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News stories tagged with "st-lawrence-county"

Michael Powers, speaking at a rally in Albany to save the Ogdensburg Correctional Facility. Photo from Powers' website, used by permission
Michael Powers, speaking at a rally in Albany to save the Ogdensburg Correctional Facility. Photo from Powers' website, used by permission

North Country corrections officer could be next to lead the union

Next month, New York will close four more of its prisons. Among them: Chateaugay Correctional Facility in Franklin County and Mt. McGregor in Saratoga County. The closures come as part of Governor Cuomo's pledge to "reduce the madness of an incarceration society." And the Department of Corrections has reported empty beds in their prisons--they estimate the recent series of closures will save taxpayers $184 million.

The loudest voices fighting to keep those prisons open are members of New York's prison guard union--NYSCOPBA--which is set to elect their next president next month. One of frontrunners in the race to head up the union hails from the North Country.  Go to full article
Some of the action at Friday night's Dairy Princess block dance. Photo: Nora Flaherty
Some of the action at Friday night's Dairy Princess block dance. Photo: Nora Flaherty

Were you at the Dairy Princess block dance? We were!

This year St. Lawrence County celebrated the 50th anniversary of its Dairy Princess tradition. Traditionally, the parade and festival are on Saturday, but by Friday noon vendors and organizations are pretty well set up, and downtown begins to orient toward the village park.

Friday night, there's a street dance, and this year a classic car show. Park Street was closed for a couple blocks between the park and the library/post office side of the street. We went. There were people everywhere: in the park, on the street, in the alleys, cruising parking lots for an empty spot.

I believe it's been 10 years that the local John Deere dealer has sponsored the street dance. That means BIG tractors, and little ones, that kids could climb into. And country music. Clusters of teenagers. Little kids running around and dancing (the evening starts with a Big Wheel race.) Clusters of teenagers. Lot of folks camped out in lawn chairs -- family groups and old friends catching up. Indeed it was an annual festival of all things dairy. Here's how it looked:  Go to full article
St. Regis Mohawk chiefs Ron LaFrance, Beverly Cook, and sub-chief Eric Thompson are hoping to build support for the land claim settlement among tribal members. Photo: David Sommerstein.
St. Regis Mohawk chiefs Ron LaFrance, Beverly Cook, and sub-chief Eric Thompson are hoping to build support for the land claim settlement among tribal members. Photo: David Sommerstein.

Mohawk chiefs: "The most important thing is our land"

Mohawks in Akwesasne are trying to absorb the terms of a deal to end their historic land claim.

Last week, tribal chiefs signed a framework agreement with New York State and St. Lawrence County. It would allow the Mohawks to buy almost 5,000 acres of land and add the parcels to the reservation. In return, the Mohawks will pay a share of their casino revenue to New York. And St. Lawrence County and the towns of Massena and Brasher will share a payment of $4 million a year.

Talks are ongoing with Franklin County, where several thousand more acres are part of the 32-year-old land claim lawsuit.

The proposed settlement is huge news in Akwesasne. And it's very controversial. David Sommerstein and Martha Foley sort out why.  Go to full article
Photo courtesy of Amy Moulton
Photo courtesy of Amy Moulton

What it takes to be Dairy Princess

This year St. Lawrence County celebrates the 50th anniversary of its dairy princess tradition--tonight in Madrid, at the annual pageant, a new princess will be crowned, and tomorrow morning she and her court will star in a parade through downtown Canton.

For the past half century, a group of judges has been selecting a wholesome young woman from the community to be the face of the local dairy industry. To become the dairy princess a girl has to be between 16 and 21 years old, and has to compete in a pageant where she is judged on her public speaking ability, her general poise, and her knowledge of dairy products.  Go to full article
Ann Barber (L) and Wanda Renick (R) share a laugh in this publicity photo from the Grasse River Players 1992 production of "Mornings at Seven" in Canton.  Photo:  Grasse River Players
Ann Barber (L) and Wanda Renick (R) share a laugh in this publicity photo from the Grasse River Players 1992 production of "Mornings at Seven" in Canton. Photo: Grasse River Players

Grasse River Players stages 40 years of community theater, friendships

It started in 1974 with a small group of theatre lovers in Canton wanting to build an outlet for creativity. This weekend, the Grasse River Players celebrates 40 years of producing a wide variety of theater, from radio plays, to musicals to original full length dramas. The community theater group's annual meeting is on Sunday (7 pm) at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Canton. Everyone is welcome.

