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74 Trinity Avenue
Gouverneur, NY, 13642
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Local News

Families voice concerns of bullying at school board meeting

Dan McClelland

by Jessyca Cardinell

The bullying epidemic has made an impact in schools throughout the nation, and it is seemingly become more of a prominent issue.

On the evening of Monday, February 11, the Gouverneur Central School District Board of Education opened up the public comment period of their regular meeting in the high school auditorium.

It was during this time that many parents and grandparents voiced their concerns about how they believe bullying is affecting their children, their safety and ability to attend school.

Rose Marie Allen, a grandmother, was first to step up and speak to the Board of Education and Administration.

“For the last year and a half, we have asked the Gouverneur School District to help my grandkids. Nothing. When an innocent child wants to kill themselves because it keeps going on, I think you all need to do something, besides “we'll take care of it.” I've gone to four other meetings, the next time we go, we're suing. I'm not kidding, it's going to end.

We never get any straight answers and I want to know why. You don't want us to address our child, the adults or the kids, how are we going to solve this if we can't tell you what is going on in these meetings? You want us to respect you guys, you want the kids to respect you? How about you all start doing your jobs and respect us and our kids. There is a lot of good kids out there, but teachers have their pets. I know, I've come after you. I won and I will win again. I'm not kidding, I'm done. You all need to address this, this is something serious and whatever school took our petition and said we were lying about the bullying in this school, I'm putting it on the news and I'm putting it in the paper and we'll see if you can stop that. Thank you for your time.” said Mrs. Allen as she proceeded back to her seat.

Wayne Simmons, local Gouverneur man and father of students at Gouverneur Central, spoke his turn in front of the Board of Education.

He began by stating that a major concern of his with bullying is that the school is “punishing the victim and not the actual bully.”

“Kids are dying every day because of the bullying. Some administration in this school system do not give a crap. They are there to collect that paycheck and not care about our students getting their education in a safe environment,” said Mr. Simmons

“I did what anyone else would do, I stood up for my kid and then I got punished? What is that teaching our students? What is that teaching any of our kids here, punishing a parent for defending their child? The principals at certain schools do not do their job. They do not care. It's just a paycheck for them.” said Mr. Simmons

He then proceeded to question President of the Board of Education, David Fenlong, asking, “Mr. Fenlong, if your child is getting bullied, isn't that going to upset you?”

Mr. Fenlong took in the question, however offered no response at that moment.

“Anyone on this Board, Mrs. French, anyone in this room, is going to defend their child when their child is in the right. When that child is being bullied, that is going to set a parent off. The school time and time again does not do anything. I have e-mails to Albany, e-mails to 7News, I have e-mails to all the local papers going out about all of this. With our petition, I have a feeling I know what Administration complained online to get this petition taken down. It's not going down, you're not going to stop it, too many people know about it. Having me arrested, just made me famous. It pushed this issue even more, so people know what is going on in this Administration. It is not right. You can chastise me, arrest me, put me in jail, I'm going to stand 110% for my child and anybody's kid here when I see them getting bullied. Chastise me, don't mess with my kids, don't mess with anybody's kids. If it was any of your kids getting punished for being the victim, you guys would be in the same position I'm in and so would everybody else over there.

“It is not fair to our kids, it is not fair to the parents that are afraid to stand up and step up against this school. Let it be known, Mrs. French knows this, I do not care. I don't care what type of power anybody has got, I will defend any student, any child that is being bullied. Something needs to be done with the administration, switch them, get them out of here, find someone who is going to do the right thing and protect our students. Because if not, it's going to be on every one of your hands if a kid kills themselves in this school district. Because nobody wants to do anything, nobody wants stand against anybody,” said Mr. Simmons.

“If I have to be the voice of all these kids being bullied, here I am. I will be at every meeting I can as long as I'm allowed to and I will voice my opinion, time and time again to protect an innocent child. If you guys can't do that and your jobs, I'm the one that will at any cost for any kid. I don't care if it’s a parent I do not like, I see their kid getting bullied, I'm going to raise hell with the Board, the principals, staff, I don't care. It is your job to make sure our students are safe to learn and be eligible to learn. Not black mail parents to get their kids to go do something before they can come back to school. Yes, that did come from Albany.

“Please, figure something out, figure out how to get the administration to do their job properly and fix the problem, not make it worse and punish the victims.” pleaded Mr. Simmons.

Renita Hess, a mother of students who attend Gouverneur Central, spoke before the Board about her concerns of bullying.

“My daughter is scared to walk out her own door now because of the bullying. To be very honest with you, I am scared for my son to go through the same thing. My oldest daughter quit school because of bullying and it's not right. Something needs to be done. I've gone to school one thousand times about this, I've gone to the bus garage one thousand times and I've gone to the school board meeting at the middle school one thousand times, no one is doing anything about it. Our kids don't feel safe and it's wrong. Like that gentleman said, yes we all signed that petition online and it got taken down, because they are scared for parents to tell the truth. Our kids are not safe anymore, no one cares about our kids no more.

“If kids don't feel safe, how do you think that makes us parents feel?” inquired Ms. Hess, as she explained the importance of children feeling safe at school.

“Someone needs to do something and do something about it quick or there's going to be big lawsuits on everybody's hands. Our kids do not feel safe. That's all I've got to say, thank you.” said Ms. Hess.

Last to speak about the issue to the Board of Education was Danielle Fabros.

“My daughter is being bullied, not just by students. There are students out there that are very afraid of coming back to school. Some students end up in the Psych Center, some want to be suicidal. You go and talk to who you are supposed to, try to make meetings and things don't work out. No one wants to listen to you anymore.

Every student is important, education, health, safety- that's all we're asking for. My daughter today had a bullying issue, I had to pull her out of school, she's still not okay. My child should not be afraid to go back to school, she needs to learn. Education is very important. I know, I have five kids and soon to be five grandchildren. I have proven to each one, education is important, but you should be able to be safe while you are getting it. That's all we're asking, I'm not threatening lawsuits or anything like that. I'm just begging and pleading you guys to do something about this because nothing is getting done.

“I've actually been thinking about taking my daughter out of this school district and putting her on an online education program. So she doesn't have to be afraid. I don't want to do that! She should have socialization! Have all the memories, prom and sports and all that stuff. I don't want to do this but if you guys don't do anything about this.

“I have seen more children hurting themselves or having to get some kind of help, so please I beg of you help.” said Mrs. Fabros in closing.

President of the Board of Education, David Fenlong extended appreciation to everyone for speaking. The board and administration did not address this issue or any person speaking in this public format.

Silas Wainwright VFW Post 6338 to honor Ruth Mead as VFW Auxilian of the Year

Dan McClelland

by Rachel Hunter

FRONT _ Silas Wainwright VFW Post 6338 to honor Ruth Mead copy.jpg

Ruth Mead of Richville will receive the annual Silas Wainwright VFW Post 6338’s Auxilian of the Year Award at the anniversary dinner on Saturday, March 9.

Ruth Mead is one of eight children born to Ernest Eugene McEathron and Rosa (Weiss) McEathron, and she got her membership in the VFW Post 6338 Auxiliary from her father, a World War II veteran, who joined the VFW in November of 1984. Her uncle Harold McEathron also was a member of the VFW Post 6338. The brothers dressed into their uniforms and attended parades, funerals, and veteran occasions for almost 20 years together.

Serving in World War II, Ernest was a corporal with the U.S. Army Air Force Detachment A 42nd Repair Squadron 42nd Air Depot from January 27, 1943 until his honorable discharge on June 22, 1946 from 1946 from Erlangen, Germany. Ernest’s enlistment in USAAF sent him from Fort Niagara, New York to Biloxi, Mississippi for training and then for a short time to Georgia before being sent to Fort Warren, Wyoming.

At Fort Warren, he spent eight weeks in auto mechanics training school, where he “learned to tear apart a GMC engine and put it back together without think nothing of it.” Ernest also did the same with personal carrier and Jeep engines. After mechanics training, Ernest was sent back to Georgia for “replacement depot” as he called it. At the Winter Robbins Air Force Base he was supposed to drive a truck but ended up in the 1180 QM Service Group where he performed clerical work and was not thrilled with this task.

On December 1, 1943, he and other troops were sent to Fort Devons, Massachusetts where they would be deployed overseas. After 13 days on the ocean, troops landed in Wales, England on December 13, 1943. From there, they were taken by train to Stony Cross, England. Ernest served our country in the battles of Northern France, Rhineland, and Central Europe for three years. He was decorated with the European African Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, Good Conduct Medal, American Campaign Medal, WWII Victory Medal, and Army of Occupation Medal.

