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News and Info from members of the North Country Chamber

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 local community 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 (518) 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 (518) 873-6347 if you need more information.
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 16. Please call (518) 561-6000 if you have any questions.
 
Our branch located in Downtown Plattsburgh is collecting gift cards for the Christmas Bureau to be given to older children and teenagers, who would be too old to receive a toy. If you have questions or would like to contribute, you can call us at (518) 562-1785.
 
In Champlain, we are collecting unwrapped toys and books to donate to the Christmas Bureau. If you would like to help, please drop off your donation to our branch in Champlain by the 12th of December. For more information, call the branch at (518) 983-3314.
 
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 (518) 963-4201 or (518) 983-3322.
 
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 (518) 523-7070 or (518) 304-5200.
 
At our Keene branch we are collecting warm clothing for local children and senior citizens in need, working in conjunction with local churches and the Keene Valley Neighborhood House. To help: stop by the branch and select an angel or mitten tag, which will detail the clothing item requested and the person’s size. Gifts need to be returned to the branch by December 18 and can be either wrapped or unwrapped with the tag attached. Call the branch at (518) 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 traditional banking products, it has a full offering of mobile banking solutions, commercial loans and mortgages.
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Charles R. Wood Foundation Announces $1 Million Special Healthcare Initiative Grant to Launch
Hudson Headwaters’ Mobile Health Program

The Charles R. Wood Foundation has awarded a $1 million Special Healthcare Initiative Grant in support of Hudson Headwaters Health Network’s Mobile Health Pilot Project. The Charles R. Wood Foundation launched its Special Health Initiative earlier this year to attract innovative funding opportunities that improve population health outcomes in the region. This grant award is the largest private contribution ever received by Hudson Headwaters and will be spread over three years.

As the region’s leader in advanced primary care, Hudson Headwaters’ mobile health project was selected for its emphasis on partnerships and data. The pilot phase will help Hudson Headwaters plan and scale for the region’s first primary care mobile health delivery system.

“The Charles R. Wood Foundation is pleased to assist Hudson Headwaters with this groundbreaking initiative for health care in the North Country,” said Charlene Wood, Chair of the Charles R. Wood Foundation. “We are committed to helping folks in rural areas receive proper health care and are hopeful this pilot program will continue to encourage other collaborations in the future.”

Hudson Headwaters expects the first mobile unit to be operational by early 2021. Working alongside community partners, data will help inform where best to deploy mobile resources and meet the needs of the region’s most vulnerable communities. By the end of the three-year pilot phase, Hudson Headwaters anticipates up to four mobile units serving the greater Adirondack and Glens Falls regions.

“Hudson Headwaters has a long-standing tradition of providing accessible health care in rural, hard-to-reach places.  And we’re no stranger to uncharted territory,” explained Hudson Headwaters CEO Tucker Slingerland, M.D. “Thanks to the Charles R. Wood Foundation’s support, mobile health capabilities will bring health care accessibility to a whole new level.”

Supporting local health care is one of the Charles R. Wood Foundation’s longstanding philanthropic priorities as bolstering the availability and quality of health care in the North Country is directly connected to healthy communities and individuals.

“The Charles R. Wood Foundation’s tremendous investment is a crucial step for getting mobile health care moving. We are grateful for their leadership commitment, which is an exciting beginning,” said Hudson Headwaters Health Foundation President Jim Himoff. “More community support and resources will be essential to realizing the full potential of mobile health.”
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Northern Insuring Announces Achievements

Naomi Hunt, Ashley Hardman, and Justise Delfosse - Sales Executives at Northern Insuring Agency, Inc. - have acquired their New York State Property & Casualty licenses (Agent & Broker). The pre-licensing course addresses personal and commercial lines of business, accident and health, insurance regulations and duties of agents and brokers. Intensive study was required in order to qualify to take the NYS insurance licensing examination.

Northern Insuring Agency is celebrating their 90th year in business and specializes in Business, Personal, and Life Insurance and Employee Benefits Services. The largest locally-owned, independent insurance agency covering the Northern New York Region, Northern Insuring was selected as a 2019 Best Companies to Work for in New York State, ranking #4 among the top 26 small employers in the state, according to New York State Society for Human Resource Management (NYS-SHRM).
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NBT Bancorp Inc. Announces Appointment of John Moran as Chief Financial Officer,
Promotes Annette Burns to Chief Accounting Officer

NBT Bancorp Inc. (NBT) (NASDAQ: NBTB) President and CEO John H. Watt, Jr. announced that John V. Moran has been appointed Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.

Moran will serve on NBT’s Executive Management Team and will be based at the company’s headquarters in Norwich, NY. He brings 17 years of experience in the financial services industry to his new position. Prior to joining NBT, he was Senior Vice President and Director of Corporate Development & Strategy for Old National Bancorp, a $20 billion financial services holding company based in Evansville, IN.

“John Moran is a critical addition to NBT’s Executive Management Team,” said Watt. “His  participation in bank corporate finance and strategy coupled with his extensive experience as an investment analyst gives him a unique perspective that will provide guidance to our team as we engage in ongoing initiatives to grow NBT and enhance shareholder value.”

In addition to his role at Old National, Moran brings significant experience in corporate finance and investment research to NBT. He was previously employed by Macquarie Securities from 2010 to 2017 and, prior to that, by Cohen & Company and Ryan Beck & Co. Moran earned his bachelor’s degree and MBA from Rutgers University and his master’s degree in Real Estate Development from Columbia University. He is also a CFA Charterholder.

Moran is succeeding Michael J. Chewens, who is retiring following a successful 25-year career with the company. Chewens will continue to be employed by NBT through March 31, 2020 and will assist with the transition.

Watt also announced that Annette L. Burns was promoted to Senior Vice President and Chief Accounting Officer. Burns is a Certified Public Account with nearly 25 years of experience in accounting and finance. She joined NBT in 2013 when the company acquired Alliance Bank and advanced to the position of Corporate Controller later that year. In 2019, Burns was promoted to Senior Corporate Controller. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from St. Bonaventure University.
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Steve Moore of Condo Pharmacy Wins National Award

Steve Moore, PharmD, owner of Condo Pharmacy in Plattsburgh, NY., has been named the National Community Pharmacists Association's 2019 Willard B. Simmons Independent Pharmacist of the Year. The award is sponsored by Upsher-Smith Laboratories, LLC. Moore received the award on Monday, Oct. 28 at the General Session of the NCPA 2019 Annual Convention in San Diego.

This annual award is given to a pharmacist who exhibits exemplary professional leadership, service to community and commitment to independent pharmacy. Upsher-Smith has sponsored the award in conjunction with NCPA for the past 11 years. The award is named in honor of Willard B. Simmons, a former executive secretary of NCPA (then known as the National Association of Retail Druggists) and a longtime trustee of the NCPA Foundation.

Condo Pharmacy provides traditional, long term care, compounding, and specialty pharmacy services and is part of the CPESN® USA national network of clinically integrated pharmacies. Pharmacies that are part of this network team up with other health care providers and insurers to render clinical care services to patients such as annual wellness visits, chronic care management, and transition of care services from both inside and outside of the pharmacy. As a designated luminary for CPESN Upstate NY, Moore is helping combine Condo Pharmacy's high level of care with those of other like-minded pharmacies to offer new quality services to his market. In addition to his service to the patient community, Moore is also active within the professional community. He currently serves as board president of the Pharmacists Society of the State of New York and is a member of NCPA, serving on its State Legislative Committee.

