Contact Us

Use the form on the right to contact us.

You can edit the text in this area, and change where the contact form on the right submits to, by entering edit mode using the modes on the bottom right. 

74 Trinity Avenue
Gouverneur, NY, 13642
United States

Local News

Gouverneur Breast Cancer Walk is next Saturday

Dan McClelland

by Rachel Hunter

With only a week until the 18th Annual Gouverneur Breast Cancer Walk, it is time for residents and businesses owners “pink out” their buildings before the “sea of pink” descends on Gouverneur next Saturday, May 18. The Gouverneur Breast Cancer Fund will announce the three pinkest businesses and individual homes during opening ceremonies.

The 18th Annual Gouverneur Breast Cancer Walk will be held on Saturday, May 18. Registration starts at 8:30am in the Gouverneur Village Park. Opening ceremonies will be at 10:15 with the walk immediately following. First 300 walkers to register will receive a gift bag. And t-shirts for anyone donating a minimum of $35.00.

The team and individual raising the highest amount of money will be recognized the day of the walk.

The Gouverneur Breast Cancer Fund hosts this annual walk to bring survivors, fighters and supporters together to honor all who have fought this fight, are fighting or to remember those no longer with us.

This one-mile walk is organized to raise funds for those fighting breast, ovarian or a cancer that has mestastized from said cancers.

The money raised is 100 percent used to assist these patients in St. Lawrence, Jefferson, Lewis or Franklin Counties of New York with their household, utility, automobile, medical, prescription medication and many other necessary expenses during treatment.

There will be pink hair extensions, pink merchandise, raffles, bake sale and so much more available. All are encouraged to mark their calendars, and come out and join in this amazing event to celebrate the survivors, support those currently fighting and honor those no longer with us.

For more information and pledge forms, visit gouverneurbreastcancerwalk.com.


Newly installed roadside marker shows location of local legend

Dan McClelland

Newly installed roadside marker shows location of local legend pic copy.jpg

When you are traveling through De Kalb on NYS Route 812 you may notice a new roadside marker for Cooper’s Rock. The roadside marker funded by the W G Pomeroy Foundation in cooperation with the New York Folklore Society. is one of a series commemorating New York States local legends A grant for the marker was obtained by the Town of De Kalb Historian.

In August 1904 the Syracuse Herald ran a story about the deserted village of Cooper’s Falls. The article was illustrated with photographs including one of Cooper’s Rock. The reporter claimed the famous author James Fenimore Cooper, at 14, had visited the site in 1804. While visiting he was supposed to have sat upon the huge glacial boulder and dreamed of his future novels while gazing across the Oswegatchie River.

The article was soon reprinted in several St. Lawrence County newspapers. A follow up article disputing the claim was printed soon after. There is no evidence that James Fenimore Cooper ever visited the Town of De Kalb. However, once published, the story became a local legend that has been passed down from generation to generation.

Spring Demo Derby drew racers, die-hard fans

Dan McClelland

by Jessyca Cardinell

The Gouverneur and St. Lawrence County Fairgrounds welcomed the sound of smashing and crashing as the annual Spring Demolition Derby kicked off a season of screeching good times.

Drivers came from all over the state to participate in this event, including Antwerp, Canton, Potsdam, Castorland, Croghan and Laurens.

The grandstands were filled with supportive friends, family and of course die-hard demolition fans, ready to cheer on their favorite driver.

A great amount of rules and regulations were in place ensuring that safety and precautions were taken to protect the drivers and audience. Drivers in the derby had to be at least sixteen years old with parent consent. Any drivers who did not obey the rules were to be immediately disqualified from the derby.

The Gouverneur Fire Department and Rescue Squads were on hand for any emergencies that could potentially arise from such an event.

Adrenaline and excitement filled the Fairgrounds as cars collided, smoke filled the air and dirt flew. A fun filled event for the whole family to enjoy.

Heat numbers one and four were both sponsored by Tresidder's Garage in Edwards, New York. As their motto is “No job is too big or too small. We do it all.”

The two-hour build was sponsored by Seaway Valley Prevention Council. This organization helps individuals and families who are impacted by alcohol and substance abuse. For more information, please visit the website www.svpc.net or call 315-713-4861.

Fantastic job to all organizers, staff and emergencies crews on the extensive work to ensure a great time was had by all and safety was forefront.

Congratulations to all the drivers who placed in this demolition derby.

The full results are detailed below as provided by the Gouverneur and St. Lawrence County Fair Association:

Heat No. 1: First place went to Adam Dean of Gouverneur, and second went to Cory Streit.

Heat No. 2: First place went to Brandon Lamere of Plattsburgh, and second went to Allen Dean.

Heat No. 3: First place went to Chris Ames of Gouverneur, and second went to Allen Dean.

Heat No. 4: First went to Chris Rookey of Lisbon, and second went to Bryan Brothers of Lisbon.

Heat No. 5: First place went to Bruce LaRock Jr. of Hermon, and second went to Chris Brothers of Madrid.

Heat No. 6: First place went to Terry Green of Potsdam, and second went to Johnathon Fafferty of Gouverneur.

Heat No. 7: First place went to Matthew Brothers of Rensselaer Falls, and second went to Tyler Brothers, Heuvelton.

Heat No. 8: First place went to Adam Dean of Gouverneur, and second went to Brian Davis, Gouverneur.

Consi: First place went to Harold Clement of Gouverneur, and second went to Devon Fourneir of Plattsburgh.

Feature: First place went to Chris Ames, Gouverneur, and second went to Brandon Lamere of Plattsburgh.


Fairgrounds Damage

Dan McClelland

FRONT _ Fairgrounds Damage pic copy.jpg

The Gouverneur Police Department on the morning of Wednesday, May 1 announced that it was seeking the public's assistance regarding damage to the Gouverneur Fairgrounds property on the grounds near the horse ring. It is alleged that the incident occurred sometime late night on Tuesday, April 30 to the early morning hours on Wednesday, May 1. The damage is shown in the above picture. Anyone with information is asked to please contact the Gouverneur Police Department at 315-287-2121. (photo provided)

GHS showcases students' public speaking talent at Dean Oratoricals

Dan McClelland

by Jessyca Cardinell

Community members gathered as the Gouverneur Central School District presented the 116th Annual Dean Oratoricals on the evening of April 24 in the high school auditorium.

Ushering the audience into the auditorium were seniors Grace Cummings and Elaina Porter.

Advisor Mr. Michael Bason worked with the four students who put together short skit performances to be judged by John Dixon, Mary Dixon, Arnie Roberts, Dale Streeter and Phil Shatraw.

Hope Leader was first to perform as she gave a heart wrenching performance of When It's Over by Christyna Belden, a story of the horror a young girl experiences through abortion.

Lisa Marie Lopez-Baez came out next giving her all as she performed The Seagull by Anton Chekhov.

Jenneca Cook provided hilarious entertainment and left the audience in stitches with her rendition of Thank You So Much For Stopping by Halley Feiffer.

Kayla Hocking gave an in depth performance of Romeo and Juliet by Hobo Jackson.

After the performances were finished the Select Strings gave performances under the direction of Mr. Victor Correa. The judges gathered collectively to decide the winners based on their performances.

High School Principal Cory Wood announced the winners of the event.

Fourth place honorable mentioned went to Kayla Hocking, third place went to Lisa Marie Lopez-Baez and second place was handed to Hope Leader. Jenneca Cook took home first place honors for her second year in a row.

Congratulations to all four young ladies who put together stellar performances. Sponsoring the event was The Gouverneur Foundation Buckets for Bob Wildcat Alumni Foundation.

Bickford Studios to be presented with Chamber Business of the Year on May 8

Dan McClelland

Bickford Studios, 3592 NY State Highway 58 in Fowler is this year's Gouverneur Area Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year. The honor will be presented to Wilson and Glenda Bickford at the Chamber Banquet on Wednesday, May 8 at the Gouverneur Elks Lodge No. 2035, 1419 U.S. Highway 11 in Gouverneur. The public is welcome to attend. There will be a social hour from 6 to 7 p.m. with the banquet following. Tickets are $23, and available at the Chamber office and local banks.

