Watertown

5:38am

Mon April 8, 2013
The Upstate Economy

Developers stress urgency in revival of Watertown Woolworth building

Developer Erich Seber gives local officials a tour of the Woolworth building in downtown Watertown.
Credit 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.

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5:40am

Sun March 31, 2013
Arts

North Country Arts Council brings out kids' creativity

An instructor leads a workshop on card making during a day of children's art activities at the North Country Arts Council's studio in Watertown.
Credit Joanna Richards

The North Country Arts Council has been a growing force for cultural activity in the Watertown area since its inception in 2009. The group aims to spotlight the work of regional artists, but it also hopes to draw more community members into arts activities too. Over the schools' winter break this year, the organization offered a day full of different art workshops for kids at its home on Public Square. 

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2:51am

Fri March 8, 2013
Regional Coverage

Watertown City Council tries to ban roommates – but planning officials say measure is unenforceable

Watertown mayor Jeff Graham voted against making changes to the city's zoning code that essentially aimed to ban roommates.
Credit City of Watertown

The Watertown City Council has received a lot of pushback and even ridicule in the media recently for passing what's being referred to as a “roommate ban.” Last month, in response to a neighbor dispute, the City Council removed language from the zoning code that allowed the renting out of rooms in single-family homes. But city planning officials say the regulatory change is completely unenforceable.

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9:10am

Mon February 25, 2013
Business

Twenty-year-old starts second business with purchase of Watertown commercial building

Matthew Turcotte works from his office in Clarkson University's small business incubator in downtown Potsdam.
Credit Joanna Richards

Many 16-year-olds might dream about starting their own business. But it takes a special kind of teenager to turn an operation launched in his parents' basement into a six-figure profit earner in just four years. After succeeding wildly with his web development and design company, North Shore Solutions, Clarkson University junior Matthew Turcotte, now age 20, is embarking on his second venture: commercial real estate.

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2:05am

Tue January 15, 2013
Regional Coverage

Watertown scares away nuisance crows

Cody Baciuska, of Loomacres Wildlife Management, fires pyrotechnics into the sky to scare away Watertown's winter crow flock.
Credit Joanna Richards

It's an eerie sight – every winter, around dusk each night, a flock of between 20,000 and 30,000 crows gathers in the trees around the Black River in Watertown. They can be a neat sight against the white winter landscape, but the city wants them gone. That's because they squawk and poop and generally annoy a lot of city residents. The city has hired a wildlife management company to disperse the birds.

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9:21am

Wed January 2, 2013
The Upstate Economy

North Country housing market tight as Fort Drum deployments smaller, shorter

Nearly all of Fort Drum's soldiers are at the post right now, not on deployments – and that's a first for the region since the installation's expansion in 2001. That has tightened the region's housing market, for soldiers, who have fewer choices, and for civilians, who don't receive housing assistance like soldiers do and are looking for affordable housing.  

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5:40am

Mon December 31, 2012
Regional Coverage

Thrifty shoppers snag fashion finds at Watertown Urban Mission benefit boutique

Fashionistas in the Watertown area got a treat recently: a stylish – and affordable – one-day clothing boutique at the Black River Valley Club, to benefit the Watertown Urban Mission. 

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1:07am

Wed December 12, 2012
Regional Coverage

Vets Peer-to-Peer Outreach Center opens in Watertown

The new Vets Outreach Center opened its doors Friday in Watertown.
Joanna Richards/WRVO

A new center to help veterans through mental health problems opened Friday in Watertown. Veteran volunteers will help their peers get the services they need.

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5:28am

Mon November 26, 2012
Environment

DEC says discussion about pollution on Watertown's north side to continue

Joanna Richards WRVO

At a packed public meeting November 7 in Watertown, state environmental and health officials began a dialogue with members of the public concerned about pollution on the city's north side, with the New York Air Brake plant at the center of concern. Now, Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) officials talk about what they'll do with the new information from the meeting, and what might come next.

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7:45am

Fri November 2, 2012
Environment

Officials to hold public meeting about Watertown Air Brake site

The New York Air Brake industrial site in Watertown has been the subject of resurgent concerns among residents of the city's north side neighborhood. Some have come forward about illnesses they say are linked to pollution at the site. The state departments of Health and Environmental Conservation are holding a community meeting Wednesday, November 7 in Watertown to hear those concerns.

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10:12am

Tue October 16, 2012
Regional Coverage

Patty Ritchie on cost of housing state parole violators in county jails

State Senator Patty Ritchie held a meeting Monday in Watertown with law enforcement and elected officials.
Joanna Richards/WRVO

Right now, county jails – and ultimately, local property taxpayers – are footing the bill for housing state parole violators while they wait for the state to pick them up. State Senator Patty Ritchie (R-Heuvelton) has proposed a solution to the problem. 

