Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Assemblywoman Jenne: River District communities investing in waterfront projects

Assemblywoman Addie A.E. Jenne says the last two weeks have shown the momentum that is building to enhance waterfront development efforts from Lake Ontario to the locks in Massena.

The assemblywoman said her travels over the past two weeks have taken her from Massena to Sackets Harbor and Chaumont, and she is seeing positive strides being taken in community after community to boost the maritime- and tourism-related sectors of the economy in the River District.

She said the warm and dry weather has also been the perfect antidote as communities like Clayton and Alexandria Bay seek to rebound from down years for tourism last summer that were tied to high water levels.

Assemblywoman Jenne said a tour in the town of Lyme provided an opportunity for local officials to share their proposal for a proposed parkland acquisition in their community.

The proposal calls for the purchase of waterfront property in the heart of the village. The plan calls for a park with a pavilion, docks, parking and green space.

Communities like Cape Vincent, Ogdensburg and Massena are working on plans for waterfront development improvements.

She pointed out she was recently on hand for the ribbon cutting ceremony for the Abbe Picquet Trail at the former site of Fort de la Presentation at the confluence of the Oswegatchie and St. Lawrence rivers in Ogdensburg.

She noted the Fort de la Presentation Association continues to move forward toward its goal of constructing a replication of the fort and a Native American village at the site.

Assemblywoman Jenne said Waddington will once again draw thousands of visitors to that community next month when it welcomes back the Bassmaster's Elite Series for a tournament stop that has become a popular stop for its anglers in recent years.

"Volunteers in that community, with the strong support of Mayor Janet Otto-Cassada, have embraced the tournament, and it has generated national and international attention to the quality of the fishing on the St. Lawrence River," Assemblywoman Jenne said.

"It's really impressive when you take a look at the small group of local volunteers that have turned that event into a major success story," she added.

Assemblywoman Jenne said Senator Charles Schumer's call for the federal Department of Transportation to fund the replacement of the visitor's center at Eisenhower Lock.

"I know this proposal has strong support from local officials and tourism leaders in the region. The existing facility shows its age, lacks the amenities sought by today's tourists and its location provides logistical issues for the St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation with its maintenance work at the lock," she said.

Assemblywoman Jenne said a new visitor's center with displays that could engage visitors would be another great attraction for the region.

She said the nearby Eugene L. Nicandri Nature Center at Robert Moses State Park is very popular and an updated visitor's center would add another strong draw for tourists to extend their stays in Massena.

She said the North Country is fortunate to have the U.S. Senate's minority leader advocating for the work.

"He is uniquely concerned about us here on the northern border and really works hard to make sure we get the investments that we need," Assemblywoman Jenne said during Sen. Schumer's recent visit to Eisenhower Lock with an ocean-going ship transiting the locks serving as a backdrop.

"I'm really appreciative of his focus on this part of our economy. It's extremely important," she added.

"He always works to bring infrastructure dollars here that provide construction jobs in the short term and provide facilities that can stimulate our economy in the long term," the assemblywoman said.

"I thank him for always keeping us in mind and looking out for things that are going to help us in the short term and the long term," she noted.

Assemblywoman Jenne has been focused on growing the maritime- and tourism-related sectors of the North Country economy.

She is working to secure state funding to assist several communities with waterfront infrastructure needs.

The assemblywoman noted a state Welcome Center is also scheduled to open this fall on Collins Landing at the approach to the Thousand Islands Bridge.

Assemblywoman Jenne has also been working with local officials, college representatives and state agencies to insure workforce development efforts match up with the skills needed for maritime- and tourism-related jobs that are currently available in the North Country.



Assemblywoman Addie A.E. Jenne praised Senator Chuck Schumer for repeatedly working to fund infrastructure improvements during the senator's recent stop at Eisenhower Lock in Massena. Shown in the background are (l-r); Massena Mayor Tim Currier, Sen. Schumer and Massena Town Supervisor Steve O'Shaughnessy.


Assemblywoman Addie A.E. Jenne visits with Senator Chuck Schumer at the visitor's center overlook at Eisenhower Lock.

Assemblywoman Addie A.E. Jenne (left) and Massena Mayor Tim Currier cheer Senator Chuck Schumer's announcement he is calling on the federal Department of Transportation to build a new visitor's center at Eisenhower Lock in Massena.

Senator Chuck Schumer recently announced he is calling on the federal Department of Transportation to build a new visitor's center at Eisenhower Lock in Massena. Pictured in the background (l-r) are: St. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Brooke Rouse, Assemblywoman Addie A.E. Jenne, Massena Mayor Tim Currier and Massena Town Supervisor Steve O'Shaughnessy.

