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...]

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...]

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...]

Ogdensburg state officials to meet over St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center land sale

A portion of Letchworth Hall at the St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center in Ogdensburg is in disrepair. City officials hope to develop a plan to redevelop the property. Larry Robinson / Johnson Newspapers

A portion of Letchworth Hall at the St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center in Ogdensburg is in disrepair. City officials hope to develop a plan to redevelop the property. Larry Robinson / Johnson Newspapers

City, state and county officials will meet Thursday morning to discuss the proposed transfer of 45 acres of idle St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center land bordering the St. Lawrence River and Route 37 to the city.

State Sen. Patricia A. Ritchie, R-Heuvelton, said Tuesday she plans to attend the 10 a.m. gathering at City Hall, 330 Ford St., and use the opportunity to continue advocating for the state to turn the land over to city officials for $1 so that it can be redeveloped and placed back on the tax rolls.

“The state has just walked away and left these buildings decaying and falling down. Now this is an opportunity to put the property back in the city’s hands,” Sen. Ritchie said. [Read more...]

Mail woes cause headaches for businesses in the Commerce Industrial Park

A mail delivery schedule change is causing headaches for business managers in the Ogdensburg Commerce Park. Sean Ewart / Johnson Newspapers

A mail delivery schedule change is causing headaches for business managers in the Ogdensburg Commerce Park. Sean Ewart / Johnson Newspapers

Two business managers are speaking out about the mail delivery changes at the Ogdensburg Commerce Park. [Read more...]

DeKalb Building Supply will have grand opening in May

The shelves are full at DeKalb Building Supply, which is open to suggestions on how it can better serve the community, including being the host of DeKalb’s first farmers market.
“We’re working to get the inventory back up,” owner Clark R. Porter said. “At first, it was hit or miss. I think we’ve got 15,000 different items now.”

The sign at the front of the building on Route 11 still says Carvel Ace Hardware, but a new one is on its way. The store will celebrate its grand opening throughout May with further specials planned for May 16 and 17.

Hours starting in May will be 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.

The store has been a mainstay of DeKalb Junction for years, but was on its last legs when Mr. Porter bought the building and inventory from Lee J. Carvel.

“It was still open but barely had a pulse,” Mr. Porter said.

Mr. Carvel is running his trophy business in the store until at least June 1.

DeKalb Building Supply owner Clark R. Porter and manager Scott A. Davison stand in front of a display of Milwaukee power tools at the hardware store in DeKalb Junction. The store will celebrate its grand opening throughout May and plans to host a farmers market. Melanie Kimbler-Lago / NNY Business

DeKalb Building Supply owner Clark R. Porter and manager Scott A. Davison stand in front of a display of Milwaukee power tools at the hardware store in DeKalb Junction. The store will celebrate its grand opening throughout May and plans to host a farmers market. Melanie Kimbler-Lago / NNY Business

So far, the front end of the store is stocked with Milwaukee tools, garden supplies, hardware, paint, plumbing supplies and household products. The store will offer metal roofing, spray foam insulation and lumber. Mr. Porter also is considering the grain business. A cooler for cheese may be added, as well as Amish-made goods for sale outside.

“I see us doing a tool rental eventually,” Mr. Porter said. “A lot of it is space and organization. We’re slowly improving. The store in general is not going to be your typical run-of-the-mill hardware store.” [Read more...]

DeKalb purchases St. Henry’s Church for library, community space

The town of DeKalb has purchased St. Henry’s Catholic Church in DeKalb Junction for $10,500 and plans to use it for a library and community space. Jason Hunter / Watertown Daily Times

The town of DeKalb has purchased St. Henry’s Catholic Church in DeKalb Junction for $10,500 and plans to use it for a library and community space. Jason Hunter / Watertown Daily Times

The town of DeKalb has purchased St. Henry’s Catholic Church for $10,500 for use as a library and other community purposes.

“We’re trying to look at the future,” Supervisor John M. Frary said. “It’s nice to make sure these old buildings are used.” [Read more...]