Cuomo to announce $21 million Corning plant expansion project

Corning will expand production at its Canton plant in a $21 million project that will create 40 permanent jobs with the help of a low-cost power allocation, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is expected to announce today.

The plant on McAdoo Road in the town of DeKalb will increase production of high-fused silica glass used in the semiconductor industry. The plant supplies microchips for computers, cellphones and other electronics. It also makes specialized glass products for the U.S. Department of Defense and the aerospace industry.

The 30,700-square-foot expansion will include 23,500 square feet for increased production and a 7,200-square-foot warehouse. Corning is expected to host a formal ceremony next month for the start of construction.

The New York Power Authority is allocating 2.1 megawatts to the plant for the expansion.

“The St. Lawrence-FDR power plant is crucial for economic development in Northern New York,” Gil C. Quiniones, president and chief executive officer of NYPA, said in a news release Monday. “It’s a top priority for NYPA to utilize its low-cost hydropower in ways that will yield the greatest results and Corning’s commitment toward the creation of 40 high-paying jobs in the region is exactly that, a great result.”

The low-cost hydropower will be provided to Corning under a seven-year contract and is drawn from a block of St. Lawrence electricity known as Preservation Power.

“Corning’s decision to expand its operations in Canton is certainly great news. It is a perfect marriage when St. Lawrence hydropower creates jobs in the north country,” NYPA trustee Eugene L. Nicandri said.

Corning’s Canton facility receives a 2.2 megawatt allocation of ReCharge NY power, which was approved by the NYPA trustees in April 2012 in exchange for the firm’s commitment to retain its nearly 200 positions.

In addition to the new permanent jobs, which NYPA says already are being added, the capital investments by the company are expected to support dozens of temporary construction jobs.

Empire State Development is providing the company $750,000 in Excelsior Jobs Program tax credits to assist with the job creation project.

“This allocation by NYPA will reduce Corning’s energy cost, which is a major expenditure at the Canton plant,” Patrick Jackson, director of Corning’s Global Energy Management, said in the release.

Under state law, allocations of power to Northern New York businesses from the St. Lawrence hydroelectric facility are for firms in Franklin, Jefferson and St. Lawrence counties. The electricity is provided at a price that is currently 40 percent less than the wholesale market price in the region. Preservation Power allocations support hundreds of jobs in St. Lawrence County.

By Amanda Purcell, Johnson Newspapers

Schumer pushes for biogas tax credit for upstate dairy industry

Schumer

Schumer

Sen. Charles E. Schumer is making a push in Congress for a tax credit to spur the construction of biogas facilities in upstate New York, which could be used by manufacturers of dairy products to convert waste into renewable energy.

Called the Biogas Investment Tax Credit Act, the proposal would provide a tax credit equal to 30 percent of the cost of building a biogas processing plant, Mr. Schumer, D-N.Y., said Wednesday during a conference call with reporters. Those savings would be an incentive for dairy farmers and manufacturers of yogurt and cheese to invest in biogas processing plants, he said.

Such facilities would enable them to covert whey byproduct or manure into energy to offset on-site energy needs, or to sell back to the energy grid at a profit. [Read more...]

St. Lawrence Seaway steel shipment boost largely due to auto industry demand

A large jump in steel product shipments through the St. Lawrence Seaway this season has been due to demand from the U.S. automobile industry, among other factors.

According to a news release sent out by the Chamber of Marine Commerce, the shipments to ports of Cleveland, Detroit, Indiana-Burns Harbor and Milwaukee also are a result of the improving American economy.

“In addition to an upbeat auto industry and an improving economy, robust oil and gas industries depend upon manufactured iron and steel goods,” St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corp. spokeswoman Nancy T. Alcalde said.

General cargo shipments, including steel slabs and coils and aluminum, totaled 872,000 metric tons from March 25 to June 30, according to the Seaway Corp.

This represented a 44 percent spike from 2013.

“We are seeing exports as well as imports. Advance notifications from industries suggested 2014 would be a good year, and we’re heading in that direction,” Ms. Alcalde said. “An example is that 20 high-value GE locomotives have been shipped through the Seaway to Mozambique and 30 more are set to leave this summer. Wind component movements to Duluth and Muskegon are on the rise. The new liner service between Cleveland and Antwerp has also resulted in new cargo tonnage for this navigation season.”

A Canadian grain rush is another factor behind the increase, according to the Marine Commerce release. “However, total cargo shipments through the St. Lawrence Seaway from March 25 to June 30 were 11.1 million metric tons, down 7 percent compared to 2013 due to decreases in iron ore exports and coal traffic,” it read.

