Sunday, January 31, 2010

Happy Birthday Sheriff Burns!!!!

Take Time to Wish Sheriff Burns
a Happy Birthday!!!!
It came to our attention today that it's Jefferson County Sheriff John Burns (D) birthday today! We won't reveal Sheriff Burn's age... but lets say John is 30+ years old today. John has spent his career making sure that our roads, homes and businesses are kept safe and secure. Sheriff Burns is a highly respected County Wide official and his work on eradicating Methamphetamine from our County is truly commendable . He is an inspiration to all the officers that are on the road or working in the Corrections field. Sheriff Burn's work is one that is done quietly and with out much fanfare. If you see Sheriff Burns out and about please wish him a Happy Birthday and thank him for his dedication to his community!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

"Discover the Meaning" returns to WPBS

The Jefferson County Democratic Committee
will be Manning the Phones Tonight on WBPS and
we'd like your Support!

Please Join the Jefferson County Democratic Committee as we volunteer at WPBS (Watertown NY) tonight Saturday January 30th 2010 at 8:30pm. You can call the station at 782-8600 and purchase one of the great Auction pieces available. Below you'll find the video from our last trip to PBS. We still have a slot or two available so please feel free to email if you have time to volunteer!

Friday, January 29, 2010

President Obama Puts GOP On Notice.

This is a Must Watch


Cuomo forges groundbreaking agreement with Fandango to protect online shoppers from hidden charges;
Company to permanently stop passing customers’ information to discount club sellers

NEW YORK, N.Y. (January 27, 2010) - Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced his office is investigating 22 popular online businesses that deceptively link unsuspecting consumers to fee-based membership programs that charge unauthorized fees under the guise of discount offers. His office has also reached an agreement with online movie ticket retailer Fandango to end similar practices.

Cuomo’s investigation has found that when consumers shop online from familiar retailers, they are often presented with a discount or cash-back incentive offer as they complete their purchase. When consumers click on the discount or incentive banner, they are unknowingly directed to a membership program seller’s Web page that is separate from the online retailer’s site. The consumer is then instructed through large, colorful print and voice prompts to accept the discount or incentive. Information about joining the membership program and its ramifications, including the fact that the consumer is agreeing to transfer his or her credit or debit card account information, is buried in fine print and cluttered text. Small and recurring charges then begin to appear on consumers’ credit or debit card bills from unfamiliar companies. Because of the low dollar amount, the charges may go unnoticed for some time.

“This online scheme has impacted the finances and tried the patience of tens of millions of consumers nationwide. Well-known companies are tricking customers into accepting offers from third party vendors, which then siphon money from consumers’ accounts,” said Attorney General Cuomo. “I commend Fandango for doing the right thing by ending the practice of sharing consumers’ financial information with these discount club sellers. I expect the other businesses to follow Fandango’s lead and adopt these reforms to protect consumers who shop online.”

Cuomo has sent subpoenas to 22 well-known merchants that have deals with the three major companies that offer these discount programs: Webloyalty, Affinion/Trilegiant and Vertrue. The subpoenas seek information about retailers’ practices of sharing consumers’ account information with membership program companies; their knowledge of any deceptive solicitations; and compensation from the membership companies. The merchants being investigated include: Barnes & Noble,,,,,,,,, Budget,,, GMAC Mortgage,, Travelocity, Vistaprint, Intelius,, Expedia/, Columbia House, Pizza Hut and Gamestop/EB Games.

Membership program companies enter into highly lucrative deals with the retailers and banks, which bring in millions of dollars in revenue when their customers click on deceptive incentives or become unknowingly enrolled. The three program sellers being investigated bring in revenues of more than $1 billion per year, much of which is amassed through fraud.

The scheme also takes place via postal mail: membership program sellers mail checks to consumers accompanied by solicitations branded with the name of the business or bank with which the consumer has transacted. Consumers frequently do not realize that by cashing these checks, they are enrolling in a membership program with a monthly fee because the solicitations often create the false impression that consumers are being provided with the check as a rebate or reward for their past business. The fact that consumers are enrolling in a fee-based program for which they will incur monthly charges is only inconspicuously disclosed above the endorsement line on the check.

The Attorney General’s Office has received numerous complaints from New Yorkers who have incurred unauthorized charges under these circumstances. Many consumers have reported that the companies offering membership programs make it difficult for consumers to cancel memberships and obtain full refunds of the unauthorized charges. At least one membership program company tries to limit refunds to a single month’s charges, even if a consumer has been subjected to months’ or even years’ worth of unauthorized charges.

Recently, Attorney General Cuomo’s Office intervened in a class-action lawsuit against Webloyalty to ensure that a settlement included full refunds to eligible customers who were scammed. Prior to the Attorney General’s intervention, the settlement limited refunds to only two months.
Read more HERE.


Poor Budgeting at Williamsville CSD Led to
$30 Million Operating Surplus Over Four Years
District Increased Tax Levy by $10.5 Million in Same Period

Poor budget practices at Williamsville Central School District caused revenues to exceed expenses by $30.1 million from 2004-05 through 2007-08 while at the same time the district increased the tax levy by $10.5 million, according to an audit released today by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. Approximately $8.9 million in excess funds could be used to benefit taxpayers by reducing the property tax levy or paying one-time expenses.

“All across New York, families are watching every dime,” DiNapoli said. “School districts should be watching every dime too. Williamsville Central School District needs to use more realistic budget numbers. Taxpayers should not have to pay more property taxes than necessary.”

The audit found the district did not prepare reasonable budgets because it consistently overestimated expenditures and underestimated revenues. This resulted in the district generating operating surpluses totaling more than $30.1 million from 2004-05 through 2007-08. During this same period, the district increased the tax levy by $10.5 million.

DiNapoli’s audit found the district used a majority of the annual surpluses to fund reserves. As of June 2008, the balances in the district’s 11 general fund reserves totaled $38 million. Of which, approximately $8.9 million is more than the district needs to meet anticipated liabilities and could be used to benefit taxpayers by reducing the tax levies or paying for one-time expenses.

