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NCPR News Staff: Chris Morris

Tri-Lakes Correspondent

Stories filed by Chris Morris

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Chris Erickson, right, owner and head brewer at the Lake Placid Pub and Brewery, discusses health care challenges he deals with as a small business owner during a roundtable with Congressman Bill Owens in Lake Placid on Friday. Lake Placid village Trustee Peter Holderied listens. <em>Adirondack Daily Enterprise</em> photo: Chris Morris
Chris Erickson, right, owner and head brewer at the Lake Placid Pub and Brewery, discusses health care challenges he deals with as a small business owner during a roundtable with Congressman Bill Owens in Lake Placid on Friday. Lake Placid village Trustee Peter Holderied listens. Adirondack Daily Enterprise photo: Chris Morris

Owens hears North Country concerns on listening tour

Congressman Bill Owens has been getting an earful from North Country community leaders this month, leaving the Plattsburgh Democrat with even more work to do as Congress prepares to tackle big, time-consuming issues like proposals to strengthen gun laws and solving the country's debt problems.

Owens has been meeting with business, government, education and nonprofit officials from across the 21st Congressional District to hear about their concerns.  Go to full article
U.S. Rep. Bill Owens learns about Pioneer Windows at the company's manufacturing plant in Johnstown. Owens will have to give up his seat on the House Small Business Committee to take one on the Appropriations Committee. Photo courtesy Jon Boughtin, communications director for Bill Owens
U.S. Rep. Bill Owens learns about Pioneer Windows at the company's manufacturing plant in Johnstown. Owens will have to give up his seat on the House Small Business Committee to take one on the Appropriations Committee. Photo courtesy Jon Boughtin, communications director for Bill Owens

A closer look at Bill Owens' big committee assignment

Bill Owens has only been in Congress for three years, but he recently rose to a point his predecessor, eight-term Congressman John McHugh, never reached: membership on the House's influential Appropriations Committee which oversees virtually all federal spending. It's considered to be one of the House's most powerful committees.

Owens, a Democrat from Plattsburgh, will be a minority member, but he's likely to be heavily courted by lobbyists from all corners of the country. He represents New York's 21st Congressional District, a vast region which includes most of the North Country.  Go to full article
Jay town Supervisor Randy Douglas was sworn in to a fourth term as chairman of the Essex County Board of Supervisors on Monday. (Adirondack Daily Enterprise photo: Chris Morris)
Jay town Supervisor Randy Douglas was sworn in to a fourth term as chairman of the Essex County Board of Supervisors on Monday. (Adirondack Daily Enterprise photo: Chris Morris)

Economic challenges loom for Essex County

Counties across New York are struggling under growing budget pressure, thanks to dwindling state aid, the new property tax cap, and mandates from Albany that local leaders have to find ways to pay for.

In Essex County, the political tension boiled over this past budget season. County leaders adopted a budget that increases the tax levy by 1.1 percent. That meets the state's property tax cap requirements. But the county's manager blasted town supervisors for using fund balance monies -- a strategy he described as unsustainable.

County leaders are trying to pivot to talk about next year's budget. But questions remain about how this year's budget will play out.  Go to full article
Lake Placid's National Sports Academy is dealing with a tough financial outlook. Photo: Lou Reuter via <a href="https://www.adirondackdailyenterprise.com/">Adirondack Daily Enterprise</a>
Lake Placid's National Sports Academy is dealing with a tough financial outlook. Photo: Lou Reuter via Adirondack Daily Enterprise

National Sports Academy faces financial troubles

Leaders at Lake Placid's National Sports Academy say an outpouring of community support is helping the private school weather a financial storm.

Eighteen Winter Olympians have attended NSA, and hundreds of the school's alumni have competed in World Cup and Division I sports including cross-country and downhill skiing, hockey and luge. Some of the school's most famous alumni include three who competed in the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver: Vermontville native Bill Demong, who won gold and silver medals in Nordic combined; biathlete Haley Johnson of Lake Placid; and luger Chris Mazdzer of Saranac Lake.  Go to full article
A new report says climate change could negatively affect the winter tourism industry if lawmakers don't take action. Photo: ORDA
A new report says climate change could negatively affect the winter tourism industry if lawmakers don't take action. Photo: ORDA

Climate report paints bleak picture for winter tourism

A new report says climate change has had a negative impact on the winter tourism industry in the U.S. and the problem will get worse unless politicians take action.

