Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Jefferson County Democrats Give Back

The Jefferson County Democratic Committee (JCDC) recently stopped by the Watertown Urban Mission to drop off hundreds of dollar of bathroom products brought together in a recent fundraiser. These items will go to those less fortunate across the North Country.

Pictured: L/R
JCDC Vice Chair Ron Cole, Executive Director
Erika Flint and JCDC Chairman, Sean Hennessey
When our fundraising team discussed developing a giving campaign for our committee we discussed a number of different programs to help those in need. Most the ideas were based around toys for children or food for the table. The idea of raising funds and bathroom products made a lot of sense. When most people think holiday they don’t think tooth paste, deodorant or shampoo but that’s why we chose it. These are the things that can be in short supply in the holiday season and it’s something hard to do without.

Sandra Cole, JCDC Secretary and founder of the “Discover the Meaning” program was overjoyed when she found the mounds of products brought in the evening of the event. “The outpouring was spectacular and the products delivered are top shelf. This is a program that’s grown year after year and this year was no exception. I’m so happy everyone came out and showed such support.” Said Mrs. Cole.
Some of the items donated by the JCDC

The Discover program was created several years ago to get members of the JCDC out in our community raising much needed funds and doing good deeds for members of our community in need.

This was a win win for our committee.” Said JCDC Chairman Sean Hennessey “Our committee gets to come together and have a great time while pooling much needed resources for the base of our party. We’re so pleased that it worked out so well and we’re looking forward to our next Discover the Meaning program.”
Fun Fun Fun at Bistro 108

Executive Director of the Watertown Urban Mission Erika Flint said of the donation from the JCDC “Thank you so much. Government programs don't cover items such as shampoo, deodorant, razors, or soap, and too often on tight budgets people cut these items to save money. We depend on generous gifts like this one to make sure people get the hygiene items they need to stay healthy and rise above their struggles.”

Donating to the Watertown Urban Mission is easy. If you have money, canned goods, clothes…whatever you can drop those items off right at their office on Factory St. in Watertown. You can also check them out on FaceBook by clicking HERE.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Addie To Hold Holiday Party & You're Invited!

Don't know if your linked to Assemblywoman Addie Russell's (Click HERE) but she's having a get together for the Holiday's and She'd like you to come by and say hello.  Addie's message from her FB page says:

"Happy Holidays everyone! I am having an open house holiday celebration at my Watertown District Office on Tuesday December 20th from 11-3. Come on over and enjoy some great food and drink and help us to ring in the holiday spirit!"

The Assembly office is on the 2nd Floor of the Dulles State Office Bldg on Washington St. No RSVP is needed so just stop by and say hello! See you there!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Much Needed Housing is Coming to the Region and NY gets a second Major League Baseball team.

I know it's a bit late but here's some excerpts of Lt Governor Bob Duffy's trip to Watertown, NY last week. This was great news for our region.  Housing is a HUGE issue here in the North Country and this will lead not only to affordable housing for those in need but also a much needed increase in construction jobs for the region.  It's our hope that this will also lead to an increase in Union work at the site as well.

During the standing room only event, it was clear by all in attendance that much was done across party lines to get this project underway.  It was also very pleasing to see buisness mangers from various labor groups such as Carpenters and Plumbers and Steam fitters in attendance.  The Governor deserves kudos seeing the need North Country develoment. 

It's is particularly satifying to see our friends from organised labor at the table when public dollars are being invested in private development.   It's our hope that this public/private partership will lead to a lasting bond between those local devopers and area trade councels.  With Organized Labor and devolopers working hand in hand it's clear that the North Country has a bright future.   Thank you Governor Cuomo for your avid support for North Country progess!!

Below you'll find excerpts from the days events:

Just to give you a heads up on the Yankees hat being displayed in the video. The current Senator from the 48th District made an attempt at a joke when she nagged Command General Milley to switch sides as a Boston Red Socks fan to what the Senator referred to as "New Yorks Baseball Team" the New York Yankee's.N 

We think it's important to point out to the Senator that New York has two major league baseball teams.  The other being the New York Mets.  Many North Country residents are avid supporters of the NY Mets (Including former Senator Jim Wright (R) who was the MC of this event as well as current Democratic Chairman Sean Hennessey who were both in attendance) The Senator should understand that Met fans aren't fair weather friends and have a long memory.  They have to be since it the Mets only get to the play offs every decade or two. (our attempt at comedy)

That being the case we implore the current Senator to research this team and learn about supporting a team even when times are tough.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Congressman Owens Wants You!

Congressman Bill Owens announced today that several 2012 internships are available in his offices in Washington, Watertown, Plattsburgh, and Oneida.

“Our internship program offers a tremendous opportunity for recent graduates and current college students to gain valuable work experience and learn about the operations of a Congressional office,” said Owens. “I urge all who are interested in a career in public service to apply.”

Anyone over the age of 18 can apply to be an intern in one of Rep. Owens’ offices. There is no set schedule for an internship, as schedules are tailored for an applicant’s availability.

To apply, interested parties can fill out this form at Congressman Owens’ website, or they can send a resume and a cover letter to Congressman Owens’ internship coordinator, Kelley Longshore by clicking HERE or by emailing

Happy Birthday Governor Cuomo!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Delegate Training to be Held in Watertown NY

The Jefferson County Democratic Committee (JCDC) is proud to announce that they will host a regional training for Democrats interested in being a delegate to the 2012 National Convention.

On April 24, 2012 Democratic Voters from across the state will go to the polls and elect 224 delegates to represent New York State at the Democratic Nation Convention being held on September 6th 2012 in Charlotte North Carolina.

