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NCPR News Staff: Joanna Richards

Watertown Correspondent

Joanna Richards grew up in Louisville, Kentucky but feels like a true north country native now that she owns winter boots rated for temps down to forty below zero. She worked for an alt weekly paper, as an associate editor for the NPR series This I Believe, and as a staff writer for an arts and entertainment weekly in Louisville, before moving to Watertown in 2008 to work as a reporter for the Watertown Daily Times.

She's thrilled to be working in radio again as the Watertown correspondent for North Country Public Radio and especially enjoys doing stories about intriguing local subcultures. Outside of work, she is a regional explorer, vegetarian cook, and regular volunteer for various community groups, as well as a voracious reader, aspiring pool shark and an orange belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. E-mail

Stories filed by Joanna Richards

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A ground-based missile interceptor is lowered into its silo at Fort Greely, Alaska. Photo: US Dept. of Defense
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
David Crane, professor of practice at Syracuse University's College of Law, is helping to build legal cases against the worst actors in the Syrian civil war. Photo: Daily Orange, Syracuse University
David Crane, professor of practice at Syracuse University's College of Law, is helping to build legal cases against the worst actors in the Syrian civil war. Photo: Daily Orange, Syracuse University

Syracuse prof building case against Syrian human rights abusers

A few weeks ago, David Crane got a call. The Syracuse University law professor was asked to join a team who would be examining a collection of tens of thousands of gruesome photographs.

They appeared to show widespread torture and killings at detention facilities run by Syrian president Bashar al-Assad's government.  Go to full article
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand spoke at Jefferson Community College in Watertown Thursday. Photo: Joanna Richards
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand spoke at Jefferson Community College in Watertown Thursday. Photo: Joanna Richards

Gillibrand optimistic for reform in military sexual assault cases

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand has been pushing hard to reform the way the military handles sexual assaults. Her proposal was dropped once, but she's hopeful it will come up for a vote again and succeed.  Go to full article
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand responds to reporters' questions after giving her pitch for paid family and medical leave at Jefferson Community College in Watertown. Photo: Joanna Richards
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand responds to reporters' questions after giving her pitch for paid family and medical leave at Jefferson Community College in Watertown. Photo: Joanna Richards

Gillibrand pitches paid family and medical leave in Watertown

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand says the nation's workplace policies are out of date and don't reflect increasing women's employment - and their roles as family caregivers. Gillibrand was in Watertown yesterday to make the case for paid family and medical leave.  Go to full article
Kids play amid downed tree limbs in Watertown after last month's ice storm. Photo: Joanna Richards
Kids play amid downed tree limbs in Watertown after last month's ice storm. Photo: Joanna Richards

Downed trees from ice storm will be turned into energy

All the power lines have been fixed after last month's ice storm, and the crystal coatings have melted off the trees, but there's still a persistent sign of the damage: lots of downed limbs. Yards in the northern half of Jefferson County are full of tangled branches, sunk in the snow. Extricating them is going to be a long process, but there's a plan in the works to give them a new life as fuel.  Go to full article
State Assemblywoman Addie Russell at a press conference at her office Friday morning. She said she's not "closing the door" on a Congressional run, but for now, she's focusing on her Assembly work. Photo: Joanna Richards
State Assemblywoman Addie Russell at a press conference at her office Friday morning. She said she's not "closing the door" on a Congressional run, but for now, she's focusing on her Assembly work. Photo: Joanna Richards

Russell leaving door open on Congressional run; for now, focused on Assembly work

State Assemblywoman Addie Russell's name surfaced as a possible Democratic contender for the 21st Congressional District seat, after Congressman Bill Owens announced he won't run again.  Go to full article
Convergys is buying out Stream Global Services in an $820 million deal.
Convergys is buying out Stream Global Services in an $820 million deal.

Buyout could mean growth for Watertown employer Stream

There have been a lot of questions in the wake of an announcement that the Watertown call center Stream will be sold. The company that's buying it says if anything, the sale should make workers optimistic.  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
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 people who work there.

Don Alexander, head of the Jefferson County Industrial Development Agency, says Stream's significance to the area's economy can't be overstated. The company has been a good employer, he says.  Go to full article
A roomful of strangers at Jennifer Gaffney's home in Adams have fun getting to know each other. Gaffney took in five stranded motorists after the overflowing fire department put out a call for help from local residents. Photo by Jennifer Gaffney<br /><br />
A roomful of strangers at Jennifer Gaffney's home in Adams have fun getting to know each other. Gaffney took in five stranded motorists after the overflowing fire department put out a call for help from local residents. Photo by Jennifer Gaffney

Stranded drivers find welcome at Jefferson County hotels, homes

The last portions of Route 81 between Watertown and North Syracuse are open again, after lake-effect storms closed much of the highway down.

Through the storms, hardy North Country natives have been helping stranded travelers. Many people spent last night in fire halls - the one in Adams took in 150 people. Watertown hotels right off the Interstate 81 exit were full, of both drivers and staff who couldn't get out, either.  Go to full article

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