Archives for June 2016

Audit criticizes St. Regis Falls reserve funds

A new audit is criticizing how much money St. Regis Fall Central School District is holding in reserve. The school is allowed to have no more than 4% of their total budget left over at the end of the school year. The audit says St. Regis Falls has in excess of 25%, or a little more than $2 million. And this has been going on for several years, dating back to at least the 2012-13 school year. The report says the district business manager cited worries about state funding, but the audit says the state would have to cut about 40% of their aid for the district to need that much money, something the auditor called “unlikely.” The district is now planning to transfer that cash into a capital projects fund, which should address the problem, according to the Superintendent.

Malone airport awarded nearly $435K for improvements

The Malone-Dufort Airport in Malone will receive nearly $435,000 from the FAA. The money will be usd to reconstruct nearly 5,000 square yards of the airport’s aircraft parking apron pavement. Other North County airports are also sharing in a peice of pie announced by Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirstin Gillibrand. The Potsdam airport will receive about $212,000 for snow equipment. Plattsburgh International will receive about $47,500 for new fencing and security upgrades. Sen. Schumer said keeping the airports in “top-notch shape” is critical for keeping business and tourists coming to the North Country.

Mulverhill kicks off campaign

Kevin Mulverhill officially kicked off his campaign in Plattsburgh, promising a tough stance on heroin and ethics reform in Albany. Speaking to a crowd of about 30 on Wednesday, Mulverhill says something has to be done to crack down on the havoc wreaked by opiates. He wants to take over the seat currently held by Republican Janet Duprey when her term ends this year. Mulverhill has been the Franklin County sheriff since 2011. He’ll face off against Billy Jones, who’s running on the Democratic ticket.

STOP-DWI crackdown begins Thursday

Starting tomorrow, Franklin County police agencies will be on alert for any drunk drivers. The STOP-DWI Crackdown runs through July 5. Since this year’s holiday falls on a Monday, police are expecting an uptick in traffic from today through Tuesday. July 4th is one of the deadliest holidays of the year, with more than 752 dead in the past five years. And drunk drivers were to blame in all of those wrecks. The statewide STOP-DWI crackdown will have State Police and Franklin County deputies out in full force.

Border patrol expecting heavy traffic this weekend

Border patrol agents are expecting an uptick in traffic this weekend, which could mean longer lines at the checkpoints. Everyone is urged to plan ahead and check online for the shortest wait times to decide where and when you’ll cross. Also, don’t forget your ID and know your personal exemptions if your doing a cross-border shopping trip. The Canadian border patrol says remember the four Fs—fishing, firewood, fireworks and firearms…don’t bring live bait or firewood across the border period. As for fireworks, you’ll have to have an import form and you can bring guns, but they have to be declared at the port of entry.

AirBnb To Collect Franklin County “Bed Tax”

Franklin County and Airbnb have all but inked a deal in which Airbnb will collect the county occupancy tax from property owners who rent via the website. As of late yesterday, county officials say they are just waiting for final word that Airbnb has approved the agreement, which is expected to happen immediately. Ed Histed now, with more…

((The Franklin County contract is modeled after similar agreements that are already working in cities such as San Francisco and Portland, Oregon. Under the terms of the proposed contract, Airbnb will collect the occupancy tax in addition to the percentage of the payment the website receives from the person renting out their property. As word spreads of the pending deal in Franklin County, some other North Country counties… including Essex, Clinton, and St. Lawrence… have also now shown interest in reviewing Franklin County’s contract with Airbnb as a model for their own bed tax collections. Franklin County leaders in fact, plan to show the final draft of the agreement to treasurers in all of the state’s 62 counties.))

Lake Placid considers closing village court in today’s election

While Franklin County isn’t holding a primary today, voters in Lake Placid have a big decision to make…will they keep operating the village court or consolidate with the North Elba Town Court. If voters go for disolution, the court would stop operating in April 2017 when the final village justice’s term is over. A committee says shutting down the village court would save about $45,000 per year. Polls are open until 9 tonight.

NY to clear backlog of rape kits

Police must submit rape kits containing DNA evidence to laboratories within 10 days of collecting it under legislation heading to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s desk. The bill also requires labs to process evidence within 90 days and calls for clearing any backlog of the evidence kits, which can be used to identify suspects whose DNA is already in police databases. It would require police submit older rape kits to labs within 180 days, with the DNA evidence due back from the labs 120 days after that. Sponsors say New York lacks a tracking mechanism so there’s no way of knowing how many kits are unprocessed.

Champlain Center offers Kids Club starting in July

The Champlain Centre is expanding its kids programming this summer. Every Tuesday afternoon at 1 p.m., starting July 5th, children and their parents are invited to Marty’s Summer Kids Club. They’ll do everything from robotics to learn how to make Auntie Anne’s pretzels to learning about birds of prey during an Adirondack Raptor’s show. The kids club should last between an hour and 90 minutes and it’ll be held in front of JCPenny, Gander Mountain and Dicks Sporting Goods.

Upstate Woman Caught After Years Of Involvement In Massive Government Fraud

An upstate woman was convicted on Tuesday in Federal Court of a massive fraud. 62 year old Carol-Lisa Gutman of Delmar… that’s near Albany… was found guilty of conducting a huge 15-year fraud scheme, which netted her right around $429,000 in federal disability benefits. Gutman was convicted of five counts of wire fraud, two counts of federal employees’ compensation fraud, and one count of theft of government money. Ed Histed has the rest of this story…

((Prosecutors claimed… and proved, during a six day trial… that Gutman began receiving federal workers’ compensation benefits in 1987, after claiming to have injured her back while working for the United States Postal Service. From that time forward, Gutman claimed to be completely disabled, regularly reporting that she was essentially housebound and lacked the ability to do any substantial amount of bending, lifting, carrying, or even sitting. Gutman also reported that she spent 15 hours each day in a large hot tub in order to obtain relief for her back pain and that she did not perform household-related tasks. But that wasn’t the case at all. Video recordings dating back to 2011, showed Gutman working in her yard, raking leaves, mowing the lawn, carrying large pails of yard waste, and bending over repeatedly. Gutman will be sentenced on October 26th, and she faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000, along with an order that she pay full restitution to the government.))