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News stories tagged with "sustainability"

Michel Shuman
Michel Shuman

A Fresh Start for Main Street's economy: "small things that have a big impact"

We're asking people to think big, for the Obama Administration. Michael Shuman thinks big, about small things: small business, local economies. He's brought his ideas about local economies to North Country sustainability symposiums. His books include Going Local: Creating Self-reliant Communities in a Global Age, and The Small-mart Revolution - how Local Businesses are Beating the Global Competition. As an economist, Shuman speaks the language of high finance, but applies it to the most local of transactions. He's proposing a massive DE-regulation of microfinance, while the rest of the world is focused on increasing regulation on macrofinance. In conversation with Martha Foley, Shuman said the most important thing the Obama Administration needs to understand is that revitalizing America's economy requires revitalizing the Main Street economy.  Go to full article
Barrel sauna at the Murtagh Hill community near West Chazy
Barrel sauna at the Murtagh Hill community near West Chazy

Call-in: Back to the Land: Hippie Houses and Homesteads for the 21st Century

A new exhibit at Traditional Arts in Upstate New York in Canton explores the people and places who were part of the back-to-the-land movement in the North Country during the '60s and 70s. Host Martha Foley and Jill Breit of TAUNY talk with callers about hippies and homesteaders, then and now.  Go to full article

Pros and cons persist as Walmart opens in Potsdam

The Potsdam Walmart parking lot was jam-packed. The 188,000 sq. ft. Supercenter just outside Potsdam on the main road to Canton opened its doors yesterday. The grand opening ended a decade-long quest to locate in the community. There was a site change, public hearings with volatile exchanges between Walmart foes and friends. There was a court challenge that lasted more than a year, and a dust-up between the village and the retail giant over extending a sewer line to the store. David Sommerstein hit the streets of downtown Potsdam for reaction yesterday. He spoke with Martha Foley.  Go to full article

Potsdam leaders consider 'long emergency'

The cold seems a long way away, but across the North Country, communities are already planning ahead for the impact of high heating bills this winter. The cost of heating oil, natural gas, and kerosene could force many people to choose between food or medicine, and warmth. In Potsdam, a group of civic leaders wants to prepare for the winter, too. But they're also looking far beyond. If energy prices continue to rise, how will that change what we eat, where we live, work, and play? Will we be able to heat our schools and churches all winter? How will police and emergency responders have to change? Potsdam police chief John Kaplan, Clarkson University professor Bill Vitek, and others are convening a meeting on August 20th. They've invited a broad range of community leaders, representing government, emergency responders, the hospital, educators, churches, and fuel providers. Vitek specializes in sustainability and energy issues. He told David Sommerstein the idea is to get people to think about what author Jim Kuntsler calls "the long emergency".  Go to full article
SLU's Lou Zeppieri and Louise Gava along with farm manager Bob Washow prep a new bed for  raspberry canes.
SLU's Lou Zeppieri and Louise Gava along with farm manager Bob Washow prep a new bed for raspberry canes.

College students dig into gardening

College students are learning where their food comes from and how to garden at some of the North Country's CSA's this year. The farms become outdoor classrooms during the growing and harvest seasons. Food for Thought Farm, south of Canton, is helping a group of St. Lawrence University students with plans for, eventually, a sustainable campus garden. The weather last weekend lured some students outside and into the dirt for some early spring planting. Todd Moe has more.  Go to full article

Celebrating farms and local food

NCPR is media sponsor for "Local Foods Connections," three events in early May celebrating the agriculture of the North Country with a focus on local food and the farm-to-table movement. The events will feature food experts, farmers, chefs and business people working toward local food sustainability. The events are May 1st in Lake Clear, May 2nd in Alexandria Bay and May 3rd in Croghan. Todd Moe spoke with Jefferson County Cooperative Extension's Molly Ames, one of the organizers.  Go to full article

Preview: 13th annual Sustainable Energy Fair

NCPR is media sponsor for the 13th annual North Country Sustainable Energy Fair at SUNY Canton this weekend. The fair includes more than 50 workshops, panels and demonstrations from alternative energy to zero carbon houses. Todd Moe talks with Patricia Greene of Community Energy Services, one of the organizers of the event.  Go to full article

Amendment allows Raquette Lake well in ADK preserve

Next Tuesday, millions of New Yorkers will vote on a constitutional amendment that will determine the future of one tiny Adirondack village. The proposed change would allow the 160 residents of Raquette Lake to draw drinking water from a well that sits on the Adirondack forest preserve. The constitutional amendment is needed because most human structures are banned on state land in the six-million acre park. As Brian Mann reports, the ballot initiative represents a partnership between local government leaders and pro-environment groups.  Go to full article
The Boucher family at their booth at the Burlington farmers market.
The Boucher family at their booth at the Burlington farmers market.

Dairy farmers branch out

Yesterday, we heard from sociologist Douglas Harper, who wrote a book about North Country dairy farmers called "Changing Works: Visions of a Lost Agriculture". The title refers to the rural practice of neighbors pooling their labor to get big projects done, like harvesting or barn-raising. Harper will speak tomorrow night at SUNY Potsdam. In the North Country and nationwide, "changing works" has mostly ceded to big tractors and computerized milk parlors as dairy farms have ballooned in size. But Dan Boucher of Highgate, Vermont hasn't given the practice up. Boucher represents a still small, but growing group: dairy farmers who are resisting the "get big or get out" trend. Instead, they're getting smaller, investing in new products, and relying less on the price of milk. David Sommerstein has this profile.  Go to full article

Cap on big box retail stores proposed for Saranac Lake

Supporters of a temporary cap on the size of retail stores in Saranac Lake and Harrietstown turned out in force at a public meeting on the issue Tuesday night. Most of the roughly twenty people who spoke supported a proposed two-year size-limit on stores. Individual stores would be capped at 40,000 square feet. Shopping centers would be capped at 68,000 square feet. The proposal comes in the wake of Wal-Mart's failed attempt to locate a super center in Saranac Lake. As Chris Knight reports, town and village leaders are expected to consider implementing the retail cap in the coming weeks.  Go to full article

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