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.”

John Gaus’s startup to launch agriculture robots for tilling vegetable crops

John P. Gaus, entrepreneur and founder of Golden Technology Management, Potsdam, recently launched Agbotic Inc. He is pictured at NNY Business magazine’s ‘20 under 40’ luncheon in December at the Hilton Garden Inn in Watertown, where he was the keynote speaker. Watertown Daily Times Files.

John P. Gaus, entrepreneur and founder of Golden Technology Management, Potsdam, recently launched Agbotic Inc. He is pictured at NNY Business magazine’s ‘20 under 40’ luncheon in December at the Hilton Garden Inn in Watertown, where he was the keynote speaker. Watertown Daily Times Files.

Robots that will automatically till soil for vegetable crops are coming to the north country.

Entrepreneur John P. Gaus launched a technology startup in January called Agbotic Inc., which has designed agriculture robots that it plans to test this summer at farms. Agbotic is owned by Golden Technology Management of Potsdam, a firm founded by Mr. Gaus in 2004 that oversees technology ventures and employs graduates of the Clarkson University School of Business.

Mr. Gaus said Agbotic is close to securing nearly $500,000 in investments that will enable it to launch robotic technology this summer. The Development Authority of the North Country also has assisted the firm by applying for a $99,650 grant from the state Department of Agriculture and Markets to buy robotic equipment. [Read more...]

A community investment

How banking small has saved the north country. [Read more...]

Passengers welcome first flights to Philadelphia Thursday at Watertown airport

Passengers arrive at Watertown International Airport on Thursday after the first flight from Philadelphia. Norm Johnston / NNY Business

Passengers arrive at Watertown International Airport on Thursday after the first flight from Philadelphia. Norm Johnston / NNY Business

Tony T. Walker, a Fort Drum soldier en route to Atlanta, was among the passengers who boarded the first flight to Philadelphia Thursday at Watertown International Airport.

The 23-passenger flight on the 50-seat US Airways Express Bombardier CRJ200 aircraft, which left about 2 p.m., signaled the end of flights to O’Hare International Airport in Chicago. [Read more...]

Jefferson County officials optimistic about airport as Philadelphia service starts today

Watertown International Airport Manager Grant W. Sussey leads a tour for county officials at the county-owned facility. Norm Johnston / NNY Business

Watertown International Airport Manager Grant W. Sussey leads a tour for county officials at the county-owned facility. Norm Johnston / NNY Business

The first Philadelphia-bound flight takes off from Watertown International Airport this afternoon.

And though the switch to the Philadelphia destination from Chicago has caused some controversy, Jefferson County officials said they are optimistic about the county-owned airport’s future.

“There are pluses and minuses,” said Jefferson County Legislator Philip N. Reed, R-Fishers Landing. “I think the pluses will outweigh the minuses in the end.” [Read more...]

Keeping it in the family: Many north country business owners passing the torch to their offspring

Scott and Kelly Skinner and their daughter, Katie Skinner Youngs, in an aisle at their store. Photo by Amanda Morrison/NNY Business.

Operating a family business can be challenging and rewarding, yet at times, stressful and frustrating.

In many cases, families have to develop some type of “system” that allows them to work together during the day and still be talking to each other at night.

Several north country family businesses have not only made it work, but have been pretty successful at it. [Read more...]

Owens introduces bill for small business tax relief

Rep. William L. Owens, D-Plattsburgh, has introduced a bill that would offer small businesses a tax break that corresponds to increases in wages paid to certain employees in a given year. [Read more...]

Sales tax revenue up in 2012 for tri-county area

Three north country counties once again saw a spike in sales tax receipts in 2012, with each surpassing budget projections.

“It’s substantial,” Lewis County Legislature Chairman Michael A. Tabolt, R-Croghan, said after learning that his county had broken the $10 million mark for the first time. “That’s encouraging news.” [Read more...]

Experts say entrepreneurs need standout business plans to succeed in commercial real estate market

Compared to a decade ago, experts say, today’s entrepreneurs seeking to scoop up commercial real estate in the greater Watertown area need to jump through many more hoops to be successful. [Read more...]

A few key rules to start a business

Experts agree: For those who want to launch, preparation, building team critical to success

Following a period of holiday bliss, the New Year is a time when reality sinks in. One begins to ask what resolutions will be most attainable in the coming months. Is it losing that extra five pounds? Maybe it’s sleeping a full eight hours every night? Or perhaps just reading more, instead of spending so much time in front of the television.

For business owners, the New Year is a time to set new goals. Paint the storefront for some added curb appeal. Keep better records of business spending. Freshen up the advertising campaign in an effort to draw in new customers.

[Read more...]