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News and Info from members of the North Country Chamber


Citizen Advocates welcomes newest member of leadership team
Experienced human services professional has North Country roots

Citizen Advocates is pleased to welcome an experienced human services professional to its leadership team as the Division Director of Intellectual and Developmental Disability Services.

As director, Laura Pennington Gawel is responsible for the efficient and effective operation of the developmental disabilities programs at Citizen Advocates. She will oversee and direct program directors to ensure quality services and supports, maintain programmatic and regulatory compliance, and remain actively involved in agency efforts to prepare for managed care in the developmental disability field, among other duties.

“I am thrilled by the opportunity to be part of the Citizen Advocates team.  The organization provides such innovative and varied supports to people, and makes such great contributions to the local economy and the people living in the North Country through its partnerships with other not-for-profit organizations,” said Ms. Gawel.  “I look forward to collaborating with the Citizen Advocates family so we are well positioned to meet the emerging needs of those we support and the community.”

Ms. Gawel grew up in Potsdam, so she is no stranger to the North Country.  She attended Plattsburgh State where she received a Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education-Social Sciences.  One of her first jobs following college was with the Clinton County Arc, and since then she has held several progressive leadership positions at a variety of health and human service agencies throughout the state. 

She would eventually go on to earn a Master of Arts in Education: Developmental Disabilities Leadership from Niagara University.  Laura most recently served as Vice President of Employment, Day, Transportation and Transition Services at Aspire of WNY in Getzville, NY, where she was responsible for a broad range of programs and as team leader for several successful initiatives. 

Ms. Gawel has been in her new position at Citizen Advocates since October, and she looks forward to reconnecting with family and friends locally, as well as pursuing her own interests in North Country history and its generations of residents.   She is especially looking forward to having her husband and family join her so together they can explore all that life in Franklin County and the Adirondacks has to offer.

Champlain National Bank Gives Back to Local Communities This Christmas

Employees at Champlain National Bank are spearheading projects throughout Essex and Clinton 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, Plattsburgh (500 Route 3 location), and Champlain, Project We Care is working in partnership with area schools 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, please visit any of these branches, 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 13.  Please call 983-3316 or 561-6000 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.  The phone number in Elizabethtown is 873-6347 if you need more information.

In Crown Point we are collecting Socks and Slippers for Soldiers, which is an annual giving project of the sixth grade class at Moriah Central School.  They send everything they collect to the men and women serving overseas during the holidays.  Our Crown Point branch will also have a box for the local food pantry in the branch.  To help, stop by the branch to visit Staff Sergeant Ted E. Bear Bourdon, or call 983-3322.

In Keene, they are collecting food for the Keene Food Pantry, which sees an increased need during the holiday season.  Please drop off non-perishable food items during the month of December and we’ll make sure they are delivered to the Keene Food Pantry in time for the holidays.  They are also participating in the community collaboration between St. Brendan’s Church, the Keene Valley Congregational Church, and the Neighborhood House to collect gifts for local children.  To help, stop by the branch and take an angel or mitten tag listing a gift for a child in Keene.  Return the item either wrapped or unwrapped with the tag attached.  You can call 576-9515 for more information.

The Willsboro branch is focusing on helping senior citizens in the community this holiday season.  They are collecting food, which will be made into food gift baskets, and warm clothing to be donated to local seniors who may need a little help this holiday season and winter.  To help: drop off any holiday meal food item or gently used adult winter clothing, like coats, hats, gloves, scarves to the Willsboro branch.  You can call 963-4201 for more information.

The downtown Plattsburgh branch will be collecting toys for the Christmas Bureau.  They are requesting any new, unwrapped toys be dropped off at our downtown location, where there is a toy donation box.  The last day to donate is December 12.  Please call 562-1785 for more information.

In Lake Placid and Saranac Lake they are collecting toys, which 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.

“Our communities are extremely generous during the holidays, providing to those who are less fortunate,” Director of Marketing Jackie Hallock said.  “As the local bank, we look for opportunities where we can make a difference right here.  It’s important to us that we can keep everything donated here, where the need is great.”

