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NCPR News Staff: Brian Mann
News Reporter and Adirondack Bureau Chief

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The Minerva Central School District will now have to scramble to make deep cuts before next school year.  Photo:  Minerva Central School District
The Minerva Central School District will now have to scramble to make deep cuts before next school year. Photo: Minerva Central School District

Minerva school budget falls short for third time

For the third time, the Minerva school budget has failed to win approval with voters.

After a second re-vote yesterday, the district in the eastern Adirondacks will now be forced to adopt a sharply reduced "contingency" budget.  Go to full article
Sabrina Jones translates the history and statistics of America's era of mass incarceration into a graphic, sometimes claustrophobic story. Image: Sabrina Jones
Sabrina Jones translates the history and statistics of America's era of mass incarceration into a graphic, sometimes claustrophobic story. Image: Sabrina Jones

A graphic account of America's love affair with prisons

One of the most complicated issues to talk about, here in the North Country and across the US, is our nation's massive prison system. America incarcerates far more individuals than any other nation on earth, far outstripping countries like China and Russia. It's a thorny topic that tangles up everything from race relations to small-town economies to our ideas about justice and drug addiction.

Sabrina Jones is a political artist who spends each summer in Saratoga County and she'll speak tonight at at 7:30 pm at Bluseed Studio in Saranac Lake. Jones uses comic books to capture the complicated, painful history of America's four-decade long era of mass incarceration.  Go to full article
Anne LaBastille was a celebrated Adirondack author and activist.  She passed away in 2011.
Anne LaBastille was a celebrated Adirondack author and activist. She passed away in 2011.

LaBastille's "Woodswoman" cabin will be preserved

The Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake announced over the weekend that it will preserve the cabin built by Anne LaBastille.

LaBastille's book "Woodswoman" was published in 1976 and established her as a prominent North Country voice.

She wrote about her experiences living alone at Twitchell Lake in the western Adirondacks and about her support for conservation of wild lands in the Park.

LaBastille died in 2011 at the age of 75 after moving to Westport and then to Plattsburgh.

The Adirondack Museum now plans to bring the cabin to Blue Mountain Lake and make it a part of the museum's permanent display.  Go to full article
Cathy Dove will take over as president of Paul Smiths College September 1. Photo provided
Cathy Dove will take over as president of Paul Smiths College September 1. Photo provided

Paul Smiths College names woman as 10th president

Paul Smiths College has chosen Cathy Dove, vice president of Cornell NYC Tech in New York City, to serve as the tenth president of Paul Smith's College.

According to a statement released Monday morning, Dove will begin at the Adirondack college September 1st.

She follows John Mills, who served as president for ten years.  Go to full article
Trevor Sisto, age 20, of Fort Covington NY has been charged with numerous felonies following last week's deadly crash.  Photo:  Lake Placid Village Police Department via Lake Placid News
Trevor Sisto, age 20, of Fort Covington NY has been charged with numerous felonies following last week's deadly crash. Photo: Lake Placid Village Police Department via Lake Placid News

Police say deadly Lake Placid car chase handled properly

State Police and the Police Chief in Lake Placid say a high-speed car chase that ended in a fatal accident last week in the Adirondacks was handled properly.

The crash on Rt. 86 in Ray Brook left a Potsdam couple dead and their eleven-year-old daughter with serious injuries.

In the days since the accident, questions have circulated in social media about whether police made a mistake in pursuing Trevor Sisto, age 20, who was fleeing a hit-and-run accident in Lake Placid.  Go to full article
Major Richard Smith, commander of New York State Police Troop B in Ray Brook, spoke at a press conference Friday afternoon.  Photo:  Brian Mann
Major Richard Smith, commander of New York State Police Troop B in Ray Brook, spoke at a press conference Friday afternoon. Photo: Brian Mann

Was reckless driver in crash that killed Potsdam couple suicidal?

At a press conference Friday afternoon in Lake Placid, State Police said that 20-year-old Trevor Sisto of Fort Covington had spoken of suicide before Thursday's deadly crash.

Sisto, now in custody being held on $200,000 bail, has been charged with felony counts of unlawfully fleeing a Police Officer and driving while ability impaired by drugs.

He was also ticketed for reckless driving, failure to keep right and speeding. State police say more charges are pending.

Sisto crashed into a car in Ray Brook, New York, killing a Potsdam couple and seriously injuring their daughter.

"There has been some information shared with us relative to [SIsto] making general suicidal ideation in the not too distant pat," said Major Richard Smith, State Police commander for Troop B headquartered in Ray Brook.

Major Smith said that mind-set might have contributed to "the mindset that went into this reckless and erratic behavior.

He added that after being arrested, Sisto allegedly expressed regret that he hadn't killed any police officers during Thursday's chase.  Go to full article
Dr. Mara Smith thinks her "Athlete Minder" is a perfect new start-up for Lake Placid.  But she needs investors to move forward.  Photo:  Brian Mann
Dr. Mara Smith thinks her "Athlete Minder" is a perfect new start-up for Lake Placid. But she needs investors to move forward. Photo: Brian Mann

Can we end the North Country's investment drought?

Today in Washington DC, the Obama administration is hosting a conference designed to convince more investors to back entrepreneurs, start-ups and infrastructure projects in rural America.

