Archives for July 2018

North Country Dairy Farmers Are Getting Support

Dairy Farmers, including those in the North Country are getting support from the Federal Government. Karen Johnson explains.

North Country Assemblywoman Addie Jenne says while there may be some debate about the scope of the federal administration’s trade wars, she’s encouraged by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue’s announcement that a short-term emergency plan is being established to support sectors of the agriculture industry, including dairy farmers. Dairy farmers have seen their markets nosedive lately in response to decisions about tariffs. She says “It’s no secret that our agriculture sector is part of a global system and is struggling even more as a result of steps the federal government has taken to address trade imbalances,”. She adds “I have been advocating a short-term plan to keep our dairy industry financially stable, while adopting standards that will open new export markets and giving farmers the incentive to reduce over production.. Agriculture is one of our state’s top economic sectors, trailing only finance, and we need to take bold steps to keep it strong during these tough economic times. I’m Karen Johnson

Jobless Rate Is Mixed Across The North Country

The jobless rate in St. Lawrence County and other parts of the North Country is getting mixed reviews. Karen Johnson has a report.

St. Lawrence County had the highest June unemployment rate in New York, according to preliminary figures from the state Department of Labor. St. Lawrence County’s June unemployment rate was 6 percent, the highest in the state. That’s down from 6.9 percent in June 2017 according to the Department of Labor. There were 2,600 people on unemployment last month and 3,000 receiving benefits in the same month last year. There were 40,300 people in the county who were employed in June, down slightly from 40,400 in June 2017.To the east in Franklin County, the rate dropped to 4.9 percent last month from 5.6 percent in June 2017. Then to the west in Jefferson County, the unemployment rate was 4.8 percent last month, down from 5.5 percent in June 2017. The number of people there collecting benefits was 2,200 last month, with 2,600 the same month last year. I’m Karen Johnson.

Potsdam Lifeguards Walk Off The Job

Potsdam Lifeguards Have Walked Off the Job. Karen Johnson knows why.

Eleven lifeguards have walked off the job because they are receiving less than the state minimum wage.
Head lifeguard Alaina White, in a letter to, points out the lifeguards are required to spend $250 for lifeguard certification and were not informed of their wages prior to starting work. She also notes lifeguards have training in CPR and first aid and are responsible for responding to many types of emergencies.The letter is signed by ten other lifeguards.The lifeguards are being paid $9.70 an hour. Municipalities are exempt from the state minimum wage of $10.40 per hour. They say attempts to discuss with the Potsdam Recreation Director about the number of fees lifeguards are required to pay has gotten them no where. In addition they say when first hired for this summer, no lifeguard received any kind of statement telling us how much we were going to be paid nor any kind of document for us to sign agreeing to our wages to handle other tasks like routine maintenance around the beaches and being in charge of bus runs while supervising children in the recreation program. They add they enjoy working with the kids and are sorry for the inconvenience. I’m Karen Johnson.

New Law Enforcement Commander In The North Country

There’s a new law enforcement leader in town in the North Country. Karen Johnson brings you up to date.

The new state police Troop B commander has spent the past two weeks on the job now and is learning the ins and outs of his new position and his New Jersey-sized troop.Maj. Darrin Pitkin spent the last 14-and-a-half years as a zone commander for the Watertown zone of Troop D, covering Jefferson, Lewis and Oswego counties, so he has not moved too far and still works in the North Country. Pitkin has not moved to the Troop B area, though. His family and hometown are in Dexter, around 6 miles west of Watertown. He makes the 100-mile commute there and back to spend weekends at home, and sleeps at the troop barracks in the Ray Brook headquarters during the week. Pitkin said his new position is more administrative than his past ones, but according to the outgoing troop commander, John Tibbits Jr., it is still a very active job. I’m Karen Johnson.

Massena Man Faces Charges Spanning Three North Country Villages

A Massena man is facing multiple charges for an incident that spanned three villages . Karen Johnson has a report.

State police say a Massena man is facing five counts after being charged with a July 4 domestic violence incident that began at the Norwood Field Day and ended in Canton.Troopers say they charged 42 year old Todd J. Beamis with second-degree unlawful imprisonment, third-degree assault, criminal obstruction of breathing, fourth-degree criminal mischief and second-degree aggravated unlicensed operation, all misdemeanors, and a traffic citation for unlawful operation.On July 6 a woman reported that on July 4 she was at the Norwood Field Day on Morgan Street in the village of Norwood with Beamis.According to troopers, the pair left the field day with Beamis operating his vehicle in violation of a revoked license. Beamis grabbed the back of her head and slammed her head into the dashboard of the vehicle while driving through the village of Norwood, according to troopers. He then drove to the town of Potsdam where he stopped the vehicle and dragged the victim out of the vehicle and assaulted her again, troopers said. Eventually, the two ended up at a residence in Canton where the woman was choked, assaulted, and held against her will in the bathroom of the residence, according to troopers.

