Monument honoring 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum to be unveiled Friday

A crew from T.F. Wright & Sons places a granite slab onto the monument for the 10th Mountain Division at Thompson Park in May. Photo by Stephen Swofford, Watertown Daily Times.

A crew from T.F. Wright & Sons places a granite slab onto the monument for the 10th Mountain Division at Thompson Park in May. Photo by Stephen Swofford, Watertown Daily Times.

A new statue honoring the community’s relationship with Fort Drum and the 10th Mountain Division will be unveiled Friday. [Read more…]

Summer 2016 Feature Story: Cavallario’s Cucina

Authentic fare with a dash of love

Above, Brenda T. Cavallario in the kitchen with her grandsons at her restaurant, Cavallario’s Cucina, Watertown. Opposite page, from left, Brenda T. Cavallario, daughter, Gina Vann, and husband, Peter G. Cavallario. The family restaurant features homemade authentic Italian food. Photo by Stephen Swofford, NNY Living.

Above, Brenda T. Cavallario in the kitchen with her grandsons at her restaurant, Cavallario’s Cucina, Watertown. Photo by Stephen Swofford, NNY Living.

Family first at Cavallario’s Cucina where ‘everything we do’ is homemade

By Karee Magee, NNY Living

There was no cooking class or culinary school that
transformed Brenda T. Cavallario into a restaurant chef. Instead, it was her parents’ kitchen. [Read more…]

Bow tie project honors student

Shirley and Delaney Ward, Adams Center, look over a collection of bow ties for the graduating class of South Jefferson Central School, in memory of Parker J. Leikam, also of Adams Center. Parker, who lost his life in a two-vehicle crash March 23, would’ve graduated this year. The bow ties were created by Shirley Ward’s cousin, Ken J. Weatherup, now of New Orleans. Photo by Stephen Swofford, Watertown Daily Times.

Shirley and Delaney Ward, Adams Center, look over a collection of bow ties for the graduating class of South Jefferson Central School, in memory of Parker J. Leikam, also of Adams Center. Parker, who lost his life in a two-vehicle crash March 23, would’ve graduated this year. The bow ties were created by Shirley Ward’s cousin, Ken J. Weatherup, now of New Orleans. Photo by Stephen Swofford, Watertown Daily Times.

When Shirley Ward began looking ahead recently to her own daughter’s high school graduation, she knew there will be one special part of the festivities missing — a young man named Parker J. Leikam. [Read more…]

Belleville Henderson School Board member honored for service to district

Belleville Henderson Central School board member John W. Allen won a statewide award for his service on the board. Photo by Stephen Swofford, Watertown Daily Times.

Belleville Henderson Central School board member John W. Allen won a statewide award for his service on the board. Photo by Stephen Swofford, Watertown Daily Times.

Belleville Henderson Central School Board of Education member John W. Allen received a statewide award for his four-year tenure on the board. [Read more…]

Mothers, sons battle it out with dart guns at Adams fundraiser

Lindsay Bickel, left, and her sister Danielle Denney shoot at their children during a Nerf battle Sunday afternoon at the Adams Fire Department. Photo by Stephen Swofford, Watertown Daily Times.

Lindsay Bickel, left, and her sister Danielle Denney shoot at their children during a Nerf battle Sunday afternoon at the Adams Fire Department. Photo by Stephen Swofford, Watertown Daily Times.

Under the pouring rain and the biting cold, over haybales and around stacked benches, darts flew in the free-for-all battle between mothers and sons. [Read more…]

10th Mountain Division monument taking shape in Thompson Park

A crew from T.F. Wright & Sons places a granite slab onto the monument for the 10th Mountain Division Thursday morning in Thompson Park. The eight granite pieces were cut and shaped at a Vermont quarry. Photo by Stephen Swofford.

A crew from T.F. Wright & Sons places a granite slab onto the monument for the 10th Mountain Division Thursday morning in Thompson Park. The eight granite pieces were cut and shaped at a Vermont quarry. Photo by Stephen Swofford, Watertown Daily Times.