The Gouverneur Chamber of Commerce in announcing the honor said the following, “Congratulations to Wilson and Glenda Bickford, your talents have given you a business to be proud of and we admire how much your artistry has given back to our community!”

The duo of Wilson and Glenda Bickford have showcased their artistic talents under one roof ever since Bickford Studios opened to the public in October 2009. The studio displays both Wilson's paintings and Glenda's photographs.

North Country native, artist and author Wilson Bickford is well-known in the North Country for teaching art classes and painting scenes of the Adirondacks. He and wife Glenda have traveled widely, presenting workshops as far away as California, bringing his "Fast and Fun" painting techniques to communities across this country and Canada.

Wilson is an artist and art educator. He has perfected the art technique of "wet-on-wet" painting. This extremely popular painting style is easy to learn and yields fantastic results. Bickford has even shared his knowledge, work, and talent with the artistically-inclined viewers in WPBS-TV's broadcast community. His painting series can now be seen on CreateTV.

Wilson has numerous online painting tutorials and demonstrations available to anyone online. Painting With Wilson Bickford is a well-loved program on public television. His workshops, demonstrations and lessons have enriched budding artists and promoted art to those who never considered themselves an artist. This is the miracle of Wilson Bickford – his work has inspired personal creativity and the spread of art in the world.

North Country native Glenda Bickford has turned her long-time photography hobby into a thriving business, Glenda Bickford Photography. She is well-known in the local community for her exceptional skill at taking portraits of children, seniors and pets both in the studio and on location.

The entire Gouverneur community is encouraged to attend the Annual Chamber of Commerce Dinner on Wednesday, May 8 and help recognize Wilson and Glenda Bickford. For more information, call the Chamber office at (315) 287-0331.



Gouverneur Kiwanis Club Benefit Auction to be held April 26

Dan McClelland

by Rachel Hunter

The time is quickly approaching to help the Kiwanis Club of Gouverneur, Inc. “serve the children of the world” starting right here in Gouverneur. The Gouverneur Kiwanis Benefit Auction, the largest fundraiser of the year for the Gouverneur Kiwanis Club, will be held on Friday, April 26, 7 p.m. at the Gouverneur Elks Lodge No. 2035, 1419 U.S. Highway 11, Gouverneur.

The Gouverneur Elks will be serving their famous Friday Night Dinner featuring prime rib from 5 to 7 p.m. All are encouraged to come early, preview the items up for auction, and bid high and often to support the many projects of the Gouverneur Kiwanis Club.

The auctioneer will be Don Peck of Gouverneur.

It was through the great support received from generous community members at last year's auction that the Gouverneur Kiwanis Club was able to maintain its many projects. The auction proceeds will benefit the Key Club Scholarship, Kiwanis Scholarship, Southwest Tech Service Award, Kiwanis Backpack Program, Holiday Food Drive to benefit local food pantries, Friday Senior Luncheon, and local sports teams. The Gouverneur Kiwanis Club is the parent organization to Gouverneur Key Club (for high school students), Gouverneur K-Kids Club (for elementary students), and the Gouverneur Builders Club (new this year at Gouverneur Middle School).

There will be a drawing for a 55-inch Samsung Smart TV, including HDMI cables, wall hanger brackets, and more, donated by Capital Assurance/AXA Advisors, Watertown, NY. Special appreciation has been extended to Micahel Leonelli and Carrie Penoyer. See any Kiwanis Club member for a ticket or call: (315) 578-2344 or (315) 276-5199.

The Gouverneur Kiwanis Club is seeking donations for the auction, including quality items or gift certificates, or even cash donations to carry on their projects. All support of the Gouverneur Kiwanis Club's many programs would be gratefully received. Contact any member for more information.

The Gouverneur Kiwanis Club is always seeking new members and new ideas. If you are interested in joining this global organization serving local kids, ask any Kiwanis member. Those interested can also check out the club Facebook page “Kiwanis Club of Gouverneur, Inc.” or the Kiwanis Wildcat Backpack Program page.

NP Coates Joins DeKalb Health Center Team

Dan McClelland

FRONT _ NP Coates at DeKalb Health Center pic copy.jpg

Nicole Coates, NP, will be practicing full-time at Gouverneur Hospital’s DeKalb Health Center effective May 20, 2019.

Coates received her degree from SUNY Upstate Medical in Syracuse, NY and completed two of her clinical rotations in Antwerp and Edwards. She graduated from St. Joseph’s College of Nursing with Cum Laude honors, where she gained nursing experience in the fields of cardiology, traumatic brain injury, emergency medicine, and critical care medicine. 

Coates is a Gouverneur native and has always called the North Country home. She is pleased to be able to provide healthcare to the community she considers family.

For more information or to make an appointment, please call (315) 347-3830.

Two local contestants vie for SLC Dairy Princess crown

Dan McClelland

The St. Lawrence County Dairy Promotion will hold its 55 Dairy Princess Pageant on Saturday, April 20 at Madrid Community Building. Light refreshments and “Cowtails’’ will be served at 2:00 PM followed by the pageant. The St. Lawrence County Dairy Promotion Committee invites all members of the community to attend and most especially farmers. Reservations are not required and a suggested donation of $5.00 per person would be appreciated. Farmers are free.

Contestants running this year are: Chloe Renaud of Gouverneur, daughter of Brooke Bush and Derek Renaud sponsored by Scotch Acre Farm in Gouverneur. Elaina Wainwright on Rensselaer Falls, daughter of Michael and Heather Wainwright sponsored by Baynes Farms in DePeyster.

The Dairy Princess Program promotes and educates the public on the dairy industry, dairy products, and supports dairy farmers. Visit the St. Lawrence County Dairy Promotion FaceBook page for more information. Look for the new princess and their court at the Canton Dairy Princess Parade on Saturday, June 1, 2019 at 1 p.m.

Crowd hears Gouverneur Community Chorus perform sacred cantata

Dan McClelland

by Rachel Hunter

The energy in the First United Methodist Church of Gouverneur was palpable on Sunday, April 14 (Palm Sunday) as the Gouverneur community gathered to prepare their hearts for the Easter season by listening to “The Song Everlasting,” written and arranged by Joseph M. Martin, as performed by the Gouverneur Community Chorus and local instrumentalists, under the direction of Dr. Donald Schuessler Jr.

The Gouverneur Community Chorus has been practicing for seven weeks in preparation for the presentation of the sacred cantata based on early American songs. The Gouverneur Community Chorus consists of the following vocalists: Kristine Battersby, Karen Brungard, Mary Dixon, Linda Golja, Stephen Jadlocki, Franny Knott, Kathy Kopchinski, Paige McCrea, Marlene Morris, Sid Peters, the Rev. Dr. Elizabeth Quick, Jenny Reddick, Chris Rediehs, Jay Rizza, Glenda Schuessler, Marla Shampine, Blane Shrewsberry, Harry Smithers, Isaiah Sochia, Sam Sochia, Sue Spilman, Max Tessmer, Gail Thomas, Donna Thorpe, Mark Tomford, Pastor Mike Tomford and Lily Towne. The instrumentalists were Lauren Correa, Violin; John Dixon, Percussion; Chris Hosmer, Cello; Beth Johnson, Piano; Laura Rediehs, Flute; Glenda Schuessler, Organ; Mike Welch, Guitar; and Jenelle Yeoman, Clarinet. The narrator was Henry Leader.

“The Song Everlasting” incorporated hymns, spirituals, and folksongs and weaved them into a narration that told the story of Christ’s life in three suites of anthems, entitled “Ministry,” “Humility,” and “Victory.” The exalted themes reverberated throughout the sanctuary, reminding all of the assurance and promise of Resurrection Sunday.

All had the chance to reflect on the scripture (Zephaniah 3:14-17) of preparation before the start of the cantata: “Sing People of Zion; shout aloud, children of God. Be glad and rejoice with all your heart. The Lord, the King of Israel, is with you; never again will you fear any harm. He will take great delight in you; in His love He will forgive you and rejoice over you with singing.”

