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A soldier from A Co., 1st of the 187th Infantry, on a hilltop overlooking a search site June 7, 2010.
A soldier from A Co., 1st of the 187th Infantry, on a hilltop overlooking a search site June 7, 2010.

An audio postcard from the mountains of Afghanistan

Yesterday President Obama fired his top commander in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, in the wake of comments he made in Rolling Stone magazine. Pundits applauded McChrystal's replacement, General David Petraeus. But the dismissal has renewed doubts over the military's ability to win the war. Violence is at its highest since 2001. Corruption and poppy production remain serious obstacles.

With thousands of Fort Drum soldiers already in or soon going to Afghanistan, we're examining the war effort from various points of view. Several years ago, photojournalist and ex-soldier Bill Putnam sent us audio diaries from Iraq. Now, Putnam is in the mountains of Afghanistan near the border with Pakistan. He's embedded with a unit out of Texas. Today he sends us the first in a series of audio journals.  Go to full article

Commentary: no recovery without workers' rights

It's been about two years now since the near collapse of our economy, and Congress is finally getting serious about making financial institutions follow tougher rules.

Commentator George Gonos thinks this all to the good, because, he says, de-regulation of the banking industry over the last 30 years - the weakening or elimination of rules - was a major cause of the crisis. He hopes Congress will pass new laws to govern the banks, and put some teeth into them. But he adds that at best, reining in the financial executives will deal with only one-half of the problem.

George Gonos is associate professor of sociology, at SUNY Potsdam  Go to full article

Finch Paper Reacquires 1,700-acre Tract in Indian Lake

Three years after the Nature Conservancy bought tens of thousands of acres of timberland from the Finch Pruyn paper company, the company is buying some of the land back near the town of Indian Lake. The sale is part of a complex plan to return some of the land to private ownership, or to ownership by local towns. Chris Morris has our story.

Also yesterday, an environmental group called the Open Space Institute announced that it had acquired a conservation easement on 1400 acres in Essex County.
The deal will prevent future commercial or real estate development on a section of forest that includes the shore of Butternut Pond and part of Poke-O-Mmoonshine Mountain.
The land will remain in private ownership. But the conservation easement was donated to the green group by the family of Eric Johansen. Logging will still be allowed on the property.  Go to full article

Commentary: envisioning a new direction for Moriah

The state corrections officer union says it will launch an "aggressive" campaign today designed to save three prisons in the North Country. The effort will include an ad campaign and a series of rallies targeting the Paterson administration plan to close the prisons as part of its effort to close the state budget deficit.

Donn Row, who heads the guard union, says the planned closures in Moriah, Lyon Mountain and Ogdensburg will hurt public safety and cost jobs. The governor's plan to close the three prisons sent waves of anger and anxiety through the local communities. Local and state officials have vowed to do their best to keep the facilities open.

Commentator Martha Swan is a teacher and a social justice activist. She lives in Westport, not far from the Moriah shock camp. She thinks it is time for the community to take another direction.  Go to full article

Commentary: A time for giving... locally

The end of the year is a busy time - holidays to plan for. Travel. Celebrations. It's also a natural time for reflection, and thinking ahead, for trying to make a difference. Cali Brooks works in philanthropy, in the Adirondacks. That's where her thoughts are as 2009 closes.  Go to full article

At last. A BIG Christmas tree

Commentator Paul Willcott and his wife, Ann, had long dreamed of the perfect Christmas tree. In 2002, when they became the new proud owners of a rambling old cure cottage in Saranac Lake, they got their chance. It was the right time, and the right place, for the perfect tree. Didn't seem like such a big undertaking. But the story of that first big tree didn't turn out quite as expected.  Go to full article

Commentary: Feeding the debate

NCPR Web Manager and commentator Dale Hobson has an idea to return civility to public discourse. He says it has to do with casseroles.  Go to full article

Midsummer in the garden

It's not too late for some planting...but don't wait long to get the garlic out of the ground. These, and other midsummer notes, as Martha Foley catches up with cooperative extension horticulturist Amy Ivy.  Go to full article

Commentary: passing on a golden legacy in the Champlain Valley

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's latest farm census (2007) reports that New York State is fourth in the nation, behind California, Wisconsin and Washington, in the number of organic farms, with a total of 1137. Commentator Kristin Kimball and her family run the The Essex Farm, in the rolling landscape near lake Champlain, in Essex, NY. She describes the farm as a full-food, year round, horse-poered producer. She's proud to be counted in the growing number of organic growers.  Go to full article

Wanting more change on this Independence Day

On this first Independence Day of the Obama years, liberals may be feeling a sense of pride and triumph. A lot has changed since a year ago, and most of the changes are to their liking. But commentator Paul Willcott, a self-described "big government, tax-and-spend liberal" wants more: from the right, the left, and the in-between. Paul Willcott divides his time between new York City and Saranac lake.  Go to full article

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