North Country News

Democrats in NY 21st District primary debate at MLPBS in Plattsburgh
Pat Bradley/WAMC

The five Democratic candidates running in New York’s 21st Congressional district primary were at the Mountain Lake PBS studio this week to tape a debate that will air tonight at 8.

Business Expo 2018
Pat Bradley/WAMC

The North Country Chamber of Commerce held its annual Business Expo this afternoon in Plattsburgh.

U.S. and Canadian flags
Flanker/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

Last week, the Trump Administration imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum from America's closest allies in Europe, Mexico and Canada.  President Trump has said the tariffs are needed to protect national security.  But officials in northern New York say the tariffs imposed on Canada will be more detrimental to the U.S. and are likely to hurt New York state’s economy.

Bitcoin,  a form of cryptocurrency
Pixabay/Public Domain

Northern New York is a prime location for Bitcoin miners and block chain technology because of its low electric rates.  But a number of communities have imposed moratoriums on new cryptocurrency operations because their use of electricity is so intensive.  With such a potential lucrative and emerging technology facing challenges, the Adirondack North Country Association is sponsoring a summit at SUNY Plattsburgh today to explore the new industry’s impacts and potential.

Facebook: Berkshire Museum

The Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield, Massachusetts is trying to move past the months-long controversy surrounding its art sale.

New litigation has been filed in the dispute over shared PILOT payments between the town and city of Plattsburgh.  The town has countersued the city and its supervisor is blaming the mayor for the dispute.

Plattsburgh Supervisor Michael Cashman
Michael Cashman for Plattsburgh

During last week’s Plattsburgh City Council meeting, one councilor quizzed the mayor about developments in a lawsuit between the city and the neighboring Town of Plattsburgh.  Town Supervisor Michael Cashman says the town is countersuing the city regarding a Payment in Lieu of Taxes dispute in which the city claims the town has not properly paid the city its share of Falcon Seaboard payments.

Charlie Smith salutes after laying a wreath commemorating WWI veterans
Pat Bradley/WAMC

It was a busy weekend of parades and commemorations across the region. At a crowded American Legion Post in Plattsburgh, people spent time on Memorial Day honoring those who have served in all the nation’s wars.

Plattsburgh Mayor Colin Read and Longueuil Mayor Sylvie Parent sign agreement as Assemblyman D. Billy Jones and Senator Betty Little watch
Pat Bradley/WAMC

The mayor of Quebec’s third-largest city was in Plattsburgh recently to re-sign a Declaration of Cooperation between the two cities.

Plattsburgh Mayor Colin Read
Colin Read for Mayor/Facebook

The city of Plattsburgh came under national and international scrutiny recently when city officials decided to place an 18-month moratorium on cryptocurrency operations.  The Bitcoin miners were using so much of the city’s cheap electricity that its quota was breached and residents’ rates went up.  Mayor Colin Read says a couple subcommittees are looking at various aspects related to the new industry.

Plattsburgh Common Council meeting 5-24-18
Pat Bradley/WAMC

The Plattsburgh Common Council held its regular weekly meeting Thursday evening. Councilors approved and then forwarded a five-year budget plan to the mayor. But they once again delayed action on a Code of Conduct.

Vermont DMV Police vehicle
Pat Bradley/WAMC

New York and Vermont are among 22 states participating in a “Border to Border” law enforcement campaign aimed at getting more people to wear their seatbelts.

Plattsburgh city attorney Dean Schneller reviews charter during special meeting of Common Council
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Plattsburgh Mayor Colin Read called a special meeting of the Common Council Friday to review their duties and responsibilities as outlined in the City Charter.  But some clauses appeared to become less clarified as the discussion progressed.

Adirondack Park sign
Pat Bradley/WAMC

The Adirondack Council is a key advocate before the New York state legislature and state agencies to ensure the protection of the wilderness and communities of the 6 million-acre Adirondack Park.  Among the current issues of current concern is a plan by the Adirondack Park Agency and the Department of Environmental Conservation to conduct joint public meetings regarding the Unit Management Plans for the High Peaks Wilderness and the Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest areas.  Council Spokesman John Sheehan says while his organization had encouraged joint meetings for non-controversial items, this is not what they intended.

Pat Bradley/WAMC

It is mud season in the Adirondack High Peaks, and state officials are urging hikers to protect trails from erosion.

