Monday, August 20, 2018

Assemblywoman Jenne: TI Bridge a testament to those who built it, those who maintain it

Assemblywoman Addie A.E. Jenne, D-Theresa, recognized the men and women who spent 16 months in the late 1930s building three spans that connect Collins Landing, N.Y., and Ivy Lea, Ont., at a Saturday morning ceremony commemorating the 80th anniversary of the grand opening of the Thousand Islands Bridge.

She also praised the employees of the Thousand Islands Bridge Authority for properly maintaining the structure for over the past eight decades.

The assemblywoman also presented the authority with a proclamation from the New York State Assembly recognizing the bridge's 80th anniversary.

"It recounts a lot of the details we all have committed to memory - the height of the bridge, when it was built, the date of the grand opening, the amount of traffic that crosses the bridge on an annual basis," Assemblywoman Jenne said.

While she acknowledged the bridge moves commerce and tourists and is an economic key to the Thousand Islands region, Assemblywoman Jenne said the structure is far more personal for many in the region, including 93-year-old Betty Brubaker, who was on hand when the bridge first opened in August 1938.

"It's linked to a place we all love, a place where we all have fond memories from our childhood all the way on to adulthood," she said, noting she and Ms. Brubaker had a chance to share some of their memories prior to the ceremony.

"My family camped at Grass Point ([State Park, between Clayton and Alexandria Bay), and one of the things we loved to do on the first night we were at camp was to run down to the docks when it got dark to look at the lights on the bridge. It was a wonderful, magical, beautiful sight to see," the assemblywoman noted.

She said work on the spans that are part of an 8.5-mile route that hops across islands to reach from the United States to Canada required 550,000 hours of labor.

"It is truly as vital to our region's economy today as it was when it was first opened. And like any other major infrastructure project in the North Country, many of us can recall people who worked on the bridge and how important that was to those families especially in the difficult years of the 1930s," Assemblywoman Jenne pointed out.

She suggested the Thousand Islands Bridge Authority has been purposeful and thoughtful in their work to maintain the spans.

"This bridge is still here 80 years later," she said in comments made at the base of the American span. "There is no need to tear it down and build anew. The people who have run the bridge and maintained it have done a fantastic job.

"I can't say enough good about the current employees here - as well as past employees - and how they have taken care of this bridge," she added.

"There is a tremendous legacy of these communities to make sure this vital asset continues to be suspended above the majestic St. Lawrence River. Congratulations to all those who have taken such good care of this bridge and continue to take great care of this structure. I'm sure it will be here in another 20 years when we celebrate its centennial," she said, as the Brockville (Ont.) Pipe Band played in the background.

Saturday marked the 80th anniversary of the grand opening of the Thousand Islands Bridge Authority system connecting Collins Landing, near Alexandria Bay, to Ivy Lea, near Gananoque, Ont.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Prime Minister MackKenzie King were on hand 80 years ago for the grand opening of the 8.5-mile crossing on Aug. 18, 1938 that features three bridges hopping across islands to connect the United States to Canada.

The groundbreaking for the bridges took place on April 30, 1937.

Passenger and commercial traffic volumes have climbed from approximately150,000 crossings per year when the bridge first opened to annual crossingsfigures that now exceeding 2 million vehicles;,

A plaque erected near the bridge reads, "The unfortified boundary links both the Dominion of Canada and the United States of America should quicken the remembrance of the more than a century old friendship between these countries, a lesson of peace to all nations."



Assemblywoman Addie A.E. Jenne signs a board marking those on hand at Collins Landing for a ceremony marking the 80th anniversary of the Thousand Islands Bridge. Her son, Aaron (r), looks on.


Bette Brubaker, who celebrated her 93th birthday Saturday, signs a board marking those on hand at Collins Landing for a ceremony marking the 80th anniversary of the Thousand Islands Bridge. She was at the bridge celebrating her 13th birthday on the day it opened and remembers when President Franklin D. Roosevelt arrived in Clayton that day, Aug. 18, 2018.

Assemblywoman Addie A.E. Jenne presents Rob Horr (l), executive director, and Tim Sturick (l). deputy executive director, of the Thousand Islands Bridge Authority with a proclamation from the New York State Assembly marking the 80th anniversary of the Thousand Islands Bridge.