Todd Moe sat down with two charter members of the Grasse River Players -- Wanda Renick and Carole Berard -- for their favorite local theatrical moments, and spoke with GRP board president, Elaine Kuracina, about plans for the future.  Go to full article
The first group of St. Lawrence students to travel to Kenya, in January of 1972. Furthest to right: Peter French; Anne Chene os next to him. Paul Gilbert is sixth from the right. Photo: St. Lawrence University, Special Collections and Vance University Archives
The first group of St. Lawrence students to travel to Kenya, in January of 1972. Furthest to right: Peter French; Anne Chene os next to him. Paul Gilbert is sixth from the right. Photo: St. Lawrence University, Special Collections and Vance University Archives

How a North Country college + an African country = community

This past weekend St. Lawrence University saw a record turnout for its alumni reunion. On top of the usual festivities, this year marked another big moment in St. Lawrence history: the 40th anniversary of its study abroad program in Kenya. The first group of students travelled from Canton to Nairobi in 1972, for a two-week program, but since 1974 it's been a semester-long experience. And the connection to the East African country runs even deeper--each year since the mid-'80s, St. Lawrence has been awarding two Kenyan students full scholarships to come and do their four years of college here in the North Country.

Alumni in attendance included two members of Kenya's parliament, as well as several founders and CEOs of nonprofits devoted to bettering the lives of people in Kenya.  Go to full article
The food council and people who addressed it hope to draw more consumers to places like the pavilion at the Watertown farmers market. Photo: Joanna Richards
The food council and people who addressed it hope to draw more consumers to places like the pavilion at the Watertown farmers market. Photo: Joanna Richards

In the quest for local food, plenty of roadblocks

A state panel that reports to Governor Cuomo on the obstacles to getting healthy food on people's plates met in Potsdam Wednesday. The New York State Council on Food Policy held one of four listening sessions it's organizing around the state this year.

Farm and food leaders told the council tough obstacles are slowing down the farm-to-table movement in the rural North Country.  Go to full article
Part way done: some perennials back in place, soil amendment continues. Photo by Martha Foley
Part way done: some perennials back in place, soil amendment continues. Photo by Martha Foley

Out with the bad: taking control of the perennial garden

The first step can be the hardest when you've got a major Quackgrass infestation, or an "aggressive" perennial that's taking over. In Martha Foley's garden this spring, it was both. Sometimes you just have to dig everything up and start over.

Amy Ivy is a horticulturist with the Cornell Cooperative Extension service with Clinton and Essex County. She sympathizes, and shares tips on taking advantage of the opportunity to improve the soil.  Go to full article
Governor Cuomo with county and tribal leaders signing the land claim MOU Wednesday in Albany. Photo provided by St. Regis Mohawk Tribe
Governor Cuomo with county and tribal leaders signing the land claim MOU Wednesday in Albany. Photo provided by St. Regis Mohawk Tribe

Mohawks, St. Lawrence Co. reach deal on land claim

Wednesday in Albany, tribal chiefs and St. Lawrence County officials joined Gov. Andrew Cuomo to sign a memorandum of understanding to resolve the more than three-decades old Mohawk land claim lawsuit.

The deal would allow Mohawks to buy up to 4,800 acres of land from willing sellers in northern St. Lawrence County and add it to the Akwesasne reservation.

St. Lawrence County would get a compensation package of $2.5 million from New York State, $1.5 million from the tribe, and then $4 million annually in perpetuity.  Go to full article
Volunteers from Clarkson help kids make their lego robots. Photo: Sarah Harris
Volunteers from Clarkson help kids make their lego robots. Photo: Sarah Harris

North Country Children's Museum plans to engage, inspire kids

Yesterday we brought you the story of Old Snell Hall and Congden Hall, two buildings in downtown Potsdam that are slated for redevelopment. Once it's complete Old Snell will have about 20 high-end rental apartments. And it will also be be home to arts nonprofits, including the North Country Children's Museum. The museum hopes to offer interactive, North Country-related exhibits-- including one you can climb on.  Go to full article

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