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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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Visitors: Al-Haji Papa Susso, Mandinka Griot and Kora Player

An interview and in-studio performance from a West African Griot and master Kora player. Al-Haji Papa Susso will perform this weekend in Canton and Potsdam. David Sommerstein reports.

Al-Haji Papa Susso performs Friday, September 21 at 7:30 p.m. in SUNY Potsdam's Snell Theater and in Canton, Saturday, September 22 at 8 p.m. in St. Lawrence University's Sykes Common Room.  Go to full article

People: Bill Sears, Mohawk Twin Towers Ironworker

A few North Country residents are grieveing over a unique relationship to the destruction in New York City. David Sommerstein profiles an ironworker from the Akwesasne Mohawk reservation who helped build the twin towers of the World Trade Center nearly three decades ago.

At left, William stands outside Ironworkers Local 440 in Akwesasne holding a picture of himself as a 19-year-old eating lunch at the World Trade Center construction site.  Go to full article

Flying Home

David Sommerstein returned from vacation in New Mexico over the weekend. Instead of the usual hustle and bustle at airports, he found a subdued and alert type of air travel. Crowds were quiet and sold-out flights had empty seats.  Go to full article

Home Safe, Mohawk Ironworkers Ready to Return for Cleanup

Many Mohawk ironworkers who were near the World Trade Center last Tuesday came home safely to the Akwesasne reservation near Massena. David Sommerstein reports some of them are ready to return to help clean-up efforts.  Go to full article

People: PCB Dredging Project Manager Anne Kelly

David Sommerstein talks with EPA Project Manager Anne Kelly to get an update on dredging of PCBs at the former Reynolds plant near Massena.  Go to full article

Turtle Cove: GM's PCBs on Mohawk Land

Different visions of what "clean" means have stalled clean-up of the GM landfill Superfund site near Massena. David Sommerstein reports on how GM, the EPA and the Mohawks see the PCB problem.  Go to full article

Mohawk Land Claim Talks Resume

The St. Regis Mohawk Tribe has resumed land claim talks with New York State after years of stalled negotiations. David Sommerstein reports.  Go to full article

Visitors: Dr. Anthony Cortese Talks About Sustainable Education

David Sommerstein talks with Dr. Anthony Cortese about sustainable education. Cortese will be in Potsdam tomorrow as part of Clarkson University's year-long exploration of sustainability.  Go to full article

Panel: Reducing Arsenic Levels Will Cost Less Than Claimed

A Clarkson University professor is part of a panel that has determined a controversial rule to reduce arsenic levels in drinking water won't be too expensive to implement. David Sommerstein reports.  Go to full article
Mobility Engineering's Snowpod in action.
Mobility Engineering's Snowpod in action.

Mobility Engineering Helps the Physically-Disabled To Go Where None Have Gone Before

David Sommerstein talks with Peter Rieke, founder of Mobility Engineering, a business that builds adaptive mobility devices for people with physical disabilities. Rieke was the first wheelchair user to scale Mount Rainier. He's in Potsdam today to collaborate with grad students at Clarkson University.  Go to full article

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