Tag Archives: Senator Patty Ritchie

Four county libraries receive special state grants

 

by Andrew Henderson

The libraries in Phoenix, Parish, Pulaski and Williamstown are recipients of grants from the State of New York, according to Senator Patty Ritchie.

Ritchie said she secured special funding for 25 area libraries and two library networks serving local communities.  The libraries — 15 in Jefferson County, six in St. Lawrence and four in Oswego — will share $85,000 in special funding that’s in addition to a $4 million increase in state budget aid for libraries statewide.

“Today’s libraries are more than just places to find a great book,” the senator said. “They are community centers that serve as excellent resources for researchers, job-seekers and families living on a budget.”

The Phoenix library is getting over $12,500 to repair its roof and enact energy-saving measures, according to Assemblyman Will Barclay.

“Our libraries provide access to vital information for the public, as well as host programs offering culturally enriching opportunities,” said Barclay. “These construction grants will greatly assist in providing the crucial infrastructure repairs our libraries need to continue serving our communities.”

More than 40 percent of library buildings across New York are over 60 years old and another 30 percent are more than three decades old. Many of the state’s libraries are unable to accommodate users with disabilities, are energy inefficient, cannot provide Internet and computer and other electronic technologies to users because of outdated and inadequate electrical wiring and do not have sufficient space to house the library’s expanding collection.

Ritchie serves on the recently re-formed State Senate Select Committee on Libraries. The Senate’s former leadership eliminated the library panel. Ritchie was appointed a member of the panel in 2012.

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Senator Ritchie reflects on 2013 legislative season

by Andrew Henderson 

The New York State 2013 legislative season is now in the books.

Senator Patty Ritchie recently offered some highlights of the legislation that was approved this season.

“As state senator, my top priority has been making Central and Northern New York a better place to live and work, and this year’s session continues our progress,” she said. “With the adoption of a middle class-friendly state budget, we once again held the line on state spending, and provided urgently needed tax relief for the middle class.”

The senator also noted that the state continued to invest in jobs by approving a third round of Regional Economic Development grants.

“We increased our commitment to public education with the largest school aid package in four years, one that was weighted to rural and upstate schools and provides $25 million more than last year in education aid to districts in Oswego, Jefferson and St. Lawrence counties,” she said.

Ritchie noted that agriculture was a top priority this legislative season.

“The state budget included key elements from my ‘Grown in New York’ plan, including restored funding for vital marketing and research programs from apples to dairy and maple,” she noted.

“The legislature adopted my bill to finally rein in runaway agriculture land tax assessments, and an innovative new plan to increase sales of locally grown foods, and the Senate advanced my ideas, like estate tax relief and Farm Savings Accounts, to help save family farms and encourage more young people to choose agriculture as a career,” she continued.

According to the senator, highlights of 2013 Senate session included:

• Helping New York’s middle class by maintaining middle class tax rates that are the lowest in 60 years and approving $350 Family Tax Relief rebates that will begin in 2014.

Also, there was record investment in STAR property tax relief program and the state cut electric bills by phasing out of the 2009 energy surcharge.

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WarOnSynthetics1

State legislation aimed at improving synthetic drugs laws

Pictured is the Woolson family of Baldwinsville standing at a press conference held Tuesday in Oswego. They lost a loved one due to injuries related to synthetic drug use and support legislation that would close legal loopholes regarding synthetics.
Pictured is the Woolson family of Baldwinsville standing at a press conference held Tuesday in Oswego. They lost a loved one due to injuries related to synthetic drug use and support legislation that would close legal loopholes regarding synthetics.

by Nicole Reitz

A press conference was held Tuesday outside of the Oswego County Public Safety Building to discuss proposed legislation aimed at improving laws related to synthetic drugs.

Assemblyman Will Barclay spoke of a new comprehensive legislation that would increase penalties, penalize chemical swapping, mislabeling and other proposed charges.

Barlcay and Senator Patty Ritchie’s bill would also penalize both dealers and users of synthetics.

