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North Country News

Plattsburgh International Airport new concourse
Pat Bradley/WAMC

On Sunday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a travel advisory recommending residents of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut refrain from non-essential domestic travel for two weeks because of the high transmission of the coronavirus in the area. Days later, Spirit Airlines said it was suspending all flights to and from those states including airports at Niagara Falls and Plattsburgh.  Officials in New York’s North Country say the temporary loss of flights is not a surprise.

Plattsburgh’s mayor is imposing a citywide curfew in an effort to get more people to comply with social distancing guidelines amid the coronavirus pandemic.

U.S. Canada border crossing at Champlain-LaColle
WAMC/Pat Bradley

Canada says the Trump administration had been considering a proposal to put troops at the U.S.-Canada border amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Plattsburgh City Hall

Plattsburgh’s mayor gave an update on the city’s preparedness for the coronavirus on Thursday. The city council later heard reports from police and fire chiefs on pandemic readiness.

New York Congresswoman Elise Stefanik wants the federal government to protect the businesses and workers in her district as debate continues over a pandemic rescue bill in the Senate. The 21st District Republican also wants rural medical facilities assured that they will receive the necessary equipment to keep their personnel safe as the coronavirus spreads from urban areas to her rural district.

It’s an uncertain time after New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that all bars and restaurants must close except for takeout business for the duration of the coronavirus crisis. In northern New York, Plattsburgh’s bars and restaurants are now finding new ways to do business.

U.S. Canada border crossing at Champlain-LaColle
WAMC/Pat Bradley

President Trump announced via Twitter Wednesday morning that the U.S.-Canada border will be closed to all except essential travel.  While the move was not unexpected by border interests in northern New York, they want clarification regarding some provisions.

The Clinton County Health Department Friday night reported the third case of COVID-19 in New York’s north-easternmost county.

The Plattsburgh Common Council’s Finance and Budget Committee discussed the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the city’s budget Thursday and what potential long-term planning they should begin considering.

The House approved legislation early Saturday to provide relief from the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. The Senate still must vote on the package. It includes provisions for free testing and family leave. Republican Congresswoman Elise Stefanik of New York 21st District was among the bipartisan supporters of the bill.  WAMC North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley spoke to her about the pandemic’s impacts.

North Country Chamber President Garry Douglas discusses implications of coronavirus pandemic
Pat Bradley/WAMC

The North Country Chamber of Commerce discussed concerns about the coronavirus and its impact on the business community this afternoon.  Concerns have spiked after the premier of Quebec announced advisory measures that would restrict cross border trade and tourism.

Plattsburgh Mayor Colin Read
Colin Read for Mayor/Facebook

Plattsburgh Mayor Colin Read is now holding weekly press conferences and on Thursday planned to update city residents on downtown redevelopment progress.  But the conversation was overshadowed by concerns about the coronavirus.  There have been no positive tests for the virus in Clinton or Essex counties as of Friday. Read issued a joint executive order with Saranac Lake’s mayor detailing their response plans to the pandemic.  Mayor Read, a Democrat, tells WAMC North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley the goal is to implement the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations for social distancing.

Miles N. Davis
Miles N. Davis For Plattsburgh / Facebook

The youngest person running for mayor of Plattsburgh has dropped out of the race.

Senator Betty Little
NYS Senate

Republican New York state Senator Betty Little, who has been in the state legislature since 1995, is in her final months in Albany. Little, of northern New York’s 45th district, is retiring from the Senate after nine terms. But there is plenty of work to do before lawmakers leave in June, including the state budget due in just over three weeks. Little spoke with WAMC’s North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley about some of her remaining priorities.

COVID-19 Diagram
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Northern New York and Vermont officials provided updates Thursday on coronavirus response preparedness.

From left: Assemblymen Dan Stec and D. Billy Jones with Senator Betty Little at the North Country Chamber annual legislative breakfast
Pat Bradley/WAMC

The North Country Chamber recently held its annual Legislative Breakfast, bringing in the region’s New York state representatives in Albany to report on actions taken over the past year and forecasts for the region as this session continues.  WAMC North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley was there.

Chris Rosenquest
Photo provided by Chris Rosenquest

Clinton County legislator Chris Rosenquest represents Area 9 — the northeast portion of the city of Plattsburgh. The Democrat has been in the legislature since 2016 and was just reelected. But last week he kicked off a bid for mayor of Plattsburgh.  He tells WAMC North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley several factors led to his decision.