At the time of his discharge in Germany, Ernest decided to stay and work as a supply clerk for the Civil Service in the Army, throughout different regions of Germany until 1953. From 1953 until 1954, Ernest stayed in Germany as a tourist until his funds were almost depleted and had to head back to the U.S.

During the post-war years in Germany, he was a sales commissary officer in the regions of Swabach and Erlangen and at some point along the way met Rosa Weiss, whom he married on May 16, 1953. The couple lived in Gouverneur for three years prior to buying their home in Richville in the spring of 1956.

Ruth (McEathron) Mead was born in Germany, but was raised in Richville. She attended the Richville elementary school and graduated from Gouverneur High School in 1966. She attended Harlem Valley School of Nursing and became a Registered Nurse. She also earned her Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing from SUNY Paltz. She married Vietname veteran Ronald Mead in 1978, and they made their home in Dutchess County, but moved back home in 2007 after her father passed away to take care of her mother.

It wasn’t long before she needed something productive to do in the community, and she joined the VFW auxiliary in October of 2011. She served as color bearer from 2017 to 2018, and now serves the auxiliary as chaplain. Her love for people has driven her to help the VFW Post 6338 in any way that she can – through Post 6338’s Monday Night Dinners, private function funerals and more.

“I love the people that I work with,” Mrs. Mead said. “I love serving the community and especially the veterans. There are a lot of veterans in my family. I want to make them proud. My Dad was very involved with Post 6338. I just want to do all that I can and I want to make my Dad proud… I enjoy being a member of the auxiliary.”

All are invited to help honor this year’s VFW Auxilian of the Year Ruth Mead at the Silas Wainwright VFW Post 6338’s Anniversary Dinner on Saturday, March 9, at the VFW Hall, 100 W. Main St., Gouverneur. Cocktail hour will be at 5 p.m., and dinner will be served at 6 p.m. For more information and to make reservations, call the VFW at (315) 287-4682.

Silas Wainwright VFW Post 6338 to honor John Holt as VFW Member of the Year

Dan McClelland

by Rachel Hunter

FRONT _ Silas Wainwright VFW Post 6338 to honor John Holt pic copy.jpg

John Holt of Gouverneur will be honored with the Silas Wainwright VFW Post 6338 Member of the Year Award at Post 6338’s Anniversary Dinner on Saturday, March 9.

Mr. Holt was nominated by Darryl Sapoff for his dedication to Post 6338. Mr. Holt serves as Post Adjutant, Service Officer, and Assistant Quartermaster.

John Holt, born in Boston, Mass., fell in love with the North Country during his military career, which brought him to Fort Dum twice. He retired after 20 years on active duty and three and half years in the reserves. Mr. Holt was first stationed at Fort Carson, Colorado, and worked as a track vehicle mechanic, fixing tanks, armored personnel carriers, etc. He got out for a short time, and when he went back into military service, he became a generator mechanic at Fort Drum, NY.

“That’s what I did for the rest of my military career, just based off of mechanical ability. I have ended up working on everything from single cylinder Diesel engine all the way up to a 1790 cu. inch V12 Diesel. “That weighs twice what my van does,” he said. “It powers a 56-ton tank. Big engine. I worked on everything from generators to tanks to bulldozers.”

Mr. Holt was sent from Fort Drum to Germany, and was supposed to be there for two years, but ended up only serving there for one year because he got “caught up in of the lovely congressionally mandated base realignment closure moves.” He then was stationed at Fort Bliss, Texas.

“I was stuck on Fort Bliss for two and a half years, went to Korea for a year, finally got myself back here to Fort Drum,” Mr. Holt said. “I was here for four months and deployed to Kuwait for 15. Coming back from Kuwait, I was here for about six months and got sent to recruiter school. Came back from recruiter school and they sent me down to Central Massachusetts to be a recruiter, and I finished up my military career in recruiting. I retired from that.”

Mr. Holt said at first his recruiting numbers were low, but is proud that two men he recruited went on to serve with the Old Guard at Arlington National Cemetery. “So I may not have put in a lot of quantity, but I put in quality,” he said.

After retiring, Mr. Holt entered into civilian life as an appliance repair technician. “I pretty much learned how to fix just about anything,” he said. “As an appliance repair technician, I used to fix washer, dryers, microwaves, ranges.”

John and Julie Holt fell in love with the North Country and decided to retire here. Mr. Holt became disabled and now is a full-time college student, in his fourth semester at SUNY Canton where he studies emergency management with a minor in accounting. “Every semester I have carried either an 18 or 19 credit hour load, and I have a cumulative GPA right now of 3.97,” he said. He also is an accounting tutor at SUNY Canton. He aspires to work for St. Lawrence County in the Office of Emergency Services. Mr. Holt said he was looking for a career he could pursue even if he ends up in a wheelchair.

“It’s a daily fight with Rheumatoid Arthritis, and at least Emergency Management or Accounting is something I can do seated,” Mr. Holt said. “I don’t have to be up running around. I can’t fix things anymore. I can still fiddle around and fix them eventually but my body just won’t handle fixing diesels anymore. I am not even about to pickup a 75-pound starter again. But I can at least use the knowledge to help others. That’s what I like doing.”

Mr. Holt is also active in the community, also having membership in the Gouverneur Masonic Lodge No. 217, where he has served as worshipful master. He also is a director of the Greater Gouverneur Area Chamber of Commerce, have been voted in after becoming involved as VFW Post 6338’s representative to the local chamber.

“My plate is pretty full,” Mr. Holt said. “It keeps me busy. If you don’t keep your mind and your body busy, it goes to mush.”

Mr. Holt’s hobbies include Lego model building. His most recent project is a New England Patriots football helmet that his wife is able to wear, and did most recently during the annual championship game of the National Football League on Sunday, February 3.

All are invited to help honor this year’s VFW Member of the Year John Holt at the Silas Wainwright VFW Post 6338’s Anniversary Dinner on Saturday, March 9, at the VFW Hall, 100 W. Main St., Gouverneur. Cocktail hour will be at 5 p.m., and dinner will be served at 6 p.m. For more information and to make reservations, call the VFW at (315) 287-4682.

Easter cantata rehearsals start Sunday

Dan McClelland

by Don Schuessler

Come one, come all! Once again this year The Gouverneur First United Methodist Church will sponsor a cantata to bring our community together and help prepare our hearts for Easter. Our work this year will be The Song Everlasting, a sacred cantata based on early American songs. The Song Everlasting combines instrumentalists, singers and narration to tell the story of the wonder of Jesus coming into our world and our lives.

There are no auditions ... all high school students and adults are welcome to come sing.  We will be joined by a chamber orchestra, a narrator, and a piano accompanist.  If you plan to come, please call the church office (315-287-2440) or Don Schuessler (315-287-0746) to help in making sure we have enough music. But, no matter what, come to sing.

The chorus will rehearse Sunday afternoons from 3-4:30 PM February 17 & 24, March 17, 24 & 31, and April 7. We will have a dress rehearsal on Saturday, April 13 at 10 AM.

The cantata will be presented to the community at the Methodist Church on Sunday, April 14, 2019 (Palm Sunday) at 4 PM.

Let It Snow: Gouverneur students perform winter concert

Dan McClelland

by Rachel Hunter

The 2019 Gouverneur Elementary School Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten “Let It Snow” Concert was enjoyed by all at the Gouverneur High School Auditorium on Thursday, January 31. All were greeted and welcomed by GES Principal Charity Zawatski.

The concert was scheduled for Thursday, January 24, but it was rescheduled due to inclement weather conditions. The concert was conducted by Betty Hall, Gouverneur Elementary music teacher. Mrs. Hall jokingly told the audience that she would have to think seriously before planning another snow-themed concert, which caused great laughter to fill the concert hall.

The hard work of the students was evident throughout the entire hour-long concert. First up on stage were the pre-kindergarten students, who sang the following songs: “Snowball,” “I’m A Little Snowman,” “Mittens on my Hands,” “Five Little Snowmen Chant,” and “Ten Little Snowflakes.” A moment of great glee was when the students threw snowballs toward the audience during the “Snowball” selection. As the students left the stage, Gavin Tulley of Macomb volunteered his services and shoveled the remaining snowballs off the stage and out of the way before the kindergarten students took to the stage.

