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Senator Little won approval for a series of measures, but still wants a deal that would keep Lake Placid's hospital open part-time. Photo: Mark Kurtz
Senator Little won approval for a series of measures, but still wants a deal that would keep Lake Placid's hospital open part-time. Photo: Mark Kurtz

Little still fighting for part-time ER in Lake Placid

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With just over 24 hours to go before the session closes in Albany, state Senator Betty Little from Queensbury has pushed through a series of bills affecting the Adirondack North Country.

Yesterday, the Assembly approved two land swaps in the Park -- measures that will still need voter approval when they appear on the ballot this November.

Lawmakers also supported a measure banning the importation of Eurasian swine -- the kind of pig that can go feral if released into the wild.

Little told Brian Mann she still hopes to win approval of a bill that would allow Lake Placid's hospital emergency room to remain open part time.

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Reported by

Brian Mann
Adirondack Bureau Chief

Brian Mann: The state assembly approved two land swaps. So let's talk first about the one involving township 40 and Raquette Lake. Do you think we have a chance here to sort out this land dispute that’s been underway there for more than a century?

Sen. Betty Little: I think we do. I think we have a good resolution to it. It’s been worked on. It has the support of some of the environmental groups—the Adirondack Council. It’s been such an ongoing thing for those property owners. The land, you know, is not one chunk of land. It is parcels of land, very patchwork like. It includes the fire department, it includes the school house, peoples’ homes. We are far better off to exchange that for a larger tract of recreational land. It’s really a milestone to have gotten these bills to this point.

BPM: The NYCO Minerals deal in Essex County in Willsboro and Lewis will go on the ballot too, assuming everything goes through properly here. How important was that to you this session, getting that land swap arranged.

BL: We’re talking about a company who has been there for a long time, providing jobs. They believe on this 200 acres of adjacent land they will find that vein, and enough of it to make it worthwhile in mining. In so doing, if that happens, and just for the ability to test that land, they will pay at least $1 million for new land that will be added to the forest preserve, land that has a really higher value of recreational opportunities for people.

BPM: You introduced a measure that would make it illegal, with a sizeable fine, for people to bring Eurasian pigs and other non-native swine into New York State. We’ve had one outbreak of these getting loose around Peru, in Clinton County. Why did you think this was an important one to bring to the legislature?

BL: The feral pigs that were wild in the Peru Area did a lot of damage and it was expensive for the DEC to corral them. They multiply rather quickly, and when they have a litter they have multiple numbers of litter. Not only do they do a lot of damage, but they actually carry diseases. I did go to a meeting that was put on by the forest owners that was in Crandall Library this past winter. I thought I would see five or six people; there were about 80. What we’re trying to do is get control before the number of feral pigs in New York State grows to an uncontrollable number.

BPM: Senator, finally, very quickly—we’re down to the wire with this legislative session. Any other issues that you are really watching closely to see if they will make it through in these final days?

BL: I am really working hard to see that we get this part-time emergency room for Lake Placid. Apparently in other states, they will allow them to have a free-standing emergency room open at least12 hours a day, every day of the year. New York hasn’t done that. So we proposed a bill. Senator Hannon, who is chairman of the health committee, sponsors it with me. We’ve so much activity in Lake Placid; you can’t be an Olympic center and not have emergency services here, and the hospital is committed to doing this if we get the legislation passed.

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