The New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) today called a special session to revoke its approval of the 2016 merger agreement between Charter Communications, Inc. and Time Warner Cable, Inc.
Charter, doing business as Spectrum, provides broadband access to large parts of the Adirondacks. The PSC ordered Charter to file “a plan with the Commission to ensure an orderly transition to a successor provider(s)” within 60 days.
What follows is an announcement the PSC sent to the press Friday, in which the Public Service Commission lays out its reasons for revoking the merger approval: » Continue Reading.
The Adirondacks would benefit from some of the priorities expressed by Governor Andrew Cuomo in his 2015 State of the State address on Wednesday. The proposals are expected to help protect water quality, combat invasive species, bolster APA and DEC staffing, increase the Environmental Protection Fund, expand broadband locally, and cut the risk of explosive oil trains moving through the region. The Adirondack Park is the largest park in the contiguous United States and contains most of the motor-free wilderness remaining in the Northeast. » Continue Reading.
Watching The Wild Center live telecast of the Wired Education teacher training day October 25th, I felt excited, inspired, amazed — and oh, so dumb.
I sat at my computer for five hours mesmerized by internationally respected educational consultant Alan November. His keynote address and two workshops were presented to almost 200 Adirondack teachers participating in person at The Wild Center and virtually at three remote sites. » Continue Reading.
Community leaders and elected officials have been invited to attend a Rural Communities Broadband Roundtable at The Wild Center on Thursday, Oct. 24. It is co-hosted by AdkAction.org, which initiated the event; the New York State Broadband Program Office; the United States Department of Agriculture/Rural Development Agency, which provides extensive funding for broadband services in rural locales; and The Wild Center.
The objective of the event is to assist towns and communities in the North Country to better understand how broadband can revitalize their communities and how they can best pursue universal access to broadband. » Continue Reading.
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has announced that New York State will award $25 million in funding to expand high-speed Internet access in rural upstate and underserved urban areas of New York through the Connect NY Broadband Grant Program, including several projects that will affect the Adirondacks. This newest round of funding brings the total amount for broadband projects during Governor Cuomo’s administration to more than $56 million, the largest statewide broadband funding commitment in the nation, according to the Governor’s office.
Eighteen broadband projects were selected to receive Connect NY Broadband grants based on the endorsement of the Regional Economic Development Councils and technical scores awarded by a committee who analyzed and ranked projects competing for the $25 million in broadband funding. In December, Governor Cuomo also awarded nearly $6 million in funding, from Round 2 of the Regional Economic Development Council initiative, to four project sponsors who will expand high-speed Internet into the North Country region. » Continue Reading.
The encroachment of cellphones, the Internet and Wi-Fi into the backcountry was the impetus of my last Adirondack Almanack article. Before long, this encroachment shall transform into the inevitability of an all-out invasion, barring any lethal worldwide epidemic, nuclear winter, asteroid collision or zombie apocalypse. Since it would be imprudent to rely on such unlikely occurrences happening in the near future, guidelines governing the use of these digital gadgets appear sorely needed.
Rules and regulations abound for electronic gadgets in the frontcountry, so why not in the backcountry? Driving while texting or talking on a cellphone is illegal on our roads, despite the flagrant disregard for this law surpassed only by that of the stated speed limits, so why not institute similar policies for the Adirondack trails? » Continue Reading.
Occasionally escaping technology is essential for maintaining one’s peace of mind, especially as high tech gadgets increasingly invade every facet of modern life. From incessantly checking email, the ever-present Internet surfing temptation and the constant threat of an irritating cellphone ringtone disturbing every moment, it is important to find a refuge before becoming mental roadkill on the information superhighway.
The Adirondack backcountry used to be such a refuge, but it may not remain so for much longer.
Recently, the Washington Post, among others, reported about a Federal Communication Commission (FCC) plan to create a super Wi-Fi network, so powerful it could “penetrate thick concrete walls and travel over hills and around trees.” And presumably, into the interior of the Adirondack backcountry. Worse yet, it would be free for public use. » Continue Reading.
