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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 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.

Group members had hoped to meet with Mr. Cuomo, but he did not attend because he was speaking about 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, pinpoint 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 Affairs clinics; and the Ogdensburgh Cemetery’s veterans plot.

At the end of the meeting, both 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 the veterans since the group formed in 2011.

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