Champlain National Bank was founded in 1909 in Essex County and is still locally owned and managed today, and committed to the people living in the North Country and Adirondacks.  It has branches located in Crown Point, Westport, Willsboro, Elizabethtown, Keene, Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, Plattsburgh, and Champlain, and has a full offering of mortgages, commercial loans, and mobile banking products.

Champlain National Bank Gives Major Gift to Fort Ticonderoga

Champlain National Bank has gifted $20,000 to Fort Ticonderoga to be used towards the restoration of the Pavilion located on the Fort’s grounds.  The Bank is a longtime supporter of Fort Ticonderoga.

“We’re excited about the next phase of renovation and restoration at Fort Ticonderoga and how the Fort is working as an economic driver in the area,” President and CEO Steven Cacchio said.  “This space is going to allow for new opportunities for engagement with the community and we’re proud to support projects that will benefit the greater region in which we serve.”

“Fort Ticonderoga is thrilled to have the generous donation of Champlain National Bank to help support the restoration and adaptive re-use of the Pavilion, the Pell 1826 home,” Beth Hill, President and CEO of Fort Ticonderoga said.  “This National Historic Landmark will be a tourism hub on the shores of Lake Champlain, preserve a national historic landmark, and grow our region’s economy.  Champlain National Bank is an important business leader in our region and its commitment to the past as well as the future is reflected in this very generous gift.”

Once the restoration is completed, the Pavilion at Fort Ticonderoga will serve visitors through a new exhibition highlighting America’s earliest story of preservation, a teaching kitchen and culinary program, a variety of other educational programs, and additional services and amenities.

Champlain National Bank was founded in 1909 in Essex County and is still locally owned and managed today, and committed to the people living in the Adirondacks.  It has branches located in Crown Point, Westport, Willsboro, Elizabethtown, Keene, Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, Plattsburgh, and Champlain, and has a full offering of mortgages, commercial loans, and mobile banking products.

Partnership provides on-campus mental health, substance abuse services

North Country Community College and Citizen Advocates have formed a unique partnership to provide students mental health and substance abuse counseling on the college's Saranac Lake campus.   

The new counseling service is an extension of Citizen Advocates' outpatient Behavioral Health clinics in Saranac Lake and Malone.  Located in Hodson Hall 023, the office is open for walk-ins every Wednesday from 3 to 5 p.m. and by appointment Wednesday evenings. The community-based office is staffed by Citizen Advocates’ therapist Shanzy Carter-Martinez, who has a master’s degree in mental health counseling and is pursuing a doctorate in clinical psychology. 

This is a new model for providing on-campus counseling services, according to NCCC Dean of Student Life Kim Irland.

“Connecting students to these important support resources off campus was already happening and still happens, but there were some barriers for our residents in Saranac Lake, particularly transportation,” Irland said. “Not all of our students have vehicles to get off campus for a counseling appointment. Now, having this on-campus office will eliminate the transportation barrier and make it easier for students struggling with mental health or substance abuse to access these services between or after classes.”

Irland said the need for on-campus counseling services at the college had been a challenge in the past, but after discussions with colleagues and Beth Lawyer, Citizen Advocates’ Director of Behavioral Health Services, this partnership was pursued to provide quality and sustainable counseling services.

"The college experience is an important and meaningful time for students," said Beth Lawyer, Director of Behavioral Health Services for Citizen Advocates. "But we also know it is a time when students can feel overwhelmed by the pressures they face, which can lead to struggles in their studies and personal lives.  This service is one of the many ways we can help students manage their challenges so they can enjoy what is meant to be a positive time of growth and learning."

“This partnership is a great gesture to the college community, and the community at large, that Citizen Advocates Behavioral Services is willing to commit resources to this service,” Irland said.

The college’s Student Government Association has stepped up to help students whose health insurance doesn’t cover the cost of the counseling sessions.  It’s set aside a pool of money – the River Fund – to ensure students get the support they need. 

“A student can come see me and submit an application to request student government funding to offset the cost or cover a certain number of sessions, or if reoccurring co-pays are a financial barrier,” Irland said. 

Irland described this as a pilot program. As it continues, she said the college will evaluate the availability of the counselor and the needs of its students to make sure it’s working effectively.