For a work crew putting together the 10th Mountain Division monument, it was a slow, careful climb to glory at Thompson Park on Thursday. [Read more…]

Spring 2016 Feature Story: Art

A creative collaboration

Greg Lago, a sculptor with the Fibonacci 321 art gallery, patches holes in the walls while setting up  the space for the gallery’s opening. The gallery, 321 James St., Clayton, was scheduled to open May 6. Photo by Stephen Swofford, NNY Living.

Greg Lago, a sculptor with the Fibonacci 321 art gallery, patches holes in the walls while setting up the space for the gallery’s opening. The gallery, 321 James St., Clayton, was scheduled to open May 6. Photo by Stephen Swofford, NNY Living.

Fibonacci 321 brings 11 artists together in Clayton

By Gabrielle Hovendon, NNY Living

When Kari Zelson Robertson first came up with the idea for Clayton’s newest art gallery, she was thinking all in clay.

Ms. Robertson, a local potter and organizer of the Northern New York Art Trail, had wanted to establish a collaborative gallery with multiple artists paying the bills, staffing the exhibits and reaping the rewards of a common space. At first, she planned to include only clay artists, but she later decided that she — and the public — would be more interested in a variety of art media.

And so Fibonacci 321 was born. Opening May 6 at 321 James St. in Clayton, the gallery will feature finely crafted work in wood, metal, clay, textiles, glass, drawing and painting by 11 north country artists.

“I think this is going to be a unique offering because the variety of artists we have is really interesting,” said Ms. Robertson, who manages and is also an exhibiting artist at Fibonacci 321. “We have around two people for each medium, and they’re local artists who are very committed to their craft. These are people who have extensive experience in exhibiting their work. A few of them are or have been teachers, and they’re generally looking for a way, as I am, to stay in the north country. We like it here, we want to continue to live here, and we’re hoping it will make our work even more worthwhile.”

Greg Lago, a sculptor with the Fibonacci 321 gallery, Clayton, patches holes in  the walls while setting up space for the gallery’s opening. Photo by Stephen Swofford, NNY Living.

Greg Lago, a sculptor with the Fibonacci 321 gallery, Clayton, patches holes in the walls while setting up space for the gallery’s opening. Photo by Stephen Swofford, NNY Living.

Fibonacci 321 is organized democratically around the premise that the 11 participating artists will share equally in the running of the gallery. Although each artist will keep the proceeds from the sale of their own artwork, they will take turns staffing the gallery and divide up tasks like scheduling, website design and grounds upkeep.

Additionally, each artist is responsible for knowing about their fellows’ background, works and processes so that they can explain all the exhibited pieces to interested visitors. Ms. Robertson said she also envisions future collaborations between the artists, and she’s already had one of her clay “fossil” pieces mounted in a jewelry setting by one of the jewelers.

“What I was really looking for were people who were highly accomplished in their field and who were good team players and hard working,” she said about forming the gallery’s roster. “I’m glad for the chance to be able to do this and collaborate with some really interesting artists.”

One such artist, Mary Knapp, is a local quilter who incorporates mathematical patterns such as tessellations — and, fittingly, the Fibonacci series — into her precise, colorful quilts. She’s been quilting for many years, even having one of her designs grace the cover of a mathematics textbook, but she said she’s never been involved in a collaborative endeavor like Fibonacci 321.

“Part of the appeal of the gallery is that it’s a group of 11 different artists and we’re all bringing a little piece of ourselves into the gallery,” she said. “I think it’s just going to be a lot of fun. There’s nothing else like this gallery in Clayton or anyplace along the river. It’s going to be classy, it’s going to be unique, and it’s going to have items there that you can’t find anywhere else.

“I’m really looking forward to meeting the visitors to the gallery,” she continued. “I was a teacher, and I love showing people how to do things, so I will really enjoy showing them how I work and how they can do this.”

Owned by the Thousand Islands Arts Center, the gallery’s James Street site has previously been home to a resident potter, arts classes and, most recently, gift shops. Now, it will continue in that tradition of arts education, at least informally: Ms. Robertson hopes to see not only customers shopping for a special gift but also families bringing in their children to show them handmade work. (To that end, the gallery is also planning to host some demonstrations and outdoor activities.)

