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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


Senator Schumer tells Watertown audience he'll fight new border fees targeting Canadians

New York Senator Charles Schumer was in Watertown yesterday to announce he'll fight a new fee that can be charged to Canadians crossing into the U.S. by boat or by plane. He appeared at the Paddock Arcade on Washington Street, an historic shopping center and one of many places in the north country where Canadian visitors may come to shop and eat. Todd Moe has more.  Go to full article

Falconry pairs humans, birds of prey in the hunt

Falconry - the sport of hunting with birds of prey - is ancient; its history goes back thousands of years. It was once used as a way to catch small prey like rabbits and pheasants before humans had guns. But the sport is practiced today too. It takes many years to become a master falconer under New York state law. It's small game hunting season right now in northern New York, and reporter Joanna Richards went out with falconer Rick West to learn what keeps him practicing this ancient sport in 2011.  Go to full article
Watertown Mayor Jeff Graham. Source: Watertown municipal website
Watertown Mayor Jeff Graham. Source: Watertown municipal website

Jeffrey Graham reelected mayor of Watertown

Jeff Graham was reelected to his fifth term as mayor of the city of Watertown last night. The election pitted the incumbent mayor against a longtime rival on the City Council, Jeff Smith. Joanna Richards reports.  Go to full article

Mayor's Race in Watertown pits long-time incumbent against City Council challenger

The mayor's race in Watertown pits long-time incumbent Jeff Graham against a challenger with similar longevity on the City Council, Jeff Smith. Graham has said the city's doing well and he has the experience, knowledge and contacts to continue to keep Watertown on a good track. Smith says his candidacy represents new leadership and a new vision for the city. Both candidates for mayor have years of experience on City Council, and both are small business owners who say they're committed to fiscal discipline. Joanna Richards reports.  Go to full article
The Samaritan Senior Village project will add both assisted living and nursing home space for seniors.

New elder care facility will fill urgent need in Jefferson County

Ground was broken last month on a new elder care facility in the town of Watertown - the Samaritan Senior Village project. The facility will include both nursing home and assisted living beds for up to 288 residents. Community members say the project was badly needed to fill a gap, especially in assisted living space, for older residents. Joanna Richards has the story.  Go to full article

Fort Drum troops say a ceremonial goodbye

A ceremony was held recently at Fort Drum to mark the deployment of the 10th Sustainment Brigade. The brigade is made up of units with many different specialties, so it deploys in pieces rather than as a brigade to support war efforts wherever the units' different skill sets are needed. Joanna Richards attended the ceremony and has the story.  Go to full article
Our challenges are not insurmountable if we take them on as a team we can do this.

After 40 years, Children's Clinic looks toward a challenging future

The North Country Children's Clinic celebrated its 40th anniversary last week in Watertown.

The clinic started as a volunteer organization with a few locations. It's now a major health care provider for uninsured and underinsured children in the region. It works from satellite locations, but now has a big home base on Arsenal Street in downtown Watertown.

Dozens of people gathered in the lobby there for the celebration.
But even as they shared cake and snacks, founders and friends worried about the clinic's future in a climate of governmental belt-tightening.

Janice Charles was a founder, and is a former executive director. She took reporter Joanna Richards all the way back to the beginning:  Go to full article

New unmanned aerial vehicles to be flown out of Fort Drum

A Syracuse Air National Guard unit is about to begin operating an unmanned aerial vehicle, the MQ-9, out of Fort Drum. The 174th Fighter Wing already conducts MQ-9 flights in Afghanistan, flights which are controlled from an operations center at Hancock Field Air National Guard Base in Syracuse.

The partnership with Fort Drum will allow the unit to train Air Force and Air National Guard troops from around the country on flying the MQ-9. Joanna Richards went to an event last week at Fort Drum demonstrating the vehicle and has the story.  Go to full article
I don't talk about my life. I don't put pictures of my husband on my desk. I just leave them at home.

Fort Drum soldier talks about what it's like to be gay in the military

Just after the repeal of the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, we ran a story gathering a variety of Fort Drum soldiers' reactions to the policy change.

Some were comfortable serving with openly gay colleagues; others were not. But there was one group that was noticeably absent from that conversation: gay soldiers themselves. After the story ran, one soldier got in touch with reporter Joanna Richards and wanted to share his story.

He said because of the continuing stigma against gays in the military, he wanted to go unnamed. Joanna met with the soldier, who we'll call Ryan, and his partner, who we'll call Billy, in a diner near Fort Drum.  Go to full article
I mean, we have patients who will end up in emergency rooms. Many patients may end up in jail

Officials race to save Watertown mental health clinic

A Watertown mental health clinic that recently changed ownership may close soon, and that has a lot of elected officials and community leaders worried. The Community Clinic, formerly known as Mercy Behavioral Health and Wellness, serves a large population of the poor with mental illnesses. As officials race to find funding to keep the clinic open, the worry is that the cost to the community of a closure would be far higher. Joanna Richards reports.  Go to full article

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