Thursday, November 25, 2010

Exclusive Report - A Thanksgiving special Day in Upstate New York

This report is off-topic, but I have an exclusive on it and it needs to be told. It is Thanksgiving Day and The Father's Heart Ministries in Syracuse NY (quarterbacked by Pastor James Gebhardt) has done an amazing thing. He opened his ministry to the feeding of hundreds of the less fortunate and poor. And right there in the midst of those doing the yeoman's work of serving the destitute were members from the Syracuse Police Department. May I share some of my photos from this incredible event? Click on the photos to see them larger.

Syracuse Police Officer Al Thompson serving the poor.
Some of the hundreds receiving a full Thanksgiving meal with all the trimmings and dessert.
Pastor James Gebhardt, the man behind The Father's Heart Ministries.
Musical message: Tracey Dubuc (left), Minji Cho, and Patty Mondore (right).
Syracuse Police mixing with the crowd.
Giving thanks on Thanksgiving.
Paul Sofranko (right) hard at work helping the less fortunate. His wife, Linda (not shown), was a major organizer for this event.
Volunteer Joe Pfohl with Pastor James Gebhardt.
More of Syracuse's finest, volunteering to help the poor.
Servants of the less fortunate.
James Pannafino, also on the front lines of helping.
Medical Student, Minji Cho, sharing her musical talents with the less fortunate.
Peace Warrior. Officer Al Thompson. This is such a great shot!

There were many others too, non-police as well as police, serving others on this Thanksgiving Day. This was a wonderful thing that these folks have done. So I am happy to give you this exclusive report so you can be aware of this awesome event in this area.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

St.Lawrence Gallery - Salmon Run Mall, Watertown. Open now through the New Year.

We made a special trip up to the new opening of the St. Lawrence Gallery in Watertown, NY 13601 at the Salmon Run Mall. Kevin and Marsha Topa have again put together a wonderful museum-quality shop featuring Michael Ringer's famous artwork, as well as many other great gift items (you will want them for yourselves).

And now a short word from our sponser. ;-) (That would be me). Yes, they are also stocked with our Singer Castle documentary DVD called "Dark Island's Castle of Mysteries" and the new book that is a hit in the Islands: Singer Castle Revisited. Other Gold-Mountain inspirational Thousand Islands items are also in stock, such as the River-Lations music video and Proclaim His Praise in the Islands (both on DVD), as well as the book: A Good Paddling by Patty Mondore.

Being just off from the easy access point of Route 81, Kevin says he expects to see many folks visit from Canada and Fort Drum as well as from all other points. It is only open now through shortly after Christmas. Pictured below is Kevin Topa manning the helm of the new shop. (Click on the pictures to see them larger).

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veterans Day - November 11, 2010

November 11 is Veterans Day, a U.S.A. legal holiday honoring all veterans of the armed forces. (Memorial Day honors those soldiers who perished in wars, Veterans Day honors all who served).

Below is a memorial located in Alexandria Bay, NY that honors Pfc. Jack T. Sweet (located across the St. Lawrence River from Boldt Castle). He gave his life on Feb. 8, 2008 in Iraq at the age of 19 during Operation Iraqi Freedom. His home was in Alexandria Bay and his home base was at Fort Drum, Watertown NY (10th Mountain Division). Click on the photo to see it larger. (Photo by Bob Mondore).

The well known phrase (author unknown) is apt: "The price of freedom is never free."  It reminds me of the ultimate sacrifice for freedom: Galatians 5:1.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Dark Island communique just in: End of the Season Final Report. Looking Good!

2010 A Very Good Year for Singer Castle

As Singer Castle staff members work to prepare for the coming of winter, it is an excellent time to reflect on the milestones and the accomplishments of the 2010 season.

•    There was a 16% increase in attendance over the previous season. Between the beginning of May and the end of October more than 22,000 visitors from all over the United States, Canada and several foreign countries came to the castle for guided tours, weddings, special events or overnight stays in the castle's Royal Suite.

•    The castle has become increasingly popular as a site for weddings ceremonies and receptions, surprise marriage proposals, birthday celebrations, special events and anniversary and honeymoon getaways. The castle staff works with our guests to help them plan the wedding, special events or overnight stay of their dreams. There were twenty weddings at the castle this year and our Royal Suite was occupied on more than one hundred evenings.

•    Castle staff members have continued to gather more of the history of this special building and of the people who built the castle, the families who lived on the island and those who worked there. We were fortunate to have another of Frederick Bourne's great granddaughters come to visit during August of this year and the caretaker from 1955 was kind enough to share his memories of visits when his grandfather was caretaker and of his own time on Dark Island.

•    The castle was featured in several newly published books including Bob and Patty Mondore's Singer Castle Revisited, Ian Corstine's The very best of Ian Corstine's 1000 Islands, Kathleen Quigley's The Summer Cottage: Retreats of the 1000 Islands, and Scott Ian Barry's The Castles of New York.

---Received direct from Dark Island's Jean Papke, Assistant to the Dark Island's President, Tom Weldon. Photo also by Jean Papke.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Reminiscing and Flash Drives. What?

With the arrival of colder weather, the major tourist season in the Thousand Islands comes to a close (although some really great shopping and other activities continue). So throughout these frigid days I will be posting pictures, videos, and stories from those warmer times. (Up to date stories will continue too). Feel free to email me any related stories or pictures, you may be rewarded with one of those random free 1 gigabyte flash drives that I'm known to give out! 

When I was filming for the popular Singer Castle DVD documentary (Dark Island's Castle of Mysteries ©), I was able to get a bird's eye view of Singer Castle and the close-by Sisters Island Lighthouse. Click on the photos below to see them larger. I was very high up, so the pictures are cropped down so you won't see as much water and more of the subjects. The airplane was from the Maxson Airfield Airport, Alexandria Bay NY.
Above: Robert J. Mondore, Producer, ready for filming Dark Island from above.
Singer Castle on Dark Island from my bird's eye view.
Sisters Island Lighthouse, just upriver from Dark Island.
Sisters Island was actually three islands, but now connected as seen above. Click here to see a close up of the lighthouse.