NNY Q&A: Boots Brewing

Co-founder of Boots Brewing Co., Daniel Daugherty at his business in downtown Watertown. Kara Dry/NNY Business

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Making Every Day Matter: Hospice of Jefferson County keeps patient, family needs at heart while serving the community

Hospice patient, Roland “Rollie” J. Donato, and his wife Brenda M. Donato stand for a portrait in the front room of their home in Watertown. Mr. Donato’s hospital bed sits against the wall while Mrs. Donato sleeps on the couch every night so she can be with her husband at all times. Kara Dry/NNY Business

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A Next-Generation Entrepreneur: Puccia family legacy lives on

Owner of Sand Flats Produce Company, Vincent G. Puccia stands for a portrait in front of his delivery truck in Watertown. Kara Dry/NNY Business

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From the Ashes: Potsdam couple rebuilds family legacy

Audrey and Jake Roberts in the kitchen area of Maple Rock Bed and Breakfast in Potsdam. Christopher Lenney/NNY Business

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Small Business Startup: Tender Touch Massage Therapy

Owner of Tender Touch Massage Therapy, Ashley Mason poses for a portrait at her business in Chaumont. Kara Dry/NNY Business

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What Will Agribusiness Look Like Following The Pandemic?

Alyssa Kealy

It is quite hard to predict what the future will look like after the pandemic, especially when the end of the public health crisis itself cannot be predicted. The dairy industry is no stranger to unpredictability. Farmers are subject to volatility all year long, from fluctuating milk prices, variable weather conditions, new regulations, etc. However, the coronavirus pandemic caused dairy market disruptions that nobody could have predicted. This exacerbated the challenges already faced. With the rapid closure of schools, restaurants, and many other businesses, there was a sudden loss in markets for milk. As I mentioned in my last article, milk production does not have an off switch. Thus, some creativity and quick work were needed to find a place for dairy products. 

    The pandemic put a spotlight on the fractured food supply chain and thus provided opportunities to reconfigure the connection between Upstate New York farms and downstate consumers in need. With excess product from upstate farms and hungry families downstate, it made perfect sense to connect the two. Over the last several months, Northeast Dairy Producers Association, along with partners such as the New York State Vegetable Growers Association, NY Corn and Soybean Growers Association, Senator Jessica Ramos, and many upstate farmers coordinated food deliveries to NYC through the Nourish NY Initiative. Products delivered included thousands of gallons of milk and other dairy products, pallets of fruits and vegetables, New York potato chips, and even coloring books and crayons for children. 

    The COVID-19 pandemic has also provided opportunities to reinforce the farmer-to-consumer connection virtually. Farmers have been doing a stellar job sharing their day-to-day with consumers at home via social media platforms. This is as important as ever since the pandemic has restricted face-to-face outreach. Interested in what farms are up to? Missing the infamous Dairy Cow Birthing Center at the New York State Fair? The New York Animal Agriculture Coalition (NYAAC) has the next best thing with the “Dairy on the Moo-ve” Initiative. Simply by following NYAAC on social media, you can visit farms from the comfort of your home. A few weeks ago, I was on location with NYAAC, who highlighted two Jefferson county farms- Murcrest Farms and Porterdale Farms. You can view videos from these visits here: www.facebook.com/NYAnimalAg videos/?ref=page_internal. Keep an eye out for other New York State farms featured here throughout the fall! 

    After almost seven months from the beginning of the pandemic, the dairy industry has seen a few silver linings, including enhanced appreciation for agriculture as part of the ESSENTIAL framework of our nation and improved farmer image. In a recent article published by Gallup, Farming Rises, Sports Tumbles in U.S. Industry Ratings, farming has jumped to the top of the list of positively viewed U.S. business and industry sectors for the first time in 20 years! Farming now has the highest positive view of 69 percent, an 11-point increase since last year. This is likely due to recognition of farmer dedication to providing vital goods to Americans during the pandemic. You can read the full article here: https://news.gallup.com/poll/319256/farming-rises-sports-tumbles-industry-ratings.aspx 

    So, what does the future look like? There is no crystal ball to look into, but you can be assured that dairy farmers will meet whatever comes next with vigilance and resilience. 

Selecting an Environmental Lawyer

Kevin Murphy

Environmental law matters frequently involve an overlap and interplay between legal, scientific, and business concerns. Translating science into policy and policy into law and the resulting enforcement or interpretation of the law by government agencies and the courts can leave people and businesses frustrated, confused and confounded by the law and its regulators. Adding to that frustration is both the complexity and harshness of the law and often, the absence of simple, quick, and easy solutions to environmental legal problems. 

