Nearly 60 farmers, agribusiness owners and others involved in the agriculture industry accessed information on a variety of funding and loan programs at today’s Agricultural Grant Opportunity Workshop, sponsored by State Senator Patty Ritchie and the Jefferson County Agricultural Development Council.
“From young people just starting their careers to people who have been farmers their entire lives, the group in attendance at today’s workshop was as diverse as the agriculture industry itself,” said Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Senator Patty Ritchie.
“I’m thrilled that along with the Jefferson County Agricultural Development Council, we were able to provide agribusiness owners with vital information they need to expand their businesses, create jobs and benefit the region’s economy as a result of their efforts.”
December 18th Workshop Held in Response to Ritchie Request
State Senator Patty Ritchie announced the NYS Department of Taxation and Finance has agreed to her request to host a STAR registration event in the region she represents.
Recently, the Tax Department scheduled a new round of STAR registration workshops—all taking place in major cities along the Thruway and downstate, with no events scheduled in Jefferson, St. Lawrence or Oswego Counties. In response, Senator Ritchie wrote to Commissioner Mattox, requesting that a workshop be held in the area. You can read the letter here.
“There are roughly more than 14,000 homeowners in Oswego, Jefferson and St. Lawrence Counties who still need to reapply for this very important program,” said Senator Ritchie.
“There is still a lot of outreach that needs to be done to make sure property owners re-register for Basic STAR by the December 31st deadline, and I’m pleased that the Tax Department will be aiding in that effort by hosting a workshop in our region.”
State Senator Patty Ritchie is applauding nearly $150 million in new job-creating Regional Economic Development Council awards across Central and Northern New York.
Today’s announcement represents the third round of job creation awards. The North Country—which includes Jefferson and St. Lawrence Counties and which once again was named a “top performer” in the Governor’s annual economic growth competition—will receive $81.3 million. The Central New York region, including Oswego County, is in line for $66.9 million in economic development investment by the state.
The new awards bring to a three-year total of $542.7 million in funding for the two regions—more than any other part of the state, representing what Albany views as the strong growth potential for the local economy.
“Throughout the past two years, the investments made through the Regional Economic Development Council Program have been a catalyst for new jobs and economic growth throughout Central and Northern New York, and today’s announcement proves that there’s even more potential and enthusiasm for the future,” said Senator Ritchie.
State Senator Patty Ritchie and members of the St. Lawrence Psych Center Task Force met with Gov. Cuomo Tuesday to discuss the Office of Mental Health’s plan to change the future of mental health care in New York State.
The current plan would shrink the state’s system of 24 psychiatric hospitals to just 15, with none located north or south of the Thruway, leaving millions of New Yorkers without sufficient nearby treatment options in their communities.
“Today’s meeting—which was attended not only by members of the St. Lawrence Psych Center Task Force, but also by representatives from Senate offices across the state—shows that we are unified against the current OMH closure plan,” said Senator Ritchie.
“I’m thankful that so many members of the Task Force made the trip to Albany to send a loud and clear message to our state’s leaders that this plan puts our most vulnerable citizens in danger and just doesn’t work.”
State Senator Patty Ritchie has released the annual report of the New York State Senate Standing Committee on Agriculture—which she chairs—detailing the activities of the Committee in 2013.
“Agriculture is our state’s biggest industry, and as Chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, it’s a priority for me to help support our hardworking farmers in an effort to help the industry grow,” said Senator Ritchie
“This report details the hard work done by the Committee in 2013 and I would like to thank my colleagues, as well as the hardworking members of the agriculture industry whose input allowed us to take significant steps to foster further growth of this vital industry.”
State Senator Patty Ritchie joined delegates, members and supporters of the New York Farm Bureau at the organization’s State Annual Meeting, held this week in Liverpool, NY.
Senator Ritchie—who chairs the New York State Senate Agriculture Committee—is a member of the Farm Bureau’s “Circle of Friends” list, comprised of legislators who show exemplary support for New York agriculture and the Farm Bureau.
State Senator Patty Ritchie today announced that she has collected more than 7,800 cards to be sent to US soldiers through the “Holiday Mail for Heroes” program sponsored by the American Red Cross.
Cards—which were donated by schools, local businesses, community groups, and individuals as well as County Clerk’s offices—will be distributed to service members at military installations, veterans hospitals and other locations.
