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News and Info from members of the North Country Chamber


Citizen Advocates announced it has received a $10,000 grant from the Joy in Childhood Foundation,  a foundation dedicated to bringing the simple joys of childhood to kids battling hunger or illness.  The grant award is the second time Citizen Advocates has successfully applied for and received funding from the Foundation.

Money from the grant will support Citizen Advocates Backpack Program, which provides healthy meals on the weekend to eligible students in grades kindergarten through six during the academic year.

“We’re so grateful for the grant we’re receiving from the Joy in Childhood Foundation,” said Reid Anthony, CEO of Citizen Advocates.  “Their support will help ensure that children continue to receive nutritious food during the school year so they have the energy to engage, focus and grow.”

Citizen Advocates is one of 150 organizations receiving a grant from The Joy in Childhood Foundation. In total, the Joy in Childhood Foundation is awarding $2 million to organizations nationwide in celebration of Giving Tuesday, a day dedicated to global giving.

“We’re so excited to support non-profit organizations like Citizen Advocates that share our commitment to bring joy to children in our local communities who are battling hunger or illness,” said Karen Raskopf, Co-Chair of the Joy in Childhood Foundation. “We know how critical the services provided by the Backpack Program are to kids in northern Franklin County, which is why we’re so proud to support their work.”

This is the second $10,000 grant awarded to the Citizen Advocates Backpack Program from the Joy in Childhood Foundation to help address child hunger in the region.

To learn more about the Joy in Childhood Foundation, please visit or follow us on Facebook

Champlain National Bank Gives Back to Local Communities This Christmas

Employees at Champlain National Bank are spearheading projects throughout Essex, Clinton, and Franklin counties to help make the holidays a little brighter for local families.  The Project We Care program at Champlain National Bank partners with local agencies throughout the region to help them collect toys, food, and other items, which are provided to people in need in our communities during the holidays.

In Westport, Project We Care is working in partnership with the Westport Central School to provide gifts for children and families who another social service agency might not reach, and who might not have much under their Christmas tree.  We are looking for people who would be willing to help us by adopting a child.  To help: stop by the branch where you will find a Christmas tree full of tags, with each tag listing a local child’s wish and need for this Christmas.  These gifts do need to be returned wrapped with the tag attached by December 14.  We are also collecting non-perishable food and hygiene products which will be given to these families.  Please call 983-3316 for more information.

The Elizabethtown branch is collecting toys for ACAP’s Holidays Are For Sharing program, which provides parents with new toys to give to their children on Christmas Day.  New, unwrapped toys can be dropped off to our Elizabethtown branch and the staff there will make sure it gets to a child who might not receive a gift otherwise.  They especially are looking for gifts for middle school and high school kids.  Cologne sets and makeup kits are very popular with this age group.  The phone number in Elizabethtown is 873-6347 if you need more information.

The Willsboro and Crown Point branches are collecting food for the local food pantries to help keep their shelves full during the holiday season.  Any non-perishable food can be dropped off in the box located in the lobby of the Willsboro branch or the Crown Point branch during business hours.  For any questions, please call 963-4201 or 983-3322.

At our Plattsburgh branch located at 500 Route 3, we are working with Adirondack Helping Hands in Cadyville to provide Christmas gifts for their students in need.  To help: please stop by the branch, select a tag, and purchase the gift listed that was a request from one of these children.  These gifts do need to be wrapped and returned to the branch by December 13.  Please call 561-6000 if you have any questions. 

               In Champlain, we are partnering with Mooers and Rouses Point Elementary Schools to provide gifts for students they’ve identified as being at risk of not having anything under their Christmas trees.  The schools provided us with a list of “wishes” from their students that we are asking the community to help us fulfill.  Tags listing gift requests can be picked up in branch and then returned.  For more information, call the branch at 983-3314.

In Lake Placid and Saranac Lake we are collecting toys that will be given to Families First to distribute.  Tags listing a local child’s Christmas gift wish will be located in those two branches.  Please return the unwrapped gift to either Lake Placid or Saranac Lake by December 13.  If you need more details about the program, you can call 523-7070 or 304-5200.

At our Keene branch we are collecting warm clothing for local children and senior citizens in need, working in conjunction with St. Brendan’s Catholic Church and the Keene Valley Neighborhood House.  To help: stop by the branch and select a tag from their tree, which will detail the clothing item requested and the person’s size.  Gifts need to be returned to the branch by December 19 and can be either wrapped or unwrapped with the tag attached.  They are also collecting non-perishable food items for the Keene Food Pantry.  Call the branch at 576-9515 with any questions.

