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Coyotes In and Around Peru


Coyote photographed in a field near Peru

By John T. Ryan

Peru – Oftentimes the most interesting part of a Peru Town Board meeting comes up under “Other Business.” Counselor Brandy McDonald often reports on what’s going on in and about town. At the Monday, February 13th meeting his subject was coyotes. McDonald reported that about seventy coyotes have been shot in the area and that a security camera photographed a coyote behind his Washington Street house. A coyote also reportedly snatched a small dog from one person’s backyard.

Not being a hunter and knowing very little about coyotes, this reporter decided to investigate. McDonald was correct! There is a significant coyote population in almost every part of New York State. About 30,000 New Yorkers participate in coyote hunting each year and about 3,000 participate in coyote trapping. While few people actually have a problem with coyotes, there are safety concerns especially regarding children, cats, small to medium-sized dogs and livestock.

Bert Owens of Plattsburgh is an experienced and very successful coyote hunter. He shot seventy-eight last year and forty-two so far this year. Last October shot ten coyotes in the vicinity of the Mannix Road over a two-week period. Owens said he got interested in hunting coyote after witnessing several coyotes eating a doe not far from his hunting camp. Owens said, “We considered that doe off-limits. There’s a need for coyotes, but they have to be managed.” Owens thinks coyote numbers are down this year. Six or seven of the animals he shot have been infected with mange.

Wes Dermody of Peru characterizes himself as a lifetime, avid hunter. He described why he began coyote hunting. “What triggered me was something that happened a few years ago. I live on the River Road. It was early in the evening and my boys were outside playing. I was working in the garden. When I went back in the house I could hear snarling and growling outside. It was coming from about 100 feet away from my kids.” It wasn’t long before Dermody took up coyote hunting. He got permission to hunt on a nearby farm and has killed up to thirteen coyotes in a year.

Do coyotes have positive value? According to DEC, some people actually enjoy hearing coyotes’ evening “serenades” Animals such as foxes, fishers, ravens and even golden eagles benefit from coyote-abandoned deer carcasses and farmers definitely appreciate reduced numbers of woodchucks.

Competition is an important part of many sporting activities and predator hunting is no exception. X-PLO Firearms and Ammunition Shop at 1080 Military Turnpike in Plattsburgh has been sponsoring a Predator Derby that ran from February 1 to today. Owner Ronda Barber said, “Our customers were asking for one. They’re popular in other parts of the state. Our derby also includes bobcat and fox. People make new friends and have a great time.”

Barber said the derby’s proceeds are given to the North Country Honor Flight and the Veterans Assistance Bureau. Last year $1,200 was contributed. As of this Wednesday, 75 entrants had taken over 70 coyotes, the largest weighing 52.4 pounds. Adult coyotes typically weigh 35 to 45 pounds, though the hunters say the coyotes this region are gradually increasing in size.

A DEC webpage offers several safety recommendations:

coyote2Coyote Conflicts
The Eastern coyote is firmly established in New York. They live in New York as an integral part of our ecosystems. People and coyotes can usually coexist if the natural fear of people that coyotes have is maintained. Pets and young children are typically most at risk.

Below are steps you should take to reduce and prevent coyote problems from occurring.

• Do not feed coyotes and discourage others from doing so
• Unintentional food sources attract coyotes and other wildlife and increase risks to people and pets. To reduce risks:
◦ Do not feed pets outside.
◦ Make any garbage inaccessible to coyotes and other animals.
◦ Eliminate availability of bird seed. Concentrations of birds and rodents that come to feeders can attract coyotes. If you see a coyote near your bird feeder, clean up waste seed and spillage to remove the attractant.
• Do not allow coyotes to approach people or pets.
• Teach children to appreciate coyotes from a distance.
• If you see a coyote, be aggressive in your behavior – stand tall and hold arms out to look large. If a coyote lingers for too long, then make loud noises, wave your arms, throw sticks and stones.
• Do not allow pets to run free. Supervise all outdoor pets to keep them safe from coyotes and other wildlife, especially at sunset and at night.
• Regulated hunting and trapping increases the “fear” coyotes have towards people.
• Fencing your yard may deter coyotes. The fence should be tight to the ground, preferably extending six inches below ground level, and taller than 4 feet.
• Remove brush and tall grass from around your property to reduce protective cover for coyotes. Coyotes are typically secretive and like areas where they can hide.
• Contact your local police department and NYSDEC regional office for assistance if you notice that coyotes are exhibiting “bold” behaviors and have little or no fear of people.
• Ask your neighbors to follow these same steps.

Family gathering gives sendoff to U.S. Army Reserve platoon | Local News |

Lt. Col. Jerry Mastan advised 962nd Ordnance Company of Plattsburgh to embrace faith, to journal and maintain contact with loved ones.

Source: Family gathering gives sendoff to U.S. Army Reserve platoon | Local News |

DiNapoli Report Highlights Regional Education Trends

New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli issued a report today detailing regional trends in education funding, enrollment and conditions across the state. The report analyzes school district financial and demographic information from nine separate regions outside of New York City.
“Investments in New York’s public schools are vital at both the state and local level,” DiNapoli said. “By examining regional comparisons and trends in school district revenues, expenditures and student demographics, we can better inform the decisions of state lawmakers, education stakeholders and taxpayers.”
In 2014-15, total school district revenues were $37.7 billion, which includes federal and state aid, the STAR subsidy and local revenue. Local revenue, overwhelmingly from property taxes, made up more than half of total school revenues (54.5 percent), an increase of 3 percentage points from 2004-05. Over the same period, federal and state aid (including STAR) each declined slightly as a percentage of total revenue by 1.4 and 1.6 percentage points.
Wealthier districts in New York often depend more on local revenues, such as property taxes, and less on state aid. For example, 68 percent of revenues for Long Island schools come from property taxes and other local sources. Similarly, the Mid-Hudson Valley relies on property taxes for nearly two-thirds of its revenues. In contrast, local revenues comprise only about a third of school district revenues for the Mohawk Valley and North Country regions. Read more »

In Massena, Sen. Gillibrand urges senior citizens to get wise about fraud | NCPR News

Fake phone calls from people claiming to be tax collectors. Emails requesting Social Security numbers out of the blue. These are just a few of the scams that senior citizens are being targeted with all across the state.