If a student is experiencing a mental health crisis and needs more immediate help, the college has emergency response procedures and would contact the mobile crisis unit through Citizen Advocates’ main office.

Students who’d like to schedule a confidential appointment for behavioral health services on campus or off campus may call 518-891-5535.

Unique facility provides prompt access to mental health, substance abuse care

With the official opening of Citizen Advocates' Crisis & Recovery Center on Wednesday, Sept. 20, individuals with a mental health or addiction crisis now have access to prompt, effective and recovery-focused services in a respectful, home-like environment.

The Crisis & Recovery Center is the first of its kind in the state offering access to such services 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  Since opening, the center has been running smoothly, already providing treatment and supports to  individuals, according to clinic manager Coreen Bohl.

The Crisis & Recovery Center is located in the former Alice Hyde Nursing Home at 15 Fourth Street in Malone in space leased by Citizen Advocates from UVM Health Network-Alice Hyde Medical Center. To reach the Center by phone, please dial (518) 481-8160.  The Center is open to those in need on a voluntary basis, and referrals are not required.   Health providers, rescue personnel and law enforcement is encouraged to call in advance to check on respite bed availability or to provide any intake information.

The Crisis & Recovery Center offers immediate, 24-hour access to behavioral health treatment and outpatient detoxification services, as well as  linkages to other community services such as transportation, housing assistance and employment training.  Each individual cared for at the Crisis & Recovery Center is given a medical assessment to determine if referral to an emergency department is necessary.  If medically cleared, the person has immediate access to highly trained health professionals who provide individualized treatment and recovery plans.

In addition to providing crisis care and other supports, the Center features 13 respite beds along with other modern and homelike respite areas to support voluntary stays ranging from a few hours to seven days.  Respite stays provide an appropriate level of care for individuals in crisis, withdrawal or who are transitioning from a higher level of behavioral health care.  Often times, they do not require hospitalization but benefit from individualized treatment and recovery plans offered through respite stays - including links to community-based services - in preparation for return to the home.

The Crisis & Recovery Center is an extension of Citizen Advocates' Outpatient Behavioral Health Clinics with primary locations at 31 Sixth Street in Malone and 70 Edgewood Road in Saranac Lake.  To learn more, visit and click on 'Services.'

Citizen Advocates awards fifth annual Mark Carter Memorial Scholarships

Two local college students are getting extra help with school expenses from the Mark Carter Memorial Scholarship through Citizen Advocates.

The scholarship was first awarded in 2013 in memory of Mark Carter, a long-time and much beloved Citizen Advocates employee.  He was known for his personal attention and commitment to individuals and families supported by developmental disability services at the agency.  Mark was also instrumental in the establishment and operation of many Citizen Advocates programs. Overall he is remembered for his perseverance in helping those in need, and enhancing the lives of individuals he served.

The winners of the 2017 scholarships are Matthew Fleury, of Chateaugay, and Bailey Hendricks, of Malone.  Mr. Fleury, a sophomore studying Political Science/Philosophy at SUNY Plattsburgh, was awarded $1,000.  Ms. Hendricks, a senior completing her studies in Social Work at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., was awarded $500.

The $500 scholarship is distributed evenly over two semesters for a student taking fewer than 12 credits, and the $1,000 scholarship is distributed over two semesters for a student taking 12 or more credits.

To be eligible for the scholarship, applicants must be an employee or child of an employee working for Citizen Advocates.  The students must be registered at an accredited college earning a minimum of 6 credit hours each semester while maintaining a 2.7 grade point average.  The scholarship award can be used for tuition, books and college related fees.

Innovative treatment and recovery service a first of its kind for region

Citizen Advocates, Inc. hosted an Open House on Monday, Aug. 28  to highlight its new Crisis & Recovery Center, a transformational approach and first of its kind in the North Country for individuals in need of urgent mental health and addiction treatment services.

In addition to Citizen Advocates staff and board members, attendees at the Open House included representatives of local healthcare and human services organizations, civic and community-based organizations, emergency responders, law enforcement, area educators, elected officials and members of the public.

Citizen Advocates proposed and developed the Center through the state's Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment (DSRIP) program as one of many initiatives designed to achieve meaningful transformation of the local healthcare delivery system.