“We’re so proud of how our staff and the community come together during the holidays to provide to those who are less fortunate,” Vice President and Director of Marketing Jackie Hallock said.  “As the local bank, we look for opportunities where we can make a difference in our own communities.  It’s important to us that everything we collect goes to families and children in need in the North Country and Adirondacks, because we know the need is great right here.”

Champlain National Bank was founded in 1909 in Essex County and is still locally owned and managed today with ten branches serving the people of the North Country and Adirondacks.  In addition to tradition banking products, it has a full offering of mobile banking solutions, commercial loans and mortgages.

Meadowbrook Healthcare Hires New Community Relations Coordinator, Sandy Geddes

Meadowbrook Healthcare is pleased to announce that Sandy Geddes is now the newest member of their team, joining November 19 as the Community Relations Coordinator.

Ms. Geddes comes to Meadowbrook with 15 years of marketing and outreach experience, most notably in her role elevating the City of Plattsburgh’s events and marketing efforts.  In addition, she was the Manager of Community Outreach at CVPH Medical Center for eight years. 

“I am thrilled to be joining this team.” Ms. Geddes said. “My new colleagues are hardworking, kind and 100% focused on providing quality care to our residents and patients. The supportive and collaborative culture is the best I’ve encountered in my professional career.”

Ms. Geddes will assist Meadowbrook Healthcare in promoting not only the brand of the facility, but to assist in recruitment efforts. She oversees internal and external publications, all marketing partnerships and will develop strong relationships with colleges and universities nationwide to make Meadowbrook more visible to qualified healthcare professionals.

Paul Richards, Meadowbrook Healthcare’s Administrator/CEO, said on the hiring of Ms. Geddes, “In today’s tight labor market, we are extremely fortunate to have found someone as qualified and experienced as Sandy. As our new community liaison, she’s the perfect match and will be a great addition to our Meadowbrook family. Her indominable spirit and high energy is contagious and will help us in continuing to serve this wonderful community.”

Sandra can be reached via email at or at (518) 563-5440, ext. 276.

GRATEFUL FOR GIVING: Fighting Childhood Hunger
Woodmen Life donates $1,000 to Citizen Advocates Backpack Program

Brad Lucas, right, with Woodmen Life in Malone presents a check for $1,000 to Dick LaVigne, Director of the Backpack Program for Citizen Advocates, to benefit the program.  Run entirely on community contributions and volunteer efforts, all money raised for the Backpack Program goes entirely toward providing eligible students in grades kindergarten through sixth with nutritious meals on weekends during the school year.  Donations are also welcome for the Adopt-A-Kid program, where any gift of $200 goes to support a single child for the entire year.  For more information, contact Joe Riccio at (518) 651-2760.


Originally founded in 1975, Citizen Advocates, Inc. served as a work program for individuals with a need for developmental and behavioral health support.  At the time, the organization had 12 employees serving 50 individuals.  Today, Citizen Advocates, Inc. employs 750 health professionals and support staff who provide a broad range of services with compassion and skill to 6,500 individuals on an annual basis. With administrative offices in Malone, Citizen Advocates provides developmental disability, mental health and substance abuse prevention, treatment and recovery services throughout Franklin, Clinton, Essex, Hamilton and St. Lawrence counties.

Beardsley Project Receives Prestigious AIA CNY 2018 Design Award

Beardsley Architects + Engineers, in its pursuit to raise their bar on design excellence, is pleased to announce that the Implant Dental, New Office Building, located in Plattsburgh, NY, has been selected by the AIA Central New York chapter to receive a 2018 Award of Merit in the Commercial/Industrial category. The awards program recognizes outstanding achievements in architecture for recently completed projects by architects and firms based in Central New York. This year’s ceremony was held at the Everson Museum of Art on November 3.

Michael N. Reynolds, RA, AIA, Brian Levendusky, Bernie Brown, and John MacArthur, P.E., teamed to create a modern medical office building that embraces the client’s sophisticated technology in a warm, inviting atmosphere, providing patients with a comfortable experience for life-changing results. In addition to a larger office space, the practice also included space for their growing implant dental educational practice.

Working within an existing medical campus, Beardsley worked closely with the Owner to develop a concept that would pair the building form and exterior detailing to the existing Adirondack Cottage. The contemporary interior projects a sophisticated and warm environment utilizing a neutral palette, floor to ceiling glass partitions, and a serene wave-like acoustical ceiling system in the education space.

