For 30 years, the only florist and greenhouse in Adams has been building a reputation. [Read more...]
At Carlowden Country Club in Carthage, some recent updates are adding a new chapter to the club’s rich and storied history. [Read more...]
One year later, Bonnie Castle owners continue with rebirth of resort [Read more...]
In St. Lawrence County, an innovative partnership is working to make the angling world fall hook, line and sinker for north country fishing. [Read more...]
For those who work in the north country’s $456m tourism industry, nature blessed region with plenty to market, attract visitors [Read more...]
A December 2010 fire destroyed North Country Millworks, a custom millshop owned by Creig L. and Barbara Donnelly on South Raquette Road, Massena.
An equipment donation from a stranger in Virginia helped them get back on their feet. North County Millworks primarily produces cabinetry and moldings that can’t be bought in a traditional retail store. It’s something it has done for 17 years, according to Mr. Donnelly, who follows in his father’s footsteps and has more than 30 years of experience in cabinet building. [Read more...]
With sit-stand workstations, a treadmill desk, results-oriented work schedule and getting to hang out with a puppy all day, the St. Lawrence County Health Initiative and WorkWell Investments work environment sounds like fun.
Though, according to Anne Marie Snell, the chief operating officer for WorkWell Investments, it’s not all about having a trendy, forward thinking workplace. It’s about having a healthy one.
As Americans continue to battle health conditions like obesity, heart disease and diabetes, the health community has turned its focus to the workplace. Given the increasing number of hours that Americans spend at work, and sit inactive at a desk, new initiatives are emerging to help change that.
May marks Global Employee Health and Fitness Month, an international initiative started in 1989 and founded by the National Association for Health and Fitness and the non-profit ACTIVE Life.
Following in June is National Employee Wellness Month, which began in 2009 and was created by Virgin HealthMiles in partnership with Strategies to Overcome and Prevent Obesity Alliance.
The workplace at the St. Lawrence County Health Initiative is an example of one that is geared toward lowering stress, blood pressure and increasing activity. Ms. Snell said that she can burn 300 calories by walking at the treadmill workstation checking emails and tweaking a spreadsheet at the same time. Co-workers who raise seeing eye dogs bring the puppies into the office, which help reduce blood pressure and stress.
“We have a results-oriented work schedule, too, which means that you are welcome to work from wherever, whether it’s at home, outside or in the office, you are productive as long as you get the work done,” Ms. Snell said. “We are extremely productive with the added fun.”
Both the St. Lawrence Health Initiative and WorkWell Investments work with local businesses large and small in the effort to develop workplace wellness programs that fit employer needs.
WorkWell Investments is a division of the nonprofit Health Initiative that offers fee-for-service programming.
“We learned that employers locally need to have that one-on-one interaction,” Ms. Snell said. “The wellness services offered nationally are web-based. While that works, 99 percent of New York State employers have fewer than 50 employers and are seemingly less receptive to those online programs.”
One of the biggest topics in workplace wellness is return on investment. Ms. Snell said that employers are always looking at what they’re getting for the money they’re spending on healthy lifestyle programming.
“It’s difficult to directly associate programs with cost savings unless you start early on,” she said. “It takes time to evaluate that. People are recognizing that certain health behaviors are costing more money.”
Ms. Snell said that it’s difficult to say what activities will most impact things like absenteeism, but notes that things like obese employees or smokers will inevitably be costly, with employees being absent more often and having increased health care claims.
WorkWell and the Health Initiative work to make small and large changes to a workplace. Ms. Snell said that doing something as simple as standing up at your desk and raising your monitor and computer will reduce your risk of what is called the “sitting disease,” or the negative impact on the body of sitting at a workstation for too long. Changing vending machine options and smoking policies are other easy ways of improving the overall health of a workplace environment.
The American Heart Association of Central New York has joined the bandwagon when it comes to workplace wellness. In 2012 the association locally launched the Fit-Friendly Worksite program, which works with employers to identify opportunities to establish wellness programs on-site for employees.
