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NCPR News Staff: Chris Morris

Tri-Lakes Correspondent

Stories filed by Chris Morris

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Forest ranger Capt. John Streiff, right, checks a hallway at the W. Alton Jones Cell Science Center before continuing a search for a shooter during a training session Thursday. Photo: Chris Morris via <a href="http://www.adirondackdailyenterprise.com/">Adirondack Daily Enterprise</a>
Forest ranger Capt. John Streiff, right, checks a hallway at the W. Alton Jones Cell Science Center before continuing a search for a shooter during a training session Thursday. Photo: Chris Morris via Adirondack Daily Enterprise

North Country law enforcement trains for shooting incidents

Police and emergency personnel gathered in Lake Placid last week to learn some critical skills and techniques for responding to an active shooting incident.

Law enforcement agencies from across the North Country took part in the training sessions, which were held at the former W. Alton Jones Cell Science Center in Lake Placid. Participants included members of New York State Police; the Essex, Clinton and Franklin County sheriff's departments; Tupper Lake, Saranac Lake and Lake Placid police departments; and state environmental conservation officers and forest rangers.  Go to full article
Nearly 100 people attended a special meeting on New York's new gun law Monday night at the old Essex County courthouse in Elizabethtown. The Board of Supervisors passed a resolution calling for repeal of the Secure Ammunitions and Firearms Enforcement (SAFE) Act. Photo: Chris Morris, courtesy of <em>Adirondack Daily Enterprise</em>
Nearly 100 people attended a special meeting on New York's new gun law Monday night at the old Essex County courthouse in Elizabethtown. The Board of Supervisors passed a resolution calling for repeal of the Secure Ammunitions and Firearms Enforcement (SAFE) Act. Photo: Chris Morris, courtesy of Adirondack Daily Enterprise

Essex County calls for SAFE Act repeal

Essex County wants the state to repeal the Secure Ammunitions and Firearms Enforcement, or NY SAFE, Act and replace it with measures that are fully vetted by the public.

A resolution demanding the repeal of the new gun law passed 15-2 after a two-and-a-half-hour special meeting at the county courthouse Monday night. A second resolution opposing a proposed bill that would require gun owners to purchase $1 million liability insurance policies passed unanimously.

Essex County joins a growing legion of counties and other municipalities that want the state to repeal the much-maligned law. North Country lawmakers say it's unlikely that the law will be repealed since it had such overwhelming support in the Assembly.  Go to full article
This is an outrageous hit at these agencies who...help so many disabled people.

Proposed state cuts could hurt North Country agencies

Agencies that provide services to people with developmental disabilities are getting support from North Country lawmakers in their fight to prevent huge cuts to their programs.

Governor Andrew Cuomo recently proposed a $240 million cut to the state Office for People with Developmental Disabilities, which would trickle down to the private and nonprofit agencies that work with the developmentally challenged.

Many of these programs, such as the Adirondack Arc and Mountain Lake Services, have already endured painful cuts in the last several budget cycles.

If this latest round of cuts is approved, it could have a devastating impact.  Go to full article
Randy Douglas heads the Essex County board of supervisors
Randy Douglas heads the Essex County board of supervisors

North Country counties move to oppose SAFE Act

Update, 1:30pm: Franklin County legislators passed a resolution Thursday morning opposing the SAFE Act.

Jefferson County is the latest North Country government to pass a resolution opposing New York's SAFE Act.

The Essex County Board of Supervisors also plans to take a stance on New York's new gun law, but not before lawmakers take the time to review it and draft a detailed response. Meanwhile, neighboring Franklin County legislators personally oppose the gun law but plan to hold public meetings on it before adopting a position.

