December 2016: Business Briefcase


Community Bank donates $10k to United Way

Community Bank, N.A., presented a $10,000 corporate check to the United Way of NNY.

Cathy Ward, Community Bank manager presented the check to Tobi Darrah, United Way campaign director, and Bob Gorman, CEO of the United Way of NNY.

The corporate gift will be used in Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties. Individual branches conducted employee campaigns through the end of November.

YMCA to open Sackets facility at former barracks

The Watertown Family YMCA will use the former Madison Barracks Health Club owned by Lawler Realty LLC to open a satellite facility early next year.

Steve N. Rowell, executive director of health and wellness at the Y, said the facility, at 119 Pike Road, will offer programs similar to the Watertown and Carthage facilities and potentially create new programs to meet local demand. The Y and Lawler Realty reached an agreement in October that will require the Y to pay only utility bills, taxes and interest.

“It’s one of the best things to happen to Sackets in a long time,” Mayor Vincent J. Battista said.

The Y will incorporate a full fitness center with family wellness programming and multiple youth and senior activity programs at the former health club.

Mr. Rowell said the Y will offer its preventive care program for senior citizens and its after-school child care program, which it offers at Sackets Harbor Central School, at the new facility. The Y also considered using its access to Lake Ontario to create watersport activities to accompany its youth sports programs. Members will have access to the facility’s gymnasium, weight room, locker rooms and cardio equipment. The Y has not determined its hours of operation.

“We will also offer a group exercise room with many different exercise classes,” Mr. Rowell said. “It would really just be an extension of our services out of the Watertown YMCA.”

To preserve the facility and accommodate his new tenant, Michael A. Lawler, owner of Lawler Realty, completed multiple interior and exterior renovations for the facility.

Mr. Lawler said his contractors have built a new roof, replaced the doors, repaired and painted the walls, repaved the road and installed new windows, lights, carpet and ceramic tile flooring since last summer. Lawler Realty received a $500,000 grant loan commitment from the Development Authority of the North Country to help finance the $600,000 project in July. Mr. Lawler said he expects the contractors and construction workers will finish most of the renovations by Jan. 1 if he receives funding from the grant loan commitment next week, with only some additional masonry work in the spring and brick work in the summer.

Lawler Realty purchased the former health club in 2010 from Madison Barracks Associates, which operated the facility from 1993 to 2005. Mr. Battista said the club closed about nine years ago.

“I hope that we as a community can help support” it, he said, “and make it an important part of our community.”


North Country Family Health director lauded

The Community Health Center Association of New York presented Joey M. Horton, executive director of North Country Family Health Center with the Jeffrey T. Latman Award at its annual conference in October.

Association Interim President and CEO Lisa Perry presented Ms. Horton with the award in Tarrytown, on Oct. 31 to recognize her achievements.

Ms. Horton became executive director in early 2014. According to the organization, under her leadership NoCo has increased its revenue by $1.15 million, obtained federal grants worth more than $1.5 million to enhance and grow its provider network, expanded its school-based medical and dental programs to three additional districts and much more.

The NoCo administrative team nominated Ms. Horton for the award, citing “her ability to be forward thinking and strategic, her ability to make difficult decisions with acuity and insight, and never losing sight of the mission that drives NoCo — to provide accessible, high-quality care to those who need it.”

NoCo is a federally qualified health care center working to provide affordable health care to approximately 9,000 residents in Watertown and Lowville. It runs low-income oriented programs including a WIC program, school-based dental clinics, and insurance enrollment assistance.

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 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.


August 2016: Business Briefcase


New talent takes the air at Tunes 92.5 FM

Pam Summers, a new radio show host with Intrepid Broadcasting, Inc., launched her first show Aug. 8 on Tunes 92.5/104.5 FM, WBLH Radio, Watertown. [Read more…]

July 2016: Business Briefcase


Community Broadcasters expands into Florida

Watertown-based Community Broadcasters, LLC, has purchased four signals from Apex Broad Broadcasting, Inc., in the Destin/Fort Walton Beach, Fla., market and filed for transfer of the licenses pending approval from the Federal Communications Commission in June. [Read more…]

June 2016: Business Briefcase

American Wine Society honors Coyote Moon

Coyote Moon Vineyards’ 2013 Marquette Special Reserve was named among the “Top 21 Wines to Watch” by Ellen Landis of the American Wine Society’s Wine Journal. [Read more…]

May 2016: Business Briefcase


Valentine plans sale of stores to Sunoco

Valentine Stores Inc. announced last month that it has agreed to sell its entire portfolio of convenience stores, gas stations and restaurants to a subsidiary of Sunoco, one of the nation’s largest gas distribution companies. [Read more…]

April 2016: Business Briefcase


NNY Builders Exchange recognizes local A&E firm

Aubertine and Currier Architects, Engineers, & Land Surveyors, Watertown, recently received the Excellence in Craftsmanship award from the Northern New York Builders Exchange for its work on phase two of the Clayton Riverwalk project. The Watertown firm was responsible for the design, construction administration and inspection for the project.

This portion of the Riverwalk picks up where the previous portion left off at the Frink Park Pavilion. The goal of the project was to create an uninterrupted visual and physical connection to the St. Lawrence River for pedestrians walking between the village’s existing commuter docks and the recently completed Frink Park Pavilion and Thousand Islands Regional Docks.


Citizens Bank earns top rating

Citizens Bank of Cape Vincent was awarded BauerFinancial Inc.’s highest five-star superior rating in March.

Citizens Bank has earned the five-star rating for 105 consecutive quarters since June 1990.

The bank also achieved “Best of Bauer” status, a designation reserved for banks that have earned a five-star rating for 25 straight years or longer.

Citizens Bank of Cape Vincent was established in 1919 and operates three branches in Cape Vincent, Chaumont and LaFargeville.

BauerFinancial has been the nation’s leading bank rating firm since 1983.


Carthage Citizen of the Year nominations sought

The Carthage Area Chamber of Commerce seeks nominations for its 36th annual Citizen of the Year award.

The award recipient will be chosen based on community activities and involvement by the nominee during the 2015 calendar year. Past accomplishments may be included to support the nomination.

Nominators should submit the entry form and supporting documentation by April 20. News clippings, photos and supporting documents can be included. A review board of seven community leaders will meet April 21.

An annual award banquet will be held on Tuesday, May 10 at the Carthage Elks Lodge.


Historical Society nets grant

The Jefferson County Historical Society recently received a $750 grant from Stewart’s Shops Holiday Match program.

The JCHS was one of 1,500 organizations in New York and Vermont to receive a grant from the 2015 Holiday Match campaign.

The Stewarts Holiday Match program received $1.74 million from customer donations and the Stewart’s Shops match. Program money benefits children within the community in which they are won.

The Historical Society grant will help to fund children’s programs inside the Paddock Mansion and historic campus on Washington Street, Watertown.

March 2016: Business Briefcase


1000 Islands to host tourism conference

The New York State Tourism Industry Association will host the 2016 Empire State Tourism Conference from May 2 to 4 at the 1000 Islands Harbor Hotel in Clayton. [Read more…]

February 2016: Business Briefcase


Watertown Chamber names award winners

The Greater Watertown-North Country Chamber of Commerce recently announced recipients of 2015 Business of the Year awards. [Read more…]

January 2016: Business Briefcase

Camino Real Mexican Restaurant to feature authentic cuisine

0112_WDJ_MEXICAN1 WEBAuthentic Mexican cuisine is coming to Watertown — and in generous helpings. [Read more…]