Realtors Give Back in Many Ways

Jennifer Bossout donated $1,000 to Carthage Backpack Program.

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A Critical Moment in Time

Word Inequality cut with scissors to two parts In and Equality, gray background, top view

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NNY Q & A: Protecting our native species

NYS Department of Environmental Conservation Region 6 Fisheries manager Jana Lantry at Snowshoe Cove in Henderson. Kara Dry/NNY Business

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Hunting and Fishing Pros Weather the COVID Storm

Captain Nick McNamara of Basswood Lodge with his hunting dog Hobbs, on a boardwalk in the marshes Upper and Lower Lakes Wildlife Management Area, located between the Grass River and the Oswegatchie River. Christopher Lenney/ NNY Magazines

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Deep River Customs Grown From Deep River Roots

Co-owner of Deep River Customs Bait Co. Ethan Forbes unhooks a smallmouth bass caught with his ProShot bait on the St. Lawrence River near Clayton. Kara Dry/NNY Business

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Reeling In A Major Economic Catch: Bassmaster Elite Series makes history in Clayton

Chris Johnston, of Peterborough, Ontario, holds his bag full of fish in one of the backstage holding tanks on the final day of Bassmaster Elite on the St. Lawrence River in Clayton. Sydney Schaefer/NNY Business

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Small Business Startup: Olivia Grant Creative

Olivia Grant poses for a portrait in her office suite in downtown Watertown. Kara Dry/NNY Business

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Take The Pledge to PLAY SMART * PLAY SAFE * PLAY LOCAL

Randy Young

Stepping outside your home into the fresh air is exactly what some people need to de-stress during these uncertain times. Backyard picnics, outdoor movie nights, and star gazing with immediate household members are excellent ways to shake off the negative effects of isolation while staying safe. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is encouraging New Yorkers to get outside and enjoy nature safely during the state’s ongoing response to COVID-19. Summer is a great time to go for a walk or jog, take a hike, ride a bicycle, or go fishing or horseback riding. You can also go boating or enjoy the scenery of state lands. Just as you should wear sunblock to save your skin from harmful UV rays, DEC asks that you protect yourself and others from COVID-19.  

Take the Pledge to PLAY SMART * PLAY SAFE * PLAY LOCAL: Enjoy the Outdoors Safely and Responsibly: 

  • pledge to respect the rules and do my part to keep parks, beaches, trails, boat launches, and other public spaces safe for everyone.  
  • will stay local and close to home.  
  • will maintain a safe distance from others outside of my household.  
  • I will wear a mask when I cannot maintain social distancing. 
  • accept that this summer, I may have to adjust how I enjoy the outdoors to help keep myself and others healthy and safe, even if it means changing my plans to visit a public space.  
  • will be respectful of others by letting them pass by me if needed on a trail and keeping my blanket ten feet apart from others on the beach.  
  • will move quickly through shared areas like parking lots, trailheads, and scenic areas to avoid crowding.  
  • IfI’m not feeling well, I will stay home.   

Of course, not everyone has a yard, and eventually, we all want to truly get away. Researching local trails and parks to find hidden gems near your home can be part of the fun. It can also give you an opportunity to plan for alternatives. When I was able to get away myself, it was a weekend with a perfect weather forecast. I expected the well-known and popular hiking and camping areas to be crowded, so I pulled out a map of state lands in my area and found three trails I’d never visited before. Each one had trailheads located along the same highway. I planned to look at the parking area of each trail as I passed it; and if I saw more than a few cars, I planned to move on to the next one. 

    Fortunately, when I arrived on that late Friday afternoon, the first trailhead was empty so I pulled in. The trail ran along a beautiful stream through a changing forest of hardwoods and evergreens. While hiking and camping for two days, covering several miles, I didn’t see another person. 

    If the parking lots had been packed and resulted in the need to change my plans, DEC has online resources to help. DEC info Locator is an interactive map that lets users access information about opportunities for outdoor recreation across the state. Whether you’re looking for activities on land or water, you can pick your activity and favorite area and you’ll have plenty of options to choose from. 

    And if you decide to stay in, DEC’s Adventure NY initiative has launched #AdventureAtHome, a virtual way to bring New Yorkers weekly content for inspiration about enjoying the outdoors close to home. Each week, DEC features online content on topics such as, paddling, hiking, viewing wildlife, birding, and camping. Sign up online for DEC’s “Find your Adventure” newsletter to be delivered right to your inbox. 

    Now that you have pledged to PLAY SMART * PLAY SAFE * PLAY LOCAL, what will you do and where will you go? 

Taking Care Of Business

Sarah O’Connell

As I write this, we are in the fifth month of the COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses in the North Country region have gradually been reopening through the four phases under specific guidelines and with many restrictions. 

    However, for businesses that deal with health and wellness, many are still not allowed to reopen yet due to the level of physical contact or proximity that is part of their normal customer interaction. 

    As the North Country region entered Phase 3, massage therapy businesses were allowed to reopen, as were hair salons and some other personal care services. As we all struggled with the isolation and anxiety produced by the crisis, this was a much welcomed development for those who needed the comfort and care that was beyond essential survival. At the same time, the operators of these businesses had to prepare rigorous safety plans for the state of New York and develop schedules and strategies to minimize risk to their customers. 

