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Brasher eyes using casino funds to support psychiatric center

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BRASHER FALLS - Brasher Town Supervisor M. James Dawson is investigating to see if the town would be able to use some of its casino gaming compact funds to support keeping St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center services in Ogdensburg.

“I’ve been toying with the idea,” Mr. Dawson said.

He said the St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center Task Force held a spaghetti dinner Saturday at the Knights of Columbus in Ogdensburg to raise funds that would help their efforts to preserve or expand the services offered at the St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center. And he wondered if the town could help the cause.

“I thought, ‘Would we consider giving them some money from the casino?’” Mr. Dawson said.

He noted that the potential relocation of some services would affect the more than 500 jobs at the Ogdensburg facility, and providing them funding could help in efforts to keep those jobs here.

“That’s certainly economic development,” he said, suggesting board members might want to consider a one-time contribution from their casino funds.

Mr. Dawson said he had also talked with Massena Town Supervisor Joseph D. Gray and suggested they also consider the donation. Mr. Gray said his board discussed it during a special meeting this week and agreed to table it until their regular session on Wednesday.

“I hate to see those jobs go out of the north country,” Mr. Dawson said.

The town of Brasher received about $960,000 this year after the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe agreed to resume giving the state proceeds from its gaming operations in Franklin County. That money must be used for economic development initiatives and, in the past, Brasher has used it for such ventures as a cruise-in and car show, muskie challenge and to support FISHCAP’s efforts.

“It doesn’t have to be in Brasher,” Mr. Dawson said, noting it was money that designed “to keep the north country viable.”

Members of the St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center Task Force announced this week that they would welcome donations toward their efforts to preserve or expand services offered at the Ogdensburg center.

“As we were out selling tickets for the spaghetti dinner, people keptp asking if there is a way for them to either volunteer or to donate to our efforts, and the answer is absolutely yes,” Task Force Chairman Charles W. “Chuck” Kelly said in a release.

Any funds received by the Task Force will be used to purchase signs, T-shirts, stamps, post cards and advertisements for promoting the continuation and expansion of services at the St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center. Funds may also be used for travel costs to defend and promote the SLPC through meetings with officials in Albany.

All donations can be sent to SLPC Task Force, City Hall, 330 Ford St., Room 1, Ogdensburg, N.Y. 13669, Attention: Laura Ashley.

For more information on donating or volunteering, contact Mr. Kelly at (315) 323-0190.

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