Joanna Richards

Reporter, Innovation Trail, North Country

Based in Watertown, Joanna files reports and feature stories of specific interest to listeners in the North Country. Her reports are heard during regional news breaks aired in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.

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7:58pm

Wed February 26, 2014
Regional Coverage

BP killing Cape Vincent Wind Farm

Turbines at the Marble River wind farm in Clinton, NY.
Credit Sarah Harris

After battling local residents for years, energy company BP says it’s killing its proposal for the Cape Vincent Wind Farm. Some of the project’s most vocal critics are dancing on its grave.

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6:44am

Thu February 20, 2014
Regional Coverage

Army officers anxious as they await word of cuts

A soldier trains at Fort Drum
Joanna Richards

In any company town, when the major employer is planning layoffs, people get worried. How will they earn a living if they lose their job? How will they remake their identity?

This is the picture for many Army officers stationed at Fort Drum. By early summer, some will find out they have to go.

It’s part of an overall downsizing of the military as the war in Afghanistan winds down. Evaluations this spring will determine whether some officers can stay in the service.

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6:51am

Thu February 6, 2014
Regional Coverage

United Way donations down, looking to St. Lawrence County for help

Credit United Way of Northern New York

The United Way is one of America’s largest charitable organizations, helping to sustain thousands of small nonprofits that in turn help millions of people. But the Northern New York chapter of the United Way is in need of some help itself. Its mid-year fundraising totals show significant declines in giving from last year in Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties. 

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5:30am

Mon February 3, 2014
Regional Coverage

Fort Drum among four locations to be studied for East Coast missile defense site

A 10th Mountain Division soldier trains at Fort Drum.
Credit Joanna Richards

The Defense Department has named Fort Drum as one of four military installations to house a possible East Coast missile defense facility. 

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6:16am

Fri January 31, 2014
Regional Coverage

Syracuse professor building case against Syrian human rights abusers

David Crane, professor of practice at Syracuse University's College of Law, is helping to build legal cases against the worst actors in the Syrian civil war.
Credit Syracuse University

A few weeks ago, David Crane got a call. The Syracuse University law professor was asked to join a team who would be examining a collection of tens of thousands of gruesome photographs. They appeared to show widespread torture and killings at detention facilities run by Syrian president Bashar al-Assad’s government.

Two days later, Crane was in the Middle East, with two other former war crimes prosecutors and forensics experts, poring over the images and interviewing the man who took them.

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8:08am

Fri January 10, 2014
Regional Coverage

Watertown Stream call center's parent company selling to rival

The Stream Global Services call center in Watertown will change hands when its parent company is bought by a rival, according to Reuters. It’s not clear what effect that might have on the 700 employees who work there.

Don Alexander heads the Jefferson County Industrial Development Agency. He says Stream’s significance to the area’s economy can’t be overstated and the company has been a good employer.

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4:45pm

Wed January 8, 2014
Regional Coverage

Stranded drivers find welcome at Jefferson County hotels, homes

Exit 41 of I-81 in Adams, NY.
Catherine Loper WRVO

The last portions of Route 81 between Watertown and North Syracuse are open again, after lake-effect storms closed much of the highway down.

Through the storms, hardy North Country natives have been helping stranded travelers. Many people spent last night in fire halls - the one in Adams took in 150 people. Watertown hotels right off the Interstate 81 exit were full, of both drivers and staff who couldn't get out, either.

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8:40pm

Mon November 11, 2013
Regional Coverage

Winter crows invade Watertown

David Coleman, the Jefferson County Historical Society's caretaker, just installed the rug on the porch - after about 30 schoolchildren marched bird poop into the building during a field trip.
Joanna Richards

Every winter, Alfred Hitchcock's classic horror movie, “The Birds” gets a replay in Watertown. But not on the silver screen. Thousands of crows fly in from the countryside to roost overnight. The city's trying to evict them. 

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5:08pm

Fri November 1, 2013
Regional Coverage

Fall in Pulaski brings thousands of salmon, and fishermen out to catch them

Jose Fernandez holds a small salmon he caught in a creek in Pulaski. He's been fishing in the area for 30 years.
Joanna Richards

Each fall, thousands of salmon swim upstream along the Salmon River and nearby creeks, trying to return to the state's Salmon River Fish Hatchery in Altmar, where they were born. The fish head home to spawn. But they face a gauntlet of fisherman in the waterways around Pulaski, drawn by the fishes' large sizes and numbers. In this audio postcard, Joanna Richards spoke with local Pulaski resident and 30-year-fisherman Jose Fernandez along a small stream, where he was stalking salmon and escaping the crowd.

