North Country News

Plattsburgh City Hall
WAMC/Pat Bradley

The city of Plattsburgh had planned to change its insurance benefit program for retirees in order to save a half million dollars. However the plan enraged a number of retirees who filed suit. On Monday, days before a final city budget is due, a restraining order was issued blocking implementation of the new insurance plan.

Photo of Essex County Government Center
Pat Bradley/WAMC

County legislatures across the region are beginning their 2016 sessions.  In northern New York, boards in Clinton and Essex County are seeing changes.

Photo of Essex County logo
Pat Bradley/WAMC

The Essex County Board of Supervisors decided not to reappoint the current county manager at their meeting Monday – because the county manager was only mid-way through his contracted term. 

Photo of Clinton Correctional
Pat Bradley/WAMC

The morning of June 6, 2015 was to become historic for the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, New York.  The facility had never had an escape occur from its maximum security wing – until that day. As part of our series on the biggest stories of 2015, WAMC’s North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley looks back at the 23-day manhunt and its aftermath.

This is a picture of an emergency dispatcher at work

Vermont State Police say a man wearing camouflage and carrying a gun pulled over a driver Friday night but didn't identify himself as a police officer.

file picture of skiing in Vermont
John Atkinson/Ski Vermont

A pilot program in Vermont is trying to keep backcountry skiers from illegally cutting down trees to open up trails.

Painting of Christopher Columbus by Sebastiano del Piombo
Wikimedia/Public Domain

Although most people have Christmas on the mind this week, a group of sixth grade students in Plattsburgh are looking forward to next October. As WAMC’s North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley reports, they’re asking the city school board to change the name of Columbus Day.

Map of Remsen-Lake Placid travel corridor
NYS Department of Environmental Conservation

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation just completed its public comment period on proposed changes to the Remsen Lake Placid rail corridor. It’s a controversial plan to determine whether part or all of the rail corridor should be removed and redeveloped for recreational use.

Photo of Clinton Correctional
Pat Bradley/WAMC

The New York Inspector General spent much of Monday meeting with the only corrections officer charged in the aftermath of the escape from the Clinton Correctional facility in June.

Photo of Joe Riccio
Village of Malone

The village of Malone, the county seat of Franklin County, is in the northern foothills of the Adirondacks about 12 miles south of the Canadian border.  The community recently elected and swore in a new mayor.   Democrat Joe Riccio had served as a village trustee for five years before taking the oath as mayor.  He tells WAMC’s North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley there are several ongoing initiatives that fit his goals.

Nicole Vaisey and Stephen Howells
St. Lawrence County Sheriff's Office


A man and woman involved in the kidnapping and sexual abuse of two Amish girls in northern New York face sentencing in federal court where prosecutors say they should never leave prison.

NYSARC "It Matters To Me" logo
NYS Advocacy and Resource Center

The New York State Advocacy and Resource Center has started a statewide campaign called “It Matters To Me” to highlight concerns those with developmental disabilities have regarding looming cuts to programs and services.

Photo of Josh Clement and Diane Germano
Mountain Lake PBS

She is a 44-year-old with a full-time career in public television.  She was healthy – she thought.  But early this year she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Diane Germano   is fighting back, enduring chemotherapy and returning to work, where she teamed with a videographer who had lost his stepmother to ovarian cancer to spread awareness about a disease that takes the lives of thousands of women every year. WAMC’s North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley kicks off our weeklong series on unsung heroes in our communities.

Wiki Commons

Economic development funding was announced for the 10 Regional Economic Development Councils across New York today.  Along with the $750 million in regular finding, three regions each received half a billion dollars.  As WAMC’s North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley reports, the northern part of the state missed out on the top awards and officials there hope it doesn’t compromise a key initiative for the region.

Photo of Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul inside the Strand Theatre
Pat Bradley/WAMC

With New York poised to award $1.5 billion in funding to three of seven competing regions later this week,  Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul was in Plattsburgh Monday to tour cultural and business venues and discuss economic development.

