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

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Corrections officers from the North Country rallied in Albany on Tuesday, protesting closure of Chateaugay Correctional Facility Photo:  Gary Carlsen, NYSCOPBA, used with permission
Corrections officers from the North Country rallied in Albany on Tuesday, protesting closure of Chateaugay Correctional Facility Photo: Gary Carlsen, NYSCOPBA, used with permission

Guards rally in Albany to block NY prison closures

Hundreds of prison guards, many from the North Country, rallied yesterday outside the Capitol in Albany, demanding that Gov. Andrew Cuomo cancel a plan to mothball four state prisons in July.

The closure list includes two state prisons in the North Country, Chateaugay Correctional Facility in northern Franklin County, and Mt. McGregor in Saratoga County.  Go to full article
Snowmobile Crossing. Photo: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/amsd2dth/3413819666">amsd2dsh</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
Snowmobile Crossing. Photo: amsd2dsh, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

A tough winter, even for snowmobile clubs

It's been a tough winter, with lots of cold weather in the North Country but not much snow, especially in January and February. That makes for a very tough season for businesses in the region that rely on winter sports, especially snowmobiling.

Dom Jacangelo, head of the New York State Snowmobile Association, was in the Adirondacks over the weekend. He says that trail conditions have been poor for many sledding clubs.  Go to full article
Franklin County legislator Billy Jones calls for action to stop the closure of Chateaugay Correctional Facility in his home town. NCPR file Photo: Brian Mann
Franklin County legislator Billy Jones calls for action to stop the closure of Chateaugay Correctional Facility in his home town. NCPR file Photo: Brian Mann

Rally to save prisons today in Albany

A rally is planned for later this morning in Albany to protest the planned closure of four state prisons across New York, including Chateaugay and Mt. McGregor here in the North Country.

Local leaders face tough choices in the weeks ahead. They're still fighting to save local prisons, and the jobs and economic funds that come with correctional facilities.

But they're also hoping to work with the Cuomo administration to win millions of dollars in redevelopment funds.  Go to full article

Parents and teachers protest during Cuomo visit to Lake Placid

During Governor Cuomo's visit to Lake Placid yesterday, a small group of parents and teachers rallied outside the Olympic Convention Center, urging Cuomo to reinstate education funding cut during the recession.  Go to full article
Governor Andrew Cuomo sleds in Franklin County on Sunday as part of his Adirondack Winter Challenge.  Photo provided by NYS Governor's office
Governor Andrew Cuomo sleds in Franklin County on Sunday as part of his Adirondack Winter Challenge. Photo provided by NYS Governor's office

Cuomo cheerleads Adirondack, Lake Placid tourism

Gov. Andrew Cuomo led a group of lawmakers on a day-long visit to the Adirondack Park yesterday.

The Adirondack Winter Challenge is part of his administration's $60 million effort, launched last year, to boost upstate tourism. The event was also designed to build support in Albany for state-run tourism sites that cost taxpayers tens of millions of dollars a year to operate.  Go to full article

Griffo would change voting rules for electing regents

North Country state Senator Joe Griffo says it's time to find a new way to elect the Board of Regents that guides New York's public education policy.

"Currently, that's an elective vote of the 213 members of the legislature, we believe that should actually be a vote by each individual house and you should receive a majority in each house." Griffo points out that because there are far more Assembly members than state Senators, the current system for electing regents gives the lion's share of authority to Democrats.  Go to full article
The poposed Vermont Gas Systems pipeline runs from Cornwall, VT to Ticonderoga, NY. Map: Addison County Regional Planning Commission
The poposed Vermont Gas Systems pipeline runs from Cornwall, VT to Ticonderoga, NY. Map: Addison County Regional Planning Commission

Vermont towns oppose gas pipeline to Ticonderoga

Three towns in Vermont are pushing back against a plan to build a natural gas pipeline connecting to the International Paper mill in Ticonderoga. At Town Meeting Day yesterday, the towns of Cornwall, Monkton and Shoreham passed non-binding resolutions opposing the project, developed by Vermont Gas.

As proposed, the $70 million pipeline would pass through all three communities before passing under the water of Lake Champlain to Ticonderoga. The project still needs approval from state officials in Vermont and these resolutions were designed to influence that review.

