Archives for July 2016

St. Lawrence County to approve agreement with Airbnb on bed tax

It’s not just Franklin County that’s having trouble collecting the bed tax, St. Lawrence county legislators are dealing with the same problem. At their upcoming meeting on Monday, they’re expected to approve an agreement with Airbnb to collect the 3% bed tax whenever people use the online service to book their reservations. The company is also supposed to collect an 8% sales tax and remit that money to the treasurer’s office either quarterly or annually. The County Chamber of Commerce says there are about 75 properties listed with Airbnb and another 88 on Vacation Rentals by Owner, known as VRBO. Franklin County has already approved a similar agreement with Airbnb.

Massena police urge everyone to lock up

In Massena, police are urging everyone to lock up your house, garage and sheds. The village is dealing with a recent rash of burglaries…at least 9 in the last three weeks. There’s no one area that being targeted and its happening at all hours of the day. In the meantime, police are investigating, looking for clues that could help them find the thieves. If you see anyone or anything that looks suspicious, call police.

Bike the Barns registration opens

Registration is now open for Bike the Barns, a new agritour that will take cyclists from farm to farm across the North Country. Three tours, either 10, 35 or 50-mile rides, will all begin and end at Mace Chasm Farm in Keeseville, with food and music. The Adirondack North Country Association is putting on the tour, specifically designed to showcase local farms and the beauty of the region. This is a first-in-the-region event. Bike the Barns will be held Sept. 24th.

Fraud at a fishing derby

A Plattsburgh man was due in court today to answer to charges that he defrauded a fishing derby. 44-year-old Craig Provost claimed he caught a record setting walleye and won more than $13,000 in the 2015 Lake Champlain International Fishing Derby. Prosecutors say Provost didn’t actually catch the 10-pound, 30-inch fish during the Father’s Day Derby, but one of his companions did. Apparently, because Provost signed up early, he was eligible for bonus prizes, but his friend had not. Now Provost and his fishing buddies have been banned from the competition.

Freedom School receives $100K donation from St. Regis Mohawk Tribe

The Akwesasne Freedom School recently received a $100,000 donation from the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe. It’s to support the school’s language immersion program. Chief Eric Thompson said in a news release that preserving and strengthening the Mohawk language, culture and traditions are important to their community. Freedom School was founded back in 1979 by Mohawk parents worried that their kids were losing the tribe’s language and culture. The school offers year-round instruction so that the tribe doens’t lose their identity through the loss of language.

New help for struggling students at Franklin Academy

Franklin Academy is no longer on the state’s list of “focus” schools. They had been since 2006 for failing to meet state graduation standards. But this year, 78% of the class of 2016 graduated, matching the states overall graduation rate. But there are more problems. Superintendent Jerry Griffin told school board members that they now need to turn their attention to test scores. Federal guidelines say a certain number of economically disadvantaged students have to score a 75 on the English and Language Arts test, a minimum number they didn’t reach. So, the school board has passed a new plan to start early intervention for struggling students in grades 9 through 11 to get those kids tutoring or support before they take the ELA tests.

Clarkson to create new Innovators Colony, whitewater park in Potsdam

Clarkson University is moving forward with plans to revitalize downtown Potsdam. They want to bring $37 million in new investment to build the “Clarkson Innovators Colony” in three currently vacant buildings on their downtown campus. The plans call for reusing the old Damon Hall, Snell Hall and Congdon Hall to add more incubator space and attract new entreprenuers to the region. The plan also calls for adding a $4.9 million whitewater park and other new ammenities in the village of Potsdam.

Statewide Transportation Improvement Program Detailed

New York State Department of Transportation Commissioner Matthew Driscoll announced on Wednesday, that the draft Statewide Transportation Improvement Program… or “STIP… for federal fiscal years 2017 through 2020 is available for public review and comment. Ed Histed explains…

((The STIP is a list of all projects in New York State proposed for federal funding that are scheduled to begin during this time period, and it contains the regional transportation improvement programs of the State’s 14 metropolitan planning organizations, and all other federally funded highway and transit projects from around the State. The draft STIP assumes the availability of approximately $12.5 billion in federal aid. Including State and local project contributions, the STIP would facilitate $33.4 billion in planned transportation projects. The draft STIP is expected to be submitted in September for final approval by October 1, 2016.))

New Power Transmission Lines Mean Better Reliability

A old and outdated electric transmission line that runs 85 miles from Massena to Croghan, will soon be rebuilt. Ed Histed now with more…

((The current line is more than 70 years old, and has outlived it’s expected lifespan by decades. Now, the New York Power Authority plans a series of public meetings to explain the whole project. The first of three open public meetings was held Tuesday at the Louisville Community Center. Other sessions are scheduled from 4 to 8 this afternoon and evening in Canton, and another one is set for tomorrow at the Harrisville Fire Hall. The 70 year old line requires a lot of maintenance. According to the utility, it’s the oldest transmission line in the state… having been built by the federal government in 1942. The new and upgraded transmission line will mean fewer failures, and also fewer structures, and use of less land because of the smaller footprint. The current H-Frame structures will be replaced by monopoles, meaning a 50 percent reduction in structures. Construction is expected to start in 2019, with completion expected by 2022.))

Unemployment drops to lowest level since August 2007

The unemployment rate in Franklin County has fallen to 4.8 percent in June, according to the state Labor Department. This is the lowest its been since before the start of the Great Recession in August 2007. The number of people reported working climbed by 300 last month, while the number of unemployed remained steady at 1,000. But there may be fewer people actively looking for work, since the total number of employed is the same as it was this time last year. In neighboring St. Lawrence County, the unemployment rate was second highest in the state at 5.8 percent.