All were warmly welcomed to the cantata by Dr. Schuessler, and a prayer was offered by the Rev. Dr. Elizabeth Quick of the First United Methodist Church of Gouverneur.

The first song selection, “The Wondrous Story,” an American folk hymn, was performed by the Gouverneur Community Chorus with a sense of freedom that stirred the spirits of all those in attendance.

Narrator Henry Leader then introduced the “Ministry” song suite, which included the following:

The Gouverneur Community Chorus in a mournful, but steady sound offered “Songs Of The Wayfarer,” which, emphasized the woeful world in which Jesus was called to in his ministry.

“Come Unto Me” shared the burden-lifting nature of the Gospel as Jesus spread the message of peace in a weary world in need of healing. “Journey Of Hope And Promise” confidently told the story of the transformative power of God’s love. All those gathered then joined in a hymn, “I Will Arise And Go To Jesus.”

Narrator Leader then introduced the “Humility” song suite, include the following:

“Procession Of Praise,” was presented with a sense of regal confidence, reminding all those gathered about the tale of triumphant entry into Jerusalem when frenzied crowds took palm branches took palm branches from the trees and laid them before Jesus as He passed, shouting and singing, “Hosanna! Blessed is the One who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Song Of Humility,” a Shaker melody, was simply presented in a flowing rhythm that invited all to feel the heart of Jesus as he prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, found peace, and quietly gave Himself to His captors.

The Gouverneur Community Chorus then presented “Sacred Head, Wondrous Love,” based on American folk tunes, which carried the sense of heavy grief. The song brought to mind the intense suffering Jesus took as He was stripped, savagely beaten, and weighed down by a cruel cross as he made His journey atop Golgotha’s hill. Gouverneur community members then offered the hymn, “Alas! And Did My Savior Bleed?”

Narrator Leader then introduced the “Victory” song suite, include the following:

The Gouverneur Community Chorus boldly performed, “Christ Is Risen,” which told the story of the Resurrection. It was followed by “The Sure Foundation” which was presented with great energy and enthusiasm, and incorporated “How Firm A Foundation” as they shared the confidence of faith in Jesus Christ, who taught all how live more abundant and free during His ministry on earth. All were then encouraged to go forth with joyful singing and praise, sharing the wondrous story of Christ in everlasting praise.

The Gouverneur community closed the cantata with the singing of the hymn, “I Will Sing The Wondrous Story.”

The audience stood to its feet and applauded the Gouverneur Community Chorus, instrumentalists, conductor, and narrator on a job well done. Many words of congratulations were also shared as the Gouverneur community went down to the church fellowship hall for light refreshments, offered by the church’s Rip-It exercise group.

In addition to the crowd amassed in the First United Methodist Church of Gouverneur for the cantata, dozens gathered online to watch the live video. It is now available to watch through the First UMC Gouverneur Facebook page.

Free movie matinee at Gouverneur Community Center this Saturday

Dan McClelland

by Rachel Hunter

Town of Gouverneur Supervisor David Spilman Jr. announced at the April 9 Town of Gouverneur board that the Gouverneur Community Center will be open this Saturday, April 13, noon to 2 p.m. for a free movie matinee.

The movie is scheduled to be “Peter Rabbit,” the feature adaptation of Beatrix Potter's classic tale of a rebellious rabbit trying to sneak into a farmer's vegetable garden.

All are encouraged to attend.

Gouverneur Elks Lodge No. 2035 installs officers

Dan McClelland

Gouverneur Elks Lodge No. 2035 installs new slate of officers on Sunday, April 7. Front (from left): State Vice President (North Central District) Brian Dezell, Esteemed Lecturing Knight Sheila Ogborne, Inner Guard Linda Westcott, Esteemed Loyal Knight Tina Vanderbogart, Esquire Krista Wainwright. Second row: Secretary Jimmy Jackson (PDDGER, PSVP, PER), Past Exalted Ruler Roderick Pryce, Esteemed Leading Knight Gresford Speid, Exalted Ruler Randy Durham, Chaplain Frederick Ogborne II, Back Row: Treasurer Garnet Weaver and Tiler Lisa Durham. (Rachel Hunter photo)

Gouverneur Elks Lodge No. 2035 installs new slate of officers on Sunday, April 7. Front (from left): State Vice President (North Central District) Brian Dezell, Esteemed Lecturing Knight Sheila Ogborne, Inner Guard Linda Westcott, Esteemed Loyal Knight Tina Vanderbogart, Esquire Krista Wainwright. Second row: Secretary Jimmy Jackson (PDDGER, PSVP, PER), Past Exalted Ruler Roderick Pryce, Esteemed Leading Knight Gresford Speid, Exalted Ruler Randy Durham, Chaplain Frederick Ogborne II, Back Row: Treasurer Garnet Weaver and Tiler Lisa Durham. (Rachel Hunter photo)

by Rachel Hunter

The Gouverneur Elks Lodge No. 2035 installed its officers for the 2019-2020 fraternal year on Sunday, April 7, 1 p.m., at the Gouverneur Elks Lodge home, 1419 U.S. Highway 11, Gouverneur.

A fresh slate of officers was recently elected by membership of Gouverneur Elks Lodge No. 2035. The installation ceremony was presided over by State Vice President (North Central District) Brian Dezell of Ogdensburg with assistance from Gouverneur Elks Lodge Past Exalted Ruler Roderick Pryce and Jimmy Jackson (Past District Deputy to the Grand Exalted Ruler, Past Exalted Ruler, and Past State Vice President).

The officers installed were: Exalted Ruler Randy Durham, Esteemed Leading Knight Gresford Speid, Esteemed Loyal Knight Tina Vanderbogart, Esteemed Lecturing Knight Sheila Ogborne, Chaplain Frederick Ogborne II, Tiler Lisa Durham, Esquire Krista Wainwright, Inner Guard Linda Westcott, Secretary Jimmy Jackson, and Treasurer Garnet Weaver. Lodge Trustees are as follows: Five-Year Trustee (Jonathan Davenport), Four-Year Trustee (Carl Gamble), Three-Year Trustee (Mark Finley), and Two-Year Trustee (William LaMere), and One-Year Trustee (Rick Newvine).

Following the ceremony, all were invited to a light luncheon. The Gouverneur Elks Lodge looks forward to continued growth and opportunities to serve the Gouverneur community in the upcoming year. Much gratitude was extended to all those in attendance.

Health & Hope Mission 1 John 3:18 Gouverneur Free Clinic closes its doors

Dan McClelland

by Rachel Hunter

The Health & Hope Mission 1 John 3:18, commonly referred to the Gouverneur Free Clinic, closed its doors on March 29, 2019.

Health & Hope Mission 1 John 3:18 was part of a larger not-for-profit organization called Christ Health Care Ministry. The mission of Christ Health Care Ministry is to support physical and spiritual healing of the least… and raise appropriate funds to operate the free clinics. Locally, Pastor Orv Eacker and Rachel Raven remain on the Board of Trustees.

“God had the clinic here for a season,” Rachel Raven said. “It served an amazing purpose and I am so glad to say we were a small part of it.

On Friday, March 29, volunteer staff helped load a U-Haul with the equipment and furniture from the Gouverneur Office. Much gratitude is extended to those volunteers that assisted in closing the clinic, including the following: Pastor Howard Maxson, James and Donna Moore, Vincent Ferry, Bill and Donna Thorpe, Mark Lingerman, Herb Fuller, Terry Meyers, Rachel Raven, and Noreen Boclair.

Executive Director Mark Lingerman delivered all the clinic content to a new clinic in Warwick NY. The new clinic has volunteer providers, nurses, and clerical staff in place and will open in the upcoming months. Christ Health Care Ministry also has a free clinic in Ferndale NY which is open weekly for uninsured.