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12:15pm

Fri September 28, 2012
Regional Coverage

Watertown Airport recieves federal grant for improvements

The Watertown International Airport has seen huge growth in the past year, with a switch from nine-seater to 44-seater planes and direct connections to Chicago. Now the airport will be able to catch up on some overdue infrastructure, with a $2 million grant from the federal government.

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8:57am

Fri September 21, 2012
Environment

DEC tries to calm fears over industrial site's health effects

The New York Air Brake industrial site was cleaned up in the late 1990s, but neighborhood residents fear chemicals from the site may be the cause of their illnesses.
Joanna Richards WRVO

A toxic waste site in Watertown is drawing renewed attention from residents and city leaders. New York Air Brake's chemical dump on the north side of town was cleaned up in the 1990s. State environmental officials say it's been monitored since then and they're convinced it's safe for neighbors and wildlife. But people who live nearby believe they have health problems traceable to the site. And they fear it still poses a health risk.

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4:04pm

Tue September 18, 2012
Regional Coverage

Police, hospital say bath salts drug cases down in Watertown area

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. 

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9:08am

Mon August 27, 2012
Regional Coverage

New pavilion part of downtown Watertown's revitalization

Shoppers and vendors shelter from the sun under a new pavilion at the Saturday Farmers Market in Watertown.
Joanna Richards/WRVO

The city of Watertown has built a new pavilion as part of its downtown revitalization project. It's meant to house outdoor activities, including the Saturday farmers market. The farmers market held an appreciation ceremony to thank the city on Saturday.

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9:28am

Fri August 24, 2012
Regional Coverage

Erin Brockovich's firm speaks out against industrial pollution in Watertown

Environmental investigator Robert Bowcock speaks to a packed house about pollution at the New York Air Brake site in Watertown on Wednesday.

You may remember actor Julia Roberts’ portrayal of environmental activist Erin Brockovich in the 2001 movie of the same name. The real Brockovich was scheduled to visit Watertown last night. But she got sick and was unable to travel.

Instead, concerned residents who live near the toxic waste site caused by the New York Air Brake factory got to talk with Brockovich’s representative. Some believe pollution in the area has caused them health problems.

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9:23am

Thu July 26, 2012
Regional Coverage

Watertown airport reaches 10,000 passenger milestone

Passengers wait for a 7 a.m. flight to Chicago at the Watertown International Airport.
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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11:12pm

Tue June 12, 2012
Regional Coverage

State funding seekers get questions answered at forum in Watertown

The North Country Regional Economic Development Council is preparing for an influx of funding applications this July. Regional councils are part of Governor Andrew Cuomo's plan to distribute economic development aid throughout the state using a community-based, bottom-up approach to building New York's economy. A public forum was held by the council in Watertown last night.

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5:07pm

Fri June 1, 2012
Regional Coverage

Watertown welcomes new city manager

Watertown will welcome a new city manager on July 16. Sharon Addison is a Schenectady native who spent 27 years working for the National Security Agency before putting her name in the hat for the city manager position in Watertown.

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8:06am

Fri May 18, 2012
National Guard Flights

Military training flights over Watertown, Adirondacks proposed

Charles McCain via Flickr

The Vermont Air National Guard is proposing to start taking training flights over the Adirondacks and Watertown with F-35 aircraft.

The big, loud planes would replace the smaller, quieter F-16s the National Guard is using now —but not until at least 2015.

The Guard has issued a draft environmental impact statement – and it has held public hearings  around the area. The planes would take off and land in Burlington, Vermont. A meeting there drew more than 500 people.

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10:00pm

Wed April 11, 2012
Regional Coverage

Jefferson County officials oppose offshore wind in Lake Ontario

A group of Jefferson County legislators has for the second time in two years expressed opposition to offshore wind turbines in Lake Ontario. Almost two years ago, the New York Power Authority proposed an offshore wind turbine project, which Jefferson County rejected. Now the county may move to oppose federal overtures in that direction. 

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8:01am

Mon January 23, 2012
Regional Coverage

Watertown officials hopeful for redevelopment of the Woolworth building

Woolworth Building in Watertown
Joanna Richards

Watertown officials have been excited about the possibility of a redevelopment project for the Woolworth building downtown for several years.

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6:25am

Tue November 8, 2011
Politics and Government

Watertown mayoral candidates show similarities

The mayor's race in Watertown pits long-time incumbent Jeff Graham against a challenger with similar longevity on the City Council, Jeff Smith. Graham has said the city's doing well and he has the experience, knowledge and contacts to continue to keep Watertown on a good track. Smith says his candidacy represents new leadership and a new vision for the city. Both candidates for mayor have years of experience on City Council, and both are small business owners who say they're committed to fiscal discipline. 

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