Assemblywoman Addie A.E. Jenne and Massena Mayor Tim Currier welcome U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer to Massena.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Assemblywoman Jenne hosts Assembly speaker for visit to Jefferson County Fair, tour of Lake Ontario shoreline communities

Assemblywoman Addie A.E. Jenne, D-Theresa, said Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie had an opportunity to see the beauty of the region's natural resources during stops at two shoreline communities in the North Country this week.

The Assembly speaker was in the North Country as part of his annual tour of the state. Assemblywoman Jenne said Speaker Heastie had an opportunity to discuss local issues with officials in Sackets Harbor and Chaumont before making a stop at the Jefferson County Fair in Watertown, which prides itself as being the longest, continuously running county fair in the country. The fair is celebrating its 201st anniversary this week.

Speaker Heastie said the annual summer tours helps him learn more about the local issues facing specific regions of the state and also provides him with insight when individual lawmakers come to him with specific concerns.

"This is one of the reasons I'm up here. I know that there's always this misnomer that somehow a speaker from the city doesn't care about upstate New York," he said.

"But that's why I continue to come up here on these tours to learn so when Assemblywoman Jenne or some of her colleagues that represent upstate New York bring a concern to me, we can try to find a solution," Speaker Heastie said.

He acknowledged there are some pieces of legislation and steps to improve the economy that might work in one area of the state and be detrimental in another.

"I think we have to look at regional factors, use our educational institutions to meet a region's needs. A lot of [the upstate economy] used to be manufacturing, and the country has kind of changed its way on manufacturing," he noted.

"One size doesn't necessarily fit all. I think we have to look at each region's best assets and match the economy up with that," Speaker Heastie said.

Assemblywoman Jenne said the tour provided an opportunity for Speaker Heastie to see steps that have been taken to recover from last year's flooding and to see the river and lake communities in the River District operating in more traditional conditions.

"I think he takes away from this visit just how tough we are in responding to a crisis, but also how when we're down and out -– like we were last year as a result of the flooding -– we need the state to come in and help us," she said.

She noted the state Legislature, working with Gov. Andrew Cuomo, allocated $90 million to help property owners and municipalities recover from damages they suffered during flooding on Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River during the spring and summer of 2017.

"That's what the state did. They understood how devastating the flooding was, which is why we've created the flood recovery program. It'sworking on government time, but it is working. People know there is a program out there to help them rebuild with their recovery efforts," Assemblywoman Jenne said.

She noted while Speaker Heastie saw the impact of high water levels during visits to Boldt Castle and the Antique Boat Museum last summer he and had an opportunity this week to see the region through a different lens. The speaker spend Monday night in Clayton before visiting Sackets Harbor, Chaumont and the Jefferson County Fair on Tuesday.

"This year really is different. The beaches are open when they should be, and our boat launches are available," Assemblywoman Jenne said.

"We were able to look past the damage today and see the absolute beauty of our area, unfettered from the problems of last year's flooding," she noted.

The assemblywoman said the visit also provided the speaker with an opportunity to see how communities like Chaumont, one of the region's hit hardest by last year's flooding, are rebuilding their infrastructure so they are better prepared for high water levels in the future.

"What's important is we build back better. I've actually been holding community discussions, and we've been talking about how we can learn from what happened last year and how we can better position ourselves to weather high water level events in the future," she said.

During a stop in the town of Lyme Supervisor Scott Aubertine and other town officials talked about the impact of last year's flooding on their community, efforts to improve access to the waterfront in the heart of the village of Chamount and the town's history and bicentennial celebration later this month.

She said a visit to the Sackets Harbor Battlefield was a reminder of the region's rich history and deep ties to the military.

Mayor Molly Reilly and other community leaders talked about some of the maritime- and tourism-related enhancements taking place on the shores of Lake Ontario in Jefferson County.

She said the speaker also pledged to work with Sackets Harbor Central School officials after Superintendent Jennifer L. Gaffney shared the challenges of getting funding necessary to launch a pre-K program.

"The speaker is a strong believer in that program," Assemblywoman Jenne stressed.

She noted the speaker even had a chance to enjoy some locally produced food products at Tin Pan Galley in Sackets Harbor before taking a stroll through the Jefferson County Fair, including a stop in the dairy barn.

Assemblywoman Jenne emphasized the need for the state to take bold action to assist dairy farmers struggling with historically low milk prices hovering near levels they received two decades ago and lag far behind the cost of their taxes, equipment, feed and fertilizer.

