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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.

Fluctuating temperatures raise concerns over farming

Temperatures this winter have left a lot of people wondering... December's 70-degree days caused flowers to bloom - but also contributed to concerns over global warming. This week's cold snap - reassuring to some - has raised new questions about the health of the North Country's ecosystem.

What do these fluctuating temperatures do to plants, soils and watersheds? Was there any damage to area farms? Or livestock? Jonathan Brown put these questions to farm-business manager Bill Van Loo, at the Cornell Cooperative Extension.  Go to full article

North Country tourism industry hopes for better times

It has not been a good year for tourism in the North Country. Businesses dependent on skiers and snowmobilers are hurting due to unseasonably warm temperatures that ran from Thanksgiving through the first half of January. Summer tourism was also hurt by the weather. Heavy rains kept large numbers of visitors indoors - or away from the area entirely. Still, tourism operators are hoping for a strong season this year. That's according to this year's confidence survey conducted by the Thousand Islands International Tourism Council. Director Gary DeYoung says the annual survey, now in its 7th year, is an attempt to gather information from the small--and often independent--businesses that cater to tourists. He tells Jonathan Brown that respondents are looking to Pennsylvania as a possible new market for the Thousand Islands. Many in the industry are still hurting, though, from last summer's wet weather, tightened border security and high gas prices.  Go to full article
Bloody Red Mysid

Hitchhiking invaders keep coming

A new invasive species has joined zebra and quagga mussels, the brown gobie and other species that have hitchhiked to the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River in ballast water. Rebecca Williams' report shows just how easily an even worse invader could make its way into the waterway.  Go to full article

Winter comes back to the North Country

Winter finally returned to the North Country today with snow, freezing rain and wintry conditions that have mostly been a no-show this season.

Tree limbs and...  Go to full article

In Cranberry Lake, a feud over trail rights

Snowmobile riders have complained for years that their trail network in the North Country is fragile. It depends on a patchwork of agreements with local and state...  Go to full article
Althea Jean

About Althea Jean

It would be hard to say where the home base of this band is, since members live in Canton, the Adirondacks, and even Montreal. They often perform in the 1000 Islands. ...  Go to full article
Brittany Cean

About Brittany Cean

Not many musicians can claim to be inspired by rats, but Brittany Cean loves her pet rats as much as her music, and even wrote a tune for one of them. She spoke with Jill...  Go to full article

Singer Castle for sale

One of the Thousand Islands most lavish pieces of real estate is up for sale. Frederick Bourne's hunting lodge on Dark Island in the St. Lawrence River has become known as...  Go to full article

Snowfall makes news in the North Country

Snow is falling in the North Country. In other years, that would not be a news story, but this year is different. Jonathan Brown talked to Mike Wilcox - the general manager...  Go to full article

Assessing the new political landscape in Albany

Martha Foley talks with Brian Mann about how the new administration and legislature in Albany could affect issues in the North Country.  Go to full article

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