July 29, 2012

Business briefs: July 29, 2012

Bridge award; Olympics inspire kids; Charitable donations; Supply Drive; Acquisitions completed; Art project; Association announced; Business mixer; Award received

---- — Bridge award

CROWN POINT — The 2012 Transportation Planning Excellence Award for outstanding work on the Lake Champlain Bridge has been bestowed jointly to New York and Vermont, which was funded by both states and managed by the New York State Department of Transportation, according to DOT Commissioner Joan McDonald.

“The building of the new Lake Champlain Bridge was a historic process, one that illustrates government successfully pulling together in an innovative and efficient way to move an important safety project along quickly and to restore a critical transportation link between states,” McDonald said. “The fact that the Lake Champlain Bridge project was one of only eight awardees to be recognized for outstanding transportation planning shows that this project is unique not only to the communities it serves, but stands out as a national model of excellence.”

The new Lake Champlain Bridge is a steel structure with an arch along the center span. Key bridge components are designed to be easily replaceable to reduce maintenance costs. Travel lanes are 11 feet wide with five-foot shoulders that help accommodate larger trucks and farm vehicles as well as provide ample room for bicyclists. Sidewalks are featured on both sides of the bridge.

Before construction, extensive public meetings were held to determine what the community wanted from a new bridge, where to best locate it and what type of bridge should be built. Overall, a project that was initially expected to be completed by 2017 was finished in late 2011.

Nominations for the award were reviewed by an independent panel of judges who selected winners based on community and public involvement, innovative approaches to completion, context sensitive solutions to enhance the community and natural environment, collaboration with other public or private entities and long-term benefits of the project.

The $76 million bridge was 80 percent federally funded. The Transportation Planning Excellence Awards is a biennial awards program developed by the Federal Highway Administration and Federal Transit Administration and co-sponsored by the American Planning Association and the Transportation Research Board.

Olympics inspire kids

PLATTSBURGH — As the 2012 Summer Olympics get underway this week in London, the American Heart Association hopes parents will use these two weeks as a jumping off point for getting kids active.

“This is a great time to get kids interested and involved in sports and athletic activities,” said P.J. Whitbeck of Coldwell Banker, 2012 chairman of the Plattsburgh Heart Walk. “Olympic athletes can inspire children to compete but to also simply participate in sports. And that could help them reach their recommended 60 minutes of play per day for heart health.”

Today, about one in three American kids and teens are overweight or obese, nearly triple the rate in 1963. Even infants and toddlers are affected. Nearly 14 percent of preschool children ages 2 to 5 were overweight in 2004, up from 10 percent in 2000. Overweight kids have a 70–80 percent chance of staying overweight their entire lives. Obese and overweight adults now outnumber those at a healthy weight. Nearly seven in 10 U.S. adults are overweight or obese.

Childhood obesity is now the No. 1 health concern among parents in the United States, topping drug abuse and smoking. Obese children as young as 3 show indicators for developing heart disease later in life. The American Heart Association recommends making simple lifestyle changes like eating healthier and exercising 60 minutes per day.

The Olympics can inspire kids to participate in everyday activities like riding bikes, playing basketball, volleyball, swimming, running or walking.

Participants are invited to join the American Heart Association for some family-friendly fitness at the annual Plattsburgh Heart Walk on Oct. 13. Register your team online at

For more tips on how to make the most of kids’ play, visit 

Charitable donations

PLATTSBURGH — DELLA Auto Group has donated $10,000 to help four local charities, which will also receive a matching contribution from Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

The Foundation of CVPH Medical Center, Child Care Coordinating Council of the North Country Inc., The Joint Council for Economic Opportunity and Make-A-Wish of Northeastern New York all received a $2,500 donation from the DELLA Auto Group as well as a matching donation from Toyota.

Each organization benefits the residents in Plattsburgh. The Foundation of CVPH helps ensure the medical safety of the community. The hospital will use the donation for various uses such as wellness programs, education and technology.

The Child Care Coordinating Council of the North Country works to educate and strengthen families and child-care professionals to raise healthy children in Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties. The donation will go a long way in helping its child care education programs.