Interested North Country Democrats are invited to attend the Regional training at:

International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 910
25001 Water St. in Watertown NY 13601
Date: Saturday, December 10th 2011 at 1pm

Space in limited, so we are asking that all Democrats interested in attending the North Country Regional training RSVP Jefferson County Democratic Chairman Sean M Hennessey at or by calling the JCDC's Watertown Office at (315) 788-4590.  Please RSVP no later than 5pm Friday December 9, 2012.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Another Sad loss for the North Country

Former Jefferson County
Treasurer Nancy Browns
Mother has passed

Leone R. Datoush

November 16, 2011

ADAMS, N.Y. — Leone “Onie” R. Datoush, 90, of East Church Street, died Wednesday morning at the Samaritan Keep Home where she was admitted June 28.

The funeral will be 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 19, at Piddock Funeral Home, Adams, with Mona Fargo, pastor of the Adams United Methodist Church, officiating. Burial will be in Riverside Cemetery, Copenhagen. Calling hours will be from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday at the funeral home.

Born March 22, 1921, in Turin, daughter of Emmett and Alice Peckham Rupert, she was a graduate of Copenhagen High School.

During the war she worked at Savage Arms, Utica and at the Bagley Sewall Defense Plant in Watertown.

She married Jerome “Dayt” Datoush Aug. 17, 1946, at the home of her mother in Copenhagen.

The couple lived in Adams all their married life. Mr. Datoush worked for the W.W. Conde Hardware Store in Watertown following his discharge from the Army where he served in Africa and Italy. “Onie” and “Dayt” purchased the former Gould’s Restaurant in Adams which they operated for 14 years. Mr. Datoush died Nov. 21, 1987.
To see more from please click HERE

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The North Country Losses a Great Man


Gerald F. Casey, 74, Watertown, and a summer resident of Cape Vincent, died Thursday, Nov. 10, at Samaritan Keep Home where he had resided since April 2009.

A memorial Mass will be held 11 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 19, at Holy Family Church with Rev. Steven Murray officiating. As per his wishes, he is donating his body to Upstate Medical Center.

Burial in St. Vincent of Paul Cemetery, Cape Vincent, will be at a later date.

Arrangements are with Cummings Funeral Service, Inc., Watertown.

Born Sept. 7, 1937, in Syracuse, the son of Harold B. and Madeline O'Donnell Casey, he graduated from Most Holy Rosary School, Syracuse, received a bachelor of arts degree in English from Syracuse University, and his BS in Business Administration from State University of New York.

He married Marlene A. Docteur on Oct. 5, 1979, in Watertown.

From 1975 until his retirement in 1994 as building superintendent, he worked at the Dulles State Office Building, Watertown. He was appointed to this position under the Gov. Carey administration and reappointed under the Gov. Cuomo administration.

Mr. Casey was a communicant of Holy Family Church and a member of the Celebration Singers.

The couple lived in Watertown and were summer residents of Cape Vincent.

He was very involved with the Watertown Chamber of Commerce, being a past president, a member of the board of directors, a representative to T. I. Council, and chairman of the tourism committee. He was a founding member of the Irish Fest and very active with Project Children.

He was a member and past president of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, Division #1, Watertown and a former chairman of the town of Champion Democratic Committee. He participated in Third Wave Productions, a community theater group, and served on the board of directors for Seaway Trail Foundation.
See more HERE

Sunday, November 6, 2011

(L/R) Judge Charlie Merrel (Supreme Court Candidate)
and  Congressman Bill Owens  (NY 23) take a
moment to catch  up during the annual event.
Last night the Jefferson County Democratic Committee held it's annual Fall Dinner/GOTV dinner. The house was packed and we'd like to think everyone had a great time.

In attendance were Congressman Bill Owens, Commissioner of Ag and Markets Darrel Aubertine, Assemblywoman Addie Russell, Supereme Court Judge candidates: Judge Charlie Merrell, Patrick MacRae, Tom Buckle and David Magnarelli, Encombant Legislatore Allan Drake (District 4), Legislative Candidates Michael Astafan (District 6), Ron Cole (District 11) and Carl Disalvatore (District 12).  Also on hand were Town of Housnfield Supervisor Tim Scee and various other elected officials.  

We were also lucky to have with us various Labor organizations like: IBEW local 910, CSEA, Bricklayers and Allied Trades, SEIU 1199, Steal Workers, CWA, Plumbers and Steam Fitters, AFGE and many more.

Below you'll find some of the pictures form last night's event.  Enjoy!

Assemblywoman Addie Russell (118th) Ron Monnat (former Buisness manager for Plumbers and Steam fitters and Beth Cassada (President of the IBEW local 910 give the North Country Democat a moment for a picture.
(L/R) Commissioner of Ag and Markets Darrel Aubertine,
The Shaw family (Teamsters) and
Congressman Bill Owens

Here's a half room shot of yesterdays annual Fall/GOTV dinner at the Ramada in Watertown NY. What a great event!

Local Mayors Endorse Astafan for Legislator

Recently Wayny McIlroy , Mayor of the Village of Carthage, endorsed Mike Astafan for Legislature in District 6.  Today, we're proud to announce that the Mayor of West Carthage, has Endorsed Mike Astafan as well.  Mayor Scott Burto stated in his letter of support:

"I am writing to the residents of the Town of Wilna to express my support for Michael F. Astafan as your next Jefferson County District 6 Legislator. Mr. Astafan has been a valuable asset not only to the residents of the Village of Carthage but to the larger Carthage community."

"I have had the honor of working with Mr. Astafan over the last 12 years during his tenure as a Village of Carthage Trustees as well as sitting with him on the Joint Water and Sewer Utility Board and our efforts through RACOG. I have seen first hand his commitment and dedication to the Carthage community. During Mike’s time serving on the Economic Development Corporation of Carthage and the Carthage Development Corporation, we have seen policy changes that have allowed for growth in new businesses in West Carthage and Carthage and benefiting the community as a whole."