“It works in two ways, we can work with employers to get to the level of being a Fit-Friendly workplace, or we recognize companies who are already working on wellness initiatives and we can honor them,” said Kristy Smorol, communications director for the American Heart Association.
Last year the Heart Association honored Jefferson Community College and Stebbins Engineering & Manufacturing Co. with gold-level designations as Fit-Friendly Worksites. In April, it was announced that Cornell Cooperative Extension of Jefferson County, Credo Community Center for the Treatment of Addictions and Jefferson Community College received gold-level status.
“One of the best examples of incorporating healthy living into the workplace is what Cornell Cooperative Extension is doing with their healthy vending machine,” Ms. Smorol said. “It’s a central spot for fruit and healthy snack options with low prices. It’s the little things and the little changes that make a difference.”
Cornell Cooperative Extension of Jefferson County additionally received the AHA’s Innovation Award.
Jefferson Community College has for two years received gold-level recognition. Jayne M. Perry, the college nurse, has played an integral part in the campus’ recognition.
“We realized that heart disease is the number one killer of women and so many people just sit at their desk all day,” Mrs. Perry said. “We thought to ourselves, what could we do with cardio health to help people be more active at work.”
The college publicized an indoor walking route inside the Jules Center and outdoor walking trails around campus that total more than two miles and are accessible year-round.
“We hung up laminated signs near elevators to encourage people to take the stairs, and made sure stairs were in good condition with sufficient lighting, things like that,” Mrs. Perry said. “Other things included having pedometers available to sign out in the fitness center and Jeff Wiley, the college’s director of athletics and physical education, offered free membership to the college fitness center for faculty and staff.”
Mrs. Perry pointed out that several of the initiatives that the college was recognized by the American Heart Association for were already in place.
“It was more making everything visible and making people aware of the options on campus; awareness was what we needed,” she said. “JCC has such a good reputation and we’re now getting input from other companies in the area that want to get with the program, too. It’s neat to see one company ready to help another.”
Going forward, Mrs. Perry said that she anticipates that the college will pursue platinum status in the Fit-Friendly Workplace program, which requires additional data on wellness programming and the kinds of effects programming has on the campus community.
The deadline to apply for the next round of Fit-Friendly Worksite programming and recognition is Friday, Nov. 1. For information, visit www.startwalking now.org.
KYLE R. HAYES is associate magazine editor for NNY Business. Contact him at email@example.com or 661-2381.
Rolling out the red carpet: Economic development in north country takes marketing savvy, right mix of tools
In the cutthroat battle to attract companies and jobs to the region, economic development officials must rely on a myriad of tools such as low-interest loans, bonds and tax incentives while also marketing the strengths of the north country such as quality of life and schools.
Firms that want to relocate or expand quite often find that tax breaks, reimbursements and grants are good reasons to locate a business in a particular area of the state or country. Economic development directors also cite more than a basket of tricks to attract jobs. Companies want a well-trained workforce, governments and agencies that work well together and a quick permitting process.
Take the redevelopment of the Woolworth building in Watertown, for example. For years, the high-profile structure on Public Square has stood empty, deteriorating into an eyesore while hopes for an overhaul all but vanished.
Identical twin brothers Eric J. and Ryan J. Vanderlan graduated from the same high school, the same college and started a landscaping business together, complete with two dump trucks and two trailers.
Even more impressive, they’re still talking to each other.
“We’re pretty laid back,” said Eric, the “older” brother born 10 minutes before Ryan. “We even hang out sometimes on the weekends.” [Read more...]
THE INITIAL IDEA
Jaime L. Short, owner of Watertown’s newest though maybe most unexpected lunch spot, knew when it was time to go out on her own.
After working in kitchens and offices for local businesses for 20 years or more, it was time to start her own business. She’d worked for Dry Hill Ski Area for 16 years and spent last summer in the kitchen at the Crescent Bay Yacht Club, Chaumont. But when the former Ames Bros. Service Center left its longtime home on outer Washington Street vacant, her vision came to life. [Read more...]