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A Year of Hard Choices

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A Year of Hard Choices
North Country people talk about the effects of the economic crisis on ordinary lives. Audio series


From the Patchwork Nation Collaboration



Hard Times All Over
Jul 21, 2010 — The Obama administration has pledged to end childhood hunger in the U.S. by 2015. Millions of kids cannot get enough to eat at home, and that number is going up, not down. NPR's Pam Fessler and Share our Strength founder Bill Shore talk about childhood hunger and the tug of war between nutrition and frugality.
Jul 20, 2010 — The Williamsons of Carlisle, Pa., live well below the poverty line. And in the family's struggle to obtain enough food, nutrition sometimes takes a back seat to necessity. Hunger in America is complicated. It's not just getting enough food, but getting the right food — and making the right choices.
Jul 19, 2010 — President Obama has pledged to end childhood hunger by 2015. But the number of hungry children in America has been rising: In 2008, almost 17 million children lived in households where getting enough food was a challenge. The Williamson family of five in Carlisle, Pa., who make $18,000 a year, highlight this struggle.
May 12, 2010 — This morning The Walmart Foundation announced a plan to donate $2 billion over the next five years in cash and food to food banks around the United States. The move marks an expansion of Walmart's existing partnerships with the organization Feeding America. Guest host Allison Keyes speaks with NPR poverty and philanthropy correspondent Pam Fessler about the donation.
Jan 23, 2010 — Haiti's government says it is ending the search and rescue phase for survivors, following last week's magnitude-7 earthquake. But rescue crews won't be kept from continuing their work. Meanwhile, Haitians are trying to flee their destroyed capital by the tens of thousands, with living conditions in Port-au-Prince now primitive at best. NPR's Jason Beaubien speaks to guest host Audie Cornish from the Caribbean island's docks.

Down economy changes the dynamics of land preservation

This morning we begin a series about how the down economy is changing the dynamics of land preservation.

States are facing tough decisions about where to invest their shrinking budgets. In most cases protecting open space is not at the top of the list. It's also putting pressure on developers and landowners facing budget problems of their own. The consequence, in some places, is a drop in land prices.

As part of a collaboration with Northeast stations, Nancy Cohen of WNPR in Hartford, Connecticut reports there are new opportunities to preserve land and curb development. (Tomorrow, Brian Mann reports tight state budgets are putting the squeeze on land conservation by green groups.)  Go to full article
Dawn and Andy Flynn are expanding their "Meet the Town" business

A Year of Hard Choices: Is this the perfect time to open a new business?

This morning we continue our series "A Year of Hard Choices." Last year, the North Country lost more than 1700 jobs, according to the New York Department of Labor. The national headlines these days are full of lay-offs, bankruptcies and government bail-outs. But down in the trenches of America's struggling economy, thousands of entrepreneurs are opening new businesses, rolling out new products and even hiring new workers. Brian Mann has our profile of four people in this region who decided to take the plunge.  Go to full article

Floor tax forces hard choices on restaurants

In our series, A Year of Hard Choices, we've been reporting on the current economic downturn and how it's affecting the choices people in the North Country are making. With household budgets under pressure, these are already tough times for restaurants. Rick Davidson is co-owner of Davidson Brothers Brew Pub and Restaurant in Glens Falls. He says new fees and taxes meant to close government budget gaps are making things tighter. New York increased its excise tax on beer and wine--not much, he says, but it all adds up for businesses like his.

North Country Assemblywoman Addie Russell is circulating a petition to repeal the "floor tax." Russell says petitions are going out to local restaurants, breweries, wineries and liquor stores. There's also a digital version on the assemblywoman's web site.

Davidson tells Jonathan Brown that since May 1, restaurants, wineries, liquor stores and distributors are all paying 11 cents more for each gallon of wine, and three cents more for each gallon of beer they sell.  Go to full article
Proposed Massena Community Center. Source: Salvation Army

Massena abandons Kroc center plans

Another blow for the reeling community of Massena. After years of work and planning, the village is giving up on its bid to build a $25-million community center. Massena...  Go to full article

A Year of Hard Choices: Tough times at the animal shelter

To many of us our pets are part of the family. Now with the recession some families are having to split up. As a part of our series, A Year of Hard Choices, our...  Go to full article

Hospital CEO says health care reform must include fundamental change

President Barack Obama meets today with business executives to talk to them about the high price of health care. In a meeting at the White House yesterday, representatives of...  Go to full article

Dairy farmers hang on in lean times

Two year ago, the North Country was one of the most profitable regions in the country to milk cows. A new report in Farm Futures magazine ranks Jefferson, Lewis, and St....  Go to full article

For one non-profit exec, a year of hard (and scary) choices

Non-profits make up one of the biggest chunks of the North Country economy, providing jobs and services to thousands of people. But NGOs have been slammed by the deepening...  Go to full article

Hard Choices: As lay-offs mount, government jobs could be next

The North Country relies on government jobs, from state prisons to local schools, for much of its vitality. In many towns, those public-sector workers and their paychecks...  Go to full article
Keith Peterson, Massena, behind the wheel of his rig.

Year of Hard Choices: Driving a Semi, Empty

If you want to put your finger on the pulse of the economy, talk to a trucker. Tomorrow's products are hauled in today's 18-wheelers. And many are nearly empty. In our...  Go to full article

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