    There is much an environmental lawyer can do to benefit the client’s interests. Counsel is best sought, of course, prior to any actual conflict arising. Environmental counsel can minimize potential client liability through compliance counseling, assistance with permitting, site and process auditing, the performance of pre-acquisition due diligence, and the presentation of public comments or testimony prior to the enactment or promulgation of statutes or regulations that may impact the client. Should issues of non-compliance or liability arise, counsel familiar with the specifics and peculiarities of environmental matters will likely be the best advocate for a client confronted with environmental concerns. 

    First and foremost, an environmental lawyer must be a good lawyer. Ask your friends, business associates and trade organizations, state or local bar and business groups, and your engineer, technical consultant or non-environmental lawyer for one or more recommendations of a lawyer or a law firm that practices environmental law. 

    Interview any lawyer that you might consider hiring. Determine their qualifications and experience. Consider first the candidate’s general qualifications, including years of experience; years of environmental law experience; their professional development through organizations, attendance at seminars, written articles, or teaching; and prior experience, including past governmental positions. Next, consider the candidate’s experience as it relates to your legal concerns. Among the many types of environmental matters which might require the assistance of environmental counsel are the sale or purchase of real property, securing a government permit, notice of a government enforcement action, a neighbor who alleges that you are polluting his property or your concerns that a neighbor has polluted your property. Determine if your candidate’s experience includes matters similar to yours. If they have never assisted a client secure a permit or has never defended a government enforcement action, he or she might not be the best-qualified environmental lawyer to resolve your legal matters. Determine if the lawyer has practiced before the government agency with which you have a conflict. While not mandatory or essential, familiarity with the specific regulator and its procedures and practices may also be helpful. 

    Ask the candidate to explain how the law works in your particular area and what type of solutions might be available. Remember, because environmental law involves the confluence of law, science and business, you should select a lawyer who not only understands the complex issues you are confronted with but who can communicate the issues and possible solutions in a clear, precise and understandable manner. If you cannot understand your lawyer, you will be frustrated and the other side, whoever it may be, is also likely to be frustrated. 

    Inquire as to what other professionals may be needed. Not only environmental engineers and consultants, but other legal professionals. Often times environmental issues arise in the context of other legal conflicts such as potential foreclosures, bankruptcy or trust and estate matters. Determine if your candidate has access to the necessary qualified professionals or if the candidate can successfully work with your existing counsel and experts. 

    Before engaging the services of an environmental lawyer, or any lawyer, discuss fees. Be aware, however, that lower hourly rates do not necessarily translate into lower total costs. Determine how your matter might be staffed, who will do the work and the likely or potential complications, which will add to the costs of a solution. Speaking to more than one candidate is the best way to determine a realistic picture of the potential range of costs and time involved and the options and approaches to solving your problem. 

    In making your final choice, do not disregard your instinct – select the lawyer you are most comfortable with and the lawyer you trust. Be wary of promises that are easy to make but difficult to keep. Make sure your lawyer listens and understands your goals and objectives but, at the same time, listen to what your lawyer says they can and cannot do for you. 

What You Should Know as a Buyer

Lance Evans

When our area entered Phase 2, the real estate market heated up. In some portions of the market, there have been multiple offers and some properties have had offers within a day or two of being put on the market. What do you need to know to be successful when making an offer? 

    First thing to remember is your Realtor is your advisor, but all final decisions are up to you. A Realtor will work with you to help craft an offer, but ultimately you need to know what your top limit for your offer price will be. If you plan on financing, it is a good idea to get pre-approved by your lender. You will also need to decide ahead of time your “musts” for a property and what you would like to have, but can live without (or can add later). 

    Secondly, you will be given a number of forms. Prior to looking at listing, you will be asked to review and sign the NYS Fair Housing Disclosure. If the listing is a residence, the agent will present the NYS Disclosure of Agency Relationships. When you decide to purchase, there will also be forms to fill out and sign. Your agent should review each with you and answer any questions you have. If you do not understand them, you should speak to your legal adviser. It is also a good idea for you to have your attorney review any contracts which should include an attorney review clause. 

    When you make your offer, you should look at how long a property has been on the market, whether the market is a seller’s (demand exceeds supply) or buyer’s market (supply exceeds demand), and how it fits your needs. Part of the offer will be the down payment or earnest money. This can range from as little sd a few hundred dollars to 20% of the price depending on your financing. The amount you put down will tell the seller how serious you are. 

    The purchase offer will also contain contingencies or provisions to be met by buyer and seller. Common ones are a home inspection, financing, appraisal, clear title to the property, and possibly a home sale if you need to sell your property before buying the property. You need to understand each one, as they carry risks and protections. 

    Before making the offer, review what is included and excluded with the property. The seller should have a list of appliances, lights, etc. that the seller is leaving. The description or the seller’s property condition disclosure should also tell you about utilities such as water (public or well), whether it is heated with electricity, gas, or oil, and other items you might need to know (shared driveway, right of ways, etc.). 

    The purchase offer will note a closing date. This is an approximate date and your agent can advise you on a realistic date based on a typical time frame and your financing choice. 

