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74 Trinity Avenue
Gouverneur, NY, 13642
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Local News

GHS to present Aladdin Jr. on March 22-23

Dan McClelland

by Jessyca Cardinell

Everyone is invited out for a night of enjoyment, as the Gouverneur high school drama club presents Aladdin Jr.

Performances of the musical will be held on the evenings of Friday March 22nd and Saturday March 23rd beginning at 7p.m. in the high school auditorium. The cost per ticket is $7.00 for adults and $5.00 for children and senior citizens.

Emily Bason, Gouverneur high school teacher and director of this year's musical, is very excited for this show.

“The students have been working so hard to make up for rehearsal time lost due to early dismissals and snow days, but it is a labor of love and it's really coming together. I'm very proud of them all,” said Mrs. Bason.

“This is my first year directing the high school musical. I did direct shows for the middle school drama club for 10 years,” said Mrs. Bason of the experience.

“I was in several shows when I was in high school here and also did some of the community theater performances. I've also helped with hair, make-up, set construction and costumes for the high school shows when needed,” said Mrs. Bason of her experience in theater.

As this year's theme is a Disney show, she said children attending are encouraged to dress as their favorite Disney character if they would like.

“There will be audience participation,” said Mrs. Bason. “It should be a night of entertainment for all indeed.”

Be sure to come and support the high school drama club and enjoy a fantastic show!

Opening Night Success: 388 St. James Fish Fry Dinners Sold

Dan McClelland

by Jessyca Cardinell

St. James School hosts their annual fish fry dinners during the season of Lent. Lent officially began on Ash Wednesday, March 6 and the fish fry dinners kicked off on Friday, March 8 on a fantastic note.

Joe Laurenza reported there were 388 dinners sold on the opening evening of the fish fry, a record-breaking number that tops any sales to date. A showing of tremendous amount of support from the community and beyond.

St. James School's gymnasium tables were filled with those dining in, enjoying the fantastic meal before them and the company around them.

The dinners will continue every Friday evening through Lent, ending on Friday April 19th. The fish fry begins at 4:30p.m. until sold out.

All monies collected from the fish fry dinners help St. James School and its mission to provide the best possible Catholic education to its students.

Many volunteers, under the direction of Bridgette LaPierre, come together to prepare, serve and assist in ensuring all attendees are satisfied and enjoying a delicious meal complete with all the fixings.

The dinners are sit in or take out with many options to choose from for the perfect meal. Big fish, small fish and shrimp with sides to choose from including a favorite of macaroni and cheese, french fries, coleslaw and roll and butter.

What meal is complete without dessert? The dinners also offer a delicious sweet treat to end with. All desserts are made by the ladies of St. James Church as well as parents of St. James students.

It is through a combined extensive effort that these meals are such a mouthwatering success. Be sure to stop in and give your taste buds a satisfying delightful treat.

Country Star John Michael Montgomery to headline Gouverneur Fair opening concert

Dan McClelland

by Rachel Hunter

John Michael Montgomery. (Submitted photo)

John Michael Montgomery. (Submitted photo)

Award-Winning American Country Music Artist John Michael Montgomery – who has sold over 16 million albums – will headline the opening concert at the 2019 Gouverneur and St. Lawrence County Fair on Tuesday, July 30 at 8 p.m., Fair Manager Don Peck announced this week.

John Michael Montgomery has turned an uncanny ability to relate to fans into one of country music’s most storied careers. Behind the string of hit records, the roomful of awards and the critical and fan accolades that have defined his phenomenal success lies a connection that goes beyond his undeniable talent and his proven knack for picking hits. Since the days when “Life’s A Dance” turned him from an unknown artist into a national star, John Michael’s rich baritone has carried that most important of assets—believability. Few artists in any genre sing with more heart than this handsome Kentucky-born artist.

It is readily apparent in love songs that have helped set the standard for a generation. Songs like “I Swear,” “I Love the Way You Love Me” and “I Can Love You Like That” still resonate across the landscape—pop icon and country newcomer Jessica Simpson cited “I Love The Way You Love Me” as an influence in a recent interview. It is apparent in the 2004 hit “Letters From Home,” one of the most moving tributes to the connection between soldiers and their families ever recorded, and in “The Little Girl,” a tale of redemption that plumbs both the harrowing and the uplifting. It is apparent even in the pure fun that has always found its way into John Michael’s repertoire—songs like “Be My Baby Tonight” and “Sold (The Grundy County Auction Incident),” where John Michael’s vocal earnestness takes musical whimsy to another level.

John Michael’s origins lie in deceptively modest beginnings. He was born in Danville, Kentucky, to parents who imparted a lifelong love of music.

“Where most people have chairs and sofas in their living rooms,” laughs John Michael, “we had amplifiers and drum kits.”

The family band played on weekends throughout the area, and John Michael and his brother Eddie eagerly soaked up everything about it.

“To a certain extent,” he says, “my dad always had a natural ability to draw fans and entertain people; I don’t care if it was on the front porch, the living room, or on a stage. I think that transitioned to me and my brother being able to do that on stage.”

John Michael took over lead singing chores after his parents divorced, and he performed for a while in a band called Early Tymz with Eddie and their friend Troy Gentry. Nashville talent scouts began hearing about and then seeing John Michael perform and by the early ‘90s he had a record deal.

The hits followed steadily, with songs like “Rope The Moon,” “If You’ve Got Love,” “No Man’s Land,” “Cowboy Love,” “As Long As I Live,” “Friends” and “How Was I To Know” establishing him as one of the elite acts of the era. He received the CMA Horizon award and was named the ACM’s Top New Vocalist, setting off a long series of awards that included the CMA’s Single and Song of the Year, Billboard’s Top Country Artist, and a Grammy nomination. Heavy touring meant he kept the close touch with fans he had begun in the clubs back home.

