Lucas Willard

Southern Adirondack Bureau Chief/Weekend Host

Lucas Willard graduated from the State University of New York at Fredonia in 2010 with a Bachelor of Science in Communications. He also attended the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies in 2010, where he studied audio and multimedia storytelling.  Prior to joining WAMC in 2011, Lucas worked with the Sound and Story Project of the Hudson Valley, the Big Shed Audio Documentary Podcast, the Albany Broadcasting Company, WDVL & WCVF-FM Fredonia, and WSUC-FM Cortland.  

Ways to Connect

Lucas Willard / WAMC

Canajoharie, in New York’s Mohawk Valley, is home to an enormous eyesore that once served as its economic engine. The shuttered Beech-Nut plant employed thousands throughout the 20th Century. Now, local officials are hoping to reclaim the site and redevelop it. A Washington, D.C.-based architectural organization took a tour today, with the hope that it can offer new ideas for the old factory. WAMC’s Southern Adirondack Bureau Chief Lucas Willard went along.

Alexander Torrenegra/Wikimedia Commons

Upstate New York will go another year without ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft. A bill to regulate the industry could not clear a legislative hurdle before the end of the 2016 legislative session.

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To the disappointment of thoroughbred racing advocates in Saratoga Springs, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and state lawmakers could not reach an agreement at the close of the legislative session to return the New York Racing Association to a private organization.The state will control the organization for another year.

Lucas Willard / WAMC

In 2012 Saratoga Springs adopted a measure to join the Complete Streets movement. Utilized in cities across the country, the concept promotes alternative forms of transportation and walkable communities.

Nancy Nugent / Twitter

A candidate for New York’s 49th State Senate district is withdrawing from the race.

Joe Vitollo / Twitter

Republican Joe Vitollo says he is running for Congress for his family’s sake.

Saratoga Springs residents will be able to get more information on a draft of the city’s Complete Streets Plan to make the city more bike and pedestrian friendly.

WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

Voluntary testing of the water systems in the Enlarged City School District of Middletown has turned up high lead levels in some areas.

The state capitol in Albany.
WAMC Photo by Dave Lucas

Hours before the close of the 2016 legislative session early Saturday morning, lawmakers and Governor Andrew Cuomo Friday reached an agreement on a 5-point ethics reform plan.

Just hours before Wednesday’s kickoff LiveNation concert at Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul warned of the stepped-up presence of law enforcement.

A bill designed to provide legal options to victims of water contamination in their communities has cleared both houses of the New York state legislature.

City of Saratoga Springs

The third-floor Music Hall at Saratoga Springs City Hall is a place where visitors from miles around still gather for a night on the dance floor.

What was originally built as a theatre in the 19th Century was remodeled in the 1930s into the space recognizable today. The space was reopened in 1993 and dubbed Saratoga Music Hall. 

The Lake George Alumni and Community Task Force is being put together to investigate construction work done at the high school in the 80s and 90s. What first began several months ago as a Facebook group of concerned residents is now forming into an organization that plans to investigate a possible link between the work and health effects described by former students and staff members.

Lucas Willard / WAMC

Saratoga Springs Mayor Joanne Yepsen says from an outside perspective, the city is doing great.

“We have all these wonderful venues, our economic vitality is strong, our summer looks promising, and new businesses are opening all the time and people are investing in Saratoga Springs, and it’s on the right track for so many reasons. But there are improvements that we can make within City Hall, and how the city functions and does business,” said Yepsen.

Lucas Willard / WAMC

About a month before the racing season begins, fans gathered in Saratoga Springs today, rejecting a re-privatization plan for the New York Racing Association pitched by Governor Andrew Cuomo. The group is advocating for a plan passed this afternoon by both houses of the state legislature.

Lucas Willard / WAMC

Months after the state of New York began responding to high levels of a toxic chemical in water supplies in Hoosick Falls, several steps have been taken, including the installation of filtration systems on the village water supply and private wells. But the people of Hoosick Falls are still worried.

Lucas Willard / WAMC

A Rensselaer County community with contaminated water sources has a new town supervisor.

Courtesy of Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies

An invasive insect that threatens native trees has been found in Saratoga County.

John Hendrickson, a special advisor to Governor Andrew Cuomo on the NYRA reorganization board and husband of Saratoga socialite Marylou Whitney, recently left his seat.

Two new locations in Vermont have been found to have PFOA and PFOS contamination.

Lucas Willard / WAMC

In a four-to-one vote Tuesday evening, the Saratoga Springs City Council approved a measure that would make lying or sitting on a sidewalk punishable by a fine between $50 and $100 and/or community service. 

Saratoga County

On May 19th, Rotterdam resident Sarah Dingley called 9-1-1 claiming she was being followed by a man who identified himself as the mayor of Schenectady.

Governor Andrew Cuomo
Office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo

In solidarity with Israel, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced an executive order against the BDS Movement.

Lucas Willard / WAMC

The Lake George Park Commission has released a recreation report for the lake that draws thousands of swimmers, paddlers, and boaters every year.

WAMC's Lucas Willard spoke with the Commission's Executive Director Dave Wick about what's happening on the Adirondack lake.

For more information visit: http://www.lgpc.state.ny.us/

Saint-Gobain's plant in Hoosick Falls
Lucas Willard

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has secured an agreement that holds companies Saint-Gobain and Honeywell responsible for the PFOA contamination in Hoosick Falls and surrounding area.

Lucas Willard / WAMC

The same day that musician Prince’s death was attributed to an overdose of fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, Director of National Drug Control Policy Michael Botticelli visited Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences to advocate for policies that he says will address addiction by increasing access to treatment and the overdose reversal drug naloxone, improve prescribing practices, and support law enforcement and prevention strategies.

Lucas Willard / WAMC

“You have shad, striped bass, Atlantic sturgeon, herring. Are all coming in from the ocean. They can’t reproduce in salt water. They have to have freshwater, tidal conditions like right here on the Hudson,” said Fran Dunwell, Hudson River Estuary Coordinator for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

Dunwell says many people who live and commute along the Hudson don’t realize the river itself serves as a sort-of highway for migrating fish.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has announced the temporary closure of its Lake George Boat Launch.

The Vietnam Memorial Moving Wall will remain in Halfmoon Town Park until June 6th.

Nancy Nugent / Twitter

Nancy Nugent said something that’s been a common theme in the race for New York’s 49th Senate District.

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