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North Country News

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.

Clinton County Legislature Chair Mark Henry gives 2020 State of the County address
Pat Bradley/WAMC

The chair of the Clinton County Legislature, Town of Plattsburgh Supervisor and Mayor of the city of Plattsburgh all delivered speeches about the state of their municipalities at a chamber-sponsored breakfast Thursday morning.

Officials at SUNY Plattsburgh are working to dispel rumors that a student has coronavirus.

Business Confidence Index poster
Pat Bradley/WAMC

The North Country Chamber of Commerce unveiled its annual Business Confidence Index Wednesday morning, showing that most businesses expect steady activity over the course of 2020.

New York Assemblyman D. Billy Jones meets with North Country law enforcement officials to discuss new bail reform laws
Pat Bradley/WAMC

New York state Assemblyman D. Billy Jones met with law enforcement officials in Plattsburgh Friday to discuss potential reforms to the newly implemented discovery and bail reforms.

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

A revised trade deal linking the U.S., Canada and Mexico was approved by the Senate Thursday, finalizing a years-long effort to update the pact.

Hudson Headwaters CEO Dr. Tucker Slingerland
Hudson Headwaters Health Network

Hudson Headwaters is a network of 19 community health centers across 5,600 square miles of the Adirondacks and northeastern New York state.  The facilities are located mostly in rural areas and services are coordinated with regional medical centers.  CEO Dr. Tucker Slingerland was in Plattsburgh recently and described to WAMC North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley the role of the network and a new initiative that will bring mobile health to small communities.

Corrections officers leaving command center to conduct field search for Dannemora escapees 6-10-15
Pat Bradley/WAMC

The prison break in northern New York captured the nation’s attention for three weeks in 2015 and spawned two screen adaptations – one of questionable accuracy on Lifetime and another based on the actual events and filmed on location for Showtime. But as one filmmaker watched what unfolded during and after Richard Matt’s and David Sweat’s escape from the maximum security prison at Dannemora, he felt corrections officers and other workers were negatively portrayed.  The documentary “We Stand Corrected: Dannemora“ chronicles the events and aftermath of the escape from the point of view of law enforcement and corrections personnel.

USGS earthquake map
U.S. Geological Survey

A minor earthquake was felt along the Canada-New York border early Monday morning.

North Country officials are mulling over New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s State of the State speech and the more than 300-page book that details the Democrat’s proposals.  As WAMC North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley reports, there are a number of policies that area officials are optimistic about.

The Clinton County Legislature holds its 2020 organizational meeting
Pat Bradley/WAMC

The Clinton County Legislature held its 2020 organizational meeting Monday evening. The panel swore in two new and three re-elected members and chose a new chair.

Ward 1 Democrat Ira Barbell attends his first Common Council meeting as a city councilor
Pat Bradley/WAMC

The Plattsburgh Common Council held its first meeting of 2020 on Thursday evening. There are two new councilors on the six-member panel and they immediately began work on the city’s agenda.

Assemblyman D. Billy Jones
Assemblyman D. Billy Jones

On January 8th the New York state legislature convenes and Governor Andrew Cuomo will deliver his State of the State address. The executive office has been releasing key proposals of the 2020 State of the State in advance of the Democratic governor’s speech.  115th District Assemblyman D. Billy Jones says he has been reviewing the proposals. The Democrat tells WAMC North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley he is taking a wait and see approach toward the governor’s proposals.

Roby Politi
Pat Bradley/WAMC

For more than two decades, Lake Placid businessman Robi Politi has been a fixture in local politics. He was a magistrate before serving as mayor of Lake Placid from 2001 to 2005.  Following a short break, he was elected supervisor of the Town of North Elba, which includes the Olympic village.  In 2019, Politi, a registered Republican who is known for his independent streak, announced he would not run for reelection and at the end of the year officially retired from politics.  He tells WAMC North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley that his goal throughout his 25 years in politics has been to serve the residents of the Lake Placid area.