"We appreciate Upsher-Smith's longstanding support of the Willard B. Simmons Independent Pharmacist of the Year Award," said B. Douglas Hoey, Pharmacist, MBA and NCPA's CEO. "Award recipients have exemplified what it means to be a community pharmacist and provide a high level of care – we are proud to partner with Upsher-Smith to recognize Steve Moore as this year's recipient."

"Upsher-Smith is proud to partner with NCPA in recognizing the contributions of community pharmacists across the country," said Rusty Field, President and CEO, Upsher-Smith. "We are pleased to honor Steve Moore, a distinguished independent pharmacist who is carrying on his family's legacy of providing quality-driven service and exceptional care to members of the community."
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Matthew T. Boire Appointed to Champlain National Bank Board of Directors

Peter S. Paine, Jr., Chairman of the Board of Directors of Champlain National Bank and its holding company, Champlain Bank Corporation, is pleased to announce that at a recent board meeting, Matthew T. Boire of Rouses Point was elected as a new member of both Boards.

“We are delighted to welcome Mr. Boire to our Board,” Mr. Paine said. “His long standing commitment to the economic development of our region, and his expertise in real estate will help us fulfill our goals as the only locally owned and managed independent community Bank in our market area.”

Mr. Boire is the owner of CDC Real Estate Inc., a commercial and industrial real estate firm based in Rouses Point, and has worked in real estate and economic development since 1992. His specialty is assisting Canadian companies with their US expansion plans as well as assisting local clients with their economic development and marketing needs. Mr. Boire is a graduate of St. Michael’s College in Colchester, VT, where he obtained two Bachelor degrees in Economics and Business Administration. He is active in the New York State Commercial Association of REALTORS and currently sits on the Board of Plattsburgh Community Housing Inc. He and his wife, Niki, have been married more than 25 years and have two adult children who also live locally.

“I am very pleased to have been asked to join Champlain National Bank’s Board of Directors,” Mr. Boire said. “Being a native of the North Country and a small business owner, I enjoy seeing local companies prosper. Champlain National Bank offers a unique local banking experience for people and businesses throughout the North Country. They, like me and my firm CDC Real Estate, spend every day helping families and businesses prosper locally. I will enjoy working with an institution that is very much in sync with my own beliefs.”

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 traditional banking products, it has a full offering of mobile banking solutions, commercial loans and mortgages.
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Northern Insuring Agency, Inc. celebrates 90 years by launching new brand

After months of careful planning, Northern Insuring Agency is thrilled to present our new logo and brand in celebration of our upcoming 90th year in business.

Working together with the Maine based marketing firm Pulp+Wire, the re-branding process was collaborative and involved several rounds of thoughtful feedback from a diverse committee. Fonts, colors, spacing and including the year established (1930) were all carefully considered.

Damian Battinelli and Jennifer Aguglia from North Volume Media filmed, directed and edited our launch video to introduce the new brand. Charles Tagliarino of Growtrends updated our website to reflect the new branding. Laura’s Custom Artwork and Signs, Lake Placid, NY, created and installed the sign at the home office with Potsdam and Glens Falls to follow.

“The idea to update our logo and brand came from our employees after attending a local Chamber of Commerce event,” said Deena Giltz McCullough, president/CEO. “They recognized we needed a fresh look and provided the leadership needed to come up with a design that exceeded everyone’s expectations. I am impressed by the number of positive comments we are receiving and is a delight to hear.”

Specializing in Business, Home, Auto and Life Insurance and Employee Benefits Services, Northern Insuring Agency is the largest locally-owned, independent insurance agency covering the Northern New York Region. With offices in Plattsburgh, Potsdam and Glens Falls, they are especially proud to be selected (and ranked #4 in the state) as a 2019 Best Companies to work for In New York State according to New York State Society for Human Resource Management (NYS-SHRM) and as the 2019 Readers Choice Award for the Press Republican.
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McCarthy Named Principal

Auburn, N.Y. - Beardsley Architects + Engineers is pleased to announce that Dennis G. McCarthy, P.E., LEED AP BD+C, has been named a Principal of the firm. Mr. McCarthy is a New York State licensed engineer with a degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Clarkson University.

Mr. McCarthy joined the firm in 1993 as an electrical engineer and quickly rose to become a highly valued member of the Beardsley team. As Principal, Mr. McCarthy will utilize his knowledge and strong leadership skills to help Beardsley grow and will continue to help our clients be successful in their endeavors. In addition to his role as Principal, he serves as a project manager for Federal clients and oversees Beardsley’s building systems team.

For more information on Beardsley Architects + Engineers, visit www.beardsley.com.  
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TAMMY BELL-MARTIN PROMOTED TO VICE PRESIDENT OF
NORTHERN INSURING AGENCY, INC

The Board of Directors of Northern Insuring Agency, Inc. proudly announces the promotion of Tammy Bell-Martin to Vice President.

In 1997 Tammy joined the firm as a Personal Lines Service Representative and was looking for a company that allowed for growth and development within the organization. While she claims that home and auto insurance is her first love in 2006 she joined the Busienss Insurance Division sales team and has been one of the top sales individuals ever since. In addition to her sales responsibilities she also is the Personal Insurance Division Talent Leader responsible for coaching and mentoring.

Tammy is a graduate of Canton College of Technology with an Associates Degree in Business Administration/ Insurance. She holds the Property & Casualty insurance licence and is both aa Certified Insurance Service Representative (CISR) and a Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC), which requires the successful completion of five rigerous insurance specific courses and essay exams.

“For the past 22 years Tammy has proven to be a versatile asset to the team” said Deena Giltz McCullough, President/CEO, “always positive, Tammy looks for ways to accomplish goals, motivate others and stretch her comfort zone”.

As an active participant in the community Tammy enjoys being part of The Foundaiton of CVPH Medical Center board where she is involved in events planning such as Stepping Out for your Heart and the Foundations annual June fundraiser.   Tammy also truly enjoys volunteering and visiting local hospitals, nursing homes and schools with her therapy dog, Oliver.

Northern Insuring Agency will celebrate their 90th anniversary in June, 2020 and has kicked off the celebration with the announcement of a new logo! Specializing in Business, Home, Auto and Life Insurance and Employee Benefits Services, NIA is the largest locally-owned, independent insurance agency covering the Northern New York Region. They are especially proud to be selected (and ranked #4 in the state) as a 2019 Best Companies to work for In New York State according to New York State Society for Human Resource Management (NYS-SHRM) and as the 2019 Readers Choice Award for the Press Republican.
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Hudson Headwaters Ranks Among Top 1 Percent of Health Centers in the Nation for Quality

Hudson Headwaters Health Network has been recognized by the Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) as a National Quality Leader.

The organization has been ranked 10th in the nation for best overall clinical performance in 2018. This standing represents the top 1 percent of all federally qualified health centers in the United States, achieving the best overall clinical performance among the nation’s health centers. This recognition includes an award of $210,000 to be used for additional quality improvements. 

Health centers are evaluated both nationally and within their state. Within New York, Hudson Headwaters Health Network was ranked second in the category of Health Center Quality Leaders, representing the top 3 percent for overall clinical performance.

