July 18, 2019 - Speculator shops mark milestones

Charlie Johns Store in Speculator is celebrating its 80th anniversary this year. (Photo submitted)

SPECULATOR — Charlie Johns Store and Speculator Department Store, two treasured Adirondack shopping mainstays at The Four Corners in Speculator, New York, are celebrating 80 and 70 years in business, respectively. 

A duo of must-stop shops for visitors and locals alike, Charlie Johns and Speculator Department Store are commemorating their milestone anniversaries with a summer full of fun. There will be giveaways, drawings and a special celebration event Labor Day Weekend to thank customers for their business and support. 

The festivities will kicked off this month when there will be weekly prize drawings at each store through August. Customers saw Jonathan Lane, the stores’ owner, cruising in his Model T Ford – as per tradition – at the annual Fourth of July Parade on July 6 in Speculator where there were giveaways. On Labor Day weekend, the stores will host a family-friendly end-of-summer party with delicious refreshments and outdoor fun. 

“These milestones are special to our family,” Lane said. “We’ve enjoyed being part of the community by serving the residents and visitors and supporting the local economy.”

The businesses are two of the oldest continually operating businesses in Speculator. Charlie Johns was founded in 1939 by Charles H. Johns, who sold it to Dean Lane in 1971. In 2003, Lane purchased Speculator Department Store, which was opened in 1949 by Ambrose and Beatrice Mezzano. The Lane family has proudly owned and operated both stores ever since.

Jonathan Lane has worked in the businesses since graduating from college in 1992 and took full ownership of the stores after his father’s passing in 2013. He and his wife Lynn manage day-to-day business, and his sister Tamara Lane Brister manages the stores’ marketing. In the summertime, Jonathan’s daughters Morgan and Bentley also work at the store.

Charlie Johns has seen major upgrades since its inception. The Lanes expanded and modernized it, with upgrades including a deli and bakery and a more expansive 12,000-square-foot grocery and general store in 1986. Despite these renovations, Charlie Johns still adheres to that old-time country store and family-friendly feel that it has become known for. 

There is no limit to what shoppers will find at Charlie Johns. The store aims to provide folks in the Adirondacks with everything they need to make their stay perfect, including groceries, produce, fresh meats, craft beer, deli and bakery products. Step into the center aisles of the store, and shoppers will find an extensive selection of general merchandise like clothing, gifts, housewares, hardware, camping gear – virtually everything someone may need while enjoying the Adirondack area. Plus, visit the outside lawn and garden center for flowers, gardening supplies, water toys, outdoor furniture and accessories.

Photo submitted
The Speculator Department store is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year.

Just across the way from Charlie Johns, Speculator Department Store has no shortage of Adirondack treasures either. It is a mecca of souvenirs and other unique finds like quality name-brand clothing including Patagonia and Pendleton, home décor & housewares, fishing and outdoor sporting goods and children’s items. The locals tout Speculator Department Store as “the most talked about store in the Adirondacks.” 

The Lane family is thankful to the local Adirondack community for their support over eight decades. 

“The community is everything to our businesses,” Lane said. “The local residents are the backbone of our stores because we hire locally and strive to be their No. 1 choice for their day-to-day shopping needs. In this area, everyone knows everyone; it’s like a big family. We’re here to make local life convenient and enjoyable. We all support each other.”

For more information on Charlie Johns, visit charliejohns.com. For more information on Speculator Department Store, visit speculatordepartmentstore.com.

July 18, 2019 - Inlet lodge grows: Expansion part of state investment in North Country


For The Express

Charlie and Nancy Frey, owners of the Woods Inn, in Inlet invited the community to the grand opening of the new Carriage House on Tuesday, July 9. The newly renovated Carriage House offers four townhouse rental units, a handicapped accessible unit and a wellness center in the Woods Inn’s charming turn of the century barn. 

The Woods Inn invested $870,000 to renovate the townhouses and have committed to creating three new jobs and retaining 16 full time positions at the Inn. Empire State Development (ESD) has committed to providing a performance based capital grant of up to $174,000. This funding was recommended as a priority project by the North Country Regional Economic Development Council (NCREDC). The project was also supported by a loan provided through the Development Authority of the North Country. The Regional Economic Development Council initiative supports tourism through increasing and improving lodging across the North Country.

Terry Newman/For the Express
Final touches are being added to the Carriage House at the Woods Inn.

“Our decision to invest in the Carriage House Suites goes far beyond adding more accommodations to The Woods Inn boutique real estate portfolio,” said owners Charlie and Nancy Frey said in a press release. “We firmly believe in something much simpler: the businesses, towns, counties, and Empire State Development’s vision for the future of tourism in the greater Adirondack region. We believe the family vacation is ever evolving and wish to continue providing a beautiful Adirondack resort where families can dine in the Overlook Restaurant, listen to live music in the Laughing Loon Tavern, and sleep in one of our diverse accommodation options which now include the Carriage House Suites.”

