Meet Hali Holmes: Founder of Tails on Trails

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By Hali Holmes, Tails on Trails.

518-535-WALK (9255)

Hi! I’m Hali, and I’ve been an animal lover my entire life. As a child, we always had at least one cat in our home, and each still holds a special place in my heart. My first case of “puppy love” was with my next-door neighbor’s yellow Lab, Charlie. From his soulful brown eyes to his tail that never stopped wagging, I couldn’t get enough of him. Each day after school, from about the age of 10, I would ring the doorbell and ask if I could play with Charlie and take him for a walk. Since I was not much bigger than him, many people who saw us would ask, “Are you walking him or is he walking you?!” After our walks, we’d play a game of fetch or tug, and then I’d go home to cuddle with Mitten, Puffy, Ginger, or Garfield. When Charlie’s family went on vacation, they hired me to care for him, and I loved every minute of it! By the time I was 12, I was pet sitting for other neighbors as well, and I cared for each dog or cat with tenderness, affection, and sheer joy, throughout high school and over college breaks.

In college, I studied Early Childhood Education and Human Development, and began teaching nursery school shortly after graduation. (In my many years of working with young children, I learned that children and dogs have many similar needs and desires-no offense to either! Both crave consistency, patience, clear communication, positive reinforcement, respect, trust, affection, and lots of opportunities to play!) After college, I married my husband, Steve, and we bought our first home, complete with fenced in yard. We couldn’t wait to adopt our first dog together, so, in June of 1987, on our first anniversary, we went to the Schenectady Animal Shelter and immediately fell head over paws in love with a four-month old yellow Lab mix. Shelby was playful, energetic, and so affectionate. Frisbee was her favorite game, and she could even catch my very bad throws! She became a loyal friend and very special family member. Over the years, I learned so much from Shelby and the other five dogs that have been a part of our family, each with their own unique personalities, likes and dislikes, needs and desires, fears and quirks. Two of them became certified therapy dogs, visiting nursing homes and working with troubled youth, and I’ve done agility with three of them. I also got to know many of my neighbors’ pets, and, in between teaching nursery school and raising our two wonderful daughters, I cared for them while their families were on vacation.

One of my favorite activities is to hike with my dogs, Sugar Bear (a Great Pyrenees mix) and Jasper (a chocolate Lab mix). There are so many great trails nearby, and we love to explore them! My other interests include reading (including books on animal behavior and positive dog training), kayaking, yoga, cross country skiing, and spending time with friends and family (especially my adorable two-year-old granddaughter!). I’ve hiked 28 of the 46 High Peaks, and I hope to someday finish. I volunteer for a non-profit wildlife rehabilitation organization, as well as my local library. Now that I’m retired and living year-round near Friends Lake in the Adirondacks, I’m so excited to be starting my own dog walking and pet sitting business. Whether you're looking for someone to take your pup hiking on a local trail or walks around the neighborhood, drop by while you’re at work for a game of fetch and a belly rub, or provide complete care for your cats and dogs while you're away, please contact me to let me know how I can best meet your needs. I look forward to meeting you and your best friends!

Meet Tony Kostecki



Tony Kostecki, General Director, Seagle Music Colony

Tony Kostecki was appointed General Director of Seagle Music Colony in January of 2008. Previous to this appointment, Tony held the position of General Manager of the Colony from 2006-2007.Before moving into management, he was on the faculty of Seagle Music Colony as a coach/accompanist and conductor for ten years.Between 2002 and 2007, Tony was Director of Education at Fort Worth Opera and also Director of the Fort Worth Opera Studio.During his tenure with Fort Worth Opera, Tony oversaw the creation of the Fort Worth Opera Studio Young Artists Program and all outreach aspects of Fort Worth Opera.From 2002-2007 he was also the Fort Worth Opera Chorus Master and writer of many of the supertitle translations for Fort Worth Opera.

As a coach/accompanist, Tony worked for Fort Worth Opera, Shreveport Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Utah Opera, Kansas City Lyric Opera Express and Kansas City Civic Opera.A native of Topeka, Kansas, he received his undergraduate degree in Music from BenedictineCollege in Atchison, Kansas and his Master of Music Degree in Piano Accompanying and Organ Performance from the University of Kansas in Lawrence.

Rest in Peace Irv Halvorsen


By Joyce Halvorsen Fiedler with Carl, Roy and Jim Halvorsen

To say that Irving Halvorsen (Poppy) loved Schroon Lake would be an understatement.  Irv and his bride Grace honeymooned at Burzees in Schroon Lake Village.  Their connection to the area was through Grace whose uncle, Magnus Andersen, was part owner of the Frontier Town.  Her Aunt Agnus also owned the Silver Spruce Hotel where Grace would waitress on busy days.  In the early years of their marriage and as four children completed the family, they would make the five hour trip up Route 9 from Staten Island once a summer and stay for a week at one of the rental cabins on the north shore of the lake.   It was glorious and yet, they dreamed of having a place of their own.
In 1973, they bought a piece of property on the east shore in the newly developed Blue Sky Estates.  Working with builder Cliff Tomlinson (who would become a treasured friend), they built their dream home.  It was a modestly sized, simple cabin with knotty pine paneling and a beautiful deck overlooking the lake.  During his working years at Con Edison, he would take the bulk of his vacation time during the summer to enjoy every possible moment at the lake house.
Irv retired in 1986.  They sold their Staten Island home and 23 Lakeview Drive became their main residence.  No more driving bleary eyed after a long week at work.  No more tearing himself away from Blue Sky late Sunday evening to face the slogging drive to Staten Island.  Irv immersed himself in cabin life.  He moved more Adirondack rocks than you would think humanly possible.  He maintained a manicured lawn and gallantly fought back the woods that dare encroach on his space.  He was a fixture on his deck with coffee in the morning and wine in the evening waving at everyone who passed.  Neighbors had an open invitation to stop by his well-stocked garage if they needed a particular screw, saw, light or doohicky.   He was a jokester and storyteller who reveled in cruising the neighborhood in his “gator.”  People who moved away from Blue Sky would show up periodically to rekindle friendships and remark on how Pop was a mainstay in that community.  He served on the Blue Sky Estates governing association and donated his time and energy to all the events and functions of that group.   
Grace died in 2008 and those years from his retirement to her passing were the happiest of his life. 
Poppy passed away on November 14, 2017.  In a voicemail to the family, his doctor noted that it was a privilege to care for him and that it was rare to have a patient live independently well into his 87th year.  It was only the previous month that we had begun discussing with Pop the possibility that maybe it was becoming too cumbersome for him to live alone at Schroon Lake.  In the end, his kidneys and heart just stopped functioning.  It’s not far-fetched to believe that with Grace gone and the prospect of not living at the lake likely, he chose a graceful exit.
Irv was an ardent supporter of ESSLA and all of their conservation efforts.  He recognized that subsequent generations would only enjoy the lake if current residents worked to ensure its livelihood.   He requested that any donations after his passing go to ESSLA.
By Joyce Halvorsen Fiedler with Carl, Roy and Jim Halvorsen