Archives for June 2019

GAS COMMENTS DUE TODAY

Today is the final day to make comments to the state Public Service Commission regarding a rate change requested by St. Lawrence Gas and on a seperate proposal for Liberty Utilities Co. to acquire St. Lawrence Gas. Back in February 2018, St. Lawrence Gas filed a proposal seeking to continue a temporary gas revenue surcharge for its Franklin and St. Lawrence counties expansion project for 15 years beyond its scheduled Nov. 25, 2018 expiration. A joint proposal submitted to the Public Service Commission however, does not recommend that renewal. Then, on March 1, 2018, St. Lawrence Gas and Liberty Utilities filed a joint petition seeking approval of the acquisition of St. Lawrence by Liberty and the issuance of debt related to that acquisition. The Public Service Commission had held a public hearing in August to take comments on the proposed rate change. Comments can be made at www.dps.ny.gov or by email to the Hon. Kathleen H. Burgess, at secretary@dps.ny.gov

GOUVERNEUR FIRE DEPARTMENT CELEBRATING

Gouverneur Volunteer Fire Department is celebrating 141 years of service by hosting the
largest, most spectacular, and longest fireworks held in the North Country on Thursday, July 4th. The show will start at dusk at the Gouverneur Fairgrounds. Beginning at 5pm that day, there will be a “Classic Car Cruise In.” There will be local food vendors, a dollar tree , 50/50 raffles and toys for the kids all afternoon and evening. Gouverneur Fire Department is a 60 person all volunteer Fire Department, that in addtion to continuing to meet the needs of the Gouverneur Fire District, also provides mutual aid to neighboring fire
departments in times of need. For more information on either the fire department or the fireworks show, you can call 315-323-2487 or 315-408-2640.

ANTWERP WOMAN ADMITS IN FEDERAL COURT TO CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

A Jefferson County woman has admitted abusing an infant…. 25 year old Amber Decker of Antwerp was in Federal Court on Thursday, where she admitted that she, along with her husband, video-recorded the sexual abuse of a 2-year-old child on several occasions. Decker pleaded guilty to all seven counts of an indictment alleging that she and her husband, Logan Decker, conspired to sexually exploit, and sexually exploited, the child for the purpose of producing images and videos of the abuse in July and August of last year, while she was living in Jefferson County and her husband was living in Sioux Falls, S.D. Decker videotaped the sexual abuse of a then-2-year-old and uploaded the video files to a cloud storage account so her husband could view them. Logan Decker is facing the same charges, and he is expected to go to trial on September 30th. Decker is scheduled to be sentenced October 24th, when she faces a mandatory minimum of 15 years in federal prison… but the maximum she could face is 30 years behind bars. She will also have to pay a $250,000 fine, and she will be required to register as a sex offender.

JONES SCHOOL LEGISLATION PASSES ASSEMBLY VOTE

Assemblyman Billy Jones says legislation he authored to ensure schools continue to receive state aid when they are forced to close due to state or local emergencies has passed the Assembly. From high winds that knock down our power lines to snowfalls that blanket our roads, folks here in the North Country are no strangers to the harsh conditions that weather can bring, according to Jones, who said that schools shouldn’t be penalized for making the choice to shut down on days that traveling could endanger their students and staff. Jones said Wednesday, that his legislation will give administrators the peace of mind of knowing their funding won’t be jeopardized because they kept students and educators safe. Under current law, schools are required to be in session for 180 days a year, and school districts will typically schedule 180 days of classes, along with four staff conference days to use for emergency cancelations due to poor road conditions or other local emergencies. However, recent years have seen more closings than the allotted four days due to weather events and emergencies. Jones’ legislation would allow districts to count toward the 180-day requirement any days that had previously been scheduled, but had to close due to state or local emergencies. The bill would also eliminate any penalties on school districts that are forced to close a scheduled day of session because of a state or local emergency.

