St. Lawrence County

Julia Botero / WRVO

If you drive into downtown Watertown now, the first thing you won't see is Mercy Hospital.

“It look like a bomb went off. Ground zero," says Watertown resident Sean Johnson. He was walking by the debris that used to be Mercy Hospital. Developers plan to turn the site into a mixed use building with apartments on top and retail and commercial space below.

“That's great. Reuse the property to something like that. It will help Watertown get back on track and get business downtown," said Johnson.

 

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. 

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

A St. Lawrence County couple, accused of kidnapping two Amish sisters, has been indicted on federal child sexual exploitation and child pornography charges. The indictment shows that the pair is also accused of exploitation of a third child.

Twenty-five-year-old Nicole Vaisey and 39-year-old Stephen Howells, Jr. already face state charges for allegedly kidnapping the sisters from their rural family farm stand in St. Lawrence County last month. A five-count federal indictment handed down this week also accuses the couple of sexual exploitation of another girl starting in 2012.  

St. Lawrence County Sheriff's Office

More charges are expected this week against a St. Lawrence County couple who allegedly kidnapped two Amish girls.

Police gathered potential evidence from the home of Stephen Howells II and Nicole Vaisey of Hermon Sunday. The pair was arrested Friday night on charges of first-degree kidnapping with intent to harm two Amish girls, ages 6 and 12.

St. Lawrence County Sheriff's Office

Saturday, 10 a.m. update:

Police provided a few more details on the two people arrested and charged with kidnapping two Amish girls Wednesday. 

Stephen M. Howells II, 39, and Nicole F. Vaisey, 25, were arrested Friday and were charged with first-degree kidnapping and are currently being held at the St. Lawrence County jail without bail.

During a Saturday morning news conference, St. Lawrence County Sheriff Kevin Wells said, "the motive was to take these girls from their home and to victimize these girls."

St. Lawrence County Sheriff

Update: 

12-year-old Fannie Miller and her 6-year-old sister Delila were found safe and returned home Thursday night. According to WWNY, the girls were dropped off by two men in Richville, about 15 miles from where they were abducted Wednesday evening. When they were dropped off, they were told to stay where they were. Instead, the girls ran to a nearby home and asked for help. The girls were then returned home. 

Brian Caird

Most North Country rivers and streams appear to be cresting or starting to recede after days of rising water. 

A combination of rain and melting snow caused several rivers and creeks to flood in upstate New York, particularly in the North Country and Mohawk Valley. Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued a state of emergency for six New York counties this week due to flooding -- including Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence Counties.

The Black River, which flows right through Watertown, was above flood stage beginning Monday and closed roads and bridges because of high water.

Green party voters may get primary race in 21st

Feb 21, 2014

It's been just about a week since the Democratic Party announced documentary filmmaker Aaron Woolf as its candidate for the 21st District congressional seat Bill Owens currently holds, but Woolf has yet to make a public appearance or return emails since then. A brief statement last week said an official campaign announcement would be made "in the coming days."

Matt Lavin/flickr

An infestation of True Armyworms was identified last week in a hay field in central St. Lawrence County, prompting growers to take an extra look at their grass and corn fields.

Sarah Harris/Innovation Trail

St. Lawrence County may be losing population, but there's one group that keeps growing: Old Order Amish. They've moved to northern New York because of cheap, available farmland. But in order to maintain their lifestyle, the Amish need a market for the milk the produce. So they've turned to an unlikely partner: dairy co-op Agri-Mark. 

Drive down some roads in the county, and it’s like stepping back in time. Traffic comes from buggies, not cars. Children in dark clothes and straw hats and bonnets play in neatly kept farm yards.

Assembly passes caps to lower taxes on farmers

Jun 19, 2013

The New York State Assembly passed a bill Tuesday that will cap agricultural land assessment increases at two percent a year.

Previously, agricultural property tax assessments were capped at 10 percent. But in just 15 years, property taxes doubled for family farms.

The New York State Department of  Agriculture is urging horse owners to have their animals vaccinated against Eastern Equine Encephalitis and the West Nile virus.

Northern New York crash kills six

Jul 20, 2012
Joanna Richards / WRVO

Six people died Thursday in a crash with a tractor-trailer on Route 11 in the town of Antwerp, in Jefferson County.