These are two of only a few counties statewide that haven't passed formal resolutions opposing the Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act.  Go to full article
A home wrecked by Tropical Storm Irene in the town of Keene. Photo: Susan Waters
A home wrecked by Tropical Storm Irene in the town of Keene. Photo: Susan Waters

FEMA approves buyout of 26 Irene-damaged properties in Essex County

More than two dozen property owners may sell their homes to Essex County as part of a federal buyout program nearly 19 months after Tropical Storm Irene tore through the Adirondacks.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has informed Essex County that 26 properties deemed "substantially damaged" by Irene have received final approval for the buyout program. The project is expected to cost more than $3.5 million, and FEMA has agreed to pay about 75 percent of the cost.  Go to full article
NY State Sen. Betty Little. NCPR File Photo: Mark Kurtz
NY State Sen. Betty Little. NCPR File Photo: Mark Kurtz

Battle over Women's Equality Act heats up

As the gun control debate continues to dominate political discourse state- and nationwide, a stepped-up battle over abortion here in New York isn't getting as much attention.

In his 2013 State of the State address, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo made a passionate appeal to the legislature to pass his Women's Equality Act, a 10-point proposal that includes enactment of the Reproductive Health Act. But so far, Cuomo hasn't put forth his version of the bill, leaving people on both sides of the abortion debate wondering what, exactly, the governor will propose.

In the meantime, discussion about the Senate's version of the bill has ramped up.  Go to full article
Former Plattsburgh Assemblyman Chris Ortloff
Former Plattsburgh Assemblyman Chris Ortloff

ORDA removes plaque honoring disgraced official Ortloff

Chris Ortloff's plaque has been removed from the Lake Placid Hall of Fame.

Ortloff is a former state Assemblyman, reporter and state Parole Board member who was convicted of federal coercion and enticement charges in 2010 after he was arrested in a sting operation. Ortloff had arranged to meet who he thought were two underage girls at an Albany area hotel for a sexual tryst.

Ortloff was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1998 for his contribution to the 1980 Olympic Games, which were held in Lake Placid. Up until last week, a plaque and a tribute on ORDA's website could still be viewed by the public.  Go to full article
U.S. Rep. Bill Owens.
U.S. Rep. Bill Owens.

Owens wants incremental approach to gun control

As gun control talks continue in Washington, the North Country's representative in the House thinks Congress should tread carefully on a matter he says has far-reaching constitutional implications.

Congressman Bill Owens said recently that gun control efforts should start by focusing on areas of common interest, like expanded background checks for gun buyers. The Democrat from Plattsburgh believes that some of the other issues being discussed on the national level, like tighter restrictions on assault weapons, are too volatile, and it makes sense to move forward with less controversial issues.  Go to full article
D.J. O'Neill of Lake Placid, with his Cessna 185 Skywagon I and his dogs Chaka and Zozo, flies his airplane to locations throughout the Northeast to rescue dogs and bring them to no-kill shelters or adoptive families. Photo: Chris Morris, courtesy <a href="http://www.adirondackdailyenterprise.com/"><em>Adirondack Daily Enterprise</em></a>
D.J. O'Neill of Lake Placid, with his Cessna 185 Skywagon I and his dogs Chaka and Zozo, flies his airplane to locations throughout the Northeast to rescue dogs and bring them to no-kill shelters or adoptive families. Photo: Chris Morris, courtesy Adirondack Daily Enterprise

Lake Placid pilot rescues dogs from the air

A dog is a man's best friend, as the saying goes, and a Lake Placid pilot is doing his best to return the favor.

When he's not working on his patients' teeth at High Peaks Dental in Lake Placid, 48-year-old D.J. O'Neill takes to the skies in his single-propeller airplane - a red and white Cessna 185 Skywagon I, to be exact - to rescue dogs from animal shelters in other parts of the U.S.  Go to full article
US Sen. Charles Schumer. File photo: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/propublica/">Propublica </a>CC <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/deed.en">some rights reserved</a>
US Sen. Charles Schumer. File photo: Propublica CC some rights reserved

Schumer would crack down on oft-abused painkiller hydrocodone

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer wants the federal Food and Drug Administration to make it harder for people to get painkillers that contain hydrocodone.

Hydrocodone is one of the most heavily prescribed drugs in New York state and nationwide. It's a popular and effective painkiller, but according to the Upstate New York Poison Control Center, it was named in more than 12,800 cases of prescription drug abuse in 2011.

Schumer wants it included in the FDA's Schedule II drug list, joining morphine, methamphetamine and amphetamine.  Go to full article

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