Having previously shared a vision for Adirondack telecommuting, my plan this week is to describe the current state of broadband and telecommuting in the park in some detail and then point towards the future, laying out a handful of important issues related to its long-term viability.
That plan has gotten a big boost from the readers of the Almanack. A number of you wrote in to illustrate the current state of telecommuting far better than I could have, in comments written in response to last to last week’s Dispatch. They were wonderful, revealing that while telecommuting in the Adirondacks is not commonplace, there is no question that its future is already here, thanks to these pioneer Wild Workers (this label, after the suggestion of a reader, is perfect for the situation, plus it is kind of charming). Choosing to live in the Adirondacks while working elsewhere is something that is happening right now. That fact should give a big shot of optimism to those who worry about the economy of the park. » Continue Reading.
Grab a cup of coffee kids, this one is long and important.
Imagine the following scenario.
You run a growing business in New York City, an entrepreneurial company that has an exciting new technology to improve the effectiveness of solar power generation. You have a design team working on a bet-the-business heat exchanger that uses magnetic materials to be three times as efficient as anything on the market. But a crisis has developed. Mere days away from unveiling the first prototype, the project has hit a serious roadblock. » Continue Reading.
ADK Action will hold an information session and discussion from 5 to 7:30 p.m. this Thursday, July 12 at the Old Forge Library, 220 Crosby Blvd. ADK Action was founded in the Tri-Lakes area as a non-partisan organization in 2007. Membership is open to both seasonal and full-time Adirondack residents.
“The issues we tackle are politically neutral, but we believe they are of great importance to the future of the Adirondacks,” said Dave Wolff, the organization’s chair. “Some are economic, such as consistent property assessments, universal access to high-speed broadband, and more shared services among the many government jurisdictions of the Park. Some are environmental, such as water quality and salt pollution. We try to focus our limited resources where we can make a difference and, most importantly, we try to take action and make things happen.” » Continue Reading.
Information Technology professionals and organizational leaders are invited to share their expertise in I.T. at the North Country Technology Symposium on May 23, 2012 in Potsdam. The organizing committee is accepting proposals for presentations to be offered as part of a multi-track agenda of one hour sessions covering a variety of I.T. topics of interest to organizations in the North Country. The North Country Technology Symposium is designed to encourage adoption of information technologies in the region’s Business, Healthcare, Government, and Community Services sectors through sharing of experiences, ideas and information by colleagues in the field.
2012 North Country Technology Symposium will offer:
* Several live, interactive instructor-led sessions on the latest I.T. issues including: Social Media, Mobile Devices & Apps, Video, Cloud Computing, Open Source Opps, FREE Web Tools and more.
* IT EXPO – Dozens of commercial provider representatives available to speak with you about the latest I.T. products & services on the market.
* Network with region’s I.T. professionals and access On-Site Technology Consulting Services. Registrants schedule appointments for one-on-one consultations
Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced that the North Country Regional Council Strategic Plan will be awarded a $40 million bonus to fund economic development, one of four regions sop awarded. The complete North Country regional plan includes 70 projects totaling $103.2 million in state support. A number of additional projects were funded through the Mohawk Valley and Capital District regional councils which could also impact residents of the Adirondack region.
According to a statement released by the Governor’s Office, the North Country Regional Council Strategic Plan is designed as a long-term roadmap “to attract private investment, promote and facilitate connectivity between communities, and create a climate that will allow entrepreneurs to flourish. It put forth ways to achieve its vision by capitalizing on the region’s natural assets, talented labor pool, and entrepreneurial population.” The projects are expected to focus on high-tech and traditional manufacturing, green energy production, agriculture, tourism, and arts and culture. Included are a number of large grants:
$9.9 million will rehabilitate the Newton Falls Rail Project to rehabilitate, reopening the 46 mile Newton Falls Rail Line. This project will service the paper mill at Newton Falls and the operations at Benson Mines.
$900,000 will support improvements to the Village of Gouverneur water distribution system in support of the Kinney Drugs Distribution warehouse.
$4 million will support the development of community rental housing in the area of Fort Drum.
$3 million will support the construction of the new Clayton Hotel along the St. Lawrence River.