When all the kindergarten students had taken their respective places on the risers, the students sang the following songs: “Snowpants” by Anne and Dave Ellsworth, “Snow Is Falling Today” by Anne and Dave Ellsworth, “I’m A Little Snowflake” by Teresa Jennings, and “Mittens and Gloves,” by Anne Ellsworth and Teresa Jennings.

Great applause sounded throughout the concert hall as family members and friends cheered on the aspiring vocalists during the winter concert.

Special gratitude was expressed during the concert to all the people who helped to prepare the students for the special night through their support of the music programs in the Gouverneur Central School District.

Also to the Gouverneur Central School District Board of Education, Superintendent of Schools Lauren French, Assistant Superintendent of Schools Donna Runner, Gouverneur Elementary Principal Charity Zawatski, Gouverneur Elementary Principal Victoria Day, Gouverneur Elementary Office and School Staff, Gouverneur High School Principal Cory Wood, Gouverneur Central Transportation Staff, and Gouverneur Central Music Department.

And also, gratitude was extended, as always, to all the family and friends who support and encourage the students.

Village board talks about school safety resource officer

Dan McClelland

by Rachel Hunter

The matter of the Gouverneur Central School District hiring a School Resources Officer (SRO) was up for discussion at the Village of Gouverneur Board of Trustees meeting on Jan. 15.

It was first brought up by Superintendent of Schools Lauren French at the November village board meeting. More recently, Village of Gouverneur Mayor Ronald McDougall was approached by a school board member recently who requested that the Village of Gouverneur Board of Trustees put something in writing where the village would “support a school resource officer – or not.” Mayor McDougall said school board members planned to be at the monthly village board meeting, but the school board’s meeting was moved to the same night and there were no represents present in the municipal courtroom when the matter was discussed by the village board.

“I am hesitant to put anything in writing,” Mayor McDougall said to the village board. “I think as a minimum maybe we should offer the opportunity to sit down and talk. Or if not, we should take up the initiative and say, “No, we are not interested in being a partner in that business or whatever.” I would not pen anything in writing without consulting the board, first of all, and our attorney as well.”

Mayor McDougall then asked Village of Gouverneur Chief of Police Laurina Greenhill the following: “Should we at the minimum ask for the opportunity to have at least a sit-down and talk about this or not? What is your opinion?”

“They have never reached out to me,” Chief Greenhill said.

Mayor McDougall nodded his head, remembering the discussion from the November village board meeting, and said the following: “The email exchanges were just that email, phone calls or whatever. They weren’t personal meetings or anything.”

“Correct,” Chief Greenhill said. “We had a meeting in August right before school started, but it had nothing to do with the SRO. It was about other school-related stuff. At the time, myself and Sgt. Gordon Ayen brought the topic up because they never approached us. We asked, “What are your intentions with the SRO?” They didn’t really have any answers. I don’t think they had really formulated or wrapped their mind around the entirety of everything that it entails this position. At some time I expected to be approached and asked about it, so I was preparing myself with some of my own research to try and inform myself about it. And so at that meeting, I said, “I think there are things that you need to at least consider… and maybe you should discuss in whatever discussions you are having at the school.” And so the Superintendent of Schools at the time asked me to put it in writing, which I did. I put it in an informal memo and sent it to them, and I know it got distributed to the school board. And that is the extent of the interaction between the school and the police department as far as this goes… I don’t know if they have even presented anything to the board as to what it is that they want. They are the ones looking for the position. I don’t know what it is that they have in mind that this person should be doing, or what it is that they want. And reaching out to us, of course if the Village wants to sit down obviously I should be involved in that conversation.”

“Oh yeah, absolutely,” Mayor McDougall said.

Chief Greenhill then continued the conversation as follows: “I don’t know. I think there is a breakdown in communication myself because I can’t believe that in the months that have transpired since that money went into the budget and they have been talking about it, they’ve never approached the police department even though I have offered information myself. I am confused about that.”

Mayor McDougall then said that he had heard references on the subject of SROs at a recent mayors conference. He also added that Morristown Central didn’t go through a police agency to get a SRO.

“Now there is someone there, but they are not armed and they do not have a badge… but there is an extra person around,” Mayor McDougall said.

Chief Greenhill agreed, saying, “It sounded like it was a rushed hire without even considering the position in its entirety.”

“That’s right,” Mayor McDougall said. “So anyways, we don’t want to be in that situation.”

Chief Greenhill then told the village board the following: “I made my position clear in that informal memo with the school that my opinion obviously is that the Gouverneur Police Department doesn’t have the resources to put somebody over there. But that doesn’t mean that if that is your goal that we don’t have information to offer when you are talking about this position as well… Do they know what they want out of this person. What is their expectations? If you are talking about a police officer, there is certain restrictions that they have to work under… The County has just formulated a school resource officer position, so they have actually categorized it, and they are having a test in March. I don’t know if the school is aware of that, or if that is coming into play. Or are you talking about hiring a civilian but then there’s things you can and can’t do and so it all depends on what they are looking for. How does the village know what to offer? They haven’t presented us with their expectation.”

Deputy Mayor Charles Newvine then said the following: “In my opinion and in my experience, which is quite limited, the wheels of government move very, very slowly. So to start the process, we need to at least sit down and see what they want or what they are expecting out of us. From what I understand, it would be a budgetary item for them in a lump sum sent to the Village of Gouverneur. Well, the Village of Gouverneur doesn’t do a lump sum employ. (The Gouverneur Police Department) had 1600 hours this year without a police officer on. So, for us to absorb an officer to say here you go school is a little tough for me. It is not ethically right to do that to our police department. It is not fiscally responsible to the taxpayer for us to absorb a debt that the school wants. We maintained and held the line for six years, and just decreased it 30 cents per thousand two years ago. If we are going to maintain it, which is an absolutely great thing to do. If you read the same paper that I do, we are the only municipality doing that. So if there are legacy costs, it is a cost to the village taxpayer, that our due diligence to do. The Gouverneur Central School tax base is a lot larger than the Village of Gouverneur tax base. So, while their might be people paying taxes in Fowler, in Macomb, or in other areas, they may want that school resource officer, but they don’t pay taxes in the Village of Gouverneur. That doesn’t mean I don’t support it or wouldn’t support it…”

There was some more discussion, and then Deputy Mayor Newvine made a motion to invite school officials, Chief Greenhill, and other key players in the discussion to a public meeting on the subject. The motion passed unanimously.

The next regular monthly meeting of the Village of Gouverneur Board of Trustees is to be held on Tuesday, February 19 at 7 p.m. in the municipal courtroom.

Gouverneur Central Plans Moving Forward to Hire SRO

Dan McClelland

by Jessyca Cardinell

As there has been more heightened concern and fear with sending students to school with the latest episodes of school violence; the Gouverneur Central School District administration and BOE Safety Committee has been looking into the possibility of hiring a Safety Resource Officer (SRO).

After many detailed discussions, the Safety Resource Officer position was voted into the budget by the community during the annual budget vote held in May of 2018.

Many throughout the community and school system have voiced that this Safety Resource Officer would enhance the safety at all four school district buildings, Elementary, Middle, High and St. James School. In the opinion of many, this SRO would also allow another confidant for students and staff to relay any concerning information to.

This topic has been thoroughly discussed and gone over throughout many of the Board of Education meetings.

This position was recently discussed once again at the Board of Education meeting held Tuesday, January 15. Mrs. Lauren French, Superintendent of Schools, was able to elaborate on the flow of things being set in motion.

“Lisa McGregor, Cory Wood and myself met with Trooper D'Ambro last week and got some very good ideas about expectations and best practices. Trooper D'Ambro is a wealth of knowledge on the subject.

“We are looking for a retired officer who will circulate through all the buildings, making relationships with students and connecting with the community. The successful candidate will work very closely with the administration team.” said Mrs. French.

The Board of Education Safety Committee, including BOE members Lisa McGregor, James Delity and Nick Ormasen along with High School Principal Cory Wood, Superintendent of Schools Lauren French and Business Manager Carol LaSala met on Tuesday, January 22 to discuss more details for the new position.

The Board Of Education Safety Committee discussed the details of the job duties, job posting options and contract prototype.

Moving forward, all items seem to be set in motion for this wonderful improvement to school safety for the Gouverneur Central School District.

Wonderful job to all administration and Board of Education members for working to ensure the safety of our students is a top priority.