"Citizen Advocates has long embraced innovative ideas for supporting the behavioral health needs of our community," said Dean Johnston, CEO of Citizen Advocates.  "We demonstrated this with our integrated mental health and addiction treatment clinic in 2014, and now the Crisis and Recovery Center is part of that ongoing effort to provide the right care at the right time in the appropriate setting."

An extension of Citizen Advocates outpatient Behavioral Health Clinic, the Crisis & Recovery Center is a voluntary setting where individuals experiencing a mental health or addiction crisis are provided prompt, effective, recovery-focused services in a respectful, home-like environment. 

"The Crisis & Recovery Center is a culmination of dedicated and concerned healthcare providers, emergency responders, law enforcement and others who believed there is a more effective way to treat emergent mental health and substance abuse issues," said Beth Lawyer, director of Citizen Advocates Behavioral Health Services. "This transformational project became a reality because it aligns with broader reform initiatives that support our goal to improve community health while reducing costs in the healthcare system."

People experiencing an acute mental health or addiction crisis are routinely brought to hospital emergency rooms where they generally don't have access to the appropriate level of care.  The Crisis & Recovery Center offers immediate, 24-hour access to behavioral health treatment and outpatient detoxification services, as well as  linkages to other community services such as transportation, housing assistance and employment training.  Each individual cared for at the Crisis & Recovery Center is given a medical assessment to determine if referral to an emergency department is necessary.  If medically cleared, the person has immediate access to highly trained health professionals who provide individualized treatment and recovery plans.

"This personalized, one-on-one care can lead to better health outcomes, and is generally less costly than hospitalization," said Ms. Lawyer.  "The  treatment and care offered at the center can be a win-win situation for local healthcare providers, law enforcement, emergency responders and the broader community."

The Center is staffed by a care team of physicians, psychiatrists, registered nurses, licensed behavioral health professionals, case managers, peer support counselors and psychosocial rehabilitation specialists who provide around-the-clock services to individuals in need of crisis care or support for mental health, substance abuse, or co-occurring issues, in addition to assistance with outpatient withdrawal management.   The care team also offers referral assistance and an extensive range of community-based services as needed, and on-site group sessions, self-help meetings and family support is available as well.

In addition to providing crisis care and other supports, the Center features 13 respite beds along with other modern and homelike respite areas to support voluntary stays ranging from a few hours to seven days.  Respite stays provide an appropriate level of care for individuals in crisis, withdrawal or who are transitioning from a higher level of behavioral health care.  Often times, they do not require hospitalization but benefit from individualized treatment and recovery plans offered through respite stays - including links to community-based services - in preparation for return to the home.

The Crisis Stabilization Center is operated by Citizen Advocates in space leased from Alice Hyde Medical Center on the first floor of the former nursing home.  The project to convert the space from nursing home to Crisis & Recovery Center was funded through a New York State Department of Health DSRIP Capital Restructuring Financing Program grant. The grant program awarded projects that would support the creation of community-based, high-quality, and cost-effective healthcare programs that strengthen and promote access to essential health services. Alice Hyde received a $450,000 grant to complete updates to the physical space, and Citizen Advocates received $155,000 to furnish this new service.

For questions about the Center during normal, daytime business hours please call (518) 481-8160.  Our 24-hour crisis line can be called anytime at (518) 481-3261 or (518) 891-5535.

National Craft and Home Decor Retailer Hobby Lobby 
Celebrates Grand Opening of its Plattsburgh, N.Y. Store

Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., a privately held national retail chain of craft and home decor stores, opens in Plattsburgh, New York, with a ribbon cutting ceremony and official grand opening celebration on Monday, September 4, at 9 a.m. The Plattsburgh store is Hobby Lobby’s 16th location in New York. Darlene Miller is the store manager of the 56,000 square-foot retail facility located at Cornelia Street and Smithfield Boulevard in Champlain Centre Mall.

The store’s grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony is open to the public. Local dignitaries, ambassadors from the North Country Chamber of Commerce and other business leaders will attend the celebration.

