Jefferson County

Sheriff-elect O'Neill selects undersheriff

Dec 8, 2014
Julia Botero / WRVO

Jefferson County Sheriff-elect Colleen O'Neill has selected retired state trooper Sgt. Brian McDermott as  her new undersheriff. O'Neill made it a point during her campaign that, if elected, she would work to restore the department's tarnished reputation caused by allegations of sexual  harassment in 2012.  

O Neill, who also retired from the New York State Police, says she has known McDermott throughout his career. She says she trusts him and his ability to bring respect back to the sheriff's department through hard work and honesty.

Byrne concedes; Russell wins 116th by a hair

Dec 2, 2014
Joanna Richards / WRVO file photo

Assemblywoman Addie Russell (D-116th) has been re-elected for her fourth term representing the 116th Assembly District also known as the "River District." The district includes parts of Jefferson and Watertown Counties. Her Republican challenger John Byrne conceded the race yesterday afternoon as the last absentee ballots were counted at the state Supreme Court in Watertown. 

Woolworth Building now accepting applications

Nov 14, 2014
Julia Botero

The historic Woolworth Building in downtown Watertown is accepting applications for tenants. After years of talks and renovations, work to transform this architectural landmark from an eyesore to an asset is coming to a close. The apartment building will be ready for tenants to move in by mid-January. 

The Woolworth Building apartments will fill a deep need in the Watertown community - affordable housing for people who need it most. The apartments are spacious, clean and for those moving in this winter, totally new.

Julia Botero / WRVO

A large solar array is in the works in Jefferson County. A Colorado-based developer plans to fill twenty acres of private farmland in Philadelphia with solar panels by this time next year. 

New York state has agreed to pay 20 percent of the $11 million it will cost to build enough solar panels in Philadelphia to produce 4 megawatts of energy. That's enough to power 700 homes without emitting carbon or burning fossil fuels.

Jefferson County

Buildings and Grounds employees in Jefferson County are transforming the county jail's indoor gym into a dorm for inmates. The extra 36 beds help with the jail's constant overcrowding, but more beds are still needed. 

Spike Decker, head of the Jefferson County's buildings and grounds department, got a call this summer from the State Commission of Corrections. They asked if Decker could find a way to add beds and a few toilets to the jail's indoor recreation room. He got to work.

"We are really just converting an open room into a dormitory for our guests," Decker said.

Ag-Extravaganza brings children and farmers together

Sep 27, 2014
Julia Botero

Fourth and fifth graders across Jefferson County jammed the Thompson Park Pavilion in Watertown, N.Y., recently to learn about farming and agriculture. The two-day event called Ag-Extravaganza was hosted by the county's cooperative extension office. 

Students patted sheep, watched an apple press in action, and learned about life on a dairy farm from Jeffersons County's Dairy Princess, Krystle  Burger. They played a game she called "Got Moo?" where students pointed out which things from the grocery store were and were not dairy.

Adams company dominates the runway business

Sep 26, 2014
Julia Botero

A family business based in a small town in Jefferson County has become a leader across the continent in a business you've probably never thought of.   Hi-lite Airfield Solutions cleans and marks airport runways, including  those at JFK, and airports in Dallas, Abu-Dhabi and Quito, Ecuador.  This week, the company based in the town of Adams received a $7 million federal loan to grow even bigger. 

Sarah Crisafulli

The lake effect snow warning for northern New York has been extended until Thursday at 1 p.m. as upwards of four feet of snow has fallen in some spots since Monday. A state of emergency remains in effect for 14 counties, including Oswego, Jefferson and Lewis Counties.

Forecasters predicted snow to fall at a rate of two to three inches an hour Wednesday morning in an area in the Tug Hill area.

North Country scraping its way out of blanket of ice

Dec 23, 2013
Joanna Richards

Updated at 3:40 p.m.

Joanna Richards

Watertown's City Council contest pitted two fiscally conservative incumbents against two political newcomers who want city government to think more broadly about its role. The voters went for one of each.

Small business owner Teresa Macaluso led the pack by a comfortable margin to keep her seat for a second four-year term. She says good budget management will always be her top priority. "Without a budget, a balanced budget, we don't get any of the services that we want, things fall behind, and then before you know it, you're in trouble," she said. 

New work space fills gap for small food producers

Sep 26, 2013
Joanna Richards

A new commercial kitchen in Sackets Harbor is starting to help small food producers grow their businesses. The shared-use facility is the first of its kind in Jefferson County.

In a dining room full of chattering officials from local government, agriculture and economic development, people dug into the first products of the new kitchen: Christine Hoffman's pepper jelly and fruit jam.

Farmers' property taxes rise as land values increase

May 23, 2013
Joanna Richards

Agriculture is one of the most dynamic and innovative economic sectors in New York state. All this week, the Innovation Trail team is reporting on some of the current challenges and opportunities facing upstate farmers.

