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NCPR News Staff: Julie Grant

Reporter and Producer

Stories filed by Julie Grant

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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

Apple harvest looks good, despite weather

The word apple might make you think of your iPhone or Steve Jobs. But apples are also an important crop in northern New York. Growers say despite the extreme weather, they've harvested a successful crop of big, sweet apples this year.

Mason Forrence is president of Forrence Orchards in Peru. He's the third generation in his family to run the business. Forrence spoke with Julie Grant on his cellphone, from the field. He says they're finishing up the harvest in what has been a challenging year.  Go to full article
If we should have an ice storm ... if we should have any number of events that we cannot control, we will be in serious trouble.

County budget strategies falling short

Like other municipalities around the state, St. Lawrence County is figuring out its budget for the coming year. So far its strategies to cope with rising expenses, falling state aid and a new cap on property taxes aren't working out.

Its leaders are cutting positions and programs. But they say they also need more revenue. That's where county leaders seem to be hitting a wall. Julie Grant reports.  Go to full article

Family concerned about cuts to heating assistance program

Funding for the federal program that helps people pay heating costs is being cut dramatically this year. St. Lawrence County social services says more than one-fourth of households in the county get money through HEAP - the home energy assistance program. Administrators are worried, and are warning residents - expect your benefits to be cut in half.

Julie Grant visited with Linda Jobes and her 85-year old father Leslie Howard. Howard lives in a trailer on the same lot where Jobes, her husband, and his 89-year old mother live near DeKalb.  Go to full article
Students gather at the quad on St. Lawrence University campus.  Photos: Julie Grant
Students gather at the quad on St. Lawrence University campus. Photos: Julie Grant

St. Lawrence University students walk-out for Wall St. protestors

Hundreds of university students throughout New York are walking out of classes, in a show of solidarity with the Wall Street protests. About sixty students gathered at the quad of St. Lawrence University in Canton. They wrote messages on pieces of white paper, and strung them together between the trees. One read, "We are the future, when is my voice going to be heard."

Protestors on Wall Street seem to have a variety of reasons for being there, mostly to do with economic justice. St. Lawrence is a relatively expensive, private college. But when Julie Grant attended the protest there, she found the students also have many concerns for the future. She spoke with organizers Emily Penna and Jordan Pescrillo for today's Heard Up North.  Go to full article

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