Welcome to another episode of Watertown 365 podcast for the week of October 29th. We bring you Watertown’s latest scoops, news & stories, with 2 business spotlights that you have to watch out for at the later part of this episode. Sit back and relax, and let’s begin with our first story. SeaComm Credit Union is set to build a new location in the town of Watertown. A donation that blew members off as anonymous donor gives ambulance service $5K. Jefferson County sees spike in pistol permit applications. Zoo New York at Thompson Park celebrated its 100th anniversary by unveiling a master plan. Next, early detection is key Samaritan Medical Center encourages people to get checked as October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. In other news, National Grid is on the road switching to electric vehicles. Theatre enthusiasts, Carthage Little Theatre will present ‘Steel Magnolias’ as its fall 2021 dinner theatre. At the end of the episode, we will share with 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.
SeaComm Credit Union plans to build town of Watertown branch
SeaComm Credit Union is set to build a new location in the town of Watertown.
It’s planned for outer Arsenal Street across from Target in the Towne Center.
A new road would be constructed at the light, which would go through the property and come out on nearby Route 202.
As for the new SeaComm branch, President and CEO Scott Wilson tells 7 News it’ll be 3,500 square feet, include 2 drive-thru lanes and an ATM line.
SeaComm plans to eventually move from its current Coffeen Street location it acquired when SeaComm merged with United Neighbors Credit Union.
SeaComm has 9 branches in Massena, Potsdam, Canton, Ogdensburg and Burlington, Vermont.
The town of Watertown planning board will talk about the proposal at a meeting next week.
To secure the new location, SeaComm worked with Tnara Route 3, LLC and local developer PJ Simao.
Donor gives ambulance service $5K
It was a donation that blew members of Indian River Ambulance Service away.
The ambulance service has been fundraising to equip all three of its ambulances with nitronox units.
Nitronox provides safe, non-opioid pain relief.
The squad needs two more. A recent $5,000 donation will buy those final two.
To get the support and the embrace of the community as it is is very humbling. But, to have someone who doesn’t even live here, just wants to take care of those that are the cloth of which he was cut, he wants to give back to them, just an enormous thank you,” said Lance Ronas, CEO and director, Indian River Ambulance Service.
The donor, who wishes to remain anonymous, doesn’t live in the area now, but we’re told he grew up in the region.
Jefferson County sees spike in pistol permit applications
They say they’re stressed and overwhelmed. Staff at the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office have their plates full with a spike in pistol permit applications this year.
Stacks of paperwork pile up at the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office. It’s all part of the pistol permit process.
The department has already received just north of 775 in 2021 – nearly 300 more than all of last year and almost 3 times as many as the number of applications received in 2019.
Sergeant Taylor reviews them all before they go to the sheriff. She says work for just one permit can take her understaffed team hours. That’s on top of their typical criminal case work.
Before you can even apply for your pistol permit through the sheriff’s department, there’s a class you have to take. A firearms shop in the town of Leray teaches it and the manager there says the courses are filling up consistently.
Taylor says the sheriff’s department usually sees a spike in pistol permit applications around big elections and it could have received more than 1,000 in 2020, but stopped taking them for part of year due to the pandemic.
She says that’s a reason why more people are applying now.
Taylor says it’s possible the sheriff’s office will get more than 900 applications by the end of the year.
Zoo New York unveils master plan
Zoo New York at Thompson Park celebrated its 100th anniversary by unveiling a master plan Wednesday which includes more animals, improved infrastructure, an improved gift shop, and a new “adventure park.”
Some new potential species include elk, moose, bison, caribou, ducks, geese and other large land-based birds, as well as animals from the Long Island Sound.
Other new amenities included in the proposal include a new aquarium, improved food service, and even a new adventure park that will include a tree top ropes course, a zip line, and a natural play area of logs, rocks, and natural surface exploration.
In the proposal, Mr. Sorel said that he wants the adventure park to have an extra parking lot so that it will be accessible to the public from Thompson Park, not just through the Zoo, and there will be fees “in some way.”
Also included in the proposal is a new walk-through bird aviary, which will allow for education on the different types of birds in the north country.
Zoo New York hopes to add animals from other parts of the state as well, specifically Long Island.
Zoo New York would also like to add new food services to the park, a “higher level fast-food service,” that would be accessible to the park, according to Mr. Sorel.
