Here in Upstate New York, we know what it means to be part of a “close knit” community. It means collaborating to better our region. It means sharing in experiences that bring us closer together. And above all else, it means working alongside one another to help those in need.
When a fierce lake effect snowstorm hit Jefferson County last month, we saw shining examples of what it means to be “close knit.” We saw people opening their homes to stranded strangers. We saw emergency volunteers setting up shelters. We saw local businesses donating food to make sure no one went hungry and we saw countless other examples of extreme generosity.
State Senator Patty Ritchie recognized more than 50 individuals Saturday at “People Helping People: A Celebration of Adams, NY,” an event held to honor those who lent a helping hand during last month’s extreme lake effect snowstorm. CLICK HERE TO VIEW A PHOTO ALBUM OF THE EVENT“Here in the North Country, we know about tough winters, but the people of Adams showed us that the worst can bring out the best—and that’s something worth celebrating” said Senator Ritchie.
Asks Governor for Oversight of Freight Trains Speeding Through Rural Communities
Senator Patty Ritchie wants the state to boost its oversight of freight trains coursing through Oswego, Jefferson and St. Lawrence Counties in the wake of moves by national rail companies for higher speeds on the local lines, and growing concerns about transport of hazardous materials through populated communities.
The Senator has written a letter to Governor Cuomo urging him to expand a new rail safety review he’s ordered into rail transport of crude oil on downstate lines to also include potentially hazardous freight being moved through other communities. The letter is available here.
“Community leaders have expressed concern that these higher speed trains could be causing unnecessary risks to neighboring communities and schools, local populations and our environment, should a serious accident occur,” Senator Ritchie said in her letter to the Governor, copies of which she has sent to emergency response officials in the three local counties.
This week’s “Pet of the Week,” is Bubba Chubba, who has called the Potsdam Humane Society “home” since May of 2013. He’s described as courageous, loyal, friendly and a ball of energy. If you’d like more information on Bubba Chubba, please call the Potsdam Humane Society at (315) 265-3199.
Online Petition Aims to Stop Welfare Use in Liquor Stores, Bars and Casinos
State Senator Patty Ritchie is urging the public to join her fight against welfare abuse by signing an online petition to stop the use of EBT benefit cards in liquor stores, casinos and adult entertainment businesses.
Her call comes as the State Senate passed a bill—for the third time in as many years—that makes those businesses off-limits for using welfare cards. Senator Ritchie is a cosponsor of that bill (S.966).
“Welfare benefits are intended to help those who have fallen on hard times, to feed their families and make ends meet, and taxpayer dollars shouldn’t be used to buy booze, cigarettes and lottery tickets,” Senator Ritchie said.
The Senator’s “Public Assistance Integrity Act” would prohibit the use of welfare benefits to buy alcohol, tobacco or lottery tickets, and bars the use of EBT benefit cards in liquor stores, casinos and adult entertainment businesses.
AT “PEOPLE HELPING PEOPLE: A CELEBRATION OF ADAMS, NY”
Free Event to be Held on February 8th
State Senator Patty Ritchie is asking those who experienced the recent fierce lake effect snowstorm last month to share their “snowstorm stories.”
The pictures and stories will be part of an event being held to recognize those who lent a helping hand during the recent storm. The free event—“People Helping People: A Celebration of Adams, NY”—will take place on Saturday, February 8th from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Adams firehouse, located at 63 N. Main St.
“From the hundreds of people taking refuge in the Adams firehouse, to the people who opened their homes to stranded motorists, there are so many stories of generosity and community that have come out of this recent storm,” said Senator Ritchie.
“I’m calling on those who experienced the weather event—whether they were helped or lent a hand to someone in need—to share their stories to be featured at this special event being held to recognize the Adams community.”
Call on Governor to Join in Supporting Vehicles Popular with Outdoorsmen
State Senator Patty Ritchie is leading a bipartisan group of more than a dozen state lawmakers in calling on Governor Cuomo to join in supporting the use of Side-by-Side recreational vehicles, or “UTVs.”
The group of lawmakers have written to the Governor urging him to amend his state budget proposal to allow UTVs, which are increasingly popular among outdoorsmen—particularly elderly couples and families. New York is losing out on tens of thousands of dollars in state revenue through registration fees, and taxes from retail sales of UTVs, as well as countless tourism-related jobs by prohibiting UTVs which, because they are slightly larger than standard four-wheelers, can exceed outdated weight limits in current law.
The letter is signed by Senator Ritchie (R-Heuvelton), Senator Joe Griffo (R-Oneida County) and Assemblyman Bill Magee (D-Madison County), who are sponsors of legislation to allow UTV use. Both of those bills have passed the Senate in prior years.
The letter also is signed by Senator Bill Larkin (R-Orange County), George Maziarz (R-Niagara County), Michael Ranzenhofer (R-Erie County) and Jim Seward (R-Otsego County); as well as Assembly Members Will Barclay (R-Pulaski), Ken Blankenbush (R-Black River), Anthony Brindisi (D-Utica), Clifford Crouch (R-Chenango County), Aileen Gunther (D-Orange County), Steve Hawley (R-Genesee County) and Claudia Tenney (R-Oneida County).
“UTVs are increasingly popular with senior riders, couples and family members who may want to bring a child with them while enjoying our great outdoors,” the letter says. “Every year, New York State loses sales tax and motor vehicle registrations because of our outmoded definition of all-terrain vehicles in Transportation Law.”