According to Dr. Tucker Slingerland, Hudson Headwaters CEO, the recognition is important and appreciated because it reflects the everyday work of Hudson Headwaters employees, focused on making quality a priority. “The dedication of Hudson Headwaters Health Network staff, and their ongoing commitment to high quality patient care for everyone in our communities, results in this outstanding level of recognition." 

Hudson Headwaters’ staff consistently works to ensure that patients receive appropriate screenings and tests to help maintain and improve overall health and wellbeing – especially for those with certain health conditions. These include mammograms for women, blood pressure monitoring for patients diagnosed with high blood pressure, eye exams for those with diabetes, and certain cancer screenings. Patient outreach via phone calls, emails, and texts are conducted to educate patients about the importance of these tests and to encourage them to visit their primary care provider.

According to Linda Spokane, vice president, population health management at Hudson Headwaters, the awards represent the work that Hudson Headwaters does to ensure that patients receive the most appropriate care based on their specific needs. “We always work to identify specific health care requirements – they are, essentially, individualized for each patient,” she said. “For example, a woman who turns 50 this year requires different health screenings than a woman in her twenties.”

Hudson Headwaters Health Network also ranked fifth in the state for recognition as a patient-centered medical home (PCMH) which ensures that patient care is coordinated by a team of healthcare professionals. The team takes collective responsibility for comprehensive care for each patient, working with other health and wellness organizations, when necessary. These practices improve safety, enhance efficiency, lower costs, achieve enhanced reimbursement and improve quality of patient care.

Health Resources and Services Administration’s annual Quality Improvement Awards celebrate quality, efficiency, and value provided by the nation’s 1,273 federally qualified health centers. These awards recognize the highest performing health centers nationwide, along with those that have made significant quality improvement gains from the previous year.
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Employee Promotions Announced at Champlain National Bank
 
Steven Cacchio, President and CEO of Champlain National Bank, is pleased to announce the following employees have been promoted:
 
Michelle Lafountain to Mortgage Loan Specialist. Michelle started with Champlain National Bank in 2003 as a Teller. In 2008 she was promoted to Branch Manager of the Champlain branch, and in 2017 also took over management of the Plattsburgh branch, where she was responsible for overseeing both locations. In her new role, she will remain in charge of the Plattsburgh branch in addition to handling mortgage loan originations for the Bank. Her volunteer activities include being the Treasurer for the North Country Youth Hockey Organization. When Michelle isn’t working, she enjoys camping and spending time with her family and friends.
 
Stephanie Coulombe to Champlain Branch Manager. Stephanie started at Champlain National Bank in 2008 working in the Lake Placid branch before moving to the Champlain location. She became Assistant Branch Manager in 2017. In her free time she enjoys reading and spending time with her husband and two children: Landon and Leah.

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 traditional banking products, it has a full offering of mobile banking solutions, commercial loans and mortgages.
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Brenda LaRose Promoted to Chief Financial Officer of Northern Insuring Agency, Inc.

The Board of Directors of Northern Insuring Agency, Inc. is honored to announce the promotion of Brenda LaRose to Chief Financial Officer. Brenda is a 29-year veteran of the agency and has worked her way up from the mail room to one of the highest leadership positions within the agency. In her role as CFO, Brenda oversees the financial operations for organization including payroll, accounts payables and receivables. She also retains her role as Talent Manager for the inside staff including Human Resource duties and benefits administration.   

“Brenda has proven herself as always willing to go above and beyond expectations” said Deena Giltz McCullough, President/CEO, “her attention to detail, positive attitude with a healthy sense of humor and pragmatic reasoning set her apart as a tremendous asset to me personally and the entire team”.

Northern Insuring Agency, Inc. celebrated their 89th anniversary in June and specializes in Business, Home, Auto and Life Insurance and Employee Benefits Services.  The largest locally-owned, independent insurance agency covering the Northern New York Region, Northern Insuring, Inc. was selected (and ranked #4 in the state) as a 2019 Best Companies to work for In New York State according to New York State Society for Human Resource Management (NYS-SHRM).
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Mindy Bero Selected for 2019 Class of Women of FIRE

Hickok & Boardman, Inc. is pleased to announce that Mindy Bero, Client Advisor, has been selected as one of 31 women from throughout New England to be named to the 2019 class of Women of FIRE by Banking New England magazine.  “The FIRE (Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate) sector has emerged as a keystone of the New England economy, transforming the knowledge, wealth and dreams of the world’s most ambitious visionaries into reality.  As more and more women rise to the top of the businesses and institutions in this sector, there is a growing need to shine a light on their achievements to inspire others.”  Mindy is being recognized for the difference she is making in the insurance profession.
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Northern Insurance Announces Employee Certification

The designation of Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC) has been conferred upon Tanya Krise, Senior Sales Executive of Northern Insuring Agency, Inc. in Potsdam, NY, following her successful completion of a rigorous insurance education program sponsored by the Society of Certified Insurance Counselors.

The announcement was made by Dr. William T. Hold, President of the Society of CIC, who conferred the designation on Ms. Krise in an official ceremony.

The Society of CIC is a key member of The National Alliance for Insurance Education & Research, the nation’s preeminent provider of insurance and risk management education. The National Alliance conducts more than 2,500 programs annually, throughout all 50 states and Puerto Rico. Currently, more than 31,000 agents and insurance professionals throughout the country have received the CIC designation.

Ms. Krise has demonstrated her professional competence through the successful completion of the five CIC institutes and comprehensive written examinations focusing on all major fields of insurance, insurance management, and agency operations.


Champlain Telephone Company and PrimeLink Recognized by the NYS Public Service Commission

 The New York State Public Service Commission recently awarded both PrimeLink and Champlain Telephone Company, with their annual commendation for excellence in service quality to consumers during 2018.
Each year, the commission recognizes telephone companies that provide exemplary service to their customers. The criteria include evaluation of “customer trouble report rates” (CTRR) and the number of consumer complaints received by the Commission. Among its standards for recognition, the PSC requires that customer trouble report rates must be less than or equal to 3.3 reports per 100 access lines. In addition, the Public Service Commission complaint rate must be .075 complaints per 1,000 access lines or less.
 
“This commendation reflects the commitment of both companies to overall service quality and dedication to our customers,” said Trent Trahan, CEO and President of Champlain Telephone Company. “This is definitely a tribute to the PrimeLink and Champlain Telephone employees who work hard to maintain our standard of excellence.”
The NYS Public Service Commission has a broad mandate to ensure that all New Yorkers have access to reliable and low-cost utility services. The Commission regulates the state’s electric, gas, steam, telecommunications, and water utilities. They also oversee the cable industry. The Commission is charged by law with responsibility for setting rates and ensuring that adequate service is provided by New York’s utilities. More information is available about the NYS PSC at www.dps.ny.gov.
 
PrimeLink was established in 1997 and is a full service telecommunications company providing a wide array of advanced services, including local and long distance telephone service and broadband internet access for business customers over its fiber optic network. The Champlain Telephone Company is an independent local exchange carrier that has been providing continuous high-quality telecommunications services to the communities of Champlain, Rouses Point, Mooers, Mooers Forks, and Altona since 1903. For more information, visit PrimeLink’s website at www.primelink1.com or the Champlain Telephone website at www.champlaintelephone.com.
 

