Watertown

6:14am

Fri June 13, 2014
Politics

Doheny, Stefanik debate local and national issues

Elise Stefanik and Matt Doheny during a debate on WWNY.
WWNY-TV

The two candidates vying for the Republican Party's nod in the 21st Congressional District showed a lot of similarities during an hour-long primary debate held Thursday in Watertown. The debate between Matt Doheny and Elise Stefanik was broadcast on WWNY in Watertown and North Country Public Radio and public television.

Both candidates want to repeal the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, and repair the medical care system for veterans.

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6:39am

Thu March 20, 2014
Regional Coverage

Schumer vows to fight troop reduction at Fort Drum

Sen. Charles Schumer says he will use his politial power to protect Fort Drum from further cuts.
David Sommerstein NCPR

New York Sen. Chuck Schumer says he’s not afraid to use his political might to protect Fort Drum from cuts to the military budget. Schumer held a press conference at Watertown City Hall Wednesday as the Pentagon prepares to axe up to 100,000 Army troops.

The possibility of an Army downsizing to 1940s levels is fraying nerves in military communities nationwide. But on Monday, concern deepened. The Army circulated a sort of worst-case scenario report – and it included assessing the loss of nearly 90 percent of the troops stationed at Fort Drum.

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8:08am

Thu March 13, 2014
Politics

North Country Congressional candidate Aaron Woolf speaks on the issues

Aaron Woolf, Democratic candidate for the 21st Congressional District
NYS Democratic Party

The endorsed Democratic candidate for Bill Owens' seat in Congress finally broke his media silence Wednesday, speaking with several North Country media outlets. Aaron Woolf spoke with North Country Public Radio's David Sommerstein on a range of issues, from gun control and health care to why a political rookie wants to represent the region. Democratic county chairs chose Woolf to run a month ago, but he had declined interviews until now.

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8:34am

Sat March 8, 2014
Performing Arts and Culture

Audio postcard: Sackets Harbor choral group rehearses

Music Director Richard Probert conducts the Sackets Harbor Vocal Arts Ensemble during a rehearsal at Trinity Episcopal Church, in Watertown.
Credit Joanna Richards / WRVO

The Sackets Harbor Vocal Arts Ensemble is preparing for a spring concert in Watertown. Joanna Richards dropped by the group’s second rehearsal to learn about choral music, and have a listen.

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6:49am

Thu March 6, 2014
Regional Coverage

In projects big and small, Watertown’s downtown reviving – but some say city government lacks vision

The formerly vacant and crumbling Woolworth building in downtown Watertown will soon host apartments and commercial space.
Credit Joanna Richards

As with many small cities, Watertown’s downtown has been decaying for years, with boarded-up buildings and businesses dwindling.

Now, a handful of big projects are reviving the historical structures at the center of town, and some new small businesses are thriving. But some say the city could be doing more to encourage growth.

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7:49am

Mon March 3, 2014
Regional Coverage

Watertown airport switching flights from Chicago to Philly as airlines merge

Passengers wait for a 7 a.m. flight to Chicago at the Watertown International Airport.
Joanna Richards WRVO

The Watertown airport has been much busier since it started offering direct air service to Chicago rather than Albany just over two years ago. Now, the merger between American Airlines and U.S. Airways is causing a switch in destination again.

Direct flights to Philadelphia will replace those to Chicago beginning May 8.

A regional carrier for American Airlines now provides the Chicago service. American merged with U.S. Airways in December. Philadelphia, a hub for U.S. Airways, is closer, and therefore a cheaper major hub for the airline to get to from Watertown.

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6:35am

Thu February 27, 2014
Regional Coverage

Ft. Drum may fare better than other bases, but cuts still likely

A training exercise at Fort Drum in August 2012 simulates the response to a helicopter crash.
Joanna Richards WRVO

Since Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel detailed his proposal for deep military cutbacks Monday, officials in Watertown have been trying to divine what that could mean for Fort Drum. They believe the Army post is well-positioned – but that doesn’t mean it won’t take a hit.