As part of that effort, the White House is unveiling a new $10 billion private investment fund aimed at financing more projects in small towns.

That effort follows years of concern from economists and rural policy experts, who say a kind of capital drought is stifling growth in rural areas.

The fear is that even many good ideas aren't getting funded in small town regions like the North Country, because most of the investment dollars are flowing to cities and suburbs.  Go to full article
Spiny water fleas. Photo: National Park Service
Spiny water fleas. Photo: National Park Service

Gunky, icky spiny water flea spreads in Adirondacks

Scientists and activists studying invasive species say the spiny water flea is spreading to more lakes in the Adirondack Park.

The organism had already been found in Great Sacandaga and Lake George. This summer, the invasive creature was found in Lake Pleasant and Piseco Lake.  Go to full article
Is there a pond out there calling you to cool off? Brian Mann in Bone Pond. Photo: Brian Mann
Is there a pond out there calling you to cool off? Brian Mann in Bone Pond. Photo: Brian Mann

Adirondack Summer 101: Pond swimming!

One of our Adirondack Bureau Chief Brian Mann's assignments is to bring details of his beat to the larger regional audience. So we can forgive him when he turns a long lunch hour into a chance to bag a new pond for a cooling swim - especially if we get some vicarious enjoyment out of it. On a hot, muggy day last July, he sent this quick postcard from Bone Pond, near Tupper Lake. Today seems like a perfect day to go there again.  Go to full article
Governor Andrew Cuomo and Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin at Gore Mountain in North Creek on Sunday.  Photo: Brian Mann
Governor Andrew Cuomo and Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin at Gore Mountain in North Creek on Sunday. Photo: Brian Mann

NY, Vermont governors tout Adirondacks as "must-see"

Last year, Governor Andrew Cuomo drew then-New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to the North Country for his first-annual Adirondack Challenge.

This year, the governor invited Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin as well as New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver to take part in the event.

Under bluebird skies, dozens of politicians, business leaders, and state officials visited Indian Lake and North Creek, hiking, paddling, golfing, fly-fishing and touring on motorcycles.

Local officials inside the blue line say it was a remarkable opportunity to spread the word about the Park's attractions.  Go to full article

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Brian Mann. Nancie Battaglia photo

Brian Mann
grew up in Alaska, where he fell in love with public radio. In 1999, Brian moved to the Adirondacks and helped launch NCPR's news bureau at Paul Smiths College. "I love the chemistry of water and mountains," Brian says. "But I'm also pretty crazy about village life in the north country. It's the kind of place where you know your neighbors." Brian lives in Saranac Lake with wife Susan and son Nicholas. He's a frequent contributor to NPR and also writes regularly for regional magazines, including Adirondack Life and the Adirondack Explorer.

Recent Brian Mann stories carried by NPR:

July 24, 2014 | NCPR · Small-town startups often struggle to attract serious investors. But efforts are under way to help entrepreneurs outside the urban beltway find financing.
 
AP
December 16, 2013 | NPR · Forty seven people died in July when a freight train derailed and dozens of tanks carrying oil exploded and caught fire. Much of Lac-Megantic was leveled. For the first time since then, freight cars will travel through this week. Officials say they'll only carry "dry goods." Residents are worried.
 
NCPR
August 28, 2013 | NPR · For the last four decades the Rockefeller Drug Laws have been impacting many in upstate New York. North Country Public Radio undertook an ambitious reporting project to tell this national story throughout this year, which marks the 40th anniversary of the Rockefeller Laws.
 
July 26, 2013 | NPR · More than two weeks after a fiery train crash left 47 dead in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, the town's center remains in shambles, while a criminal investigation and lawsuits are underway.
 
Getty Images
February 14, 2013 | NCPR · Forty years ago, New York enacted tough laws in response to a wave of drug-related crime. They became known as the Rockefeller drug laws, and they set the standard for states looking to get tough on crime. But a new debate is under way over the effectiveness of such strict sentencing laws.
 
Courtesy of Yvonne Prendes
February 14, 2013 | NCPR · George Prendes was 23 when he was sentenced under New York's Rockefeller drug laws — tough mandatory sentencing guidelines for nonviolent drug crimes. The 15 years Prendes served for a drug transaction still reverberate for him and his family.
 
November 4, 2012 | NPR · As New York City's first responders begin to show fatigue, and in many cases deal with losses of their own homes, replacement crews of firefighters are getting ready to roll into Manhattan and Long Island. Among them are a group of firefighters from a small rural fire station in the mountains of upstate New York.
 
August 29, 2012 | NCPR · New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is expected to decide soon whether to allow natural gas companies to use the controversial drilling technique known as hydro-fracking. New Yorkers are sharply divided on the issue. Industry groups and activists are campaigning hard to shape how the decision will be received.
 
May 28, 2012 | NCPR · Farm worker advocates and top Obama administration officials have been pushing hard for new regulations that would improve safety for teenagers working on farms. But facing fierce opposition from the agriculture industry and its allies in Congress, the Department of Labor abruptly withdrew a set of rules that advocates said could save dozens of lives every year.
 
istockphoto.com
April 30, 2012 | NPR · The Obama administration backed off a proposal to restrict kids under 16 from working on farms after a major push by conservatives and farm state Democrats. But farmers themselves weren't too happy about the restrictions, either.