North Country News

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

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

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.

Plattsburgh Mayor Colin Read
Colin Read for Mayor/Facebook

Plattsburgh’s mayor recently reconvened a public safety council, asking it to find innovative solutions to 21st century challenges within the city’s budget constraints. Mayor Colin Read explains that the panel was originally created in January to search for a new police chief and review code enforcement.  With rural towns and cities facing challenges such as the opioid epidemic and related crimes, zombie properties and street safety, the mayor says it’s a good time to refocus on the panel’s work now that the city budget is complete.

NY 21 Congressional Forum 11-20-17
Zach Hirsch, North Country Public Radio

The candidates challenging Republican Congresswoman Elise Stefanik of New York’s 21st district participated in a forum last night in Plattsburgh.  WAMC’s North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley moderated and offers this report.

ALICE report cover
United Way

A new report on poverty issued by United Way takes a fresh look at who is living in poverty in the U.S.  The ALICE report was the focus of a forum at Mountain Lake PBS in Plattsburgh this week.

Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

A Clinton County legislator has lost a race for town supervisor by one vote.

Following two reported car-pedestrian accidents on campus already this semester, students and faculty at SUNY Plattsburgh held a safety forum recently to delve into where the dangerous intersections are and why pedestrians are at risk.

Valerie Plante
Valerie Plante/Projet Montreal/Facebook

Over the weekend, Montreal residents elected the first woman mayor of that city.

Ryan Leaf speaking at SUNY Plattsburgh
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Ryan Leaf is a former NFL quarterback. At 28 he quit professional football.  By 35 he was in prison for stealing painkillers.  Leaf says his addiction to opiates was based in part on his ego and narcissism.  He now travels the country to talk about addiction and recovery and was in Plattsburgh this week.

Clinton Community College President Ray DiPasquale (left) and Clarkson University President Tony Collins sign collaborative agreement
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Officials signed an agreement between Clinton Community College and Clarkson University this afternoon they say will enhance workforce training and education at the Institute for Advanced Manufacturing in Plattsburgh.

New York State Capitol

A Siena College poll released today showed New York voters oppose Proposition One on Tuesday’s ballot — the question over whether the state should hold a constitutional convention.  A recent debate in Plattsburgh focused on the “con-con.”

New York’s 10 Regional Economic Development Councils are presenting their annual reports to the state, including their priority projects. The documents are key in the annual competition that awards up to $150 million in capital funds and $75 million in Excelsior Tax Credits.  On Wednesday, the State Assessment Team was in Plattsburgh to hear the North Country Regional Economic Development Council report.

rail tanker cars
Protect the Adirondacks

The Saratoga and North Creek Railroad has brought the first tanker cars it plans to park on a siding in the Adirondacks.  Environmental groups opposing the plan got a boost this week when Governor Andrew Cuomo spoke against the idea.