“We would like to thank all our sponsors, individuals and local organizations that have helped us keep our doors open for the last six years,” Rachel Raven said. “We have met the healthcare needs of about eighty uninsured adults annually during this time. We (through God’s love and compassion) have provided an invaluable service of physical, emotional, and spiritual healing to our patients and our volunteer staff. We met patients where they were in life and provided the means to help care for the physical health issues, provide medication, routine cancer screenings, monitoring and diagnostics labs, and imaging.

“This was accomplished through the generous donations of our greater community. We have also had a pastor available during operational hours to meet with our patients on an as desired basis.”

Releases for medical records can be directed to PO Box 510 Gouverneur NY 13642 and any future donations to Christ Health Care Ministry can be made online through the website: Christhealthcareminsitry.org.

“Again, we would like to thank the community for being the hands and feet of this medical mission,” Rachel Raven said.

Gouverneur Community Chorus to present “The Song Everlasting” on Sunday

Dan McClelland

The Gouverneur Community Chorus and instrumentalists, under the direction of Dr. Donald Schuessler, Jr., preparing to present “The Song Everlasting,” written and arranged by Joseph Martin, at the First United Methodist Church of Gouverneur, 34 Grove St., on Sunday, April 14, 4 p.m. (Rachel Hunter photo)

The Gouverneur Community Chorus and instrumentalists, under the direction of Dr. Donald Schuessler, Jr., preparing to present “The Song Everlasting,” written and arranged by Joseph Martin, at the First United Methodist Church of Gouverneur, 34 Grove St., on Sunday, April 14, 4 p.m. (Rachel Hunter photo)

by Rachel Hunter

The Gouverneur Community Chorus is set to present “The Song Everlasting,” by Joseph M. Martin. It will take place at the Gouverneur First United Methodist Church, 34 Grove Street (across from the U.S. Post Office) on Sunday, April 14 at 4 p.m.

The Gouverneur Community Chorus of local church and community members will blend their voices with an instrumental ensemble of piano, flute, clarinet, guitar, violin, cello and percussion under the direction of Dr. Donald Schuessler, Jr.

The Gouverneur Community Chorus includes the following members: Kristine Battersby, Karen Brungard, Mary Dixon, Linda Golja, Stephen Jadlocki, Franny Knott, Kathy Kopchinski, Paige McCrea, Marlene Morris, Sid Peters, Rev. Dr. Elizabeth Quick, Jenny Reddick, Chris Rediehs, Jay Rizza, Glenda Schuessler, Marla Shampine, Blane Shrewsberry, Harry Smithers, Isaiah Sochia, Sam Sochia, Sue Spilman, Max Tessmer, Gail Thomas, Donna Thorpe, Mark Tomford, Pastor Mike Tomford, Lily Towne. Instrumentalists include the following: Lauren Correa, Violin, John Dixon, Percussion, Chris Hosmer, Cello, Beth Johnson, Piano, Laura Rediehs, Flute, Glenda Schuessler, Organ, Mike Welch, Guitar, Jenelle Yeoman, Clarinet. The narrator is Henry Leader.

The Gouverneur Community Chorus has been practicing for weeks in preparation for the annual Easter cantata. “The Song Everlasting” masterfully weaves together hymns, spirituals and folk songs to dramatically present the life of Christ – the miracle and blessing of Christ’s earthly ministry, the humility of His passion and the victory of His resurrection. The song list includes the following selections: :Alas, And Did My Savior Bleed?,” “Christ Is Risen,” “Come Unto Me,” “I Will Arise And Go To Jesus,” “I Will Sing The Wondrous Story,” “Journey Of Hope And Promise,” “Procession Of Praise,” “Sacred Head,” “Wondrous Love,” “Song Of Humility,” “Songs Of The Wayfarer,” “The Sure Foundation,” and “The Wondrous Story.” Thoughtful narration and spectacular orchestrations crown the cantata with variety and skill. It will also include opportunities for audience participation.

The Gouverneur First United Methodist Church is handicapped accessible and the nursery staff will be available to care for young children.

For more information please visit www.gouverneurumc.org or call 315-287-2440.


Capital Project Update: Voters to decide whether GCS uses $1 million capital reserve

Dan McClelland

by Jessyca Cardinell

The Gouverneur Central School District has been under a major overall, involving lots of construction and renovations. The first two phases of the $31.45 million dollar project have been completed. Phase one involving the East Side school's transformation into the upgraded Gouverneur Elementary. Phase two of the project upgraded the West Side school to become the new and improved Gouverneur Middle School.

Lauren French, GCS Superintendent of Schools, gave an update on the project to the Board of Education at their regular meeting held Monday March 25th in the high school auditorium. The project which was set to begin the third phase of construction in the high school had a setback as Mrs. French explained the Board would have to make a decision.

“The bids we received are far in excess of the amount of funds that we have. We have to look at the way to resolve that. What is difficult about this project, is it is not a stand alone project. So you cannot take down the Dean building, without having the ability to finish the area where the Dolan building and the 1961 high school come together. That has to be finished. That involves not only construction but it also involves all the mechanical, plumbing and electricity. Those bids were in excess of the funds that we have.” said Mrs. French

There were four options presented to the Board of Education to consider. Option one would be to rebid the project, option two would be better pricing, option three would be to completely cancel the rest of the project, option four, which was recommended, would use the $1 million dollar capital reserve. This capital reserve has been set aside for projects such as these to use if needed.

“We scaled back the project and have a suggestion for you to consider. That is that we had already put $1 million dollars in a Capital Reserve, that is a separate account. One thing I want to make very clear is that this Capital Reserve can only be used on the building project. So, I want you to make sure that you understand that I can't take that money and balance the budget. It can't be used for salaries or field trips. Just so that is out there, very clear. But that money can be used if the voters pass a referendum by saying we want to use the money that we've set aside for Capital Project to finish this portion of the project so that we can move everyone back into the high school. What that would do is address all the fire alarm systems in the high school, the Dolan building and the 1961 structure. It would take care of all the safety features, with the door closing in the double entry way and the swipe cards. It would remove all the remaining asbestos. It would remove the Dean building, it would also create areas in the Dolan building so that we have a way to enter the building and a way to egress out of the building. This would mean a new set of stairs. As I said, all the safety issues, it would renovate the bathrooms for school use on the first and second floors.” said Mrs. French, who went on to give the items that would have to be removed from the construction completely.

“What this would remove is technology closet, the closet that runs the internet and the local area networks for the school. That would be all up to date and completed ready to use.

“We would not be able to do anything with the third floor, this is the administration offices, that's not an issue to us. We're more than happy to sit upstairs as long as we have running water and heat. It would not address the areas that we wanted renovated in the cafeteria, in terms of the kitchen. It would not renovate the freezer areas, it would not address the old windows. Windows alone came in at $1.2 million. So when looking at the fact we had $5.2 million left, that had to be pulled out.” said Mrs. Lauren French

“The suggestion I am making to you, both Carol and I, would be that we educate the community and the use of the $1 million dollars in Capital Reserve, how beneficial it will be to be able to go back to the high school and get that building as safe and secure as the Elementary and the Middle School buildings are.” said Mrs. French

David Fenlong, President of the Board of Education then spoke to the Board explaining that there were four options the Board had to think about and decide on.

“The fourth option is of course the one Lauren said is most feasible and makes the most sense, but all four are on the table. She went into some detail on the fourth one, if you want to discuss the other three in more detail we can.” said Mr. Fenlong, as he went over the other three options.

“Rebidding this, just as she spoke, will come out worse. They will not rebid like they did the first time. If we rebid this I think we will fall back even further.

“Better prices offers the same exact scenario and finally to cancel the project entirely I think would be a foolish mistake. I think we need to preserve what we've started and everything gathered here completes the security and safety aspects that we started. Again if anyone would like to discuss options one through three or four further we can.” said President Fenlong.

Board member Nick Ormasen stated his opinion on the options presented to the Board of Education.

“I don't seriously want to consider this, but if we were to cancel the project, we would forfeit any additional money from the state and it would go back to the state that was approved for Capital Project?”

Business Manager Carol LaSala replied to Mr. Ormasen's question.

“I don't know that the money would go back, if we did not spend all the money. My concern with that is we already spent money on Phase Two as far as design and things like that. With that project being included, I don't know how we would prove we had those expenses.” said Mrs. LaSala.