The military is already in downsizing mode as the war in Afghanistan winds down. But Hagel’s plan calls for deeper cuts, including shrinking the Army to its smallest size since before World War II.

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6:07pm

Tue January 14, 2014
The Upstate Economy

Buyout could mean growth for Watertown employer Stream

Convergys is buying out Stream Global Services in an $820 million deal.

There have been a lot of questions in the wake of an announcement that the Stream Global Services Watertown call center will be sold. The company that’s buying it says if anything, the sale should make workers optimistic.

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6:24pm

Mon January 13, 2014
Health

Clinic taking steps toward financial health

The North Country Family Health Center - formerly the North Country Children's Clinic - is restructuring to ensure long-term financial stability.
Credit Joanna Richards

A clinic in Watertown that serves many needy children is taking steps toward better financial health after nearly closing abruptly in October.

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8:08am

Fri January 10, 2014
Regional Coverage

Watertown Stream call center's parent company selling to rival

The Stream Global Services call center in Watertown will change hands when its parent company is bought by a rival, according to Reuters. It’s not clear what effect that might have on the 700 employees who work there.

Don Alexander heads the Jefferson County Industrial Development Agency. He says Stream’s significance to the area’s economy can’t be overstated and the company has been a good employer.

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5:00am

Tue December 24, 2013
Regional Coverage

Lights, calm returning after ice storm, but some dangers remain

Jefferson County Legislature Chairwoman Carolyn Fitzpatrick praised emergency responders for keeping people safe during the ice storm during a Sunday afternoon press conference in Watertown.
Joanna Richards

The lights are coming back on in Jefferson County after the ice storm left most residents in the dark for some period over the weekend. National Grid says it expects to restore power to nearly all customers by midnight tonight.

Sixteen-hundred field workers from as far away as New Jersey and the Ohio Valley are helping to make that happen. Despite the progress, the utility says some customers could be in the dark through Christmas.

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12:31am

Mon December 23, 2013
Regional Coverage

North Country scraping its way out of blanket of ice

Power lines downed by icy tree limbs coiled on the frozen roadways all over Watertown Sunday.
Joanna Richards

1:03am

Mon December 16, 2013
Regional Coverage

Counseling service latest Watertown health care provider to get a lifeline

The Family Counseling Service is the second Watertown health care nonprofit to get a financial bailout in recent months.
Credit Joanna Richards

The North Country Family Health Center, in Watertown, is still working to gain long-term financial stability after nearly closing in October. Now, another Watertown health care provider is getting a bailout to stay afloat. This time, it’s Family Counseling Service of Northern New York. 

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8:12pm

Thu December 12, 2013
Regional Coverage

Ski season gets underway

Tim McAtee, owner of Dry Hill Ski Area in Watertown, says an early snowfall like this year's can get his business season off to a strong start.
Joanna Richards

The winter sports season is underway in the north country. Thanks to the pre-Thanksgiving snowstorm, some skiers in Jefferson County got an early start this year. 

A snowboarder twists and slides to a stop at Dry Hill Ski Area in Watertown. He unclips his boots and dashes into the clubhouse to warm up.

Josh Askins and a friend cozy up to the big stone fire pit.  “We were snowboarding, then we came inside to sit next to the fire. It smells really nice,” he says.

Askins teaches snowboarding lessons here.

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10:11pm

Thu December 5, 2013
Regional Coverage

Work begins on Watertown's Woolworth building

Work begins on the Woolworth building in Watertown's Public Square.
Joanna Richards

Work has begun to revive a long-vacant eyesore at the center of downtown Watertown.

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3:29am

Sun December 1, 2013
Regional Coverage

Soldiers pitch in to help needy celebrate Christmas

Fort Drum soldiers take a break after carrying and unpacking boxes full of Christmas decorations at the Watertown Urban Mission.
Credit Joanna Richards

The Watertown Urban Mission is busy around the holidays. Along with running its regular programs like the food pantry and thrift store, it also distributes warm winter coats and Thanksgiving turkeys, puts on a craft fair, and holds a sale of Christmas items. Fortunately, it's gotten some help from a small army of volunteers – literally.

