October 2016: Business Briefcase


Optometrist hosts foster family day on the river

St. Lawrence County optometrist Dr. Robert Saidel hosted nearly 140 foster children and their foster families for a day of damily fun on the St. Lawrence River Sept. 25. family-day-on-the-river

Dr. Saidel has offices in Canton and Gouverneur. The event was held in conjunction with Uncle Sam’s Boat Tours, Alexandria Bay. The children and families were treated to a “Two Nation Tour” on the boat line. Dr. Saidel also provided snacks and beverages for all attending.

The event was made possible through Ryan’s Wish Foundation, founded by Dr. Saidel’s to honor the memory of his son. According to the foundation’s website, “Ryan Saidel was only 19 years old when he lost his battle with cancer. During his five-year struggle, Ryan touched the lives of countless people. To those around him, Ryan defined the word courage, as he lived his life inspiring others to make the best of each and every day.”

The Children’s Home of Jefferson County foster care program provides temporary care for children unable to live with their birth families or guardians. It allows children who may have been abused or neglected or have behavioral challenges and special needs the opportunity to live in a family setting, attend public school and be an active member of the community. Extensive training is offered to all foster parents.

Call Kim Hierholzer, 229-3481, or email khierholzer@nnychildrenshome.com to learn more about the Children’s Home foster parenting programs.



Longtime Massena retail store sets plan to close

After nearly 115 years serving the Massena area, Smith’s True Value Hardware will close its doors for the last time.

“We are going to keep operating this week as normal. Then next week, we are only going to be open on Thursdays and Fridays for a month, maybe a little bit longer,” said vice president Bill Hutchison. “We are just trying to sell off as much merchandise as we can.”

The reason for closing, according to Owner Bob Silmser, is simple.

“We are all retiring,” he said. “Our staff is an older staff and everybody is getting to retirement age. We have had people retire already and that is what it’s turning into.”

The hardware store has been in business in Massena since 1902. It occupied three different storefronts on Main Street before moving to its present location at 50 E. Orvis St. in 1979. Mr. Silmser, 61, who has worked at the store since he was 12, said his father and great-grandfather previously operated the store. He said the patrons have made working at the business a pleasurable experience.

“We have had lots and lots of good customers over the years. We appreciate all the good customers,” Mr. Silmser said. “We haven’t got a firm date or anything yet. Once it gets a little closer, we will be figuring out what we are going to do. It is just one of those things. When it’s time, it’s time.”



Tax cap crimps Jefferson County’s 2017 budget

With public discussions on the Jefferson County budget weeks away, Board of Legislators Chairman Scott A. Gray said devising the county’s tentative 2017 budget will be tough.

“We have some challenges, there’s no question,” he said.

With the state’s 2017 property tax cap at an all-time low of 0.68, this year’s cap was 0.73 percent. First instilled in 2012, the cap limits tax levy increases to 2 percent or the rate of inflation, whichever is lower.

The low cap does not bode well for the county’s finances, as Mr. Gray said its tax revenue streams have not been able to keep pace with natural cost increases.

The Jefferson County Board of Legislators Finance Committee has passed a resolution designating the time and place for its 2017 tentative budget public hearing. The hearing will be held at 5:30 p.m. Nov. 15 in the Historic Courthouse at 195 Arsenal St.

A tentative budget will be released sometime at the end of October.