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NCPR News Staff: Julie Grant

Reporter and Producer

Stories filed by Julie Grant

Not only is there a property tax cap, and... mandated cost increases, but the state is not paying us timely.

Counties caught between rising costs, tax cap

Until this week, St. Lawrence County seemed to be leading the charge to over-ride the state's new 2-percent property tax cap, imposed on local governments. Now it looks like the County is trying to stay within the tax cap limit.

Counties around the North Country are busily preparing their 2012 budgets. And each is having to do its own political maneuvering, and decide whether it will cut services, or over-ride the tax cap.

Julie Grant reports.  Go to full article

Fall leaves reaching their peak this week in the Adirondacks

Attention leaf-peepers: peak season is nearly here in the Adirondacks.

The official New York state foliage report says trees around Lake Placid are changing colors quickly. They're expected to be a peak by the weekend, with near complete color change, and a mix of golds, yellows, reds, mixed in with the evergreens. Old Forge, and the Mount Arab/ Tupper Lake area are all expecting 95-percent color change this week and a mix of red, russet, orange and gold leaves.

Nina Bussuk is a professor in the Cornell Horticulture Department. While we all learn in school about chlorophyll making leaves green. She says that pigment breaks down in the fall. And if we're lucky a red pigment takes its place.  Go to full article
A hydrofracking tower. (Photo: Innovation Trail)
A hydrofracking tower. (Photo: Innovation Trail)

DEC takes next step in hydro-fracking rules

New York environmental regulators have formally issued proposed regulations for hydraulic fracturing. Drilling companies want to "hydro-frack" the Marcellus Shale region of southern New York. The Department of Environmental Conservation has scheduled four public hearings on the proposed rules.

The document, originally posted online in July, outlines regulations for companies that want to "hydrofrack". It's a process where water, chemicals, and sand are pumped at high pressure deep into wells to release natural gas from the bedrock.

New York hasn't allowed "hydrofracking'' in the Marcellus Shale over the past three years and it won't be allowed until the process completes its new permitting rules.

Dennis Holbrook is vice president of the North Exploration, with offices outside of Buffalo. He's been drilling in New York for twenty years and is glad the process is moving forward.

Claire Sandberg is with the group Frack Action. She says even though New York looked at problems in Pennsylvania and other states before drafting its rules, environmentalists have many reasons to be concerned. Julie Grant has more.  Go to full article
Ted Elk scrapes honey off of a comb.  Yum!  Photos: Julie Grant
Ted Elk scrapes honey off of a comb. Yum! Photos: Julie Grant

Tough times for bees

We get one of every three bites of food from crops pollinated by bees. That's about $15 billion into the U.S. economy each year. But North Country beekeepers are losing huge numbers of their little, busy coworkers.

Apiarists (beekeepers) from around the country--and the world--have been dealing with what's called Colony Collapse Disorder. It's been around for five years now.

Julie Grant visited with some beekeepers, and reports that scientists and the government don't agree on what should be done to help them.  Go to full article

Mosquitoes in the fall?

You might be enjoying the warm days this September - but experts say those high temperatures are also attracting some unwanted guests. Mosquitoes are usually gone for the year by now - but just walk outside at dusk, and you'll know they're still with us. Tim Mihuc is coordinator of the Lake Champlain Research Institute at Plattsburgh State. He with Julie Grant about how many mosquitoes might be out there, and why they're still bugging us.  Go to full article
Thousand Islands divided by the international border.
Thousand Islands divided by the international border.

U.S.-Canadian border changes since 9/11

In the years since the September 11 attacks, life has changed along the U.S. - Canadian border. What used to be an informal crossing, has become militarized, and its changed the lives and expectations of people who live nearby. Julie Grant takes a look back at some of ways life has changed along the border, and whether it's making Americans safer.  Go to full article
Senator Gillibrand, in white, listens to farmers at the Andrews Farm in Fowler.  (Photo: Julie Grant)
Senator Gillibrand, in white, listens to farmers at the Andrews Farm in Fowler. (Photo: Julie Grant)

Gillibrand hopes to give NE farmers a voice in Washington

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand has been touring New York's agricultural areas to hear from farmers. The Senate is already starting debate on the 2012 Farm Bill. Gillibrand is the first New Yorker on the Senate Agriculture Committee in 40 years.

She told St. Lawrence County farmers she wants to make sure Northeast farmers have a voice when the new Farm Bill is written. She asked how federal policycan better serve the people in the fields and barns. Julie Grant attended the listening session at Bob Andrews' farm in Fowler.  Go to full article

Deadly encephalitis found in St. Lawrence County

St. Lawrence County health officials don't plan to spray for mosquitoes, even though a horse has been found with the deadly Eastern Equine Encephalitis. A 4-year old girl died of triple-E earlier this summer in Central New York. Oswego County health officials there sprayed to kill mosquitoes.

Sue Hathaway is director of the St. Lawrence County health department. She says Central New York has seen many incidence of the disease, so it made sense for them to spray.  Go to full article
The community has pulled together and...all of the businesses are planning on being open Labor Day weekend.

New Yorkers work to get schools, businesses, and homes back to normal

Roughly 20-percent of Vermont schools are delaying the start of classes because of damage from Irene. Most of the delays are because of washed out roads and damaged bridges that make it impossible for students to get school safely.

But few - if any - schools in New York are opening late.

Julie Grant reports on how New Yorkers are working to get schools, businesses, and homes back to normal after the storm.  Go to full article
Residents packed the St. Lawrence County Courthouse  (Photo: Julie Grant)
Residents packed the St. Lawrence County Courthouse (Photo: Julie Grant)

St. Lawrence County hearing to override property tax cap

More than two-hundred and fifty people packed the St. Lawrence County Courthouse last night for a public hearing about overriding the state property tax cap.

A brand new state law limits local governments from raising the property tax by more than 2 percent in a year. But some St. Lawrence County leaders say that's not enough to keep the county solvent and still offer many services residents count on.

They're thinking about overriding the tax cap, but in order to do that, they first need to hear from residents. Julie Grant was at last night's packed meeting in Canton:  Go to full article

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