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Special Reports

IED
Audio Slideshow:
Soldiers learn to spot IEDs at Ft. Drum
Improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, kill more American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan than any other weapon. David Sommerstein visits a hands-on IED training exhibit at Fort Drum near Watertown.
amish school
Audio Slideshow:
Ian Coristine: Thousand Islands photographer
Todd Moe visits photographer Ian Coristine on Raleigh Island, his seasonal home. River residents and visitors have probably seen Coristine aloft in his red ultralight aircraft searching the Thousand Islands for the perfect photo.
oiled heron
Audio Slideshow:
The Slick of '76: Looking Back and Forward
This summer marks the 30th anniversary of the “Slick of ‘76,” a 300,000-gallon oil spill in the heart of the Thousand Islands. The event re-shaped the way a generation views its relationship to the river. David Sommerstein reports.
prairie smoke
Audio Slideshow:
Chaumont Barrens: the North Country's Prairie
David Sommerstein takes a nature walk on this unique Nature Conservancy land that contains some of the nation's easternmost prairie habitat.
La Duchesse
Audio Slideshow:
Aboad La Duchesse in Clayton
La Duchesse is a 110-foot Gilded Age treasure that's become the crown jewel of the Antique Boat Museum's collection in Clayton. Todd Moe tours the historic houseboat.
La Duchesse
Audio Slideshow:
At a Grindstone Island Square Dance
Only 11 people live on Grindstone all winter, but when the weather changes, families who’ve spent generations of summers there return. On Saturday nights, the place to be is the big dance at Dodge Hall, especially when some fiddlers and callers get together for an old-fashioned square dance.
Audio Slideshow
Preserving the Indian River Lakes
Between the high profile destinations of the Thousand Islands and the Adirondacks, there's a hidden gem of a region. It's called the Indian River Lakes. David SOmmerstein sends an audio postcard.
Audio Slideshow
Iraq Through a Camera Lens: Watertown Daily Times Photojournalist Mark Dye
Mark Dye, a photojournalist with the Watertown Daily Times, spent a month in Baghdad earlier this winter. He was embedded with troops from Fort Drum, and sent daily photos and stories documenting the lives of soldiers and civilians in Iraq.
Audio Slideshow
Kayaking: The Blackwater Challenge
The U.S. Freestyle Kayaking Team trials in preparation for the world championships this winter in Australia, was held on the "Route 3 Wave" on the Black River near Watertown. Kayakers have 45 seconds to add up points for each trick they make. If the whitewater flushes them downriver, they can paddle their way back to the wave until time runs out. David Sommerstein reports.
Animated Film Videos & Audio Slideshow
Art Without Borders: Carmen D'Avino
Carmen D’Avino began his career as a painter in the 1930s. He’s been a World War II military filmmaker, a sculptor, and an avant-guarde animator in New York City. For many years he lived in an old farmhouse in Hammond. David Sommerstein stopped by for a visit. This special report features nine videos of D'Avino's film work, most unavailable anywhere for decades. The artist died later in 2004.
Audio Slideshow
The Joy of Junk: Beachcombing with Captain Honk
A North Country angler and artist who spends most of his time on Lake Ontario turns junk found along the shoreline into fish sculptures. It's just one of the hobbies that keeps Tom Bintz, aka Captain Honk, busy as he divides his time between fishing, travel, art and demolition derby competitions.
Photo/Audio Essay
Inside Dark Island's Castle
On the St. Lawrence River near Chippewa Bay, a representative for the buyers of Dark Island and its historic castle gave David Sommerstein a peek of what visitors could see as early as next summer.
New York Air National Guard members loading trees donated to the Trees for Troops program by Ellms Christmas Tree Farm in 2012. Photo: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/96225726@N08/8803994313/">2nd Lt. Colette Martin, New York National Guard</a>
New York Air National Guard members loading trees donated to the Trees for Troops program by Ellms Christmas Tree Farm in 2012. Photo: 2nd Lt. Colette Martin, New York National Guard

Christmas trees donated to Fort Drum families

FORT DRUM, N.Y. (AP) Soldiers and their families at Fort Drum are getting a bit of holiday cheer.

Base officials say about 700 farm-grown Christmas trees will be delivered to 10th Mountain Division headquarters Monday morning for distribution to families.

The trees are being donated through the Trees for Troops program run by the Christmas Spirit Foundation. Trees for Troops expects to deliver more than 17,000 trees this year to soldiers at more than 60 bases.  Go to full article
Rock Island Lighthouse State Park in Fisher's Landing, NY was one of the honorees. Photo: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/28914673@N02/8726711967/">Ted Van Pelt</a>, Creative Commons, saome rights reserved

Parks agency announces preservation awards

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) New York's Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation has announced the recipients of the 2013 New York State Historic Preservation Awards.

The Buffalo Neighborhood Preservation Initiative was cited for its work getting a group of Buffalo's largest and most significant residential and commercial areas listed on the New York and National Registers of Historic Places.  Go to full article
Work begins on the Woolworth building in Watertown's Public Square. Photo: Joanna Richards

Work begins on Watertown's Woolworth building

Work has begun to revive a long-vacant eyesore at the center of downtown Watertown.  Go to full article
Wind turbines are already visible from Cape Vincent's shoreline - on Canada's Wolfe Island. There could be a lot more if BP's proposed project moves forward under a new owner. Photo: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/kingstongal/3944763056/">NapaneeGal</a>, Creative Commons. some rights reserved.

Cape Vincent meeting may clarify wind farm's future

A proposed wind farm in Cape Vincent, in Jefferson County, has been in limbo since energy company BP said earlier this year that it's planning to sell off its entire wind...  Go to full article
Clayton town supervisor Justin Taylor. Photo: David Sommerstein

Clayton supervisor fingered in Inspector General's report for misusing state vehicle

An Inspector General's report finds that Clayton's town supervisor is among dozens of current and former state prison officials who misused their work-issued vehicles at...  Go to full article
Fort Drum soldiers take a break after carrying and unpacking boxes full of Christmas decorations at the Watertown Urban Mission. Photo: Joanna Richards

Soldiers pitch in to help needy celebrate Christmas

The Watertown Urban Mission is busy around the holidays. Along with running its regular programs like the food pantry and thrift store, it also distributes warm winter coats...  Go to full article
An old doorway tells the Woolworth building's history. Photo: Joanna Richards

Work begins soon to bring Watertown landmark back to life

The state of Watertown's historic Woolworth building tells you a lot about the health of the city. And for years, the message hasn't been good. But the vacant eyesore is on...  Go to full article

Why 315-ers won't have to change area codes, yet

The state is once again shelving a plan to split up the 315 area code. New York's Public Service Commission announced yesterday a revised forecast finds there will be enough...  Go to full article
Trainees work on an MQ-9 Reaper at the Hancock field Air National Guard base near Syracuse, NY. Photo: David Sommerstein.

Reaper drone crashes in Lake Ontario

The search for an unmanned drone aircraft that went down in the waters of Lake Ontario yesterday, is expected to continue today. There were no reports of any injuries or...  Go to full article
CenterState CEO presented their economic development plan at Clarkson last week. Photo: Sarah Harris

North Country economy: start-ups and data hub?

There are dozens of economic development agencies and strategies in the North Country. Now, there's another. CenterState CEO, a Syracuse-based economic development group,...  Go to full article

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