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Photography

Gallery: Charlotte Ballet performs in the Amp

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Gallery: Chautauqua School of Dance Student Gala

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Gallery: Club Water Olympics 2017

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Gallery: Lake Street Dive delivers dynamic sounds to Amp

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Gallery: Symphonic Dances

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Patriots on parade: Children’s School parade sets tone for festive Fourth

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It was never a question. There is simply nothing better on the Fourth of July than fireworks.

“I like the fireworks, but I’ve never seen them,” said 5-year-old Charlie Weber, an American flag hat fit snugly on his head. “I’ve heard about them though, and I’ll see them this year.”

Five-year-olds Harrison Koerner and Harrison Cornelius agreed.

“The fireworks are my favorite part,” both boys said. 

Both Harrisons, Charlie and the rest of the kids from Children’s School brought their own explosive Independence Day celebration to the grounds Tuesday morning.

The revelry started with the 3s, 4s and 5s parading jubilantly down Pratt. Every so often, they would stop and loudly cheer “Happy Fourth of July!” or “USA, USA!” for the crowds that lined the street.

Rounding the corner of Bestor Plaza, the kids mounted the Colonnade steps.

There, for a smiling crowd that extended far onto the plaza lawn, they belted out tunes of freedom like “Yankee Doodle Dandy” and “This Land is Your Land.” But first, they introduced themselves with “The Children’s School Song,” the song that 4-year-old Galen Giroux likes singing most.

“The Children’s School song is my favorite song,” Galen said before launching into a solo rendition of the tune as he prepared for the parade.

With their faces and arms painted with American regalia, the kids cheered, sang, clapped and stomped the morning away on sunny Bestor Plaza.

For many of them, the best part of the Fourth didn’t come until the sun had set and fireworks were launched. But for those who witnessed the Children’s School celebration, the best part of the holiday may have come not long after the sun had risen.

Gallery: A day of stars and sparks

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Opera Invasion: ‘So You Think You’re Louder Than an Opera Singer?’

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While the sun beat down Wednesday on Sharpe Field, the competition was even hotter. Clubbers from Boys’ and Girls’ Club sang their hearts (and lungs) out to answer the challenge “So You Think You’re Louder Than an Opera Singer?”

The event was part of the Chautauqua Opera Company’s Opera Invasion program, aimed at bringing opera off the stage and into unique settings around the grounds.

Fourteen-year-old Aiden Rice, a semi-finalist last year, made it all the way to the finals this year.

“It’s entertaining because most of the time I have to be very quiet and I’m not allowed to scream,” he said. “Sometimes it’s good to just let it all out.”

Chautauqua Opera Company Young Artist Alaysha Fox works with Megan Breitenbach, 8, during the “So You Think You Are Louder Than an Opera Singer” competition at Sharpe Field on Wednesday, July 5, 2017. CAM BUKER/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
Justin Cokerdem DePriest, 10, belts out an opera tune at Sharpe Field on Wednesday, July 5, 2017. DePriest participated in “So You Think You Are Louder Than an Opera Singer?” DePriest was one of the winners of the contest. CAM BUKER/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

 

Herbicides were used to combat weeds on Chautauqua Lake last week for the first time since 2002

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With rain clouds looming above, Steve Holland pilots a hulking orange vessel across Chautauqua Lake before arriving in Dewittville Bay, where he begins to perform the work he does most days during summer: harvesting weeds.

“There’s a lot of weeds in this bay,” Holland said aboard one of the Chautauqua Lake Association’s aquatic plant harvesters Tuesday morning. “I’ll probably be here the rest of the week.”

The day’s operation came amid a pivotal time in controlling the lake’s excess vegetation. Several miles to the southeast in Bemus Bay, remnants from the application of herbicides the day before still lingered in the water.

Herbicides — chemicals used to control plants — were used in three spots in Bemus Bay on Monday as part of an effort by the Chautauqua Lake Partnership to manage invasive plants in the area. The last time herbicides were used in the lake was 2002.