The district’s $8.9 million in excess funds included:

•$3.5 million that the district said was owed to the capital projects fund but was not associated with specific capital projects;
•$3.1 million in appropriated fund balance that the district never used;
•$1.2 million in a debt reserve;
•$600,000 in a tax certiorari reserve;
•$400,000 in improperly reported encumbrances for goods and services the district said remained from the previous year but were not ordered until the next year or were never ordered; and
•$100,000 in an uncollected taxes reserve that the district was not authorized to establish.
DiNapoli’s audit also found the district’s claims auditor did not audit every claim prior to payment as required by Education Law. As a result, there is an increased risk that the district will make payments for other than district purposes.

DiNapoli’s office recommends that district officials:

•prepare budgets that realistically estimate revenues and expenditures;
•use the surplus fund balance to benefit district taxpayers by reducing property taxes, paying off debt or financing one-time expenses; and
•ensure each claim is properly audited prior to payment.
The district did not agree with many of the audit’s findings. The district’s full response is included in the audit. To view the audit, visit:

Click here for a copy of the Williamsville CSD audit.

School District Accountability
In order to improve accountability of the state’s schools, DiNapoli’s office will audit all of New York’s school districts and Boards of Cooperative Educational Services by March 2010. The State Comptroller’s office has completed 732 school audits.


Governor David A. Paterson today announced an unprecedented clean energy project that will more than quintuple the amount of solar energy currently produced in New York State, and will foster the development of solar technologies, support public sustainability efforts and stimulate the economy with new clean energy jobs throughout the State.

"A sustainable future for New York requires bold initiatives which will increase the deployment of clean energy," Governor Paterson said. "The New York Power Authority's advancement of this, the largest solar initiative in State history, aligns with the State Energy Plan's direction to increase in-State energy supplies. In doing so, this initiative will support growth in the clean energy industry and promote job creation, diversify our energy portfolio and support our energy independence."

The New York Power Authority (NYPA) issued a request for proposals (RFP) seeking a public-private partnership for the installation of up to 100 megawatts (MW) of photovoltaic (PV) systems across the State, including roof-mounted and ground-mounted solar arrays. Facilities will be installed primarily at schools, public universities and colleges, State and local government facilities, municipal electric utilities and rural electric cooperatives. This initiative will boost the State's growing solar industry, create clean energy jobs and support efforts to reduce the carbon footprint of State and local public facilities by reducing greenhouse gas emissions by an estimated 45,000 tons per year. When fully installed, this project will be the largest solar initiative in State history and will generate the equivalent of powering approximately 15,000 homes.

President and Chief Executive Officer of NYPA Richard M. Kessel said: "Through this solar initiative, the New York Power Authority is working toward Governor Paterson's '45 by 15' goal and helping to build the solar industry in New York State. This initiative will advance the development of the solar industry and clean energy jobs throughout the State, and will help diversify our energy sources and incorporate green power educational opportunities for our schools."

In addition to providing clean power to host facilities, the initiative will include the development of large scale, "Community Solar" projects that will connect to the distribution systems of municipal utilities and rural electric cooperatives. Community Solar projects utilize available space to generate power for electric distribution grids rather than a single host site. Renewable energy can then be transmitted to any loads connected to the grid. These large scale projects can reduce costs by providing relief for electric grids nearing their capacity and avoiding expensive facility upgrades.

The Power Authority is soliciting proposals from developers to install, own and operate PV arrays, and to sell all the energy and environmental attributes to NYPA subject to a 20-year power purchase agreement. NYPA will then enter into contracts with the project hosts, such as the school where the PV array is located, for the distribution of green power. Installation of the solar photovoltaic projects is expected to begin in 2010 and be completed by the end of 2014.
Click HERE for more.

Congressman Owens Comments on the State of the State

Earlier this week, President Obama delivered his first state of the union address, and I would like to briefly update you on what it means for Upstate New York and what I plan on doing here in Washington to move our country forward.

It is clear we need fast action to put Upstate New Yorkers back to work. I am glad to hear that this administration is ready to move forward with job creation as its number one priority. I was also pleased to hear the President's pledge to double American exports. We are in a prime position to take advantage of this in the North Country with green energy products and green technology from our colleges and tech schools, as well as our large dairy industry.

In order to achieve the goals of creating more jobs and turning our economy around, we must change the tone here in Congress. Good ideas have no partisan labels. There are valid points on both sides of the aisle and for us to truly serve the interests of our constituents, we must abandon the politics of the backroom deal in favor of transparent legislation that will create jobs, develop our economy, and cut taxes.

Folks in the North Country are no stranger to tightening our belts, and Washington must do the same. I appreciate the President's pledge to extend tax cuts to our families, our students, and small business owners. I look forward to seeing these promises made on the House floor for consideration immediately.

That said, these cuts cannot come on the backs of our brave men and women in service to our country and our veterans. Keeping Fort Drum strong is one of my top priorities.

I am ready to redouble my efforts to bring our nation’s balance sheet under control. That's why we must eliminate tax cuts for companies that ship American jobs overseas. These practices are harmful to our economy. We need to create jobs, not eliminate them.

We have much work ahead of us. Congress can and must make it a priority to introduce and pass bipartisan legislation that will create jobs in the North Country and allow us to pull ourselves out of the recession. Our community has always been known for a strong work ethic. All we need is the opportunity to succeed, and we will do just that.

It is an honor to serve,
Congressman Bill Owens


UPDATED (Again) !!!!!!!!!
Jefferson County wishes the Orton Family well!

The Jefferson County Democratic Party has been very lucky over the years to have built a strong bond with our local and Regional Labor Organizations. Yesterday a big friend (and I don't mean by his height) Richard Orton of United Steel Workers Local 450-A out of Massena NY went under the knife at Samaritan Medical Center in Watertown NY.

Representatives from our County Committee, elected official and other friends in Labor visited Richard and his lovely wife and were pleased to see that he maid it through the procedure with Flying colors. Richard is a great guy who believes strongly in the rights of working families across this great country. It's clear that Richard personifies all that is good in the labor movement today. His working class ideals that a fair days work should bring a fair days pay is the basis of the American Dream.

We owe Richard Orton and men and women like him a debt of gratitude for all they have done to better our community and we wish Richard a speedy recovery. God Bless!!