GPD adds new officer to its ranks

Dan McClelland

Gouverneur Police Department’s newest officer, Nathan B. Sheen of Gouverneur, with supporters during his official swearing-in ceremony on Wednesday, January 2 in the municipal courtroom. From left: Village of Gouverneur Deputy Mayor Charles Newvine, Village of Gouverneur Trustee Rick Wood, Village of Gouverneur Trustee Troy Besaw, Jeff Sheen (Nathan’s father), Nathan B. Sheen, Village of Gouverneur Chief of Police Laurina Greenhill, Village of Gouverneur Clerk/Treasurer Barbara Finnie, Gouverneur Police Officer Jesse Sheen (Nathan’s twin brother), and Gouverneur Police Department Ptl. Alexander Daggett. (Rachel Hunter photo)

Gouverneur Police Department’s newest officer, Nathan B. Sheen of Gouverneur, with supporters during his official swearing-in ceremony on Wednesday, January 2 in the municipal courtroom. From left: Village of Gouverneur Deputy Mayor Charles Newvine, Village of Gouverneur Trustee Rick Wood, Village of Gouverneur Trustee Troy Besaw, Jeff Sheen (Nathan’s father), Nathan B. Sheen, Village of Gouverneur Chief of Police Laurina Greenhill, Village of Gouverneur Clerk/Treasurer Barbara Finnie, Gouverneur Police Officer Jesse Sheen (Nathan’s twin brother), and Gouverneur Police Department Ptl. Alexander Daggett. (Rachel Hunter photo)

by Rachel Hunter

The Gouverneur Police Department officially added another officer to its ranks on Wednesday, January 2 as Nathan B. Sheen of Gouverneur took the oath of office.

The swearing-in ceremony was held at 9 a.m. last Wednesday in the municipal courtroom. Village of Gouverneur Chief of Police Laurina Greenhill welcomed all in attendance, and gave the floor to Village of Gouverneur Deputy Mayor Charles Newvine for a few words due to the absence of Mayor Ron McDougall.

In his address, Deputy Mayor Newvine offered the following: “I think everyone knows why we are here. We are welcoming a new officer to the Gouverneur Police Department. He makes a good part of the team. He’s young. I think he is ready to work. If he wasn’t a good choice, I don’t think (Chief) Laurina (Greenhill) would have listed him on. So, congratulations to Mr. Sheen.”

Deputy Mayor Newvine then gave the floor back to Chief Greenhill, who said the following: “This is going to be a different life, once you swear-in, from this day forward. Every one of us, our moms, dads, brothers, sisters, family, friends, ourselves, are guarded by those who have taken the oath before us. And by swearing in, you are swearing to uphold not only the constitution of the State, but of this great nation, and I think the life of a police officer is a very noble cause… and your character will be defined by that. Know that Nathan Sheen is very worthy of this life, and that swearing in, that he will continue to be worthy of our cause.”

Chief Greenhill then invited Nathan Sheen to the front for the administration of the oath of office by Village of Gouverneur Clerk/Treasurer Barbara Finnie as follows: “I, Nathan Sheen, do solemnly swear that I will support the Constitution of the United States, and the Constitution of the State of New York, and I will faithfully discharge the duties of police officer according to the best of my abilities.”

Nathan B. Sheen of Gouverneur (left) signing the oath of office as he was welcomed to the Gouverneur Police Department in an official ceremony on Wednesday, January 2. The oath was administrated by Village of Gouverneur Clerk and Treasurer Barbara Finnie (right). (Rachel Hunter photo)

Nathan B. Sheen of Gouverneur (left) signing the oath of office as he was welcomed to the Gouverneur Police Department in an official ceremony on Wednesday, January 2. The oath was administrated by Village of Gouverneur Clerk and Treasurer Barbara Finnie (right). (Rachel Hunter photo)

Mr. Sheen then signed the oath of office as directed by Village Clerk/Treasurer Finnie.

Loud applause and many words of congratulations were given to Mr. Sheen following the official ceremony.

In attendance at this auspicious occasion, were dozens of village officials and employees along with Mr. Sheen’s friends and family. This included Village of Gouverneur Deputy Mayor Charles Newvine, Village of Gouverneur Trustee Rick Wood, Village of Gouverneur Trustee Troy Besaw, Village of Gouverneur Clerk/Treasurer Barbara Finnie, Village of Gouverneur Deputy Clerk/Treasurer Kristina Ayen, Village of Gouverneur Department of Public Works Supt. TJ Simmons and DPW employees, Village of Gouverneur Recreation Department Director Casey Canell.

Also, Gouverneur Police Department Chief of Police Laurina Greenhill, Gouverneur Police Department Ptl. Alexander Daggett, Gouverneur Police Officer Jesse Sheen (twin brother to Nathan Sheen who took the oath of office in October of 2016). Nathan Sheen was also supported at the event by father, Jeff Sheen.

Nathan B. Sheen was formerly employed with the New York State Police, Troop B.

GDAC commends IDA

Dan McClelland

Gouverneur Area Development Corp presenting a resolution of commendation to Patrick Kelly, Executive Director of St Lawrence County IDA. The resolution was given to the IDA in appreciation of their work in the opening of the Empire Mines. From left: Dave Spilman, Gouverneur Town Supervisor, Alex MacKinnon, President GDAC, Patrick Kelly, Executive Director SLCIDA, Ron McDougall, Mayor Village of Gouverneur. (photo provided)

Gouverneur Area Development Corp presenting a resolution of commendation to Patrick Kelly, Executive Director of St Lawrence County IDA. The resolution was given to the IDA in appreciation of their work in the opening of the Empire Mines. From left: Dave Spilman, Gouverneur Town Supervisor, Alex MacKinnon, President GDAC, Patrick Kelly, Executive Director SLCIDA, Ron McDougall, Mayor Village of Gouverneur. (photo provided)

At its regular December meeting, the Gouverneur Area Development Corporation (GDAC) presented Patrick Kelly, Executive Director of the St. Lawrence County Industrial Development Agency, with a Resolution commending the IDA for its work throughout St. Lawrence County.

In particular, the members of the GDAC expressed satisfaction with the IDA’s efforts to assist in the recent reopening of the Empire State Mines in Fowler and for its assistance to Cives for a proposed equipment upgrade.

The IDA was instrumental in obtaining low cost NYPA power, one million in initial operating funds, sales tax relief and help from the Workforce Development Institute with job training. All used effectively to assist and encourage the development and reopening of the Zinc production facility. The Empire State Mines have added almost 200 new jobs to the Gouverneur Area.

The IDA has a long history of assisting both existing and new business development throughout St Lawrence County and in all sectors of the economic community. The GDAC was founded in 1979 to establish and maintain various mechanisms used for improving and supporting Gouverneur area business and meets monthly at the new Gouverneur Community Center.

Gouverneur Hospital Auxiliary Gift Shop re-opened following location change

Dan McClelland

by Jessyca Cardinell

The Gouverneur Hospital Auxiliary proudly held the grand opening of the new location of the gift shop on Wednesday December 5, just in time for the holidays. The gift shop which offers a fantastic array of items to purchase was previously located on the ground floor level, but is now conveniently located near the lobby of the main entrance.

“Since we officially moved the gift shop up here on November 13, the change in location has been really great,” said Director of the Gouverneur Hospital Auxiliary Gift Shop Kim Halpin, who along with Robin Truax were contributors in getting everything moved around in order. “The community has been very supportive and responsive as well as the staff here. In just the first few weeks of being open we have seen a significant increase in sales compared to last year at the same time when we were located in the lower level.

“With the new location, the gift shop has much more space and visibility. The Gift Shop staff and the Auxiliary Board of Directors are very pleased with the new location and all the work done to remodel the area into the ideal location for this gift shop. Much appreciation goes to the Administration, Mr. Bender and the staff who made this all a reality.”

The Gouverneur Hospital Auxiliary opened the gift shop in October of 2012 with the Gift Shop Committee who were responsible for establishing the Auxiliary Gift Shop. These ladies included Donna Lawrence-Director, Bonnie Porter, Helen Kennedy and Kim Halpin.

As of now the Gift Shop is currently managed by Kim Halpin-Director, Robin Truax-Treasurer, Helen Kennedy, Carrie Porter, Bonnie Reed and Emily Nolan.

Extended hours are being offered for the holidays, including some Saturdays.

Wonderful work to all those involved in making this wonderful change for the gift shop.

