About James Odato

In a career rooted in watchdog reporting, Explorer editor James M. Odato has been cited as one of New York’s top journalists covering state government, gambling, and abuse and waste of public money. He has written thousands of articles, his byline has appeared in numerous national publications and his investigative stories have spurred reforms. As a staff reporter for five daily newspapers, including the Albany Times Union and Buffalo News, Odato has received more than 30 awards from the Associated Press, New York Publishers Association, the New York Legislative Correspondents Association and other media organizations. In 2007, Investigative Reporters and Editors recognized his reporting with the Freedom of Information Award Medal. In October 2021, the University of Massachusetts Press released his book, This Brain Had a Mouth, Lucy Gwin and the Voice of Disability Nation.

Reader Interactions


  1. Bill Keller says

    “Knew about the mine when they bought the place 15 years ago” and now they complain about the noise and dust. We paddled 13th lake this summer(during the weekday) and we didn’t hear mining noises or see dust. “The current mine operations are completely incompatible with its location adjacent to this state protected wilderness”, the mine has been in operation for how many years (founded 1868 with the mine on Gore Mtn.) and now it is incompatible? We saw many beautiful, expensive second homes throughout the location (Garnet Hill Association) and now the wealthy complain about “their” wilderness experience. No data to support the dust or noise claim, both can be measured. I have lived in this area for over thirty years now, my children visited the mine to look for garnets and in my opinion Barton Mines is meeting it’s community obligations by running a business that is in compliance with the regulatory agencies that oversee it and that proposes a plan that goes above the requirements.

    • Boreas says


      As the article states, no one seems to be intent on shutting down the mining operation. If I had any complaints, however minor, about an operation that is looking to extend their operations for 75+ years, now is the time I would do it. The complaints are essentially ways to ensure mitigation efforts are considered and carry into the future of the mine operations. The time to specify noise, dust, and environmental limits and mitigation plans is prior to allowing the extension. If indeed the complaints are found by APA (after thorough study!) to be without merit, at least the residents have been given the opportunity to express their concerns. Residents are allowed an opinion. It is up to the APA to verify the veracity of the complaints.

  2. John says

    “News hound?” Oh, please.

    “Dust-up?” Not very clever and in this case unfortunate, since dust — present or absent — seem to be an issue.

  3. LynnC says

    Conversation is important. The environment and the economy are not mutually exclusive. See how things can be mitigated with the garnet mines and residents (seasonal or permanent). There are countless places across the globe that successfully navigate industry and economy vs. ecology every single day. And thanks Jim, your work is so important to bring these issues to the light of day. Your research and reporting has always been spot on.

  4. Susan says

    People complain about employment opportunities and the economy inside the Blue Line. But when a responsible business owner tries to conduct business inside the Blue Line, the environmentalists start to piss and moan. You can’t have it both ways!

  5. Alan West says

    These complainers are relatively new to the area, whereas the mine has been there for decades,providing employment to many in the North Creek area, and in a responsible manner.
    The only concern I have is to not let the slag pile become an eye sore., spread it out.Bartons is good for the community an the permit should be granted.

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