Assemblywoman Addie A.E Jenne praised the staff, past and present, of the Thousand Islands Bridge Authority for the work they have done to maintain the Thousand Islands Bridge for the past 80 years as TI Bridge Authority Executive Director Rob Horr holds a proclamation from the New York State Assembly.

Assemblywoman Addie A.E. Jenne and Deputy Executive Director Tim Sturick hold a proclamation from the New York State Assembly marking the 80th anniversary of the Thousand Islands Bridge.

Assemblywoman Addie A.E. Jenne listens as Bette Brubaker shares her memories of the day when the bridge was opened to the public in 1938. The bridge opened on her 13th birthday, and the Clayton native was at the bridge with her famiy that day.

Assemblywoman Addie A.E. Jenne visits with Bette Brubaker, who was celebrating her 93rd birthday Saturday. She was celebrating her 13th birthday on the day the bridge opened in 1938.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Assemblywoman Jenne reflects on importance of churches, schools in ag communities

Assemblywoman Addie A.E. Jenne, D-Theresa, said she enjoyed listening to former students of one-room and community schools reminisce about their educational experiences prior to the centralization of schools in St. Lawrence County.

The St. Lawrence Power & Equipment Museum hosted a country school reunion Saturday on the museum grounds in Madrid, which drew former neighborhood school students from Coles Creek to Heuvelton.

The group, which included a centenarian, ranged from students who attended those schools in the 1920s to a student who was attending the West Potsdam school until it closed its doors in 1966,.

"Listening to their stories, their memories of their teachers -– some were strict, some were nice – and the shenanigans that went on weren't all that different than my memories from school. It's a reminder that the more things change the more they stay the same," Assemblywoman Jenne said.

The afternoon session included a stop at the No. 12 Schoolhouse from the town of LeRay in Jefferson County that now sits on the museum grounds. The schoolhouse was restored - with work completed in 2014 - after it was moved to Madrid.

The schoolhouse was donated to the St. Lawrence Power & Equipment Museum in 2010 by the Indian River Central School District.

At that time it stood midway between the villages of Philadelphia and Evans Mills, not far from its original location. It had been donated to the district and moved there in 1990 by Champion International Corporation to make room for a road- widening project.

The schoolhouse is believed to have been built around 1850 after the Free School Act was passed to meet the needs of the community.

The schoolhouse first appeared on maps in 1855. It continued to be used until its closing in 1915, likely due to the U.S. Army expanding its Pine Camp facilities in 1913, incorporating much of the land that is now Fort Drum. Many farm families and their children had to move away from the area.

Roger Austin, a long-time member of the museum board, said a schoolhouse and a church were critical components in the planning process for the museum grounds.

Mr. Austin recalled the effort that led to the museum site being located near the intersections of Route 345 and Route 310 in Madrid.

He said board members had reviewed 18 sites when he got a call from Leon Goolden expressing an interest in having the museum located on the site of his three-generation family farm in Madrid.

Mr. Austin said museum officials were searching for a site with at least 40 acres, some tillable, with some older buildings near a state highway. Mr. Goolden’s farm met all the criteria.

"It was 150 tillable acres with six original buildings, including the outhouse. We worked out an arrangement suitable to both parties, and we had our site to preserve the heritage of the North Country and the technology of farming," Mr. Austin said.

"By 2006, the museum owned a new home and what has been accomplished since is really amazing. The treasures you see, the collections are priceless," he noted.

"Today, our woodshop is being built. That's exhibit 28. You can see the progress that is being made. This has really all happened in just 12 short years," he pointed out.

Mr. Austin said a second phone call that changed the museum's trajectory came in December 2009 when Assemblywoman Jenne shared the potential for the 1850 schoolhouse to become one of the museum's exhibits.

She said she first learned of the museum board's interest in having a schoolhouse on the site when she attended festivities at the power and equipment Madrid museum on Labor Day weekend in 2008.

"My predecessor had helped fund projects here in the past. We walked around the grounds, and it was a pretty empty field at that time," Assemblywoman Jenne said.

