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74 Trinity Avenue
Gouverneur, NY, 13642
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Local News

Legislator tells town board about sales tax discussion

Dan McClelland

by Rachel Hunter

St. Lawrence County District 5 Legislator Henry Leader (R-Gouverneur) talked to the Town of Gouverneur Council at its Sept. 10 board meeting on the issue of the potential renegotiation of sales tax apportionment to municipalities. The matter was discussed at the St. Lawrence County Board of Legislators’ full board meeting on Sept. 9.

“There is a lot of discussion about the sales tax,” Legislator Leader said. “The background is: Counties were enabled by New York State to collect sales tax because Medicaid expenses became a shared expense between the counties and the state. And so in 1965, effective 1966, because of that they said, “Okay counties, you can collect sales tax.” In and around 1965, the then-county board of supervisors agreed to let the municipalities share the sales tax. And so local governments could get about 50 percent of its sales tax. That would have included the City of Ogdensburg. And then there was an additional 1 percent sales tax in 2012, and as you know, they agreed to split that 1 percent with the county and with the towns and with the City of Ogdensburg.

“So, everything seems pretty good, but what happens was this year, New York State decided to end its responsibility for aid to municipalities payments, the AIM funding. So, out of the 44 towns and villages, I think 36 were affected and it is going to add another $1 million to the county. This whole background is important because all of sudden why is anybody saying, “Let’s renegotiate. Let’s share the sales tax revenue.” And so there’s members in the Republican party, particularly in the leadership, that want to do different sharings with the sales tax.

“And why do they want to do that? So, last night, we hashed it out pretty heavily and I think the purpose for that is that, even though the county is in good fiscal shape right now, the anticipated costs are coming. The anticipated work for bridges and for roads and other costs that are coming down the line are going to be a burden on the county, and they are concerned that they will be in bad fiscal position within a few years and that they will have to raise the county taxes. And the county does not want to do that. So hence the thought of renegotiating the sharing of the sales tax.

“They know where I stand on this, and I am very loyal to my local municipalities. But I keep an open ear and I listen. So, it may come up, it may not come up, but it is going to be contingent upon Ogdensburg. Out of all of the municipalities, the City is the only real player in this that has the ability to do any type of negotiating or any discussion with how the proceeds are going to be shared.

“And they know that is not going to be real popular with a lot of municipalities that are affected. So it may be a dead issue. I will keep you apprised on everything that happens. There may be a bipartisan push to say that the county would take off the missing money from the AIM, and then just split it like it always did. If that were happening, it would be a little bit of a loss, but it would be miniscule compared to some of the other proposals, and there’s about eight different proposals for sharing that are going to be battled out. That’s a thing to keep aware of.”

Legislator Leader reported that there was to be a meeting Sept. 11 between St. Lawrence County and the City of Ogdensburg. “We’ll see where the City of Ogdensburg is on the whole issue,” he said.

Legislator Leader then continued as follows: “The other significant thing is this is good till 2020, but it is a 10-year agreement, so that could significantly impact things for 10 years. To give credit to some of the county legislators who brought this forward, they are trying to think ahead, they are trying to anticipate what is going to happen. They don’t want to raise taxes. But the other side of it is going to hurt municipalities, and it is going to be a big debt. So really the state is shifting it to the counties, and the counties are trying to shift it to the towns. I would definitely get further input before I made any definitive vote, if it goes that far… and it may not.”

Town of Gouverneur Deputy Supervisor Eldon Conklin then made the following comments: “If Ogdensburg doesn’t, it won’t happen anyway. Ogdensburg is not, in the financial position they are in right now, I don’t think… Besides that, the amount of chargebacks the county keeps shoving on the townships. I have a real problem with the fact that we fund the planning board, but everything we send over there, there is a price tag attached to it. The board of elections, totally funded by the townships… And there’s just so many things that get charged back to the townships already, and now they are talking about taking money away from us. And I don’t know what all these new bypasses or whatever they call them, who is paying for those. I got a feeling…”

“We’ll see it next year in chargebacks,” Town of Gouverneur Supervisor Dave Spilman, Jr. said.

“They fail to look at this,” Deputy Supervisor Conklin said. “Plus we are in a position that we can’t raise taxes something 1.8 percent, amounting to $6,000 or $7,000... I don’t know how the rest of the board feels, but I am going to fight. I will tell you that.”

“If it comes to that,” Legislator Leader said. “And it may be dead on the vine. I don’t know. But the other important thing is the reasoning behind it. Why are we even distributing it at all? That’s where I inquire to find out what’s going on.”

“The thing they want to think about, these townships have got snowplow contracts with them,” Deputy Supervisor Conklin said. “They might have to all of sudden buy 10 or 12 trucks.

“They are getting some space in Gouverneur very cheaply, for nothing, which is good,” Legislator Leader said. “We have a lot of goodwill with them. And Gouverneur is often praised publicly for everything. But we are pretty good partners to them. So hopefully they will return the favors.”

Supervisor Spilman then said the following: “Well, we’ve had a good relationship with them so far. County Administrator Ruth Doyle is wonderful. She is straightforward. But yeah, this will take a little conversation…”

Legislator Leader then informed all those gathered that he would report any new developments at the Village of Gouverneur Board of Trustees meeting on Tuesday, September 17, 7 p.m., in the municipal courtroom.

During his time for comments, Village of Gouverneur Mayor Ron McDougall said the following on the matter: “We had a St. Lawrence County Mayors Association meeting on Thursday in Canton… We’ll see how it goes. I think it is too early to brag that we think this is all resolved because it is never resolved until it is all resolved. Of course, it doesn’t take effect until January 1, 2021. Working hard on that and teaming up with the Association of Towns, and that’s a reach out there. I have already had two or three other supervisors reach out to me. Of course, the supervisor of the Town of DeKalb (John Frary) is the chair of the St. Lawrence County Town Supervisors Association.”

No other comments were made on the matter. The next monthly meeting of the Town of Gouverneur Council is to be held on Tuesday, October 8, 6 p.m., in the town offices building.


Bonnie Porter Retires From Gouverneur Hospital

Dan McClelland

From left: Human Resources Leader Lori-Anne McCormick, Corporate Communications Coordinator Bonnie Porter, and Chief Executive Officer Eric Burch. (photo provided)

From left: Human Resources Leader Lori-Anne McCormick, Corporate Communications Coordinator Bonnie Porter, and Chief Executive Officer Eric Burch. (photo provided)

Corporate Communications Coordinator Bonnie Porter has retired from St. Lawrence Health System’s Gouverneur Hospital after 36 years of service. Along with her current title, Mrs. Porter also served as Community Relations/Practice Manager, Community Events Coordinator, Administrative Assistant to the Chief Executive Officer, Administration Secretary, and Executive Secretary.

Over the past three decades, Bonnie championed the establishment of Gouverneur Hospital, through St. Lawrence Health System, and its $2.5M emergency department renovation and expansion. She supported the implementation of the Pyxis Automated Medication Dispensing System, Telestroke Technology, CPR Chest Compression System, Definition AS64eco CT equipment, 3D Mammography, and mobile on-site PET services. She was essential in helping with accommodations for the Hospital’s new outpatient Substance Use Disorder service line, the addition of detox services, a hospitalist program, and most recently, launching the Hospital’s Planetree initiative of providing person-centered care at all locations of care.

She facilitated monthly Lunch and Learn programs to ensure continuous education was available to the public. She helped organize the Gouverneur Hospital Auxiliary’s Annual Golf Tournament, which raised over $11,000 this year. She further helped the Auxiliary by coordinating and overseeing blood drives, and has participated in countless events across the community.

“Bonnie has been instrumental in the Hospital’s growth. Her role in community relations was critical to ensuring the public was aware of new providers and services that were not previously offered in our community,” said Hospital CEO Eric Burch. “She has been an unwavering liaison between the Hospital and our community members and has earned great respect from those with whom she worked.”

Colleagues joined Mrs. Porter for a reception at the Hospital where she was presented with an engraved clock and numerous gift certificates in recognition of her dedication to service within the Gouverneur community.

Assemblyman Blankenbush visits Gouverneur senior citizens

Dan McClelland

Assemblyman Ken Blankenbush (R,C,I-Black River) speaking to the Gouverneur Senior Citizens Club on Tuesday, September 10 at the Gouverneur Community Center. (Rachel Hunter photo)

Assemblyman Ken Blankenbush (R,C,I-Black River) speaking to the Gouverneur Senior Citizens Club on Tuesday, September 10 at the Gouverneur Community Center. (Rachel Hunter photo)

by Rachel Hunter

Assemblyman Ken Blankenbush (R,C,I-Black River) held mobile office hours, ate lunch with local senior citizens at the Gouverneur Congregate Dining Center, and was the featured guest speaker at the Gouverneur Senior Citizens Club meeting on Tuesday, September 10 at the Gouverneur Community Center, 4673 State Highway 58, Gouverneur. There were over 60 people in attendance.

“It's great to be here today, especially in this new facility... I have been here a few times. It's really good to be here,” Assemblyman Blankenbush said. “I guess I should introduce myself since some of you may or may not know me. I live in Black River, which is in that other county. I have been in the Assembly since 2011, and I followed Dede Scozzafava who was there before me.

“My district now is a little bit different since the redistricting. I used to have 10 more towns in St. Lawrence County than I do now. I only have seven. And they took the 10 towns away from me in St. Lawrence County and gave me 10 towns in Oneida. And so, I go from DeKalb down to 10 towns in Jefferson to all of Lewis and 10 towns in Oneida County... So now it is not just representing the North Country, it is representing the North Country and the Mohawk Valley. So, it's been different these last few years. But already, after the 2020 election there is going to be another redistricting. So, who knows what it is going to be like in the 2022 election.