Sarah Schmidt Hired as Senior Vice President and CFO

Steven Cacchio, President and CEO of Champlain National Bank, is pleased to announce that Sarah Schmidt has been hired as the new Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.
Prior to joining the Bank, Ms. Schmidt was the Corporate Controller for the Sporn Company, Inc. in Burlington, VT. Her banking background includes 10 years working for Merchants Bank in South Burlington, VT (now Community Bank) where she was the Controller and Director of Financial Reporting. Ms. Schmidt also has corporate accounting and management experience in the food and energy industries. She holds a BA from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. She serves on the Board for the Chittenden County Humane Society and resides in Vermont.
“We are excited to welcome Sarah Schmidt to Champlain National Bank,” said Cacchio. “Her financial accounting experience will be a tremendous asset to the organization. We look forward to her guidance as we move forward.”
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 traditional banking products, it has a full offering of mobile banking solutions, commercial loans and mortgages.
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CITIZEN ADVOCATES, JOSHUA HOUSE ANNOUNCE NEW PARTNERSHIP

Organizations team up to provide exceptional, person-centered supports

Two health and human services companies located at opposite ends of New York State, but with a shared passion for leading edge-care, are teaming up to ensure individuals with variety of abilities achieve the life of their choosing.

The Joshua House, Inc. in Sidney, N.Y., is a private, non-profit provider of Intellectual and Developmental Disability Services serving approximately 30 individuals and families throughout Delaware and Otsego counties.  Both Citizen Advocates and Joshua House’s Boards of Directors approved an agreement where Joshua House would retain its corporate identity, and continue day-to-day operations as a partner of Citizen Advocates.

“This is an exciting new chapter in the story of Joshua House,” said Norm Erickson, President of the Joshua House Board of Directors. “It’s not every day you have the opportunity to unite two organizations where person-centered care is both a priority and a passion.”

Joshua House was founded in 1992 as a result of a tremendous loss suffered by Joshua at the age of eight years old, who was the son of the agency's founder. As a result of this tragedy, community homes were developed in and around Sidney for individuals with a variety of abilities. The community homes were established as compassionate and more person-centered approach to provide services to individuals with developmental disabilities.  In essence, the founding belief of Joshua House was to offer an array of programs and housing that offer the warmth of a family setting - but with the additional supports needed to ensure an individualized, meaningful life.

“Joshua House currently operates four homes, commonly referred to by the state as Individualized Residential Alternatives, and each offers an environment true to our agency’s founding,” said Delsa McEwan, Executive Director of Joshua House.  “Our new affiliation positions Joshua House to overcome the financial realities resulting from shrinking reimbursements, by tapping into the efficiencies and depth of resources Citizen Advocates has to offer.”

The constantly shifting healthcare landscape presents numerous challenges to organizations throughout the state, which can result in a range of fiscal pressures.  As a result, health and human services organizations have developed creative solutions in order to minimize any disruption to essential, safety net services, particularly in rural areas where the need is greatest.

“Citizen Advocates understands rural healthcare, and has been a leader in this area for over four decades,” said Martha Dishman, President of the Board of Directors for Citizen Advocates. “Likewise, Joshua House has deep experience serving a community and region very similar to northern New York.  As a result, we are confident there is a lot we can learn from Joshua House as both of our organizations strive to provide exceptional care.”

“This is also a new chapter for Citizen Advocates in terms of the opportunities this company has to grow and as a result serve as an advocate for the vital healthcare needs of rural communities,” said James Button, COO of Citizen Advocates. “Through new partnerships, we can continue to provide cost effective, efficient health and human services that deliver high-quality person-centered outcomes.”

An affiliation team made of employees from both organizations has been collaborating daily, both onsite in Sidney and via teleconference, to manage the transition of operations under the Citizen Advocates umbrella.  It is expected the new partnership will be completed by Jan. 1, 2020.

Citizen Advocates’ provides a complete range of intellectual/developmental disability, mental health and addiction treatment, recovery and prevention services to Franklin, Essex, Clinton, St. Lawrence and Hamilton counties.  The individuals, families and communities served by Citizen Advocates receive a full range of health and lifestyle care through innovative, industry-leading services and programs. All of this is achieved through a person-centered approach that supports and celebrates each individual’s choices.
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Glens Falls National Bank Opens Smithfield Boulevard Office in Plattsburgh

Bank Relocates Cornelia Street Office as Part of Ongoing Investment in the Region

Glens Falls National Bank and Trust Company is pleased to announce the opening of its new Plattsburgh office at 20 Smithfield Boulevard.

The full-service Smithfield Boulevard Office features the latest technology, easy access and a fresh and modern appearance to enhance the banking experience. The new office includes drive-in service, a drive-up ATM and a night depository. The bank has moved operations from its Cornelia Street Office to this new facility. Hours for the lobby and drive-in remain the same.

The new Smithfield Boulevard Office is part of a wider bank initiative to update its three-branch Plattsburgh network. Earlier this year, the bank opened a new downtown office on Durkee Street, replacing its Margaret Street location, and renovated its U.S. Avenue Office.

“Our vision is to combine modern convenience with our thoughtful and welcoming approach to community banking,” said Glens Falls National Bank President and CEO Thomas J. Murphy. “Now that the Smithfield office is open, our dedicated team is even better equipped to serve our current and future customers in the greater Plattsburgh region. It has been our pleasure to serve this community since 1997 and this new and continued investment is proof that we plan to do so for many more years.”

To coincide with this year’s branch enhancements and reinvestment in the Plattsburgh community, the bank launched its “Hello, Plattsburgh!” campaign to reintroduce the bank’s signature style of community banking. To learn more, visit gfnational.com/hello-plattsburgh.

Part of the Arrow family of companies, Glens Falls National Bank and Trust Company provides banking, wealth management and insurance through 30 locations. Glens Falls National Bank is rated a 5-Star Superior institution by BauerFinancial.
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Senior Planet - OATS - Explands Program With Support form T-Mobile

Older Adults Technology Services (OATS) announced a new partnership with T-Mobile to expand its Senior Planet program in the largely rural North Country region of New York. The number of seniors living in rural America is expected to reach 14 million in 2020 and nearly half of rural seniors will experience social isolation, which is linked to a wide range of negative health outcomes, from depression to premature death. The Senior Planet program will provide residents aged 60 and older free technology training courses, lectures, workshops, and community events to improve their social engagement and overall quality of life.

“Social isolation among senior citizens is an invisible crisis. The good news is that technology and senior-friendly training provided in a supportive social context can counteract the effects of being alone or feeling disconnected from other people,” said Tom Kamber, executive director of OATS. “We’re excited to be working with T-Mobile, a company with a track record of meeting the needs of consumers. We appreciate their commitment to partnering with OATS to deepen our programming in the rural North Country.”

“At T-Mobile we believe everyone should have access to connectivity – whether to stay in touch with loved ones or be able to take advantage of all the resources the internet has to offer. That is why we are incredibly excited to partner with OATS and bring this innovative program to people who need it most! The Senior Planet program will now be able to empower even more seniors in New York’s North Country to expand their horizons through technology. And on a personal note, I spend a lot of time in New York and consider it a second home — so this program is really meaningful to me and I can’t wait to see it come to life!” said T-Mobile CEO John Legere.