“We offer a wide and ever-changing variety of craft and home decor products including many exclusive Hobby Lobby brands,” stated Kelly Black, Director of Advertising. “First-time shoppers in Plattsburgh will be pleasantly surprised at the large store size and the exceptional service provided by our trained associates.”  

Hobby Lobby has over 750 stores across the nation. Each store offers more than 70,000 crafting and home decor products including floral, fabric, needle art, custom framing, baskets, home accents, wearable art, arts and crafts, jewelry making, scrapbooking and paper crafting supplies. Store hours are Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Hobby Lobby stores are closed on Sunday.

Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., an Oklahoma City-based private corporation, began as Greco, a miniature picture frame company in 1970. When David Green moved his business from the family home to a 300 square-foot retail space in 1972, Hobby Lobby was born. It is the nation’s largest privately owned arts and crafts retailer.

For more information about Hobby Lobby, weekly specials, coupon offers, store locations and online shopping, visit, download the mobile app or follow on Facebook at  

TACC Welcomes New Staff Member

The Ticonderoga Area Chamber of Commerce (TACC) is thrilled to welcome Katelyn Chevier as their newest staff member. Katelyn has joined the team as the Chamber's Administrative Assistant. Katelyn will be assisting the current staff with an array of projects, events, services, partnerships, and much more.

Katelyn is originally from Massena, NY. She currently resides in Moriah, NY with her husband Tyler Chevier who is employed by International Paper Company in Ticonderoga. Katelyn graduated in 2015 from SUNY Plattsburgh with a Bachelor of Science in Hotel, Restaurant, and Tourism Management Degree. This past summer Katelyn also served as the Arts Director for the Ticonderoga Heritage Museum Children’s Summer Workshop Series.

“Please join the Chamber in giving Katelyn a warm welcome to our team. Katelyn will bring much needed assistance to the Chamber to continue to serve, market, and promote our Members, Partners, and the entire Ticonderoga Area. As the Chamber continues to grow in capacity we will be able to offer new and expanded benefits to our Members as well as continue to serve the Ticonderoga Area in new ways. We are excited to see Katelyn grow here with us at the Chamber. She brings a set of skills that will continue to enhance the TACC Team,” shared Matthew Courtright – TACC Executive Director.

The Chamber has grown significantly over the last 7 years increasing from 140 Members to over 250 Members. In addition, the Chamber has expanded upon partnerships, created new partnerships, and is currently in the process of formalizing additional partnerships. The Chamber has strived to strengthen and expand upon the benefits they offer to their Members and Partners as well as the services they provide to the entire Ticonderoga Area. The TACC serves, markets, and promotes the Ticonderoga Area including Ticonderoga, Crown Point, Hague, Moriah, and Putnam, NY.

“I am looking forward to working with the community through the Ticonderoga Area Chamber of Commerce and helping to cultivate growth of the Chamber and within the local business community. The Chamber provides an array of support and services to the area and I am thrilled to be part of the TACC Team,” commented Katelyn Chevier – TACC Administrative Assistant.

Over the past seven years the Chamber has also focused more on their future to provide the needed services to their members and the entire Ticonderoga Area. 

WESTELCOM Increases Network Capacity by 10X across the Adirondack North Country Region

WESTELCOM Networks Inc. announced today that the company has completed a major network enhancement expanding its core bandwidth 10 times its previous network capacity.   This expanded capability will enhance Westelcom’s ability to deliver Ultra High-Speed Broadband, Internet and Ethernet services surpassing all technological advancements in the Northern NY region.  Fully redundant and ringed, the network expands across 6 counties and internationally into Montreal with private connections to Microsoft, Amazon, and Google’s Cloud platforms. 

This increased capacity will enhance efforts to boost the Adirondack North Country Region’s economic development and will support high-tech firms moving to the area that require high bandwidth capacity.  Westelcom’s network currently supports internet and telephone services to over 3,000 businesses, multiple municipalities, 2 telemedicine networks, 9 regional hospitals, several educational facilities, and over 120 health care facilities.  

Westelcom’s President and General Manager, Paul Barton stated that “Our ability to afford this upgrade is a direct result of the recent waiver granted to Westelcom by the FCC.”  In April 2017, the FCC granted Westelcom a limited waiver to remain as a “rural carrier” which allows the company to charge higher access rates to long distance carriers and other telecommunications service providers who originate and terminate interstate calls on Westelcom’s network.