The Joint Council for Economic Opportunity (JCEO) provides comprehensive services to the low-income community of Clinton and Franklin counties. JCEO will use the funds in its services geared towards helping the senior population.

Make-A-Wish Northeastern New York grants wishes to children who are facing life-threatening medical conditions. These donations will be used to make dreams come true for children in the Plattsburgh area who are dealing with these illnesses.

The DELLA Auto Group has been a part of the Plattsburgh community since 1996 with the opening of its DELLA Honda Store. DELLA Toyota was established in 2009.

“It gives us great pleasure to be able to give back to the community in which we do business,” said Michael Della Bella, president of the DELLA Auto Group.

The Toyota Dealer Match Program enables dealer contributions to make a greater impact. Since 1991, Toyota has contributed more than $500 million to non-profit organizations and has always been guided by a strong belief in serving the communities where it does business. To learn more, visit 

Supply Drive

TICONDEROGA — For the third consecutive year, Ticonderoga Federal Credit Union (TFCU) will host its Back to School Supply Drive for area students. From July 30 through Aug. 31, the credit union will collect donations of school supplies through collection bins in all branches and ATM locations to benefit students in these areas.

“We are truly inspired by the generosity of our local people and businesses,” said Shawn Hayes, president and CEO of Ticonderoga Federal Credit Union. “We are pleased to play a role in meeting an important need in our area.”

All supplies will be distributed by the Credit Union to the schools, which will be able to direct the resources where they are needed most. Suggested items include No. 2 pencils, crayons, spiral notebooks, washable glue sticks, boxes of tissue, anti-bacterial wipes or hand-sanitizer. Items such as backpacks, binders and calculators are also appreciated. Donations of gift cards to office-supply stores or retail vendors are welcomed and will be used by the Credit Union to purchase supplies from school-issued lists. Visit TFCU’s website, or contact any branch at 585-6725 with questions.

Drop-off locations and receiving schools include the TFCU Ticonderoga Office, 1178 NYS Rt. 9N, Ticonderoga, and the TFCU ATM at International Paper Mill; Putnam Central School, St. Mary’s School, Ticonderoga elementary/middle and high schools.

The TFCU Port Henry Branch, 43 Meacham Street, Port Henry; Crown Point Central School, Moriah Central School.

TFCU Elizabethtown Branch, 7519 Court Street, Elizabethtown; Elizabethtown-Lewis Central School, Westport Central School. 

TFCU ATM at Grand Union Family Market, Main Street, Schroon Lake; Mountainside Christian Academy, Schroon Lake Central School.

Acquisition completed

PLATTSBURGH — Community Bank N.A has completed its acquisition of 16 HSBC branches spread throughout western, central and northern New York. All 16 locations are now open for business.

“We are delighted to welcome these 50,000 new customers to Community Bank,” said Mark Tryniski, Community Bank CEO. “We have worked hard to make the transition as simple as possible for customers, and I am grateful for the effort put forth by both the Community Bank associates and the HSBC team and we’re pleased to welcome our new colleagues joining from HSBC.”

Both HSBC and Community Bank have provided information to customers regarding their accounts over the past several months. Customers with further questions can contact any Community Bank branch office or call 1-800-388-4679.

The acquired HSBC branches are located in Adams, Alexandria Bay, Avon, Fulton, Geneseo, Gowanda, Lowville, Newark, Oswego, Palmyra, Plattsburgh, Springville, Watertown, Watkins Glen and Westfield.

Community Bank will finalize this summer’s acquisitions when it additionally acquires three First Niagara Bank branches on Sept. 10 in Geneva and Canandaigua.

For more information, customers are encouraged to visit

Art project

PLATTSBURGH — The North Country Cultural Center for the Arts (NCCCA) has partnered with the Adirondack Coast Visitors Bureau to help enrich the arts in the community through a new program titled “Adirondack Coast ARTWays.”

