North Country News

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.

Dr. David Levy
Pat Bradley/WAMC

In March 1993, astronomers Eugene and Carolyn Shoemaker and David Levy discovered a comet that was on a course to impact Jupiter.  Shoemaker-Levy 9 impacted the planet in July 1994 — the first planetary impact by a comet observed in human history.  Originally from Montreal, Dr. David Levy has hosted an astronomy camp in the Adirondacks for 15 years in conjunction with SUNY Plattsburgh and periodically visits the northern New York college campus.  While in Plattsburgh Monday, Levy talked with WAMC’s North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley about his comet discoveries.

10th Mountain Division placard
Pat Bradley/WAMC

The Army will be conducting nighttime training across northern New York this week.

Hawkins Hall on the SUNY Plattsburgh campus hosts the office of the campus president
Pat Bradley/WAMC

New York’s governor and legislature are touting progress in higher education funding in the just-passed state budget.  An overall investment of $7.6 billion according to the governor’s office includes money for the second phase of the Excelsior Free Tuition Program. It also includes a boost of $103 million in overall funding for higher education. But only $11 million of that is distributed to the 47 four-year SUNY campuses. In the second part of their interview, SUNY Plattsburgh President Dr. John Ettling tells WAMC’s North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley that translates to a status quo budget for his campus.

SUNY Plattsburgh President Dr. John Ettling
SUNY Plattsburgh

In February, the SUNY Plattsburgh campus was thrown into turmoil after a screenshot of a social media post that mentioned lynching and used the n-word was reposted to get the administration’s attention.  The campus noticed.  Students protested and held a vote of no confidence in the college president and the chief diversity officer.  Members of the community joined solidarity marches across the campus.  In late February, SUNY Plattsburgh President John Ettling distributed a letter to the campus community outlining a series of steps to address racial bias.  As Dr. Ettling updates WAMC’s North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley, he says it was important to create an action plan following those painful days on the campus.

U.S. China flags
lecs/Wikimedia Commons

As the war of words over tariffs between the U.S. and  China escalates, a group of students, alumni and faculty from McGill University have returned from Asia.  While the tariff controversy would appear to be a heated global topic, the group found that it took a backseat to other economic concerns.

2018 Hot Cities Banner
McGill Hot Cities 2018

For ten years students, faculty and alumni from McGill University in Montreal have undertaken an annual trip to areas of the globe considered fast-growing emerging economies.  This year, the group returned to the Far East.

Adirondack Park sign
Pat Bradley/WAMC

In February, Adirondack interests raised concerns about a proposal in Governor Andrew Cuomo’s budget that would shift how New York pays property taxes to local communities on lands it owns in the Adirondacks. A “Forever Taxable” Coalition formed to oppose a cap and Payment in Lieu of Taxes system in the Adirondacks and Catskills. The effort was successful and the idea was removed from the final budget. But concerns remain that such a proposal could re-appear in the future.

Whiteface Mountain
Pat Bradley/WAMC

A college senior died while skiing in New York's Adirondack Mountains over the weekend.

Oxycodone pills
Be.Futureproof/Flickr

Officials in the city of Plattsburgh have joined a growing list of municipalities planning to sue pharmaceutical companies over the opioid crisis.

This week, New York Congresswoman Elise Stefanik led a delegation of North Country officials to Ottawa, Canada to discuss economic development ties. Following her meetings with Canadian officials, the 21st District Republican spoke with WAMC’s North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley about a variety of federal issues. The Republican recently invited President Trump to visit Fort Drum, a large military base in her district. But Stefanik reports there’s been no response yet from the White House.

Congresswoman Elise Stefanik with North Country delegation and Canadian dignitaries in Ottawa
Office of Congresswoman Elise Stefanik

New York Congresswoman Elise Stefanik led a delegation from the North Country to Ottawa, Canada Monday to discuss cross-border economic concerns.

New South Wales Deputy Premier John Barilaro at the Strand Theatre in Plattsburgh
Pat Bradley/WAMC

The Deputy Premier of New South Wales, Australia was in Plattsburgh today meeting with local officials and touring facilities that have benefitted from Regional Economic Development Council funding.

Assemblyman D. Billy Jones
Assemblyman D. Billy Jones

The New York state Legislature is nearing the April 1st deadline to complete its budget. North Country Assemblyman D. Billy Jones, a 115th District Democrat who represents Clinton, Franklin and part of St. Lawrence counties talks about the ongoing negotiations in the Assembly.

Boreas Pond tract
Nature Conservancy

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has approved land classifications recommended by the Adirondack Park Agency for nearly 65,000 acres of land.  The move finalizes the creation of one of the largest wilderness areas in the eastern U.S.

Boreas Pond tract
Nature Conservancy

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday approved the Adirondack Park Agency’s classifications for the state’s most recent land acquisitions in the Adirondacks.

Adirondack Park sign
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Two weeks ago, Adirondack interests raised concerns about an item Governor Andrew Cuomo’s budget that would shift how New York pays property taxes to local communities on lands it owns in the Adirondacks.  Now, a “Forever Taxable” Coalition has been formed to oppose a Payment in Lieu of Taxes system in the Adirondacks and Catskills.

Councilor Mike Kelly (in striped vest) leads meeting of the Plattsburgh Common Council Finance and Budget Committee on 3/15/18
Pat Bradley/WAMC

The Plattsburgh Common Council’s Finance and Budget Committee provided an overview of the city’s finances and an update on its five-year budget plan during its monthly meeting Thursday night.

Plattsburgh City Council considers cryptocurrency moratorium
Pat Bradley/WAMC

The Common Council chambers were packed Thursday evening as Plattsburgh leaders considered a moratorium on new cryptocurrency operations in the northern New York city.

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