New Contender For State Assmebly From The North Country

A new contender in the North Country for State Assembly. Karen Johnson has more details.

Keith Rubino, a lifelong North Country resident is announcing his candidacy for the 118th Assembly District, which includes towns in southern and central St. Lawrence County. He will run as a Democrat.The seat is currently held by Assemblyman Marc Butler, R-Newport, who is not be seeking re-election. Rubino says he wants to level the playing field in New York by bringing more funding, jobs, and prosperity to Upstate New York. He is employed with the state of New York as a direct support attendant, working with the developmentally disabled. Keith says that he’s looking forward to this campaign, but did not make the decision to run lightly. He adds “I want people to see someone young and passionate that truly intends on fighting corruption within Albany. I will fight for the rights of people with disabilities, people working with them, and the entire human services field. Two Republican candidates, Philip Lloyd Paige and Patrick Vincent, have announced they will run for the 118th district and will face a primary on Sept. 11. I’m Karen Johnson

Flood warnings posted for Northern Franklin County towns

A flood warning is in effect for the Little Salmon River. High water thanks to the ice jam in Fort Covington is causing the river to come out of its banks. Several roads are closed today in Fort Covington. And the National Weather Service says levels will hold steady until the ice jam releases. Fort Covington, Bombay, Westville are all among the towns that could see flooding today. The flood warning runs through 5:30, but it may be extended. The ice jam along the St. Regis River is also causing flooding in Hogansburg. Emergency management says several roads are flooded, including St Regis, Gray, North, Church, and Mill Streets. North, Helena, and Solomon Roads are all flooded as well. That flood warning will stay in effect through 7 tonight.

“TOPS” Is Having Topsy-Turvy Financial Problems

A popular grocery chain is having major financial problems. Karen Johnson has more.

Tops Markets is announcing it’s filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the U. S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York. Chapter 11 is a section of U.S. bankruptcy law which permits a business to stay open while paying its debts. According to a press release from Tops Markets LLC, based in Williamsville near Buffalo, “Tops stores across Upstate New York, Northern Pennsylvania and Vermont are continuing to serve customers with no impact on day-to-day operations. The company fully expects operations to continue as normal throughout this financial restructuring process. CEO Frank Curci says the company is working cooperatively with its creditors. According to the press release, Tops has received an asset-based revolving loan from Bank of America and a commitment for loan financing from some of its creditors. It expects to receive court approval for its restructuring requests and to continue paying employee benefits and wages without interruption. Tops employs over 14-thousand workers. In the Adirondacks, Tops operates two supermarkets in Saranac Lake, on Church street and Lake Flower Avenue. I’m Karen Johnson.

A Historic Moment In The Overall Number of Smokers In New York

The number of smokers in New York state is at the lowest level in recorded history. Karen Johnson has details.

With the great news the city’s health department is pushing for more people to kick the habit. Gov. Andrew Cuomo is announcing that the statewide adult smoking rate is 14.2 percent as of 2016 – a 22 percentage-point decline from 2011. The national smoking rate is 15.5 percent. The smoking rate for all New York City residents also dropped significantly from 16.2 percent in 2011 to 11.5 percent in 2016. The data comes from the annual Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance system, an adult health survey, which shows declines across various groups between 2011 and 2016. During that time period, smoking among 18- to 24-year-olds dropped from 21.6 percent to 11.7 percent; smoking among New Yorkers without a high school diploma dropped from 25.7 percent to 19.2 percent; and smoking among people making less than $25,000 a year fell from 27.8 percent to 19.8 percent. Cuomo credited various campaigns that warn New Yorkers about the dangers of tobacco use and state and local health programs as the leading factors behind the decline. I’m Karen Johnson

Parks Visitation Is On The Rise Across New York

Park visitation is on the rise throughout New York. Karen Johnson has details.

71.5 million of us visited parks and historic sites across New York last year, a jump in attendance across the state.  2017 attendance was up by 950,000 visitors compared to the previous year, marking the seventh straight year of attendance growth for the system of 180 state parks and 35 historic sites.  The state is in the midst of NY Parks 2020, a $900 million initiative to upgrade park infrastructure as well as historic buildings, campgrounds and trails.  I’m Karen Johnson

Flood watch posted for northern Franklin County

Near record highs and rain have the entire North Country under a flood watch for the next couple of days. The National Weather Service says any rivers where there are ice jams will be the most susceptible to flooding. The rapid snow melt and river ice breakup, combined with extra rain, could mean some minor to moderate flooding. The Flood Watch starts late tonight and runs through Wednesday evening.

Malone Will Soon Receive A Special Designation

Malone is nearly ready to receive a very special designation. Karen Johnson has details.

The town is about to receive official designation as a clean energy community, following the completion of four state-approved projects aimed at expanding its green energy profile. Town officials recently detailed the town’s participation in the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority’s Clean Energy Community Project, which makes grants for clean energy projects available to communities that meet four out of 10 criteria outlined by the state. To qualify for the program and its $50,000 award upon completion, the town has invested in green energy projects including an energy benchmarking assessment and a soon-to-be-installed electric vehicle charging station.”You’re almost there,” said Jamie Rogers of the Adirondack North Country Association, a Saranac-Lake based economic development agency specializing in assisting municipalities with environmental projects. Rogers notes that Malone has completed “three and 99 percent” out of the four projects needed to be deemed a Clean Energy Community, noting that the installation of the charging station will complete the town’s requirements. I’m Karen Johnson.

A Different Trial For A North Country Man

A different trial for a North Country man. Karen Johnson has details.

Former St. Lawrence County murder defendant Nick Hillary may be going on trial again, but this time for something else. District Attorney Gary Pasqua says he intends to prosecute Hillary for criminal contempt, a charge filed in 2015 after Hillary allegedly violated an order of protection.At the time, Hillary was a suspect in the 2011 death of 12 year old Garrett Phillips in Potsdam. A while later he was found to be not guilty. The order of protection involved Garrett Phillips’ mother.Pasqua says no trial date for the criminal contempt trial is on the calendar. I’m Karen Johnson

Alice Hyde to receive $4.6 million from federal gov’t

Alice Hyde Medical Center in Malone will receive $4.6 million in federal funding under the Low-Volume Hospital program. Senator Chuck Schumer made the announcement Wednesday that the recently passed budget deal renews and extends the LVH and Medicare-Dependent Hosptial programs for five years. He says both of the programs are vital to hospitals in rural New York. The money will be granted to 23 hospitals. Besides Alice Hyde, Massena Memorial will see $4.2 million and Claxton-Hepburn will receive $5.1 million. Schumer called it a “critical step” to ensuring that rural residents have the same access and level of care as their urban counterparts.

Should New York Participate In Early Voting?

Should New York participate in early voting? Karen Johnson has more information

Under the propsed plan, in 2019, voters will have access to at least one polling site 12 days before Election Day. But the idea’s not sitting well with everyone such as those who run the elections. Some local elections commissioners say it would help get people to the polls.”Looking at all of the other 37 states who do have early voting, it has seemed to increase their voter turnout,” said St. Lawrence County Democratic Elections Commissioner Jennie Bacon. But others say it may not help especially because many local races are unopposed. Plus, there’s the cost. Governor Cuomo set aside about $7 million in his budget to offer early voting. But that’s for every county in the state. In Jefferson County, it’s estimated it will cost an additional $17,000 to do early voting in 2019 and then $40,000 in 2020. I’m Karen Johnson.