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NCPR News Staff: David Sommerstein
News Reporter and Producer

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118th GOP Primary: A Secret Poll

A leaked poll and secret meetings in Albany have shaken up what seemed like a tranquil Republican primary race in the 118th Assembly district. Two candidates from Jefferson County--Scott Gray and David Renzi, and one from St. Lawrence County--Patricia Ritchie--are vying for the chance to run against Democrat Darryl Aubertine in November. David Sommerstein reports.  Go to full article

Protecting Adirondack Alpine Vegetation

For over a decade the Adirondack Nature Conservancy has been protecting the alpines of the Adirondacks through education and careful observation. But that may not be enough, and the group's started a new technique for conservation--carrying heavy rocks up to the summits to stabilize the delicate plants that grow there.  Go to full article

Jake Swamp: A Story of Warning

Chief Jake Swamp tells the story of a Mohawk prophet called "Handsome Lake".  Go to full article
Chief Jake Swamp looks on while his grandson, Frank, hammers a log to loosen strips for basketmaking.
Chief Jake Swamp looks on while his grandson, Frank, hammers a log to loosen strips for basketmaking.

Spreading a Legacy of Harmony

This week the Tree of Peace Learning Center in Rossie in western St. Lawrence County hosts an annual workshop series called the Sacred Circle. It brings together people to teach and learn about a variety of native issues, from how the Iroquois document history to native burial mounds in Ohio.

The Tree of Peace Society was founded two decades ago by Mohawk Chief Jake Swamp. Its mission is to recover and pass on Mohawk and other tribal culture and philosophy. David Sommerstein went to the learning center in Rossie to talk with Chief Swamp.  Go to full article

An Energy-Saving Habitat

Habitat for Humanity in St. Lawrence County breaks ground today on a low-cost home in Rensselaer Falls. Thanks to a collaboration with a regional energy efficiency group, the home will use 30% less energy than a conventional one. David Sommerstein reports it could become a model for more low-income housing.  Go to full article
Dark Island Castle was built by the Singer Sewing Machine president.
Dark Island Castle was built by the Singer Sewing Machine president.

New Owners for Dark Island?

A turn-of-the-century castle and the private St. Lawrence River island it's built on may soon be opened to the public. David Sommerstein reports a group of businessmen want to make Dark Island Castle in the town of Hammond a tourist destination.  Go to full article
Col Kevin V. Wilkerson explains maneuvers to President Bush at Fort Drum on Friday. (Watertown Daily Times, Michael Fagans)
Col Kevin V. Wilkerson explains maneuvers to President Bush at Fort Drum on Friday. (Watertown Daily Times, Michael Fagans)

Bush Thrills Ft. Drum Troops

President Bush pumped up military personnel at Fort Drum near Watertown Friday. He toured the base and reviewed military maneuvers by the 10th Mountain Division troops. And he gave an outdoor pep talk to thousands of soldiers and their families. David Sommerstein was there and has this report.  Go to full article

Bush To Thank Troops At Fort Drum

Fort Drum near Watertown is set to host a brief visit from President Bush today. The President is expected to thank members of the Army's 10th Mountain Division for their combat role in Afghanistan last spring. David Sommerstein has more.  Go to full article

Sound Portrait: St. Lawrence County Fair

David Sommerstein takes us on an audio tour of the St. Lawrence County fair in Gouverneur. The fair runs through Saturday night.  Go to full article

Republican Attorney General Hopeful Tours Fair

The St. Lawrence County Fair in Gouverneur opened its first full day yesterday with bands, a firefighter's parade, and a visit by Republican candidate for state attorney general, Dora Irizarry. David Sommerstein has more.  Go to full article

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David Sommerstein, NCPR's roving St. Lawrence Valley/Fort Drum/Tug Hill reporter, began his career in radio, strangely enough, as a high school Spanish teacher in Buffalo. While drilling verb conjugations and teaching a love for Latino culture during the day, he sat in as a late night jazz and Latin DJ at Buffalo's NPR affiliate, WBFO. The radio bug bit, and David found his way to southern Colorado/northern New Mexico (the Taos/Santa Fe area) where he was Program Director, Music Director, Volunteer Coordinator, and "Just About Anything Else You Can Think Of" Director at NPR affiliate KRZA. Since joining NCPR's news department, David has reported from the chilly deck of a St. Lawrence icebreaker, the power-chord filled stage of the High School Rock Band Festival, and the tense Albanian street market of post-war Kosovo with soldiers from Fort Drum. David also gets to fulfill his passion for music of all kinds when he spins world dance and groove music on editions of The Beat Authority. E-mail

Recent David Sommerstein stories carried by NPR: