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SLPC Task Force looks for big turn out to celebrity bar tender night

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OGDENSBURG — Getting active in your community isn’t an inherently painful process.

The St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center Task Force is hoping the community will turn out from 4 p.m. to midnight Nov. 30 for a celebrity bartender night at Hosmer’s Marina, 54 E. River St.

The money raised will go toward helping the fight against the proposed closure of inpatient care at the St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center.

The state Office of Mental Health proposed closing the adult and child inpatient facilities in Ogdensburg as part of a state-wide shift to more outpatient mental health care.

Children and adults in need of inpatient care would be sent to Utica or Syracuse, respectively, for treatment if the closure takes effect.

Mayor William D. Nelson said the money raised on Nov. 30 will go to buying more lawn signs that demonstrate the region’s support for inpatient services at the psychiatric center in addition to other forms of activism.

William D. Hosmer, owner of Hosmer’s Marina, said, “We’re hoping to continue to raise awareness of what we’re doing and the cause.”

The night will include live music by Ronnie Freeman and a DJ in addition to a 50/50 raffle and a chance to buy t-shirts demonstrating support for the psychiatric center.

So far, eight celebrities have signed up to serve: City Manager John Pinkerton; Mayor William Nelson; James E. Reagen, who runs the Ogdensburg office of state Sen. Patricia A. Ritchie, R-Heuvelton; Ronnie D. Freeman, president of Civil Service Employees Association Local 423, which represents psych center staff; St. Lawrence County Industrial Development Agency Executive Director Patrick J. Kelly; CSEA labor relations specialist Edward “Bud” Mulchy; St. Lawrence Health Alliance Administrative Coordinator Laura M. Ashley and Coralee Barrett, secretary to the mayor and city manager.

The task force is soliciting others to participate.

Chairman Charles “Chuck” W. Kelly said this is just one way to help save inpatient care at the psychiatric center.

“I want to get the community involved in the whole thing,” Mr. Kelly said, adding that people can also help by writing letters opposing the closure which the task force will pass on to lawmakers and media outlets.

Community members can also help by putting signs in their lawns and purchasing t-shirts, $10 each, from the Ogdensburg City Manager’s office.

Mr. Kelly said this is just the first of several big fundraisers the task force is planning.

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