“You get to know your fans and what they like more and more through the years,” he says, “and you kind of gravitate towards one another.”

Indeed, he has always had an extraordinarily close relationship with his fans, and they have stayed with him through good and bad times.

Asked what he thinks gave him the edge in a career that calls millions but gives stardom to just a few, he pauses, then thinks back to the legacy of his parents.

“I reckon it was good genes and good blood,” he says with a smile. Few who know the depth and breadth of his own growing legacy would disagree.

Among John Michael Montgomery’s achievements are four Academy of Country Music Awards, three Country Music Association Awards, one American Music Award, four Billboard Awards (Single, Top Country Artist, Top Male Artist), and two Grammy nominations. He was also named Artist of the Year by American Songwriter Magazine. Fair Manager Peck this week announced the following ticket prices: VIP Reserved Track Seats ($45), Reserved Track Seats ($35), General Admission Grandstand ($25).

The 2019 Gouverneur and St. Lawrence County Fair (Tuesday, July 30 through Sunday, August 4) features the following grandstand entertainment schedule:

The Annual Firemen’s Parade will be held on Wednesday, July 31 and will feature local fire departments and high school bands, and is sure to pack the grandstand. Admission is free.

Gouverneur and St, Lawrence County Fairgoers were captivated with the infectious joy and energy of the Amish Outlaws during last year’s fair. They will return to perform at the 2019 Gouverneur and St. Lawrence County Fair on Thursday, August 1 at 7:30 p.m. The ticket price is $15. With a set that is always evolving as the Brothers discover more and more music and culture, The Amish Outlaws constantly surprise the audience and keep them guessing as to what they could possibly play next, from Johnny Cash to Jay Z, Lady Gaga to Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre, Pitbull to Elvis Presley, Luke Bryan to Dropkick Murphys, to theme songs from the TV shows they have come to know. Throughout, The Outlaws spin yarns about the Brothers' upbringing and adventures since Rumpspringa. Amish Outlaw gigs are less performances than they are initiations into the life of an Amish Outlaw and parties celebrating the Brothers' newfound freedom.

On Friday, August 2 at 7 p.m. will be the local talent show. The grandstand is free.

Fully Completely Hip, the Tragically Hip Tribute Band will take the grandstand stage on Saturday, August 3 at 7:30 p.m. The ticket price is $10. Just a stone’s throw from the birthplace of Canada’s most iconic band, Fully Completely Hip hail from the small town of Cornwall Ontario, Canada. After leaving his full time band the Trench Town Oddities in late 2016, frontman Sean Harley knew he wanted to do something new and exciting. He’d been toying with the idea of putting together some type of tribute act but was torn as to which one he really wanted to do. Having a few ideas lined up, things did not begin to crystallize until after seeing the Tragically Hip on TV for their historical concert from Kingston Ontario Canada on August 20, 2016. Being a fan of the Hip since he was a teenager, Sean had short listed the Hip (and a few unmentionables) as possible projects but sitting through that show and remembering all the great songs the band had to offer made the decision easy.

In the early months of 2017, on a cold Canadian winters night, Sean gathered together an unlikely group musicians to jam. Even after the first song, the group of musical misfits knew they were onto something special. Made up of seasoned musicians, Fully Completely Hip consisting of fellow ex-Oddities drummer Randy Lalonde, multi-musician Ron Piquette (Winston Marley, Beyond the Void) on rhythm Guitar, Jesse Andrews on lead guitar, and Matt Leger (Red Flag) on Bass.

Having hit the road hard in 2017, the band played many markets in the North East including New York and Vermont as well as Ontario and Quebec on the Canadian side. Having played a mixture of club shows, casinos and festivals, the band has already established themselves as one of the premier Tragically Hip Tribute acts and continue to gain new fans at every appearance.

On Sunday, August 4 at 1 p.m., Gouverneur and St. Lawrence County Fair will hold the much-anticipated annual demolition derby. The ticket price is $15, $10 for those 10 years of age or under.

Fair Manager Peck also announced that there will be free ground acts all week, including the following fairgoer favorites: Eudora Interactive Petting Zoo, Rosaire’s Racing Pigs. There are also plans in the works for a Family Fund Day on Saturday, August 3.

Fair Manager Peck also announced that Coleman Bros. Carnival will be bring aa new large spectacular ride to the Gouverneur and St. Lawrence County Fairgrounds this year!

Tickets go on sale this Monday, March 18. Visit gouverneurfair.net for more information.

GCS staff members recognized

Dan McClelland

by Jessyca Cardinell

The Gouverneur Central School Staff Recognition Awards were held on the evening of Monday, March 11 at the regularly scheduled Board of Education meeting in the high school auditorium.

Throughout the school year, members of the staff are asked to send in their nominations for recognition with a letter explaining why the staff member is deserving of the award. The committee then decides who will be the recipients of the staff recognition awards.

Jerrilyn Patton, Co-President of the GTO, presented these awards to two deserving individuals and read the letters received upon their nomination.

“The first recipient is Heather Davis, who works in the Elementary. She goes above and beyond her duties when she uses her own money to buy supplies or snacks when needed. She washes all the dishes, even though they are not hers to do. When we cook a large meal or our teacher is out she goes out of her way to provide the best working environment for her students. Heather is always there to help, inside and outside of the classroom and has been doing so for years.” Mrs. Patton read of the deserving award recipient as she presented her with her certificate of recognition.

