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NCPR News: Nora Flaherty, Reporter/producer

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The international border divides the Thousand Islands.
The international border divides the Thousand Islands.

Lingering questions, anxiety after Canada eases boater check-in requirements

It's been just over a month since agents from the Canadian Border Security Agency fined American fisherman Roy Anderson $1000 and threatened to seize his boat. Anderson was doing something boaters have been doing for generations without thinking it was an issue--floating, without docking, in Canadian waters on the St. Lawrence.

Since then, there's been a lot of confusion among boaters about where they could and couldn't go--and a lot of concern among those who depend on the tourism industry for their living about how that confusion would affect the season.

Two major developments Friday seemed to indicate the situation was on its way to being resolved--but Nora Flaherty reports it's more complicated than that.  Go to full article
The Thousand Islands divided by the international border ©Google
The Thousand Islands divided by the international border ©Google

A small victory for US politicians: Canada eases restrictive boating rules, slightly

A month after agents from the Canadian Border Security Agency fined fisherman Roy Anderson $1000 and threatened to seize his boat, state and national politicians are still working to ease punishments on boaters who drift across the border.

New York Senator Chuck Schumer was in the Thousand Islands Friday, doing just that. Nora Flaherty has more.  Go to full article
Passengers help hoist sails on the Lynx
Passengers help hoist sails on the Lynx

Sun, wind, and cannon fire on the St. Lawrence

The Privateer Lynx is a replica of the clipper schooners that shipbuilders made in Baltimore to fight in the war of 1812. The Lynx continuously sails America's waterways as an educational vessel.

Last month, the Lynx spent a few days in the Port of Ogdensburg, before sailing on to a sold-out run in Clayton. Nora Flaherty went along on one of the Lynx's 2-hour "sailaways."  Go to full article
It’s an important facility for us, and it has a major impact on the economy in the county.

Newton Falls Paper Company cancels re-opening

The Newton Falls Fine Paper company will not reopen in October, according to a release the company sent to the St. Lawrence County Industrial Development agency.

The Company, in the Adirondack town of Clifton, laid off about eighty employees last December with hopes they'd be hired back this fall.  Go to full article
Canton Elementary School students
Canton Elementary School students

Property tax cap passed quietly, but could make a big noise in North Country schools

Buried by the passage of the same sex marriage law Friday night, was the news that the state legislature also passed the 2 percent property tax cap.

Over the last several months several North Country educators have came out against the cap, saying it would disproportionately affect poor rural areas and would make it difficult for schools to keep up with rising costs.

Canton Central School District Superintendent William Gregory has been among the most outspoken of these opponents and wrote a letter last year to Governor Cuomo arguing against the cap. Nora Flaherty spoke with Gregory to get his take on how the cap will affect North Country school districts.  Go to full article
Marie and Louise Tyo
Marie and Louise Tyo

Same-sex marriage in New York an important stepping stone, says one Potsdam couple

On Friday night, New York became the sixth state to legalize same-sex marriage. And Potsdam couple Louise and Marie Tyo were watching.

Marie and Louise have been together for fifteen years, and they have a daughter. They got married in Canada a few years ago, and during the Patterson administration New York began recognizing marriages from all states and countries.

So Louise and Marie are legally married in New York already, but as far as they're concerned the passage of gay marriage in their home state is a huge symbolic victory and a stop on the road to federal recognition of their marriage.

Nora Flaherty spoke with Louise and Marie Tyo.  Go to full article

International St. Lawrence River Control Board lowers water levels...but how low will they go?

This spring's rain has left water levels on Lake Ontario well above normal--higher than the International St Lawrence River Board of Control is comfortable with.

To fix the problem, the board earlier this month started letting more water out at the Moses-Saunders dam in Massena. That means some areas of the St. Lawrence will be seeing low water levels. That has some worried about the boating season.

Nora Flaherty has more.  Go to full article

As politicians line up against Canada boat fine, border agency looks to clarify rules.

The US Department of State said on Tuesday that Canadian Border Officials were "well within their rights" when they threatened to seize an American fisherman's boat and fined him $1000 in May. It said the officials were just enforcing their rule that boats entering Canadian waters - not simply in transit - must report in on special phones located in marinas and other locations on land.

But politicians on both sides of the border are lining up against the move.

If you are on the river and are in doubt about whether you need to check in with Canadian Customs, call 204-983-3500.  Go to full article

Jefferson County program aims to tackle unemployment and labor shortage in dairy industry

The problem of high labour turnover on dairy farms was highlighted in late March when John Barney of Smithville was arrested for hiring Latinos who came here without documentation. Many farmers say they can't get their cows milked any other way, but the hiring of immigrants breeds resentment when unemployment in the region is so high.

Now, several Jefferson County agricultural organizations and the Cornell cooperative extension have created the Agricultural Workforce Development and Training program to train local people and match them with dairy farms looking for help.

Jay Matteson is Jefferson County Agricultural Coordinator. He told Nora Flaherty one of the biggest causes of high turnover is that people just don't know what they're getting into when they take a job at a dairy farm.  Go to full article
The Thousand Islands divided by the international border ©Google
The Thousand Islands divided by the international border ©Google

Canadian fine prompts confusion on the St. Lawrence

There's a lot of confusion today among boaters, fishermen and others in the thousand islands region. This after the State Department said Tuesday that Canadian Border Officials were well within their rights to threaten to seize an American fisherman's boat, and fine him a thousand dollars for fishing in Canadian waters without registering at customs.  Go to full article

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Nora Flaherty got into public radio kind of by mistake--the local public radio station was in the same building as the office of the Anthropology department at the University of Michigan, where Nora was studying to be a professor. But after a few weeks as an intern, she was convinced she'd stumbled into the right place.

Nora became a reporter and on-air host at Michigan Radio, where she did stories on environmental issues, housing, the arts, among other things. Nora moved to New York City in 2005, and became a producer at WFUV. At WFUV, Nora hosted a weekly interview program and reported on the long-term issues faced by September 11th survivors, education, and less serious topics like fairy tales, freak shows and pop music.

A serious dog person, Nora loves hanging out with her "pack" (her husband and their dog), cooking, and driving in foreign countries.