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NCPR News Staff: Brian Mann

Adirondack Bureau Chief
Brian Mann grew up in Alaska, where he fell in love with public radio. In 1999, Brian moved to the Adirondacks and helped launch NCPR's news bureau at Paul Smiths College. "I love the chemistry of water and mountains," Brian says. "But I'm also pretty crazy about village life in the north country. It's the kind of place where you know your neighbors." Brian lives in Saranac Lake with wife Susan and son Nicholas. He's a frequent contributor to NPR and also writes regularly for regional magazines, including Adirondack Life and the Adirondack Explorer. E-mail

Stories filed by Brian Mann

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Trevor Sisto, age 20, of Fort Covington NY has been charged with numerous felonies following last week's deadly crash.  Photo:  Lake Placid Village Police Department via Lake Placid News
Trevor Sisto, age 20, of Fort Covington NY has been charged with numerous felonies following last week's deadly crash. Photo: Lake Placid Village Police Department via Lake Placid News

Police say deadly Lake Placid car chase handled properly

State Police and the Police Chief in Lake Placid say a high-speed car chase that ended in a fatal accident last week in the Adirondacks was handled properly.

The crash on Rt. 86 in Ray Brook left a Potsdam couple dead and their eleven-year-old daughter with serious injuries.

In the days since the accident, questions have circulated in social media about whether police made a mistake in pursuing Trevor Sisto, age 20, who was fleeing a hit-and-run accident in Lake Placid.  Go to full article
Major Richard Smith, commander of New York State Police Troop B in Ray Brook, spoke at a press conference Friday afternoon.  Photo:  Brian Mann
Major Richard Smith, commander of New York State Police Troop B in Ray Brook, spoke at a press conference Friday afternoon. Photo: Brian Mann

Was reckless driver in crash that killed Potsdam couple suicidal?

At a press conference Friday afternoon in Lake Placid, State Police said that 20-year-old Trevor Sisto of Fort Covington had spoken of suicide before Thursday's deadly crash.

Sisto, now in custody being held on $200,000 bail, has been charged with felony counts of unlawfully fleeing a Police Officer and driving while ability impaired by drugs.

He was also ticketed for reckless driving, failure to keep right and speeding. State police say more charges are pending.

Sisto crashed into a car in Ray Brook, New York, killing a Potsdam couple and seriously injuring their daughter.

"There has been some information shared with us relative to [SIsto] making general suicidal ideation in the not too distant pat," said Major Richard Smith, State Police commander for Troop B headquartered in Ray Brook.

Major Smith said that mind-set might have contributed to "the mindset that went into this reckless and erratic behavior.

He added that after being arrested, Sisto allegedly expressed regret that he hadn't killed any police officers during Thursday's chase.  Go to full article
Dr. Mara Smith thinks her "Athlete Minder" is a perfect new start-up for Lake Placid.  But she needs investors to move forward.  Photo:  Brian Mann
Dr. Mara Smith thinks her "Athlete Minder" is a perfect new start-up for Lake Placid. But she needs investors to move forward. Photo: Brian Mann

Can we end the North Country's investment drought?

Today in Washington DC, the Obama administration is hosting a conference designed to convince more investors to back entrepreneurs, start-ups and infrastructure projects in rural America.

As part of that effort, the White House is unveiling a new $10 billion private investment fund aimed at financing more projects in small towns.

That effort follows years of concern from economists and rural policy experts, who say a kind of capital drought is stifling growth in rural areas.

The fear is that even many good ideas aren't getting funded in small town regions like the North Country, because most of the investment dollars are flowing to cities and suburbs.  Go to full article
Spiny water fleas. Photo: National Park Service
Spiny water fleas. Photo: National Park Service

Gunky, icky spiny water flea spreads in Adirondacks

Scientists and activists studying invasive species say the spiny water flea is spreading to more lakes in the Adirondack Park.

The organism had already been found in Great Sacandaga and Lake George. This summer, the invasive creature was found in Lake Pleasant and Piseco Lake.  Go to full article
Is there a pond out there calling you to cool off? Brian Mann in Bone Pond. Photo: Brian Mann
Is there a pond out there calling you to cool off? Brian Mann in Bone Pond. Photo: Brian Mann

Adirondack Summer 101: Pond swimming!

