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NCPR News Staff: Chris Morris

Tri-Lakes Correspondent

Stories filed by Chris Morris

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Once you use that money to pay for your fuel oil and your electric bill – what do you do the next year?

North Country schools say cash reserves can't cover Cuomo cuts

A report released last week by the state Education Department estimates that 74 percent of school districts outside of New York City have a big enough fund balance to pay for Gov. Andrew Cuomo's proposed state aid cuts.

The numbers show that districts have about $1.16 billion in their reserve accounts, along with a little more than $355 million in federal stimulus funds leftover from last year.

But opponents of Cuomo's budget cuts say that's just not true.

They claim the aid cuts will force thousands of teacher layoffs and result in increased taxes, especially in poor North Country districts.

Chris Morris has our story.  Go to full article
Lake Champlain Bridge project (File photo)
Lake Champlain Bridge project (File photo)

DOT says Adirondack roads, bridges in rough shape

Officials with the state Department of Transportation say bridges and culverts located inside the Adirondack Park are in rough shape.

DOT officials gave a presentation yesterday at the APA's monthly meeting in Ray Brook.

As Chris Morris reports, the state's budget crisis has forced crews to scale back on maintenance and construction projects.  Go to full article
New York and other states have been very aggressive in trying to get these power plants to clean up

NY Attorney General sues Pennsylvania power company over acid rain

New York's new Attorney General says he plans to file a lawsuit against a power plant in Pennsylvania for allegedly violating the federal Clean Air Act.

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman says the Homer City Station coal-burning power plant, located roughly 50 miles east of Pittsburgh, is one of the largest out-of-state contributors to acid rain in the Adirondack Park.

Chris Morris has our story.  Go to full article
All of these issues that they seek to now have clarified were thoroughly argued, litigated, and explored in the administrative proceedings.

State reopens dispute over old road, part of Jackrabbit trail

On Friday, the state Department of Environmental Conservation filed court documents reopening a dispute involving an old road that runs between Lake Placid and Keene.

The controversial case involves a section of the route which is now used as part of the Jackrabbit ski trail.

Green groups say the outcome of the dispute will set a precedent for how road-closures are handled throughout the Adirondack Park.

But as Chris Morris reports, snowmobile activists and town leaders say the case has already been settled.  Go to full article
It's not a good bargain to spend $400,000 to $500,000 for one ... job.

Local leaders divided over use of Adirondack train corridor

Last week, a non-profit group based in Saranac Lake released a new study exploring ways to use the rail corridor that runs from Lake Placid to Tupper Lake. Debate over use of the line has been heated. Snowmobilers and hikers want to convert the route into a multi-use trail, but supporters of the tourism train that now operates say it should be expanded.

Chris Morris checked in with local leaders and found that they too are deeply divided over possible uses of the corridor. They're also skeptical about a price tag that's likely to top $10 million.  Go to full article
People can still call Ray Brook during regular business hours. But the 24/7 dispatch operations will be all out of Albany.

Ray Brook to lose DEC dispatchers

The state Department of Environmental Conservation will start to close down its dispatch office in Ray Brook by early next week.

As Chris Morris reports, the move comes amid a cost-saving effort to consolidate dispatch services statewide.  Go to full article
Most of the people we talk to are in support of [a bed tax]. Marketing tourism is an easy sell.

Will a new bed tax boost Franklin County tourism?

Tourism is big business in Franklin County and some local leaders want to help fund a regional marketing campaign by approving a new bed tax.

Most counties in the North Country already have one and as Chris Morris reports, the revenue could replace funds cut by New York state.  Go to full article
Adrien Girouard accepts his Bronze Star from Rep. Bill Owens (Source: Owens office)
Adrien Girouard accepts his Bronze Star from Rep. Bill Owens (Source: Owens office)

After 66 years, Tupper Lake veteran awarded the Bronze Star

Late last week, a World War II veteran in Tupper Lake was awarded the Bronze Star 66 years after he saved another man's life. Adrien Girouard fought heroically in Italian campaign, but it took two congressmen and the better part of a lifetime for him to be honored. Chris Morris was at the ceremony and has our story.  Go to full article
Chandler Ralph (Source:  AMC)
Chandler Ralph (Source: AMC)

AMC exec Ralph talks in-depth about coming health care battles

Health care is likely to top the agenda of state and federal lawmakers in the coming weeks, as New York's new governor aims to reform the Medicaid system and Congress considers a measure to repeal last year's health care reform legislation.

Chris Morris sat down to talk about possible changes to the health care system with Chandler Ralph, head of Adirondack Medical Center.

Ralph says hospitals in the North Country want lawmakers to take a measured approach, and she opposes a wholesale scrapping of the Federal healthcare reform plan.  Go to full article
Broadband internet should be something that every home and business in the town of Keene, and in general, should have.

Keene paves way for broadband

The North Country has had mixed success in winning Federal stimulus dollars to expand broadband internet service to rural towns and villages. But the Essex County town of Keene has moved forward with a grassroots effort, using a mix of grants and local fund raising, along with new, less expensive technology.

As Chris Morris reports, the organizers hope their project will serve as a model for other communities in the region.  Go to full article

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