SUNY Potsdam Honors Own In The Field Of Childcare

SUNY Potsdam honors one of their own in the field of childcare. Karen Johnson reports.

A college alum, Lori Moulton, SUNY Potsdam Child Care Executive Director is the recipient of this year’s Marcia Brady Excellence in Early Childhood Administrator Award.The award was created to celebrate administrators, childcare staff and community partners who have made significant achievements in the improvement and advancement of early care and education, within the SUNY Childcare Community. Moulton was recognized at the 2018 SUNY Early Care and Education Conference in Saratoga Springs in June. Moulton was selected to lead the center in 1998, and has served as executive director for 20 years. She is a member of the local St. Lawrence Child Care Council Board of Directors, and the SUNY Canton Early Childhood Program Advisory Board. And she’s been actively involved in the design and plans for the college’s new $6 million Child Care Center facility. I’m Karen Johnson.

Constable Man Charged With Felony Drug Possession By Border Patrol

A Constable man is charged with felony drug possession after a traffic stop by U.S. Border Patrol. Karen Johnson has more.

Troopers say they responded to state Route 37 in the town of Fort Covington Monday, to assist a United States Border Patrol agent who had stopped a 2005 Pontiac Grand Prix for failure to keep right.The operator, identified as 31-year-old John M. Butchino of Constable, was found to have a revoked driver’s license due to a previous DWI. Butchino was also found in possession of several acetaminophen and oxycodone hydrochloride pills, according to troopers. Butchino was arrested and charged with fifth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, a felony, as well as possessing prescriptions outside of the original container, two counts of second-degree aggravated unlicensed operation, failure to keep right and use of motor vehicle without an interlock device. Butchino was arraigned in the Town of Malone Court where he was remanded to the Franklin County Jail, Malone in lieu of $10,000 cash bail or $20,000 bond. He is to reappear in the Town of Fort Convington Court on a later date. I’m Karen Johnson

Big Plans For Potsdam Library Proposals

The Potsdam Public Library is seeking proposals for renovations for the building that is 90 years old. Karen Johnson has a report.

The proposal must include the library’s four goals: to reduce noise transfer by creating an enclosed children’s area, to increase capacity for classes and events by adding a larger classroom, to increase privacy for computer users, and to add more space for comfortable seating. Before proposals for the project are even due, on Aug. 22, the library hopes to receive a grant from the state that would help pay for the construction. The grant is called the New York State Library Construction Grant and would involve the library matching up to 50 percent of the money provided. The library applied for $360,000 and expects that they would have to match 33 percent of it.
Library Director Annie Chase hopes the upgrades will transform the building into what sociologist Ray Oldenberg’s calls the “third place.” The first two spaces are where you live and where you work; the third is where you socialize. I’m Karen Johnson.

Solving Crimes Together In The North Country

Several North Country jurisdictions are partnering to solve crimes. Karen Johnson has a report.

Soon, St. Lawrence County will begin information sharing with the North Country Crime Analysis Center in Malone now that the two have signed a memorandum of understanding.According to the resolution the center was established to develop and produce a “comprehensive picture of crime incidents though in-depth crime analysis, pattern identification, incident mapping, emerging crime trend recognition and other related activities.” The resolution says the NCCAC would like to “partner with the probation department for information sharing of data among the law enforcement community though the caseload explorer database of the probation department.” The North Country Center serves a large geographic area of more than 9,400 square miles that borders Canada and includes the sovereign St. Regis Mohawk Reservation, which straddles ?Northeastern New York’s border with Quebec and Ontario. I’m Karen Johnson.

New Contender For Potsdam Town Council

There’s a new contender for a spot on the Potsdam town Council. Karen Johnson reports.

Her name is 26 year old Toni Kennedy, a Democrat. She’s, has submitted a petition to run in the September primary for a seat on the Potsdam Town Council. In her campaign announcement she says she is running because “her age group is not represented on the Potsdam Town Council.” However, Councilor Sarah Lister, who took office in January, is 28 years old. Kennedy is running against Democrat incumbent Jim Grant. Kennedy adds in an emailed statement, “I was really inspired by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who showed the world that if you really want to get into politics, just do it.” Ocasio-Cortez (D-Queens), a 28-year-old waitress, garnered an upset Democratic primary victory over Congressman Joe Crowley (D-Queens) in the 14th Congressional District in New York City.”Besides their age, both candidates share similar progressive values and energy. Toni Kennedy is a registered nurse at Northern Lights as well as serving as a board member on the Potsdam Central School PTA. She most recently volunteered for Patrick Nelson (D-Stillwater) on his run for Congress, and for Senator (Bernie) Sanders (I-Vermont) in 2016 for President. I’m Karen Johnson