The Black Fly StorySLAM is a storytelling competition open to anyone with a five-minute story to share on the night’s theme, Lesson Learned.
How does it work? Storytellers put their names in a hat. One by one, names are picked. Storytellers take the stage and tell their best Lesson Learned story in five minutes. Two local judges will score the stories to select the Black Fly StorySLAM winners. » Continue Reading.
A rail company that wants to store used oil-tanker cars on tracks in the Adirondack Park is threatening to press charges against the executive director of Protect the Adirondacks if he returns to the rail corridor — even though the corridor runs through publicly owned Forest Preserve.
Iowa Pacific Holdings, which is based in Chicago, sent a letter to Peter Bauer, executive director of Protect the Adirondacks, warning him to stay out of the corridor after Bauer and Brian Mann, a reporter for North Country Public Radio, hiked a section of the tracks and posted photos of old railcars. » Continue Reading.
Since 1978, North Country Public Radio (NCPR) – along with virtually every other public radio and TV station across the country – has been holding intensive, on the air fundraising campaigns every fall. This year, the station is trying something very different.
“We think listeners and digital audiences understand that their contributions are what keep NCPR going. We decided to experiment using very brief messages that did not interrupt regular programs- at all,” June Peoples, Membership Director, said in a notice to the press.
According to Station Manager Ellen Rocco, it’s working. “For the past few weeks, we’ve given the phone number and web address once or twice an hour without breaking into programs and at this writing, we’ve raised about $225,000 toward a $325,000 goal.” » Continue Reading.
Friday morning at 11 o’clock North Country Public Radio will host a live call-in show to talk about the future of the North Country’s prison industry.
With two more prisons set to close in our region this summer, in Franklin and Saratoga counties, people are asking new questions about America’s drug war and about the outlook for prison workers from Ogdenbsurg to Malone to Moriah and Saranac Lake. » Continue Reading.
So here’s the sad truth about my life as a journalist working in the Adirondacks. I wake up pretty much every day here in Saranac Lake wanting you – scratch that, needing you – to do three contradictory things at once. First, I need you to care about what I do. Whether I’m reporting on environmental issues, paddling down a river, or pulling together a year-long investigative series about America’s vast prison complex, I need you to share my conviction that these things matter. In a world of Kardashians, infotainment and blink-and-you-missed it Twitter feeds, those of you who filter past this first step are already the rarest, purest gold.
The second thing I need you to do is put up with the fact that it’s part of my job to be kind of a jerk. Not always, and not unnecessarily, at least I hope. But kind of a lot of the time, it’s important for me to be pretty unlikable. Ben Bradlee, the legendary editor at the Washington Post, was asked once about the backlash he faced for his reporters’ work on Watergate. He said that their job wasn’t to be liked, but to scrap and dig and prod until they found the truth. I’m not in Bradlee’s league, obviously. I’m a small town reporter in rural Upstate New York. » Continue Reading.
Have you altogether stopped watching, reading or listening to your go-to news source because it doesn’t provide the information you’re seeking? Well, you’re not alone.
The recently released Pew Research Center’s Annual Report on American Journalism, “The State of the News Media 2013”, finds that the power of journalism continues to shrink as the news industry continues to cut jobs and news coverage. In fact, estimates for the decline in newsroom employment – at newspapers – in 2012 is down 30 percent since its peak in 2000. » Continue Reading.
Psychologically, I am ready for winter to be over. I like the snow and the skiing and the trips to the gym that I just can’t justify when it’s nice out, but I would really like some nice warm days to come our way. Maybe I’m not ready for winter to be completely done, but I could use a February or early March thaw.
I was sitting here reading the other night, when the radio suddenly turned off. This is a common occurrence, due to the fact that my radio is a “solar” radio. I put solar in quotes because this is what the radio was advertised as, but it is, in fact a crank/rechargeable radio that happens to have a small solar panel on it.