    The above is a bare bones outline for a buyer. You should consult your Realtor and your legal and financial advisors throughout the transaction. They are there to assist you. 

The Womens Council of Realtors Tri-County Network held their annual golf tournament Aug. 7 at Highland Meadows Golf Club. Some of the proceeds benefitted the physical therapy unit at River Hospital in Alexandria Bay. Major sponsors for the tournament were Carthage Savings and Loan, Northern Credit Union, and Watertown Saving Bank. Other sponsors included Community Bank, Farm Credit East, the Jefferson-Lewis Board of Realtors, Northern Tier Construction, Jennifer Flynn, and Diane Mullen. Holes were sponsored by Appraisals USA, Bennett Realty Group, Berkshire Hathaway Home Services CNY Realty, Richard Champney PC, Citizens Bank of Hammond, Conboy MacKay Bachman Kendall LLP, Gaebel Real Estate, Genesee Regional Bank, Lori Gervera Team of Keller Williams NNY, Heart Homes Real Estate, Hefferon Real Estate, Homes Realty of NNY, LP Thompson Insurance, St. Lawrence River Real Estate, Slye Law Offices PC, and the Weldon and Trimper Law Firm. 

    The tournament, a captain and crew format, had three divisions – men’s, women’s, and mixed. The men’s division was won by Team Casero, the women’s by the Lafargeville Ladies, and the mixed by Just Duckie Cleaning. Prizes were given for the longest drive to Todd Slate (Team Casero) and Gloria Peluso (Bridgeview Real Estate) and for closest to the pin to Roy Matteson (Matteson Property Management) and Autumn Winters (Lafargeville Ladies). 

    The 2021 Tournament will be held on Aug. 6 at Highland Meadows Golf Club. 

The Value of a North Country Education

Rande Richardson

“I have come to believe that a great teacher is a great artist. It might even be the greatest of the arts since the medium is the human mind and spirit.” — John Steinbeck 

As I grow older and raise my two children, I become increasingly aware of the gratitude I feel for having experienced a north country education. My 13 years as a student in the Watertown City School District were a great gift. While I did not fully realize it at the time, nearly every aspect of my K-12 experience helped set me on a path that would position me to take the next steps toward a fulfilling life and career. 

    We know that investing in students is something that has great potential to pay dividends not only for the adult they will eventually become, but for our community and the world they will inherit. This occurs best in a learning environment where students feel valued and supported and where a sense of belonging is instilled. There are many responsible for making our schools work. Administrators, teachers, coaches and staff contribute to shape the hearts, minds and lives of our children. While none of us remembers every lesson taught, we recall educators who imparted their wisdom with intention, care and joy. We know how those special teachers made us feel, how they listened, how they supported us to find the best version of ourselves and our role in society. 

    Educators have a responsibility like few others. Their profession is one from which all other professions stem. As time passes, our communities are diminished with the loss of those who provided decades of educational leadership and wisdom. This summer, we lost someone who embodied all the qualities of a transformative educator. For Barbara Hanrahan-White, her purpose was always greater than the delivery of instruction. In so many ways, she was representative of my best educational influences. She loved what she did and that made her presence even more powerful. 

    I reflect upon a woman who not only moved countless local students forward, but with kindness, love and dedication, created a never-ending wave of positivity. I am humbled that her legacy will have a permanent home here, and that through a memorial fund created in her name, that story can be told to those who may not have known her. Those whose lives were impacted by her, will always be part of the fund’s work. Since its inception in 1929, the Northern New York Community Foundation has held as a core belief the understanding of, and tireless advocacy for, an educated community. It is an organization Mrs. Hanrahan-White helped passionately guide for more than a decade. 

Barbara Hanrahan-White was an educator and administrator in the Watertown City School District from 1956 to 1987. She passed away in August at the age of 92.

    This year, more than 600 students from Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties received support from scholarship funds established at the Community Foundation. Several commemorate the lives and careers of educators who continue to make a meaningful difference in the lives of students as they embark on varied educational journeys. The tools that come from a solid education help prepare students to face the obstacles that inevitably come their way. They provide a solid foundation for citizenship, sharing commonality while embracing uniqueness and individuality. They supply us with compassionate leaders for our region’s organizations and institutions. 

    In remembering Barbara Hanrahan-White, I recall all the positive educational influences I was blessed to have. While, with her loss, I am reminded of the relative shortness of life, I am even more aware that the difference made during a lifetime can be nearly infinite. She knew the power she held in her hands. She knew the responsibility that came with that privilege. For her, it was never simply a job. She understood that it was more important to be a facilitator of learning than an authority figure. Because of her and so many like her, countless students were provided one of the greatest and most enduring gifts and the ability and desire to share it with others. 

Changes in Business Climate: NNY Q&A with Jim Murphy

Jim Murphy stands in front of the Massena Town Hall. Christopher Lenney/NNY Business

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