Richard Orton has had some complications due to his surgery and has been admitted into Potsdam Hospital for further testing. All cards, flowers etc can be sent to Richard's room #209. Please keep Richard in your prayers.

Jefferson County Chairman Sean Hennessey spoke with Richard today and he has come a long way in recovering from his surgery. Richard had some issues after the procedure but has shown great promise in overcoming those hardships. Any well wishes can be sent to our email address and we will forward them on. Thank you

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Senator Gillibrand's Haiti update

Dear Colleagues,

I am continuing to provide you daily updates on Haiti relief. My website is being continuously updated with helpful information for finding loved ones or trying to donate:

Update on Haiti Relief

o 12,085 have been evacuated to date. A total of 20,650 Americans have been accounted for.

o There are 71 confirmed American fatalities and another 21 reported.
o 134 people have been rescued from the rubble.
o 700 orphans destined for the U.S. have been located by the U.S. Embassy team, with 500 of them vetted as appropriate for adoption.
o 460 of these children have travel documents, and the rest are awaiting permission of the Haitian government.
o The medical situation has improved, with 2178 treated. While right after the initial earthquake, the medical teams were seeing 70% of the patients for surgery, that number has diminished to 30%, with the rest receiving treatment for communicable diseases.
o Over 3 million food rations have been distributed, with food and water being available within 1-2 miles of most Haitian citizens, although reports of hunger continue.
o Supplies coming are from, and medical attention is being provided in, the Dominican Republic; although road erosion is providing new challenges.

For More Information on Adoptions, please see below:

Current Categories of Orphan Eligibility for Humanitarian Parole.
o Pre-existing relationship with US parents
o Parents have been deemed suitable as parents
o Children were actually available for adoption (Haitian govt recognizes the kids as orphans).

Haitian orphanages or adoptive families do not need to come to the U.S. Embassy for an initial review; such travel is only necessary at the time of delivery of travel documents. If an orphanage has not yet been contacted by Department of State, let the Department know.

No children who had not been in the adoption process prior to the earthquake are being processed for adoption at this point.

Website where people can communicate about vulnerable children in Haiti: . The U.S. is working closely with a child protection working group being led by UNICEF, with the participation of local non-profits to prevent trafficking of children and support identification/reunification of children who have been separated from their families.

Warm regards,
Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand

State Senate Passes Bill to Open Up “Custom Crush” Wine Sales

WATERTOWN (January 27, 2010)—State Sen. Darrel J. Aubertine, chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, said today that a bill passed in the Senate to allow the state’s winemaking industry to engage in “custom crush” sales will enable a growing segment of the state’s agriculture industry to build on its recent success.
“New York State has a growing and successful wine industry. This bill will enable our wineries to open up a new niche market for the consumer who wants to be a part of the winemaking process,” Sen. Aubertine said. “By loosening restraints on our wineries it will open up new opportunities for growth in an industry that has become an important part of the economy in Central and Northern New York.”
Custom crush allows individuals who will ultimately purchase the wine to participate in its creation, from choosing what type of grape is to be used, to assisting in its actual production. This experience is a growing facet of winemaking across the nation, embraced in other states such as California, Michigan and Virginia. The Senate bill, which lifts the prohibition of these types of sales, passed 62-0.
New York’s wine industry has grown by more than 10 percent since 2004, when a study found that the ripple effect of the industry amounted to more than $3.4 billion in annual economic impact. A 2008 study released recently by the New York State Wine and Grape Foundation, shows the ripple effect has grown to $3.74 billion, including 39,000 jobs with $1.5 billion in wages, $508 million in direct winery sales, and nearly $400 million in tourism revenue from nearly 5 million wine tourists.
New York State is home to more than 200 wineries and 1,000 family owned vineyards, from Long Island to Ogdensburg, and Lake George to Finger Lakes. Oswego, Jefferson and St. Lawrence counties are home to a half a dozen wineries, a wine trail, and several other wineries in neighboring counties.

Friday, January 22, 2010


Statewide Investigation Shows
Telemarketers Routinely
Lie to Donors During
High-Pressure Calls
Latest Action in Cuomo’s Ongoing Efforts to Encourage and Safeguard Giving

NEW YORK, NY (January 20, 2010) - Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that his office has filed lawsuits to shut down four professional fundraising companies that lie, manipulate, and deceive to get charitable donations. During telemarketing calls, these four companies consistently violated New York laws by disguising their status as paid professional fundraisers and lying about the programs that the donations would support.

The lawsuits against the four companies - Caring People Enterprises, Inc., Marketing Squad, Inc., Stage Door Music Productions, Inc., and Suffolk Productions, Inc. - are part of the Attorney General’s ongoing initiative to fight fundraising scams and to make sure generous donations from New Yorkers are being properly collected and used. Over the past three years, these companies have collectively reported raising $16 million. On average, they keep seventy-six percent of the funds raised.

“These fundraisers manipulate sympathetic donors in order to raise money for the only cause they truly care about - themselves,” said Attorney General Cuomo. “Exploiting generous New Yorkers, especially in these times of economic distress, is reprehensible, and we must put these operations out of business. However, we cannot let a few rotten apples spoil the whole bunch. As we continue to aggressively pursue fraudulent fundraisers, New Yorkers should feel even more confident in giving now.”

It is illegal to fundraise in New York using deceptive or misleading practices. Anyone soliciting for charities in New York must, among other things, provide a clear description of the programs and activities for which donations are requested or state that such information is available from the charity, disclose the name of the professional fundraising company, disclose the name of the individual professional telemarketer, and disclose the fact that the telemarketer is being paid. In addition, professional fundraisers are required to register and file reports with the Attorney General’s office.

As part of the Attorney General’s investigation, undercover investigators secured jobs with fundraising companies, where they were trained to carry out fraudulent practices and where they observed employees making false statements to the public during phone solicitations.