"Although I can not vote in the District 6 election, I would ask that you support Michael Astafan on November 8, 2011 as he is the proven candidate committed to bettering the Carthage area. I know not only will the residents of District 6 be well represented but also the greater Carthage community."

Thank You,

Scott M. Burto

When picking their next legislator the Towns of Wilna and Leray should look at both candidates and let experience, dedication to community and leadership be their guide when picking their next Legislator for district 6.  Mike Astafan advocay on the Black River Regulating District saved the North Country Millions, His work in conjunction with Village and Town officials after the devisting Village of Carthage Fire has led to a rebirth of commerce in down town Carthage.  Mike's leadship as exalted ruler Elks lodge #1762 in Carthage lead to fiscal strength during his tenure.  The list of Mike Astafan's accomplishments are long and his ability to lead unquestionable.

This Tuesday, November 8th, every vote for Mike Astafan is a vote for proven leadership.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Judge Charlie Merrell on the Issues

Ron Cole Support Strong in District 11!

Ron Cole (Legislative Candidate in District 11) signs are popping up all over the distrcit!
 Looks like all Ron's hard work is paying off! I'f you'd like to help in the final days of the
campaign please drop us a line and we'll put you to work.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

9/11 Memorial Moves to Fort Drum

Governor Cuomo,
New York State Museum, and
National September 11 Memorial
& Museum Announce
Fort Drum 9/11 Exhibition

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, the New York State Museum, and the National September 11 Memorial & Museum today announced the opening of a "New York Remembers" exhibition at the Fort Drum U.S. Army base in Jefferson County.
The exhibition will give Fort Drum soldiers and their families a place to remember the victims of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, to honor the countless heroes who helped with the clean-up and recovery efforts, and to pay tribute to members of the military who are fighting for our freedom. The exhibition features several historical artifacts from the collections of the State Museum and National September 11 Memorial & Museum. The stories behind the artifacts are told as part of the exhibition.
"These artifacts will provide a gathering place for the Fort Drum community to remember the tragic events of September 11th," Governor Cuomo said. "The men and women of our nation's armed services have paid a tremendous price protecting America and keeping our country safe in the aftermath of those senseless acts of terrorism. Fort Drum deployed forces as part of the nation's military response to the 9/11 attacks and they were some of the first conventional troops on the ground in Afghanistan. This exhibit will serve as a constant reminder of the unbreakable spirit of unity that brought our state and nation together after September 11th."

Joe Daniels, President of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, said, "This exhibit will help soldiers and families of the Fort Drum community reflect and honor the women, men and children lost in the attacks of September 11, and it represents our gratitude for their admirable service. I want to thank the Governor for his dedication to preserving the history of 9/11, the primary goal of the National 9/11 Memorial & Museum."
Mark Schaming, Director of the New York State Museum, said, "The New York State Museum is glad to continue our partnership with Governor Cuomo to help all New Yorkers commemorate the tenth anniversary of 9/11. The Fort Drum U.S. Army base may be on the opposite end of the state from Ground Zero, but the lives of the members of the Fort Drum community were forever altered by the attacks. Fort Drum soldiers work to protect our state and nation every day and I hope this exhibit will serve as a source of strength and reflection."
Colonel Noel T. Nicolle, Fort Drum Garrison Commander, said, "After 10 years of war that began with the attacks on September 11, 2001, I believe it is safe to say we here at Fort Drum will never forget the atrocities of that day. This exhibit loaned to us by the State of New York, however, will provide us a valued place to reflect on the losses of that terrible day, and the innumerable sacrifices made by our Soldiers, Families and Civilians since then."

In August, Governor Cuomo, the New York State Museum, and the National September 11 Memorial & Museum announced the creation of thirty "New York Remembers" exhibitions as part of a statewide recognition of the tenth anniversary of September 11th. Fort Drum's exhibition is located in Clark Hall, a common area for visiting family members to spend time with their relatives, and at the Directorate of Emergency Services Building.
Items from the exhibition, which are located in Clark Hall Building 10720 and in Directorate of Emergency Services Building 10715, include:

Fire Hose Connector (Directorate of Emergency Services Building 10715)
Much of the FDNY's equipment was destroyed in the collapse of the World Trade Center. Three hundred and forty-three members of the FDNY were killed on September 11th, the largest number of New York firefighters ever lost on a single day.

Marriott Access Card (Directorate of Emergency Services Building 10715)
The New York Marriott World Trade Center was located between and connected to the Twin Towers. It collapsed after a portion of the South Tower fell on it.

Bolt (Directorate of Emergency Services Building 10715)
A bolt from the World Trade Center's steel frame.

Revolver (Directorate of Emergency Services Building 10715)
Numerous government offices in World Trade Center Building 6 lost valuable criminal evidence and paperwork. Approximately 200 - 400 guns, which were held as evidence and ranged from small-caliber semiautomatic pistols to assault rifles, as well as other evidence in pending criminal cases and confidential government documents, were recovered at Ground Zero or the Fresh Kills landfill.

Airplane Piece (Clark Hall Building 10720)
Landing Gear: Fragment of an airplane from either UA Flight 175 or AA Flight 11. As potential criminal evidence, the piece is marked with an FBI case number and the signature of Special Agent Richard Marx.


With more than 2,000 artifacts, the New York State Museum is the nation's largest repository of objects recovered from the World Trade Center site after September 11, 2001. Within weeks of the attacks, State Museum staff documented the operations at the WTC site and later spent countless hours at the WTC Recovery Operation at Fresh Kills, where all the material was inspected. In the ten months that followed the attacks, the FBI and NYPD recovered over 50,000 pieces of personal property. The Museum also documented the Fresh Kills operation with hundreds of photographs, interviews, and films.