Republican Elise Stefanik is in her third term representing New York’s 21st Congressional District. She spoke Tuesday afternoon with North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley about her support of President Donald Trump, New York's Green Light Law and her campaign for reelection against Democrat Tedra Cobb. 

Lake Placid Mayor Craig Randall
Village of Lake Placid

Lake Placid is a popular tourist location, both for its Olympic legacy and its location in the central Adirondacks.  The popularity of AirBnB and other short-term rental options allowing local homeowners to rent their properties is creating some challenges for the village, including complaints from some residents that unregistered hotels are being operated in residential areas. Village Mayor Craig Randall tells WAMC North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley the Town of North Elba and Lake Placid have drafted a new short-term rental law and will hold a public hearing on it Tuesday evening.

Chris Rosenquest
Photo provided by Chris Rosenquest

A fifth candidate — and fourth Democrat — is running for mayor of Plattsburgh.

Bombardier logo embedded in flooring at Plattsburgh plant
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Canadian-based Bombardier announced this week that France-based Alstom has agreed to buy its transportation rail division.  It’s hoped that the multibillion dollar deal could mean more business for the Plattsburgh rail manufacturing plant.

1980 Winter Olympic skaters reunite in Lake Placid
Pat Bradley/WAMC

As the village continues to mark the 40th anniversary of the 1980 Olympics, skaters are back in Lake Placid to celebrate. They met with media Tuesday morning and then were honored in the Herb Brooks Arena.

Republican Scott Beebie announces his candidacy for mayor of Plattsburgh
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Two Democrats are challenging Plattsburgh Mayor Colin Read, forcing a primary in the race for mayor. On Thursday a fourth candidate – a Republican - announced his own run for the city’s top seat.

Lake Placid is celebrating the 40th anniversary of the 1980 Winter Olympics.  A number of athletes who competed are returning to the village to reminisce and reacquaint with residents who helped organize or volunteered during the games.  Three people who worked behind the scenes during the games spoke with WAMC North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley this week.  Marina LaDuke was a press photographer — among those selected to travel to Greece on Air Force 2 to get the Olympic flame.

Republican Scott Beebie announces his candidacy for mayor of Plattsburgh
Pat Bradley/WAMC

A Republican has entered the race for mayor of Plattsburgh.

NEXUS lane on the far left as travelers return to the U.S. at the Champlain-Lacolle border crossing
Pat Bradley/WAMC

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is scheduled to meet with President Donald Trump on Thursday to hash out a dispute over the suspension of the state by the Department of Homeland Security from any Trusted Traveler Program. In Northern New York, the head of the regional chamber says a resolution is critical because there are severe implications for business and travelers who regularly cross the nearby border.

Lake Placid Olympic speed skating oval (file)
Pat Bradley/WAMC

It’s 1980 in Lake Placid. A cauldron is lit and from February 13th to the 24th more than a thousand athletes from 37 countries compete in 38 events during the second winter Olympics held in the village.  Eric Heiden makes Olympic history, winning five individual gold medals in speed skating. Ice skaters Scott Hamilton, Robin Cousins, Tai Babilonia and other team members entrance the world.  The Miracle on Ice stuns even the winning players.

Four decades later, Lake Placid and the Olympic Regional Development Authority are marking the 40th anniversary celebration of the 1980 games.  ORDA spokesman Jon Lundin tells WAMC North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley the celebrations will begin with a torch run and cauldron lighting.

Plattsburgh City Hall
WAMC Photo

Plans to rebuild a portion of a residential street have raised the ire of some Plattsburgh residents.  But city councilors believe they have reached a compromise that meets federal requirements and satisfies the concerns of homeowners.

MacDonough Monument and Plattsburgh City Hall
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Downtown Plattsburgh is being redeveloped through the state’s $10 million Downtown Redevelopment Initiative grant. The common council heard a presentation at a recent work session from consultants who are assessing how to brand the area of the city.

NYS DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos
Pat Bradley/WAMC

New York state will implement a ban on single use plastic bags on March 1st.  Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos was in Plattsburgh Friday to talk about the governor’s 2020 proposed budget.  He also discussed the upcoming single-use plastic bag ban, telling WAMC North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley the transition is already happening in some communities.