Acting St. Lawrence County Clerk Sandra Santamoor (candidate for St. Lawrence County Clerk in the 2019 General Election) speaking to the Gouverneur Senior Citizens Club on Tuesday, September 10 at the Gouverneur Community Center. (Rachel Hunter photo)

Acting St. Lawrence County Clerk Sandra Santamoor (candidate for St. Lawrence County Clerk in the 2019 General Election) speaking to the Gouverneur Senior Citizens Club on Tuesday, September 10 at the Gouverneur Community Center. (Rachel Hunter photo)

“I can remember when I was not in the Assembly – when Dede was in the Assembly – when they redistrict, they put Dede in the same district as then-Bob Nortz from Lewis County, but what they didn't realize was that Bob Nortz also owned property up on the river, and he ran into different districts. But, who knows what they are going to do with the redistricting in four more years. I can't tell you what is going to happen, but then again, I'll be looking at something different again. I really don't like what they did when they redistrict St. Lawrence County. A lot of people will tell you that because of having so many representatives in Albany, it is a benefit for you. But I am not so sure of that because they chopped us all up. So, in other words, the towns I had in St. Lawrence (when you talk about Star Lake, Cranberry Lake, and all of those) I didn’t have anything on the river. And the person who now has that district is from Herkimer County. So for him to get up to his district in Potsdam area, Star Lake and all of those... he really has to drive through my district to get to his district. Redistricting is a thing that we have to live with. Who knows what is going to happen after the 2020 election.

“I had a few people ask me about license plates,” Assemblyman Blankenbush said. “For those who know me, know that I will not be in favor of making people replace their license plates, especially if the license plates can be read. A few years back, they put out license plates that – if you look at some of them as you are driving around – you can't really read them... That's not the people's fault that are driving those cars. That's the State of New York and whoever made those license plates. It is not the fault of the individuals, and in my opinion, those license plates were being replaced free... If you took them in right now, you can get them replaced free. If this bill is passed before individuals do that, the governor is going to want to charge you. So, if you have a license plate or you have friends that know that their license plate is deteriorating, you can take it to the DMV and get new license plates before this thing hits and we have to all replace our license plates. So, I believe it is a money grab from the governor... and I guess he can call it a fee rather than a tax. I am not sure when that is going to come out. I think it is on hold right now. I think there has been some backlash on that. I believe when we go back into session it's probably going to come back for the legislators to vote on that.”

“January is going to start my 10th year,” Assemblyman Blankenbush said. “I can honestly say that out of the nine budgets that we have voted on over the years, that this is the worst budget that I voted on since I have been in there for Upstate New York and the North Country. There's 10 parts to the budget. It's not just one vote for the budget. It's 10 parts. And this was the very, very first time that I voted no on all 10 parts to the budget. I didn't see any good coming out of the budget negotiations that happened this year. Talked to the Town of Gouverneur Supervisor Dave Spilman, Jr., for example, when they took the money out of what we call the pothole fund for the highway department... then we put it back in, and then we took it back out. If you live in the town, the town tries to do three miles per year to try to keep up with it. By cutting some of the money out of that budget, it was a really bad thing to do and hopefully we got it back in. But, whether we see it or not, that's another subject. I really didn't like the budget.”

Assemblyman Blankenbush then continued as follows: “Some people ask me, “Why don't you get up and talk about what's happened this year in Albany?” I can tell you right now I was not very happy with what happened after the budget process. Some of the bills that we voted on this year, again it was probably the most no-votes that I have had since I have been there, starting with the abortion bill right up until the time of labor. I couldn't vote for that. But we are having a left-wing swing in New York, as probably everyone here has read about. What's coming next year? It's probably the legalization of marijuana. They decriminalized it a little bit this year, and I just think that it was a stepping stone for the legalization.

“They also passed – for the Second Amendment people who are here – the Red Flag Bill,” Assemblyman Blankenbush said. “If you listen some people, there's not really a lot wrong with the Red Flag Bill. If somebody shouldn't own a gun, they shouldn't own a gun. If they have mental problems or is going to hurt others, everybody can agree on that. However, if you read the whole bill, it takes away due process. If I call the Sheriff's Office and say, “I believe my neighbor is going to either hurt himself or hurt someone else.” They are obligated now to go to the court, ask the judge to give an order to take away the guns.

“Well, my problem with that is, if you are going to go to a judge, the person who owns the guns ought to be in front of the judge right then to answer the problem or the complaint. That's not what is going to happen. The judge is going to order the guns removed from the house. Then, that person is going to be able to appeal. The appeal is supposed to happen within six days. I don't know a court that works that fast, but that's what the bill says. And the problem I have with some of that is that I believe that individual who has been called on, if the judge is going to order that removal of guns, he ought to be able to talk to that individual, question that individual, and not just listen to a complaint that is given by a neighbor or an ex-spouse.

“Let's face it, if you are going through a divorce, it's not usually a happy time. I can imagine up here in the North Country that someone who is getting ready for hunting season... hunting season starts on Saturday, and somebody calls in and says that they think he is going to hurt himself or someone else, and they'll take the guns away. I just think you are taking away due process. I don't like that part of the bill. I agree with the concept that we should not have people who have some mental issues not have any guns. But I still think that individual should have due process. I think we are taking away the rights that some individuals have...”

Assemblyman Blankenbush then continued as follows: “People ask me all the time, “How can you vote against the Women's Equality Act?” Well, there's 10 bills in the Women's Equality Act. Then 10th one was the abortion one. I voted for all nine of them, except for the bill that allows abortion all the way up to the time of labor. And by the way, I have had several pro-choice individuals email me and call me, and say that they don't agree with that bill either... that they believe that the bill is going way too far, even to the point of if the baby survives the abortion, the doctor is allowed to allow the baby to lay there and die. Think about it, they now say that you don't have to go to the hospital to have the abortion. You don't have to go to a doctor to do the abortion. You can go to a clinic and have a physician’s assistant do it. I just think that's going backwards for women's health, not supporting women's health. So there's a lot of things on that bill that there was no way... but the nine other bills that were there, I support. But the 10th, I just couldn't support.”

“So, what is going to come this year, I don't know,” Assemblyman Blankenbush said. “All I know is that the last session was not a very popular session for Ken.

“The only other thing I can say is that when we are looking at 2020's election, and we're going to go into 2022, the State of New York is going to lose two congressional seats. So, the Empire State is shrinking. Over 1.4 million have left the state at the last count. We are going to lose one for sure, and I believe we are going to lose two congressional seats because it goes by population. The people are leaving the State of New York. I disagree with the governor. It's not because of the climate, it's because of the business climate. It's because of the taxation. It's harder and harder for businesses to do business in the State of New York.

“Years ago, before I qualified as a senior, I had a lot of people that were called snowbirds. They would leave the State of New York and they would go down to Florida for four months and they would come back. Well, they are still doing that, but they are really not snowbirds anymore because when they are coming back they have Florida plates on. They are changing more and more. The people that are in my age group that I know personally are now coming back and spending three or four months here, and they are going back to Florida... The people in New York City tell me that even though we talk about people leaving the State of New York, they are talking about some of the boroughs in New York City that have actually grown in population...”

Assemblyman Blankenbush then answered questions from the local senior citizens for several moments before introducing Acting St. Lawrence County Clerk Sandra Santamoor, who is running for the St. Lawrence County Clerk seat in the 2019 General Election. Assemblyman Blankenbush encouraged all those in attendance to take the opportunity to meet and talk with Mrs. Santamoor. A great applause sounded as Assemblyman Blankenbush handed the microphone to the candidate.

“Hi, for those of you who don’t know me, I was (former St. Lawrence County Clerk) Mary Lou Rupp's deputy for eight years. She trained me well,” Mrs. Santamoor said. “I am prepared to do the job. We have a lot of things in the works right now, but we will continue from what Mary Lou started – e-filing, e-reporting, it all saves the county time and money. Right now, I am in the process of getting a $125,000 grant to have all of our civil and criminal files digitized so that they are available. We are trying to figure out a way to move the road test site in Canton, so I am working with the State DMV and the Village of Canton. If anyone has been down Judson St. in Canton, they know we have the village buses on one side and road testing on the other, which causes a very dangerous situation. So we are working on that... Downstate business, that is our big one. We are still doing that. We make a lot of money doing that. It helps with the tax levy, so it is important to keep that business going.

“As well as you all know here locally, in Gouverneur, we put in a new terminal in there, so we now have three staff there. We are trying to keep on top of the downstate business and make sure that we are providing the best service that we can to the local residents. In a couple weeks we will be opening a new terminal in Massena, so we will have four staff there. We have three in Ogdensburg and 13 in Canton. If you all keep doing your business locally, we would appreciate it. It really does benefit everyone in the county. Hopefully, I look forward to serving you all for four years beyond this.”

At the conclusion of her address, Gouverneur Senior Citizens Club President Joanne Bitter extended gratitude to both Assemblyman Ken Blankenbush and Acting St. Lawrence County Clerk Sandra Santamoor for their speaking to the crowd gathered, and all gave a rousing round of applause. Other local dignitaries in attendance included Town of Gouverneur Supervisor Dave Spilman, Jr., Town of Gouverneur Deputy Supervisor Eldon Conklin, and Town of Gouverneur Councilman Eldon Conklin, among others.

The Gouverneur Senior Citizens Club then continued with their regular monthly board meeting at the Gouverneur Community Center.

80th Annual Hammond Fair to be held September 13-14

Dan McClelland

by Rachel Hunter

Volunteers are already hard at work to ensure the 80th Annual Hammond Fair – scheduled for Friday, September 13 and Saturday, September 14 – will be a success.

Started by a local agriculture teacher in the early 1900s, the 2019 Hammond Fair continues the long tradition of developing local youth’s agricultural knowledge during the two-day country fair – featuring skills contests, livestock shows, vegetable and homemaking judging, and so much more.

Hundreds of volunteer hours make the Hammond Fair function each year. The Hammond Fair Association includes the following officers: Chairman Kevin Toland, Vice Chairman Bill Stine, Treasurer Tina Gleason and Miranda Toland, Secretary Joan Hadlock, Assistant Secretaries Allison Barrigar, Ann Root, Chris Jewett, John Kingston, and Carol Wright.

