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Local and Regional News

by Bob LaRue

 

November 27, 2014

UNDATED – Today is Thanksgiving Day in the United States.  It is a federal and state holiday.  All banks, post offices, government offices, courts, public and parochial schools and local colleges are closed.  There is no regular mail delivery.  The first presidential proclamation for a day of Thanksgiving in the U.S. was issued by George Washington.  However, it wasn’t until 1863 that Abraham Lincoln declared an annual Thanksgiving on the fourth Tuesday in November.  President Franklin Roosevelt moved the holiday to the fourth Thursday in 1941.

UNDATED – Many New Yorkers headed out yesterday for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, making the day one of the busiest travel days of the year. Meanwhile, state police, STOP-DWI and other local law-enforcement agencies have stepped up their road patrols to catch drunken, drugged and distracted motorists, as well as speeders and unsafe drivers.  The crackdown began yesterday and will continue through Sunday, in an effort to make roads safer and cut down on the number of accidents, injuries and deaths that often occur in greater numbers during Thanksgiving weekend.

WILMINGTON – Another sign of the holiday season: Whiteface Mountain near Lake Placid began full-time seven‑day-a-week operations yesterday, which are expected to continue through mid‑April.  Over the past two weeks, the Olympic mountain has opened on weekends only, 12 open trails enhanced by machine snowmaking operations.  Ski Magazine’s 2015 survey has tabbed Whiteface as the 10th top ski resort in the eastern United States for challenge, scenery, character, dining and overall value. This past spring, SnowEast Magazine chose Whiteface as their Overall Favorite Ski Resort in New York State.

POTSDAM – An Amish man was hurt when his vehicle was struck by a passing motorist on the Potsdam-Morley Road.  State police shut down the road for a short time while emergency crews responded.  Troopers say 26-year-old Kathlyn Bonno of Potsdam was the driver of the auto that struck the buggy.  She was ticketed failure to use due care while passing.  The buggy driver – 36-year-old Moses Miller of Lisbon – was transported to Canton-Potsdam Hospital for treatment of back pains and a possible concussion.  Original reports indicated the horse might have to be put down.  However, the animal survived the accident and is reported to be doing well.

FORT DRUM – A 48-year-old Fort Drum soldier and father of five was killed in an attack earlier this week in Afghanistan.  Fort Drum officials say Sergeant Major Waddell Turner of Maryland was a military police officer.  He was killed when a bomb, hidden in the median of a street, exploded on a convoy of coalition troops passing through.  Turner joined the Army in 1993 and had been stationed throughout the country.  He arrived at Fort Drum in the summer 2013.  Turner has several military honors including the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart, three Meritorious Service Medals, three Army Commendation Medals and many more.  He is survived by this wife, mother and five children. 

ST. LAWRENCE RIVER – Last week’s storms across Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River halted traffic for a time on the St. Lawrence Seaway.  High winds forced several ships to anchor in position along the lake and the river to remain safe.  Delays were reported for several days along some portions of the Montreal to Lake Ontario section of the giant inland waterway.  Several ship pilots were temporarily stranded on some of the ships.  One of the marker buoys along the St. Lawrence River was ripped from its chain-linked anchor and drifted approximately seven miles downstream before it became grounded.  A marine crew later replaced the buoy.

POTSDAM – The village of Potsdam has named its new administrator to succeed David Fenton who will retire in January.  In a press statement, village officials said Everett Basford of South Colton – a former Heuvelton mayor and former Massena village administrator from 2002 to 2011 – will work with Fenton beginning December 4th to learn the new job.  Basford is expected to relocate to Potsdam in the near future.

ALBANY – The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance kicked off the final month of the Christmas holiday shopping season yesterday by reminding New York consumers and merchants that items of clothing and footwear sold for less than $110 are exempt from New York State’s four-percent portion of the sales tax.  However, in St. Lawrence and Franklin counties, the local four-percent portion remains in effect.  Only a handful of counties downstate have exempted customers from all sales tax on clothing and related items.

ALBANY – The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance says e‑filing of taxes continues to grow, reducing by 15 percent the number of paper income tax returns filed during last year’s tax season. Nearly 90 percent of New York’s 10.4 million income tax returns were E‑filed, an increase of four percent from the previous year.  At a cost of roughly $5 per processing of a paper income tax return – compared to just pennies for e‑filed returns – the savings for New Yorkers adds up to about $45 million each year.  State Tax Commissioner Thomas Mattox says E-filing is the easiest, fastest and safest way to file, and reduces the possibility of errors.  Mattox says paper returns are 20 times more likely to have an error. The 2014 filing season will get underway in January and, once again, New Yorkers can e‑file for free.  Nearly 90 percent of all New York taxpayers qualify to do so.

 

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