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NCPR News Staff: Joanna Richards

Watertown Correspondent

Joanna Richards grew up in Louisville, Kentucky but feels like a true north country native now that she owns winter boots rated for temps down to forty below zero. She worked for an alt weekly paper, as an associate editor for the NPR series This I Believe, and as a staff writer for an arts and entertainment weekly in Louisville, before moving to Watertown in 2008 to work as a reporter for the Watertown Daily Times.

She's thrilled to be working in radio again as the Watertown correspondent for North Country Public Radio and especially enjoys doing stories about intriguing local subcultures. Outside of work, she is a regional explorer, vegetarian cook, and regular volunteer for various community groups, as well as a voracious reader, aspiring pool shark and an orange belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. E-mail

Stories filed by Joanna Richards

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The formerly vacant and crumbling Woolworth building in downtown Watertown will soon host apartments and commercial space. Photo: Joanna Richards
The formerly vacant and crumbling Woolworth building in downtown Watertown will soon host apartments and commercial space. Photo: Joanna Richards

As downtown Watertown revives, some say city hall lacks vision

Watertown's downtown has been decaying for years, with boarded-up buildings and businesses dwindling. It's not an uncommon problem in America's smaller cities.

Now, a handful of big projects are reviving the historical structures at the center of town, and some new small businesses are thriving. But some say the city could be doing more to encourage growth.  Go to full article
Music Director Richard Probert conducts the Sackets Harbor Vocal Arts Ensemble during a rehearsal at Trinity Episcopal Church, in Watertown. Photo: Joanna Richards
Music Director Richard Probert conducts the Sackets Harbor Vocal Arts Ensemble during a rehearsal at Trinity Episcopal Church, in Watertown. Photo: Joanna Richards

Listen: Sackets Harbor choral group rehearses

The Sackets Harbor Vocal Arts Ensemble is preparing for a spring concert in Watertown.

Joanna Richards dropped by the group's second rehearsal to learn about choral music, and to have a listen.  Go to full article
Passengers wait for a 7 am flight to Chicago at the Watertown International Airport. Photo: Joanna Richards
Passengers wait for a 7 am flight to Chicago at the Watertown International Airport. Photo: Joanna Richards

Watertown airport switching flights from Chicago to Philadelphia

The Watertown airport has been much busier since it started offering direct air service to Chicago rather than Albany just over two years ago. Now, the merger between American Airlines and U.S. Airways is causing a switch in destination again, as direct flights to Philadelphia will replace those to Chicago beginning May 8.  Go to full article
Turbines at the Marble River wind farm in Clinton, NY. Photo: Sarah Harris
Turbines at the Marble River wind farm in Clinton, NY. Photo: Sarah Harris

BP killing Cape Vincent Wind Farm

After battling local residents for years, energy company BP says it's killing its proposal for the Cape Vincent Wind Farm. Some of the project's most vocal critics are dancing on its grave.

BP had been facing a March 17 deadline to sell the project or face a review by the state's Public Service Commission.  Go to full article
Cars enter Fort Drum. Photo: Mark Kurtz
Cars enter Fort Drum. Photo: Mark Kurtz

Fort Drum may fare better than other bases, but more cuts still likely

Since Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel detailed his proposal for deep military cutbacks Monday, officials in Watertown have been trying to divine what that could mean for Fort Drum. They believe the Army post is well-positioned - but that doesn't mean it won't take a hit.  Go to full article
A soldier trains at Fort Drum. Photo: Joanna Richards
A soldier trains at Fort Drum. Photo: Joanna Richards

Fort Drum Army officers anxiously await word of job cuts

In any company town, people get worried when the major employer is planning layoffs. How will they earn a living if they lose their job? How will they remake their identity?

This is the picture for many Army officers stationed at Fort Drum. By early summer, some will find out they have to go. It's part of an overall downsizing of the military as the war in Afghanistan winds down. Evaluations this spring will determine whether some officers can stay in the service.  Go to full article
Hi-Lite Airfield Services began as a highway-striping company in 1989, according to its website. Photo: <a href="http://www.hi-lite.com/en/company-information/company-history">Hi-Lite.com</a>
Hi-Lite Airfield Services began as a highway-striping company in 1989, according to its website. Photo: Hi-Lite.com

Adams company Hi-Lite will expand, create 8-10 jobs

A Jefferson County company is planning to expand with the help of a loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Hi-Lite Airfield Services, in Adams Center, plans to create between eight and 10 new jobs, according to a news release from Congressman Bill Owens' office.  Go to full article
Carthage Area Hospital says the same pressures that are facing all hospitals these days forced it to restructure. Photo: Joanna Richards
Carthage Area Hospital says the same pressures that are facing all hospitals these days forced it to restructure. Photo: Joanna Richards

Carthage Hospital lays off 73 workers

Carthage Area Hospital is laying off 73 workers, part of its second restructuring in just the past few months. Forty-one of those were members of the Service Employees International Union Local 1199.  Go to full article
A mute swan. Photo: DEC website
A mute swan. Photo: DEC website

DEC proposal to kill swans doesn't fly with animal lovers

Most people think swans are beautiful. But the agreement seems to end there, when it comes to a new state plan to manage them. A proposal by the Department of Environmental Conservation to kill invasive mute swans isn't flying with some animal lovers.  Go to full article
Photo: United Way of Northern New York
Photo: United Way of Northern New York

Why United Way donations are down, and what the fix might be

The United Way is one of America's largest charitable organizations, helping to sustain thousands of small nonprofits that in turn help millions of people.

But the Northern New York chapter of the United Way is needing some help itself. Its mid-year fundraising totals show significant declines in giving from last year in Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties.  Go to full article

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