$397,000 will restore the 1924 Strand Theatre to the Strand Performing Arts Center in downtown Plattsburgh.
$2.5 million will support the expansion of Bombardier’s plant in Plattsburgh. The project includes a 57,000 square foot increase of the main plant, a 2,100 square foot expansion at the off-site testing facility, and electrification of an additional half mile of railroad track at the test facility.
$1.8 million will expand C Speed’s manufacturing center in Potsdam.
$1.2 million will support modernization new hiring at Saranac Lake’s Trudeau Institute research campus.
$472,000 will be provided to Frontier Communications to increase Hamilton County broadband access. This project is expected to install fiber optic broadband service to several communities that currently have no existing broadband capacity.
A full list of funded projects is available online [pdf]. Warren, Washington and Saratoga counties can be found in the Capital Region section; Fulton, Herkimer and Oneida counties are in the Mohawk Valley region; Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Hamilton, Lewis and St. Lawrence are in the North Country Council.
Clarkson University is now taking registrations at http://www.clarkson.edu/adk for the third annual Forever Wired Conference on Tuesday, October 4, in Potsdam.
The conference will offer a variety of sessions geared toward assisting small business owners and teleworkers in rural communities. Attendees will have the opportunity to discuss responsible and sustainable economic growth in the Adirondack region, and address the resources available to assist entrepreneurs in overcoming challenges. These sessions will offer workshops on:
– Telecommuting Tips – Overcoming Rural Entrepreneurship Challenges – Micro-financing – Government, Industry and Higher Education Collaboration – Doing Business Internationally
Professionals and organizations are invited to set up promotional displays at the conference to connect with other entrepreneurs who may be seeking their services. Free one-on-one consultations with experts from Clarkson University’s Shipley Center for Innovation and Reh Center for Entrepreneurship will also be available upon request, as well as networking with rural sector experts from around the east coast, who are helping with the sessions.
“The Forever Wired schedule is designed to bring a wide cross section of regional stakeholders together,” said conference chair Kelly O. Chezum, vice president for external relations at Clarkson. “We will cover professional development, networking and information sessions for working-wired entrepreneurs, mobile workers, corporate telecommuters and people interested in green tech commerce.”
Last year’s conference drew more than 250 participants from across New York State and included many seasonal residents of the Adirondack Park, as well.
The conference is a central component of the Adirondack Initiative for Wired Work, which is championed by a team of regional leaders and energized professionals dedicated toward creation of a sustainable economy in the greater Adirondack North Country. Through their activities, the Adirondack Initiative encourages telework, green-tech commerce and entrepreneurship from home offices and businesses with minimal impact on the natural environment.
“We must advance economic opportunities that will attract and retain our young people and bring meaningful employment into to the region,” said Clarkson President Tony Collins. “The Adirondack Initiative balances the environmental needs of our region, and is aimed at preserving the unique character of our Adirondack and North Country communities, which we share with recreational enthusiasts, tourists and wildlife.”
Clarkson University is expanding support services for teleworkers and entrepreneurs in the area. The Adirondack Business Center hosted by the Clarkson Entrepreneurship Center in Saranac Lake, N.Y. is equipped with wireless Internet, a conference room, quiet workspace, and will provide other amenities to the public. The built-in classroom holds sessions such as “My Small Business 101” to advance practical business skills of local entrepreneurs.
For more information on the Adirondack Initiative for Wired Work, or to register for the Forever Wired Conference, go online, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 315-268-4483.
Adirondack towns and villages have a unique opportunity to be included in a project that seeks to improve wireless cell and broadband availability in the Adirondack Park.
The goal of the Wireless Clearinghouse project is to create an inventory of existing structures in Adirondack Park towns that are suitable for housing a wireless antenna. The database will be a resource for private wireless companies, with the goal of encouraging them to expand wireless telecommunications across the region, a key to economic development. The inventory produced is expected to be a significant planning asset available through a secure website and featuring a GIS database with maps and images. Right now, municipal officials are being asked to respond to an email sent by the Adirondack North Country Association (ANCA) that contains instructions for listing their community’s structures in the online inventory. All communities who provide feedback by May 31 will be publicly acknowledged when the final results of the project are published and will be entered in a drawing to win a free customized online mapping application.