The legislation defines a synthetic drug as any substance that affects a person’s cannabinoid receptor.

The cannabinoid receptors language in the legislation pinpoints the affect the drug has on a person, rather than naming actual substances.

Oswego County Sheriff Reuel Todd said that while the use of synthetics has definitely decreased in Oswego County, these drugs are typically sold as other products, such as bath salts, shoe powder and incense.

“You still have a certain amount of people that want to make a buck and not have to work for it, and they prey on the vulnerable,” said Todd. “Having this law in place would allow us to act faster when a new drug comes on the scene and better protect the public.”

Police approaching a scene put themselves in danger because of the users’ erratic behaviors. Users can hallucinate, become extremely agitated, paranoid and violent — sometimes for days.

Todd said that those under the influence of synthetics also have a “terrific ability to mask pain,” and can withstand taser guns and pepper spray.

The reaction of the people taking these poisons also make the jobs of health-care professionals more difficult. Unlike more common street drugs, nurses and doctors do not know the chemical makeup of these drugs, making it hard to treat users symptoms.

Often the abusers of these agents do not realize or anticipate the intensity of symptoms that are produced from these drugs.

One of these people is the late Victor Woolson of Baldwinsville, who died last August of injuries sustained from a synthetic drug called Avalanche.

Woolson purchased it in Oswego on a store shelve, which he falsely believed to be a legal and safe alternative to real drugs.

The Woolson family was at the press conference, holding signs in remembrance of Victor.

The family advocates for strengthening laws regarding synthetics to prevent further addiction and deaths. Victor died after federal legislation and the New York Department of Health ban was put in place.

Teresa Woolson, Victor’s mother, knows that improving the law will help the problem of synthetic drug use in the county.

To read the rest of the article, pick up a copy of The Valley News. You can subscribe by calling 598-6397 or click on the link on our home page.

Volney students learn about local government

 

 

Volney Elementary sixth graders took over the Volney Town Board meeting on Thursday as part of Government Day. Teacher Ms. Kimball has been involved in the yearly collaboration for 14 years. Students learned the roles and responsibilities of their local government.
Volney Elementary sixth graders took over the Volney Town Board meeting on Thursday as part of Government Day. Teacher Ms. Kimball has been involved in the yearly collaboration for 14 years. Students learned the roles and responsibilities of their local government.

by Nicole Reitz

Sixth graders at Volney Elementary School learned about their local government last Thursday by “running” the Volney Town board meeting themselves.

Senator Patty Ritchie and State Assemblyman Will Barclay were special guests at the meeting. They spoke about the roles and responsibilities of their jobs.

Ritchie explained that for the first half of the year she is in Albany working to pass the budget, make laws and work on a number of bills.

“A lot of bills that I’ve put in over the last two years have come from people like yourself and sometimes they actually come from an idea of someone your age,” said Ritchie.

For the second part of the year, Ritchie is back in the district representing her constituents.

“A lot of what we do is so different everyday, from trying to fight for more school funding to participating in fun things like parades,” said Ritchie.

Barclay spoke about his role as an Assemblyman, where he represents about 130,000 people. His primary job is to create laws for New York State. He joked that the senator was in the process of placing a law for a longer school year.

“We live in a great community here in Oswego County, one of the reasons is that we have people here that are willing to put the time in to make the community what it is,” said Barclay.

The senator and assemblyman handed out certificates for participation before the meeting was called to order.

As always, the meeting opened with a salute to the flag, a practice that the sixth graders are used to. From there, students were paired with town board members and other town officials.

Sixth-grade student Jadelyn James was paired with Volney Town Clerk Barbara MacEwen. James got the hang of carrying motions towards the end of the meeting.

Volney student Ana had what classmates called the most difficult job of the night: town supervisor.

Student Andrew Hyde said that he learned the functions of the Volney planning and zoning boards.

“Whenever you want to build something you first have to go to an officer and he’ll tell you if its okay to build there,” said Hyde.

Caleb from Mr. Cahill’s class said that while he thought government was interesting, he would rather do something else.