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1:00am

Fri November 29, 2013
Regional Coverage

Black Friday alternative at Watertown craft sale

Drew Mangione, director of development for the Watertown Urban Mission, stands in front of a capital campaign sign during the nonprofit's busy holiday season.
Joanna Richards WRVO

On Black Friday, people cram into stores, treating shopping like a full-contact sport. Others hold off for a calmer experience in front of their computer screens on Cyber Monday. But some people still want a fun, communal holiday shopping experience – minus the chaos.

Watertown's annual holiday craft fair is a good option for less competitive shoppers, or people searching for a few unique items. This Sunday, two floors of the Dulles State Office Building will fill with local vendors.

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11:08pm

Tue November 19, 2013
The Upstate Economy

Work begins soon to bring Watertown landmark back to life

An old doorway tells the Woolworth building's history.
Joanna Richards

The state of Watertown's historic Woolworth building tells you a lot about the health of the city. And for years, the message hasn't been good. But the vacant eyesore is on track to re-emerge as evidence of the downtown's steady improvement.   

If you put a nose to the building's front window, you can see the story of decline. A big vault door surrounded by moldy clothing shows how a grand bank lobby gave way to a junk shop. And even that business is long gone. Water drips from the ceiling, pooling onto a mess of old merchandise on the floor.

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7:36pm

Wed November 13, 2013
The Upstate Economy

Jefferson County entrepreneurs will have harder time finding startup funds

Business startup loans will be harder to come by in Jefferson County, as the Industrial Development Agency's micro-enterprise loan fund dries up.
JCIDA

Entrepreneurs in Jefferson County are going to have a harder time finding startup money, now that a loan fund meant to help them is running low. That's good news and bad news.

Here's the bad news: The Industrial Development Agency's micro-enterprise loan fund is down to about $31,000. That means the next successful applicant is going to drain it dry.

"At some point, someone is going to come to the loan fund for dollars for their business, and we won't have any to lend," says Don Alexander, IDA chief.

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8:40pm

Mon November 11, 2013
Regional Coverage

Winter crows invade Watertown

David Coleman, the Jefferson County Historical Society's caretaker, just installed the rug on the porch - after about 30 schoolchildren marched bird poop into the building during a field trip.
Joanna Richards

Every winter, Alfred Hitchcock's classic horror movie, “The Birds” gets a replay in Watertown. But not on the silver screen. Thousands of crows fly in from the countryside to roost overnight. The city's trying to evict them. 

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4:34am

Wed November 6, 2013
Politics

Watertown City Council: incumbent Macaluso, newcomer Jennings win seats in four-way contest

Teresa Macaluso, left, says goodbye to her final guests - her mother and sister - after a small election-day party at her home. She retained her seat on City Council.
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. 

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11:40pm

Sun November 3, 2013
Regional Coverage

Watertown council candidates get last word before election day

City Council Candidate Stephen Jennings tells a small audience at the Italian-American Civic Association in Watertown that he wants to get the city involved in improving deteriorating neighborhoods.
Joanna Richards

Watertown's City Council hopefuls got one final chance before tomorrow's election to make their case at a meet-the-candidates event last week. The four opponents advocate different roles for city government. 

The race pits two incumbents who see a limited role for city government against a pair of political newcomers with broader visions for what the council can do to improve residents' lives. 

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8:57pm

Wed October 23, 2013
Environment

Public helps shape state study on health patterns near Air Brake site

Current and former residents of Watertown's north side neighborhood, near the New York Air Brake plant, listen to a presentation about a health study the state Health Department will carry out.
Justin Sorenson, Watertown Daily Times

Earlier this week, a researcher from the state Health Department met with Watertown residents from the neighborhood near the New York Air Brake plant. The Health Department has agreed to study the area’s disease patterns because residents suspect that pollution from the plant has made people sick.

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7:20am

Thu October 17, 2013
Health

Children's Clinic, WIC funded for at least six months

The WIC program serves about 10,000 people from Watertown to Malone.
Joanna Richards/WRVO

Last week was a rough one for the North Country Children's Clinic in Watertown. As the non-profit confronted mounting financial problems, it announced that it had to close. Then, on Thursday, local lawmakers jumped in to keep the center open for at least another month. Now, the clinic says it has secured funding for another six months.

