Libraries Statewide to Receive $91.6 Million in Funding
State Senator Patty Ritchie has announced the new state spending plan includes $91.6 million—which is a $5 million increase in aid over the Governor’s proposal— to help support libraries in their efforts to provide books, technology, educational resources, entertainment and more to people across the state.
In addition, the new State Budget also includes $14 million in library construction aid, which will allow libraries across the state to make upgrades to their facilities.
“The libraries that dot our region provide countless people with opportunities to expand their horizons and learn new things,” said Senator Ritchie.
Nearly $13 Million Allocated for Upgrades at Central and Northern New York Colleges
State Senator Patty Ritchie has announced the new State Budget will include nearly $13 million to help local colleges improve the learning experience for students by making upgrades to their campuses.
Included in the spending plan is $6.65 million for SUNY Oswego, $1.95 million for SUNY Canton and $4.35 million for Jefferson Community College. $850,000 in funding allocated for Jefferson Community College will go towards renovating college’s Melvil Dewey Library Building.
RITCHIE: $3 MILLION IN STATE BUDGET TO SAFEGUARD BASES
Funding Added by Senate to Protect Fort Drum, Other Military Assets from Cuts
PTSD Funding for Troops and veterans Also Included in Final Plan
State Senator Patty Ritchie announced that the new State Budget includes an additional $3 million to help safeguard military bases, including Fort Drum, from possible budget and troop cuts.
The funding is in addition to planned roadway improvements and creation of buffer zones to help make the North Country post more attractive to Washington’s military planners who are eyeing troop cutbacks linked to the budget sequester law.
“Fort Drum is an important economic engine for the North Country and key part of ensuring the Army’s readiness to protect our homeland and fight terrorism abroad,” Senator Ritchie said.
“Once again, New York is sending another signal of the community’s and our state’s commitment to Fort Drum and our nation’s military with this additional support for the post and its mission.”
Funding Will Help Complete Reconstruction of the “Opera House”
State Senator Patty Ritchie has announced the new State Budget will include $100,000 in funding to help complete the restoration of Heuvelton’s historic Pickens Hall.
The funding—which is included in a portion of the budget aimed at preserving historic properties—will be used to complete the restoration of the third floor of Pickens Hall, commonly known as the “Opera House.” Historically, the space was used for music and cultural performances. Once restored, the third floor will again host musical performances, as well as meetings and other community events.
State Senator Patty Ritchie is now accepting nominations for the New York State Senate’s “Veterans Hall of Fame,” an initiative created to honor and recognize outstanding veterans from the Empire State who have distinguished themselves both in military and civilian life.
“The brave men and women of our nation’s armed forces sacrifice lives of stability to put everything on the line in the name of protecting our freedom,” said Senator Ritchie.
“This special honor is just one small way we can thank our veterans for their sacrifices.
Once again, I am looking forward to honoring those who even after their time of service, have continued to work to give back and make a difference in their local communities.”
It's not too soon to think about vaccinating your pets against rabies.
Rabies is an incurable disease that is nearly always fatal. It's spread through contact with an infected mammal, such as a racoon, bat, fox or skunk. It's also been known to infect cattle and other livestock. That's why it's especially important to make sure your pets are properly vaccinated to help keep rabies out of your family's home.
Unfortunately, cases of wildlife rabies have been on the rise. From 2010 through 2013, there were 109 confirmed cases of wildlife rabies in Jefferson, Oswego and St. Lawrence Counties, according to the state Health Department's Wadsworth laboratories. That's nearly 7 percent of the total number of wildlife rabies cases discovered statewide!
Senator Speaks Out at Community Rally and Listening Session
In an effort to safeguard Fort Drum from potential cuts, State Senator Patty Ritchie joined community members and elected officials at a rally and “listening session” taking place Friday night at Jefferson Community College.
During the listening session, Senator Ritchie conveyed the importance of Fort Drum and the 10th Mountain Division to Army brass in attendance, including John P. McLaurin, III, the Army's deputy director of force management.
“I grew up in St. Lawrence County,” said Senator Ritchie. “I saw how the expansion of Fort Drum has transformed this region with new jobs, better health care, improved schools and other benefits that extend even to my community.”
“I am proud that the men and women of Fort Drum, of our Army, of the 10th Mountain Division are all part of New York.”
In addition to her remarks, Senator Ritchie presented Mr. McLaurin, as well as 10th Mountain Division General Stephen Townsend and Fort Drum Garrison Commander Gary Rosenberg with an official Senate Resolution, which was passed earlier this week in support of Fort Drum and the 10th Mountain Division.
