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News stories tagged with "franklin-county"

Group opposes "rooftop highway"

The idea of an Interstate across the North Country to connect Watertown and Plattsburgh is more than 50 years old. It's had different names: the rooftop highway, the Northern Tier Expressway, Interstate 98. But it's never faced any organized opposition, until now.

A group of residents in St. Lawrence County has formed "Yes Eleven." They argue that with a price tag of at least four billion dollars, and opposition from the state department of transportation, the rooftop highway is a pie in the sky.

John Danis is the co-coordinator of YES-Eleven. He told David Sommerstein the group's name references the notion that the rooftop highway is siphoning precious funds from existing infrastructure on the region's main existing artery--Route 11.  Go to full article

Municipal power project grinds to halt

Just months after a bid for a municipally owned power company in St. Lawrence and Franklin counties appeared to pick up real steam, the project has ground to a standstill.

The North Country Power Authority hopes to deliver electricity to 24 towns at lower rates but its board no longer has enough members to take a vote and the not-for-profit that created the Authority is pushing for the chairman's ouster. David Sommerstein reports.  Go to full article
Saranac Lake Village workers last week, working on closing one of the gates after releasing some water. Photo: Mark Kurtz
Saranac Lake Village workers last week, working on closing one of the gates after releasing some water. Photo: Mark Kurtz

Damages emerge as floodwaters stabilize

The National Weather Service downgraded its flood warning to a "watch" along the Raquette River in St. Lawrence County. But the more severe warning stands in the Champlain Valley. Tupper Lake town and village officials have lifted the state of emergency there. Saranac Lake officials say they can now draw the swollen lakes outflow down about an inch a day.

As the waters recede, communities are getting closer looks at flood damages, with the help of federal emergency management teams.

Martha Foley has more.  Go to full article
Any little savings we can get from any revenue avenue whatsoever is very important to the livelihood of the farmers.

Alcoa restart brings end to power discounts

The resumption of production at Alcoa's east smelter in Massena is a huge boost to a region that's been battered by the recession. 120 people are back on the pot lines. Alcoa's planning to invest millions of dollars in modernizing the facility.

But there's a sliver of bad news. Alcoa's share of low cost power was going to businesses and farms across the North Country. Yesterday, the New York Power Authority announced those discounts will be phased out. David Sommerstein reports.  Go to full article
It's about negotiating with the towns, with the counties; it's going to be a long, hard process but I think a worthy one.

Saranac Lake moves toward city status

Many villages and towns across the North Country are looking for ways to increase efficiency and reduce the property tax burden. In some cases that's led to discussions about sharing services, village dissolution or consolidation.

Trustees of one village in the Adirondacks took a step in a different direction last night, toward becoming a city. Chris Knight reports.  Go to full article
The whole route does not, in our mind necessitate or warrant a four lane highway. - DOT

Boosters seek to push 'rooftop highway' ahead

The concept of an Interstate connecting Watertown and Plattsburgh has been the holy grail of North Country economic developers for decades. It's been so long, the so-called "rooftop highway" can seem more legend than reality.

Supporters are fighting hard to push the project into the reality column. They're calling it by a new name - Interstate 98. And they're urging the state Department of Transportation to begin an environmental review of the project. That would mean charting a precise path for the road. And it would mean studying impacts on wetlands and forests, birds and other animals, and people's homes and properties.

But the DOT isn't on board. It doesn't think an Interstate is needed to begin with. David Sommerstein reports.  Go to full article

Mohawks, New York stalled over casino revenue payouts

The St. Regis Mohawk Tribe says it's "at an impasse" in talks with New York over sharing the revenue from the Akwesasne Mohawk Casino near Massena. The tribe says it's paid more than $50 million to the state, St. Lawrence and Franklin counties, and four north Country towns since 2005 under the Mohawks' gaming compact.

But those payments stopped last month when the tribe claimed New York violated an exclusivity clause in the compact by allowing slot machines on a little native territory in Clinton County. David Sommerstein reports.  Go to full article

Franklin County looks for more budget cuts

Across the North Country, county leaders are struggling to slash budget, hoping to avoid big property tax increases. The Plattsburgh Press Republican is reporting that Essex County is considering selling the county fairgrounds in Westport to cut costs.

In Franklin County, meanwhile, county legislators are struggling to trim a tax hike that stands currently at 22 percent. Martha Foley has more.  Go to full article

Municipal power collaboration moves ahead

Municipal power advocates in St. Lawrence and Franklin counties took a big step over the weekend. But they have a lot more work to do to create a new not-for-profit power company.

Governor Paterson signed a bill creating the North Country Power Authority on Saturday. It paves the way for 24 towns and villages in St. Lawrence and Franklin counties to buy the lines, poles, and substations from National Grid. Robert Best, president of the Alliance for Municipal Power, estimates that will cost $50 million. But he told David Sommerstein municipalized electricity from Gouverneur to Fort Covington is far from a done deal.  Go to full article

Community college modernization stalled

Essex and Franklin counties are balking at fronting the money for a $65 million project to modernize and renovate the Saranac Lake campus of North Country Community College.

NCCC President Carol Brown told county lawmakers this week that the 40-year-old campus is long overdue for a renovation. But they're are skeptical about the cost of the project, and whether they can count on reimbursement promised by New York State. Martha Foley has more.  Go to full article

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