The Gouverneur Hospital Gift Shop is currently seeking out volunteers who are interested in working in the Gift Shop in order to provide more convenient hours of operation. Those who are interested may call (315) 261-5753.

Presenters of the Gouverneur Hospital Gift Shop grand opening. From left: Robin Truax-Treasurer of the gift shop, Kim Halpin-Director of the gift shop, Linda Love-Auxiliary President, Bonnie Reed gift shop staff and Dave Bender, CEO of Gouverneur Hospital. (photo by Jessyca Cardinell)

Presenters of the Gouverneur Hospital Gift Shop grand opening. From left: Robin Truax-Treasurer of the gift shop, Kim Halpin-Director of the gift shop, Linda Love-Auxiliary President, Bonnie Reed gift shop staff and Dave Bender, CEO of Gouverneur Hospital. (photo by Jessyca Cardinell)

Santa Claus visits DeKalb

Dan McClelland

by Rachel Hunter

The inescapable joy of the Christmas season bubbled over the Town of DeKalb at the annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony on Dec. 2.

A throng of community members gathered around the town gazebo and were welcomed by Town Supervisor John Frary who then introduced DeKalb Junction United Methodist Church Pastor Martha Helmer who read the following poem:

“We’ve gathered to light our community tree, again. Hello, and welcome, each DeKalbian. A year has passed, but we’re here, at last – to sing a song or hum along. With friends music, food, and lights, we usher in the Holidays this night. We’re glad you’re here, this time of year. May your Christmas be bright. Now, let’s light the lights!”

Much applause sounded at the conclusion of the poem, and all then turned their attention to the gazebo where music students from Hermon-DeKalb Central School District entertained the crowd with several holiday favorites, including “We Wish You A Merry Christmas” and “Jolly Old St. Nicholas.”

As the last song was concluding, Santa Claus arrived perfectly on time in the DeKalb Junction Volunteer Fire Department’s 78, and greeted all in attendance.

Town Supervisor John Frary greeted Santa Claus, welcoming him to the Town of DeKalb and invited the local children surrounding him to help Santa light the town Christmas tree. The countdown began, and soon the town Christmas tree was bathed in multi-colored lights that thrilled both the young and young-at-heart.

Then taking the youths hands, Santa brought the local children over to the DeKalb Junction Fire Hall. All were invited to join the Hermon-DeKalb student choir in various Christmas carols. Refreshments were available, having been provided by the DeKalb Junction Volunteer Fire Department. And the local children had the opportunity to sit on Santa’s lap and tell him their Christmas wishes.

Many bright smiles were seen and laughter were heard throughout the event as local residents got in the holiday spirit at this annual celebration.

Gouverneur Museum to exhibit realistic handcrafted birds

Dan McClelland

Mary Jo Whalen with her birds, carved and handpainted by the late Hazel Tyrrell “The Pierrepont Birdwoman,” on display at the Gouverneur Museum from December 1 to 31, 2018. (Rachel Hunter photo)

Mary Jo Whalen with her birds, carved and handpainted by the late Hazel Tyrrell “The Pierrepont Birdwoman,” on display at the Gouverneur Museum from December 1 to 31, 2018. (Rachel Hunter photo)

by Rachel Hunter

The Gouverneur Museum will be exhibiting the bird carvings of Hazel Tyrell of Pierrepont, NY through the month of December. The collection is owned by Mary Jo Whalen of Canton and Sylvia Lake.

Hazel (McDonald) Tyrrell, also known as “The Pierrepont Birdwoman”, spent the last 22 years of her life, after retiring from the 129-acre McDonald family farm in the Cook Corners are of Pierrepont, mastering the art of carving and painting birds native to the North Country. She has been described as a “master of craftsmanship, as a woodworker in bird sculpture, the North Country has had none other just like her.” It is a testament to her skill with a common jackknife that her name is still recognized all these years after her death in 1967.

The earliest example of her work that has been identified was a Baltimore oriole, which was dated 1943 and signed later on the bottom. Other early pieces include a robin silhouette, a house wren roughly shaped from a wood block, a simply-painted bluebird on a plywood plaque, and several birds with twisted wire feet (later to become one of Hazel’s trademarks).

Hazel’s interest in bird carving started later in life after watching another Pierrepont woman who carved lawn ornaments for sale – and knew she could do something with her jackknife, which was always purchased at J.J. Newberry’s.

“At first Hazel went out and cut her own wood,” Whalen said. “The wood came from her woodlot. She would cut her own and do the whole thing. But then after a while one of the men from Canton said, “I’ll go out and cut it and it will be quicker for you.” For years she and her sister-in-law lived on the farm. They had no electricity. They were just there.”

Whalen still recalls her first visit to see Hazel Tyrrell and her birds. “She was in the country beyond nowhere,” Whalen said. “The road after you got out was a dirt road. The first time I went it was spring and she was beside the house plowing behind the horse, and she said, “This is the first time he has been out and he was pulling.” Her hands were sore.”

As a schoolteacher, Whalen said she wanted to be able to show the birds to her students. “I didn’t have too much money,” Whalen said. “I thought, “Maybe I could buy this one or maybe I could buy that one” and I did. I bought maybe five and they were $5 per piece. It wasn’t very long afterward that they were never at $5 per piece.” The desire to own more of Hazel Tyrrell’s birds did not dwindle after that purchase and Whalen continued collecting the handcrafted marvels – one bird at a time.

As Canton author Atwood Manley once put it, Hazel dressed for work and was usually “outfitted in old dungarees tucked into the top of heavy men’s work shoes, a much-patched blue denim shirt, and a tattered old Tyrolean hat perched on her head.” She worked constantly to perfect her techniques, style and repertoire.

As her birds became more popular, she would carve each piece, usually of basswood or pine, and then Hazel’s sister-in-law Dorothy would sand and oil it, and then Hazel would then paint meticulously under the rays of either a kerosene or Aladdin lamp. Her birds are almost color perfect and most are mounted as they would be found in their natural habitat all with her signature twisted wire feet.

Over the last 22 years of her life, it is estimated that Hazel carved over 6,000 birds of several dozen species. She constantly strove to get her birds “just right” and in addition to her “keen observation” of the birds in her feeders she poured over the colored plates and photos in numerous bird books. After word got out about her expertise everyone in town brought her dead birds to copy. She made patterns and kept them in an old cigar box in the barn. She worked hard to get the birds correct and most realistic tint of color and was always on the hunt for improvement.

“If there was a bird that died on somebody’ property, they would take it to her so that she could look at it, see the style and size, and the whole thing,” Whalen said. “I had a real hummingbird once. It stayed with me a month or so, and she came to my house because she wanted to see what the hummingbird really did look like. Because when you see a hummingbird, you can’t really figure that one out. So she stayed in the house over an hour.”

During her most productive years, Hazel Tyrrell created between 300 to 500 birds per year. While there are many examples of her most popular birds – like nuthatches, bluebirds, and humming birds – she also would accept commissions that became one of a kind. Whalen said that Hazel carved and painted one species at a time. “You had to wait until your order was done,” she said.

“She was always gracious,” Whalen said. I asked her, “Is there any possible way we can put a worm (in the robin’s beak) and a fish (in the kingfisher’s)?” “I don’t know,” she said. “I’ll try it.” And she did. This is the first one she did with the worm, and the first one she did with the fish with the fins out. She said, “Never going to make another one like that because I took more time and it took more skill than the whole bird.” Now after that, she made the fins so they were tight. They were just lines…”

Later in the 1960s, when she and her sister-in-law moved away from the farm they “treated themselves to electricity” but Hazel never thought the light was quite right for producing the correct colors.

“It was a different ballgame,” Whalen said. “She had always painted at night by kerosene lamps so when she had electricity, the light was different. She had a hard time trying to adjust to this. And she didn’t get as much work done because she was closer and people could drive in the winter. And many went, many went. She had people all the time.”

Hazel Tyrrell never advertised and didn’t even have a sign near her farm to attract customers. But people from all over found her and her birds, and were happy when she agreed to sell them a bird or two.

“At one time, my father was in the hospital at Ogdensburg, which was run by the nuns,” Whalen said. “This one particular one was upped from her job in obstetrics to be the head one, and her assignments of course was to visit every patient. Well, with obstetrics, that was all women. She was ringing her hands because she had to visit a man. So, the regular nurse came around… and said, “What are we going to do?” My father said, “That’s fine.” And he wanted me to bring some of the birds, so that he would be the first man that she would go to, but that there would be something to talk about. In doing that, she became very interested and asked when she and her other nun friends go and visit the lady. So in the spring, I took them and they had a wonderful time.”