“Mrs. Barb Gauthier of the Middle School is next to be recognized. She also goes above and beyond everyday for her students and families. One year a student expressed that their Christmas tree had broke and the mother was sad because they couldn't afford another one. That day at lunch Mrs. Gauthier went out and purchased a Christmas tree, she dropped it off on the porch before the student and his family returned home. The following day the student told her all about their new Christmas tree and how his mom was so excited that she gave him the biggest hug ever. Mrs. Gauthier has also been known to quietly purchase shoes, jackets and food for students and their families. She is empathetic and understanding to the various needs of all students and staff members. A teen has had many health concerns this year and she is always checking in and supporting our team. Congratulations!” said Mrs. Patton, as she presented Mrs. Gauthier with her award of recognition.

Mr. David Fenlong, President of the Board of Education gave a heartfelt sentiment to this award process.

“I am on the Shared Decision Committee who has the pleasure of helping to choose those two winners. We also get to read all of the thoughtful sentiments and stories of heroism, like so many staff members we're lucky to have them all, congratulations to the winners.”

Fantastic job to each recipient of their recognition award, your efforts and contributions truly do make a difference in the lives of many.

BOE responds publicly to previous voiced concerns of bullying

Dan McClelland

by Jessyca Cardinell

The Board of Education publicly responded to the concerns and comments from parents and community members given at the previous BOE meeting held on Monday, February 11th.

Many had stepped up and stated how bullying was affecting their children and the concerns how these situations were being handled.

Board of Education, President David Fenlong, was able to shine some light on this issue, as well as the protocol the BOE follows upon hearing these voiced concerns at the BOE meeting held Monday, March 11.

“At the last meeting, we had several people here that brought up some issues on discipline, specifically bullying. As we stated earlier in the comment section, we typically do not answer questions, on occasion we may clarify if something is stated incorrectly. However, for the most part we will wait and collect our thoughts and everyone else's information before we respond.” said BOE President Fenlong

“At the heart of what it takes for our scholars to survive are support, respectful and trusting relationships. When students and staff feel safe, they are more willing to focus on learning from and with others and take academic risks. It is paramount that our parents, staff and students feel safe in this school, everyone is dedicated to safety and we have strict policies and procedures to both prevent and stop harassment or bullying. The District takes allegations seriously and it follows rigorous procedures to document and investigate all allegations. We also make sure we protect all scholars during those times of an investigation.” said President Fenlong, who went on to state what these situations need as an approach.

“We also need a holistic approach with overlapping efforts from the school and at home to achieve the results we desire. This is what this challenge will take, so please talk to everyone, talk to your neighbors, to your friends, parents, teachers, administration, but please use the chain of command. We can help sunset this problem together. Please, don't bash the school or bully in anyway that tarnishes you're own integrity. Our school staff spends a lot of time with children and peers and I have unequivocal support for educators and personnel. They get to see how everyone interacts together, they get to notice patterns and recognize classroom dynamics. They establish collaborative relationships with your teacher in school. That is as important as advocating for your child, as it helps them with educational questions and talks about concerns of social interaction that may actually involve the bully. I have the honor of working with many of our staff, both professionally and as a parent and I recognize those roles as monumental and I thank them endlessly for their services as a professional educator and all that entails. I also hold that role of the parent and guardian to that same degree.” said BOE President Fenlong

When it came to handling the problem, he was firm in his response, “As you can see there are no plans from anyone here to minimize the problem. We are all caring and respectful adults and at our meetings we hold the same respectful line. We want to show respect, while managing our emotions. This diverse group of people are also parents and volunteer because they genuinely care. They deal with a lot and like you have seen before most times cool heads and warm hearts make the best decisions. We also like to listen, as a good prerequisite for this position, a lot of times we listen more than we speak. As listening gives us data and sometimes our own thoughts and opinions are not enough. We listen to both sides and never assume, we don't interrupt and we limit responses and criticism. As criticism and defensiveness increase, listening decreases, so we focus on the job at hand, solutions to problems and we keep the emphasis on every scholar and what everyone needs to succeed.” said Mr. Fenlong, who went on to give the specifics of the Gouverneur Central BOE and the procedures and policies of the District.

It is the policy of the Gouverneur Central School District Board of Education to hear comments from the public during open session at the regular board meetings. However, these public comment periods are not meant to be a discussion and the role of the board members is to listen only not provide feedback. In some cases this means the board does not correct false statements or respond to allegations against school personnel or the board. When appropriate, the Superintendent or Board President may follow up with individuals to correct false information or hold a discussion at a later time.

Above all, Gouverneur Central School District strives to protect the safety and dignity of all scholars. The District abides by strict policy procedures when it comes to allegations or concerns of bullying, and all instances are thoroughly investigated.

When a school staff member is first notified of a possible bullying situation, the situation is immediately investigated within 24 hours. School staff may take complaints or reports from parents or other relatives, students or bystanders. These reports can be made in person, through a written message, email, or via phone call. Each and every report is documented according to NYS Law in the parent log, discipline referral or the completion of Dignity for all Students Act (DASA) form.

Each building has Board of Education appointed designees called DASA coordinators who are responsible for handling all reports of bullying.

The District uses the following definitions as outline in the Board Policy and the Student Code of Conduct:

1.Harassment: verbal threats, intimidation, or abuse that creates a hostile environment that substantially interferes with a student's educational performance, opportunities, or well-being or reasonably causes(or would be expected to cause)a student to fear for his/her safety.

