Antique Boat Museum announces new director

The Antique Boat Museum has picked Rebecca Hopfinger, its current acting director, to become its executive director. [Read more…]

JCC President Carole McCoy announces retirement next year

Jefferson Community College President Carole A. McCoy, seen here congratulating Charles Hartley upon receiving his diploma during last Friday's commencement ceremony, announced she is retiring at the end of the 2016-17 academic year. Photo by Amanda Morrison, Watertown Daily Times.

Jefferson Community College President Carole A. McCoy, seen here congratulating Charles Hartley upon receiving his diploma during last Friday’s commencement ceremony, announced she is retiring at the end of the 2016-17 academic year. Photo by Amanda Morrison, Watertown Daily Times.

Jefferson Community College President Carole A. McCoy announced she is retiring at the end of the 2016-17 academic year. [Read more…]

April 2016 Cover Story: SUNY Potsdam’s Bicentennial

A celebration 200 years in the making

SUNY Potsdam President Kristin Esterberg celebrates the 200th anniversary of the university March 25 during a bicentennial bash at the school’s student union. Photo by Jason Hunter, NNY Business.

SUNY Potsdam President Kristin Esterberg celebrates the 200th anniversary of the university March 25 during a bicentennial bash at the school’s student union. Photo by Jason Hunter, NNY Business.

On March 25, 2016, SUNY Potsdam, the oldest of state system’s 64 campuses, marked the founding of St. Lawrence Academy. The present-day college traces its beginnings to 1816 when the Academy and its first Board of Trustees were formed. Two centuries later, SUNY Potsdam is a story of the evolution of educational excellence.

[Read more…]

April 2016 20 Questions: William Fox, St. Lawrence University

A higher ed calling

William L. Fox, St. Lawrence University’s 18th president, discusses his tenure leading the university and his own undergraduate experience as a member of the class of 1975 in his Canton office last month. Photo by Justin Sorensen, NNY Business.

William L. Fox, St. Lawrence University’s 18th president, discusses his tenure leading the university and his own undergraduate experience as a member of the class of 1975 in his Canton office last month. Photo by Justin Sorensen, NNY Business.

William Fox, SLU ’75, leads university steeped in tradition to new, lasting heights

When St. Lawrence University president William L. Fox first arrived on campus in 1971 for a visit during his senior year of high school, he instantly knew that he’d found his undergraduate home. Fast-forward some 38 years to 2009, and Mr. Fox, a 1975 graduate, made a serendipitous return to campus as the university’s 18th president. With the nation’s economy in a tailspin, he’d take the reins at the storied institution while facing incredible challenges as the university’s endowment plunged 35 percent, losing nearly $100 million. But, as Mr. Fox tells it, the perseverance of an academic institution revered by its alumni helped to carry it through hard times. Now in his seventh year at the helm, Mr. Fox and the team he leads have set a course of innovation and adaptation that he believes will propel St. Lawrence well into the future. We sat down with Mr. Fox last month for a conversation about what makes St. Lawrence a jewel in the crown of higher education. [Read more…]

New Pizza Hut approved by Canton Village Planning Board

CANTON — The village Planning Board on Tuesday night unanimously approved a site plan for a new Pizza Hut in the University Plaza on Route 11. The new site is about 200 yards from the existing Pizza Hut and will include a drive-through area. [Read more…]

Alcoa in Massena to lay off 37 workers at end of February

Thirty-seven Alcoa employees will be involuntarily laid off at the end of February. The company had originally planned to cut 487 positions until a deal to keep the company operating in Massena was negotiated with state officials and Sen. Charles E. Schumer, who announced the agreement two days before Thanksgiving. Photo by Jason Hunter, Watertown Daily Times.

Thirty-seven Alcoa employees will be involuntarily laid off at the end of February. The company had originally planned to cut 487 positions until a deal to keep the company operating in Massena was negotiated with state officials and Sen. Charles E. Schumer, who announced the agreement two days before Thanksgiving. Photo by Jason Hunter, Watertown Daily Times.

MASSENA — What was originally 487 jobs that would have been lost at Alcoa’s Massena operation has been trimmed to 85, including 37 involuntary layoffs.

The original 487 positions would have been eliminated had Alcoa followed through with plans announced on Nov. 2 to close the Massena East smelter rather than modernizing it, and idling the Massena West smelter.

But, under a deal negotiated with Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and Sen. Charles E. Schumer and announced two days before Thanksgiving, the company made commitments to keep the plant open for the next 3½ years and maintain 600 full-time equivalent jobs. The agreement is retroactive to Oct. 1 and runs through March 31, 2019.

Company officials announced this week that 85 positions needed to be cut. But, after retirements, voluntary quit packages and transfers, the number of involuntary layoffs was reduced to 37 individuals who will lose their jobs as of Feb. 27, according to Robert A. Smith, United Steelworkers Local 420-A president.

“They reduced our numbers by 85 total. After the voluntary quit, retirement and transfer processes, they posted Tuesday that they were laying off 37 people involuntarily,” he said.

Mr. Smith said seniority was defined by the date workers started at the Massena West plant, so those who transferred after closure of the East Plant weren’t allowed to transfer their seniority and were part of the layoffs.

“When you talk about company seniority, it’s defined as the start date at this location,” he said.

Mr. Smith said even one layoff was too many, but the situation could have been worse.

“One layoff is difficult. If you look at the bright side, thanks to Senator Schumer, Governor Cuomo and Senator (Joseph R.) Griffo and their efforts, 37 is better than 487,” he said.

Under the terms of the agreement, the New York Power Authority will provide $30 million in low-cost hydropower to Alcoa. But that reduction in cost will fluctuate if the price of aluminum increases in the global metals exchange market.

NYPA’s Board of Trustees approved the agreement in December, revising a 2014 deal with Alcoa. NYPA is now accepting written comments on their proposed contract, and will take public comments during a hearing scheduled for 2:30 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the Frank S. McCullough Jr. Hawkins Point Visitors Center in Massena. The proposed agreement can be viewed at nypa.gov.

“Under the legislation that created Preservation Power, a public hearing must first be held before any award by our trustees is finalized. This also applies to our Expansion Power and Replacement Power Programs in Western New York,” NYPA Media Relations Manager Steven P. Gosset said. “The hearing is standard procedure for NYPA and was not called specifically because the allocation involves Alcoa.”

Anyone who wants to make statements at the hearing is asked to provide to NYPA, in advance of the hearing, their name and the name of the organization or group they represent. They’re also asked to bring two hard copies of their oral statements and limit their statements to five minutes.

Written statements that are provided by close of business on Feb. 12 will also become part of the record of the hearing.

For more information, call 914-390-8085 or email secretarys.office@nypa.gov.

By Bob Beckstead, Watertown Daily Times