Source: In Massena, Sen. Gillibrand urges senior citizens to get wise about fraud | NCPR News

Plattsburgh-based firm expanding through Start-Up NY | Local News |

Biotech Energy plans to invest $30,000, create 10 new jobs in space at Clinton Community College.

Source: Plattsburgh-based firm expanding through Start-Up NY | Local News |

Monday, Feb. 27 Town Board Agenda


Call Meeting To Order

Pledge of Allegiance

Roll Call

MOTION: Approval of Minutes for the February 13, 2017 Regular Board Meeting.

Community Input

DISCUSSION/RESOLUTION: Water/Sewer Truck Purchase

DISCUSSION/RESOLUTION: Sewer Bond Resolution Clarification.

DISCUSSION/RESOLUTION: Hwy. Dept. Mower Purchase.

DISCUSSION: Alarm System Inspection.

DISCUSSION: Sewer System Repair Update.

DISCUSSION: Heyworth Mason Building Update.

DISCUSSION: Background Checks for Youth Program Workers.

DISCUSSION: Town Dog Park Winter Operations.

DISCUSSION/MOTION: Motion to adjourn to Executive Session

DISCUSSION/MOTION: Motion to return from Executive Session

DISCUSSION: Other Business.

DISCUSSION: Public Comments on Agenda Items Only.

MOTION: Adjourn

Meet 1st Announced Democrat Candidate for Our Congressional Seat

Meet and Greet Candidate 21st Congressional District  Patrick Nelson

A Message from the Peru Democratic Party

On Sunday March 5th from 5-7pm there will be a Meet and Greet for Democratic Congressional 21st District, Candidate “Patrick Nelson”. Location will be at Cheryl Lussier’s home located at 19 Lakeside Court in Plattsburgh. All are invited to attend and we encourage everyone to invite any friends and family members who may also like to meet with Patrick.

To RSVP please reach out to Adam Guillette at 518-578-3885 or by email at

Thanks everyone and hope to see you Sunday March 5th at 5pm!

Budget Workshop #2 for Peru Board of Education

The Peru Central School Board of Education will gather Tuesday, February 28th at 6 PM in the Jr/Sr High School Community Room for their second public session budget workshop. At its budget workshop, the School Board is expected to:

· Examine current year projections
· Review tax levy limit calculation
· Receive overview of revenues
· Discuss and determine budget parameters

The full agenda is available on the Peru CSD website at

The meeting is open to all.

Uncertainty over Medicaid changes may stall N.Y. computer upgrade – Times Union

Uncertainty over federal changes to Medicaid in a Trump administration has prompted New York to notify a vendor that it may cancel a $550 million upgrade to the state-administered health program’s information and billing system. State Medicaid Director Jason Helgerson said the state could lose the 90 percent share the federal government was expected to pay for the complex upgrade — about $495 million — if the Trump administration changes Medicaid to a block grant program. Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway has said converting Medicaid to block grants is part of the administration’s plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, the federal law known as Obamacare. Medicaid is the joint state-federal health insurance program for low-income Americans.

Source: Uncertainty over Medicaid changes may stall N.Y. computer upgrade – Times Union

43 Companies Commit to Creating 640 New Jobs

Empire State Development today announced that 43 businesses will expand in or locate to New York State, partnering with colleges and universities to spur economic growth across the state. These 43 businesses have committed to create more than 640 new jobs and invest more than $15 million statewide.

“From life sciences to advanced manufacturing, industrial engineering to green-tech, more and more companies are finding New York State is a great place to grow their business,” said Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Howard Zemsky. “These 43 companies will create hundreds of jobs for New Yorkers in dynamic, innovative industries while generating millions in revenue for local economies throughout the state.”

“The business partnerships SUNY colleges and universities have cultivated as a result of this program continue to bring academic and research benefits to our students, faculty, and staff while also driving economic development in every region of the state,” said SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher. “Congratulations to each of the SUNY colleges and universities welcoming new business partners as a result of today’s announcement.”

These businesses will create jobs in key industries, including: biotechnology; craft beverages; computer/information technology; data processing and hosting; industrial electronic engineering; green technology; high technology; imagining/optics; life sciences; manufacturing; research and development; software development; value added processing; and agribusiness and food processing.

The 43 companies announced today are sponsored by the following New York State colleges and universities: Broome County Community College; Clinton Community College; Dutchess County Community College; Erie Community College; Hudson Valley Community College; Mount Saint Mary College; New York University; Schenectady County Community College; SUNY Albany; SUNY Cobleskill; SUNY Downstate Medical Center; SUNY Plattsburgh; University at Buffalo; and University of Rochester.

The following businesses have joined START-UP NY:

SUNY Plattsburgh – 26 new jobs
Resolute Forest Products is a global leader in the forest products industry with a diverse range of products, including market pulp, wood products, tissue, newsprint and specialty papers. The company owns or operates over 40 manufacturing facilities in the United States, Canada and South Korea, as well as power generation assets in Canada and the United States. Resolute is establishing a U.S. principal office on the campus of SUNY Plattsburgh to support current manufacturing operations in nine states. The company will create 26 new jobs and invest $26,000. Read more »

Clinton County reveals foreclosure list – Sun Community News & Printing

PLATTSBURGH — Clinton County has compiled a list of over 100 tax delinquent properties, and aims to auction them off this summer if their owners don’t settle up.

