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News stories tagged with "st-lawrence-county"

Ft. Drum Growth Stresses Housing Market

The area around Fort Drum, Watertown, and beyond is on the brink of a building boom. But some say it might be more of a housing crisis. 4,200 soldiers and their families are moving to the region as the army base adds a new 3rd Brigade. The army is also beginning a $315 million renovation of its existing housing on base. That's good news for builders, realtors, and economic growth. But the influx of people may make affordable housing hard to find. David Sommerstein reports.  Go to full article

Tax Reimbursements for Adirondacks

Local towns and school districts in the Adirondacks and Catskills will share $1.9 million in tax relief under the new state budget. The money will reimburse communities in St. Lawrence, Franklin, and Essex Counties for property tax breaks on land used for timber production. For more on this and other aspects of the new state budget, David Sommerstein spoke with State Senator Betty Little, a Republican from Queensbury. She says Governor Pataki has supported $3.3 million in property tax reimbursements.  Go to full article

More School Money, But Not Enough

The state legislature has agreed to increase education funding by $740 million. Some of that money will come to the North Country, where school districts have been waiting until the last minute to find out how much state aid they'll have when classes start in a few weeks. David Sommerstein spoke with Janet Boyd, business manager of the Hermon-DeKalb Central School District, about the increase.  Go to full article

SLC Considers Employee Pension Reform

Officials are expressing cautious optimism that a change in the way local governments pay for their employees' pensions will ease budget crunches. State leaders announced the pension reform plan in Albany this week. It would push back the due date for pension fund payments, saving local governments $980 million statewide. Tom Nichols, vice-chair of the St. Lawrence County legislature, says the plan may save the county $4.1 million, or it may simply delay the payment.  Go to full article

Sounds of the County Fair

The sights, smells, and sounds of county fairs are classic ingredients of summer. The midway barker beckoning you in to a show. The whip of the wind through your hair on the day-glow roller coaster. And of course, the smell of fried dough and French fries. The St. Lawrence County and Lewis County fairs run this week and through the weekend. David Sommerstein prepared this audio montage from the midway of the St. Lawrence County fair in Gouverneur.  Go to full article

Pataki Approves Expanded Ag Coops

Governor Pataki yesterday signed a bill into law that allows agricultural cooperatives to take advantage of New York's Empire Zones. Dairy farmers sell their milk to coops, like Allied and Dairylea. Those coops sometimes invest in factories. But previously they weren't eligible for the tax breaks and cheap power available to other plants under the Empire Zone program. The St. Lawrence County Farm Bureau says the new law may help find tenants for places like the soon-to-be-vacant Kraft plant in Canton.  Go to full article

Lawmakers Ratify Casino Compact, 11 Years Later

In last minute action yesterday, the Assembly ratified the St. Regis Mohawks' compact for its casino in Akwesasne near Massena. The compact was drawn up in 1993 between then-Governor Mario Cuomo and tribal officials, but it was nullified by a court of appeals ruling last year that said the full legislature needed to approve it. David Sommerstein reports.  Go to full article

School Budgets That Cut to the Barest Bone

The impasse in Albany has made an already tough budgeting year even tougher for local school districts. School boards had to estimate the amount of state aid they expect to receive next year. Still, budgets passed in most districts. But a handful failed. Those districts will have to make contingency budgets, and that means cutting thousands of dollars in programs, services, and in some cases, people. David Sommerstein reports.  Go to full article

Chatham Plant Court Challenge Continues

A planned chipboard factory in St. Lawrence County that would employ more than 100 people remains stalled in court cases. A federal appeals court ruled recently that people who live near the site could continue a lawsuit seeking tighter pollution controls. The ruling reversed a lower court's decision. David Sommerstein reports.  Go to full article

Welfare to Work: Backfiring?

A new study of two North Country counties says a key component of welfare reform of the mid-1990s, welfare to work, is encouraging low wage work and the persistence of high poverty levels in the region. Martha Foley talks with the study's author, SUNY Potsdam professor George Gonos.  Go to full article

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