north country

The relentless snow that pounded part of the North Country this past winter kept kids out of school and people home. That also meant a hit for some businesses in the region.

Lori Wells co-owns Café Mira, a restaurant in Adams, south of Watertown. The eatery employs about a dozen people and is only open four days a week. So when Wells and her partner, Lisa Reed, had to make the call three times this winter to not open, that was a hit to their business.

They hadn’t had to close at all in the four years they’ve been owners, Wells said.

In any company town, when the major employer is planning layoffs, people get worried. How will they earn a living if they lose their job? How will they remake their identity?

This is the picture for many Army officers stationed at Fort Drum. By early summer, some will find out they have to go.

It’s part of an overall downsizing of the military as the war in Afghanistan winds down. Evaluations this spring will determine whether some officers can stay in the service.

All the power lines have been fixed after last month’s ice storm, and the crystal coatings have melted off the trees, but there’s still a persistent sign of the damage: lots of downed limbs.

Yards in the northern half of Jefferson County are full of tangled branches, sunk in the snow. Extricating them is going to be a long process, but there’s a plan in the works to give them a new life as fuel.

An important Watertown employer will be bought out by a larger company, but a spokeswoman says workers have reason to be optimistic about the sale.

The $820 million deal will merge Stream Global Services into Cincinnati-based Convergys. Both companies run customer service call centers for big businesses around the world.

The growth of Fort Drum and its fluctuating soldier population have always complicated the housing market around Watertown. But the Army post throws another factor into the mix: soldier’s housing allowances. They just went up.

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