Julia Botero

Julia Botero is a joint reporter for WRVO Public Media and North Country Public Radio. She covers the North Country and other areas of upstate New York.

JULIA BOTERO / WRVO NEWS

(WRVO) Thousand Island dressing gets its name from the chain of islands straddling northern New York and Canada. At the turn of the century, this region along the St. Lawrence River was a summer destination for the nation’s elite. It was the Gilded Age. The creamy pink salad dressing was all the rage among cooks at the hotels and resorts dotting the river. There are two competing local legends on who first came up with the dressing. 

JULIA BOTERO / WRVO NEWS

(WRVO) This year's drought has left wells dry across the region. After some rain, farmers are wondering when their groundwater will be replenished. 

JULIA BOTERO / WRVO NEWS

(WRVO) Most of northern and central New York is still experiencing a drought, despite some rain this weekend. Groundwater reserves are depleted in wells across the region. Farmers are trucking in water for their livestock, people are digging new wells for their homes and towns are trying to find ways to conserve this now limited resource. 

Cornell Cooperative Extension

Scientists with the Cornell Cooperative Extension are experimenting with a late-summer oat crop.  They say it may help farmers during a drought like the one parts of New York state are experiencing now. The oats could give farmers one last chance to stock up on feed for their livestock.

JEFFERSON-LEWIS COUNTY SCOPE CHAPTER

(WRVO) The Lewis County Fair is open in Lowville. Organizers are allowing the gun rights group SCOPE to raffle off three firearms. Last week, the Jefferson County Fair banned SCOPE from renting a booth. Organizers there claimed guns were too controversial to allow at a family event.   

JULIA BOTERO / WRVO NEWS

(WRVO) Agriculture is an essential part of the North Country's economy. St. Lawrence and Jefferson County are among the top ten farming counties in the state. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand visited Watertown yesterday to speak with farmers about  new federal policies that could help them prosper. 

JULIA BOTERO / WRVO NEWS

(WRVO) Organizers of the Jefferson County Fair have barred a gun rights group from raffling off three guns to fairgoers this year. 

JULIA BOTERO / WRVO NEWS

(WRVO) Jefferson, Lewis and parts of St. Lawrence Counties are in the early stages of a drought. Areas of central and western New York are experiencing much worse conditions. Mike Hunter with the Cornell Cooperative Extension says the corn crop is fine, for now. But hay has taken a hit so far this summer.

Julia Botero

A monument that celebrates Fort Drum’s relationship with its surrounding community was revealed at a ceremony in Watertown’s Thompson Park on Friday.

MISSILE DEFENSE AGENCY

(WRVO) If you’ve ever wondered what happens at a place full of huge missiles, Nathaniel Gill with the Missile Defense Agency said on the outside it’s pretty quiet, but indoors computers pick up signals from everything being launched into the air all over the world. If a threat was on its way to the U.S., a ballistic missile kept underground will shoot into the air.

Mike Kirtz

(WRVO) A bill that will make it easier for military spouses to start working immediately after moving to the state is about to become law. New York is the only state that requires military spouses to re-apply for their professional license after arriving here.

LEI HAN / FLICKR, CREATIVE COMMONS

This week, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development awarded more than $42 million to homeless housing programs across New York state. Organizations in Watertown, Geneva, Utica and Syracuse will receive funding. The effort to bolster housing nonprofits is part of the nation’s strategy to prevent and end homelessness.

Julia Botero / WRVO News

(WRVO) Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants the state to get half of its energy from renewable sources in the next 15 years. That has wind developers eyeing the farm land along the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario.

NEW YORK STATE DEC.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is working towards outlawing boaters from dumping their sewage into the St. Lawrence River. The agency says the river could be designated a “no discharge zone.”

CEEDUB13 / FLICKR, CREATIVE COMMONS

(WRVO) A non-profit says The St. Lawrence River is one of the 10 most endangered rivers in the country. American Rivers say the fish and wildlife of the St. Lawrence will remain in jeopardy until the U.S. and Canada approves a plan for controlling its water levels.

