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Lieutenant governor impresses officials


BRASHER FALLS — Brasher Town Supervisor M. James Dawson says a meeting he and other officials had with Lt. Gov. Robert J. Duffy was a positive experience.

Mr. Dawson was among a group of representatives who met with Mr. Duffy following his appearance Jan. 7 at Alcoa in Massena to join company officials in announcing that 95 employees on layoff would be called back to work, and an additional 20 to 30 employees would be hired.

"It was an interesting and very rewarding morning, in my opinion," he told Town Council members Wednesday.

Following that event, Mr. Dawson said, he was asked by state Sen. Joseph A. Griffo, R-Rome, to stick around for a closed-door session with Mr. Duffy, as well as other local officials including Massena Town Supervisor Joseph D. Gray, Massena Mayor James F. Hidy and Assemblywoman Addie J. Russell.

"It was a 20-minute meeting. We talked about business from the very get-go," Mr. Dawson said.

Among the subjects they tackled, he said, were casino gaming compact money, the need for a new international bridge connecting Massena to Cornwall, Ontario, the proposed Interstate 98 project and the extension of the runway at Massena International Airport to spur more economic development.

"His aide took pages of notes. These are things we need to do right away," he said. "He was very supportive. He seemed like a very friendly guy and very attentive. He was there to listen."

Mr. Gray said he was encouraged by Mr. Duffy's response on the gaming compact fund issue. The towns of Massena and Brasher have not received their gaming compact funds from the state for 2010.

Mr. Duffy also encouraged local leaders to provide input on Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's effort to regionalize state economic development, Mr. Gray said.

Attracting more visitors to Robert Moses State Park also was a topic of discussion, Mr. Hidy said. But the delay by former Gov. David A. Paterson's office in allocating 20 megawatts of low-cost power to the area was not brought up, Mr. Gray said. Not discussing the St. Lawrence River Redevelopment Agency was an oversight, he said, but the meeting was still a positive one.

Johnson Newspapers writer Brian Hayden contributed to this report.

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