The Owner noted, “Michael N. Reynolds, AIA, and staff at Beardsley Architects + Engineers are dynamic, engaging, and alive with tremendous kinetic, positive energy and engineering amplitude. The team exhibited an exceptional structural knowledge base with precision timeline efficiency, coupled with an empathic cost-conscious protocol. Michael's ‘Adirondack architectural style’ kinesthetic/visual sense of position and wholeness transcended my dream project into breathtaking results.”

For more information on Beardsley Architects + Engineers, visit

Kwasniewski Joins Beardsley Architects + Engineers

Beardsley Architects + Engineers is pleased to announce that Christopher Kwasniewski, P.E., has joined the firm as Structural Engineer.

Mr. Kwasniewski has over 20 years of experience in structural engineering including project management; project planning and estimating; inspection, evaluation and repairs of structures; and extensive analysis and design of concrete, steel, masonry, wood, and cold-formed metal structures. He has designed a wide variety of buildings and structures for industrial and municipal clients. He is an active member of the American Society of Civil Engineers and the Structural Engineering Institute.

For more information on Beardsley Architects + Engineers, visit


Proven leader brings over 25 years of executive experience to organization

Following a thorough and rigorous recruitment effort, Citizen Advocates is proud to welcome a new CEO with both a proven track record for leading companies to success and a passion for mission driven organizations.

CEO Reid Anthony comes to Citizen Advocates at a pivotal time for the organization as it positions itself for emerging opportunities in the shifting healthcare landscape among providers in the region.  Changes around service delivery and reimbursement models are creating opportunities for the organization to chart a new path to meet the needs of individuals and families in the North Country. 

“Reid is a leader with great vision who values healthy company culture, building strong teams and holding organizations accountable,” said Martha Dishman, President of the Board of Directors. “I am personally very pleased that we have been able to attract someone of his caliber and track record, and for these reasons and more, I am excited for our future.”

Mr. Anthony brings over 25 years of executive experience in various markets and industries concentrating on leadership, business development, strategic planning and change management roles.  Prior to joining Citizen Advocates he led the Change Management and Interim Senior Management Practice at the Schwartz Heslin Group in Albany, N.Y.  Mr. Anthony holds an MBA in Management from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. 

While he has thrived in those settings, he also has a deep desire to be professionally involved with a mission driven organization like Citizen Advocates.  As a member of the Board of Directors for New York State Industries for the Disabled (NYSID), he understands the vital connection the organization provides to individuals and families needing disability supports, mental health and addiction services.

“I am confident that Reid is a CEO who will honor our legacy, and will be a strong advocate for those we support, our employees, and the community,” said Ms. Dishman, “I’d also like to acknowledge COO James Button who led this company as interim CEO while we conducted our search for Reid.  He did so with poise and incredible focus, and on behalf of the Board of Directors, we are grateful for his exceptional leadership during this period.”

“I am deeply honored by the opportunity to lead Citizen Advocates as we embrace new thinking and innovations around the delivery of exceptional healthcare and human services in our region,” said Mr. Anthony.  “Some of my first priorities are to chart the Strategic Direction of Citizen Advocates, to continue a legacy of best-in-class services to those we support, and develop a workplace culture that encourages teamwork, rewards performance and values a work-life balance. 

“We are fortunate that we have an extraordinary organization and I am grateful to be entrusted with leading Citizen Advocates at this juncture in time.  I can say with confidence we will continue to accomplish great things,” he added. “I chose this position because it enables me to utilize my leadership skills in a ‘mission driven business,’ a mission that has touched my life and one that I believe is important to those we support, our team members and the communities we serve.”

Mr. Anthony grew up in the Catskills, enjoys the outdoors and looks forward to living in the North Country.  He and his partner Kisori Marte are excited to be making their home in Malone.

His first day on the job was Monday, Oct. 1.

