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A prototype drone from Propulsive Wing in Elbridge, N.Y. Photo: Ryan Delaney/WRVO
A prototype drone from Propulsive Wing in Elbridge, N.Y. Photo: Ryan Delaney/WRVO

Rome, NY to be federal drone testing site

Upstate New York has won a coveted test site designation for unmanned aerial systems - or drones - from the Federal Aviation Administration as part of that agency's work toward developing regulations for drones' integration into U.S. skies.

But for many in upstate New York, the designation is more about the jobs and dollars that surround the booming drone industry, estimated to be worth $100 billion globally over the next decade. Industry trade groups predict the business will generated 70,000 jobs nationwide.  Go to full article
Politicians and economic development leaders join Governor Cuomo on stage in Albany. The North Country is the only region to win extra dollars each year of the program.  (Photo: State of NY)
Politicians and economic development leaders join Governor Cuomo on stage in Albany. The North Country is the only region to win extra dollars each year of the program. (Photo: State of NY)

Is Cuomo's Regional Council really boosting North Country jobs?

Over the last three years, the Regional Economic Development Council created by Governor Andrew Cuomo has funneled more than $270 million to the North Country.

The North Country Council has moved the center of the debate over the region's economic future.

From job-creation to attracting new investment, to planning for major transportation and tourism projects, the volunteers who run the program have emerged as key players, with direct access to Governor Andrew Cuomo and other state officials.

Support for the Council system has been growing steadily. But big questions remain about how effective it has been in sparking new jobs and new private sector growth.  Go to full article
Governor Andrew Cuomo speaks to a packed house at the Downhill Grill on Sunday (Photo:  Mark Kurtz)
Governor Andrew Cuomo speaks to a packed house at the Downhill Grill on Sunday (Photo: Mark Kurtz)

Cuomo gets "Santa" welcome in Saranac Lake

Hundreds of people turned out for a packed celebration in Saranac Lake on Sunday as Governor Andrew Cuomo visited to talk about the North Country's win in the Regional Economic Development Council competition.

Cuomo was received with repeated ovations. He praised the North Country for being the only region to have won extra funding through the REDC program three years in a row.  Go to full article
Saranac Lake village officials shined spotlights into the night sky Wednesday, following the announcement of major funding for two local hotel projects.  (Photo:  Mark Kurtz)
Saranac Lake village officials shined spotlights into the night sky Wednesday, following the announcement of major funding for two local hotel projects. (Photo: Mark Kurtz)

Adirondack Park celebrates state funding

The Adirondack Park is divided between three different regional economic development councils -- and yesterday in Albany all three of those groups received extra grant funding from state officials.  Go to full article
Chris LaBarge describes an architectural rendering of his proposed 90-room hotel on Lake Flower at Wednesday night's Saranac Lake planning board meeting. Photo: Chris Knight, courtesy <em>Adirondack Daily Enterprise</em>
Chris LaBarge describes an architectural rendering of his proposed 90-room hotel on Lake Flower at Wednesday night's Saranac Lake planning board meeting. Photo: Chris Knight, courtesy Adirondack Daily Enterprise

Regional Council funding hopes high in Saranac Lake

At 10:30 this morning, Governor Andrew Cuomo will announce the winners of this year's Regional Economic Development Council process.

The North Country's Council has established sixteen projects here in our region as priorities to receive state funding. They range from a plan to upgrade Plattsburgh's booming airport to a proposal to improve the port in Ogdensburg on the St. Lawrence River.

But the big anticipation this year is in Saranac Lake, where two hotel projects are in the works. Brian Mann, our Adirondack bureau chief, joined Martha Foley on the line for a preview.  Go to full article
Milk Not Jails' Lauren Melodia and her team want to convince New York to invest in farms, not prisons. Photo: David Sommerstein
Milk Not Jails' Lauren Melodia and her team want to convince New York to invest in farms, not prisons. Photo: David Sommerstein

What could replace the North Country's prison industry?

This week, our Prison Time Media Project is examining the North Country's vast complex of prisons. It's an industry from Cape Vincent to Chateaugay that employs thousands of people in a region with few other options.

Today we ask - what if? What if the crime rate continues to drop and the number of inmates locked up continues to fall? What if, as Governor Cuomo has advocated, New York keeps closing prisons, as it did in Lyon Mountain and Gabriels?

What's next for the North Country's prison towns?

One tiny not-for-profit from New York City has an idea. Take the money saved from shuttering prisons and spend that money on agriculture. David Sommerstein reports.  Go to full article
Community leaders meeting in Chateaugay to orchestrate fight to save the state correctional facility. Photo: Brian Mann
Community leaders meeting in Chateaugay to orchestrate fight to save the state correctional facility. Photo: Brian Mann

How prisons became the North Country's normal

This year, North Country Public Radio has been looking in-depth at New York's Rockefeller drug laws and how those laws reshaped our state over the last forty years.

This week, the series will focus on the North Country, which is home to more than a dozen state and federal prisons.

Corrections work has grown into one of the region's biggest and most controversial industries, providing thousands of high paying jobs, and anchoring the economies in towns from Malone to Moriah.

As part of our Prison Time Media Project, Brian Mann has a special report on how the North Country became a magnet for new prisons and how the industry is facing new scrutiny.  Go to full article
Non-profit leaders and government officials met last week at the Wild Center in Tupper Lake to talk about growing the region's non-profit sector. Photo: Brian Mann
Non-profit leaders and government officials met last week at the Wild Center in Tupper Lake to talk about growing the region's non-profit sector. Photo: Brian Mann

North Country non-profits struggle to grow jobs and attract dollars

This week NCPR is looking at the role that non-profit organizations are playing in the North Country's economy.

Hospitals, research labs, and universities provide some of the best jobs, bringing new investment and grant money to our small towns. But even as non-profits work to grow and attract even more economic development to the region, they face big hurdles, including the loss of government dollars.  Go to full article
The new study found that non-profits drive nearly half a billion dollars of economic activity in the North Country.
The new study found that non-profits drive nearly half a billion dollars of economic activity in the North Country.

Non-profits grow up into major North Country industry

When a lot of people in the North Country think about non-profit organizations, the image that comes to mind is the local community theater or small social-service groups or environmental activists.

But non-profits have grown into one of the region's biggest economic forces. A new study released last week found that one out of every seven jobs in the private sector in our region is provided by a not-for-profit.

Leaders of non-profits gathered last week in Tupper Lake to talk about their impact and their challenges.  Go to full article

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