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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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Roll-Your-Own Blackout

David Sommerstein has the story behind a ubiquitous e-mail urging people to turn off the lights for a few hours Thursday night for a symbolic blackout, and the perspective of one North Country man who has nothing to do with electricity shortages.  Go to full article

Dr Rona Flippo: How Kids Learn to Read

David Sommerstein talks to the woman who wrote the book on what experts say about teaching kids to read. Dr. Rona Flippo will be the keynote speaker at a SUNY Potsdam conference next week.  Go to full article

Last Round of Talks on GM Cleanup Before Mohawks and State Sue

The St. Regis Mohawks and New York's Attorney General will try one last round of talks with General Motors over cleanup of toxic dump sites near Massena. David Sommerstein reports General Motors asked to meet with the state and the tribe before both file a lawsuit against the company.  Go to full article

Planned Parenthood President Celebrates Plattsburgh Clinic Anniversary

Gloria Feldt, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the nation's largest reproductive rights group, visited Plattsburgh to help the regional chapter, Northern Adirondacks Planned Parenthood, celebrate its 30th anniversary. David Sommerstein spoke with Feldt, who urged supporters to mobilize in a tricky political landscape.  Go to full article

Federal Judge Bars State Dismissal of Mohawk Land Claim

Earlier this week, a federal judge ruled New York State cannot dismiss the St. Regis Mohawks' land claim to 15,000 acres of land along the St. Lawrence River. David Sommerstein reports the decision is good news for the Mohawks' 20-year old lawsuit, but it raises the thorny issue of how many governments govern in Akwewsasne.  Go to full article

Interview: Bill Summers, Los Hombres Calientes at Discover Jazz Fest in Burlington

David Sommerstein talks with Bill Summers, percussionist for Los Hombres Calientes, coming this weekend to the Discover Jazz Festival in Burlington. He samples the hot grooves from the band's latest album.  Go to full article

Kahnawake Mohawks Move Toward Traditional Self-Government

Kahnawake Mohawks near Montreal have taken a first step toward traditional self-government. Last week the tribe unveiled a set of agreements with the Canadian government that it calls the beginning of a new relationship. David Sommerstein reports.  Go to full article

Sidewalk Takes on Transportation Issues

A new study is looking at ways to improve the transportation infrastructure and help northern New York catch up with the rest of the country. It's analyzing all forms of transportation, but the focus is the automobile, the highway, and the Interstate. David Sommerstein hit the streets of Watertown, Massena, Malone, and Canton to get the transportation vibe. The people he talked to expressed all sorts of opinions. But after all, they were a self-selected group--they were walking on the sidewalk.  Go to full article

North Country Transportation Study Released

Inexplicable traffic jams on Main Street, driving hours to catch a plane, those are some of the problems North Country leaders have blamed for a sluggish economy and a high unemployment rate. For the past forty years, a range of transportation scenarios have been touted as the magic bullet to bring industry and tourism up North. But each was too expensive, experts said, and nothing was done. A comprehensive study of transportation in the five northern counties of New York--Jefferson, Lewis, St. Lawrence, Franklin, and Clinton--seeks to solve the transportation puzzle once and for all. David Sommerstein reports.  Go to full article

High Court Rules Against Tax-free Imports by Mohawks

Canada's highest court ruled last week Akwesasne Mohawks on the border with New York do not have an aboriginal right to bring goods into Canada without paying taxes. Critics see the ruling as a setback for native rights in Canada. David Sommerstein reports the Mohawks aren't finished fighting for duty-free trade.  Go to full article

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