Fountains Spatial Inc., a GIS consulting firm based in Schenectady, has been contracted by SUNY Plattsburgh and ANCA with project methodology, data collection, and development of an interactive web-map application to access the data collected in the project.
The data being collected this month will identify existing tall structures within Adirondack Park municipalities, such as churches, water towers, and other tall structures. To start, Fountains Spatial combed tax parcel data for information on property class codes such as churches, public services and government structures that could be considered suitable sites for a telecommunications antenna.
The project is due to be completed this summer. In the process, one of the goals is to inform community leaders of the opportunities provided by these technologies.
“DEC, SUNY Plattsburgh, Fountains Spatial and ANCA hope that the Wireless Clearinghouse database will encourage wireless carriers to provide service in additional Park communities. People today want to stay connected 24/7 using their mobile device or computer, and better wireless service will support municipal services, and benefit year round and seasonal residents, and visitors may stay longer,” said Howard Lowe, project manager.
The Adirondack Park Agency (APA) will hold its regularly scheduled monthly meeting on Thursday, January 13 at APA Headquarters in Ray Brook, NY. The January meeting is one day only. Topics will include a variance for a sign at a new car dealership in Warrensburg, a shoreline structure setback and cutting variances for a proposed marina in Moriah, an enforcement action against an alleged wetland subdivision and substandard-sized lot subdivision in Wells, a presentation on Keene broadband project, military airspace and military aircraft use over the Adirondack Park, and the Department of Environmental Conservation’s draft policy for issuing Temporary Revocable Permits for State Lands and Conservation Easements.
The meeting will be webcast live online (choose Webcasting from the contents list). Meeting materials are available for download from the Agency’s website. The full agenda follows: The Full Agency will convene on Thursday morning at 9:00 for Executive Director Terry Martino’s report where she will discuss current activities.
At 9:15 a.m., the Regulatory Programs Committee will consider two variance projects; a request for a variance from the Q-3 sign standards for placement of new car dealership sign in the Town of Warrensburg, Warren County and shoreline structure setback and shoreline cutting variance variances for a proposed marina in the Town of Moriah, Essex County.
At 10:30, the Enforcement Committee will convene for an enforcement case involving alleged wetland subdivision and substandard-sized lot subdivision violations on private property in the Town of Wells, Hamilton County.
At 11:00, the Economic Affairs Committee will hear a presentation on the Town of Keene’s town-wide broadband project. Dave Mason and Jim Herman, project co-directors, will explain the project history, how it unfolded and detail project accomplishments.
At 1:00, the Park Policy and Planning Committee will be briefed on Military Airspace and Military Aircraft use over the Adirondack Park. Lt. Col. Fred Tomasselli, NY Air National Guard’s Airspace Manager at Fort Drum, will overview military airspace use. Commander Charles Dorsey, NY Air National Guard 174th Fighter Wing Vice-Commander at Fort Hancock, will detail the expected deployment of the MQ-9 Reaper aircraft for military training exercises over the Adirondack Park.
At 2:15, the State Land Committee will be updated by, Forest Preserve Management Bureau Chief Peter Frank, on the Department of Environmental Conservation’s draft policy for issuing Temporary Revocable Permits for State Lands and Conservation Easements. The draft policy proposes four types of revocable permits: Expedited, Routine, Non-Routine and Research.
At 3:00, the Park Ecology Committee will convene for a presentation from the Agency’s, Natural Resource Analysis Supervisor Daniel Spada, on his recent trip to China. The focus of the trip was the ongoing China Protected Areas Leadership Alliance Project. Mr. Spada will overview this project and describe his experiences with the various National Nature Reserve managers he visited with in Yunnan Province, China.
At 3:45, the Full Agency will convene will assemble to take action as necessary and conclude with committee reports, public and member comment.
The February Agency is scheduled for February 10-11, 2011
March Agency Meeting: March 17-18 at the Adirondack Park Agency Headquarters.
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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