Name-Change Contest for ‘Fort Drum (N.Y.) Blizzard’ heats Up

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By: William Kates

Officials at this Army post in frigid northern New York want to kick the name of their weekly newspaper up a few degrees. Right now it’s called The Fort Drum Blizzard.

The name was a tribute to veterans of the 10th Mountain Division, which is based here, but Fort Drum command information chief Karin Martinez said it helps reinforce a stereotype that the post is always cold and snowy.

Lake Ontario does help produce some intense winter storms in the area, which saw up to 12 feet of snow in one 10-day stretch in February 2007. But the lake also has a moderating influence on temperatures, which average about 21 degrees during the winter and typically reach into the high 70s during the summer.

The newspaper is changing its name as part of a redesign and Fort Drum officials a running a contest to pick a new one. On Thursday it published the names of five finalists: The Summit, The Fort Drum Patriot, The Northern Post, The Pinnacle and The Mountaineer. Commanders offered a wild-card choice: The Mountain View.

Martinez’s office received more than 100 suggestions; those that didn’t make the cut included The Fort Drum Straight Skinny and The Mountain Yodel.

The winning name will be announced next month and appear on the paper’s masthead beginning in September.

The paper, published since 1957, was called The Sentinel until it was changed to the Blizzard in 1998. The switch was made to pay tribute to the 10th Mountain Division’s World War II soldiers, who first trained as an alpine unit in Colorado and eventually earned fame in the mountains of Italy, editor Lisa Albrecht said.

Fort Drum isn’t the first community to worry about its image as a cold destination. North Dakota lawmakers have tried twice unsuccessfully — in 1947 and again in 1989 — to drop the word “North” from the state’s name over concerns about public perception.

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