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TI Life in March ‘13

When I started to put this issue together I realized it is our biggest yet – perhaps too much, but then I received this message from Don Fredericks, Westminster Park – and I decided – it is still cold out there and nobody should mind reading a lot in March.

I wish to thank you and your colleagues for the wonderful ThousandIslandLife website.  I so much look forward to its monthly publication.  Words cannot express how pleasing to the eye and warming to the heart are the images and stories. Together with other River organizations, "TI Life" is quickly becoming a very very important resource for remembering the region's history and shaping the region's future.  Again, thank you!

We begin with Lynn McElfresh’s articles.  Her first, Clan St. Lawrence River tells the history of the St. Lawrence River Tartan, and 35 years of Riverkeeping… tells the story of how Save the River began (complete with Barry Freed/Abbie Hoffman).

Brian Johnson tells his grandfather’s touching story of A Winter Wake on Wolfe Island…

John Peach suggests we take advantage of a special April two-day seminar in To Learn about Wooden Boats of Canada and 1000 Islands.



Debbie Bennett presents Ashlie Corcoran takes the helm… and April Scott-Clarke introduces Courtney Sadler in New Chapter for Leeds County BooksJohnny Truesdell’s” brings two important stories. “Johnny” is constantly helping with fund rasiing causes in Alexandria Bay so his wish to help singer songwriter JPShaggy is no surprise as he presents There's a 1000 Islands Calling My Name…  And I was certainly excited about a Thousand Islands event covered by “Johnny Trusdell” and the A-Bay Paparazzi.  Polar Bears in A-Bay gives “helping the community” a whole new meaning to the word courage.


Thousand Islands High School student Nicole Gokey presents her essay describing how much fun she is having Volunteering: A Time to Do Good Deeds.  Nicole volunteers at the Thousand Islands Land Trust and is hoping others will join her.

Anthony Mollica returns with the unique history of Hutchinson's Remarkable Wartime Transition.  Karen Killian publishes some of her photographs of May Irwin’s farm in “May Irwin Gives Up Home to Join Hubby at Farming” and Tom King brings us Memories of the Rideau with more of his father’s beautiful photographs.

And in conclusion we present GE at Carleton Island by Timothy W. Lake.  It is the longest article we have published in “TI Life”, but this is a fascinating era of 1000 Islands history and should be told from beginning to end.  I recommend you print this article, pour your favorite beverage and enjoy this history.

New Contributors

Nicole Gokey - Volunteering: A Time to Do Good Deeds

Nicole Gokey is a student at Thousand Islands High School who has been living in the 1000 Islands area for all her life. There are many activities she has an interest in: Playing soccer, swimming, and just experiencing everything that the Thousand Islands has to offer! This winter she has been volunteering for the Thousand Islands Land Trust.  A talented young lady, those who work with her are excited to see what’s in store for her in the future.
Debbie Bennett - Ashlie Corcoran takes the helm…

Born and raised in Brockville, Debbie Bennett moved to Kingston in 2008 to attend St. Lawrence College. She competed in two OCMC provincial marketing competitions and placed in the top five in each. She then advanced to represent St. Lawrence College at the BDC National Marketing Competition, placing 2nd in Canada.  She is now Marketing Manager at the Thousand Islands Playhouse in Gananoque.
Timothy W. Lake - GE at Carleton Island

Timothy W. Lake is a veteran newspaper, radio and TV journalist. He was born and raised near Henderson Harbor and is the author of two books by Arcadia Publishing, Henderson and Henderson Harbor (2012) and Association Island (2013).   Tim and his wife Jaime and their children, Grayson, Emery and Jessie enjoy their boats on Lake Ontario and often spend their summers at their Henderson Harbor cottage and in the Thousand Islands.
April Scott-Clarke -New Chapter for Leeds County Books