According to Leslie Rowland, executive director of the Thousand Islands Arts Center, Fibonacci 321 is ideally situated for visitors: it’s both in a desirable commercial space in downtown Clayton and at the entrance to the TI Arts Center campus.

What’s in a name?

Leonardo Bonacci (1170 – 1250) — known as Fibonacci, and Leonardo of Pisa, Leonardo Pisano Bigollo, Leonardo Fibonacci—was an Italian mathematician, considered to be “the most talented Western mathematician of the Middle Ages.”

fib WEBFibonacci gave his name to a sequence of numbers whose proportions echo throughout the natural world. The Fibonacci sequence, which is formed by adding the previous two numbers in the sequence together (for example, 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8), has been found in flower petals, pinecones, hurricanes, shell spirals and even galaxy patterns. The Fibonacci sequence is also the foundation for the “Golden Ratio” or “Divine Proportion,” which can be seen in ancient art and architecture.

“Essentially, the idea is that there’s a natural order and beauty that pervades math and art,” Kari Zelson Robertson said about the gallery’s name choice. “And 321 is a reverse Fibonacci number, so it seems to fit.”

“I think there’ll be an organic pass-through of people between our galleries,” Ms. Rowland said. “We always love to collaborate with fellow artists, and we’re really delighted to have this fine group of artisans located on our campus. I think it’s going to be a win-win for us, and I think it’s going to be really good for Clayton, too.”

Ms. Robertson agreed that the location was ideal, with the back of Fibonacci 321’s seven-room gallery adjacent to the TI Arts Center’s pottery studio. Like Ms. Rowland, she anticipates a good flow of visitors between the two sites.

“One of the things that is exciting about being in Clayton is the growth of activity in the creative sector,” Ms. Robertson said. “This synergy is something that our group appreciates and wants to be a part of. …There is enough arts and lifestyle activity going on there that the village has become an attraction. A visitor can eat a fine meal, go to a concert, watch a sunset, and take home a one-of-a-kind piece of art, all in one small village.”

The gallery will participate in the Memorial Day weekend River Open Studio Tour, and it will have its grand opening from 6 to 8 p.m. May 6, with free refreshments and classical guitar music by Gary Walts. That night, the artists will be on hand to discuss their work and show visitors around the space, hoping that people will not only purchase the art on display but also learn something about it.

“I think that when people know more about the arts, they’re more interested in owning a piece of art,” Ms. Robertson said. “A lot of times, people might not know what it takes to create something, and when you learn about the process, it makes you appreciate it more. Regardless of whether there’s a sale, we want to be the kind of place where people can come in and they can learn something, enjoy themselves, and have a nice conversation.”

Fibonacci 321 / Who’s who

Meet The Artists

The 11 artist-hosts of Fibonacci 321 are:
Dave Ciechanowski — clay
Peter Curtis — fine furniture
Foster Holcombe — glass
Ginny Hovendon — painting, drawing
Mary Knapp — quilts
Greg Lago — printmaking, sculpture
Brian Lister — painting
Claudia Loomis — textiles, jewelry
Suzan McDermott — photography
Kari Zelson Robertson — clay
Gina Wells — metals, jewelry.

To Learn More

For more information, visit the gallery’s Facebook page at Facebook.com/Fibonacci321 or contact Kari Zelson Robertson at fibart321@gmail.com or 777-0612.

Gabrielle Hovendon is a former Watertown Daily Times reporter and a freelance writer studying for her Ph.D. at the University of Georgia, Athens. Contact her at ghovendon@gmail.com.

Spring 2016 Cover Story: Star Students

Service Above Self

IHC student Makenzie Kramer was a member of the Northern New York Community Foundation’s Youth Philanthropy Council last school year. The council awarded a grant to Children’s Miracle Network at Samaritan Medical Center, Watertown, to purchase new activity books for children at the hospital. Photo by Stephen Swofford, NNy Living.

IHC student Makenzie Kramer was a member of the Northern New York Community Foundation’s Youth Philanthropy Council last school year. The council awarded a grant to Children’s Miracle Network at Samaritan Medical Center, Watertown, to purchase new activity books for children at the hospital. Photo by Stephen Swofford, NNY Living.