The recent herbicide use came after the CLP, originally formed that year by residents annoyed with excess plants in the lake, applied for permits from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, first in April and later on June 19, 2017, according to the department. The permits were issued the next day.

The DEC permits allowed use of two kinds of herbicides, named Aquathol-K and Navigate, as part of a data collection project to evaluate their effectiveness on invasive weeds, DEC spokeswoman Megan Gollwitzer said.

“We’re trying to do something to introduce different techniques to take care of the weed and algae problem,” said CLP President Jim Cirbus.

The herbicide company SOLitude administered the application Monday, and the CLP placed signs around the lake warning residents to not use, fish in or swim in the water near Bemus Bay for 24 hours. The original DEC permits included such a warning that would last for 14 days, but the department later issued revised permits with the 24-hour warning.

In addition, the waters near the Institution were deemed safe for swimming Monday by the Chautauqua County Department of Health and Human Services, according to a letter from the department.

Such use of herbicides has been both applauded and denounced by residents, with some pointing to how the excess weeds inhibit boat use and others suggesting that the chemicals will hinder native plants and fish, among other problems.

When it comes to managing vegetation, though, the most visible effort remains that of the harvesters and other machines used by Holland and his colleagues in the CLA.

“We’ve gotta be able to get people around their docks so they can get in and out,” Holland said. “I mean, why have a boat on a lake if you can’t use it?”

Why the weeds are a problem

As of Monday, the CLA had harvested about 2 million pounds of weeds, Holland said. The association, a nonprofit organization incorporated in 1953, uses six harvesters to collect plants throughout the lake, said Doug Conroe, executive director and former Chautauqua Institution director of operations.

“The machines cut off the top of the vegetation,” Conroe said. “Some people say it’s like mowing your lawn.”

The harvesters collect the excess plants and either drop them off at the shore or load them onto a transporter boat that does so, he said. The weeds are then moved via trucks to farms for use as compost.

Specifically, two invasive species of aquatic plants — also known as macrophytes — are problematic for the lake: curly leaf pondweed and Eurasian water milfoil, said Jan Bowman, biology professor at Jamestown Community College. Bowman has conducted research on aquatic plants in the lake since the early ’90s.

The plants, she said, create problems for recreation on the lake by limiting mobility around docks and wrapping around boat motors and propellers.

The only large-scale solution to that problem at the moment is mechanical harvesting, according to the Chautauqua Lake Macrophyte Management Strategy published in March. The plan includes strategies of how to “open the toolbox to a broader range of management options,” including herbicides.

Evaluating the risks of herbicides

The use of herbicides, though, raises questions for some about how its application could affect the environment, while others insist that risks are minimal.

“Our harvesting operation is able to control the nuisance growths, or manage the nuisance growths,” Conroe said. “We don’t see the need to do something more environmentally invasive.”

Why might the herbicides be harmful? Bowman said research she has both read and conducted show problems, which include harming native plants and destroying spawning beds for fish.

A study published in March titled “Lessons from a Decade of Lake Management,” for example, found that herbicide use is unpredictable and can harm native plants in some instances.

“As a whole, the lake is a very dynamic system with many smaller ecosystems in it,” Bowman said. “It’s hard to address it as one big body of water.”

But Bowman and Conroe both point to how herbicides might impact another problem in the lake: algae blooms.

Conroe said Chautauqua Lake is very rich in nutrients, such as phosphorus, and when too many nutrients exist, the cellular plant algae can form. As algae matures, water around it becomes harmful, he said, and it can become toxic in certain spots when the algae “blooms.”

“If you kill some stretches of these plants, the decomposition is going to add nutrients that feed algae,” Bowman said. “Several studies show this.”

Cirbus and others in the CLP, though, disagree that herbicides are harmful. The herbicides are specific to the species of invasive plants, he said, and shouldn’t harm the few native ones that have survived.

The group followed the DEC’s regulations “to the letter,” Cirbus said. The partnership also raised money for shoreline cleanups to reduce algae growths this summer.

“Too much is at stake,” he said. “Hopefully herbicides will be a thing of the future in conjunction with other methods.”