This past summer I spent a little bit of money getting solar lights and this radio. Last winter I had used an old digital alarm clock for my radio. That clock was the same one that’s been waking me up since I was a freshman in high school. It was a good, old-fashioned plug in clock radio that had a battery backup so that if the power went out, your alarm would still go off. I went through a lot of nine-volt batteries listening to NCPR last winter, so many that I had to repair the wire harness a few times. I took that clock radio to the campground last spring and decided to leave it there when I got my new solar radio. » Continue Reading.
I wouldn’t call myself a “morning person” but I do like the way the day has a kind of endless feel when I get up with the sun. This time of year the world around this little house is alive with the spring song of rushing brook water, birds, and that subtle sound of bloom rubbing against bloom that is quieted in winter. So, I follow my cat’s lead and stretch into the day in response to the sounds of the outside waking up. Click on NCPR, draw a dark roast, pour some granola, gather pen and paper, settle into a soft chair and begin.
It was on such a morning recently when a report came over NCPR that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg had declared privacy was passé. “People have really gotten comfortable not only sharing more information and different kinds, but more openly and with more people. That social norm is just something that has evolved over time.” » Continue Reading.
Among the standards used by the US Department of Justice in determining the validity of newly redrawn political districts are that district maps be compact and contiguous and respect natural and artificial boundaries. In drawing up the new map for the 21st Congressional District, Special Master Roanne Mann strictly followed county borders (artificial boundaries), with the exceptions of Herkimer and Saratoga Counties whose southern population centers would have thrown off the numbers.
For an equally useful artificial boundary that validates the common interest of the proposed 21st Congressional District, consider the frequency and signal strength map of North Country Public Radio. Broadcasting out of studios at St. Lawrence University in Canton, NCPR operates 13 transmitting towers, all but two—the Bristol Vermont tower reaches west to the NY shore of Lake Champlain, and the Boonville tower—located within the proposed district lines. In fact, the maps are so closely aligned, one would be hard-pressed to find another Congressional district (not counting Vermont and other single district states) where a single broadcaster has such identical and unrivaled coverage.
If nothing else, this convergence of maps raises a clear question to Bill Owens, Matt Doheny and (potentially) Doug Hoffman: Is your membership paid up?
The post was amended to reflect the fact that NCPR’s Boonville transmitter is outside the proposed district line.
WAMC, the National Public Radio affiliate based in Albany, this week switched on a new broadcast translator in Lake Placid. On Tuesday, W204CJ (FM frequency 88.7) became the latest nodule in AMC’s spreading network of stations. The move into the resort community was first attempted in 2007 when WAMC’s President and CEO Alan Chartock tried to take over the FCC license for a frequency that was being renewed by NPR’s Canton, New York affiliate North Country Public Radio.
WAMC operates twenty-four broadcast and translator towers that send its programming to parts of over 40 counties in New York, Massachusetts, Vermont, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. The broadcaster’s expansive vision occasionally runs up against its original mission. Earlier this year on the final day of the legislative session in Albany, with votes on New York’s same sex marriage and budget bills still up for grabs, WAMC devoted both hours of its premier news analysis program, the Roundtable, to promoting a music festival in western Massachusetts. This week, WAMC’s new Lake Placid listeners tuned in to Dr. Chartock’s signature frenetic exhortations during one of the station’s periodic fundraising membership drives. While they say there’s no second chance to make a first impression, public radio devotees in the Olympic Village might yet find some advantage to the timing of their new suitor’s arrival. North Country Public Radio holds itsfall pledge campaign this coming week.
UPDATE:The trail was cleared for WAMC to operate the Lake Placid translator as part of an agreement reached in December 2007 when NCPR was seeking to upgrade to a full power signal from the weaker translator signal. WAMC sought a license to operate the same full power signal, but settled for the weaker translator in the wake of negative publicity. A third party broadcaster, Northeast Gospel Radio, Inc. from Rensselaer County also sought the full power license.