    On the other hand, physical fitness businesses like fitness centers and group yoga classes continue to be under additional scrutiny due to the risks inherent in gathering people together in activities that might increase transmission of the virus. Some exercise-related businesses have pivoted to offering virtual or online classes, particularly those with certain instructors who have a dedicated following who are willing to pay through an online payment portal to participate in a Zoom or similar digital meetup. 

    While doctors’ offices and medical clinics were open all along for emergency visits or telemedicine, dentists were not generally allowed to open until June 1 except for emergency situations. However, many of our local providers have noticed that their patients are delaying some appointments like routine checkups until later on in the year. The procedure for entering a medical office often involves waiting in one’s car until called, answering questions about recent health issues, possible contacts with ill people and travel outside the area, and undergoing temperature checks. 

    Some mental health providers who already offered online or telephone counseling have been able to continue to offer that support and have even expanded their customer base due to need. NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) has gathered a pool of volunteer mental health counselors to handle calls from people feeling especially stressed or anxious during the pandemic. (1-800-950-6264). It can also offer connections to local resources. 

    As with all businesses reopened or reopening in the various phases that the state allows, the key to getting customers, clients or patients to return is to demonstrate clear and well-thought out approaches to providing as safe an experience as possible. Surveys and anecdotal evidence have shown that many people are still very wary of venturing out into situations that might expose them to the virus. Reports of uneven or absent compliance will only delay the process of economic recovery. Recent spikes in infection were directly related to unsafe gatherings during July 4th celebrations leading to the reclosing of some area businesses. Enforcement of the safety guidelines needs to be universal to bolster the confidence of the general public. 

    As of this writing, the EIDL (Economic Injury Disaster Loan) program was still open and the application window for PPP (Paycheck Protection Program) loans was open until Aug. 8. Go to www.sba.gov for more information. The SBDC advisors are here to help you through the application process and beyond. We are also available to help you with any other business needs, whether it’s ideas for recovering, marketing, or opening, expanding or buying a business. We are available by phone and email and can have video sessions as well. As the JCC campus begins its reopening process, we will keep you informed if and when we can resume in-person appointments. 

    The New York Small Business Development Center at JCC offers free, individual, confidential counseling to new or existing business owners in Jefferson and Lewis counties. For more information, contact 315-782-9262, sbdc@sunyjefferson.edu. St. Lawrence County residents can contact their SBDC at SUNY Canton, 315-386-7312, sbdc@canton.edu 

Food Distribution Programs And Webinar Series See Great Start

Jay Matteson

The impact of the shutdown of our economy to dampen the impact of the COVID 19 disaster has hit every single person. Businesses have temporarily and permanently closed their doors. Many people were temporarily unemployed or lost their jobs. There were significant disruptions in our food supply system. As we have heard many times. We are living in an extremely rare time where a global pandemic has impacted every single person in the United States and had a devastating impact on our economy. Many people, in the low income to middle income sections of our population, began experiencing challenges in finding food. 

    At the national level, we saw President Trump, the U.S. Congress and the United States Department of Agriculture work together to create the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). One section of the CFAP used federal funds to begin buying food products from farms and food processors and working through local food distributors to provide free food to people in need. This program is a success. Jefferson County Economic Development has worked with American Dairy Association Northeast to set up the logistics of multiple food distribution events. Our largest to date saw 1,800 vehicles at Salmon Run Mall go through the distribution program. There have been events at Salmon Run Mall, Jefferson Community College and Clayton Arena. Every vehicle, while supplies last, receives at least two gallons of milk, a box of precooked meat products, a box of produce, and a box of dairy products. Unfortunately, the demand is greater than the supply of food boxes and they run out before the milk. Renzi Food Service based in Watertown, Glaziers packing in Potsdam, and Upstate Niagara Dairy Cooperative, provide the aggregation and distribution assistance. HP Hood in LaFargeville provides some of the dairy products in the boxes. 

    At the State level, Governor Cuomo, the state Legislature and the state Department of Agriculture and Markets created the Nourish NY program to help ensure local food banks have enough food on their shelves to help local people, and also provide food distribution events. State funds are used to purchase New York state food products to give to food banks and distribution events. Lucki 7 Livestock Company in Rodman, Sharps Bulk Food in Belleville and Great Lakes Cheese in Adams have participated in the Nourish NY program providing locally produced food to food banks as far away as Long Island. 

    Because so many food products and businesses from Jefferson County are involved in the two food distribution programs, we are roughly estimating a total economic impact of the two programs to date of $18 million as the dollars coming into local companies and farms for the purchase of food products ripples throughout Jefferson County and NNY. This is a nice “charge” to our local economic engine, with agriculture as its foundation.  

Agriculture Webinar Series Off to Great Start 

    Jefferson County Economic Development started a monthly webinar series in June inviting speakers to participate who have an opportunity to look at agriculture through a broader lens than we might experience locally. We call the webinar series, “Road to Recovery, The Path to 2025 Farmers’ Luncheon Series”. On Aug. 27, we have Mr. Thomas Sleight scheduled to speak. Mr. Sleight is former chief executive officer for the U.S. Grains Council and has traveled the world working on foreign trade programs and opportunities benefitting U.S. agriculture. 

    The Farmers’ Luncheon series is a live webinar scheduled for the fourth Thursday of every month at 12 p.m. The webinar is not a typical slideshow presentation with questions at the end. Instead, I sit down at the table, remotely, with our guest and have a conversation about the various topics we wish to discuss. The program is highly interactive, and the audience can submit questions in real time which I try to include into the discussion. To learn more, visit www.agricultureevents.com