Back on the lake, though, Holland and others in the CLA will continue their harvesting operations across the lake throughout the summer.

“We get a lot of thank yous, very few complainers,” Holland said. “For the most part, it’s rewarding because you get some gratification out of it.”

Gallery: Revelations and New Work

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Gallery: Chautauqua Puppies

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Sophie, a cavalier King Charles spaniel, stands in front of her owner, Kathy Pender, at the Blessing of the Animals gathering at 4 P.M. on Sunday, August 21, 2016, at Miller Park. Pet owners from around the grounds gathered for Chaplain Lisa Marchal of the Methodist House to bless their pets, some of whom were represented by photos on phones or in picture frames. Photo by Carolyn Brown.
Sophie, a cavalier King Charles spaniel, stands in front of her owner, Kathy Pender, at the Blessing of the Animals gathering at 4 P.M. on Sunday, August 21, 2016, at Miller Park. Pet owners from around the grounds gathered for Chaplain Lisa Marchal of the Methodist House to bless their pets, some of whom were represented by photos on phones or in picture frames. Photo by Carolyn Brown.
Josie, a miniature pinscher, stands near her owner, Chris Cribbs, at the Blessing of the Animals gathering at 4 P.M. on Sunday, August 21, 2016, at Miller Park. Pet owners from around the grounds gathered for Chaplain Lisa Marchal of the Methodist House to bless their pets, some of whom were represented by photos on phones or in picture frames. Photo by Carolyn Brown.
Josie, a miniature pinscher, stands near her owner, Chris Cribbs, at the Blessing of the Animals gathering at 4 P.M. on Sunday, August 21, 2016, at Miller Park. Pet owners from around the grounds gathered for Chaplain Lisa Marchal of the Methodist House to bless their pets, some of whom were represented by photos on phones or in picture frames. Photo by Carolyn Brown.
Laddie, a poodle, stands near his owner, Janet Davis, at the Blessing of the Animals gathering at 4 P.M. on Sunday, August 21, 2016, at Miller Park. Pet owners from around the grounds gathered for Chaplain Lisa Marchal of the Methodist House to bless their pets, some of whom were represented by photos on phones or in picture frames. Photo by Carolyn Brown.
Laddie, a poodle, stands near his owner, Janet Davis, at the Blessing of the Animals gathering at 4 P.M. on Sunday, August 21, 2016, at Miller Park. Pet owners from around the grounds gathered for Chaplain Lisa Marchal of the Methodist House to bless their pets, some of whom were represented by photos on phones or in picture frames. Photo by Carolyn Brown.
Barbara Delmont, left, stands with her poodle/terrier mix Scruffy as Rev. Lisa Marchal of the Methodist House, right, blesses him at the Blessing of the Animals gathering at 4 P.M. on Sunday, August 21, 2016, at Miller Park. Pet owners from around the grounds gathered for Chaplain Lisa Marchal of the Methodist House to bless their pets, some of whom were represented by photos on phones or in picture frames. Photo by Carolyn Brown.
Barbara Delmont, left, stands with her poodle/terrier mix Scruffy as Rev. Lisa Marchal of the Methodist House, right, blesses him at the Blessing of the Animals gathering at 4 P.M. on Sunday, August 21, 2016, at Miller Park. Pet owners from around the grounds gathered for Chaplain Lisa Marchal of the Methodist House to bless their pets, some of whom were represented by photos on phones or in picture frames. Photo by Carolyn Brown.

Gallery: ‘Trust Your Faith Path’

Shmuel Vilenkin, 12, stands outside the Chabad Lubavitch house August 2, 2016.

With their first steps onto the grounds, Chautauquans can follow their own path and explore one of its four pillars, like a contemplative journey through a labyrinth. All kinds of people join hands and pray at the Peace Poles, meditate at Mystic Heart, and discover faith traditions beyond their own. From attending Islamic Jum’ah prayer, to praying the rosary at the Catholic House, or observing the Sabbath at the Zigdon Chabad Jewish House, everyone is encouraged to walk the spiritual path that is fitting for them. The pillar of religion remains as important today as it did at the founding of Chautauqua. Through lifelong learning, it is possible to find peace.

