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

Controversy Over New Health Benefits for Volunteer Firefighters

Not everyone agees with the new health benefits for North Country volunteer firefighters. Karen Johnson

Expanded cancer coverage for volunteer firefighters in New York State supposed to take effect at the beginning of next year has some local officials concerned about the timeline of the state regulations’ development. The state Legislature passed an amendment to the state’s Volunteer Firefighter’s Benefits Law (VFBL) last summer, with Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signing the bill into law last October. The new benefit’s language covers “lung, prostate, breast, lymphatic, hematological, digestive, urinary, neurological, reproductive systems, or melanoma cancer” diagnoses that arise from firefighting activities. Firefighters diagnosed with those cancers are eligible for $25,000 lump sum payments if there is proof of “one or more malignant tumors characterized by the uncontrollable and abnormal growth and spread of malignant cells with invasion of normal tissue.” For smaller forms of cancer, claimant volunteer firefighters are instead eligible for a $6,250 payment. State agencies are currently working on guidelines for how to evaluate coverage claims. Some local officials say that they have concerns about the new bill. At a Constable Town Board meeting in June, Town Board member Clyde Wilson referred to the requirement to specifically purchase cancer insurance as “another unfunded state mandate.” And Westville Town Supervisor Rod Lauzon has expressed concerns about the impact of the added coverage on municipal budgets — particularly in small towns like Westville that struggle constantly to stay under the state-imposed cap on property tax increases. The proposed changes are still in the discussion phase. I’m Karen Johnson.

Concerns About Blight In The North Country

Could blight be making a return to the North Country? Karen Johnson has a report.

State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball is urging home gardeners in St. Lawrence County and around the state, including greenhouse growers, and vegetable farmers to look for and report any suspicions of late blight in their tomato and potato plants and crops this summer. Late blight is a plant disease that has the potential to cause devastation to these crops, infecting and destroying the leaves, stems, fruits, and tubers of potato and tomato plants. Several horticulture reports have been written this year in the North Country related to blight, a serious plant disease that can wreak havoc on the state’s tomato and potato industry, which ranks high nationally in production according to Commissioner Ball said. Reports of it should be forwarded to the Agriculture Commission. Late blight was discovered on some tomato plants in the North Country in late June. The last time blight was detected in the U.S. was in the 1840’s. I’m Karen Johnson.

New Senior Care Program Rolls Out In Sullivan County

The Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office will begin taking applications for a new program keeping an eye on senior residents living alone. LW’s Karen Johnson

Sheriff Wayne Anderson is announcing plans for Silver Care- an initiative the provides a daily call to those individuals while making sure they do not fall prey to scams, are abused by caregivers or are victims of theft.The report says eligible participants must be age 65 and older and have some kind of physical disability. A member’s neighbor will be designated to check on the person if the officer’s call is not answered. An officer will then be sent to the home if neither person can be contacted, the report said.