Source: Clinton County reveals foreclosure list – Sun Community News & Printing

Nicholas Uliva Named to Dean’s List at Ithaca College

ITHACA, NY (02/23/2017)– Nicholas Uliva, a resident of Peru and Business Administration major, was named to the Dean’s List in Ithaca College’s School of Business for the fall 2016 semester.

From day one, Ithaca College prepares students for success through hands-on experience with internships, research and study abroad. Its integrative curriculum builds bridges across disciplines and uniquely blends liberal arts and professional study. Located in New York’s Finger Lakes region, the College is home to 6,100 undergraduate and 460 graduate students.

Zoning Board Agenda for Wednesday, March 15th

APPROVAL of January 18, 2017 minutes.
OPEN FLOOR to public hearing
Use Variance & Area Variance: Z-2017-018 Nicholas Zagrodzki
Use Variance & Area Variance-
8 Oakdale Dr.
Peru, NY 12972

Charitable groups cheer proposed gaming reforms – Sun Community News & Printing

Relaxing statutes will make games more attractive, lucrative for players, say advocates — and will aid with fundraising

Source: Charitable groups cheer proposed gaming reforms – Sun Community News & Printing

Champlain continues push to go green – Sun Community News & Printing

CHAMPLAIN — The village is working with the state to be designated as a Clean Energy Community.

Source: Champlain continues push to go green – Sun Community News & Printing

A Message From the Peru Free Library

Farm Field Mountains

Local photographer Tom Semeraro will be exhibiting here at the library March 3 – April 15. Opening reception Friday March 3 from 5-7. All welcome.

Eric Reinemann’s “Phases 2009-2016” Exhibit in the Main Gallery at The Strand Center for the Arts

PLATTSBURGH, NY – The Strand Center for the Arts is delighted to host artist Eric Reinemann in the Main Gallery in March, 2017. This upcoming exhibit, “Phases 2009-2016,” will open in The Strand Center Main Gallery on Friday, March 3; an opening reception that is free and open to the public will be held from 5:30-7:30 p.m. that evening.

Eric Reinemann received his MFA from the University of Oregon in 2003 and BFA from the State University of New York at Plattsburgh in 2000. His works are on display at GF Contemporary in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and have been acquired by numerous public and private collections across the country.

Reinemann works with his daily environments, which he can reconstruct, re-imagine, and remember in a new way on the pictorial plane. Read more »

St. Augustine’s Soup Kitchen Menu for Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Vegetable Soup
Chicken Breasts & Stuffing
Mashed Potatoes/Gravy
Cranberry Sauce
Cherry Cobbler
The cooks are at work. The welcome mat is out. Serving begins at 4:30. Come and enjoy this free, delicious meal.

Cuomo warns state agencies to start pumping out good news | New York Post

Gov. Cuomo’s office has warned public-relations officers at 55 state agencies to start churning out a lot more good news about the administration — or else, sources said. Cuomo’s communications

Source: Cuomo warns state agencies to start pumping out good news | New York Post

Cuomo’s 2016 vetoes, by the numbers

His overall veto rate of 14 percent over the past six years is higher than the 11.4 percent of bills that were vetoed by former Gov. George Pataki and the 8.5 percent that were blocked by Cuomo’s father, Mario Cuomo

Source: Cuomo’s 2016 vetoes, by the numbers

New airline with flights to Baltimore taking off from Massena | NCPR News

North Country travelers will have a new option for direct flights to the East Coast starting this spring. Boutique Air will begin offering daily service from Massena to Baltimore, as well as twice daily flights to Albany.

Source: New airline with flights to Baltimore taking off from Massena | NCPR News

DEC Announces Falconry, Wildlife Rehabilitator, and Leashed Tracking Dog Examinations

Exams set for April 7; Registration deadline is March 17

Examinations for individuals seeking a license to practice the sport of falconry, become a volunteer wildlife rehabilitator, or use leashed tracking dogs to find wounded or injured big game animals are scheduled for Friday, April 7, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced today.

The exams will run from 10 a.m. to noon at most DEC Regional Offices across the state. A list of DEC Regional Offices can be found on DEC’s website.

The registration deadline for these free exams is Friday, March 17, and exam registration forms are available from DEC’s website. Read more »

NNY Corn and Soybean Disease Survey Alerts Growers to New Arrivals

PRR hunter

A Message from the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program

Northern New York. Two soybean diseases not previously confirmed in Northern New York crops were identified in 2016 by the annual corn and soybean disease survey and assessment funded by the farmer-driven Northern New York Agricultural Development Program. The proactive disease assessment program helps protect the security and profitability of corn and soybean, two major agricultural crops for the Northern New York region. The results of the 2016 survey are posted at Read more »

Clinton County inks deal with ETC to help the homeless – Sun Community News & Printing

PLATTSBURGH — Call them the hidden homeless — the 100 individuals and families in Clinton County that live in local motels.

Source: Clinton County inks deal with ETC to help the homeless – Sun Community News & Printing

Assemblyman Jones is Coming to a Town Near You

From the Office of Assemblyman Billy Jones

Assemblyman Billy Jones (D-Chateaugay) announced the launch of his districtwide tour
to hear the concerns of residents and let them know how his office can help them. The tour will
kick off on Feb. 20 in the town of Champlain.

“As your voice in Albany, it’s my job to make the North Country stronger,” said Jones.
“I’m here to listen, take notes and bring home the results our families deserve.”

Jones will also visit local businesses, schools and senior centers, as well as meet with
local officials during his tour. The 115th Assembly District includes all of Clinton and Franklin
counties, as well as the towns of Brasher, Lawrence, Piercefield and Hopkinton in St. Lawrence
County. Residents are encouraged to join Jones to discuss community issues at one of the stops
on his tour.