PETROGLYPH / FLICKR CREATIVE COMMONS

(WRVO) Eight skunks in Jefferson County have tested positive for rabies this winter. County Health officials say this is number is unusually high. They're urging more pet owners in rural areas across northern New York to vaccinate their pets to stop the spread of the fatal disease to humans.

(WRVO) More than a hundred Fort Drum soldiers have been barred from going home since Friday when a post official discovered a piece of Army equipment was missing. Soldiers have been kept on post for six days now.

FORT DRUM MOUNTAIN COMMUNITY HOMES

(WRVO) There’s a glut of housing in towns surrounding Fort Drum. With thousands of troops deployed, many houses and apartment complexes in the area are empty, including the homes on base. Now, housing on Fort Drum is available to all civilians, even those who don’t work on post.  Anyone who passes a background check is welcomed to rent a home on Fort Drum.

Sarah Harris / North Country Public Radio

(WRVO) A farm initiative lead by state Sen. Patty Ritchie plans to restore $12 million to research programs slated to be cut under Cuomo's  budget plan.

Julia Botero / WRVO News

(WRVO) Women are now allowed to enter all combat roles in the military. Some top military brass say they believe all women should now be required to register for the draft, just like men are required to do within 30 days after they turn eighteen. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) says she’s okay with that.

Jonathan Greenwald / Flickr

(WRVO) At least every couple of years – in the middle of the winter – federal officials try to count how many people are homeless in the U.S.  Agencies who work with the homeless give out a survey called the point-in-time count, and that’s what’s happening all this week.

Meredith Turk

(WRVO) Going back to school is challenging for veterans. The majority who enroll in two or four year colleges across the nation don’t complete their degree. Jefferson Community College in Watertown and SUNY Canton will be awarded over $1 million this year to help more veterans graduate. School administrators say individual attention is key.

Julia Botero / WRVO News

(WRVO) If Gov. Andrew Cuomo has his way, New York’s minimum wage will rise to $10.50 by the end of this year, and to $15 an hour in five years. It would be the highest statewide minimum wage in the country, matching the minimums in cities like Seattle and San Francisco.

U.S. ARMY FORT DRUM & 10TH MOUNTAIN DIVISION / Flickr

(WRVO) Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) announced Wednesday the omnibus spending bill currently in Congress includes $19 million for Fort Drum.

Julia Botero / WRVO News

(WRVO) Something is wrong in Orleans, a small town in the Thousand Islands. Tap water there is contaminated with high levels of salt. The water is not only unfit to drink, it eats bathroom fixtures and destroys washing machines. The problem has gone on for at least a decade. Homeowners suspect road salt from a nearby salt barn is to blame, and they want help from the state.

Facebook

On the morning after the shootings in San Bernardino, California, the sheriff in Ulster County, south of Albany, posted a status update on Facebook. His post was directed to licensed handgun owners. He urged them to carry their firearm, as long as they know how to use it. So far, the post as been shared over 33,000 times.

The next day, the sheriff of Lewis County shared that update too and said he agrees.

Julia Botero / WRVO News

An energy developer out of Albany is considering building a 32-turbine wind farm on Galloo Island, six miles offshore, on Lake Ontario. But residents in the Jefferson County town of Henderson, on the shores of the lake, say all they would get out of the project is a ruined view.

If you’ve ever visited Henderson you know that the homes along the harbor are big and beautiful, with sweeping views of the Lake Ontario. The town is small and quiet. 

Julia Botero / WRVO News

Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) visited the home of Philadelphia brand cream cheese in Lowville Wednesday. While parent company Kraft-Heinz was in the midst of closing plants nationwide last week, the company recently it would hire 100 new workers at the plant.  Schumer told those already employed their jobs are secure.

Todd Rosenberg / Kraft Foods Group

When Kraft-Heinz announced last week it would close seven of its factories nationwide, one factory in New York got better news than the rest. The company proposed a plan to expand its cream cheese plant in Lowville and hire more than 100 new employees over the next five years.

Julia Botero / WRVO News

More than 4,000 Fort Drum troops are on missions in Iraq, Afghanistan and other places around the world. We’ve heard a lot about the soldiers, but less about their families.

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