Adirondack Council calls for trail redesign, hiker permits

A new report from the Adirondack Council shows there’s a lot of work to do on the trails in the High Peaks Wilderness Area. Roughly 130 miles of trails are heavily damaged, from overdose, poor design, or lack of maintenance. Council Director William Janeway says the trails need more than maintenance if they want to protect the park’s forests, waters and wild character. Janeway says some of the trails need to be redesigned as “sustainable trails”, to reduce the environmental impact and make them more friendly for hikers. The report is leading to calls for hiker permits, limiting the number of day use hikers that ramble through the park. The group Friends of the Forest Preserve says without sustainable trail design and limits on the number of daily users on the most popular trails, they’re merely playing a “fool’s game” like they have been for the last 19 years.

State police step up patrols as school goes back into session

State police are stepping up patrols as the kids go back to school this week. The governor making that announcement, warning drivers to watch out for school buses and kids on the sides of the road. Last April, more than 850 drivers statewide were stopped and ticketed for illegally passing school buses during “Operation Safe Stop.” You are not allowed to pass a school bus on a two lane road, if its lights are flashing and the walk bar is extended.

Unusual Reason For Dip In Pump Prices

A rather unusual reason why pump prices will dip soon. Karen Johnson has more.

AAA is forecasting that St. Lawrence County motorists will see savings when they fill up at the pump this fall. However, several caveats can reverse this forecast, including crude oil prices, geopolitical tensions and the threat of a hurricane.AAA predicts the national gas price average will drop to $2.70 this fall and has the potential to drop even more. That is 14-cents less a gallon compared to today’s price and more than a quarter cheaper than this year’s recorded high of $2.97 set in May.“Cheaper-to-produce gasoline and relatively stable crude oil prices in August, combined with an anticipated drop in consumer gasoline demand post-Labor Day, means consumers will see savings when they fill-up at the pump this fall,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson.In New York State, 2018 gas prices year-to-date are 40 cents more than 2017. Tthe year-to-date-national gas price average ($2.71) is 41-cents more.What will drive pump prices down this fall?Part of the anticipated drop in fall pump prices is due to the switchover to winter-blend gasoline in mid-September. I’m Karen Johnson

Energy Event Set For This Morning In The North Country

An energy event is set for this morning in the North Country. Karen Johnson reports.

The New York Power Authority and Ontario Power Generation will host a celebration of the 60th Anniversary of the St. Lawrence-FDR Power Project and the OPG station this morning at 1030. NYPA’s President and CEO will join OPG President and CEO Jeff Lyash and other distinguished guests to celebrate at the power project facility at 820 Barnhart Island Rd. The event will honor 60 years of economic and environmental benefits for New York State in addition to recognizing and reaffirming the long history of New York’s cross-border cooperation with its Canadian partners. At the event, NYPA and OPG will publicly sign onto a 15-year renewal of the Joint Works Agreement between the New York and Canadian energy entities. The event, which is set in the middle of the dam before the International Friendship monument, will also feature a “Hands Across the Border” handshake and a cake-cutting. I’m Karen Johnson

Job fair scheduled for Wednesday

Looking for a job? the Franklin County Office of Economic Development and Assemblyman Billy Jones are hosting a regional job fair tomorrow afternoon at Malone Middle School. More than 120 employers will be there. Anyone looking for work should bring their resume and be prepared to do an interview. The job fair runs from 3 until 6 tomorrow afternoon.

St. Lawrence County Receives Emergency Dispatch Funding

St. Lawrence County will receive a sizable dollar amount from the state for emergency response operations. Karen Johnson has a report.

The amount authorized under a bill signed recently by Governor Andrew Cuomo is $200,279 in support of emergency response dispatch operations. Statewide, $10 million in 2018-2019 grant funds will allow municipalities in 57 counties and New York City to make improvements to their 911 response and emergency service dispatch operations. These funds can also foster upgrades in call-taking and dispatching technology and investing in new services such as text messaging, data communication, and improved geo-location for emergency response. The state Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services through the Public Safety Answering Points Operations Grant will administer the funding. All counties and New York City are eligible to apply to receive grant funds, and all chose to participate in the program this year. I’m Karen Johnson

Speed Week begins Wednesday

Speed week starts today in New York! And no, this does not mean you should see how fast your car can go. Actually, the reverse. State police and local law enforcement agencies will be cracking down on speeding on roads across the Empire State from now through Tuesday. Last year’s enforcement saw more than 21-thousand tickets issues to drivers, including about 92-hundred for speeding. Data from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administratoin shows that in 2016, speeding played a role in more than a quarter of all deadly crashes across the country.

North Country Dairy Farmers Are Getting Support

Dairy Farmers, including those in the North Country are getting support from the Federal Government. Karen Johnson explains.

North Country Assemblywoman Addie Jenne says while there may be some debate about the scope of the federal administration’s trade wars, she’s encouraged by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue’s announcement that a short-term emergency plan is being established to support sectors of the agriculture industry, including dairy farmers. Dairy farmers have seen their markets nosedive lately in response to decisions about tariffs. She says “It’s no secret that our agriculture sector is part of a global system and is struggling even more as a result of steps the federal government has taken to address trade imbalances,”. She adds “I have been advocating a short-term plan to keep our dairy industry financially stable, while adopting standards that will open new export markets and giving farmers the incentive to reduce over production.. Agriculture is one of our state’s top economic sectors, trailing only finance, and we need to take bold steps to keep it strong during these tough economic times. I’m Karen Johnson

Jobless Rate Is Mixed Across The North Country

The jobless rate in St. Lawrence County and other parts of the North Country is getting mixed reviews. Karen Johnson has a report.

St. Lawrence County had the highest June unemployment rate in New York, according to preliminary figures from the state Department of Labor. St. Lawrence County’s June unemployment rate was 6 percent, the highest in the state. That’s down from 6.9 percent in June 2017 according to the Department of Labor. There were 2,600 people on unemployment last month and 3,000 receiving benefits in the same month last year. There were 40,300 people in the county who were employed in June, down slightly from 40,400 in June 2017.To the east in Franklin County, the rate dropped to 4.9 percent last month from 5.6 percent in June 2017. Then to the west in Jefferson County, the unemployment rate was 4.8 percent last month, down from 5.5 percent in June 2017. The number of people there collecting benefits was 2,200 last month, with 2,600 the same month last year. I’m Karen Johnson.

Potsdam Lifeguards Walk Off The Job

Potsdam Lifeguards Have Walked Off the Job. Karen Johnson knows why.

Eleven lifeguards have walked off the job because they are receiving less than the state minimum wage.
Head lifeguard Alaina White, in a letter to NorthCountryNow.com, points out the lifeguards are required to spend $250 for lifeguard certification and were not informed of their wages prior to starting work. She also notes lifeguards have training in CPR and first aid and are responsible for responding to many types of emergencies.The letter is signed by ten other lifeguards.The lifeguards are being paid $9.70 an hour. Municipalities are exempt from the state minimum wage of $10.40 per hour. They say attempts to discuss with the Potsdam Recreation Director about the number of fees lifeguards are required to pay has gotten them no where. In addition they say when first hired for this summer, no lifeguard received any kind of statement telling us how much we were going to be paid nor any kind of document for us to sign agreeing to our wages to handle other tasks like routine maintenance around the beaches and being in charge of bus runs while supervising children in the recreation program. They add they enjoy working with the kids and are sorry for the inconvenience. I’m Karen Johnson.