The tour will begin in Champlain on Monday, Feb. 20, at the following locations: Read more »

Day of Caring returns to the Adirondack Region Community Members Urged to Give Back this April

Plattsburgh, NY – 2/15/17 – On Saturday, April 29, 2017 the United Way of the Adirondack Region is once again teaming up with Project H.E.L.P. at SUNY Plattsburgh and the Adirondack Coast Visitors Bureau for the Annual Day of Caring. Each year, this volunteer-driven event brings together local businesses, organizations, clubs and individuals to help regional nonprofit human service agencies and nonprofit attractions accomplish a variety of projects. During the last Day of Caring, more than 606 volunteers completed over 57 projects including facility improvements, senior citizen housework, neighborhood cleanups, enhancing attractions, bottle drives, food drives, building ramps, insulating walls, painting for non-profit organizations, helping move furniture, yard work for senior citizens and more.
United Way of the Adirondack Region is now seeking projects and volunteers throughout Clinton, Franklin and Essex counties for the 2017 Day of Caring. Focused on addressing some of the urgent needs facing our community, this event gives volunteers a firsthand look at these needs while carrying on the tradition of giving back to the community. Read more »

Henry D. McCormick of Peru Named to St. Lawrence University Dean’s List

CANTON, NY (02/16/2017)– Henry D. McCormick of Peru has been selected for inclusion on St. Lawrence University’s Dean’s List for academic achievement during the Fall 2016 semester.

McCormick is a member of the Class of 2017 and is majoring in Geology. McCormick attended Ausable Valley Central School.

To be eligible for the Dean’s List, a student must have completed at least four courses and have an academic average of 3.6 based on a 4.0 scale for the semester.

About St. Lawrence University: Read more »

Refugees, migrants flee U.S. on North Country roads, seek asylum in Canada | NCPR News

Cross-border workers could feel pain from “tweaks” to NAFTA | NCPR News

Planning Board’s March 8th Agenda

AGENDA Planning Board, WEDNESDAY, March 8, 2017 @ 7:00 PM
APPROVAL of February 8, 2017 minutes.
OPEN FLOOR to public hearing
1. 2-Lot Subdivision with SEQR: P-2017-001
Forrence Orchards Inc.
2-Lot Subdivision
2731 Rt. 22
Peru, NY 12972

Schneiderman: Those Who Pollute Our Environment Will Be Brought to Justice

Mahoney’s Auto Mall and Employee Andrew Fuller Plead Guilty to Environmental Law Crimes; Must Pay $187,500 in Fines

CANTON – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman and Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos today announced the conviction of Mahoney’s Auto Mall, Inc. (“Mahoney’s”) and its employee, Andrew Fuller, for violations of the Environmental Conservation Law (“ECL”) related to burying more than 140 gallons of hazardous substances on Mahoney’s property. Read more »

Proposal to Reduce Zoning Board from Seven to Five Members

The Town of Peru, Town Board has scheduled a Public Hearing on Monday, February 27, 2017 at 6:45 PM. The Purpose of the Public Hearing will be to hear the public concerns on a local law amending the Local Law #2 of 2013 of the Town of Peru, concerning Zoning Board of Appeals Manning Reduction.
The meeting will be held at the Town Hall at 3036 Main Street, Peru.

Kathleen Flynn
Town Clerk
Town of Peru

Elia: Budget plan shortchanges education – Times Union

During three hours of budget testimony, state Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia tried to make the case that anything less than that would shortchange the state’s growing population of non-English speaking students, teachers who need training to roll out a revised set of Common Core learning standards, and families seeking quality prekindergarten programs. The biggest gap between the two proposals centers around foundation aid — base aid that is awarded to school districts through a complex formula that takes into account the level of student need and a community’s wealth in order to drive more funding to schools that really need it. Education officials also urged lawmakers to increase state support for the growing population of students who are learning to speak English. Elia also tried to make the case that the state should develop a $30 million professional development fund for teachers, who will need training as they draw up lesson plans and curriculum around a new set of K-12 learning standards.

Source: Elia: Budget plan shortchanges education – Times Union

Peru Democrats Schedule Meeting

The Peru Democratic Party meeting will be held on Thursday February 23rd, 2017 at 7 00PM.
The location will be the Peru Town Hall.

Peru wins wrestling title as athletes punch tickets to Albany – Sun Community News & Printing

15 wrestlers heading for state championship meet Feb. 24-25

Source: Peru wins wrestling title as athletes punch tickets to Albany – Sun Community News & Printing

A Lifetime Caring for People

Dr. Spear in his office today

Dr. Spear in his office today

By John T. Ryan

Peru – Dr. Merritt Spear’s longtime friend Nancy Fegan expressed the sentiments of many people when she said, “He’s there when you need him.”  His friends, family and associates agree that those words can be applied to his practice of medicine, pubic service, military service, politics and most importantly family.

This year Dr. Merritt Spear will celebrate his 52nd anniversary of practicing medicine in the North Country. His experiences have been vast – private practice, Peru Central School physician, Clinton County Coroner, Director of SUNY Plattsburgh Health Services and Director of SUNY Plattsburgh Sports Medicine. Anyone attending hockey games at the Ronald B. Stafford Ice Arena will see him at the end of the rink. His resume reads: SUNY Plattsburgh Director of Sports Medicine 1976-present.

Peru residents probably know Dr. Spear best as the team physician for Peru’s great wrestling and football teams. Others know him as Director of Sports Medicine for the Empire State Games and Chairman of Medical Services for the Bobsled and Luge World Cup and World Championships or as a medical team member at the 1980 Lake Placid Olympic Games.

Dr. Spear 2

Alison, Stephanie, Dr. Spear, Joan, Jennifer & Geoffrey (2009) 

Nevertheless, with all these accomplishments on his resume , when asked what he’s most proud of Dr. Spear quickly responded, “My family!” This year Dr. Spear and his wife Joan will celebrate their 58th wedding anniversary. While sports medicine has taken him away from home for many hours, Dr. Spear believes it has enhanced his family life. He explained, “My kids (Geoffrey, Stephanie, Alison and Jennifer) are athletic. I’ve been able to see what they were doing. It fit into a pattern. I’ve followed the kids and I’ve gotten to know the people who taught them. I loved every minute of it.”


