Local News

June 6, 2009

Lawmakers deliver dour report from Albany

SARANAC LAKE -- State lawmakers delivered a dour report Friday to Tri-Lakes area business leaders.

"Helter skelter is the best way to describe what is happening in Albany," said Assemblywoman Teresa Sayward (R-Willsboro), who spoke alongside Assemblywoman Janet Duprey (R-Peru) and Sen. Betty Little (R-Queensbury).

Every day, leadership changes and people leave, Sayward said.

"It's hard to find the go-to person. Everybody seems to be trying to find their niche."

The 9-percent increase in government spending approved this year is using federal dollars to fill in gaps, Sayward said.

"If our economy doesn't turn around, in two years we're going to be in a worse place."

Reuse of Camp Gabriels, a new Medical Home model for improved primary health care and correcting budget mistakes were among top issues covered at the Saranac Lake Area Chamber of Commerce's annual Legislative Breakfast, held at North Country Community College.


Duprey said she discussed reuse plans for the closed prison at Camp Gabriels this week with Department of Correctional Services Commissioner Brian Fischer and Assemblyman Jeffrion L. Aubrey, a Democrat who chairs the Assembly Committee on Corrections.

DOCS closed the prison, along with two other upstate minimum-security camps, and is clearing out the facility now.

A reuse plan for the site is due by Oct. 1.

"They're interested in what Camp Gabriels has to offer," Duprey said.

A proposal from St. Joseph's Rehabilitation Center to reinstate corrections use as an addiction treatment facility for inmates released under Rockefeller Drug law reform is still under review.

Little said federal stimulus funding for drug treatment must target new addicts, not repeat offenders.

Duprey said a new bill is also looking at putting added federal dollars into education in prisons, improving college programs for inmates.

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