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.
Builds Upon $100,000 Secured by Senator Ritchie to Help Cover Costs
State Senator Patty Ritchie has announced the Town of Orleans will be eligible for an interest-free loan to construct a water system that will provide clean drinking water and spur job growth by rectifying a contamination problem that has plagued residents and businesses along Route 12 in the Towns of Alexandria and Orleans for decades. In addition to the loan—which will be provided by the Environmental Facilities Corporation—Senator Ritchie previously informed Town of Orleans officials she requested $100,000 in special funding to help cover project costs.
Funding to Benefit Central and Northern New York Schools
State Senator Patty Ritchie has announced she has secured $84,000 to help support music and arts programs in Central and Northern New York Schools.
“Often times, when schools are forced to make cuts it’s programs like music and art that are the first to go,” said Senator Ritchie.
“I know that these programs are an integral part of a child’s education; allowing them to develop and express their talents. I’m pleased to be able to provide this funding, which will go a long way towards ensuring that music and arts programs remain in our schools to offer students with the opportunities they deserve to learn and grow.”
Funds Will Assist St. Lawrence County Drug Task Force
State Senator Patty Ritchie has announced she has obtained $50,000 to help the St. Lawrence County Drug Task Force expand its efforts in the fight against the heroin epidemic sweeping the North Country.
“Earlier this year, I held a forum on the heroin and opioid crisis facing small towns across Northern New York and local law enforcement leaders told me they needed more resources to crack down on major dealers,” Senator Ritchie said. “This additional funding will help our law enforcement community focus on the criminal element responsible for bringing so much misery to so many families.”
“The St. Lawrence County Drug Task Force is very grateful to Senator Ritchie for obtaining funds that will allow us to expand our investigations into the sources of the heroin and other narcotics being sold in our communities,” said St. Lawrence County Sheriff Kevin Wells. “When we told Senator Ritchie we needed more resources, she promised to go to Albany to get us the help we needed to take back our neighborhoods.”
Living in Upstate New York, it’s hard to imagine life without Fort Drum. It’s soldiers are not only defenders of our freedom, they—and their families—are our friends, coworkers and neighbors. In addition, the post also has an unparalleled positive impact on our region, supporting thousands of jobs and pumping roughly $1.4 billion into our economy annually.
Currently, the military is studying what would happen if it cut 16,000 soldiers and civilians from Fort Drum. In light of possible reductions, I’m teaming with local leaders and organizations, like the Fort Drum Regional Liaison Organization (FDRLO) to gather support for the post.
Teams With Law Enforcement, Local Hospitals to Host Events in August and September
State Senator Patty Ritchie is inviting people who are looking to dispose of expired, unused or unwanted prescription drugs to attend three “Shed the Meds” events she will be hosting in Jefferson and St. Lawrence Counties.
Last month, thousands of individual pills totaling more than 150 pounds were disposed of at a similar event held in Ogdensburg. Her upcoming events are being hosted in conjunction with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department, River Hospital, Alexandria Bay Police Department, Carthage Area Hospital, Carthage Police Department, St. Lawrence County Sheriff’s Department, Govuerneur Hospital and Gouverneur Police Department.
“Unused, expired and unwanted prescription drugs pose a number of risks—including acting as the gateway drugs for other substances such as heroin, getting into the hands of children and potentially polluting water through improper disposal,” said Senator Ritchie.
State Senator Patty Ritchie is teaming with the Fort Drum Regional Liaison Organization (FDRLO) and other local leaders to urge people to stand up for Fort Drum by signing an online petition launched today at www.StandUpForFortDrum.com.
The petition 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.
“Ft. Drum is a huge part of the North Country—it’s a major job-creator, a significant part of our economy and its troops and their families are not only defenders of our freedom, they are also our friends and neighbors,” said Senator Ritchie.
“I’m joining forces with the FDRLO and local leaders to help send a clear message to the Army that Fort Drum is a vital part of our region, our state and our nation. Our community has welcomed Fort Drum and now, we need to stand together to show our continued support and eagerness to help the post grow and succeed.”
Takes Part in First Meeting of “Task Force on Military and Veterans Affairs”
State Senator Patty Ritchie joined today with fellow members of the Council of State Governments “Task Force on Military and Veterans Affairs” to discuss ways to improve services and outreach to veterans and active members of our nation’s military.
The discussion was the first for the group, which is tasked with identifying key issues facing veterans and includes legislators and state officials from across the country.
“As the State Senator representing Fort Drum, I make it a priority to look out for the 18,000 soldiers, 20,000 family members and nearly 3,000 veterans who call our region home,” said Senator Ritchie.
Special Funding Will Aid Organizations in Jefferson, Oswego and St. Lawrence Counties
State Senator Patty Ritchie has announced she has secured $50,000 in special funding to help victims of domestic violence in Central and Northern New York.
“Whether it’s physical or psychological, anyone can become a victim of domestic violence; and often times, it’s difficult for the individual being harmed to seek help,” said Senator Ritchie.
“That’s where our local organizations that assist victims of domestic violence come in. They lend a helping hand, and give individuals the courage to get back up on their feet. I’m pleased to provide this funding to these vital organizations, and commend them for the work they do to promote safety in our communities.”
State Senator Patty Ritchie met recently with Oswego County artist, Vivian Golding, whose computer- generated still life “Sprig of Flowers” had been on display in the Senator’s Oswego office since last fall.
Thousands of individual pills totaling more than 150 pounds were disposed of at State Senator Ritchie’s “Shed the Meds” event, held Tuesday in Ogdensburg.
Hosted in conjunction with the Ogdensburg Police Department and the St. Lawrence County Sheriff’s Department, the event provided residents with a safe, responsible way to dispose of unwanted, unused and expired prescription medicines, which can pose a danger to children and pets. In addition, improper disposal can also pollute lakes and streams. Among the pills disposed of were painkillers, opioids and narcotics—substances which are often times the gateway drugs for addiction to illegal substances such as heroin.
“The thousands of prescription pills disposed of at my “Shed the Meds” event will go a long way towards our goals of preventing drug abuse, keeping our drinking water clean and stopping pills from getting in the hands of children or being consumed by pets,” said Senator Ritchie.
Legislation Will Boost Tourism, Create Jobs by Putting Local Wineries on the Map
State Senator Patty Ritchie has announced her legislation to put North Country wineries on the map, create jobs and boost the economy has been signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo.
Ritchie’s bill (S.6321-A) creates the “St. Lawrence Wine Trail,” highlighting for tourists and residents the increasing number of wines being produced locally.
“In recent years a significant number of new wineries have popped up across New York State—and that includes a number of new establishments that are right here in our backyard,” said Senator Ritchie.
“The creation of the St. Lawrence Wine Trail is a chance for the North Country to capitalize on the fast-growing wine industry. By putting these local businesses on the map, we can boost tourism, create jobs, encourage more people to shop local as well as strengthen current wineries and encourage more new businesses to open.”
Where can you get books, learning tools, technology and more, all under one roof? The answer is your library. Each and every year, our local libraries are becoming more significant parts of our local communities, offering families and individuals not only opportunities for learning but also for entertainment, cultural experiences, job-searching tools and so much more.