Champlain Centre Welcomes New General Manager

Pyramid Management Group has named Lisa Getty as the new General Manager for Champlain Centre in Plattsburgh, New York.
With a diverse mix of more than 50 tenants including shoes, apparel, entertainment, and dining, Champlain Centre is home to many top brands and top retailers. In her new role, Getty will primarily be responsible for handling on-site leasing activity, while also overseeing marketing efforts and daily operations.
Getty, who resides in Champlain, has lived in Clinton County for 25 years. Before joining Pyramid, Ms. Getty worked as a Communications Specialist for Future Electronics in Montreal, where she specialized in creating advertising campaigns, copywriting, and social media messaging. In addition to her marketing experience, she has an extensive background in shopping center management, having held similar positions with Miromar Development (based in Florida), Cabral Realty (based in New Hampshire), and Crown American (based in Pennsylvania) in prior years.
“I look forward to working with the team at Champlain Centre, and continuing to build on the mall’s longstanding history and impressive reputation as the North Country’s premier shopping and entertainment destination,” said Getty.
Ms. Getty’s predecessor, Alan Fortine, was recently promoted to the GM position at another Pyramid property, Manassas Mall in Manassas, Virginia.
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Canine Adventure, LLC now offers training for AKC Trick Dog titles

Canine Adventure, LLC now offers training for AKC Trick Dog titles.  Five local dog/handler teams who participated in the premier class were recently awarded A.K.C. Trick Dog titles.  Head Trainer Deborah Jay DeSilvaCertified Professional Dog Trainer, Behavioral Consultant and approved AKC Trick Dog Evaluator will be offering this class again in the Fall.

Greg Berman, Thurston Kelly, and Shannon Eagan of Canine Adventure Receive Awards

Greg Berman, Thurston Kelly, and Shannon Eagan of Canine Adventure, LLC have been awarded the Pet Professional Guild's Pet First Aid certificate of competence.  According to PPG President, Niki Tudge, “Having Pet First Aid Skills is fundamental to our industry and to the PPG’s guiding principles. Everyone can benefit from learning some basic first aid and earning this certificate of competence not only demonstrates the member’s skill and knowledge but also shows a commitment to the pet industry profession. Our new program is very comprehensive requiring the PPG member to pass a rigorous knowledge and practical examination in order to earn the certification.”

Armstrong Earns New York State Professional Engineer License

Beardsley Architects + Engineers is pleased to announce that Chelsea Armstrong, P.E., has earned her professional engineering license in the State of New York. She is a graduate of Clarkson University and has been employed by Beardsley since 2013.

Chelsea is currently working on multiple projects for the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation including a new camping loop at Southwick Beach State Park, and marina improvements at Sampson State Park.

For more information on Beardsley Architects + Engineers, visit

Mumby Joins Beardsley Architects + Engineers

Beardsley Architects + Engineers is pleased to announce that Ryan Mumby, E.I.T., has joined the firm as structural designer.

Ryan graduated from Clarkson University in 2018 with a degree in Civil Engineering. In the summer of 2017, Ryan was an intern at Beardsley working alongside the structural engineering team. At Beardsley, Ryan will be working on projects for our governmental, educational, municipal, and state clients.

For more information on Beardsley Architects + Engineers, visit

Champlain National Bank Awards $5,000 in Scholarships to Local Students

Champlain National Bank gave $5,000 in scholarship money to graduating seniors throughout Essex and Clinton Counties at graduation ceremonies in June.  Recipients of the Champlain National Bank Scholarship receive $500 towards college expenses, and were treated to a special luncheon at the Bank’s headquarters in Willsboro, where they were able to meet and chat with President and CEO Steven Cacchio.

Champlain National Bank Scholarships are awarded every year at graduation to students throughout Essex and Clinton Counties who will be attending college in the fall.


The Willsboro Central School Winner was Adam Mero, son of Paul and Tamara Mero of Willsboro.  He will be attending SUNY Plattsburgh in the fall and plans to study History.

In Westport, the Champlain National Bank Scholarship was presented to Elizabeth Stephens, daughter of Paul and Kristine Stephens of Westport.  She will be attending Hobart and William Smith College and majoring in Entrepreneurship.

In Elizabethtown, Emmalee Turner, daughter of Jonathan and Hattie Turner, won the Scholarship.  She plans to attend SUNY Plattsburgh to study Physical Therapy.

In Crown Point the scholarship was awarded to Bailey Skinner, daughter of Laura Noel and Adam Skinner from Crown Point.  She will be attending SUNY Plattsburgh in the fall.

Thomas Palen, son of Ed and Teresa Palen of Keene, was the winner from Keene Central School.  He will be attending Montana State University in the fall and plans to study Business.

The Seton Catholic High School student who won the scholarship was Rachel Racette.  Daughter of Henry Racette from Cadyville, she will be attending Colgate University in the fall and plans to study Economics.