Today, her birds can be found occasionally at a local auction or estate sale and it is not unusual to witness a spirited bidding war ending in a high price for one of Hazel Tyrrell’s colorful and realistic birds. Hazel lived a full life and had many friends, each of her birds is a testament to her way of life and artistic legacy.

The Gouverneur Museum at its annual open house on Saturday, December 8, 1 to 3 p.m., will host a reception for the public to greet Mary Jo Whalen and see the fine specimens of Hazel Tyrrell’s handiwork in her collection. The bird species on display will include the following: robin redbreast (with worm), woodcock, killdeer, bluebird, cardinal, chickadee, nuthatch, woodpecker, blue jay, goldfinch, cedar waxwing, grosbeak, kingfisher, and owl.

The birds that are known to stay around the North Country throughout the winter months are perched on a log display that Mary Jo Whalen’s father made specifically for the collection.

In addition to the reception, the exhibit can be viewed on Wednesdays or Saturdays, 1 to 3 p.m., during the museum’s regular hours of operation. There is no admission fee to the museum.

Vaping An Ever-Growing Issue For Middle School Students

Dan McClelland

by Jessyca Cardinell

A discussion was held at the regularly scheduled Gouverneur Central School District Board of Education meeting held November 19 involving the new trend which unfortunately has made its way onto school grounds, vaping.

“It was brought to my attention that people have been witnessing or observing students vaping while they are still on school property and wondering what our responsibility is,” said Mrs. Lauren French, Superintendent of Schools.

“Our responsibility is if we are aware of it, we are to acknowledge the student's behavior and use our Code of Conduct. In talking with the attorney about this, we are probably going to have to revise a statement in our policies to 7320 which we did just do in August because we refer to them as E-Cigarettes, vaping is not the same thing as an E-Cigarette. We would have to add the term vaping to that, which we will do.

“The other thing is just to encourage our staff and administrators that when they see this occurring, that they address it. Unfortunately some of our students don't recognize or realize the health hazards that are associated with vaping.” said Mrs. French, who stated that right now the Middle School is largely affected by this problem.

“No one is looking the other way, when we see and observe it, they are held responsible and accountable for it,” said Mrs. French, who stated to the Board she would bring the policy with that word added to it for the next Board meeting held December 17.

Mrs. French added that more informational instruction could be done through health class to ensure students are more aware of the potential hazard vaping can cause.

“What is difficult is some of the individuals with whom I've spoken to do not look at it as a health issue and some parents are aware that it is taking place and don't look at it as a health issue,” she said. “It's one of those things where you're in the position of educating not only the student but the parent as well.”

Mr. Steve Coffin, Gouverneur Middle School Principal stated that many students have received a presentation on the dangers of vaping and there is a lot of advocacy available.

“We, at the Middle School, do a lot with presenting the dangers of vaping and students who are caught vaping have to do intensive research on the dangers of vaping,” said Mr. Coffin, of the present issue.

Mr. David Fenlong, President of the GCSD Board of Education, stated how important it is to correct the policy to reflect that vaping is unacceptable as the district does not want to look as though they are accepting one act over the other.

Remembering Those Who Served

Dan McClelland

by Rachel Hunter

Veterans Day (originally known as Armistice Day) is commemorated every year on November 11 to mark the armistice signed between the Allies of World War I and Germany at Compiègne, France, for the cessation of hostilities on the Western Front of World War I, which took effect at eleven o'clock in the morning on November 11, 1918.

Celebrating the 100th anniversary since the armistice was signed, it was at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day on the eleventh month (November 11, 2018 at 11 a.m.) that the Annual Veterans Day Observance in Gouverneur, organized by the Silas Wainwright VFW Post 6338 and the James Maloy American Legion Post 0065, and opportunity for local residents to honor all those who have serve and continue to serve this great country with valor, bravery and dedication to the cause of freedom.

Master of Ceremonies Michael Webster, US Navy (Ret.) and Past Commander of VFW Post 6338 stated the following: “We are here to remember those who died and fought in World War I. Actually, it wasn’t World War I. It was the War To End All Wars, later to be remembered as World War I. I know it is cold today, but I want you just for a moment to remember those who were in the trenches, they didn’t have the luxury of arriving in a car, spending a few minutes here, and then going to a warm place again.”

VFW Post 6338 Chaplain Gerald Barker gave the invocation. The Pledge of Allegiance was led by VFW Post 6338 Commander Richard Fisher and American Legion Post 65 Commander Gloria Weldon.

VFW Post 6338 Commander Richard Fisher and American Legion Post 65 Commander Gloria Weldon then commenced with the Presentation of Wreaths.

The Presentation of the Flowers was conducted by Jeff Platt, VFW Post 6338 Auxiliary President, and Deanna Cline, American Legion Ladies Auxiliary President.

The Presentation of the Yellow Rose was conducted by Gold Star Mother Nancy Cappellino.

Lynda Andrews, Daughters of the American Revolution descendant, offered the Presentation of the Red Rose.

A wreath was presented by Steve Cline of Sons of the American Legion.

Roland Roderick conducted the Presentation of Wreath from Gouverneur Students.

Jeff Forsythe then offered a bagpipe selection of “Amazing Grace.”

The guest speaker, former Village of Gouverneur mayor and current Town of Gouverneur Councilman Curran Wade, made the following address:

“This is an exciting day for us, for everybody. One hundred years ago armistice was proclaimed after World War I. I am very proud of that, and that is what I want to express today is the pride that I have to address you as a former Army member and my family. I am proud of each and every one that started back years ago.

“I was going through some relics, some cards, some pictures years ago and I found a letter from my great uncle, Custer Mitchell, who fought in World War I in Germany. He had sent the letter to my grandmother, talking about what he did. I am very proud of that. And with it was a little pennant that had United States Army on it. It’s over 100 years old. I am proud of that.

“My uncle fought in the Battle of the Bulge in World War II, and I am very proud of that.

“My other uncle was a medic at the Army hospitals in Germany, and in Belgium, and I am proud of that.

“My son-in-law was a Marine, and he was in Japan in the 60s. My other son-in-law didn’t make it home. God bless him, he was in the Army. This brings us to present day. My brother-in-law was in the Marine Corps. He fought in the Far East and was in Japan.

“That brings us to my father, Curran E. Wade, Sr. who helped build tanks. He was a triple engineer and worked in the steel mills in Alabama. I saw some of those tanks going down the railway going north to the various forts and overseas.

“Other people I am proud of are my kids. My son-in-law is a Brigadier General, and he is in charge of the Army National Guard State of Vermont. David Manfredi is his name.

“My other son-in-law just retired as a major in the Marine Corps, and was attached to the Pentagon, and continues to work at the Pentagon after his retirement.

“And as for me, I spent six years in the Army, 18 months in Korea.

“I hope this brings to the point that I am trying to make. You have to be proud of everybody that you know that was in the Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps and that contributed to our country. I am very proud, and on the 100th anniversary – the eleventh hour, the eleventh day, the eleventh month. God bless each and every one of you, God bless America, and God bless our veterans.”

The honor guard salute, conducted by Sergeant-At-Arms Karl Beck, was offered by the joint VFW and American Legion combined firing detail. At the firing of the third volley and the sergeant-at-arms completed his commands, taps were played by Jenneca Cook.

The benediction was led by Ruth Mead, VFW Post 6338 Auxiliary Chaplain.

Michael Webster then gave closing remarks, and then invited all to the VFW Post 6338, 100 W. Main St., Gouverneur, for a delicious beef stew luncheon where all were encouraged to “thank the veterans of our community for their service and sacrifices, for our freedom.”

Much gratitude was extended to all who participated or attended the ceremony.

Local dignitaries attending the observance included Village of Gouverneur Mayor Ron McDougall, Village of Gouverneur Clerk/Treasurer Barbara Finnie, Town of Gouverneur Supervisor Dave Spilman, Jr., and Town of Gouverneur Deputy Supervisor Eldon Conklin.

Hermon Cub Scout Earns Two High Honors

Dan McClelland

Jack Velez, a 10-year old Cub Scout of Hermon-DeKalb Pack 144, received two prestigious Cub Scout awards on Oct. 26 before crossing over into the Hermon-DeKalb Boy Scout Troop.

