Archives for October 2017

Pharmacies Are Helping During Open Enrollment Time For Health Insurance

It’s open enrollment time for health insurance and pharmacies are here to help New Yorkers. Karen Johnson has a report.

New York’s health insurance marketplace has teamed up with pharmacies across the state to host enrollment information events, and even provide on-site assistance in choosing the right plan.
As part of its expanded outreach campaign, NY State of Health is working with Rite Aid, CVS Pharmacy, Kinney Drugs, ShopRite Supermarkets and TOPS Pharmacies to educate customers about “quality, low-cost health insurance options.” Marketplace officials announced last month that New York State’s open enrollment period for 2018 health coverage will still run from Nov. 1 to Jan. 31, despite the federal government’s enrollment window being cut in half this year. “Pharmacies are places where consumers seek information about how to improve their health, so making assistors available at local pharmacies to answer questions about how to get affordable health coverage is a natural fit,” according to State of Health Executive Director Donna Frescatore. I’m Karen Johnson.

NCCC, SUNY Potsdam team up for new program

North Country Community College and SUNY Potsdam are teaming up to make a bachelor’s degree more affordable. The program will allow students who want to earn their degree at SUNY Potsdam, but weren’t accepted into the school, to complete an associate’s at NCCC first and then transition directly into the baccalaureate program at SUNY Potsdam. NCCC President Steve Tyrell says the program will open doors to people who wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to go to college. The new partnership will begin next fall. About 60 students are expected to enroll.

Bringing High Speed Broadband Internet To The High Country

The speed of broadband internet access is still a high priority for the North Country. Karen Johnson explains.

Until now the North Country’s been struggling to keep up with internet access although many of the villages and cities in Jefferson, St. Lawrence, Lewis and Franklin Counties are connected, many places in between are left behind. For instance in Tupper Lake a lack of access was so detrimental it almost forced the Tupper Lake Hardwood company to leave the area. The General Manager says it came to the point spending a million dollars in investing in the company to have high-speed broadband became necessary. Then along came Enter Slic Network Solutions, a company that has been expanding high-speed access throughout the north country using fiber optics. After a period of painstaking research, company leaders were pointed to the company by the Empire State Forest Products Association, which is when the general manager said he finally got some answers that eventually led to Tupper Lake Hardwoods’s current access. One of the next challenges is getting Broadband connectivity for one of the region’s biggest industries – agriculture -as technology becomes increasingly vital for farmers.. I’m Karen Johnson.

Stefanik votes down GOP tax bill

North Country Congresswoman Elise Stefanik votes against the GOP’s budget and tax bill. She was one of six New York Republicans to vote against the legislation. Stefanik said she doesn’t like the idea of eliminating the federal income tax deduction for state and local taxes. On her Facebook page, she wrote that she’s still committed to tax reform and will work to “address the state and local tax deduction issue in a final tax plan.” Governor Cuomo also released a statement thanking the Republicans who voted against the budget bill. But the bill did pass on a razor thin margin…only four votes…so Congress will continue working on the $1.5 trillion dollar tax cut measure.

Holiday Helpers accepting applications through Nov. 3

The Holiday Helpers Program is accepting applications for one more week. You have until Nov. 3rd at 4 p.m. to get your application in. Families in need can apply, as long as you have children up to 18 years old that are still enrolled in school. Organizers say the number of families in need has grown signficantly over the last few years and the number of donations has dropped. This year, they’re trying to get back to basics, by distributing things like hats, mittens, pajamas, socks and other gifts that promote quality family time. Applications are available at area schools, JCEO, NCCC, Catholic Charities, and other organizations, or you can find the application on the Holiday Helpers Facebook page.

DEA’s Drug Take Back Day set for Saturday

National Drug Take Back Day is set for tomorrow. If you have any old or unused prescriptions, this is your chance to dispose of them properly. Police in Tupper Lake, Hogansburg, Plattsburgh, Potsdamn, Canton, and Massena will all be accpeting pills and liquid medications tomorrow. Needles and aerosols can’t be disposed of at this event. The event runs from 10 until 2. Dropping off your old prescriptions and other drugs is a good way to make sure that they don’t end up in the water supply or in the hands of addicts.

STOP-DWI crackdown begins Friday

If you’re going out for Halloween this weekend, Franklin County police will be watching out for drunk and impaired drivers. The statewide STOP-DWI crackdown starts tomorrow and runs through next Wednesday. New York State Police, the Franklin County Sheriff’s office, and various town and village police will also be participating in the crackdown. Halloween impaired-driving crashes are on the rise. There were 55 deaths on Halloween night in 2015, up from 17 in 2011. If you do plan to celebrate with a pumpkin beer, make sure you have a safe ride home.

Sales Tax Revenue Is On the Rise In St. Lawrence County

Sales Tax Revenue is rising in St. Lawrence County. Karen Johnson has a report.

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During the first half of 2017, sales tax revenues in St. Lawrence County were 4.55 percent higher than the first six months of 2016.This year, from January through June, the county collected more than $42- million in revenue compared with 40-million for the first six months of 2016, according to a report from the state Department of Taxation and Finance. During the third quarter – from July through September, St. Lawrence County’s sales tax revenues went up by 1.34 percent compared to same time period in 2016, from $14.45 million to $14.64 million. Revenue in the second quarter was 3.18 percent higher.The trend has prompted County Administrator Ruth A. Doyle to increase the amount budgeted for sales tax from this year’s $54 million to $55.5 million in the proposed 2018 budget that legislators are expected to vote on at the Nov. 6 monthly board meeting. I’m Karen Johnson

Employment Figures Are Released For Franklin County

Employment figures are being released for Franklin County. Karen Johnson has more.

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The unemployment rate in Franklin County edged upward slightly in September after holding steady since July. The unemployment rate ticked upward to 5.4 percent, rising from 5.3 percent in both July and August, according to the most recent statistics released by the state Department of Labor. The increase was the first since February, when the rate was 7 percent. The increase left the county tied for the fourth highest unemployment rate in the state with Allegany and Fulton counties. Both the number of people reported as working and the number listed as unemployed remained the same in September as in July and August – at 18,900 and 1,100, respectively. Franklin County was one of two counties in the region identified by the state as the North Country to see its unemployment rate rise in September. The other county in which the unemployment rate went up was Hamilton County, where the rate rose from 3.7 percent – at the time the second lowest in the state – to 4.3 percent. I’m Karen Johnson.

Volunteer Firefighters Get More Health Coverage

New York’s volunteer firefighters are getting some added health coverage. Karen Johnson has a report.

Governor Cuomo has signed a bill into law expanding health care benefits to volunteer firefighters who have been diagnosed with certain cancers. The new law extends the already existing Volunteer Firefighters’ Benefit Law to cover all incidents of melanoma, as well as cancers of the digestive, hematological, lymphatic, urinary, prostate, neurological, breast and reproductive systems. In a recently issued news release Cuomo says New York is forever grateful to the 96,000 volunteer firefighters who selflessly put their own personal safety at risk in order to keep their neighbors and communities safe and with this measure, we will provide these courageous New Yorkers the protections they need and the peace of mind they deserve. Under the new law, according to the release, volunteer firefighters who contract certain cancers will receive access to tax free disability and death benefits. I’m Karen Johnson.