The report, released last week by the Natural Resources Defense Council and Protect Our Winters, shows that 38 states have lost about $1 billion and 27,000 jobs as a result of decreased snow fall. Its authors say the outlook will get worse if state and federal lawmakers don't take steps to address the causes of climate change.  Go to full article
Taxpayers and Essex County officials listen to a presentation on the tentative 2013 Essex County budget at a public hearing in Elizabethtown. Photo: Chris Morris via <a href="http://www.adirondackdailyenterprise.com/"> Adirondack Daily Enterprise</a>
Taxpayers and Essex County officials listen to a presentation on the tentative 2013 Essex County budget at a public hearing in Elizabethtown. Photo: Chris Morris via Adirondack Daily Enterprise

Essex County looks to increase bed tax

The Essex County Board of Supervisors is moving ahead with a resolution to increase the occupancy tax from three percent to five percent, but the proposal has some strong critics.

County Manager Dan Palmer floated the idea at a recent Finance Committee meeting. He says the additional revenue could be used to offset the cost of tourist-related services like the fish hatchery and off-season marketing.  Go to full article
Taxpayers and Essex County officials listen to a presentation on the tentative 2013 Essex County budget at a public hearing in Elizabethtown Monday night. Photo: Chris Morris via <em>Adirondack Daily Enterprise</em>
Taxpayers and Essex County officials listen to a presentation on the tentative 2013 Essex County budget at a public hearing in Elizabethtown Monday night. Photo: Chris Morris via Adirondack Daily Enterprise

Few speak out at Essex County budget hearing

Essex County lawmakers say they will keep working to chip away at a proposed 26 percent tax hike currently included in the tentative 2013 budget.

The county's Board of Supervisors held a public hearing on the tentative budget Monday night.  Go to full article
Thanksgiving meals provided by the Ecumenical Food Pantry in Lake Placid are distributed throughout Essex County. Here, Sue Cutting of Cornell Cooperative Extension, left, Krista Berger of Essex County's Women Infant and Children, or WIC, program, center, and Samantha Davis, also of WIC, get ready to take a van full of meals to families in need. (Adirondack Daily Enterprise photo -- Chris Morris)<br />
Thanksgiving meals provided by the Ecumenical Food Pantry in Lake Placid are distributed throughout Essex County. Here, Sue Cutting of Cornell Cooperative Extension, left, Krista Berger of Essex County's Women Infant and Children, or WIC, program, center, and Samantha Davis, also of WIC, get ready to take a van full of meals to families in need. (Adirondack Daily Enterprise photo -- Chris Morris)

Volunteers distribute Thanksgiving meals at Lake Placid food pantry

Dozens of volunteers gathered in Lake Placid earlier this week to help pack, deliver and dispense Thanksgiving meals at the Ecumenical Food Pantry.

The food pantry, which operates out of the basement of the St. Agnes Catholic Church, provided roughly 300 boxes that included a turkey and other traditional fixings to families in need this year.  Go to full article
Ray Scollin, left, and his son Matt, seen here at the Blue Moon Cafe in Saranac Lake on Saturday, worked for different sides during the election, but they say the experience brought them closer together. Photo: Chris Morris, courtesy <em>Adirondack Daily Enterprise</em>
Ray Scollin, left, and his son Matt, seen here at the Blue Moon Cafe in Saranac Lake on Saturday, worked for different sides during the election, but they say the experience brought them closer together. Photo: Chris Morris, courtesy Adirondack Daily Enterprise

For Ray and Matt Scollin, politics is all in the family

If lawmakers in Washington need a lesson in bipartisanship, they might consider consulting with Ray and Matt Scollin, a father and son from Saranac Lake who worked for opposing political parties throughout the recent election.

The Scollins said the experience of working for different campaigns was a challenging one, but when the dust settled they both felt it was rewarding.  Go to full article
Former Gov. George Pataki, right, and former Republican congressional candidate Matt Doheny, left, chat with voters at Central Garage in Lake Placid during a campaign stop on Nov. 5. Also pictured, from left, are Doheny's wife Mary Doheny, Margaret Daby and Jerry Strack, owner of Central Garage. Photo: Chris Morris via Adirondack Daily Enterprise
Former Gov. George Pataki, right, and former Republican congressional candidate Matt Doheny, left, chat with voters at Central Garage in Lake Placid during a campaign stop on Nov. 5. Also pictured, from left, are Doheny's wife Mary Doheny, Margaret Daby and Jerry Strack, owner of Central Garage. Photo: Chris Morris via Adirondack Daily Enterprise

In Lake Placid, Pataki calls for lower taxes

Former Governor George Pataki was in the North Country in the final days of the election campaign that concluded last week.

The Republican served as governor of New York from 1995 to 2006. In a visit to Lake Placid with GOP congressional candidate Matt Doheny, Pataki said New York's economy is still recovering too slowly.

And he said cutting taxes and reducing the size of government would help.  Go to full article

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