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NCPR News: Nora Flaherty, Reporter/producer

We'll just have to wait and see how it plays out...whether we make it up the rest of the year or not is questionable.

Farmers struggle to catch up after a month of floods

The economic effects of the flooding that began in late April are still being felt by many in the north country--the rains have left homes and communities heavily damaged; tourism dollars have been lost.

And after more than a month of exceptionally wet weather, area farmers are saying they may not be able to catch up with the planting they need to do for the fall harvest. Fields have been too wet in many cases to plant corn, or to harvest grass for hay--and it's getting down to the wire.  Go to full article

"New" Paul Smiths VIC opens with new outlook

Early last year after state budget cuts, the Adirondack Park Agency announced it couldn't afford to keep running the visitor interpretive center at Paul Smiths.

It seemed natural the school would take over the much-loved interpretive center. But nothing is simple. It ended up working out, and Paul Smiths VIC reopened this weekend. Nora Flaherty has the story of how the college is making the VIC its own.
(Tomorrow, Brian Mann reports on the rebirth of the Newcomb VIC.)  Go to full article
Andrew Cuomo inspects flood damage in Port Henry (File photo/Brian Mann)
Andrew Cuomo inspects flood damage in Port Henry (File photo/Brian Mann)

On the road to FEMA aid, Cuomo seeks major federal disaster designation for NY

Governor Cuomo formally requested Wednesday that President Obama declare a major federal disaster in New York, in the wake of the rain and flooding that have been going on since April 26. The move comes as local officials continue to raise concern about state and Federal aid for recovery efforts across the region.

As Martha Foley reports, Cuomo's request has the support of North Country congressman Bill Owens.  Go to full article
High water persists at Crown Point. Photo by Sarah Harris
High water persists at Crown Point. Photo by Sarah Harris

Lake Champlain shores up against floods--again

Lake Champlain rose again this week, thanks to 20 to30 mile-an-hour winds Monday that pushed water back onto some roads and waterfront.

The damages are still mounting. After weeks of high water, the lake remains at flood stage, threatening roads, homes, wells and septic systems.

Clinton County Emergency Services Director Eric Day yesterday called this the "slowest natural disaster ever experienced" in the county.

Day predicts it'll take many weeks of effort to bring hard-hit areas back to normal, and said some of the shoreline may always look more like an ocean coastline than serene lakeshore.

Nora Flaherty talked with Day late yesterday.  Go to full article

Brasher to loan to local businesses

The town of Brasher has taken the first step toward creating a local development corporation to make loans to local businesses.

Brasher's right next door to the Akwesasne Mohawk casino, and under the gambling compact that made way for that casino, the town gets a share of the profits--so do Massena, Fort Covington, and Bombay. That Mohawks give the money to the state, and the state passes it back to the towns, earmarked for tourism, infrastructure, gambling addiction education--and local economic development. Nora Flaherty reports.  Go to full article
It came down to that the only thing left to cut was programs and people.

In face of budget cuts, county health departments must make tough choices

Cuts in federal and state aid and a potential 2% property tax cap mean North Country County public health departments are facing some tough choices. What those choices are likely to be is just now starting to come out as the departments are beginning to formulate their budgets for next year.  Go to full article

Cook-off tempers cool as Health Dept. explains regulations

Relations between some local groups and the state department of health have been a little strained over the last few months in St. Lawrence County --ever since two chili cook-offs and another event had to be canceled this winter. The events didn't meet health requirements. At a meeting in February many called the "chili cook-off summit," critics called the rules excessive, confusing and sometimes just random.

This week, the health department has been holding public meetings in towns around the area. They're looking to smooth things out with the churches, fire departments, lodges and other organizations whose events are a big part of North Country life. There's one more meeting, this afternoon at 2 at the Clifton-Fine community center in Star Lake. Nora Flaherty sat in on a meeting in Canton .  Go to full article

USDA loans can help with post-flood rebuilding

USDA Rural Development is reminding people hit by the recent flooding that low-interest loans and grants available through their 504 program may plug gaps left by homeowners' insurance, and help people make needed post-flood home repairs.  Go to full article
Photo by Mary Jane Watson
Photo by Mary Jane Watson

Returning high waters raise debris, sewage fears

The last couple of days of heavy rain have pushed lake and river levels back up. At Rouses Point, Lake Champlain is expected to continue rising at least through Thursday, approaching three feet above flood stage.

According to the National Weather Service, that means "widespread severe flooding" will continue, affecting shoreline homes and businesses as well as some local highways. Officials are also warning boaters that the floodwaters have pushed a large amount of floating debris into the lake.

As much as four inches of rain have fallen on parts of the region since Saturday. More rain, though not as heavy, is expected over the next two days.

In Colton and Potsdam, the Raquette River has been flooding since the last week of April, and the damage is estimated at over a million dollars so far. As Nora Flaherty reports, continuing rain is cause for worry.  Go to full article

Shuttered North Lawrence Dairy finds a buyer

The North Lawrence Dairy plant ceased production of Breyers Yogurt just two weeks ago with no definite plans to reopen--but now the shuttered plant has found a new buyer. Not a lot of details have emerged yet, but Nora Flaherty has this report on what we know so far:  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.