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

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The crash scene at a farm on River Road outside Lake Placid was blocked by work trucks and crime scene tape on Sunday.  The downed plane has since been moved to State Police headquarters in Ray Brook as part of the investigation.  Photo:  Brian Mann
The crash scene at a farm on River Road outside Lake Placid was blocked by work trucks and crime scene tape on Sunday. The downed plane has since been moved to State Police headquarters in Ray Brook as part of the investigation. Photo: Brian Mann

Two Clarkson University students die in Lake Placid plane crash

Two Clarkson University students were among the dead on Saturday in a plane crash in Lake Placid. That's according to the Plattsburgh Press Republican.

The single-engine plane went down Saturday morning on River Road on the outskirts of the village, a half-mile from the local airport.

State police say the craft "burst into flames" on impact and there were no survivors.  Go to full article
The cause of the crash and the identities of the deceased are pending further investigation

Plane crash in Lake Placid claims three lives

State police say a single engine plane crashed near River Road on the outskirts of Lake Placid this morning just before 11 am.

"Lake Placid Fire Department responded and extinguished the flames after the aircraft burst into flames upon impact," according to officials.

Three persons were aboard the aircraft and officials confirm that all were killed in the crash. No identities have been released, nor did State Police offer information about a possible cause for the crash.

The FAA and NTSB have been notified and are enroute to assist in the investgation, according to the statement.

State police say Lake Placid Police and Fire Departments, as well as Saranac Lake Fire Department and New York State Police Aviation are assisting at the scene.  Go to full article
Assemblyman Dan Stec (R-Queensbury) speaking in Long Lake at a meeting of the Adirondack Common Ground Alliance.  Photo:  Brian Mann
Assemblyman Dan Stec (R-Queensbury) speaking in Long Lake at a meeting of the Adirondack Common Ground Alliance. Photo: Brian Mann

A golden age of dialogue and cooperation in the Adirondacks?

This week, the Adirondack Common Ground Alliance met in Long Lake. It was the eighth annual meeting of a group that formed in an effort to improve dialogue and reduce the amount of rancor and fighting in the Adirondack Park.

The idea seemed far-fetched at first. For decades, state and local officials, environmentalists and business leaders had been at loggerheads, trading harsh words and sometimes trading blows over everything from land conservation to new resort development.

But a growing number of leaders in the Park across the political spectrum say the Park's political climate has changed. And they say the Common Ground Alliance is part of the transformation.  Go to full article
Donald A. Combs, 84 of Sauquoit has been located. Mr. Combs had been missing for several days.

84-year-old hiker found alive in Adirondacks after search

New York State Police and New York State Forest Rangers say an elderly hiker missing since last Thursday has been located alive in the southern Adirondacks.

"Donald A. Combs, 84 of Sauquoit has been located," the release confirmed. "Mr. Combs had been missing for several days."

According to the Rome Sentinel newspaper, Coombs was last seen on Thursday of last week. He was hiking in the Black River Wild Forest.

The search for Coombs began on Sunday.

Local media report that Donald Combs of Sauquoit in central New York was located Thursday by search dogs about a mile and a half from a family camp site.  Go to full article
U.S. Rep. Bill Owens (D-Plattsburgh)
U.S. Rep. Bill Owens (D-Plattsburgh)

Owens votes for highway funds

North Country Congressman Bill Owens voted yesterday in favor of a short-term spending plan that would replenish the national Highway Trust Fund.  Go to full article
This 200-acre parcel of forest preserve land known as Lot 8 is likely to be mined under a deal approved by voters in November.  Photo: Dan Plumley, Adirondack Wild
This 200-acre parcel of forest preserve land known as Lot 8 is likely to be mined under a deal approved by voters in November. Photo: Dan Plumley, Adirondack Wild

Judge puts temporary halt on NYCO dig in Adirondack Park

A mining operation set to begin as early as tomorrow in the Jay Mountain Wilderness in the Adirondacks has been stopped by a New York state judge.

The temporary halt on NYCO Minerals' operation in the town of Lewis comes in response to a lawsuit filed by green groups who say the project needs more environmental review.  Go to full article
DEC Commissioner Joe Martens hauls a canoe over one of the carry trails between the Essex Chain Lakes.  Photo:  Brian Mann
DEC Commissioner Joe Martens hauls a canoe over one of the carry trails between the Essex Chain Lakes. Photo: Brian Mann

New to explore in the Adirondacks: the Essex Chain Lakes

This is the final week for public comment on the new management plan for the Essex Chain Lakes in the central Adirondacks.

