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NCPR News Staff: Brian Mann

Adirondack Bureau Chief
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. E-mail

Stories filed by Brian Mann

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U.S. Rep. Bill Owens (D-Plattsburgh)
U.S. Rep. Bill Owens (D-Plattsburgh)

Owens votes for highway funds

North Country Congressman Bill Owens voted yesterday in favor of a short-term spending plan that would replenish the national Highway Trust Fund.  Go to full article
This 200-acre parcel of forest preserve land known as Lot 8 is likely to be mined under a deal approved by voters in November.  Photo: Dan Plumley, Adirondack Wild
This 200-acre parcel of forest preserve land known as Lot 8 is likely to be mined under a deal approved by voters in November. Photo: Dan Plumley, Adirondack Wild

Judge puts temporary halt on NYCO dig in Adirondack Park

A mining operation set to begin as early as tomorrow in the Jay Mountain Wilderness in the Adirondacks has been stopped by a New York state judge.

The temporary halt on NYCO Minerals' operation in the town of Lewis comes in response to a lawsuit filed by green groups who say the project needs more environmental review.  Go to full article
DEC Commissioner Joe Martens hauls a canoe over one of the carry trails between the Essex Chain Lakes.  Photo:  Brian Mann
DEC Commissioner Joe Martens hauls a canoe over one of the carry trails between the Essex Chain Lakes. Photo: Brian Mann

New to explore in the Adirondacks: the Essex Chain Lakes

This is the final week for public comment on the new management plan for the Essex Chain Lakes in the central Adirondacks.

The 11,000-acre chunk of wild forest and lakes near the town of Newcomb is part of the massive Finch Pruyn conservation deal that has expanded the Park's public land.

State officials are hoping the Essex Chain will offer a popular new alternative for paddlers and hikers and anglers, drawing more visitors to a part of the Park that often sees little traffic.

Our Adirondack bureau chief Brian Mann made the trip last week and has our story.  Go to full article
Brett Lawson, superintendent at NYCO Minerals' Lewis mine, points in June 2013 toward a 200-acre parcel of state-owned land, above and behind the rock wall, where the company wants to mine Wollastonite. Also pictured, from left, are NYCO employees Dawn Revette and Brian Shutts. Photo by Chris Knight, Adirondack Daily Enterprise
Brett Lawson, superintendent at NYCO Minerals' Lewis mine, points in June 2013 toward a 200-acre parcel of state-owned land, above and behind the rock wall, where the company wants to mine Wollastonite. Also pictured, from left, are NYCO employees Dawn Revette and Brian Shutts. Photo by Chris Knight, Adirondack Daily Enterprise

Some green groups turn to courts in Adirondack fight

Four environmental groups say they plan to sue in state court to stop a mining project proposed for the Jay Mountain Wilderness in the Adirondacks.

NYCO Minerals already has mining and processing operations in the Champlain Valley towns of Lewis and Willsboro.

They hope to conduct a series of test drills this summer, searching for a new vein of a mineral called Wollastonite. But green groups say state officials need to do a more thorough environmental review before digging begins.

This latest lawsuit reflects growing tension between some environmental activists and the Cuomo administration over management of the Adirondack Park.  Go to full article
The driver "reportedly became drowsy" before the fatal accident.

Watertown: infant's death blamed on fatigued driving

State police say a car accident on I-81 near Watertown early Saturday morning claimed the life of a five-month-old child.

According to a statement, officials are blaming the accident on "drowsy" driving.

"Investigation revealed that 21 year old Quartez Smith...reportedly became drowsy," police said. "His vehicle, a 2003 Chevy Trailblazer, left the roadway and traveled into the median striking an earth embankment."

After flying airborne, the vehicle struck a portable DOT sign, then overturned several times before coming to a rest in the median.

Smith and two adult passengers were transported to Samaritan Medical Center, where they were treated for minor injuries, according to police.

The infant was airlifted to a hospital in Syracuse, but was later pronounced deceased.

The family, from Virginia, was traveling through the North Country after visiting relatives in London, Ontario.

According to State Police, an investigation of the accident is still underway. They say they were asisted by Jefferson County Sheriff's officers, the Watertown Fire Department, as well as other emergency crews.  Go to full article
NYCO's Mark Buckley points to the border between mine-owned lands and the state forest preserve.  Photo: Brian Mann
NYCO's Mark Buckley points to the border between mine-owned lands and the state forest preserve. Photo: Brian Mann

Green groups plan to sue over NYCO Adirondack mining

A coalition of green groups, including two based in the Adirondacks, say they will file legal action to block "exploratory drilling" in the forest preserve.

The groups planned to hold a press conference Friday afternoon in Albany to detail their concerns.  Go to full article
Gore Mountain is an anchor for Warren County's winter economy. Photo: Gore Mountain website
Gore Mountain is an anchor for Warren County's winter economy. Photo: Gore Mountain website

Comptroller: Olympic authority needs "fiscal balance"

A new report issued this week by New York's state Comptroller office is aiming fire at the business and accounting practices of the Olympic Regional Development Authority.

That's the state-owned enterprise that operates sports and tourism venues in the Adirondacks and Catskills.

The audit found that ORDA is losing money and is often forced to borrow cash to pay for basic operations.  Go to full article

Adirondack train route to rail-trail conversation

There was dramatic news yesterday afternoon from Albany. State officials announced that they will formally reopen the unit management plan for the historic rail corridor that stretches through the Adirondacks from Old Forge to Lake Placid.

But the Cuomo administration also took a surprise step, proposing a concept that would effectively divide the corridor in half. The section from Old Forge to Tupper Lake would be maintained as a tourism railroad, with new investment from New York state.

The section from Tupper Lake to Lake Placid, however, would be converted into a multi-use rail-trail for hikers, skiers and snowmobile riders. Martha Foley and Brian Mann talked about the plan Thursday morning on the 8 O'clock Hour.  Go to full article
If the concept unveiled today by state officials is adopted, trains would no longer run to Saranac Lake's station (seen here) or to Lake Placid.  Train service might eventually be offered as far north as Tupper Lake.  Photo:  Susan Waters
If the concept unveiled today by state officials is adopted, trains would no longer run to Saranac Lake's station (seen here) or to Lake Placid. Train service might eventually be offered as far north as Tupper Lake. Photo: Susan Waters

State may convert section of Adirondack train route to rail-trail

State officials say they plan to reopen the planning process for the historic railroad track from Old Forge to Lake Placid.

In a statement released Wednesday afternoon, state Transportation and Environment commissioners also said they would consider converting a large segment of the historic train route to a "rail-to-trail" system.

If the proposal goes forward, tracks along the stretch from Tupper Lake to Lake Placid, via Saranac Lake, would be removed and replaced with a trail surface.

"In response to public interest, we are reopening the Unit Management Plan, providing new opportunities to engage local communities and support the regional economy as we plan for the corridor's future," said DOT Commissioner Joan McDonald in a statement.  Go to full article

Hudson rafting company troubles

The Glens Falls Post Star is reporting this morning that the brakes may have failed on a tubing company tour bus over the weekend, leading to the death of a 15-year-old boy.

According to the newspaper, the man driving the bus told authorities that the brakes failed as he tried to slow on a turn.  Go to full article

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