Northeastern Clinton Central School’s winner was Easton Francis, daughter of Rob and Bonnie Francis from Rouses Point.  Francis will be attending the Fashion Institute of Technology to study International Business.

Jasmine Mathis, daughter of Forrest and Gisselle Edwards of Plattsburgh, was the winner from Plattsburgh High School.  She will be attending SUNY Plattsburgh to study Marketing.

Lake Placid Central School’s winner was Jennifer Godin, daughter of Darryl and Deirdre Godin of Lake Placid.  She will be attending the University of Rhode Island to study Business.

In Saranac Lake, the Champlain National Bank Scholarship was presented to Almedina Cirikovic, daughter of Denis and Rusmina Cirikovic.  She will be attending North Country Community College in the fall and plans to study Business.

Champlain National Bank was founded in 1909 in Essex County and is still locally owned and managed today with ten branches serving the people of the North Country and Adirondacks.  In addition to tradition banking products, it has a full offering of mobile banking solutions, commercial loans and mortgages.

Glens Falls National Names Sangster Northern Region Corporate Banking Manager

Glens Falls National Bank and Trust Company is pleased to announce Harrison Sangster has been named Northern Region Corporate Banking Manager.

In this role, Mr. Sangster will manage commercial lending in the Plattsburgh Region, helping to create and implement business development strategies in conjunction with the regional branch manager and business development team. Mr. Sangster joined the Bank in 2006 and most recently served as Vice President, Credit Manager at the Company’s corporate headquarters in Glens Falls. He and his family are relocating to the Plattsburgh area so he can focus on his new role.

Mr. Sangster earned his bachelor’s degree from Monmouth University in Long Branch, NJ, before going on to earn his master’s in business administration as well as a master’s certificate in financial management from Marist College in Poughkeepsie, NY. He is a veteran of the United States Navy, with four and a half years of service to our country.  He is also an active member of his community, working with a number of local non-profit organizations.

Glens Falls National Bank and Trust Company provides banking, investment, insurance and other financial services through 30 locations in Warren, Washington, Saratoga, Essex and Clinton counties. It is rated a 5-Star Superior institution by BauerFinancial. More information can be found online at

Burnham Benefit Advisors Attend National Employee Benefit Summit

Burnham Benefit Advisors executive team, Mark Crawford, Tish Biesemeyer, Ian Coryea, Kory Hosler attended the 14th annual broker conference expo in San Diego, California.

The broker expo gathered leading industry practitioners creating a robust workshop designed to update brokers on future trends in health care, leading edge benefit cost strategies, and how to follow the best practices in the industry for employers within the regional and national markets.

Keynote speakers included:

Bobby Jindal- Governor of Louisiana (2008-2016)

U.S. Presidential Candidate 2016

Donna Brazile- Veteran Political Strategist

Interim Chair of the Democratic National Committee

Gurpreet Dhaliwal-Professor of Medicine, UCSF

Expert on Human Decision Making

Burnham considers this type of event to be crucial in providing their clients with a state-of-the-art benefits program, where employers are provided the best possible benefit solutions for their employees at the most competitive cost.

Headquartered in Lake Placid, NY, Burnham Benefit Advisors has been solely focused on employee benefits since 1977, specializing in brokerage, consulting, compliance, and HR services for both public and private sector employees.

Hickok & Boardman Insurance Group Continues NY Expansion/Hires New Talent

Ryan Lee, a long–time resident of Plattsburgh has joined Hickok & Boardman Insurance Group as a Client Advisor specializing in business insurance.   “H&B brings a unique service platform to the market place including specialized loss prevention services and licensed workers compensation claims adjustment.  The training and analysis we provide to our clients results in a lower cost of insurance to them as our Insurers recognize the value added by our claims prevention and management” notes Paul Plunkett, Senior Vice President of Sales for H&B. 

Lee is a graduate of St. Lawrence University and holds his MBA from Norwich University.  He most recently led the start-up satellite office for ETS Staffing & Recruiting in Burlington Vermont, and previously served as Sr. District Executive for The Boy Scouts of America in Northern NY.   Plunkett added, “Ryan has wonderful relationships with the business community in the greater Plattsburgh area and we are thrilled to have him as part of our team”.

Hickok & Boardman Insurance Group was founded in 1821 and is headquartered in Burlington, Vermont.   They have most recently been awarded with “Best Places to Work” in Vermont, and “Best of Business” in Vermont for Property and Casualty Insurance. 


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