This week’s pet of the week comes to us from the Oswego County Humane Society. “Cookie” is described as a lovable pet that always likes to be by his owner’s side. To adopt Cookie, please call the Oswego County Humane Society at (315) 343-2959.
We all know that one of the keys to a booming economy is creating jobs. But what’s the driving force behind allowing businesses to expand and grow employment opportunities? Cutting red tape. For years, New York has been known for its high taxes and regulations. As state senator, it’s a top priority for me to not only cut taxes, but also to do away with burdensome regulations that hinder the growth of businesses in the Central and Northern New York region.
Recently, I was pleased to be part of an effort to collect ideas from small businesses, farmers, manufacturers and other employers on ways to cut red tape. That effort identified 2,219 specific rules, regulations and practices that employers believe puts New York at a competitive disadvantage for attracting and creating jobs.
Part of this initiative included industry-specific public forums that took place throughout New York State. I hosted one of the first of these sessions in Watertown, focusing on agriculture.
State Senator Patty Ritchie "got schooled" at the annual "Maple School" hosted by the St. Lawrence County Maple Producers Association and the local FFA.
The event, held Saturday at Gouverneur Central School, drew nearly 100 current and aspriring maple producers from across the North Country to learn from experts and fellow farmers about the age-old springtime tradition of sugaring, as well as new techniques to improve production and quality.
“People Helping People: A Celebration of Adams, NY” to take place February 8th State Senator Patty Ritchie will recognize those who lent a helping hand during the fierce lake effect snowstorm that hit the North Country earlier this month at “People Helping People: A Celebration of Adams, NY,” a special event that will take place on February 8th. “Here in the North Country, we are used to tough winters but when a major snowstorm hit earlier this month, people in the community of Adams truly went above and beyond to help those in need,” said Senator Ritchie.“Whether they opened their homes to motorists who couldn’t travel on I-81 or simply checked on an elderly neighbor, their actions are a true examples of what makes the North Country such a special place to live and this event is a sm
This week’s pet of the week is Fred, a short haired domestic male who is just over a year old. According to the Jefferson County SPCA, he’s a big cat with a big heart. For more information on Fred, visit the Jefferson County SPCA's website at www.jeffersoncountyspca.org or call (315) 782-3260.
The 2014-2015 State Budget address delivered today by Governor Cuomo puts New York State in a great position to build upon the work we have done in recent years to control spending, cut taxes and invest in initiatives that create new jobs and revitalize our economy.
Working together, we have put a stop to the decades of late and unbalanced budgets by passing three consecutive early budgets. I am hopeful that this year we can continue that trend.
It was two years ago when Senate Republicans led the fight to pass a property tax cap that helped to rein in burdensome property taxes and reduced middle-class tax rates to their lowest levels in 60 years. This year, I’m eager to provide continued tax relief to hardworking New Yorkers by making the property tax cap and middle-class tax cuts permanent.
In addition, it’s also key that we work to continue to cut red tape and foster an environment that enables businesses to expand and create jobs. In order to do so, we should work to eliminate corporate taxes for manufacturers and do away with the onerous energy tax surcharge to promote business growth.
I was shocked and deeply disappointed by Alcoa’s surprise announcement of job reductions at Massena’s East plant.
Here in the North Country, we’re working every day to try to preserve and create jobs for our communities. That’s why, upon hearing this news, I immediately reached out to local and state officials, and the Governor, to try to find ways we can work together to preserve these jobs.
Measures Would Spotlight Black Lake, Lisbon and Winthrop Wineries
State Senator Patty Ritchie has announced she has introduced legislation to establish a St. Lawrence County Wine Trail in an effort to help put local wineries and vineyards on the map, boost local businesses and create jobs in the North Country.
“Over the past 27 years, more than 250 new wineries have opened across New York State—that includes many in the North Country. Along with those new businesses come new opportunities to attract tourists to our region,” said Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Senator Patty Ritchie.
“This legislation will literally put our local wineries on the map, creating a county-wide tourist destination that can eventually be linked to the Thousand Islands Wine Trail in Jefferson County. Moreover, the measure will help to spotlight these new wineries, boosting their businesses and also will provide for new business and employment opportunities in the North Country.”
There are currently 16 wine trails across New York, from the eastern end of Long Island to the Niagara escarpment, and including Jefferson County’s wine trail. The St. Lawrence County Wine Trail would be the state’s 17th; a reflection of the industry’s growth and statewide presence.
Under the proposed legislation (S.6321), the St. Lawrence County Wine Trail would begin near Black Lake’s Bella Brooke Winery in Morristown, extending to Lisbon’s River Myst Winery and then to High Peaks Winery in Winthrop. The trail is designed also to attract visitors to St. Lawrence Brewing’s microbrewery in Canton, providing the four establishments additional opportunities to collaborate and market themselves.
Measure to Expand Business Opportunities for Veterans
State Senator Patty Ritchie has announced she is cosponsoring a measure that supports the brave men and women of our armed forces by giving preference for state contracts to businesses owned by disabled veterans.
The measure, (S.2803-B) also known as the “NY Jobs for Heroes” program, is an initiative that would amend the executive law to require state agencies to set a goal of awarding 3 percent of contracts to businesses that are owned by service-disabled veterans.
“After traveling the world in support of our country, many of our veterans decide to settle in New York State—especially in the region that surrounds Fort Drum,” said Senator Ritchie.
“Service-disabled veterans have made the ultimate sacrifice in putting their lives on the line to protect our freedom. The very least we can do to recognize them for their contributions is to stand with them and provide them with the support they need to succeed in their post-military life.”