The FBI and NYPD transferred all artifacts to the Museum after they were designated non-essential to the crime scene as neither criminal evidence nor personal property. Items include rescue artifacts, building pieces, everyday artifacts, and other objects from the site. No object collected from Fresh Kills by the State Museum was kept if it could be identified as owned by an individual. Vehicles like an FDNY truck were signed over to the State Museum by the FDNY via a deed of gift by the specific agency. Forty-nine pieces of the two airplanes that crashed into the towers were transferred to the State Museum by the FBI. These include fuselage, interior, and engine parts.

The State Museum also has a significant collection of sympathy material from the New York City area, New York State, and across the world.


The National September 11 Memorial & Museum is the not-for-profit corporation created to oversee the design, fundraising, programming, and operations of the Memorial & Museum at the World Trade Center. The Memorial & Museum will be located on eight of the sixteen acres of the World Trade Center site. The Memorial was dedicated on the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks and was opened to the public the following day, and the Museum will open in September 2012.

The Memorial honors the thousands of people who were killed in the horrific attacks of September 11, 2001 and February 26, 1993. The design, created by Michael Arad and Peter Walker, consists of two reflecting pools formed in the footprints of the original Twin Towers and a plaza of trees.

The Museum will display monumental artifacts linked to the events of 9/11, while presenting intimate stories of loss, compassion, reckoning, and recovery that are central to telling the story of the 2001 and 1993 attacks and the aftermath. It will communicate key messages that embrace both the specificity and the universal implications of the events of 9/11; document the impact of those events on individual lives, as well as on local, national, and international communities; and explore the continuing significance of these events for our global community.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Town of Wilna Rallies for Candidates

Real Leatership for the 21st Century!

Pictured L/R: Town of Wilna Democrat Chairman Paul Smith, Leg Candidate
District 1 2Ron Cole , Sitting Lewis County Judge and candidate for Supreme Court Justice
Charlie Merrel, Jefferson County Treasurer Karen Christie, Leg Candidate District 12
 Mike Astafan, Write in candidate for Town Council in Wilna Marco Francinni and
 Jefferson County Democartic Chairman Sean M Hennessey

The Town of Wilna Democrat Committee rallied last night at the American Legion in Carthage in support of Town, County and District wide Candidates.   A full house was in attendance and the , Supreme Court, County Leg and Town Council race were the main topic of conversation.

Candidates from across the region were on hand for the annul event. 
A number of speeches were made by various candidates but the one segment of the night that stands out most was the standing ovation that was given to former Town of Wilna Chairperson Betty McLane.  Betty continues to be an incredible supporter of the Town Committee and it showed by how well she was received by the attendees.

Town Chair Paul Smith said it best "We have well under a month left to get these dedicated public servants elected to office.  Now is the time to band together and show our region what real leadership is all about."

Election Day is Tuesday November 8th.  If you'd like to get involved in the Town of Wilna or any other race in the region please drop us an email at

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

For Real Leadership...Vote Ron Cole!

Ron Cole (Legislative Candidate) and John Schulz talk about
how to get real leadership in the Town of Rutland and
 Legislative Candidate Ron Cole (T-Watertown and Rutland) has been tireless in his push to meet with each and ever voter in his district.

Tonight was no different.  Ron met with one supporter named John Schultz to talk about the issues of his town and find ways to bring some much needed advocacy to the County Legislature.

One of the main concern Ron heard tonight is jobs and the ever increasing fund surplus in Jefferson County.  With unemployment hovering around 10% in Jefferson County wouldn't it be something to give just a little back to the tax payers? Now that's a concept. 

Ron's clear vision and willingness to meet his constituents is something that the 11th legislative district is desperately in need of. 


Carl Disalvatore has something to say..

Carl Disalvatore's knows a thing or two about public service.  No matter if it's to County or Country Carl has served and continues to serve in many different ways.

We could go on and on about what Carl has done for Country but we thought you'd like to read it first hand. 

To do this you really need to go to Carl's NEW website.  Carl has been hard at work knocking doors, meeting with constituent groups and mingling with friends and neighbors.  This ground swell of support has turned Carl into something of a local celebrity. 

Carl's travels have been well documented and you can read about them on his website.  Carl's newest entry reads something like this:

 "What a beautiful sunrise this morning. High cottony clouds illuminated with pinks and purples. I was a part of the pulse of early morning Watertown at the corner of Paddock and Washington Streets. A lot of traffic on the road. A lot of polite drivers letting pedestrians cross the streets. No red light running. The cell phone users are getting sneaky keeping them in their laps out of sight – let’s not use cell phones in cars with so many children on the streets and a high level of traffic.

Thanks once again for the waves and accepting my flyer. Remember, you do have a choice on November 8!"

To follow Carl campaign and/or offer support check out his website at or by clicking HERE.  Now's the time to get involved so check it out today!!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Governor Cuomo Directs Flags to Half-Staff

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has directed that flags on state government buildings be flown at half-staff on Monday, October 17 in honor of a Fort Drum soldier who died in Afghanistan on October 10.

Sergeant Nathan L. Wyrick died in Kandahar province while supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment of the 10th Mountain Division's 3rd Brigade Combat Team stationed at Fort Drum. Sergeant Wyrick was from Enumclaw, Washington.

"I join with all New Yorkers in mourning the loss of Sergeant Wyrick and I extend my deepest condolences to his family, friends, and fellow soldiers," Governor Cuomo said. "We will honor his service and his dedication to our country."

Governor Cuomo has directed that the flags on all state buildings be lowered to half-staff in honor of and in tribute to our state's service members and those stationed in New York who are killed in action or die in a combat zone.

