North Country

8:57am

Wed July 10, 2013
The Upstate Economy

Is Plattsburgh Montreal's suburb?

Plattsburgh, N.Y. is just over an hour's drive from Montreal.
adirondacknorthway.com

Jonathan Slater teaches communications at SUNY Plattsburgh. It’s the end of the work day, and he’s headed out to his car to go home.

But Slater’s commute involves an international border. He lives on the south shore of Montreal, and commutes to Plattsburgh every day.

"Next stop is the border – and that should take no more than a minute or two, and then home to an evening with my daughter," Slater says as he packs the trunk of his car and drives off.  

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2:38am

Tue July 9, 2013
Regional Coverage

Protesters pressure Watertown Walmart on animal welfare

Crystal Gordon and Jeni Haines, animal welfare activists with the L.A.-based Mercy For Animals, demonstrate outside Watertown's Walmart store Monday morning.
Joanna Richards WRVO

Animal welfare demonstrators caught motorists' and shoppers' attention Monday morning along Watertown's busy Arsenal Street. A giant balloon showed a bruised and wounded pig confined to a tiny metal crate, and two activists held a sign reading, “Walmart tortures pigs” on the grassy median in front of Watertown's Walmart store.

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12:44am

Tue July 9, 2013
Regional Coverage

Fort Drum civilian worker furloughs begin

Fort Drum Garrison Commander Colonel Gary Rosenberg said soldiers and their family members, the post's civilian workforce, and and the community surrounding Fort Drum all will feel the effects of mandatory employee furloughs over the next 11 weeks.
Joanna Richards/WRVO

Civilian employee furloughs start at Fort Drum this week, as part of the federal budget cuts known as sequestration. Non-uniformed workers face one mandatory unpaid day off each week for 11 weeks. About 1,800 workers – and many services on post – are affected.

Uniformed members of the military are exempt from the furloughs, but that doesn't mean they won't be affected by them.

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2:17am

Fri June 28, 2013
Regional Coverage

North Country's economy can survive troop cut at Fort Drum, community leaders say

Fort Drum soldiers mark the departure of the 10th Sustainment Brigade for an Afghanistan deployment in October 2011.
Credit Joanna Richards/WRVO

When the Army announced earlier this week that Fort Drum would lose 1,500 soldiers as part of a plan to reduce troops across the force, north country community leaders started trying to figure out what the impact would be.

They seem to agree that Fort Drum escaped this round of personnel cuts relatively unscathed.

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10:28am

Thu June 27, 2013
Regional Coverage

A behind-the-scenes look at Fort Drum soldier training

Watertown City Manager Sharon Addison speaks with a soldier over a lunch of MREs - meals ready-to-eat.
Joanna Richards/WRVO

In the communities surrounding Fort Drum, soldiers in uniform are a common sight: they're in the grocery store with their families, standing in line at the post office, or having a beer with friends after work. But for many of the area's civilians, what soldiers do on post remains something of a mystery. An annual event at Fort Drum aims to fix that.

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9:19pm

Tue June 25, 2013
Regional Coverage

Fort Drum to lose 1,500 troops under Army plan

A homecoming ceremony at Fort Drum.
Credit NCPR File Photo

The Army announced Tuesday that Fort Drum will lose about 1,500 soldiers over the next four years as part of an overall reduction in troops across the Army. 

The Army had said the post could lose as many as 8,000 soldiers – or gain as many as 3,000 – under the planned troop reduction and reorganization as the Afghanistan war winds down.

Democratic Congressman Bill Owens, of Plattsburgh, said the news of the 1,500-soldier loss gave him a sense of relief, since the cuts could have been much deeper.

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8:46am

Wed June 5, 2013
Regional Coverage

Old coal plant on Fort Drum reopens as biomass facility

ReEnergy Chief Executive Officer Larry Richardson speaks during the grand opening of the company's new biomass plant on Fort Drum.
Joanna Richards WRVO

A once-idled coal plant on Fort Drum has been given new life. ReEnergy Black River is creating dozens of new jobs in the North Country – while maintaining a focus on the environment.

State and local officials gathered recently at the facility to celebrate its grand opening.

Over the past year and a half, New York-based company ReEnergy Holdings has retrofitted the plant on Fort Drum to burn biomass instead of coal. Its primary fuel will be wood chips, created from the waste of the nearby logging industry on the Tug Hill Plateau and southwestern Adirondacks.

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9:09am

Fri May 24, 2013
Agriculture

Upstate farmers get innovative to access major food markets

Eric Andrus of Ferrisbrug, Vt. working on the "Ceres," the Vermont Sail Freight Project.
Sarah Harris/Innovation Trail

Most of the time, Eric Andrus is a beef and rice farmer. But lately, he’s learning to be a boat builder. On this day, he’s in the barn, sanding the hull of a big wooden barge.