2.Bullying: unwanted and aggressive behavior stemming from a perceived or real imbalance of power. Repeated over time, and the victim feels helpless to respond.

If a report is investigated through the proper channels and it is determined to NOT be a case of bullying or harassment, the District and school administration will work with those involved to reach a mutually agreeable solution to the problem.

“We will continue to educate parents, staff, administration and the board members to do this all together. Thank you for listening.” BOE President Fenlong said in closing.

Town of Fowler appoints animal control officer

Dan McClelland

by Rachel Hunter

Daniel Moyer of Moyer's Wildlife Control was appointed as the animal control officer for the Town of Fowler at its March 5 regular board meeting.

The motion was made by Town Councilwoman Karen Simmons, and seconded by Town Councilman Jeff Andrews. Deputy Town Supervisor Rick Newvine, Town Councilwoman Karen Simmons, and Town Councilman Jeff Andrews voted in favor, and the motion passed.

Town Councilman Lynn Bishop and Town Supervisor Michael Cappellino were not in attendance.

The next meeting of the Town of Fowler board is to be held on April 2, 7 p.m., at the Fowler Town Hall.

Town of Fowler board hears animal control report

Dan McClelland

by Rachel Hunter

The Town of Fowler heard the following report from Animal Control Officer Daniel Moyer at its March 5 meeting:

“We got one dog in the pound that was actually picked up today,” he said. “We already checked him for a microchip, and put pictures on the website. I haven't had any hits on it yet. And issued tickets for dogs running at large.”

Deputy Supervisor Rick Newvine asked, “What kind of dog?”

“It's a small Terrier mix, I'd say,” ACO Moyer said. “Just a small female.”

“And you picked it up on the Northwoods road?” asked Councilwoman Karen Simmons. ACO Moyer replied in the affirmative. “Someone said it had been there for about a day and a half, and figured it was a drop-off. Nobody has called. Nobody has posted on the site that they have claimed it at this point.”

No other comments were made by the town council members.

The next meeting of the Town of Fowler board is to be held on Tuesday, April 2, 7 p.m., Fowler Town Hall.

Town of Gouverneur revises employee manual

Dan McClelland

by Rachel Hunter

The Town of Gouverneur board unanimously approved revisions to the town's employee manual, and made the changes retroactive to January 1, 2019.

“The biggest part was equalizing sick days, personal days and that type with our regular employees compared to the contracted employees in the highway department,” said Town Supervisor Dave Spilman, Jr. “We also added a line item in there about the deferred compensation program that we initiated.” Other minute changes were made in wording.

A motion to approve the revision was made by Town Councilman Jay Bowhall, and seconded by Deputy Town Supervisor Eldon Conklin (with the stipulation that it be made retroactive to January 1, 2019). Town Councilman Jay Bowhall, Deputy Town Supervisor Eldon Conklin, Town Councilman Curran Wade, and Town Councilwoman Jaimee McQuade voted in favor, and the motion carried.

The next meeting of the Town of Gouverneur board is to be held on Tuesday, April 9, 6 p.m., at the town offices building.

Gouverneur Police Blotter

Dan McClelland

The Gouverneur Police Department released the following police blotter from Monday March 4 through March 9, 2019 to the Gouverneur Tribune Press on Sunday, March 10 as follows:

Monday, March 4, 2019

Nicole L. Cash, 30, Gouverneur, NY, arrested at 8:16 a.m. for Inadequate/No Stop Lamps, Aggravated Unlicensed Operation 3rd, Harassment 2nd Degree, Resisting Arrest, and Assault 2nd Degree. Defendant was observed to be operation a vehicle on East Main Street with a defective driver’s side brake light. Further investigation revealed that the defendant has a suspended New York State driver’s license. Defendant became disorderly by screaming and yelling profanities, causing a scene for passing traffic. Defendant attempted to bite a Gouverneur Village police officer’s hand while gaining custody of the defendant. Defendant then kicked and scratched a New York State Trooper in the face for which he suffered facial lacerations while removing the defendant from the vehicle. Defendant was arrested, transported to the Gouverneur village police department where she was processed. Defendant was arraigned in the Gouverneur Town Court before Judge Stanley Young and released under the supervision of probation. Defendant is to return to Gouverneur Town Court on a later date.

John R. Lajoy Jr., 33, Gouvernuer, NY, arrested at 11:14 a.m. for Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance 7th, Disorderly Conduct, Harassment 2nd and Resisting Arrest. Defendant did, during the early hours of the morning and into the early afternoon, play his music loud enough to warrant two phone calls from the upstairs tenant to the police to report the defendant for his music. Subsequent to police investigation the defendant did slam his apartment door in the police officer’s face causing said door to strike the police officer after the defendant was told he was under arrest. After the defendant was taken into custody, a small container was found in the defendants left front pants pocket with a white powdery substance that field tested positive for methamphetamine. Defendant was arraigned in Gouverneur Town Court in front of Judge Travis Dann and remanded to the St. Lawrence County Jail on $500 bail/ $1,000 bond.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

James R. Petrie Jr., 35, Gouverneur, NY, arrested at 7:56 p.m. for Unregistered Motor Vehicle, Aggravated Unlicensed Operation 2nd, Uninspected Motor Vehicle, Improper Plates, Operating without Insurance and Displayed Forged Certificate of Inspection. Defendant was driving a vehicle traveling west on South Street with an unregistered motor vehicle. The defendant also had improper New York State plates, no inspection, no registration, a revoked NYS driver’s license for a previous conviction of DWI and was displaying a forged inspection sticker. Defendant was given uniform traffic tickets returnable to Gouverneur Town Court at a later date.

