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Brian McDonnell has led the effort to revitalize the Paul Smiths VIC. Photos: Brian Mann
Brian McDonnell has led the effort to revitalize the Paul Smiths VIC. Photos: Brian Mann

Revitalized Paul Smiths VIC debuts in tough winter

It's shaping up to be another tough week weather-wise for the North Country. Rain and temperatures in the forties forced volunteer crews in Saranac Lake to suspend work on the Winter Carnival ice palace.

The Mt. Van Hoevenberg cross country ski center in Lake Placid closed because of the drizzly weather.

The forecast at Whiteface Mountain this morning includes a chance for rain. And the Ski Bowl in North Creek is closed, with just 60% of Gore Mountain's trails open.

One bright spot this winter has been the VIC at Paul Smiths. The facility was threatened with closure in 2010 when the Adirondack Park Agency decided that it was too expensive to operate.

But Paul Smiths College and a group of local residents have worked to keep the VIC open. Brian Mann checked out the trails last week and has our story.  Go to full article
Sue Grimm points out a still-growing poylphemus. Inset: adult polyphemus
Sue Grimm points out a still-growing poylphemus. Inset: adult polyphemus

Heard Up North: Polyphemus moths, monarchs, and more at the VIC

All kinds of creatures make their home in the North Country, including a number of native butterflies. Sarah Harris visited the butterfly house at the Paul Smith's Visitor Interpretive Center (VIC) on a rainy Friday afternoon, talked to educator Sue Grimm, and has today's Heard Up North.  Go to full article

Group considers ways to save Adirondack Visitor Interpretive Centers

A diverse group gathered yesterday to look at ways to keep the Adirondack Park Visitor Interpretive Centers in Newcomb and Paul Smiths going.
The meeting was hosted by Paul Smiths College, and came just over a week after Gov. David Paterson announced plans to close the two VICs by next January.
Local and state elected officials, business owners, tourism officials, environmental groups and other NGOs came. No decisions were made, but as Chris Knight reports, the VIC-boosters had plenty of ideas for how to keep the popular facilites open, either in whole or in part.  Go to full article

BREAKING: Paterson's budget closes prisons in North Country

In his State-of-the-State address two weeks ago, Gov. David Paterson predicted this would be "a winter of reckoning."

This morning, he and his budget director began to fill in the details. For the North Country, they include closure of three prisons--in Ogdensburg, Lyon Mountain and Moriah--as well as both Adirondack Park Visitors Interpretive centers, at Paul Smiths and Newcomb. Roughly 480 high-paying government jobs are at stake.

State Sen. Betty Little's spokesman Dan Mac Entee told North Country Public Radio the prisons will close in 2011, "Obviously the Senator is very concerned. It's not altogether surprising that upstate facilities are once again targeted for closure. Given the concentration of power downstate it's hard to fight back against something like that."

The governor said New York's budget is caught between rising fixed costs and an addiction to overspending. It's crashed, he said, and the state can't put off a remedy. Paterson said the state is facing a $7.4 billion deficit in the coming year.

The $134 billion budget the governor proposed today closes that gap, and lays out a four-year plan for recovery. The governor is asking for a 5% cut in school aid--$1 billion overall--as well as $1 billion in new taxes and fees. In addition to the billion-dollar cut in school aid, Paterson wants a $1 billion cut in health care spending, much of which goes to hospitals and nursing homes.

He said: "This is not a budget of choice, this is a budget of necessity."

We'll have more during All Before Five this afternoon, and The Eight O'Clock Hour tomorrow morning.  Go to full article

Paul Smith's Unveils New Amphitheatre

With help from students at Paul Smith's College, the Adirondack Park Agency built an amphitheatre this year near its visitor Interpretive Center on campus. Now the organization needs a name for the building and is asking North Country students for their help. Jody Tosti reports.  Go to full article

Adirondack Park Visitors Centers: Reflecting a Political Landscape

For all its natural beauty, the Adirondack Park is a place defined by people. Towns and villages are scattered within the blue line. Laws and regulations protect the environment. As Brian Mann reports, the Adirondack Park Agency is working to reshape one of its Visitor Interpretive Centers. The idea is to bring the human element into sharper focus.  Go to full article

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