In July 2016 Westelcom was recognized by the NTCA – The Rural Broadband Association as the first NYS Certified Gig-Capable Provider, joining a national campaign to build awareness and industry recognition of community-based telecom providers that have built communications networks capable of delivering Internet speeds of 1 gigabit per second or greater, which is 100 times faster than most services currently available in much of the U.S.

Mr. Barton commented that “Westelcom is focused on more than delivering just high-speed internet. We have developed core network principles that ensure that we deliver our customers the most reliable communications solution possible.  We do what the larger companies are unwilling to do.”

Community Bank Makes Generous Donation to Backpack Program

Community Bank, N.A. recently made a generous $2,500 donation to the Backpack Program sponsored by Citizen Advocates.  Presenting the check to Citizen Advocates CEO Dean Johnston, left, were Stacey Brunell, branch manager for the bank's West Main Street location in Malone, and Craig Stevens, Vice President of Commercial Banking.  The Backpack Program provides healthy meals on weekends to local eligible youth in grades kindergarten through six during the academic year.  Now in its sixth year of operation, program sponsors are gearing up for their major fundraising event, The Taste of Malone Dinner.  The dinner is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, Oct. 4 at the Malone Golf Club.  To learn more or support the program, contact Joe Riccio at Citizen Advocates by calling (518) 651-2760.

Symquest Awards Grants to Non-Profits at Ribbon Cutting

SymQuest Group, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A., Inc., and regionally based IT services and office technology provider, celebrated their Plattsburgh, NY office grand opening in conjunction with a nonprofit grant campaign: One Grand of a Helping Hand for North Country Nonprofits.

“We recognize the value our nonprofit neighbors bring to the region,” says SymQuest President, Meg Fleming. “Coupling our ribbon cutting with an opportunity to support local organizations is reflective of our company culture, and we believe it is a great privilege to have the ability to give back to our community.”

Five nonprofit grants were announced at SymQuest’s July 20th ribbon cutting for its new office located at 18 Northern Ave. STE 200, Plattsburgh, NY. Nonprofit grant recipients included: The Hospice of the North CountryChild Care Coordinating CouncilNorth Country Mission of HopeETC Housing Corporation and North Country Center for IndependenceEach organization was awarded a $1,000 grant.

SymQuest’s new 6,040 Sq. Ft. location supports sales, service, and network operations personnel. The new office also houses a demonstration facility for office technology solutions including multi-function copiers and printers, production and wide format printers, and cloud infrastructure solutions. To learn more about SymQuest’s commitment to the community visit

Champlain National Bank Scholarships Awarded to Graduating Seniors

Champlain National Bank gave $3,500 in scholarship money to graduating seniors throughout Essex and Clinton Counties at graduation ceremonies in June.  Recipients of the Champlain National Bank Scholarship received $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 Kaitlin Shaw, daughter of John & Hilda Shaw of Willsboro.  She will be attending SUNY Plattsburgh in the fall and plans to study Social Work.

·       In Westport, the Champlain National Bank Scholarship was presented to Schylar Kurth, son of Medara Sherman & Warren Feulner of Westport, and Mark and Jane Kurth of Des Moines, IA.  He will be attending LeMoyne College and majoring in Business and Finance.

·       In Elizabethtown, Joel Morris, son of Matthew & Shari Morris of Elizabethtown, won the Scholarship.  He plans to attend Clinton Community College and study Renewable Energy.

·       In Crown Point the scholarship was awarded to Amber DuShane, daughter of Dwane & Renee DuShane from Crown Point.  She will be attending North Country Community College in the fall and is undecided about her major.

·       Maria Gates, daughter of Marsha Gates of Keene Valley, was the winner from Keene Central School.  She will be attending SUNY Plattsburgh in the fall and plans to study Business.

·       Northeastern Clinton Central School’s winner was Chrysa Rabideau, daughter of Andrea Rabideau of West Chazy.  Rabideau will be attending SUNY Plattsburgh where she will study Finance.

·       Lake Placid Central School’s winner was Trent White, son of Thomas & Nancy White of Lake Placid.  He will be attending SUNY Binghamton to study Engineering and Business Management.

