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NCPR News Staff: Julie Grant

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A worker checks finished yogurt cups at the North Country Dairy in North Lawrence. Photo: Courtesy Upstate Niagara Cooperative.
A worker checks finished yogurt cups at the North Country Dairy in North Lawrence. Photo: Courtesy Upstate Niagara Cooperative.

Milk culture: touring the North Country yogurt plant

A couple of years ago, things looked bad for dairy processing in North Lawrence. Healthy Food Holdings was shutting down its Breyer's yogurt plant, and laying off more than 100 workers.

But within weeks, the plant was quietly purchased by the Upstate Niagara Cooperative. The Buffalo-based dairy processor renamed the plant the North Country Dairy. It says yogurt is on an upward trend in New York State, and the Cooperative wants to be part of that.

Many food manufacturers guard trade secrets tightly, and won't allow visitors. Upstate Niagara wouldn't allow the North Country plant manager to talk on tape for a story. But he did take me on a full tour of the facility.  Go to full article
Photo: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/28244962@N08/2866402246/in/photolist-5ni4wo-4Wb9Wf-2VXKzS-7Q8bMd-Cdebd-78XngQ-9VwsXx-8HWE8N-cFMuzA-D2swm-8GqDe8-4v6A9s-8Ap3as-5gNE77-85qtWa-5y4vhr-67gJ1C-8Ap65Y-8AkXc6-6F58nZ-5ZN2Np-cYRcBy-72hNB5-5eArcW-eky8eA-5ZScWy-78dN1T-dyLfV9-93DKc4-dqgk5R-dqh4yE-dqgsCf-2x933i-EVDaE-cKxtK1-eb1RnH-oFYe-djKHmz-a8peZn-5KLxBP-5aaeTE-cP5s3Q-9adM4L-7DjSm1-7pYnDV-7Dg6Jt-cYSbAj-4H635W-9fCtLP-dNvCSM-4y8Kzh">rockcc_histcoll</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
Photo: rockcc_histcoll, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

New area code on the way for 315 region

The state Public Service Commission has extended the comment period for a plan to add another area code in Northern and Central New York. Eighteen counties currently use area code 315.  Go to full article
Elected officials and Alcoa leaders break ground at the Massena East plant. Photo: Julie Grant
Elected officials and Alcoa leaders break ground at the Massena East plant. Photo: Julie Grant

Alcoa breaks ground at Massena East plant

Alcoa Aluminum broke ground Monday on a $600 million expansion and modernization project at its manufacturing plant in Massena.

Company officials were joined by New York Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy, other state and local leaders, North Country Congressman Bill Owens, and U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer.  Go to full article
Assemblywoman Addie Russell. Photo: Russell campaign "palmcard"
Assemblywoman Addie Russell. Photo: Russell campaign "palmcard"

Russell: Senate should vote on reproductive rights

After hours of emotional debate, the New York State Assembly passed the 10-point Women's Equality Act Thursday. It includes measures on equal pay, sexual harassment, and reproductive rights.

It's that last part, that codifies a woman's right to have an abortion, that's stalling the bill in the upper chamber. The State Senate is expected to take up only nine points of the bill today, excluding abortion.  Go to full article
New York state's Senate chamber. The Senate has one week to approve home rule legislation long sought by St. Lawrence County. Photo: JvL, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
New York state's Senate chamber. The Senate has one week to approve home rule legislation long sought by St. Lawrence County. Photo: JvL, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Bill that could raise SLC sales tax passes Assembly

Home rule legislation that would allow St. Lawrence County to raise its sales tax by one percent passed in the New York State Assembly Thursday. County legislative chairman John Putney says the bill now needs Senate approval.  Go to full article
Aerial view of flooding in Fort Covington. Photo: Ricky Provost, Franklin County EMS
Aerial view of flooding in Fort Covington. Photo: Ricky Provost, Franklin County EMS

Franklin County declares flood emergency

UPDATE 4 PM:
Franklin County Emergency Services says water from the Salmon River is subsiding, and flooding is becoming less of an issue, but the County remains in a state of emergency. County EMS Communications Specialist Sandra Dunn says seven roads are closed this afternoon, down from 30 closures late Wednesday.

Dunn says EMS Director Ricky Provost and local officials are assessing damages from the high water. They are concerned about the additional rain today because the ground is already so saturated, especially in highly affected areas like Fort Covington. Provost plans to meet with County legislators late today.
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Franklin County has declared a state of emergency because of flooding along the Salmon River. Emergency Services Director Ricky Provost says many roads are either closed or partially closed throughout the County. He says Malone and Fort Covington are getting the worst flooding.  Go to full article
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY). Photo: Mark Kurtz
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY). Photo: Mark Kurtz

In face of NSA scandal, Gillibrand looks to balance privacy, security

New York leaders in Washington want more information about the growth in domestic spying.

It was revealed last week that the National Security Agency collects phone data and private emails directly from the servers of major Internet companies such as Google, Microsoft, Facebook, and Yahoo.  Go to full article
When SUNY Officials spoke with SUNY Potsdam and Canton councils, both expressed displeasure with a shared presidency. Photo: Julie Grant
When SUNY Officials spoke with SUNY Potsdam and Canton councils, both expressed displeasure with a shared presidency. Photo: Julie Grant

SUNY Colleges sharing some positions, not presidents

The SUNY colleges in Canton and Potsdam have jointly hired a chief information officer. By sharing the position, the two schools are following the direction of SUNY leaders in Albany to cut costs.  Go to full article
Massena Memorial Hospital. Photo: p4hinc.com
Massena Memorial Hospital. Photo: p4hinc.com

Why keep Massena Memorial Hospital public?

A group campaigning to stop Massena Memorial Hospital from privatizing has collected more than 500 petition signatures. They're trying to convince town leaders to retain hospital ownership.

Because it's government-owned, Massena Memorial is one of a few hospitals in New York that currently pays into the state pension system. Hospital leaders say pension costs have been rising at an unsustainable rate, and they could save millions of dollars by changing the ownership structure.

Mark Kotzin is leading the charge against the change. He's spokesperson for the Civil Service Employees Association, which represents about 200 employees at the hospital.

Kotzin says government-ownership is better for the community than privatizing the facility.  Go to full article
Massena Memorial Hospital. Photo: p4hinc.com
Massena Memorial Hospital. Photo: p4hinc.com

Group fights Massena hospital privatization

Efforts to privatize Massena Memorial Hospital are facing opposition. The hospital is currently owned by the town of Massena. Hospital leaders want to privatize, in large part to save money on state pension costs.  Go to full article

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