Thursday, May 27, 2010

Paterson: Deal in place to keep parks open

Governor David Paterson says an agreement is in place to keep all state parks open for the Memorial Day weekend.

This from the Associated Press:

"The Paterson administration has listed 41 parks and 14 of the state's 35 historic sites for closing, along with service cuts at others, to help close the state's budget gap.

"Speaking on WOR radio 710's 'The John Gambling Show,' Paterson said negotiations that ended early Thursday morning would provide $11 million for full operations this year, offset by money from the Environmental Protection Fund, which would be cut by about $74 million.

"Lawmakers, who wanted smaller EPF cuts and balked at Paterson's proposal earlier in the week, are expected to vote on the plan later in the day."

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

More on John Brown Farm's 'endangered' status

Here's some more information regarding the status of the John Brown Farm as one of America's "11 Most Endangered Historic Places."

This is from a release issued just a few minutes ago:

The Preservation League of New York State, Parks & Trails New York, not-for-profit advocacy groups and members of the New York State Senate and Assembly joined officials from the National Trust for Historic Preservation in announcing that America's State Parks and State-Owned Historic Sites have been named to the Trust's annual list of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places.

John Brown Farm among 11 endangered historic sites

Lake Placid is getting some national attention -- and for once it has nothing to do with the Olympics.

The Associated Press reports that the John Brown Farm historic site is featured on America's "11 Most Endangered Historic Places" list.

Update on future status of the VICs (the Paul Smiths facility anyway)

It’s been about five months since Governor David Paterson’s executive budget called for the closure of two Adirondack Park Agency Visitor Interpretive Centers.

Since then, numerous leaders and advocacy organizations have come together to discuss ways of keeping the popular destinations open in some form.

So far, the efforts have largely been headed up by the Adirondack Park Institute. At this week’s annual Conference on the Adirondacks, an event staged by the Adirondack Research Consortium, officials showcased a conceptual design for what’s being dubbed the Center for Outdoor Life, an extension of the VICs that focuses on outdoor recreation, research and education.

Meanwhile, officials from the APA and Paul Smith’s College are working on a memorandum of understanding that would result in the sale of state-owned VIC facilities to the college.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Voters approve LP school budget; Smith, Blair elected to board

The Lake Placid Central School District budget for 2010-11 passed yesterday by a vote of 572 to 269.

Voters approved the spending plan which totals just over $16 million – a 1.54 percent increase over the previous year’s budget. The tax levy will increase by 3.45 percent.

A proposition to lease a pair of 66-passenger school buses over a period of no more than five years also passed by a margin of 568 to 268. The cost for that item is no more than $39,000 per year.

TL school budget passed

Here's Jon Alexander's report on the Tupper Lake Central School District budget vote:

With the largest voter turnout in two decades, proponents of the 2010-11 Tupper Lake Central School District budget scored a bittersweet victory Tuesday night as the proposal passed 600 to 465.

District Superintendent Seth McGowan said he was relieved that voters supported the budget proposal that includes an 8 percent tax hike while eliminating 25 percent of the school’s instructional positions.

Valentino to replace Townsend on APA Board

Those of you who follow the Adirondack Park Agency will want to tune in for tomorrow's broadcast.

Jon Alexander has penned a story on the appointment of F. William Valentino to one of the out-of-park APA Board of Commissioners seats.

Valentino is the former president of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA).

SL school budget passes; Rdzanek elected to board of education

Voters from the Saranac Lake Central School District spoke loud and clear in favor of the proposed 2010-11 budget yesterday.

This year’s budget passed easily, with 807 for and 293 against.

The budget carries a spending increase $283,789, bringing the total to about $27 million. The amount raised by taxes is $17.9 million, a three percent increase over last year.

Taxpayers also elected Susan Rdzanek to fill the board of education seat vacated by Joan Schaefer.

Rdzanek received 528 votes, enough to get by Lisa Paschke and Terrence Tubridy.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Organization calls for more state prisons to close

An advocacy group that played a key role in repealing the Rockefeller drug laws staged rallies over the weekend calling for more state prison closures throughout New York.

Robert Gangi is executive director of the New York Correctional Association and lead organizer for “Drop the Rock.” He says declining crime rates and smaller inmate populations mean more correctional facilities should be shut down.

Gangi says his group is looking to Governor David Paterson and the legislature to exercise leadership by saving taxpayer dollars and closing prisons that aren’t running at full capacity.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Essex County GOP endorses Matt Doheny

The Essex County Republican Committee has endorsed Watertown banker Matt Doheny to run against Congressman Bill Owens in this fall's election.