One of our Adirondack Bureau Chief Brian Mann's assignments is to bring details of his beat to the larger regional audience. So we can forgive him when he turns a long lunch hour into a chance to bag a new pond for a cooling swim - especially if we get some vicarious enjoyment out of it. On a hot, muggy day last July, he sent this quick postcard from Bone Pond, near Tupper Lake. Today seems like a perfect day to go there again.  Go to full article
Governor Andrew Cuomo and Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin at Gore Mountain in North Creek on Sunday.  Photo: Brian Mann
Governor Andrew Cuomo and Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin at Gore Mountain in North Creek on Sunday. Photo: Brian Mann

NY, Vermont governors tout Adirondacks as "must-see"

Last year, Governor Andrew Cuomo drew then-New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to the North Country for his first-annual Adirondack Challenge.

This year, the governor invited Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin as well as New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver to take part in the event.

Under bluebird skies, dozens of politicians, business leaders, and state officials visited Indian Lake and North Creek, hiking, paddling, golfing, fly-fishing and touring on motorcycles.

Local officials inside the blue line say it was a remarkable opportunity to spread the word about the Park's attractions.  Go to full article
The crash scene on Friday in North Hudson, a remote Essex County community in the Adirondack Mountains.  Photo:  New York State Police
The crash scene on Friday in North Hudson, a remote Essex County community in the Adirondack Mountains. Photo: New York State Police

14-year-old Quebec girl dies in Adirondack bus crash

The victim of a fatal bus accident in Essex County on Friday has been identified as 14-year-old Chelssy Mercier from Quebec.

State Police say Mercier died when the tourist bus overturned in North Hudson while traveling from Quebec to New York City with 55 passengers. Officials say Mercier's mother was also aboard the bus.

There's no word yet on what may have caused the accident. According to police, the bus operated by a company called Autobus Fleur de Lys entered the median and flipped over.

Passersby tried to help Mercier, who was trapped under the bus, and State Police also attempted to revive the girl, but she died at the scene.  Go to full article
The crash scene at a farm on River Road outside Lake Placid was blocked by work trucks and crime scene tape on Sunday.  The downed plane has since been moved to State Police headquarters in Ray Brook as part of the investigation.  Photo:  Brian Mann
The crash scene at a farm on River Road outside Lake Placid was blocked by work trucks and crime scene tape on Sunday. The downed plane has since been moved to State Police headquarters in Ray Brook as part of the investigation. Photo: Brian Mann

Two Clarkson University students die in Lake Placid plane crash

Two Clarkson University students were among the dead on Saturday in a plane crash in Lake Placid. That's according to the Plattsburgh Press Republican.

The single-engine plane went down Saturday morning on River Road on the outskirts of the village, a half-mile from the local airport.

State police say the craft "burst into flames" on impact and there were no survivors.  Go to full article
The cause of the crash and the identities of the deceased are pending further investigation

Plane crash in Lake Placid claims three lives

State police say a single engine plane crashed near River Road on the outskirts of Lake Placid this morning just before 11 am.

"Lake Placid Fire Department responded and extinguished the flames after the aircraft burst into flames upon impact," according to officials.

Three persons were aboard the aircraft and officials confirm that all were killed in the crash. No identities have been released, nor did State Police offer information about a possible cause for the crash.

The FAA and NTSB have been notified and are enroute to assist in the investgation, according to the statement.

State police say Lake Placid Police and Fire Departments, as well as Saranac Lake Fire Department and New York State Police Aviation are assisting at the scene.  Go to full article
Assemblyman Dan Stec (R-Queensbury) speaking in Long Lake at a meeting of the Adirondack Common Ground Alliance.  Photo:  Brian Mann
Assemblyman Dan Stec (R-Queensbury) speaking in Long Lake at a meeting of the Adirondack Common Ground Alliance. Photo: Brian Mann

A golden age of dialogue and cooperation in the Adirondacks?

This week, the Adirondack Common Ground Alliance met in Long Lake. It was the eighth annual meeting of a group that formed in an effort to improve dialogue and reduce the amount of rancor and fighting in the Adirondack Park.

The idea seemed far-fetched at first. For decades, state and local officials, environmentalists and business leaders had been at loggerheads, trading harsh words and sometimes trading blows over everything from land conservation to new resort development.

But a growing number of leaders in the Park across the political spectrum say the Park's political climate has changed. And they say the Common Ground Alliance is part of the transformation.  Go to full article

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