Hey everyone! Welcome to another episode of the Watertown365 podcast for the week of August 27th. We bring you Watertown’s latest scoops, news & stories, with 2 business spotlights that you have to watch out for at the end of this episode. Don’t go away now as we begin with our first story – Initial attendance numbers at the New York State Fair concerns vendors at the fair. Moving on to our next story, funding is now available for certain septic system replacement projects in Jefferson County. Have you gone along the sidewalks of Grant street? The city recently installed new sidewalk to replace all the sidewalks along the three blocks of Grant Street. Listen up! Rumors are true – The Burrville Cider Mill is officially open for the 2021 season. Learn more why Samaritan Medical Center has paused inpatient visitation and support people for outpatient care. At the end of the episode, we are sharing the latest updates about COVID 19 in Jefferson County. Also, let’s show some love and support to our local businesses especially during this pandemic as we give the spotlight to 2 businesses in Watertown this week. All that and more today on this week’s Watertown365 podcast.
Initial attendance numbers at the New York State Fair are coming in lower this year.
The first 18-day fair has been bringing in about half as many people as usual. Some people speculate that the delta variant and the longer fair may be contributing to bringing attendance down.
Alivero’s has always stood somewhat alone on the far west end of the Fairgrounds, but this year has felt especially isolating, its owner said.
“It’s frustrating,” owner Monica Bova said. “It’s disappointing. It’s depressing, and it’s lonely.”
Bova has operated the stand for 25 years. She says she usually sees a lot of business from the Future Farmers of America tent and people that pass on their way to the Youth Building and 4-H shows.
Additionally, the Fairgrounds is opening two hours later this year, which has taken away business that Alivero’s used to see during breakfast time.
For Bova, the unusual nature of the fair this year is making it hard for her to predict how business will turn out, but at the rate it’s going now, it doesn’t look good. Still, Bova is trying to remain positive. She’s hoping things pick up and more people will return next weekend. In the meantime, she’s hoping people will put in the steps to eat at a fair favorite.
Alivero’s is located behind the Exposition Center, across the street from the Talent Showcase Stage, behind the Indian Village.
To avoid future pollution issues in the North Country, funding is now available for certain septic system replacement projects in Jefferson County.
The Jefferson County Planning Department has announced that the New York State’s Environmental Facilities Corporation has opened the Second Round of the State Septic Replacement Fund Program. This program provides funds to repair or replace failing systems, or those considered “substandard,” located near targeted waterbodies.
According to the Planning Department, in Jefferson County, the purpose of this fund is to replace existing cesspools and septic systems that have significant and quantifiable impacts environmental or public health impacts to groundwater drinking sources, or a threatened waterbody.
In Jefferson County, priority areas that were identified in the first round of this program include Moon Lake, Red Lake, Indian River. Areas identified in round two continue to include Moon Lake, but also added the St. Lawrence River and Guffin Bay.
Property owners who have substandard septic systems located within 250 feet of these water bodies are encouraged to apply. Residents at year-round homes, seasonal homes, and rental properties are all eligible for this program.
The Jefferson County Planning Department will accept completed applications for this program through September 30, 2021. County staff will review and rank applications to determine eligibility. Applications that are not selected will remain on a waiting list and be considered for future selection.
Applications and additional information are on the County’s Planning Department’s webpage.
Ron Toper and his neighbor just replaced the sidewalks in front of their Grant Street homes five years ago.
But the city recently tore them up and installed new ones as part of a $251,380 project to replace all of the sidewalks along the three blocks of Grant Street.
The sidewalks along Tilden Street also were replaced this summer. Using Community Development Block Grant funding, the city completes sidewalk projects in low-income neighborhoods every year.
“I think aesthetically it certainly makes a big impact on neighborhoods,” said Michael A. Lumbis, the city’s planning and community development director. The new sidewalks also make it “a lot safer to walk,” he added.
Watertown receives the CDBG state funds every year because it’s an entitlement city.
This year’s projects also are a part of the city’s Complete Streets program, an initiative that makes city streets more bicycle and pedestrian friendly.
The sidewalks along Grant Street also are a foot wider than the old 4-foot-wide ones, an important feature because the street is used by students who walk to the nearby Starbuck school.
In the next year, the street’s curbing and paving also will be replaced. The street will end up a standard 26-feet wide.
While Grant Street is a low-volume traffic road, the narrower road will help slow down traffic, an important factor as it is in a school zone, city officials said. The wider grass margins also will make it better for snow storage for plows during the winter.
The project is slated to be completed within the next few weeks.
The rumors are true! The Burrville Cider Mill is officially open for the 2021 season.
The Burrville Cider Mill is run by the Steiner family for generations and is often known as Jefferson County’s “best kept secret.” It is also the oldest running establishment in the county as it was built in 1801. The store is located right in front of Talcott Falls, with decks connecting to the store to view the 30 foot waterfall.
This local store is primarily known for selling seasonal favorites such as local apples, fresh cheese curd, cider pressed on-site, and of course their infamous cider donuts. It is often noted as Jefferson County’s “best kept secret.”
However it was no secret on how excited local residents were for the opening. Only minutes after opening its doors on Thursday, the store already had a steady flow of customers, with more anticipated throughout the day.
Starting August 26, the Burrville Cider Mill will be open every day, including holidays from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Because of a local resurgence of COVID-19, Samaritan Medical Center has paused all inpatient visitation and support people for outpatient care effective Monday, August 23.
In a release sent Friday, August 20, the medical system announced that only patients may attend outpatient clinics, and no patients in the hospital will be permitted to see visitors out of an “abundance of caution,” in an attempt to keep both the general public and hospital patients staff safe.
This comes just three weeks after the hospital was forced to reopen its COVID-19 ward after it began seeing COVID-19 patients return to the emergency room and intensive care unit.
The visitation pause doesn’t include end-of-life patients, patients under 18 years old, nursery and neonatal ICU patients or patients who require support people due to developmental or cognitive impairments.
Any patients who still require a visitor with them while at Samaritan’s main Watertown campus should enter the hospital via the Rotunda main entrance, excepting obstetrics and maternity patients who should still enter through the women’s and children’s ward.
COVID infections continue to rise in the tri-county region, with another 86 cases reported Thursday.
In Jefferson County, 32 people tested positive for the virus. Nine people are hospitalized.
St. Lawrence County reported that it has 50 new infections and 21 hospitalizations.
Lewis County had 4 new cases. One person is in the hospital because of COVID.
No deaths were reported Thursday.
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Operation Hours: N/A
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Thank you for tuning in to this week’s episode. Don’t forget to visit our website, https://watertown365.com/, to stay up-to-date on our local news. You can also visit and like our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/watertown365 and leave us some comments! Stay tuned for next week’s exciting episode! Have a great weekend and always stay safe!