One of those challenges is property taxes. Agriculture is a land-intensive industry, so rising property taxes can mean much higher costs for farmers. And taxes have been rising, thanks mostly to increases in the production value of farmland.

Researchers Don't 'Wine' About The Cold, Their Grapes Thrive

May 16, 2013
Copyright 2014 North Country Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.northcountrypublicradio.org/.

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Joanna Richards

A Tylerville dairy farm, in Jefferson County, is growing, in part thanks to help from National Grid. The company awarded the farm a grant of $50,000 to increase its access to electricity.  

Joanna Richards

Earlier this month, energy company BP announced its entire renewables division was up for sale. At a recent public meeting on the proposed Cape Vincent Wind Farm, a BP official confirmed the company will push ahead with the development anyway, and local leaders vowed to hire experts to help them fight the project.  

Joanna Richards

After founding his first stores elsewhere, Jefferson County’s Frank Winfield Woolworth bought the building in Watertown where he got his start in the dry goods business, intending to raze it and build one of his own stores. Woolworth died before he could see it, but his company realized his plan and the building’s a central part of the early history of the five-and-dime chain. After years of vacancy, two developers have plans to revive the landmark.

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

Oswego County is the latest local government to push for a repeal of New York state's new gun control laws. Both lawmakers and residents say they are hoping their voices make a difference in Albany.

Joanna Richards/WRVO

BP held a presentation last night in Cape Vincent on the Article X process for siting power projects under New York state law. It was another contentious encounter between local anti-wind power activists and BP representatives over the proposed Cape Vincent Wind Farm.

Three women with the same attorney have filed lawsuits against the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department and members within it for allegations relating to sexual misconduct or harassment.

Village of Chaumont votes against dissolution

Nov 7, 2012

Voters in Chaumont, in Jefferson County, knocked down a ballot measure to dissolve the village, by a vote of 145 to 102.

Cape Vincent wind power meeting message to BP: "Go Home!"

Oct 24, 2012
Joanna Richards / WRVO

Town officials and community members from the Jefferson County towns of Cape Vincent and Lyme gave energy company BP a clear signal at a meeting last night in Cape Vincent: a wind farm isn't welcome there.

Martin Abegglen / Flickr

With a wind project proposed by BP, the town of Cape Vincent recently passed strict new regulations for commercial wind turbines. Then BP began seeking state review under the Article X law. That process could bypass local laws, if they're deemed “unreasonable.” Now the company has called a meeting with town officials, scheduled for Tuesday night. 

For the first time since Fort Drum's expansion after the terrorist attack of 9/11, all of its three brigade combat teams are back home at the post.  After multiple deployments in two wars spanning 11 years, the soldiers' needs for mental health services are unprecedented, and complicated. Fort Drum and the surrounding community are cooperating to respond to those needs.

Amy Tresidder, the Democratic candidate running against Republican state Senator Patty Ritchie, is accusing the incumbent of misusing taxpayer funds to boost her campaign. 

This summer, the synthetic drugs known as bath salts alarmed emergency responders all over upstate New York, including in Jefferson County. In Watertown, they dealt with unstable, violent users several times a day. But lawmakers and law enforcement at the local, state and federal levels have been responding with crackdowns on the drugs. Now, both police and hospital officials in Watertown say cases are down sharply. 

Retail stores offering more food from local producers

Aug 16, 2012

As fast as veggies are popping up in the garden, local foods are showing up on grocery store shelves throughout northern New York.

A new food co-op recently opened in Clayton, in Jefferson County, that showcases locally-sourced vegetables and other products, but big grocery chains like Hannaford and Wegman's are getting in on the trend, too, adding more of the region's products to store shelves.

While at Fort Drum this week talking about biomass fuel, Governor Andrew Cuomo chimed in on another energy issue – one much more likely to strike nerves in the North Country: the state's new Article X law.

Cape Vincent adopts new zoning law on wind farms

Aug 3, 2012
Joanna Richards / WRVO

The Cape Vincent Town Council has voted to adopt a new zoning law that includes strict restrictions on wind turbines.

Community meetings take aim at “bath salts” drugs

Jul 27, 2012

Community meetings are popping up as fast as the bizarre stories surrounding a drug known as bath salts or glass cleaner. The drugs are sold in head shops and convenience stores – they are not typical bath products or window cleaners. Three meetings in Jefferson County this week aimed to address the growing drug problem.

Watertown airport reaches 10,000 passenger milestone

Jul 26, 2012
Joanna Richards/WRVO

Watertown International Airport swapped its 9-seater flights to Albany for 44-seater flights to Chicago back in November. So far, passengers and officials seem to agree it's been a big success.

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