“We’re about to apply the second layer of plywood,” Andrus says.

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8:34am

Sat May 18, 2013
Environment

Why low Lake Ontario levels mean high St. Lawrence levels

Iroquois Dam.
Photo courtesy New York Power Authority

For quite some time, the Great Lakes -- from Superior to Ontario -- have been at historically low water levels. So many people were surprised  this week that regulators are lowering the gates at the Iroquois Dam near Ogdensburg because the St. Lawrence River is too high.

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9:20am

Thu May 16, 2013
Agriculture

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

Originally published on Thu May 16, 2013 5:58 am

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

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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8:46am

Wed May 15, 2013
Energy

Seven years of spinning turbines have brought windfall to Lewis County communities

The Maple Ridge Wind Farm has brought millions of dollars to local governments in Lewis County - and a big change of scenery for residents.
Credit Iberdrola Renewables

Wind farms are a touchy subject in the North Country. As the town of Cape Vincent wrestles with a potential project, in neighboring Lewis County another wind farm has been operating for seven years. The Maple Ridge Wind Farm has brought some big changes to its community.   

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7:11am

Thu May 9, 2013
The Upstate Economy

National Grid power upgrade grant helps Jefferson County dairy farm expand

John Ferry, co-owner of Milk Street Dairy in Tylerville, in Jefferson County, shows off his new dairy barn.
Credit 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.  

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11:14pm

Mon May 6, 2013
Regional Coverage

Fort Drum's frequent deployments expected “til the end” in Afghanistan

It's a busy time for Fort Drum, near Watertown. Even as the Army prepares to leave Afghanistan, the post has parts of two brigades deployed. Its aviation unit is about to ship off for a nine-month tour. And the 10th Mountain Division is expecting more orders from the Pentagon soon.  

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8:47am

Mon May 6, 2013
Regional Coverage

North Country news giant John Johnson Jr. steps down from Watertown Daily-Times

John Johnson Jr. looks through some clippings from the Watertown Daily Times's archive Wednesday at the newspaper's offices in Watertown.
Credit Joanna Richards

After a long career devoted to documenting – and shaping – North Country life, John Johnson Jr. is far from calling it quits. But he is stepping down from daily oversight at the Watertown Daily Times and its parent company, Johnson Newspapers, helping to make way for a new generation of family leadership.  

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6:58am

Mon April 29, 2013
Regional Coverage

Community comes out to support Fort Drum as Army reorganizes

State Sen. Patty Ritchie speaks in support of Fort Drum at a community listening session hosted by the Army Thursday at Case Middle School in Watertown.
Credit Joanna Richards / WRVO

About 200 community members turned up in a school auditorium in Watertown Thursday night in a showing of regional support for Fort Drum. The event was billed as a “listening session” for the Army, to inform a process of personnel cutbacks and reorganization currently affecting military installations around the country.  

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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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4:06pm

Wed April 24, 2013
Energy

Army bases' land is resource for generating energy

Fort Drum sits on more that 107,000 acres in northern New York.
U.S. Army

The U.S. military is the largest consumer of energy in the federal government. But it also has a tremendous resource for generating its own energy: all the land bases sit on.

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8:40am

Tue April 16, 2013
The Upstate Economy

North Country economic council gets crash course on Fort Drum's impact

Dougtone Creative Commons License

The North Country Regional Economic Development Council, or REDC, held its most recent meeting at Fort Drum last week. The idea was to give members from the region's seven counties greater insight into how the Army post interacts with the local economy. The council also took steps to implement a new program for water and sewer project infrastructure.  

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5:40am

Sun March 31, 2013
Arts

North Country Arts Council brings out kids' creativity

An instructor leads a workshop on card making during a day of children's art activities at the North Country Arts Council's studio in Watertown.
Credit Joanna Richards

The North Country Arts Council has been a growing force for cultural activity in the Watertown area since its inception in 2009. The group aims to spotlight the work of regional artists, but it also hopes to draw more community members into arts activities too. Over the schools' winter break this year, the organization offered a day full of different art workshops for kids at its home on Public Square. 

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9:21am

Fri March 29, 2013
Energy

Vermont, New York weigh in on proposed natural gas pipeline

People line up to testify before the Vermont Public Service Board.
Credit Sarah Harris/Innovation Trail

People packed into the high school auditorium in Hinesburg, Vt. last week, to voice their opinions on a proposed natural gas pipeline before the Vermont Public Service Board.

