Patty Ritchie

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RITCHIE SECURES NEARLY $215,000 FOR CENTRAL AND NORTHERN NEW YORK SCHOOLS

Funding will be used for Full Day Pre-Kindergarten Expansion and Community Learning Center Programs

State Senator Patty Ritchie has announced she has secured nearly $215,000 in special funding to help enrich educational opportunities in Central and Northern New York through an expansion of full-day pre-kindergarten and community learning center programs.

Included in the funding is more than $60,000 for the Oswego City School District to expand its full day pre-kindergarten program.  For use with community learning center programs, the Fulton City School District was awarded nearly $47,000 and the Watertown City School District will receive nearly $108,000. 

“I am thrilled to be able to help provide this funding, which will go a long way towards ensuring the students in our region have access to top-notch educational opportunities that set them on a path for bright futures,” said Senator Ritchie.

January 10, 2014
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RITCHIE JOINS LT. GOVERNOR DUFFY FOR REGIONAL STATE OF THE STATE ADDRESS

State Senator Patty Ritchie joined Lieutenant Governor Robert Duffy and more than 100 other local officials and community members Thursday for the regional State of the State address held in Watertown.

The address featured key points of Governor Cuomo’s recent State of the State address, including providing tax relief for hardworking New Yorkers, creating jobs and securing the best educational opportunities possible for students.

January 9, 2014
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STATEMENT FROM SENATOR PATTY RITCHIE

Today marks the beginning of the 2014 Legislative Session and with a new year comes new opportunities to create a brighter future for all New Yorkers. 

In recent years, we have worked diligently to make changes that deliver results for the hardworking people of this state.  We ended decades of late, unbalanced and bloated state budgets by passing three consecutive early budgets.  We have kept money in the pockets of hardworking middle class taxpayers by reducing income tax rates and enacting a property tax cap.  We’ve also continued the hard work of rebuilding our state’s economy by creating thousands of new jobs in our region and making strategic investments in Central and Northern New York.

Our achievements aside, there’s still a lot more to be done.  Today, we heard Governor Cuomo discuss the benefits of cutting taxes.  In the past three years, I’ve been pleased to support a total of 30 different tax cuts—saving New Yorkers $3 billion.  This year, I’m looking forward to working just as hard to continue to push for new tax cuts that help to create more opportunities for New Yorkers to succeed. 

January 8, 2014
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RITCHIE TEAMS UP WITH LOCAL SHELTERS TO HELP FIND HOMES FOR PETS

Ritchie Website, Facebook Page to Feature “Pets of the Week” 

In an effort to find homes for animals up for adoption, State Senator Patty Ritchie is teaming up with local animal shelters to feature “Pets of the Week” from Central and Northern New York on her website and Facebook page.

“There are many people who bring pets home in December as holiday gifts who are now heading back to work and school and finding that they don’t have the time to dedicate to caring for an animal,” said Senator Ritchie.

“Many of those animals end up at local shelters.  That’s why, this month—and in the months to come—I’ll be working with the Potsdam Humane Society, the Jefferson County SPCA and the Oswego County Humane Society to help find loveable pets a home.”

Senator Ritchie—a longtime pet owner who now owns a yellow lab named “Gunner”—is currently featuring the following pets on her website and Facebook page:

Potsdam Humane Society: This week’s pet is Barron von Willie, a male dog that has been part of the Potsdam Humane Society family since April of 2012.  He is house trained, smart, energetic, full of love and according to Potsdam Humane Society staff, would do best in a single pet household.  For more information on Baron von Willie and other pets up for adoption, please call the Potsdam Humane Society at (315) 265-3199.

January 6, 2014
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STATEMENT ON PLAN TO SAVE ST. LAWRENCE PSYCHIATRIC CENTER

For the people of the North Country, the St. Lawrence Psych Center has been a “Center of Excellence” for more than 100 years.  With today’s announcement, we are ensuring it continues to play a central role in delivering that quality and compassionate care, and serving our community.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE GOVERNOR'S PRESS RELEASE WITH DETAILS OF THE NEW SLPC PLAN

CLICK HERE TO WATCH JOHN MOORE'S TV-7 REPORT

Six months ago, the state Office of Mental Health announced that it was transforming mental health services in Northern New York.  And for six months, members of this community—including clients, family members, employees and a far greater number of ordinary, concerned citizens—rallied, petitioned, organized and appealed for a better idea.

We set just three goals: maintaining inpatient mental health services in Northern New York; providing a stronger mental health safety net in our communities, and preserving and protecting critically needed local jobs.

Today, we achieved all three. With today’s announcement, we are assured that North Country families won’t have to endure an hours-long drive through dangerous winter storms to find appropriate care for our loved ones.