Mr. Sorel said that he understands that some people do not visit the zoo because they do not like having animals in cages. However, he said that Zoo New York strives to be more than that.
The proposed gift shop would be moved, and where the gift shop is now would become the entrance, with the exits then becoming now where the entrance/exit is currently. The room that currently is next to the cafe past the entrance would then become the gift shop, according to the plan.
Some of the existing exhibits will receive improvements. One that was mentioned specifically was the bear exhibit.
The master plan includes phases. Phase one includes improving the entrance, the addition of an aquarium, adding an additional education space, and the addition of a bison habitat.
The total cost of all of the phases is unknown, however, the total cost of phase one would be around $6 million with $3 million for the aquarium, education and support facilities. The zoo hopes to have fundraising from government funding, grant funding, and private individual funding, but were unsure of how it would look.
The plan will be brought up at the board meeting, which will then in the December board meeting will allow for it will come up for official adoption, then the proposal will have to be approved by the city of Watertown as the City owns the property.
Morning checkup: Breast Cancer Awareness Month
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and the folks at Samaritan Medical Center want to remind you that early detection is key.
Crystal Sterling is a breast care nurse navigator at Samaritan’s Women’s Wellness & Breast Care.
About one in eight women will develop breast cancer in their lifetimes. Men and women can develop breast cancer, even if it’s not in their family histories.
Women should have regular mammograms — which are still the best tool for detection — starting at age 40.
You can call 315-785-4155 for more information. You can also visit samaritanhealth.com.
National Grid switching to electric vehicles
National Grid is on the road to converting part of its vehicle fleet from combustion to electric engines.
The company plans to switch its pickup trucks, SUVS, passenger cars, and vans by 2030. That’s almost 5,800 hundred vehicles.
Kerry Martin is helping spearhead the project and says some electric passenger cars are already in use.
Martin acknowledges the hurdles in converting the fleet, like finding vehicles that can hold a charge, especially when traveling to rural and snowy areas.
But he says making the switch is important.
“Looking at the transportation industry, emissions from that sector account for about 20 to about 25 percent or so in the world. So, with us having such a large fleet in the Northeast, if we can do anything to try and mitigate that and curb that, we’re going to have to do so. And it’s definitely our responsibility to do so,” he said.
Martin says National Grid will be testing out an electric van in the near future.
Carthage Little Theatre to present ‘Steel Magnolias’
Carthage Little Theatre will present ‘Steel Magnolias’ as its fall 2021 dinner theatre.
The production will be held at Belva’s Sahara Restaurant at 39936 State Route 3 just outside of Carthage.
The dinner theater will be held November 5 at 6 p.m., at November 6 and 7 at 1 p.m.
The harvest dinner and show costs $35 per person.
Reservations can be made through October 28 by calling 315-493-2329.
Jefferson, Lewis counties report 5 total COVID-19 deaths Wednesday; tri-county area confirms 169 new virus cases
A total of five new COVID-19-related deaths were reported Thursday in Jefferson and Lewis counties.
The deaths in Jefferson County bring the county’s total since the start of the pandemic to 103. Lewis County’s deaths bring the county’s total to 35.
Jefferson County also reported 78 new cases of the virus, bringing its total to 10,643. There are 22 county residents hospitalized, two fewer than Wednesday.
When you feel some pain in your eyes and you can’t see clearly, then you need to pay your eye doctor a visit! Wondering where to find a quality eye care service in Jefferson County? Perry Optical team has been helping the North Country see better for more than 30 years! Perry Optical is catering to families and individuals specializing in patients with special needs and clients who may be hard to fit for glasses or contacts.
Location Perry Optical Vision Center II, 1125 Arsenal Street, Watertown NY
Contact Number 315-786-0133
Hours: Monday – Friday: 9:00 – 5:00 Sat 9:00 to 12:00
True Cut Tree Service
Whether the weather took you down, your tree is old and dying, or you just want see more of your own yard, True Cut can remove any unwanted Trees efficiently and effectively. True Cut Tree Service provides professional Tree Trimming and has the equipment to deal with 24 Hour Emergency Tree Removal (from Winter Blizzards, to Ice Storms and Microbursts, they have seen it all.)
Location: True Cut Tree Service 20377 Reasoner Rd
Tel. No: 315-836-4828
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!