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NCPR News Staff: Brian Mann

Adirondack Bureau Chief
Brian Mann grew up in Alaska, where he fell in love with public radio. In 1999, Brian moved to the Adirondacks and helped launch NCPR's news bureau at Paul Smiths College. "I love the chemistry of water and mountains," Brian says. "But I'm also pretty crazy about village life in the north country. It's the kind of place where you know your neighbors." Brian lives in Saranac Lake with wife Susan and son Nicholas. He's a frequent contributor to NPR and also writes regularly for regional magazines, including Adirondack Life and the Adirondack Explorer. E-mail

Stories filed by Brian Mann

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Emergency service crews at work in the blast and fire zone of Lac-Megantic. Photo: Surete du Quebec
Emergency service crews at work in the blast and fire zone of Lac-Megantic. Photo: Surete du Quebec

Canada blasts American rail company in Lac Megantic tragedy

Canadian authorities yesterday issued a new report on last summer's deadly oil train disaster in Quebec that killed forty-seven people.

The study blasts the American company that owned the railroad involved in the accident and says more safety oversight is needed to prevent future oil train disasters.  Go to full article
Jim Jeffords represented Vermont first as a state Senator in the 1960s.  His pubic career extended to January of 2007.  Photo: US Senate
Jim Jeffords represented Vermont first as a state Senator in the 1960s. His pubic career extended to January of 2007. Photo: US Senate

Jim Jeffords, icon of Vermont politics, dead at 80

One of Vermont's most prominent political figures passed away on Monday. Jim Jeffords represented Vermont in Washington for more than thirty years, first as a congressman, then as a US Senator. He was 80.

Jeffords made history by defecting from the Republican Party.  Go to full article
Kayla Herring, the sister of Kevin Ward Jr., at left with her husband JD Herring.  She says the family "will get through this together."  Photo:  Brian Mann
Kayla Herring, the sister of Kevin Ward Jr., at left with her husband JD Herring. She says the family "will get through this together." Photo: Brian Mann

For racer Kevin Ward's family, a tough time

Hundreds of friends and family-members turned out in Turin in Lewis County yesterday for the funeral of Kevin Ward Jr. They packed the auditorium at the high school where Ward graduated just two years ago.

Ward died last Saturday on the sprint-car track in Canandaigua in an accident involving top NASCAR driver Tony Stewart.  Go to full article
Kevin Ward Jr. died Saturday night in a NASCAR accident in Ontario County.  Photo:  Kevin Ward Jr. Facebook page.
Kevin Ward Jr. died Saturday night in a NASCAR accident in Ontario County. Photo: Kevin Ward Jr. Facebook page.

Investigators are reconstructing fatal crash, race tracks make safety changes

According to the Watertown Daily Times the Ontario County sheriff investigating the death of Kevin Ward Jr. says there are "no facts or evidence that would support allegations against any individual."

The paper also reports Sheriff Phillip Povero has acquired a second video of the accident last Saturday that involved Ward and veteran NASCAR driver Tony Stewart.

Investigators are also working to reconstruct the scene of the crash at the Canandaigua Motorsports Park in western New York.

Brian Mann has been following this story since the crash on Saturday and joins Martha Foley by phone.  Go to full article
Elise Stefanik, GOP candidate for the NY-21 Congressional seat. Photo: Stefanik campaign
Elise Stefanik, GOP candidate for the NY-21 Congressional seat. Photo: Stefanik campaign

Stefanik gets "Politico" treatment

One of the North Country's congressional candidates was featured this week in a major national journal.

Elise Stefanik, the Republican seeking the 21st district seat, was featured in a front-page profile in "Politico," one of the largest on-line magazines focusing on politics.  Go to full article
Democrat Aaron Woolf campaigning in Malone, NY. Photo: Brian Mann
Democrat Aaron Woolf campaigning in Malone, NY. Photo: Brian Mann

North Country's economic fears echo on campaign trail

It's now less than three months to the November election, when the North Country will choose a new member of Congress.

The race between Republican Elise Stefanik, Democrat Aaron Woolf and Green Party candidate Matt Funiciello is expected to be one of the most competitive, hard-fought House contests in the country.

Big campaigns can be punishing affairs, with huge ad blitzes, vast amounts of anonymous campaign cash, and a lot of mudslinging. But there are also days when elections actually allow voters to talk about their concerns and their problems with politicians.  Go to full article
DEC planner Chris Alberga points to a map of the Essex Chain Lakes.  The Conservation Department says it will revise its proposed plan and release a new draft this fall for public comment.  Photo:  Brian Mann
DEC planner Chris Alberga points to a map of the Essex Chain Lakes. The Conservation Department says it will revise its proposed plan and release a new draft this fall for public comment. Photo: Brian Mann

Snowmobile muddle forces rewrite of Essex Chain Lakes plan

State officials are going back to the drawing board as they develop a plan for public use of the Essex Chain Lakes near Newcomb.

The 11,000-acre complex of lakes, logging roads and rivers in the central Adirondacks is part of the massive Finch Conservation deal engineered by the Nature Conservancy.

The Conservation Department had hoped to have a plan for public recreation in place by the end of this year.

But DEC planners have run into a major complication over a proposal for using snowmobiles in the area, a plan that would include a bridge over the scenic Cedar River.  Go to full article
Padilla lost his footing and the current swept him over the waterfall where he became lodged below the surface

Buffalo man drowns on Raquette River

State police say rescue divers have recovered the body of a 20-year-old man who drowned on Saturday near Buttermilk Falls, near Long Lake, on the Raquette River.  Go to full article
Kevin Ward Jr. died Saturday night in a NASCAR accident in Ontario County.  Photo:  Kevin Ward Jr. Facebook page.
Kevin Ward Jr. died Saturday night in a NASCAR accident in Ontario County. Photo: Kevin Ward Jr. Facebook page.

Update: North Country man dies in race crash with top NASCAR driver

Race car driver Kevin Ward Jr., from Port Leyden, New York, in Lewis County, was struck and killed during a sprint car race Saturday night.

According to the Associated Press, Ward, age 20, left his sprint car following an accident and was walking on a section of track when he was struck and thrown roughly fifty feet.  Go to full article
Kodi Kadeem Beckles. This photo was used in the missing poster issued by lostnmissing.com
Kodi Kadeem Beckles. This photo was used in the missing poster issued by lostnmissing.com

SUNY Plattsburgh student died of "cardio-respiratory arrest"

State Police say a SUNY Plattsburgh student found dead in early April apparently died of natural causes.

Kodi Beckles, age 20, disappeared after going to a late-night party. His body was located in a wooded area on April 7 by a search team organized by Plattsburgh city police.  Go to full article

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