Champlain National Bank was founded in 1909 in Essex County and is still locally owned and managed today.  It has branches located in Willsboro, Westport, Elizabethtown, Crown Point, Keene, Plattsburgh, Champlain, and Lake Placid, and has a full offering of mortgages, commercial loans, and personal and business banking products.

CITEC Business Solutions Offers Continuous Improvement Training

CITEC Business Solutions is offering several continuous improvement training series in Plattsburgh for small and medium enterprises this fall including Lean Foundations, Lean Leadership, and Lean Green Belt. Information about CITEC, the benefits of lean training, details about these sessions, and potential funding assistance is available at

Lean training, based on the Toyota Production System, is a way of working that minimizes waste and maximizes value for entire organizations. Companies that undertake lean transformation commit to long term optimization of their businesses.

Lean Foundations, which begins in August or September in Plattsburgh, is both an introduction to lean for management or supervisors who are unfamiliar with lean concepts, and also a training tool for committed companies to give their floor staff the tools they need to actively participate in continuous improvement projects.

Lean Green Belt begins September 6. This training builds lean leaders who not only complete their own project, but become trainers and leads to ensure continuous improvement throughout the organization.

Lean Leadership begins October 31. This certification for senior and mid-level management ensures that Lean investments on the production floor are understood and supported by the C-Suite so they can continue to bring ROI.

CITEC Business Solutions has offered consulting and training services throughout the North Country for 30 years. They focus on continuous improvement, efficiency, safety, business development, human resources, leadership development, marketing, and executive services. Their qualified consultants have decades of experience and documented millions of dollars in return on investment. CITEC is a member of the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), a program of the U.S. Department of Commerce National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The MEP is a network of centers throughout the U.S. that addresses the needs of America's small and mid-sized companies to improve their competitive position in the marketplace.

CITIZEN ADVOCATES RECEIVES $10,000 GRANT FOR BACKPACK PROGRAM Joy in Childhood Foundation award helps feed eligible youth during school year

Citizen Advocates, Inc. is proud to announce the award of a $10,000 grant from the Joy in Childhood Foundation, which is committed to providing moments of joy to sick and hungry kids. The grant from the Joy in Childhood Foundation will support the Citizen Advocates' Backpack Program, and its mission to provide eligible children in kindergarten through sixth grade with nutritious food for the weekend during the academic year.

Roughly 3.9 million children in the nation live in “food-insecure” households where there is a limited or uncertain amount of nutritionally adequate or safe food. Children are at dramatically higher risk for food insecurity if they live in households where income levels are near or below federal poverty levels or are headed by single parents. In the Malone area, the percentage of individuals and families living in poverty is 31.1 percent, with the largest demographic being females age 35-44, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

“Both Citizen Advocates and the Joy in Childhood Foundation have a passion for helping people, and the Backpack Program is one of the most direct ways we can make a positive impact in the lives of hungry kids," said Dean Johnston, CEO of Citizen Advocates. "This generous gift from the Foundation puts us on strong footing for the coming year, and closer to our goal of reaching a maximum number of youth during the 2017-18 academic year." 

“The Joy in Childhood Foundation is proud to support local organizations such as Citizen Advocates that share our commitment to bringing joy to hungry kids and to helping them live healthier lives so that they can reach their full potential,” said Karen Raskopf, Co-Chair of the Joy in Childhood Foundation.

The Backpack Program operates on an annual budget of roughly $70,000 with all of the funds applied directly to feeding children in grades kindergarten through six. No state or federal money is received for this program, which is administered and operated entirely by volunteers.  During the 2016-17 school year, nearly 525 young students were served through the Backpack Program with a total of 33,600 meals served thanks to the efforts of about 44 volunteers working a combined 2,112 hours.

The annual Taste of Malone Dinner, a significant fundraiser for the Backpack Program, is tentatively scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 4 at the Malone Golf Club.  Additional details are forthcoming, so be sure to save the date. To learn more, or to support the Backpack Program or the Adopt-A-Kid Campaign contact Joe Riccio at Citizen Advocates at (518) 651-2760 or e-mail 

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