The first was the “Arrow of Light” Award which is the highest award and rank that can be earned by a Cub Scout. This can only be earned by 5th graders and includes earning certain required Adventure Pins including “Building a Better World”, “Duty to God in Action”, “Outdoorsman”, and “Scouting Adventure”. In addition to the required Pins, a Cub must also earn one of 18 elective Pins.

Jack went beyond the minimum and earned all 18 Adventure Pins which is rarely done.

In addition to earning the AOL Award, Jack Velez earned the STEM-based “Charles H. Townes Supernova Award”. This is an extremely difficult science award for Webelos Cub Scouts and Jack is the first Scout on record of Longhouse Council having earned this award. His efforts toward this award included having to research five famous scientists, earn five Adventure Pins, visit a rock show, construct a simple working electrical circuit, do five mathematical activities at home, find interesting facts about Charles Townes, learn about a STEM-based career, participate in a STEM-based activity at a Scout event, and do two science experiments with one showing the Scientific Method. He worked with Supernova Mentor, Huda Suliman of Liverpool, NY who is also the Committee Chair of Troop 333 in Cicero, NY and the STEM Advisor for the Oneida District.

Jack greatly enjoys the Scouting program and has aspirations in earning every merit badge possible along with earning the Eagle Award. He also wishes to become a scientist for NASA and enjoys learning about engineering, chemistry, and nuclear science.

GH Lunch and Learn: Talking about vestibular physical therapy

Dan McClelland

by Rachel Hunter

Gouverneur-area residents gathered in the Community Room at Gouverneur Hospital on Oct. 31 to fill their bellies with a delicious chili lunch and to learn about this month’s topic “Vestibular Physical Therapy” as presented by Emily Cotey, PT.

By way of introduction Emily Cotey, PT, told all gathered that she has been working in Gouverneur Hospital’s Physical Therapy Department since July 2017, and is one of the hospital’s two physical therapists.

Emily Cotey, PT, after addressing the crowd at Gouverneur Hospital’s Lunch and Learn on Oct. 31. (Rachel Hunter photo)

Emily Cotey, PT, after addressing the crowd at Gouverneur Hospital’s Lunch and Learn on Oct. 31. (Rachel Hunter photo)

“When people think of physical therapy, they often think of us treating muscles, joints, pain – those traditional things,” Cotey said. “But one thing that physical therapists can do is treat symptoms of dizziness, vertigo, and imbalance. And that’s what falls under vestibular physical therapy.”

Cotey then asked: “Has anyone here had any episodes of dizziness or vertigo?” Heads nodded all over the room. “Its fairly common,” she continued. “I think not many people know that physical therapists can treat it. The big thing is: It does depend on what is causing it. Now some things have to be treated medically, but there is a whole list of different conditions that a physical therapist can help treat to help improve your dizziness, vertigo, or the sense or feeling of imbalance.

“This past June I was lucky enough to get to fly down to Tampa Bay in Florida and I took a three-day course in Vestibular Physical Therapy and Concussions. I haven’t seen a single person since I have been here with a concussion and I have seen a handful of vestibular patients, so I chose to talk to you guys more about vestibular.”

Cotey then gave the Lunch and Learn attendees an in-depth look at the functions of the vestibular system.

“Your vestibular system gives you your sense of where you are in space,” she said. “So if someone were to pick you up and tip you upside down and your eyes were closed, you would still know that you were upside down because you have this system in your body that tells you where you are in relation to gravity. It is kind of a weird concept because we don’t say, “Gravity is pulling me this way, so I know I am over here.” It is kind of an intuitive system that is working behind the scenes. But when that system is off, you can start getting that dizziness or vertigo.”

Cotey then shared that three components are involved in keeping a person’s equilibrium – vestibular, visual and somatosensory. “Your vestibular system actually contributes two-thirds of the information to your brain, and it is giving you that sense of balance and spatial awareness to allow you to coordinate your movements.” The other two systems – visual and somatosensory – make up the other one-third.

“Those three systems all send information to the brain, so that you can keep your balance and coordinate your movements,” Cotey said.

Cotey then told the crowd that the “vestibular system is actually located in your ear. It is very, very small and it is located behind the structures that allow you to hear.”

She then showed a video that allowed all to get a visual of the structures she was referring to, and answered questions about them as the audience members asked.

Cotey that gave a glimpse into the common disorders that can lead to symptoms of vertigo, dizziness, and imbalance – including ear disorders, Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV), head trauma, Meniere's Disease, toxicity, neurological diseases, Multiple Sclerosis, migraines, rheumatological and immune conditions, problems with cervical spine or neck, arthritis, or scar tissue from whiplash.

Also, Cotey shared that these symptoms can be the result of cardiac issues.

“If somebody has low blood pressure and they stand up, a lot of people get that lightheadedness. That’s not necessarily vertigo, but people might come in saying, “Oh I have vertigo” and then we check their blood pressure and then that’s managed a little more medically.”

Symptoms of dizziness can also be the result of pharmacological issues.

“If you have ever looked at the side effects of medication, a lot of times it says lightheadedness or dizziness,” Cotey said. “So if you are taking a list of 20 medications, and six of them have the side effect of dizziness, it may be worth it to have your physician to look at your list of medications and see if there is something that they can change… if you are having dizziness.”

Cotey shared that diabetes could also cause some issues with the vestibular system.

“That would be more medically managed, but with diabetes that is a macrovascular disease so the blood supply is compromised to the structures of the ear, you are going to have some problems. Not as common, but that can be the cause in some cases.”

At the conclusion of the long list of possible causes, Cotey then said it can be difficult to tease out where these symptoms are coming from. “So, it is really very helpful to have a full physical evaluation by your primary physician or neurologist and then if you get sent to me, I am also going to do a very thorough evaluation like we just talked about. I am going to check blood pressure and I am going to check a whole host of things and try to tease out where symptoms are coming from and whether or not I can treat them.”

Cotey then gave the crowd an idea of what physical therapy might look like if they came in for treatment of a vestibular system related disorder. While not a comprehensive outlook, Cotey provided an overview that educated all persons in attendance.

First, sit down and chat.

“Sometimes just sitting down and listening to what your problems are can narrow down what the root problem is, and how it is going to be treated. So basically, by talking to you, I would determine your symptoms. A lot of people use dizziness and vertigo interchangeably. But they are different. So dizziness is a sensation inside your head that things are spinning and often times if someone is dizzy that is a little more cardiac or blood pressure related. Vertigo is a sensation that the room around you is spinning, so kind of externally things are spinning. When somebody has vertigo that is more vestibular related. So it is always important to tease those two things out. And then the other one is imbalance. I have had a lot of people tell me that they are dizzy but come to find out they just feel quite off balance when they are up trying to move around. They are not having something spinning around in front of them or feel spinning in their head. So like I said, I spend a lot of time, sitting down and chatting to see what is actually going on before I do anything with a patient.”

Cotey the told the crowd that she likes to get her patients “up and moving” for various assessments – including postural stability, balance, and ocular motor assessment – so that she knows if there is an issue with the vestibular system or perhaps the somatosensory system or the visual system.

“I can’t look at your inner ear,” she said. “I can’t visualize that there is a problem, but between your ears and your eyes, there’s reflexes. So if I can look at those reflexes and say either they are normal or abnormal, then I know what to work on from there.”

Cotey then shared the treatment options for a patients that is diagnosed with the number one cause of vertigo – BPPV. “With BPPV it happens when you look up quickly, so if somebody goes to wash their hair, or if they turn over in bed, bending forward, and other quick movements in the head,” she said in explanation. She then showed a video that exhibited the techniques utilized in the Epley and Semont maneuvers, and how they corrected the problem.

“A good analogy for this is if you think about your shoe if you get sand in it, and you get that sand out of it,” Cotey said. “You don’t just tip over and dump it out, You kind of tip it over get it into the heel and then dump it out. That’s exactly what we are doing with the ear. We are manipulating your head to get the crystals back into the right spot where it should be.”

She then asked if anyone had ever tried to do the maneuver themselves, and a few people said that they had.

“I do highly recommend seeing someone, because they can walk you through which maneuver to do to correct it,” Cotey said. “It could take one treatment session, and then the person is clear. It could reoccur again in the future, but generally it is just one to three treatments with me if it is BPPV and it is cleared up, which is nice.”

She then addressed other treatment options that could be used for vestibular disorders other than BPPV – including vestibulopathy, adaptation, habituation – offering detailed information for all those in attendance.

