Jim Bohannon


News By Bob LaRue

July 22, 2015

ALBANY — The North American Numbering Plan Administrator yesterday assigned the new area code that will soon overlay the existing 315 region, from Massena to the Finger Lakes region.  The new 680 area code will provide additional much‑needed phone numbers for residents and businesses in the 18 counties of the existing 315 area code.  To implement the new overlay, there will be a seven‑month period for network preparation, followed by an eleven‑month permissive dialing period that allows both 7‑digit and 10‑digit dialing to work.  After that, 10‑digit dialing will be mandatory.  The 680 area code is expected to be activated in early 2017.  Local telephone companies were also directed to activate the new 680 area code by the first quarter of 2017.  With the new 680 code, there will be 17 area codes in New York State.

UNDATED – The New York State jobless statistics for June showed St. Lawrence and Franklin counties were both among the three highest rates in upstate New York.  St. Lawrence County was listed at seven percent last month, up from 6.6 percent in May – and the highest unemployment rate in all of upstate New York.  However, the figure is down from 7.7 percent a year ago.  Franklin County reported a 6.3 percent unemployment rate last month, the third-highest figure in the upstate region.  The figure lags far behind the statewide rate of 5.5 percent for the month, down from 5.7 percent in May – the lowest state rate since July 2008.

MASSENA – The sign outside the former Ponderosa in Massena says “Sold.”  The former restaurant at the corner of Route 37 and South Main Street, closed last October.  It is being sold to Town & Country Veterinary Clinic, as a third location for an animal clinic and hospital.  Town & Country also has clinic locations on Route 11 between Potsdam and Canton, and its main office just outside Ogdensburg in the town of Oswegatchie.  The property was listed at $650,000, with the sale is expected to be closed within the next month.

CORNWALL/BROCKVILLE – Canadian authorities say no foul play is suspected in the unrelated deaths of two Canadian scuba divers whose bodies were pulled from the St. Lawrence River in separate diving accidents over the weekend.  Officials say 43-year-old John Earle of Cornwall was diving off Guindon Park in Cornwall when an unspecified medical issue occurred.  Earle was pulled unconscious from the river and later pronounced deceased.  A few hours later, 55-year-old Raymond Bloch of Tecumseh, Ontario was scuba diving near Brockville when he was also pulled unconscious from the river.  His cause of death is still under investigation, but no foul play was suspected.

MASSENA – Massena village trustees approved amendments to the village’s code of ethics last night.  The changes are intended to clarify and establish a code of conduct for municipal workers, provide punishment for violations, and create a Board of Ethics that will issue advisory opinions to elected village officials and village employees.  Mayor Tim Currier says the changes are intended to make the law crystal clear.  Trustee Tim Ahlfeld expressed concerns that the changes were not clear enough, contradictory and the punishment of 15 days imprisonment and/or a fine not to exceed $250 seemed “a little strong,” especially for persons serving on volunteer boards.


Massena village trustees approved moving forward with two grant applications for development projects – the first to assist in restoration of the old Schine Threater on Main Street, the other to establish a waterfront park and public space on Water Street.  The Massena Arts and Theatre Association, Inc., acquired the theater earlier this year and plans to revitalize the interior and exterior of the structure, with hopes for restoring the building as an entertainment venue.

POTSDAM – A Potsdam hitchhiker was arrested, after he allegedly exposed himself to the driver who had just picked him up.  Potsdam village police said yesterday that 63-year-old Leo Sullivan was given a ride along May Road, by someone he had just met.  During the course of the ride, Sullivan allegedly exposed himself to the driver.  He was charged with public lewdness, answerable August 7th in Potsdam village court.

CORNWALL – The Canadian government announced yesterday the first installment of the boosted Universal Child Care Benefit. The newly-increased child care benefit pays almost $2,000 every year for each child under age six and $720 for each child ages 6 through 17.  The first payments this week wil amount to $520 for a younger child and $420 for the older bracket.  The money is available thanks to a balanced federal budget.  Parents are allowed to spend this money on anything they choose, including child care services, back‑to‑school supplies and sports activities, thus boosting the economy and creating jobs. It’s the largest single‑day direct payment to families in Canadian history.

NEW YORK – When it comes to speeding laws, New York State ranks in the middle when it comes to  which states are tougher and which are more lenient.  A new survey released yesterday by WalletHub says New York is 23rd on the list of toughest states.  The Empire State is sixth-toughest in enforcement of speeding laws, but is 41st when it comes to penalties for reckless driving.   In 2013, speeding was listed as a factor in 29 percent of the deaths in motor-vehicle crashes.

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