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Special Reports

IED
Audio Slideshow:
Soldiers learn to spot IEDs at Ft. Drum
Improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, kill more American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan than any other weapon. David Sommerstein visits a hands-on IED training exhibit at Fort Drum near Watertown.
amish school
Audio Slideshow:
Ian Coristine: Thousand Islands photographer
Todd Moe visits photographer Ian Coristine on Raleigh Island, his seasonal home. River residents and visitors have probably seen Coristine aloft in his red ultralight aircraft searching the Thousand Islands for the perfect photo.
oiled heron
Audio Slideshow:
The Slick of '76: Looking Back and Forward
This summer marks the 30th anniversary of the “Slick of ‘76,” a 300,000-gallon oil spill in the heart of the Thousand Islands. The event re-shaped the way a generation views its relationship to the river. David Sommerstein reports.
prairie smoke
Audio Slideshow:
Chaumont Barrens: the North Country's Prairie
David Sommerstein takes a nature walk on this unique Nature Conservancy land that contains some of the nation's easternmost prairie habitat.
La Duchesse
Audio Slideshow:
Aboad La Duchesse in Clayton
La Duchesse is a 110-foot Gilded Age treasure that's become the crown jewel of the Antique Boat Museum's collection in Clayton. Todd Moe tours the historic houseboat.
La Duchesse
Audio Slideshow:
At a Grindstone Island Square Dance
Only 11 people live on Grindstone all winter, but when the weather changes, families who’ve spent generations of summers there return. On Saturday nights, the place to be is the big dance at Dodge Hall, especially when some fiddlers and callers get together for an old-fashioned square dance.
Audio Slideshow
Preserving the Indian River Lakes
Between the high profile destinations of the Thousand Islands and the Adirondacks, there's a hidden gem of a region. It's called the Indian River Lakes. David SOmmerstein sends an audio postcard.
Audio Slideshow
Iraq Through a Camera Lens: Watertown Daily Times Photojournalist Mark Dye
Mark Dye, a photojournalist with the Watertown Daily Times, spent a month in Baghdad earlier this winter. He was embedded with troops from Fort Drum, and sent daily photos and stories documenting the lives of soldiers and civilians in Iraq.
Audio Slideshow
Kayaking: The Blackwater Challenge
The U.S. Freestyle Kayaking Team trials in preparation for the world championships this winter in Australia, was held on the "Route 3 Wave" on the Black River near Watertown. Kayakers have 45 seconds to add up points for each trick they make. If the whitewater flushes them downriver, they can paddle their way back to the wave until time runs out. David Sommerstein reports.
Animated Film Videos & Audio Slideshow
Art Without Borders: Carmen D'Avino
Carmen D’Avino began his career as a painter in the 1930s. He’s been a World War II military filmmaker, a sculptor, and an avant-guarde animator in New York City. For many years he lived in an old farmhouse in Hammond. David Sommerstein stopped by for a visit. This special report features nine videos of D'Avino's film work, most unavailable anywhere for decades. The artist died later in 2004.
Audio Slideshow
The Joy of Junk: Beachcombing with Captain Honk
A North Country angler and artist who spends most of his time on Lake Ontario turns junk found along the shoreline into fish sculptures. It's just one of the hobbies that keeps Tom Bintz, aka Captain Honk, busy as he divides his time between fishing, travel, art and demolition derby competitions.
Photo/Audio Essay
Inside Dark Island's Castle
On the St. Lawrence River near Chippewa Bay, a representative for the buyers of Dark Island and its historic castle gave David Sommerstein a peek of what visitors could see as early as next summer.
Photo: United Way of Northern New York
Photo: United Way of Northern New York

Why United Way donations are down, and what the fix might be

The United Way is one of America's largest charitable organizations, helping to sustain thousands of small nonprofits that in turn help millions of people.

But the Northern New York chapter of the United Way is needing some help itself. Its mid-year fundraising totals show significant declines in giving from last year in Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties.  Go to full article
A ground-based missile interceptor is lowered into its silo at Fort Greely, Alaska. Photo: US Dept. of Defense

Fort Drum short-listed for East Coast missile defense site

The Defense Department has named Fort Drum as one of four military installations to house a possible East Coast missile defense facility.

The decision narrows the number of locations being considered from 10 to four. The Defense Department stresses that no decision has yet been made about whether the facility will actually be built.  Go to full article
The North Country Family Health Center - formerly the North Country Children's Clinic - is restructuring to ensure long-term financial stability. Photo: Joanna Richards

Children's clinic taking steps toward financial health

A clinic in Watertown that serves many needy children is taking steps toward better financial health after nearly closing abruptly in October.

The North Country Family Health Center - formerly the North Country Children's Clinic - unveiled a plan Monday to help it stay in business long-term. The plan includes common-sense measures like consolidating management jobs, leaving vacant positions unfilled, and taking advantage of quality improvement incentive programs to gain higher reimbursement rates from Medicaid. Five workers are also being laid off.  Go to full article

Rival company to buy Watertown employer Stream Global Services

Reuters is reporting the call center Stream in Watertown will change hands when its parent company is bought by a rival. It's not clear what effect that might have on the 700...  Go to full article
CenterState CEO presented their economic development plan at Clarkson last month. Photo: Sarah Harris

Is this really a biz plan for the North Country?

Last month Centerstate CEO, a Syracuse-based economic development group, released a plan for a region they call central New York. It stretches from the Finger Lakes to...  Go to full article
The Family Counseling Service is the second Watertown health care nonprofit to get a financial bailout in recent months. Photo: Joanna Richards

Counseling service latest Watertown health care provider to get a lifeline

The North Country Family Health Center, in Watertown, is still working to gain long-term financial stability after nearly closing in October. Now, another Watertown health...  Go to full article
The 10th Mountain Division's Headquarters in the field during the division-wide Mountain Peak training exercise at Fort Drum, August, 2012. Photo: Joanna Richards

Drum numbers likely dropping, but no cause for alarm

The Watertown area's economy is heavily dependent on Fort Drum. With the federal budget sequester on and the Afghanistan war winding down, the numbers of soldiers assigned to...  Go to full article
New development will take place on the site of the former Mercy Hospital on Stone St. in Watertown.

$81.3 million for the North Country

The big news across this region today is about money, and local hopes for what state support will do for their communities.
The North Country was awarded 81.3 million...  Go to full article
Culture of clostridium botulinum, which produces the botulism toxins. Photo courtesy of Larry Stauffer, Oregon State Public Health Laboratory. Creative Commons. Some rights reserved.

Botulism kills hundreds of loons in Lake Ontario

Type E Botulism, a disease caused by a toxic bacteria, is back in Lake Ontario. And over the last month or so, it's killed several hundred loons, ducks and other birds....  Go to full article
Cars lunder lake-effect snow. Archive Poto of the Day, Stephen Diehl, Antwerp, NY

Parts of upstate NY getting lake-effect snow

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) More than a foot of snow has fallen in towns south of Buffalo and more is expected as sections of upstate New York get a wintry blast from lake-effect...  Go to full article

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