Medical Marijuana: Dispensary official talks treatment

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Cape Air, Boutique Air make final pitch for Massena’s essential air service contract

Cape Air

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More than 30 people attend meeting to discuss possible purchase of St. Lawrence Centre mall

With a tour of the St. Lawrence Centre mall under their belts, members of a local group that’s looking into the possibility of purchasing the facility will be meeting next week to decide their next step. [Read more…]

Local group looks at forming co-op to purchase St. Lawrence Centre mall

A local group formed last year to discuss ideas to revitalize the local economy has its eye on the possible purchase of the St. Lawrence Centre mall. Photo by Bob Beckstead, Watertown Daily Times.

A local group formed last year to discuss ideas to revitalize the local economy has its eye on the possible purchase of the St. Lawrence Centre mall. Photo by Bob Beckstead, Watertown Daily Times.

A local group formed last year to discuss ideas on how to revitalize the local economy has its eye on the possible purchase of St. Lawrence Centre mall. [Read more…]

New diesel tank installation planned at Massena International Airport

A grant through the St. Lawrence River Valley Redevelopment Agency will allow town officials to install a new diesel tank at the Massena International Airport. [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

Massena Town Council allows hospital to move forward with privatization

Clyde Leffler, Massena, a 20-year employee at Massena Memorial Hospital who works as a clerk in the endoscopy unit, protests against the proposed privatization of the hospital Wednesday night before a Massena Town Board meeting at the Massena Town Hall. Photo by Jason Hunter, Watertown Daily Times

Clyde Leffler, Massena, a 20-year employee at Massena Memorial Hospital who works as a clerk in the endoscopy unit, protests against the proposed privatization of the hospital Wednesday night before a Massena Town Board meeting at the Massena Town Hall. Photo by Jason Hunter, Watertown Daily Times

MASSENA —Town Council members voted Wednesday to allow Massena Memorial Hospital to move forward with becoming a nonprofit facility, but it doesn’t commit them to actually shedding their municipal status. [Read more…]

Local officials hope Alcoa’s plan to split into two companies good news for Massena

MASSENA — North country officials said they are hopeful that Alcoa’s plan to separate into two independent, publicly traded companies will be good news for Massena. [Read more…]

July 2015 Feature Story: Milestones

End of an era

June 30 was the last day of operation for WYBG radio, which began beaming its signal 57 years ago. Dorothy M. ‘Dottie’ and Curran E. Wade have owned the Massena station for the past 27 years. The couple attempted to sell the station but couldn’t close a deal before signing off. Photo by Bob Beckstead, NNY Business.

June 30 was the last day of operation for WYBG radio, which began beaming its signal 57 years ago. Dorothy M. ‘Dottie’ and Curran E. Wade have owned the Massena station for the past 27 years. The couple attempted to sell the station but couldn’t close a deal before signing off. Photo by Bob Beckstead, NNY Business.

WYBG radio signs off after 57 years on the air

By Bob Beckstead, NNY Business [Read more…]

Massena Memorial Hospital recognizes employees during National Hospital and Nurses Week kickoff

MASSENA — Two members of Massena Memorial Hospital’s nursing staff were recognized Monday morning as the organization kicked off National Hospital and Nurses Week. [Read more…]