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Dairy cows at Greenwood Dairy, in Canton, NY. Photo: Nora Flaherty
Dairy cows at Greenwood Dairy, in Canton, NY. Photo: Nora Flaherty

Report says consolidation hurting farms and communities

It's a strange time for the North Country's dairy farmers.
On one hand, Congress' failure to pass a new farm bill has meant the loss of a safety net if milk prices drop or feed costs rise. On the other hand, the soaring popularity of Greek yogurt is offering what New York's dairy leaders call a "once in a generation" opportunity to shore up an industry that's been eroding for decades.

New York has lost about two-thirds of its dairy farms since the 1980s. The ones that remain have gotten bigger.  Go to full article
County administrator Karen St. Hilaire says she's not pleased with St. Lawrence County's budget numbers. Photo: Julie Grant

St. Lawrence County to vote on budget tonight

(UPDATE: The St. Lawrence County Board of Legislators approved a $235-million dollar budget Monday night, over-riding the state tax cap, and raising property taxes by more than 14-percent.)

The 57 counties outside New York City face a collective budget gap estimated at $130 million as they write their budgets for the fiscal year that starts in January.
That's according to a report this fall from the New York State Association of Counties.

NYSAC Executive Director Stephen Acquario says counties are caught between a rock and a hard place. On one hand, they pay for dozens of mandated services, from Medicaid to child welfare, which cost more every year.

On the other hand, they now face a new state cap on property tax increases.
Acquario told North Country Public Radio that leaves counties essentially "governing by triage."

St. Lawrence County legislators plan a public hearing tonight on the 2013 budget. County administrator Karen St. Hilaire says the $250 million spending plan contains a 13.5 percent tax increase.  Go to full article
Hunters Joe Trudeau of Plainville, left, and his father, Claude Trudeau of Waverly, gear up to go into the woods at a trailhead on state Route 3 in the town of Harrietstown, in the Saranac Lakes Wild Forest. Photo: Chris Knight via <em>Adirondack Daily Enterprise</em>

DEC looks to streamline frustrating management process

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced earlier this year that the state will buy 69,000 acres of former Finch, Pruyn and Co. timberlands in the Adirondack Park over the next five years. As part of the process, the state Department of Environmental Conservation will be tasked with creating a management plan for each of those units.

A unit management plan, or UMP, will need to be in place before any new recreational amenities, like hiking or snowmobile trails, or campsites and lean-tos, can be created.

But the DEC has struggled to finish management plans for all the state land it already owns, with some plans taking decades to complete.

That has frustrated those who see the plans as necessary for improving recreation and increasing tourism in their communities, and one DEC official says the state is now taking a different look at how to plan for managing the Forest Preserve.  Go to full article
The New York Air Brake industrial site has been the subject of resurgent concern for north side residents in Watertown. Photo: Joanna Richards

DEC: We'll keep talking with Air Brake neighbors

At a packed public meeting November 7 in Watertown, state environmental and health officials spoke with members of the public concerned about pollution on the city's north...  Go to full article
Photo: <a href="">ehpien</a>, CC <a href="">some rights reserved</a>

Syracuse company looks to get in on Greek Yogurt boom

The yogurt industry in Upstate New York is getting attention as a bright spot in the region's lackluster economy. Byrne Dairy, based in Syracuse, is looking to get in on the...  Go to full article
Shannon Taylor & Alix Sideris. Photo: Trudie Lee

Theatre Review: "Pride and Prejudice" in Ottawa

"Pride and Prejudice," a co-production of the National Arts Centre English Theatre and Theatre Calgary, is running at the NAC through December 8. This world premiere...  Go to full article
40-year-old azalea in full bloom for the holidays. Photo: Martha Foley

Flowers for indoors: old favorites, and new

Snow and cold spell the end of the season for outdoor flowers. But there are ways to get some fresh color and blossoms indoors. Cooperative Extension horticulturist Amy Ivy...  Go to full article