December 19, 2013
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RITCHIE BILL TO BOOST LOCAL AGRICULTURE SIGNED INTO LAW

Measure Seeks to Increase Local Foods in State Facilities 

A bill sponsored by State Senator Patty Ritchie that seeks to use the tremendous buying power of  state government to boost purchases of locally grown foods for use in state prisons, hospitals and other agencies has been signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo. 

Under Senate Bill 4061, officials will be directed to create a list of competitively priced food products available for institutional sale, giving state agencies easy access to farm fresh products. State officials will also be required to regularly update their local food purchasing lists and measure state agencies’ compliance with directives to expand purchases from local food sources.

“Eating local is a big trend right now—and it can mean big business for local farmers and food producers.   This legislation builds upon that movement, seeking to use the purchasing power of state government to help farmers grow,” said Senator Ritchie, who chairs the Senate Agriculture Committee. 

December 19, 2013
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RITCHIE SECURES $100,000 FOR FORT DRUM REGIONAL HEALTH PLANNING ORGANIZATION

Funding to Strengthen Health Care System for Ft. Drum, Surrounding Communities 

State Senator Patty Ritchie has announced she has secured $100,000 in special funding for the Fort Drum Regional Health Planning Organization (FDRHPO) to help strengthen the local health care system in the communities around Fort Drum and support the continued growth and expansion of the post.

“FDRHPO plays a vital role here in the North Country, supporting our troops and their loved ones by ensuring they have access to quality health care,” said Senator Ritchie.

“Quality health care is a big part of the puzzle when it comes to the continued growth of Fort Drum and the surrounding communities.  I’m pleased to be able to secure this funding, which represents an investment in the post and shows the state’s commitment to protecting and strengthening Fort Drum.”

FDRHPO is an agency that strengthens the North Country health care system for Fort Drum soldiers, their families and the surrounding civilian community by connecting the Military Treatment Facility with the regional health care system and evaluating, planning and strengthening the link between Fort Drum community members and quality health care in Northern New York.

December 18, 2013
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CENTRAL, NORTHERN NEW YORKERS HELP RITCHIE MAKE HOLIDAY DONATIONS TO LOCAL CHARITIES

Nearly 100 Food Items, 50 Toys Collected

With help from Central and Northern New Yorkers, State Senator Patty Ritchie has donated nearly 100 food items and nearly 50 toys to local charities this holiday season.

Charities receiving donations include, Toys for Tots, the Ogdensburg Neighborhood Center, Catholic Charities of Oswego, Oswego County Children’s Fund and The Salvation Army.

December 17, 2013
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NEARLY 60 ATTEND AGRICULTURE GRANT OPPORTUNITY WORKSHOP

COULDN'T MAKE IT? CLICK HERE TO ORDER A FREE DVD OF THE PRESENTATIONS

CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE PRESENTATIONS ONLINE

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.

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE EVENT FLYER

“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 12, 2013
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NYS TAX DEPARTMENT ADDS NORTH COUNTRY STOP TO ‘STAR’ REGISTRATION EVENT SCHEDULE

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.”

December 12, 2013
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RITCHIE APPLAUDS BIG WINS FOR CENTRAL, NORTHERN NY THROUGH REGIONAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL AWARDS

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.

December 11, 2013
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TASK FORCE TAKES FIGHT TO SAVE THE PSYCH CENTER TO THE CAPITOL

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. 

CLICK HERE TO WATCH CH. 7's REPORT ON THE TASK FORCE MEETING WITH GOV. CUOMO

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.”

December 10, 2013
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RITCHIE RELEASES ANNUAL AGRICULTURE REPORT

Details Senate Ag Committee Activities for 2013

***CLICK HERE TO READ THE REPORT***

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.”

December 9, 2013
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RITCHIE ATTENDS NY FARM BUREAU STATE ANNUAL MEETING

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.

December 6, 2013
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MORE THAN 7,800 CHRISTMAS CARDS COLLECTED FOR "HOLIDAY MAIL FOR HEROES" PROGRAM

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. 

December 3, 2013
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RITCHIE CALLS ON TAX DEPT. TO HOLD ‘STAR’ REGISTRATION EVENTS IN CENTRAL, NORTHERN NEW YORK

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. 

December 2, 2013
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CALLING ALL FARMERS! FREE AGRICULTURAL GRANT OPPORTUNITY WORKSHOP TO BE HELD ON DECEMBER 12TH

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.

November 27, 2013
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SLPC EMPLOYEE FEATURED IN RITCHIE’S LOCAL ARTISTS PROGRAM

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.

CLICK HERE TO SEE EXAMPLES OF FEATURED ARTISTS' WORK

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.” 

November 22, 2013
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RITCHIE BILL WOULD BLOCK PSYCH CENTER CLOSING

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.

November 19, 2013
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RITCHIE APPLAUDS PSC’S “HANG UP” ON 315 AREA CODE CHANGES

Plans Put on Hold Until 2016

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.

November 14, 2013
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