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News stories tagged with "disaster"

The North Country's traditional above-ground electrical grid is vulnerable in winter weather. Photo: Joanna Richards
The North Country's traditional above-ground electrical grid is vulnerable in winter weather. Photo: Joanna Richards

How to keep the power on during a weather disaster?

New York is partnering with Clarkson University, National Grid, General Electric, SUNY Potsdam and other local businesses to design what's called a "resilient microgrid" for the Village of Potsdam.

The region is particularly susceptible to power outages during winter storms and flooding. The new grid would provide electricity to essential services, including the two colleges, Canton-Potsdam Hospital and National Grid's Potsdam Service Center.

Tom Ortmeyer is professor of electrical and computer engineering at Clarkson, and is one of the researchers that will lead the Clarkson team.

Martha Foley reached him at the annual meeting of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, in Maryland. He said the problem of supporting local services during disasters was high on the conference's agenda, especially the idea of "resiliency."  Go to full article
Monique Cornett has been on assignment in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, over the last week.  Photo:  Brian Mann
Monique Cornett has been on assignment in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, over the last week. Photo: Brian Mann

NCPR intern finds memory and grief just outside Lac-Megantic disaster zone

Our Adirondack bureau chief Brian Mann has been reporting in Lac-Mégantic Quebec over the last week on the one-year anniversary of that town's terrible train derailment that left 47 people dead.

Joining him on this trip has been Monique Cornett, one of NCPR's interns, part of our effort to bring new, young journalists into public broadcasting.

Cornett, from Potsdam, is a 21-year-old student at Oswego and is spending the summer working with NCPR.

While on assignment with Brian, she found a new shop on the town's main street that's helping the community remember and celebrate what was lost in last July's disaster.  Go to full article
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

Railway Exec speaks about Lac-Megantic disaster

The chairman of the American railway at the center of the deadly disaster in Quebec is speaking out about his company's struggles.

The Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway faces a barrage of investigations and lawsuits, following the explosion last month that authorities say left 47 people dead. One of the railroad's industrial trains rolled free, derailed and exploded in the heart of Lac-Megantic.

Ed Burkhardt, who lives in Chicago, is the chairman of the Montreal, Maine and Atlantic. He spoke in-depth with Brian Mann last week. Burkhardt spoke first about the fact that his company has so far failed to pay for expensive clean-up effort in the village.  Go to full article
The "red zone" in downtown Lac-Megantic, Quebec. NCPR File Photo: Brian Mann
The "red zone" in downtown Lac-Megantic, Quebec. NCPR File Photo: Brian Mann

Clean-up, controversy follow Lac-Megantic disaster

The criminal investigation continues in eastern Canada, three weeks after a train disaster that police now say killed 47 people.

An unmanned train full of oil rolled free, derailed and then exploded in the heart of Lac-Megantic, a small rural town about three hours east of Montreal.

Civil lawsuits are already being filed here in the US - and there's a fight brewing over who will pay for the massive cleanup.  Go to full article
Emergency service crews at work in the blast and fire zone of Lac-Mégantic. Photo: Sureté du Québec
Emergency service crews at work in the blast and fire zone of Lac-Mégantic. Photo: Sureté du Québec

On the scene of Lac-Megantic's tragic train wreck

All 50 people still missing after the explosive train wreck in Lac-Megantic, Quebec Saturday are now presumed dead. The Associated Press reports the CEO of the parent company that operates the train plans to meet with residents and the town's mayor today. He faced jeers when he visited the town yesterday.

NCPR's Brian Mann is in Lac-Megantic reporting for this station and NPR. He spoke Martha Foley this morning.  Go to full article
State Rt. 73, the highway from Keene Valley to the Northway, the week after flash floods of Tropical Strom Irene. (Photo: Brian Mann)
State Rt. 73, the highway from Keene Valley to the Northway, the week after flash floods of Tropical Strom Irene. (Photo: Brian Mann)

FEMA working with state, local government on repair costs

FEMA has already paid out more than $150 million to New Yorkers who were affected by tropical storms Irene and Lee. And more financial help is on the way for state and local governments.  Go to full article
A flooded home in Colton, May, 2011
A flooded home in Colton, May, 2011

Even with Colton damage, St. Lawrence County says it's not a disaster area

Just last week, the Federal Government declared 21 New York Counties federal disaster areas, after this spring's flooding. But St. Lawrence county was NOT one of those counties.

Turns out St. Lawrence County wasn't passed over--it hasn't yet applied for aid. County officials aren't confident there's been $336,000 in public infrastructure damage--that's the amount required to qualify for the aid.

Colton has been the most heavily affected community in the county, but most of that damage--about $800,000 in all--was to private homes. Nora Flaherty spoke with Colton Town Supervisor Lawrence Patzwald about where things stand now:  Go to full article

North Country woman remembers better days of Haiti's past

There are still only estimates of the death toll from Tuesday's earthquake in Haiti. Authorities say it could reach 50,000 people. Meanwhile, survivors are coping with continuing aftershocks as they wait for help.

Emergency aid workers in Haiti say tempers are growing short and more security is needed. There are reports of looting in Haiti's capital. The U.N. World Food Program says it doesn't yet know how much is missing from its pre-earthquake stockpile of 15,000 tons of food.

Dylia Claydon is watching closely from her home in West Stockholm, near Potsdam. She grew up in Haiti, the daughter Christian Lanoue, who, she says, was prime minister in the late 1930s and early 1940s. Claydon is now 82. Her family fled the country in 1958, after Francois "Papa Doc" Duvalier rose to power.
She told Jonathan Brown she has family on the island.  Go to full article
Photographer Nevada Wier in the field.
Photographer Nevada Wier in the field.

People-to-people aid to Myanmar

By the Myanmar junta's own count, at least 134,000 people are dead or missing after a cyclone three weeks ago. The U.N. says up to 2.5 million survivors are hungry and homeless and there are worries about disease outbreaks. The ruling generals have restricted visas for foreign aid workers and barred foreigners in the country from visiting affected areas. Still, there are non-governmental efforts, the Red Cross and Red Crescent, other NGOs...and those of individual people. North Creek residents Woody and Elise Widlund found one of the smallest and most personal aid pipelines. In five trips to Myanmar with Nevada Wier, a photographer who specializes in taking pictures of indigenous people living in traditional ways, they've visited villages that had not seen westerners in 20 to 30 years. They've made friends, including Phyo, who's now out on the Irrawaddy delta, delivering supplies bought in part by an e-mail network of people like the Widlunds in North Creek. Martha Foley spoke with Woody Widlund yesterday. He said the key link in the chain is Nevada Weir, who forwarded news from Phyo a couple days ago.
(Nevada Wier, PO Box 8032, Santa Fe, NM 87504.)  Go to full article

Eyewitness: Trapped by the Floods

Governor Pataki says property damage from this week's deadly flooding is likely to total about 100 million dollars. Forecasters say more flooding could be coming tomorrow. They say runoff from today's torrential rain could drive water levels across the state even higher. Today's flooding killed at least three people in upstate New York, closed a 50-mile stretch of the Thruway and caused mass evacuations. Gregory Warner spoke with two Mohawk Valley residents - Sarah Ackroyd of Fort Plain and Jim Garrison of Nelliston.  Go to full article

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