Dr. Spear (Ft. Row, 3rd from left) Albany Medical College Class photo

A Plattsburgh native, Dr. Spear is a Plattsburgh High School and University of Vermont graduate. He and Joan were married in 1959 during his last year at Albany Medical College. The Spears moved to Peru in 1965 when he was hired as Peru’s school physician. They purchased their historic home at 2985 Main Street where Dr. Spear opened a private practice. In 1973 he joined Dr. Travers Robbins and Dr. Victor Ludewig to open the Beaumont Medical Center on the Bear Swamp Road.

While Dr. Spear is reticent when speaking of his accomplishments, he has wonderful memories of his military service. Not long after arriving in Peru he joined the U.S. Army Medical Corps, first as a member of the Vermont Reserves and then as a member the Vermont National Guard. His weekend duty and summertime encampments continued for 29 years. He retired in 1994 at the rank of Colonel. He remarked, “I’m very proud of my association with the Reserves and National Guard. I met some good people.”

Politics has also been one of his special pursuits, an interest undoubtedly sparked by his father Merritt Spear who served two terms as Plattsburgh mayor and one term as a city counselor. Dr. Spear was elected Clinton County Coroner in 1976 and was reelected two times.

A dedicated Republican, he has served on the Peru and Clinton County Republican Committees and has a special regard for former NYS Assembly member Janet Duprey. He said, “I worked hard for Janet Duprey. She was very good in that position.” Janey Duprey in turn considers Dr. Spear to be a very special man. She said, “Dr. Spear has been there for me for forty-one years. He’s definitely the person most responsible for me running for the state assembly. He told me to run and he said I could win. I thought about it. Then I told him, ‘I’ve got a deal. I will run for the assembly if you will be my campaign manager.’” Dr. Spear accepted that deal and was ready to continue if Janet had run for reelection in 2016.

Members of the SUNY Plattsburgh Sports Medicine Department hold Dr. Spear in the highest regard. Physicians Assistant Anna D’Angelo, Assistant to the Director of Sports Medicine, has worked with Dr. Spear since 1978 at SUNY Plattsburgh, at the Empire State Games and at Peru Central. She said, “Dr. Spear is very sensitive, a very dedicated physician who truly cares about the people he takes care of. He taught me the art of medicine.” Her description reinforces Dr. Spear’s self-characterization when he said, “I like working with people. I’m not a gadget guy.”

Jason Pachter, SUNY Plattsburgh’s Head Athletic Trainer said, “Dr. Spear is an icon in this department. He helps cover all seventeen of our sports and he’s a member of the SUNY Plattsburgh Athletic Hall of Fame. He gets along with the athletes and he knows sports medicine.” Pachter said Dr. Spear knows when the athletes can safely return to action after an injury, something that’s very important to the athletes and the teams.

Today Dr. Spear considers himself semi-retired, but he still says, “I have no desire to quit what I’m doing.” Undoubtedly Dr. Spear will be here as long as he is able and as long as we need him. He will continue practicing his art – the art of medicine.

Dr. Merritt Spear’s still-active resume:
Private Practice 1965-1976
Peru Central School Physician 1965-1990
Director, College Health Service – SUNY Plattsburgh 1976-1991
Director of Sports Medicine, SUNY Plattsburgh 1976-present
College Physician (half-time) 1991-1999
Consultant in Adolescent and Sports Medicine, CVPH Medical Center 1976-1991
Clinical Instructor in Medicine at Albany Medical College 1965-1999
Colonel. Medical Corps, U.S. Army Reserves and Vermont National Guard, Retired.
Member, Advisory Committee, NY State Governor’s Council on Lifetime Health, Fitness and Sport 1993-1994
Director of Sports Medicine Empire State Games 1980 – present
Team Physician, Peru Central School 1965-1990
Member Medical Services, 1980 Olympic Games, Lake Placid
Chairman, Medical services for World Cup and World Championships Luge and Bobsled, Lake Placid February – March 1983
Physician in Training, Olympic Training Center, Colorado Springs August 1982
Chairman, Sports Medicine section of United States Bobsled Association 1982-1984
Member, Sport Medicine Advisory Board, U.S. Olympic Training Center, Lake Placid
Lecturer – Various
Clinton County Coroner 1976-85
Member Board of Directors March of Dimes, Northern NY Chapter 1966-1991
Member Board of Directors Senior Citizens Council of Clinton County – 2005-2011, 2013 –

SUNY Plattsburgh Sports Hall of Fame October 1995
Eastern Athletic Trainers Association David G. Moyer Award January 2006
New York State Athletic Trainers Association Kent Scriber Award July 2015

DEC Statewide Forest Ranger Highlights

Forest Ranger Actions for 2/6 – 2/12/17

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Forest Rangers respond to search and rescue incidents statewide. Working with other state agencies, local emergency response organizations, and volunteer search and rescue groups, Forest Rangers locate and extract lost, injured, or distressed people from New York’s backcountry.

In 2016, DEC Forest Rangers conducted 356 search and rescue missions, extinguished 185 wildfires that burned a total of 4,191 acres, and worked on cases that resulted in nearly 3,000 tickets or arrests.

Recent missions carried out by DEC Forest Rangers include: Read more »

IT specialist was New York State’s top overtime earner in 2016 – NY Daily News

State government’s 2016 overtime queen is an information technology specialist whose extra pay nearly tripled her regular salary.

Source: IT specialist was New York State’s top overtime earner in 2016 – NY Daily News

New York’s water infrastructure needs estimated at $80B over 20 years – Times Union

ALBANY — Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed $2 billion in his budget to be used over five years to upgrade and protect drinking water but some estimates for the total cost of water infrastructure needs in the coming decades are 40 times that amount. A joint legislative budget hearing on environmental conservation held Monday in Albany shed light on the state’s overall needs for the largely unseen infrastructure that keeps clean water running and wastewater treatment humming. […] state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli’s office estimated Monday that the state’s water systems may need roughly $40 billion for drinking water system repairs and improvements over 20 years. Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan, R-Long Island, suggested at an unrelated event Monday that the Legislature and governor should enter into a memorandum of understanding on how to spend this year’s proposed investment.

