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Watertown eclipse events to cost city $135,000

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The city is spending $135,500 on hosting events associated with the solar eclipse on April 8.

On Monday night, City Council members will be asked to amend the city budget by $123,000 to pay for anticipated costs related to the upcoming total eclipse of the sun.

When the city first started planning for the eclipse, council put aside $12,500 for the event.

But that’s when city officials thought that between 7,500 and 10,000 people would be attending the Total Eclipse in the Park event on that day.

But now as many as 174,000 people might be coming into the Watertown area to view the eclipse, considered North America’s most anticipated celestial event for years to come.

If it’s sunny, organizers believe that Thompson Park will be one of the best places to view the eclipse.

Mayor Sarah V.C. Pierce expects that the $123,000 will cover all the city’s expenses to put on park and other events.

Those expenses are mainly for paying for shuttle buses that will be used to transport visitors in the park, public safety measures for overtime for police officers and firefighters working that day and for other security, according to a memo from City Manager Eric Wagenaar.

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Boo at the Zoo fundraiser kicks off, continues next weekend

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WATERTOWN — The drive through Thompson Park on Saturday made for the perfect Northern New York fall setting as boys and girls dressed as superheroes, cartoon characters, bumblebees and more made their way to Zoo New York for the annual Boo at the Zoo event.

“We come every year,” Stephanie Chouinard of Glen Park said. “It’s worth the money. The kids love to experience the animals and trick-or-treating.”

A young man with Ms. Chouinard expressed his love of the event, especially seeing the “kitties.”

The Chouinard family joined several hundred attendees on day one of the four-day event. Many visited the zoo to see bears, wolves, otters, elk, and barnyard favorites.

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Juneteenth festivities kick off Saturday in Watertown

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The local Juneteenth festivities will kick off on Saturday with music, an arts show and a festival.

The day’s events begin with a festival from noon to 5 p.m. at Jefferson Community College. The events are free and open to the public.

Juneteenth commemorates the ending of slavery in the U.S. and has been a national holiday since 2021.

Renowned scholar, activist, and organizational consultant, Professor James Small, honors this anniversary by sharing from his extensive knowledge and experience as special guest speaker.

This year’s Juneteenth Gallery is featured in partnership with the Community Folk Arts Center, Syracuse University (CFAC) and the North Country Arts Council.

Music will be provided by Trumptight315, Weusi Ensemble of Brooklyn and The Sounds of the City, from City of Refuge Church and more.

International students and military families also will perform other African music and poetry.

The celebration concludes at 12:30 p.m. Monday with a Juneteenth flag raising at City Hall, 245 Washington St.

The flag raising will be accompanied by The Sounds of the City and DJ Drex.

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Watertown hosts state forestry conference

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WATERTOWN — Mary E. Cosgrove stopped by to look at a tree in front of City Hall that she’s never seen or heard of before.

Mrs. Cosgrove, a member of Albany Goes Green, a group of tree enthusiasts, wanted to know more about the black maple, a species that’s somewhat prevalent in Watertown.

She was in Watertown on Friday for a three-day New York Tree ReLeaf Conference of the New York State Urban Forestry Council. It’s the first time that the three-day conference has been held in Watertown.

“It’s great it’s here,” said Dr. Jason F. White, chairman of Tree Watertown, a group devoted to the city’s tree population.

On Friday, City Manager Kenneth A. Mix welcomed the group, and city planner Michael J. DeMarco, who serves as the city’s urban forestry coordinator, was a keynote speaker.

“They’ve wanted to have the conference here for a few years,” he said.

Watertown is a Tree City. In April, the city marked the 25th year that Watertown held an Arbor Day event.

On Friday afternoon, forestry members took a tour of the Downtown Arboretum, a unique variety of trees along the 200 block of Washington Street.

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Local boxing: Second Battle of Badges draws crowd at Jefferson CC

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WATERTOWN — Amateur boxers traveled far and wide to compete in the second Battle of Badges event Saturday night.

Tom Aceto made the drive up from Watertown earlier in day all the way from New York City to fight on the 14-bout card, which was held at Jefferson County Community College.

The 50-year-old Aceto, who is a native of Herkimer and works in Manhattan, won his fight against Kyle Zimmerman, a Jefferson County probation officer, in a three-round decision at 195 pounds.

“I’m a lieutenant for the department of corrections,” Aceto said. “I actually work in Edgecombe Correctional Facility in Manhattan, so I made the long drive up here.”

Aceto, who said he tested positive for COVID-19 earlier in January, was pleased to get back into the ring after he was deemed healthy.

“I had COVID earlier in the month so I was shut down for a little while, but as you can see, I still support the cause,” Aceto said. “I had six or seven fights as a kid, but I hadn’t boxed in 30 years.”

The Battle of the Badges event, held by the Watertown Area Boxing Club, made its return after making its debut in 2019. The event wasn’t held last year because of concerns about COVID-19.

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