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

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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
DEC planner Chris Alberga points to a map of the Essex Chain Lakes.  The Conservation Department says it will revise its proposed plan and release a new draft this fall for public comment.  Photo:  Brian Mann
DEC planner Chris Alberga points to a map of the Essex Chain Lakes. The Conservation Department says it will revise its proposed plan and release a new draft this fall for public comment. Photo: Brian Mann

Snowmobile muddle forces rewrite of Essex Chain Lakes plan

State officials are going back to the drawing board as they develop a plan for public use of the Essex Chain Lakes near Newcomb.

The 11,000-acre complex of lakes, logging roads and rivers in the central Adirondacks is part of the massive Finch Conservation deal engineered by the Nature Conservancy.

The Conservation Department had hoped to have a plan for public recreation in place by the end of this year.

But DEC planners have run into a major complication over a proposal for using snowmobiles in the area, a plan that would include a bridge over the scenic Cedar River.  Go to full article
Padilla lost his footing and the current swept him over the waterfall where he became lodged below the surface

Buffalo man drowns on Raquette River

State police say rescue divers have recovered the body of a 20-year-old man who drowned on Saturday near Buttermilk Falls, near Long Lake, on the Raquette River.  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.

Update: North Country man dies in race crash with top NASCAR driver

Race car driver Kevin Ward Jr., from Port Leyden, New York, in Lewis County, was struck and killed during a sprint car race Saturday night.

According to the Associated Press, Ward, age 20, left his sprint car following an accident and was walking on a section of track when he was struck and thrown roughly fifty feet.  Go to full article
Kodi Kadeem Beckles. This photo was used in the missing poster issued by lostnmissing.com
Kodi Kadeem Beckles. This photo was used in the missing poster issued by lostnmissing.com

SUNY Plattsburgh student died of "cardio-respiratory arrest"

State Police say a SUNY Plattsburgh student found dead in early April apparently died of natural causes.

Kodi Beckles, age 20, disappeared after going to a late-night party. His body was located in a wooded area on April 7 by a search team organized by Plattsburgh city police.  Go to full article
On a humid August day, the view of Mineville's old iron works from Cheney Mountain. Photo: Brian Mann
On a humid August day, the view of Mineville's old iron works from Cheney Mountain. Photo: Brian Mann

Ramble up Cheney Mountain and a view of history

It's been a brilliant summer for hiking, with long days often bringing mild temperatures. This week, Brian Mann and his wife Susan Waters set off for a ramble up Cheney Mountain in the Champlain Valley hamlet of Mineville.  Go to full article
Ice storm, December 2013. Photo by Mark Kurtz
Ice storm, December 2013. Photo by Mark Kurtz

Autopsy for a brutal winter season

It's hard to remember on a beautiful summer morning like this one, but last winter was long and grueling here in the North Country.

There was a ferocious ice storm in December and stretches of brutal cold that continued late into the spring. A lot of those road crews out on the highways this month are still repairing potholes and frost heaves caused by record-low temperatures.

The thing is, that's not what scientists were expecting. Weather models going into the winter predicted a fairly normal, or even a mild season. Meteorologists way the culprit was a dramatic shift in the big air currents that flow across North America.  Go to full article
The El Nino in 1997 as imaged by NASA.  Photo:  NASA, JPL
The El Nino in 1997 as imaged by NASA. Photo: NASA, JPL

How wintry will this winter be? Get your first forecast

As we head into the second week of August, it may seem a little too soon to start thinking about winter and the weather it may bring.

But the National Weather service is already developing early models designed to give some sense of snow and temperature conditions.

The very, very long-term forecast for this winter is for moderate to light snow and warm-ups that could mean a lighter snow pack in the Adirondacks and the Green Mountains.  Go to full article
Victory signs have been posted by supporters of the Adirondack Club and Resort in Tupper Lake since the July court ruling that validated the resort's permits.  But the legal fight may not be over.  Photo:  Brian Mann
Victory signs have been posted by supporters of the Adirondack Club and Resort in Tupper Lake since the July court ruling that validated the resort's permits. But the legal fight may not be over. Photo: Brian Mann

Activists appeal Big Tupper resort court decision

Two environmental groups and "a neighboring landowner" in Tupper Lake say they'll appeal a sweeping decision issued last month by a state court that upheld state permits for the Adirondack Club and Resort project.

In a statement issued late Monday afternoon, Protect the Adirondacks and the Sierra Club announced that they will challenge a unanimous vote by the state appellate court upholding state permits for the massive development.  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.