“You wouldn't.” replied Board member Dr. William Cartwright.

“If you just trashed it, you would have problems in the future that you are going to have to figure out how to pay for it. Repair the roofing, the asbestos and probably water problems and so forth. They probably won't grant you another building project for five or six years, under the document, someone could come in and say, “why haven't you gotten rid of the asbestos here?” said Dr. Cartwright.

“I think it would also damage our credibility with the community.” said Board member Lisa McGregor.

“If we said to them we're not going to do this after you said its what you want.”

Board member Laurie Roberts posed the question of whether that $1 million dollars mentioned was in place for future projects and if it was in fact there for the capital reserve. Mrs. French confirmed that yes her thinking was correct.

“Hopefully in the future we can get that funding back up.” said Mrs. Roberts.

“That was my concern that if we did not move forward, we've lost not only the momentum on this, but what Dr. Cartwright points out. I think it would be very difficult to go back to the state and say, “we're ready now.” said Mrs. French, as she explained the funding may not be there in the future, as it is now.

“We looked at the cost of steel alone, that was a significant increase from the initial phase to when the tariffs went into place.” said Mrs. French, who explained there is only one firm that does a certain aspect of the construction, there is an 18 month wait. If the District does not stay on top of getting construction done, this could be an issue of things getting completed.

“Using the $1 million dollars that we already have set aside is going to be a matter of educating our community as to why we need to use that now to finish this project.

“I think we also hold out as much possible that is not directly student related. We all benefit from having a safe and secure and locked facility. We all benefit from swipe cards. Looking at the third floor alone, that was going to be an expense of I believe $489,000. We don't need that for office space, that was an easy thing to peel away. Some of the other things we don't want to peel away, so we've taken out everything else that you can take out and still have functioning. You can't have plumbing through floors one and two and not go to floor three. The same thing goes with electricity.” said Mrs. French

“So major construction will be on floors one and two, bridging the building back together and the large part of that is going to be the technology, setting up for second floor secure technology space for what runs the district.” said Mrs. French

“We have people who have turned in bids and they are willing to hold their bids at the level that we would accept through the duration of our project. So that is very nice to hear from them, because they don't have to do, but they are willing to do that.

“The timing is going to be not as pleasant as what we would have liked because now we can't move forward, until we get voter approval. Technically tonight you would have been accepting bids and now, we can't until May and we will take action in June, opposed to April, and that's if it passes.” said Mrs. French

Mr. Ormasen inquired if the district would have to scale back more of the project if the community does not vote to use the $1 million in reserve.

“There's nothing in this really left to remove. When you start taking this apart, the General Contractor number is about $4 million dollars, when you start layering in as I said, the plumbing, the electrical, the mechanical and the technology, that has to be an all or a none. You can't just say you'll do two thirds of the electrical, that's not going to work.

“I personally think, my intent is to run with your support of this project is to run this just like I ran the initial project, that is I will go out and speak to the people. I did 32 presentations for the initial project in 2014. We will speak with our staff, we'll speak with our community and we'll speak with the parents. The focus on this is safety and security of our students. The feedback that we've had on our Safety Resource Officer has been phenomenal. People want their children safe and I think that they will go ahead and say that we'd like our children safe in the high school as well.

This is not going to be an additional burden financially because we are using money that is set aside. It's just to have people understand that in my household the checking account and savings account go back and forth. I have that ability, but in a school I can't just take capital reserve funds and hire a teacher. That's going to be an educational point of view. That's not how people run their homes but that's how you have to run a school budget, so that's going to be a point of education.” said Mrs. French, as she asked the BOE members for their support in this fourth option.

Mr. Fenlong and Dr. Cartwright both explained that there is no wrong doing or mismanagement that caused this to happen with the Capital Project, but rather the 30% increase in tariffs. Mrs. Carol LaSala as well stated that there is a lot of work right now for construction companies so their bids are going to be higher at this time.

The Board of Education discussed what had been presented to them and it was then time to make a decision on the proposed proposition.

BOE member Lisa McGregor made a motion to approve the proposed proposition to be on the budget vote for registered voters of the community to have the ability to vote whether to use the $1 million capital reserve or not. Dr. Cartwright seconded the motion. The motion carried with one abstention.

As the future of the remainder of the Capital Project is up in the air, be sure to get out and vote on Tuesday, May 21, 2019.

Cub Scout Pack 2035 holds inaugural Pinewood Derby

Dan McClelland

Cub scouts show their enthusiasm as the derby cars cross the finish line during the first-ever Gouverneur Cub Scout Pack 2035 Pinewood Derby on Saturday, March 30 in the Gouverneur Community Center. (Rachel Hunter photo)

Cub scouts show their enthusiasm as the derby cars cross the finish line during the first-ever Gouverneur Cub Scout Pack 2035 Pinewood Derby on Saturday, March 30 in the Gouverneur Community Center. (Rachel Hunter photo)

by Rachel Hunter

The first-ever Gouverneur Cub Scout Pack 2035 Pinewood Derby was held on Saturday, March 30 at the Gouverneur Community Center.

The pinewood derby is a racing event for unpowered, unmanned miniature cars. With the help of adults, Scouts build their own cars from wood, usually from kits containing a block of pine wood, plastic wheels, and metal axles.

The first pinewood derby was held on May 15, 1953 at the Scout House in Manhattan Beach, California by Cub Scout Pack 280C (the present Pack 713). The concept was created by the Pack's Cubmaster Don Murphy, and sponsored by the Management Club at North American Aviation. Murphy's son was too young to participate in the popular Soap Box Derby races, so he came up with the idea of racing miniature wood cars. The cars had the same gravity-powered concept as the full-size Soap Box Derby cars, but were much smaller and easier to build.

The pinewood derby had a sensational first year. Murphy and the Management Club of North American Aviation sent out thousands of brochures to anyone who requested more information. The idea spread rapidly, and competitions were held across the country, mainly with recreation departments and nonprofit organizations including the Los Angeles County Department of Recreation. Of all that early enthusiasm, however, only the Boy Scouts of America made it part of an official program. The National Director of Cub Scouting Service, O. W. (Bud) Bennett, wrote Murphy: "We believe you have an excellent idea, and we are most anxious to make your material available to the Cub Scouts of America." Within the year, the Boy Scouts of America adopted the pinewood derby for use in all Cub Scout packs.

In its October 1954 issue, Boys' Life publicized the event and offered plans for the track and a car, which featured "four wheels, four nails, and three blocks of wood." In 1980, the design of the block was changed from a cutout block, consistent with a 1940s style front-engined Indy 500 car, to a rectangular block. The tires were also changed from narrow, hard plastic, to wider "slicks."

The force accelerating a pinewood derby car is gravity; the opposing forces are friction and air drag. Therefore, car modifications are aimed at maximizing the potential energy in the car design and minimizing the air drag and the friction that occurs when the wheel spins on the axle, contacts the axle head or car body, or contacts the track guide rail. Friction due to air drag is a minor, although not insignificant, factor. The wheel tread can be sanded or turned on a lathe and the inner surface of the hub can be tapered to minimize the contact area between the hub and body. Polishing the wheel, especially the inner hub, with a plastic polish can also reduce friction. Often one front wheel is raised slightly so that it does not contact the track and add to the rolling resistance. Axles are filed or turned on a lathe to remove the burr and crimp marks and polished smooth. More extensive modifications involve tapering the axle head and cutting a notch to minimize the wheel-to-axle contact area. Packs can establish additional rules for what, if any, modifications are allowed. In some areas, no changes can be made to the axles or wheels.

A second consideration is the rotational energy stored in the wheels. The pinewood derby car converts gravitational potential energy into translational kinetic energy (speed) plus rotational energy. Heavier wheels have a greater moment of inertia and their spinning takes away energy that would otherwise contribute to the speed of the car. A standard wheel has a mass of 2.6 g, but this can be reduced to as little as 1 g by removing material from the inside of the wheel. A raised wheel can reduce the rotational energy up to one-quarter, but this advantage is less with a bumpy track.

