Two generations came together today at the Westside Senior Center. Kernan Elementary students and senior citizens at Westside have been participating in the Best Buddies Pen Pal Program, and after a...
Family and community members are mourning the loss of 23-month-old baby girl Ashi Kah of Utica. New Hartford Police responded to reports of the child drowning at Washington Mills Athletic Park She a...
Family and community members are mourning the loss of 23-month-old baby girl Ashi Kah of Utica. New Hartford Police responded to reports of the child drowning at Washington Mills Athletic Park Saturday night. She reportedly wandered away from her parents and was found down the river about 1,000 feet.
Community members are still in shock. Both residents and even officials declined to comment in such a tough time. But New Hartford Police say they're still investigating this tragedy, and right now, they're calling it an "accidental drowning."
The Washington Mills Athletic Park is nearly 20 acres, with 3 multi-use fields, a picnic area, and a toddler playground which is entirely fenced in with a 10 foot opening facing the parking lot - all of these attractions are just feet away from the Sauquoit Creek.
Eyewitness News spoke with the New Hartford Parks and Recreation Director, Michael Jeffrey. He did not feel comfortable going on camera in such a difficult time but he says, quote "This is a tragedy beyond any tragedy; a toddler lost her life. We do everything we can to make our parks safe for our children to play in, but there's no full-proof method anywhere."
The Sauquoit Creek is just behind the toddler playground. While its still unclear how the child got to the creek, parks officials say it would take a few minutes for a toddler to walk around the gated area to the water. New Hartford Police believe the tragedy began with a large family gathering at the park. While they have not spoken with the child's family yet, they say it appears the young toddler wandered away from her family into the creek. American Red Cross says sadly, these cases are far too common.
"Drowning is the second leading cause of injury related death for ages 1 to 14 years of age. When water accidents happen in our community, they are tragedies but unfortunately, they happen quite often and every spring and summer, we hear of some sort of incidents so to really cut down on these, we suggest to know your area, be safe, and be prepared," says Jennifer Balog, American Red Cross of the Mohawk Valley.
After being closed this weekend, the park reopened at 11 this morning. The Onondaga Medical Examiner's office is calling it an "accidental drowning," unless the investigation proves otherwise. New Hartford Police say they plan to release more information later this week.
Do you want to reduce your energy bills without breaking the bank? Some Utica residents say they learned just that at a free Energy Reduction Workshop this afternoon.
EmPower New York and NYSERDA employees told residents about programs that provide free energy improvements and in-home education to help home-owners and renters lower energy usage, and lower their bills.
"There's individuals everyday that I run into that don't apply for HEAP and they're eligible for HEAP, but they're not even aware of it. Do you want to save $50 dollars a month in your pocket? If so, apply for the program. If not, just educate yourself. Why freeze if you don't have to freeze in the winter?" says Michelle Evanson, EmPower New York coordinator.
EmPower New York employees had applications on-hand for residents interested in applying. For more information call 1-800-263-0960 or visit nyserda.ny.gov/empower