Action came in response to request from Senator Ritchie to let area
residents and businesses weigh in on plan
Senator Patty Ritchie announced that the state Public Service Commission has agreed to her request for hearings on its plan to create a new area code for Northern and Central New York communities now served by the 315 area code.
The hearings--including two that will be held in Watertown on August 6th--are being hosted in response to a recent letter Senator Ritchie sent to state regulators, urging them to put the brakes on proposals to split the region in two, or create a confusing “overlay” code. In her letter, Senator Ritchie also requested the PSC hold a new round of public hearings, as the PSC last held hearings on the 315 area code issue in 2008. A copy of the letter can be viewed here.
With the recent warm weather and sunny skies, many people in the Central and Northern New York region have been spending the bulk of their summer days—and nights—outside. While there’s nothing like enjoying the outdoors, it’s important to protect yourself from mosquitoes looking to take a bite out of your summer fun.
Eastern Equine Encephalitis, commonly known as EEE, is a rate but serious viral disease spread by mosquitoes. There are typically 5-10 human cases in the United State annually; with people over the age of 50 and under the age of 15 at the greatest risk of serious infection. EEE is much more common in horses and has resulted in deaths of dozens of horses in our region in recent years.
This year—for the second year in a row—I was able to secure special funding in the State Budget for an “Eastern Equine Encephalitis Program,” aimed at paying costs of aerial spraying to control mosquitoes, funding a low-cost horse vaccination program and supporting educational outreach to communities affected by the disease.
State Senator Patty Ritchie presented an official Senate Resolution to the Sandy Creek Central School District this week, congratulating the district on being named being named one of the top five “Energy STAR” schools in Central New York.
The Sandy Creek Central School District was named an “Energy STAR” school for improving its energy performance, managing energy strategically across the district and making cost-effective, energy-saving improvements.
State Senator Patty Ritchie visited Phoenix Public Library Wednesday, to announce a special $3,000 grant she secured for the library.
Phoenix Public Library was one of 25 libraries and 2 library networks in Oswego, Jefferson and St. Lawrence Counties to share $85,000 in special funding. The funding was in addition to a $4 million increase in state budget aid for libraries statewide.
In addition to the Phoenix Public Library, in Oswego County, Parish Public Library, Pulaski Public Library and Williamstown Library will also receive special funding.
The no-layoff plan unveiled by the Office of Mental Health assures a continued role for the St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center in the delivery of mental health services to the North County community, and protects hundreds of jobs that are vital to the economy of this region. That much is known.
Senator Asks the Public to Weigh in Through 2013 School Survey
State Senator Patty Ritchie is asking the public to weigh in on schools in the Central and Northern New York region through her 2013 School Survey, which was launched this week.
The survey—which covers topics ranging from school safety to curriculum—is available here, and is designed to gather public opinion and ideas for use in the next legislative session, as Senator Ritchie continues to advocate for local education.
“Here in the Central and Northern New York region, our schools are among the very best. While our schools are excellent, as with anything, there are always opportunities for change and improvement, and that’s what this survey is about,” said Senator Ritchie.
“I plan on taking the feedback from this survey and using it to build upon work we have done to improve our state aid formula and ensure our rural and Upstate schools get the resources they need to provide top notch educational opportunities for our region’s students.”
On July 1, interest rates on federally guaranteed student loans soared from 3.4% to nearly 7%, costing the average college graduate more than $4,000.
Join Senator Patty Ritchie in urging Washington to roll back the rates, and help make college more affordable for New York students and their families. Sign the petition below to send a message to Washington.
Urges Albany to Find Alternatives to Phone Plan That’s “Ill-Timed” and Unneeded
State Senator Patty Ritchie is urging state regulators to put the brakes on its latest effort to create a new telephone area code for Central and Northern New York, calling current proposals to split the region in two, or create a confusing “overlay” code, “ill-timed” and possibly unnecessary.
The state Public Service Commission is considering plans that would divide the 18-county region into two zones, and impose a new area code on one of them, or “overlay” the new area code across the entire region, and apply it for new numbers only. The latter plan would require residents to dial 10 or 11 digits to complete any calls—local or long distance.
“Considering the state of the region’s economy, local businesses—still recovering from recession—simply cannot afford the additional cost and potential customer loss from this change, and tens of thousands of consumers, who will be forced to dial 10 or 11 digits to reach a nearby town or even their next-door neighbor, should not face this additional inconvenience,” Senator Ritchie said, in a letter she sent to the PSC.
State Senator Patty Ritchie joined Monday with the interim presidents of SUNY Canton and SUNY Potsdam to mark the success of their shared services experiment and reaffirm the colleges’ independence as they move forward as independent institutions, each with its own presidents.
At the event, which was held at SUNY Potsdam, officials signed a “memorandum of understanding” on shared services between the two colleges.
State Senator Patty Ritchie celebrated Alcoa’s next phase of its modernization project at a groundbreaking held Monday at the Alcoa East Aluminum facility in Massena. In addition to the groundbreaking, the company also presented $10 million to the New York Power Authority, to capitalize the North Country Economic Development Fund.
This week, many people will join friends and family members to fire up the grill, load up the cooler, and find that perfect spot to watch a spectacle in the sky for the Fourth of July holiday. But, the Fourth is so much more than cookouts and fireworks displays. It’s a chance to salute our nation—as well as those who defend it.
This year, our nation will celebrate its 237th birthday. It was on July 4th 1776 that the Declaration of Independence was approved by the Continental Congress, declaring the 13 colonies a free nation. If you’d like to read the document for yourself, you can request a copy by clicking here.
Special Funding Will Help 25 Libraries, 2 Library Networks
State Senator Patty Ritchie announced that she has secured special funding for 25 area libraries and 2 library networks serving local communities. The libraries—15 in Jefferson County, six in St. Lawrence and four in Oswego—will share $85,000 in special funding that’s in addition to a $4 million increase in state budget aid for libraries statewide.
“Today’s libraries are more than just places to find a great book. They are community centers that serve as excellent resources for researchers, job-seekers and families living on a budget,” said Senator Ritchie, who serves on the recently re-formed State Senate Select Committee on Libraries.
The Senate’s former leadership eliminated the library panel, but it was re-established—and Senator Ritchie was appointed a member—in 2012.
There is still more to be learned about the Army’s troop restructuring plan and its full effect on Fort Drum and surrounding North Country communities, but one thing is clear: our region will be impacted from the loss of troops, their families and civilian employees at the post, and in surrounding communities.
The potential for additional, even deeper cuts as a result of inaction on the federal budget, referenced repeatedly during the Army’s Pentagon announcement, raises even greater concerns, and makes today’s news a strong wake up call for Congress to act.
State Senator Patty Ritchie announced that she has secured special funding for 27 area libraries and library networks serving local communities. The libraries—15 in Jefferson County, six in St. Lawrence and four in Oswego—will share $85,000 in special funding that’s in addition to a $4 million increase in state budget aid for libraries statewide.
School Resource Officers—commonly known as SROs—are law enforcement officials, stationed at schools and tasked with improving safety and security.
In 2010, due to budget cuts, the New York State Police ended its School Resource Officer program, leaving many districts—like Central Square—to find a way to implement the service provided by the SROs on their own.