Congress Approved Legislation to End Government Shutdown

on Thursday, 17 October 2013.

As was reported this morning on the National News, Congress has approved legislation to end the government shutdown and extend the debt limit. President Barack Obama signed the bill this morning.  The Senate acted first, passing the bill 81-18. New York's U.S. senators, U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer, both supported the measure. The bill was then sent to the House, where it passed by a vote of 285-144. U.S. Rep. Bill Owens, and U.S. Rep. Richard Hanna, both voted for the continuing resolution and debt limit extension. The bill allows the government to stay open until another resolution scheduled for January and a vote on the debt ceiling will come up again in February. It is estimated that the government shut down took 24 Billion dollars out of the economy.

Water Samples Not Being Accepted Friday

on Thursday, 17 October 2013.

Lewis County residents are being advised at the Lewis County Soil & Water Conservation District will not be accepting water samples on Friday due to their annual land judging competition. Anyone with any questions or concerns can call 376-6122.

Fire Causes Damage to a House in Town of Watson

on Wednesday, 16 October 2013.

Fire damaged a house in the Town of Watson early last night. Lowville firemen were called to a fire in a house at 6574 River Road at 5:12PM. The home was owned by Mary Konkol, who is deceased. There was extensive damage to the attic and roof as well as heavy smoke damage throughout the structure. There were workers in the home earlier in the day but no one was in the residence at the time of the fire. The source of the fire was determined to be an electric wire short in the attic caused by a staple holding the wire. It is unknown if there was any insurance on the building. Mutual aid was received from the New Bremen and Croghan Fire Departments. The Lewis County Cause and Origin team, Lowville Fire Auxiliary, National Grid and Lewis County Search and rescue were also on the scene. There were no injuries reported.

Assemblyman Marc Butler Discusses Federal Shutdown

on Wednesday, 16 October 2013.

We spoke with Assemblyman Marc Butler, who discusses how the federal government shutdown is impacting the state.

Mr. Butler will discuss the nanotech center tomorrow.

Mayor Donna Smith Comments on Public Hearings

on Wednesday, 16 October 2013.

We spoke with Lowville Mayor Donna Smith, who discusses 2 public hearings that will be held at this afternoon’s Board of Trustees meeting.

The Lowville Village Board of Trustees meets at 5 p.m. today in the Village Offices on Bostwick Street.

Excellus Expected to Withdraw from Medicaid Program

on Wednesday, 16 October 2013.

Excellus Blue Cross Blue Shield's has made a decision to stop participating in Medicaid health insurance programs for the poor and disabled in the North Country. The decision will take effect January 1. When it does, it will affect thousands of North Country Residents who have limited access to health care.

Nearly 2,200 people will be affected in Lewis County with close to 10,000 people affected in Jefferson County. Excellus has notified participating providers by letter that it's pulling out of the two health insurance programs because it expected to lose about $100 million this year and the state isn't willing to increase reimbursements to offset losses. Excellus spokesman Jim Redmond said that while Excellus has a history of supporting safety net programs, the company can't continue to incur such large financial losses. The state Health Department is looking at ways to place affected individuals into other public health insurance programs.

Protestors Gather Outside Hanna's Office

on Wednesday, 16 October 2013.

About 20 protesters gathered on Tuesday outside U.S. Rep. Richard Hanna's office to show their discontent with Congress.

Some of the protesters are furloughed workers who are temporarily out of work. The protesters are hoping to send a message to their congressman to work to get the government reopened.

"We need him to vote for a just and fair budget that is balanced and does not simply favor one group over another," said Ted Tottey of Organizing for Action” He went on to say that. "We need a lot of help and we need him to take an independent stand."

In a response, Hanna said: "As my votes demonstrate, I have not been in favor of this government shutdown from the beginning. The White House and Congress need to find a resolution to this unfortunate situation as soon as possible so that Upstate New Yorkers are not inconvenienced by this impasse any longer.

Forums Canceled Concerning Common Core Curriculum

on Wednesday, 16 October 2013.

New York State Education Commissioner John King canceled future forums about the Common Core Curriculum that were scheduled throughout the state, due to protests at forums that were held last week.

That has left local parents and teachers disappointed. One of the meetings that canceled was one set for Oct. 30 in New Hartford. Jessica McNair, a New Hartford parent who is also an on-leave teacher, says she's disappointed that the commissioner won't get first-hand accounts of how core curriculum is working out in the trenches.

She went on to say that "He's a leader, and leaders need to be able to listen to all sides of the story, especially when the views might be different from that of the leader."

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