Continues Week of Efforts Aimed at Highlighting Post
Just one day before a “listening session” on proposed troop reductions, State Senator Patty Ritchie and her colleagues are calling on Congress to stand up and protect Fort Drum.
Senator Ritchie and members of the Senate Majority sent a letter today to members to the state’s Congressional delegation to voice support for the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum and express concerns about the significant economic impact potential troop reductions would have on the North Country and the state as a whole.
State Senator Patty Ritchie welcomed 10th Mountain Division Commanding General, Major General Stephen Townsend and troops to the Capitol Tuesday for 10th Mountain Division and Fort Drum Day.
The event—which is in its fourth consecutive year—celebrated Fort Drum and the 10th Mountain Division’s contributions to the North Country region, the state and our nation. Joining General Townsend were Colonel Gary Rosenberg, Fort Drum Garrison Commander; Captain Scott Dawe, Commanding General’s Aide; Lieutenant Colonel Tage Rainsford, Public Affairs Officer and more than four dozen soldiers and officers who serve with the 10th Mountain Division.
“Year after year, 10th Mountain Division and Fort Drum Day has allowed my colleagues in Albany to see firsthand the impact that the post and its troops have on our entire state—not just the North Country,” said Senator Patty Ritchie.
Law Would Give Authorities Immediate Access to Child Protective Records
State Senator Patty Ritchie has announced legislation she cosponsors that would give law enforcement immediate access to child protective records in the event of a kidnapping has passed the Senate. Under current state law, authorities are often stalled in their investigations when trying to obtain records from child protective services.
The measure (S.3520-A) was sparked by a recent case in the Albany region, where 5 year-old Kenneth White was reported missing and later found dead. While investigating the case, authorities were stopped from accessing Kenneth’s child protective records, which could have provided them with additional persons of interest. A cousin was later arrested and charged with the crime.
Senator Also Wants Additional "Base Retention" Funding in New State Budget
State Senator Patty Ritchie is announcing $500,000 in new state funding to secure additional "buffer areas" around Fort Drum that are critical to preserving the future of the military post.
The $500,000 comes from a special "military base retention" budget account, aimed at supporting efforts to enhance and protect Fort Drum and other military installations. This year, Senator Ritchie is seeking to increase funding for military base retention in the new state budget that's due April 1st. In recent years, she has played a key role in filling the account help preserve Fort Drum and other military installations across the state.
“Right now, more than ever, it’s critical that we make protecting and enhancing Fort Drum one of our top priorities,” said Senator Ritchie.
Feeling like you need a cure for cabin fever? On March 21st-22nd and 28th-29th, more than 160 maple producers across New York State will open their sugar houses for “Maple Weekend.” Maple Weekends are chock full of events—everything from tours, pancake breakfasts, free samples and more—aimed at showing people just how maple syrup and maple products make their way from “tree to table.”
As Maple Weekend demonstrates, maple is more than just a tasty part of many of our favorite foods—it’s a major sector of our state’s agricultural economy. When it comes to maple syrup production, New York is second only to Vermont. In 2014, 2.2 million taps across the state produced 546,000 gallons of syrup, which accounted for 17 percent of the total syrup produced in the entire United States.
Plan Eliminates the Aid-Cutting GEA Gimmick, Helps More Families Pay for College
Senator Patty Ritchie announced that the Senate’s proposed budget plan would hike aid to schools by $1.9 billion, and completely eliminate the aid-cutting GEA, or Gap Elimination Adjustment, that’s been squeezing local schools to balance the state budget, when the funds should be going into classrooms. The Senate’s increase is $800 million more than that proposed by the Governor.
Restores Cuts, Includes Full Support for Senator’s ‘Grown in NY’ Plan
State Senator Patty Ritchie today announced that the Senate’s 2015-16 Budget Plan includes record funding for agriculture programs, including full support for her landmark “Grown in New York” plan that links consumers and local farms and preserves the future of family farming in the state.
The Senate’s budget plan (S.4203) increases support for agriculture by more than $20 million above the Governor’s proposal. Included is additional funding for programs that have proven critical to the success of farmers in Central and Northern New York, including restoration of funding cuts to the well-regarded Farm Viability Institute and the Northern New York Agriculture Development Program, as well as for research and promotion of key farm products, from apples to dairy, maple syrup to onions.
The restorations and new funding are more than five times the amount included in the Assembly’s agriculture plan (A.6003), which only restored about half of the cuts in the Executive Budget.