Friday, March 8, 2019

Dustin A. Hitsman, 30, Gouverneur, NY, arrested at 2:14 p.m. for Aggravated Unlicensed Operation of a Motor Vehicle 3rd. Defendant was observed to be traveling on East Main Street; a driver’s license check revealed that the defendant has a suspended New York State driver’s license. Defendant was issued a uniform traffic ticket returnable to Gouverneur Town Court on a later date.

Aaron M. Bush, 30, Gouverneur, NY, charged at 9:50 p.m. for Uninspected Motor Vehicle on Johnstown Street following a traffic stop. Subject issued a summons returnable to the Gouverneur Town Court.

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Derrick S. Marcellus, 48, Gouverneur, NY, arrested at 7:51 p.m. for Criminal Possession of a Weapon 3rd and Unlawful Possession of Marijuana. Defendant was reported waving a handgun inside Serendipity bar. Defendant was found to unlawfully have a Raven model P-25 pistol inside his pants pocket and was found to unlawfully have marijuana on his person. Defendant was placed under arrest and transported to Gouverneur Police Department for processing. Defendant was then arraigned in Gouverneur Town Court in front of Judge Travis Dann and released under supervision of probation. The pistol was flagged as stolen, further investigation to continue.


GCS readies for third and final stages of capital project

Dan McClelland

by Jessyca Cardinell

The Gouverneur Central School District has been undergoing many extensive upgrades and changes throughout the three phases of the Capital Project.

The first two phases included the transformation of the East Side into the newly renovated Gouverneur Elementary and the West Side into the upgraded Gouverneur Middle School.

The third and final phase of the Capital Project is in the works currently at Dean-Dolan building and the High School, located on Barney Street.

Bids for the project are currently out and will be opened on Friday, March 15 to give a better scope of the project and all that it will involve.

This phase will include the roof, window replacements, upgrades to technology infrastructure and security measures.

What is currently known as the Dean building will go through a demolition process which will provide an area for a handicap accessible entrance. There will be a new elevator available, this will provide access for the Dolan building as well as the high school.

The Village of Gouverneur years ago donated a stained glass window to honor the Dean family, this piece will continue on as it will be incorporated in the new entrance.

The District is working hard to ensure that as little impact is made on the students as possible during this part of the renovation. The Central Office Staff has been divided and relocated in two areas to help alleviate some confusion. The Gouverneur Middle School is now temporarily housing the Superintendent, Assistant Superintendent, Registration and CIO at the CSE offices. Across from the auditorium, the Business Offices have been placed in an empty classroom.

All of these temporary placements are to allow the construction crews to work along and complete their work in a timely manner.

“The goal will be to have central office relocated on the third floor of the Dolan building when all abatement, demolition and reconstruction is finished. In just the short period of time we have been located in the Access Center I already feel disconnected from my student and staff population. A superintendent should be available and accessible for her students and staff. I know March 1st, I had a student find me in the high school and indicate that she had been looking for me and it's just not the same. I couldn't agree more,” said Superintendent Mrs. Lauren French.

Mrs. French also stated, “I have asked everyone else in the District to be inconvenienced and relocate yet keep a happy demeanor, I shouldn't expect anything less from myself or my staff. What we are doing is for the instructional quality and physical safety of everyone, that will always be a priority. Our move is facilitate that process.”

As for the staff of building and grounds, headed by Harold Simmons, Mrs. French has been quite pleased with their efforts and work performance.

“Our staff is exemplary. They helped us on Saturday and the holiday Monday to get everything boxed, moved and reassembled,” she said. “I am so proud of this team and thankful they are part of our school family.”

While these changes can cause some inconveniences, they are assured to be temporary and in the end worth it as Gouverneur Central School District is in the final stages to being a completely renovated, updated and upgraded school system.

Village of Gouverneur looks to improve village park

Dan McClelland

The proposed scope of work ahead for the Village of Gouverneur in the park improvement project, which will be made possible by grant funding through Senator Patty Ritchie's office. The services of Bernier, Carr and Associates in Watertown, NY were retained to assist the Village of Gouverneur in the upgrades.

The proposed scope of work ahead for the Village of Gouverneur in the park improvement project, which will be made possible by grant funding through Senator Patty Ritchie's office. The services of Bernier, Carr and Associates in Watertown, NY were retained to assist the Village of Gouverneur in the upgrades.

by Rachel Hunter

Grant funding secured through New York State Senator Patty Ritchie’s office will allow the Village of Gouverneur to make a series of upgrades to the Gouverneur Village Park. The list of suggested improvements is estimated cost over $150,000.

The Village of Gouverneur retained the services of Bernier, Carr and Associates, Engineers, Architects and Land Surveyors, P. C. (BCA) in Watertown, NY to assist them with the planned upgrades. The area studied encompasses the triangular area formed by East Main Street, Church Street and Grove Street in the Village of Gouverneur. The area is approximately 34,800 square feet and in located in central Gouverneur in the B-1 Business Zoning District. The existing site has several featured elements throughout the park including a bandstand gazebo, a memorial archway, a village clock and water fountain.

The report received from BCA was utilized by the Village of Gouverneur to scope a project that the Village plans to undertake with the grant funds expected from Senator Patty Ritchie. In preparation of the report, BCA collaborated with Mayor Ronald McDougall and Department of Public Works Superintendent TJ Simmons and developed a list of suggested improvements and their associated costs. From this list, the Village of Gouverneur will be able to select improvements to implement.