OGDENSBURG HOME DESTROYED BY FLAMES

Flames yesterday, destroyed a home on Franklin Street in Ogdensburg. The fire Wednesday afternoon at 930 Franklin Street in Ogdensburg was difficult to fight, with crews facing extreme heat. The flames not only destroyed a two-story, wood-framed home, but also melted the vinyl siding of the homes on either side of it. The first call came in just before 1:30 Wednesday afternoon, but it was incorrectly reported to be on Canton Street… about a block away… causing some confution and delay. When firefighters eventually got to the actual address, the house was fully involved. It’s still not clear if those living there were able to get out safely or if they just were not home at the time, but nobody was inside, and no one… including firefighters… was hurt. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

MAN FACING DECADES IN PRISON FOR CHILD PORN

A Saratoga County man has pled guilty to federal child porn related charges. 31 year old Kyle Canton entered a guilty plea in federal court, to receiving child pornography, admitting that between 2018 and February of this year, he downloaded child pornography from the internet. At the time of his arrest, Caton’s computer contained at least 454 images and 50 videos of child pornography… some depicting the abuse of very young children, including at least one toddler. Next up for Canton is sentencing. That has now been set for November 3rd. He faces at least 5 years in prison, and possibly up to 20 years behind bars, a fine of up to $250,000, and a term of post-release supervision of at least 5 years, and perhaps up to life.

CYCLE ADK RETURNS THIS WEEKEND

Cycle Adirondacks family-friendly road cycling event, the Weekender at Paul Smith’s College, returns to the campus and surrounding communities this weekend… Friday through Sunday. It’s the second straight year Paul Smith’s College has hosted the event.
The 3-Day tour will host over 100 guests and feature cycling routes through Saranac Lake, Lake Clear, Gabriels, Rainbow Lake and Loon Lake. A highlight of the event is the free entertainment from 4 – 6 on Saturday afternoon at the Paul Smith’s Visitor’s Interpretive Center, with live music from Alex Smith, a folk musician from Long Lake. Saturday routes will go through downtown Saranac Lake, where guests can enjoy the farmer’s market, grab lunch at a local restaurant and pop into the various shops. A percentage of event proceeds will benefit year-round education programs at the Paul Smith’s College VIC. Complete information on all the planned events can be found at CycleAdirondacks.com.

NORTH COUNTRY MAN HEADED TO PRISON FOR BANK ROBBERY

A Gouverneur man was sentenced on Tuesday in St. Lawrence County Court, to 10 years in prison for robbing a bank in Hermon back in February. 30 year old Timothy Shippee Jr pleaded guilty in April to second-degree robbery in a plea deal, in which he was guaranteed the 10-year sentence. Otherwise, the penalty he faced could have been even more severe. It was on the afternoon of February 28th, that Shippee came into the Community Bank on Church Street in Hermon with his face covered, flashed what looked like a silver handgun but later was determined to be a BB gun, and demanded cash from the tellers. He got away with $2,807. After he completes his prison sentence, Shippee will have to serve five years of supervision. He also has to pay $2,807 in restitution, and $515.35 in court fines, fees and surcharges. Shippee has prior felony convictions and is listed on the New York State Sex Offender Registry.

HOLY FAMILY SCHOOL CLOSED FOREVER

It’s the end of the line for Holy Family School, which will not be reopening for the 2019-20 school year. The bishop of the Diocese of Ogdensburg released a statement, saying that the difficult decision to close down Holy Family School was made, based on a recommendation by several local clergy members, as well as a counterargument from the Holy Family School Education Council. Holy Family was founded in 1990. The decision to not open it again in the coming school year, was difficult but necessary according to church officials, who said they had doubts about how realistic the projections for tuition collection and fundraising were, based on the fact that optimistic expectations have not been realized in the past.

NORFOLK MAN SENTENCED TO 15 YEARS IN PRISON

A Norfolk man was sentenced in St. Lawrence County Court on Tuesday to 15 years in prison for the burglary and arson of the Gouverneur Street Dairy Queen in Canton, and the stabbing assault of his wife. 21 year old Cody Horrocks previously pleaded guilty to third-degree arson and first degree assault. The 15 year sentence was part of a plea deal with the district attorney’s office, that actually is two 15 year sentences that will be served at the same time. Horrocks will also have to serve 5 years of supervision once he finally is released from prison, and he was ordered to pay $444,729 in restitution and $22,986.45 in court fines, fees and surcharges. After his arrest, Horrocks told state police investigators that the whole incident stemmed from a nightmare about a “shadowy figure” and that he stabbed his wife with a knife he kept at his bedside to clean his marijuana pipe.