With the support of T-Mobile, OATS will be able to grow its Senior Planet North Country programming to include:

  • Direct technology trainings for more than 100 seniors at risk of social isolation, including more than 30 hours of direct instruction and support using OATS’s curriculum, designed for older learners, and delivered by professional Senior Planet trainers.
  • The creation of a program report to summarize impact and offer recommendations for further opportunities to increase digital pathways for rural Americans.
  • A region-wide outreach and information campaign to help raise awareness about the consequences of social isolation and identify at-risk individuals in the region.

For more information about the Senior Planet North Country program and its achievements to date, see “Connecting Rural Older Americans with Technology: Lessons from Senior Planet” at http://oats.org/white-papers/.


504 Grant Funds Are Available

Rural Preservation Company of Clinton County located at 48 Ganong Drive, Suite 1, Saranac, NY  12981 is happy to announce that Grant funds are available for the Section 504 Home Repair Program.

The Section 504 Home Repair Program, also known as the Single-Family Housing Repair Loans & Grants, offered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development was set up to provide financial aid to low-income homeowners so they can repair, improve, or modernize their homes.  The program also helps elderly and low-income homeowners remove health and safety hazards from their homes.

This grant can only be applied to specific types of core projects that fall into three main categories:

  • Bringing your home up to health and safety standards (e.g., projects involving the roof, foundation, or electric and water systems)
  • Making your home accessible for residents with disabilities (e.g., adding ramps and bars)
  • Making your home more energy-efficient (e.g., insulation, energy conservation education, furnace repair and replacement, and heating duct improvements)

The maximum loan amount is $20,000 and the maximum grant amount has a lifetime limit of $10,000.  The loan can be repaid over 20 years, and the interest rate is fixed at 1%.

You don’t have to pay back a grant, but before you’re given any funds, you must sign an agreement that says if you sell your home that’s been repaired with a Section 504 grant within three years, the full amount must be repaid.

If you are interested in applying for a 504 Grant/Loan, please call Rural Preservation Company of Clinton County at 518-293-7569 or visit our website at www.clintonrpc.org.
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Grohal Joins Beardsley Architects + Engineers

Beardsley Architects + Engineers is pleased to announce that Mitchell A. Grohal, E.I.T., has joined the firm as Mechanical Engineer.

Mr. Grohal has four years of experience in mechanical engineering for advanced technology facilities. He has worked collaboratively with multidiscipline teams to provide designs with areas of focus in HVAC, central plants, and plumbing. His passion for HVAC design, strong commitment to continuous improvement, and dedication to providing sustainable design solutions makes him a strong addition to the Beardsley team. At Beardsley, Mr. Grohal will be working on projects for industrial, commercial, and municipal clients.

For more information on Beardsley Architects + Engineers, visit www.beardsley.com
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Ed Davis Promoted to Senior Vice President of Northern Insuring Agency

The Board of Directors of Northern Insuring Agency, Inc. proudly announces the promotion of Ed Davis to Senior Vice President. Ed joined the firm in 1996 after graduating from Potsdam State University with an Economics major and Finance & Communication minor. At that time he cited the desire for “a responsible position offering career opportunity, expansion of knowledge and an immediate challenge”.
 
For the past 23 years Ed has met and exceeded goals, grown his insurance and risk management knowledge and taken on new challenges willingly. He works closely with select clients building positive relationships and mentors a highly successful sales team. In his expanded role he will increase his responsibilities to include more direct oversite of the sales team.
 
“Ed is a quick learner, has a positive attitude and is always willing to go the extra mile to offer assistance” said Deena Giltz McCullough, President/CEO, “and I know I can count on him to follow through and keep a sense of humor; both of which are valuable traits”.
 
In addition to a Property & Casualty Insurance license, Ed is also a Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC) and Certified Risk Manager (CRM). As an active participant in our community, he is past board chair of the United Way of the Adirondack Region and board member for various not for profit organizations.
 
Northern Insuring Agency, Inc. celebrated their 89th anniversary in June and specializes in Business, Home, Auto and Life Insurance and Employee Benefits Services. The largest locally-owned, independent insurance agency covering the Northern New York Region, Northern Insuring, Inc. was selected (and ranked #4 in the state) as a 2019 Best Companies to work for In New York State according to New York State Society for Human Resource Management (NYS-SHRM).
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UVM Health Network Announces Al Gobeille as Executive Vice President for Operations

Will lead efforts across the Vermont and Northern New York health network to improve quality, access, affordability and efficiencies

Al Gobeille has been named Executive Vice President for Operations (EVP) at the University of Vermont Health Network following a national search. He will begin his new role on September 1. This is a newly-created role designed to lead integration efforts to improve efficiencies and quality of care provided by its eight affiliated organizations.

As EVP, a position common in integrated health care systems, Mr. Gobeille will identify opportunities and develop innovations to achieve major advancements in the integration of operations across the six hospitals, medical group and home health and hospice agency in the Network.

Network-wide collaboration has resulted in clinical improvements for patients including expanded use of telehealth and access to specialists, along with a Regional Transport System that is improving outcomes and saving lives. Financial improvements have been achieved as well, including more than $100 million in savings due to group purchasing and restructuring of debt.

“We are an aging and rural region and need to find innovative solutions that ensure our long-term ability to meet the needs of our communities,” said John Brumsted, MD, president and CEO of the University of Vermont Health Network.  “Al has an uncanny ability to quickly understand and master some of the most complex health care challenges we face. He is also someone who listens, learns and then brings people together toward a shared goal. I am excited to have Al join our talented team and build on what we have accomplished so far.”

Mr. Gobeille most recently served as Secretary of Human Services under Governor Phil Scott. In this role, he managed a workforce of over 3,600 state employees and transformed the agency’s $2.6 billion dollar budget to improve programs and reduce spending growth by over $100 million dollars annually. As Chair of the Green Mountain Care Board, Gobeille played a leading role in negotiating Vermont’s first-of-its-kind All-Payer ACO Waiver with the federal government. He is also an entrepreneur with a family-owned hospitality company based in Burlington.

“Hospitals and health care providers across the region are laser-focused on how best to serve their communities, and the UVM Health Network in particular is doing some of the most innovative and creative work in the country to ensure access to care and remain viable into the future. I am honored to join the team and eager to do my part to ensure all the people in our region have the care they need as close to home as possible,” said Gobeille.

Mr. Gobeille is charged with working across all UVM Health Network Affiliate organizations in Vermont and Northern New York.

“I look forward to working with Al in supporting our teams as they continue to provide exceptional patient care to the communities we serve. His experience in both the public and private sectors, I’m sure, will be a real asset to our organization as we develop an integrated health care system for Northern New York and Vermont,” said Alice Hyde Medical Center and CVPH President Michelle LeBeau. 

Mr. Gobeille served as an officer in the United States Army. He lives in Shelburne, Vermont with his wife, Kim and they have three grown children.

