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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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Gore Mountain is an anchor for Warren County's winter economy. Photo: Gore Mountain website
Gore Mountain is an anchor for Warren County's winter economy. Photo: Gore Mountain website

Comptroller: Olympic authority needs "fiscal balance"

A new report issued this week by New York's state Comptroller office is aiming fire at the business and accounting practices of the Olympic Regional Development Authority.

That's the state-owned enterprise that operates sports and tourism venues in the Adirondacks and Catskills.

The audit found that ORDA is losing money and is often forced to borrow cash to pay for basic operations.  Go to full article

Adirondack train route to rail-trail conversation

There was dramatic news yesterday afternoon from Albany. State officials announced that they will formally reopen the unit management plan for the historic rail corridor that stretches through the Adirondacks from Old Forge to Lake Placid.

But the Cuomo administration also took a surprise step, proposing a concept that would effectively divide the corridor in half. The section from Old Forge to Tupper Lake would be maintained as a tourism railroad, with new investment from New York state.

The section from Tupper Lake to Lake Placid, however, would be converted into a multi-use rail-trail for hikers, skiers and snowmobile riders. Martha Foley and Brian Mann talked about the plan Thursday morning on the 8 O'clock Hour.  Go to full article
If the concept unveiled today by state officials is adopted, trains would no longer run to Saranac Lake's station (seen here) or to Lake Placid.  Train service might eventually be offered as far north as Tupper Lake.  Photo:  Susan Waters
If the concept unveiled today by state officials is adopted, trains would no longer run to Saranac Lake's station (seen here) or to Lake Placid. Train service might eventually be offered as far north as Tupper Lake. Photo: Susan Waters

State may convert section of Adirondack train route to rail-trail

State officials say they plan to reopen the planning process for the historic railroad track from Old Forge to Lake Placid.

In a statement released Wednesday afternoon, state Transportation and Environment commissioners also said they would consider converting a large segment of the historic train route to a "rail-to-trail" system.

If the proposal goes forward, tracks along the stretch from Tupper Lake to Lake Placid, via Saranac Lake, would be removed and replaced with a trail surface.

"In response to public interest, we are reopening the Unit Management Plan, providing new opportunities to engage local communities and support the regional economy as we plan for the corridor's future," said DOT Commissioner Joan McDonald in a statement.  Go to full article

Hudson rafting company troubles

The Glens Falls Post Star is reporting this morning that the brakes may have failed on a tubing company tour bus over the weekend, leading to the death of a 15-year-old boy.

According to the newspaper, the man driving the bus told authorities that the brakes failed as he tried to slow on a turn.  Go to full article
Andre LaFlamme, a paramedic in Lac-Megantic, remembers July 6 2013 as "hell."  He stands on a ceremonial boardwalk outside the destroyed area known as the "red zone."  Photo:  Monique Cornett
Andre LaFlamme, a paramedic in Lac-Megantic, remembers July 6 2013 as "hell." He stands on a ceremonial boardwalk outside the destroyed area known as the "red zone." Photo: Monique Cornett

One year later: sorrow, hope and hard work in Lac-Megantic

Early Sunday morning in a small town in eastern Quebec, thousands of local residents held a midnight vigil for the victims of one of North America's deadliest train accidents.

One year ago, an American-owned tanker train carrying crude oil from North Dakota derailed and erupted in Lac-Megantic. The flames incinerated the community's downtown. Forty-seven people died.  Go to full article
The bus owned by the Tubby Tubes Rafting company was carrying 31 customers and 3 employees.

Tourism bus crashes in Adirondacks, killing 15-year-old

State police say a bus accident Saturday afternoon in Lake Luzerne has left one 15-year-old dead and injured another. The accident took place just after midday.

The bus owned by the Tubby Tubes Rafting company was carrying 31 customers and 3 employees. They were traveling to make an excursion on the Hudson River.

According to police, the bus overturned, apparently because of mechanical problems.

"A fifteen year old river guide employed by Tubby Tubes was ejected from the bus and died at the scene," according to the State Police statement.

A customer who suffered an ankle injury was transported to Glens Falls Hospital. An investigation of the one-vehicle accident is underway.  Go to full article
A painting in Lac-Megantic's St. Agnes Church by Louise Latulipe commemorates the oil train fire storm and the 47 people lost in the disaster.  Photo:  Brian Mann
A painting in Lac-Megantic's St. Agnes Church by Louise Latulipe commemorates the oil train fire storm and the 47 people lost in the disaster. Photo: Brian Mann

Quebec town struggles one year after oil train fire storm

This weekend the small town of Lac-Megantic, Quebec is preparing to mark the one year anniversary since that deadly train derailment, when a U.S. tanker train exploded killing 47 people.

Brian Mann has been covering this story since last July when the disaster first occurred and he's back in Quebec today. He spoke with Martha Foley.  Go to full article
Today's decision appears to clear the way for development of the massive Adirondack Club and Resort project in Tupper Lake.  Pictured are developer Tom Lawson, and lead developer Michael Foxman Photo: Mark Kurtz
Today's decision appears to clear the way for development of the massive Adirondack Club and Resort project in Tupper Lake. Pictured are developer Tom Lawson, and lead developer Michael Foxman Photo: Mark Kurtz

Cuomo weighs in on Adirondack Club and Resort decision

In a sweeping decision made public yesterday, the appellate division of New York's Supreme Court dismissed an environmental group's lawsuit that aimed to block the Adirondack Club and Resort project in Tupper Lake.

The ruling appears to give the green light to a project that has been on the drawing board for more than a decade.

Governor Andrew Cuomo issued a statement praising the court's decision and the process that led to the permitting of the resort.

"This ruling confirms the Agency's approval was based on substantial evidence developed carefully and in strict accordance with mandated State statues and environmental regulations," Cuomo said.

"The Adirondack Club and Resort Project will bring significant economy activity, jobs, and new opportunities to Tupper Lake and the Adirondack Park."  Go to full article
A crowd gathered in the Lewis town fire hall on Wednesday to hear details of NYCO's proposed expansion at two mines that would mean additional truck traffic and hours of operation.  Photo:  Brian Mann
A crowd gathered in the Lewis town fire hall on Wednesday to hear details of NYCO's proposed expansion at two mines that would mean additional truck traffic and hours of operation. Photo: Brian Mann

NYCO mining expansion in Adirondacks raises new questions

Last November NYCO Minerals won a statewide ballot initiative that is expected to allow them to explore for a mineral called Wollastonite on 200 acres of the Adirondack forest preserve in the Jay Mountain Wilderness.

That controversial project, involving a chunk of land known as "Lot 8" is still on-hold, awaiting permits from New York state.

But the company is also moving forward with plans to expand two existing Wollasonite mines in the Essex County town of Lewis. Company officials say the project is needed to maintain NYCO's operations.

Green groups have raised questions about the plan's environmental impacts.

But this time, local residents and some local government officials say they too have questions about the impact on public safety and on quality of life  Go to full article
At North Creek Station. Photo: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/altuwa/8117850154/">Sébastien Barré</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
At North Creek Station. Photo: Sébastien Barré, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Adirondack tourism trains cut schedules

The Glens Falls Post Star is reporting that the tourism training serving the Gore Mountain area around North Creek will reduce its operations this summer.

The Saratoga and North Creek Railway has operated 7 days a week in past years. This summer, it will make runs four days a week, Friday through Monday.

A spokesman told the railroad that the runs were cut back after they analyzed mid-week ridership.  Go to full article

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