Volunteers on the Hammond Fair Committees include the following: Gate Admission (Liz Bawden), Music (Steve Bogart and Bridget Sherman), Building and Grounds (Steve Bogart, Kevin Toland, Miranda Toland, James Gleason, Nancy Gleason, Tim Gleason, Tina Gleason, Kaitlyn Gleason, Ron Tulley, Cathy Tulley, Bill Stine, Tammy Stine, Jon Bickelhaupt, Roger Hadlock, Donald Greene), Food Booth (Jim Gleason, Nancy Gleason, Tim Gleason, Tina Gleason, Ron Tulley, Cathy Tulley, Kevin Toland, Miranda Toland, John Jewett, Chris Jewett, Shanna Ridsdale, Doug Side), Raffle Booth (Erin Cunningham, Lynn Milsap Spraberry, Shirley Bogart, Mary Rice, Shanna Ridsdale, John Wayne), Events and Games (Carolyn Pierce and family, Jennifer Gardner, Debbie Richards, Barb Hadlock, Bill Stine, Tammy Stine, Skip Hurlburt), Antique Equipment and Machinery (Bill Stine), Vendor Committee (Amanda Kroeger and Danielle Greene), Social Media Director and Website Designer (Kaitlyn Gleason and Piper Phalen).

Much gratitude is also extended to the fair department superintendents, including the following: Terry Neuroth and Bill Stine (Dairy Cattle), Allison Root Barrigar (Sheep), Anna Moon (Goats), Timothy Gleason and James Gleason (Beef Cattle), Susan Ellis (Horses and Ponies), Mia Brown (Poultry), Caleb Stamper (Rabbits), Natalie Towne (Farm and Garden), and Joan Hadlock and Barb Hadlock (Homemaking).

Much gratitude has also been extended to the Town of Hammond crew for all their help to make this year’s Hammond Fair happen.

Clubs and organizations are invited to come and volunteer during the Hammond Fair, and/or set up booths in the homemaking building.

With less than a week before youth start bringing their projects to their Hammond Fairgrounds, there is much excitement for all that the 2019 Hammond Fair is going to bring.

Hammond Fair officials have announced that there is going to be lots to see and do at this year’s fair!

The new attractions this year includes the following: A scarecrow making contest. All are encouraged to make a scarecrow at home or bring the items and assembly at the fair – and enter it into the costs. A number will be assigned, and people will vote on their favorite. Prizes will be awarded in this contest. Pumpkin Carving Contest: All are encouraged to carve a pumpkin at home or decorate a pumpkin and bring it to the fair. A number will be assigned, and there will be a people’s choice vote.

Returning attractions include the following: Cake Decorating Contest (for adults), Pet Show (dress up your animal and parade around), Cake Walk, Bossy Bingo, Children’s Games, raffles, artificial flower and wreath decoration contest.

The full schedule of events has been published as follows:

On Thursday, September 12, exhibits will start coming on the fairgrounds at 1 p.m.

On Friday, September 13, a Fitting and Showmanship Clinic will start at 9 a.m. FFA and 4-H Judging Contests will follow at 10:15 to 11 a.m. At 11 a.m., the beef show will commence, followed by the dairy showmanship and individual classes. Also at 11 a.m., the vegetable and homemaking judging will commence. At noon, Hammond Central School will have music on the grounds. At 3 p.m., there will be an ice cream social with entertainment. Bossy Bingo will be held from 4 to 5 p.m. An outdoor movie will be shown at 8 p.m. (when dark).

On Saturday, September 14, exhibits open at 9 a.m. The 4-H Draft Horse/Horse Show, Rabbit Show, Poultry Show, Sheep Show, Swine Show, Goat Show will commence at 9:30 a.m. At 11 a.m., there will be entertainment. At 12:30 p.m., there will be games for everyone who wants to participate. At 1:30 p.m., there will be Bossy Bingo. At 2 p.m., there will be an ice cream social, pet show, and cake walk. At 3:30 p.m., there will be recognitions, decorated cake auction, drawing for raffle prizes, and the announcement of scarecrow contest winners and pumpkin carving winners.

Hammond Fair entries are open to 4-H and FFA members of St. Lawrence County and Jefferson County. Any non-member aged 18 and under who clears his or her entry with the department superintendent may also be eligible. There is no entry fee in any department.

The entire North Country community is invited to the 80th Annual Hammond Fair on Friday, September 13 and Saturday, September 14. Fair officials confirm that there should be plenty of exciting things for everyone to see and do at this year’s fair!

For more information, visit HammondFair.com.

North Country CrossRoads announces Artsy Contest winners

Dan McClelland

by Rachel Hunter

As a way to give back to the local community, North Country CrossRoads Artisan Gift Shop & Classes in Gouverneur organized a fun arts competition for youth and adults alike.

The “Artsy Contest” was the idea of the business owners Gari and Kevin Vibber of Gouverneur who know firsthand what it is like to grow up in Small Town America and believe strongly in giving back to the local community.

The contest was free to enter, and all interested could pick up an 8x10-inch canvas board on which to put their submission. The local artists then chose their favorite medium to complete their work, and returned it to North Country CrossRoads by 3 p.m. on August 17. A total of 12 entries were submitted, and then divided into the four age categories (0-6 years, 7-12 years, 13-18 years and 19 years and older). The five judges making the subjective evaluations were a purposeful mix, according to Mrs. Vibber, and included the following: North Country CrossRoads Artist Bill Perkins, Local Businessman/Town Official Curran Wade, Non-Professional Artsy Crafter Donna Thorpe of Fowler, Businessman/Supporter of the Arts Kevin Vibber of Gouverneur, and North Country CrossRoads Under 18 Artist/Crafter Lauren Ordway of Gouverneur.

The results were tabulated, and winners were announced as follows:

In the 0-6 age category, there were two entries. First place went to Keelee Bice for her acrylic painting, and second place went to Quinn Richardson for his acrylic painting.

In the 7-12 age category, first place went to Mackensie Koerick (pencil). There was a tie for second place between Afton Riley (acrylics) and Jack Riley (pencil). There also were honorable mentions to Moriah Koerick (crayon), Kelvin Bice IIII (acrylics), Kameran Bice (acrylics) and Arthur Anson (markers).

In the 19 and over age category, first place went to Angie Walsh (acrylics and human hair), second went to Rachel Riley (acrylics and marker), and third place went to Rachel Hunter (acrylics).

The top prize in each category was a $20 gift certificate to North Country CrossRoads, second place prizes varied, and third place prize was a $5 gift certificate to the Ice Cream Bowl, located next door to North Country CrossRoads. Honorable mentions received a sketch pad and colored pencils.

The prizes were presented to the award winners on Tuesday, August 27 during a special ceremony, and all were congratulated on their great work.

To learn more about North Country CrossRoads, stop by the store at 157 W. Main St., Gouverneur, or visit the store’s Facebook page. And don’t forget to check out all of the store’s announcements and upcoming classes in the Gouverneur Tribune Press!

Plow Days in Fowler to be held this weekend

Dan McClelland

Archive photo from 2018 SLVDHA Plow Days in Fowler. (Rachel Hunter photo)

Archive photo from 2018 SLVDHA Plow Days in Fowler. (Rachel Hunter photo)

by Rachel Hunter

The St. Lawrence Valley Draft Horse Association will once again show the power and utility of the draft horse at the 2019 SLVDHA Plow Days, which will be held on Saturday, September 7, and Sunday, September 8, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the Bill and Tina Siebels Farm in Fowler. The event takes place at the end of the growing season, the culmination of the club’s efforts to plant, grow, and harvest using draft horses and equipment.

Today, the gentle giant draft horses are seldom seen, almost lost in a world of high-speed, noisy machines that require industrial fuel to perform. But it was only a century ago when draft horses (along with mules and oxen) were almost everywhere, providing a practical, dependable, and renewable power source for pioneer-era industries such as agriculture, railway building, large-scale excavation and earth-moving, mining, logging, and road construction.

In fact, before 1910, at least 90 percent of all public works, agriculture, and resource industries relied on “horse power” to complete jobs both large and small.

For millennia, grains, fruits, and vegetables were produced manually by sowing seeds and using a scythe to harvest the crops. Hand-flailing the straw to remove the grain on the ground was a slow and inefficient way of processing. Innovations in farm equipment significantly increased the productivity of North American farmers. Double-width harrows, steel plows mounted on wheels, mowers, binders, threshers, and combines reduced the need for manpower, while dramatically increasing the horse power required to operate them. Improvements in harnesses and hitch design also increased efficiency.

The western market for farm equipment created a demand for stronger and larger horses to power the new equipment. Horse, farmer, and machine began working together to plant and harvest the crops. The last half of the 19th century saw draft horse breeding become both essential and profitable. Horse breeding programs flourished in the late 1800s and in the early part of the 1900s. During this time, many grain farms had more horses (as many as 10 or more) than people, with each horse working an average of 600 hours per year.

So, what was partly responsible for both the rise and collapse of the heavy horse in North America? The Industrial Revolution. The changes in agricultural technology peaked in the latter part of the 19th century. Demand for draft animals was spurred by growing transportation, construction, and agricultural needs. The year 1917, when the Ford Motor Company introduced the Fordson Tractor, saw the beginning of the trend moving away from horse power in favor of farm mechanization. The horse lost the dominance of the streets to the automotive industry rather quickly. As for the contest for the agricultural fields, the horse fought tenaciously but eventually yielded in many cases to steam and gas tractor power.

Since that time, the draft breeds have not only stabilized in numbers, but also once more enjoy a thriving trade. The stabilization of the draft horse population can be attributed to the dedication of draft horse breeders, as well as the decision of the old order Amish to reject tractor power in the fields.

The purpose of the St. Lawrence Valley Draft Horse Club is to promote the use of (as well as the ownership of) Clydesdale, Percheron, Belgian, Shire, Suffolk, and other breeds of draft horses. The club’s goal is to increase the number of people who responsibly own and enjoy draft horses. The club was founded over 30 years ago when there was a modest increase in interest in draft horses.

So much knowledge had been lost about how draft horses could be used, and the equipment suitable for working with draft horses, that the club began to gather that information and look for ways to share it with the general public. There has been a steady increase in interest in draft horses in St. Lawrence County ever since.

The 2019 SLVDHA Plow Days will be held on Saturday, September 7 and Sunday, September 8, at the Bill and Tina Siebels Farm, 362 County Route 22 (Farm To Market Road), Fowler. Exhibitions include plowing with walking plow and sulky plow, mowing hay, hay press, corn cutting, threshing, wagon rides, black smith, potato digging, sorghum press, dog/goat tread mill, cake walk, pony rides, raffles, refreshments. Also on Sunday at 1 p.m., there will be a parade, followed by the annual auction at 2 p.m. Admission is free for 4-H and FFA members. All others are a nominal fee.