April Scott-Clarke is a fulltime writer and editor, mom, wife and outdoor enthusiast. She writes on business, HR and lifestyle topics. She’s written for a number of titles including, and Profit. April grew up on the outskirts of Brockville and although she doesn’t live in the area anymore, she’s a frequent visitor. Follow her on Twitter @AScott_Clarke


Wind Turbines

We received this announcement and poster from Mary Hamilton, president of Concerned Residents of Hammond (CROH) regarding the installation of Wind Turbines in the region:

The threat of industrial wind development along the 1000 Islands corridor is the basis for a movement that is underway to ensure the 1000 Islands viewshed and tourist economy is protected and the "Garden of the Great Spirit" is preserved. Industrial wind developers proposals to site hundreds of 500' towers producing auditory and visual pollution along the river is in direct conflict with the natural resources that have provided income and investments for generations of north country residents. Hundreds of thousands of visitors play in our waters and savor the magnificence of "an area that is like no other place on earth". As stewards of this land, we must not turn our heads but rather should do all we can to PROTECT this region.

The NYS Public Service Commission Article 10 Siting Board is listening and wants to know how you feel about this type of industrial development. They encourage anyone who has comments to make about the proposed St. Lawrence Wind project in Cape Vincent and Lyme as well as the Horse Creek project in Clayton to EMAIL THEIR WEBSITE (

So far they have heard from almost 230 people with the vast majority of those comments voicing support for Protecting the 1000 Islands. 230 responses is good, but there are 1000's of people who live here or visit this area and could make their feelings known and have their voices heard. All of these comments will become part of the record that will be used by the Article 10 Siting board to decide whether or not to site a wind project in this area.

Please send your email comments to:

To see read comments already received by the DPS Click Here

Mary Hamilton can be reached at if you have comments or questions.

Water levels

Carrie Kerr sent this letter to “TI Life” in response to Tom French’s Appreciating the River in Winter article and an Army Corps summary article published recently in Thousand Islands Sun. Water levels are important and deserves our attention.

Lower Water Raises Issues

We need to set aside the arguments regarding Global Warming and think about adjusting to changing climate here in the Thousand Islands Region. As Tom French pointed out in his fascinating article in Thousands Island Life (Feb 2013 issue), folks have been noticing easing of winter weather since the 1960s and 1970s. We have reached a critical point in River weather. The water is warmer all year long, minimizing winter ice, and dramatically increasing evaporative loss. The St. Lawrence is the primary drain for the Great Lakes, basically a huge puddle left from the last ice age. Increased evaporation combined with the very slow recharge rate of the Great Lakes puts the water level at risk. Add the current Midwestern drought and a disaster is in the making. The article in the Feb 27 2013 issue of the Thousand Islands Sun reviewing the Army Corps 2012 summary makes clear that the Lakes are dropping. Lower Lakes lead inevitably to lower River levels. While the hydro dams do manually control the water level in the Thousand Islands, they are limited by the amount of available water.

The River community needs to get started preparing for lower River levels. Long range predictions suggest that the River could drop as much as 10 feet this century. There are many things to think about including; getting ready to mark many more shoals, rethinking the appropriateness of building permanent docks on pilings (floating docks would be much more responsive to and useful in changing water levels), preparing to allow marshes to propagate into the River as the upland portions dry out, rethinking riparian rights (50 feet beyond “typical” high water does one define typical high level as the water drops?), managing commercial Seaway traffic given dropping water levels, etc..

These issues require ongoing discussions between the River community and the DEC, NYS Dept. of State (owner of riparian rights in the river), Army Corps of Engineers, the Joint Commission, and others. They are complex topics that will take a great deal of time to formulate appropriate responses to. I don't pretend to have thought through all the issues involved, only to recognize that the conversations need to begin.

Save The River has ongoing relationships with the above organizations as well as an established reputation as guardian of The River among our community. This makes them especially well suited for this new important challenge and conversation. If they can't take on the job, another group must. The likely long term decline in water level is the most important issue the River and the associated community has faced since the opening of the Seaway!

