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NCPR News Staff: Julie Grant

Reporter and Producer

Stories filed by Julie Grant

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Sour weather worries apple growers

While some North Country apple growers are worried sick about the weather - others say it's too soon to be concerned. After a week of temperatures in the 80s, apple trees started to bud. Julie Grant spoke yesterday with Patricia Sheehan, co-owner of Rulfs Orchard in Peru. Forecasters were predicting lows of around 15 degrees.

The forecast calls for better apple weather later this week, with highs near 50, and lows in the lower 30s.  Go to full article
Potsdam Central School
Potsdam Central School

North Country parents await state school aid budget

Many North Country parents, students, and school officials are anxiously awaiting agreement on the state budget. Canton Central held two public forums this month, to explain the district's $2.5 million budget shortfall, and hear where residents recommend cutbacks. The district is considering up to 40 job cuts.

Rachel Wallace is mother of two third-graders in the Potsdam Schools. She's worried that class sizes will get larger, and extra-curricular activities will be eliminated. Wallace says the drop in state school aid could have lasting impacts.  Go to full article

Griffo wants $5 million to defend NY military bases

Both the House and Senate versions of the state budget include money to protect Fort Drum and other military installations in New York from the chopping block.

State Senator Joe Griffo of Rome says the Department of Defense is looking to cut as much as $400 billion. Two rounds of BRAC hearings have been scheduled, where decisions are made on military base re-allignment and closure. Julie grant reports.  Go to full article

St. Lawrence County leaders furious about redistricting

St. Lawrence County leaders are furious about New York's newly approved Assembly and Senate legislative district lines. The county has been split into four assembly districts, and three senate seats. Some say they were the big losers in Albany's backroom politics.  Go to full article
Air Methods Mercy Air Bell 412. Photo: Alan Radecki
Air Methods Mercy Air Bell 412. Photo: Alan Radecki

Medical air service returning to the North Country

It's been five years since the North Country had emergency air service. But that's about to change. Air Methods Corporation plans to begin operating medical helicopters in Jefferson and St. Lawrence Counties in June. The company is opening new air medical bases in Watertown and Potsdam.

The military previously provided air ambulance service in the region, through a program at Fort Drum called the MAST mission. Since it was removed, Fort Drum health officials say there have been more than 500 emergency cases in the region that qualified for air flight, but weren't able to get it.

Fort Drum has been working with the North Country EMS Program Agency to secure med-flights. Ann Smith, the agency director, says the new air medical bases in Watertown and Potsdam will each be staffed with four pilots, eight medical crew members, and one mechanic. The service will be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Julie Grant reports.  Go to full article
The funding formulaóitís inequitable. Thatís the core issue. It needs to be addressed.

Canton parents return to Albany to lobby for education funding

A group of parents from Canton Central Schools is heading to Albany again today, to continue to lobbying lawmakers as they negotiate the state budget.

Under Governor Andrew Cuomo's budget plan, $250 million in state education aid was funneled toward competitive grants.

The House and Senate are both looking at proposal to redirect $200 million of that back to the general education fund.  Go to full article
Numbers indicate the degrees above normal high temperature for this date. Source: HAMweather.com
Numbers indicate the degrees above normal high temperature for this date. Source: HAMweather.com

Record high temperatures across the region to continue

Spring is in the air, even though it's still wintertime. With temperatures in the mid-60s, and possibly up in the 70s later this week, many spots in the north country are reaching record highs.

Julie Grant spoke with Jason Neilson, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Burlington.  Go to full article
If we could deal with the $200 million, that's a quick fix, but it does not fix the larger issue.

Parents react to Senate plan to funnel aid to rural schools

State senator Patty Ritchie says the latest budget proposals are good news for poor and rural districts - but some north country parents say lawmakers aren't going far enough.

Under Governor Andrew Cuomo's budget plan, $250 million in state education aid was funneled toward competitive grants. Ritchie says the Senate proposal funnels $200 million of that to districts that need it most.  Go to full article

Owens wants to know cost of Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence water level plan

U.S. Representative Bill Owens says environmentalists shouldn't be concerned about his stand on a new water level plan for Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River.

The International Joint Commission started controlling high and low water levels in the 1950s. While that's kept a stable water level, the agency now says it's bad for the environment. The new plan allows water levels to reach higher highs and lower lows.

The IJC has yet to release all the plan details. Congressman Owens recently wrote to the agency, urging closer attention to shoreline property damage along Lake Ontario. He says that damage could exceed $3 million annually.  Go to full article
I feel really, very, very honored that the committee has selected the 23rd district for this type of event.

Saranac Lake to host 1 of 4 hearings on the U.S. Farm Bill

U.S. Representative Bill Owens says it's a big deal that Saranac Lake was chosen to host a Congressional hearing on the 2012 Farm Bill. Owens says it's a chance for farmers and others to influence re-authorization of federal agriculture policy, which hasn't been done since 2008.

"I feel really, very, very honored that the committee has selected the 23rd district for this type of event. There's only going to be four or so of them around the country. So this is very significant. This is an opportunity for us to talk about the issues that affect the north country."

The Saranac Lake hearing is Friday morning at North Country Community College. The others are scheduled in Illinois, Arkansas, and Kansas in the coming weeks.

Owens says there are good reasons for Congress to choose this location for the northeast meeting:

"That was picked because they were trying to get to a location that was part of a large agricultural district, the 23rd. But also because it is the northeast hearing, you're covering really New Jersey, New York, portions of Pennsylvania, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont. This is a very significant geographic area, and they tried to pick somewhere that was relatively speaking, centrally located."

The hearing will give Members of the House Agriculture Committee the opportunity to hear firsthand how U.S. farm policy is working for farmers and ranchers in advance of writing the Farm Bill.  Go to full article

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