For more information, call (315) 287-3533 or (315) 276-1135.

Don’t miss out on this opportunity to witness the power of the draft horse at the 2019 SLVDHA Plow Days!

DJVFD 5K Color Run/Walk has record-breaking turnout

Dan McClelland

by Jessyca Cardinell

The DeKalb Junction Volunteer Fire Department hosted its Second Annual 5K Color Run/Walk on the morning of Sunday, August 25. The event was deemed a success, as it drew 33 participants, more than doubling the 2018 turnout of 15 participants.

“We work hard on putting this together as a way to bring something positive to the community and let the people know the importance of our department,” DeKalb Junction Volunteer Fire Department Vice President Naomi Drake said. “We receive great support from the community members and awareness for the department. It's not all about the money raised.”

Everyone came dressed in their most comfortable fitness gear, ready to get in a great workout burning calories while supporting the DeKalb Junction Volunteer Fire Department in this fun walk/run. Participants were given packets filled with colored powder to release before the run began. DeKalb Junction Volunteer Fire Department trucks led the run and blocked off roads to help ensure all made it through safely. Also present was Hermon Rescue. The walk/run began at Sprinkles, travelling to Ideuma Road in DeKalb, before heading back to the DeKalb Junction Volunteer Fire Department for raffles and refreshments. Mrs. Drake also announced that the raffle table was packed with items donated by local businesses, and was a huge, huge success!

This event would not have been possible without the generous support by the North Country community.

Boy Scouts and Youth Advocate Program members helped to spray color, and hand out water to the participants.

Also there, St. Lawrence County Sheriff’s Safe Child ID program.

There were refreshments and snacks available for those needing a quick pick-me-up. All proceeds went directly to supporting the DeKalb Junction Volunteer Fire Department and its mission to ensure the safety and security of the community. Mrs. Drake commented that the bagels – enjoyed by many participants – were donated by The Bagelry in Canton.

All sponsors of the 5K Color Run/Walk were listed on the back of an event T-Shirt as a way for the department to extend a hearty “thank-you” to over 30 local establishments.

Many participants, volunteers and local business sponsors alike are looking for the Third Annual 5K Color Run/Walk to be held in August of 2020!

Don’t forget: Walk With A Doc comes to Gouverneur this Saturday

Dan McClelland

All are invited to join a variety of St. Lawrence County healthcare providers for a walk on the Gouverneur and St. Lawrence County Fairgrounds track at 10 a.m. Saturday, August 31 and discover a new and safe place to walk.

This latest St. Lawrence County Public Health “Walk With a Doc” event is open to the community, as are all Walk With a Docs. It is co-hosted by the Community Health Center of the North Country.

Participation is free and pre-registration is not required. Walkers will enjoy friendly conversation with health care professionals who will provide support and answer questions during the walk. All walks are held the last Saturday of the month.

SLC Public Health invites everyone to check out the county trails site at https://www.stlctrails.com/trails to discover more nearby outdoor walking opportunities.

For more information please Brigette Sanderson at 315-229-3404, or go to https://walkwithadoc.org/our-locations/stlawco/. And there is more on the event on St. Lawrence County Public Health’s Facebook Page, @SLCPublicHealth.

Walk with a Doc is a national non-profit organization whose mission is to encourage healthy physical activity in people of all ages and reverse the consequences of a sedentary lifestyle in order to improve the health and well-being of the country.

Historic Walking Tour in Gouverneur draws crowd

Dan McClelland

by Rachel Hunter

Gouverneur’s history came alive on Saturday, August 24 as Town of Gouverneur and Village of Gouverneur Historian Joe Laurenza led a historic walking tour around Gouverneur.

Lance Rudiger of the St. Lawrence County Historical Association said it was just one of the several walking tours around the county that were presented by local historians, in partnership with the SLCHA.

A crowd of 20 interested local citizens first gathered at the Gouverneur Museum, and were greeted by the mouth-watering smell of the chicken barbecue. A total of 150 chicken halves were prepared by the Gouverneur and Edwards masons for the occasion.

Mr. Laurenza, who also serves as president of the Gouverneur Historical Association, started the historic walking tour at the Gouverneur Morris by saying the following: “Gouverneur, originally named Cambray, is named after Gouverneur Morris. He bought a total of 90,000 acres in three purchases. Cambray was first in the 1770s, and then the rest to Morristown, also named after him.

“Gouverneur Morris was a founding father, and a personal friend of George Washington. He held several government positions, and was minister to France. He was quite a ladies man and had many mistresses. He did not marry until his late 50s.

He never lived here, but traveled to the North Country at least twice. We have a copy of some of his diary trips here. The originals are in the Smithsonian. He had a stone house built in Natural Dam about three miles west of Gouverneur, where his land agents resided to oversee his property. The house is still there in disrepair. It was bought this past spring by a young man from Antwerp.”

Mr. Laurenza then showed the crowd a photo of the Gouverneur Morris house.

“Several books have been written about Gouverneur Morris,” Mr. Laurenza said. “One interesting fact is that he had a peg leg. There are two theories: He fell off a horse drawn carriage, or he jumped out of a window one night when a husband came home.

“He changed the name from Cambray to Gouverneur in honor of his mother, Sarah Gouverneur.

“Gouverneur was first settled in 1805 when the first seven families arrived. Dr. Richard Townsend was Morris’ first land agent who accompanied them from Warren County. Their names appear on the arch in the park.”

Mr. Laurenza then talked about the Gouverneur Museum as follows: “The Gouverneur Museum was originally the manse to the Presbyterian Church, built in 1904 with money donated by the Dean family. In 1974, the church decided to sell the manse and give the minister a living allowance. The Gouverneur Museum Board bought it, and it officially opened its doors on July 4, 1976 on the 200th anniversary of the U.S. The Museum is managed by a board of 11, and has about 30 volunteers. The main building has three floors of artifacts, and a one-room library/research room. Southwest Tech BOCES in Gouverneur built a building that is behind the museum. We also have the Gouverneur Annex at the fairgrounds. We also own a one-room schoolhouse that is 10 miles from the village.”

Village Park

“The Village Park was not a planned park, as is usually the case. It was just a wind-blown sand lot,” Mr. Laurenza said. “In 1834, Peter Van Buren, who owned one of the hotels on Main Street (across the street from the park), took it upon himself to plant saplings to preserve the area. He and local children drew water from the Oswegatchie River by ox team to water the saplings in the park. Nothing was done with the park for about 40 years. It was open to the public in 1873 by the village board. Elm trees were planted in 1873, but was all taken down in the 1950s and 1960s due to Dutch Elm disease. The park had several fountains over the years and at least two bandstands.”

Mr. Laurenza then gave the floor to Village of Gouverneur Mayor Ron McDougall to talk about the upcoming changes to the village park.

“We got a grant from Senator Ritchie last year, Mayor McDougall said. “Senator Ritchie was just here on Wednesday, July 31 during fair week, and we went through it together. Our engineers, Bernier, Carr and Associates, put together a plan. They are subject to change, some of the plans. The macadam is going to go, of course some of these flagpoles, and in particular, the Memorial Arch is in dire need of some work there as well. People think it is just going to be the gazebo. It is going to be more than just the gazebo. The macadam is definitely going to go…”

Much gratitude was extended to Mayor McDougall for his comments as the historical walking tour continued.

Fountain

“The Fountain was placed in the park in 1876 on the 100th anniversary of the U.S. Independence,” Mr. Laurenza said. “The village spearheaded raising the funds. Funds were raised by the sale of $1 subscriptions. It was supposed to be in the park by July 4 of 1876, but arrived late and installed several weeks later. By 1957 the fountain was in disrepair. The Village did not want to pay for the repairs, and took it out of the park and put it behind the village barn. Frank LaFalce from Richville heard about it, and asked the village if he could have it. They let him take it to his home in Richville and he got it working again in his side yard where it was until 2010. Frank died in 1996 and his wife, Mary Ellen, died in 2010. She had willed it back to the village and Dave Spilman, Jr. volunteered to set it back up and got it working again. Dave continues to oversee it and runs water from the museum several times a week.”

Memorial Arch

“In 1905, on the centennial of the first settlers arriving in Gouverneur, the Memorial Arch was constructed in memory of the first settlers and those who lost their lives in wars,” Mr. Laurenza said. “There are several plaques honoring those who served in our armed forces. “Lest We Forget” was engraved on the front, and “Our Nations Defenders” on the back. The eagle was added in 1906 and donated by the Dean family. The eagle was damaged in 1988 by kids and was rebuilt and dedicated in 1990.

“The marble is from one of the nine marble quarries in the village.

“The cost in 1905 was $1,830.10. Donations came from businesses, individuals, sale of the centennial history of Gouverneur, and school children. Today’s cost would be in excess of a quarter-million dollars.”

The Lifesaver

“The Lifesaver is in our park because of Edward John Noble,” Mr. Laurenza said. “Noble was born in Gouverneur in 1882. He graduated from Gouverneur High School and Yale. His second job in 1912 was an ad man from a company in New York City. He was sent to Cleveland, Ohio where Clarence Crane was making candies. One was round white peppermint candy with a hole in the center. Noble suggested that to Crane to market the candy as aa LifeSaver. Two Reasons: A child could not choke on it if swallowed because of the hole in the center… and the other possible reason was life preserves on private or commercial ships were big, round white flotation devices. The Titanic sank in 1912.

“Crane did not like the idea and suggested Noble buy that part of his candy business for $2,900. He and a friend came up with the $2,900 and he got the recipe and equipment and moved everything he needed back to New York City. He rented an apartment and hired six girls. He also came up with the foil to keep it fresher. Other flavors were added beginning in 1929.

“The business grew rapidly and he built a plant in Port Chester, NY in 1920. Outside the plant were several huge LifeSavers. When the Port Chester plant closed and the candy division went to Canada, near Montreal, the company was not going to move the LifeSavers. They offered Gouverneur this one because Noble started the successful business and was from Gouverneur. The Rotary Club paid to have it moved and erected in out park in 1987.