"Our dairy farmers continue to struggle. Even though dairy pricing is a much bigger issue than just New York State, I still think we can take important steps to help improve the plight of our dairy farmers. It is something we must do," the assemblywoman said.

"As we celebrate our agricultural heritage this week at the Jefferson County Fair, we need to make sure that is something we do all summer long to help support our local dairy farmers," Assemblywoman Jenne said.

She noted she was grateful for Speaker Heastie's willingness to travel the state and gain a first-hand understanding of the issues facing the North Country.

"He listens and cares about what is going on here. He also knows how involved I am in the communities I represent. That's very important when I'm advocating for issues of great importance to the North Country, such as protecting Fort Drum from the potential impact of proposed wind turbine projects.

Speaker Heastie said he feels local lawmakers know their areas better than he does so he listens to their perspective on issues like Assemblywoman Jenne's legislation, which would institute a short-term ban on state subsidies for wind projects that could impact the safety of aircraft flying in and out of Fort Drum.

"I tend to kind of follow the lead of local legislators. I feel local legislators know their areas best, and I defer to them," he noted.



Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and his daughter, Taylor, joined Assemblywoman Addie A.E. Jenne and her children, Aaron and Cora, during a visit Tuesday to the Jefferson County Fair.


Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (center) learns about the history of Sackets Harbor Battlefield during a visit to the historical site. Pictured are, clockwise (l-r): Speaker Heastie, Sackets Harbor Mayor Molly Reilly, Captain Sean Marquis, Sackets Harbor School Superintendent Jennifer Gaffney and Assemblywoman Addie A.E. Jenne.

Lyme officials shared stories about the town's flood recovery effort during a meeting with Assemblywoman Addie A.E. Jenne and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie Tuesday morning during a visit at the Chaumont Village Beach. Pictured are Town Supervisor Scott Aubertine, Town Councilman Dan Villa, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, Assemblywoman Addie A.E. Jenne, Town Councilwoman Julia Gosier, Executive Assistant Robin Grovesteen and Town Councilman Don Bourquin.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Sackets Harbor mayor showcases village's history during visit by Assembly Speaker Heastie, Assemblywoman Jenne

Sackets Harbor Mayor Molly Reilly talked about the important role the Sackets Harbor shipyard played in the War of 1812 during a tour of the battlefield. I brought Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie to the Sackets Harbor Battlefield to show him our region's rich history and the strategic role our lakes and rivers have played in our nation's national defense efforts. Now it's time for a little fun so we are headed to our nation's longest continuous running annual county fair in Watertown. The Jefferson County Fair is the perfect stop to end the speaker's visit to the North Country.


Mayor Molly Reilly (right) talks about the important role Sackets Harbor played in the War of 1812 during a tour of the battlefield with local officials, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Assemblywoman Addie A.E. Jenne. Pictured are (l-r): Jennifer Gaffney, superintendent, Sackets Harbor Central School; Speaker Heastie, Assemblywoman Jenne and Mayor Reilly.

Assemblywoman Jenne, Assembly Speaker Heastie talk water levels with local officials in Lyme

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and I had an opportunity to talk water levels, past and present, on Lake Ontario with members of the Lyme Town Board this morning during our stop at the Chaumont Village Beach. We were also updated on a plan the town is pursuing to improve waterfront access in the village of Chaumont and discussed the town's bicentennial celebration planned for later this summer.


Assemblywoman Addie A.E. Jenne and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie visit with Lyme town officials Tuesday morning during a visit at the Chaumont Village Beach. Pictured are (clockwise from far left): Town Councilman Don Bourquin, Town Supervisor Scott Aubertine, Town Councilman Dan Villa, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, Assemblywoman Addie A.E. Jenne, Town Councilwoman Julia Gosier and Executive Assistant Robin Grovesteen.

Assemblywoman Jenne welcoming Assemby Speaker Heastie back to North Country

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie has made a commitment to traveling the state since he became the leader of the People's House so he better understands the issues facing the members of the Assembly from the Bronx to Massena.
It's always a pleasure to welcome him back to the North Country, and we will be visiting a couple of communities on Lake Ontario as well as stopping at the Jefferson County Fair today.
When my colleaguesand I were fighting to get state funds to help property owners and municipalities that had suffered thousands of dollars of damages to their shoreline properties from last year's flooding, Speaker Heastie understood our concerns because he has seen it first hand during his visits to communities on Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River.
The Speaker will have an opportunity to see water levels at more traditional levels on Lake Ontario today, and he will hear about some of the steps that are being taken to reinvigorate our maritime and tourism based economy during our visits to Chaumont and Sackets Harbor. He will also have an opportunity to hear about the recovery effort from last year's flooding from local officials.
We will end our visit with a stop at the Jefferson County Fair, the longest consecutively running fair in the United States.
It is a great day to visit the North Country and be on the water.


Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie checks out water levels on the St. Lawrence River during a July 2017 visit to the Thousand Islands. Speaker Heastie joined Assemblywoman Addie A.E. Jenne on a shuttle from the Boldt Yacht House to Boldt Castle.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Assemblywoman Jenne praises volunteers at ceremony marking grand opening of Abbe Picquet Trail at historic site in Ogdensburg

Assemblywoman Addie A.E. Jenne praised members of the Fort de la Presentation Association and volunteers involved with an effort to bring a historical site at the confluence of the St. Lawrence and Oswegatchie rivers back to life.

Assemblywoman Jenne was in Ogdensburg Saturday morning for the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the one-mile Abbe Picquet walking trail at the former site of a French fort built in 1749.

It marks the latest step forward in the Fort de la Presentation Association's master plan to rebuild the fort constructed by the French troops and the Oswegatchie Native American village once located on the site along with an interpretive center.

"Sometimes it is difficult to know where to begin because this project and the revitalization of the entire grounds has been such a journey for the last many years. It is absolutely fantastic, and I want to congratulate the association and all the volunteers for your dedication, your commitment to this project and for making great strides," Assemblywoman Jenne told the crowd at the groundbreaking ceremony.

Assemblywoman Jenne had helped secure funding to move the interpretive trail project forward.

She was able to secure a Department of State project priority grant that was used to construct a plaza at the site of the Abbe Picquet monument. The plaza features an 1812 Peace Garden, benches and heritage plantings from the original Van Rensselear mansion.

Assemblywoman Jenne also secured $10,000 in funding through the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, which will be used for a path connecting the plaza to the trail.

"This is just the beginning of everything that will eventually be at this site. It really is a testament to your resiliency and your ability to overcome challenges," Assemblywoman Jenne said, recalling some of the legal hurdles that needed to be cleared to gain access to the property as well as the effort to secure state funding for the project.

"It's been said by many speakers that the key to Ogdensburg's revitalization is our waterfront and this site in particular. I think I can see by the elected officials that are here today and the number of volunteers, not just from Ogdensburg but from all around the area, how much everyone understands that this is the case," she added.

"This truly is a special place, and we have a responsibility to maintain it. The upside of what happens when we tell our story here is we attract people from all over the world. That is how we are going to continue to build up Ogdensburg, by making sure people know our story and that they are excited and interested in learning our story," Assemblywoman Jenne said.

She said the advocacy work the association has been doing to promote the region's history is reaching a wide audience. The assemblywoman noted that she hosts the North Country Historical Writing Contest each year in conjunction with a local media outlet.

She pointed out two entries in this year's contest were centered around historical events in the Ogdensburg area in the late 17th and early 18th centuries.

"Neither of the writers were from Ogdensburg. They are sharing the story of Ogdensburg because it is so compelling. You are on the right track. I couldn't be more proud to work with this organization and help push this project forward. I appreciate your stewardship and all the work so many of you put in to make sure people know our story," Assemblywoman Jenne said.

She said she envisions a day when cruise ships will be dropping off passengers to tour the fort site and the parking lot is filled with vehicles and tour buses.

"The folks that are committed to this site are making a change economically for Ogdensburg. I can't thank you enough," she added.

She pointed out the completion of the trail project is just the latest step forward for the association.

"It's amazing to me how emotional this place is ..., and the work that is done so you have something new at this site every year to keep bringing visitors back," Assemblywoman Jenne said.

The association's first step after acquiring the property was the removal of 10,000 tons of contaminated soil through an agreement with the state's Department of Environmental Conservation and Exxon Mobil.

The association worked with the state to develop conceptual plans for the site, joined two parcels for construction purposes, moved the Abbe Picquet monument to the site and installed interpretive signs and cultural reviews.

The trail project was made possible, in part, by a $350,000 grant from the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. Funding from the St. Lawrence River Redevelopment Agency and major corporate sponsor SeaComm Federal Credit Union helped fill the gap.

Melissane P. Schrems, an associate professor of history at St. Lawrence University, said during the groundbreaking ceremony for the trail two years ago that Abbe Francois Picquet came to the region to strengthen the French colony and convert the Iroquois to Catholicism. The fort, originally known as Fort de la Presentation, was built in 1749.