Source: New York’s water infrastructure needs estimated at $80B over 20 years – Times Union

A Wonderful Message from Sister Debbie of the North Country Mission of Hope

Good morning everyone,

Just a few important reminders this morning, since we are in the final days of preparation for Mission #67. I’m not certain I will get a regular news/notes out later this week, so did not want you to overlook the following:

1. Deadline for applications for summer mission is March 1, 2017. Tentative travel dates will be around July 5th. Applications can be found on our newly designed website via this link:

2. News and notes daily during Mission: Back by popular demand will be our daily news/notes while we are on Mission next week. Bonnie Black will do the bulk of the daily info and I’ll add bits and pieces as needed. We have a VERY full schedule, so I think you will really enjoy reading about our “hearts and hands working together to improve lives”. Stay tuned….and thanks in advance, Bonnie!

3. I still need a few more folks who could pick up an education sponsorship. If you think you could do that, please contact me this week. Read more »

Get Ready to Dial 518 to Phone Your Neighbor

NYS Comptroller DiNapoli Comments on Gov. Cuomo’s Executive Budget

DiNapoli: Executive Budget Reduces Out-Year Gaps, Diminishes Independent Oversight
Federal Funding Questions Pose Increased Risk for State

The $162.2 billion Executive Budget includes proposals to address infrastructure needs while reducing out-year gaps, but shifts some spending off-budget and would expand Executive authority to reshape spending and programs without legislative input, according to a report released today by New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli.
“The 2017-18 Executive Budget seeks to balance spending and revenue and proposes much needed capital investments in clean water projects while increasing funding for education, health care and other programs,” DiNapoli said. “Still, several proposals raise issues regarding checks and balances over use of the public’s dollars and would diminish independent oversight.”
The budget projects total All Funds spending of $162.2 billion in state fiscal year (SFY) 2017-18, up 3.8 percent from the current year. These figures include federal aid associated with the Affordable Care Act and disaster-related assistance, which the Division of the Budget (DOB) excludes from its primary presentation of $152.3 billion in All Funds spending.
The budget proposal comes at a time of significant risk involving the federal budget. It includes $54.3 billion in federal assistance, or one in every three dollars in total. These funds are critical to help pay for essential investments in human services, transportation, education, environmental programs and health care. Federal Medicaid support has increased by billions of dollars as a result of the Affordable Care Act and other policy changes and is projected to rise another $3.3 billion over the next four years. The current budget debate in Washington threatens much of that funding.
Total revenue is projected at $160.4 billion, an increase of 4.4 percent. Although DOB estimates tax revenues in the current year to remain relatively flat, it expects such revenues to rise by $4.2 billion, or 5.6 percent, in SFY 2017-18, in part because of the Executive’s proposal to extend the higher personal income tax (PIT) rate for upper-income earners for an additional three years. Federal aid is projected to rise by $1.4 billion, or 2.6 percent, in the coming year and by $4.2 billion through SFY 2020-21.
DOB projects that spending will exceed revenues in the General Fund by an average of $2.1 billion in the three years starting in SFY 2018-19. Such projected gaps are substantially reduced from earlier projections in large part because of the proposed extension of the top PIT rate and various spending shifts which change reported expenditure levels and growth.
The budget includes several proposals potentially affecting the expenditure of tens of billions of dollars that would give the Executive expanded authority to reshape the budget after it has been adopted by the Legislature. These include the ability to increase or decrease planned expenditures, change the identified purpose of spending and reallocate spending to other state agencies and public authorities. For example, numerous Local Assistance appropriations would authorize the Director of the Budget to reduce planned spending if receipts – including but not limited to federal aid – are lower than projected.
Certain other aspects of the Budget raise concerns with respect to transparency, accountability and oversight. These include:
A lack of clarity regarding spending levels and growth;
Continued use of lump-sum appropriations; and
Additional proposed limits on the Comptroller’s independent oversight of the use of public resources, including review of various contracts and debt issuances.
Eliminating these provisions creates risk of misuse of such resources and higher costs for taxpayers.
General Fund reserves at the end of the current fiscal year are projected to total $6.8 billion, down by $2.1 billion from a year earlier. They are projected to decline by another $1.2 billion by the end of SFY 2017-18. DOB anticipates a $150 million deposit to the Rainy Day Reserve in SFY 2017-18, if fiscal conditions permit.
The budget proposes increased bonding authorization for state-supported debt of nearly $8.9 billion, or 6.8 percent, over existing authorizations. None of these authorizations would require voter approval. Spending under the proposed five-year Capital Program and Financing Plan is projected to total $66.2 billion, an increase of $2.8 billion, or 4.4 percent, from the current Plan.
The Executive Budget also: Read more »

United Way Surpasses $725,000 Goal

2017 Campaign Team Results

United Way Officials and the volunteer Campaign Team meet to announce to the media that the Campaign Team raised $725,115.00 for the 2017 Campaign to help with high priority health and human service needs throughout the Adirondack Region. Pictured here at the table from left to right is Assemblyman Billy Jones, Past Campaign Chair and Board Member; Amy Kretser, Campaign Chair; John C. Bernardi, Executive Director/CEO; Bill Ferguson, SEFA Chair and pictured in the back are members of the United Way Campaign Team and staff.

