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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.
A U.S. Coast Guard inflatable boat at Chippewa Bay with deployed oil booms in the background.
A U.S. Coast Guard inflatable boat at Chippewa Bay with deployed oil booms in the background.

Spill drill exposes Seaway response needs

A tanker had gone aground on Whiskey Island shoal on the St. Lawrence Seaway, spilling 100,000 gallons of thick oil. That was the nightmare scenario emergency responders on both sides of the river faced in a drill exercise last Thursday and Friday. 150 people charted the simulated oil's progress downriver, laid booms to contain it, and then reviewed what went right and wrong. As David Sommerstein reports, the exercise demonstrated the first hours after an accident need the most attention.  Go to full article

Baby booms and other complications: local health care challenges

The 5th Annual Rural Health Care Conference is in its second day in Chatauqua. This year, all the discussions take place in the shadow of the New York State Right Sizing Commission. The commission was formed earlier this year to take a comprehensive look at health services across the state. It's likely some hospitals will close, and some services consolidated as a result of its recommendations. Patty Bishop looks at the big picture in this region. She is director of the Northern New York Rural Health Care Alliance, based in Watertown. She said local providers and agencies will have their say before the right-sizing commission makes its recommendation. But she told Gregory Warner the challenges the rural health care community faces are special, and she worries that message won't be heard clearly. And she said the North Country has particular problems because of Ft. Drum.  Go to full article

Teen canoeist repeat champ

The teen champion of Interpretive Freestyle Canoeing did it again last weekend. 14-year-old Jonathan Hammond of Clayton edged out Marc Orstein to win the men's national championship Saturday in Peninsula, Ohio. The tiny sport is like figure skating or synchronized swimming in a canoe. David Sommerstein caught up with Hammond yesterday by cell phone.  Go to full article
Jonathan Hammond of Alexandria Bay

Teen canoe champ defends title

This weekend, a couple dozen paddlers are in Ohio for the National Interpretive Freestyle Canoeing championships. Picture figure skating or synchronized swimming in a canoe,...  Go to full article
Photo courtesy SLWGMD

Farmers wary of more wetlands

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service wants to expand a program that helps farmers convert untillable acres into wetland habitat for birds. The program has already protected...  Go to full article
Marjorie Ransom

Preview: Silver Speaks - Jewelry of the Middle East

Todd Moe talks with Marjorie Ransom, a Lewis county native, who spent years in the Middle East as a U.S. diplomat. She's also researched and collected traditional silver...  Go to full article

Heard up North: St Lawrence's last words

All this month on All Before Five we're decoding place names in the North Country. Linking up names to namesakes, and exploring the history of place names we say every...  Go to full article
Seth Babcock, Courtney Smith, and Ashley Burris at the <i>Military Brats</i> editorial meeting.

A magazine for "military brats"

There are more than a million children with parents in the military. These families on average move on average every three years, compared to every five and a half years for...  Go to full article

Serendipity on the St. Lawrence

Before our weather turns too cool -- one more trip out on the St. Lawrence River. Todd Moe visits photographer Ian Coristine on Raleigh Island, his seasonal home, for a chat...  Go to full article

Bush to nominate new Seaway chief

President Bush will nominate a college roommate and political ally to run the St. Lawrence Seaway. The White House announced Tuesday that Collister Johnson, Jr. will be...  Go to full article

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