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NCPR News Staff: Brian Mann

Adirondack Bureau Chief
Brian Mann grew up in Alaska, where he fell in love with public radio. In 1999, Brian moved to the Adirondacks and helped launch NCPR's news bureau at Paul Smiths College. "I love the chemistry of water and mountains," Brian says. "But I'm also pretty crazy about village life in the north country. It's the kind of place where you know your neighbors." Brian lives in Saranac Lake with wife Susan and son Nicholas. He's a frequent contributor to NPR and also writes regularly for regional magazines, including Adirondack Life and the Adirondack Explorer. E-mail

Stories filed by Brian Mann

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Saranac Lake village Mayor Clyde Rabideau is pushing hard to see two new hotels built in his community. Photo:  Brian Mann
Saranac Lake village Mayor Clyde Rabideau is pushing hard to see two new hotels built in his community. Photo: Brian Mann

Rabideau's second term Saranac Lake bucket list

Clyde Rabideau has been a political fixture in the North Country for decades, first as the long-time mayor of Plattsburgh, and for the last four years as mayor of Saranac Lake. As he begins his second term as village mayor, Rabideau says he has a long list of projects he hopes to push to completion in the next four years.

Topping the list are two new hotels and a parking garage proposed for the downtown area. One of those hotels, on the shore of Lake Flower, has sparked questions about the size and the environmental impact, as well as concerns that the project might lie inside the Saranac River's flood plain.

Rabideau sat down this week with Brian Mann to talk about those challenges.  Go to full article

Gillibrand says she'll revive military sexual assault bill

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand says she plans to keep fighting for a bill that would change the way rape and sexual assault crimes are prosecuted in the US military.

She says thousands of service members now being assaulted each year deserve more protection.  Go to full article
Downtown Glens Falls. Photo: Mark Kurtz
Downtown Glens Falls. Photo: Mark Kurtz

Growing Glens Falls region means more infrastructure needs

During a visit to Glens Falls yesterday, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand stopped by the campus of Adirondack Community College to meet with local economic development leaders. Unlike much of the North Country, the economy in the Glens Falls region is strong, with unemployment just over 5 percent and a wave of new construction and new businesses.  Go to full article
A rash of potholes in Westport, NY, is pretty typical of damage across the North Country. Photo: Brian Mann
A rash of potholes in Westport, NY, is pretty typical of damage across the North Country. Photo: Brian Mann

Cuomo says pothole rescue is on the way

If you feel like the shock absorbers on your car are giving out this spring-- you're not alone. The harsh winter did massive damage to roads across the North Country and that's made driving tough in many communities.

Now New York state says it will help local governments make repairs, adding tens of millions of dollars to grants for resurfacing roads and bridges. In a statement issued last week, governor Cuomo announced that $40 million would be added to the grants made available to local governments to help them with what he called the "exceptionally harsh winter."

That's about a 10 percent increase in state support for local transportation infrastructure - money that goes to counties, towns and villages.  Go to full article
Governor Andrew Cuomo has pursued an aggressive prison reform agenda in his first term. NCPR File photo: Mark Kurtz
Governor Andrew Cuomo has pursued an aggressive prison reform agenda in his first term. NCPR File photo: Mark Kurtz

Cuomo: "We must raise the age" juveniles are tried as adults

Gov. Andrew Cuomo yesterday named a new commission to look at whether teenagers should be tried in adult courts in New York. Last year, more than 30,000 16- and 17-year-olds were tried in adult courts in New York.  Go to full article
Robin Nagle, from Saranac Lake, is the anthropologist-in-residence in the New York City Sanitation Department.  Photo: Brian Mann
Robin Nagle, from Saranac Lake, is the anthropologist-in-residence in the New York City Sanitation Department. Photo: Brian Mann

America's never-ending war against garbage

We've all had the experience of being told that it's our turn to take out the trash. Or sort the recycling. Or make the weekly trip to the dump.

More and more of us are trying to reduce the amount of waste we produce, by composting and buying stuff with less packaging.

But Americans still produce massive amounts of garbage.

And the way we deal with it shapes our lives and the future of our communities and our environment.  Go to full article
Chateaugay Correctional Facility, source of 110 jobs in northern Franklin County, is slated to close in July.  File photo.  Brian Mann
Chateaugay Correctional Facility, source of 110 jobs in northern Franklin County, is slated to close in July. File photo. Brian Mann

Chateaugay prison closure will hurt local business, town supervisor says

The town of Chateaugay in northern Franklin County is still reeling from news that their local correctional facility will close in July of this year. That news was confirmed last week in the budget deal hammered out in Albany.

Don Bilow, Chateaugay town supervisor, says the prison closure will hurt the community's wider business community.  Go to full article
Brian Fischer led New York's corrections department for seven years from 2007 until 2013, a time when nine state prisons were mothballed.  Photo:  Brian Mann
Brian Fischer led New York's corrections department for seven years from 2007 until 2013, a time when nine state prisons were mothballed. Photo: Brian Mann

The man who led a revolution inside NY prisons

For decades, New York has maintained one of the largest -- and fastest growing -- prison systems in the country.

At its peak, more than seventy thousand men and women were held in state correctional facilities, many on lengthy mandatory drug sentences.

But over the last few years, the prison system has begun to shrink dramatically, with thirteen facilities closed or in the process of shutting down.

That quiet revolution was led in large part by former Corrections commissioner Brian Fischer, who stepped down last year after seven years in the post.  Go to full article
At a rally in March, workers from Chateaugay Correctional Facility protested the Cuomo administration's decision to close the prison in July. Photo provided by NYSCOPBA.
At a rally in March, workers from Chateaugay Correctional Facility protested the Cuomo administration's decision to close the prison in July. Photo provided by NYSCOPBA.

How America's drug war sparked the North Country prison boom

This week, North Country Public Radio is looking in-depth at how New York's 40-year prison boom changed two very different neighborhoods, Brownsville in New York City and Chateaugay in Franklin County. Check out these stories and many more in our Prison Time Media Project.

This week, the tiny North Country town of Chateaugay learned that their local prison -- operated by the state Corrections Department -- will close in July.

The decision was made final in New York's state budget.

Town supervisor Donald Bilow told the Plattsburgh Press-Republican that he is "devastated" by the closure.  Go to full article
The Environmental Protection Fund is used to make key land purchases in the Adirondacks.  A view from the water on Boreas Ponds, part of the big Finch Pruyn conservation deal. Photo: Brian Mann
The Environmental Protection Fund is used to make key land purchases in the Adirondacks. A view from the water on Boreas Ponds, part of the big Finch Pruyn conservation deal. Photo: Brian Mann

Budget deal boosts green projects in NY

Green groups say they're pleased that the final budget approved yesterday includes more money for the Environmental Protection Fund.

Lawmakers devoted just over $160 million dollars to the fund, which is used to pay for park land purchases and to fund clean air and water projects.  Go to full article

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