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The Altamont enterprise. (Altamont, N.Y.) 1983-2006, August 28, 1986, Image 1

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Persistent link: http://nyshistoricnewspapers.org/lccn/sn86011850/1986-08-28/ed-1/seq-1/

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The Altamont Enter Our 103rd Year Serving the Towns of Guilderland, New Scotland, Bethlehem, Berne, Knox, Including Altamont, VoorheeavUk, Westmen, GuOderkmd Center, Stngerkmda, I Number 6 Thursday, August 28, 1986 fjr.'.i V rem \i^-.TV ________ i™^-'\' 25 Cents •i'^v •/.' Scottish Games Returning To Fairgrounds The Capital District Scottish Games return to the Altamont Fairgrounds this Saturday, Aug. 30* from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. This annual event, which seems to have gained in attendance over the past few years, features the northeastern U.S. pipe band championship with approximately 25 pipe bands from the northeast and Canada expected to compete for this coveted 1 award'. Individual band members also compete for piping and drumming prizes. Piping and drumming, however, are not the only attractions. The sponsor of the games, the Schenec- tady Pipe Band, has prepared a schedule of events to interest young and 1 old, and those in- between. One attraction is the exhibition of Scottish breeds of dogs. Held in cooperation with the Albany Obedi- ence Club, thisevent focuses on the origin, and 1 development of such breeds as the Cairn, Skye, Deer- bound, and West 'Highland terrier. There will also be a special demonstration by \Jodi aborder collie owned'by Charles and 1 Mary Anne Szuberla of Scotia. \ A companion event is a demonstra- tion of border collies handled by Dave andi Virginia Peters of Esperance iheirding sheep andi geese. Appearing for the first time at this year's games are two major special attractions: John Cunning- bam, and Katie Harrigan and Hamish Moore. John Cunningham, who has been playing since age 7, is a virtuoso fiddler who draws his repertoire from traditional Irish and Scottish music. He bas performed: at the Nyon (Switz.) 1 International Festi- val-, Cologne International Festi- val and iReijjk '('Holland\) Festival andi, in the M.S., at the Vancouver, Philadelphia, and Wheeling (W. V,a.) folk festivals. Describedby the Boston Globe as the \Wayne Gretzky of fiddle playing,\ Billboard magazine bad this to say about him in a review of top album picks: \Fiddler Cun- ningham has crafted a haunting album of traditional Scottish and Irish airs, jigs, ballads and planxtip, embroidered! with key- boards, guitars, and deft Uillean pipes, flutes and concertina. A lovely instrumental folk outing.\ Cunningham has produced 10 albums and has performed for television, film, and theater. Harriganand Moore are renown- ed! for their music on the cauld windpipes, clarsach, whistles and piano, with vocals from Ms. Harrigan Katie'Harrigan was first prize winner for solo clarsach playing in 1980-81 and: runner-up in the soloclarsach'sectionof the 1982 Pan-Celtic Folk Festival: in Killar- ney, Ireland 1 . According to one review, \Katie Harrigan is fast gaining a reputation as one of the most exciting and 1 technically expert harpers.\ She appeared with Hamish Moore at the 1985 Edonburgh Festival's perfor- mance of Harvey Holton's \Fionn.\ • ...... Originally a Highland piper, Hamish Moore is said to be one of the better players associated with the revival of the bellows- blown pipesio'f Scotland. These are the Scottish small pipes, the lowland (or border) pipes, and the pastoral pipes known collectively as cauld windpipes. A reviewof his album noted that' it \demonstrates both: his superb technical com- mand of his instruments and his innate musical artistry.\ Dancing is another major fea- ture of the games, since Altamont is the site of the northeastern U.S. open Highland dance champion- ship. This event attracts more than 100 dancers who perform through- out the day on the main stage. Among the dances are the seann truibhas, Highland fling, sailor's hornpipe and the sword dance. In addition to Scottish dancing, traditional Irish dancing will be demonstrated by a popular local (Continued on Page 3) Charles Bender and bis first automobile, a black Maxwell, around 1913. Bender and Gladys Schell sharce the front seat; Bender's wife Annie and Alice Forester sit in the back. Bender's foreman, Mike Forester, sits onthe front lawn of the Bender homestead. It is rumored that a firein one of Bender's barns destroyed the car the week after this picture was taken. Business: The Bender Melon Story By DENNIS SULLIVAN If you keep your eyes peeled .as you ride past the many roadside vegetable stands in this, area, sooner or later you will come across a sign advertising Bender melons. Oddly enough, the melons being sold at thesestands are not Bender melons, for the real Benders haven'tbeengrown on a wide scale in this area for over 40 years. The farmers are not engaging in false advertising, it's that the Bender name is as generic to melons as Xerox is to copy machines and Kleenex to tissues. Forthose who don't fcnow why or have forgotten • the story, the Charles Bender melon farm during the first part of this century was arguably the greatest melon farm in the country, certainly in New York State. And what made it famous was Charles Bender's Golden Queen, a sweet, juicy, thick orange-fleshed ABC, PBS Plan September Literacy Campaign By BRYCE BUTLER The American Broadcasting Company '(locally Ch. 10) and the Public Broadcasting Service (locally Oh.. 17') have joined in a season-long effort to spread infor- mation about illliteracy in Ameri- ca. The media blitz will effect every department of the stations', pro- gramming, according to Joe Urso^ chairperson for the local task force of Project Literacy U.S. (PLUS),, as the effort is called. Channel 10 will begin with a special documen- tary