A few weeks ago, I spent the weekend with my family at Eel Weir State Park, one of New York State’s best kept secrets among its 178 state parks and historic sites.
Located on the Oswegatchie River, just two miles from Black Lake, Eel Weir was honored a few years ago by a national park organization for its outstanding canoe access. With just 38 campsites, a picnic area, and a pavilion, locals know it as a terrific place to relax, picnic, camp and catch bass.
While I was there, it struck me how little most of us know about the individual New York State Parks outside of our immediate neighborhoods.
State Senator Patty Ritchie praised Novelis for the company’s decision to invest $200 million in its Oswego County operations to expand the company’s aluminum sheet production for the automotive industry which is expected to add 100 new jobs in Central New York.
“I want to thank Novelis for believing in the future of Oswego County and New York State,” Senator Ritchie said. “Last month, I sponsored my Career Expo that featured Novelis and other companies. The people who applied for positions at Novelis at my job fair will have an opportunity to be considered for those 100 new jobs.”
Visit Senator's Website, Cast Your Vote, Help Build Awareness
State Senator Patty Ritchie is inviting Central and Northern New York residents to nominate the region’s top State Parks.
The Senator has created a survey on her website —www.ritchie.nysenate.gov— that asks residents to select from nearly two dozen State Parks in Oswego, Jefferson and St. Lawrence Counties, in an effort to build awareness of tourism and recreational treasures in our own backyard.
State Senator Patty Ritchie is inviting Central and Northern New York residents to nominate the region’s top State Parks.The Senator has created a online survey that asks residents to select from nearly two dozen State Parks in Oswego, Jefferson and St. Lawrence Counties, in an effort to build awareness of tourism and recreational treasures in our own backyard.“One of Upstate New York’s greatest tourism strengths is our amazing State Parks system,” Senator Ritchie said.
Thanks Senator Ritchie for “leadership” for New Yorkers looking for relief
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has ordered State Parks, beaches and pools in Central and Northern New York to offer extended hours this weekend to help New Yorkers beat the heat, and he praised Senator Ritchie for staying on top of the issue.
The Governor ordered Parks in the region, including Green Lakes, Verona Beach, Delta Lake and Sandy Island Beach State Parks in the Central Region, and Westcott Beach, Southwick Beach, Pt. au Roche, and Robert Moses, as well as the pool at Keewaydin all to remain open until 8 PM tonight and Saturday.
“Keeping these beaches and pools open for extra hours will mean more New Yorkers will get to enjoy some relief from the sweltering heat at some of the most beautiful spots in the country,” said Senator Ritchie. “I want to thank Gov. Cuomo for his responsiveness and concern for New Yorkers who are all suffering through this heat, and looking forward to a break soon.”
Thanks Staff for Efforts that Helped Keep Facilities Open
State Senator Patty Ritchie returned to three state prisons in Ogdensburg and Gouverneur today to thank the officers, staff and administrators for their efforts to help keep the North Country facilities open, and to celebrate the news that every prison in St. Lawrence and Jefferson Counties had been spared the budget ax.
“Back in January, I visited each of the prisons in Jefferson and St. Lawrence County, and gathered information from staff and officers about just how efficient and cost-effective these facilities are, representing a better deal for state taxpayers,” Senator Ritchie said.
“Today, I returned to three of the facilities, Ogdensburg, Riverview and Gouverneur, to share with the dedicated workforce there that our strategy worked, and that Albany has recognized the good work they do, as do I,” Senator Ritchie said.
Urging Central and Northern New Yorkers to think of elderly, home bound in current heat wave
State Senator Patty Ritchie visited several elderly residents in her hometown of Heuvelton on Thursday, delivering ice cream and cold water to help them beat the heat.
"I've been urging residents of Central and Northern New York to check on their elderly neighbors to see how they are doing during the heat wave," Senator Ritchie said. "It's rare when temperatures rise like this so it's important for everyone to look out for each other."