“Noble had several positions in FDR’s administration. In 1943, he purchased the Blue Radio Network, now the ABC Network. He was the only individual to own a national radio station.

“Noble loved and vacationed in the Thousand Islands. He purchased Bolt Castle from Bolt Family in the late 1920s when it went up for sale. The Edward John Noble Foundation owned it for 50 years before turning it over to the Thousand Island Bridge Authority.”

Presbyterian Church

“The First Presbyterian Church was built in 1820,” Mr. Laurenza said. “The present church is the fourth Presbyterian Church. It was built in 1892-1893 at a cost of $50,000 and was paid off in 1902. The parsonage, now the Museum, was built in 1904 with monies donated by the Dean family. In 1920, the beautiful pipe organ was donated by Jennie Dean.

“In 1968, Head Start began in the lower level of the church and is still there.

“In 2015, the Church and the Museum were added to the National Registry of Historic Places.

“There have been 23 ministers of the Presbyterian Church in its 202 years. William Skinner was the longest serving minister, 52 years.”

Baptist Church

“The Baptist Church was organized in 1811, but the first church was not built until 1822,” Mr. Laurenza said. “Services were held in people’s homes. The second church was built in 1850. This is the third church and was built in 1894 at a cost of $25,000. In 1976, there was a fire that gutted the interior and the back wall had to be replaced. There were over 40 Baptist ministers before Rev. LaVeck, in 1993, became the minister of Christian Life Fellowship which it is known as today. It appears the demise of the Baptist Church was the result of friction between the Liberals and Conservatives of the congregation. Today, the Christian Life Fellowship Church, besides being a church, is heavily involved in helping the needy. Rev. LaVeck started a food pantry several years ago that provides food for hundreds of families each month. The basement of the church has over 20 refrigerators and freezers and shelving that completely fills the basement. The aisles are barely wide enough for the workers and patrons. This is a wonderful ministry he has taken on.”

Gouverneur Library

“In 1886 a room behind the Reynolds Block, which was in about the middle of the first block on Main Street, was used as a library. The Women’s Christian Temperance Union donated $30 which was used to purchase furniture. The Library opened with a reception at which 40 books were donated by those attending along with several magazine subscription. Concerts and dinners were held to raise money to support the library. Before the end of 1886, more rooms were found in the St. Lawrence Block. The library had increased its volume of books to 300. Donations continued of money and books. It became a circulating library, tickets costing $1.50 a year or books were loaned at one-cent per day. There were several other moves before the present building was built in 1900. Judge James Smith and Newton Aldrich gave $8,500 towards the present building. In 1953, an addition was added to the back of the building made possible by Mr. and Mrs. James Papayanos, local business owners.

“The Gouverneur Reading Room today continues to be run by a board of 11 people. Finding sources are: School vote to tax area residents, Friends of the Library memberships, Arts In The Park Craft Fair, Town of Fowler, Town of Gouverneur, Village of Gouverneur, and letters sent out in the fall for donations.”

Gale Ferguson of Gouverneur told the crowd gathered that, when talking about the Gouverneur Library, it was important to recall the Gouverneur Library Loft Renovation Project that was undertaken over a decade ago, that was funded by great contributions from individuals, companies, civic groups, foundations, and state funding as well.

Post Office

“The present building of the Gouverneur Post Office was opened in 1917,” Mr. Laurenza said. “An officially designated Post Office did not appear on the Washington records until 1824. Prior to 1824, Dr. Richard Townsend, Gouverneur Morris’ land agent, had area resident take their mail to his office and pick up their mail there. Townsend maintained some sort of post service until the time the first official Post Office was established in 1824.

“Until 1904, people had to pick up their mail as rural free delivery did not start until 1904. Village delivery service started in 1906. I could find no record of what businesses probably served as Post Offices after Townsend left the area in 1817. For those of you like myself, old enough to have watched Westerns, we would see people picking up their mail in a general store or some other local store.”

The Wesleyan Seminary

“The Wesleyan Seminary has been long gone,” Mr. Laurenza said. He then sent a historic photograph around for the crowd to see. “It was where the Community Bank is today. It was built in 1840, and was a three-story structure with an attendance of about 140 students. It was operated by the Methodist Conference.

“The seminary began in 1827 as a Grammar School called Gouverneur Union Academy. In 1828, the academy was incorporated as Gouverneur High School. In 1836, the management of the school was transferred back to the Black River Conference of the Methodist-Episcopal Church. The building burned, and the photo I sent around was rebuilt in 1840 at a cost of $5,500. The name was changed to Gouverneur Wesleyan Seminary. By 1869, the building and facilities had become inadequate to their need and the seminary was relocated to the campus of the Antwerp Liberal Literary Institute.

“After the Conference pulled out, the town board voted to issue bonds for the benefit of the seminary and the New York Legislature approve this and operated for the next 13 years as a semi-private institution benefitted by State aid.

“In the early 1880s, the building became a Union Free School. A Union Free School District is a district resulting from a union of multiple common school districts. Union Free School Districts are governed by a board of education.”

St. Lawrence Inn

“The St. Lawrence Inn was built in 1894,” Mr. Laurenza said. “I wish I had been around to see it in its heyday. It was a beautiful building. It was the only five-story building in this village. It was sold in 1945 to the Watertown Mattress Company. Today, Patti Farley-Spilman owns that building and uses it for family storage. Her consignment store is next door.

“During its day, the St. Lawrence Inn was the place to stay in Gouverneur, even though there were other smaller and nice hotels. It was listed as a 50-room hotel with an elevator and was a leading hotel in Northern New York. As time went on, more rooms had private baths and telephones. However, even with its many owners and manager over its 50-year history, it was not much of a money maker and was frequently in debt.

“It had its own restaurant and had for many years at 5 p.m., someone from the restaurant would go out onto the sidewalk and ring a bell, like the early school bells. That was to tell anyone in earshot that dinner was being served.”

Kinney Drugs/Burt O. Kinney

“Burt Kinney was born in Gouverneur in 1873 and died here at age 83 in 1966,” Mr. Laurenza said. “The first Kinney Drug store was started across the street by Burt O. Kinney in 1903. The original drug store is part of several previous businesses. One of Kinney’s Pill Distribution Centers is located there now. Some of the corporate offices are still upstairs in the complex. There are over 112 Kinney Drugs stores most in New York and some in Vermont.

“Burt Kinney graduated from the Gouverneur Wesleyan Seminary. As a young man he worked in the Dewey and Perrin Drug Store. Mr. Dewey was very impressed with Kinney and paid for him to go to Albany College of Pharmacy. Kinney graduated in 1901. In 1902, he took possession of the drug business when Dewey retired from the business due to poor health. In 1903, he bought the drug store and changed its name to Kinney Drugs. It was slow going at first. The first day’s sales were $158, and his second day’s sales were $36. He worked hard to keep from going under. Patrons of the store were sure of a welcome, treated courteously and he willingly paid attention to their needs. It was never too much trouble for B.O. to search for a particular item for a customer. Customers loved him and employees enjoyed working for him.”

Talc Company

“The Loomis Talc Corporation building and later Supreme Court building is now in terrible condition and used as a home,” Mr. Lauremza said. “In 1928, Loomis Talc Corporation built their new corporate offices on East Main Street. The building is across from Stewarts on East Main Street. Loomis Talc was one of several talc companies in the area. It’s a two-story structure. At one time and maybe still, it was the only building in the United States made almost entirely of talc. Side walls are tile and stuccoed with a mixture of talc and cement. Interior woodwork has an undercoating of talc and oil, over which was used a paint with Loomis Talc as a base. The interior walls and ceilings are all of talc. The borders of the floors are talc and concrete. Loomite, which was a new product developed by the Loomis Company, was used in the foundation walls and in the construction of the approaches. The chimney is built entirely of crude talc as well as the retaining walls at the east and West sides of the property. Windowsills and coping are all constructed of talc and the walls of the basement are covered with a mixture of talc and water.”

International Lace Mill

“The International Lace Mill is on the west side of the village on Prospect Street, behind the houses on the left side of Prospect Street. Most of the houses were company houses at the time,” Mr. Laurenza said. “The mill was built in 1902 and 1903. It was a huge facility. 1903 saw the first production run of lace products. The lace mill required importation of skilled weavers, mostly from Pennsylvania, and their families came with them. It was the first major source of employment of women in this area.

“In 1900, the federal government imposed a 70 percent tariff on the importation of lace and lace products, most of which came from England. The purpose of the tariff was to encourage domestic lace making.

“Lesser Brothers of New York City were importers and sales agents for English lace. They decided to seek a domestic source to produce their own lace. They canvassed their customers for suggested sites for a mill location and Anson Potter of Gouverneur, a dry goods merchant, recommended Gouverneur.

“In 1902, a Lesser Brothers representative came to Gouverneur to see if there was enough interest and financial backing for this new industry. There was. Construction began in 1902 on a 80,000 square-foot building of one and two stories. The exterior is red brick and there are acres of hardwood floors.

“Fifteen looms were imported from England. Each weighed five tons and were composed of 30,000 parts. By 1905, there were 10 looms and over 250 employees, mostly women.

“The mill closed in 1944. In 1945, Rushton Paper Mills bought the mill. Rushton Paper was in Natural Dam…”

Photos were passed around to show all those in attendance.

Much gratitude was extended to Gouverneur Historian Joe Laurenza following the walking tour.

GCSD Board of Education to hold public hearing on School Safety Plan

Dan McClelland

The Gouverneur Central School District will hold a public hearing on August 26, 6:30 p.m. in the high school cafeteria, 133 East Barney Street, Gouverneur. The regular meeting of the GCDS Board of Education will take place following the public hearing.

The purpose of the hearing is to discuss updates and revisions to the School Safety Plan, as enumerated in Education Law and Commissioner’s Regulations. The plan is designed to prevent or minimize the effects of serious violent incidents and emergencies and to facilitate the coordination of school and the school district with local and county resources in the event of such incidents or emergencies.

A 30-day comment period will follow the public hearing. Comments may be directed to Robert Klimowicz, School Resource Officer, at klimowicz.robert@gcsk12.org until September 25, 2019.

