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NCPR News Staff: David Sommerstein
News Reporter and Producer

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St. Lawrence Co. on Burn Barrels: Educate, Not Regulate

St. Lawrence County plans to use education, not a ban, to stop people from burning their trash. Members of the county Services Committee voted yesterday to table a draft law that would have banned the use of burn barrels in the county. David Sommerstein reports.  Go to full article

Sap Flows Above Average

The wild temperature fluctuations this winter have been good to New York's maple syrup producers. David Sommerstein reports the sap flow is already above average.  Go to full article

Winter Camping & Climbing in the High Peaks

The Adirondacks' High Peaks can be a hard place to find peace and quiet during the busy summer months. Many people choose the winter to get their fix for solitude among New York's tallest mountains. Winter camping offers unique pleasures and sometimes, unexpected perils. Brian Mann and David Sommerstein got plenty of both on a late winter expedition to Lake Colden and Algonquin Peak last weekend.  Go to full article
Firefighters drown embers days after the March 2nd fire in Carthage.
Firefighters drown embers days after the March 2nd fire in Carthage.

Carthage Works to Recuperate After Fire

More than a week after a fire destroyed an entire block of downtown Carthage, village fire officials say the smouldering embers finally seem to be extinguished. But they say the area is still a "fire scene" for safety reasons.

People affected by the blaze are working to recuperate. David Sommerstein reports on the latest relief efforts.

Fire victims or people wanting to donate goods or money can call the Carthage Fire Relief task force at 315-493-3821.  Go to full article

Native Tribes Want to Keep Land & Casino Talks In-State

Three native tribes in New York are pressuring Governor Pataki to negotiate land claim and casino deals only with in-state tribes. Two tribes in Wisconsin are also seeking land and gaming compacts in New York. David Sommerstein has more…  Go to full article

Thousand Islands Casino to Open This Summer

Canadian gaming officials briefed community leaders from the Thousand Islands region Wednesday on the casino under construction in Gananoque, Ontario. It will add to the entertainment mix in the tourism-heavy area. David Sommerstein reports many on the U.S. side of the St. Lawrence fear the casino will bring more bad than good.  Go to full article

Stream Update

Watertown and Jefferson County officials are making preparations for Stream International's customer service center in hopes the company will decide to locate in the city. David Sommerstein has the latest...  Go to full article

Ice Sculptor Tim Linhart: Pachabel on Ice

Ice and snow sculpting are signature components of a North Country winter. The ice palace in Saranac Lake, the snow sculpting competition in St. Regis Falls make the best of the seasonal chill. As a warmer sun and longer days bid farewell to the snow, David Sommerstein brings us one last tribute to winter.

Ice sculpting is also popular in Colorado's Rocky Mountains, where David used to live. One creative sculptor crafted a quintet - three basses and two cellos - made almost entirely of ice.  Go to full article

On the Street: Vermont Town Meetings

Today people in Vermont will vote on local issues ranging from taxes to growth ordinances. Many will stick around their polling place for the annual town meeting. The town meeting is a Vermont tradition, mandated in the state constitution. Some call it democracy at its best. Others say the influx of newcomers and the fact that the meetings are held when many people are working make it an ailing institution. David Sommerstein was in Vermont last weekend. He asked Vermonters from Colchester, Winooski, South Hero, Hinesburg, and Burlington if they plan to go to town meeting and what issues they'd like discussed there.  Go to full article
Casey Ferguson stands before the ruins of her home.
Casey Ferguson stands before the ruins of her home.

Carthage Assesses the Future

Firefighters in the village of Carthage are working around the clock as the fire that destroyed most of a downtown block continues to smolder. It was the fire some people had feared for years. Still, many residents of the village of 4000 are still in shock. David Sommerstein has this report.

The Watertown office of the Red Cross is accepting donations for fire survivors. Call 315-782-4410.
 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: