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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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John Bartow, executive director of the Tug Hill Commission, says despite the housing allowance for Fort Drum soldiers rising again this year, rents are stabilizing in the region.
John Bartow, executive director of the Tug Hill Commission, says despite the housing allowance for Fort Drum soldiers rising again this year, rents are stabilizing in the region.

Drum soldiers' housing allowance up, but rents still expected to stabilize

The growth of Fort Drum and its fluctuating soldier population have always complicated the housing market around Watertown. But the Army post throws another factor into the mix: soldier's housing allowances. They just went up.  Go to full article
Governor Andrew Cuomo, at the Valley Snow Travelers snowmobile club groomer barn in Lowville, Lewis County. Photo: Joanna Richards
Governor Andrew Cuomo, at the Valley Snow Travelers snowmobile club groomer barn in Lowville, Lewis County. Photo: Joanna Richards

Governor announces $4.5 million to boost winter tourism upstate

Governor Andrew Cuomo visited a newly expanded snowmobiler lounge in Lowville Monday to unveil a new ad campaign to promote winter tourism upstate. Cuomo says there's new energy in the north country, thanks to increasing economic investment. He credits the efforts of both the region and his administration in making that happen.  Go to full article
Trainees work on an MQ-9 Reaper at the Hancock field Air National Guard base near Syracuse, NY. Photo: David Sommerstein.
Trainees work on an MQ-9 Reaper at the Hancock field Air National Guard base near Syracuse, NY. Photo: David Sommerstein.

Money to expand drone hangar at Fort Drum

Not long after a military drone crashed into Lake Ontario in November, the program that aircraft belonged to is getting a boost with funding from the 2014 defense spending bill signed into law last week. The money will go toward expanding a storage and maintenance facility at Fort Drum.  Go to full article
Fortunately, Walldroff's Farm Equipment in Watertown had power on Christmas Eve. Santa's taking a tractor this year. Photo: Joanna Richards
Fortunately, Walldroff's Farm Equipment in Watertown had power on Christmas Eve. Santa's taking a tractor this year. Photo: Joanna Richards

Some celebrate dark, chilly Christmas Eve but it's not all bad

Utility crews worked down to the wire last night to try to get everyone's lights and heat back on by Christmas morning. Most of the 70,000 customers who lost power during the ice storm had it on again by yesterday evening. But a handful of residents celebrated a dark and chilly Christmas Eve.  Go to full article
Jefferson County Legislature Chairwoman Carolyn Fitzpatrick praised emergency responders for keeping people safe during the ice storm during a Sunday afternoon press conference in Watertown. Photo: Joanna Richards
Jefferson County Legislature Chairwoman Carolyn Fitzpatrick praised emergency responders for keeping people safe during the ice storm during a Sunday afternoon press conference in Watertown. Photo: Joanna Richards

Lights, calm returning after ice storm, but some dangers remain

The lights are coming back on in Jefferson County after the ice storm left most residents in the dark for some period over the weekend. National Grid says it expects to restore power to nearly all customers by midnight tonight. Sixteen-hundred field workers from as far away as New Jersey and the Ohio Valley are helping to make that happen.  Go to full article
Power lines downed by icy tree limbs coiled on the frozen roadways all over Watertown Sunday. Photo: Joanna Richards
Power lines downed by icy tree limbs coiled on the frozen roadways all over Watertown Sunday. Photo: Joanna Richards

North country scraping its way out of blanket of ice

Today is supposed to bring the last of the ice storm that's snapped branches and downed power lines all over the north country. Tens of thousands have lost power, including about 60 percent of customers in Jefferson County, which saw the brunt of the ice.  Go to full article
JCC's new residence hall is slated to open in fall 2014. Photo: Joanna Richards
JCC's new residence hall is slated to open in fall 2014. Photo: Joanna Richards

Watertown's community college meets higher enrollments with construction boom

Jefferson Community College in Watertown has some big campus upgrades in the works. The projects at the SUNY school represent more than just an expansion. They could change its identity.  Go to full article
The Family Counseling Service is the second Watertown health care nonprofit to get a financial bailout in recent months. Photo: Joanna Richards
The Family Counseling Service is the second Watertown health care nonprofit to get a financial bailout in recent months. Photo: Joanna Richards

Counseling service latest Watertown health care provider to get a lifeline

The North Country Family Health Center, in Watertown, is still working to gain long-term financial stability after nearly closing in October. Now, another Watertown health care provider is getting a bailout to stay afloat. This time, it's Family Counseling Service of Northern New York.  Go to full article
The 10th Mountain Division's Headquarters in the field during the division-wide Mountain Peak training exercise at Fort Drum, August, 2012. Photo: Joanna Richards
The 10th Mountain Division's Headquarters in the field during the division-wide Mountain Peak training exercise at Fort Drum, August, 2012. Photo: Joanna Richards

Drum numbers likely dropping, but no cause for alarm

The Watertown area's economy is heavily dependent on Fort Drum. With the federal budget sequester on and the Afghanistan war winding down, the numbers of soldiers assigned to the post and civilians working there is likely to decrease. But the outlook is more complicated than just doom and gloom.  Go to full article
Cape Vincent Town Councilman Brooks Bragdon addresses state officials about BP's proposed wind farm at a meeting Monday night at Cape Vincent Elementary School. From left, Town Councilmen John Byrne and Clif Schneider, town attorney Paul Curtin, and Supervisor Urban Hirschey listen. Photo: Joanna Richards
Cape Vincent Town Councilman Brooks Bragdon addresses state officials about BP's proposed wind farm at a meeting Monday night at Cape Vincent Elementary School. From left, Town Councilmen John Byrne and Clif Schneider, town attorney Paul Curtin, and Supervisor Urban Hirschey listen. Photo: Joanna Richards

Cape Vincent tells state: we want decision on wind farm

The town of Cape Vincent, in Jefferson County, has been divided over a proposed wind farm for a decade. The latest company to pursue the project is BP. But now, with a potential sale in the works, residents told the state power project siting board they're getting impatient with the uncertainty.  Go to full article

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