Watertown 365 Podcast October 22, 2021

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Welcome to another episode of Watertown 365 podcast for the week of October 22nd. We bring you Watertown’s latest scoops, news & stories, with 2 business spotlights that you have to watch out for in the later part of this episode. Sit back and relax, and let’s begin with our first story. Wondering where to dine next? New Watertown restaurant serving southern fusion style food aims to bring diners downtown. Spreading joy is what Watertown church members aim as they held up signs and passed out goodies to drivers for free. Imagine going to a pet shelter and seeing no dogs. That was the case at the Jefferson County SPCA as they see a rare event when all dogs were adopted. Looking for halloween fun? Boo at the Zoo brings some early Halloween spirit! Coming up, cases of fatal deer disease found in Jefferson County. At the end of the episode, we will share to you 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 for this week’s Watertown365 podcast.

New Watertown restaurant aims to bring diners downtown

 A new Watertown restaurant hopes to get more people interested in downtown.

Empire Square opened recently, serving what it calls southern fusion style food, like chicken and waffles.

The restaurant showcases eclectic decor and a Prohibition style cocktail bar.

The owner, a military veteran, has owned the building for 15 years. This is her second restaurant in the location.

Vonnette Monteith says she’s hoping Empire Square adds to the options downtown.

Monteith hopes to educate diners on the history of downtown and her building, built in 1855. She says it has been home to different restaurants for more than 100 years.

Watertown church members spent Sunday spreading joy

The goal on Sunday was simple: “Bring the mood of people up,” said Calvin Huddleston. Members from Watertown’s New Life Christian Church spent Sunday holding up signs and passing out apple cider to drivers for free. “We just want to let people know that they’re loved, bring some hope in this world where it’s getting a little rough right now,” said Linda Damon.

Other members of the church brought the goods directly to people, knocking on doors at Ontario Village Apartments.

Other members of the church brought the goods directly to people, knocking on doors at Ontario Village Apartments.

“Would you like some goodies today? We just wanted to make your day,” said Alicia Patchett.

It’s Patchett’s first time participating. She says she signed up to do it this year to make a difference. According to Patchett, if we just get to a few people and show them that the kindness of strangers is out there, and we can become more positive in this world. The church members don’t ask for anything in return. For them, the reward is seeing a stranger’s day get better. Some cars passing through Public Square didn’t get the chance to stop, but honked at the signs. Whether it was a sign, a curbside pickup, or a delivery, the joy was in the gesture.

Jefferson County SPCA sees rare event: all dogs adopted

Imagine going to a pet shelter and seeing no dogs. That was the case at the Jefferson County SPCA.

The shelter currently has one dog on its adoption board. That’s one more than the SPCA had over the weekend when the group announced it was able to get all of its dogs into forever homes.

In her one year at the SPCA, assistant manager Caitlyn Alberry says this is a first.

Alberry says the SPCA attributes much of the success to the staff and volunteers preparing the dogs for potential adopters.

A lot of the dogs are in a better state mentally, so they are more adoptable when people do come through. 

Alberry says they have been doing a lot more behavioral assessments before taking in dogs, making sure the shelter atmosphere is the best place for them as opposed to possible foster care or other options.

The space has also been fielding numerous calls from people looking to bring their pets in to get update shots. It’s due to many local veterinarians not having the capability to bring on new patients.

Alberry says the SPCA is hoping to bring its own vaccine clinics in the near future.

Right now, they are in the process of looking for a new veterinary technician, so they are hoping to start back up in November just because the demand is so high.

Alberry says she is unsure when more dogs will become available, but the SPCA is beginning to reach out to other local shelters with higher capacities to see if they can help take some of the dogs off its hands.

Boo at the Zoo brings some early Halloween spirit

It’s not Halloween yet, but people had the chance Sunday to dress up and go trick-or-treating all while checking out some animals.

It’s for Zoo New York’s annual “Boo at the Zoo” event.

This year’s theme is Pokemon and Nintendo, but people can wear any costume they’d like.

Kids went trick-or-treating at different places around the zoo which was decked out with Halloween decorations. Zoo officials say it makes for a good warm-up to Halloween.

If you didn’t make it to the zoo last weekend, have no fear. Boo at the Zoo is happening this Saturday and Sunday as well.

Cases of fatal deer disease found in Jefferson, St. Lawrence counties

There have been 10 cases of a fatal deer disease found in Jefferson and St. Lawrence counties so far this year, an indication that the outbreak isn’t as concentrated as prior years.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation recently confirmed its suspicions that there was Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease, or EHD, in Jefferson County. Although it’s gotten hunters worried, there aren’t any planned changes to hunting seasons at this time.

About 152 dead deer have been reported to the DEC by the public in Jefferson County, and seven were found to be positive with EHD, a typically fatal disease for deer that is transmitted by biting midges, which are small insects sometimes called no-see-ums or ‘punkies.’ The disease is not spread from deer to deer, and humans cannot be infected by deer or bites from midges.

About 42 deer were reported in St. Lawrence County, with three testing positive for EHD. There were zero dead deer reported in Lewis County.

Steve Heerkens, a DEC wildlife biologist, said EHD is becoming more common in northern parts of the United States.

In New York last year, 1,500 deer were reported, but all were exclusive to the lower Hudson Valley. This year’s outbreak is far more distributed, with many counties experiencing EHD for the first time. As of Tuesday, there were just over 1,900 deer reported statewide, Mr. Heerkens said.

While EHD outbreaks can remove a number of deer from a local population, they generally do not have a significant long-term impact on regional deer populations, he said. Dead deer do not serve as a source of EHD infection to animals or people, and there are no changes to deer seasons planned in the Northern Zone.

There are no tools or management strategies to eliminate EHD, he said. Cold weather and frost limit the activity of the midges that transmit the virus. Colder weather will force the midges to go dormant, stunting the spread of the virus.

Tri-county area reports 152 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday

The tri-county area reported a total of 152 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday.

Neither Jefferson, Lewis nor St. Lawrence counties reported any new COVID-19-related deaths.

Jefferson County reported 87 new positive cases, bringing its total since the start of the pandemic to 10,217. There are 23 people within the county hospitalized, unchanged from Tuesday. The county has experienced 95 COVID-19 deaths.

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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!