“The meeting was kind of confusing because we were new at it,” he said. “I’m sure if you go to be a professional at something, you would probably know more than we just did.”

“I learned that government is very complicated,” said Juliet, who played the role of town councilor.

Students in Kimball’s classroom are reading “Rats of NIMH,” a story that has underlying themes about society, dependence and government. They often talk in the classroom about the function of community and what role they play in it.

“They don’t stop to think that there’s a zoning board or a dog warden,” said Kimball. “It’s not part of their world. This day is one they won’t soon forget.”

To read the rest of the article, pick up a copy of The Valley News. You can subscribe by calling 598-6397 or click on the link on our home page.
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Oswego County to receive funding for road improvements

55843001by Andrew Henderson

Oswego County is targeted to receive more than $5 million in state funding for highway maintenance and repairs, according to Senator Patty Ritchie.

The State Senate started passing major budget bills this past Sunday. One of the bills includes a plan to invest hundreds of millions of dollars for road and bridge construction projects across Central and Northern New York.

The legislation also includes  the first increase in five years in state funding for local highway maintenance and repairs.

The transportation budget bill (S.2604-E) includes a $75 million increase in funding under the Consolidated Highway Improvement Program (CHIPs), which funds projects on local roads across the region.

Separately, the budget bills include $3.4 billion in funding for state and federally funded highway projects, including at least $150.2 million for specific projects in the region that includes Oswego County.

In Oswego County, projects to be funded in the 2013-2014 budget year include:

• $2.43 million for intersection improvements at Route 481 and County Route 45 in Volney;

• $750,000 for improvements at the intersection at Route 176 and County Route 7 in Hannibal;

• $750,000 for work on Route 3 between County Route 3 and West Fifth St. in Fulton;

• $2.28 million for work on Route 69 in Mexico;

• $670,000 for the Salmon River Greenway Trail and Streetscape in Pulaski;

• $1.6 million for work at County Route 156 in Sandy Creek

• $800,000 for work on Route 13 between County Routes 30A and 22.

For the 2014-2015 budget, projects include:

• $2.69 million for intersection improvement on Route 481 at Churchill Road and County Route 57;

• $1.04 million for bridge replacement on County Route 41A over Grindstone Creek;

• $550,000 for work on Phillips Street at Tannery Creek in Fulton; and

• $260,000 for bridge rehabilitation at North Sixth St.

“Investing in critical road and bridge repairs, construction and improvements not only helps make our economy stronger, but also supports tens of thousands of good jobs in design and construction and maintenance that we need right now,” Ritchie said.

To read the rest of the story, pick up a copy of The Valley News or subscribe today by calling 598-6397

Ritchie: Budget is a boost to state agriculture

by Andrew Henderson

Governor Andrew Cuomo’s proposed executive budget, presented earlier this week, includes funding for several agricultural program, according to Senator Patty Ritchie.

“Here in New York State our hardworking farmers are the backbone of our workforce and agriculture is the cornerstone of our economy,” said Ritchie.

“I am pleased that Governor Cuomo is recognizing the important — and critical — role  agriculture plays,” she added. “His funding of agriculture in the executive budget proposal sends a message that this industry is a key part of our efforts to revitalize New York State’s economy.”

The  agriculture portion of the governor’s spending plan includes funding for the following programs:

• Pro Dairy:  $822,000

• FreshConnect Farmers Market Program: $450,000

• Farm Viability Institute:  $400,000

• Farm Family Assistance: $384,000

• New York Wine and Grape Foundation: $713,000

• Apple Growers Association: $206,000

• Future Farmers of America: $192,000

• Cornell Rabies Program, which also serves Northern New York: $50,000

• Program to  increase availability for locally grown hops to support growing craft brew industry: $40,000.

The $40,000 allocated to help increase the availability for locally grown hops builds on Ritchie’s efforts to foster the growth of New York State’s craft brewery industry, she said.

Recently, Ritchie sponsored legislation that recognizes “Farm Breweries” and cuts taxes and red tape to help create jobs and give New York an edge in this growing industry. The governor also unveiled funding for several proposals to help market New York food products, including his “Taste-NY” initiative, which will create duty-free “Taste-NY” stores across the state.