Since the Oct. 31 event was the last session of the Gouverneur Hospital’s monthly Lunch and Learn program until Spring 2019, Cotey concluded the program by providing detailed, step-by-step instructions on some chair exercises that all those present could do to keep them moving even during the winter months.

Keep an eye on the Gouverneur Tribune Press community calendar for the announcement in Spring 2019 of the next Gouverneur Hospital Lunch and Lean Program session. The topic will be determined at a later date.

Gouverneur voters elect Newvine, Besaw as village trustees

Dan McClelland

by Rachel Hunter

The results of the contested race for the two seats on the Village of Gouverneur Board of Trustees was unofficially announced by the St. Lawrence County Board of Elections following the 2018 General Election on Tuesday, November 6. Incumbent Charles Newvine (Democrat, Republican) was the top vote-getter with 673 votes. Political newcomer Troy Besaw (Republican) received 461 votes. Donna M. Lawrence (Democrat) received 327 votes.

Jay L. Bowhall (Democrat, Republican) won the one-year term on the Town of Gouverneur Council after earning 1,230 votes in an uncontested race.

Other election results are as follows:

The New York State Governor and Lt. Governor race went to Incumbents Andrew M. Cuomo and Kathy C. Hochul with 3,184,496 votes over Marc Molinaro and Julie Killian (1,967,984 votes), Howie Hawkins and Jia Lee (90,916), Larry Sharpe and Andrew C. Hollister (87,224), and Stephanie A. Miner and Michel J. Volpe (13,602). In St. Lawrence County, however, voters chose Molinaro and Killian (17,613) over Cuomo and Hochul (10,222), Hawkins and Lee (496), Miner and Volpe (371), and Sharpe and Hollister (1,464).

In the race for Comptroller, Thomas P. DiNapoli received 3,727,170 votes over Jonathan Trichter (1,775,895 votes), Mark Dunlea (63,924), Cruger E. Gallaudent (32,337). St. Lawrence County voters also elected DiNapoli (16,334) over Trichter (12,764), Dunlea (328), and Gallaudent (208).

For NYS Attorney General, Letitia A. James was elected into office (3,453,446 votes) over Keith Wofford (1,989,386), Michael Sussman (66,989), Nancy B. Silwa (24,720), and Christopher B. Garvey (41,159). In St. Lawrence County, it was a close race between James and Wofford with James getting 13,114 votes and Wofford getting 13,544 votes over Sussman (346), Silwa (147), and Garvey (336).

U.S. Senator Kristin E. Gillibrand regained her seat (3,732,014 votes) in the race over her opponent Chele Chiavacci Farley (1,882,251 votes). In St. Lawrence County, voters elected Gillibrand (16,404) over Farley (13,309).

In the heated race for NY-21 Congressional seat, Elise M. Stefanik received 122,863 votes over Tedra L. Cobb (90,526 votes) and Lynn Kahn (3,211). In St. Lawrence County, voters elected Stefanik (16,773 votes) over Cobb (13,626) and Kahn (643).

Patricia A. Ritchie reclaimed her seat on the New York State (48th District) with 65,405 votes.

In the heated contest for the New York State Assembly seat (116th District) Mark C. Walczyk received 19,512 votes over Incumbent Addie A. E. Jenne (16,829 votes). In St. Lawrence County, voters elected Walczyk (9,432) over Jenne (9,388).

Kenneth Blankenbush reclaimed his seat on the New York State Assembly (3,348 votes) in an uncontested race.

The race for St. Lawrence County Coroner was won by Joseph E. White (18,165 votes) and James M. Sienkiewycz (15,542) over Christopher Velez (11,954).

In the race for the 4th District seat on the St. Lawrence County Board of Legislators, William J. Sheridan of Hammond received 1,465 votes over Barbara A. Finnie of Fowler (745 votes).

Henry J. Leader of Gouverneur was re-elected to the 5th District seat on the St. Lawrence County Board of Legislators (1,246 votes).

Larry D. Denesha of DeKalb was re-elected to the 6th District seat on the St. Lawrence County Board of Legislators (1,833 votes).

For the seats on the Village of Rensselaer Falls Board of Trustees, Connie McAllister (89 votes) and Charles Fifield (78 votes) were re-elected.

Town of DeKalb Town Justice Howard Putney was re-elected with 439 votes.

In the race for the one-year term on the Town of DeKalb Council, Constance J. Elen received 322 votes over Andrew Fenton (283 votes).

Town of DeKalb voters were asked in Proposition Number One: Should local Law No. 3 for the year 2018, changing the term of the Town Supervisor’s office from two years to four year be approved? The result was a tie with 281 “yes” votes and 281 “no” votes.

Town of DeKalb voters were also asked in Proposition Number Two: Should Local Law No. 4 for the year 2018, changing the Town Highway Superintendent’s office from an elected position to an appointed position be approved? The result was 409 “no” votes over 151 “yes” votes.

In the contest for the one-year term on the Town of Edwards Council, Jeffery D. Shippee received 225 votes over Frank E. Wagner, Jr. (31 votes).

In the uncontested race for Town of Fine Town Justice, Julie A. LaTray received 379 votes.

In the race for the one-year term on the Town of Hermon Council, John A. Reed received 198 votes over Frank D. Ashley (135 votes).

In the uncontested race for Town of Pitcairn Town Justice, Rusty Tuttle received 193 votes.

Tomorrah Nezezon Averill received 325 votes in the race for the one-year term on the Town of Russell Council.

The official results will not be made available to the public until all the absentee ballots are opened and counted.

Veterans Day Observance to be held Sunday at Memorial Arch

Dan McClelland

On Sunday, November 11th at 11:00 a.m. the V.F.W. and American Legion will be conducting their annual joint services to honor our veterans, past and present, at the Memorial Arch in the park downtown. 

Please try to attend and show your thanks for their sacrifices and for the freedom they have secured for you. 

Following the ceremony the V.F.W. will be serving a free luncheon of beef stew, biscuits, dessert, and coffee for all those in attendance. 

Remember:  All gave some, some gave all, we did not know them all but we owe them all.

Town of Macomb held Annual Trunk or Treat

Dan McClelland

by Jessyca Cardinell

The small Town of Macomb is most noted for its close knit community. Community members work diligently to volunteer and help in the planning of events for everyone to enjoy.

Each year the Macomb Historical Association works alongside the Macomb Wesleyan Church members to host a Trunk or Treat event for the youngsters to enjoy. Each year the location of the event is interchanged between the Macomb Wesleyan Church grounds and the Town of Macomb grounds. This year it was the Historical Association's turn to host the event.

As weather proved to be a worrisome issue, the Macomb Town Barn was opened up, trucks and trucks brought out so that everyone could be warm and dry while enjoying all the festive fun.

The large parking lot was filled with vehicles and inside the town barn over-poured with children and adults alike dressed up in their best Halloween. From scary to adorable to unique, everyone looked great.

Once everyone's bag was filled up with candy, many gathered outside the Historical Association to roast hotdogs and enjoy refreshments.

Fantastic job to everyone involved in making this event a great success for all the youngsters of the small community.

SLC Board of Elections releases sample ballots for public perusal

Dan McClelland

by Rachel Hunter

The St. Lawrence County Board of Elections has released sample ballots for the public to view before the 2018 General Election on Tuesday, November 6, from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., when voters will head to the polls.

These sample ballots can be viewed by going online to and choosing the appropriate election district.

The following is a list of all the polling places in the local vicinity:

DeKalb District 1: DeKalb Town Hall, 2907 CR 17, DeKalb Junction. DeKalb District 2: Richville Fire Department, 71 Main St., Richville.

DePeyster District 1: Round Hall, 4399 CR 10, DePeyster.

Edwards District 1: Edwards Town Hall, 161 Main St., Edwards.

Fowler District 1-2: Fowler Town Hall, 87 Little York Road, Fowler.

Gouverneur District 1-4: Gouverneur Community Center, 4673 State Highway 58, Gouverneur.

Hammond District 1: Hammond Fire Department, 300 Lake St., Hammond.

Hermon District 1: Hermon Town Hall, 109 Church St., Hermon.

Macomb District 1: Macomb Town Hall, 6663 State Highway 58, Macomb.

Pitcairn District 1: Pitcairn Town Hall, 10 Edwards Rd., Harrisville.

Rossie District 1: Rossie Town Barn, 908 CR 3, Hammond.

Russell District 1: Russell Town Hall, 4 Pestle St., Russell.

For full details on the local races, see the story from the Gouverneur Tribune Press’ October 26 edition online at