One in Four Upstate Homeowners Still Need to Reapply
With just weeks remaining until the deadline to reapply for the Basic STAR program, State Senator Patty Ritchie is calling the NYS Department of Taxation and Finance to host registration events in the region she represents.
According to recent reports, the Tax Department has scheduled a new round of seven STAR registration events—all taking place in major cities along the Thruway and downstate and none being hosted in St. Lawrence, Oswego and Jefferson Counties.
According to the most recent numbers released by the Tax Department, roughly 16,000 homeowners in Oswego, Jefferson and St. Lawrence Counties still need to reapply for the program. As of November 26th, 75 percent of homeowners in Oswego and St. Lawrence Counties have re-registered and 72 percent of those eligible have re-registered in Jefferson County.
Hosted by Senator Patty Ritchie and the Jefferson County Agricultural Development Council
In an effort to help farmers and others in the agriculture industry grow their businesses, State Senator Patty Ritchie—in conjunction with the Jefferson County Agricultural Development Council—will host a free Agricultural Grant Opportunity Workshop on Thursday, December 12th.
Featuring information on a variety of funding and loan programs, the event will take place from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Jefferson County, located at 203 North Hamilton Street in Watertown.
“As Chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, it’s a top priority for me to find ways to help farmers meet the challenges they face and help them grow New York State’s already thriving agriculture economy,” said Senator Ritchie.
Nearly Two Dozen Showcased So Far Through Initiative Highlighting Local Talent
An employee of the St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center, a renowned historical landmark artist and a budding watercolor painter are the new featured artists for the “Senator Patty Ritchie Celebrates Local Artists” program, an initiative organized to highlight local talent from Central and Northern New York.
Nearly two dozen artists have been featured through the program, which showcases local artists from the region with free public displays of artwork in the Senator’s district office locations in Oswego, Watertown and Ogdensburg.
“From painters to photographers, our region is home to so many individuals with a broad range of talents,” said Senator Ritchie. “I’m so pleased to be able to celebrate their creativity and draw attention to those who are creating works of art right here in our backyard.”
State Senator Patty Ritchie today announced new legislation to stop the state’s plans to close the St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center’s inpatient care facilities, and give state mental health officials and community members additional time to seek alternatives..
The “Freeze Unsafe Closures Now Act,” S.5986, is jointly sponsored by Senator Ritchie and Senator Thomas Libous, the Deputy Senate Leader, whose district also is hard hit by the state’s plan that slashes inpatient mental health care.
“The state’s plan puts our most vulnerable citizens and children in danger, without a clear alternative that ensures sufficient, continued mental health care services close to home and in our communities,” Senator Ritchie said.
State Senator Patty Ritchie is applauding the New York State Public Service Commission’s decision to put on hold its plans to make changes to the 315 area code.
Since the PSC’s area code change proposal was announced, Senator Ritchie urged state regulators to put the brakes on its effort to follow through with proposed changes to the 315 area code, which included a plan to split the region in two, or create a confusing “overlay” code (click here to read a copy of Senator Ritchie's letter to the PSC). In response, the PSC hosted hearings across the region served by the 315 area code. Hearings on the issue were last held in 2008.
“Since the proposed changes to the 315 area code were announced, I have heard from hundreds of individuals concerned about how they would be impacted,” said Senator Ritchie.
State Senator Patty Ritchie grilled top education officials Wednesday on the implementation of the Common Core curriculum at a Senate Standing Committee on Education public hearing, held in an effort to review the impact and effectiveness of recent state education reforms.
The hearing—which was hosted by Senate Education Committee Chairman John Flanagan—included testimony from parents and teachers including New York State’s Teacher of the Year.
“Hundreds of concerned parents and educators have reached out to me regarding the state’s new Common Core standards and today’s hearing was another opportunity to hear firsthand from those who are personally affected by new education reforms,” said Senator Ritchie.
“I’m hopeful that the state education leaders who were in attendance will take their testimony into account as we move forward with reviewing the effectiveness of these recent changes.”
State Senator Patty Ritchie Tuesday led a tour of an Ogdensburg energy plant that’s poised for millions of dollars in upgrades and improvements that could help create and protect hundreds of North Country jobs.
