Law Enforcement, Emergency Responders, Community Members, Media Honored
One month after the kidnapping of two young Amish girls in St. Lawrence County, State Senator Patty Ritchie hosted a gathering Friday evening to celebrate the region’s community spirit and thank all those who helped return the girls safely to their family last month.
“When tragedy struck, the members of our community stepped up to the plate to support the Miller family and their two young girls,” said Senator Ritchie. “There were law enforcement and emergency responders who put in long hours, ordinary citizens who aided in the search effort, community members who donated food and drink, members of the media who brought much-needed attention to the ordeal and put pressure on the kidnappers and so many more people who simply said a prayer for the safe return of the girls.”
“The generosity and willingness to help demonstrated by our community was truly inspiring—and makes me so proud to call this region “home.” Tonight’s event was just a small way to say thank you to the hundreds of people who had a hand in the outpouring of support for the Miller family.”
Initiative Helps North Country Residents Get Rid of 350 Pounds of Medications
North Country residents have disposed of 350 pounds of pills through Senator Ritchie’s “Shed the Meds” program, an initiative aimed at helping people get rid of unwanted or expired prescription medications, including painkillers, opioids and narcotics—substances which are often times gateway drugs for addiction to illegal substances such as heroin.
The program featured four events throughout Jefferson and St. Lawrence Counties, with the most recent taking place Tuesday evening at Gouverneur Hospital. At the Gouverneur event, nearly 60 pounds of prescription medications were disposed of.
“The response to my “Shed the Meds” events is a testament to the need people have to get rid of pills that sit unused or expired in their medicine cabinets, which can potentially end up in the wrong hands or pollute our water if disposed of improperly,” said Senator Ritchie.
More than 300 Pounds of Pills Disposed of So Far Through Initiative
State Senator Patty Ritchie is reminding those who have unused, expired or unwanted prescription drugs in their homes to drop them off at her free “Shed the Meds” event Tuesday night.
The event—which is the fourth of a series to take place in Northern New York—will run from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at Gouverneur Hospital, located at 77 West Barney Street. So far, as a result of Senator Ritchie’s Shed the Meds program, more than 300 pounds of medications including painkillers, opioids and narcotics—substances which are often times gateway drugs for addiction to illegal substances such as heroin—have been disposed of.
State Senator Patty Ritchie has announced she has secured $50,000 in special funding to help the Village of Clayton offset the costs associated with a playground being rebuilt in the Village.
“Situated on the beautiful St. Lawrence River, the Village of Clayton is a community loved by both tourists and local residents,” said Senator Ritchie. “This funding not only will help the municipality manage costs associated with improving the park, it will also give residents and visitors a new and improved family-friendly way to spend their time.”
“From a new hotel to new restaurants, Clayton has seen a number of improvements recently,” said Village Mayor Norma Zimmer. “Our park has been used by children and families for generations and we are extremely grateful for the funding provided by Senator Ritchie, which will help us cover the costs of revitalizing and improving this fantastic community resource.”
State Senator Patty Ritchie is encouraging seniors in Central and Northern New York to mark their calendars for her annual “Senior Health and Wellness Fairs.” This year’s fairs—which feature new locations for the Oswego and Jefferson County events, as well as more vendors than ever before—will take place in the coming weeks and offer local seniors access to free health checks, flu shots, tips for improving well-being, lunch, entertainment and more.
The first event will take place in Oswego County on September 24th at the Fulton Ice Arena (605 W. Broadway Street) from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. The fair will feature nearly 50 vendors and free transportation will be provided by Oswego County Opportunities. A transportation schedule can be found here. This year’s event will also feature lunch prepared and served by “future chefs” who are currently studying at Oswego County BOCES. Click here for a list of organizations attending the event.
Mandate Relief Measure Clears the Way to Allow Local Police Use County Lockup
A mandate relief measure sponsored by Senator Patty Ritchie that will let Watertown and other Jefferson County police forces once again use the county jail to hold detainees—a long-standing practice that helped save local tax dollars until state inspectors nixed the arrangement—was signed into law today.
“The long-standing and common sense practice of sharing jail facilities saved money for taxpayers across Jefferson County, until the practice was stopped earlier this year,” Senator Ritchie said. “Albany should support local governments in finding innovative ways to share services and cut costs, and so I’m pleased that the Governor has signed my bill into law.”
State Senator Patty Ritchie has announced she has secured $100,000 in special funding to improve transportation in Oswego County by replacing culverts in the Towns of Hannibal and West Monroe.
“Doing things like replacing culverts and repairing roads helps to improve our local communities by making transportation more efficient and safer for local residents,” said Senator Ritchie. “I’m pleased to be able to provide this funding, which will allow the Towns of Hannibal and West Monroe manage the costs associated with making necessary improvements to their roadways.”
According to Town officials, funding will be used to replace culverts on Parson’s Road in the Town of Hannibal and on Morey Road in the Town of West Monroe.
“Parson’s Road is roadway frequented by many people on a near daily basis to help them get from point A to point B,” said Hannibal Town Supervisor Ron Greenleaf. “We thank Senator Ritchie for this essential funding and for recognizing just how important it is to provide our residents with a safe transportation network.”
$100,000 in state funds caps three-year effort to battle invasive weeds in St. Lawrence County's biggest lake
State Senator Patty Ritchie has announced she has secured $100,000 to help fight weeds on Black Lake, a popular spot for fishing, boating and outdoor recreation in St. Lawrence County.
In recent years, Eurasian Milfoyle—a non-native nuisance weed which forms dense mats of vegetation that shades out native species—has plagued Black Lake; disrupting water flow, hurting water quality, and hampering boating, fishing and swimming.