(Disclosure: Mark Wilson is a member of NCPR and contributes cartoons to the NCPR.org)
The first thing I noticed was how the light fidgeting on the water moved, like jazz. Usually, autumn Adirondack mornings have more of a classical come-on, in a way that brings Walt Whitman to mind with his longing recollections of halcyon seasons enough to conjure this jigsaw of ochre and red around the pond and up the mountains; this deep and satisfying breeze whispering shhhhhh.
Yet, this morning something about the landscape looked like Carl Sandburg’s poems feel when read aloud. Sandburg, with his 1916 Chicago cadence was on the wind making oozing trombones of those same trees, going husha-husha-hush. A subtle difference sure, but still enough to make me wonder at it.
In a while I cracked on NCPR and let the world into my wood stove morning to shouts of “we are the 99 percent!” I listened, still looking out at the unsettled light and wondered at a world where a protest hundreds of miles away could change the rhythm of this morning, deep in the northern forest. Sandburg, indeed.
How many times have I read aloud in the voice of the “workingman, the inventor, the maker of the world’s food and clothes?” With a soft slam down in emphasis right at the beginning as the subject reveals herself boldly, as if stepping out from the same morass of humanity now gathering on Wall Street “I am the people–the mob–the crowd–the mass.”
Further on gaining momentum in a kind of surrender with the repeated act of forgetting:
I am the seed ground. I am a prairie that will stand
for much plowing. Terrible storms pass over me.
I forget. The best of me is sucked out and wasted.
I forget. Everything but Death comes to me and
makes me work and give up what I have. And I forget.
Sometimes I growl, shake myself and spatter a few red
drops for history to remember. Then–I forget.
Then beyond forgetting, lifting the emphasis and re-placing it on a new narrative of resistance:
When I, the People, learn to remember, when I, the
People, use the lessons of yesterday and no longer
forget who robbed me last year, who played me for
a fool–then there will be no speaker in all the world
say the name: “The People,” with any fleck of a
sneer in his voice or any far-off smile of derision.
The mob–the crowd–the mass–will arrive then.
In the lull between radio reports I realized that I had been quietly reciting this poem to the morning, keeping time with the rat-a-tat-tat of light off the pond and the staccato chanting of protesters. Sometime later, this morning’s tempo eased back into the familiar cadence of Whitman making sense of how each of these stories across hundreds of miles are one:
On solid land what is done in cities as the bells strike midnight together,
In primitive woods the sounds there also sounding
Nathan Brown, reporter at the Adirondack Daily Enterprise (ADE), longtime friend of the Adirondack Almanack, and son of Almanack contributor Phil Brown, is headed to a new job at the Middletown Times-Herald-Record in Orange County. Nathan (shown at left) has been at the ADE just short of four years, most recently covering Lake Placid, Essex County, and politics. The ADE was his first journalism job after graduating form SUNY Albany in 2007.
Taking over Brown’s spot at the ADE will be Chris Morris, who has left his job as WNBZ‘s News Director. Morris will continue to contribute to North Country Public Radio. At the ADE he’ll be covering Lake Placid, North Elba, and Essex County, including the political scene. Chris Morris was born and raised in Saranac Lake and got his start in journalism as a stringer for the ADE’s sports department. After graduating from St. Lawrence University he covered the Malone beat for the Malone Telegram. Morris later served as editor at the weekly Vermont Times Sentinel (Chittenden County). From there, he went on to take the news editor position at Denton Publications and later joined Chris Knight at Mountain Communications as assistant news director of WNBZ. When Chris Knight left WNBZ to join the ADE in June 2009, Morris took over as news director.
The latest media moves follow other recent local media changes. Also in June of 2009, Andy Flynn left his position as the Senior Public Information Specialist at the NYS Adirondack Park Agency Visitor Interpretive Centers and has since taken the position of Assistant Managing Editor at Denton Publications. Another Denton and WNBZ alumni, Jon Alexander, now covers Northern Warren County for the Glens Falls Post-Star.