Photo of Icy Road
Pixabay/Public Domain

The Save Lake George Partnership is funding a program aimed at controlling the amount of road salt applied to highways in the Lake George watershed.

Picture of CP Rail Holiday Train
Canadian Pacific

The Canadian Pacific Holiday train made its way thru eastern New York over the weekend providing entertainment and donations to food pantries along the route.

Photo of former Assemblywoman Janet Duprey
NYS Assembly

Albany has been the subject of many headlines in recent weeks, with its past leaders in the midst of high-profile corruption trials. But the New York state Legislature is on recess until January, so members are working in their districts.  115th  Assembly district Republican Janet Duprey attended a recent forum on the heroin and drug addiction crisis in the North Country.  A member of the Assembly Minority Task Force on Heroin Addiction & Community Response, she told WAMC’s North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley that some progress is being made drafting legislation to deal with the statewide addiction crisis.

Photo of Essex County Government Center
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Essex County’s tentative budget was released Monday for review by the Board of Supervisors.  The county manager presented a spending plan with an 8 percent tax levy, well over the New York state cap of .73 percent.

mayors sign transportation agreement
Pat Bradley/WAMC

A delegation from a Montreal suburb got a look at the transportation manufacturing sector in Plattsburgh Monday and the mayors signed a mutual cooperation agreement.

As always, there are plenty of major issues for the New York state legislature to tackle when it returns to Albany in January. Republican state Senator Betty Little represents the 45th district, which stretches north from Queensbury to the Canadian border and west from the Vermont border into St. Lawrence County.  While in Plattsburgh this week, Senator Little discussed a number of issues with WAMC North Country  Bureau Chief Pat Bradley, including Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan’s decision not to hold a special session to act on a chief judge.

Photo of Shaheen R. Shaheen
New York State Police

The dog control officer in Tupper Lake has been arrested and charged with animal cruelty.

Picture of Heroin Forum logo
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Considered a scourge across the Northeast that doesn’t discriminate, heroin has wrecked many lives and become a public health crisis. Last night, a panel of experts and advocates discussed heroin and opioid addiction as part of a forum that will air later this week on Mountain Lake PBS in Plattsburgh.

Essex Chain Lakes Tract sign
WAMC/Pat Bradley

Adirondack Park Agency Commissioners approved a Unit Management Plan for the Essex Chain Lakes during their monthly meeting last week.  But some conservation groups say the plan violates state laws and regulations.

David Sweat during November 2015 Clinton County court appearance
Pat Bradley/WAMC

The convicted murderer who escaped from Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, New York in June, setting off a 23-day manhunt, was back in court today. David Sweat, who is already serving a life sentence for murder, returned for his second appearance in Clinton Country Court to plead guilty to charges related to the breakout. WAMC’s North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley was in court.

A prosecutor has concluded the shootings of two escaped killers in northern New York by their pursuers were justified.

Frank Siteman Photography/courtesy Adirondack Film Society / copyright © Frank Siteman Photography

Three decades after his death, Orson Welles remains one of the world’s best known filmmakers.  An actor, writer, director, and producer he is perhaps most remembered for Citizen Kane and his notorious radio play War of the Worlds.
A number of film retrospectives are occurring this year, the 100th anniversary of Welles’ birth. This weekend the Adirondack Film Society Screening Series is holding its “Celebration of Orson Welles” in Lake Placid.  The program will be introduced by Welles colleague and film producer Larry Jackson.  He tells WAMC’s North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley what it was like to work with the legendary filmmaker.

Pat Bradley/WAMC

In the wake of fierce debate over the implementation of the Common Core education standards in New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo appointed a task force to undertake a comprehensive review and present recommendations. WAMC North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley was in Lake Placid last night for one of three simultaneous public listening sessions.

Pat Bradley/WAMC

Veterans gathered at the oval on the former Plattsburgh Air Force Base this morning for an annual Veterans Day ceremony. 

Pat Bradley/WAMC

A diversity march was held Monday on the SUNY Plattsburgh campus in the wake of a racially sensitive cartoon published two weeks ago in the student newspaper.