Occupy Wall Street - Live Stream

Occupy Wall Street is now in it's second week.  Things appear to be stablizing at the march sites and peaceful protests are taking place all over the globe.  Check out a live stream of the Occupy Wall Street (NYC) by clicking HERE
The National Lawyers guild is a big supports of freedom of speach and of the Occupy movement.  To donate to the cuase please click HERE.

Assemblywomen Russell Get Receives High Honors

Assemblywomen Addie Russell (118th Assembly District) received high honors from Environmental advocates scoring a whopping 95 out of 100.  The Assemblywomen was the only state Legislator in our region to receive such honors.  Here's an excerpt from the Adirondack Daily Enterprise.

North Country legislators get poor ‘green’ marks

By CHRIS MORRIS - Staff Writer ( ,
Adirondack Daily Enterprise

Most North Country lawmakers received poor grades in an annual report card issued this week by one of the state's top environmental groups.

The report card, issued by EPL/Environmental Advocates on Wednesday, grades lawmakers on their legislative commitment to the environment. The scores are meant to serve as an environmental voter guide, according to Robert Moore, the group's executive director.

"This year's green Voters' Guide documents state leaders' steps forward - and attempts to roll back - New York's environmental protections," he said in a prepared statement.

The three legislators representing the Tri-Lakes region received "failing" grades. State Sen. Betty Little, R-Queensbury, received a 55, while Assemblywomen Teresa Sayward, R-Willsboro, and Janet Duprey, R-Peru, received scores of 50 and 48, respectively.

"The biggest challenge we face today in New York is reviving a stagnant economy that has affected every sector," Little responded. "Sometimes I vote against bills that have good intentions but are costly or onerous to comply with and hurt businesses that are struggling to survive."

Assemblywoman Addie Russell, D-Watertown, was the only lawmaker from the North Country to score higher than 55, receiving a 95.
Read more HERE

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A Candidate We Can Be Proud Of

Mike Astafan meets with his neighbors and talks about the future off
the Town of Wilna and parts of Leray
A big hats off to Mike Astafan for all his hard work banging doors and meeting one on one with his constituants. 

Today was the same as other days on the campaign trail.  Meeting good people that want postive change for their district.

Tuesday, November 8th
Mike Astafan
County Legislator
District 6

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Keith Caughlin is the ONLY "Highly Qualified" Judge

Caughlin Rated
Highly Qualified
by Judicial Panel

An independent screening commission in Rochester, New York has determined Keith Caughlin is a "highly qualified" candidate for Watertown City Court. The 15 member screening panel, known as the Independent Judicial Election Qualification Commission (IJEQC) is made up of judges, lawyers and non-lawyers appointed pursuant to regulation and considers an applicant’s 10 year professional history, references and personal interview to determine one of three ratings: unqualified, qualified or highly qualified for judicial office. The Commission evaluates judicial candidates according to their professional ability, character, independence, integrity, reputation for fairness and temperament.

For more information see Fifth Judicial District, 2011 Candidate Ratings.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Empire State is Open for Buisness

Governor Cuomo
Makes Major Announcement
Technology Investment seen as Big Win for New York

New York really is Open for Business. Today, Governor Cuomo announced that five major technology companies would be investing $4.4 billion dollars across the state of New York over the next five years.

This investment is powerful recognition of the resurgence of our state under Governor Cuomo's leadership. As a result of the Governor's achievements, businesses are seeing New York as an increasingly great place to do business.

In announcing this important achievement, Governor Cuomo said: "This unprecedented private investment in New York's economy will create thousands of jobs and make the state the epicenter for the next generation of computer chip technology".

This investment was granted to New York over competing sites in Europe, Asia and the Middle East. So it truly is a victory of global proportions.

Today is a great day for New York. Because nothing is more important than putting more New Yorkers back to work.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

North Country Pulls Out Win at JD Convention

Rural Counties Unite to
Protect Judicial Seats

Pictured are (L/R)
Ron Cole, Sandra Cole, Patrick Young,
Ted Ford, Ed Gaffney, Jackie Schell,
Doris McLallen,
Jefferson County Chair Sean Hennessey
and Onondaga County Chair
Vita DeMarchi

Today delegates from Rural Counties in the 5th Judical District converged on the Onondaga County Democratic Committee Headquarters for the holding of the Democratic nomination of Supreme Court Judges.  

In the room were delegates from Herkimer, Onieda, Lewis, Jefferson, Oswego and Onondaga.  All of which had traveled to Syracuse to voice support for a unified ticket moving into Novembers election.

(L-R) Sandra Cole- Alternate,
Ron Cole - Delegate/Legislative Candidate
and Ted Ford - Delegate.

First and formost on the minds of North Country Delegates was push to forge a united front in efforts to ensure that those Candidates from with open judicial seats be given every oportunity to retain those seats.  Once we entered the Convention, it was clear that this was a concern that was held by all in attendance.
 It took a good few hours to work out the specifics but at the end of the day the delegates agreed to list Charlie Merrell (Lewis) and Patrick McRae (Oneida) the first and second position on the ballot.  This will give those candidates first crack at voters on November 8th. 

Judge Charlie Merrell (Lewis County)
thanks the Delegates for their support
A great debt of gratitude is owed to judicial candidates David Magnarelli and Tom Buckle.  Both candidates went above and beyond today to ensure that Lewis and Oneida have the best possible positition on the ballot come election day.  Residents of the 5th Judicial district also owe a big thank you to Watertown NY attorney Mike Schell.  Mike was a main organizer of the home rule push and was a true leader in the protection of those open seats.

Today was a proud day for members of the Jefferson County Democratic Committee.  From the begining, the JCDC has been on the front line of the fight for home rule and with the results of todays convention our efforts will be felt for generations to come. 