The investigation revealed that at times the telemarketers:

•Used aliases and illegally failed to disclose that they were paid fundraisers to make it seem that donors were giving directly to a charity
•Changed the names of charities so they sounded similar to well-known charities or causes, and were thus more appealing to donors
•Lied about the programs client charities actually provided
•Created the false impression that they were law enforcement officials
•Filed false annual documents with the Attorney General’s office containing fake scripts that were made to seem like the ones used by their telemarketers; however, telemarketers actually ignore the scripts and engage in deceptive practices
Attorney General Cuomo’s lawsuits seek to shut down the companies, cancel their registrations as professional fundraisers, and prevent them from further soliciting the public. The lawsuits also seek penalties and restitution. The four lawsuits were filed today in Albany county (Stage Door Music Productions, Inc.), Monroe county (Caring People Enterprises, Inc.; Marketing Squad, Inc.), and Suffolk county (Suffolk Productions, Inc.).

Chuck Bell, Programs Director for Consumers Union, said, “During these tough economic times, charities and the services they provide become even more vital. Unfortunately, the Attorney General has found that certain professional fundraising companies are preying on the good will of generous New Yorkers. This despicable behavior is an insult to both the donors and the charities that are truly in need. On behalf of Consumers Union, I am glad that Attorney General Cuomo is leading the fight to protect donors.”

Daniel Borochoff, president of the American Institute of Philanthropy, said, “By far most charitable organizations perform vital services to those in need and they depend on generous donations to fund their important work. The troubling findings of Attorney General Cuomo’s investigation show that some professional fundraisers misrepresent how contributions will be used and exploit the good intensions of donors in the process. These professional fundraisers have no place in the world of not-for-profits and I am glad that Attorney General Cuomo is taking action to shut them down.”
Read more HERE

Governor David A. Paterson today announced that he is directing the New York Air National Guard to assist in Haitian relief efforts, by providing two C-130 cargo aircraft and crew to national relief efforts.

The two aircraft left Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station at 7 a.m. for Pope Air Force Base in North Carolina where they will load humanitarian cargo and then proceed to Port Au Prince. The crews will then fly to Homestead Air Force Base in Florida, where they will continue their relief mission, flying in and out of Haiti with supplies. The mission is expected to last five days.

"I'm extremely proud that the men and women of the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station have been tapped to provide aid and comfort to the people of Haiti in their hour of need. My heart, and the hearts of all New Yorkers go out to the Haitian people in this moment of crisis," Governor Paterson said. "I know that these New Yorkers in uniform will perform exemplary service during their mission."

The planes - call sign Fuzzy 90 and Bison 91 - are jointly operated by the Air Guard's 107th Airlift Wing and the Air Force Reserve's 914th Airlift Wing.

Major General Joseph Taluto, the Adjutant General and Commander of the New York National Guard, said: "The men and women of the New York National Guard have been leaning forward to prepare to participate in this mission. We know that this will be a long process, and we stand ready to provide support when called upon."

Colonel Patrick Ginavan, Commander of the 107th Airlift Wing, said: "We are very excited to be part of this relief effort. Both units have been tasked to support this mission and it is a combined effort between the New York Air National Guard and the Air Force Reserve. This is a perfect example of a successful Air Reserve Component partnership."
Read more HERE

The Clinton Bush Haiti Fund

On January 12, a magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck Haiti just outside the capital city of Port-au-Prince. The devastation – in lives lost, property destroyed, and families displaced – is immense.

At the request of President Obama, we are partnering to help the Haitian people reclaim their country and rebuild their lives.

Our immediate priority is to save lives. The critical needs in Haiti are great, but they are also simple: food, water, shelter, and first-aid supplies. The best way concerned citizens can help is to donate funds that will go directly to supplying these material needs.

Through the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund, we will work to provide immediate relief and long-term support to earthquake survivors. We will channel the collective goodwill around the globe to help the people of Haiti rebuild their cities, their neighborhoods, and their families.

We ask each of you to give what you can to help ensure the people of Haiti can build back stronger and better than ever.

Both of us have personally witnessed the tremendous generosity and goodwill of the American people and of our friends around the world to help in times of great need. There is no greater rallying cry for our common humanity than witnessing our neighbors in distress. And, like any good neighbor, we have an obligation and desire to come to their aid.

Thank you for taking the time to visit, and we hope you will donate to this worthwhile cause. The people of Haiti now need our assistance more than ever.

President William J. Clinton
President George W. Bush
Donate today

Senator Gillibrand stands tall for NY Jobs

Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand made a personal phone call last night to the President of National Grid urging him to not outsource New York jobs as they proceed through their organizational review. Following news reports that National Grid was considering outsourcing much of its information services work, including software programming, computer networking and other functions, outsourcing as many as 1,200 jobs in the Northeast, Senator Gillibrand sent a letter on January 4 to Tom King, President of National Grid U.S.A urging him to reconsider.

“I can not empha enough the importance of keeping these dedicated employees on the National Grid payroll. Even outsourcing locally to subcontractors that do not provide good benefits or a living wage would have negative effects on our local economy,” said Senator Gillibrand.

According to news reports, National Grid is considering outsourcing much of its information services work, including software programming, computer networking and other functions. According to the reports, one request for proposals (RFP) for outside vendors has already been issued, with possibly three more to come in the coming months. National Grid USA made nearly $1.5 billion in profits last year, due in large part to the quality in-house workforce it relies on.

During the phone call last night, Senator Gillibrand expressed her disappointment with a company that made almost $1.5 billion in profits last year would look for ways to increase profits at the expense of its current competent and capable employees, especially during this economic time.

Senator Gillibrand has significant concerns with subcontracting any utility’s work to other companies because Northeastern customers would not want to see their neighbors lose their jobs, and their service suffer, just so that a large company can improve their bottom line. Senator Gillibrand is concerned that subcontracting leaves too much to chance. Subcontractors could be based anywhere and have employees anywhere and it is not fair to leave National Grid customers uncertain as to which company will handle their service, repair work, and online operations.

In addition, Senator Gillibrand offered to work with National Grid as they evaluate all aspects of their operation as she is working on a number of proposals to help New York companies sustain their workforces and create new jobs, and is working on new legislation that would cut taxes for businesses so they start hiring again and put New Yorkers back to work now.