WNBZ is in transition according to a statement on their webpage. Bob LaRue, News Director at WMSA in Massena, who provides play by play for WNBZ‘s coverage of Saranac Lake Football, is providing regional news updates and the station is currently looking for a new News Director. Meanwhile, Josh Clement has been manning the studio every morning to keep the news on the air. Freelancer George Earl continues to contribute to WNBZ‘s Adirondack Regional Report.
The Adirondack Community Trust (ACT) in partnership with North Country Public Radio (NCPR) has received a $300,000 challenge grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to invest in the future of NCPR’s ability to expand regional broadcast and digital news and information services with a special emphasis on creating the next generation of public media professionals according to a statement issued to the press. With the required match, the project is expected to bring $650,000 to $700,000 into the work of these organizations over the next three years.
“The objective of the project, 21st Century Public Media on a Rural Map, is to make all NCPR platforms part of a single, integrated resource for the people of the Adirondack region – a resource that they can increasingly play a part in imagining and shaping. As part of the challenge, this grant has to be matched with local dollars from local residents,” the press statement said.
The funding is part of the Knight Community Information Challenge, which encourages community and place-based foundations to support news and information projects that inform and engage residents.
“The Adirondack Community Trust and others like it are part of a growing number of community foundations working to ensure residents have the information they need to make important decisions about their communities,” said Trabian Shorters, Knight Foundation’s vice president for engaging communities. “Ultimately, our democracy will thrive only if we have informed and engaged communities.”
The new funding is hoped to raise the level of NCPR services, by “expanding its work on existing and emerging platforms and by deepening the integration of community participation in public media.” “More residents will have access to information on a variety of platforms; they will participate in creating content and sharing information,” the statement said, “young people will have an opportunity to work under the guidance of proven professionals to learn the skills of public media; and more people will connect with other residents of the region.”
Ellen Rocco, Station Manager for NCPR said, “With this Knight Foundation grant, ACT is making it possible for NCPR to do leading-edge work for our community. And, as an active collaborator on the project, ACT brings expertise, access to and input from people across the region, and a great reputation—contributions that are essential to the project’s success.”
For listeners to NorthCountry Public Radio, today marks the return of the afternoon news broadcast, All Before Five, as well as the debut of its latest host, Nora Flaherty. All Before Five (which airs at 4:45 pm) has been off the air since the show’s last host Jonathan Brown moved on; previously the show was hosted by Gregory Warner.
According to her NCPR bio, Flaherty recently moved to the north country from downstate, where she has been a producer and host at Fordham University’s public radio station WFUV since 2005. She started her career in broadcasting while studying at the University of Michigan. For a radio personality, Flaherty has a very familiar face. You’d almost swear you’ve seen it somewhere before. . .
They’re at it again. A small number of so-called “property rights advocates” are spreading falsehoods about development in the Adirondack Park, the Adirondack Park Agency (APA), and our local economy to further their wider anti-conservation political agendas.
This time it’s a column by Karen Moreau, a Hudson Valley attorney who is president of the newly-formed Foundation for Land and Liberty. You remember them, the group Plattsburgh Press-Republican reporter Kim Smith-Dedam called “a new legal resource founded to protect one of the oldest American rights.”
It turns out that Karen Moreau, and apparently her Foundation for Land and Liberty, has no hesitation about misleading the public when it comes to the Adirondacks. Take a look at her commentary at the NY Post (surprise, surprise, Fred Monroe’s go-to tabloid). It’s full of lies, obfuscations, and what NCPR’s Brian Mann calls “goofy” accusations. Pull up a stool and let’s review a few:
Claim 1: There is a “de facto ban on development in the Adirondack Park.”
On what planet does one have to live on to make this claim? Most of the men I know have spent the last ten to fifteen working in the housing construction industry. Until the last year or so they were busy building thousands of first and second homes. NCPR’s Brian Mann, who called Moreau’s commentary “full out flat out errors,” offers a more accurate perspective: “Over the last decade, in-Park communities have seen a massive influx of private capital, investment and development to the tune of billions of dollars. Investors have built and bought their way to one of the most robust second-home markets in the US. Literally thousands of homes have been built, many with APA permits and many more in parts of the Park where no permits are required.”
