needless to say, walking the Lake Placid Classic 10k race on Oct. 7 is nowhere near possible and not even on my radar right now.

On the afternoon of Wednesday, Sept. 6, the Saranac Lake Rescue Squad transported me to the Adirondack Medical Center emergency room in Saranac Lake while I was on deadline for the Lake Placid News. At the hospital, they found multiple pulmonary embolisms in my lungs and a large one closer to my heart. The ambulance then transported me to the University of Vermont Medical Center in Burlington, where the doctors treated me with blood thinners. That caused bleeding somewhere above my left kidney. I had returned home on Monday, Sept. 11 before the general location of the bleeding was realized. With a blocked left kidney on Wednesday, Sept. 13, I was taken off blood thinners, treated by Dr. Lieb for the blockage and bleeding, and Dr. Roland placed a filter in my inferior vena cava to break up any blood clots that may travel from my legs to my lungs. That's when I was admitted to AMC Saranac Lake, where the bleeding finally stopped. I was released on Saturday, Sept. 16, and I have been home ever since recovering and following up with the doctors.

There are more challenges yet to come. Once cleared by Dr. Lieb, I can go back on blood thinners, and once safe from any bleeding, Dr. Roland can take out the IVC filter, possibly in November. The blood thinners should take care of any potential PEs in the future. That's the plan.

In the meantime, getting enough rest, losing weight and moving my legs more are high priorities. Walking a 10k is not. Yet I hope that races are in my future. For now, I'd be happy with getting back to a normal schedule.

Thanks to all the people who sent me well wishes and visited me in the hospital.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

LAKE PLACID DIET: I had another 'Are you OK?' day

After losing 80 pounds three years ago, I walked the roadways training for the Lake Placid Half Marathon, and a number of people said, "Good for you."

Now they're saying something different: "Are you OK?"

"Good for you" was said from the heart, and I always took it that way, but it also irked me because people would never say that to a skinny person walking down the street. They just wouldn't. It's only because I'm morbidly obese, walking in public, exercising, that people say, "Good for you." They were being condescending without knowing it. In my mind, I heard, "Good for you. Glad you got off the couch and decided to walk among the rest of us, fat guy."

After gaining all the weight back, whenever I walk the roads just trying to lose a little weight, people stop in their cars when I'm resting and ask, "Are you OK?" Last summer, it happened three times, and now that I've begun training for the Lake Placid Classic 10k race in October, I'm hearing it again.

Just this morning, as I was resting during my 1-mile walk on Ampersand Avenue, a woman in a car stopped and asked, "Are you OK?" She was worried because it was getting warm out in the sunshine. I told her I was just taking a break, and I was fine. I thanked her, and she drove away.

I actually like "Are you OK?" I prefer it to "Good for you" because people are showing genuine concern, as they would for anyone who may pass out on the side of the road, no matter their weight.

I wasn't about to pass out, but she didn't know that. I was just taking a breather. After walking a half mile on Monday around the Lake Placid High School's track at the horse show grounds (in the rain), I failed to walk again until Friday, when I walked my first mile in a long time on the Ampersand Avenue route, starting at my house on McClelland Street. It's pretty hilly, so I am getting a good workout.

After walking 0.7 miles during Week 1 of training, I tallied 2.5 miles during Week 2. I also weighed in at 450 pounds on Tuesday, July 25, a loss of 2 pounds since beginning my training. It's a small improvement, but at least I'm going in the right direction.

Only 10 more weeks to go.

Although I want to lose weight and get back to the Lake Placid Half Marathon, I'm not looking forward to the "Good for you" days again. I've flirted with the idea of making a training T-shirt that says, "Good for you," throwing it back in people's faces, but I've decided against it. Instead, I may get one that says, "Yes, I'm OK."

Sunday, July 23, 2017

LAKE PLACID DIET: Here's my plan to get out more

A week ago, as I lamented the fact that I feel like a prisoner in my own home — due to the shame of being so overweight — I began coming up with a realistic plan to get out more. My solution is to compete in this year's Lake Placid Classic 10k on Oct. 7.

After the treatment of leg ulcers in the winter, my legs lost a lot of strength, and it's taken this long — many days walking with the aid of a cane — to get enough strength back to walk without a cane. Now I believe I can take a slow approach to getting back to walking a half marathon next year. My first stop, a 10k (6.2-mile) race.

One of my problems, for the first month at least, is trying to find a place to walk away from the public. There really aren't too many options, other than walking in the woods, which I don't want to do right now. I want to train on the same surface as the race, or as close to it as possible.

Therefore, I've decided to spend the first month training on outdoor school tracks in Saranac Lake or Lake Placid. It's far enough away from the public, I'm around other athletes, and I can stop more frequently if I need a break. In the car, I've packed walking sticks for support and stability and a folding chair so I can sit in between laps. Right now, I take frequent breaks, about four or five every lap, but that will change as I get stronger.

I ended my first week of training today with a half-mile walk at the Saranac Lake Central School outdoor track. It was not a good opening week. On the first day, I could only walk up the street and back, about two-tenths of a mile. But it was better than nothing, which is what I did the rest of the week.

Only 11 more weeks to go.

I'm looking forward to getting back on the road, working toward a goal and meeting it. I enjoy the physical challenge and being around the running/walking community in Lake Placid and Saranac Lake.

