High Demand For Smoke Detectors In Parts Of The North Country

There’s a high demand for smoke detectors in parts of the North Country. Karen Johnson has details.

Since last week’s fire that killed 5 members of a Watertown family, phones have been ringing off the hook in the North Country for smoke detector installations.The Red Cross gives out 10-year smoke detectors, and volunteers will install them in homes free of charge.”We will send a team out to addresses and they can do about 10 to 20 homes in a day,” says a spokesprson with the Red Cross. For the last several years, ServPro of Jefferson County has partnered with the Red Cross for installations. “We get a list from the Red Cross and from there we will contact the homeowners, renters, landlords, whoever it may be. Usually it’s pretty quick. Right now, we’re up to three smoke detectors per home,” said Sarah Kingery, marketing director, ServPro of Jefferson County. She says simply, it does save lives. It gives people more time to exit a building. It gives them more time to get to safety. I’m Karen Johnson.


If a bill that has been once again introduced in the state Assembly and Senate… for the second year in a row… is passed, it would change the way the Adirondack Park Agency issues permits for some logging operations, including clear-cutting. It is not favorably viewed by either loggers or environmental groups, who in a strange twist of events are both on the same side this time, when they each say the bill could lead to poor forestry practices as it is currently written. It would require the APA to issue permits for any clear-cut of 5 acres or more in the Adirondack Park, and also require that each permit be voted on by the APA board. The bill would also require a forest management plan be submitted for each planned clear cut to the state Department of Environmental Conservation. Under the current regulations, the APA issues permits for clear-cuts of 25 acres or more, and those permits can be approved by the APA’s executive director without a board vote. Many on both sides, say the law is needless and would hurt smaller logging operators. They say it would only drive people to do bad forestry to avoid permitting… thus creating more bad forestry instead of good forestry. They say the bill would disproportionately impact smaller logging operations and have little effect on large-scale logging operations. A similar bill failed when it was introduced last year.


One North Country lawmaker has come out against the decision by President Trump to declare a state of emergency over the uncontrolled crossings of illegals at the southern border. Rep. Elise Stefanik says she is against it, after President Trump on Friday declared the state of emergency in response to congress reaching a limited funding deal that did not include all the money he says is necessary to protect the border between Mexico and the United States. Stefanik has consistently opposed the shutdown, and she voted to re-open the government with or without funding for the wall. Although she says she remains committed to keeping the government open and securing the borders, she also says she believes declaring a national emergency to do that is the wrong decision. Stefanik… in doing so… broke ranks with fellow Republicans, and instead, sided with New York’s Democratic Senators… Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand… who both opposed the declaration of a state of emergency.

Lake Placid Camp Has New Director

A camp in Lake Placid has a new director. Karen Johnson has details.

Todd Ormiston is the new executive director coming to North Country School, Camp Treetops and Round Lake Campus beginning July 1st. Ormiston, currently head of school at Mount Snow Academy in West Dover, Vermont, has accepted the invitation of the Board of Trustees to be the next executive director. This appointment is the result of a national search that began in the spring of 2018. David “Hock” Hochschartner, who has served as head of school and camp and executive director for 20 years, will retire in June. North Country School, Camp Treetops, and Round Lake Campus sit on a 220-acre campus in Lake Placid. Round Lake Campus, created in 2015, offers experiential learning and outdoor adventures for children and adults. I’m Karen Johnson.


A big announcement by the United Way of the Adirondack Region… they say they have met 95% of their 2019 campaign goal of $725,000. The annual campaign is conducted primarily during the fall months and concludes in February of each year. This year’s campaign raised a total of $688,750 which includes proceeds from special events and also includes projections of pending results from businesses and individuals not yet received, but anticipated. They say once again, it’s simply a testament to the generosity and caring nature of the North Country. The State Employees Federated Appeal… a campaign for state employees that runs parallel to the United Way campaign… also wrapped up recently. They report that their efforts raised a total of $114,228, which is included in the campaign total. The United Way serves Clinton, Essex and Franklin Counties. The funds raised from the campaign will be allocated to local community partner agencies based on donor designations and agency applications for additional funds to support high priority health and human service programs. Funds stay local and go toward supporting critical services here in the North Country.