“For generations, Black Lake has provided countless opportunities for outdoor recreation to both tourists and local residents,” said Senator Ritchie. “I’m thrilled to be able to provide this funding which will improve the quality of and access to Black Lake—two things that are critical not only to boosting tourism but also for enjoyment by those who call Northern New York home.”
State Senator Patty Ritchie has announced she has secured $50,000 in special funding to improve transportation in the Town of Theresa by repairing a culvert that sits under a road in the municipality.
“Ensuring that our local communities have safe and reliable infrastructure—particularly when it comes to our roadways—is a top priority for me,” said Senator Ritchie. “I’m pleased to provide this funding, which will help the Town of Theresa not only upgrade its transportation network, but also improve safety for local residents.”
According to Town officials, funding will be used to repair a culvert under the Countryman Road, which is frequently used by school buses.
State Senator Patty Ritchie has announced she has secured $100,000 to help the Village of Central Square improve transportation for pedestrians and make improvements to its wastewater treatment plant.
“When you look at any community, there are certain things that stand out as being key to increasing well-being for residents,” said Senator Ritchie. “A safe, accessible transportation network as well as an environmentally sound wastewater treatment operation are two of those things. I’m pleased to be able to provide funding that will not only allow the Village to improve its sidewalks, but also will enable it to make upgrades to its wastewater treatment facility.”
Funding Will Aid PFC Joseph Dwyer Peer Support Program for Veterans, River Community Wellness Program
In an effort to support active duty military and veterans, State Senator Patty Ritchie has announced she has secured $185,000 to aid men and women suffering with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other combat related illnesses.
The special funding will be split between Watertown’s VETS Peer to Peer Outreach Center—an organization running the PFC Joseph Dwyer Peer Support Program for Veterans, which was established in part through a grant secured by Senator Ritchie—and Alexandria Bay’s River Community Wellness Program, based at River Hospital.
“Our soldiers make the ultimate sacrifice, putting their lives on the line to protect our freedom,” said Senator Patty Ritchie. “Many troops who have served in combat zones return with wounds we cannot see and as a result, struggle with PTSD as they try to reacclimate themselves with life at home.”
State Senator Patty Ritchie has announced she has secured $50,000 to help the Village of Adams increase accessibility and improve transportation for pedestrians by rehabilitating and extending its sidewalks.
State Senator Patty Ritchie has announced that through a collaborative effort with the Fort Drum Regional Liaison Organization, more than 9,000 signatures and dozens of resolutions from local municipalities and organizations in support of Fort Drum have been delivered to Army leadership.
Earlier this month, Senator Ritchie launched www.StandUpForFortDrum.com, a website where the public could sign a petition to show their support for the post. There, nearly 3,000 signatures were collected and then delivered to FDRLO to support the organization’s petition-gathering effort.
“Fort Drum is a vital part of our region, state and nation,” said Senator Ritchie. “The signatures collected are a testament to our area’s desire to preserve and encourage further growth of the post, which each and every day has a significant, positive impact on our local economy, our nation’s security and our community as a whole.”
Builds Upon Past Aid for a Total of $400,000 to Support Dredging Efforts
State Senator Patty Ritchie has announced she has secured $200,000 in special funding to help the City of Fulton and the Town of Granby in their work to dredge Lake Neatahwanta and ultimately make the body of water usable again. This most recent support—which comes just days before dredging is slated to begin—builds upon $200,000 secured last year by Senator Ritchie; bringing the two year total to $400,000.
“The bodies of water that dot Oswego County are some of the most beautiful in the world and for a long time, residents have been working to help improve water quality and access to the waterways which offer a wide variety of recreational opportunities as well as support jobs and attract tourists to our region,” said Senator Ritchie.
Letter Cites Positive Economic, Community and Security Impacts of Post
In light of potential troop reductions, State Senator Patty Ritchie expressed her support for Fort Drum and the 10th Mountain Division in a letter sent today to Army leadership.
The letter follows a proposal by the Army to assess the impact of reducing troop levels to numbers not seen since the beginning of World War II. Taken across the board, the reductions could mean significant cuts at Fort Drum, the North Country’s leading economic engine, which supports thousands of jobs and pumps roughly $1.4 billion into the local economy annually.
In the letter, Senator Ritchie cited the post’s significant economic impact on Central and Northern New York, as well as the state as a whole:
“Fort Drum and the 10th Mountain Division’s economic value to New York State, Northern and Central New York is well-documented and clearly described in annual Economic Impact Statements issued by the post: $1.2 billion in payroll, more than $100 million in locally sourced contracts for construction and other services, and a total positive economic impact on our region of $1.4 billion a year,” said the letter.
More than 100 pounds of prescription drugs were disposed of Tuesday at State Senator Patty Ritchie’s “Shed the Meds” event; a program aimed at helping people safely and responsibly dispose of unwanted, unused or expired medications.
The event was the third of four taking place in St. Lawrence and Jefferson Counties. So far, as a result of the program more than 300 pounds of medications including painkillers, opioids and narcotics—substances which are often times gateway drugs for addiction to illegal substances such as heroin.
“Many people don’t realize that the unused, unwanted or expired pills sitting in their medicine cabinets can pose major risks to children, pets, people who could abuse them and our drinking water if they are disposed of improperly” said Senator Ritchie.
If you have a loved one who is struggling with addiction, you know that their use of substances like heroin can be both frightening and heartbreaking. Here in New York State, the number of deaths from heroin overdose has doubled. In the Central and Northern New York, the number of users seeking treatment for heroin and opioid abuse has increased 300 percent (over 400 percent in Oswego County) over 10 years.
State Senator Patty Ritchie visited Watertown’s Knickerbocker Elementary School this week, reading to students as part of a special literacy program made possible through a partnership by the Watertown Family YMCA and the Watertown City School District.