Last fall, Senator Gillibrand launched her Innovation Agenda to increase America’s competitiveness in the global economy, keep and attract more high-tech businesses to New York, and create more high-tech jobs in New York.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Senator Aubertine Goes High Tech

Sen. Aubertine, SUNY Canton
Launch North Country Grant Search

WATERTOWN—State Sen. Darrel J. Aubertine and SUNY Canton will launch the North Country Grant Search Web site, a working database of public and private grants, 5 p.m. Thursday at the Best Western Carriage House Inn, Watertown, with an informational session to help people navigate the new site.
The roll out is designed to provide a local grant seekers use this new and powerful tool, maximize its features. More than 100 representatives from various non-profit organizations and municipalities, along with development experts and the general public are expected to attend.
The Web site was made possible through a $50,000 grant secured by Sen. Aubertine in 2006 while a member of the Assembly. The site will be accessible through the SUNY Canton Web site, Sen. Aubertine’s Web site and the Web site for the Legislative Commission on Rural Resources.
Who: Sen. Darrel J. Aubertine, SUNY Canton officials
What: North Country Grant Search launch, roll out and presentation
Where: Best Western Carriage House Inn,
300 Washington St., Watertown, NY 13601
When: 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., Thursday, January 21, 2010
Why: To help local governments access critical grant funding

Assemblywoman Russell responds to governor’s budget proposal

“The governor’s budget proposal is evidence that he is out of touch with the North Country and our community. The governor’s proposal turns its back on working families by making across-the-board cuts – jeopardizing essential public programs – instead of making strategic cuts and basing decisions on sound data.
“One area I am specifically upset about is the governor’s initiative to close the Ogdensburg Correctional Facility. The governor has apparently not considered that fact that St. Lawrence County has one of the highest unemployment rates in the entire state, and was recently hit hard by the closing of the GM plant, the idling of Alcoa and the potential closure of P&C supermarkets in Canton, Potsdam, Massena and Gouverneur. He also failed to consider the ripple effects caused by this closure to Ogdensburg and its surrounding communities, including the loss of local contracts that were being used by the prison, and the hit to our housing values and tax base if these employees are transferred to facilities in other areas of the state.
“I have already started advocating for a final budget that considers cutting Department of Corrections administrators and identifying cost-saving-measures and shared services within the Watertown Correction hub as alternatives to the prison’s closure. The close proximity of North Country prisons presents us with an opportunity to consolidate services, such as sharing prison counselors and administrators as well as maximizing our economies of scale to achieve significant cost savings.
“Another area of concern is with the governor’s higher education proposal. The governor’s proposal to allow SUNY unchecked authority over tuition increases combined with deep cuts to the TAP program will put future generations at a disadvantage by making a college education unaffordable for working families. His cuts to community colleges will also undermine the employee retraining efforts taking place in the North Country right now, and the educational pursuits of our young adults.
“The governor also proposed new taxes on cigarettes and sugary drinks, including sports drinks and soda. At face value these efforts appear socially responsible, but I cannot support these two new taxes placed on our already over-burdened working families. We must break the culture of raising new taxes to feed our already bloated budget. Until we make significant cuts to the bureaucracy of Albany, I will not support these taxes.”

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Jefferson County wishes the Orton Family well!

The Jefferson County Democratic Party has been very lucky over the years to have built a strong bond with our local and Regional Labor Organizations. Yesterday a big friend (and I don't mean by his height) Richard Orton of United Steel Workers Local 450-A out of Massena NY went under the knife at Samaritan Medical Center in Watertown NY.

Representatives from our County Committee, elected official and other friends in Labor visited Richard and his lovely wife and were pleased to see that he maid it through the procedure with Flying colors. Richard is a great guy who believes strongly in the rights of working families across this great country. It's clear that Richard personifies all that is good in the labor movement today. His working class ideals that a fair days work should bring a fair days pay is the basis of the American Dream.

We owe Richard Orton and men and women like him a debt of gratitude for all they have done to better our community and we wish Richard a speedy recovery. God Bless!!


Richard Orton has had some complications due to his surgery and has been admitted into Potsdam Hospital for further testing. All cards, flowers etc can be sent to Richard's room #209. Please keep Richard in your prayers.

Prison Closure will impact the North Country

Statement from Sen. Aubertine regarding Proposed Prison Closures in Ogdensburg and Nearby Upstate Communities:

ALBANY (January 19, 2010)—“I’m deeply concerned by the proposal to close the Ogdensburg Correctional Facility and the effect it would have on our community. The fact is that these proposals for Ogdensburg and three other facilities will not even address this year’s budget concerns and still have a deep negative economic impact on the surrounding communities. Reversing this proposal has been at the forefront of my conversations today and will be throughout negotiations until it’s no longer on the table.”

Friday, January 15, 2010

Comptroler DiNapoli's request your support for Haiti

A Message from NY State Comptroller

Thomas P. DiNapoli

Senator Aubertine Stands for Our Farming Community

Help Protect New York's Farms
-- Sign Up Today!
Now more than ever, New York State’s farm families need our attention.

Over the past 30 years, the number of farms in New York State has dropped from more than 48,000 in 1980, to just 36,352 in 2007. Extremely low milk prices, volatility in the credit market and foreign competition have since driven hundreds more out of business.

To put that in perspective: Every day over the past three decades in New York State, at least one farm has gone out of business—more than 400 every year.

Every day over the past thirty years, a family farm has stopped milking cows, stopped growing fruits and vegetables, stopped raising animals, and stopped contributing to our local and state economy.

Enough is enough.

This decline has taken its toll on Upstate New York’s rural communities. For too long, agriculture has been forgotten in discussions of economic development and taken for granted.
Join the New York State Senate Agriculture Committee in the fight to protect the working families who put food on our plates every day.

Show your support for paying farmers a fair price for their milk, improving our local farmers’ markets, promoting New York products, and preserving the ability of our farms to stay in business.

Please sign up and let your voice be heard. Agriculture must be a part of our economic future and New York State cannot afford to lose another industry by making it harder for our farms to survive this economic downturn.
Sign up HERE

Support Local Contractors Today.