Ask Union Representatives, Constellation To Return To Bargaining Table
State Senator Patty Ritchie and Assemblyman Will Barclay met with representatives of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and Constellation Energy Group to urge both sides to return to the negotiating table to end the nuclear plant strike that has idled several hundred Oswego County residents.
"Oswego has a long and proud history of active community support for the nuclear industry," said Senator Ritchie. "A key reason is the outstanding relationship between the workers and management."
State Senator Patty Ritchie is urging Central and Northern New Yorkers to check frequently on the elderly and those who live alone, as well as to take extra care with family pets, to protect them from soaring temperatures in what is already being called one of the worst heat waves in years.
The National Weather Service has issued Excessive Heat Watch alerts for Oswego and Jefferson Counties through Thursday, as temperatures soar and remain in the 90s. Heat is the number one, weather-related cause of death in the US, claiming more lives each year than floods, lightning, tornadoes and hurricanes combined, they said.
“While we are all doing what we can to find relief for ourselves from the current heat wave, I am urging residents also to think about elderly neighbors, those who live alone, people with special needs, and helpless pets who are also suffering from heat and, in many cases, may be even more vulnerable to its effects,” Senator Ritchie said.
Last weekend, the St. Lawrence River Walleye Association, a group of about 150 unsung heroes, spent Saturday collecting fingerlings they’ve spent months raising in a hatchery they constructed themselves to help restore the walleye population in the St. Lawrence River.
With pollution, invasive species and habitat destruction threatening the fishing resources of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence, the efforts of our volunteer sportsmen's groups has become crucial to our region's efforts to protect this critical part of our economy.
Fishing is more than just a relaxing way to spend a morning or afternoon. Fishing charters, bait stores, marinas, motels and other businesses connected to the region’s tourism industry represent a $140 million sector of Central and Northern New York’s economy.
Assemblyman Will Barclay (R,C,I,-Pulaski), Ken Blankenbush (R,C,-Black River), Bob Oaks (R,C,-Macedon) and State Senator Patty Ritchie (R,C, - Heuvelton) urged Constellation and its Union leadership to return to the negotiating table.
“I think we all would like to see resolution to the situation so that people get back to work. The only way this can happen is by bringing the parties back to the bargaining table and work on a compromise,” said Assemblyman Barclay. “I have expressed this both to Constellation and to Union Leadership during talks this week. It is my hope that this meeting will take place soon.”
State Sen. Patty Ritchie (R,C-Heuvelton) joined Gov. Andrew Cuomo as he visited Northern New York to sign a new, tougher law to stop texting while driving.
The new law, which passed the Legislature unanimously and takes effect immediately, includes fines up to $150 and up to three violation points. The Governor signed the bill during a stop in Watertown Thursday.
Last week, Albany backed down from a plan to ban the age-old practice of selling hand-cut cheese at Farmers Markets. The issue arose when bureaucrats decided to reinterpret a 40-year-old rule that had never before been applied in this way.
As soon as I heard about the change, I started drafting legislation to exempt Farmers Markets from the rule. Like the practice of cutting fresh cheese, Farmers Markets have been around for years, but they are becoming increasingly popular, as consumers are looking for ways to buy more locally produced foods.
State Sen. Patty Ritchie today asked Gov. Andrew Cuomo to intervene in the dispute over Canada's new border rules that threaten to cripple Central and Northern New York's $150 million-a-year boating and sport fishing industry.
Senator Ritchie met with Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy, Mitch Franz of the Lake Ontario Fisheries Coalition, Henderson Town Supervisor Ray Walker, and representatives of US Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Assemblyman Ken Blankenbush.
At the meeting, she gave the Lieutenant Governor a letter to deliver to Gov. Cuomo that details Canada's surprise crackdown on US boaters in the eastern Lake Ontario basin and St. Lawrence River, and asks for his help.
Just over six months ago, I arrived in Albany as New York State faced an historic crisis. The tax and spend mentality that dominated thinking in the legislature for too many years had led to a $10 billion deficit and projections of a $15 billion budget gap next year, record unemployment levels, record job losses, record business closings, and economic stagnation.