About The University of Vermont Health Network
The University of Vermont Health Network is an academic health system that is comprised of six affiliate hospitals, a multi-specialty medical group, and a home health agency. We serve the residents of Vermont and northern New York with a shared mission: working together, we improve people’s lives.  Our partners include:

Our 4,000 health care professionals are driven to provide high-quality, cost-efficient care as close to home as possible. Strengthened by our academic connection to the University of Vermont, each of our hospitals remains committed to its local community by providing compassionate, personal care shaped by the latest medical advances and delivered by highly skilled experts.
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Hickok & Boardman Insurance Group Opens New Office in Plattsburgh, New York 
Expanding Outside Vermont

Hickok & Boardman Insurance Group is pleased to announce the opening of a new office in Plattsburgh, New York.  The office, located at 14 Durkee Street, Suite 430 in The Gateway Building overlooking Broad Street and the Saranac River is scheduled to open in July and will be Hickok & Boardman’s first physical location outside of the state of Vermont.

“Hickok & Boardman, Inc has been doing business in northern New York for more than fifty years. We are excited to now have a physical location in Plattsburgh.  We view our location in the Gateway Building as the logical next step to foster current and build new relationships with the Plattsburgh community and its businesses” noted Scott Boardman, President at Hickok & Boardman, Inc.

Ryan Lee, long-term resident of Plattsburgh joined Hickok & Boardman, Inc in early 2018. Ryan will be located in The Gateway Building office with responsibility for business development in the commercial insurance area.

Hickok & Boardman Insurance Group was founded in 1821 with offices in Burlington, Lyndonville, Montpelier, St. Albans and Stowe. They have most recently been awarded with “Best Places to Work” in Vermont, and “Best of Business” in Vermont for Property and Casualty Insurance, both for the second consecutive year.   

To learn more about Hickok & Boardman Insurance Group including their services, visit http://www.hbinsurance.com
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Champlain National Bank Awards $4,500 in Scholarships to Local Students

Champlain National Bank gave $4,500 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.  Champlain National Bank Scholarships are awarded every year at graduation to students from school districts within the two counties who will be attending college in the fall.

Winners

  • Willsboro Central School: Emily Shaffer, daughter of Jennifer Shaffer from Willsboro.  Attending SUNY Plattsburgh to study Elementary and Special Education.
  • Westport Central School: Peter Vaiciulis, son of Perter and Ofa Vaiciulis from Westport.  Attending RPI to study Math and Computer Science.
  • Elizabethtown-Lewis Central School: Tyler Monty, son of Jim and Cindy Monty from Lewis.  Attending Utica College to study Cybersecurity.
  • Crown Point Central School: Kenneth LaDeau, son of Kenneth and Paula LaDeau from Crown Point.  Attending SUNY Albany to study Business Administration.
  • Keene Central School: Kaleb Cook, son of Dean and Angela Cook from Keene Valley.  Attending Plymouth State to study Environmental Studies.
  • Plattsburgh Central School: Michael James, son of Michele Caraballo from Plattsburgh.  Attending SUNY Plattsburgh to study Business.
  • Northeastern Clinton Central School: Samantha Disco, daughter of Kelly Disco from Rouses Point.  Attending SUNY Plattsburgh to study Business.
  • Lake Placid Central School: Cooper Holmes, son of John and Colleen Holmes from Lake Placid.  Attending SUNY Albany to study Business.
  • Saranac Lake Central School: Marshal Moore, son of Jennifer Moore from Lake Clear and Greg Moore of Saranac Lake.  Attending St. John Fischer to study Finance.

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 traditional banking products, it has a full offering of mobile banking solutions, commercial loans and mortgages.
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In celebration of their 89th year of business, Northern Insuring Agency, Inc. recently made a donation

In celebration of their 89th year of business, Northern Insuring Agency, Inc. recently made an $890 donation to the Plattsburgh YMCA. Kevin Killeen of Fesette Realty nominated the organization for the prize donation at the Plattsburgh North Country Chamber of Commerce 2019 Business Expo. The contribution will be used for the Safety Around Water project for kids grades K through 5. Killeen stated he chose the YMCA as a local not-for-profit organization because he wants to see great work continue in the community.
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Hickok & Boardman Network of Companies Announces Twelve Non-Profits to Receive Charitable Gift

The Hickok & Boardman Network of Companies is pleased to announce twelve non-profit recipients of their 2019 charitable gifts, including: Children’s Literacy Foundation, Kids on the Ball, Cancer Patient Support Foundation, Steps to End Domestic Violence, Lake Champlain Committee, C.I.D.E.R. (Champlain Islanders Developing Essential Resources, Inc.), Hope Lodge, Mount Mansfield Village, H.O.P.E. in Lyndonville (Helping Other People Every day), Therapy Dogs of Vermont, Passion 4 Paws and an employee family member in need from the Town of Barre.

Nearly 20 years ago, to celebrate the volunteerism and interests of their employees and associates, the Hickok & Boardman Network of Companies including Hickok & Boardman Insurance, Coldwell Banker Hickok & Boardman Realty, and Hickok & Boardman Financial Planning & HR Intelligence formed a Charitable Gifts committee with representatives of each company. Annually, each firm contributes to a fund and Hickok & Boardman employees and associates are given the opportunity to nominate a charity in which they are involved.

“The Hickok & Boardman Network of Companies, our employees and associates, have long been known for their involvement and generosity during our United Way workforce campaign,” says Scott Boardman, President of Hickok & Boardman Insurance. “The owners of all three companies recognize our team for the time, expertise, and money they contribute to many local charities all year long. The H&B Charitable Gifts program is a way to support their community service and passions.”

For a list of previous year’s recipients go to http://hbvermont.com/community.html

The origins of Hickok & Boardman date back to 1821 beginning with Hickok & Boardman Insurance. In the mid to late 1900's, the company experienced significant growth to include Real Estate, Financial Planning, Retirement and Group Benefit services. Today, the companies each independently owned and operated, form the Hickok & Boardman Network of Companies with Burlington, Vermont serving as the headquarters for each firm. Combined, they employ over 220 Staff and contracted Real Estate Sales Associates.
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CITEC Business Solutions Moves Plattsburgh Office to Clinton Community College

CITEC Business Solutions has moved its Plattsburgh office to the campus of Clinton Community College.

"We are looking forward to being on the campus and working closely with Clinton Community. There is a lot of synergy in the work we do in areas of workforce and skills development.” says CITEC Executive Director John Zielinski.

CITEC will share quarters with the Small Business Development Center, another organization working to ensure that North Country businesses have the resources they need to prosper.

Clinton Community College President Ray DiPasquale says, “CITEC is a valuable resource and has had such a positive impact on our region. When businesses in our community do well, it means more opportunity for Clinton students, alumni, and their families. We are honored to welcome CITEC to the Clinton campus, and look forward to continuing our strong partnership.”

CITEC Business Solutions offers consulting and training services that strengthen businesses. As part of NYS Manufacturing Extension Partnership, CITEC works primarily with small and medium manufacturers, but also with other businesses and organizations across the seven-county North Country region. CITEC's focus areas include continuous improvement, both training and implementation, safety, and leadership development. Third-party documented impacts for 2018 include $150 million through process improvement projects with manufacturers, creating or retaining more than 1200 jobs. Working with CITEC returned $78 for every dollar invested in 2018. More information is available at citec.org.

Clinton Community College is a member of the State University of New York system and home of the Institute for Advanced Manufacturing (IAM). Clinton offers 24 associate degree programs, seven certificates, transfer pathways and advisement options, multiple non-credit professional credentials, and many flexible learning options including online and evening courses. As part of the SUNY system, Clinton credits transfer seamlessly. More information is available at clinton.edu.
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Northern Insuring Agency, Inc. is #4 among the Best Companies to Work for in New York

Northern Insuring Agency, Inc. is pleased to announce that it is #4 among the top 26 small employers in the state, according to the New York State Society for Human Resource Management’s (NYS-SHRM) annual Best Companies to Work for in New York State awards program. Small is categorized as 15-99 employees.