The job you save could be your own.
Think about it

Congressman Owens Supports the Public's Right to Know

Congressman Bill Owens Applauds Adoption of “72 Hour Rule” for Healthcare Legislation
Washington, DC – This week, Congressman Bill Owens joined a number of colleagues in requesting from House leadership that major healthcare legislation moving through Congress be available online for 72 hours before coming to the floor for a vote. “We believe that a 72 hour period for review is crucial before voting on a proposal as sweeping and impactful as health care reform legislation,” the letter read. Congressman Owens made the following statement on the recent announcement that this request was being granted:

“Having the healthcare bill available online for 72 hours before bringing it to the floor for a vote will ensure that Members of Congress, the media and our constituents will have the opportunity to review this comprehensive legislation and become familiar with its full impact,” said Owens. “I remain encouraged that attempts to make healthcare available to more Americans and reign in healthcare costs are moving forward, and I look forward to reviewing the final bill to ensure that it serves the people I represent.”

Congressman Owens is a Member of the House Armed Services Committee and the House Committee on Homeland Security. This is his first term in Congress.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


NYC Job Losses Result in More
Than 75 Million Fewer Customers in 2009

State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli today released a report showing 75 million fewer customers used the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (MTA) system through October 2009 than during the same period in 2008, costing the MTA more than $100 million in lost fare and toll revenue. DiNapoli attributes the sharp decline to the 110,000 jobs lost in New York City between October 2008 and October 2009.

"The MTA is vital to the strength of the regional economy – and the health of the economy has a huge impact on ridership," DiNapoli said. "People don’t commute when they’re unemployed."

In 2008, more than 2.6 billion riders used the MTA’s buses, subways, and commuter railroads and about 300 million vehicles crossed the MTA’s bridges and tunnels. Subway ridership, which had grown by 242 million trips between 2000 and the peak year of 2008, accounted for the biggest decline in 2009, with about 44 million fewer riders from January 2009 through October 2009 than during the same period in 2008.

The DiNapoli report also found:

•Subway ridership through October 2009 dropped 3.2 percent from levels during the same period of 2008.
•About 18 million fewer riders used New York City Transit buses, a 2.9 percent decline, and about two million fewer riders used the MTA’s suburban bus lines during the review period.
•Four million fewer riders used the Long Island Rail Road and more than 3 million fewer riders used the Metro-North Railroad when compared with the same 2008 period.
•Average weekday subway ridership through October 2009 to midtown Manhattan fell 6.2 percent while commuting to Downtown Manhattan declined 3.3 percent.
•Bridge and tunnel crossings declined by 4.3 percent through October 2009 compared to the same period in 2007 when fuel prices began to rise.

HERE for the full report
Dear Friend,

All of us feel the sense of shock and helplessness brought on by the tragic earthquake in Haiti. The mass suffering and destruction is unprecedented. I had the honor of traveling to Haiti just this past March at the invitation of President Clinton. We went, with Wyclef Jean and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon to review relief efforts and economic development initiatives being promoted and run by the Clinton Foundation and Wyclef’s Yele Haiti Foundation. To think of all that progress now turned to rubble is frustrating and heart-breaking, at the very least.

Democrats and Republicans, citizens across our state, our country, of all political persuasions share one common American virtue: compassion. There are several organizations that I TRUST will get help DIRECTLY to the PEOPLE. Please join with us in bringing direct, needed, immediate help to the people of Haiti by contributing to one of the 3 following organizations:


Please contribute AS MUCH AS YOU CAN – TODAY.

Thank you.


A message from Senator Gillibrand on the tragedy in Haiti

As I'm sure you've heard, Haiti was hit by a magnitude 7.0 earthquake yesterday. Communication, infrastructure, and internal aid services have been devastated by the disaster and we're only beginning to get a real sense of how far and deep the destruction penetrated.

The images that have emerged from the international news outlets are heartbreaking. I can't help but think about all of the families waiting on word from their loved ones. New Yorkers have always been quick to respond to disasters and right now the people of Haiti need our help.

Please consider making a donation to the Red Cross right now to help aid in what is sure to be a long and difficult humanitarian relief effort.

There are two direct and secure ways you can donate to the Red Cross' Disaster Relief Fund:

Click here to make a donation on the American Red Cross' website.


Text "Haiti" to 90999 right now from your mobile phone and give $10 to the American Red Cross.

For the cost of a couple of your daily coffees, you can make an impact in this recovery process. You'll be providing food, water, temporary shelter, or medical services to those in the greatest need. So, please make a donation today and ask your friends to join you by forwarding them this message.



P.S. For missing family, please call the State Department hotline at 1-888-407-4747.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

President Obama's Weekly Address

President Obama for Working
Families Across the U.S.

The President discusses the benefits of health reform that
Americans will receive in the first year, and how
reform will help build a new foundation for American families


Investigation by Cuomo found hospital and nursing homes flushed painkillers, antibiotics, anti-depressants, hormones and other pharmaceuticals - risking release into drinking water supply

Groundbreaking settlements help to safeguard the drinking water of 9 million in New York City and portions of Westchester, Putnam, Ulster, and Orange Counties

Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced groundbreaking settlements with five health care facilities located in the New York City Watershed to immediately end the practice of disposing of pharmaceutical waste into the watershed. The agreements announced today are the first-ever settlements requiring sources of pharmaceutical releases to end this risky disposal practice.

The five facilities are located in Delaware and Putnam Counties and within the New York City Watershed, an almost 2000 square mile area that drains into reservoirs and lakes providing drinking water to eight million residents of New York City and one million people living in Westchester, Putnam, Ulster, and Orange Counties. The practice of flushing unused pharmaceuticals allows for the release of painkillers, antibiotics, anti-depressants, hormones and other waste drugs into the watershed - the drinking water supply for almost half the state’s residents. To date, only trace amounts of pharmaceuticals have been found in the New York City drinking water supply.

“The 9 million people who get their water from the New York City Watershed enjoy some of the cleanest, safest and best water in the world,” said Attorney General Cuomo. “We need to make sure it stays that way. These ground breaking settlements provide a new model to implement immediate and sensible precautions to keep waste drugs out of the drinking water supply.”

The settlements arise from a broad, ongoing investigation by Cuomo’s office into the pharmaceutical waste management practices of hospitals, nursing homes, and assisted living facilities located within the New York City watershed. Today’s settlements include: O’Connor Hospital, located in Delhi, Delaware County; Margaretville Memorial Hospital, located in Margaretville, Delaware County; Mountainside Residential Care Center, a nursing home located in Margaretville, Delaware County; Countryside Care Center, a nursing home located in Delhi, Delaware County; and Putnam Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, a nursing home located in Holmes, Putnam County. All of these facilities cooperated with the investigation.