North country students are making a big impact in their schools and communities for the good of others

By Norah Machia, NNY Living

An increasing number of young people nationwide are choosing to volunteer their time and energy to help people in their own communities. Although the statistics may vary, many publications have reported that teenage volunteerism continues to be on the rise.

It’s no secret to parents and teachers that volunteer work can help students develop important character traits, including respect and compassion for others. And students themselves appear to be drawing the same conclusion. According to the AmeriCorps program, teenagers are twice as likely to volunteer now compared with the past few decades.

The north country is no exception. Every school district in Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties has examples of students who have a strong passion for helping others. Here are just a few:

Makenzie L. Kramer, 17
Immaculate Heart Central School

After joining the Youth Philanthropy Council of the Northern New York Community Foundation last year, Makenzie L. Kramer gained a real appreciation for the financial struggles of nonprofit agencies.

“It was an eye-opener, I didn’t know what went on behind the scenes as far as funding,” said Makenzie, the daughter of Dr. Lawrence and Anne Kramer.

Makenzie was one of several students who served on the foundation’s council and, along with other members, she heard presentations from agencies seeking funding for a variety of causes.

“It was a great opportunity to try and help as many people as possible,” Makenzie said. “Many of these agencies are trying to serve the people who have the greatest needs.”

Last year, the NNY Community Foundation organized four youth philanthropy councils at Immaculate Heart Central, Watertown High School, Potsdam Central School and Ogdensburg Free Academy. Each was responsible for awarding $10,000 in grant funding, totaling $40,000 in Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties.

The council at IHC had awarded a variety of grants, including to local food banks (for purchase of personal care items), the Flower Memorial Library (for children and teen programming) and the Watertown Urban Mission (to set up a donation shed in the Carthage area).

A grant was also given to the Children’s Miracle Network at Samaritan Medical Center to purchase new activity books for children in the pediatric unit. The books have disposable pens that can be used to scratch off colors in the pictures.

This was a better option than traditional coloring books and crayons, because children can’t share crayons due to the risk of spreading germs, Makenzie said.

The IHC junior has also volunteered to spend time with elderly residents at Samaritan’s Summit Village, helping with outdoor visits, games, and even making ice cream floats.

“It really makes the residents so happy to have someone to visit them,” she said.

Makenzie has volunteered through the Faith-Based Community Service program at IHC, raking leaves for the elderly and holding bingo games for residents of nursing homes.

She is involved with the school’s Respect Life Initiative, which is presently raising money to help construct an all-girls school in Tanzania.

“We’re trying to raise money to help them build dorms,” she said. “We are also planning on corresponding with those students in the future.”

Makenzie and two friends, Macee Fay and Katey Kellogg, have also started a “She’s the First” chapter at their school to raise money to support girls in third world countries who want to be the first in their family to get a college education.

In addition to all her volunteer efforts, she was also a member of the IHC tennis team last fall and the lacrosse team this spring.

Makenzie, who is hoping to follow in her father’s footsteps one day and become a pulmonologist, also has a brother, Nicholas, 18, a pre-med student at St. John Fisher College in Rochester.

“I’m really interested in becoming a doctor because I want to help people,” said Makenzie, who has been following efforts of nonprofit organizations such as “Doctors without Borders” to help those who need medical care in third-world countries.

Romi LaClair, 12
South Jefferson Central Schools

South Jefferson Central School District student Romi LaClair, Watertown, created the “Cleats for Feet” organization to collect and distribute cleats to other north country children who cannot afford them. Photo by Amanda Morrison, NNY Living.

South Jefferson Central School District student Romi LaClair, Watertown, created the “Cleats for Feet” organization to collect and distribute cleats to other north country children who cannot afford them. Photo by Amanda Morrison, NNY Living.

During a league soccer practice in the fall of 2014, Romi LaClair noticed a few other players were slipping and falling on the field because they didn’t have the proper footwear — a pair of cleats.

She came home from practice that day, and still upset about the situation, she started rummaging through her family’s garage, looking for any pairs of cleats that were no longer being used by her or her two siblings. She wanted to donate them to the other players in the league.

