Welcome to another episode of Watertown 365 podcast for the week of September 24th. 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 – bought your car seats and want to know how to safely use them? Free car seat checks across New York this week as part of part of Child Passenger Safety Week. Mark your calendars as Riverwalk Art Festival to be held in Watertown next month. It’s neighbor helping neighbor in Watertown- a heart warming story as neighbor finishes bike ride fundraiser for woman hit by car. Next, a rooming house in Watertown that was condemned, leaving dozens of people homeless, is now up in the market. Another story on our list, a disease that’s killing deer in New York state has spread to southern Jefferson County. And, Runnings finally opened in Watertown on Thursday! 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 business in Watertown this week. All that and more today for this week’s Watertown365 podcast.
Free car seat checks across New York this week
Parents and caregivers in New York’s North Country can get their car seats checked Thursday. It’s all part of Child Passenger Safety Week.
Gov. Kathy Hochul and the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee are behind the checks. They’re free and happening all over New York.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 3,000 child passengers under the age of 13 were killed from 2015 to 2019.
On Saturday, technicians will be at the Morrisonville EMS. This is from 10 a.m. until 1:30 p.m.
Riverwalk Art Festival to be held in Watertown
Watertown’s Downtown Business Association will host an arts festival next month.
Joseph Wessner, DBA president, appeared on 7 News at Noon on Thursday to talk about it. Watch his interview above.
The Riverwalk Art Festival will be held on Saturday, October 2 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Veteran’s Memorial Riverwalk Park.
The festival kicks off with the public unveiling of the mural, “The Inventions of Watertown.”
The festival will include music, dance, and art.
Neighbor finishes bike ride fundraiser for woman hit by car
In Watertown, it’s neighbor helping neighbor. It’s not about borrowing a lawn mower or asking for some sugar, it’s about a much bigger cause and it all starts with a bicycle crash.
Joanne Nugent-Ward is in good spirits after being involved in a head-on collision riding her bike in Watertown Monday.
Treated at Samaritan Medical Center, she needed a few stitches.
When her bike was hit by a car, Nugent-Ward was riding to raise money to end childhood cancer, participating in what’s called the Great Cycle Challenge.
Now, needing to recover, she can’t peddle the final 48 miles to reach her 150 mile goal.
That’s where Robert Finn comes in. He’s Joanne’s neighbor from across the street. Helping out was an easy choice.
“It wasn’t even a thought. As soon as I knew what was going on, she put a post that she couldn’t finish. I was like, oh, I’ll do it,” he said.
He’s doing well – riding 20 miles so far.
“Rob is the best neighbor that I could ever ask for and for him to come forward and offer to finish off my miles means everything to me,” said Nugent-Ward.
Once healed, she won’t shy away from getting back up on a bike to rack up more miles to support a cause that’s important to her.
Condemned Watertown rooming house for sale
A rooming house in Watertown that was condemned, leaving dozens of people homeless, is for sale.
The sale price for 661 Factory Street is listed as $599,000.
The building’s owner, Linda Mercer, declined comment Tuesday morning.
The city’s code enforcement office condemned the building in early August, after discovering the fire alarm system wasn’t working.
The building had other problems as well – code enforcement said it was infested with bedbugs and cockroaches, and there are plumbing and electrical hazards.
As a result of the building being condemned, about 40 tenants were forced out. Many of them ended up living in a temporary ‘tent city’ near 661 Factory, during a scorching hot summer week.
The building is on the market for $599,000, although it is assessed for $208,200. According to the listing ad for 661 Factory, it contains 35 units and “was previously generating over 200k per year in annual rent revenue.”
The building is still condemned, according to the listing.
The closing of 661 Factory – along with several other facilities that housed poor people going out of business – has prompted county officials to warn the county faces a significant homelessness problem.
Scott Gray, chairman of the Jefferson County legislature, said he hopes someone will buy the property and “essentially renovate it, make it livable, make the conditions in there suitable for the constituency, the certain population, the indigent population to live there.”
Gray said tearing down the building, despite its many problems, is not a good idea.
Once the building is sold and repaired, Watertown city council member Lisa Ruggiero said it needs to be better maintained.
“Maybe they need to have a manager who will be there, to make sure things are being run and managed correctly,” she said.
Deadly deer disease found in Jefferson County
A disease that’s killing deer in New York state has spread to southern Jefferson County.
It’s called Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease, or EHD, and it’s transmitted to deer through the bites of midges, small insects sometimes called no-see-ums or ‘punkies.’
This year, EHD has already killed 700 deer in the state.
The virus was first confirmed in New York deer in 2007, with relatively small outbreaks in Albany, Rensselaer, and Niagara counties, and in Rockland County in 2011.
From early September to late October 2020, a large EHD outbreak occurred in the lower Hudson Valley, killing an estimated 1,500 deer.
According to the state Department of Environmental Conservation, deer usually die within 36 hours of being infected with the virus.
EHD outbreaks are most common in the late summer and early fall when midges are abundant, although initial cases this year were detected in late July. As a result, it has been more widespread this year than during previous outbreaks.
In New York, 16 counties have seen cases, including southern Jefferson County.
Signs of the disease include fever, hemorrhage in muscles or organs, and swelling of the head, neck, tongue, and lips. A deer infected with EHD may appear lame or dehydrated.
Frequently, infected deer will seek out water sources and many die near a water source.
There is no treatment or means to prevent EHD.
Here’s the good news: the disease is not spread from deer to deer and humans cannot be infected by deer or bites from midges.
Dead deer do not serve as a source of infection for other animals.
The DEC said it’s unlikely to affect hunting season.
The first frost of the year typically wipes out the midges, reducing the spread of disease.
If you see a dead or dying deer suspected of having EHD, the DEC asks that you report it by calling a regional wildlife office.
Runnings finally opened in Watertown
Runnings, a Minnesota-based home, farm and outdoor department store, is has opened on Thursday in the old Kmart on outer Arsenal Street.
The company sells sporting goods, clothing, footwear, pet supplies, housewares, tools, farm supplies, lawn and garden supplies, toys, and outdoor equipment.
Town of Watertown officials said on Monday they were unaware that an opening had been announced. They had thought it was going to be in October.
The national retailer purchased the old Kmart store, located in the same plaza as the Hannaford grocery store and Red Robin restaurant.
The old Kmart store closed four years ago and the building had been vacant ever since.
Runnings is expected to employ about 75 full- and part-time workers. Since 2014, the chain has been expanding in the Northeast, with the Watertown store becoming the 10th in New York and the 13th in the region.
141 new COVID cases reported in region
No new deaths from COVID-19 were reported Wednesday in the tri-county region.
St. Lawrence County reported 78 new COVID infections. Officials said there are 25 people hospitalized with the virus.
Jefferson County had 50 new cases. Ten people are being treated for COVID in the hospital.
Lewis County reported 13 new infections. Three people are in the hospital.
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
Behring Jiu Jitsu
Behring Jiu Jitsu New York strives to create a friendly and safe environment, where people of all backgrounds can come together to train, to learn and to grow. They attract students who are humble and kind and who show respect for the class, the art and for each other. Bullies and show-offs soon find Behring Jiu Jitsu is not for them. This is because Behring Jiu Jitsu prefers to maintain an atmosphere rather than an egosphere. Behring Jiu Jitsu is more than just teammates and training partners, they are family on and off the mat. Come see what Jiu Jitsu has to offer you!
Location: 25519 NY-342 Evans Mills NY 13637
Tel. No.: 302-897-0987