$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.
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.