State Senator Patty Ritchie is teaming with the Fort Drum Regional Liaison Organization (FDRLO) and other local leaders to urge people to stand up for Fort Drum by signing an online petition launched today at www.StandUpForFortDrum.com.
The petition follows a proposal by the Army to assess the impact of reducing troop levels to numbers not seen since the beginning of World War II. Taken across the board, the reductions could mean significant cuts at Fort Drum, the North Country’s leading economic engine, which supports thousands of jobs and pumps roughly $1.4 billion into the local economy annually.
“Ft. Drum is a huge part of the North Country—it’s a major job-creator, a significant part of our economy and its troops and their families are not only defenders of our freedom, they are also our friends and neighbors,” said Senator Ritchie.
“I’m joining forces with the FDRLO and local leaders to help send a clear message to the Army that Fort Drum is a vital part of our region, our state and our nation. Our community has welcomed Fort Drum and now, we need to stand together to show our continued support and eagerness to help the post grow and succeed.”
Takes Part in First Meeting of “Task Force on Military and Veterans Affairs”
State Senator Patty Ritchie joined today with fellow members of the Council of State Governments “Task Force on Military and Veterans Affairs” to discuss ways to improve services and outreach to veterans and active members of our nation’s military.
The discussion was the first for the group, which is tasked with identifying key issues facing veterans and includes legislators and state officials from across the country.
“As the State Senator representing Fort Drum, I make it a priority to look out for the 18,000 soldiers, 20,000 family members and nearly 3,000 veterans who call our region home,” said Senator Ritchie.
Special Funding Will Aid Organizations in Jefferson, Oswego and St. Lawrence Counties
State Senator Patty Ritchie has announced she has secured $50,000 in special funding to help victims of domestic violence in Central and Northern New York.
“Whether it’s physical or psychological, anyone can become a victim of domestic violence; and often times, it’s difficult for the individual being harmed to seek help,” said Senator Ritchie.
“That’s where our local organizations that assist victims of domestic violence come in. They lend a helping hand, and give individuals the courage to get back up on their feet. I’m pleased to provide this funding to these vital organizations, and commend them for the work they do to promote safety in our communities.”
Thousands of individual pills totaling more than 150 pounds were disposed of at State Senator Ritchie’s “Shed the Meds” event, held Tuesday in Ogdensburg.
Hosted in conjunction with the Ogdensburg Police Department and the St. Lawrence County Sheriff’s Department, the event provided residents with a safe, responsible way to dispose of unwanted, unused and expired prescription medicines, which can pose a danger to children and pets. In addition, improper disposal can also pollute lakes and streams. Among the pills disposed of were painkillers, opioids and narcotics—substances which are often times the gateway drugs for addiction to illegal substances such as heroin.
“The thousands of prescription pills disposed of at my “Shed the Meds” event will go a long way towards our goals of preventing drug abuse, keeping our drinking water clean and stopping pills from getting in the hands of children or being consumed by pets,” said Senator Ritchie.
Legislation Will Boost Tourism, Create Jobs by Putting Local Wineries on the Map
State Senator Patty Ritchie has announced her legislation to put North Country wineries on the map, create jobs and boost the economy has been signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo.
Ritchie’s bill (S.6321-A) creates the “St. Lawrence Wine Trail,” highlighting for tourists and residents the increasing number of wines being produced locally.
“In recent years a significant number of new wineries have popped up across New York State—and that includes a number of new establishments that are right here in our backyard,” said Senator Ritchie.
“The creation of the St. Lawrence Wine Trail is a chance for the North Country to capitalize on the fast-growing wine industry. By putting these local businesses on the map, we can boost tourism, create jobs, encourage more people to shop local as well as strengthen current wineries and encourage more new businesses to open.”
Teams with County Sheriff, Ogdensburg PD to Host Free Prescription Drug Disposal Event July 22nd
State Senator Patty Ritchie is inviting residents of St. Lawrence County to clean out their medicine cabinets and drawers and bring their unused, unwanted and expired prescription medicines to a special event for free, safe disposal.
Senator Ritchie is teaming with St. Lawrence County Sheriff Kevin Wells and the Ogdensburg Police Department to sponsor the free event next Tuesday, July 22, from 4 to 6 pm, at the Ogdensburg Fire Station, 718 Ford Street.
“Nearly everyone has leftover, unwanted or expired prescription drugs lying somewhere around the house,” Senator Ritchie said. “But these pills can pose a danger to children and pets, they can find their way into the hands of pill abusers, and improper disposal threatens our water, lakes and streams. Events like this allow people to get rid of unneeded medicine in a safe and responsible way.”
