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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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Cooking a burger at Empire Brewing Company in Syracuse, N.Y.
Cooking a burger at Empire Brewing Company in Syracuse, N.Y.

Northern NY restaurants serve up fresh, local food

Many restaurants in our area are changing where they look for ingredients. They're sourcing more from local farmers. The second piece in our series on local foods looks at how, and why, restaurant owners in Sackett's Harbor and Syracuse, N.Y., say they've made a commitment to local producers.  Go to full article
Special displays at Wegman's in Liverpool, N.Y., highlight local produce.
Special displays at Wegman's in Liverpool, N.Y., highlight local produce.

North Country grocery stores look to the local

As fast as veggies are popping up in the garden, local foods are showing up on grocery store shelves throughout northern New York.

A new food co-op recently opened in the Jefferson County town of Clayton that showcases locally-sourced vegetables and other products. And big grocery chains like Hannaford and Wegman's are getting in on the trend, too, adding more of the region's products to store shelves.  Go to full article
You can't say no to wind, and no to solar and no to biomass and no to power plants and then say, I want jobs and a thriving economy.

Cuomo says Article X law strikes necessary balance between local input, need for power

While at Fort Drum this week talking about biomass fuel, Governor Andrew Cuomo chimed in on another energy issue, one much more likely to strike nerves in the north country: the state's new Article X law. Joanna Richards reports.  Go to full article
It's not right for government to be the only one that doesn't have to live with a budget.

Cuomo defends property tax cap at Fort Drum appearance

Governor Andrew Cuomo was at Fort Drum yesterday, touring a former coal plant that's being converted to a biomass facility. He met with reporters after the tour, and responded to questions about the statewide property tax cap.  Go to full article
Gov. Andrew Cuomo at Ft. Drum Monday. Photo: Joanna Richards
Gov. Andrew Cuomo at Ft. Drum Monday. Photo: Joanna Richards

Governor praises coal-to-biomass plant conversion at Fort Drum

Governor Andrew Cuomo was at Fort Drum yesterday, where he toured an idled coal plant that is being converted to produce power using wood biomass. He met with the press afterward. As Joanna Richards reports, the governor announced he would send a letter to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta urging the Defense Department to draw up a contract with the plant to provide energy to Fort Drum.  Go to full article
Synthetic drugs are marketed as "bath salts" or "plant food." This product is thought to mimic Ecstasy. Photo: <a href-"http://www.flickr.com/photos/666_is_money/">Raquel Baranow</a>, cc <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en">some rights reserved</a>
Synthetic drugs are marketed as "bath salts" or "plant food." This product is thought to mimic Ecstasy. Photo: Raquel Baranow, cc some rights reserved

Lewis County considers synthetic drug ban

Like many other local governments in New York, responding to the bizarre behavior of people using the drugs known as "bath salts," Lewis County is considering a ban on many of the compounds used in synthetic drugs. Reporter Joanna Richards spoke to Sheriff Michael Carpinelli about why the ban is needed. Joanna Richards reports.  Go to full article
Soldiers occupy high ground during Mountain Peak maneuvers. Photos: Joanna Richards
Soldiers occupy high ground during Mountain Peak maneuvers. Photos: Joanna Richards

Fort Drum training stretches soldiers' skills, from private to commanding general

Traffic jams are expected today as Fort Drum wraps up its biggest training exercise in a decade. Operation Mountain Peak is the first opportunity the whole division, top to bottom, has been able to train together in all that time.

Reporter Joanna Richards donned body armor and a helmet to observe the maneuvers and find out how soldiers prepare for war.  Go to full article

Ft. Drum predicts traffic snarls

The end of a division-wide training exercise at Fort Drum is expected to cause major traffic delays near the post today through Friday.

Route 26 between Route 3 and Route 11 will be full of military traffic through the end of the week as the 10,000 soldiers who took part in the Mountain Peak training exercises return from the field.

Drivers are advised to avoid the area if possible, as longer-than-usual delays are expected at stop signs and traffic lights. The exercises began July 23.  Go to full article
Family of Staff Sergeant Daniel Rodriguez hold flags presented to them during his funeral Tuesday in Carthage.
Family of Staff Sergeant Daniel Rodriguez hold flags presented to them during his funeral Tuesday in Carthage.

Family, friends remember Sgt. Daniel Rodriguez

The remains of a Fort Drum soldier killed in Afghanistan July 18 returned to the home of the 10th Mountain Division Sunday.

At 28 years old, Staff Sergeant Daniel Rodriguez had a wife and three children, and four combat tours under his belt after 10 years of service in the Army. Rodriguez grew up in New York City, but friends and family said he wanted to be buried in the North Country, in tribute to his time with the 10th Mountain Division. His funeral was held yesterday in Carthage, in Jefferson County.

As Joanna Richards reports, Rodriguez will be remembered for his humor, the love he had for his family, and the commitment he had to his military career.  Go to full article
Jefferson County Sheriff's Detective David Pustizzi speaks to dozens of community members gathered at South Jefferson High School in Adams on Wednesday.
Jefferson County Sheriff's Detective David Pustizzi speaks to dozens of community members gathered at South Jefferson High School in Adams on Wednesday.

Community meetings take aim at "bath salts" drugs

Community meetings are popping up as fast as the bizarre stories surrounding a drug known as bath salts or glass cleaner. The drugs are sold in head shops and convenience stores; they are not typical bath products or window cleaners. As Joanna Richards reports, three meetings in Jefferson County this week aimed to address the growing drug problem.  Go to full article

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