Mayor McDougall expressed to BCA that the bandstand gazebo should be a primary focus for improvement funds. After an evaluation of the existing conditions of the gazebo that was donated by Gouverneur citizens in 1976 during the Bicentennial Year, there are several degrees of improvements that can be made. The improvements could be as simple as repainting, to adding aesthetic elements or to the extent of replacing the entire structure. Visually, the structure looks structurally sound and the roof is only a few years old. Therefore, total replacement would not be necessary but may be desired.

BCA recommended replacing the floor boards and adding aesthetic elements (such as a cupola, braces, decorative trim, lights, etc.) to the existing structure to improve the overall appearance while keeping the structure intact, and then to repaint everything. Since the gazebo has historical importance BCA reported that it sees the value in restoring the existing structure and improving on it over demolition and replacement with a new structure.

However, if total replacement is desired, there are two options with pros and cons for both. The first option would be to replace the structure with a pre-fabricated gazebo from a supplier such as North Country Storage Barns. The benefit of this would be a lower cost but available sizes will be much smaller than the existing structure. The other option would be to design-build a custom gazebo, with would allow for flexibility in size, but the cost will be significantly greater.

The extent to which the Village of Gouverneur decides to improve the gazebo will very much dictate the remaining improvements for the village park.

BCA also recommends adding significant foundation landscaping around the base of the gazebo, which would add an additional aesthetic improvement to draw the eye to the gazebo as people pass by. Going this route, would also leave a significant amount of funds to accomplish other needed improvements throughout the village park.

BCA also reported that one element the village park lacks is a flexible outdoor plaza for the community to use for regular community events and programs such as movies in the park, outdoor fitness classes, civic gatherings, small concerts, etc. Proximity to the bandstand gazebo is important and placement along Church Street would provide a more quiet intimate setting versus the bustle along East Main Street. Flexible seating areas would be ideal and therefore, BCA suggests installing the site benches initially, and then when more funds become available, add tables and chairs to facilitate users to sit and enjoy their lunch.

Although additional programming was not initially discussed as a desired improvement, BCA believes that the Village Park’s use would greatly increase with the addition of a paved plaza to serve as a flexible gathering space. “Not only would it facilitate activities occurring at the bandstand gazebo, it could provide additional seating for users looking to enjoy their lunch in the park or those attending the summer farmers market,” the report reads. “With the addition of this paved gathering space, BCA also suggests creating another crossing on Church Street off the plaza at mid-block. This would encourage pedestrians to use a safe means of crossing in a third location along Church Street while encouraging drivers to drive slowly.”

The Village of Gouverneur has also indicated that it would like to repoint the stone memorial arch. There are several cracks in the stone that will need to be thoroughly evaluated to determine if the cracks are causing any major defects or if repointing will be sufficient. The memorial arch is a main feature in the park and therefore the repointing of the stone should be completed. Further evaluation of the arch condition and proposed repairs is warranted. A repointing allowance was included in the budget.

In addition to the plantings at the gazebo, BCA also highly suggests increasing the landscaping around the memorial arch. The arch serves as an important visual element in the park and adding landscaping will only increase its appearance as significant. BCA also suggests when more funds become available to also install additional plantings around the other significant features of the park such as the village clock, fountain, and LifeSavers sign. A maintenance plan should be implemented in order to preserve the design intent of the landscape and ensure the park is upkept.

BCA also recommended removing and replacing the overgrown trees on the existing site. “Not only are the overgrown trees not aesthetically pleasing, they also pose as safety hazards because of their poor branching structure,” the report reads.

Another proposed improvement to upgrade the overall quality of the park suggested by BCA would be to relocate the several electrical outlets into the ground or with smaller electrical outlets hidden with tree circles or planting beds. “Not only will this make the park look less cluttered, it will better facilitate multiple uses of the park without restriction of the outlets in the way,” the report reads.

A few of the improvement areas in the Gouverneur Village Park mentioned in the proposal.

A few of the improvement areas in the Gouverneur Village Park mentioned in the proposal.

As far as accessibility improvements are concerned, BCA reported that overall ADA accessibility could be greatly improved throughout the park. Recently, the NYS Department of Transportation replaced the ADA accessible ramps on the north side of the park along Main Street. BCA recommends replacing the remaining three ADA ramps along Church Street. Additionally, the existing interior asphalt walks are deteriorating and need replacement to meet the requirements for ADA accessible walks. “Accessibility throughout the park is certainly imperative and therefore we highly recommend not only replacing the internal walk with accessible concrete walks but also replacing the existing ADA ramps along Church Street,” the report reads.

BCA also reported that the current site furnishings are in good condition but need upgrades. “The existing pedestrian site lights are in great condition but are currently metal halide lights and should be converted to LED lights which tend to last much longer, are more energy efficient, and require less maintenance intensive technology,” the report reads. “Conversion of these exact pole-top lights was already completed at the Community Center and provide a great example to the benefit of conversion. The existing benches, trash receptacles, and bollards should be replaced with modern furnishings that could set the Village standard for these items moving forward for future projects in the village. “

BCA recommends converting the existing 12 pedestrian site lights (currently metal halide lights) to LED lights, which tend to last much longer, are more energy efficient, and require less maintenance intensive technology. Implementing this improvement will have monetary benefits for the village ultimately.

Updating all site furnishings would be ideal but with limited funds, BCA suggests replacing the site benches initially as they will have the most significant impact visually for the park. “When selecting a bench, we suggest considering setting a standard bench to use throughout the village to create a cohesive look,” the report reads. “We additionally recommend putting two new benches in the bus shelters for users.”