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7:10am

Wed October 30, 2013
The Upstate Economy

Local food craze hits booze market, too

Sadie Wells helps a customer choose a beer at Skewed Brewing in Salmon Run Mall, Watertown.
Joanna Richards

The local food trend in the North Country is starting to fill a new niche: alcoholic beverages. And not only are brewers and winemakers crafting their products there, but they're also taking advantage of the rural region to double the local appeal, with homegrown ingredients. Several of these businesses just opened in Jefferson County.

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8:57pm

Wed October 23, 2013
Environment

Public helps shape state study on health patterns near Air Brake site

Current and former residents of Watertown's north side neighborhood, near the New York Air Brake plant, listen to a presentation about a health study the state Health Department will carry out.
Justin Sorenson, Watertown Daily Times

Earlier this week, a researcher from the state Health Department met with Watertown residents from the neighborhood near the New York Air Brake plant. The Health Department has agreed to study the area’s disease patterns because residents suspect that pollution from the plant has made people sick.

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12:05am

Fri October 11, 2013
Health

UPDATE: North Country Children's Clinic gets last-minute rescue

The North Country Children's Clinic has had a tumultuous week. It announced on Tuesday that it would cease operations Friday, but a last-minute deal with Samaritan Medical Center and the state Department of Health will keep it open for at least the next month.
Credit FDRHPO

A last-minute deal was struck Thursday to rescue a long-standing health care safety net for needy north country children. The North Country Children's Clinic in Watertown announced Tuesday that it would close suddenly, at the end of the week, because of dire financial problems. Now, the clinic has gotten at least another month of life.

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1:55am

Wed October 9, 2013
Regional Coverage

Children's Clinic closes temporarily under financial hardship

Dan Wasneechak didn't know how bleak the North Country Children's Clinic's finances were when he was hired as its chief in August. On Tuesday, he announced the clinic would temporarily close to try to resolve its fiscal issues.
Credit Joanna Richards

When Dan Wasneechak took the helm of the North Country Children's Clinic in August, he had no idea that less than two months into his tenure, he'd be announcing its temporary closure. But he did that yesterday afternoon, after a frantic week of trying to sort out the clinic's finances to keep it running.

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7:40am

Wed October 2, 2013
Regional Coverage

Fort Drum civilian workers hit with furloughs, again

Dougtone Creative Commons License

Fort Drum is among the many arms of the federal government dealing with furloughs as a result of the government shutdown. Workers deemed non-essential were sent home midday yesterday.

A division spokeswoman said the timing is bad for the post, because because it comes on top of a nearly two-year hiring freeze that has many departments already down to bare bones staffing. And this is a busy time for Fort Drum, with multiple units preparing for imminent deployments, and others returning and going through reintegration.

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6:26am

Fri September 27, 2013
Regional Coverage

U.S. Defense Secretary calls for military security reviews

The mass shooting at the Washington, D.C. Navy Yard earlier this month prompted Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to call for security reviews at all military facilities. Fort Drum declined to comment on how the post is being affected by that decision, but this week the Department of Defense gave details about how the larger review process would take shape.
 

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12:17am

Wed September 18, 2013
Regional Coverage

Sequester may mean more cutbacks at Fort Drum

Soldiers participate in a homecoming ceremony at Fort Drum.
Credit WRVO file photo

Fort Drum may be facing personnel cutbacks as a result of the federal budget reductions known as sequestration. The post submitted recommendations to the Department of the Army about how it would want to make the cuts, if needed.  

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8:49am

Mon June 17, 2013
Regional Coverage

Rally against NY SAFE Act draws crowd in Lewis County

Karen Bisso, a 2012 candidate for state Assembly from Plattsburgh, energized the crowd at a Lewis County rally with a rousing denunciation of New York's new gun control measures.
Joanna Richards/WRVO

People climbed up the bleachers in the grandstand at the Lewis County Fairgrounds in Lowville on Saturday for a rally opposing the New York SAFE Act. More than 400 people turned out to condemn the controversial package of gun control measures passed by the state Legislature in January.

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9:06am

Fri June 14, 2013
Regional Coverage

VA Secretary Shinseki helps celebrate anniversary of medical center

Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki is in Syracuse today to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the city's VA Medical Center.

Yesterday, he met with Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner and other community leaders who advocate for veterans for a round table discussion at Fowler High school about how to improve veterans' employment prospects.

Shinseki says veterans need to boost their job-seeking skills, but employers need to develop a better understanding of the value veterans can offer their businesses.

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8:31am

Fri May 31, 2013
Regional Coverage

Clayton Hotel development underway

A big redevelopment project is getting underway in the village of Clayton. The first pieces of equipment have been at work on the former Frink Snowplow Factory site in recent weeks. This represents the beginning of an aggressive construction schedule that aims to bring the Clayton Harbor Hotel to life by Memorial Day 2014.

