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News stories tagged with "hardchoices"

Sen. Little on Adirondack land purchases: ?when is enough enough??

This week, North Country Public Radio has been looking at the changing economics of big land purchases, in the Adirondacks, Vermont and across the Northeast. Land prices are down, making big parcels more affordable. But state budgets and private donations are down, too, meaning there are fewer dollars to spend on land conservation. State Senator Betty Little, from Queensbury, says it's time to re-evaluate whether more land purchases make sense, given New York state's massive budget shortfalls. Little is lobbying for additional parcels of the Finch, Pruyn land to be sold to logging companies - with conservation easements - rather than added to the Adirondack forest preserve. She spoke with Jonathan Brown.  Go to full article

Land conservation leader calls economic climate ?close to ruinous? for green groups

This week North Country Public Radio has been looking at the changing battle over land conservation. In northern New York and Vermont the amount of private and taxpayer dollars available for protecting open space has been cut dramatically by the sour economy.

This morning, we'll hear from one of the people on the front lines of the debate. Kim Elliman heads the Open Space Institute, an organization that helps to finance land conservation projects from Georgia to Maine.

OSI - as its known - has helped fund some of the biggest land deals in the Adirondacks: the Finch, Pruyn land deal, and the purchase of the Tahawus tract in the southern High Peaks in 2003. Elliman tells Martha Foley the economic model for protecting forests and farms has changed dramatically.

(Tomorrow, we'll hear from state Senator Betty Little, who opposes expanding the Adirondack forest preserve. She says the changing economy means that land conservation groups should shift their agenda.)  Go to full article
Dawn and Andy Flynn are expanding their "Meet the Town" business
Dawn and Andy Flynn are expanding their "Meet the Town" business

A Year of Hard Choices: Is this the perfect time to open a new business?

This morning we continue our series "A Year of Hard Choices." Last year, the North Country lost more than 1700 jobs, according to the New York Department of Labor. The national headlines these days are full of lay-offs, bankruptcies and government bail-outs. But down in the trenches of America's struggling economy, thousands of entrepreneurs are opening new businesses, rolling out new products and even hiring new workers. Brian Mann has our profile of four people in this region who decided to take the plunge.  Go to full article

Floor tax forces hard choices on restaurants

In our series, A Year of Hard Choices, we've been reporting on the current economic downturn and how it's affecting the choices people in the North Country are making. With household budgets under pressure, these are already tough times for restaurants. Rick Davidson is co-owner of Davidson Brothers Brew Pub and Restaurant in Glens Falls. He says new fees and taxes meant to close government budget gaps are making things tighter. New York increased its excise tax on beer and wine--not much, he says, but it all adds up for businesses like his.

North Country Assemblywoman Addie Russell is circulating a petition to repeal the "floor tax." Russell says petitions are going out to local restaurants, breweries, wineries and liquor stores. There's also a digital version on the assemblywoman's web site.

Davidson tells Jonathan Brown that since May 1, restaurants, wineries, liquor stores and distributors are all paying 11 cents more for each gallon of wine, and three cents more for each gallon of beer they sell.  Go to full article
Proposed Massena Community Center. Source: Salvation Army
Proposed Massena Community Center. Source: Salvation Army

Massena abandons Kroc center plans

Another blow for the reeling community of Massena. After years of work and planning, the village is giving up on its bid to build a $25-million community center. Massena was the only town in Upstate New York to win a highly competitive Kroc grant to build the facility. But the community couldn't raise enough money to fulfill the grant requirements. Massena town supervisor Gary Edwards says the community is shocked and disappointed. Massena has been devastated by job losses, with about 1000 layoffs this year, including the permanent closure of the General Motors plant and the temporary shutdown of an Alcoa smelter. Massena had to raise $2.4 million in operating expenses for the Ray and Joan Kroc foundation to give $23 million for the construction and endowment for a state-of-the-art community center. Major Donald Lance is the regional division commander for the Salvation Army, which was leading the campaign and would have run the center. He told David Sommerstein after three years of fundraising, the campaign had only raised a third of its goal.  Go to full article

A Year of Hard Choices: Tough times at the animal shelter

To many of us our pets are part of the family. Now with the recession some families are having to split up. As a part of our series, A Year of Hard Choices, our intern Sarah Minor looked into the effects of the recession on the Potsdam Humane Society. Here's today's Heard Up North.  Go to full article

Hospital CEO says health care reform must include fundamental change

President Barack Obama meets today with business executives to talk to them about the high price of health care. In a meeting at the White House yesterday, representatives of hospitals, insurance companies, drug makers and doctors promised to cut $2 trillion in costs over 10 years by improving coordination, focusing on efficiency and embracing better technology and regulatory reform. Obama calls their pledge a watershed event in a long and elusive quest for health care reform. Many lawmakers are skeptical. And the President acknowledges the step will be meaningful only if it is part of a larger and successful effort toward universal health care coverage for Americans. Martha Foley spoke with David Acker, CEO of Canton-Potsdam Hospital, about how the federal health care reform discussion plays out in rural northern New York.  Go to full article

Dairy farmers hang on in lean times

Two year ago, the North Country was one of the most profitable regions in the country to milk cows. A new report in Farm Futures magazine ranks Jefferson, Lewis, and St. Lawrence counties in the top 20% of places to farm in 2007. Times have changed. The price farmers are paid for their milk has tumbled to half what it was last year. Like many people struggling in this economy, the boom-to-bust has put enormous stress on the region's dairy farmers. But few farms are selling out, says Molly Ames. She's a farm business management educator for Cornell Cooperative Extension of Jefferson County. She told David Sommerstein it's not a sellers' market, so farmers are doing what they can to hang on.  Go to full article

For one non-profit exec, a year of hard (and scary) choices

Non-profits make up one of the biggest chunks of the North Country economy, providing jobs and services to thousands of people. But NGOs have been slammed by the deepening recession, as foundations and governments closed the tap on grants and other funding. Today as part of our Year of Hard Choices series, Brian Mann talks with Michael Washburn. Washburn has led the Residents Committee to Protect the Adirondacks for the last year. But he's engineered a merger of the RCPA with another green group and plans to leave the organization by the end of the summer.  Go to full article

Hard Choices: As lay-offs mount, government jobs could be next

The North Country relies on government jobs, from state prisons to local schools, for much of its vitality. In many towns, those public-sector workers and their paychecks anchor the entire economy. But state tax revenues are plummeting. Despite the Federal stimulus, many state and local agencies are already laying off workers or implementing hiring freezes. As part of our series A Year of Hard Choices, Brian Mann checked in with the region's lawmakers in Albany. They say the pressures on the region's economy are building fast.  Go to full article

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