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Local and Regional News

by Bob LaRue


October 1, 2014

MASSENA – St. Lawrence County Public Health officials said yesterday that the county has its first case of West Nile Virus for this year, confirmed in a horse in Massena.  Health officials say it is also the first case this year in New York State.  Authorities say the horse had to be “put down.”  The virus is only spread by infected mosquitos, and cannot be spread by the animal or humans.  However, the virus can cause headaches, body aches, joint pains, fatigue that can last for months, vomiting, diarrhea, or rashes. Most people recover completely. County Health officials say people should get rid of any standing pools of water that can be breeding grounds for mosquitos, that are still around even now, due to the recent warmer weather.

AKWESASNE – The Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe announced a free tire-disposal project available at its Solid Waste transfer station on County Route 43 in Fort Covington, starting today and ending when the limit is reached. The project will begin accepting used tires, including those with rims, from Tribal community members only, during regular transfer station hours. Officials say this is a one‑time opportunity for Tribal members to dispose of used tires sitting around their property.  The goal of the project is to reduce the health hazard because tires hold stagnant water and are a breeding ground for mosquitoes that carry diseases such as Eastern Equine Encephalitis and West Nile Virus that can cause serious illness and even death.

UNDATED ‑‑ Upstate New York residents are more likely to contract certain vaccine‑preventable illnesses and develop the flu at twice the rate of other state residents.  That’s according to a new Excellus BlueCross-BlueShield factsheet released last evening that shows low upstate New York vaccination rates for influenza, pertussis, pneumonia and childhood diseases and provides the facts regarding common vaccine misconceptions.  The report shows that the childhood immunization rate among upstate New York children ages 19 months to 35 months is just 54.5 percent, lower than the state rate of 65.1 percent and national rate of 68.5 percent. Also, only one in three upstate New York adults age 18 to 64 receives an annual flu shot.  According to Excelsus Medical Director Matthew Bartels, "When adults choose to skip vaccinating their children, it's equivalent to forgoing the protection that's offered by a bicycle helmet or a child car seat."

HOPKINTON – Two people are recovering from injuries sustained over the weekend in an all-terrain vehicle rollover on Sylvan Falls Road in the town of Hopkinton.  State police said yesterday that 27-ye ar-old Ryan Thompson of Canton hit a large rock in the roadway.  He lost control of the ATV that overturned and ejected him and a passenger – 28-year-old Christine Fefee, also of Canton.  Both sustained injuries to the face and arms when they hit the roadway.  They were transported to Canton-Potsdam Hospital for treatment.  Fefee was later transferred to Fletcher-Allen Medical Center in Burlington, Vermont for further medical attention to internal injuries.  She has since been released.  Troopers say the investigation of the accident is continuing and charges are pending.

POTSDAM – The New York State Transportation Department conducted a brief highway survey of motorists along Route 11, between Potsdam and Canton.  A half-dozen information collectors recorded the responses on laptops, including traffic counts and motorist information on how often they travel Route 11 and if they would bypass Canton and Potsdam, if a four-lane Rooftop Highway was built.   DOT conducted a similar study six years ago and determined there was not enough traffic on Route 11 to justify the expense of a four-lane highway from Watertown to Plattsburgh.  This year, the governor’s budget included $2.5 million to conduct a fresh study of the usage.

UPSTATE – Although the fall season is just underway across upstate New York, many already are looking to forecasts for the coming winter. On the energy front, National Grid says its electricity customers are projected to see bills that are three- to nine-percent lower than last winter, depending on where they live. Company officials, in a statement yesterday, said the forecasted lower electricity supply costs for residential and small commercial customers is in part due to additional steps the company has taken to further hedge – or lock in ‑‑ electricity supply prices to reduce monthly volatility in customer bills. National Grid also has asked the New York Public Service Commission to approve a mechanism that would allow more flexibility in how the company recovers supply costs. If approved, National Grid could collect the higher wholesale prices over a number of months, instead of in a single month, to reduce customer impact.  On average, residential customers use 30 percent more electricity from November through March than they do in the fall and spring months.

POTSDAM – Potsdam village police say they received numerous reports of a bear-cub siting near Meadow East Apartments on Lower Leroy Street, starting around 7:30 yesterday morning.  Patrols were dispatched and found the bear in a dumpster, where they were able to contain the cub until arrival by the Department of Environmental Conservation.  DEC was able to remove the bear for relocation to Oswego County, without incident.



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Your weather just got better.