Ms. Alcalde said that the Seaway Corp. is expecting the steel shipment increase to continue in the foreseeable future.

“The slow start to the navigation season was due to the lengthy winter that lasted well into April” she said.

We expect cargo tonnage to continue to increase for the remainder of 2014 and improve upon last year’s tonnage performance,” Ms. Alcalde said.

By Victor Barbosa, Johnson Newspapers

Potsdam Bagelry gets news owners, plans to produce artisan coffee

New Bagelry owners B. Ryan Dunphey, left, and Gabriel A. Ockrin stand next to a picture of the business taken in 1982. Melanie Kimbler-Lago / NNY Business

New Bagelry owners B. Ryan Dunphey, left, and Gabriel A. Ockrin stand next to a picture of the business taken in 1982. Melanie Kimbler-Lago / NNY Business

Artisan coffee culture is making its debut at the Bagelry this summer with the help of new owners Gabriel A. Ockrin and B. Ryan Dunphey, two men who left behind careers in corporate America to follow a shared passion.

The partners plan to infuse the long-standing Potsdam business with big-city coffee culture, while staying faithful to north country lifestyles. [Read more...]

Watertown chamber nets $60,000 grant to launch community health program

The Greater Watertown-North Country Chamber of Commerce has been awarded $60,000 by the Community Service Society of New York to launch a yearlong community health program serving Jefferson, Lewis, St. Lawrence and Oswego counties.

Two community health advocates will be hired by the chamber to lead the program, which will serve individuals and small businesses seeking health insurance and help educate those with insurance issues. In a statement, chamber President and CEO Lynn M. Pietroski said the $60,000 grant will help the organization continue its outreach efforts to serve businesses in the region.

“We are excited that we have established an ongoing relationship with the Community Service Society and can now continue to offer these services to the community,” Mrs. Pietroski said. “Having the support of such a strong organization ensures the quality of education and information we can provide local consumers. With so many moving pieces, we are happy.”

Confirmed tornado scatters debris in Lewis County

Storm damage. Norm Johnston / NNY Business

Storm damage. Norm Johnston / NNY Business

Maple Ridge Wind Farm workers who rent two houses at Eagle Factory and Gardner roads fortunately were on holiday break Tuesday night, when a tornado swept through the area and ripped apart the structures as if they were toys.

The National Weather Service in Buffalo confirmed Wednesday that at 6:48 p.m. Tuesday, a tornado touched down near the intersection, west of Lowville, and went on to damage 12 buildings. The agency reported the northeast path of the tornado was about 10 miles long with a width of up to 300 yards, although it wasn’t on the ground the whole time. The last signs of damage were in the town of Croghan. The tornado was classified as an EF1 on the Enhanced Fujita scale, reaching maximum wind speeds between 95 and 100 mph. [Read more...]

Schumer urges FAA to approve runway expansion at Ogdensburg airport

Sen. Charles E. Schumer tells north country leaders at Ogdensburg International Airport Monday he will do everything he can to get the FAA to approve the runway extension. Melanie Kimbler-Lago / NNY Business

Sen. Charles E. Schumer tells north country leaders at Ogdensburg International Airport Monday he will do everything he can to get the FAA to approve the runway extension. Melanie Kimbler-Lago / NNY Business

U.S. Sen. Charles E. Schumer visited on Monday to urge the Federal Aviation Administration to approve a long-awaited runway expansion at Ogdensburg International Airport.

The Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority is planning to extend its runway by 1,200 feet to attract larger commercial airliners. The FAA’s stamp of approval is needed before work can begin on the $12 million project.

“The OBPA is ready, willing and able to complete this extension,” Mr. Schumer, D-N.Y., said. “The missing ingredient in making the airport and its new agreement with Allegiant a major economic driver in the regional economy is the feds, the FAA, where approval is sitting on somebody’s desk.”

The OBPA announced in June a partnership with Allegiant Air that officials say could increase traffic by up to 40,000 passengers a year with larger jets, which could turn the airport into a regional hub for air travel. [Read more...]

Radiation oncology wing opens at Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center in Ogdensburg

Former Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center President and CEO Mark A. Webster gets emotional Wednesday during the Richard E. Winter Cancer Treatment Center celebration of service and the unveiling of its new $4.7 million radiation oncology wing. Melanie Kimbler-Lago / NNY Business

Former Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center President and CEO Mark A. Webster gets emotional Wednesday during the Richard E. Winter Cancer Treatment Center celebration of service and the unveiling of its new $4.7 million radiation oncology wing. Melanie Kimbler-Lago / NNY Business

The former president and CEO of Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center was on hand Wednesday to help dedicate the opening of the Richard E. Winter Cancer Treatment Center’s new $4.7 million radiation oncology wing, where he praised those involved with the project for helping create what he said was a near-miraculous convergence of hurting and healing.

