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North Country News

Rail tracks
Tipiac-Alain Caraco/Wikimedia Commons

A railroad company that has in the past been embroiled in controversy for parking unused rail cars in the Adirondacks is agreeing to a voluntary abandonment of tracks it owns the right to use.

Mural of Jean Arthur in downtown Plattsburgh by artist Brendon Palmer-Angell
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Earlier this month, members of the Plattsburgh arts community unveiled a huge mural on the back of a downtown building depicting a woman born in Plattsburgh in 1900 as Gladys Georgianna Greene. She became one of Hollywood’s most popular stars of the 1930’s and 40’s.  Oscar nominated and known as Jean Arthur, she stared in classic films by Frank Capra, Cecil B. DeMille, John Ford and others.  But she was a very private individual who shunned publicity. In 1997, biographer John Oller published “Jean Arthur: The Actress Nobody Knew.” Oller visited Plattsburgh this week to view the mural.  He tells WAMC North Country Bureau Chef Pat Bradley he had always been a fan of 1930’s and 40’s era movies and wrote the book because no one had ever fully delved into Arthur’s life.

Poll Pad welcome screen
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Clinton County Board of Elections officials are demonstrating a new election system that will be rolled out this weekend as early voting begins across New York state.

rail tanker cars
Protect the Adirondacks

A short line railroad company has consented to the abandonment of a 30-mile stretch of rails in the central Adirondacks.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand unveils the Rebuild Rural America Act at Clinton Community College's Institute for Advanced Manufacturing
Pat Bradley/WAMC

New York U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is introducing legislation intended to help rural communities access federal government grants for long-term projects.  She was at Clinton Community College in Plattsburgh on Monday to discuss how it would help initiatives like the school’s Institute for Advanced Manufacturing.

U.S. Canada flags graphic
Flanker/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

Following a campaign fraught with twists and turns, Canadians went to the polls on Monday.  Polls showed a tight race between the Liberals and Conservatives after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau faced a blackface controversy and Conservative leader Andrew Scheer was lambasted late in the campaign for not revealing his dual Canadian-U.S. citizenship. The Liberals prevailed but must form a minority government. As WAMC’s North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley reports, the results are not expected to have any serious ramifications for border interests on the U.S. side.

City Chamberlain Richard Marks provides a budget update to the Plattsburgh Common Council
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Plattsburgh City Councilors have received a status report on the city budget and the implications for the 2020 budget proposal they are reviewing.

Plattsburgh Citizens Coalition logo on a projection
Pat Bradley/WAMC

The Plattsburgh Citizens Coalition formed in July to oppose the current Downtown Revitalization Initiative development plan and advocate for an alternative that is closer to the one that was initially offered. The group held an informational meeting Wednesday to give a status report on the current development.

I Am Rohingya poster
I Am Rohingya/Yusuf Zine

A documentary detailing the lives of refugee children will be shown in New York’s North Country beginning this weekend.  “I Am Rohingya: A Genocide in Four Acts” chronicles 14 young people as they rehearse and perform in a play that portrays their families’ experiences and escape from violence and genocide in Myanmar, also known as Burma.

Rail tracks
Tipiac-Alain Caraco/Wikimedia Commons

New York state agencies are revising a plan to create a rail-to-trail corridor between Tupper Lake and Lake Placid. It was expected to be presented at the Adirondack Park Agency’s October meeting but staff informed board members that it was not yet ready.

Plattsburgh's Durkee Street parking lot
Pat Bradley/WAMC

The Plattsburgh Citizens Coalition will hold an information session tonight on the city’s Downtown Redevelopment Initiative project.  As WAMC’s North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley reports, the group formed this summer when opposition to the current redevelopment plan boiled over.

Adirondacks Elk Lake Dix Mountain
Pat Bradley/WAMC

The Adirondack Council is warning that Trump Administration rollbacks of Clean Air Act regulations threaten a resurgence of acid rain in the region.

Nova Bus LFSe+ 100-percent electric vehicle
Nova Bus

Transit manufacturer Nova Bus, which has a large presence in New York’s North Country, has announced the launch of a new long-range electric bus.

Poster for "Forbidden: Undocumented and Queer in Rural America"
Sisters Unite Productions

A number of educational and nonprofit groups including Adirondack Voters for Change, the Joint Council for Economic Opportunity of Clinton and Franklin Counties and the SUNY Plattsburgh Gender and Women’s Studies Department are sponsoring showings of a documentary in the region. “Forbidden: Undocumented and Queer in Rural America” has received accolades including the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Social Justice Film Award and the Emmy’s Television Academy Honors award, which recognizes outstanding social issues programs.  The film tells the story of Moises Serrano, a gay undocumented resident of North Carolina who has become an activist for Dreamers.
Serrano will be in New York’s North Country for the upcoming screenings. He tells WAMC’s North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley he revealed his undocumented status in 2010.

Area 4 Legislator Simon Conroy attends the September 25th meeting of the Clinton County Legislature
Pat Bradley/WAMC

A Clinton County legislator who was arrested earlier this month is now running for chair of the body.

