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.
Yes Senator, I agree with you that public assistance should not be used to purchase items such as alcohol, lottery tickets and cigarettes, and by signing this petition I encourage the State Assembly to pass the Public Assistance Integrity Act.
Senator Patty Ritchie questioned the state DOT Commissioner, Joan McDonald, during last week's public hearings on the State Budget. Senator Ritchie focused on key issues impacting Northern and Central New York, including the Governor's I-98 proposal, road needs in Oswego County, a continuing problem with polluted water wells near Alexandria Bay and rail safety issues.
Advance to the following time marks to find the discussion of these issues:
0:04 Rooftop highway proposal
1:41 Specific road repair needs needs in Oswego County (Fulton and Parish)
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.”
Richard Ball, the Governor's nominee for state Agriculture Commissioner, appeared today at the meeting of the State Senate's Agriculture Committee, which is chaired by Senator Patty Ritchie.Senator Ritchie invited the Commissioner to meet with members of the committee in advance of the official hearings on his confirmation to the post.Mr. Ball has made a living in agriculture his entire life, and modeled his career on his grandparents, who were lifelong dairy farmers.For the past 20 years, he has been the owner and operator of Schoharie Valley Farms, which consists of 200 acres and produces a wide range of vegetable crops, small fruits and greenhouse crops.
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.