My pal Nathan Brown at the Adirondack Daily Enterprise has an in-depth look at all of the GOP's endorsements.

Gillibrand: Stop bank fees for paper statements

While the U.S. Senate continues to draft legislation aimed at protecting taxpayers from banks and lenders, New York’s junior Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is looking to protect North Country families from bank fees.

In a statement released by Gillibrand’s office, the Democratic senator notes that many banks nationwide are introducing fees for customers who don’t switch to paperless, electronic billing.

Gillibrand says this punishes approximately two millions New York households that don’t have access to the internet.

Bill Owens to attend legislative breakfast

Just a quick reminder that Congressman Bill Owens will be in Saranac Lake Friday morning for a couple events.

Owens, who represents New York's 23rd Congressional District, will start his day at a "legislative breakfast" hosted by the Saranac Lake Area Chamber of Commerce. The event kicks-off at 7:30 a.m. at North Country Community College's Clermont Hall.

SLACC Executive Director Sylvie Nelson hosts these breakfasts from time-to-time to give chamber members a chance to discuss legislative issues with political leaders.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Hannaford Supermarket coming to Lake Placid

Rumors and speculation can finally be put to rest – Lake Placid is getting a Hannaford supermarket.

Officials announced Wednesday the chain has signed a lease agreement for a Hannaford store at the former Tops Market site in the Cold Brook Plaza.

According to a release issued by Hannaford spokesman Michael Norton, the store is slated to open in the spring of 2011. He notes the store will feature a butcher shop, baker, deli, produce and seafood departments, and a full-service pharmacy.

Staudenraus to challenge Schumer for senate seat

A challenger to U.S. Senator Charles Schumer has finally emerged.

Jim Staudenraus of Shelter Island formally announced his candidacy Wednesday.

The public advocate, author and businessman has been traveling throughout the state for more than a month drumming up support for his fledgling candidacy.

Staudenraus is angling for the Republican line in advance of this fall’s election.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Officials: Lift black bass ban

Fish farmers from northern New York are rounding up support for a new law that would lift a ban on the sale of farm-raised black bass in New York.

The proposed bill would lift the state Department of Environmental Conservation ban on the sale of farm-raised black bass to fish markets, retailers and restaurants.

Dean Norton is president of the New York Farm Bureau. He contends that passing the legislation will result in job creation for rural areas throughout the North Country.

Gillibrand: Gets trans-fats out of schools

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is calling for the removal of all artificial trans-fats from school meals.

The junior senator from New York wrote to U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack this week urging him to follow recommendations made by the Institute of Medicine.

The IOM report said trans-fats have no place in school breakfasts and lunches.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The New York Yankees! In spectacular 3-D!

I'm a fan of the New York Mets, but this is still pretty cool.

According to a report by the Associated Press, the nation's largest satellite television company, DirecTV, and the YES Network are planning to televise what they're calling the first ever Major League Baseball game in 3-D.

How do ya like them apples, James Cameron?

"The New York Yankees vs. Seattle Mariners games on July 10 and 11 will be aired in New York, Connecticut, Washington, Oregon, Alaska and parts of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Montana and Idaho," reads the AP report.

The games air at 10 p.m. July 10 and 4 p.m. July 11. The games will be played in Seattle at Safeco Field.

Before you get too excited, you may want to check out the deals at Best Buy, because you're going to need a 3-D television set.

I for one am excited about this. I'm very interested to see what sports will look like in 3-D. I already can't go back to regular definition after watching the 2009-10 National Football League season on a high-def set (not my own, unfortunately).

Hoffman: Conservative endorsement not a given

Congressional hopeful Doug Hoffman says he does not view the Conservative Party endorsement as a given or something he is owed.

The Lake Placid public accountant who recently purchased a home in Saranac Lake is traveling the North Country, meeting with Republican, Conservative and Independent party leaders.

Hoffman is in a two-way race for the GOP nomination with Watertown banker Matt Doheny. He narrowly lost to Democratic Representative Bill Owens last fall in a special election to fill the 23rd Congressional District seat.

Owens seeking input from business community

In his continuing push to spur job creation in upstate New York, Congressman Bill Owens has launched an effort to get feedback from businesses across the North Country.

Owens, who represents New York’s 23rd Congressional District, sent questionnaires to business leaders in hopes of receiving feedback on what Congress can do to – quote – “more effectively create jobs for thousands of area New Yorkers looking for work.”

In a release issued Monday, Owens said job creation is the key to long-term economic recovery.