BCA also said that the existing flagpoles along the western corner are in bad condition and should be replaced or removed considering there are other flags in the park. “The POW/MIA flag will need to be hung on one of the other flagpoles near the memorial arch,” the report reads. “The existing flagpoles at the memorial arch are in good condition and will not need replacement.”

Additionally, at the western corner of the Village park, in the smaller triangle, the existing LifeSavers sign is overcrowded with other signs and could benefit from relocating these smaller signs or integrating them into the LifeSavers sign.

The total estimated cost to implement the aforementioned recommendations is $152, 685.

The grant funds through Senator Ritchie’s will aid the Village of Gouverneur in developing a compelling park to serve the community now and into the future.

The existing conditions and proposed options for improvement of site furnishings in the Gouverneur Village park.

The existing conditions and proposed options for improvement of site furnishings in the Gouverneur Village park.


Gouverneur man jailed for allegedly committing Hermon bank robbery

Dan McClelland

Timothy Alan Shippee, Jr. of Gouverneur. (mugshot provided)

Timothy Alan Shippee, Jr. of Gouverneur. (mugshot provided)

Timothy Alan Shippee, Jr., 30, of Gouverneur was arrested on Saturday, March 2 for robbery in the second degree, a Class C felony. Mr. Shippee is alleged to have entered Community Bank, NA, 111 Church St., Hermon, on Friday, February 28 at approximately 12:50 p.m. and brandished what appeared to be a handgun and demanded money from the teller. After the teller had placed the money, as ordered, into a backpack, Shippee left the bank and walked to a vehicle and left the area.

Upon notification of this bank robbery, the St. Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office and the New York State Police immediately started into a joint investigation with several other federal, state and local police agencies. A command post was utilized in the Town of Hermon Municipal Offices and law enforcement began fielding leads as they came in from the public.

This investigation involved hundreds of leads and interviews and this successful result with an arrest was completed in large part due to the assistance of the people of the Town of Hermon, Community Bank, NA employees, other St. Lawrence County residents, and local media sources.

Timothy Shippee was arraigned in the Town of Pierrepont court in front of Town Justice Filiatrault and was ordered held without bail at the St. Lawrence County Correctional Facility. Shippee does have prior felony convictions, which include being list on the New York State Sex Offender Registry.

The Sheriff’s Office Detectives and Deputies worked in conjunction with the New York State Police, NYSP Major Crimes Unit, NYSP Computer Crimes Unit, NYS DEC Police and US Border Patrol, St. Lawrence County District Attorney Gary Pasqua and the North Country Crime Analysis Center and all were instrument in this investigation.

Lead investigating officers were Detective Sergeant Caringi and Detective O’Brien.

Security footage from the Community Bank, NA in Hermon as it was being robbed. (photo provided)

Security footage from the Community Bank, NA in Hermon as it was being robbed. (photo provided)

Village board recognizes 2018 GCS Wildcat Football Team

Dan McClelland

The 2018 Gouverneur Wildcat Varsity Football Team was honored for its outstanding season by the Village of Gouverneur Board of Trustees at its Feb. 19 meeting. The plaque was presented by Mayor Ron McDougall and accepted by Head Coach Sean Devlin, joined by the coaching staff and student-athletes. From left: Coach Frank Bush, Coach Travis Dann, Garrison Gonyeau, Coach Sean Devlin, Nick Jenkins, Mayor Ron McDougall, Dave Baker, Shane Shampine, Jake Shippee, Mitchell Shippee, Logan Garrison, Cayden Stowell, Keegan Matthews, Caleb Farr. (Rachel Hunter photo)

The 2018 Gouverneur Wildcat Varsity Football Team was honored for its outstanding season by the Village of Gouverneur Board of Trustees at its Feb. 19 meeting. The plaque was presented by Mayor Ron McDougall and accepted by Head Coach Sean Devlin, joined by the coaching staff and student-athletes. From left: Coach Frank Bush, Coach Travis Dann, Garrison Gonyeau, Coach Sean Devlin, Nick Jenkins, Mayor Ron McDougall, Dave Baker, Shane Shampine, Jake Shippee, Mitchell Shippee, Logan Garrison, Cayden Stowell, Keegan Matthews, Caleb Farr. (Rachel Hunter photo)

by Rachel Hunter

The Village of Gouverneur Board of Trustees at its regular meeting on Feb. 19 bestowed a special commendation to the 2018 Gouverneur Central Wildcat Varsity Football for their outstanding season.

The Wildcats were once again undefeated in regular season, and went 8-0 before being dominated by the Ogdensburg Free Academy Blue Devils in the Section 10 Class C Championship. This is the third season in a row that the Wildcats went undefeated, under the coaching of Head Coach Sean Devlin, Assistant Coach Travis Dann, Assistant Coach Justin Young, Assistant Coach Cody Hartle, and Assistant Coach Frank Bush (who also serves as the GCS athletic director). The team included the following GCS student-athletes:

Joseph Cummings, Mitchell Shippee, Jacob Shippee, Mitchell Tyler, Caleb Farr, Connor Wood, David Baker, Cayden Stowell, Nicholas Embry, Blaine Platt, Riley Simmons, Slater Rusin, Shane Shampine, Garrison Gonyeau (Captain), Jared Wilson, Jacob Link (Captain), Peyton Schmitt (Captain), Daniel Hall, Logan Phillips, Brock Cox, Dawson Miller, Carter Hance (Captain), Keegan Matthews, Christian Butler, Carter Simmons, Carter Wilson, Zackary Macaulay, Logan Garrison (Captain), Steven Jackson Jr., Joseph Rotundo, Nicholas Jenkins.