That’s how Romi’s “Cleats for Feet” was launched, a project that has resulted in the donation of hundreds of gently worn cleats for students participating in soccer, football, baseball and softball leagues, and school sports teams.

To date, more than 100 pairs of cleats have been provided to students in the South Jefferson, Belleville/Henderson, Sackets Harbor, and Indian River Central School Districts, and the Watertown City School District.

Romi’s parents, Dr. Scott LaClair and K.I. LaClair, along with her siblings, Hunter, 15, and Ruby, 10, have given their support for the project. She has also received help from many others in the community.

Romi started collecting and distributing cleats through sign-up sessions held by Eastern Shore Soccer, Pop Warner Football and Little League teams.

“All the coaches have been very helpful with this project,” she said.

“Cleats for Feet” is not only for students whose parents may not be able to afford cleats, but it’s also for students whose parents would rather swap out cleats then buy new ones each year as their children’s feet grow. That effort is also helping keep excess textile waste out of the landfills.

The donated cleats must be in “gently used” condition, and they’re cleaned up before being redistributed.

The Watertown Fairgrounds YMCA staff have assisted with the “Cleats for Feet” effort, as they have many students who pass through their doors at the Fairgrounds YMCA for sports leagues, Romi said. The staff have helped to both collect and distribute cleats.

Steve Rowell, YMCA Health and Wellness director, and Schreene Babcock, YMCA volunteer coordinator, have been very supportive of her efforts, Romi said.

Recently, a donation of new football cleats was also made at the end of the season by Dick’s Sporting Goods, she added.

“It makes me feel really good to be able to help people this way,” Romi said.

Romi has also volunteered her time for the Rohde Community Center in Adams, and serves as the manager for the South Jefferson Central School varsity girls lacrosse team.

Her “Cleats for Feet” project was even given a boost by former Watertown City Manager Mary M. Corriveau. During her acceptance speech earlier this year for the Israel A. Shapiro Citizenship Award, Mrs. Corriveau refereed to Romi’s project as an example of future community volunteerism, and distributed business cards with contact information at the award dinner.

Anyone interested in donating or receiving cleats through the “Cleats for Feet” program can text or call Mrs. LaClair at 778-6533. Or check out the Facebook page: Facebook.com/cleatsforfeetNY

Tyler D. Eddy, 17
Harrisville Central School

Harrisville Central School District senior Tyler Eddy, 17, is involved with his school’s Environmental Club, and the Adopt-a-Highway Program in Lewis County. Photo by Stephen Swofford, NNY Living.

Harrisville Central School District senior Tyler Eddy, 17, is involved with his school’s Environmental Club, and the Adopt-a-Highway Program in Lewis County. Photo by Stephen Swofford, NNY Living.

Volunteering to help other people is “actually a way of helping out myself,” said Tyler D. Eddy, a senior at Harrisville Central School.

“My happiness is other people’s happiness,” Tyler said. “I’m always cheerful, and trying to make other people smile. That’s probably why I was voted class clown.”

In 10th grade, Tyler was asked to join the Lewis County Youth Advisory Council, which was established in 1997. The council includes government, non-government, and student representatives from across Lewis County. Members meet regularly to make recommendations to the Lewis County Board of Legislators, along with county departments, regarding services for youth.

“We have so much money per year, and we have to vote on the different programs that will get funded,” Tyler said.

Tyler, who plans to pursue a career in electrical engineering, is the son of Mark and Joanne Eddy of Harrisville. Mr. Eddy is a retired corrections officer and Mrs. Eddy is a bank teller at Community Bank. He also has an older brother, Jacob, 22, Harrisville.

The youth advisory board has approved funding for a variety of programs, including summer recreation and after-school programs at Harrisville Central. The programs offer numerous options for elementary age children, such as activities in the gym, reading, or computer lab, Tyler said.

Tyler has also volunteered for programs sponsored by the youth bureau, including the Homeless Christmas Tree Initiative and National Night Out.

He is also a member of the National Honor Society, the Adopt-a-Highway Program and the Environmental Club, whose members are planning to pick-up trash along Route 3 in the Town of Diana.

“We’re hoping to go from one border of the town across to the other border,” he said.