I'm also looking forward to losing weight. As I've learned in the past, the training can only be effective if I lose weight as I tone up and get stronger. On July 18, I weighed in at 452 pounds, so I have a long way to go. I'm expecting major improvements on the scale if I am going to succeed on Oct. 7. That, however, is a battle in itself.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

LAKE PLACID DIET: I'm a prisoner in my own home

There are so many things I can't do because of my excess weight, and more and more, one of those things is to go outside and be in public.

I feel like a prisoner in my own home.

One of the worst things I can do is look at myself in the mirror. I hate what I see. I'm embarrassed at what I see, and it's difficult for me to be out in public. When I look at myself in the mirror, it can take days to recover from the feelings of shame, embarrassment, depression and hate. Yes, it's at those times I hate myself the most, for what I've done to myself and for how I look.

I don't expect everyone to understand what I'm talking about, but there are more people who feel this way than will admit openly. This post is for you.

Just today, I was looking at a sunset boat tour on Lake Champlain. It would have been a perfect way for my wife and I to spend our 20th wedding anniversary, but I can't do it. Not because of my embarrassment about being in public, but because it is a boat and I weight 450 pounds. As I looked at a photo of the tour boat, I envisioned the difficulty of trying to get in and out of it, finding a seat that would fit (they are usually too small) and hearing the staff orchestrate the passengers in a way that would prevent me from tipping the boat to one side.

You laugh, but I've experienced that firsthand. When I took the pontoon boat shuttle to Chapel Island one time, the boat driver asked me to stand in the middle so I didn't tip the boat. That, my friends, was seriously embarrassing. While I understood, from the perspective of physics, I was outraged and will never take that shuttle again.

It's situations like this that I want to avoid, so the safest thing is to stay home. I have a hard time walking these days anyway, and I often have to use a cane. That's embarrassing enough, especially when someone asks if they want me to have them open a door for me. No! I'm not an invalid. Or am I? I certainly act like one sometimes.

Things have to change if I'm going to get out there again and start doing things in public. After all, that's what I want. There are so many things on my want-to-do list, things I haven't been able to do in years and things I've never been able to do.

I'm hoping today will be the start of a new chapter in my life, one that will lead me to freedom from these walls I've put up because of my weight.

Friday, March 31, 2017

LAKE PLACID DIET: Miracle on Ice inspiration

Start date (Dec. 22): 480
Last week: 452
This week: 452
Total lost: 28 lbs.

For fans, the most emotional moment of this week's Miracle on Ice Fantasy Camp in Lake Placid came at the beginning of the third period during the gold-medal game on Wednesday, March 29.

Mike Ramsey's Red Light District was up 2-1 against Ken Morrow's Gold Rush in the same rink where Ramsey, Morrow and the rest of the U.S. Olympic hockey team beat the Soviet Union 4-3 on Feb. 22, 1980. The game was dubbed the "Miracle on Ice."

Over the sound system came the haunting voice of 1980 coach Herb Brooks, who died in 2003, channeled through actor Kurt Russell playing Brooks in the 2004 Disney film "Miracle." It was the famous locker-room speech Brooks gave to his players to inspire them against the heavily favored Soviets.

"Tonight, we are the greatest hockey team in the world," Russell said.

1980 player Mark Johnson, who scored two goals during the Miracle on Ice game, looked up at the LED scoreboard in the Olympic Center, where the scene from the movie was being shown. Johnson was sitting on the Red Light District bench, wearing a blue jersey and helmet, left arm stretched out with a gloved hand on the board, listening to the speech and waiting to play.

"You were born to be hockey players, every one of you," Russell continued. "You were meant to be here tonight. This is your time. Their time is done. It's over. I'm sick and tired of hearing about what a great hockey team the Soviets have. Screw 'em. This is your time! Now go out there and take it."

Cheers erupted from players on the Olympic Center ice and benches, pounding the boards with their hockey gloves and slapping the ice with their sticks. With two quick whistles, the third period began.

The Red Light District would be triumphant that day, scoring four more goals to beat the Gold Rush 6-1 for the gold medal.

Even 37 years later, the Miracle on Ice continues to inspire new generations of Americans, not just hockey players but anyone feeling overwhelmed because they are facing a more powerful force. It is the quintessential underdog story. David versus Goliath.

The 1980 team certainly inspires me. I was lucky enough to cover the 35th anniversary of the Miracle on Ice at the Olympic Center for the Lake Placid News two years ago, plus the fantasy camp last year and this year. But I don't have to be interviewing 1980 Olympians to be inspired. Every time I walk into the Herb Brooks Arena, I am inspired by their story, their Miracle game and the fact that they went on to beat Finland to win a gold medal in 1980.

I was 10 years old at the time, watching the Miracle on Ice game on TV at my grandmother's house in Tupper Lake, and all that emotion comes rushing back when I think about what these guys did for America and what they did for me. They gave me hope. Every time I'm feeling down, feeling as though there is no way I can get back on my feet again, all I have to do is think about the 20 young men who beat the Soviet Union that cold February day in Lake Placid, and my spirits are lifted. It gives me energy and the courage to keep trying.

On Sunday morning, I woke up with another acute attack of gout, this time in my left foot. But I didn't let a little pain stop me from covering the Miracle on Ice Fantasy Camp for three days this week, Monday through Wednesday. I took my pain medication, grabbed my cane and hobbled over to the Olympic Center with my laptop, digital recorder and camera, and I went to work. At the end of each day, I could barely move because my muscles were so sore and my foot was in pain. But these guys gave me the inspiration to get up the next day and keep moving.

Thanks, guys! You are a national treasure and an inspiration to humans everywhere.