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News stories tagged with "hardchoices"

Hard Choices: foundation focuses on "basic needs"

Our "A Year of Hard Choices" series continue today. Over the next several months, we'll track the effects of the recession though people and organizations in this region, and the choices they make in response. Charitable foundations are an important part of the fabric of local life. They fill in the gaps between tax-supported, public services, and the broader needs of a community's people and organizations. Martha Foley talked with Alex Velto, the long-time executive director of the Northern New York Community Foundation, about how it's adjusted to the new economic realities.  Go to full article

Planning giving in rural communities

Martha Foley talks with Jeff Yost, president and CEO of the Nebraska Community Foundation. He's in Canton today to speak to St. Lawrence County community leaders as keynote for the North Country Symposium.  Go to full article
Ken and Katrina Hebb, owners of the Blackbird Cafe
Ken and Katrina Hebb, owners of the Blackbird Cafe

A Year of Hard Choices: Bucking the trend, a business built to last

On Monday, SUNY Potsdam economics professor Greg Gardner described a theory of development that he believes may be a good fit for the North Country in today's economy. Instead of trying to hook that big fish to create hundreds of jobs at once, Gardner says make your community attractive to young entrepreneurs. "Having educated creative people who then want to live in your community because it's a nice place to live," Gardner says, "and if they can't find a job, they'll just make one." For today's installment of A Year of Hard Choices, we meet a Canton couple who fit this profile to a "T". Ken and Katrina Hebb own the Blackbird Café on the main corner in the village. They say despite the recession, their business is thriving. David Sommerstein has their story.  Go to full article

A Year of Hard Choices: Keeping a small business going in the Adirondacks

Mark Bergman is a realtor with his own agency in North Creek. As part of our series A Year of Hard Choices, he gives us a perspective on the real estate industry and being self-employed in this economy. He sells second homes... or, as you'll hear, he's trying to. The market's all but dried up. Realty is Bergman's second career. He started out on a corporate path - working in high tech sales and product development for Xerox and Motorola. But one month after the attacks of September 11, 2001, he was laid off. And he tells Jonathan Brown that the experience left him determined to be his own boss.  Go to full article
Sandy Maine hopes to break into mass market retail with "Bug Off."
Sandy Maine hopes to break into mass market retail with "Bug Off."

A Year of Hard Choices: SunFeather Soap - tough times, hope for the future

In our Year of Hard Choices series today, we go to a mainstay of the North Country's homegrown business community. You find the SunFeather Soap Company in a tidy, low building on the old state road outside Parishville, in St. Lawrence County. Martha Foley went for a tour, and got a lesson in small business 101.  Go to full article

A Year of Hard Choices: Graduating into a receding industry

It's hard for anyone to find a job in today's economy. Recent college graduates with little real-world experience are finding it especially tough. And then there's people like Sarah Minor. Sarah graduated from Syracuse University last summer with a degree in photojournalism. She wants to get a job at a newspaper at a time when that industry is in freefall. Sarah's living with her parents outside Canton while she searches. She produced this audio diary for our series, The Year of Hard Choices.  Go to full article
In a year of hard choices, Melinda Little says she's focusing on community activism.
In a year of hard choices, Melinda Little says she's focusing on community activism.

A Year of Hard Choices: In a "scary time," a focus on community

This week we're launching our Year of Hard Choices project, talking about the national recession and its impact on our lives here in the North Country. One troubling trend that inspired the series has been the rapid pace of lay-offs in the North Country. Many of the region's biggest employers have slashed jobs or closed their doors for good. In some counties, unemployment already tops 10 percent, well above the national average. Last October, we profiled Melinda Little in Saranac Lake, who had been laid off from the American Management Association. Little has agreed to spend the next year with North Country Public Radio, talking and blogging about her experience and her choices. She sat down this week to talk with Brian Mann.  Go to full article
Sharlene and Randy Carpenter and their granddaughter, Riley.
Sharlene and Randy Carpenter and their granddaughter, Riley.

A Year of Hard Choices: Checking in with the Carpenters

Yesterday in the first installment of our Year of Hard Choices series, we heard economics professor Greg Gardner say manufacturing jobs have been the early victims of the recession in the North Country. General Motors in Massena and Covidien in Watertown are shutting down entirely. Alcoa and New York Air Brake have laid off workers. Corning halved its workforce in 2008. That means hundreds of people around the North Country can no longer rely on a steady wage. They'll spend less at stores, theaters, restaurants, and car dealerships. Their lean times trickle down to local businesses, which may then suffer layoffs of their own. Sharlene Carpenter got her pink slip from Corning in late December, just a few months after her husband, Randy, lost his job at a local pallet mill. For today's installment in our Year of Hard Choices series, we check back with Sharlene and Randy Carpenter at their home in Heuvelton. As David Sommerstein reports, their time off of work hasn't been so bad, but tough choices loom ahead.  Go to full article
Greg Gardner
Greg Gardner

A Year of Hard Choices: challenges and opportunities

Our series starts with a conversation about the state of the region--economically speaking. Greg Gardner has been a student of the North Country economy since coming to the region 15 years ago. He teaches management and business strategy at SUNY Potsdam. He and his wife live outside Watertown. Gardner says the NC economy is fairly simple--service-oriented and shaped by a relatively small population, spread over a large area. It's highly seasonal--tourism, farming. Typically, employment and spending go down in the winter, up in the summer. Lots of stable civic jobs, from education to prisons, buffer the region somewhat from highs and lows elsewhere.

Like the rest of the nation, the North Country just had about 10 years of steady economic growth. But that's quickly eroded over the last six months. Manufacturing and farming, economic engines that ship exports out and bring fresh cash in, have been hit hard. Demand for their products has dropped, and financing for their operations has dried up.

Meanwhile, state spending tapered off dramatically in some areas. Using employment as a gauge, Gardner said the NC economy right now looks about the way it did in the early '90s, with unemployment ranging from 9 to 11%, expecting that to moderate in the summer. Now, Gardner says, the downturn is touching more and more people.  Go to full article

Lowville, pt.2: inside the safety net

This week, we're viewing the recession through the lens of one North Country community: the village of Lowville in Lewis County. Yesterday we heard from Main Street merchants struggling to make a living. Climb the hill from Main Street, up the Tug Hill Plateau, toward the East's largest wind farm, and you reach Lewis County's social services building. Inside, caseworkers are flooded with new clients. Heating assistance and food stamp applications are up 40%. As David Sommerstein reports, those who hold the safety net want even more people to use it.  Go to full article

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