The District Safety Committee has opening(s) for parent representative(s). Anyone interested on serving on the Safety Committee should contact Officer Klimowicz.

Ryan’s Wish Foundation Golf Tournament raises funds to further mission

Dan McClelland

by Rachel Hunter

The 2019 Ryan’s Wish Foundation Golf Tournament raised funds to help those diagnosed with cancer and serious illnesses throughout St. Lawrence, Jefferson, Franklin and Lewis counties. The annual benefit golf tournament was held last Saturday, August 17 at Emerald Greens in Gouverneur. The format was a four-man captain and crew. A gross amount of $7,000 was raised, and $14,000 were received through generous corporate sponsorships.

Dr. Robert Saidel and his wife Rita founded Ryan’s Wish Foundation in memory of their son, who strived to live life to the fullest even as he battled cancer. Ryan Saidel from Gouverneur, NY was diagnosed with neuroblastoma when he was 14 years old and fought the disease for five years before he passed at age 19 on February 7, 2004. During his five-year struggle, Ryan touched the lives of countless people. To those around him, Ryan defined the word courage as he lived his life inspiring others to make the best of each and every day.

A year after Ryan’s death, the Ryan’s Wish Foundation was created to celebrate Ryan’s inspirational life, and is dedicated to helping others who are battling a serious illness “play and live strong.”

Ryan's Wish can provide financial assistance to individuals with cancer and serious illnesses as they travel to treatment appointments, no matter their age or diagnosis. Whether it is helping to provide gas cards, money for lodging and meals, or funds for medical co-pays or medications not covered by insurance, the foundation can help..

“Thank you everyone for coming,” Dr. Saidel said. “There’s probably not a person here that hasn’t been affected by cancer in their family in one way or another. It’s not about us today. It’s about who we can help this week, next week, and in the following years getting to their treatments, getting help going to Hepburn, going to Boston, going to NYC.”

He then reported that the Ryan’s Wish Foundation helped 164 individuals in 2018, giving out over $66,000. Since January, the foundation has helped 120 individuals, giving out over $43,000.

“You can see the need is out there,” Dr. Saidel said. “We’ve got a lot of new sponsors this year, and lots of sponsors from last year. We are just so grateful that you believe in our mission, and that you continue your generous donations, helping out, buying stuff, playing skins, giving corporate money, and stuff has been able to make us function really well.”

Gratitude was shown to local businesses and organizations for their generous support. This includes the following: Gouverneur Central School (Pink Zone and Dress Down Friday), Father-Daughter Dance organized by Vickie Mussaw-Kipp, St. Lawrence County Health Initiative, Ogdensburg Free Academy, Enterprise, Inc., Nutn’ Fancy, Kinney Drugs Foundation, Gouverneur Savings and Loan Association, Community Savings Bank, Casablanca Restaurant, Superior Plus, Bonaparte Pharmacy, LLC, Judy Brown, Frank and Diane Bergau, Northland Veterinary Hospital, Cives, Stewarts Shops, RSI Roofing, Gouverneur Medical Staff, Gouverneur Hospital, Andrew and Sharon Williams, Dr. Scott Day, Andrew and Crystal Leonard, Jenne & Carr Insurance Agency, Inc., Carthage Turkey Bowl, St. James School, Emerald Green Golf Course, Jules of Life, Northern Credit Union, Ice Cream Bowl (Bowhall family), Weekes Agency, Dr. Curt Ross, DDS, G&R Auto, O.D. Green, Gretchen E. Tessmer Attorney At Law, Newvine Auto Parts LLC, Joe Laurenza, Car Freshener, Sandy Green (in memory of Brian Green), Dr. Nicholas Gardner, DDS, Donna Sheen Besaw Tax Consultant, Dr. Mark and Robin Truax, Clearview Motel (Pistolesi family), New York Pizzeria, Mike and Brenda Saidel, LP Thompson Insurance Agency, LTD, ENI Mechanical, Inc. (Andy Leonard), and Frary Funeral Home.

Dr. Saidel also said that Ryan’s Wish Foundation received generous contribution from the St. Lawrence County Cancer Fund from the Edward I. Moses Run/Walk For Life Event, which is held annually in April. And also received over $10,000 from the Carthage Turkey Bowl, a touch football game held annually the first Saturday in November. Dr. Saidel also added that the Ryan’s Wish Foundation benefits from many other fundraising events throughout the year.

Also, gratitude was extended to the generous businesses that provided tournament prizes: Ives Hill Country Club, Texas Roadhouse, Willowbrook Golf Club, Highland Meadows Golf Club, Fins Eatery and Pub, Mary Lawrence – St. Lawrence University Golf Course, Fairgrounds Inn, Savory Downtown, Watertown Golf Club, and Casablanca Restaurant.

Dr. Saidel encourages those facing a cancer diagnosis who need financial help to contact Ryan's Wish and provide the organization with as much information as possible, including how far away their treatment is, how long the trip would be, and their diagnosis and prognosis. People can contact the Saidel family at (315) 287-1344 or Gary West at (315) 955-2101 or at gwest29@gmail.com, if they know of an individual or family who may benefit from the Ryan’s Wish Foundation.

The Ryan’s Wish Foundation Board of Directors includes Dr. Robert and Rita Saidel, Dr. Don and Glenda Schuessler, Sandy Green, Mary Lou Robinson, Karen Keenan, Matthew Hudson, Heather Bowman, John and Mary Cunningham, and Gary and Kim West.

Macomb Old Home Days offered great family fun

Dan McClelland

by Jessyca Cardinell

The Macomb Historical Association hosted the annual Macomb Old Home Day on the afternoon of Saturday, August 17 on the historical museum grounds. A great number of community members and families from all over came out to enjoy the annual event.

Gouverneur’s Silas Wainwright VFW Post 6338 members showed those attending the proper way to dispose of the American flag. VFW Post Commander Richard Fisher was able to explain the reason each fold was made. Members who assisted in the ceremony where David Vigeant (Ret. U.S. Army), Gerald Barker (Ret. U.S. Navy Seabees), Gary Walrath (Ret. U.S. Navy), Donald Payne (Ret. U.S. Army),and Karl Beck (Ret. U.S. Army). This is the second year Gouverneur VFW 6338 has presented this ceremony. Macomb Historical Association appreciates the VFW Post 6338 members for both their active and retired service to the community.

The aroma of a delicious barbeque chicken filled the air, as local band, Steelin’ Country, led by Michelle Bresett Robinson, played live for the event. In all, the Historical Association reported that there were over 140 chicken dinners sold with the extensive help from many volunteers. The chicken BBQ dinners were served with salt potatoes, salads, rolls, drink and cookies. Tablecloths and wildflower arrangements, provided by Rebecca Reynolds, adorned each table added a touch of class.

The youngsters attending the event had a blast as there were a great variety of games to play which included leap frog, ring toss, rock-paper-scissors, among others. Rebecca Reynolds, school marm, tended to the schoolhouse, supervising visitors both young and old. Many of the Museum’s school related items have been moved to the schoolhouse and are on display there. The schoolhouse was available for everyone to take a tour of and see the artifacts housed from so many years ago.

Museum tours were also offered by Macomb’s Town Historian Mary Matice throughout the day for those wanting to learn some of Macomb interesting history through various items well kept in the museum. Many visitors were from out of town, campers from surrounding lakes and Macomb natives who had moved away but returned for this event. Donation by Linda Hutton was made to the Museum in memory of Cyril Bresett, who had recently past and in past years was very involved in the Macomb Historical Association, as was his family. Joyce (Rayburn) King of Florida visiting with her sister Mary (Midge Rayburn) Young of Massena, donated her husband, Richard King’s, SFC-4 US Army uniform, where he served during 1964-1966 in Verdun, France and 1966-1968 Reserves. Mr. King passed away in 2009. Joyce and Midge are the daughters of Walter and Erma Rayburn, one of the many families who organized the Macomb Historical Association.

Featured in the Museum this year, was a display of the works by Robert Paul Rice, who passed away August 19, 2018. Paul, as he was known to many, contributed many Indian artifacts which he discovered in the area. As an avid rock-hound, he was well known in rock collecting circles. He also was a talented painter, and many of his works are on display in the museum.

A softball game, an annual part of the event, proved to hit it out of the ball park once again this year as many children and adults participated. The town highway crew did a great job cleaning up the area for the game and local man Jordan Sergel cleaned up the hay field so the game could take place.

Also present were St. Lawrence Valley Draft Horse Club members, Richard Clement with his decked out chuck wagon and Tim and Cindy Bango of Bango Valley Percherons who gave horse drawn wagon rides around the grounds, and gave everyone a sense of yesteryear travel.

There were a variety of vendors and crafters available with various items for sale. Locals Debbie Durham and Brandy French had a variety of embroidery items available. Ellen MacMasters of Pleasant Lake had her business Embears well represented. Michelle Blair and Nancy Wilson both had appetizing baked goods. Chuck Gonio of Macomb had a variety of his painted saw blades for sale as well. There was something for everyone attending.

Fisherman’s Cove owners Bill Law and Joanna Norsworthy generously donated many of the salads and, as well, a muzzle loader and various fishing gear to the event to be raffled off. The lucky winners of the merchandise were Lynne Matice of Gouverneur taking home the muzzle loader and Albert Wallace of Gouverneur winning the fishing gear.

There was a 50/50 raffle and a lottery ticket tree up for grabs. Dorine Tulley won the lottery ticket tree and Lynn Matice proved lucky once again as she took home $97.50 from the 50/50 raffle winnings.

Fantastic job to each and every member of the Macomb Historical Association for their tremendous efforts in ensuring that the annual Macomb Old Home Days was a great success.

Ed. Note: Much gratitude is extended to Deb Tulley contributed to this article.

Missoula Children’s Theatre presents Robin Hood

Dan McClelland

Robin Hood portrayed by Alexia Taylor, hits the target blindfolded in archery as part of the terrific musical put together by Missoula Children's Theatre. (photo by Jessyca Cardinell)

Robin Hood portrayed by Alexia Taylor, hits the target blindfolded in archery as part of the terrific musical put together by Missoula Children's Theatre. (photo by Jessyca Cardinell)

by Jessyca Cardinell

The Missoula Children’s Theatre was back for its 11th season, as it presented the musical tale of Robin Hood in the Gouverneur High School Auditorium on the Saturday, August 10.

