LaDuke to retire at year's end, reflects on reporting for the North Country

"They used snowplows to plow volcano ash out of the streets like we do snow," said LaDuke. "It's really heavy stuff. Two or three inches seem to weigh a ton."

Eventually, LaDuke returned to the states and his native North Country where he worked for several organizations, including TVN Television News, a forerunner of today's CNN. LaDuke was responsible for covering news in the Northeast for national broadcast, which was an "eye-opener," as he recalled it.

"That's where I really began to one-man band, reporting and shooting news for TV," said LaDuke. "That was a real education in how television was run in the national scene."

LaDuke's hard work and portfolio also earned him roles in covering summer and winter Olympic Games, most famously in the North Country when he became the audio/visual director of the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid. LaDuke was responsible for making arrangements with international broadcasters and coordinating the shooting of still and video photography for the event, which is something he said he'll never forget.

"I went in with my eyes open and knew what a challenge it is," said LaDuke, who had previously covered Olympic Games events. "You look back on it now and it's remarkable that little Lake Placid pulled off a first-rate Olympics. They did an outstanding job with very little money and a lot of hard work."

There have been many interesting stories for LaDuke over the years - like the Ice Storm of 1998 where he worked 32 days straight covering the event as it unfolded - and many interesting people - like a U.S. Senator and former First Lady who threw her hat in the ring as the Democratic national candidate for president.

"I think the smartest one I've ever interviewed is Hillary Clinton," said LaDuke. "I've talked to her one-on-one and I found her to be a very smart lady."

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