Kick Off the Holiday Season By Shopping Locally – Oneida Dispatch

Black Friday is coming up and although it has lost some of the connotation of a madhouse of people fighting over limited in items in big box stores, it is still something that I would rather avoid. In fact I would rather have bamboo splints driven under my finger nails and lit than get involved in the post-holiday crush.

Make your holiday shopping safer and helpful to your community by patronizing small local merchants. I have always stressed shopping locally whenever possible.

Local merchants and craftsmen are the ones who support our community and deserve your support, especially at this time of year. Shop at your local sport shop, marina, archery shop, gun shop, or craftsman. A gift certificate accompanied by some small sample object is always popular. In many cases you can buy directly from the craftmen or producers. There is great quality and variety available and gifts to fit every budget.

Do NOT buy wallets, knives, cell phone cases, etc. in camouflage unless you are a sadist! They are totally unnecessary and make it impossible to find in the woods!

If the ultralight carbon fiber canoes produced by Lake Placid Boatworks ( won’t fit under your Christmas tree or in your budget, there are other options. For the fisherman in your family there is the famous Cortland fly lines. If you are looking for walleye rods or the new innovation of rods for Center Spin steelhead fishing, you can’t go wrong with Bart’s Rods which are made locally. Northern King lures are another NY producer and have long been a favorite of Lake Ontario anglers.

If there is a turkey hunter or collector on your list, Gary Campanie of Oneida has won numerous national awards for his decorative turkey calls which are also effective working calls (315-280-4164). Shawn Fox of Camden ( makes great hand crafted turkey, duck, goose and locator calls. Northern Brothers Outdoors ( are the makers of the famous Say-It-All deer call which makes an incredible range of deer sounds. The Quaker Boy Company is based in western NY and makes a variety of waterfowl, deer, and turkey calls as well as hunting accessories.

For the gun owner on your list, there is a long list of innovative and quality products or gun cleaning or care from Otis Technology in Lyons Falls. Now they have added the Venco gun cleaning solvents and related lubricants. Their products are superior and it is a great local company that treats its employees very well and is great for the community.

The Crosman Company located near Rochester has long made popular BB guns and now has added airguns and other related items to their line of quality products.

Snowshoeing is regaining popularity and a great gift for the winter enthusiast. On your list is a pair of Nevitrek snowshoes. Joanne Petrozzi ( has purchased the molds, etc. of the famous Havlick Snowshoe Company and continues the tradition of making the best quality snowshoes for different uses.

With the emphasis on deer hunters using synthetic lures, a nice gift or stocking stuffer for the hunter on your list is Buck Stop Lures. These proven lures for making mock scrapes, etc. are now produced and distributed in New York State.

Gunworks of CNY ( in Verona offers a variety of firearms, shooting supplies, and a complete gunsmithing service. Rich Champion says that they offer gift certificates which are always popular with local sportsmen. Tom VanValkenburg of Sherrill is a veteran and skilled waterfowler. His duck decoys show his skill and his many years of experience (315-263-8162).

A gift basked of seasonings and rubs from Iron Skillet makes a great addition to any kitchen. Dennis Dedek ( makes over 30 products locally that provide great flavor for a variety of fish and game dishes. Check Joe’s Jerky on Rte. 5 in Sherrill for Iron Skillet products, in addition to great jerky, a variety of other foods and rubs and marinades that are great with venison. Consider gift baskets with excellent New York State wines, cheese, maple syrup, or similar food items.

Tough Traveler is a company in Schenectady that makes rugged and stylish backpacks, luggage, and similar products. Redding Reloading Equipment is based in Cortland and is one of the leaders in the industry for the popular sport of reloading your own ammunition. These days of short supplies and high prices it is more popular than ever.

Art is always popular with outdoorsmen and other family members. Feather Art Studio features exquisite paintings by Debbie Brosen on turkey feathers that are unique gifts. Consider the art of Tom Lenweaver, or Michael Ringer, for a great gift.

Photographs by Sue Kiesel are always striking and popular works of art. Books are always popular and books by local authors like Bob Elinskas or Jay O’Hern are sure to please. Feel free to contact me for the phone numbers or emails if you need them.

These ideas only scratch the surface but they are designed to make you think there is a great variety of gifts for every budget. But the main thing is that you put some thought into gift giving. Making it special and coming from it does not have to be expensive. Help make it a special holiday season for everyone and do not lose sight of the real meaning of the holidays.



A couple people have asked for progress on the “Rail Trail” – the former railroad tracks extending from Tupper Lake to Lake Placid. You are asking the wrong person. I want nothing to do with the boondoogle of the former railroad. I have told the DEC to remove me from their list of emails, press releases, and news releases re. the former railroad in that area.

You see that I am a sore loser, and when the DEC decided to rip up the tracks to build a super trail for people to walk their dogs or snowmobiles on, I wanted nothing to do with it. I had campaigned long and hard to save the rails, which would allow both people to use the trains and hike. It was possible to do both but when the train people lost the prolonged battle, I wanted nothing to do with it.

Now you can hike the former railroad tracks but you are limited in access or exiting at a few select few points. Much of this area is private property and you cannot just hop on and off wherever you want. Access is denied for most people and the long term viability of the Adirondack Railroad is endangered. You can take the train to

Tupper Lake, but the terminal is way north of the village. Besides, who wants to go there? The final straw was when after three or four years of letter writing and lots of support, I was told by some people high up in the DEC – “It doesn’t matter what you want or how many people you get on your side, we are going to do what we want” This kind of summed up the argument for me and I resolved not to do anything to support the Adirondack Railroad or especially the Rail Trail. As I said, I am a sore loser.

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays with no pressure. It’s a relaxing time with family or friends, sitting around and watching the Detroit Lions on TV, possibly going hunting early in the morning. Whatever your traditions, they are usually low key and a time to reflect. Hopefully despite your situation in life, you have time to reflect on people who are less fortunate and help them out. Happy Thanksgiving to you and all your loved ones.

Deer and a half

My hunting gang does not miss any chance to bust chops so when John got his second deer – a rather small one – Coop & Bob promptly labeled it a half a deer. They referred to it as a “deer and half” saying that it should not count as a full deer. But John took it naturally as usual.