When the North Country Children’s Clinic announced its closure last week, it was really bracing for the worst.

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12:05am

Fri October 11, 2013
Health

UPDATE: North Country Children's Clinic gets last-minute rescue

The North Country Children's Clinic has had a tumultuous week. It announced on Tuesday that it would cease operations Friday, but a last-minute deal with Samaritan Medical Center and the state Department of Health will keep it open for at least the next month.
Credit FDRHPO

A last-minute deal was struck Thursday to rescue a long-standing health care safety net for needy north country children. The North Country Children's Clinic in Watertown announced Tuesday that it would close suddenly, at the end of the week, because of dire financial problems. Now, the clinic has gotten at least another month of life.

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9:01am

Wed September 11, 2013
Politics and Government

Watertown primary decides city council candidates, draws few voters

Four of the six candidates running for Watertown City Council, including the race's two incumbents, are moving on to the general election in November, following Tuesday's primary election.

Incumbent candidates Teresa Macaluso and Jeffrey Smith took the top two spots, with 575 and 454 votes, respectively. Challenger Stephen Jennings also had a strong showing, falling only two votes shy of Smith. Cody Horbacz also moves on to the November election.

Jasmine Borreffine and Rodney LaFave received the lowest totals and were eliminated from the race.

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4:24pm

Fri September 6, 2013
Regional Coverage

Watertown meets primary candidates for City Council

From left, Stephen Jennings, Jasmine Borreggine, Jeff Smith, Teresa Macaluso, Rod LaFave, and Cody Horbacz listen as local media figures ask questions during a City Council primary Meet-the-Candidates event Thursday night at the Italian-American Civic Association in Watertown.
Credit Joanna Richards

Watertown is holding a primary election next Tuesday for two seats on the City Council. The election is non-partisan, so all six candidates are running for the chance to move on to the general election in November. A Meet-the-Candidates event was held Thursday at the city's Italian-American Civic Association.

 

The candidates weighed in on issues ranging from economic development, to fluoride in the water supply, to making Watertown a more welcoming place for dogs during the two-hour question-and-answer session. Several dozen people came to listen.

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8:49am

Thu June 13, 2013
Regional Coverage

Comptroller DiNapoli: Watertown in good fiscal health

State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli discusses Watertown's fiscal health and his office's new financial "stress test" program Wednesday in Watertown.
Credit Joanna Richards

State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli came to Watertown on Wednesday to commend the city's leadership on its sound financial stewardship. DiNapoli's office is rolling out a program of annual fiscal “stress tests” for municipalities and school districts. And the comptroller said Watertown sets an example for prudent financial planning. 

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9:04am

Fri May 17, 2013
Health

Fluoride for all? Why communities do and don't add it to their water

In the last several years, about 140 communities across the country have decided to stop added fluoride to their water supplies. In November, the village of Pulaski's water board voted to no long put fluoride in their water. Earlier this week, the Watertown City Council heard arguments that they should do the same thing. Communities like these worry the element could be harming their citizens, corroding their pipes or feel like it's just a government intrusion. This trend comes despite dentists and the Centers for Disease Control calling fluoridation of water a major public health advancement of the last century. Lorraine Rapp and Linda Lowen, hosts of WRVO's weekly health and wellness show "Take Care" recently spoke about this controversial issue with Dr. William Bowen, a dental health expert and professor at the University of Rochester Medical Center, who has also worked for the Food and Drug Administration and the CDC.

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8:47am

Mon May 6, 2013
Regional Coverage

North Country news giant John Johnson Jr. steps down from Watertown Daily-Times

John Johnson Jr. looks through some clippings from the Watertown Daily Times's archive Wednesday at the newspaper's offices in Watertown.
Credit Joanna Richards

After a long career devoted to documenting – and shaping – North Country life, John Johnson Jr. is far from calling it quits. But he is stepping down from daily oversight at the Watertown Daily Times and its parent company, Johnson Newspapers, helping to make way for a new generation of family leadership.  

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