Tyler has also been active in school sports, having played both soccer and basketball. Last year, he served as score keeper for the basketball games, and this past season, he has volunteered to help set up and take down the gym between games. He also enjoys running, reading, video games, hunting and fishing.

Rachel E. Leach, 17
South Lewis Central School

Rachel Leach, 17, plays alto saxophone in her school band and volunteers to play with the Lowville Village Band. She the senior class Technical Honor Award winner this year at South Lewis Central School, Turin. Photo by Stephen Swofford, NNY Living.

Rachel Leach, 17, plays alto saxophone in her school band and volunteers to play with the Lowville Village Band. She the senior class Technical Honor Award winner this year at South Lewis Central School, Turin. Photo by Stephen Swofford, NNY Living.

Rachel Leach has a love of music, and shares that passion with others in her community.

The high school senior plays the alto saxophone in her school band, and has performed as a member of the Bi-County Band for Jefferson and Lewis counties. She recently started to play the tenor saxophone as well.

A few years ago, Rachel decided to join the Lowville Village Band, giving her the opportunity to gain more experience. But even more important, it has given her the chance to share her love of music with the community.

Village band members volunteer their time to perform at numerous events throughout Lewis County, including the annual Cream Cheese Festival held each summer in Lowville.
Rachel’s future plans include studying music in college.

“I’m planning to earn a doctorate degree and become a music professor,” she said.

In addition to her musical interests, Rachel has spent much of her time volunteering for environmental causes in her community. In the process, she has developed a strong interest in recycling and organic gardening.

Rachel is president of her school’s environmental club, “Students Against a Vanishing Environment.” Some of their work starts within their own school building.

“We regularly collect paper, bags, cans and bottles in the classrooms,” she said. “We have a truck that comes to the school to pick up all the recyclables.”

Rachel is the senior class Technical Honor Award winner this year at South Lewis Central School, Turin. She is enrolled in the culinary arts program through Jefferson-Lewis BOCES and is the daughter of Lisa Baxter, Port Leyden. She has an older sister, Rebecca Roberts, 20, Boonville.

As secretary of the National Honor Society, she has also volunteered her time for the Lyons Falls Alive River Clean-up. As part of a government class, Rachel has participated in service projects at the Humane Society and the WPBS Public Television Station, Watertown.

Rachel also has a strong interest in organic farming, and spent the past two summers volunteering at the Maris Farm community garden in Constableville, where she and several others have grown vegetables for the local food pantries.

“I’m very interested in promoting fresh produce that is not sprayed with harsh chemicals,” she said. “If you grow it yourself, you know it hasn’t been sprayed.”

Jack P. Kelly, 17
Ogdensburg Free Academy

Ogdensburg Free Academy students Abigail Marshall, left, and Jack Kelly hold pajamas outside Abigail’s house. Jack has been a big supporter of the “PJs 4 Xmas” program started by Abigail and her sister. Photo by Jason Hunter, NNY Living.

Ogdensburg Free Academy students Abigail Marshall, left, and Jack Kelly hold pajamas outside Abigail’s house. Jack has been a big supporter of the “PJs 4 Xmas” program started by Abigail and her sister. Photo by Jason Hunter, NNY Living.

One of the biggest challenges that Jack P. Kelly faced when he served on the Youth Philanthropy Council of the Northern New York Community Foundation was deciding which nonprofit agencies would receive funding, he said.

“There were more agencies requesting money than we could select,” Jack said. “It was a tough choice, everyone had a strong message to share.”

After listening to presentations and reading through paperwork, the students decided that funding should be directed to “the projects we felt were most important in the community,” he said.

Jack advocated for one of those projects. “PJs 4 Xmas,” to receive grant money through the OFA chapter of the Youth Philanthropy Council. His classmate, Abigail Marshall, and her sister, Camille Marshall, had started the project in 2009 as a way to ensure that needy children in St. Lawrence County would wake up with new pajamas on Christmas morning.

In 2012, the Ogdensburg sisters were able to turn their organization into a certified nonprofit, delivering more than 1,760 pairs of pajamas to children across the county that year.

The sisters were even able to use a converted FedEx truck they purchased for $1,000 to deliver the pajamas to several community organizations in Heuvelton, Canton and Ogdensburg.

