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NCPR News Staff: Brian Mann
News Reporter and Adirondack Bureau Chief

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Brian paddles down the Ausable River on a hot summer day. Photo: Susan Waters
Brian paddles down the Ausable River on a hot summer day. Photo: Susan Waters

Canoe trek on the Ausable Marsh on a hot summer day

We've reached that time of year when summer is at its ripest. The first smells of fall are in the air, the first signs of fall color in the trees.

But late August is still a time for mostly bug-free paddles on North Country lakes and rivers. Here's an audio postcard Brian Mann sent last summer from the Ausable Marshes on the shore of Lake Champlain.

Brian's audio postcard from Ausable Marshes first aired last August.  Go to full article
State police are investigating the death and ask that anyone with information or questions call 518-897-2000

Paul Smiths College student found dead

Officials at Paul Smiths College say a student died on the campus north of Saranac Lake last night. Details remain unclear, but Nicholas Pendl from Allegany New York, was found dead Tuesday evening.

Pendl was a forestry student and also a member of the college's snowshoe racing and marathon canoe racing teams.  Go to full article

Journalists gather in Blue Mountain Lake for prison reporting retreat

Over the last year and a half or so you've been hearing our Prison Time Media Project series. In the series we look in-depth at prisons here in the North Country and how they tie in to America's prison-building boom nationwide.

Today in Blue Mountain Lake in Hamilton County, New York, that project continues with a retreat at the Blue Mountain Center. Journalists from all over the country are traveling to the Adirondacks to learn about the Prison Time project and to share ideas about covering America's drug war and era of mass incarceration.  Go to full article
Lac-Megantic burning on the first day after the rail car derailment sent fireballs and streams of burning oil coursing through the Quebec village. Photo: Surete du Quebec
Lac-Megantic burning on the first day after the rail car derailment sent fireballs and streams of burning oil coursing through the Quebec village. Photo: Surete du Quebec

Tapes show confusion, misteps in Quebec oil train disaster

For the first time, audio recordings have emerged from the Lac Megantic oil train disaster in Canada last summer that killed 47 people.

The recordings, made at a railroad dispatch office the night of the deadly fire, capture some of the missteps and miscommunication that contributed to the accident.  Go to full article
Emergency service crews at work in the blast and fire zone of Lac-Megantic. Photo: Surete du Quebec
Emergency service crews at work in the blast and fire zone of Lac-Megantic. Photo: Surete du Quebec

Canada blasts American rail company in Lac Megantic tragedy

Canadian authorities yesterday issued a new report on last summer's deadly oil train disaster in Quebec that killed forty-seven people.

The study blasts the American company that owned the railroad involved in the accident and says more safety oversight is needed to prevent future oil train disasters.  Go to full article
Jim Jeffords represented Vermont first as a state Senator in the 1960s.  His pubic career extended to January of 2007.  Photo: US Senate
Jim Jeffords represented Vermont first as a state Senator in the 1960s. His pubic career extended to January of 2007. Photo: US Senate

Jim Jeffords, icon of Vermont politics, dead at 80

One of Vermont's most prominent political figures passed away on Monday. Jim Jeffords represented Vermont in Washington for more than thirty years, first as a congressman, then as a US Senator. He was 80.

Jeffords made history by defecting from the Republican Party.  Go to full article
Kayla Herring, the sister of Kevin Ward Jr., at left with her husband JD Herring.  She says the family "will get through this together."  Photo:  Brian Mann
Kayla Herring, the sister of Kevin Ward Jr., at left with her husband JD Herring. She says the family "will get through this together." Photo: Brian Mann

For racer Kevin Ward's family, a tough time

Hundreds of friends and family-members turned out in Turin in Lewis County yesterday for the funeral of Kevin Ward Jr. They packed the auditorium at the high school where Ward graduated just two years ago.

Ward died last Saturday on the sprint-car track in Canandaigua in an accident involving top NASCAR driver Tony Stewart.  Go to full article
Kevin Ward Jr. died Saturday night in a NASCAR accident in Ontario County.  Photo:  Kevin Ward Jr. Facebook page.
Kevin Ward Jr. died Saturday night in a NASCAR accident in Ontario County. Photo: Kevin Ward Jr. Facebook page.

Investigators are reconstructing fatal crash, race tracks make safety changes

According to the Watertown Daily Times the Ontario County sheriff investigating the death of Kevin Ward Jr. says there are "no facts or evidence that would support allegations against any individual."

The paper also reports Sheriff Phillip Povero has acquired a second video of the accident last Saturday that involved Ward and veteran NASCAR driver Tony Stewart.