This string of undefeated seasons is one that has not been accomplished in Gouverneur for decades.

“It has been a great three-year run,” Village of Gouverneur Mayor Ronald McDougall said. “There’s not a question about that. We’re very happy about that, and very happy to honor the football team. I’ll just say one thing… certainly to a number of us who attended the games for the past three years, but particularly this year, it was something to see. There’s no question about that. Not a state championship, but the best three-year run in quite some time in Northern New York, whether it be the old Northern League, back to eight-man football, or whatever.

“In particular interest from a personal view was the pre-WWII team my father-in-law (Bill Scozzafava) who passed away in December talked about. He said, “They might be a bit faster than we were, you know.” In particular, when it comes to half-back, and yeah they are faster. When I said, “They are bigger and better,” he didn’t agree with that… but maybe a little bit faster.”

Mayor Ronald McDougall and Deputy Mayor Charles Newvine also mentioned that they represented the Village of Gouverneur at the 2018 GCS Wildcats Varsity Football Awards Banquet, held recently at the Gouverneur Community Center. Mayor McDougall also mentioned that Town of Gouverneur Supervisor David Spilman, Jr. “It was a great night,” Mayor McDougall.

An recognition plaque, by Harland Brown of Brown’s Jewelry Store in Gouverneur, was presented by the Village of Gouverneur Board of Trustees by Mayor Ronald McDougall to Head Coach Sean Devlin and assistant coaching staff in attendance (including GCS Athletic Director Frank Bush), and team members present.

“On behalf of the Village of Gouverneur Board of Trustees, congratulations,” Mayor McDougall said. “It has been a great run.”

Mayor McDougall then opened the floor for the coaching staff and football team members to speak. Head Coach Sean Devlin then said the following: “We just want to thank the community, of course, the school for their continued support, and the village board for recognizing what we do, our success. Coach (Frank Bush) and I will be around for a few years, some of these guys won’t be back, and it really means a lot to us for them to have the opportunity to be recognized at this level. This is the third or fourth year being invited here, and it never gets old. And we hope it is a trend that continues the next three or four years also. So we appreciate it.”

There were no more comments made to the village board, or by the Village of Gouverneur Board of Trustees except for congratulations to the 2018 GCS Wildcat Varsity Football Team for their outstanding season.

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

Empire State Mines lays off 108 workers Core group to focus on production, development

Dan McClelland

by Rachel Hunter

The operation at Empire State Mines in Fowler is now being restructured with a near-term focus on underground development as well as continued near-mine and district exploration.

Empire State Mines (ESM) is owned by Titan Mining Corporation, an Augusta Group company which produces zinc concentrate. ESM is a group of zinc mines which started production in the early 1900s. The announcement detailing the optimization strategy at ESM was made on Thursday, February 21.

The mine will lower its throughput while focusing on development. A revised mine plan, incorporating the #2D zone and the higher-grade New Fold zone in the #4 mine, is expected to be completed in mid-2019.

In order to optimize cash flow and productivity at the operation, the workforce is being reduced, and a smaller group of miners retained to focus on production and development. A total of 108 positions (23 permanent, 85 temporary) are impacted by layoffs. A core group of 87 employees will be retained.

Donald Taylor, Chief Executive Officer of Titan, said, “During the ramp up at ESM, we have faced a number of challenges and, with our focus on production, we have fallen behind on mine rehabilitation and development. The changes being implemented will address the shortfall of producing stopes and faces with the goal of lowering our costs and better positioning the mine for future success. In order to optimize cash flow and productivity at ESM, we are reducing our workforce, but we expect to benefit from greater efficiencies associated with a smaller group of miners focused on production and development. With these changes, we expect to achieve balanced mine development while our exploration group continues its program targeting large, high-grade deposits in the district.”

As expected, in the fourth quarter of 2018, production at ESM was impacted by the transition from contractor-mining to owner-mining and a shift from the planned stopes to a lower-grade section of the mine. Mill throughput was 48,302 tons, or 525 tons per day, and milled grade was 6.2% zinc. In January 2019, the average daily mill throughput improved by 16%, and milled grade by 26%, from the prior quarter.

Richard Warke, Executive Chairman, stated, “Our team is working hard to secure a strong future for the mine and the community. Rightsizing is a hard decision, but it is also the right decision. We remain confident in the potential of this prolific district and continue to invest in both exploration and development at ESM.” As previously announced, a company controlled by Titan’s Executive Chairman entered into a second ranking secured credit facility of up to US$18.7 million, maturing in December 2020.

Town of Fowler Supervisor Michael Cappellino said he was surprised initially with the announcement last Thursday morning, and set out to ensure that ESM was not closing.

“That is one of the first things that they said, “We are not closing,” Supervisor Cappellino said. “I got a text early in the morning, and so I immediately emailed (Human Resources Director Clara Cummings of Gouverneur) at work, and she called me about an hour later and explained to me what was happening. And then she did send me an email as well confirming what they had done… I am thinking that it is a temporary setback, and that they will bring those people – or at least some of those people – back in the near future.”

For more info on ESM, visit titanminingcorp.com.

Families voice concerns of bullying at school board meeting

Dan McClelland

by Jessyca Cardinell

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dan McClelland

by Rachel Hunter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dan McClelland

by Rachel Hunter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Easter cantata rehearsals start Sunday

Dan McClelland

by Don Schuessler

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

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

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

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


Let It Snow: Gouverneur students perform winter concert

Dan McClelland

by Rachel Hunter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Village board talks about school safety resource officer

Dan McClelland

by Rachel Hunter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Oh yeah, absolutely,” Mayor McDougall said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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