North Country News

Ice surrounds flooded homes at Underwood Mobile Home Park
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Following the rapid warming late last week, an ice jam formed in the Saranac River that led to flooding of the Underwood Estates Mobile Home community in Plattsburgh.  Plattsburgh Mayor Colin Read says while many homes could wind up uninhabitable, there may be no state or federal aid to turn to for help.

Clinton County Legislature Chair Harry McManus provides State of the County report
Pat Bradley/WAMC

The Plattsburgh North Country Chamber of Commerce hosted its annual State of the County, Town and City forum this morning to hear reports from municipal leaders.

The medical center in Plattsburgh held its annual advisory meeting Tuesday to provide an overview of accomplishments over the past year and offer targeted strategies for the coming year.  Key focus areas will be on behavioral health and substance abuse challenges facing the North Country.

Asylum seekers at Roxham Road
Plattsburgh Cares/Facebook

Since Donald Trump became president and announced his immigration and refugee policies, thousands have been finding their way to Roxham Road in Champlain, New York to cross into Canada.  Even in frigid weather, the stream of people hasn’t stopped.  Volunteers on both sides of the border are offering help and reassurance.

Frontier Town
Pat Bradley/WAMC

The Adirondack Park Agency has approved the New York state Department of Environmental Conservation’s plan to redevelop the former Frontier Town site in North Hudson.

Don Garrant
SUNY Plattsburgh

A former Clinton County legislator and SUNY Plattsburgh College Council Chair has died.

Following the rapid melting and quick freeze late last week, authorities across the region are dealing with ice jams and related flooding.  Authorities in Plattsburgh spent Monday evacuating a low-lying area in the city near the Saranac River.

Plattsburgh Mayor Pro Tem Peter Ensel
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Plattsburgh Common Councilors chose a mayor pro tem Thursday evening.  The vote had been postponed following testy exchanges and a deadlocked vote the week before.

Sample of 1998 Ice Storm thickness
NOAA/Public Domain

This week marks the 20th anniversary of the Ice Storm of 1998. It was the largest natural disaster to hit the North Country.   It brought down millions of trees across northern New York and southern Canada.  Power lines and transmission towers collapsed as layers of ice accumulated on the landscape during the multi-day storm.  Two emergency services officials who were in the command post talk about the storm.

Plattsburgh City Hall
WAMC Photo

The debate over a long-term Payment In Lieu Of Taxes agreement between the city and town of Plattsburgh has led to the city retaining outside lawyers to investigate.

Assemblyman D. Billy Jones announces funding to SPARCC with members (left to rigth) Connie Wille, John Bernardi, Jones, Michael Carpenter and Peter Trout
Pat Bradley/WAMC

New York State Assemblyman D. Billy Jones was in Plattsburgh this morning to announce funding for the Substance Abuse Prevention and Recovery Coalition of Clinton County and new legislation to motivate businesses to hire people in recovery.

Plattsburgh City Hall
WAMC Photo

The Plattsburgh City Council held its first meeting of the year last night. The organizational session was intended to choose a mayor pro-tem for the year.  But antagonisms between councilors flared and a final vote was postponed.

Assemblyman D. Billy Jones
Assemblyman D. Billy Jones

Now that Governor Andrew Cuomo has laid out his vision for the 2018 legislative session in Albany, lawmakers around the state are weighing in. New York Assemblyman D. Billy Jones represents the 115th district in northern New York, which includes Clinton and Franklin counties and four towns in St. Lawrence County.  The first-term Democrat says he is still mulling over the speech and wants to see how the proposals mesh with the governor’s upcoming budget proposal, which is due in two weeks.

Jon Forster presents parking report to Plattsburgh city residents
Pat Bradley/WAMC

As part of its $10 million state Downtown Revitalization Initiative award, the city of Plattsburgh plans to redevelop the Durkee street parking lot adjacent to the Saranac River. But a downtown food co-op is concerned that the plan to revamp parking will hurt business.

