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North Country News

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.

Becky Kasper in a December 2016 photo
Pat Bradley/WAMC

A former Plattsburgh City Councilor has died unexpectedly. Democrat Becky Kasper is perhaps best known for her blunt criticism of the city’s current mayor when she resigned her seat last year.

Invasive steward sign
Pat Bradley/WAMC

A New York law that prohibits watercraft from launching into waters without taking precautions to prevent the spread of invasive species is set to expire at the end of the month. Adirondack advocates are urging the state legislature to renew and expand the provision.

Plattsburgh Mayor Colin Read outlines an Energy and Resiliency plan
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Plattsburgh leaders recently announced an Energy and Resiliency plan aimed at reducing the city’s carbon footprint and power costs. The announcement came on the same day councilors adopted the New York state Climate Smart Communities pledge.

City residents protest Durkee Street redevelopment plans
Pat Bradley/WAMC

In July 2016, the city of Plattsburgh was one of the first cities in New York state to receive a $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative – or DRI – grant.  Much of the development funds target the Durkee Street Parking lot. But controversy surrounds the city’s decision to award a contract to a private developer that will result in the loss of the city’s primary parking lot.  Opponents of the plan protested in front of City Hall Thursday evening.

Jim Levulis, WAMC News

An important access point for hikers in New York’s Adirondack Mountains will be closed after this weekend.

The Philadelphia Flyers and the New York Yankees have stopped playing Kate Smith’s version of “God Bless America” following renewed attention on other songs the 20th century titan recorded that contain racist lyrics.  Smith is buried in Lake Placid and that community is stunned to hear the allegations.

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

The U.S. International Trade Commission has released its analysis of the renegotiated North American Free Trade Agreement now known as the USMCA or the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement. The North Country Chamber of Commerce is calling it a critical move toward Congressional approval and restoring certainty and predictability in cross border trade.

Village of Tupper Lake municipal offices
Village of Tupper Lake

Researchers from Clarkson University will conduct a study to determine whether two Adirondack villages can lower electricity costs by using a form of battery energy storage.

Plattsburgh City Hall
WAMC Photo

The Plattsburgh Common Council is considering join hundreds of New York communities that have signed the state’s Climate Smart Communities pledge. The Plattsburgh Sustainability Committee plans to hold an Earth Day program at city hall on Monday evening to urge councilors to sign the climate smart pledge.

Mirror Lake in Lake Placid
Pat Bradley/WAMC

The latest report assessing the health of Mirror Lake in the Adirondacks finds it continues to be negatively affected by road salt.

Tedra Cobb
Tedra Cobb for NY21

In 2018, Democrats in New York’s 21st Congressional District fielded up to 10 candidates. Former St. Lawrence County legislator and Canton resident Tedra Cobb won the primary and challenged incumbent Republican Elise Stefanik. But Stefanik easily survived the “blue wave” election as Cobb lost by 14 points. In her concession speech, Cobb promised she would run again.  On Monday, Cobb made it official. Cobb, whose rhetoric echoes the last campaign, tells WAMC’s North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley the issues haven’t changed.

Tedra Cobb
Tedra Cobb for NY21

The Democrat who lost the 2018 election to Republican Elise Stefanik of New York’s 21st Congressional district is looking for a rematch.

Plattsburgh City Hall
WAMC Photo

The Plattsburgh Common Council was scheduled to vote Thursday evening on a proposal to reestablish a compensation policy for certain managers in the city.  But the measure was tabled.

The Webb Island Footbridge was closed in 2017
Pat Bradley/WAMC

The Plattsburgh City School District has decided to move forward on its own to repair a footbridge over the Saranac River without collaborating with the city.  The move follows months of escalating tensions between the entities.

Generic file photo of ATV riders
Pixabay/Public Domain

The Adirondack Council issued a report this week outlining the damage occurring from inappropriate ATV use on public lands.  It calls for new legislation, including a statutory ban, on recreational ATV use in the Adirondack Park.

A Plattsburgh, New York attorney has been found dead after failing to appear at his own arraignment.

An outer wall at Clinton Correctional, one of the largest prisons in New York state
Pat Bradley/WAMC

The New York state budget passed first thing Monday includes a proposal to close two or three prison facilities. The idea is not sitting well in the North Country, which has seen facilities shuttered in the past.

Assemblyman D. Billy Jones
Assemblyman D. Billy Jones

North Country New York state Assemblyman D. Billy Jones was appointed to the General Government and Local Assistance Joint Budget Subcommittee during this year’s budget negotiations. His goal was to not allow local communities to get “lost in the shuffle” as money issues were hashed out.  After final passage of the budget bill, Speaker Carl Heastie noted that he had to “hold his nose” about some of the provisions.  Fellow Democrat Billy Jones tells WAMC North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley he agrees with the Assembly leader about the $175.5 billion plan.