The city of Plattsburgh and the town of Plattsburgh remain at odds over a Payment in Lieu of Taxes Agreement from 1992. WAMC’s North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley has the latest.

From left: Michael Carpenter, Assemblyman D. Billy Jones, John Bernardi and Garry Douglas discuss NY's Recovery Tax Credit program
Pat Bradley/WAMC

The New York state budget includes a new tax incentive program for businesses that hire people in recovery from substance abuse disorders.  The enabling legislation was introduced by North Country Assemblyman D. Billy Jones. He was at the business that motivated his measure on Wednesday as it submitted paperwork to qualify for the program.

WAMC/Pat Bradley

The reds have come out and are ready to be picked and many orchards have already invited people to come in to pick apples as the fall harvest begins.  This year, orchardists in the Northeast report an abundant and flavorful crop.

Canadian flag
Pixabay/Public Domain

Last week, we spoke with SUNY Plattsburgh’s Director of Canadian Studies about the Canadian national elections, which had just launched. A few days later, Time published exclusive pictures of current Liberal leader and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in “brown-face” at a 2001 party at a private school where he was then teaching. WAMC North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley followed up with Dr. Christopher Kirkey about the revelations.

Plattsburgh college and high school students and residents gather at Amity Plaza during Global Climate Strike
Pat Bradley/WAMC

High school and college students were joined by local residents outside the SUNY Plattsburgh student center to participate in the Global Climate Strike.

Trailhead at the Adirondack Loj
Pat Bradley/WAMC

The Adirondacks have been extremely popular for outdoor enthusiasts in the past few years, and overcrowding on some trails and the roads leading to them is a major concern.  The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has outlined additional plans to deal with traffic flow during what’s expected to be a very busy Columbus Day holiday.

IntraPac in Plattsburgh, NY
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Last week, a plastic container manufacturer in Plattsburgh announced the company was consolidating and closing its plant in Plattsburgh.  Within hours of the announcement, IntraPac’s local managers say other manufacturers in the region “inundated” them with phone calls seeking to hire their workers.

Canada map over flag
Pixabay/Public Domain

National campaigns for Parliament and the leadership of Canada are now under way. And unlike U.S. elections, it’s a short campaign.  After 40 days, voters will go to the polls on October 21st.  There are several national parties in the mix but Conservatives and Liberals are expected to dominate the race.

Local and company officials surround New York state Senator Betty Little as she cuts the ribbon at the new Wabtec facility in Plattsburgh
Pat Bradley/WAMC

The Plattsburgh North Country Chamber and local officials this morning celebrated the grand opening of an expanded manufacturing facility on the former Plattsburgh Air Force Base.

State of the Park 2019-2020 cover
Photo by Nancie Battaglia / Adirondack Council

The Adirondack Council issues an annual report assessing the oversight by government agencies, localities and others of the 6 million acre Adirondack Park. This year’s just released State of the Park report, “Challenged By Success,” finds that the rising popularity of the region is also highlighting challenges.  Council Executive Director Willie Janeway and spokesman John Sheehan spoke about the report with WAMC’s North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley.  Janeway says the surge in the Adirondack’s popularity caught many by surprise and is spotlighting the need to better manage the Forest Preserve.

Plattsburgh City Council meets on September 12, 2019
Pat Bradley/WAMC

In 2018, the city of Plattsburgh filed a lawsuit against the Town of Plattsburgh in a dispute over a Payment in Lieu of Taxes agreement. At Thursday evening’s Common Council meeting, the city’s mayor announced that he had offered a settlement to the town.

View of Crab Island (center) from Peru Boat Launch
Pat Bradley/WAMC

While most of the country today remembers the attack on the U.S. 18 years ago, memorials are also being held in New York’s North Country to commemorate the first attack on the U.S in 1814.  During the Battle of Plattsburgh, the British fought Americans for control of Lake Champlain. More than 100 British and American soldiers are buried in unmarked graves on an unpopulated island that served as a field hospital. Every year on September 11th the American Legion and others gather at the memorial to lay a wreath and pay tribute.  WAMC’s North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley was on the island this morning.

Lake George attorney Matthew Fuller delivers letter to Plattsburgh Common Council
Pat Bradley/WAMC

In a precursor to a potential lawsuit, the attorney for a coalition opposed to the current plans for Plattsburgh’s downtown redevelopment delivered a letter to city leaders Thursday informing them they do not have the legal authority to enter an agreement with the developers.

Town of North Elba sign
Pat Bradley/WAMC

At its meeting tonight, the Lake Placid/North Elba Joint Review Board plans to review a proposed plan to place a large propane tank near the village of Lake Placid. But opponents fear the board members are not taking safety and environmental concerns seriously.

Plattsburgh City Hall
WAMC Photo

Plattsburgh Mayor Colin Read released his proposed budget on August 19th and residents had a chance to weigh in on the plan Friday morning. But no one commented.