“It is a privilege of our profession when we see the hurting and the healing come together,” said Mark A. Webster. “And this gives us a new tool that has been amply and very well described by many of our speakers, which allows us to combat something that doesn’t fight fair at all, and never has fought fairly. So we need as much as we can to compete against it.”

Mr. Webster, who made the trip from Cortland Regional Medical Center where he now serves as hospital president, was one of dozens of people on hand and one of several speakers who played a part in helping make the new cancer treatment wing a reality.

The wing’s dedication coincides with the 20th anniversary of the Richard E. Winter Cancer Treatment Center. The facility’s new 3,264-square-foot wing is home to a multifunctional Varian Trilogy linear accelerator that will allow doctors to direct radiation more precisely at cancerous tumors. The procedure will reduce the number of treatments needed for some forms of cancer and is precise and sensitive enough to target an area of cancer half the thickness of a dime, leaving the surrounding tissue unharmed, hospital officials say.

The new equipment will allow doctors to treat certain brain and lung cancers for which there has been no treatment available in the north country. [Read more...]

Riverside Iron in Gouverneur preparing for production

Eric S. Tessmer, who recently purchased Riverside Iron in Gouverneur, stands in front of his Gouverneur business, which he plans to rekindle. Jason Hunter / NNY Business

Eric S. Tessmer, who recently purchased Riverside Iron in Gouverneur, stands in front of his Gouverneur business, which he plans to rekindle. Jason Hunter / NNY Business

Riverside Iron is poised to reopen to manufacture miscellaneous and ornamental steel, bringing the potential of more than a dozen jobs.

Eric S. Tessmer closed on the purchase of the business Friday from Duane Winters, who is providing $350,000 in financing.

A native of Gouverneur, Mr. Tessmer has watched the zinc and talc industries fade, along with General Motors in Massena.

“It’s sad to see those jobs go,” he said.

But he is glad to bring back what he can. [Read more...]

Lewis County projects receive financial support from local community fund

Lewis County projects and programs will receive added financial boosts from the geographically specific funds administered through the Northern New York Community Foundation.

The Michael Brown Fund has been supplemented with a bequest from late longtime Lewis County resident Mr. Brown, and, beginning in 2015, will offer $25,000 annually to the greater Lowville area. Community Foundation Executive Director Rande S. Richardson said that funds, combined with awards through the George R. Davis Fund, will go toward parks, projects, school needs and historic preservation.

“Word has spread,” he said, regarding the availability of Lewis County-specific grant awards through the foundation.

The George Davis Fund committee, made up of the superintendent of Lowville Academy and Central School, clerk for the Lewis County judge and the Lowville mayor, reviewed more than $58,000 in funding requests, which Mr. Richardson said was the “largest request pool yet.”

“That illustrates the need and interest for resources available,” he said.

Mr. Davis selected the three aforementioned positions as the review committee, as he served as Lewis County judge for more than 20 years. He died in 2010, and lived in Lowville most of his life.

The board approved on Tuesday the committee’s recommendations totaling $10,000. Nearly $30,000 has been awarded through the George Davis Fund over the past few years. Grants awarded were:

■ $2,000 to the town of Lowville for continued restoration of historic gravestones at Jackson Street cemetery.

■ $2,000 to the Lewis County Agricultural Society to purchase a gazebo as part of an improvement project for the entrance of the Lewis County Fairgrounds.

■ $2,000 to the village of Lowville to assist with the purchase of pole-mounted lights to be used for new Christmas decoration displays in the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial park.

■ $500 to the Lowville Food Pantry to purchase school supplies as part of the organization’s “Stuff the Bus” event, which will benefit local youths in need.

■ $500 to First Presbyterian Church to support the Stow Square monument project.

■ $3,000 to the Lewis County Historical Society in support of the organization’s floor renovation project. The project also was funded by grants from the Community Foundation’s board-designated grant-making fund and the Michael Brown Fund.

Mr. Richardson said the Community Foundation is working out implementation details for the latter fund, as board members will figure out how the awarding of the $25,000 in grants annually will play out. Up until now, grants were awarded through the Michael Brown Fund as needed, Mr. Richardson said.

By Rebecca Madden, Times Staff Writer