Watertown365 Podcast September 10, 2021

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Welcome to another episode of Watertown365 podcast for the week of September 10th. 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 –Watertown considers building road to connect streets near Target plaza. Finally, North country school districts welcome students back for first day of school. After a violent attack on a city man’s dog, Watertown police ask for help locating people who attacked dogs. Looking for a great food to feast? Former Fort Drum officer opening second restaurant in Public Square! 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 business in Watertown this week. All that and more today for this week’s Watertown365 podcast.

Watertown considers building road to connect streets near Target plaza

A proposed road that would connect Route 12F to Route 3, across from the Target plaza, hit a dead end seven years ago when a Pittsford developer pulled out of a townhouse project.

But now the 357-unit townhouse project behind Walmart is back on the drawing board and so is the connector road.

Town Supervisor Joel R. Bartlett is back working on getting the connector road built, while addressing several aspects of the project.

He and other town officials have had a longtime goal to unsnarl busy traffic along outer Arsenal Street by connecting Route 12F, or outer Coffeen Street, with Route 3, also known as outer Arsenal Street.

If built, motorists would no longer have to drive on outer Arsenal Street to go between the mall and Walmart, Mr. Bartlett said.

The majority of the connector road would be built on vacant land between the new Morgan development and Walmart.

The major hurdle to get the road project back on track occurred with Morgan Management coming forward last month with plans to build the 357-unit townhouse off Route 202 and across the road from the 394-unit townhouse development that was built eight years ago.

If negotiations are successful, the connector road would include the loop road on the backside of the mall property, go behind Walmart, link up with Route 202 and cross that road with a new segment that would curve around and finally end up at Route 3. The connector road would connect outer Coffeen Street via an existing road, Salmon Run Mall Road, which sits just north of the mall.

A traffic light would be installed at the new intersection at the Target plaza entrance, near the old Bed, Bath and Beyond store, Mr. Bartlett said.

If built, the new road would be turned over to Jefferson County.

North country school districts welcome students back for first day of school

For many districts, Tuesday was the first day of school for the 2021-2022 school year, with streets lined with cars and busses full of students waiting to be dropped off at their respective schools marking the first day all of their students have returned for in-person instruction since March of 2020.

This included one of the largest districts in Jefferson County: The Watertown City School District, which serves around 4,000 students annually. Tuesday morning, Washington Street was busier than usual as the annual senior car parade took place, this year for the Class of 2022. Students were invited to decorate their cars, play music and cheer for the new school year.

Along with the annual car parade to start off the new school year for the district’s seniors, the day was full of excitement for younger grades as well.

The first day of school for the 2021-2022 school year went great, according to Superintendent Scott N. Connell, and was very similar to past years, aside from things like masking and distancing. With students used to wearing masks in school, there weren’t many problems Tuesday, although some students did need to be reminded to pull their masks over their noses, Mr. Connell said.

When COVID-19 shutdowns began in March of 2020, students began learning remotely. Some remained fully remote the following school year, while others followed hybrid instruction up until the year ended this past June.

Given that COVID-19 cases are ramping up once again and new mandates have been passed down from the state, the new year has brought uncertainty along with it.

With the goal of having kids be physically present in school each day, no remote or hybrid learning options were given to families this year in the north country, though schools do have plans for remote instruction should it become necessary.

Watertown police ask for help locating people who attacked dogs

After a violent attack on a city man’s dog, local police are asking for the public’s assistance in locating those responsible.

According to Detective Lt. Joseph R. Donoghue Sr., on Aug. 30 Iajah Hughes, of Ann Street, reported his dog King, an eight-year-old border collie/pit bull mix, had been found with numerous injuries.

Police found that King had escaped Mr. Hughes’s Ann St. home on Aug. 27, leading Mr. Hughes to share a post on Facebook asking for information on locating the canine.

On Aug. 30, police said a couple found the dog in their garage and called Mr. Hughes, having seen the Facebook post. The dog had numerous, apparently intentional, injuries and was taken to a local veterinary clinic for treatment.

According to the vet who examined King, the dog sustained a skull injury, multiple stab wounds and a burn to his tail.

City police are asking that anyone with any knowledge of the incident or who is responsible for the dog’s injuries contact the department at (315) 782-2233.

Former Fort Drum officer opening second restaurant in Public Square

Vonnette T. Monteith just couldn’t part with the historic building at 63-65 Public Square that she bought while she was still serving in the Army at Fort Drum in 2005.

While it wasn’t her original intention, she ended up opening a Mexican Restaurant, Casa de Flor, back then.

And now, acknowledging that she’s surprised that she’s doing it again, Ms. Monteith is opening another restaurant in the building she loves.

She and her four partners — she calls “the Founders” — opened Empire Square on Saturday with a soft opening, described as a tasting event featuring “Southern flaired” dishes.

In between opening the two restaurants, Ms. Monteith, 53, originally from Oregon, has lived a role of mother of four and an officer in the Army, retiring as a lieutenant colonel in 2015.

During her 29-year career in the Army, she ran track at West Point, was responsible for notifying families about soldier casualties and served as a public information officer during stints in the nation’s capital, Germany, Korea and Japan.

But it must be fate that she’s returned to the north country after serving at Fort Drum from 2004 to 2007.

Since deciding to open Empire Square, she and her partners have found a bunch of relics in the subbasement, where she believes booze was smuggled into the building through tunnels during the days of Prohibition.

During the renovations, they found old, empty bottles of alcohol hidden in the walls. They also found a 19th century iron pizza maker that’s now on display in the dining area and a vintage original Finesse wall sculpture of a woman the five women owners named “Diana, Goddess of Hearth and Heart.”

They plan to run weekly specials and offer a menu of fried green tomatoes, shrimp with grits, chicken and waffles, Fat Elvis French toast, sandwiches and burgers. Among the offerings of cocktails will be gin fizz and gin rickies.

Last week, Donald W. Rutherford, CEO of the Watertown Trust, said he thinks that Empire Square will be a good addition to downtown, where all but one storefront is now occupied.

Empire Square will be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays, 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturdays, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sundays and closed on Mondays.

Tri-county region reports 161 new COVID cases, 53 hospitalizations

St. Lawrence County reported 116 new COVID cases on Thursday. Public Health also said 34 people are hospitalized. Jefferson County reported 36 new cases and 11 hospitalizations. Lewis County had 9 new COVID infections. Eight people are hospitalized there. No new COVID deaths were reported in the tri-county region Thursday.

Business Spotlight

Rogers’ Hometown Pizzeria

Location: 4 West Church Street Adams, New York

Tel. No.: 315-232-3000

Hours:   Monday – Closed
              Tuesday – Thursday 3:00 PM – 8:00 PM
              Friday – Saturday 3:00 PM – 9:00 PM
              Sunday – 3:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Rogers’ Hometown only serve the best pizza and wings in town. Rogers’ take pride with their finest ingredients. Their dough is hand stretched daily. The secret recipe pizza sauce is mixed fresh each day! Your pizza crusts come in traditional or thick upon request.

Diamond Storage

Whether you’re looking for a Self Storage Unit to store your valuable personal belongings, or managing logistics for your business, Diamond Storage is your complete resource for home or business self storage in Watertown! Diamond Storage. They have built the business around making sure they have fixed these typical problems, and has ensured 100% customer satisfaction guarantee.

Location: Diamond Self Storage 24561 New York 37

Tel. No:  315-788-3036

Hours: offers 24 hour access, rentals and payments through their onsite Kiosk.

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!