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NCPR News Staff: Julie Grant

Reporter and Producer

Stories filed by Julie Grant

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Students at the food summit ate salad and other healthy foods - and seemed to like it.
Students at the food summit ate salad and other healthy foods - and seemed to like it.

School food director says you can serve healthy, local food on a budget

At a youth food summit held this week in the North Country, teenagers were encouraged to think about what they eat, and to choose healthy, local options. But some students said those efforts are undermined in their own school cafeterias.

Food service workers also got together at the summit. Many worry about the cost of local, natural ingredients, about how to process and cook them, and about whether the students will actually eat healthy meals.

Julie Grant met Cynthia Overton during the meeting's lunch time bustle. She is food service director at the South Jefferson Central Schools, and led a workshop to help others in school food service.

Overton says she started serving healthy meals in her district because she grew up on a farm, and wanted to make sure her own kids, and all the students, had homegrown food on their plates.  Go to full article
Mark(in carrot crown) and Kristin(drumming) Kimball fire up students about farming.
Mark(in carrot crown) and Kristin(drumming) Kimball fire up students about farming.

High school students gather for food summit

Teenagers might be known for eating a lot. But they don't always think about where that food is coming from, or whether it's healthy for them. That changed for some students who gathered in SUNY Potsdam's student union this week for the North Country Food Day Youth Summit. The summit was sponsored by GardenShare and the St. Lawrence County Health Initiative. Julie Grant attended, along with two hundred and forty high school students from 30 different schools.  Go to full article

Apple harvest looks good, despite weather

The word apple might make you think of your iPhone or Steve Jobs. But apples are also an important crop in northern New York. Growers say despite the extreme weather, they've harvested a successful crop of big, sweet apples this year.

Mason Forrence is president of Forrence Orchards in Peru. He's the third generation in his family to run the business. Forrence spoke with Julie Grant on his cellphone, from the field. He says they're finishing up the harvest in what has been a challenging year.  Go to full article
If we should have an ice storm ... if we should have any number of events that we cannot control, we will be in serious trouble.

County budget strategies falling short

Like other municipalities around the state, St. Lawrence County is figuring out its budget for the coming year. So far its strategies to cope with rising expenses, falling state aid and a new cap on property taxes aren't working out.

Its leaders are cutting positions and programs. But they say they also need more revenue. That's where county leaders seem to be hitting a wall. Julie Grant reports.  Go to full article

Family concerned about cuts to heating assistance program

Funding for the federal program that helps people pay heating costs is being cut dramatically this year. St. Lawrence County social services says more than one-fourth of households in the county get money through HEAP - the home energy assistance program. Administrators are worried, and are warning residents - expect your benefits to be cut in half.

Julie Grant visited with Linda Jobes and her 85-year old father Leslie Howard. Howard lives in a trailer on the same lot where Jobes, her husband, and his 89-year old mother live near DeKalb.  Go to full article
Students gather at the quad on St. Lawrence University campus.  Photos: Julie Grant
Students gather at the quad on St. Lawrence University campus. Photos: Julie Grant

St. Lawrence University students walk-out for Wall St. protestors

Hundreds of university students throughout New York are walking out of classes, in a show of solidarity with the Wall Street protests. About sixty students gathered at the quad of St. Lawrence University in Canton. They wrote messages on pieces of white paper, and strung them together between the trees. One read, "We are the future, when is my voice going to be heard."

Protestors on Wall Street seem to have a variety of reasons for being there, mostly to do with economic justice. St. Lawrence is a relatively expensive, private college. But when Julie Grant attended the protest there, she found the students also have many concerns for the future. She spoke with organizers Emily Penna and Jordan Pescrillo for today's Heard Up North.  Go to full article
Not only is there a property tax cap, and... mandated cost increases, but the state is not paying us timely.

Counties caught between rising costs, tax cap

Until this week, St. Lawrence County seemed to be leading the charge to over-ride the state's new 2-percent property tax cap, imposed on local governments. Now it looks like the County is trying to stay within the tax cap limit.

Counties around the North Country are busily preparing their 2012 budgets. And each is having to do its own political maneuvering, and decide whether it will cut services, or over-ride the tax cap.

Julie Grant reports.  Go to full article

Fall leaves reaching their peak this week in the Adirondacks

Attention leaf-peepers: peak season is nearly here in the Adirondacks.

The official New York state foliage report says trees around Lake Placid are changing colors quickly. They're expected to be a peak by the weekend, with near complete color change, and a mix of golds, yellows, reds, mixed in with the evergreens. Old Forge, and the Mount Arab/ Tupper Lake area are all expecting 95-percent color change this week and a mix of red, russet, orange and gold leaves.

Nina Bussuk is a professor in the Cornell Horticulture Department. While we all learn in school about chlorophyll making leaves green. She says that pigment breaks down in the fall. And if we're lucky a red pigment takes its place.  Go to full article
A hydrofracking tower. (Photo: Innovation Trail)
A hydrofracking tower. (Photo: Innovation Trail)

DEC takes next step in hydro-fracking rules

New York environmental regulators have formally issued proposed regulations for hydraulic fracturing. Drilling companies want to "hydro-frack" the Marcellus Shale region of southern New York. The Department of Environmental Conservation has scheduled four public hearings on the proposed rules.

The document, originally posted online in July, outlines regulations for companies that want to "hydrofrack". It's a process where water, chemicals, and sand are pumped at high pressure deep into wells to release natural gas from the bedrock.

New York hasn't allowed "hydrofracking'' in the Marcellus Shale over the past three years and it won't be allowed until the process completes its new permitting rules.

Dennis Holbrook is vice president of the North Exploration, with offices outside of Buffalo. He's been drilling in New York for twenty years and is glad the process is moving forward.

Claire Sandberg is with the group Frack Action. She says even though New York looked at problems in Pennsylvania and other states before drafting its rules, environmentalists have many reasons to be concerned. Julie Grant has more.  Go to full article
Ted Elk scrapes honey off of a comb.  Yum!  Photos: Julie Grant
Ted Elk scrapes honey off of a comb. Yum! Photos: Julie Grant

Tough times for bees

We get one of every three bites of food from crops pollinated by bees. That's about $15 billion into the U.S. economy each year. But North Country beekeepers are losing huge numbers of their little, busy coworkers.

Apiarists (beekeepers) from around the country--and the world--have been dealing with what's called Colony Collapse Disorder. It's been around for five years now.

Julie Grant visited with some beekeepers, and reports that scientists and the government don't agree on what should be done to help them.  Go to full article

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