She noted that six years later the Oswegatchie Onondagas dominated a population of 3,000 indigenous French allies, a population 75 percent that of 1755 Montreal.

Dr. Schrems said French and Indian allies left the settlement and went to nearby Fort Levis, site of the last North American battle of the Seven Years’ War in 1760.

She noted, in the same year, the English claimed, rebuilt and renamed the property at the confluence of the St. Lawrence and Oswegatchie Rivers as Fort Oswegatchie.

It remained British property until 1796 when Jay's Treaty made the fort American property. The American settlers named the settlement Ogdensburg in honor of Samuel Ogden.

Dr. Schrems said the fort was reactivated during the War of 1812 and adopted an American version of its original name, becoming Fort Presentation.



Assemblywoman Addie A.E, Jenne discusses the Abbe Picquet trail project with Tim Cryderman (left) and Barbara O'Keefe (right) of the Fort de la Presentation Association. Mr. Cryderman served as the clerk of the works on the trail project.


Ogdensburg Mayor Wayne Ashley cuts the ribbon officially opening the Abbe Picquet Trail at the former site of Fort de la Presentation in the city of Ogdensburg. Pictured are, front row (l-r): Fred Hanss, first vice president, Fort de la Presentation Association; Jennifer Stevenson, Ogdesburg City Council; Mayor Ashley, Barbara O'Keefe, president, Fort de la Presentation Association; Sally Hartman, Daughters of the American Revolution; Assemblywoman Addie A.E. Jenne; Bishop Terry Lavalley, Diocese of Ogdensburg; David Murray, portraying Abbe Picquet; and Tim Cryderman, second vice president of the Fort de la Presentation Association. Back row: Dan Skamperle, Ogdensburg City Council; Keith Zimmerman, director, St. Lawrence County Planning Office; and Jacob Shaver, a representative from Congresswoman Elise Stefanik's Office.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Assemblywoman Jenne: Reopening of Parker Avenue Bridge makes Massena whole again

It was a great day in Massena as the newly constructed Parker Avenue (Route 37B) Bridge was opened to traffic Thursday afternoon following the completion of a $13 million bridge replacement project.

The bridge connects the south and north sides of the village of Massena, and it is a major route to the Alcoa and Arconic plants in Massena. I applaud the New York State Department of Transportation for again bringing this project in on schedule and on budget.

I pointed out we have some major infrastructures due to the number of bridges we have crossing waterways in the North Country.

I had a chance to speak at this afternoon's grand opening ceremony and then took a stroll across the bridge with Massena Mayor Tim Currier and several other community members. A short time later I used this bridge to head to my next meeting in the village.

Bernie Lashomb had the honor of driving the first vehicle across the bridge. His passengers included the state DOT's chief of staff and the Boys & Girls Club of Massena Youth of the Year.

The project includes a roundabout and new green space with access to the Grasse River. I even had a chance to visit with a couple of Massena residents who told me about the fish they catch near the bridge.


Here's what I had to say at the grand opening ceremony:

"You can imagine we have a lot of bridges in the River District. It's an enormous undertaking to try and keep up with all the maintenance and replacements that we need. We have been fortunate in the North Country to get the ear of the governor and DOT to make sure they are up here taking care of our infrastructure. Our infrastructure is what our community is based on.

"Our ability to grow jobs and retain jobs is based on our ability to get things in and out of here. It really is at the top of the list in terms of how our community can move forward and continue to transition in an economy that is ever changing and requiring us to be very nimble.

"For me, this is an emotional project as much as it is steel and concrete, a $13 million bridge that was completely replaced.

"This bridge really felt into a state of disrepair at a very difficult time in this community. The rebuilding and building it strong for many, many, many years to come dovetails perfectly with what the community has gone through and what the community is doing now as well.

"We would have liked this bridge never to have been taken out of service, but now it has come back and is bringing momentum to this community.

"It's the lifeblood of our community in terms of getting materials and commerce in and out of here. It is connecting the two sides of the village back to where it was before, making us whole again.

"It also allows to connect with our beautiful natural resource, which is why so many of us live here. It allows us to reconnect with the river. Being able to walk across this bridge and look at the beautiful river ... It really does round out the whole Massena experience. And who doesn't want to be on the river on a beautiful day like today.

"My thanks again to the governor for understanding the unique needs of the River District and the number of bridges we have here in the North Country. I hope you (DOT officials) keep coming back up.

"I also have a message from my friends around the corner. They hope the governor will come up and make some more announcements about moving the economy forward in the North Country."