Claim 2: “Approval for nearly any kind of land-based investment in the “park” lies chiefly with a single agency — the Adirondack Park Agency.”
As Brian Mann indicated in the quote above, the APA is responsible for oversight of a small portion of development in the Adirondack Park. The APA reviews applications on only about 20 percent of permit-requiring development activities in the park. Not to mention the fact that the APA overwhelming approves those projects, and by that I mean the APA approves nearly every single application it sees. In other words, the APA simply works to keep development activities in some general bounds of good environmental stewardship (and not very effectively at even that). The APA very rarely reject projects – almost never.
Claim 3: “APA enforcement actions, with the threat of millions of dollars in fines against ordinary citizens, has literally ruined lives and contributed to a stagnant and declining upstate economy.”
I challenge Moreau to provide the evidence that our economy is anymore stagnant or declining than any other rural area around the state. To the contrary, as Brain Mann noted, “the state of New York spends hundreds of millions of dollars each year in the Adirondacks — far more per capita than in any other part of the state.” The single case she uses to back her “threat of millions of dollars in fines against ordinary citizens” claim is the Sandy Lewis case. A millionaire financier who fought tooth and nail and won his case against the APA, including legal fees – no life ruined there. Civil penalties in 2009 ranged from $100 to $4,000 – that is the fact. Enforcement is down overall from 496 cases in 2008, to 467 in 2009, and just 392 cases as of the end of October this year. And by the way, the APA has won against more than 100 lawsuits, and has lost less than five.
Claim 4: An alliance of green groups, the DEC, and the APA “has delayed for seven years the approvals to develop the Adirondack Club and Resort [ACR] in Tupper Lake, which would create hundreds of jobs.”
Apparently our great defender of property rights doesn’t care to mention that the ACR developers have won the right to SEIZE the private property of others for their own profit. Forget for a minute the “hundreds of jobs” nonsense, according to Brian Mann: “A significant part of that delay (not all, to be sure) was caused by the developers, who asked repeatedly for the permitting process to be delayed, took long periods to respond to requests for information, and then asked that the process be diverted into alternative mediation.”
Claim 5: “The notorious bureaucracy has deterred anyone from even bidding on Camp Gabriels.”
This is an unbelievable assertion, and frankly, laughable. The APA has nothing to do with the sale of Camp Gabriels. This claim really makes me wonder just how woefully misinformed Moreau and the Foundation for Land and Liberty are about the Adirondacks.
Claim 6: “The state’s been fueling the APA’s power by buying up land and rewarding the wealthy and powerful Nature Conservancy with millions in profits for their role in facilitating the transactions.”
This has already be shown to be a baseless assertion, one that even the editorial board of the Adirondack Daily Enterprise (ADE) couldn’t accept. Repeating it shows Moreau to be dishonest and clearly not interested in the facts. As the ADE editorial put it, that assertion “smacks of gossip.” I second their call: “if it’s true, prove it with a credible source.” Moreau won’t because it’s not true. Just ask Fred Monroe, who told the ADE: “I don’t know if that’s true at all.”
All that aside, you’d think a “property rights” advocate would accept that people have the right to sell their land to whoever they like – including the state and the Nature Conservancy. If you think the state shouldn’t acquire more land, fine, but don’t make up lies to bolster your opinions.
We deserve more honesty from those who oppose outright, or seek to scale back, the Forest Preserve system and Adirondack Park conservation. Considering the track record lately, I don’t think we’ll get it.
The Adirondack Almanack's contributors include veteran local writers, historians, naturalists, and outdoor enthusiasts from around the Adirondack region. The Almanack is the online news journal of Adirondack Explorer. Both are nonprofits supported by contributors, readers, and advertisers, and devoted to exploring, protecting, and unifying the Adirondack Park.
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