Wednesday, Sept. 3, at 10 p.m. Channel 17 will air a special Wednesday,Sept. 1,7at8p.m. with a follow-up panel discussion. News and magazine format shows like -20-20 will highlight the problem of illiteracy in feature stories. But made-for-television movies and regular situation comedies will also feature the theme. Illiteracy will further complicate the hopelessly entan- gled lives of soap opera char- acters. • Scope Of Problem Illiteracy has been discussed by lonely prophets such as Jdhnathen Kozol (author of \Death at an Erly Age,\) and in a widely-discussed government report (\A Nation at Risk\). But few Americans realize how many <of their countrymen cannot read a newspaper or fill out a job application. Over 10 percent of adult Ameri- cans, some 23 million, are listed as functionally illiterate. The figure is uncertain, in part because illiteracy is not clearly defined. Virginia Gilbertson, pro- ' gram director of Literacy Volun- teers of America, Albany Chapter, offered two definitions of literacy which were miles apart: —A 1975 University of Texas definition included, among other items, the abilities to: address an envelope so- it would reach its destination, write a check and make change for a $20 bill. Inability to do these things should certainly count as illiteracy. But ability to do them arid similar tasks hardly constitutes literacy, even in the state that gave us 3M. Ewing and the mechanical bull. —In our own state, a student must be able to read on a ninth grade level to graduate from high school. Considering that daily newspaper front pages are written well below that level, this hardly constitutes a minimum definition. •The figure most often used is ability to-read on a fourth-grade level. Through 1970, the census gave numbers of people with no education and with education through grade four. Both groups were regarded as illiterate. The lowest the 1980 census goes is grade eight — hardly a fair criterion .of illiteracy. In the 1970 census, the following numbers of individuals in local towns reported that they had no school (NS) or school only through grade four or below 0G4): Guild- erland, 39 NS, 52 G4; New Scotland 5 NS, 26 G4; Bethlehem 23 NS, 30 (Continued on Page 3) melon with prominent ribs that was so large that at times it reached weights of lover 10 pounds. The story of how this melon came to be among the most sought-after delights of summer is the kind of story you read in fantasy books, and is worth telling for that reason alone. But the story bears repeating also because it is about the life of a farmer who was the epitome of care, who treated each melon as if it was his own child. Charles Bender was so proud of his children that when the firstchance came be was ready to share them with the entire world. Fortuitous Beginnings On an early August evening in 1905 Town of New Scotland melon farmer Charles Bender boarded the night boat at the port of Albany headed for New York City. Aboard theboat with him yiere two barrels of his best looking, most aromatic cantaloupe melons, which he called bis Golden Queens. Four years earlier Bender had developed this distinctive variety of melon after 17 years of persistent experimentation with some of thebest varieties lenown at the time. He had marketed the melons upstate in select stores and markets, now he was on his way to the capital of American cuisine to peddle what would become .one of the leading varieties of melons ever grown in New York State. Bender .was confident that these sweet, juicy melons with their characteristic thick orange flesh and prominent ribs, averaging seven pounds, would win the hearts of every gourmet restauranteur and hotel owner in the big city. When the boat docked in the morning Bender rented a horse and wagon, He loaded the melons onto the wagon and, a street peddler for the day, beaded for the hotel and restaurant district. He began knocking on doors. He went from restaurant to restau- rant, from hotel to hotel, only to be turned down by every buyer. The stewards were either too busy to see a melon grower from Albany or they bad already made arrange- ments for their season's supply of melons. Bender's stop at Rector's at 1510 Broadway, then the pinnacle of haute cuisine in New York, proved to be no different. But fate has a strange way of smiling on even the worst of situations. As Bender was making bis way back to the wagon he recognized one of thebellboys at Rector's as someone be knew from Albany, probably an acquaintance fromthedays when be worked as a grocery clerk at Cougbtry's on Hamilton and Eagle Streets. A conversation ensued. Bender toldbis new-found friend about bis unfortunate day thus far. He probably split one of his prized melons and gave a piece to his former acquaintance with pride. He then talked his friend into getting Mr. Rector to try oneofthe melons. It's not known what the bellboy said to the famed restau- ranteur but shortly after Mr. Rector approached the wagon at the curb. Charles Bender ran his 'knife along the rib of bis ripest melon, lifted out a slice of the juicy thick orange flesh (carefully scraping the seeds into a container to bring back to the farm with him) and offered it to George Rector. As they say, the rest is history. \Send them in!\ exclaimed Rector, \Tell the chef I want these melons for my breakfast in the morning.\ Soon the Golden Queens were a regular feature at Rector's and through the influence of this noted epicure, Bender's melons were soon added to the menus at the Waldorf-Astoria, the Savoy, the Lambs and other fine hotels and restaurants in New York City. The Belmont Hotel for years had a standing order of 10 baskets a day, each basket weighing as much as 50 pounds. This hotel's bill alone for one month's melons ran as high as $2,200. The fame of the Bender melon spread farther and farther each (Continued on Page 4)

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