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News stories tagged with "public-health"

New health study gives high (and low) marks to North Country counties

A new study released this morning aims to rank New York's counties by the health of their residents. The report, compiled by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, also looks at local factors like air quality and the availability of fresh fruits and vegetables that can help people get healthier. The study gives high marks to some North Country counties - including Essex, Hamilton and Warren. But Franklin and St. Lawrence Counties don't fare so well. Brian Mann has our story.  Go to full article

Paterson wades into tobacco tax controversy

Facing a more than $7 billion deficit, Governor Paterson is plumbing even long-shot revenue sources to make up the spending gap - things like the so-called "obesity tax" on soft drinks. Another is collecting tobacco taxes from the state's Indian Nations. Initial reaction from tribal chiefs suggests Albany shouldn't expect the money anytime soon. As David Sommerstein reports, Paterson has been reluctant to tread where past Governors have failed.  Go to full article
Tom Slater inside the Food Bank of CNY's warehouse.
Tom Slater inside the Food Bank of CNY's warehouse.

Story 2.0: In prolonged time of need, food bank still provides

As the unemployment rate in much of the North Country remains just under 10%, more families are struggling to put food on the table. Thousands of people live with food insecurity - that means at some point, they don't know where their next meal will come from. Demand at the region's food pantries and kitchens is up. But the Food Bank of Central NY says it's been planning for this kind of crisis for years, and it's still ready and able to fill the demand. Todd Moe and David Sommerstein revisit a story from 2008.  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
Larry Lago (left) and friends burn a wood shed outside Copenhagen.
Larry Lago (left) and friends burn a wood shed outside Copenhagen.

Burn ban has fans and critics

A rural tradition is now a thing of the past, or at least, so says the law. Two weeks ago, New York outlawed burn barrels and many other types of open burning. You can still burn brush and small tree limbs and have small campfires. The question is will people obey the new burn ban? David Sommerstein surveyed some residents and has our story.  Go to full article

Enviros & health advocates praise burn ban

New York's ban on open burning took effect yesterday. With the exception of small brush and campfires, it's now illegal to burn trash, papers, plastics and even leaves anywhere in the state. The new law's provoked applause and outrage in places like the North Country, where backyard burn barrels have been a sign of everyday rural life. Supporters of the ban celebrated yesterday. And a project is ramping up to help farmers recycle the agricultural plastics many used to burn. David Sommerstein reports.  Go to full article
St. Lawrence County's awareness campaign logo
St. Lawrence County's awareness campaign logo

Burn barrels become illegal this fall

The burn barrel is one of those ubiquitous - and smelly - symbols of country living in New York State. In most towns with fewer than 20,000 people, you can burn pretty much what you want. Beginning this fall, that will no longer be the case. Burn barrels and other forms of garbage burning will be made illegal statewide. That's welcome news to St. Lawrence County planner Jon Montan. He organized the county's burn barrel awareness campaign a few years ago. His efforts were mentioned in the state's rationale for passing a burn ban. Montan told David Sommerstein awareness of the public health dangers of burn barrels began in the early 1990s, when St. Lawrence County was gripped in a debate over whether to build a big trash incinerator.  Go to full article

Get into GEAR adventure race

Tomorrow is the deadline to enter the St. Lawrence County Health Initiative's 3rd annual adventure race. It's a benefit for the not-for-profit. It'll be held on September 26. The Health Initiative's Carol Zimmerman told David Sommerstein the race is a triathalon for the whole family.  Go to full article
Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava, of Gouverneur.
Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava, of Gouverneur.

Scozzafava wants to bring bipartisanship to Washington

Congressman John McHugh won't be confirmed as Secretary of the Army until September at the earliest. But that hasn't stopped his hopeful successors from campaigning already. Republican candidate Dede Scozzafava had to put her campaign on hold earlier this month when her father underwent emergency bypass surgery. But he's home recovering now, and Scozzafava is back on the campaign trail. Last weekend, she hit a museum in southern St. Lawrence County, a parade in Oneida County, and a clam bake in Jefferson County. This week, she'll make appearances in Hamilton, Madison, and Oswego counties. Scozzafava is well-known in the western part of the 23rd district. But in the Adirondacks and the Champlain Valley, she lacks the name recognition of her Democratic challenger, Bill Owens. And she's facing a challenge from the right by Conservative party candidate Douglas Hoffman. Scozzafava spoke with David Sommerstein yesterday from her hometown of Gouverneur. She said many of the people she's meeting just want to get to know her.  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

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