"Later, as I kept driving by the old schoolhouse on Route 11 in the Indian River School District, I started seeing the potential for it to be here," she said, noting she called Mr. Austin after learning the school district was eager to sell the schoolhouse.

"It took a lot of work and a lot of money, but here we are. The schoolhouse was hauled here, restored and now is a centerpiece of the museum," Assemblywoman Jenne, who helped secure state funding to move the schoolhouse to Madrid, said.

She said education and religion have long played an important role in communities with deep ties to farming.

"It embodies our values. It is particularly meaningful for education and religion to be must exhibits at an ag museum," Assemblywoman Jenne.



Assemblywoman Addie A.E. Jenne smiles as young students, mostly from the Canton area, dressed in clothing typical of that warned by their peers in the 19th Century, recited the first Pledge of the Allegiance and sang a patriotic song.


Roger Austin (r), a long-time member of the St. Lawrence Power & Equipment Museum's Board of Directors, recalls the role Assemblywoman Addie A.E. Jenne played in helping the museum board get a 19th Century for the museum grounds. Leon Goolden (l), whose family owned the farm where the museum is now located, also serves on the museum board.

Assemblywoman Addie A.E. Jenne visits with Judy Liscum (l), who portrays a school marm at the St. Lawrence Power & Equipment Museum's No. 12 Schoolhouse. Ms. Liscum, speaking at the recent Country School Reunion, said Assemblywoman Jenne's intervention saved the schoolhouse from becoming another structure that becomes a victim of time and age.

Assemblywoman Addie A.E. Jenne discusses the role religion and education have played in agriculture communities during the Country School Reunion at the St. Lawrence Power & Equipment Museum. Roger Austin, a long-time member of the museum board, had shared the assemblywoman's role in getting the schoolhouse moved from Jefferson County to Madrid.

Schoolhouse Number 12

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Assemblywoman Jenne: Dairy crisis real; State needs to take action now

Assemblywoman Addie A.E. Jenne, D-Theresa, said a day spent at a dairy summit in Albany demonstrated her proposal to address the crisis facing farmers in New York State is in line with other plans being proposed across the country.

She spent Monday in Albany listening to farmers from the North Country and around the state, and from neighboring states and Canada, talk about possible solutions to the crisis impacting their bottom line.

Agri-Mark organized an open dairy meeting to discuss steps that can be taken to increase farm milk prices and net farm incomes.

The summit featured farmers, some travelling to Albany from as far away as California and Wisconsin, other policy makers and industry leaders discussing the dairy crisis and looking at solutions to save an important component of the North Country economy.

Assemblywoman Jenne is calling on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to reallocate funds from the state's economic development programs to support dairy farmers suffering from four years of low fluid milk prices that are well below the cost of production.

Her proposal calls for providing premium payments to farmers who produce high-quality milk when the price of fluid milk falls below $18 per hundredweight.

"I feel really good about where my proposal falls on the spectrum of the other proposals that were discussed at the summit today. There were other proposals shared by very credible organizations that were significantly more expensive. My proposal is as austere as possible and would achieve the results we need now," she said.

She said her proposal - much like the other proposals that were discussed Monday - sets a price floor and also addresses supply reductions and base excesses.

"It also addresses our oversupply problems as well as our global competitiveness," she noted. "I know it could be adopted very quickly in our state and that's why it was designed this way. But it's also extremely important that we have a larger federal solution."

Assemblywoman Jenne said the challenges facing the dairy industry are starting to be felt upstate.

"The first impact we are seeing is the ripple effect in our local economies. After months and months of milk checks that don't meet the cost of production, we are seeing farmers that don't have the cash flow to pay their feed suppliers, their fuel suppliers, their veterinarians, their nutritionists and their other suppliers. That ripples down as the suppliers of those services then struggle to pay their bills," she noted.

"It is a ripple effect that is holding back our upstate economy. It's the largest sector of the upstate economy so it is important that it stays healthy so everything else in our region can grow," the assemblywoman added.

She reiterated her call for the governor to allocate $100 million from the state's economic development fund to assist struggling farmers across the state.

"I've called on the Governor's office to completely revamp its economic development program, which is fraught with corruption allegations and convictions. We have neglected large sectors of our state's economy, like agriculture, to support private developers and private development," Assemblywoman Jenne charged.