The auditorium was filled with family, friends and community members excited to see the performance that the students in grades kindergarten through twelve have been working diligently to put together.

The students who participate in the musical have exactly one week to learn all their lines and choreography before the big day. It takes a lot of hard work, effort and courage for each student to learn this and execute it so well.

The tale of Robin Hood, a highly skilled archer, came to life on the stage. The students did a fantastic job portraying their characters and getting into the act. Alexia Taylor did a fantastic job in the lead role for the musical and ensuring a good laugh from everyone.

Robin Hood is driven into the Sherwood Forest, it is his duty to protect everyone from the criminals and injustice being done. It comes with all sorts of predicaments and complications. But in the end a wonderful fun filled story for all.

The cast of characters included Robin Hood (Alexia Taylor), Sheriff of Nottingham (Corryn Canell), Maid Marion (Aryonna Young), Marion’s Maid (Cora Porter), Prince John (Alex McDougall), Merry Band (Caleb Butler, Connor Canell, Allison Carvel, Hazen Given, Harley Neaves, Garrison White), Barron of Beef (Nick Canell) Countess of Crisco (Hannah Roderick) Duchess of Sandwich (Paige Kirby), Guards: (Joel Allen, Lily Macaulay, Lauren Ordway, Johanna Sloan, Turner Sochia), Horsemen (Jamie Bearden, Charlee Cudhea, Payton Kirby, Sophia Marx, Elizabeth (Zizi) Metcalf, Ellie Murphy, Brycen Parshley, Olivia Salazar), and skunks (Bella Allen, Karsyn Cudhea, Keelan Hinkson, Katherine Kammers, Frances LaPierre, Lilliana Poole, Matthew Poole, Madelyn Simmons, Nathan Sochia, Adalynn Tupper, Ava Weldon, Kathryn Weldon).

The assistant directors were Abigail Metcalf and Joshua Spilman. The accompanist was Beth Johnson. Sherwood of the Forest-Tour Actor/Director was Seth Hollen, and Tour Director was Christopher Martin.

Missoula Children’s Theatre was hosted by the Gouverneur Recreation Department at the Gouverneur High School with the support of the following local sponsors: Gouverneur Kiwanis Club, Gouverneur Lions Club, Gouverneur Masonic Lodge, Lawrence Manor and Price Chopper. Special gratitude was extended to Stacey Canell (box office and coordinating cast), Marilyn LaPierre (volunteering daily throughout the theatre), Gouverneur Central School District (for the use of the auditorium and lunches), and the Village of Gouverneur Board of Trustees (for their support of the program).

Much gratitude was also extended to all who made this event possible.

Ritchie Honored At 2019 Gouverneur & St. Lawrence County Fair

Dan McClelland

NYS Senator Patty Ritchie pictured with Organizer Sean Peck at the 2019 Gouverneur and St. Lawrence County Fair Carlton Peck Band Day. Sean is the son of Carlton Peck of Gouverneur, the founder of the Peck Awards which were started 55 years ago this year. (photo provided)

NYS Senator Patty Ritchie pictured with Organizer Sean Peck at the 2019 Gouverneur and St. Lawrence County Fair Carlton Peck Band Day. Sean is the son of Carlton Peck of Gouverneur, the founder of the Peck Awards which were started 55 years ago this year. (photo provided)

During the 2019 Gouverneur and St. Lawrence County Fair, State Senator Patty Ritchie, who was inducted into the St. Lawrence County Fair Hall of Fame last year, was honored for her support of area marching bands and school music programs.

During her time as State Senator, Senator Ritchie has delivered funding to ensure marching bands throughout Jefferson, Oswego and St. Lawrence Counties had equipment and instruments, and that programs in schools were saved from budget cuts. 

In addition, she has helped various school musical groups with funding to participate in national events such as the 4th of July parade in Washington, D.C. and has invited students to share their musical talents at numerous community events she has hosted.

Gouverneur properties not in tax foreclosure auction concern local leaders

Dan McClelland

by Rachel Hunter

St. Lawrence County has decided not to include six properties – five residential, and one commercial – in Gouverneur in its upcoming tax foreclosure auction… and that reality drew some discussion from concerned town, village leaders at the August 13 town board meeting.

The topic was raised by Town of Gouverneur Code Enforcement Officer Michael McQuade who said the following: “I received this year’s tax foreclosure list and it was three colors orange, blue and white… Blue is people that paid their taxes, so they wouldn’t be foreclosed on. White, they are in tax sale that is coming up September 15. And then the color orange… I showed (Supervisor Dave Spilman, Jr.) this morning that there are five homes and one commercial property that the county will not take possession of, due to what they feel is not salvageable. I personally, don’t feel that it is right.

“Standpoint 1: They should notify us. Standpoint 2: A village or a town should make that call, not somebody that sits at the county level. Take for instance the house across from Mills Park… that was sold last year at the tax sale for $8,000. The guy had to put $30,000 into it. You go by it right now, it looks like a totally different home with new windows, vinyl siding on the front. I can their feelings on it, but to me, give it a chance. Give to somebody for $1. Give it to him. Say, “Here you’ve got five years to fix it up.”

“Then the other one apparently, the commercial property has contamination, which back in 2011, the tanks were taken out of the ground, and nobody at the county ever got records of it. So, for us being the town and the village both, it comes back on the taxpayer. So we’ve got five homes that are not going up on the tax sale, that are going to sit for another year. If they are not good to sell now, what do you think they are going to look like in a year?”

Supervisor Spilman then said, “They are probably not going to do anything next year either.”

Town of Gouverneur Deputy Supervisor Eldon Conklin said, “Well, I think the code enforcement officer should have been involved in making the decision…”

Supervisor Spilman then said, “I called the county attorney’s office this morning, and it was a joint effort between the county attorney’s office, Real Property, and the treasurer’s office. There was a group that was formed to take a look at them.

“Mike and I went to take a look at these today. All of these structures are still standing. I mean, I have seen worse that have been brought back to life. But what happens now? They just sit there. If the county took them back, then at least sold them, like Mike said, for $1, just to put them back on tax roll. I voiced my concern to Henry Leader today. I don’t know if he was aware of it by the sound of our conversation. These residential properties are in tough shape, but like Mike said, the one down over the hill… We bid on it at the tax sale last year. I knew what we would be getting with it. We were going to level the place, but this guy is rebuilding it, and he has done a good job doing it. I don’t know. It doesn’t set well with me either. And all five of these properties are in the Village.”

Deputy Supervisor Conklin then commented, “If the foundation and the basic structure of the property is sound, why then it is salvageable, I would think.”

Supervisor Spilman then said, “I don’t know what our next step would be.”

Town Councilwoman Jaimee McQuade then commented as follows: “Well they are just going to sit there. I think it is awful, I agree… My sister bought one three or four years ago for $2,000. My father gutted it, and rebuilt it. It had water coming out of the walls. The water was off. It shot out of walls, out of the ceiling. She took six Dumpsters out of 900 sq. foot house… if that tells you anything. If there is a will, there’s a way. I don’t know why in this world we are not just giving them to families…”

Gouverneur Fire Chief Thomas Conklin then said, “We’ve been in two vacant properties that were vacant from fire calls from reports from other people about incidents there. There’s been junk paraphernalia found in it. I know that two I have been to myself this year where it is vacant, and we were called there for some reason. The smoke alarm batteries are dead, and the neighbor thinks the smoke alarm is going off. You go in there, and the rooms are littered with drug paraphernalia.”

“The County is setting it up for that,” Councilwoman McQuade said. “We’ve got to look at it, and then we’ve got to pay for cutting the grass, snow removal on the sidewalks… Who is paying for that? It’s terrible.

“It’s a terrible decision,” Supervisor Spilman said. “Goes to show you that the County isn’t right about everything.” He then encouraged all those gathered to voice their opinions to St. Lawrence County Legislator District 5 Henry Leader (R-Gouverneur) the next time they saw him.

During his time for comments, Village of Gouverneur Mayor Ron McDougall made the following comments on the issue: “Zombie properties, for lack of a better term… The towns and the villages throughout the county have certainly done a lot of lobbying, I guess you could say a full-court press, on the sales tax issue. I know some legislators, some, that if there is a sales tax question in the towns and the villages, will not even go to their town and the village boards and say, “Well, I voted for the sales tax cut. Politically in the future, if you are thinking about running for a countywide office in St. Lawrence County and you are a legislator and you voted to cut the sales tax to local municipalities, forget it. I don’t care what party you are in, it’s not going to work.

“So, all of a sudden, we sort of get hit. We have six properties, five homes and one commercial. So I am just taking a venture that there are 60, or many more than that countywide, maybe closer to 100. So, it’s interesting because there’s going to be a big pushback on this. I don’t think it is right. The town board doesn’t think it is right. Mike doesn’t think it is right. (Village Trustee Troy Besaw) doesn’t think it is right. I think some of these places can be salvaged. A great example is on Mill St., which Mike alluded to…. There’s a case in point, an example to the county. That’s just my soapbox on this listening to Mike and the town board here. We’ll get at this. We’ll lobby this too.

“A little discouraging, but maybe it shows that the Town Supervisors Association and the Mayors Association have made progress on the sales tax issue. I will look at it that way.”

No more comments were expressed on the issue at the town board meeting.

The next meeting of the Town of Gouverneur Council is to be held on Tuesday, September 3, 6 p.m., in the town offices building.

Talent acts impress crowd at county fair

Dan McClelland

by Jessyca Cardinell

The 2019 Gouverneur and St. Lawrence County Fair Talent Show was held on the evening of Friday, August 2 at the grandstand.

The talent show draws a great crowd of people to witness the local talents that surround us. Performers in the talent show range in age (three years of age and up) and were judged in various age groups on who gave the best overall performance.

Each year, Fair Director Jennifer Peck works diligently to ensure that the talent show is a success, and everything goes as smooth as possible.