Donkey Hotey/Flickr

With the U.S. undergoing a massive overhaul of its tax code in 2018, ripple effects are being felt in local town halls across the Northeast before the New Year. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed an emergency executive order allowing localities across the state to collect  property taxes early, so people can claim the soon-to-disappear state and local tax deduction. Property owners have been flooding town and county offices to pay the taxes in advance.  But in some rural areas, going to the tax collector’s office may not be an option.

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

Earlier this month, Canadian officials approved a preclearance agreement that expands the ability of border agents from the U.S. and Canada to collaborate. It’s also expected to accelerate passenger rail crossings at the border.

Line of oil tankers along the Boreas River
Brendan Wiltse Photography / Adirondack Council

Last week Governor Andrew Cuomo announced New York state would take action to stop Iowa Pacific Holdings from storing rail cars in the Adirondacks. Along with issuing a cease and desist order and filing a petition with the federal Surface Transportation Board, the state asked the company that owns many of the cars to cancel its contract and remove them.  On Tuesday, Berkshire Hathaway agreed to that request.

Plattsburgh Mayor Colin Read 12-20-17
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Plattsburgh Mayor Colin Read opened this week’s Common Council meeting by acknowledging the acrimony following an open mic conversation he had with a city councilor that circulated over the past week. He apologized to city employees, but not for having private conversations.

Line of oil tankers along the Boreas River
Brendan Wiltse Photography / Adirondack Council

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has been outlining the priorities in his upcoming State of the State address.  This week he announced that his eighth proposal for 2018 is action to stop rail car storage in the Adirondack Park.

Plattsburgh City Hall
WAMC Photo

A funny thing happened at the latest Plattsburgh Common Council session: the meeting ended, but the mayor kept speaking into a live microphone. The inadvertent recording of the mayor and a city councilor is upsetting the city labor force and relations with the adjacent town.

Adirondack Snowshoe Fest logo
Adirondack Snowshoe Fest/Facebook

The Adirondack village of Saranac Lake got a taste of snowshoe racing early this year and now it has created its own event.

The New York state Department of Environmental Conservation released its plan for redevelopment of the former Frontier Town site in North Hudson earlier this month and held public information sessions on Monday.

Make-A-Wish Northeast New York logo
Make-A-Wish Northeast New York/Facebook

Make-A-Wish Northeast New York is in the midst of the 25th holiday season of its Adopt-A-Wish campaign at malls and businesses across the region. The effort raises funds to help youth with life-threatening medical conditions fulfill a dream.  The organization, which covers an area from the Capital Region to the Canadian border, is working to enhance its presence in the North Country.

The Essex County, New York Board of Supervisors has approved its 2018 budget.  The fiscal blueprint is the last of a five-year plan designed to bring the county under the tax cap and stabilize the fund balance.

Empire State Winter Games Executive Director Tait Wardlaw
Pat Bradley/WAMC

The Empire State Winter Games begin on February 1st.  Three days earlier, a torch run will begin in Manhattan.  That’s just one of the changes organizers outlined today in Lake Placid, which will host the competition.

University of Vermont Health Network Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital
WAMC

A lockdown at a hospital in Plattsburgh ended Friday after nearly five hours.

Main Street in Lake Placid overlooking Mirror Lake and the Adirondacks
Pat Bradley/WAMC

The Town of North Elba plans to establish “salt-free zones” on some roads along Mirror Lake in Lake Placid this winter.  It’s part of a years-long effort to reduce salt runoff into the Adirondack lake.

University of Vermont Health Network Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital
WAMC

The hospital in Plattsburgh is under lockdown following a bomb threat.

Line of oil tankers along the Boreas River
Brendan Wiltse Photography / Adirondack Council

Over the course of the year, controversy has flared over Iowa Pacific Railway and its subsidiary the Saratoga North Creek Railroad’s storage of rail cars on sidings in the Adirondacks.  The Adirondack Council is now asking billionaire philanthropist Warren Buffett to intervene.

Congresswoman Elise Stefanik meets with Canadian dignitaries and business leaders in Montreal
Office of Congresswoman Elise Stefanik

Northern New York Congresswoman Elise Stefanik was in Montreal Monday to talk with members of the Quebec and North Country Chambers of Commerce about NAFTA and cross-border trade.

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