Another consideration is the track itself. A track that is mostly sloping, with little flat at the end, can allow cars with minimal mass in their wheels to shine. However, a track with a steep slope and then a long flat section can penalize such cars due to the quick loss of energy they experience once they have reached the bottom, when all potential energy has been transferred to kinetic and rotational energy. Such cars will take a lead on the downslope, but may be passed by cars with more energy "stored" away as rotational energy on the flat.

A proper lubricant, typically graphite powder, is essential. Wheel alignment is important both to minimize wheel contact with the axle head and body as well as to limit the contact between the wheels and guide rail as the car travels down the track. There are 32 friction causing surfaces on a pinewood derby car. These include the surfaces of all four wheels which touch either the axle, the body or the track and the surfaces of all four axles which touch the wheel. Neglecting to polish and lubricate any of these 32 surfaces will result in degraded performance. The center of mass of a typical car is low and slightly ahead of the rear axle, which helps the car track straight as well as providing a slight advantage due to the additional gravitational potential energy.

Considering all this, the cub scouts in Pack 2035 worked hard to perfect their cars in the weeks leading up the big race, and each scout proudly brought their entry to the pit display area in advance of the race last Saturday afternoon. A crowd of spectators amassed alongside the track area to see the derby cars race. At the announcement of Cubmaster Chris Gates, the Pinewood Derby commenced with the help of many adult volunteers and cub scouts. The Hermon-DeKalb Cub Scout Pack 144 donated their old three-lane pinewood derby track to Cub Scout Pack 2035, which was utilized at the inaugural pinewood derby. The judges deliberated for a few moments after the pinewood derby, and then the award ceremony commenced.

The trophies were created by Cubmaster Gates, and featured a slanted top to display the winning derby car. The trophies were announced as follows: Jax Spicer (First Place Trophy), Mason Hilton (Second Place Trophy), Gregory “Junior” Haines (Third Place Trophy), Eliot Haines (Most Original Trophy), Carter McGill (Most Creative Trophy), Qhuin Langille (Raddest Rod Trophy) Damian Travis (Judge’s Choice Trophy), Nathan Zeller (Slowest Roller Trophy), Abel Halladay (Coolest Paint Job Trophy), Mitchell Romans (Most Outrageous Trophy). Also, from the friends and family competition, Aubree Spicer won the Scouts Choice Trophy, and Pack 2035 Committee Member Linda Gilbo of Richville won the Best of Show Award.

The cub scouts also received patches for their participation in the pinewood derby.

Great applause sounded at the announcement of all the trophy winners. Good sportsmanship was displayed throughout the entire event.

Much gratitude was extended to the Town of Gouverneur and the Village of Gouverneur for allowing Cub Scout Pack 2035 to utilize the Halford Brothers Community Room at the Gouverneur Community Center for this event, and special appreciation was given to Dave Spilman, Jr. of Gouverneur for all of his assistance throughout the event.

The cub scouts enjoyed pizza and refreshments at the conclusion of the pinewood derby, and had the opportunity to get their pictures taken with their winning trophies and derby cars. Many impromptu derby races were held following the event.

All participants in the Gouverneur Cub Scout Pack 2035 Pinewood Derby qualified to participate in the district pinewood derby, which is to be held on Saturday, April 6 in Hermon.

Fiery blaze rips through Welch Road home

Dan McClelland

Fiery blaze consuming the Welch Road home in the Town of Gouverneur. The Gouverneur Fire Department determined it a total loss. (photo provided)

Fiery blaze consuming the Welch Road home in the Town of Gouverneur. The Gouverneur Fire Department determined it a total loss. (photo provided)

By Rachel Hunter

A family of seven in Gouverneur lost their home and everything they own when a fiery blaze ripped through their Welch Road home on Thursday, March 7, leaving nothing more than an empty charred shell of a house.

The Gouverneur Fire Department was dispatched to a reported house fire at Roberts’ Welch Road Farm, 88 Welch Road in the Town of Gouverneur. The property is owned by Jeremy Roberts and Kimberly Worden who made their home there with their five young children.

GFD’s 11-1 reported on scene with a heavy fire showing on sides B and C of the structure. The Gouverneur firefighters worked for hours to suppress the fire as the wind played a major factor in the spread of the fire throughout the structure. Unfortunately, even with all the efforts of the firefighters, the dwelling is a total loss and the homeowners lost three dogs. There were no injuries reported, as the family was not home at the time of the fire.

The Gouverneur Fire Department responded with 11-1, 11-2, Engine 17, ETA-101, Truck 2, Rescue 4, TA-6, R-7, R-75 and 20 members. Gouverneur Rescue brought one ambulance. Assisting with mutual aid for water supply were the following: Richville Fire (draft and tanker to the scene), Oxbow Fire (two tankers to the scene), and Heuvelton (super tanker to the scene).

Insurance on the house is very limited and will not be enough to allow the family to rebuild their home.

A GoFundMe page “Roberts Family House Fire” has been established to help them family at their time of need.

“Our team is trying to raise money to help this beloved family regain a sense of hope and pride and help them rebuild their farmhouse,” the GoFundMe page says. “They need the resources to acquire the necessities of food and clothing as well as the personal strength and perseverance to face the daunting journey ahead of rebuilding not only their home but their sense of family security as well. There is a long journey ahead for the Roberts family. With your and our entire community's help we can begin working on supplying this family the financial ability to rebuild their farmhouse and help with necessary items to help get them on their feet again. We all hope the Roberts' Welch Road Farm can rebuild their country farmhouse filled with love, laughter and memories.”

As of press time on Tuesday, a little over $3,000 of the $30,000 goal had been raised. For more information on how to donate, visit the following website: gofundme.com/xh8an-roberts-family-house-fire.

Gouverneur business owner purchases iconic Jumbo’s Diner

Dan McClelland

by Rachel Hunter

The Town of Gouverneur has conditionally accepted a purchase offer from Clark Porter of Gouverneur for 1, 3, 5 and 7 East Main Street in Gouverneur at the price of $30,000, payable upon passing the deed. This includes the vacant commercial properties from the former Jumbo’s Diner at the corner of Clinton and East Main Street to the former Deep Down Divers Shop. The Town of Gouverneur board unanimously approved Town Supervisor Dave Spilman, Jr. to sign the purchase offer, contingent upon legal counsel approval.

As was earlier reported, The Town of Gouverneur purchased the property, which was last owned by former Gouverneur resident Tammy Groves, after being the only bidder at a foreclosure auction in December 2018. Groves filed for bankruptcy in 2017, and she owed $76,448 on the property, including roughly $49,000 that remained on a $50,000 micro- enterprise loan she received. The Town of Gouverneur purchased the building to protect their assets, and subsequently put it up for sale.

Town of Gouverneur Supervisor Dave Spilman, Jr. reported at the March 12 town board meeting there was interest from two parties, but the other potential buyer backed out on March 5. “I am hoping we can make Mr. Clark Porter the new owner of the Jumbo’s building,” he said. “I have been talking with him since before we took the building back. He was interested in purchasing the building from Mrs. Groves, but unfortunately when she was in bankruptcy nothing could happen till we came to this point. I told him I would pass along the big word that he hit me with. He said he was going to start with the gentrification process on the building as soon we can get all the legal stuff done... It’s a word that he learned from all the stuff he does in Potsdam, and it does refer to the historical renovation of these types of buildings.”

Supervisor Spilman also added that while Mr. Porter’s plans for the building are not definite, he is considering using the ground level as retail space on the ground floor, and putting apartments in on the second floor. “There will be more news to come on that,” Supervisor Spilman said.

The Town of Gouverneur board agreed to reconvene the regular monthly board meeting on Wednesday, March 13 to read the purchase offer and take preliminary action. During that meeting, Supervisor Spilman informed all gathered in the town offices building that the purchase offer was contingent upon the seller (the Town of Gouverneur) being willing to pay all real estate taxes assessed against premises up to and including 2020 town and county taxes, contingent on the sale and including all furniture, furnishings, equipment presently located in the premise, and contingent on the allocation of purchase price of real property and furniture, furnishings, equipment to the satisfaction of the court system. It was at this meeting that the Town of Gouverneur board unanimously approved Town Supervisor Dave Spilman, Jr. to sign the purchase offer, contingent upon legal counsel.

