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NCPR News Staff: Martha Foley

News and Public Affairs Director
Martha Foley joined the staff of WSLU as morning host in 1981, after a stint at The St. Lawrence Plaindealer. She helped found the news department in 1982, and has seen it grow, and shrink, and grow again. "I especially liked the 'grow again' part," she says, "it means working with really talented reporters, telling more and more stories from around the North Country."

Martha has won state and national awards for her reporting and editing. She has encouraged local news at public radio stations across the country as a member and director of Public Radio News Directors, Inc., an organization of over 100 local newsrooms. As a director of PRNDI for six years, she was responsible for The PRNDI Project, an annual training program for young reporters, and NewsWorks, training for station news departments.

Martha grew up on an Adirondack foothill in northeastern Saratoga County. She lives just south of Canton with her husband, boatbuilder Everett Smith, and her teenaged son, Emmett. Favorite pastimes: sitting, looking, and listening. E-mail

Stories filed by Martha Foley

The tap...
The tap...

Listen: In Canton, tapping trees for syrup

The immediate forecast isn't ideal for making maple syrup, but it's coming: that combination of cold nights, warm days and sunshine. Chickadees get busy, and the sap rises.

Whether your operation includes a bulk holding tank and miles of plastic tubing, or just a few buckets hanging off the trees in the backyard, it all starts the same way, with a strategically placed hole in a sugar maple.

Today's Heard Up North was first broadcast in March 2010.  Go to full article
Ecologist and film maker John D. Liu. Photo: Screen shot from Liu documentary <a href=""><em>Green Gold</em></a>
Ecologist and film maker John D. Liu. Photo: Screen shot from Liu documentary Green Gold

Environmental filmmaker chases the biggest story

Filmmaker and ecologist John D. Liu is in the North Country this week. He's meeting with students and giving a talk "Choosing the Pathway to Sustainability: Ecological Restoration" at Clarkson University, St. Lawrence University and Paul Smith's College.

Liu is an American who lives in China. As a journalist, he covered some of the really big geopolitical stories of our time: the normalization of relations with China, and the collapse of the Soviet Union. He worked for CBS News for 10 years, and left there in 1990.

He's concentrated on ecological film making since the mid-1990s. He's written, produced and directed films on grasslands and deserts, stories where the interaction of people and the land has not worked so well--ruined landscapes and also their restoration.  Go to full article
Wait a little longer for the intense cold to pass before pruning. Photo: <a href="">Andrew Fogg</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
Wait a little longer for the intense cold to pass before pruning. Photo: Andrew Fogg, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Gardening: Is it too soon to prune?

Martha Foley and Cornell Cooperative Extension horticulturalist Amy Ivy talk about what it is, and isn't, safe to do in your garden this early in a very chilly year, and how to simulate spring indoors.  Go to full article

PRNDI 2014 - CONTINUING COVERAGE - North Country reaction to New York's SAFE Act

New York's legislature passed the SAFE Act, one of the strictest gun control measures in the nation, Jan 15, 2013, just weeks after the deadly shootings in Newtown, Conn. It phases in a total ban on assault rifles and large ammunition clips. It also establishes strict new rules for buying and selling guns and ammunition in New York.
Pressure from the governor's office to pass the bill was intense. Reaction to its accelerated passage was also intense, and deeply divided across the state.

North Country Public Radio's listening area is largely rural, and gun ownership is common. There are over 200 small gun retailers. Hunting and hunting clubs are a way of life for many families here. We tracked the implications of the SAFE Act's provisions for the region's culture, economy, and politics.

Reactions in the region ranged from personal to conceptual, (as did our stories) with a preponderance of opposition to the law. In the months that followed its passage, several of our country legislatures called for its repeal. The New York State Sheriffs' Association and five individual sheriffs joined a lawsuit seeking to block enforcement of sections of the new law. More than one of our county sheriffs questioned whether he would enforce it locally.

We have not included other SAFE Act stories with a primarily broader, statewide focus in this entry.

Food from the Farm: Eating Local in the North Country takes place Saturday, March 1, 2-5 pm in the Plattsburgh City Gym. Photo: Cornell Cooperative Extension
Food from the Farm: Eating Local in the North Country takes place Saturday, March 1, 2-5 pm in the Plattsburgh City Gym. Photo: Cornell Cooperative Extension

Plattsburgh event showcases local food, even in the dead of winter

Most gardens are a long way from yielding those delicious spring and summer veggies, but you could still make a meal of the food on offer from professional growers, livestock farmers, brewers and vintners. Not to mention maple syrup makers.