This is designed to foster tourism and regional pride on the Adirondack Coast through locally created, original artwork. This place-based artwork will depict distinct themes recognized in the Adirondack Coast Destination Master Plan including local landscapes, history, agriculture and outdoor recreation. The ARTWays project is seeking regional artists for its second round, “Adirondack Coast Harvest,” focusing on the region’s deep ties to agriculture.

The inaugural round, “Set Sail,” focused on the history, events, festivities and importance of Lake Champlain to the region. Out of 16 submissions, Jodi and Todd Brunner of Plattsburgh were named the “Set Sail” winners with their piece fittingly titled “Set Sail.” The Brunner’s winning artwork can now be purchased on posters and magnets available at the NCCCA and the North Country Chamber of Commerce, as well as seen in numerous downtown businesses.

Artwork for the second round must be submitted by midnight on Sept. 3 for judging to begin, with the unveiling of the ARTWays Project “Adirondack Coast Harvest” winner at this year’s Adirondack Coast Wine, Cider and Food Festival on Oct. 6. Janine Scherline, NCCCA executive director, is enthusiastic about the direction of the ARTWays Project.

“With the success of the inaugural round, I believe the project will only grow and become more popular with artists, residents and tourists alike,” she said. “The keepsake posters and magnets add a wonderful, tangible element to the project and we are ready to take it to the next level and add even more visibility through signage around the region.”

Artists interested in submitting artwork may visit for more information.

Sponsors inlcude Mountain Lake PBS, CVPH Medical Center, Pfizer, Studley Printing/Lake Champlain Weekly, Best Western Inn at Smithfield, Ground Round Restaurant, Tip Top Frames Art Center & Gallery and Meadowbrook Healthcare.

Association announced

PLATTSBURGH — Drs. William Caldon, Michael O’Connor and Donnon O’Neill of High Peaks Dental are welcoming an association with Dr. Nadejda P. Stephens, D.M.D.

Stephens began her dental education in 1992 through universities in Bulgaria and Israel. Prior to coming to High Peaks Dental, Stephens successfully completed her Advanced Education Program in Comprehensive Dentistry through New York University College of Dentistry, Advanced Education Program in General Dentistry through the University of Rochester-Eastman Institute of Oral Health, General Practice Residency Program through Rochester General Hospital Department of Dentistry, and most recently the Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Internship at the Albert Einstein Medical College-Jacobi Medical Center in the Bronx.

“Dr. Stephens bring a high level of Oral and Maxillofacial surgical skills to High Peaks Dental’s Plattsburgh office, which will enhance patient treatment and comfort,” Caldon said. “We’re fortunate and proud to have her on board.”

Business mixer

LAKE PLACID — Pan Dolce, located at 2166 Saranac Avenue in Lake Placid, invites participants to the Essex County Business Council Business After Hours on Aug. 9 from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m.

Attendees will enjoy complimentary hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar while getting together with old friends and networking with new business contacts.

Business After Hours is open to members of the Essex County Business Council, North Country Chamber of Commerce and partner chambers. The Essex County Business Council is a division of the North Country Chamber of Commerce. Those who are not members of the ECBC or any partner members may call for a guest pass.

Admission is $2. For more information or to make reservations, call Arlene at 523-2445 Ext. 133.

Award received

MALONE — Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites in Malone has received a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence award.

The accolade, which honors hospitality excellence, is given only to establishments that consistently achieve outstanding traveler reviews on TripAdvisor, and is extended to qualifying businesses worldwide. Approximately 10 percent of accommodations listed on TripAdvisor receive this award.

To qualify, businesses must maintain an overall rating of four or higher out of a possible five, as reviewed by travelers on TripAdvisor. Additional criteria include the volume of reviews received within the last 12 months.

“We strive to offer our customers a memorable experience, and this accolade is evidence that our hard work is translating into positive traveler reviews on TripAdvisor,” said Terry Hammond, general manager.  

“TripAdvisor is pleased to honor exceptional businesses for consistent excellence, as reviewed by travelers on the site,” said Christine Petersen, president of TripAdvisor for Business. “The Certificate of Excellence award gives highly rated establishments around the world the recognition they deserve.”