Investigators are also working to reconstruct the scene of the crash at the Canandaigua Motorsports Park in western New York.

Brian Mann has been following this story since the crash on Saturday and joins Martha Foley by phone.  Go to full article
Elise Stefanik, GOP candidate for the NY-21 Congressional seat. Photo: Stefanik campaign
Elise Stefanik, GOP candidate for the NY-21 Congressional seat. Photo: Stefanik campaign

Stefanik gets "Politico" treatment

One of the North Country's congressional candidates was featured this week in a major national journal.

Elise Stefanik, the Republican seeking the 21st district seat, was featured in a front-page profile in "Politico," one of the largest on-line magazines focusing on politics.  Go to full article
Democrat Aaron Woolf campaigning in Malone, NY. Photo: Brian Mann
Democrat Aaron Woolf campaigning in Malone, NY. Photo: Brian Mann

North Country's economic fears echo on campaign trail

It's now less than three months to the November election, when the North Country will choose a new member of Congress.

The race between Republican Elise Stefanik, Democrat Aaron Woolf and Green Party candidate Matt Funiciello is expected to be one of the most competitive, hard-fought House contests in the country.

Big campaigns can be punishing affairs, with huge ad blitzes, vast amounts of anonymous campaign cash, and a lot of mudslinging. But there are also days when elections actually allow voters to talk about their concerns and their problems with politicians.  Go to full article

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Brian Mann. Nancie Battaglia photo

Brian Mann
grew up in Alaska, where he fell in love with public radio. In 1999, Brian moved to the Adirondacks and helped launch NCPR's news bureau at Paul Smiths College. "I love the chemistry of water and mountains," Brian says. "But I'm also pretty crazy about village life in the north country. It's the kind of place where you know your neighbors." Brian lives in Saranac Lake with wife Susan and son Nicholas. He's a frequent contributor to NPR and also writes regularly for regional magazines, including Adirondack Life and the Adirondack Explorer.

Recent Brian Mann stories carried by NPR:

August 14, 2014 | NPR · Funeral services were held Thursday for Kevin Ward Jr., the driver killed on the track after being hit by former NASCAR champion Tony Stewart. North Country Public Radio's Brian Mann attended the service; he speaks with Robert Siegel about the funeral and possible investigations into the incident.
 
July 24, 2014 | NCPR · Small-town startups often struggle to attract serious investors. But efforts are under way to help entrepreneurs outside the urban beltway find financing.
 
AP
January 2, 2014 | NPR · Parts of the Northeast and New England are expected to be hit the hardest today and Friday. More than a foot of snow may fall on Boston. The wind chill may plunge to 40 degrees below zero in the Adirondacks. Flight delays and cancellations are piling up along with the snow.
 
AP
December 16, 2013 | NPR · Forty seven people died in July when a freight train derailed and dozens of tanks carrying oil exploded and caught fire. Much of Lac-Megantic was leveled. For the first time since then, freight cars will travel through this week. Officials say they'll only carry "dry goods." Residents are worried.
 
NCPR
August 28, 2013 | NPR · For the last four decades the Rockefeller Drug Laws have been impacting many in upstate New York. North Country Public Radio undertook an ambitious reporting project to tell this national story throughout this year, which marks the 40th anniversary of the Rockefeller Laws.
 
July 26, 2013 | NPR · More than two weeks after a fiery train crash left 47 dead in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, the town's center remains in shambles, while a criminal investigation and lawsuits are underway.
 
Reuters /Landov
July 11, 2013 | NPR · Twenty bodies have been recovered so far. Authorities hold out little hope that any of the 30 other people missing after Saturday's train derailments and explosions are still alive.
 
Getty Images
February 14, 2013 | NCPR · Forty years ago, New York enacted tough laws in response to a wave of drug-related crime. They became known as the Rockefeller drug laws, and they set the standard for states looking to get tough on crime. But a new debate is under way over the effectiveness of such strict sentencing laws.
 
Courtesy of Yvonne Prendes
February 14, 2013 | NCPR · George Prendes was 23 when he was sentenced under New York's Rockefeller drug laws — tough mandatory sentencing guidelines for nonviolent drug crimes. The 15 years Prendes served for a drug transaction still reverberate for him and his family.
 
November 4, 2012 | NPR · As New York City's first responders begin to show fatigue, and in many cases deal with losses of their own homes, replacement crews of firefighters are getting ready to roll into Manhattan and Long Island. Among them are a group of firefighters from a small rural fire station in the mountains of upstate New York.