Kristi Dippel, head of the Clayton Local Development Corporation, says it's gratifying to see all the planning on the project coming to fruition.

"After over 10 years that this has been in the making, and we finally have activity on site, it's definitely the talk on the street, it's the talk of the town. People are very excited to see something happening over there," she said.

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10:38am

Thu April 25, 2013
Regional Coverage

Father, daughter Fort Drum soldiers will deploy together to Afghanistan

Joanna Richards

An unusual pair of “battle buddies” is about to deploy to Afghanistan from Fort Drum. Michael and Miranda Mogg are a father-daughter pair of soldiers with the 10th Combat Aviation Brigade of the Army's 10th Mountain Division.

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4:03am

Fri February 8, 2013
Regional Coverage

Soldiers say Army instills reverence, respect for weapons

Darius Gibbs, an Army veteran, uses a rifle for target shooting at the Watertown Sportsmen's Club's facility
Joanna Richards

Speaking to soldiers about firearms, no matter what their individual views are on gun control, one thing becomes clear: they take them seriously.

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4:49pm

Mon January 14, 2013
Politics and Government

Schumer may play key role in Hagel nomination

New York's Senator Charles Schumer is emerging as a key player in the controversial nomination of Chuck Hagel to be the Obama administration's next defense secretary.

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6:11am

Mon December 17, 2012
Health

Information technology improves health care in the North Country

Dr. Dan Mitchell, a psychologist at the North Country Children's Clinic, demonstrates his practice's new electronic medical record system at the clinic's offices in Watertown.
Credit Joanna Richards

While lots of industries turned to information technology long ago to improve efficiency, accuracy and collaboration, until now, health care has lagged behind. Now, a big project has aimed to leverage IT in the health care in the state’s rural North Country.  

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9:00am

Thu November 22, 2012
Technology

IBM grant recognizes Clarkson smart grid researcher

Professor Lei Wu works in his office at Clarkson University.
Joanna Richards/WRVO

Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently announced New York would invest $250 million to develop smart grid technologies to modernize the state's energy grid. At Clarkson University, the highly regarded science and engineering school in St. Lawrence County, a professor working on smart energy grid systems was just awarded a grant by IBM. The $10,000 prize will help him continue his research, and develop coursework for students to train the next generation to use this hot technology.

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8:46am

Mon November 19, 2012
Regional Coverage

Soldiers, families reflect on fidelity in wake of Petraeus's affair

Marital fidelity is a sensitive subject for many in the military. Relationships are stressed by distance, frequent moves and the dangers of war. Gen. David Petraeus's admission that he had an extramarital affair has led some Fort Drum families to reflect on the difficulties of keeping their personal relationships whole – and their image among a public that often doesn't understand their culture. 

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4:49am

Mon November 19, 2012
National Security

Military Moral Code

Originally published on Tue November 20, 2012 10:38 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Marital fidelity is a sensitive subject for many in the military. Relationships are often strained by distance, frequent moves, the dangers of war. Gen. David Petraeus' admission that he had an extramarital affair has led some military families to reflect on the difficulties of keeping their personal relationships whole. Reporter Joanna Richards spoke with families from the Army's 10th Mountain Division, based at Fort Drum, in upstate New York.

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4:15pm

Wed November 7, 2012
Regional Coverage

Village of Chaumont votes against dissolution

Voters in Chaumont, in Jefferson County, knocked down a ballot measure to dissolve the village, by a vote of 145 to 102.

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4:51am

Sat October 27, 2012
Politics

Jobs were top issue for audience at Doheny-Owens debate

In northern New York, a large audience showed up for the debate televised on YNN was held in the contentious race between Democrat incumbent Bill Owens and Republican challenger Matt Doheny. 

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9:10am

Thu October 25, 2012
Environment

Kids study water levels' effects on invasive species at Eel Bay

Construction of the giant hydropower dam near Massena in the 1950s forever tamed the once wild St. Lawrence River. It allowed engineers to harness the river’s natural ebb and flow for energy production and to protect homes and ports at the same time. But in the process, it hurt the indigenous plants and animals that depend on those highs and lows to survive. The environmental group Save The River has been leading a charge to persuade the agency that controls water levels to return more natural ebbs and flows to the St. Lawrence. One way is by giving the younger generation of River residents a hands-on lesson.

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2:37pm

Wed October 24, 2012
Regional Coverage

Cape Vincent wind power meeting message to BP: "Go Home!"

A meeting on BP's wind farm proposal was held in the town of Cape Vincent Tuesday night
Joanna Richards WRVO

Town officials and community members from the Jefferson County towns of Cape Vincent and Lyme gave energy company BP a clear signal at a meeting last night in Cape Vincent: a wind farm isn't welcome there.

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