This year’s judges included: Kimberly Adams of Lisbon, who has an extensive music background. Julie Peck, gymnast, who formerly owned a dance studio in Gouverneur also acted as judge for the talent show. Chris Gates, of Gouverneur, was the third judge, as he has a great musical and theatrical background. It was up to the judges to decide the fate of the contestants and who would be moving on to the state level of competition at the New York State Fair.

The three to 11 years age group provided adorable song performances and beautiful dance routines, showcasing the hard work and efforts these youngsters put forth. First place went to Josslyn Fishel, second went to Lilah Siebels, and third place went to Stevie Petrie.

It was then time for the 12 to 16 age group, many of which performed inspiring and beautiful songs and instrumental numbers. First place went to Jaelyn Stevens, second went to Holly and Brooke Goddard, and third place went to Holly and Brooke Goddard, and Sophia Cicchinelli.

Finally, the 17 years and older group was up to showcase their exceptional matured talent through their singing abilities. Performances provided a range of experience and notes reached. First place went to Richard Fitzgerald, second place went to Samuel Roesnegilles, and third went to Kaitlyn LaShomb.

Many words of congratulations were extended to these contestants on their tremendous accomplishment.

Gouverneur’s own wins demo derby

Dan McClelland

by Jessyca Cardinell

The finale of the Gouverneur and St. Lawrence County Fair – the Demolition Derby – draws a huge crowd to the grandstands. This year was certainly no exception as it was a packed house, filled with fans ready to root on their favorite drivers.

Before the event began, youngsters driving their power wheels lined up and had their own little derby. An adorable and fun sight for everyone attending to enjoy. Each child receiving a medal for their participation and great efforts.

It was then time for the official start to the annual Demolition Derby.

Derby cars in each heat lined up ready for the action to begin. As the flag waved signaling the start, the drivers pushed the throttle to the max, crashing into each other at full force. Smoke filled the air, as the cars were demolished one by one. Many were disabled and had to call it quits, until there was only one left still moving, being named the winner of the heat.

As the heats went on, tensions of rivals heated up and the fans went wild with enthusiasm. As with all derbies, safety is the biggest priority. Gouverneur Volunteer Fire Department was on hand to extinguish any possible fires that could occur. Also on hand were the Gouverneur Police Department and the St. Lawrence County Sheriff’s Department.

In the end, Gouverneur’s own Mike Blair (a previous winner of the Derby) was named the winner of the event… earning him $1,200 and the Bub Durham Memorial Trophy to take home.

The second place winner was Jeff Trapp of Gouverneur. He won a $600 cash prize and the Kenneth Sawyer Memorial Trophy.

Mandigo Auto Care in Gouverneur donated $200 in prizes with $120 going to the first-place winner, and $80 going to the second-place winner.

The 2019 Feature: Heat 1 (Tyler Bates, Matt LaRock and Spring Derby Winner Chris Ames), Heat 2 (Mike Blair and Cody Durham), Heat 3 (Donnie Scovil and Mike Smith), Heat 3 (Mike Walsh and Mike Durham), Heat 5 (Jeff Trapp and Drake Matthews), Heat 6 (Marcus Reeves and Mike Blair), Heat 7 (Brad Law and Mike Law), Heat 8 (Dave Blair, Jr. and Danielle Law), Heat 9 (Pat Murphy and Danielle Law), Heat 10 (Zack Travis and Jeff Trapp), Heat 11 (Allen Aldridge and Matt Brothers), Heat 12 (Chris Brothers and Mike Durham), Heat 13 (Adam Dean and JP Phillips), and Consolation Heat (Austin Smith and Dustin Snyder). The Powder Puff Winner was Sheri Harmer.

Congratulations to this year’s derby winners and all those who were able to take the win for their heat, an impressive feat.

Final Phase of the Capital Project

Dan McClelland

FRONT _ Finale PHASE 1 pic copy.jpg

by Jessyca Cardinell

The final phase of the 2015-2020 Capital Project for the Gouverneur Central School District is in full swing, as recently the demolition of the Dean building, formerly the Middle School, began.

The Dean building was built through the largess of Mrs. Mira Dean and her daughters Cora and Jennie Dean. A bronze tablet was dedicated to the women in 1914 and was on display until the renovation project started.

“The demolition of the building was not made lightly,” said Superintendent of Schools Lauren French. “With all factors to be considered, the decision was presented to the Board of Education for final approval that we cannot compromise the safety of our students, employees and visitors. The project was presented to voters, through 32 different public presentations and received voter approval. The goal, keeping everyone safe, provide equal access to 21st century education and extend the legacy of the Dean family, which was quality education for the citizens of Gouverneur, will be completed by January 2020.”

The Capital Project began in 2014 with March Associates with a proposed project cost in excess of $42,000,000. As the first proposed project plan was rejected due to it not being financially feasible for the community, March Associates worked on a second proposal which included the addition of four UPK classrooms at the Elementary building, six classrooms and a new gymnasium at the Middle School and ending with the demolition of the Dean Building at the Middle School/High School Complex.

“The proposal allowed for safety and security measures to be addressed, corrected and improved at all three buildings, for all ADA compliance issues to be corrected and for the necessary infrastructure to be addressed within the complex. As a result of the building project, all UPK-4 scholars are housed on the elementary campus, all 5-8 scholars are housed on the middle school campus and the High School will remain at the 9-12 building,” said Mrs. French of the efficiency this proposal would allow the community.

The project is being completed in stages, the first stage was the abatement of asbestos. This phase was then followed by the removal of glass and aluminum frames, doors and items that will be reused in the renovation project. There were marble columns for the original entrance and those have been saved to become part of the new structure in Gouverneur on a site that is yet to be selected. There are other pieces of shaped marble and those will be used in a location of the school district as a permanent display to the history of the district.

“This visual display will include the commemorative plaques, early presentations to Judge James C. Dolan and other artifacts and pictures that commemorate the history of the school system. Anyone with a unique item may want to contact myself, for possible display opportunities,” said Mrs. French.

The beautiful stained glass window, which is reported by Mrs. French to be fondly recalled and remembered by every student attending Gouverneur High School will be included in the new entrance at the school.

“The design calls for the three paneled window to be displayed at each of the three levels of the building, within a protective glass case and lit with LED so that the panels can be viewed 24 hours a day, seven days a week from both interior and exterior vantage points,” said Mrs. French of the new exciting display to be anticipated.

The Gouverneur School District has made great advancements to its educational programs and building infrastructures in the last five years. As it continues to do so there will be some impactful changes to the district, but also a new beginning that embraces the old.

Country Artist John Michael Montgomery puts on crowd-pleasing performance on county fair's opening night

Dan McClelland

FRONT _ Country Star 1 pic copy.jpg

by Jessyca Cardinell

The grandstands of the Gouverneur and St. Lawrence County Fair were filled on its opening evening Tuesday, July 30 as spectators were ready to enjoy the music of country star John Michael Montgomery.

Tony Lynn, DJ of 95.3 The Wolf, introduced the country music legend, stating the star proudly totes 38 top ten hits throughout his extensive career.

Montgomery and his band traveled all the way from Kentucky, Montgomery’s stomping grounds, the night before to join its New York fans.

As John Michael Montgomery took to the stage with his high energy and southern charm, the crowd of people went wild with excitement. He kicked off the evening singing the song “Cowboy Love,” followed by “Beer and Bones” and a crowd pleasing favorite “Life’s A Dance.”

The evening carried on with songs including “I Love The Way You Love Me,” “I Can Love You Like That” and “Cover You In Kisses.”

The crowd was able to join in singing along to the song “Sold (The Grundy County Auction Incident)” as the evening came to a close and everyone left satisfied.

Shirts were on sale and many fans were able to show off their love and support of John Michael Montgomery with great pride.

Along with his successes, includes selling over 15 million copies of his CDs worldwide and two of his songs were covered by R&B artists.

It was a fantastic night for everyone to enjoy and remember as the band put on an energy filled, fun show for its audience.

FRONT _ Country Star 2 pic copy.jpg

County Fair kicks off with ribbon-cutting ceremony

Dan McClelland

The ribbon-cutting ceremony at the 2019 Gouverneur and St. Lawrence County Fair on Tuesday, July 30. From left: Associate Director Nicholas Whitney, Fair Director and Past President Lyle Hotis, Fair Director John Hunter, Fair Manager Don Peck, Village of Gouverneur Mayor Ron McDougall, Fowler Baptist Church Pastor Howard Maxson, Town of Gouverneur Supervisor Dave Spilman, Jr., Fair President Beth Martin. (Jessyca Cardinell photo)

The ribbon-cutting ceremony at the 2019 Gouverneur and St. Lawrence County Fair on Tuesday, July 30. From left: Associate Director Nicholas Whitney, Fair Director and Past President Lyle Hotis, Fair Director John Hunter, Fair Manager Don Peck, Village of Gouverneur Mayor Ron McDougall, Fowler Baptist Church Pastor Howard Maxson, Town of Gouverneur Supervisor Dave Spilman, Jr., Fair President Beth Martin. (Jessyca Cardinell photo)

by Jessyca Cardinell

A huge crowd gathered in the grandstands for the opening ceremony of the 2019 Gouverneur and St. Lawrence County Fair on the evening of Tuesday, July 30.

The guest speaker was David Zembiec, treasurer of the board of trustees at Advocate Drum (formerly known as the Fort Drum Regional Liaison Organization). He discussed` the importance of job opportunities in the North Country. He expressed the importance of Fort Drum and how inclusion for the community has been so beneficial to everyone.

Pastor Howard Maxson of the Fowler Baptist Church said a prayer blessing over the Gouverneur and St. Lawrence County Fair.

It was then time to cut the red ribbon, as done each year to officially open the fair. Village of Gouverneur Mayor Ron McDougall and Town of Gouverneur Supervisor Dave Spilman, Jr. were welcomed on stage to assist the fair officials during the ceremony. The crowd cheered as the ribbon was cut and the festivities began.

The national anthem was sung beautifully, and the pride of the community really showed through.

The crowd patiently waited for the John Michael Montgomery concert to begin, as each year an excitement filled concert kicks off the first evening of the fair.

Fantastic job to all the fair board members who put in so many extensive hours and a great amount of hard work behind the scenes to ensure that all needs are met and everyone enjoys a fantastic time.