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2:51am

Fri March 8, 2013
Regional Coverage

Watertown City Council tries to ban roommates – but planning officials say measure is unenforceable

Watertown mayor Jeff Graham voted against making changes to the city's zoning code that essentially aimed to ban roommates.
Credit City of Watertown

The Watertown City Council has received a lot of pushback and even ridicule in the media recently for passing what's being referred to as a “roommate ban.” Last month, in response to a neighbor dispute, the City Council removed language from the zoning code that allowed the renting out of rooms in single-family homes. But city planning officials say the regulatory change is completely unenforceable.

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9:17am

Wed March 6, 2013
Regional Coverage

Women learn art of wood splitting at hands-on workshop

WRVO reporter Joanna Richards tries her hand at wood splitting at a workshop especially for women in Colton, St. Lawrence County.
Credit Joanna Richards

Our reporter, Joanna Richards, is a city girl. But since she moved to the north country four years ago, she's been boning up on the traditions and culture of rural life. She had a chance recently for a bit of North Country skill building, in a workshop on wood splitting especially for women. Joanna tells the story of her lesson.

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8:47am

Thu February 28, 2013
The Upstate Economy

Federal sequester means deep cuts at Fort Drum, impact on regional economy

U.S. Army

The federal government's across-the-board spending cuts known as the sequester are set to kick in Friday, barring an agreement between Congress and the president. That means a big impact for defense spending, including for Fort Drum, an important regional economic driver.  

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9:00am

Thu February 21, 2013
Education

SUNY Adirondack, BOCES partner on high school program

SUNY Adirondack in Queensbury and the Board of Cooperative Educational Services, or BOCES, serving the surrounding counties are partnering on a new science and technology program for high school students.

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5:17am

Tue February 19, 2013
Energy

Vermont - New York natural gas pipeline stirs debate

Hinesburg, VT residents discuss pipeline routes with VT Gas representatives at a public meeting last month.
Sarah Harris/Innovation Trail

At a public meeting in Hinesburg, Vt. last month, residents crowded into the town hall to ask questions about a natural gas pipeline that might be going through their community.  

Mark Ames wasn’t too happy. "I’m not interested in having a gas line either through in front of my house, 20 feet in front of my house, or behind my house, through my fields," he said.

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9:55am

Fri February 8, 2013
Regional Coverage

Businesses bypassed by new I-81 connector road have mixed reactions

Will Farr, of Farr Auto Sales, says the new connector road has alleviated traffic along Route 342 - and that helps customers get in and out of his lot more efficiently.
Credit Joanna Richards

Until recently, the only way to drive between Route 11 and Interstate 81 near Fort Drum was a two-lane road, Route 342. As the Army base grew, local businesses flocked there to serve the increasing traffic. But the state built an $87 million bypass to ease traffic and give military vehicles a direct route to Fort Drum’s main gate. I-781, as it’s known, opened last December. Local shop owners have had mixed reactions to the new road.

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11:02am

Tue February 5, 2013
Regional Coverage

New York's small gun retailers have to adjust to new gun laws

Brian Sherwood with his personal gun collection.
Credit Sarah Harris/Innovation Trail

If you’re buying a gun, chances are you can find what you want at big box stores like Gander Mountain, Dicks, and Walmart. But New York state is also home to over 1,800 small gun retailers, who are trying to adjust to the state¿s new gun laws.

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11:27pm

Sun February 3, 2013
Education

Russell legislation would redistribute school aid to help poorer districts

Democratic Assemblywoman Addie Russell, of Theresa, thinks the current state school aid formula is broken, benefiting wealthier districts at the expense of poorer ones. She says legislation she's introduced would make the formula more equitable.

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5:53am

Sat February 2, 2013
The Upstate Economy

North Country sustainability plan considers environment, economy

The plan was unveiled at the Wild Center in Tupper Lake last week.
Credit Sarah Harris/Innovation Trail

The North Country Sustainability Plan was unveiled last week. It tackles energy, land use, transportation and water and waste management across seven counties.The Adirondack North Country Association, Ecology and Environment Inc., and Essex County spent much of the past year compiling the plan. They enlisted the help of another 200 people from around the region for the working groups.

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4:03am

Wed January 30, 2013
Regional Coverage

Owens: Fort Drum “in good shape” as Army considers cutbacks

The U.S. military is in the process of cutting almost half a trillion dollars from its budget over ten years. The Pentagon says the cuts will lead to a more agile force with a new strategic mission. A new Army report weighs alternatives for restructuring that could affect Fort Drum. Under one scenario, the post could see an increase of 3,000 soldiers, but under another, it could lose up to 8,000 soldiers and 15 percent of its civilian workforce.

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