"It's time to reshuffle the deck and develop a policy that really works for the people of New York State," she added.

Assemblywoman Jenne said it has not been easy convincing state leaders of the seriousness of the crisis facing the dairy industry.

"There has been a lack of awareness in state government about the seriousness of this situation. It's been difficult to get support for the program I have proposed," she admitted.

"I've actually been told by officials from the executive branch that no farmers have come down here telling us there is a problem so it must not be as bad as they say it is. Guess what. The farmers were in Albany by the hundreds on Monday saying there is a problem," the assemblywoman pointed out.

She noted that farmers who are struggling financially are caring for their animals and working their fields and are unable to make repeated trips to Albany to lobby for assistance.

"I was struck by the absurdity of the comments that were made to me. I knew I was dealing with people that had no understanding of the dairy industry. To think that farmers would be able to leave the work on their farms in droves shows that they’re out of touch with reality," she said.

"Agriculture is the cornerstone of the upstate economy, and its spinoff effects are huge. All the things I heard yesterday have only strengthened my resolve to get assistance for our farmers in New York State. I will continue fighting for them," Assemblywoman Jenne stressed.

The proposals being discussed at Monday's Dairy Summit are being posted this week at



Assemblywoman Addie A.E. Jenne (l) visits with Jacqueline Klippenstein, senior vice president for Industry and Legislative Affairs for Dairy Farmers of America. DFA, based in Kansas City, represents more than 13,000 dairy farmer members and 42 plants nationwide making cheese, butter, ice cream, dairy ingredients, fluid milk and more under well-known, quality national and regional brands.


Assemblywoman Addie A.E. Jenne checks in with North Country farmers and dairy industry representatives Monday in Albany prior to the start of a Dairy Summit hosted by Agri-Mark. The summit attracted farmers and dairy industry representatives from Washongton, D.C., to California.Pictured with Assemblywoman Addie A.E.Jenne are (counter-clockwise): Dan O'Brien, Mike Sullivan, Joe Schutz, Bob Laisdell and Greg Milleck.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Assemblywoman Jenne explains absence from Fort Drum bill signing ceremony

Assemblywoman Addie A.E. Jenne, D-Theresa, chair of the New York State Assembly's Task Force on Food, Farm and Nutrition Policy, was in Albany today attending a summit called by Agri-Mark to discuss the crisis facing dairy farmers in and around the state of New York.

Her policy work in this area has led to the creation of a local, and now a state-wide farm-to -school program, which will put $10 million dollars back into the rural upstate economy.

She has also been sounding the alarm and proposing solutions to address the low milk prices being paid to farmers.

Her calls for bold action have gone unanswered. She was told by officials from the executive branch there must not be a problem because farmers weren't in Albany during budget negotiations or at the end of session.

"They were there today and by the hundreds. Most of the farmers were from New York and Vermont, but the extent of this crisis brought farmers and dairy experts from all over the country," she said.

She said as a state legislator spearheading the effort to drive additional funding to the dairy industry she felt it was imperative she attend the summit to share her proposal. listen to the farmers' concerns and hear other proposals being floated to address the dairy crisis.

Assemblywoman Jenne said she had already committed to attend the dairy summit before receiving an invitation to attend Monday's bill signing ceremony at Fort Drum.

"I am a dedicated supporter of Fort Drum and have led the fight to protect its training capabilities, something that is well know on the installation and inside the beltway," she said.

"Today is a day to recognize the sacrifices of our soldiers and ensure that our government is taking care of them and their families. It is a day to be proud that Congress has passed an important bill to support their sacrifices. Those that helped pass the legislation are those that should receive the political spotlight today, and having the bill signed at Fort Drum brings well deserved recognition to the division and supporting units stationed at Fort Drum," she said.

"It would have been nice to catch up with Commanding General Walt Piatt, just home from a deployment to Iraq, and other officials that have been part of the 10th Mountain Division that were in attendance and to see the pride in our soldiers' eyes when the President signed the legislation in support of them," Assemblywoman Jenne noted.