Read more by clicking

Aubertine: Ethics, Election Reform a “Critical First Step”

Senate, Assembly agree on
groundbreaking reforms
for accountability, open government

WATERTOWN (January 13, 2010)—Sen. Darrel J. Aubertine said today that the historic ethics and election law reform agreement reached today between the Senate and Assembly represents a “critical first step” toward accomplishing the goals he has been pushing for with his colleagues to help clean up Albany and restore the public’s confidence in state government.
“We certainly recognize the problems that exist and the need for tough ethics laws to address these issues and restore the people’s faith in our government,” Sen. Aubertine said. “These are the changes I’ve pushed for along with colleagues from both parties, good government groups and editorial boards in my district and across the state. This agreement between the Senate and Assembly is a critical first step toward accomplishing our goals of creating jobs, controlling spending and providing meaningful property tax relief.”
This reform package far surpasses anything previously passed by the state legislature, making all public officials and entities fully accountable to the people they represent, and giving New York a government as good as its people.
Sen. Aubertine and members of his conference have advocated for reform since before taking the majority last January and over the past year he and his colleagues have passed historic Senate rules reform and public authorities reform, while continuing to press for meaningful reforms to ethics and election law. In addition, the Senator has also called for reforms in the state budget process that bring down state spending.
The Senate’s agreement creates a Legislative Office of Ethics Investigations with primary responsibility to investigate ethical complaints, and members will not be permitted to serve on the Governing Board. Furthering ethical oversight, the Commission on Public Integrity will now have separate enforcement divisions for legislators and lobbyists, with tougher standards. Public officers who earn income from consulting services will be required to disclose their clients and the services provided, while lobbyists and their clients are required to report compensation over $1,000 annually paid to public officers or entities where they provide services.
Unprecedented election reforms will leave no room for those who attempt to go around the system, and put an end to years of bureaucracy and partisan bickering that has corrupted the fundamental democratic process. This legislation increases disclosure requirements, stiffens and establishes new penalties for violations, and creates a comprehensive statutory framework for the establishment of an independent office of enforcement counsel and investigation proceedings of campaign finance violations.
“For too long election law has lacked the penalties needed to enforce violations and recent high profile cases have shown how easy it has been to evade weak existing ethics provisions,” Sen. Aubertine said. “This work is a promising start, but it is just a beginning. We will continue working to give New Yorkers a government that works for them, and my efforts will continue as we work to meet the needs of individuals and families across the state by advocating budget reform and property tax relief as part of a sensible economic growth agenda.”

Saturday, January 9, 2010

North Country Rep's Come Through Yet Again!!!!

The North Country
President Fox Praises
Senator Aubertine and Assemblywomen Russell
SLU Receives 4 Project Grants
Northern NY News
Written by Contributor
Saturday, 09 January 2010 07:13
Four SLU Projects Awarded Grants By NYS Dormitory Authority

CANTON - The Dormitory Authority of the State of New York has announced that four projects at St. Lawrence University are among 36 capital projects at 22 institutions approved through the Higher Education Capital Matching Grants Program (HECap). The 36 projects total more than $16 million.

HECap funding provides $1 in state support for every $3 raised by eligible institutions.

The four projects at St. Lawrence, approved with $748,882 in HECap grants, are:

•Artificial turf replacement, for a field used by University lacrosse, soccer and field hockey teams, as well as intramural and club sports.
•Refurbishment of Lee, Priest and Gaines residence halls, including flooring, furniture, paint, lighting improvements, restroom improvements and renovations to ceilings and windows.
•Refurbishment of tennis courts, used by men's and women's varsity teams as well as for recreation by students, employees and the community.
•Upgrading of the electrical infrastructure, the final phase of a four-phase project.
St. Lawrence President William L. Fox said, "I'm very grateful for the support of our New York State representatives, Senator Darrel Aubertine, Assemblywoman Addie Jennie Russell and Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava for supporting the University in seeking assistance for these projects.....
Read more from The Gouverneur Times

Senator Gillibrand fights National Greed

National Grid USA: Don’t Outsource New York Jobs
Company Ponders Outsourcing 1,200 Northeast Jobs
Washington, DC – With National Grid USA considering outsourcing much of its Northeast operations that would result in significant job losses across New York State, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand stepped in and urged National Grid to reconsider plans and keep these jobs in New York.

According to recent news reports, National Grid is considering outsourcing much of its information services work, including software programming, computer networking and other functions. According to the reports, one request for proposals (RFP) for outside vendors has already been issued, with possibly three more to come in the coming months. The plan could send as many as 1,200 jobs in New York and New England overseas. National Grid USA made nearly $1.5 billion in profits last year, due in large part to the quality American workforce it relies on.

In a letter to Tom King, President of National Grid USA, Senator Gillibrand wrote, “In this economic time it is very disconcerting to hear that any company would consider outsources its jobs to overseas businesses when we have a competent and capable workforce here in the United States. A workforce that you have been utilizing since 2002. It is even more upsetting to know that a company who made $1.43 billion in profits last year would look for ways to cut costs by reducing it employees.”

In addition to urging Chief Executive Holliday to keep these jobs in New York State, Senator Gillibrand is also working with businesses in all sectors in all regions of the state to keep their workforces right here in New York, and is working on new legislation that would encourage businesses to start hiring again – putting New Yorkers back to work. This fall, Senator Gillibrand launched her Innovation Agenda to increase America’s competitiveness in the global economy, keep and attract more high-tech businesses to New York, and create more high-tech jobs in New York.

Senator Gillibrand’s full letter to President King is below:

January 4, 2010

Tom King
National Grid USA
40 Sylvan Drive
Westborough, Massachusetts 02451

Dear Mr. King,

I am writing to express my concern with recent reports indicating that National Grid may outsource as many as 1,200 of its Northeast jobs, hundreds of which are located throughout New York State, to overseas vendors. I urge you to reconsider this proposal and work with local unions and the State and Federal government to find a way to keep these American jobs in New York and other Northeastern states.

