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. Todd Eastman says

    ‘ The University Games’ venues “must meet international dimensional course standards, including trail widths, which provide a suitable racecourse and are protective of ski racer safety (which is also protective of recreational skier safety),” ORDA stated in its amendment plan. “The vast majority of the total trees to be cut are for widening of existing trails in order to meet Federation Internationale de ski (FIS, International Ski Federation) trail homologation standards.” ‘

    ORDA should not be leveraging events to justify widening trails, an action that requires amendments like the one described in this article.

    Will ORDA place a bid for monster truck events at Whiteface next?

    • Matthew says

      Slippery slope argument, much? Whiteface has been hosting world-class ski racing events and cutting trails for these events since the 1932 Olympics, perhaps earlier. If there was something unconstitutional about it, you’ve had 90 years to say something.

      • Todd Eastman says

        Your understanding of Whiteface’s ski history is rather thin, like the natural snow cover at Iceface…

        There were no Alpine events in 1932. Aside from Marble Mountain (late 1940’s), and an FIS race trail cut in 1938, well after the 1932 OWGS, Whiteface did not exist as a ski center until then Governor Harriman ordered an area built in 1957. Other stories can cover the fateful opening day when the winds arrived and stripped the trails of snow.

        Anyway, bone up on your ski history…

        • Don Biggs says

          Todd, you’re right on the history part but you lose me with your position that ORDA should not be “leveraging events to justify widening trails”. I have not read ORDA’s Mission Statement but I’d be very surprised if actions taken to attract more world class sporting events violated either its letter or spirit. It’s not as if they’re proposing to widen every trail – which I would oppose – but taking steps to ensure that WF remains a relevant racing venue seems wise to me.

        • Matthew says

          OK. Since 1957. You’ve had 65 years to say something.

          And I still disagree with your central point: that ski racing isn’t a constitutional use of that mountain. The ski center itself is a land designation permitting intensive use, supporting the limited widening needed for high performance skier safety. The adjacent land is in the Wilmington Wild Forest, not a wilderness area. This part of the Adirondacks is designated for these kinds of recreational uses and land management.

  2. Boreas says

    I have not read the entire Audubon Society statement regarding the direct impact on Bicknell’s Thrush, but I am thinking that may be a cherry-picked statement, and thus misleading.

    With regard to Bicknell’s Thrush (BT) – it isn’t necessary to damage existing BT HABITAT to damage BT populations. Much of the current stress on BT populations is due to other thrush species gradually moving up-slope due to warming changes in the area – NOT only direct habitat loss. BTs seem to have little ability to resist this up-slope migration by other species or to compete favorably with them with regard to nesting and rearing young. It therefore could well be argued that removing habitat for these down-slope thrush species will simply push those competing species to move up-slope into historical BT habitat. This is likely to happen in the relatively near future if warming continues, but would likely happen sooner with the loss of this lower-elevation habitat on mountains that harbor Bicknell’s Thrush.

    • Don Biggs says


      They didn’t cherry-pick. I checked with a friend at NY Audubon and he/she looked into it and replied that they are satisfied with the efforts made in the UMP to protect the Bicknell Thrush. 10+ pages dedicated to the issue, no tree cutting during breeding season, new trails far from their habitat, monitoring, mapping, etc. “Very comprehensive” was their descriptor.

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