"However, it's also vitally important that I fight for the survival of our rural economy, our food supply system and the leading role agriculture plays in the global economy," she added.

"I attend events at Fort Drum regularly. There was one more chair for someone less familiar than me with the installation to see first hand how impressive it and our soldiers are," she said.

Assemblywoman Jenne: Waddington ready to host Bassmaster's Elite Series for fourth time

Assemblywoman Addie A.E. Jenne stopped in Waddington on Thursday to get an update on the upcoming Bassmaster's Elite Series tournament being hosted by the community later this month.

The assemblywoman said one of her concerns had been the impact lower water levels would have on the tournament.

She said Waddington Mayor Janet Otto-Cassada and local tournament committee member Bill Dashnaw assured her the much lower than normal water levels on Lake St. Lawrence and neighboring sections of the St. Lawrence River are not a major concern for the tournament that runs from Aug. 23-26.

Mayor Otto-Cassada said the professional anglers have dealt with low water levels in the past on the St. Lawrence River and also successfully navigated a bridge construction project that impacted the launch area.

"The water is low," Mayor Otto-Cassada told Assemblywoman Jenne as she stood on a dock at Whittaker Park, "but the BASS guys are pros. This is not the first time this has happened to us. We'll be fine."

Assemblywoman Jenne said Waddington officials have demonstrated the economic development and tourism potential that exists for shoreline communities in St, Lawrence and Jefferson counties from the lake to the locks.

"It was great to hear the water levels shouldn't be an impediment to this year's event here in Waddington. It's phenomenal to see how big this event has become, and it will only continue to grow with the long-term commitment from Bassmaster's to keep coming back on an annual basis," she noted.

Bassmaster's has already announced they will be returning to Waddington Aug. 15-18, 2019, marking the fifth time in seven years the Elite Series will have a St. Lawrence River stop on their tournament schedule.

"Waddington is a prime example of what we can do with the natural assets we have in our backyards and proof this is one of the top fisheries in the world," the assemblywoman added.

Assemblywoman Jenne said she was also pleased to hear the strong support the event was receiving from Gov. Andrew Cuomo and I Love NY tourism officials.

"The Governor and I Love NY have stepped up to the plate and been very helpful," Mayor Otto-Cassada told the assemblywoman.

State Senator Patty Ritchie also secured funding to assist local officials stage the event.

"I think the strong bi-partisan support for this effort is a reflection of the high quality of work a small group of local volunteers has done to make Waddington one of the most popular spots in the country on the Bassmater's Elite Series tournament schedule," she noted.

Waddington set the Bassmaster's Elite Series attendance record of more than 34,000 in 2013 at the Evan Williams Bourbon Showdown. The tournament drew 31,600 in 2015 and 32,800 in 2017.

Mayor Otto-Cassada said hotels, motels and campgrounds around the region are once again benefitting from the tournament.

"The hotels and motels are full, the Lisbon Beach campground is full. We now have a five-year bond with Bassmaster's. A number of the anglers stay with families when they are in town for the tournament. Some rent houses here for the week. They love the small-town feel of our event," she noted.

The Party in the Park, which features food, music, kids' rides, helicopter rides and the Elite Expo featuring many of the Bassmaster's sponsors is another drawing card to the four-day event in Waddington.

This year's event will also feature a NEACA gun show and militaria expo from Aug. 23-26 at the Donald Martin Civic Center.



Waddington Mayor Janet Otto-Cassada shows Assemblywoman Addie A.E. Jenne the launch area for anglers participating in the 2018 Bassmaster's Elite Series tournament Aug. 23-26 in Waddington.


Waddington Mayor Janet Otto-Cassada and Bill Dashnaw, members of the local organizing committee for the he 2018 Bassmaster's Elite Series tournament Aug. 23-26 in Waddington, discuss plans for the event with Assemblywoman Addie A.E. Jenne (l).

Friday, August 10, 2018

Assemblywoman Jenne grateful for NYSUT endorsement

Assemblywoman Addie A.E. Jenne, D-Theresa, has announced the New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) has endorsed her re-election.

“As a mom, I see the good our teachers are doing when my kids get home from school,” Assemblywoman Jenne said. “New York’s educators work so hard to push our kids, help them grow and prepare them for the future. I’ll always be on their side and make sure their voices are heard.”

