Jefferson County

Farmers' property taxes rise as land values increase

May 23, 2013
Joanna Richards

Agriculture is one of the most dynamic and innovative economic sectors in New York state. All this week, the Innovation Trail team is reporting on some of the current challenges and opportunities facing upstate farmers.

One of those challenges is property taxes. Agriculture is a land-intensive industry, so rising property taxes can mean much higher costs for farmers. And taxes have been rising, thanks mostly to increases in the production value of farmland.

Researchers Don't 'Wine' About The Cold, Their Grapes Thrive

May 16, 2013
Copyright 2014 North Country Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.northcountrypublicradio.org/.

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Joanna Richards

A Tylerville dairy farm, in Jefferson County, is growing, in part thanks to help from National Grid. The company awarded the farm a grant of $50,000 to increase its access to electricity.  

Joanna Richards

Earlier this month, energy company BP announced its entire renewables division was up for sale. At a recent public meeting on the proposed Cape Vincent Wind Farm, a BP official confirmed the company will push ahead with the development anyway, and local leaders vowed to hire experts to help them fight the project.  

Joanna Richards

After founding his first stores elsewhere, Jefferson County’s Frank Winfield Woolworth bought the building in Watertown where he got his start in the dry goods business, intending to raze it and build one of his own stores. Woolworth died before he could see it, but his company realized his plan and the building’s a central part of the early history of the five-and-dime chain. After years of vacancy, two developers have plans to revive the landmark.

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

Oswego County is the latest local government to push for a repeal of New York state's new gun control laws. Both lawmakers and residents say they are hoping their voices make a difference in Albany.

Joanna Richards/WRVO

BP held a presentation last night in Cape Vincent on the Article X process for siting power projects under New York state law. It was another contentious encounter between local anti-wind power activists and BP representatives over the proposed Cape Vincent Wind Farm.

Three women with the same attorney have filed lawsuits against the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department and members within it for allegations relating to sexual misconduct or harassment.

Village of Chaumont votes against dissolution

Nov 7, 2012

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

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

Oct 24, 2012
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.

Martin Abegglen / Flickr

With a wind project proposed by BP, the town of Cape Vincent recently passed strict new regulations for commercial wind turbines. Then BP began seeking state review under the Article X law. That process could bypass local laws, if they're deemed “unreasonable.” Now the company has called a meeting with town officials, scheduled for Tuesday night. 

For the first time since Fort Drum's expansion after the terrorist attack of 9/11, all of its three brigade combat teams are back home at the post.  After multiple deployments in two wars spanning 11 years, the soldiers' needs for mental health services are unprecedented, and complicated. Fort Drum and the surrounding community are cooperating to respond to those needs.

Amy Tresidder, the Democratic candidate running against Republican state Senator Patty Ritchie, is accusing the incumbent of misusing taxpayer funds to boost her campaign. 

This summer, the synthetic drugs known as bath salts alarmed emergency responders all over upstate New York, including in Jefferson County. In Watertown, they dealt with unstable, violent users several times a day. But lawmakers and law enforcement at the local, state and federal levels have been responding with crackdowns on the drugs. Now, both police and hospital officials in Watertown say cases are down sharply. 

Retail stores offering more food from local producers

Aug 16, 2012

As fast as veggies are popping up in the garden, local foods are showing up on grocery store shelves throughout northern New York.

A new food co-op recently opened in Clayton, in Jefferson County, that showcases locally-sourced vegetables and other products, but big grocery chains like Hannaford and Wegman's are getting in on the trend, too, adding more of the region's products to store shelves.

While at Fort Drum this week talking about biomass fuel, Governor Andrew Cuomo chimed in on another energy issue – one much more likely to strike nerves in the North Country: the state's new Article X law.

Cape Vincent adopts new zoning law on wind farms

Aug 3, 2012
Joanna Richards / WRVO

The Cape Vincent Town Council has voted to adopt a new zoning law that includes strict restrictions on wind turbines.

Community meetings take aim at “bath salts” drugs

Jul 27, 2012

Community meetings are popping up as fast as the bizarre stories surrounding a drug known as bath salts or glass cleaner. The drugs are sold in head shops and convenience stores – they are not typical bath products or window cleaners. Three meetings in Jefferson County this week aimed to address the growing drug problem.

Watertown airport reaches 10,000 passenger milestone

Jul 26, 2012
Joanna Richards/WRVO

Watertown International Airport swapped its 9-seater flights to Albany for 44-seater flights to Chicago back in November. So far, passengers and officials seem to agree it's been a big success.

Northern New York crash kills six

Jul 20, 2012
Joanna Richards / WRVO

Six people died Thursday in a crash with a tractor-trailer on Route 11 in the town of Antwerp, in Jefferson County.

Dry weather threatens hay, corn crops

Jul 18, 2012

The hot, dry weather is taking a toll on crops in the region. Scattered heavy rains have brought some relief to some areas, but overall, production of field crops like hay and corn is suffering. In the North Country, it's been decades since the area experienced a summer so dry.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is traveling around New York making her case for Democratic economic policies. Thursday she did so at a boat manufacturing facility in Cape Vincent.

Earlier this year, the American Lung Association unveiled an unpleasant surprise for Jefferson County residents. In a report on air quality across the country, the association gave the rural north country county a grade of "F" for ozone pollution, commonly known as smog. 

Army worms invade Jefferson County farms

Jun 30, 2012

A pest has invaded farm fields throughout Jefferson County. Army worms – actually caterpillars that transform into moths – migrate up from the south every year to Northern New York. But this year a major outbreak of the worms is causing a widespread threat to crops, and big financial losses to some farmers. 

Many rural school districts rely heavily on state aid because of a relative lack of property wealth in their regions, so the past few years of deep state aid cuts have hit them hard. Rural districts also have experienced declining enrollments that have helped dull the pain. But two school districts in southern Jefferson County say the decline in their student populations isn't keeping pace with the rapid reductions from the state that make up most of their budgets.

A female Sheriff's deputy has filed a $50 million lawsuit against the Jefferson County department, over racy photos she says were taken of her as part of an online pedophile investigation. The lawsuit is about to proceed to the next phase, and the deputy and her lawyer are calling for an independent investigation.

A female sheriff's deputy in Jefferson County filed a $50 million state Supreme Court lawsuit against the department, its leadership and a detective Monday, claiming a male detective took topless photos of her in 2006, saying they were for use in an online pedophile investigation. The suit claims the deputy never learned how the photos were used and the detective failed to return them when she asked for them. 

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