Friday, September 16, 2011

Judge Merrell is having a party and you're invited!

The Honorable Lee Clary,
Catherine Burns Quencer, Esq.
Michael W. Schell, Esq.
Assemblymember Addie J. Russell
Invite you to join them
for an evening wine tasting reception in support of
for Supreme Court Justice
When: Thursday, September 22nd
From: 6:30pm-8pm
Where: Coyote Moon Vineyards
             17371 County Road 3
               Clayton, NY 13624
Suggested: Individual $30
Donation   Couple $50
                  Friends $100

Judge Merrell is the only candidate for Supreme Court in the 5th Judicial District rated

‘Highly Qualified’ by the Independent Judicial Election Qualification Committee.

He is also the only candidate for Supreme Court with full-time judicial experience.

Your contribution today will ensure our Judicial District has an immensely qualified, experienced and dedicated Judge on the bench. Thank you for your support.

Please make contributions payable to:

Friends of Judge Merrell for Supreme Court
P.O. Box 376
Lowville, New York 13367
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Governor Cuomo Directs Flags To Half-Staff

Fallen Soldiers Honored by Governor

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has directed that flags on state government buildings be flown at half-staff on Tuesday, September 20 in honor of two Fort Drum soldiers who died on September 8.

Army Specialist Koran P. Contreras and Private 1st Class Douglas J. Jeffries, Jr. died of wounds suffered when their unit was attacked with an improvised explosive device in Kandahar province, Afghanistan. They were assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment of the 10th Mountain Division's 3rd Brigade Combat Team, stationed at Fort Drum. Specialist Contreras was from Lawndale, California, and Private 1st Class Jeffries, Jr. was from Springville, California.

"On behalf of all New Yorkers, I extend my deepest sympathies to the family, friends, and fellow soldiers of Specialist Contreras and Private First Class Jeffries," Governor Cuomo said. "We will mourn these Fort Drum soldiers and we will honor their sacrifice.”

Governor Cuomo has directed that the flags on all state buildings be lowered to half-staff in honor of and in tribute to our state's service members and those stationed in New York who are killed in action or die in a combat zone.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Sunday, September 11, 2011

God Bless Those Who Have Fallen

On this special day please take a moment to remember those who fell, those who will fall and those who are left behind in our name.  God bless and keep them.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Eat at Maggie's and Help Out North Country Families

Maggies on the River
Raises funds for
Urban Mission

Show your support for the Watertown Urban Mission this month by eating at Maggies on the River, 500 Newell Street, Watertown. After all, if you’re going to eat out, might as well have some of that bill go to your favorite nonprofit. 

Just order up your favorite dish and tell them you’re eating for the Watertown Urban Mission. It’s that easy and 10 percent of your food bill will come back to the Mission. It’s all part of the restaurant’s charitable September promotion. They’re going to have a leader board and everything, so as an added bonus, help raise awareness of your Watertown Urban Mission by pushing us up that leader board.

So if you stop by with friends for any food, be it some Thai spring rolls or fried calamari to start and get maybe a Grilled Cheeseburger—that's a burger between two grilled cheese sandwiches—or the Lobster Ravioli pasta dinner. So to review, just tell them that you are dining for the Watertown Urban Mission so 10 percent of your bill will come back to us no matter if we're number 1 or number 20. That sounds like a great deal for everyone.

For more information search Maggies Charitable September in Facebook, and to see a menu go to This event is also sponsored by My ABC 50, the Border 106.7, and the CW 14/22.

Judge Merrell Endorsed by Labor Unions

Judge Charlie Merrell
Backed by Blue Collar

Judge Charles Merrell from Lowville, NY, a candidate for Supreme Court Justice in the 5th Judicial District, recently received the endorsement of the three major labor councils in the district.
The Central and Northern New York Building and Construction Trades Council; the Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence Counties Central Trades and Labor Council, AFL-CIO; and the AFL-CIO Central New York Labor Council all unanimously endorsed Judge Merrell. These three labor councils and their numerous affiliates and local unions, represent thousands of working men and women throughout Central and Northern New York.

"To receive the endorsement from the three major labor councils that cover the 5th Judicial District is an honor and a privilege,” Judge Merrell said.  “For over twelve years I’ve worked very hard as a judge, including acting Supreme Court Justice since 2007. It’s nice to know that hard work and experience is appreciated by the labor organizations that represent thousands of working men and women in the district.”

On top of being endorsed by labor councils throughout the district, Judge Charles Merrell was the only candidate to receive the highest rating given by the Independent Judicial Election Qualification Commission (“IJEQC”).  Out of seven Supreme Court candidates in the 5th Judicial District rated by the IJEQC, Judge Merrell was the only candidate rated “highly qualified”.

In a letter addressed to the Honorable Charles C. Merrell, the IJEQC stated, “after due consideration of your background and qualifications, the Independent Judicial Election Qualification Commission for the Fifth Judicial District has found that you are highly qualified for election as New York State Supreme Court Justice.”

To see the IJEQC ratings for the 2011 Supreme Court candidates in the 5th Judicial District, visit
To find out more about Judge Charles Merrell and his campaign for State Supreme Court, visit or .

Monday, September 5, 2011

Happy Labor Day!

Let us Not Forget
Those Who Gave

First let us wish you a very Happy Labor Day. As we take the time with our families and enjoy those last few days of Summer it's so important to remember those in the labor movement who have given so much to make this country better for everyone regardless of their relationship to labor.