Carrie Kerr, TIP and Willseyville, NY


Sad News

The Islands lost another great champion in February with the announcement that Joan Helen Collins (Rogers) passed at her home in Clayton, NY. Joan was a real island girl. She grew up in Gananoque, the daughter of Basil and Mary Rogers. In 1981 Joan married “Bo” Collins and together they worked tirelessly for their respective passions – antique boats and conserving the region for future generations. Joan was a founding member of the Canadian Thousand Islands Watershed Land Trust. She also served on the board of the Minna Anthony Nature Center. Her smile was contagious and she touched many islanders from Gananoque to Brockville and Cape Vincent to Morristown.


Richard Margolis Photography Exhibit




Black Radish Studio in Rochester, NY, is hosting Richard Margolis’ photography exhibition Spirit of the River. This exhibition runs from April 5 - May 18, 2013. The opening reception is on First Friday, April 5, 6-10 PM. Margolis began photographing “The River” over ten years ago. The project has gone through many iterations and his current explorations are featured in this exhibit. He is well known in the islands for his poster of the Boathouses of the 1000 Islands. Those photographs prompted Margolis to begin photographing from a boat. From there he began using a Pentax 6x7 to photograph islands. Margolis thought the project was over but the prospect of large format photography drew him to the river once more, this time using a 4x5 field camera. Those readers who live in the Rochester region should not miss this exhibit.


A sample of fine comments left for our February issue

Be sure to look at the Back Issues page and each article to see all comments:

 Nature/Outdoor Photography… may be just what you’ve been looking for! by Bill Munro
Thanks for the wonderful shots and its message for all of us to slow down and see the river beauty which is all around us!  JR Miller ( Alexandria Bay )


The Era of the Hutchinson Day Cruiser by Anthony Mollica Jr.

I really enjoyed this article on the Hutchinson Boat Works. I remember when it was in still in Business building boats during the summers of 1953 and 1954. I was working at the Crossman Hotel. This industry was a great part of the 1000 Islands. Pat Regan ( Cape Vincent )


Quilting the River Region… by Kara Lynn Dunn

The quilting article got the first and foremost attention. How many quilters are out there on our islands, including stitchers, any kind of hand work. The Guilds don't meet in the summer but maybe we could all get together at our cottages or in Gananoque at a meeting room on an afternoon every week or so. A great way to get to know other islanders and have a fun-sharing time. Bring mending or anything you want to work on and we could see what develops.  Anyone interested? Susan Saiter ( Dallas, Texas )(Contact Sue Saiter through


An essay which is not all about hunting and guns… by Hunter Grimes

Hunter - You shared so much wisdom which should be taught to our youth and even many adults of today. You and Martha have touched so many lives in such positive ways and it's because you're "real River Rats" Come see us soon. Bob & Alice Andrews ( Jamesville,Redwood & Key Largo )


TI Life in February 2013 by Susan W. Smith

I am saddened this morning to read of Bill Browning’s passing. Had the great pleasure of knowing him and spending time in his company on the River. He will be greatly missed in the islands. Steve Daub ( Galway/Clayton ) [Note:  see Toronto’s Globe and Mail Lives Lived: William E. Browning, 87 by Linda Laughlin.]



Photo by Tim Kocher, winter 2013
Photograph Tim Kocher sent this photo in February. We posted it on our facebook page – it had over 2,000 hits…


This month we asked for a picture of your favorite place in the Thousand Islands Islands– thanks to our facebook followers, we received the following photographs.


FACEBOOKBe sure to check our facebook page throughout the month,  as we post information and photographs . Follow us on Twittertwitter 2  Send us your tweet tag and we will start to follow you. 

Do you write about the River (next to, from above, or below), then consider submitting an article. Let us know what your like about TI Life (or dislike!) so we can share more in the future.