“I really felt their message of helping less fortunate kids at Christmas,” said Jack, a high school junior.

He was also impressed that the sisters, one of whom was his age, were so successful in “making a difference in their community.”

Jack, who is interested in becoming a general practitioner, is the son of Jeff Kelly, information technology director at Canton Central School, and Andrea Kelly, real estate broker with Bruyere Chadwick Realty LLC. He has two younger siblings, Connor, 14, and Caitlin, 11.

He is also a member of Key Club, and through that organization he and other students have been volunteering to preserve and maintain the Kids Kingdom playground, a large wooden playground in Morissette Park.

Jack has also volunteered to maintain the Maple City Trail, a local walking and jogging trail, and has helped with the annual “Lights on the River” fundraiser held during the holidays.

At OFA, Jack is a member of the football, hockey and lacrosse teams.

Marc Tessier, 16
Massena Central School

Marc Tessier has been volunteering at the Massena Neighborhood Center for the past seven years. Photo by Jason Hunter, NNY Living.

Marc Tessier has been volunteering at the Massena Neighborhood Center for the past seven years. Photo by Jason Hunter, NNY Living.

One day when Marc Tessier was volunteering at the food pantry operated out the Massena Neighborhood Center, he paused to take a look at all the canned fruit being distributed to needy individuals and families.

“I thought to myself, we could give them something better,” said Marc, a junior at Massena Central School.

Marc had already been involved in a vegetable growing project for the food pantry, helping to plant tomatoes, cabbage and cauliflower. But he wanted to take it one step further and try planting fruit trees.

He planted 10 apple trees and 10 pear trees on land next to the neighborhood center, which is one of several operated with assistance from the St. Lawrence County Community Development Program.

The CDP is a private, nonprofit agency that offers assistance throughout St. Lawrence County, including neighborhood centers, Head Start preschool programs, and weatherization services.

It was incorporated in 1965 to help low-income families work toward self-sufficiency. The agency encourages community participation in many of its programs.

It was two years ago that Marc planted those fruit trees, and he has returned each season to maintain them. This is the first spring that the apple trees are starting to yield fruit, Marc said.

“I really thought it would be better to offer people fresh fruit rather than canned,” he said.

Marc is the son of Michael and Elaine Tessier, Massena. He is planning to enter the automotive field after high school graduation.

In addition to helping stock shelves and distribute food at the neighborhood center, he has also volunteered to deliver boxes of food during the holiday season to residents who are not able to drive to the center.

“I really enjoy volunteering,” said Marc. “I know what I’m doing will really help someone out. That’s a good feeling.”

Marc is also a member of his school’s robotics team and the rifle team.

Norah Machia is a freelance writer who lives in Watertown. She is a 20-year veteran journalist and former Watertown Daily Times reporter. Contact her at norahmachia@gmail.com

‘Race for the Rohde’ to benefit Adams food pantry April 30

Mary Jo Taylor, manager of the Rohde Center Food Pantry in Adams, stands behind a banner advertising the agency’s first ‘Race for the Rohde’ fundraiser, which will be held April 30. Photo by Stephen Swofford, Watertown Daily Times.

Mary Jo Taylor, manager of the Rohde Center Food Pantry in Adams, stands behind a banner advertising the agency’s first ‘Race for the Rohde’ fundraiser, which will be held April 30. Photo by Stephen Swofford, Watertown Daily Times.

Residents of southern Jefferson County will soon have a chance to show off their speed, endurance and compassion all in one day. [Read more…]

Watertown Lyric Theater staging “Company” April 13-16

Scott Taylor, as Robert, performs a scene during dress rehearsal for Watertown Lyric Theater’s production of ‘Company.’ Photo by Stephen Swofford, Watertown Daily Times.

Scott Taylor, as Robert, performs a scene during dress rehearsal for Watertown Lyric Theater’s production of ‘Company.’ Photo by Stephen Swofford, Watertown Daily Times.

Dulles State Office Building will get some “Company” next week when Watertown Lyric Theater presents the musical comedy that won seven Tony Awards, including best musical, in 1971. [Read more…]