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NCPR News: Nora Flaherty, Reporter/producer

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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 ęGoogle

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
A flooded home in Colton, May, 2011
A flooded home in Colton, May, 2011

Even with Colton damage, St. Lawrence County says it's not a disaster area

Just last week, the Federal Government declared 21 New York Counties federal disaster areas, after this spring's flooding. But St. Lawrence county was NOT one of those counties.

Turns out St. Lawrence County wasn't passed over--it hasn't yet applied for aid. County officials aren't confident there's been $336,000 in public infrastructure damage--that's the amount required to qualify for the aid.

Colton has been the most heavily affected community in the county, but most of that damage--about $800,000 in all--was to private homes. Nora Flaherty spoke with Colton Town Supervisor Lawrence Patzwald about where things stand now:  Go to full article
<em>A Comanche</em>, by Frederic Remington
A Comanche, by Frederic Remington

Remington's Ring Recovered

Police in Ogdensburg have recovered a diamond engagement ring that was stolen just last week from the Frederic Remington art museum. It turns out the thief was a part-time employee who stole the ring from a case that was described as screwed shut, but not locked.

The police discovered the ring at the home of Blake Peabody, who apparently planned to sell it. He's been charged with 4th degree grand larceny.

Nora Flaherty put a call in to the museum to find out more about the theft, and the return of the ring. She asked curator Laura Foster how she and her colleagues had noticed the ring was missing.  Go to full article
Farmer David Rice at the Canton Farmers Market
Farmer David Rice at the Canton Farmers Market

Heard Up North: Early-summer farmers market

Farmers markets are one of the things that make summer, summer--and although the rainy weather this spring means a lot of us may not have gotten outdoors to buy fruit, veggies and other delights, the way we'd like--the farmers have been there. The season's just now really getting started--and for today's Heard Up North, Nora Flaherty made her first visit this summer to Canton's farmer's market:  Go to full article
A few of Jon Greenwood's 1200 dairy cows
A few of Jon Greenwood's 1200 dairy cows

Heard Up North: Dairy cows in Canton

Dairy farming is a way of life and a major industry in the North Country, but for All Before Five host and recent downstate transplant Nora Flaherty, it's a little bit of a mystery. Nora paid a visit to Canton dairyman Jon Greenwood--he has a herd of about 1200. They started in Greenwood's milking parlor, where the cows were listening to some Latin music.  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.