I am working on a number of proposals to help New York companies sustain their workforces and create new jobs, and I would be happy to work with you to develop ways to grow our economy together.

Considering the current economic climate, it is very disconcerting to hear that any company would consider outsourcing its jobs overseas. National Grid has relied on a competent and capable workforce in New York since 2002 and I know that your Northeastern customers would prefer to rely on their friends and neighbors for......
Read more from

Thursday, January 7, 2010

There are 184,251 soldiers serving in Afghanistan and Iraq and that number

What is Songs For Soldiers?

Songs For Soldiers is a great new way for Americans to offer a tangible expression of gratitude to our Troops serving in harm’s way. The goal of is to give a new MP3 player to every single active duty soldier in Iraq and Afghanistan. Each player will be pre-loaded with songs from a variety of artists who have donated their music to this effort.

The USO is partnering with Americans like you to make succeed. All you have to do is go to the ‘donate now’ button at the bottom of this page and you will be automatically sent to the official order page. Your $29 donation to the is fully tax-deductible and sends an MP3 player to an active duty soldier. If you want to send an MP3 player to a specific soldier and you have their APO coordinates, you can do so for a nominal shipping charge. The guarantees that your gift will be handed directly to an active duty soldier in Iraq or Afghanistan.
If you want your business or organization to participate, an order of 100 units or more will entitle you to special sponsorship benefits. For more information, please email

In today’s Armed Forces, almost every soldier relies on an MP3 player to listen to songs that help them cope with the stress of combat. Some soldiers, only half joking, say MP3s should be standard issue for combat military.
The Flatflash Duo is a new MP3 player that is uniquely qualified for combat zones.
is excited to pre-load a large selection of music from the label To the Fallen Records. This original music, written and performed by active duty and veteran soldiers, speaks directly to those who will be receiving this gift.

Is a simple and powerful way to let our troops know that we appreciate their sacrifice. Especially at this time of the year. Please lend a hand now.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Aubertine Extends “Olive Branch” for Bipartisanship

Chair of several major legislative entities,
Aubertine passes Energy Committee to Minority

WATERTOWN (January 6, 2010)—State Sen. Darrel J. Aubertine today announced that he has chosen to set aside the title of Senate Energy and Telecommunications Chair after a successful year for the committee in the interest of forging a stronger bi-partisan relationship in the Senate.
“As I’ve said throughout my time in public service, a good idea is never a Republican or Democratic idea, it’s just a good idea. Bringing a chair from the other side of the aisle will introduce new ideas to the process and enable me to continue in an active role within the committee,” Sen. Aubertine said. “We have installed a number of key reforms and now we need to take more steps toward improving the relationship between both sides of the political aisle.
“It’s high time we start working with each other, instead of against each other which is why I chose to extend this olive branch to my colleagues on the other side of the aisle,” Sen. Aubertine continued. “In doing this, we are continuing to set aside the petty political motivations that dominated this body for four decades. This is about putting people first and doing what’s right for New York State.”
Serving as chair of the four separate, but influential and interconnected bodies within the state Senate, has enabled Senator Aubertine to help shape policy to benefit his district and all of Upstate New York. Now serving as the lead lawmaker in three of these entities—the Agriculture Committee, the Senate Upstate Caucus, and the Legislative Commission on Rural Resources—Sen. Aubertine will continue to be a voice in energy policy for Central and Northern New York, as well as all of the Upstate and rural communities throughout our state.
“There is no shortage of work that needs to be done on behalf of Upstate New York, which has been allowed to lag behind Long Island and New York City for 40 years,” Sen. Aubertine said. “In choosing to bring together a bipartisan coalition, we are strengthening the voice of Upstate New York. I will continue to push for the investments and the legislation that will help us grow our economy and make New York State stronger moving forward. I’m excited about the opportunity to work with a new chair and address the issues, ideas and concerns that mean the most to all of us.”
In 2009, the Senate Energy and Telecommunications Committee passed more key legislation to improve the state’s energy policy than any other Legislature in nearly 20 years. Those accomplishments include the passing and signing of the Green Jobs/Green NY Act, Article 6 legislation to create a permanent state energy planning board, the PACE Sustainable Energy Loan Program, a clean energy initiative for the New York Power Authority, an extension for the Power for Jobs program, and a program that allows the state to purchase green energy.
In his role as chair, Sen. Aubertine has sponsored key legislation, including the Green Jobs/Green NY Act, and also taken an active involvement in gathering input for future legislative actions, including the reform and improvement of programs that use low cost power from NYPA to create and sustain jobs. The “Powering New York’s Future” initiative worked in conjunction with the Assembly Energy Committee to travel across the state to hear from businesses, economic developers and other stakeholders in these programs to help craft legislation to better use the resources of the power authority. The Senator travelled to Buffalo, Niagara Falls, Uniondale, Kingston, Syracuse, Oswego and Massena and will host a concluding public hearing in Albany.
The Senator has worked closely with the governor’s office to advance an energy policy that focuses on meeting the power needs of New York State, improves energy efficiency, and develops in state resources for reliable, affordable, clean and renewable energy. The Senator said he will continue to work on these and other initiatives he started as chair, including talks with Quebec Hydro to supplement the demand for power throughout New York State, a carbon sequestration project in Jamestown, and working with the New York Power Authority to protect and preserve jobs in the region, including at Alcoa and through discount power for local businesses, including dairy farms.
“I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished this year and during my tenure as chair,” Sen. Aubertine said. “I will continue to work with the new chair, follow through on the initiatives we’ve started, and be a part of the ongoing work that needs to be done to make New York State more energy efficient so energy is affordable and reliable now and for future generations. We have tremendous potential in New York State to use our energy resources to create jobs and foster innovations for real and lasting economic development.”
Additional key energy legislation passed in 2009 includes OGS Green Energy Purchasing bill which enables the state Office of General Services to purchase and deliver renewable energy and renewable energy credits or attributes on behalf of State agencies, and a bill to expand net metering to include micro-combined heat and power systems, which are small increasingly affordable units capable of both heating and providing up to 40 percent of the electricity for a home or small business as a by-product. Additionally these units are produced in Upstate New York creating economic development potential.