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North Country News

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.

From Left: Plattsburgh Mayor Colin Read, Councilor Rachelle Armstrong and Councilor Mike Kelly attend OpenGov presentation
Pat Bradley/WAMC

The city of Plattsburgh is looking into putting its budget and business operations onto a cloud-based platform.  Representatives from OpenGov were at City Hall Tuesday evening showcasing their system.

There is mixed reaction to the idea of restricting the use of e-cigarettes in the city of Plattsburgh.

Plattsburgh City Hall
WAMC Photo

After nearly a year, the City of Plattsburgh has ended a moratorium on new or expanded cryptocurrency operations in the city.

New leaders have been announced for the North Country Regional Economic Development Council.

Plattsburgh City Hall
WAMC Photo

The city of Plattsburgh has ended its moratorium on new cryptocurrency operations in the city.

Jesse L. Fletcher
New York State Police

New York State Police have arrested a staff member at  a northern New York rehabilitation center for making false claims of abuse against vulnerable adults.

A request by the union representing forest rangers in New York seeking pay equity with environmental conservation officers is raising concerns about whether it could lead to a merger of the two divisions.  While the DEC emphasizes there is no plan to change the structure, others say a letter issued last fall could be interpreted as a merger plan.  WAMC North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley, who spoke with a forest ranger a few weeks ago, looks at the environmental conservation officers’ perspective.

View of Adirondacks from Lake Placid
Pat Bradley/WAMC

The storm that drifted through the region Tuesday night and Wednesday morning left behind about a foot of snow and came just before one of the key holiday weekends of the winter season.

"In Search of Greatness" poster
AOS/Movie Pass Films

What makes someone great?  Is there an intrinsic drive to obtain greatness or can it be taught? The documentary “In Search of Greatness” looks at those questions from the perspectives of sports figures.  Director and  producer Gabe Polsky interviews hockey icon Wayne Gretzky, football legend Jerry Rice and soccer champion Pele to discover that it is often the early implicit childhood learning and individual creativity that led to greatness.  Polsky spoke with WAMC’s North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley about the film, which will be screened in Lake Placid this weekend.

CCC President Ray DiPasquale (left) and CV-TEC's Dr. Mark Davey shake hands after signing agreement as Chamber Pres. Garry Douglas and Assemblyman Billy Jones witness signing
Pat Bradley/WAMC

A new agreement between two educational institutions in New York’s North Country should help expand opportunities for students seeking training in nursing and affiliated health fields.

Eight-term Republican New York state Senator Betty Little has spent most of her career in the majority. But now she’s adjusting to being in the minority after Democrats took control of the Senate in November’s elections.  The changes include a smaller budget. To compensate, the northern New York Senator has cut staff salaries and closed her regional Plattsburgh office.  Little tells WAMC’s North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley that not having a regional office will be difficult but will not change her commitment to constituents.

Police are investigating the cause of a house fire in the Adirondacks that left one man dead and another man hospitalized with burns.

From left: Assemblyman D. Billy Jones, Senator Betty Little and Assemblyman Dan Stec at Chamber legislative breakfast
Pat Bradley/WAMC

At a pivotal time in state government, the North Country Chamber of Commerce held its annual Legislative Breakfast forum Friday morning to hear updates from the region’s representatives in Albany.

New York Congresswoman Elise Stefanik
Office of Congresswoman Elise Stefanik

Congresswoman Elise Stefanik represents northern New York 21st House district. In 2014, she became the youngest woman ever elected to Congress. The Republican has not always agreed with the White House. She has broken with President Trump on withdrawing from the Paris climate accord, the government shutdown and tax bills that she says negatively impact New York state. But she has embraced Trump on other issues and appeared with him at Fort Drum last year. Stefanik attended this week’s State of the Union Address and says she was impressed with what she heard.

The Town Of Jay in the Adirondacks issued a precautionary State Of Emergency Wednesday evening and officials are working to prevent any potential ice jams or flooding.

Business Confidence placard
Pat Bradley/WAMC

The North Country Chamber of Commerce has released its annual Business Confidence Index for the region.  It comes as the region has received a high ranking from a national economics research firm.

Lake Placid is grieving the sudden loss of a prominent member of the community.  WAMC North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley has this remembrance of Denny Allen.

Plattsburgh Common Council 2019
Pat Bradley/WAMC

An update now to a story we’ve been following for months: the Plattsburgh Common Council has tabled a resolution that would lift a moratorium on new cryptocurrency mining operations within the city.

Plattsburgh Mayor Colin Read
Colin Read for Mayor/Facebook

Plattsburgh was one of the first cities to be awarded a $10 million New York State Downtown Revitalization Initiative grant.  The primary area that will be redeveloped is a large parking lot one block from the center city adjacent to the Saranac River.  A developer recently revealed a proposed $25 million multi-use plan for the nearly five-acre site. Mayor Colin Read tells WAMC’s North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley he is hopeful construction work can begin soon.

Plattsburgh Mayor Colin Read
Colin Read for Mayor/Facebook

The New York state Comptroller’s Fiscal Stress Monitoring System ranks the city of Plattsburgh among 10 municipalities in the state under moderate stress. Within that category, Plattsburgh ties with Rockland County for most stressed. Plattsburgh Mayor Colin Read, a first-term Democrat, was not surprised the city received that designation because it is based on data from financial reports for the 2017 fiscal year. The city has implemented a five-year budget planning process to reverse the trend.  Read tells WAMC’s North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley for the 2019 budget year, city leaders this month approved a budget that is under the tax cap and minimizes tax increases.

State police are investigating the death of a woman in northern New York.

Saranac Lake Winter Carnival banner
Pat Bradley/WAMC

The Saranac Lake Winter Carnival begins this weekend in the Adirondack village.  The two-week celebration of the cold is a tradition that goes back over 100 years.