Don Boyajian
Don Boyajian for Congress/Facebook

The Democratic primary race in New York’s 21st Congressional district narrowed again this week as Don Boyajian dropped out.  He has decided to instead run for a New York Assembly seat.

Assemblyman D. Billy Jones
Assemblyman D. Billy Jones

Last week, New Yorkers were shocked by allegations of sexual misconduct against then-Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.  During a stop in Plattsburgh Thursday, 115th District Assemblyman D. Billy Jones describes how he learned about the allegations against his fellow Democrat and his thoughts in the aftermath.

Plattsburgh City Hall
WAMC Photo

For the second time, Plattsburgh common councilors have tabled a proposal offered by the mayor that would establish a Code of Conduct for city leaders, department heads and employees.

Senior Planet in Plattsburgh
Pat Bradley/WAMC

New York state Assemblyman D. Billy Jones visited a senior technology program in Plattsburgh that serves rural residents of the region to discover how those who use it benefit from the service.

Adirondack overuse map
Adirondack Council

A review of parking areas along roads in key areas of the Adirondacks indicates substantial overuse of the centralized High Peaks area of the 6 million-acre park.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand at ANCA in Saranac Lake
Pat Bradley/WAMC

New York U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand was in Saranac Lake on Monday to promote legislation that would help small businesses transition to employee ownership.

Saranac Lake welcome sign
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Two festivals in our region have announced they are ending: Saranac Lake’s spring Daffest and Burlington’s First Night.  Both indicate weather is a key factor.

Mirror Lake in Lake Placid
Pat Bradley/WAMC

The Ausable River Association has issued its second annual report on Mirror Lake’s water quality.  It finds that the Adirondack lake continues to experience high levels of salt – a threat to aquatic life.

Plattsburgh City Hall
WAMC Photo

In July 2016, the city of Plattsburgh was awarded $10 million through New York state’s Downtown Redevelopment Initiative.  Projects are still being planned. One of the most controversial is changing the city’s main parking lot.  Councilors held a public comment session last week on 14 recommendations offered by a consultant.  But some downtown business owners are skeptical about the plans.

New York State Police are investigating a shooting outside a bar in northern New York over the weekend that led to the death of a man.

Allegiant aircraft arrives at the Plattsburgh International Airport
Pat Bradley/WAMC

On Sunday, “60 Minutes” aired a scathing segment on the low-cost carrier Allegiant Air. The airline flies out of the Plattsburgh and Stewart International Airports.  Allegiant has been flying out of the Plattsburgh International Airport for 11 years.  With the expose on the national news magazine, you might think  local officials would be worried about one of the major carriers.  But those overseeing operations there say while they were taken aback by the report, it doesn’t reflect what officials and passengers in Plattsburgh have experienced.

Officials celebrate groundbreaking for Frontier Town redevelopment
Thom Hallock/MLPBS

State and regional officials were in North Hudson, New York last week for a groundbreaking marking new development at the former Frontier Town theme park.

Saranac Lake welcome sign
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Saranac Lake and the regional tourism office are working to create a unique marketing brand for the village in the center of the Adirondacks.  A meeting is planned this evening to update residents on the effort.

Dr. David Levy
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Dr. David Levy has discovered 23 comets and is most famous for co-discovering Shoemaker-Levy 9.  That’s the comet that impacted Jupiter in July 1994, the first planetary impact by a comet ever observed by humans.  So you might think that Dr. Levy’s doctorate is in astronomy or one of the sciences.  But it’s not.  He received his Ph.D. from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem after completing his English Literature thesis: “The Sky in Early Modern English Literature: A Study of Allusions to Celestial Events in Elizabethan and Jacobean Writing, 1572-1620.”  The renowned astronomer was at SUNY Plattsburgh this week to give a talk on Poets and Astronomers.  Levy begins part two of his conversation with WAMC’s North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley citing his favorite quote from Shakespeare’s Henry VI.

Plattsburgh Police Chief Levi Ritter
City of Plattsburgh

Last Thursday during the Plattsburgh Common Council meeting, Mayor Colin Read announced the appointment of Levi Ritter as the city’s new police chief.  Ritter has been on the force for 14 years and began his new job Friday.  Chief Ritter tells WAMC’s North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley his desire to lead the department might be a bit of a cliché.