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.  

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Saint-Gobain's plant in Hoosick Falls, NY
Lucas Willard

The Rensselaer County village of Hoosick Falls is considering a new draft of a proposed settlement between the companies deemed responsible for polluting local water supplies and village government. The Thursday evening meeting comes after a previous settlement agreement was tabled amid widespread opposition in January.

Lucas Willard / WAMC

Saratoga Springs residents will vote on a new city charter at a special election set for May. But a vote by the city council Tuesday night denies funding that would support the election.

Lucas Willard / WAMC

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is touring upstate New York Sunday.

Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, will tour Stratton Air National Guard Base in Schenectady County where she is scheduled to receive a briefing from officials with the New York National Guard and 109th Airlift Wing.

Lucas Willard / WAMC

The once-Albany-based band Hand Habits returned this week as part of a tour behind a new record titled Wildly Idle (Humble Before the Void), which was recently recognized by internet music publication Pitchfork.

Rivers features a 50,000-square foot gaming floor with hundreds of gleaming slot machines.
WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

The Rivers Casino in Schenectady opened February 8th to long lines and crowds of bettors. Despite some snowy weather during the opening week, bettors played more than $23 million at electronic slot machines and more than $4.2 million at table games.

Lucas Willard / WAMC


Officials with Emma Willard, a private boarding school in Troy, New York, spent time with reporters this afternoon to outline the school’s new policies on protecting students from sexual harassment and providing support to survivors of assault. The rollout of the new policies comes after allegations shook the school last year — and while campus sexual assault has become a national issue.

Lucas Willard / WAMC

A frank discussion on heroin and opioid addiction was held in Washington County Wedneday night. The forum, moderated by District Attorney Tony Jordan, focused not only on the prevalence of opioid addiction in the Washington, Saratoga, and Warren County regions, but also moving firsthand accounts.

Rob Allen / Twitter

The mayor of Hoosick Falls, a Rensselaer County village that has been dealing with contamination issues for the past year, is stepping down in a few weeks. David Borge will retire at the end of his second term.

Lucas Willard / WAMC

Some Hoosick Falls residents already exposed to chemicals in their drinking water may also have another form of pollutant leaking into their homes. Honeywell, under a consent order with the state, is conducting an investigation into the detection of chemicals at one of its former buildings in town. A meeting was held Tuesday night where company representatives spoke to residents.

Anti-abortion activists held rallies across the country yesterday, but many were met with counter-protestors.

National Weather Service

The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Warning, in effect until 7 p.m. Monday.

Some areas could see up to a foot or more of snow between Sunday and Monday.

U.S. Senators Bernie Sanders and Charles Schumer are calling for nationwide rallies later this month to show support for the Affordable Care Act and to oppose efforts by Republicans to repeal it.

New York State is requiring company Honeywell to test homes for volatile compounds near a former Hoosick Falls facility.

Lucas Willard / WAMC

EDIT 2/8/17: The text of this article has been updated to show that the Blackstone Group sold its stock in Momentive in August. The original audio of the story remains posted. 

A group of New York state lawmakers appeared in Saratoga County on Monday to meet with picketing union workers at a Waterford chemical plant.

Alexander Torrenegra/Wikimedia Commons

The New York State Senate is scheduled to consider a bill to bring ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft upstate on Monday.

Lucas Willard / WAMC

Saratoga Performing Arts Center has just announced the lineup for its summer season. The Philadelphia Orchestra, New York City Ballet, and Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center are all returning for their summer residencies this year.

As environmental and labor groups are urging New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to help end a strike at a Saratoga County chemical plant, lawmakers from across the state are preparing to rally with workers on Monday.

Saint-Gobain's plant in Hoosick Falls, NY
Lucas Willard

Two pollutants that have been at the center of water contamination cases in upstate New York have been listed as hazardous substances.

Lucas Willard / WAMC

First-term Troy Mayor Patrick Madden reflected on his first year in office and was optimistic about the future during his State of the City address last night.

Police body cameras
wikipedia.org

The Fulton County city of Gloversville this week began outfitting its police force with body cameras. The devices are becoming standard practice in many police departments as video technology becomes more prevalent in our everyday lives — and departments come under increasing scrutiny.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is testing for toxic chemicals in homes surrounding a former drycleaners site in Ballston Spa.

Lucas Willard / WAMC

Saratoga Springs Mayor Joanne Yepsen delivered her annual State of the City address Monday evening. But before diving into her speech, the second-term Democrat took time to comment on national politics.

Lucas Willard / WAMC

A Capital Region Congressman is thanking protestors who demonstrated over the weekend against President Donald Trump’s executive order banning immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries.

Scott Davidson/Flickr

Schenectady County Law enforcement officials have announced an expansion of the county-wide drug unit to address heroin and opioid-related crime and addiction.

Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival turns 40 this year.

The annual showcase of jazz, blues, rock and soul is held at Saratoga Performing Arts Center in Saratoga Springs.

The line-up will include several artists including Chaka Khan,  the Gipsy Kings, Jean-Luc Ponty, and Dee-Dee Bridgewater.

Bridgewater, a Grammy and Tony award-winner, performed at the first Saratoga Jazz Festival in 1978. In June she will visit the festival for the sixth time, shortly after the release of a new album and recognition as a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo
Office of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo:

 “I never thought I'd see the day when refugees, who have fled war-torn countries in search of a better life, would be turned away at our doorstep. We are a nation of bridges, not walls, and a great many of us still believe in the words 'give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses...'
 
"This is not who we are, and not who we should be.

"I have directed the Port Authority, the Department of State, and my Counsel's Office to jointly explore all legal options to assist anyone detained at New York airports, and ensure that their rights are protected.

"America is a nation of laws and those laws provide rights that must be respected and followed regardless of political ideology."    

WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

New York State has announced it will cover $700,000 in costs related to providing Newburgh and New Windsor residents with clean water.

Lucas Willard / WAMC

About one year ago, state health and environmental officials were alerted to and tasked with dealing with the discovery of the chemical PFOA in drinking water supplies in Southern Vermont. WAMC’s Southern Adirondack Bureau Chief Lucas Willard traveled to Bennington last night where the state’s health official revealed results of blood testing conducted over the last year.

Lucas Willard / WAMC

The Village of Canajoharie and Montgomery County are hoping to demolish certain structures at the shuttered Beech-Nut factory. An upcoming court date could move things forward as the officials await a half-million dollar grant.

Lucas Willard / WAMC

Renowned environmental activist Erin Brockovich visited Albany Tuesday to join advocates in calling attention to the prevalence of Legionnaires’ Disease in New York.

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