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North Country News

Plattsburgh Close the Camps protester
Pat Bradley/WAMC

At noon on Tuesday, people came out in cities across the country and rallied near congressional representatives’ offices for a unified Close The Camps protest.  In Burlington, Vermont people thronged to Church Street to march to the offices of Senators Patrick Leahy and Bernie Sanders.  Across Lake Champlain, people gathered at the Plattsburgh Government Center lawn.  WAMC’s North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley was there.

New York State Police are investigating a fatal crash in northern New York involving a motorcycle and a deer.

Assemblyman D. Billy Jones
Assemblyman D. Billy Jones

New York state Assemblyman D. Billy Jones represents one of the northernmost districts in the state, the 115th. On the eastern border is Lake Champlain. As you travel west and south it includes parts of the Adirondacks and the rolling agricultural lands north to the Canadian border.  During a stop in Plattsburgh shortly after the legislature adjourned earlier this month, the Democrat said some good things were accomplished during the session for the North Country region. Jones also tells WAMC North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley there were a lot of things he disagreed with.

North Country REDC co-chairs James McKenna (left) and Dr. Ty Stone (center) with Governor Cuomo's Senior Advisor John Maggiore (right)
Pat Bradley/WAMC

The North Country Regional Economic Development Council met in Lake Placid today for one of its first fully open public meetings.  Following workgroup reports, the co-chairs offered a presentation on creating a Common Competitive Identity for the council’s seven-county region.

New York Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie visits Bombardier in Plattsburgh
Pat Bradley/WAMC

The Speaker of the state Assembly was in northern New York today to tour the Bombardier rail car manufacturing plant in Plattsburgh. Now that the legislative session is over, it was his first stop on a summer tour of the state.

File photo of Bombardier rail manufacturing plant in Plattsburgh
WAMC/Pat Bradley

Bombardier says it is opening a new rail car manufacturing plant in California and will shift some manufacturing underway in Plattsburgh, New York to the new facility.

Professor Janet Shideler
Pat Bradley/WAMC

In December, we interviewed a Siena College French professor who is investigating and preserving the heritage of French-Canadian workers in upstate New York. The “I Remember” project is cataloguing the migration of nearly one million miners, textile and other workers who moved south from Quebec.  Janet Shideler had earlier gathered stories and artifacts about immigrant workers in Cohoes and elsewhere in the Capital Region.  This month, she is in northern New York. She tells WAMC’s North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley she is fascinated by the breadth of stories they will digitize for the project.

Turner Bradford explains new Durkee Street development plan
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Less than a month after presenting revised Durkee Street redevelopment plans, the developer was back before the Plattsburgh Common Council with a new set of plans Thursday night.

Joyce Mitchell in courtroom with her lawyer during sentencing
Rob Fountain/Press Republican - pool photographer

The prison tailor who helped two killers escape from an upstate New York prison has been denied parole for a third time. The parole board decision released Thursday says Joyce Mitchell will remain behind bars for at least two more years.

Plattsburgh Mayor Colin Read announces lead agency decision
Pat Bradley/WAMC

The city of Plattsburgh is looking to annex 224 acres of land that it owns in the adjacent town.  The effort took a step forward recently when the New York state Department of Environmental Conservation granted the city’s request to be the lead agency for the property’s environmental review.

North Country Chamber's Business Expo 2019
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Every year, the North Country Chamber hosts a business expo, gathering representatives across industrial sectors in Plattsburgh to network and discuss issues.  During this year’s event in Plattsburgh, North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley asked exhibitors about cross-border trade and whether they had concerns about ratification of the USMCA — known as the new NAFTA.

2019 Mayor's Cup logo on a t-shirt
Pat Bradley/WAMC

The annual Mayor’s Cup Festival in Plattsburgh combines a sailing regatta with events downtown.  Organizers recently unveiled this year’s t-shirt design and announced plans for the 4th of July weekend festival.

Sara Armstrong
U.S. Chamber of Commerce

A number of U.S. and Canadian officials gathered recently in Plattsburgh for an event that highlighted cross border industrial and economic links.  U.S. Chamber of Commerce Vice President and Managing Director of Political Affairs and Federation Relations Sara Armstrong was a guest of Republican Congresswoman Elise Stefanik at the first ever Quebec-New York Transportation Equipment and Aerospace Rendezvous sponsored by the North Country Chamber of Commerce. Armstrong tells WAMC’s North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley that cross border trade is not just an important issue for business, but also for the American people.

Quebec Minister of International Relations and La Francophonie Nadine Girault at the North Country Chamber's Transportation Equipment and Aerospace Rendezvous
Pat Bradley/WAMC

The province of Quebec elected a new government last October and its new premier appointed 26 cabinet ministers. The new Quebec Minister of International Relations and La Francophonie Nadine Girault was in Plattsburgh recently to attend the first Quebec-New York Transportation Equipment and Aerospace Rendezvous sponsored by the North Country Chamber of Commerce. She spoke with WAMC’s North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley about her role as minister and the importance of cross-border trade between Quebec and New York.

Plattsburgh Mayor Colin Read
Colin Read for Mayor/Facebook

Plattsburgh, New York Mayor Colin Read has had a somewhat tumultuous first term. Protesters opposed to downtown redevelopment plans gather every Thursday during city council meetings outside City Hall.  There’s been a rocky relationship with the adjacent town after the city filed a lawsuit over a 1992 PILOT agreement.  Mayor Read is also attempting to annex 224 acres of town land. Early in his four-year term, Read and a city councilor were caught on tape making controversial comments and the mayor’s first budget eliminated four city departments.  
Despite the hurdles, last week Mayor Colin Read let it be known that he will run for a second four-year term next year.  The Democrat tells WAMC’s North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley that he hopes to stay in office until the city’s fiscal foundation is stable.