The 11,000-acre chunk of wild forest and lakes near the town of Newcomb is part of the massive Finch Pruyn conservation deal that has expanded the Park's public land.

State officials are hoping the Essex Chain will offer a popular new alternative for paddlers and hikers and anglers, drawing more visitors to a part of the Park that often sees little traffic.

Our Adirondack bureau chief Brian Mann made the trip last week and has our story.  Go to full article
Brett Lawson, superintendent at NYCO Minerals' Lewis mine, points in June 2013 toward a 200-acre parcel of state-owned land, above and behind the rock wall, where the company wants to mine Wollastonite. Also pictured, from left, are NYCO employees Dawn Revette and Brian Shutts. Photo by Chris Knight, Adirondack Daily Enterprise
Brett Lawson, superintendent at NYCO Minerals' Lewis mine, points in June 2013 toward a 200-acre parcel of state-owned land, above and behind the rock wall, where the company wants to mine Wollastonite. Also pictured, from left, are NYCO employees Dawn Revette and Brian Shutts. Photo by Chris Knight, Adirondack Daily Enterprise

Some green groups turn to courts in Adirondack fight

Four environmental groups say they plan to sue in state court to stop a mining project proposed for the Jay Mountain Wilderness in the Adirondacks.

NYCO Minerals already has mining and processing operations in the Champlain Valley towns of Lewis and Willsboro.

They hope to conduct a series of test drills this summer, searching for a new vein of a mineral called Wollastonite. But green groups say state officials need to do a more thorough environmental review before digging begins.

This latest lawsuit reflects growing tension between some environmental activists and the Cuomo administration over management of the Adirondack Park.  Go to full article
The driver "reportedly became drowsy" before the fatal accident.

Watertown: infant's death blamed on fatigued driving

State police say a car accident on I-81 near Watertown early Saturday morning claimed the life of a five-month-old child.

According to a statement, officials are blaming the accident on "drowsy" driving.

"Investigation revealed that 21 year old Quartez Smith...reportedly became drowsy," police said. "His vehicle, a 2003 Chevy Trailblazer, left the roadway and traveled into the median striking an earth embankment."

After flying airborne, the vehicle struck a portable DOT sign, then overturned several times before coming to a rest in the median.

Smith and two adult passengers were transported to Samaritan Medical Center, where they were treated for minor injuries, according to police.

The infant was airlifted to a hospital in Syracuse, but was later pronounced deceased.

The family, from Virginia, was traveling through the North Country after visiting relatives in London, Ontario.

According to State Police, an investigation of the accident is still underway. They say they were asisted by Jefferson County Sheriff's officers, the Watertown Fire Department, as well as other emergency crews.  Go to full article
NYCO's Mark Buckley points to the border between mine-owned lands and the state forest preserve.  Photo: Brian Mann
NYCO's Mark Buckley points to the border between mine-owned lands and the state forest preserve. Photo: Brian Mann

Green groups plan to sue over NYCO Adirondack mining

A coalition of green groups, including two based in the Adirondacks, say they will file legal action to block "exploratory drilling" in the forest preserve.

The groups planned to hold a press conference Friday afternoon in Albany to detail their concerns.  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:

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
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.
 
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.
 
August 29, 2012 | NCPR · New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is expected to decide soon whether to allow natural gas companies to use the controversial drilling technique known as hydro-fracking. New Yorkers are sharply divided on the issue. Industry groups and activists are campaigning hard to shape how the decision will be received.
 
May 28, 2012 | NCPR · Farm worker advocates and top Obama administration officials have been pushing hard for new regulations that would improve safety for teenagers working on farms. But facing fierce opposition from the agriculture industry and its allies in Congress, the Department of Labor abruptly withdrew a set of rules that advocates said could save dozens of lives every year.
 
istockphoto.com
April 30, 2012 | NPR · The Obama administration backed off a proposal to restrict kids under 16 from working on farms after a major push by conservatives and farm state Democrats. But farmers themselves weren't too happy about the restrictions, either.