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NCPR News Staff: David Sommerstein

Reporter/ Producer
David Sommerstein, NCPR's roving St. Lawrence Valley/Fort Drum/Tug Hill reporter, began his career in radio, strangely enough, as a high school Spanish teacher in Buffalo. While drilling verb conjugations and teaching a love for Latino culture during the day, he sat in as a late night jazz and Latin DJ at Buffalo's NPR affiliate, WBFO. The radio bug bit, and David found his way to southern Colorado/northern New Mexico (the Taos/Santa Fe area) where he was Program Director, Music Director, Volunteer Coordinator, and "Just About Anything Else You Can Think Of" Director at NPR affiliate KRZA.

Since joining NCPR's news department, David has reported from the chilly deck of a St. Lawrence icebreaker, the power-chord filled stage of the High School Rock Band Festival, and the tense Albanian street market of post-war Kosovo with soldiers from Fort Drum. David also gets to fulfill his passion for music of all kinds when he spins world dance and groove music on editions of The Beat Authority. E-mail

Stories filed by David Sommerstein

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On the Street: Vermont Town Meetings

Today people in Vermont will vote on local issues ranging from taxes to growth ordinances. Many will stick around their polling place for the annual town meeting. The town meeting is a Vermont tradition, mandated in the state constitution. Some call it democracy at its best. Others say the influx of newcomers and the fact that the meetings are held when many people are working make it an ailing institution. David Sommerstein was in Vermont last weekend. He asked Vermonters from Colchester, Winooski, South Hero, Hinesburg, and Burlington if they plan to go to town meeting and what issues they'd like discussed there.  Go to full article
Casey Ferguson stands before the ruins of her home.
Casey Ferguson stands before the ruins of her home.

Carthage Assesses the Future

Firefighters in the village of Carthage are working around the clock as the fire that destroyed most of a downtown block continues to smolder. It was the fire some people had feared for years. Still, many residents of the village of 4000 are still in shock. David Sommerstein has this report.

The Watertown office of the Red Cross is accepting donations for fire survivors. Call 315-782-4410.
 Go to full article

Fire Guts Downtown Carthage

Firefighters continue to soak the smoldering remains of downtown Carthage. Nine buildings were lost in a huge blaze that began early Saturday. David Sommerstein reports.  Go to full article

People: Sandra Steingraber, Author of Living Downstream

David Sommerstein talks with biologist and author Sandra Steingraber. She's spent more than two decades linking rising cancer rates to pollution in our air, our water, and our food. In 1959, the year Sandra Steingraber was born, 25 percent of all Americans could expect to be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetimes. Today that number's risen to 40 percent.  Go to full article

10th Mountain Division: The Real Life of Peacekeepers

More than 3000 men and women from the 10th Mountain Division--based at Fort Drum near Watertown--are deployed in the Yugoslavian province of Kosovo. They're enforcing a delicate peace between Kosovar Serbs and Kosovar Albanians. And they're helping to rebuild a region torn apart by war. But for the individual soldier, the daily grind of peacekeeping can sometimes obscure the mission. David Sommerstein recently traveled to Kosovo with the U.S. Army and has this report.  Go to full article

Fort Drum Deployments Strain Jefferson County Economy

Jefferson Community College in Watertown will get money from the state to help compensate for student-soldiers from Fort Drum who have been sent overseas. David Sommerstein reports the deployments put a strain on the economy in Jefferson County.  Go to full article

Oneida Tribe of Wisconsin Files Lawsuits Seeking Land in New York

The Oneida Tribe of Wisconsin filed 20 federal lawsuits last week seeking some 650 acres of land in central New York. The suits stem from a tentative land-claim agreement reached a week earlier among Governor Pataki, county officials and the New York Oneidas. David Sommerstein reports.  Go to full article

Wisconsin Oneidas Sue New York Property Owners

Days after the Oneida Nation and New York State announced an agreement to resolve the tribe's decades old land claim, the Oneida Tribe of Wisconsin is suing 20 private property owners in central New York to stop the deal. David Sommerstein has more.  Go to full article

On Patrol With 10th Mountain Division Peacekeepers In Vitina, Kosovo

Some 35,000 NATO soldiers have been stationed in the Yugoslavian province of Kosovo since 1999, when the bitter and bloody ethnic war between Serbs and Albanians ended. The peacekeepers' main mission is to provide a safe and secure environment and to help unravel centuries of ethnic strife so the two peoples can live together.

The Army's 10th Mountain Division--based at Fort Drum near Watertown--took command of the American sector of Kosovo last November. More than 3000 soldiers are now half way through their six-month deployment. David Sommerstein traveled to Kosovo recently as a guest of the Army. He takes us on a walking patrol in the town of Vitina, where Fort Drum soldiers maintain a delicate peace between Serbs and Albanians.  Go to full article

On Patrol With Tenth Mountain Division Peacekeepers

David Sommerstein is in the Serbian province of Kosovo this week, visiting soldiers of the 10th Mountain Division from Fort Drum. Since arriving at Camp Bondsteel, the U.S. peacekeeping base, he's been out on patrols.  Go to full article

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