The Huletts Current

News & Opinion About Huletts Landing, N.Y.

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Saturday Song: ‘All I Want for Christmas’ Carpool Karaoke

December 17th, 2016 · Comments Off

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2016 Lake George Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention / Boat Inspection Program Report

December 16th, 2016 · Comments Off

The Lake George Park Commission has released the 2016 Lake George Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention / Boat Inspection Program Report. 2016 was the busiest year to date under the program, with a fairly significant increase in the number of boater contacts over the previous two years due to the fantastic weather this past summer. (Click image to read.)

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Holiday Fun: The Radio City Rockettes

December 16th, 2016 · Comments Off

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November Dresden Town Board Meeting Minutes

December 15th, 2016 · Comments Off

The minutes from the November 2016 Dresden Town Board meeting were recently approved and have been posted on the town’s website.

November Minutes

The December minutes will not be approved until January and so on.

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Town Christmas Party: Saturday December 17th

December 14th, 2016 · Comments Off

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Famous Supreme Court Case Has Local Connection

December 13th, 2016 · Comments Off

One of the most famous United States Supreme Court cases, Engel v. Vitale, 370 U.S. 421 (1962) (sometimes known as the school prayer case) has a significant local connection. William J. Vitale, Jr. was the School Board President of the school district that was involved in the case. Mr. Vitale was a summer resident of Huletts Landing for many years.

The case is still considered one of the top Supreme Court cases of all time. In an effort to learn more the case, I asked Mr. Vitale’s daughter, Lora Vitale Johnson, a few questions to learn more about her memories of this famous case.

To begin, can you share a little bit about your father’s involvement in this famous case?

In the not too distant past, when I was a twelve year old student in a Long Island school district named Herricks, the New York State Board of Regents proposed a prayer to be said at the opening of school in the mornings (along with the Pledge of Allegiance). It was non-denominational, and there was no mandate to add it to the morning opening, but was left to each individual school district to decide whether to include it or not.

At the time, William J. Vitale, Jr. was president of the board of education in the Herricks public school district. He presented the Regent’s Prayer to the board for a vote, and the board voted in favor of the recitation of the prayer daily in the schools (the president abstained).

While the prayer was non-denominational, and no student was compelled to recite it, it did refer to “God”:

God, we acknowledge our dependence upon thee,
Our parents, our teachers and our country

Did he attend the Supreme Court oral arguments?

The mention of “God” did not align with the atheistic viewpoint, and so, as Mr. Engel held that viewpoint, he felt, and rightly so, that the use of this prayer in the public schools was a violation of the separation of church and state, which was not the popular viewpoint.

Separation of Church and State, a constitutional amendment, became an issue for the times, and though other cases came up throughout the country, Engel vs. Vitale was an early bell weather case and was, of course, of national importance.

One might assume that my father (Vitale) was being sued; this was not the case. Because he was president of the Board of Education at the time, his name actually represented the school board as a whole. He did not try the case, although he was an attorney. He did attend some of the Supreme Court hearings.

What was the fallout locally after the decision was rendered?

The case became so important nationally, that CBS News produced a nationally aired television program titled STORM OVER THE SUPREME COURT. My father was interviewed, along with the board’s lawyer, Bertram Daiker, and Mr. Engel. A number of supporters of the prayer, of differing Christian and Judaic* denominations were also featured.

Although my personal feelings on the prayer aligned with the Supreme Court (both then and now), I’d thought that it could have been replaced with a moment of silence, during which an individual could recite a prayer, mantra, or other form which would allow time to reflect daily on a personally spiritual concept or concepts aimed at providing a thought process which would provide each student with a strong moral foundation on which to base his or her daily and life decisions.

It is my belief that many today are led to overdevelop egocentrism, which might well turn out to be a negative influence.

*Wikipedia is in error; this was not a dispute between the Judaic and Christian members of the Herricks School District

Editor’s Notes: The case reached the Supreme Court in 1962 and in an opinion delivered by Justice Hugo Black, the Court ruled that government-written prayers were not to be recited in public schools and were a violation of the U.S. Constitution and the Establishment Clause of the first amendment.

“New Hyde Park” Memorial is a different school district in Queens. Herricks comprises a number of towns, including the Nassau County section of New Hyde Park, an area of Roslyn, Williston Park, and others. It is situated geographically between Garden City to the south, and Manhasset to the north.

Many thanks to Ms. Vitale Johnson for sharing her memories about this important part of American history.

Comments OffTags: History · National News · NY State · The Landing

Pictures from the 2016 HLVFC Christmas Party

December 9th, 2016 · Comments Off


The Huletts firehouse as it looked on the evening of December 3, 2016.

The holiday spirit was very much alive and well at the Huletts Firehouse on Saturday, December 3rd as the Huletts Landing Volunteer Fire Company hosted their 2016 Christmas party.