Susan Drabant demonstrates the meaning behind the beads of her rosary outside the Catholic House August 24, 2016.
Susan Drabant demonstrates the meaning behind the beads of her rosary outside the Catholic House August 24, 2016.
Chautauquans gather around a peace pole to pray for universal peace and compossaion August 23, 2016.
Chautauquans gather around a peace pole to pray for universal peace and compossaion August 23, 2016.
Imam Feisal leads non-Muslims and Muslims in friday Jummah prayer July 14, 2016.
Imam Feisal leads non-Muslims and Muslims in friday Jummah prayer July 14, 2016.
Chautauquans walk through the Labrynth as a way of meditation July 12, 2016
Chautauquans walk through the Labrynth as a way of meditation July 12, 2016
Subagh Singh Khalsa meditates in his house as a daily morning routine August 23, 2016.
Subagh Singh Khalsa meditates in his house as a daily morning routine August 23, 2016.
Shmuel Vilenkin, 12, stands outside the Chabad Lubavitch house August 2, 2016.
Shmuel Vilenkin, 12, stands outside the Chabad Lubavitch house August 2, 2016.

Gallery: Barbershop Quartet Sunday

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From left, Members of J.A.M. Jason Weitz, Adam Lukasik, Brian Praetzel, John Donohue perform at the 2016 Chautauqua Barbershop Harmony Parade August 21, 2016 in the Amphitheater. Photo by Eslah Attar
From left, Members of J.A.M. Jason Weitz, Adam Lukasik, Brian Praetzel, John Donohue perform at the 2016 Chautauqua Barbershop Harmony Parade August 21, 2016 in the Amphitheater. Photo by Eslah Attar
Members of Leftover Parts perform during the 2016 Chautauqua Barbershop Harmony Parade August 21, 2016 in the Amphitheater. Photo by Eslah Attar
Members of Leftover Parts perform during the 2016 Chautauqua Barbershop Harmony Parade August 21, 2016 in the Amphitheater. Photo by Eslah Attar
Skip Berenguer directs Ellicottville Sound in the 2016 Chautauqua Barbershop Harmony Parade August 21, 2016 in the Amphitheater. Photo by Eslah Attar
Skip Berenguer directs Ellicottville Sound in the 2016 Chautauqua Barbershop Harmony Parade August 21, 2016 in the Amphitheater. Photo by Eslah Attar

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Gallery: All-American Softball

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Playing sports with friends and neighbors is a tradition as longstanding and all-American as Chautauqua itself. The men’s and women’s recreational softball leagues, which play at Sharpe Field, are no exception.

In true Chautauqua fashion, many teams have family connections – mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, who play on the same teams as other relatives cheer from the sidelines. Often, the teams themselves become like families over the years as participants return, season after season.