She noted she sees the excellent work teachers do around the River District, both in their classrooms and in their communities in Jefferson and St. Lawrence counties.

"I regularly seeing teachers going above and beyond to help their students and their communities. We are at the time of year when many teachers are spending hundreds and hundreds of dollars to buy supplies for their classrooms. It's a reminder of their commitment to their students," she noted.

Assemblywoman Jenne has consistently stood with New York’s teachers, fighting for the North Country’s fair share to make sure our schools have the resources to prepare students for college and good jobs.

Earlier this year, she voted to delink students’ standardized test scores from teacher evaluations and return control back to local districts.

She also advocated for Bev Ouderkirk's appointment to the New York State Board of Regents, a move that helped change the direction of education policy in the state.

Assemblywoman Jenne also spearheaded the farm-to-school program to bring healthy, local food into our school cafeterias.

“We endorse candidates who’ve shown through their advocacy, their accessibility and their strong pro-education, pro-labor voting records that they are true friends of public education, organized labor and working people,” NYSUT President Andrew Pallotta said. “Our support is a testament to a candidate’s willingness to stand shoulder to shoulder with educators to fight for better public schools.”

“There are hundreds and hundreds of teachers here in the River District who give to our community every day,” Assemblywoman Jenne said. “I’m making sure their public service and dedication never goes unnoticed, because from pre-K through graduation day, they’re there for our children.”

NYSUT is an organization of more than 600,000 professionals and retirees from New York’s schools, colleges and health care facilities committed to strengthening the teaching profession and providing all kids with a high-quality education.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Assemblywoman Jenne: State awards over half million in funding for library improvements in River District

Assemblywoman Addie A.E. Jenne, D-Theresa, has announced that over a half million in state funding is headed to libraries in St. Lawrence and Jefferson counties in the 116th Assembly District.

Assemblywoman Jenne said the funding awards range from $249,034 for the Potsdam Public Library's interior renovation to $9,934 to the Canton Free Library for improvements to its lighting and HVAC systems.

Other North Country libraries awarded funding in the latest round include:

• Roswell P. Flowers Memorial Library, Watertown: $50,841; Interior renovations including upgrade of HVAC system.

• Massena Public Library, $35,367; Interior renovations and outdoor programming area.

• Morristown Public Library, $135,725; Interior work on library building addition.

• Ogdensburg Public Library, $56,551; Install gutters and replace deteriorating retaining wall and exterior doors.

"I've worked with a number of these libraries over the years to ensure they have the funding they need to maintain their often historic buildings in our communities as well to upgrade their facilities to meet the needs of today's library users," Assemblywoman Jenne said.

"I have often said our libraries and schools are the hearts and souls of our communities. Just like I fight for equitable funding for our schools, I think it is equally important to provide the funding to support the libraries in our small towns, villages and cities," she noted.

"The habits of our library users have changed over the past few decades, but they remain jewels in our community. Today they help equal the playing field in our communities by offering access to technology for users from all backgrounds," Assemblywoman Jenne added.

The funds are from $24 million in capital funds for public library construction and broadband infrastructure projects provided in the FY2017-2018 State Budget.

New York’s public libraries are in urgent need of renovation and upgrading. A recent survey showed a documented need for public library construction and renovation projects totaling more than $1.7 billion.

More than 51 percent of the over 1,000 public library buildings in communities across New York are over 60 years old. Another 33 percent are more than three decades old.

Project activities and expenditures eligible for funding from the State Aid for Library Construction Program include financing construction of new library buildings, construction of additions to existing buildings, and the renovation and/or rehabilitation of existing space.

Projects may include roof replacement, purchase and installation of alternative energy resources, new HVAC systems, windows, doors, lighting systems, electrical upgrades, and construction of new or replacement of old walkways and parking lots. Broadband infrastructure projects are also eligible.

New furniture, shelving and equipment, including computer equipment, may be purchased for new or newly reconfigured or renovated space. Renovations designed to provide accessibility for patrons with disabilities are a high priority.

In the FY2018-2019 State Budget, the Legislature provided $34 million for projects that will be announced in summer 2019.