The annual "Food from the Farm" event in Plattsburgh on Sat., March 1, will showcase the food, and the farmers.  Go to full article

Murrow Overall Excellence 2014

RTDNA 2014 North Country Pubic Radio - overall excellence
Audio rundown:

00:00 - Train tanker cars that exploded in Lac Megantic "inadequate" - 10-01-2013 - full hard news feature - also part of our continuing coverage submission

08:34 - Should an AK-47 be legal? Listen for yourself - 01-31-2013 - full hard news feature- also in newscast submission

13:58 - Food, politics, and The Big Four at Farm Aid - 09-23-2013 - edited soft feature -

21:08 - Why do we elect a coroner, anyway? - 10-31-2013 - full news feature - local election coverage

25:19 - Heard Up North: the guy who painted the Thousand Islands Bridge - 04-03-2013 - Heard Up Norths are an ongoing series of slice-of-life mini-features

27:19 - Dying inmates in NY struggle to get home - 11-07-2013 - full investigative feature (part of Prison Time Media Project)

36:16 - daily newscast, 8 O'clock Hour - 01-31-2013 (16:33)  Go to full article
If you could actually see the little suckers, this is what a fungus gnat would look like. You're welcome. Photo: <a href="">Peter Ruhr</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
If you could actually see the little suckers, this is what a fungus gnat would look like. You're welcome. Photo: Peter Ruhr, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Those annoying little bugs aren't fruitflies, they're fungus gnats. Here's how to get rid of them.

The little things flying randomly around your office? They're most likely fungus gnats, an annoying pest that lives in the soil of potted plants. They eat fungus in the soil, and overwatering gives them a lovely habitat to thrive in.

Cooperative Extension horticulturist Amy Ivy says fungus gnats aren't much of the threat to the plant, and there are ways to control them.  Go to full article
Martha Foley's perennials. Photo: Martha Foley
Martha Foley's perennials. Photo: Martha Foley

How to build a perennial garden

The catalog pages picturing masses of colorful perennial flowers can be exciting. But creating your own flower beds can be a daunting prospect. Cooperative Extension horticulturist Amy Ivy shares strategies for building a perennial garden.  Go to full article

2014 Murrow entry - continuing coverage

Rail Freight Danger - Lac-Megantic to New York

2014 Murrow Awards- NCPR News - continuing coverage

Rail Freight Danger - Lac-Megantic to New York

AUDIO LOG: (audio of our first 2-way, 07/11/2013 was lost.)
00:00 - In Lac-Megantic first steps toward normal broadcast 0715/13 - full story
03:38 - Criminal investigation continues as controversy and clean-up continues 07/26/2013 - edited

(07/31/2013 interview with Maine and Atlantic RR CEO Burkhardt - audio not indcluded)

06:41 - In Lac-Meantic, grief and resilience - reporter 2-way with tape - 09'23/2013 - full story
12:06 - Train tanker casr that exploded in Lac-Megantic "inadequate" -10/01/2013 - full story
21:11 - Local officials have doubts about train speed increase - 10/02/2013 - edited
24:06 - Same "inadequate" oil tankers rumble through the North Country - 10/18/2013 - full story  Go to full article

2014 Murrow entry - newscast

NCPR produces a daily (Mon-Fri) news and arts program: The 8 O'clock Hour. Extended newscast starts each show at 8:06:30 weekdays, following the NPR newscast and local weather and underwriting credits. This is where we place our day-to-day regional and state news, including spots, reporter 2-ways, hard and soft features, interviews, reports from our Capitol correspondent and occasional stories from freelancers and other public radio reporters in the state, as well as wire copy.
Produced pieces:
1. At 0:00 - The National Weather posts flood watches and warnings across the region . NCPR's Adirondack Bureau Chief Brain Mann calls in from the banks of the swollen Ausable River in Keene, NY.
2. At 2:22 - Six families are flooded out of the homes in Malone and Ricky Provost, director of the Franklin County Office of Emergency Services says they won't be coming home any time soon. A 4,000 foot ice jam has pushed the Salmon River out of its bank. NCPR's Jule Grant reports.
3. At 4:23 - A guy buys an AK-47 ... just because... and to make the case the guns like these shouldn't be legal. NCPR's David Sommerstein gets a demonstration, and reports back.
5. At 9:48 - Gov. Andrew Cuomo's approval ratings take a hit since quick passage of the state's new tough gun control law. Karen DeWitt reports (NY Public Radio)
6. At 13:36 - Economic fallout of the new gun control law, maybe. Five try to lure Remington Arms out of New York. Ryan Delaney (WRVO-Innovation Trail)
14:49 - 16:33 wire copy, various  Go to full article

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