“Pill abuse has been directly linked to the growing problem of heroin usage across the US, and there have been a number of stories nationally involving abusers who break into homes, especially those belonging to seniors, in search of unused drugs,” said Sheriff Wells. “Properly disposing of drugs you no longer need or want helps keep these pills from getting into the wrong hands."
More than 50 Libraries to Receive Support to Enhance Services
State Senator Patty Ritchie has announced she has secured $148,000 in special funding to help enhance services at libraries throughout Central and Northern New York.
“Libraries are extremely important parts of our communities in Central and Northern New York for a number of reasons; offering patrons opportunities to access books, technology, culture and a myriad of other types of information and entertainment,” said Senator Ritchie.
Funding Will Help Budding Musicians in Jefferson, Oswego and St. Lawrence Counties
State Senator Patty Ritchie has announced she has secured $59,000 in special funding to help support local high school marching bands throughout Jefferson, Oswego and St. Lawrence Counties.
Included in the funding is $5,000 for Pulaski High School; aid which helped to make a trip to represent New York State in the National Fourth of July Parade in Washington D.C. possible. Students—who spent a great deal of time recently fundraising for the trip—departed Thursday morning for the event, which will take place on Friday.
“As a former high school band member myself, I know that activities like this help students build invaluable life skills and also allow them to further develop their musical talents,” said Senator Ritchie.
$200,000 Kickstarts Project to Bring More Shipments, Jobs to the Facility
State Senator Patty Ritchie today announced that she has secured $200,000 in special state grant funding to start dredging at the Port of Ogdensburg.
“The future of Ogdensburg’s deep water port is at risk from 30 years of silt build up that makes docking more difficult, dangerous and costly,” said Senator Ritchie. “This funding helps kickstart the dredging project, protects jobs and adds to the Port’s potential to increase shipping and work opportunities.”
Group Will Explore Ways to Improve Services, Outreach to Those Who Served
State Senator Patty Ritchie has been picked to be part of a nationwide group looking at ways to improve services and outreach to veterans and active members of America’s military.
The Council of State Governments “Task Force on Military and Veterans Affairs” includes legislators and elected state leaders from across the country. The panel is charged with identifying key veterans’ issues and best-practices that are already in use in various states. The group’s findings will be used to help draft legislative proposals in New York and other states to aid veterans.
“As the State Senator who represents the largest military post in the Northeast, and tens of thousands of veterans who served from World War II to the continuing battles against terrorism, I’ve given top priority to the needs of veterans and active duty members of our military,” said Senator Ritchie, whose district includes Fort Drum, home to the Army’s 10th Mountain Division.
In an effort to share her plan to help revitalize the North Country, State Senator Patty Ritchie today led a top aide to the state's job development chief on a tour of the vacant properties and buildings at the St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center; property that, under a plan by Senator Ritchie and the City of Ogdensburg, could be redeveloped to create new opportunities and transform the region.
“I want to thank Ken Adams, the CEO for Empire State Development, for sending his personal representative to see first-hand how my plan to redevelop Airy Point could be the key to kick-starting Ogdensburg’s economy and putting people back to work,” Senator Ritchie said.
“I want to thank representatives of the City of Ogdensburg and the Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority for partnering with me to help state officials understand why we need a comprehensive approach to redeveloping the campus.”
Funding Will Help Promote Events, Raise Awareness of Region’s Waterways
State Senator Patty Ritchie has announced she has secured $150,000 in special funding to support fishing tournaments and boost tourism in the Central and Northern New York regions. The funding will support 15 tournaments, including nine in St. Lawrence, four in Jefferson and two in Oswego County.
Included in the funding is support for the 2014 BASS Eastern Divisional Championship, which will take place in September in Waddington as well as funding for the NYS BASS Masters tournament, which will be held in August in Ogdensburg.
“Here in Central and Northern New York, our rivers, lakes and streams are phenomenal natural resources that not only offer world-class opportunities for fishing, they also attract tourists to our area, boosting our local economy and creating jobs,” said Senator Ritchie.
SUNY Canton and SUNY Oswego to Split Funding for Campus Additions and Upgrades
State Senator Patty Ritchie has announced she has secured $3 million in special funding to be split between SUNY Canton and SUNY Oswego that will allow the colleges to enhance learning by making much needed additions and upgrades.
“Our SUNY schools are where so many of our state’s best and brightest get the education they need to begin promising, rewarding careers that enable them to give back to our state and our region,” said Senator Ritchie
“I’m thrilled to have been able to secure this funding, which will go a long way towards helping two of our local SUNY schools make the improvements necessary for offering top-notch educational opportunities to students.”
Since the 2014 Legislative Session began in January, I've been focused on achieving results that make for a better New York for all who call our state home. By working together, across the political aisle, we have made great strides towards several of my top priorities, including creating jobs, cutting red tape, lowering taxes, improving our schools and fostering new opportunities for people across our state.