Officials at International Paper have argued that the pipeline will reduce operating costs at the mill, while also cutting emissions.  Go to full article
Luger Erin Hamlin has already received a hometown parade following her return to Remsen after the games. Photo: David Sommerstein
Luger Erin Hamlin has already received a hometown parade following her return to Remsen after the games. Photo: David Sommerstein

Olympic parades set for Saranac Lake, Lake Placid

Two Adirondack villages will hold parades this month to celebrate the North Country's success at the Sochi Winter Olympics.

Lake Placid will hold a parade March 16, honoring home-town silver medalist Andrew Weibrecht, and bronze medalist Erin Hamlin from Remsen. Also on hand will be two bronze-winning bobsled racers, Steve Holcomb and Steve Langton. That parade will begin at 5:30 in the evening and will conclude with fireworks over the Olympic village.

On March 26, a second parade will be held in Saranac Lake. That parade, on Broadway, will also include local Olympians and their families, as well as young athletes from downhill and cross-country ski teams. The Saranac Lake parade will kick off at 3:30 pm. In all, more than a dozen athletes from the North Country region competed in the Sochi Oympics in sports ranging from luge sled racing to Alpine Super-G.  Go to full article
The Palace Theater in Lake Placid, late on a Saturday night. Photos: Natasha Haverty
The Palace Theater in Lake Placid, late on a Saturday night. Photos: Natasha Haverty

Listen: Remembering silent film organist Jeff Barker

Jeff Barker wasn't well known in the North Country. But his music and his work as an instrument restorer brought back to life a part of the region's history.
Barker was a celebrated organ player from Manchester, England who specialized in accompanying silent movies.

For more than a decade, his performances were a big draw at the Palace Theater in Lake Placid. The silent films he accompanied were also a cornerstone of the Lake Placid Film Forum.

In 1998, Barker also led the team that restored the Palace's Robert Morton organ, which was first built in 1926. Brian Mann knew Barker for years, and learned last week that he'd passed away on New Year's Eve. He has this look back at Barker's life and his work in Lake Placid.  Go to full article
This image was part of the St. Lawrence Arts Council's Adirondack Gives campaign to raise money for a new pottery wheel.  Photo:  SLC Arts/Renee Stauffer
This image was part of the St. Lawrence Arts Council's Adirondack Gives campaign to raise money for a new pottery wheel. Photo: SLC Arts/Renee Stauffer

How one Adirondack organization is crowdfunding local nonprofits

Nonprofit groups are a big part of the North Country's economy, helping with everything from social service and health needs to job training, arts and education. But fundraising is often a huge bottleneck, as organizations scramble to find new donors.

Now, Adirondack Foundation, a community organization that serves the Adirondack region, has started a new crowdfunding website. Adirondack Gives is designed to help nonprofits in our region connect with people who can give even small amounts.  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:

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.
 
October 29, 2013 | NCPR · With just a hundred days to go before the Winter Olympic Games open in Russia, even many gold medalists are still fighting for a place on Team USA. Justin Olsen, a bobsledder from San Antonio, Texas, helped the U.S. win a historic gold medal four years ago in Vancouver, but he's struggled to overcome injuries in the lead-up to Sochi.
 
September 10, 2013 | NPR · New York adopted one of the toughest gun control laws in the U.S. — banning the sale of assault rifles and banana clips. Many of the state's county sheriffs hate the law and some say they won't enforce it. The fight over gun rights and gun safety has become a hot issue in sheriff races, as local law enforcement officials seek re-election in rural counties.
 
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.
 
July 11, 2013 | NPR · In Lac Megantic, Quebec, locals are waiting impatiently for answers following Saturday's train explosion that left 50 people dead. The provincial government in Quebec is blasting the railroad at the center of this disaster for responding too slowly — and requesting more aid from Canada's federal government to help the rural town rebuild.
 
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.
 
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.
 
February 18, 2012 | NPR · U.S. bobsled racers triumphed at the 2010 Winter Olympics, but it's been tough sledding ever since. The American team has lost big sponsors and struggled to win big races. This weekend, the world's top sled teams face off in Lake Placid, N.Y., for the world championships. North Country Public Radio's Brian Mann reports that American athletes hope the home-track advantage will give them a shot at a medal.
 
September 4, 2011 | NPR · The massive clean-up from Tropical Storm Irene continues in upstate New York, but some cash-strapped rural communities say they're not sure how much they can afford to rebuild.