The Woods Inn was built in 1894 by Fred Hess and named Hess Camp. Fred Hess also owned several other successful hotels in the area. Philo Wood, who managed two of those hotels, purchased Hess Camp around 1900 and renamed it The Wood Hotel. Wood tripled the number of rooms, added cottages and platforms for tents. The Wood Hotel closed in the 1980s but the property was purchased in the early 2000s, renovated, and reopened as The Woods Inn in 2004. The Freys purchased the property in 2014 and have added several new improvements to the property including rebuilding a lake view cottage that had been damaged by fire, adding a new lakeside cafe platform tent, and a permanent event pavilion. 

The Carriage House was built in 1914 and was originally a storage barn but it has played various roles in its more than 100 year history including a fast food and ice cream stand and a repair shop. In the 1920s the second floor served as a casino and dance hall with a bar, table games, a dance floor and bandstand, plus five rooms that provided accommodations for the music acts it hosted.

Some original artifacts were found during the renovations: the original gaming wheel used in the casino and a poster boasting the inn’s all girl band were on display for guests at the event. After enjoying summer refreshments and an introduction from the hosts, everyone was invited to tour the newly remodeled space that now includes modern amenities in classic Adirondack style. 

For more information about the Woods Inn and the new Carriage House call go to www.thewoodsinn.com or call (315) 357-5300. 

July 18, 2019 - Long Lake waterski exhibition slated for Saturday

The US Waterski Show Team will strut their stuff this weekend in Long Lake. (Photo submitted)

The US Waterski Show Team will perform in Long Lake NY at the Long Lake Town Beach on Saturday, July 20. Demonstrations of pyramids, tricks and barefoot waterskiing begin at the Town Beach starting at 10 a.m. with the team performance at 2 p.m. The showcase will be along the Long Lake beach waterfront in front of the Helms Seaplane Base and the Long Lake Town Beach along NYS Route 30. 

The US Waterski Show Team is a water-ski club based out of Scotia. The club can be seen weekly on Tuesday nights in front of Jumpin’ Jacks Drive In along the Mohawk River. 

Other beach activities on July 20 include the Cardboard Boat Box Float Contest starting at 11 a.m. Children of all ages build a boat out of cardboard and duct tape provided by the from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Pre-built boats are welcome to float, but boats must be made out of cardboard and tape only. No floatation devices can be part of the boat construction. The Float Off competition starts at 1 p.m. All activities are at the Long Lake Town Beach located at 1258 Main Street, NYS Route 30, Long Lake.

Free Parking is available at Long Lake Central School located on School Street off of Main Street, Route 30, at the former site of the Long Lake Highway Garage at 1179 Main Street, along Becker Road behind the Town Hall. There will be limited parking available near the beach.

For more information about Long Lake check out mylonglake.com or call (518) 624-3077.

July 18, 2019 - Wells candidate says he’ll keep dam

As a candidate for Wells Town Supervisor, the question asked most frequently concerns the operation of the Lake Algonquin Dam and Hydroelectric Plant. I would like to set the record straight as to my position on both these issues.

Rumors are circulating that, should I be elected, my intent is to hire a full time dam operator and to sell our town’s hydroelectric power plant.  

These allegations are false and are being spread by individuals aligned with my opponent’s campaign.

I openly shared my position on these issues at the Wells “Meet the Candidate” on June 12th and I will repeat them again here. 

If elected, I would run dam operations with our current town employees.  I will not hire and add a full time dam operator to the town payroll.

As far as the hydroelectric plant, our FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory  Commission) 40 year permit expires in July 2025. The Town is budgeting to spend approximately $250K on the permit renewal process over the next few years, while at the same time, our 40 year power purchase agreement with National Grid will also expire and need to be renegotiated. Based on current wholesale energy prices, revenue from  future hydro plant income is forecasted to drop dramatically.

I did not and I do not call for the sale of our town’s hydroelectric plant. 

What I do call for is that our town leaders give due diligence to understanding and negotiating the complexities that our small hydro plant is facing. The sustainability of aging infrastructure along with  diminishing energy revenue will have a huge impact on our town’s future finances. We need to act now to prepare for the future and only experienced leadership can successfully chart that course.

What’s funny is that the people spreading these rumors must not realize that the supervisor is powerless to carry out their claims. No supervisor can hire additional employees without board approval. Moreover, the sale of the hydro plant would necessitate a  very lengthy public process requiring not only town board approval but hearings and referendum for residents and voters. Simply said, we have checks and balances to protect us.

I have to chuckle at this misinformation…fake news played in a poor hand of “dirty politics” by folks who don’t even understand how our local government works.

Wells doesn’t need this nonsense. We need leaders that have demonstrated character, experience and integrity in their life’s work. Don’t shortchange your town…our future is at stake. 

Character, experience and integrity matter.

Vince Abbott-Forgione


LPSA News MAY 20th

In Memory of Elaine Brophy

Our friend and LPSA Board member, Elaine Brophy passed away last summer.  Elaine volunteered her time to represent LPSA at the Farmers’ Market each week, helping to raise awareness of the threats of invasive species in our area.  We will miss her friendship and her contributions to LPSA. 

Read More Read ALL

Local News JUL 18th

Speculator shops mark milestones

Charlie Johns Store in Speculator is celebrating its 80th anniversary this year. (Photo submitted) SPECULATOR — Charlie Johns Store and Speculator Department Store, two treasured Adirondack shopping mainstays at The Four Corners in Speculator, N...

Read More