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News stories tagged with "patchworknation"

Year of Hard Choices: Classes and hope at career centers, but few jobs

Over the last year, the NCPR news team has been reporting on the impacts of the so-called Great Recession in our series, A Year of Hard Choices. What we didn't necessarily consider is that the year after the recession could be even tougher for many people. Unemployment remains around 10% throughout much of the North Country. The manufacturing sector has been hit hard with massive job losses, from General Motors and Corning in St. Lawrence County, to Pfizer in Clinton County, to New York Air Brake and Covidien in Watertown.

During 2010, those workers' jobless benefits will begin to run out. And they will join an already overcrowded market of job seekers. The situation is making for stressful times at the state-run career centers across the region. At the One Stop Career Center in Canton, the unemployed are trying to stay busy and keep their hopes up. David Sommerstein reports.

CORRECTION: The correct title of the employment center is "One Stop Career Center".  Go to full article
Randy and Sharlene Carpenter, with their son.
Randy and Sharlene Carpenter, with their son.

Year of Hard Choices: A job search, delayed

At the beginning of this year, we began a series called A Year of Hard Choices, looking at the challenges posed by economic losses and budget deficits. You can review all of our coverage on our website, ncpr.org. One of those stories introduced us to the Carpenters. Sharlene and Randy are both in their late 40s. They live in Heuvelton. Sharlene lost her job three days before Christmas last year. She made high tech glass lenses at the Corning plant in Canton. She was collecting unemployment. Her husband, Randy, had been laid off from a pallet mill three months earlier. Randy was looking for work at Fort Drum. Recently, David Sommerstein visited the Carpenters again to see how 2009 treated them, and what next year may have in store.  Go to full article

Disabilities advocates fear funding cuts

Governor Paterson's deficit reduction plan is facing opposition from many groups who rely on government funding. People with disabilities have been keeping a vigil in Albany since last week to protest proposed cuts. St. Lawrence County NYSARC didn't send anyone to Albany to join in because they couldn't afford it, says Daphne Pickert, the group's executive director. NYSARC provides services to 650 people with disabilities and employs almost 600 people in St. Lawrence County alone. Pickert told David Sommerstein the 10% proposed cuts would leave her with no choice but to cut programs and jobs.  Go to full article

A safety net to catch the middle class

Every fall, low-income families across the North Country face a painful question: do I have enough money to pay the heating bills this winter? Fuel prices are almost half what they were last fall. Still, thousands of people will rely on government help to stay warm. A group of St. Lawrence County agencies and energy experts meet each year to develop a strategy for helping people pay their heating bills. At yesterday's meeting in Canton, there was concern about a surprising new at-risk population, middle class people who lost their jobs. David Sommerstein reports.  Go to full article
"Miss E-Z Squeezy" gives kids a chance to "milk" a cow.  Photos by Andrea Ferro.
"Miss E-Z Squeezy" gives kids a chance to "milk" a cow. Photos by Andrea Ferro.

Farmers stay positive on Farm Day

North Country dairy farmers have been battered by this summer's low milk prices. The hundredweight price has remained well below the cost of production. In St. Lawrence County on Saturday, though, a bit of sun and big crowds pushed away the bad news for the 4th Annual Farm Day. It's a chance for the public to tour a working dairy farm, this year at the 175-cow Gendebien farm in Lisbon. It's also an opportunity to farmers to show their best face in hard times. David Sommerstein attended and sent this audio montage.  Go to full article

Story 2.0: A family farm stays true to its mission

Today we give you another installment in our "Story 2.0" series, where we revisit a story from the NCPR news archives. This time, we check in with Ray and Stephanie Hill and their small dairy farm in West Potsdam. Here's an excerpt from a May 2008 story by reporter Kinna Ohmann.  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
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

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