Senator Ritchie invited her colleague, Senate Energy Committee Chair George Maziarz of Western New York, to join her and local officials, including Ogdensburg Mayor William Nelson and representatives of the St. Lawrence County Industrial Development Agency, on the tour of the Alliance Energy facility located on the grounds of the St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center.
Senator Ritchie also serves on the Energy Committee.
Bill Cosponsored by Senator Ritchie Named for Slain Fort Drum Officer
State Senator Patty Ritchie has announced that a bill she cosponsored to create the “Lt. Colonel Todd Clark Memorial Flag Presentment Program” has been signed into law.
The measure, which was named after a 10th Mountain Division officer from Evans Mills who was killed earlier this year in Afghanistan, would provide that every family of a fallen service member be given US and New York State flags that flew over the State Capitol at half-staff in their honor.
“By lowering flags to half-staff, we pay tribute to the tremendous sacrifices made by the brave men and women who serve our country,” said Senator Ritchie.
“This new law allows us to say thank you, and express our sympathy in a very small way to the families and the loved ones of those who have given their lives for the protection of our freedom.”
The Governor has ordered the flags lowered at the Capitol and every state government building at least five times this year, and 12 times in 2012, usually to honor a fallen service member, but also in the case of certain dignitaries, deceased government leaders and national tragedies.
State Senator Patty Ritchie is reminding homeowners that she will host “STAR Workshops” in St. Lawrence and Oswego Counties this week, aimed at helping those who currently receive Basic STAR re-register for the program.
As a result of Senator Ritchie’s recent efforts to encourage re-registration in the STAR program, more than 1,100 homeowners have clicked through her website to apply online and through her first workshop—held in Jefferson County—dozens of others received assistance completing their applications.
A new state law aimed at streamlining administration of the STAR program, and also helping to prevent fraud, requires current Basic STAR enrollees to re-register for the benefit, which saves the average household hundreds of dollars annually. The requirement does not affect senior homeowners who are enrolled in Enhanced STAR.
From friends and family to good food and gifts, for many people, the holidays are the happiest time of the year. However, for our brave troops serving overseas, they can be the loneliest.
In an effort to send a “touch of home” to our troops, I’m one again calling on Central and Northern New Yorkers to participate in my “Holiday Mail for Heroes” program. The program—which is sponsored by the American Red Cross—aims to collect donated Christmas cards to be sent to US soldiers serving overseas.
This year, for the second year in a row, I’m partnering up with Ogdensburg native and radio personality Melody Burns to collect holiday greetings. Last year—thanks to many of you—we were able to collect 2,200 cards to distribute to service members at military installations, veterans hospitals and other locations.
6 No-Cost Events Held in Jefferson and St. Lawrence Counties
Nearly 1,000 pets have been protected against rabies through State Senator Patty Ritchie’s no-cost vaccination clinics held recently in Jefferson and St. Lawrence Counties.
The clinics—which were made possible through funding Senator Ritchie secured in the state budget in response to an alarming increase in the number of wildlife rabies cases reported in the North Country—were hosted in conjunction with St. Lawrence County Public Health and Jefferson County Public Health.
“Rabies is a deadly disease, and I’m thrilled that through my clinics, we were able to vaccinate nearly 1,000 dogs and cats that may not have otherwise been protected,” said Senator Ritchie.
Deadline to Send a “Touch of Home” to Troops is November 15th
With Veterans Day just around the corner, St. Lawrence County Clerk Mary Lou Rupp is joining State Senator Patty Ritchie in her campaign to collect holiday cards for the military as part of the “Holiday Mail for Heroes” program.
“The holidays can be a lonely time for our men and women in the military,” said St. Lawrence County Clerk Mary Lou Rupp. “That’s why I am collecting cards at my DMV offices in Canton, Ogdensburg, Massena, Gouverneur and the St. Lawrence County Clerk’s office in the county courthouse .”
The program—which is sponsored by the American Red Cross—aims to collect donated Christmas cards to be sent to US soldiers serving overseas. This year, Senator Ritchie is also once again joining with Ogdensburg native and radio host Melody Burns to collect holiday greetings. Last year, Senator Ritchie was able to collect 2,200 holiday cards from Central and Northern New Yorkers to distribute to service members at military installations, veterans hospitals and other locations.