The setting was once again a wash with fully decorated trees, garlands of colorful twinkling lighting, traditional Christmas wreaths and a background of holiday music that even ” Santa” would be beaming with pride.

The event was well attended by many of the volunteer firefighters, their families and friends as well as residents of the community who were also invited. All of that, plus a wholesome buffet of food, beverages and desserts made for an outstanding evening of camaraderie and fun, confirming that a good time was had by all.

Major thanks to Fire Chief, Jay Vander Plaat, Fire Company President, John DeLucia and the tireless efforts of their planning and decorating support team that made it all possible. Here are some photos taken that evening. (Many thanks to Dave Richards for the pictures.)

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LGPC Boat & Dock Fees to Increase in 2017

December 5th, 2016 · Comments Off

The Lake George Park Commission has received approval from the state legislature to raise dock, mooring and boat fees in 2017. From the bill authorizing the increase:

Dock, wharf and mooring fees. The owner of a dock, wharf or mooring within the park used for non-commercial residential purposes shall pay an annual fee of fifty dollars. The owner of a dock or wharf within the park used for commercial purposes shall pay an annual fee of five dollars per linear foot for each such dock. The owner of a mooring used for commercial purposes shall pay an annual fee of one hundred dollars for each mooring. New docks constructed for commercial use after the effective date of this section shall pay a first time fee of ten dollars per linear foot and five dollars per linear foot annually thereafter.

Boat fees. In addition to the registration required by the state, any mechanically propelled boat or vessel with ten horsepower or more used on Lake George shall have an annual permit issued by the commission. The fee therefor for boats twenty feet or less in length overall shall be forty dollars; for boats twenty-one to twenty-five feet in length overall, fifty dollars; and for boats over twenty-five feet in length overall, fifty dollars plus seven dollars and fifty cents for each foot by which the length overall exceeds twenty-five feet; for boats over twenty-five feet in length overall outfitted for overnight use, fifty dollars plus thirty dollars for each foot by which the overall length exceeds twenty-five feet. The commission may establish a one week use permit for twenty dollars. The commission may establish a one day use permit for twelve dollars for any mechanically propelled boat or vessel with ten horsepower or more.

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Bronze For USA Luge In Lake Placid World Cup Team Relay

December 3rd, 2016 · Comments Off

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Saturday Quote

December 3rd, 2016 · Comments Off

“There are five stages in the life of an actor: Who’s Mary Astor? Get me Mary Astor. Get me a Mary Astor type. Get me a young Mary Astor. Who’s Mary Astor?”

Mary Astor – American Actress

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Cyber Monday: Local Online Merchants

November 28th, 2016 · Comments Off

I sometimes get asked the question: “Who are some local merchants – where we can buy some items with a Washington County or Adirondack flare?” So for Cyber Monday here are some ideas:

Adirondack Life Magazine has an online Marketplace and gift subscriptions available.

Will Moses (who is related to the famous Grandma Moses) has an online store dedicated to Washington County art.

The Washington County Historical Society has books on local history that can be purchased online.

The Argyle Cheese Farmer has many gift baskets, among other products, that can be purchased online.

The Dancing Ewe Farm Store has many local products, including olive oils, marmalade’s, and cured meats.

Mapleland Farms is a Washington County producer of many different maple products.

The well-known photographer of all things Lake George, Carl Heilman, has an online store where you can purchase puzzles, prints and playing cards, among other great products.

There are many others, I am sure, and if you know of others, please let me know.

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Generations of Service

November 28th, 2016 · Comments Off


Mr. Reginald “Buck” Ballantyne (center) meets with Rear Admiral James Rendon, the Superintendent of the United States Coast Guard Academy (right) along with Mr. Ballantyne’s grandson, Liam, a cadet at the Academy (left).

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Shiffrin Wins USSA World Cup Slalom at Killington

November 27th, 2016 · Comments Off

The first Alpine downhill World Cup race, to be held on the east coast in 25 years, happened this weekend in Killington, Vermont. 16,000 fans showed up to watch the best skiers in the world race. Team USA’s Mikaela Shiffrin (Eagle-Vail, CO) grabbed first place in the Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup Women’s slalom.

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Little Red Seaplane Flyby

November 27th, 2016 · Comments Off


Neal Vandorsten sits in the cockpit of a small seaplane he flew up Lake George last week.

The aerial photo I posted on Thanksgiving day inspired Neal Vandorsten to pass along these two shots from a small red seaplane he piloted up Lake George last week.


The lake was calm on a clear autumn day.

Many thanks to Neal for passing along these photos.

Comments OffTags: Adirondacks · Casino Fun · Lake George · Our Neighbors · The Environment · The Landing