Created in 2007, this annual program evaluates and ranks the best places of employment in the State based on employee satisfaction and engagement, as well as workplace practices and policies. It is unique because employees’ survey responses count for 75% of the ranking formula.  The Best Companies to Work for in New York State program is a partnership between the NYS-SHRM, The Business Council of New York and Best Companies Group.

“It is thrilling to receive an award that is dependent on employees nominating us and providing candid survey feedback,” explained Deena Giltz McCullough, President & CEO of Northern Insuring Agency.  “The feedback impacts decisions we make and helps us to become an even better place to work.  It’s extremely powerful to know that Northern team members, for the third time, have stepped up to make this award happen.”

Northern Insuring Agency celebrates their 89th anniversary in June and specializes in Business, Home, Auto and Life Insurance and Employee Benefits Services.  The largest locally-owned, independent insurance agency covering the Northern New York Region, Northern Insuring was recognized in the 2018 Press-Republican Reader’s Choice Awards as the best insurance agency and by Reagan Associates and the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA or the Big “I”) as a 2018 Best Practices Agency.
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Hickok & Boardman Insurance Group

Hickok & Boardman Insurance Group Board of Directors has voted in Jeff LaBonte as Vice President.  “Jeff has demonstrated outstanding leadership throughout his years here at H&B.  We are pleased to have Jeff representing the Agency in this capacity,” said Scott Boardman, President.

Jeff LaBonte has been with H&B for 12 years advising clients on their commercial insurance needs.  In 2015 Jeff became a partner of Hickok & Boardman Insurance Group.  Jeff serves on the Alumni Board of Directors for St. Michael’s College and as a Corporator for Northfield Savings Bank. 


Hickok & Boardman also announced Tim O’Neill became a stockholder of the corporation. “Tim has grown our Lyndonville office significantly since he started back in July of 2011 and is a strong leader and trusted advisor for our clients in the eastern part of the State and western New Hampshire,” said Boardman. 


Tim O’Neill has been with H&B for eight years advising clients on their commercial insurance needs.  He currently serves on the Rural Edge Board of Directors and is past President and current member of the Board of Directors of Lyndonville Rotary.


Founded in 1821, Hickok &Boardman Insurance Group has served Vermont and the surrounding states in both business and personal insurance. ____________________________________________________________________________________________

CITIZEN ADVOCATES, ST. JOSEPH’S TEAM UP FOR RESEARCH PROJECT

Initiative focuses on enhancing behavioral health services in rural areas

Citizen Advocates and St. Joseph’s Addiction Treatment and Recovery Centers have teamed up to conduct research focusing on the challenges faced by rural behavioral health providers and the individuals they serve.

Rural behavioral health providers serve a population of individuals and families that is uniquely vulnerable, and which often face hurdles connecting the people they support with the appropriate level of care or services. In many cases, the services some individuals and families require extend beyond a clinic or medical setting.  Access to housing, reliable transportation, job training or food security can be obstacles for someone recovering from an addiction or mental health diagnosis.  These challenges are more pronounced in areas like the North Country.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is the nation’s largest philanthropy dedicated solely to health and whose guiding thoughts include the principal, “We seek bold and lasting change rooted in the best available evidence, analysis, and science, openly debated. In 2017 alone, the Foundation dedicated over $365 million to improve health care.”

“Both of our organizations have deep ties in and a shared commitment to improving the lives of North Country residents,” said Reid Anthony, CEO of Citizen Advocates. “As such, both Citizen Advocates and St. Joseph’s are an ideal fit to work hand in glove on this important research that focuses on the steps we can take to improve behavioral health services and outcomes in rural areas.”

St. Joseph’s CEO, Bob Ross, adds, “While gaining access to quality behavioral healthcare has traditionally been hampered by geographic distance and limited resources in our rural North Country, the significant increase in demand for addiction and mental health treatment resulting from the unabating heroin and opioid epidemic provides an urgency for a new approach to providing care. We are confident that our collaboration with Citizen Advocates, and partnerships with Syracuse University and SUNY Albany will help to develop a more effective and efficient treatment model for our region’s individuals and families in need of care.”

In the first phase of this three-year program, the research team, coordinated by St. Joseph’s Malone Outpatient Site Supervisor, Deceil Moore, will meet with individuals to gather data regarding the experience and practical needs in seeking out behavioral health services. In addition, the team will interview leaders and front-line providers to get a true sense of how they are adapting to healthcare reforms.  Organizations will also be asked to identify meaningful data that demonstrates quality of care for those they support. 

Phase two of the project is putting the research into action by setting measurable goals to show outcomes in care are improving, and there is greater collaboration among organizations focused on improving overall community health. This means providers are partnering to deliver clinical services, and also meet other critical needs like transportation, job training or housing that are essential for someone recovering from a mental health or addiction diagnosis.

At the conclusion of the study, the team will connect with health, behavioral health and social service organization leaders in rural areas of New York to share best practices.  In addition, the results will be shared with county and state government officials to inform policy decisions, and those focused on further research around health reform.

ABOUT CITIZEN ADVOCATES
At Citizen Advocates, we are committed to making lives better. The individuals, families and communities we serve receive a full range of health and lifestyle care through innovative, industry-leading services and programs. All of this is achieved through a person-centered approach that supports and celebrates each individual’s choices. We are here to make a positive difference in the life of any individual needing help along the unique road to health, independence and fulfillment. The work we do is driven by respect for humanity and the given rights of individuals as they explore what it means to define their own future. We are proud to provide quality, compassionate care and do so from the bottom of our hearts. Our work may be difficult at times, but that’s what makes it meaningful. We will persevere with courage and optimism. We are Citizen Advocates.

ABOUT ST. JOSEPH’S
At St. Joseph’s Addiction Treatment & Recovery Centers we remain vigilant in our commitment to the mission of providing holistic substance use disorder treatment services to those in need throughout the State of New York. Our services include Inpatient, Adolescent, and Veteran residential treatment, Community Services in Essex, Franklin, and St. Lawrence Counties, and Supportive Housing in Malone, Massena, and Ticonderoga. We recognize and honor the high inherent value of all people; from our family of staff members, to the most destitute and impoverished individuals, families and communities ravaged by the effects of addiction. We offer a full continuum of substance use services from detoxification to treatment, maintenance and supportive housing; meeting people where they are through a trauma-informed lens. We use innovative ways to actively reach out into their communities to make help available via telehealth, mobile treatment, in-community services and permanent supportive housing programs where people can raise a family, find a fulfilling vocation, or enrich their education while creating their own recovery communities. From adolescence to adulthood, recovery is a journey, and everyone deserves all the dignity and respect a precious human-being inherently deserves. By empowering people to understand their addictions, discover and practice new pathways toward joy and overall well-being and making connections that fulfill the heart’s purpose, and providing safe environments to redefine success, we at St. Joseph’s rejoice one step at a time.
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WESTELCOM Installs Northern New York’s Only Geographically Diverse Telephone Service

WESTELCOM Networks Inc. announced today that the company has completed a major telephone network switching enhancement that gives the company the ability to provide its customers telephone services from two geographically diverse telephone switches. The switches are located in Watertown and Plattsburgh and are tied together on a regional fiber network ring which allows the company to feed integrated trunks from both the 315 and 518 area codes.  The enhancement allows a single switch to handle all services from both area codes should the other switch encounter a catastrophic failure.

