QUEENSBURY — Queensbury school officials are seeking international students to bring more diversity and culture to the district.
The district in January received approval from the federal government to accept F1 visa students following a year-and-a-half process.
Queensbury Superintendent of Schools Douglas Huntley said the district is looking at accepting four or five students for the first year of the program.
“We recognize that we live in a pretty homogeneous setting here,” he said. “What we want to do is expose our students to more of a multicultural dynamic.”
The F1 visa is for 10 months, and it allows students to study abroad at a public school for one year.
The program is open to students who are between the ages of 15 and 18 and are proficient in English. Students will take classes at the high school and can participate in school sports and activities, according to Huntley.
The district is seeking host families to accept these students. It is holding an informational meeting at 7 p.m. April 10 in the high school library.
Huntley said the goal is for the host family not just to provide a roof over the students’ heads, but make them part of the family. The family will receive a stipend.
Former Deputy Superintendent Theresa Middleton had started the project before her retirement at the end of the 2016-2017 school year, and she has been brought back as a special consultant.
There was a lot of paperwork, according to Middleton.
“It just took a long time,” she said.
Students pay tuition and money to the host family.
“It cannot cost the district any money,” she said.
Not many school districts have done this program. Middleton said Newcomb in Essex County has done it for about 11 years to try to boost its enrollment, which is less than 100 students. Niskayuna Central School District has done it for about five years.
Huntley said among the popular places where students have come from are Russia, Spain, Finland, China and some African countries.
“They want an American education. They want to learn English. That’s every important to them,” he said.
Students sometimes want to use this high school education as a stepping stone to apply for colleges in the United States, according to Huntley.
He said the district is hoping to work with SUNY Adirondack to see if students would be interested in staying an additional year.
Newcomb Superintendent Clark “Skip” Hults said this is the 11th year for his district’s international student program. More than 130 students from 30 different countries have attended Newcomb. This year, the district has 10 students from Russia and Spain.
Hults said next year, in addition to those countries, they will be welcoming students from the Netherlands, Kazakhstan, Zimbabwe and Rwanda.
Hults said the visiting students have provided a new perspective that normally would not be heard in an Adirondack school.
“It’s added so much depth to our experience,” he said.
The students have also significantly boosted the small district’s enrollment. This year, there are 87 total students.
Hults has been helping Queensbury as it navigated through this process. A representative from Newcomb will be at the informational meeting.
He said he believes Queensbury would be one of the largest districts in the state to recruit international students.
PALM BEACH, Fla. — President Donald Trump on Sunday declared "NO MORE" to a deal to help "Dreamer" immigrants and threatened to pull out of a free trade agreement with Mexico unless it does more to stop people from crossing into the U.S. He claimed they're coming to take advantage of protections granted certain immigrants.
"NO MORE DACA DEAL!" Trump tweeted one hour after he began the day by wishing his followers a "HAPPY EASTER!"
He said Mexico must "stop the big drug and people flows, or I will stop their cash cow, NAFTA. NEED WALL!" The U.S., Canada and Mexico are participating in tense negotiations over the North American Free Trade Agreement at Trump's insistence. Trump says NAFTA is bad for the U.S.
"Mexico has got to help us at the border," Trump, holding his wife's hand, told reporters before the couple attended Easter services at an Episcopal church near his Palm Beach, Florida, home. "If they're not going to help us at the border, it's a very sad thing between our two countries."
"A lot of people are coming in because they want to take advantage of DACA," he added.
Former President Barack Obama created the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program to provide temporary protection and work permits to hundreds of thousands of immigrants who are living in the U.S. illegally after being brought here as children. Trump ended the program last year, but gave Congress six months to pass legislation enshrining it. A deal has so far proved elusive and Trump has blamed Democrats.
It was not immediately clear what Trump was referring to when he said people are coming to take advantage of the program.
The Department of Homeland Security is not issuing new permits, although existing ones can be renewed. The Obama administration allowed sign-ups during a set period of time, and the program is closed to new entrants.
Proposed DACA deals crafted by lawmakers and rejected by Trump also were not open to new participants.
Trump did not explain what he meant when questioned by reporters as he entered the Church of Bethesda-by-the-Sea with the first lady and his daughter Tiffany. The White House did not immediately respond to a request for clarification.
Trump, when addressing reporters briefly before entering the church, again blamed Democrats for failing to protect the "Dreamers."
"They had a great chance. The Democrats blew it. They had a great, great chance, but we'll have to take a look because Mexico has got to help us at the border. They flow right through Mexico. They send them into the United States. It can't happen that way anymore."
Trump promised during the 2016 presidential campaign to build a southern border wall to stop illegal immigration and drugs from Mexico, but Congress has frustrated him by not moving as quickly as he wants to provide money for construction.
The president also complained on Twitter that border patrol agents can't do their jobs properly because of "ridiculous liberal (Democrat) laws" that allow people caught for being in the country illegally to be released while they await a hearing before a federal immigration judge.
Trump tweeted that the situation is "Getting more dangerous" and "Caravans" are coming. He did not offer details to back his comment.
The president's tweets came after Fox News' "Fox & Friends" reported early Sunday on what it said is a group of 1,200 immigrants, mostly from Honduras, headed to the U.S. The segment was a follow-up to a report by Buzzfeed News on hundreds of Central Americans making their way through Mexico in hopes that American authorities will grant them asylum or be absent when they attempt to cross the border.