Public confidence and trust in our scandal plagued state government was at an all time low. Some were suggesting that the solution was to raise taxes and increase spending. They didn’t recognize that raising taxes and spending had led our once great state to this historic crisis. They didn’t seem to understand that the old way of thinking had cost our state jobs, businesses, population and too many of our young people and families.
I could see I had my work cut out for me.
I knew I couldn’t change New York’s problems by myself. That’s why I asked you and the rest of the residents of Oswego, Jefferson and St. Lawrence Counties for your thoughts and suggestions on how we could get New York moving again and reverse the decline that had cost our state its reputation as an economic leader.
Thanks to your help and advice through letters, e-mails, on-line messages and phone calls, we have begun to achieve the historic changes to transform New York and return it to its former greatness.
Over the past six months, New York has begun to emerge from the crisis. I can now report to you that the promises I made to you are promises I have kept.
By working on a bipartisan basis with Governor Andrew Cuomo, I helped to adopt an historic on-time budget that erased the deficit our state was facing. I rejected the calls for new taxes and new spending. I insisted the legislature do what you and your family does every week across the kitchen table. The budget we adopted actually restored the state to fiscal sanity by rejecting gimmicks, rejecting borrowing and holding the line on spending. For the first time in a long time, it balances revenues and expenses, the same way millions of New York families make ends meet.
The other day, I had the opportunity to stand next to Governor Andrew Cuomo as he signed the historic legislation I cosponsored in the Senate to cap property taxes. Together, we passed a mandate relief bill that will serve as a necessary first step to helping local governments and school districts return to fiscal sanity.
I recognize a lot more still needs to be done. I also understand that government at all levels faces more hard choices and tough decisions. But by insisting on fiscal discipline to restore our financial health and ethical reforms to restore the public’s faith in our government and its leaders, I believe we have put New York back on the path to prosperity.
By making the hard choices to fundamentally change the way our state does business, we have begun to reform Medicaid, consolidated government programs and reduced unnecessary agencies and government bureaucracies.
SENATOR RITCHIE THANKS GOVERNOR FOR SAVING OUR PRISONS
State Senator Patty Ritchie today personally thanked Gov. Andrew Cuomo for his decision to spare five state prisons in Jefferson and St. Lawrence Counties from further budget cuts.
Sen. Ritchie was with the Governor in suburban Syracuse for a bill signing event for New York’s new Property Tax Cap law, a measure designed to end runaway state property taxes and get the state back on track to creating jobs.
Following the formal ceremony, Senator Ritchie spoke with the Governor about the prisons in Northern New York.
Senator Patty Ritchie joined Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo Wednesday at a bill signing ceremony to mark the enactment of New York’s new “Property Tax Cap,” an historic measure that will protect homeowners and businesses from runaway tax hikes, help strengthen the state’s economy and create jobs.
“I promised the hardworking taxpayers of Central and Northern New York that we would get taxes under control and, thanks to Gov. Cuomo’s leadership, we now have the toughest Tax Cap in the nation, finally bringing relief from skyrocketing property taxes that have crippled our economy, hurt families and cost us jobs,” Senator Ritchie said.
“Everywhere I go, taxpayers and business owners tell me that rising taxes are a top concern, and a key reason why so many people and jobs have left our state,” Senator Ritchie said. “That’s why I was proud to join Gov. Cuomo in his campaign to deliver relief to the hardworking taxpayers of New York who for too long have been burdened by out-of-control property taxes.”
State Senator Patty Ritchie presents a copy of the resolution she introduced and passed in the New York State Senate honoring Lisbon and North Country native Rick Carlisle, coach of the Dallas Mavericks, after he led his team to victory in the NBA championship. Shown are Rick's father, Ogdensburg attorney Preston Carlisle, Senator Patty Ritchie, Rick Carlisle and Rick's mother Joan. Rick's daughter, Abby, is shown holding a framed copy of the resolution.