Labors original purpose was to simply allow for a safe working enviorment for all.  Since those early days labor has broadened its scope to succesfully lobby for every important issue facing the working class.  Some of these things which can so easily be taken for granted are:  

  • The 5 day work week
  • Employer Based Health Coverage
  • Family and Medical Leave
  • Overtime Pay
  • Child Labor Laws
  • Paid Vacation, Maternity leave
  • Pension Programs
  • Workers Compensation
  • Medicare
  • Occupational Health and Safety and so much more. 
These are things that we think of as a given and yet without a unified voice none would be a reality.

The next time someone expresses their opinions that our country would be better without Unions ask them if they would like to live in a Country without them.  Its clear what their answer would be.

Below is a listing that noted as their top 5 programs that Labor has done for each of us.  It's good way to gauge the effect that Organized Labor has had on the working class. 

1. Unions Gave Us The Weekend: Even the ultra-conservative Mises Institute notes that the relatively labor-free 1870, the average workweek for most Americans was 61 hours — almost double what most Americans work now. Yet in the late nineteenth century and the twentieth century, labor unions engaged in massive strikes in order to demand shorter workweeks so that Americans could be home with their loved ones instead of constantly toiling for their employers with no leisure time. By 1937, these labor actions created enough political momentum to pass the Fair Labor Standards Act, which helped create a federal framework for a shorter workweek that included room for leisure time.

 2. Unions Gave Us Fair Wages And Relative Income Equality: As ThinkProgress reported earlier in the week, the relative decline of unions over the past 35 years has mirrored a decline in the middle class’s share of national income. It is also true that at the time when most Americans belonged to a union — a period of time between the 1940′s and 1950′s — income inequality in the U.S. was at its lowest point in the history of the country.

3. Unions Helped End Child Labor: “Union organizing and child labor reform were often intertwined” in U.S. history, with organization’s like the “National Consumers’ League” and the National Child Labor Committee” working together in the early 20th century to ban child labor. The very first American Federation of Labor (AFL) national convention passed “a resolution calling on states to ban children under 14 from all gainful employment” in 1881, and soon after states across the country adopted similar recommendations, leading up to the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act which regulated child labor on the federal level for the first time.

4. Unions Won Widespread Employer-Based Health Coverage: “The rise of unions in the 1930′s and 1940′s led to the first great expansion of health care” for all Americans, as labor unions banded workers together to negotiate for health coverage plans from employers. In 1942, “the US set up a National War Labor Board. It had the power to set a cap on all wage increases. But it let employers circumvent the cap by offering “fringe benefits” – notably, health insurance.” By 1950, “half of all companies with fewer than 250 workers and two-thirds of all companies with more than 250 workers offered health insurance of one kind or another.”

5. Unions Spearheaded The Fight For The Family And Medical Leave Act: Labor unions like the AFL-CIO federation led the fight for this 1993 law, which “requires state agencies and private employers with more than 50 employees to provide up to 12 weeks of job-protected unpaid leave annually for workers to care for a newborn, newly adopted child, seriously ill family member or for the worker’s own illness.”

Friday, September 2, 2011

Disalvatore Castigates SUNY Canton Plan

Disalvatore Calls SUNY Cost Cutting Plans;
Short Sighted and Ineffective
Joe Kennedy is the Leader that SUNY needs to follow

Carl Disalvatore, Candidate for Jefferson County legislature and instructor at SUNY Canton, believes that the growth of SUNY Canton can be directly attributed to the leadership and vision of its leader Joe Kennedy. In a press release Disalvatore stated:

I have been teaching both part and full-time at SUNY Canton since 2006 when the new Legal Studies program was under development. This program is a good example of Dr. Kennedy’s leadership. The Business Department found that there were about 13 or more 2 year degree producing programs in the SUNY system, but no 4 year bachelor’s degree program in legal studies.

The U.S. Department of Labor identified paralegals as a fast growing job category with an employer preference for individuals with a four year degree who had more developed analytical and writing skills. Under Dr. Kennedy’s direction the program was developed and approved by SUNY and there are now over 100 students. Since the time I began working at SUNY Canton at least 6 more bachelor degrees programs have been approved and each year set new enrollment records.

Again drawing on my personal experiences I was asked to learn to instruct online as well as develop online courses. Well, I’m an over 50 year old “old dog” and I expressed considerable reluctance to try this. However, under the encouragement and tutoring of the exceptional people recruited by Dr. Kennedy to run the online learning department. I find this meets the need of a large number of single mothers as well as working parents who can complete the assignments on their time. Drawing these students from all over the state into these SUNY Canton programs helps them increase their earning potential as well as enriches the classes for all the students who participate.

I’ve told Dr. Kennedy he gives Ph.D.’s a bad name, as he breaks the mold of the stereotypical Ph.D “egghead” with his energy, enthusiasm, astute business sense, as well as his dedication not only to the college, but to the people of the State of New York.

About 5 years ago in a social setting I broached the subject of SUNY consolidations as to an outsider like me it looked like a logical cost cutting step. His response was very insightful, as he told me that the minimal savings in salaries will be more than offset by the loss of identity of the schools and the resultant loss of the support of alumni, both financial and moral. As I learned over the years, this is in fact true, and this loss of identity and support is now being played out. Those years ago he said, just give me a budget cut goal and I’ll meet it, but there is no advantage to consolidation. I came to realize the accuracy of his response to me.

Dr. Kennedy’s insight and leadership is needed now more than ever in the SUNY system.

Carl Disalvatore

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Want Small Government? Vote Democrat

Big Government?

Obama Has 273,000 Fewer Federal Employees
Than Reagan
Don't believe? Look it up below

By Ray Medeiros
Politicus USA

Every single Republican today talks about being a Reagan conservative. This is a conservative that believes in small government, reducing federal spending and ultimately runs a lean and mean government. They talk about this stuff in campaigns, but in practice they failed miserably.