This enhancement underscores the company’s focus on providing mission critical telecommunications services to its customers.  Westelcom’s network currently supports internet and telephone services to over 3,000 businesses, multiple municipalities, 2 telemedicine networks, 10 regional hospitals, several educational facilities, and over 120 health care facilities.

Previously, in August 2017, Westelcom completed a major network enhancement expanding its core bandwidth to 10 times its original network capacity.  The expanded capability provided Westelcom with an 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 and New York City with private connections to Microsoft, Amazon, and Google’s Cloud platforms.  Westelcom’s President and General Manager, Paul Barton stated that “We continue to focus on providing mission critical services and are the only company in the Northern NY region that can offer this level of service to its customers.”

In July 2016 Westelcom was also 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 also stated that “Westelcom is focused on more than just delivering 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.”

About WESTELCOM:

Westelcom provides advanced telecommunications solutions to customers operating throughout Northern New York’s 6 county region between Lake Ontario and Lake Champlain.  Westelcom offers a strategic suite of business communication services over their fiber network which includes telephone, high-speed broadband, dedicated internet, and private Ethernet networks for multi-office connectivity.  Westelcom also offers advanced IP phone and data solutions to include hosted PBX, hosted firewall, server colocation, and carrier neutral colocation services. Their international presence and direct connectivity to Microsoft, Amazon, and Google cloud services enables access to a robust customer ecosystem. The company currently operates three New York based data centers strategically located in Watertown, Plattsburgh and Syracuse allowing for efficient connectivity to metro markets including Montreal, New York City and Boston.

As a leading carrier of telecommunications services, Westelcom has extensive expertise in serving the health care industry to include providing managed internet services and network operation services. Their Mission is to exceed customers’ expectations by providing excellent customer service in communications solution design, delivery and support.”  Westelcom can be reached at www.westelcom.com or 866.482.5427.
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Ground Round Wins Multiple Awards at National Convention

The Plattsburgh Ground Round Bar & Grill is proud to announce winning three major awards at the annual Ground Round national convention recently held in Miami, Florida. 

The awards include; Marketing Best Practices, Peak Performer and Restaurant of the Year.

“Restaurant of the Year is our most prestigious award.” said Jack Crawford, President of the Ground Round Independent Owners Cooperative (IOC), “The Plattsburgh Ground Round has been, and continues to be a leader in our franchise. They have served their community since 1988 and act as a shining example of a successful restaurant. The Plattsburgh store is one of only two in the history of our franchise to win Restaurant of the Year twice.”

According to Mike Ludwig, Director of Operations, the Peak Performer Awards go to select franchises that outperform the rest.  Said Ludwig, “The Plattsburgh Ground Round launched the new menu and LTO in the fall, and had an outstanding year, including brand leading results on Veteran’s Day, gift card sales and an overall increase is sales.”

“The Plattsburgh Ground Round won The Marketing Best Practices Award for aggressive and consistent marketing across traditional and digital media.” Said Shireen Shahawy, the IOC’s Manager of Marketing & Digital Strategy, “Not to mention the fact that they lead the franchise in gift card sales year after year.”

Julie Kramer, Chief Operating Officer of Nine Platt Hospitality Group who owns and operates the Plattsburgh Ground Round said winning these awards really is quite an honor. “Winning three awards in one year is something we can be super proud of.  We are grateful to our staff. From the hosts, to the servers, to the back of house, to our managers, they are all incredible and deserve credit.” Kramer continued, “I would like to thank our marketing agency, Dodge Marketing & Communications, for its creative guidance and media expertise. We couldn’t have won Marketing Best Practices without them.”

Ground Round Independent Owners Cooperative (IOC) represents a group of independent franchise owners, in 10 states spread across the Midwest and Northeast areas of the United States, who have owned and led their own brand since 2004. They offer a unique franchise model where a franchisee can own their own restaurant along with an ownership/membership share in the overall future and growth of the brand.  For more information, visit www.groundround.com.

The Plattsburgh Ground Round is locally owned and operated by Nine Platt Hospitality Group since 1988. Nine Platt also owns and operates the Plattsburgh Best Western Plus.  Visit www.groundroundplattsburgh.com for more information.
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Three Long-Time Champlain National Bank Employees Get Ready to Retire

Champlain National Bank will be saying goodbye to three of its longest serving employees in 2019, who are retiring.  Retiring this year are Charles (Chuck) Hughes, SVP/CFO, Gayle Bridge, VP/Director of Human Resources, and Judy MacDougall, Loan Servicing.

Chuck Hughes, SVP/CFO, started with the Bank in 1989 as the Comptroller and was promoted to CFO a few years later.  He took the Bank from a place that did everything manually and by hand, and helped move the processes online during the 1990s.  Hughes remembered, “When I started we only had a mainframe and two PCs.  Now there’s a computer on every desk.  The operations room used to be filled with huge check sorting files, and the staff spent a large part of their day sorting checks and pulling checks to be returned with statements each month.  Now all of that is computerized.”  In retirement, he will be splitting his time between New York City and Paradox in the Adirondacks.

Gayle Bridge, VP/Director of Human Resources, is one of the longest serving employees in the Bank’s history.  She started with the Bank in 1979.  She worked in a variety of capacities during her 40 years including bookkeeping, payroll, in the branch, and as one of the first human resources employees.  “Thanks to the dedication and loyalty of generations of good employees along with a strong Board, Champlain National Bank remains an independent Bank,” Bridge said.  She plans to continue to live in Willsboro, but wants to spend more time during the winter in Florida.

Judy MacDougall, Loan Servicing, started as a teller in 1994 before transferring to the loan support department.  She was part of the transition to our current banking platform in 2001.  As for why she spent so many of her working years at Champlain National Bank?  “There’s always been something new to learn, and I’ve enjoyed keeping up with the changes along the way.  I like being able to solve problems and help our clients,” she said.  MacDougall is looking forward to traveling with friends and spending more time with her family in retirement.

"Chuck, Gayle and Judy exemplify those qualities of competence, dedication to our clients, and the ability to adapt to changing circumstances, which have enabled our small, community bank to thrive in an industry facing rapid change and increasing regulatory burdens,” Chairman of the Board Peter S. Paine, Jr. said.  “On behalf of our Board, I thank them for their exemplary service and wish them well in their respective retirements.”

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 traditional banking products, it has a full offering of mobile banking solutions, commercial loans and mortgages.
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Agency Insurance Brokers Announce New Account Executive

Agency Insurance Brokers is proud to announce that Mathew Chandler has joined the team as an Account Executive.

In this role, Chandler will be responsible for managing existing accounts and soliciting new commercial business. 

Agency Insurance has been a family owned and operated agency in northern New York since 1926.

Agency Insurance Brokers has offices in Plattsburgh, Rouses Point, Saranac Lake and Ticonderoga.  It is a full-service insurance agency with over 25 different personal and commercial lines carriers to get its clients the best possible coverage at the best possible price. 
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