Governor Cuomo just keeps coming up with new ways to tax state residents, who are already taxed at some of the highest levels in the nation. After the governor cut state aid to towns and villages in his proposed 2019-20 budget, now he is proposing that the counties pay for it using new revenue from a proposed internet sales tax. The cuts that Cuomo wants to put in place, would result in Franklin and Exxex Counties seeing 28 of their 37 towns, and 5 of their 7 villages lose Aid and Incentives for Municipalities funding, and it is being fiercely opposed by town and village officials around the state. Now, Cuomo’s updated budget proposes to use new internet sales tax revenue to “keep towns and villages whole.” The announcement is just the latest from Cuomo’s office, after the state found itself in a hole, to the tune of $2.3 Billion, because other states no longer support New York’s spending habits through federal funding. Here in New York, the state charges a 4 percent sales tax. Then, each county charges a different amount above that. Franklin and Essex counties charge a 4 percent sales tax, resulting in a total of 8 percent locally. The internet sales tax would be on top of that amount. The New York State Conference of Mayors and Municipal Officials calls it a “shell game,” saying in reality, it is simply a robbing of one property taxpayer to pay another.

North Country Prisons Not Affected By Upcoming Closings

Prisons across the state will be closing, but not in the North Country. Karen Johnson explains.

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo plans to close up to three correctional facilities by September, but the North Country’s state representatives says local facilities shouldn’t be considered. Under legislation introduced as a budget amendment, the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision will select the prisons, transition staff and incarcerated individuals, and cease facility operations by no later than Sept. 1, 2019. Governor Cuomo says he made the recommendation in his first State of the State address adding these new closures are another step toward reversing the era of mass incarceration and recognizing that there are more effective alternatives to lengthy imprisonment.” Since Governor Cuomo took office in 2011, the prison population has declined by nearly 10,000 – a 16.7% reduction – from 56,419 to 46,973 people, as of today. In fact, the current population is at its lowest level in thirty years and leads the nation with the lowest imprisonment rate of any large state. I’m Karen Johnson.

It’s Tax Season Which Also Means It’s Fraud Season

It’s tax season which also means it’s fraud season. Karen Johnson reports.

The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance today shared important tips to help New York taxpayers guard against identity theft and prevent related tax fraud. “While the Tax Department constantly adjusts its analytics-driven processing systems to stop schemes as they emerge, it’s vital that taxpayers take precautions to protect the personal information these criminals rely on,” said Acting Commissioner Nonie Manion. “These tips can help you avoid being victimized by identity thieves.” Tips include Filing your tax return as soon as possible can reduce the likelihood that an identity thief will be able to claim a fraudulent tax refund using your stolen information and protect data and documents used to prepare your return. Keep sensitive personal information and documents safe during and after the filing process, and delete or shred once no longer needed.

What’s New York’s favorite Valentine’s Day candy?

From chocolate to conversation hearts, there’s a lot of candy being eaten today. Candystore.com put together a map of every state’s favorite Valentine’s Day candy. They used 11 years of data to find the most beloved sweet treat. Here in New York, the heart shaped box of chocolates tops the list, followed by conversations hearts, and cinnamon bears. Vermont loves the candy hearts, while Pennsylvania is all aboout the M&Ms.

Sizeable Boost To The State’s Health Care

A sizeable boost to the North Country’s health care system. Karen Johnson reports.

The North Country will receive $12.2 million as part of $204 million in state funding to support nearly 100 projects that will protect and transform New York State’s health care system, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office. This funding from the Statewide Health Care Facility Transformation Program will improve patient care through the development of high-quality medical facilities and programs serving the inpatient, primary care, mental health, substance use disorder and long-term care needs of communities throughout the State. The funding was awarded under the Statewide Health Care Facility Transformation Program, which was enacted as part of the FY 2018 Budget. I’m Karen Johnson.