Reaction to state’s new gun control law

by Andrew Henderson

Local state representatives blasted the gun-control legislation that was adopted by the state legislature and signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo this week.

The legislation, which was hastily approved by both houses without any input from the public, infringes on residents’ Constitutional right to bear arms, Oswego County’s state representatives said.

The New York State Senate approved the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act of 2013 (NY SAFE ACT) Monday.

While she praised some parts of the legislation, Senator Patty Ritchie voted against the bill because it infringes on the Second Amendment.  “It is also clear to me that attempts to restrict legal ownership and possession of firearms from responsible sportsmen — rather than focusing on criminals — will not enhance the safety of our communities and deprives law-abiding citizens of an important right under the Constitution of the United States,” Ritchie said.

“It is for that reason, and based on the many hundreds of sportsmen and constituents I represent, who contacted my office to urge me to oppose this legislation, that I chose to vote no on this legislation,” she added.

The NY SAFE ACT was adopted in light of the recent shootings in Webster and Newton, Conn.

New York is now the first state in the nation to completely ban all pre-1994 high capacity magazines, ban any magazine that can hold over seven rounds (down from a limit of 10), and conduct real time background checks of ammunition purchases in order to alert law enforcement of high volume buyers.

To read the rest of the story, pick up a copy of The Valley News or subscribe today by calling 598-6397

Julian Ross visited by troops, promoted to rank of ‘sergeant’

Major Darrick Gutting presents Julian Ross with a St. Michaels medallion, a reminder of strength and security. Soldiers of the 10th Mountain Division visited Ross and presented him with a plaque to commemorate his appointment to “honorary sergeant.”
Major Darrick Gutting presents Julian Ross with a St. Michaels medallion, a reminder of strength and security. Soldiers of the 10th Mountain Division visited Ross and presented him with a plaque to commemorate his appointment to “honorary sergeant.”

by Nicole Reitz

Tuesday, Julian Ross, a second grader battling cancer for more than a year, was visited at home by Senator Patty Ritchie and troops from Ft. Drum’s 10th Mountain Division.

Ritchie arranged a visit with the Ross family after learning of seven year-old Julian’s interest in all things military. Julian comes from a military-based family. His grandfather was in the military as well many of his mother Kristi’s  uncles and cousins. His uncle was serving in Iraq, but got discharged after being injured.

During the visit, Julian was appointed an honorary “sergeant” by members of the 10th Mountain Division. A proclamation was read of his promotion, which was presented to Ross for his “outstanding bravery when faced with challenges.”

He was also presented with gifts donated by soldiers and various groups at Fort Drum. Among the gifts were identification tags, a patrol cap, camouflage backpack with division memorabilia, a uniform and a St. Michaels medallion. He was also give a 10th Mountain Division hooded sweatshirt with sergeant stripes to keep warm during his trips to the hospital.

Julian changed out of his West Point jacket to change into his new uniform. His mother Kristi said that she can never get her son to take off that jacket. The soldiers and Ritchie took pictures with Julian, and the family dog, Cadence.

His mother teased that as a sergeant, Julian will have a higher rank than his Uncle Bruno. His uncle will be married this Dec. 29, and Julian is in the wedding.

Julian has expressed interest in being a helicopter pilot. The family visited a military base in Norfolk, Va. over the summer. Julian’s name was put on the side of a helicopter. Steve Ross, Julian’s father, said that from his understanding, the same helicopter is now deployed out in the Persian Gulf.

Julian’s mother Kristi explained how excited Julian was of the visit, but was rundown from emergency surgery he had over the weekend.

The visit came one day after he was released from the hospital and he is fighting four infections.

Sergeant Ross was curious as to whether the Ft. Drum had tanks. He was given an open invitation to visit Watertown’s military base to get a tour.

To read the rest of the story, pick up the latest copy of The Valley News. You may also subscribe to the paper by calling 598-6397