New York Congresswoman Elise Stefanik
Office of Congresswoman Elise Stefanik

On Friday, the North Country Chamber of Commerce hosted a Quebec-New York Aerospace/Transportation Equipment Rendezvous in Plattsburgh.  The event brought together representatives from industry and government including New York Congresswoman Elise Stefanik. The Republican, co-chair of the congressional Northern Border Caucus, was one of the keynote speakers.  The 21st District representative sat down with WAMC’s North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley to discuss a number of issues — including her reaction to Robert Mueller’s latest comments.

Plattsburgh City Hall
WAMC Photo

The Plattsburgh Common Council presented its five-year budget plan to the mayor Thursday evening.

Plattsburgh Mayor Colin Read
Colin Read for Mayor/Facebook

Plattsburgh Mayor Colin Read will run for a second four-year term in 2020.

Levi Oakes came to Plattsburgh in September 2016 to participate in a veteran's Honor Flight
Pat Bradley/WAMC

The St. Regis Mohawk Tribe has announced that the last surviving World War II Mohawk code talker has died. Levi Oakes was one of 17 Mohawks from the Akwesasne  tribe in northern New York that the Department of Defense confirmed used their native language as an unbreakable code to transmit messages during WWII. In September 2016, Oakes and his daughter Diane Swamp traveled to Plattsburgh to participate in an Honor Flight. They spoke to WAMC's North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley about his experience as a codetalker.

Large parking area looking towards lake and marina that city council is considering for Farmer's Market relocation
Pat Bradley/WAMC

The largest portion of Plattsburgh’s Downtown Redevelopment Initiative funds target the Durkee Street parking lot.  At one end of the 3.4-acre site, there is currently a year-round farmers’ market that would be relocated under the developer’s proposed plans.  During last week’s Common Council meeting, the city’s representatives took a walking tour of a potential site for the market.

Adirondack Park Agency sign in front of Ray Brook headquarters
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Earlier this month, the acting chair of the Adirondack Park Agency resigned.  The move concerns advocates who say it’s a symptom of a weakening board that leads the park’s land use planning.

Downtown businessman Jonathan Schneiderman comments on proposed Durkee Street development
Pat Bradley/WAMC

The Plattsburgh Common Council chambers were filled Thursday evening with residents curious to see the developer of the Durkee Street parking lot provide updated redevelopment plans.

United States Census 2020

The New York State Complete Count Commission was created earlier this year to assure that all residents of the state are counted in the 2020 census. Representatives of the group were in the Adirondacks Wednesday to discuss how the state is gearing up for the effort.

John Sheehan
Adirondack Council

The Adirondack Council is applauding the New York state Department of Environmental Conservation’s recent announcement that it will implement a regulation in early June that sets strict carbon dioxide emissions limits on coal-fired power plants operating in the state.  In this second part of our interview, Council Spokesman John Sheehan tells WAMC’s North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley they expect the state’s move will eliminate all coal-fired power generation in the state by the end of 2020.

John Sheehan
Adirondack Council

The Adirondack Council is among the largest advocacy organizations lobbying for the environmental stability of the 6 million-acre Adirondack Park in northern New York. With its goal to “ensure the ecological integrity and wild character” of the region, its representatives track legislation at the state capitol in Albany. Council Spokesman John Sheehan tells WAMC’s North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley there are a number of issues the group is working on. In the first part of our conversation with Sheehan, he notes it’s a long list for the legislature to address before the session ends next month.

High Lake Champlain water levels at Ausable Point State Park, May 2019
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Meteorologists say Lake Champlain has been above flood stage for more than three weeks and the lake isn't expected to drop below flood stage for another week or so.

Streetscape and riverfront renderings
Saratoga Associates

In 2016, the city of Plattsburgh was among the first communities in New York to receive a $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative grant. While there has been considerable debate over plans for the Durkee Street Parking lot, a 3.4-acre site at the center of the redevelopment area, other areas will be refurbished.  On Monday evening, developers presented an overview of streetscape and riverfront access plans.

Assemblyman D. Billy Jones
Assemblyman D. Billy Jones

Ever since the New York legislature adopted the new state budget without including a marijuana legalization provision, the prospects for legal pot in the Empire State have been uncertain.  There is word that legalization legislation is still being discussed in conference, but with the session ending in little more than a month, it’s unclear if lawmakers will act this year. On Thursday, 115th District Assemblyman D. Billy Jones was in Plattsburgh. The Democrat tells WAMC’s North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley while there’s talk about marijuana, the rank-and-file haven’t really delved into the issue since the budget deliberations.

90 meter ramp at the Olympic Ski Jumping Complex
ORDA/Whiteface Lake Placid

The Olympic Regional Development Authority is beginning renovation of several of its Olympic sites after a $70 million appropriation for capital improvements was approved in the new New York state budget.

Assemblyman D. Billy Jones announces funding for North Country Veterans Association
Pat Bradley/WAMC

New York state Assemblyman D. Billy Jones was at the North Country Veterans Association in the Town of Plattsburgh Thursday afternoon to announce that state funding had been secured in the new budget for its expansion project.