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NCPR News Staff: Julie Grant

Reporter and Producer

Stories filed by Julie Grant

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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
Are they willing to accept the pain involved in eliminating some of those services?

St. Lawrence County to consider overriding property tax cap

The St. Lawrence County Board of Legislators is holding a public hearing Monday night about overriding the state's new two-percent property tax cap.

The county announced this week that it needs to issue bonds in order to meet its financial obligations this year. And leaders are considering whether to eliminate all but essential services - that means programs for the elderly, for youth, and the entire planning department would all be gone.

Some leaders say raising more money by over-riding the tax cap is the only responsible thing to do. But others say limiting property taxes is the real imperative. Julie Grant reports.  Go to full article

St. Lawrence County to consider overriding property tax cap

The St. Lawrence County Board of Legislators is holding a public hearing Monday night about overriding the state's new two-percent property tax cap. Board Chair Sallie Brothers says the county's financial situation doesn't look good.

She says they could cut all non-mandated services, such as alcohol and substance abuse programs, the planning department, youth programs, and nutrition services for the elderly. Or she says they could raise the property tax.  Go to full article
Canton Central School.
Canton Central School.

Schools worry about the costs of Race to the Top

Schools are getting ready to open for the year. And this fall most have some new obligations. New York was awarded nearly $700 million from the federal government as part of President Obama's Race to the Top education program. Now districts are gearing up to put the new mandates into practice.

Stephen Todd is assistant superintendent of the St. Lawrence and Lewis BOCES, which serves 18 school districts in Lewis and St. Lawrence counties. He says there are three major pieces to Race to the Top.

First, changing the core curriculum in math and English classes. "Instead of trying to teach a mile wide and an inch deep, let's teach what's essential and teach it really, really well. Instead of trying to read everything under the sun, let's make sure what we are reading, we are reading carefully and closely and deeply."

Second, says Todd: data analysis. In the past, he says, schools kept statistics about students and classrooms, but the analysis came only after the school year was over.

Todd says that's about to change: "Instead of doing an autopsy, let's do a physical. Part way through the year, we'll look at the patient. The individual student, the collective group, whether it be classroom or building. Let's see what's working, what's not working. Let's make mid course corrections, that allow us if there are problems to fix those and save the patient. So we're not doing an autopsy later, we're treating the patient as it goes along."

The third major piece of race to the top has to do with keeping closer track of teacher performance. Julie Grant visited the Canton Central Schools to find out what's changing with evaluations, and she found that both teachers and administrators are concerned about the cost in time and money.  Go to full article

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