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

Ogdensburg manufacturing company expanding; hopes for 50 new jobs

A city manufacturing company that has been doing business in the community for 50 years has begun demolition and construction work on a major expansion that could create 50 new jobs over the next decade.

DeFelsko Corp., 802 Proctor Ave., is a leading U.S. manufacturer of coating thickness gages and inspection instruments used for industrial painting. The business was founded almost 50 years ago by the late Frank J. Koch.

In September, DeFelsko purchased the neighboring A.N. Deringer Inc. building at the Ogdensburg Commerce Park to accommodate the expansion, and demolition of the structure is underway, according to DeFelsko President David J. Beamish. He said a new facility will be built at the site, and the expansion will almost triple the company’s capacity to more than 38,000 square feet. In addition to a modern electronic assembly area, the new building will house sales, marketing, accounting and shipping departments. The company employs 70 people.

“This acquisition will allow DeFelsko to expand to meet the demands of its growing business,” Mr. Beamish said. “In the past few years DeFelsko has expanded its product range and introduced successful new technologies which have increased the production requirements of the existing facility.” [Read more...]

A new watering hole

 Co-owners of Wood Boat Brewery, Michael Hazlewood, left, and Lance Peterson, right, hold up growlers at the bar of the new brewery in Clayton, which is being opened this summer. Amanda Morrison / NNY Business

Co-owners of Wood Boat Brewery, Michael Hazlewood, left, and Lance Peterson, right, hold up growlers at the bar of the new brewery in Clayton, which is being opened this summer. Amanda Morrison / NNY Business

Pub across from boat museum offers local beers, spirits [Read more...]