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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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Parents and teachers protest during Cuomo visit to Lake Placid

During Governor Cuomo's visit to Lake Placid yesterday, a small group of parents and teachers rallied outside the Olympic Convention Center, urging Cuomo to reinstate education funding cut during the recession.  Go to full article
Governor Andrew Cuomo sleds in Franklin County on Sunday as part of his Adirondack Winter Challenge.  Photo provided by NYS Governor's office
Governor Andrew Cuomo sleds in Franklin County on Sunday as part of his Adirondack Winter Challenge. Photo provided by NYS Governor's office

Cuomo cheerleads Adirondack, Lake Placid tourism

Gov. Andrew Cuomo led a group of lawmakers on a day-long visit to the Adirondack Park yesterday.

The Adirondack Winter Challenge is part of his administration's $60 million effort, launched last year, to boost upstate tourism. The event was also designed to build support in Albany for state-run tourism sites that cost taxpayers tens of millions of dollars a year to operate.  Go to full article

Griffo would change voting rules for electing regents

North Country state Senator Joe Griffo says it's time to find a new way to elect the Board of Regents that guides New York's public education policy.

"Currently, that's an elective vote of the 213 members of the legislature, we believe that should actually be a vote by each individual house and you should receive a majority in each house." Griffo points out that because there are far more Assembly members than state Senators, the current system for electing regents gives the lion's share of authority to Democrats.  Go to full article
The poposed Vermont Gas Systems pipeline runs from Cornwall, VT to Ticonderoga, NY. Map: Addison County Regional Planning Commission
The poposed Vermont Gas Systems pipeline runs from Cornwall, VT to Ticonderoga, NY. Map: Addison County Regional Planning Commission

Vermont towns oppose gas pipeline to Ticonderoga

Three towns in Vermont are pushing back against a plan to build a natural gas pipeline connecting to the International Paper mill in Ticonderoga. At Town Meeting Day yesterday, the towns of Cornwall, Monkton and Shoreham passed non-binding resolutions opposing the project, developed by Vermont Gas.

As proposed, the $70 million pipeline would pass through all three communities before passing under the water of Lake Champlain to Ticonderoga. The project still needs approval from state officials in Vermont and these resolutions were designed to influence that review.

Officials at International Paper have argued that the pipeline will reduce operating costs at the mill, while also cutting emissions.  Go to full article
Luger Erin Hamlin has already received a hometown parade following her return to Remsen after the games. Photo: David Sommerstein
Luger Erin Hamlin has already received a hometown parade following her return to Remsen after the games. Photo: David Sommerstein

Olympic parades set for Saranac Lake, Lake Placid

Two Adirondack villages will hold parades this month to celebrate the North Country's success at the Sochi Winter Olympics.

Lake Placid will hold a parade March 16, honoring home-town silver medalist Andrew Weibrecht, and bronze medalist Erin Hamlin from Remsen. Also on hand will be two bronze-winning bobsled racers, Steve Holcomb and Steve Langton. That parade will begin at 5:30 in the evening and will conclude with fireworks over the Olympic village.

On March 26, a second parade will be held in Saranac Lake. That parade, on Broadway, will also include local Olympians and their families, as well as young athletes from downhill and cross-country ski teams. The Saranac Lake parade will kick off at 3:30 pm. In all, more than a dozen athletes from the North Country region competed in the Sochi Oympics in sports ranging from luge sled racing to Alpine Super-G.  Go to full article
The Palace Theater in Lake Placid, late on a Saturday night. Photos: Natasha Haverty
The Palace Theater in Lake Placid, late on a Saturday night. Photos: Natasha Haverty

Listen: Remembering silent film organist Jeff Barker

Jeff Barker wasn't well known in the North Country. But his music and his work as an instrument restorer brought back to life a part of the region's history.
Barker was a celebrated organ player from Manchester, England who specialized in accompanying silent movies.

For more than a decade, his performances were a big draw at the Palace Theater in Lake Placid. The silent films he accompanied were also a cornerstone of the Lake Placid Film Forum.

In 1998, Barker also led the team that restored the Palace's Robert Morton organ, which was first built in 1926. Brian Mann knew Barker for years, and learned last week that he'd passed away on New Year's Eve. He has this look back at Barker's life and his work in Lake Placid.  Go to full article
This image was part of the St. Lawrence Arts Council's Adirondack Gives campaign to raise money for a new pottery wheel.  Photo:  SLC Arts/Renee Stauffer
This image was part of the St. Lawrence Arts Council's Adirondack Gives campaign to raise money for a new pottery wheel. Photo: SLC Arts/Renee Stauffer

How one Adirondack organization is crowdfunding local nonprofits

Nonprofit groups are a big part of the North Country's economy, helping with everything from social service and health needs to job training, arts and education. But fundraising is often a huge bottleneck, as organizations scramble to find new donors.

Now, Adirondack Foundation, a community organization that serves the Adirondack region, has started a new crowdfunding website. Adirondack Gives is designed to help nonprofits in our region connect with people who can give even small amounts.  Go to full article
Film poster for "Captain Phillips" which has been nominated for six Academy Awards.
Film poster for "Captain Phillips" which has been nominated for six Academy Awards.

In Whallonsburg, real star of "Captain Phillips" talks modern piracy

It's Oscar season and this year two Academy Award nominees have connections here in our region. One is "12 Years A Slave", which tells the true story of a free black man, Solomon Northup. In the 1800s, Northup lived much of his life in the North Country before being abducted and sold into slavery in the South.

The other movie with connections to our region is "Captain Phillips," which tells the true tale of Captain Richard Phillips, a Vermont merchant mariner who survived a modern pirate attack off the coast of Somalia in 2009. Phillips visited the Adirondacks earlier this month for a screening of the film about his life at the Whallonsburg Grange Hall.  Go to full article
Governor Andrew Cuomo Photo: Mark Kurtz
Governor Andrew Cuomo Photo: Mark Kurtz

Cuomo urges consolidation on small "insolvent" school districts

Gov. Andrew Cuomo took aim again yesterday at small upstate and Northern New York school districts, which he says need to consolidate to survive. "You have many small school districts that are almost insolvent from an economic point of view, due to their size," Cuomo said.  Go to full article
Gov. Cuomo taking questions from reporters, February, 2014. NCPR File Photo: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/governorandrewcuomo/12721921383/">Gov. Cuomo's office</a>, via Flickr
Gov. Cuomo taking questions from reporters, February, 2014. NCPR File Photo: Gov. Cuomo's office, via Flickr

Cuomo's prison college plan sparks bipartisan backlash

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has made prison reform a centerpiece of his first term, closing prisons, calling for changes to sentencing laws for sixteen- and seventeen-year olds, and cutting the use of solitary confinement. But his latest proposal, a plan to use taxpayer dollars to fund college education behind bars, has sparked a bipartisan backlash.

Cuomo says the idea will save money over time, but many lawmakers say it's unfair to law-abiding citizens who struggle to send their kids to college.  Go to full article

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