David Sommerstein

David Sommerstein, a contributor from North Country Public Radio (NCPR), has covered the St. Lawrence Valley, Thousand Islands, Watertown, Fort Drum and Tug Hill regions since 2000. Sommerstein has reported extensively on agriculture in New York State, Fort Drum’s engagements in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the lives of undocumented Latino immigrants on area dairy farms. He’s won numerous national and regional awards for his reporting from the Associated Press, the Public Radio News Directors Association, and the Radio-Television News Directors Association. He's regularly featured on NPR's Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and Only a Game, and PRI’s The World.

Sommerstein started his career in radio as a sit-in jazz and Latin DJ at Buffalo NPR affiliate WBFO. He’s a huge baseball fan, speaks fluent Spanish, and hosts a bilingual music show featuring funk, hip hop, Latin and world beats, called The Beat Authority.

There are few regions in the world where you can make true "ice wine," a sweet, dessert-style vintage. You need warm summers to grow quality grapes. But the fruit must be picked and pressed when it's well below freezing. So you need frigid winters.

Most of the ice wine in the U.S. is imported from Canada or Germany. But a growing number of wineries in places like upstate New York, Michigan and Pennsylvania have started making their own, giving American consumers the option of buying domestically produced bottles.

There was a deep sigh of relief in Massena Tuesday, if only a temporary one. After announcing massive layoffs three weeks ago, aluminum manufacturer Alcoa reversed course. The company said it will keep its smelter in Massena open and guarantee 600 jobs for 3 1/2 years. In exchange, New York state will give the aluminum giant almost $70 million in cheap power and cash for capital and operating expenses.

“Never say never, but highly unlikely.” That’s what Entergy spokesman Jerry Nappi said Tuesday about the possibility of the company reversing course and keeping open the FitzPatrick nuclear plant near Oswego.

For more than a decade, undocumented Hispanic workers have been indispensable on dairy farms across Upstate New York. The immigrants live largely invisible lives and rarely stray off the farm to avoid detection by federal agents. They are also less likely to report abuses.