In fact HISTORICALLY, it is has been Democratic presidents who have reduced the size of the federal government. The Republicans have lied to the people so much that I believe the current crop somehow BELIEVES the history as they have been told, rather than researching the facts for themselves. This may be a stretch, but I am trying to give them the benefit of the doubt.

According to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, which tracks the number of employees per year, the data shows that the “conservatives” for small government are really just big government conservatives. I know that is an oxymoron, but numbers don’t lie.
Let’s start with President Carter.

On December 31st 1976 (Not Carter’s term yet), total nonmilitary personnel was 2,883,000. By December 31st 1980 the end of his term (minus a month), the total in nonmilitary personnel was 2,875,000.

Federal government nonmilitary employees shrunk by 8,000 employees under Carter.
On January 21st, 1981, President Reagan started with 2,875,000 nonmilitary federal employees.
By the end of Reagan’s terms the total number of nonmilitary federal employees was 3,113,000. That is an INCREASE of 238,000
Let’s move on to President George H.W. Bush.
On January 20th, 1989, total federal nonmilitary employment was 3,113,000
by the end of his only term, President George H.W. Bush had 3,083,000 federal nonmilitary employees on the books. That is a REDUCTION of 30,000 employees.

President Bill Clinton came into office with 3,083,000 and by the END of his TWO TERMS he reduced the number of Federal employees to 2,703,000. That is a reduction of 380,000 federal employees...

To read more click HERE



Another Teamster organizing victory

in MA, NY, CA and IN

Teamsers announced that they have organizes thousand of new brothers and sisters at UPS Freight clerks today. By the members signing authorization cards they have now joined one of the Countries largest labor unions.

The press release sent out earlier today stated:

Majorities of clerks at Stoneham, Mass., signed cards to join Teamsters Local 25; Farmingdale, N.Y. clerks have joined Local 707; Rialto and Fontana, Calif., clerks have become members of Local 63 and Indianapolis clerks have joined Local 135. Clerks are also being signed up at more than 80 other terminals.

The clerks are full-time and part-time workers who see to it that freight dispatch, billings and operations run smoothly at UPS Freight terminals. They work side-by-side with Teamster drivers and dockworkers, where as former Overnite workers they saw the union's strength.

Brian Buhle, international vice president and secretary-treasurer of Local 135, in Indiana said,
There are some very excited clerks in Indianapolis who have been interested in joining the union since 2006, when the UPS Freight organizing drive began here.
Said Kevin McCaffrey, president of Teamsters Local 707 in New York,

The clerical workers in Long Island who signed cards and are now represented by the Teamsters are eager for more workers to sign cards, so we can get down to the business of negotiating a contract for them.

Welcome aboard!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

New York Remembers...Comes to Watertown

Watertown NY
To House
"NY Remembers"
9/11 Exibit

Governor Cuomo has announced that the Dulles State Office Building in Watertown NY will be one of 30 sites housing artifacts from the "NY Remembers" exhibition. The exhibit will showcase relics from Ground Zero and various items connected with the 2001 attack. Governor Cuomo, in his support of this exhibit, has ensured we will never forget those lost on that tragic day.

The exhibitions will give New Yorkers a place to remember the victims of September 11th and honor the countless heroes who came from all corners of the state to help in the clean-up and recovery efforts. The exhibitions will feature historical artifacts from the collections of the State Museum and National September 11 Memorial & Museum.
Each location will open during the week of August 29th and continue until the end of September. All will be open on Sunday, September 11th.

Many of the artifacts being exhibited have never been seen by the public, including: the trailer used by families visiting Ground Zero that includes photographs and messages; damaged emergency vehicles and other vehicle parts; aluminum and glass from the buildings; religious "symbol steel" created by the workers at the site; and airplane fragments including landing gear and engine parts. The stories behind all the artifacts will be told as part of the exhibitions.

"Every community across New York felt the impact of the senseless acts of terrorism that claimed thousands of lives just one decade ago," Governor Cuomo said. "These exhibitions will give New Yorkers in towns, villages, and cities all across the state a gathering place to once again stand as one community to make sure we never forget those who lost their lives on September 11th and to embrace the spirit of unity that brought us together on that day of devastating tragedy."

CWA & IBEW Return to Work....Lets Keep Up the Pressure

Striking CWA And IBEW Workers Return To Work At Verizon

Maintaining Unity As They Seek New Contracts

By Doug Cunningham

Workers Independent News

[Danny Gutierrez]: "The battle continues and we will stay united until we get a fair contract. I want to thank all of my union brothers and sisters, both from land line and the wireless side, for their support in this fight. This is a true David and Goliath story being played out right now. Daid will once again win."

CWA Local 1101's Danny Gutierrez on the Verizon strike ending today. Striking Verizon workers return to work today under indefinite extensions of their existing collective bargaining agreements. Communications Workers of America President Larry Cohen says the unity striking CWA and IBEW workers demonstrated in their two-week strike will continue along with continued union mobilization until a new collective bargaining agreement is won at Verizon.

[Cohen]: "That will go on. Not only until we have a decent contract but until working people feel like they can join a union - any union - and bargain with their head held high across this country. We should return united as much as we can, marching in together - literally - at the start of a shift. For now our unity will be to support the bargaining team and to show it. But if that process doesn't work in the weeks ahead, management absolutely knows that that unity will again be directed at them."

Cohen says the unions and working Americans everywhere need to build a new democracy movement to battle corporate power's assault on the middle class. Myles Calvey is IBEW Local 2222 Business Manager.

[Calvey]: "In good faith we've decided to have our members go back and see if we can least change the process. The process up to this point has been a hundred percent concessionary. And as we've explained to the company, even if we were crazy enough to come to a tentative agreement it would never be accepted by the membership, so it was a complete waste of time."
Read more HERE