On Thursday, March 14 Supervisor Spilman met with Town Attorney Henry Leader of Case & Leader Law Firm, LLP in Gouverneur to sign the purchase agreement. This fact was made public knowledge at the March 19 meeting of the Village of Gouverneur board of Trustees.

Village of Gouverneur Mayor Ron McDougall said the following: “On Thursday, while the ink was still wet, he was up on the roof…” Town of Gouverneur Supervisor Dave Spilman, Jr. the commented: “Yes, he was up on the roof making temporary fixes to it. He got it slowed down I believe from 50 gallons per hour to 1 gallon per day.”

At the village board meeting, the trustees decided to use their shared services agreement in exchange for the unpaid water/sewer bill in the amount of $4,246.08. For an explanation on this matter, Mayor McDougall turned to the village’s legal counsel, Henry Leader of Case & Leader, LLP in Gouverneur.

“It is very important and the Town has worked very, very hard to preserve a landmark known as Jumbo’s Diner,” Attorney Leader said. “They are working diligently to get the property back on the tax rolls. As for the water/sewer bills, the Village would like to cooperate and forgive that bill but they are unable to. A municipality cannot make a gift. However, it appears the Town has provided several days of assistance for snow removal, use of equipment, and Internet service, so there can be consideration, not in the form of monetary consideration, but in the form of equal exchange of services. And that would allow the Village to consider the water/sewer bill satisfied. It will be an accounting thing to.”

Deputy Mayor Charles Newvine then asked, “To put it in layman’s terms?” “You can’t forgive it, but you can trade,” Attorney Leader replied.

Continuing the discussion on the properties’ water/sewer, Mayor McDougall said “He has seven units presently. It’s actually one deed. We are proposing that when he starts he be billed for one sewer unit, until he gets up and running and he when he puts his first business in there, he’ll still have one, but when he gets his second business in there, he’ll have the second sewer unit, etc., and of course with the water meter for all seven that makes that a moot issue, but we have to make a motion to accommodate this.”

The motion was made by Deputy Mayor Charles Newvine, seconded by Trustee Richard Wood. Mayor McDougall asked if there was any more discussion. Trustee Troy Besaw asked, “We aren’t setting a precedence by doing this?” “I don’t think we are,” Mayor McDougall said. “You are well within your rights,” Attorney Leader said.

“The only thing I ask, because I am sure Clark will cooperate, is we ensure that when he does get another unit on that he is charged on the sewer bill in a timely fashion and that it follows the local law as far as it should be restaurant or diner, it’s one and a half units, whatever the local law reads. Just to ensure that Clark cooperates with us, which I am sure he will be, so that when he adds another unit on, it is billed properly.”

Mayor McDougall then said the following: “Along those lines, we are working on (even though it is in private property now), the Main Street grants, downtown grants do qualify. We’ve been working very hard. We talked to Bernier & Carr about that, and that grant allocation has not come out yet, but when it does we will be getting on that, in particular for that property.”

“To ensure that the planning and zoning is not followed strictly, but followed just like it would be anyone else, that we are not doing anything different than what should be allowed, and that it is going through the proper channels, planning and zoning as far as what businesses can be there, what apartments can be there… If there are apartments there, there would be more parking issues which would make it more difficult for us to clean the municipal parking lot. So there’s a lot of things. This is going to need attention, so that we don’t let it fall through the cracks like some other things have.”

Mayor McDougall then commented, “Along those lines, we were quite pleased when the town went to the foreclosure sale, and was able to get that, and at least get it in to what I perceive to be a re-developer.”

The village board then approved the motion regarding the water/sewer billing at the properties in question.

The next meeting of the Town of Gouverneur board is to be held on Tuesday, April 9 at 6 p.m. in the town offices building. The next regular monthly meeting of the Village of Gouverneur Board of Trustees is to be held on April 16 at 7 p.m. in the municipal courtroom.

Village of Gouverneur Republicans nominate incumbents

Dan McClelland

by Rachel Hunter

The Village of Gouverneur Republicans nominated Incumbents Richard Wood of Gouverneur and Shelly Simons-Washburn of Gouverneur for village trustee positions and Ronald McDougall of Gouverneur for the village mayor position at the Village of Gouverneur Republican Party Caucus on Saturday, March 16 in the municipal courtroom. Also at the caucus to address the crowd was Brooks Bigwarfe of Potsdam who is a candidate for St. Lawrence County Sheriff. (Rachel Hunter photo)

The Village of Gouverneur Republicans nominated Incumbents Richard Wood of Gouverneur and Shelly Simons-Washburn of Gouverneur for village trustee positions and Ronald McDougall of Gouverneur for the village mayor position at the Village of Gouverneur Republican Party Caucus on Saturday, March 16 in the municipal courtroom. Also at the caucus to address the crowd was Brooks Bigwarfe of Potsdam who is a candidate for St. Lawrence County Sheriff. (Rachel Hunter photo)

The Village of Gouverneur Republican Party Caucus was held on Saturday, March 16 at the municipal courtroom to nominate candidates for village offices to be elected during the General Election on Tuesday, November 5. All duly enrolled members of the Republican Party in the Village of Gouverneur were eligible to participate.

The caucus was called to order at 9:15 a.m. by Gouverneur Republican Committee Chairman Eldon Conklin who was later sworn in as caucus chairman alongside Bonnie Reed as caucus secretary by Attorney Henry Leader of Gouverneur. Also sworn in were tellers for the caucus.

There were 82 eligible voters and six guests in attendance (including Village of Gouverneur Mayor Ronald McDougall) for a total of 88 in attendance.

The public notice was read, and Chairman Conklin said it had been posted at the St. Lawrence County Board of Elections, Village Office, Town Office, Save-A-Lot, Newvine’s NAPA Auto Parts, Kinney Drugs (both stores on Main St. and Clinton St.), 1 E. Main Street, Gouverneur Community Center, Northland Veterinary and Washburn’s General Store.

Nominations were opened for village mayor. Incumbent Ronald McDougall of Gouverneur received the first nomination, and George Harder of Gouverneur received the second. Former Village of Gouverneur Mayor Dorothy Vorce then said the following: “I am sure there are a lot of new Republicans here today that don’t know George. I am not going to make a speech, but I am going to tell you about George, and it will take me about three minutes.

“George is very well qualified… He served for many years on the planning board. He was a member of the board of trustees. He went to live in Clayton and he was gone a couple years. He got so lonesome for all you folks in Gouverneur that he decided to come back, and he is here now. He was my deputy mayor when you folks gave me the honor of serving as your mayor. He is very, very well aware of all the departments in the village and how they function as well as the layout of the village, etc. He is very knowledgeable. He listens to complaints. He doesn’t always agree, but I found that out the hard way. If he is not right, he is not afraid to say he is not right, and if he is right, he doesn’t say, “I told you so.” He is very accessible and a very good problem solver. George will be a hands-on mayor. He wants to work together with the town and the village boards to improve Gouverneur. He wants to create a village that will attract businesses, provide safety and security for the residents, and make Gouverneur a community to be proud of.

“This has nothing to do with George… I think this is wonderful that all these Republicans are out today. This is terrific, but there is one Republican who has always attended every caucus, and he is not here and that is Bill Scozzafava. And I would just like to say that his spirit here today is here with us, and that he is proud of all the Republicans… and he would like to see a Republican, I know, on the ticket.”

Chairman Conklin then asked if there were any more nominations for mayor, and upon hearing none, closed the nominations and the voting began. The ballots were passed out, and all eligible voters cast their ballots. The tellers counted the vote, and the final tally was Ronald McDougall (57) and George Harder (25). Applause filled the room as the incumbent, Ronald McDougall, won the nomination. “Do you accept this nomination, Mr. McDougall?” asked Chairman Conklin. “Yes, I do,” Mayor McDougall said as he extended appreciation to all those in attendance. All then gave Mayor McDougall another round of applause.

