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Local and Regional News

by Bob LaRue


August 28, 2014

MASSENA – The Massena Town Council voted yesterday to hire a national healthcare consultant to plan a strategy that will ensure Massena Memorial Hospital stays open and financially viable for many years into the future.  At a special meeting yesterday, the Town Council voted 5‑0 to hire Newpoint Healthcare Advisors to a five‑month contract.   Supervisor Joe Gray says, as an independent third party, Newpoint will advise the town on a direction for the hospital, identify potential partners to work with the Town and the hospital, develop terms for a potential partnership, and eventually negotiate and complete a transition to keep the hospital open. The contract calls for the consultant to be paid $12,000 per month.

OGDENSBURG – Claxton-Hepburn Medical officials are conducting an internal investigation to determine if accused kidnapper Stephen Howells II stole any drugs from the hospital while he was working there up to the time of his arrest two weeks ago.  The 39-year-old Howells and 25-year-old Nicole Vaisey are accused in the August 13th abduction of two Amish girls.  Howells was working at the  Patterson Wound Healing Center since May.  Hospital officials say they cannot comment on Howell’s specific case, but that the facility uses a computerized storage system and related procedures to monitor access, administration and any misuse of drugs. 

CORNWALL – Cornwall City Police issued a public alert yesterday, asking for help in locating a missing teenage boy.  Police are trying to locate 15-year-old Pierre-Paul Larocque.  Authorities say the boy was last seen on Tuesday in Hawksbury, Ontario.  Larocque is described as a caucasian male, 5’8”, 158lbs, short brown hair and blue eyes.  He was last seen wearing blue jeans and a striped T‑shirt. It is believed he might be on a bicycle.  Cornwall authorities say that no foul play is suspected.

PAUL SMITHS – State police in Franklin County say that a 19-year-old Paul Smith College student died from asphyxiation due to fresh water drowning, which was brought on by a seizure.  Investigators say 19-year-old Nicolas Pendl of Allegheny, NY was discovered laying face down in the water, along the shore of Lower St. Regis Lake, a short distance from one of the college’s dormitory buildings.  Police said Pendl was known to have a pre-existing seizure disorder.  However, the investigation of the drowning is still ongoing.

UNDATED – Time Warner Cable is still investigating yesterday’s early-morning outage of its Internet services to approximately 11 million customers through upstate New York and much of the northeast region.  Time Warner said the breakdown occurred during routine maintenance of its system around 4:30 a.m., with  services starting back online around 6:00 a.m.  However, service was not restored to many residential and business customers in the North Country until around 7:30 or 8:00.


Yesterday’s Internet outage triggered widespread complaints to Time Warner, including comments on social media.  Governor Andrew Cuomo has called on the New York State Department of Public Service to investigate the outages.  The governor said the outage "is a stark reminder that our economy is increasingly dependent on a reliable broadband network."  Cuomo said the investigation will be part of the state’s review of the proposed merger of Time Warner with cable rival Comcast.


During yesterday’s Internet outage, Clarkson University remained online and well connected. Chief Information Officer Joshua Fisk noted that the university has a wide variety of programs and classes offered online, in addition to many researchers who collaborate with colleagues at other college institutions around the globe. Clarkson partners with several Internet sources to provide redundant Internet connections and stay online for students and staff. 

AKWESASNE –  A water-main break late yesterday afternoon near the Bear’s Den Restaurant in Hogansburg caused the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe to close the facilities along State Route 37 between the American Legion and Library Road in Akwesasne.  As a precaution, Mohawk officials said all buildings and residences on the Tribe’s waterline system should boil water before eating, drinking or washing.  The boil water advisory recommends that all water should be brought to a full rolling boil for one minute and then allowed to cool before use.  The boil water notice will remain in effect through at least tomorrow.

SARANAC LAKE – The internationally-renowned Trudeau Institute in Saranac Lake will receive a grant of up to $3.6 million for a portion of the costs of ongoing programs, operations and staffing at the Institute’s biomedical research laboratories to support a  joint Trudeau-Clarkson University multi‑year plan for future operations.  The Trudeau Institute conducts biomedical research to develop new treatments and treatment‑prevention strategies against disease, and contracts several research projects for the National Institute of Health. Trudeau is planning to expand its research in areas such as aging, cancer and influenza. The project will move toward establishing a biotech cluster in the North Country, expanding education and technology‑based economic development.

ST. REGIS FALLS – North Country Congressman Bill Owens announced yesterday that the St. Regis Falls Fire Department will receive a grant of over $62,700 to be used toward operations and safety items at the firehouse.  The grant is awarded through the Department of Homeland Security’s Assistance to Firefighters program.  St. Regis Falls Fire Chief Wilbur Bailey said the grant “means we can update to new equipment that is easier for our firefighters to use,” especially in the vast wilderness territory around the St. Regis-Waverly area.



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