Amy Kretser, Executive Director of North Country Association for the Visually Impaired (NCAVI), served as the Campaign Chair this year. She said “we are so delighted to deliver this exciting news to our three county region. It is once again a testament to the generosity and caring nature of the North Country. It was very challenging this year Read more »

Monday Town Board Agenda


Call Meeting To Order

Pledge of Allegiance

Roll Call

MOTION: Approval of Minutes for the Town Board Regular Meeting of December 30, 2016 and January 23, 2017

DISCUSSION/MOTION: Reports from all Departments: (Water/Sewer/Valcour; Highway; Town Clerk; Dog Control; Youth Department; Code/Zoning; Supervisor’s Report; Court; Website; and Banking Reports)

Community Input

DISCUSSION/MOTION: Reschedule Zoning Board of Appeals Manning Reduction.

DISCUSSION: Water/Sewer Projects Update.

DISCUSSION: Fire Alarm Inspections

DISCUSSION: New truck Purchase for Parks.

DISCUSSION: Fertilimer Issue Update.

DISCUSSION/RESOLUTION: Transfer of Monies for Vac Truck Paydown.

Other Business.
Community Input on Agenda Items.

Motion to Adjourn.

DEC Announces 2016 Bear Harvest Results

Bear hunters in New York State took 1,539 black bears during the 2016 hunting seasons, Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos announced today.

“New York has excellent bear habitat and vast, accessible public lands that offer exciting opportunities for bear hunting,” said Commissioner Seggos. “Black bears are thriving in New York currently, and are a great resource for both out-of-state and local hunters.”

Hunters took a total of 1,025 black bears in the Southern Zone, about 10 percent fewer than in 2015, but slightly more than the recent five-year average. Nearly equal numbers of bears were taken during the bow season, 379 bears, and regular season, 398 bears. The early season, which occurs only in a handful of management units in the Catskill region, yielded 228 bears.

In the Northern Zone, 514 bears were harvested, approximately 12 percent fewer than in 2015, but on par with the historical average. Bear harvest in the Northern Zone tends to alternate between strong harvests during the early season one year, followed by strong harvests during the regular season the next year, based primarily on cycles of food availability. In 2016, hunters were most successful during the early season, taking 238 bears, while the regular season produced 167 bears. Read more »

Unlike many, New York mostly avoids risky pension gambles – Times Union

Governor Cuomo Announces Free Fishing Days in New York | Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

Several free fishing events in New York State will take place next weekend.

Source: Governor Cuomo Announces Free Fishing Days in New York | Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

Peru School Board Regular Meeting February 14, 2017

Peru Central’s Board of Education launches its regular monthly meeting on Tuesday, February 14, 2017 at 6:00 PM at the school district’s Community Room, adjacent to the main entrance of Peru Jr/Sr High School. An executive session associated with particular personnel matters will take place immediately following the 6:00 PM start. The school board is slated to reconvene for public session business at approximately 7:00 PM. Anticipated topics include:

· Update from Peru 2020 Connections Committee
· Timeline for Code of Conduct Review
· Bid Award
· Facilities Use
· Appointment of Personnel

Peru School District Seeks Board Candidate

The Peru Central School District is seeking candidates to fill one (1) vacancy on the Board of Education, due to the expiration of the term of Ms. Linda Morgan.

The seat is at large for a five-year term from July 1, 2017 – June 30, 2022.

The ‘Petition for Nomination of Candidate’ is available in the District Office at 17 School Street on Mondays through Fridays, except school holidays, or via the web at Petitions must be directed to the School District Clerk, shall be signed by at least 25 qualified voters of the District, and shall state the name, residence and phone number of the candidate. Petitions must be returned no later than 5:00 PM on Monday, April 17, 2017.

The School Board Election will be held on Tuesday, May 16, 2017.

Pension forfeiture heads to the voters – Sun Community News & Printing

PLATTSBURGH — Should public officials convicted of felony crimes be stripped of their pensions?

Source: Pension forfeiture heads to the voters – Sun Community News & Printing

Maria Remillard Named to SUNY Geneseo’s Dean’s List for Fall Semester 2016

GENESEO, NY (02/09/2017)– Maria Remillard from Peru, NY (12972), has been named to SUNY Geneseo’s Dean’s List for the fall semester 2016. To be on the list, a student must have achieved at least a 3.5 grade point average while taking a minimum of 12 credit hours.

SUNY Geneseo is a premiere public liberal arts college dedicated to developing socially responsible citizens with skills and values for a productive life.

Valentine Sunday’s Fish Fry & Music

February 12, 2017

Fish Fry from 12-4 p.m. Only $10
Music by the Senior Serenaders 1 -4 p.m.

Peru Memorial VFW
710 Pleasant St, Rt 22B
Peru, NY 12972

Proceeds to benefit our veterans.

Enjoy 4th Sunday Breakfasts at the Peru VFW

4th Sunday Breakfast Only $10

Bacon, Scrambled Eggs, Biscuits & Sausage Gravy, Corned Beef Hash, Pancakes or French Toast with Real Maple Syrup, Juice & Coffee

Feb 26th from 9 a.m. to Noon.

Peru Memorial VFW
710 Pleasant St
Peru, NY 12972

A Brief Video Explaining the North Country Mission of Hope Mission

Snowmobilers Urged to Follow Designated Trails and Avoid Frozen Bodies of Water


The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (State Parks) are reminding snowmobilers to ride responsibly and put safety first as they enjoy the state’s abundant snowmobiling opportunities.

“With recent tragedies in mind, DEC is encouraging snowmobilers to follow common sense safety recommendations. In addition to wearing a helmet, snowmobilers are encouraged to stick to designated trails,” said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. “Given the warmer temperatures we’ve had this winter, lakes and ponds that appear to be frozen over may be deceiving. Venturing out on ice that is not thick enough can lead to tragedy and we want to ensure that snowmobilers have an enjoyable time while also taking proper precautions to stay safe.”

