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Tue., Mar. 31
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Operation Veterans meeting with state was “positive”

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OGDENSBURG — Operation Veterans Chairman Joseph M. Cosentino said Tuesday’s meeting in Albany with representatives from Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s office was a “positive” one.

Mr. Cosentino met with state Division of Veterans Affairs representatives Todd Rosenfeld and Samuel L. Spitzberg to discuss the possibility of building a veterans hospital in Ogdensburg.

The meeting was originally meant to be between Gov. Cuomo and several members of Operation Veterans. However, Mr. Cuomo was unable to attend because he was pitching his 2013 budget proposal in Potsdam.

“I thought it was a very positive meeting,” Mr. Cosentino said. “Both men were Vietnam veterans. They were sincere and did not give me the brush off. They asked questions and seemed genuinely concerned with what veterans had to deal with up here.”

Mr. Cosentino said Mr. Spitzberg and Mr. Rosenfeld are planning a trip to the north country to meet with veterans in the next month and a half.

“They want to speak with veterans and their spouses, pin-point their major concerns and hear what has taken place over the years,” he said.

Mr. Cosentino said the visit would also include a tour of the group’s favored location for the hospital, the Pritchard Building at the St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center, north country Veterans Administration clinics and the Ogdensburgh Cemetery’s veterans plot.

“They also would like Addie Russell and Congressman Bill Owens to attend as well,” Mr. Cosentino said.

At the end of the meeting, Mr. Spitzber and Mr. Rosenfeld agreed to take the veterans’ concerns to the governor, Mr. Cosentino said.

Establishing a hospital has been the number-one concern of veterans since they first formed in 2011.

A spokesperson from the governor’s press office did not answer a request for comment on behalf of Mr. Rosenfeld and Mr. Spitzberg Tuesday.

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