Skyler Zarou, left, and Peter Evans, right, members of the YAC PAC softball team, fall backwards after colliding in a celebratory mid-air body bump in honor of their softball team's victory over the Slugs team at 7 PM on Friday, July 29, at Sharpe Field. The YAC team beat the Slugs 21-5. Photo by Carolyn Brown.
Skyler Zarou, left, and Peter Evans, right, members of the YAC PAC softball team, fall backwards after colliding in a celebratory mid-air body bump in honor of their softball team’s victory over the Slugs team at 7 PM on Friday, July 29, at Sharpe Field. The YAC team beat the Slugs 21-5. Photo by Carolyn Brown.
Madeline Steere, 10, watches the final game in the men's softball league from the Slugs team dugout at 7 P.M. on Wednesday, August 3, 2016, at Sharpe Field. The Slugs team, whom Steere was rooting for, beat the YAC PAC team 38-11. Photo by Carolyn Brown.
Madeline Steere, 10, watches the final game in the men’s softball league from the Slugs team dugout at 7 P.M. on Wednesday, August 3, 2016, at Sharpe Field. The Slugs team, whom Steere was rooting for, beat the YAC PAC team 38-11. Photo by Carolyn Brown.
Danny Miller, left, reaches out to shake hands with Lee Lowenfish, right, before the final game of the men's softball game at 6:30 P.M. on Wednesday, August 3, 2016, at Sharpe Field. Lowenfish taught a Special Studies class about baseball and American culture. Photo by Carolyn Brown.
Danny Miller, left, reaches out to shake hands with Lee Lowenfish, right, before the final game of the men’s softball game at 6:30 P.M. on Wednesday, August 3, 2016, at Sharpe Field. Lowenfish taught a Special Studies class about baseball and American culture. Photo by Carolyn Brown.
Reid James, center, leads the YAC PAC team in celebration in a game against the Pounders at 6:30 P.M. on Monday, August 1, 2016, at Sharpe Field. The YAC PAC team advanced to the final game against the Slugs as a result. Photo by Carolyn Brown.
Reid James, center, leads the YAC PAC team in celebration in a game against the Pounders at 6:30 P.M. on Monday, August 1, 2016, at Sharpe Field. The YAC PAC team advanced to the final game against the Slugs as a result. Photo by Carolyn Brown.
The Chautauqua Belles team puts their hands together for a team cheer after a game against the Hot Chauts at 6 P.M. on Sunday, July 31, 2016, at Sharpe Field. The game, the last of the season in the women's league's regular term before the playoffs, would advance the Belles to the number four seed. Photo by Carolyn Brown.
The Chautauqua Belles team puts their hands together for a team cheer after a game against the Hot Chauts at 6 P.M. on Sunday, July 31, 2016, at Sharpe Field. The game, the last of the season in the women’s league’s regular term before the playoffs, would advance the Belles to the number four seed. Photo by Carolyn Brown.
Taylor Samuelson, of the Hot Chauts team, left, runs to third base as Mary Pat McFarland, of the Chautauqua Belles team, right, throws the ball at 7 P.M. on Tuesday, July 26, 2016, at Sharpe Field. The Hot Chauts, who won the game, also ultimately won first place in the women's league, defeating the Misfits by one run in extra innings. Photo by Carolyn Brown.
Taylor Samuelson, of the Hot Chauts team, left, runs to third base as Mary Pat McFarland, of the Chautauqua Belles team, right, throws the ball at 7 P.M. on Tuesday, July 26, 2016, at Sharpe Field. The Hot Chauts, who won the game, also ultimately won first place in the women’s league, defeating the Misfits by one run in extra innings. Photo by Carolyn Brown.
Pitcher Jeff Miller, of the Slugs team, center, laughs before throwing out a pitch to the YAC PAC team at 8 P.M. on Friday, July 29, 2016, at Sharpe Field. Photo by Carolyn Brown.
Pitcher Jeff Miller, of the Slugs team, center, laughs before throwing out a pitch to the YAC PAC team at 8 P.M. on Friday, July 29, 2016, at Sharpe Field. Photo by Carolyn Brown.

Gallery: Porch Sitting in the Grounds

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Porches on the grounds are one of the greatest representations of what Chautauqua stands for. Chautauqua is centered on concepts of inclusion, the celebration of community and family, and the four pillars of arts, education, recreation and religion. Porches are home to reading the paper in morning, watching children learn to ride a bike, family dinners or simply discussing the happenings of the day over a glass of wine. Porches are the threshold that connects those you came with and those who pass by on the street. Only in Chautauqua will you be walking to the morning lecture and hear the distant sound of someone practicing their accordion on a porch. Nearly every house has a porch to provide a place to soak in the essence of Chautauqua. Porch culture not only reflects the values of Chautauqua, but keeps them flourishing.

Gallery: Sailing Chautauqua Lake

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The John R. Turney Sailing Center, located at the south end of Chautauqua’s grounds, offers week-long sailing classes to children and adults ages 8 and up, as well as boat rentals and private lessons. Many of the instructors are college-aged sailors who grew up sailing on Chautauqua Lake. The sails of boats launched from the center can be seen on the water from vantage points around Chautauqua Lake.

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