Four inches of ice is usually safe for accessing ice on foot. Double that thickness for traveling on white ice. Ice thickness can vary on every body of water or even within the same body of water. The presence of snowmobile tracks or footprints on the ice should not be considered evidence of safe ice conditions. Individuals are strongly encouraged to check ice conditions and avoid situations that appear to present even a remote risk. Testing the thickness of ice can be done with an auger or ice spud at various spots. Read more »

Public Invited to Regional Economic Development Council Meeting

What: A public meeting of the North Country Regional Economic Development Council (NCREDC). The region is composed of Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Hamilton, Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties.

Who: The NCREDC is co-chaired by Garry Douglas, President of the North Country Chamber of Commerce, and Tony Collins, President of Clarkson University. All individuals, businesses, organizations, labor and education representatives from the North Country region are welcome to attend the meeting.

When: Tuesday, February 14, 2017, at 1 p.m.

Where: Lake Placid Convention Center
Lussi Ballroom, 2nd Floor
2608 Main Street
Lake Placid, NY 12946

Paid parking is available in the adjacent municipal lot.

** Members of the public may RSVP here. **

For more information about the CFA process and Regional Council initiative, please visit:

Research Explores Birch Syrup Production for Maple Sugarmakers

Lake Placid, NY; February 8, 2017. The farmer-driven Northern New York Agricultural Development Program has posted the results of a project exploring opportunities for regional maple sugarmakers to produce birch syrup at Four sugarhouses participated in the 2015-2016 birch syrup project; one each in Clinton, Essex, Franklin and Jefferson counties.

‘All species of birch trees produce sap that can be processed into syrup that sells at a high price point,’ says project leader Michael L. Farrell, author of The Sugarmaker’s Companion: An Integrated Approach to Producing Syrup from Maple, Birch and Walnut Trees.

‘In some areas a gallon of birch syrup can sell for $200 with gross revenues of $20 per tap, which is significantly higher than most maple syrup operations generate,’ says Farrell, director of the Cornell University Uihlein Forest in Lake Placid, NY.

But, Farrell quickly points out that while birch syrup production has the potential to be a profitable enterprise for existing maple producers, several prerequisites are required, including a proper number of birch trees to produce a sufficient amount of sap to support efficient use of commercial-scale maple processing equipment.

One option for smaller sugarmakers that Farrell suggests in the Producing Syrup from Birch Trees in NNY report posted at is to pool their birch sap for processing by one larger commercial operation.

Paul Smith’s College Visitor Interpretive Center Maple Program transported the sap collected from 61 paper birch trees there 20 miles to the Uihlein Forest sugarhouse for processing.

Farrell notes that the trial at Paul Smith’s also produced conclusive evidence that using 5/16-inch spouts will provide significantly more sap than 3/16-inch spouts.

In Ellenburg Center, Brandy Brook Maple Farm owner Joy Herfurth tapped 40 white and yellow birch trees and gathered data on sugar content and sap volume. She made about two gallons of birch syrup. A half-gallon sold for $80.

‘I was interested to participate in this research as a way to develop an opportunity for extra income. We used a smaller boiling pan that helps extend our maple season when sap volume decreases,’ Herfurth says. ‘This type of regional research is part of helping landowners discover untapped resources they may not be aware of or may be cutting down for firewood.’

For now, producing birch syrup is on hold at Brandy Brook Maple Farm which has 10,000 maple taps and has opened a new maple-influenced winery, but Herfurth says if birch syrup catches on with consumers, specialty food stores, and restaurants to build market demand she will consider tapping the 150 or so birch trees she has in the future.

Birch syrup is produced on a commercial scale by sugarmakers in Alaska and Canada. Farrell says, ‘More birch syrup production research and consumer awareness building could help North Country sugarmakers expand their use of the northern New York landbase with this niche product.’

The farmer-driven Northern New York Agricultural Development Program is a research and technical assistance program serving Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties. Funding for the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program is supported by the New York State Senate and administered through the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets.

Woman charged with stealing from rescue group | Local News |

Shannon C. Bresett, 42, of Saranac Lake allegedly spent more than $20,000 belonging to Champlain Valley Search and Rescue.

Source: Woman charged with stealing from rescue group | Local News |

Nick Lawliss of Peru, N.Y., Named Presidential Scholar at Clarkson University

POTSDAM, NY (02/07/2017)– Nick Lawliss of Peru, N.Y., a senior majoring in mechanical engineering, was named a Presidential Scholar for the fall 2016 semester at Clarkson University.

Presidential Scholars must achieve a minimum 3.80 grade-point average and carry at least 14 credit hours.

Clarkson University educates the leaders of the global economy. One in five alumni already leads as an owner, CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. With its main campus located in Potsdam, N.Y., and additional graduate program and research facilities in the Capital Region and Beacon, New York, Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university with signature areas of academic excellence and research directed toward the world’s pressing issues. Through more than 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, education, sciences and the health professions, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo, and connect discovery and innovation with enterprise.

“Global Warming Has Come to the North Country”

The Alice T. Miner Museum Presents Climate Change in the North Country – A Talk by Dr. Curt Stager

Thursday, March 2, 2017 at 6:00 p.m.

Chazy, N.Y.—The Alice T. Miner Museum is pleased to announce that Dr. Curt Stager, professor of natural sciences at Paul Smith’s College, will speak on the regional impact of climate change on March 2.

Climate change is about more than distant polar bears and rising sea levels. It is happening here, too. What changes are already under way, how do we know, and what changes may be coming in the future? Taking the long view with the help of geologic history and local records from our own home turf can help to answer such questions. It’s not all doom and gloom, fortunately, but one thing is certain: global warming has come to the North Country.

Dr. Curt Stager is a climate scientist, educator, and author whose research deals with the climatic and ecological histories of Africa and the Adirondacks. He co-hosts Natural Selections, a weekly science program on North Country Public Radio, and is the author of three books, including Deep Future: The Next 100,000 Years of Life on Earth. In 2013, the Carnegie-Case Foundations named him Science Professor of the Year for New York State. Since 1987 he has taught natural sciences at Paul Smith’s College, where he holds the Lussi Chair in Lake Ecology and Paleoecology.

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