By Susan W. Smith, Editor

Special thanks to our editors David Ray, Georgia Barker and Jane Taylor.  We also thank those who leave comments on our articles or ask questions. The more the better.
  • Feeding the chick-a-dees in the winter by Richard Withington

    Feeding the chick-a-dees in the winter by Richard Withington

  • Fishing overlooking Carleton Island by Susan Crane

    Fishing overlooking Carleton Island by Susan Crane

  •  Sunset @ Kring Point State Park by Libby Fredenburg

    Sunset @ Kring Point State Park by Libby Fredenburg

  • Jacqualine Costello took this photo of her daughter Elizabeth last summer at Mary's Island, A-Bay.

    Jacqualine Costello took this photo of her daughter Elizabeth last summer at Mary's Island, A-Bay.

  • Chippewa Bay Sunset by Sue Rizzo -

    Chippewa Bay Sunset by Sue Rizzo - "awesome sunsets every night!"

  • Dale Hull sends this photo of the Cyrstal Bay rocks off TI Park

    Dale Hull sends this photo of the Cyrstal Bay rocks off TI Park

  • A boatport on Ash Island by Nora detlor.JPG

    A boatport on Ash Island by Nora detlor.JPG

  • Plumtree Marsh, Grindstone Island by Jenni Werndorf

    Plumtree Marsh, Grindstone Island by Jenni Werndorf

  • Don Fredericks favorite spot is sitting on his porch in Westminister Park

    Don Fredericks favorite spot is sitting on his porch in Westminister Park

  • James R. Miller writes,

    James R. Miller writes, "Favorite spot--any place, any time of the year on Wellesley Island."

  • Sails to the wind by Chris Piering

    Sails to the wind by Chris Piering

  • Eileen Longo has great memories here...

    Eileen Longo has great memories here...

  • James Miller suggests that cruising down the river at a speed that large ships fly by you !

    James Miller suggests that cruising down the river at a speed that large ships fly by you !

  • Tim Kocher, Riverview Rhotography, says My favorite place. A view of Chippewa Bay from Cedar Island.

    Tim Kocher, Riverview Rhotography, says My favorite place. A view of Chippewa Bay from Cedar Island.


Please feel free to leave comments about this article using the form below. Comments are moderated and we do not accept comments that contain links. As per our privacy policy, your email address will not be shared and is inaccessible even to us. For general comments, please email the editor.


david ditterline
Comment by: david ditterline ( )
Left at: 1:53 PM Friday, March 15, 2013
chippewa bay sunset by sue rizzo features my familys dock and boats. but more importantly -- my old dog Scooter. i miss him dearly. the river is not the same w/o him.
Laurie Ditterline
Comment by: Laurie Ditterline ( )
Left at: 10:06 AM Saturday, March 16, 2013
I dream about those sunsets all year...can't wait to get back to the river... thank you Sue for the reminder!
Todd Jones
Comment by: Todd Jones ( )
Left at: 12:46 PM Friday, March 22, 2013
Hi Susan...

I just received my monthly edition of BoatUS magazine, and to my delight, the cover is graced with a photo of Ian Coristine's island!

The issue also offers a two page spread of the Summerland Group, as well as Kim Lunman's retelling of her 2011 rental adventure on What If island.

It's great to see our area getting recognition in such a widely distributed national publication, even though they somehow misidentified the location of the Antique Boat Museum as Cary, NY rather than Clayton in one of the photo's in Kim's article.
Susie Smith
Comment by: Susie Smith
Left at: 4:38 PM Friday, March 22, 2013
Thanks Todd, We will certainly check it out and I met with Kim Lunman today - her 2013 "Island Life" magazine is now at the printer - so it will be out in May - Kim is a member of our volunteer team and her work is very terrific. It is great to see the "world" recognizing what a very special place we have in the Thousand islands... BoatUS is a fine magazine and we are honored to see our islands making a "splash".

PS. Kim was horrified to see the mistake as she did not have any control over the captions - but she is excited that so many have written to her - as she is one of the ABM - in CLAYTON, NY's biggest fans!