Nominations then opened for the two village trustee seats. Nominations were received for Rick Wood, Scott Hudson, and Shelly Simons-Washburn. The nominations were closed, and the voting commenced via the ballot process once again. Once all votes were casted, the tellers counted the votes and Chairman announced the tallies as follows Shelly Simons-Washburn (62), Rick Wood (55), and Scott Hudson (33). Chairman Conklin asked Mr. Wood and Mrs. Simons-Washburn if they accepted the nomination. Both accepted, and extended their appreciation to the Gouverneur Republicans for their support.

Chairman Conklin then welcomed St. Lawrence County Undersheriff Brooks Bigwarfe, candidate for St. Lawrence County Sheriff, to talk about his background, experience, and platform.

Brooks was born and raised in St. Lawrence County, and has been serving the county for the past 32 years at the SLC Sheriff’s Office. He started his career in 1987 as a Deputy working patrol for seven years before being promoted to Juvenile Officer giving him the opportunity to go into schools and talk with students about the Drug Abuse Resistance Education Program (DARE). During that time he became a K9 Officer and worked for many years with his dog “Bo” tracking and apprehending criminals, finding lost children and adults, and working with drug interdiction.

As his career continued he was promoted to Detective Sergeant assigned to the Investigative Unit. There he worked on numerous major crimes including homicides, robberies, and sexual abuse crimes. One of the greatest accomplishments of his career was being one of the Lead Investigators in the Amish kidnapping case where he along with his team captured, arrested, and prosecuted two of the most dangerous criminals our communities had ever seen. For this he was invited to Washington D.C. and awarded the Missing and Exploited Children Law Enforcement Heroes Award for dedication to the protection of children and exemplary performance of duty.

In 2016, Brooks was promoted to Undersheriff where he began a different phase of his law enforcement career. He incorporated regional training with all the law enforcement agencies of the County to include the local police departments, Border Patrol, Rangers, ICE/Homeland Security, Park Police, and State Police. He enacted new policies and procedures, has written and supervised numerous grants for the Sheriff’s Office to increase revenue, and has assisted the Sheriff with the budget process. Throughout his career, Brooks has worked hard to make St. Lawrence County a safer place to live – and hopes to continue on that journey as St. Lawrence County Sheriff in 2020.

“Going forward, I have been endorsed by the executive committee of the Republicans and by the Conservative Party also. I have been out there, pounding on doors for the last six weeks. I’ve met a lot of people in this fine North Country weather,” he said. “I’m not going to change much of what Sheriff Kevin Wells has. He is one of the best guys you will ever meet. I am not saying that because his mother is here, it is the truth. I know I am in Gouverneur, and this is his base and everybody knows him. He is one great guy. He really is. He is truly a great guy that likes people, cares about people… He has been my mentor, and he has been helping me so much with my campaign every day and every night. I bounce a lot of questions off him.”

Bigwarfe then focused on the issues, outlining them one at a time.

Opioid Crisis: Bigwarfe hopes to continue the fight and expand efforts to combat the opioid and methamphetamine addiction crisis facing many families and communities in St. Lawrence County. Not only arresting offenders who make our communities unsafe, but also assisting other agencies on treatment and educational solutions to the drug problem.

“Opioid addiction is rampant in the county,” he said. “It’s not an Ogdensburg problem. Its not a Massena problem. It’s a St. Lawrence County problem. We’ve got people coming up from Philadelphia, Penn. We have people coming up from New Jersey, Syracuse, Rochester coming into our communities and bringing the awful, nasty drugs. I know the Sheriff is big on this. I have been right there beside him. I want to increase our investigations on this… The opioid crisis is something I am going to tackle.”

Bigwarfe also talked about the School Safety Initiative he created that would expand on the school safety initiative that began two years ago. Under this plan, Deputies have a presence in schools including attending school events. Working with school superintendents and administrators, the Sheriff’s Office will assist with school safety including policy and procedures, training, mock drills, and other safety measures determined to make our learning institutions in this County a safe place for students and staff.

“We’ll go into all the schools in the county with our officers,” he said. “Even when they are on patrol, I want them stopping in for many reasons. Number 1, they should know the schools, know the layout in case, God forbid, something happens. They’ll know all the egresses, the entrances. They’ll know how to get in their and keep everyone safe. It is good to have police officers get into schools and for the kids to see police officers to know that we are their friends. We work a lot of bad situations, but we are out their helping the communities. So, we want police officers there. And we don’t just want them there during the school day. I want them to go to functions like sporting events, plays… any of those things, I want officers in there at no cost to the taxpayers. We do it during our shifts. I know they are talking about getting some patrols into the schools. We’ll support that if we can. We have to work through legislative body. We’re trying to work through that, and hopefully get into some schools this fall. That School Safety Initiative is something that we have been pushing, and I am going to push it if I become Sheriff event more.”

Bigwarfe also said he will make the SLC Sheriff’s Office be fiscally responsible, and to seek grants and find creative ways to keep costs down. “I pretty much with the Sheriff run our budget. It’s an $11 million budget. We have the jail, civil department, and the criminal division. It adds up to about $11 million. I’ve been involved in the budget processes. We keep our costs down, and we do it several ways. Number one, getting grants. I have been the grant writer for the last three years. I have brought in probably $300,000 or $400,000 into the Sheriff’s Department that saved the county money, whether it be for boat patrol, snowmobile patrol. We get a grant called the Stonegarden Grant which brings about $200,000 that puts boots on the ground that helps give us more patrols. You can be 90 miles in, we can drive from this grant all the way through the county. That’s a federal grant. Obviously we want more grants. We get grants from (NYS Senator) Patty Ritchie for cars, for overtime, for drug asset money. There’s ways to get revenues that keep our cost down. I will continue to do that… and get the most bang for our buck. We’ll do due diligence to keep that budget in check.”

Bigwarfe also promised to keep the St. Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office’s open-door policy. “Kevin has an open-door policy. I see it every day. People come in, knock on the door, and he tells them to come in, and sit down, and he says, “What’s your issue? What’s your problem?” That will continue. That’s a great thing for the Sheriff that knows that county, knows the people. When they can walk in or call and make an appointment… When they have a concern, he talks to them. That will continue. That is a great policy to have as a Sheriff.”

Bigwarfe also said he wants to expand the K-9 Unit. “This one is dear to my heart,” he said. “I was a K-9 unit officer for 10 years. We have one K-9 at our department right now that is pretty much for drug extradition or interjection. I want to get a dog in there that is going to track people if they get lost, kids if they get lost, Alzheimer’s patients if they get lost, or criminals that we lose from the scene like the bank robbery. I want to get a K-9 unit that basically all he does is track. I can do that for a cost of probably $5,000. I can raise $5,000 in donations. It is not going to cost anyone any money. That, going forward, is going to be one of my prime issues. This is a countywide thing that helps everyone.”

In conclusion, Bigwarfe said the following: “If I am elected Sheriff I will continue to work for the citizens like I have been doing for the last 32 years.”

There was a small question and answer period, followed by a round of rousing applause, and then Chairman Conklin took the floor.

All were encouraged to sign the petitions for the following: two delegates for the 4th Judicial District – 117th (Henry Leader of Gouverneur and Emery Webb of Edwards), St. Lawrence County Sheriff (Brooks Bigwarfe of Potsdam), Town of Gouverneur Supervisor (David L. Spilman, Jr. of Gouverneur), St. Lawrence County Clerk (Sandra Santamoor of Canton), NYS Rep State Committee – 117th Assembly (Karen Simmons of Fowler and Emery Webb of Edwards), Town of Gouverneur Councilman (Jay Bowhall of Gouverneur), Town of Gouverneur Councilwoman (Jaimee McQuade of Gouverneur), and Town of Gouverneur Justice (Stanley Young of Gouverneur).

The Village of Gouverneur Republican Caucus was then adjourned by the Village of Gouverneur Republicans.

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!