The Fox headline was "Caravan of illegal immigrants headed to U.S." The president is known to watch the cable TV program in the morning.
Brandon Judd, leader of the union representing border patrol agents, predicted on "Fox & Friends" that those in the caravan would create havoc and chaos in the U.S. as they wait for what he described as immigration reform. Judd also said Congress needs to pass tougher laws, an idea Trump appeared to echo, and create more bed space for immigration authorities to house people.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a Republican, chided Trump over the tone of the tweets.
"A true leader preserves & offers hope, doesn't take hope from innocent children who call America home. Remember, today is Easter Sunday," tweeted Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a Trump critic who challenged him for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination.
Arizona Republican Sen. Jeff Flake, another Trump foe, urged Congress to take up the fight for Dreamers.
"There are plenty of lawmakers on both sides of the aisle who stand ready to work with the administration on legislation to protect DACA kids who call America home," he tweeted. "Let's do it."
Sunday's church visit was Trump's first public appearance with his wife since CBS's "60 Minutes" aired an interview the previous Sunday with Stormy Daniels, the adult film star who says she had sex with Trump in 2006, early in his marriage and a few months after the Mrs. Trump had given birth to their son. The White House says Trump denies the affair. Mrs. Trump spent most of the past week in Palm Beach with her son.
The Trumps returned to Washington later Sunday.
FORT DRUM — The secretary of the Army said it was “quite a challenge” keeping up with current fights in Afghanistan and Iraq while preparing for the conflicts of the future.
“We have supplies at one level, and the demand on our forces is at a much higher level,” said Mark Esper.
That challenge is one seen at Fort Drum, which is completing training for those future fights as the command group of the 10th Mountain Division takes a key leadership role in the international coalition in Iraq and as division soldiers serve in Afghanistan.
Esper, confirmed as secretary in November, said he was focused on building troop levels and helping the service better manage its time. He said the demands of Iraq and Afghanistan left little time to prepare for complex wars with enemies that have comparable skills and technology to American personnel.
“We need to look at operations, training, how we do it, to make sure that we are focused on the right things so we free up more time at home station to focus on those high-end fights we envision in the future,” Esper said.
The Army secretary, along with Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-Willsboro, toured the post Thursday, meeting with military families and even spending time at one of the post’s gyms.
The tour for Esper also stopped at the post’s Light Fighter School, checking out rappelling training and looking at new winter gear provided after the post was designated as an Arctic Zone for training purposes.
“It’s important to put the mountain back in the 10th Mountain Division,” he said, as he was told about Fort Drum soldiers’ winter training.
Esper later said Fort Drum’s soldiers “not only are very good soldiers in their own capabilities, but also bring these special niche capabilities that are important to the Army.”
The Army secretary was noncommittal when asked about the placement of a Security Forces Assistance Brigade at Fort Drum. The brigades have about 800 senior and noncommissioned officers with expertise in training and advising foreign security forces.
The Army has placed two of the brigades at Fort Benning, Georgia, and Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and has plans to establish four more of them. Stefanik, along with U.S. Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, called for Esper to place a brigade at the post in February.
“That process needs to play itself out as we consider all the different factors,” Esper said.
Speaking to the media, Stefanik said she opposed the privatization of Department of Veterans Affairs services, following the firing of VA Secretary David Shulkin, and reiterated her opposition for the use of military funding in the recent Omnibus spending bill to build a wall on America’s southern border. She also said she supported the 2.4 percent pay raise for military personnel this year and backed the placement of a missile defense site at Fort Drum.
FORT ANN — The owner of the motocross track may have seemed to some like he was being a stickler last Monday night when he asked the Planning Board to alter some wording in a resolution that was approved in February.
But considering the road he’s had to travel to open and keep his motocross track open, it was passed to save him any more lost time.
Motocross track owner Jeremy Treadway had a site plan approved in January but quickly found language that was not agreed on in it. He went before the board again on Monday, March 26 to seek clarifications for two of the conditions before he opened on Easter Sunday.
It was passed with 4 votes.
Planning Board members Richard Winchell and Matthew Jones abstained.
Board member Chad Wilson felt the resolution needed to be revisited for those two conditions, as well as Treadway.
Racers being prohibited to ride their bikes, ATVs or UTVs from the track to their site and a change in noise levels were two items that needed the clarifications.
Specifically there was a hang-up on the word, “operate” in the condition to ride their bikes to and from the track.
The first stipulation seems to require that once riders are done racing on the track, they have to turn off their motorcycle, ATV or UVT and push it to their site. Some board members said it just means they’re preventing riders from racing up and down the lawn.
The second stipulation makes the noise limits stricter than the ones Treadway agreed to.
There was discussion whether making the changes were necessary. Some board members said the intent of the condition was “painfully obvious,” while others questioned that.
“This is not fair to the people who have a problem with it … it’s like giving bullets to their guns for their legal actions,” Winchell said.
“You’re getting really technical about this whole thing. It’s getting totally ridiculous,” said Chairman Donald Bedeaux.
But member Brian Mattison wasn’t so sure about that.
“Past history is that, every little tidbit, there’s been issues. Issues with everything,” said Mattison.
Legal actions had been filed against Treadway twice this winter filed by six residents, none of which ever came to fruition.
Treadway felt the wording in the resolution was a way for them to “pinch him.”
“I just need to know going into this season what deck of cards I have,” Treadway said.
After a short discussion, the board voted on clarifying the conditions.
The track opened on Easter Sunday. It’s open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.