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The house in Hermon where Stephen Howells II and Nicole Vaisey live. Photo: Natasha Haverty
The house in Hermon where Stephen Howells II and Nicole Vaisey live. Photo: Natasha Haverty

DA: "potential of other victims" of accused kidnappers

Investigators are sifting through mountains of potential evidence gathered at the St. Lawrence County home of a couple accused of kidnapping two Amish girls from their roadside vegetable stand last week.

Stephen Howells II and Nicole Vaisey, of Hermon, are in county jail on charges of first-degree degree kidnapping.  Go to full article
Photo: Natasha Haverty
Photo: Natasha Haverty

Local residents respond to Amish girls kidnapping

It's been six days since the two Amish girls were kidnapped from their family's roadside vegetable stand. People in this rural part of St. Lawrence County have been living crime up close. Natasha Haverty spent some time in Hermon, where the alleged kidnappers are from. Yesterday, she spoke to residents there. She joined Todd Moe this morning.  Go to full article
SUNY Potsdam anthropology professor Karen Johnson-Weiner
SUNY Potsdam anthropology professor Karen Johnson-Weiner

Amish cope with tragedy and its "Big Media" aftermath

As the legal side of the kidnapping case kicks into gear, the St. Lawrence County Amish community is coping with the tragic ordeal.

An expert on Amish culture and religion says their coping hinges on the Amish sense of faith "by a deep belief that whatever is happening, they are in God's hands," says Karen Johnson-Weiner, an anthropology professor at SUNY Potsdam who has written several books about the Amish. "I think that provides them with a kind of courage that some of us might not have that keeps them from giving in to the despair."  Go to full article
Stephen Howells II and Nicole Vaisey have been charged with first degree kidnapping. Photos: St. Lawrence County Sheriff
Stephen Howells II and Nicole Vaisey have been charged with first degree kidnapping. Photos: St. Lawrence County Sheriff

More charges expected against Amish girls' kidnappers

More charges are expected this week against a St. Lawrence county couple who allegedly kidnapped two Amish girls. Police gathered evidence Sunday at the Hermon, NY, home of 39 year-old Stephen Howells II and 25 year-old Nicole Vaisey. Hermon is about a dozen miles south of Canton.

Howells and Vaisey were arrested Friday night following a massive search and investigation. They are charged with 1st degree kidnapping with intent to harm the two Amish girls, ages 6 and 12. They're in St. Lawrence County jail without bail.

The abduction happened Wednesday evening when the girls came out to attend to their family's roadside vegetable stand. The girls were set free about 24 hours later. But the prosecutor in the case says that was not before they were sexually assaulted.  Go to full article
Massena Memorial Hospital. Photo: p4hinc.com
Massena Memorial Hospital. Photo: p4hinc.com

Massena hospital explores partnership with Canton-Potsdam

Massena's financially troubled hospital is reaching out to Canton-Potsdam hospital for help. Massena Memorial Hospital is a not-for-profit facility owned by the town of Massena.

Massena Town supervisor Joseph Gray says he's met twice with Canton-Potsdam hospital officials and those of its parent company, St. Lawrence Health Systems.  Go to full article
Trail Map. <a href="http://www.indiancreeknaturecenter.us/sites/default/files/trailmap.jpg">View full size map</a>. Map: Indian Creek Nature Center.
Trail Map. View full size map. Map: Indian Creek Nature Center.

A wetland maze in a birder's heaven

The end of August is a special chance to take full advantage of a birder's paradise just a few minutes from Canton. You name it: mergansers, black terns, bitterns, even loons and bald eagles, all make the Upper and Lower Lakes Wildlife Management Area their summer home.

The area is off-limits to people most of the year, so the birds and plant life can thrive undisturbed. But the refuge opens to the public for two weeks each summer, this year starting Saturday, through August 29.

From a canoe, a labyrinth of shifting cattails leads to the open water of Indian Creek, which links the Grasse and Oswagatchie Rivers. David Sommerstein took a tour with a wildlife expert and sent this audio postcard. This story first aired in 2007.  Go to full article
Photo:  St. Lawrence International Film Festival website
Photo: St. Lawrence International Film Festival website

LA filmmaker plans international film festival for Canton

A filmmaker from Los Angeles, with family ties to the North Country, is launching an international film festival in St. Lawrence County. Adam Paul grew up in Schenectady and his wife was raised in Lisbon. They're planning to move to the North Country in the next few years.

Paul is an actor, director and producer in Hollywood. He recently spoke with Todd Moe about bringing new films and filmmakers to the Canton area, starting in the fall of 2015, and how the festival could boost the local economy. Paul says Canton's proximity to Ottawa, Montreal, Burlington and four colleges makes it ideal to host an international film festival.  Go to full article
St. Lawrence county District Attorney Mary Rain. File photo: David Sommerstein.
St. Lawrence county District Attorney Mary Rain. File photo: David Sommerstein.

St. Lawrence county DA can resume probe

A state judge has ruled St. Lawrence County District Attorney Mary Rain can resume her probe into use of county money. County officials had been seeking a special prosecutor to take over the investigation.  Go to full article
Smoke from an poorly controlled outdoor wood furnace. Photo: NYS DEC
Smoke from an poorly controlled outdoor wood furnace. Photo: NYS DEC

NY wants to help you buy a high efficiency wood furnace

Winter's still somewhat far off. But North Country residents who burn wood to heat their homes are already stacking cords for seasoning.

According to state figures, 3 percent of New Yorkers use wood as a primary source of heat, but that number jumps in the rural North Country. Fourteen percent of homes in St. Lawrence County use wood, 11 percent in Clinton County and 8 percent in Jefferson County.

Those numbers are higher than they used to be as more people have turned to wood as a renewable resource and to save money.

But older wood stoves and furnaces, even more recent outdoor wood boilers that have become very popular, are major sources of pollution, including tiny particles that are bad for the environment and people's lungs.  Go to full article

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