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News stories tagged with "law"

Whitewater paddlers recently gained access to Ausable Chasm for the first time. (Photo: Allen Mann)
Whitewater paddlers recently gained access to Ausable Chasm for the first time. (Photo: Allen Mann)

Range war pits paddlers against property owners on North Country rivers

Over the last 20 years, sport paddlers in the Adirondacks have been pushing the limit on the kind of water their canoes, rafts, and kayaks can navigate. They've developed new techniques and new equipment that can handle more aggressive rapids and even waterfalls. And paddlers are also waging fierce legal battles to try to open more rivers, including routes that offer access to remote wilderness areas.

Some landowners are pushing back, arguing the sport is stepping on their private property rights. As Brian Mann reports, the dispute has sparked a kind of range war on some of the North Country's most beautiful rivers.  Go to full article
Gov. Paterson at the Olympic Museum in lake Placid, where he signed a new law beefing up DWI enforcement. Photo: Adirondack Daily Entperprise.
Gov. Paterson at the Olympic Museum in lake Placid, where he signed a new law beefing up DWI enforcement. Photo: Adirondack Daily Entperprise.

Paterson signs "Jack Shea" anti-DWI law

Gov. David Paterson signed a new law closing a legal loophole that prevented the driver accused of killing Olympic medalist and Lake Placid native Jack Shea from standing trial.

It authorizes certified nurse practitioners and advanced emergency medical technicians to draw blood from motorists suspected of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol--without a doctor present. Paterson says "Jack Shea's Law" simply brings the legal standard into conformity with standard medical practice.

In 2002, a driver faced charges in the crash outside Lake Placid that killed 91-year-old Shea, who won two gold medals for speedskating at the 1932 Olympics. Martha Foley has more.  Go to full article

Adirondack landowner takes case against green groups, APA to federal court

A landowner in the Adirondack town of Black Brook is suing the Adirondack Park agency in federal court. Leroy Douglas alleges the agency conspired illegally with the Adirondack Council and with other environmental activists. He's asking for tens of millions of dollars in compensation.

This suit follows years of tension between the APA and a group of landowners and local officials in Black Brook. Douglas argues the park agency has become "a tool of environmentalists and wealthy downstate interests." He filed a similar lawsuit in November in state court. Earlier this month, the Adirondack Council urged a judge to dismiss the state court case, arguing that it had been filed in "bad faith."

Speaking before this latest suit, Adirondack Council spokesman John Sheehan described Douglas's allegations as an effort to "silence" green groups in the Park. APA officials have also denied repeatedly that any illegal or improper behavior occurred.  Go to full article

Village judge in Saranac Lake censured for ?improper? activity

A village justice in Saranac Lake has been censured by the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct for what it described as "improper activity." The panel stopped short of removing the judge from office. Brian Mann has details.  Go to full article
Mary Rain, St. Lawrence County's Public Defender, shows her staff's overbooked schedules.
Mary Rain, St. Lawrence County's Public Defender, shows her staff's overbooked schedules.

Year of Hard Choices: public defenders swamped

Tonight, the St. Lawrence County legislature takes up a measure to increase the salaries of its public attorneys. The vote comes after more than half of the county's 21 lawyers have resigned in the last year. Many cited low pay and high workload for their departure. St. Lawrence may be an extreme example. But across the North Country, the recession is putting increased stress on lawyers in public defenders and district attorneys' offices. For our series, A Year of Hard Choices, David Sommerstein reports.  Go to full article

State conservation officials still at odds with key Adirondack environmental law

In the latest issue of the Adirondack Explorer magazine, our reporter Brian Mann tells the surprising story of the Adirondack Park's State Land Master Plan.

The "SLUMP," as it's known, shapes nearly every activity in the Adirondack forest preserve, from hiking and snowmobile trails to the building of roads and lean-tos.

While researching the story, Brian learned that the regulations developed in the 1960s have been a source of friction and animosity among state officials for decades - often pitting the Department of Environmental Conservation against the Adirondack Park Agency.

Brian spoke about his report with Martha Foley.  Go to full article
Salim "Sandy" Lewis (middle) and Barbara Lewis (right) talk with supporters in Elizabethtown
Salim "Sandy" Lewis (middle) and Barbara Lewis (right) talk with supporters in Elizabethtown

Essex County farmer, APA meet in NY Supreme Court

A farmer in Essex County squared off against the Adirondack Park Agency yesterday in an Elizabethtown courtroom. Sandy Lewis, who runs an 1,100-acre organic farm in the town of Essex, says the APA overstepped its authority in trying to regulate three new houses built for workers on his farm. As Brian Mann reports, the case now before the state Supreme Court has emerged as a major confrontation between farm-rights advocates and state officials.  Go to full article

Judge admonishes "boathouse" owner

A state Supreme Court judge has fined and admonished a lakefront property owner in the Adirondacks for building a "floating boathouse" without a permit. In a March 13 ruling, Judge David Demarest assessed a $200,000 fine on J. David Beneke, who owns a waterfront lot on Upper Saranac Lake, to cover legal fees incurred by the Town of Santa Clara in the case. As Chris Knight reports, Beneke's lawyer is asking the state's highest court to hear the case.  Go to full article
SLU student Adam Falcon died after a night of drinking in 2004 (Source: SLU website)
SLU student Adam Falcon died after a night of drinking in 2004 (Source: SLU website)

North Country colleges confront "gray zone" between alcohol and adulthood

Paul Smiths College has drawn criticism in recent weeks, following the alcohol-related deaths of two students in May. But academic and law enforcement officials across the region say the problem of underage drinking is complicated, with few easy answers. In the final part of our series on alcohol and campus safety, Brian Mann reports that the debate often winds up in a legal and ethical gray zone.  Go to full article
Tax protest leader Robert Schulz from Queensbury (Source:  We The People website)
Tax protest leader Robert Schulz from Queensbury (Source: We The People website)

Federal government targets North Country tax protester

The deadline for filing state and federal income taxes hits next Tuesday. It's a day that millions of Americans dread. Around the country, a small group of tax protestors claim that the collection of income taxes is illegal and violate the U.S. Constitution. One of their leaders, Robert Schulz, lives in Queensbury and runs an organization called "We the People." Critics say Schultz's arguments amount to little more than an urban myth. But according to the Federal government, thousands of people have been misled by Schultz's amateur tax advice at a cost to the treasury of more than 20 million dollars. As Brian Mann reports, the Justice Department is now suing Schultz in an effort to end what they call a "tax scam."  Go to full article

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