Delegate General of Quebec in New York Catherine Loubier speaks at an event in Plattsburgh NY
Pat Bradley/WAMC

The Delegate General of Quebec in New York represents the provincial government in the mid-Atlantic and Northeastern U.S. Last October, a new provincial government was elected and in February the Quebec Premier appointed Catherine Loubier to the position.  She has a business and political background including working as an advisor to former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.  Most recently she led the transition team for the new Quebec premier. During a visit to Plattsburgh, she told WAMC’s North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley she accepted the position because Quebec has always been at the heart of her career.

Delegate General of Quebec in New York the Honorable Catherine Loubier speaks to members of the North Country Chamber of Commerce
Pat Bradley/WAMC

During Quebec’s elections in October, the center-right CAQ party won a majority and François Legault became the province’s new premier.  In February, he appointed a new provincial representative to our region.  The Delegate General of Quebec in New York was at the North Country Chamber of Commerce Quebec-New York Leadership Rendezvous breakfast today.

Kenza Bennis (left) and Karl Moore
Pat Bradley/WAMC

This is the eleventh year McGill University students have traveled to global economic centers and emerging markets.  Earlier this year, the students, alumni and professors traveled to Japan and Thailand to study business trends in the Far East.

McGill University Professor Karl Moore
Pat Bradley/WAMC

The Canadian government is reviewing the new agreement that replaces the tri-country trade pact long known as NAFTA. While there remain a few concerns, most ministers anticipate Parliament will ratify the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA, by late spring.  McGill University Desautels Faculty of Management Associate Professor Karl Moore is a regular contributor to the Globe and Mail, Forbes and hosts the CEO Series on CJAD radio in Montreal.   He tells WAMC’s North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley most Canadians are relieved that a new agreement has been reached.

Frozen bay on Lake Champlain (file photo)
Pat Bradley/WAMC

The Coast Guard is warning people to stay off Lake Champlain as the ice starts to melt in the warmer weather.

Plattsburgh City Council considers amendment to tobacco ban
Pat Bradley/WAMC

The Plattsburgh City Council has approved a measure to include electronic smoking devices in the smoking ban at the city’s public properties.  At a meeting Thursday, a number of students voiced their support of the measure while some adults detailed their opposition.

The Clinton County Health Department held a public information session Wednesday evening on the spike in vaping use among youth.  Panelists presented regional data and parents talked about how easily children can obtain the products.

wikimedia commons/de:Benutzer:Alex Anlicker

In the 1970’s, the U.S. Air Force began using a firefighting foam that contained the chemicals PFOS and PFOA, which have contaminated water supplies in communities across the Northeast.  The Air Force is now using a May 2016 lifetime health advisory level, or LHA, set by the EPA to determine safe levels and is cleaning up sites above acceptable levels.  A recent update indicates there are still a few homes affected near the former Plattsburgh Air Force Base.

Plattsburgh Supervisor Michael Cashman
Michael Cashman for Plattsburgh

The Town of Plattsburgh is growing. That’s according to Town Supervisor Michael Cashman.  Late last year town officials unveiled a Smart Growth concept plan for an area of the town. New medical offices have opened in the Smithfield Boulevard area and nearly half a dozen national and regional chains are considering locations in the town. As it grows, the town is clashing with the adjacent city of Plattsburgh as that community tries to annex town properties. Supervisor Cashman says the status of that dispute hasn’t changed for several months.

Regional Economic Development Council
Regional Economic Development Council website

Last week, Empire State Development, the New York state agency in charge of the 10 Regional Economic Development Councils, appointed new co-chairs to the North Country council. The leader of the Lake Placid-based Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism and the president of Jefferson Community College will succeed the organization’s original leaders.

"Adirondack Life: Our Towns" book cover
Adirondack Life

From 1990 until 2014, Adirondack Life magazine had a special feature on the last page of each issue.  “Our Towns” profiled each of the 139 towns within the Adirondack Park. The short column offered brief histories and trivia. For example, in August 2006 we discovered that Ohio is the fourth-largest town in the Adirondacks but the second-poorest.  In April 1992 the magazine wrote that Lake Luzerne added “lake” to its name in 1963, having been the town of Luzerne since 1808.  “Adirondack Life’s Our Towns: Dispatches From Around the Adirondack Park” is a new book that compiles all of those features. Senior Editor Niki Kourofsky explains how the concept for the stories and the book originated.