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NCPR News Staff: Julie Grant

Reporter and Producer

Stories filed by Julie Grant

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Lead wheel weights.  Photo:  Jeff Gearhart
Lead wheel weights. Photo: Jeff Gearhart

New York among leaders getting lead out of the environment

The U.S. has worked to get lead out of gas and out of paint, but the biggest source of lead in a consumer product is still on roadways. It's in the form of wheel weights, used to balance the tires on our cars. The Environmental Protection Agency says about 1.6 million pounds of lead falls off of vehicles each year, and winds up in the environment. New York is among a handful of states that is leading the effort to ban lead wheel weights. Julie Grant reports.  Go to full article
Border patrol vehicles await the bus in Canton.
Border patrol vehicles await the bus in Canton.

Rights advocates charge abuse in Upstate NY by U.S. Border Patrol

Immigrant rights advocates and the New York Civil Liberties Union are accusing the Border Patrol of abusing its authority by questioning train and bus passengers about their citizenship, and for targeting people in the North Country and in towns miles away from any international crossing. Julie Grant reports.  Go to full article
Mary Lou Rupp. Photo: St. Lawrence County GOP
Mary Lou Rupp. Photo: St. Lawrence County GOP

Rupp is new St. Lawrence County clerk

St. Lawrence County voters chose Republican Mary Lou Rupp as their next county clerk. Her margin over Democrat Gavin Regan was better than two to one.

Regan had been appointed to the post by Gov. Andrew Cuomo when then-clerk Patty Ritchie won a seat in the state Senate. Rupp had served as deputy to Ritchie in the clerk's office.

Rupp says she's ecstatic and thankful about the win. She says she was part of making the clerk's office a money-maker for the county, so voters supported her.

"I think it's because people know how hard we've worked to make our local offices so well run and efficient - customer friendly and revenue generating offices. There was no need for a change."  Go to full article
We are already for the north country a resounding success going forward...we also want the money.

North Country Economic Council gets ready to submit its plan

The North Country Regional Economic Development Council is sifting through project proposals this week. The projects it chooses will be entered into the state competition for the first round of economic development dollars.

Julie Grant reports that while the priority projects have not been revealed, the North Country plan is getting more specific.  Go to full article

NC Council hears more debate over Rooftop Highway

The North Country Regional Economic Development Council is finishing work on its strategic plan. Late last week, the Council held its first meeting since releasing a draft of the plan. Some people criticized it for being short on details, but one project it did mention specifically is the controversial Rooftop Highway - a proposed interstate that would run from Watertown around to Plattsburgh.

The plan doesn't specifically endorse it, but it does acknowledge the need for improved infrastructure.

John Casserly is with a group called YesEleven. It wants to improve Route 11 - and opposes construction of a new interstate. Casserly told the council that most people don't know what the Rooftop Highway is - even people who would be directly affected by it.  Go to full article
Tony Collins.
Tony Collins.

NC Economic Development Council to vet draft plan Friday

Monday was the deadline for businesses and others who want a share of state money from the 10 new regional economic development councils.

The councils, including the North Country Regional Economic Development Council, are now approaching a deadline of their own. Their plans are due in Albany Nov. 14. The state will choose the four plans it likes best. Those regions will get $40-million dollars for their "priority projects."

The money is specifically focused on shovel-ready building projects and new business ventures.
Friday, the North Country Council will hold its first meeting since publicly releasing its draft plan last week. But so far, the draft doesn't outline the region's priority projects, and that uncertainty has led to some criticism of the council.

Julie Grant spoke with co-chair Tony Collins, who is president of Clarkson University in Potsdam. He says a council committee will vet 200 to 300 applications before sending their plan to Albany. Julie asked him if the public will see the list of proposed projects this week.  Go to full article

The race for St. Lawrence County Clerk

The election of a county clerk usually doesn't get much attention. The office processes paperwork: passports, pistol permits, mortgages, and vehicle registrations. But this year, people are watching the race for clerk in St. Lawrence County. And the two candidates think that's largely because the office has started making money. Julie Grant reports.  Go to full article
...Comment via the website, that's really what folks need to do.

Regional Economic Development Council puts draft plan online

The North Country Regional Economic Development Council has posted a draft of its strategic plan--and it includes supporting controversial long term federal projects such as the Rooftop Highway.

It also sets out seven visions for the North Country including: the construction of growth in the aerospace, defense, biotech and other industries; increasing the region's profile as a special destination to visit, live, work and study; creating the greenest economy in the state; and starting an agriculture revolution.

The North Country Council is one of ten around New York created by Governor Andrew Cuomo to compete for millions of dollars in state funding. Garry Douglas is co-chair. He says the draft plan was created after a series of public hearings. Before submitting the final proposal to Albany, he wants people to review the plan online.

"Because there's not time between now and November 14 to go out and do another whole round of hearings. So it's going to be website dependent. People that have interest go there, look at them, and then comment via the website. That's really what folks need to do."

The website is North Country Open For Business - dot - com.  Go to full article
Students at the food summit ate salad and other healthy foods - and seemed to like it.
Students at the food summit ate salad and other healthy foods - and seemed to like it.

School food director says you can serve healthy, local food on a budget

At a youth food summit held this week in the North Country, teenagers were encouraged to think about what they eat, and to choose healthy, local options. But some students said those efforts are undermined in their own school cafeterias.

Food service workers also got together at the summit. Many worry about the cost of local, natural ingredients, about how to process and cook them, and about whether the students will actually eat healthy meals.

Julie Grant met Cynthia Overton during the meeting's lunch time bustle. She is food service director at the South Jefferson Central Schools, and led a workshop to help others in school food service.

Overton says she started serving healthy meals in her district because she grew up on a farm, and wanted to make sure her own kids, and all the students, had homegrown food on their plates.  Go to full article
Mark(in carrot crown) and Kristin(drumming) Kimball fire up students about farming.
Mark(in carrot crown) and Kristin(drumming) Kimball fire up students about farming.

High school students gather for food summit

Teenagers might be known for eating a lot. But they don't always think about where that food is coming from, or whether it's healthy for them. That changed for some students who gathered in SUNY Potsdam's student union this week for the North Country Food Day Youth Summit. The summit was sponsored by GardenShare and the St. Lawrence County Health Initiative. Julie Grant attended, along with two hundred and forty high school students from 30 different schools.  Go to full article

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