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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.
CenterState CEO presented their economic development plan at Clarkson last month. Photo: Sarah Harris
CenterState CEO presented their economic development plan at Clarkson last month. Photo: Sarah Harris

Is this really a biz plan for the North Country?

Last month Centerstate CEO, a Syracuse-based economic development group, released a plan for a region they call central New York. It stretches from the Finger Lakes to Massena and includes Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties. It doesn't include the Adirondacks or the Champlain Valley.

The plan was prepared by the Brookings Institution and identifies ways in the region can compete on a global scale. But some critics argue that the plan doesn't represent the western half of what we call the North Country.  Go to full article
The Family Counseling Service is the second Watertown health care nonprofit to get a financial bailout in recent months. Photo: Joanna Richards

Counseling service latest Watertown health care provider to get a lifeline

The North Country Family Health Center, in Watertown, is still working to gain long-term financial stability after nearly closing in October. Now, another Watertown health care provider is getting a bailout to stay afloat. This time, it's Family Counseling Service of Northern New York.  Go to full article
The 10th Mountain Division's Headquarters in the field during the division-wide Mountain Peak training exercise at Fort Drum, August, 2012. Photo: Joanna Richards

Drum numbers likely dropping, but no cause for alarm

The Watertown area's economy is heavily dependent on Fort Drum. With the federal budget sequester on and the Afghanistan war winding down, the numbers of soldiers assigned to the post and civilians working there is likely to decrease. But the outlook is more complicated than just doom and gloom.  Go to full article
New development will take place on the site of the former Mercy Hospital on Stone St. in Watertown.

$81.3 million for the North Country

The big news across this region today is about money, and local hopes for what state support will do for their communities.
The North Country was awarded 81.3 million...  Go to full article
Culture of clostridium botulinum, which produces the botulism toxins. Photo courtesy of Larry Stauffer, Oregon State Public Health Laboratory. Creative Commons. Some rights reserved.

Botulism kills hundreds of loons in Lake Ontario

Type E Botulism, a disease caused by a toxic bacteria, is back in Lake Ontario. And over the last month or so, it's killed several hundred loons, ducks and other birds....  Go to full article
Cars lunder lake-effect snow. Archive Poto of the Day, Stephen Diehl, Antwerp, NY

Parts of upstate NY getting lake-effect snow

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) More than a foot of snow has fallen in towns south of Buffalo and more is expected as sections of upstate New York get a wintry blast from lake-effect...  Go to full article
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>

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...  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....  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

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