Sen. Ritchie introduces bill to honor long-time Ogdensburg editor Chuck Kelly
Tuesday, January 31, 2012 - 5:12 pm

Ogdensburg native and long-time journalist Charles W. "Chuck" Kelly is retiring, and state Sen. Patty Ritchie, a Republican from neighboring Heuvelton, has introduced a resolution in the Senate honoring Kelly.

Kelly was a sports reporter, editor, and ultimately publisher for the Ogdensburg Journal, The Advance News, and other northern New York newspapers.

Senator Ritchie brought the resolution before the New York State Senate today.

It praises Kelly's "dedicated service" to the people of St. Lawrence County, northern New York, and the state as a whole.

The many clauses in the resolution amount to a mini-biography of the newspaperman, from his school days in Ogdensburg through his career of more than half a century.

Here is the resolution Ritchie has put forward in the Senate:

LEGISLATIVE RESOLUTION honoring Charles W. Kelly for his dedicated service to the Empire State as a newspaper reporter, editor, publisher and community leader in St. Lawrence County and upstate New York

WHEREAS, It is the sense of this Legislative Body to acknowledge the residents of New York State who have played an important role in New York State's history through their efforts to make a difference in the lives of its communities and citizens; and

WHEREAS, Attendant to such concern, and in full accord with its long- standing traditions, this Legislative Body is justly proud to honor Charles W. Kelly for his dedicated service to the Empire State as a newspaper reporter, editor, publisher and community leader in St. Lawrence County and upstate New York; and

WHEREAS, Charles W. Kelly attended St. Mary's Academy in Ogdensburg, New York; upon graduating, he began his distinguished career in journalism as a sportswriter with The Ogdensburg Journal and The Advance News; and

WHEREAS, He left to serve his country as a member of the United States Army in both France and Germany; when he returned to his hometown of Ogdensburg, Charles W. Kelly rejoined the staff of The Ogdensburg Journal and The Advance News; and

WHEREAS, He soon became the editor of The Advance News and, for more than half a century, has written "Kelly's Comments" where he has championed the interests of Ogdensburg, St. Lawrence County and Northern New York, providing a voice for those who had nowhere else to turn, and provoking debate and discussion on the issues of the day for government leaders at both the State and the local level; and

WHEREAS, Over the course of his illustrious career, he was promoted to general manager and then to publisher, where he oversaw the business affairs and editorial content of three daily newspapers, The Journal of Ogdensburg, The Courier-Observer of Massena and Potsdam and The Telegram of Malone; two weeklies - The Rural News and The St. Lawrence Plaindealer of Canton as well as the regional Sunday newspaper - The Advance News; and

WHEREAS, Throughout his more than half a century of service to his readers and subscribers, Charles W. Kelly often described himself as St. Lawrence County's "largest paperboy," routinely delivering papers to insure that no one would be deprived of the opportunity to read his beloved "Kelly's Comments"; and

WHEREAS, During his 57 years, Charles W. Kelly always saw himself as a reporter first, routinely showing up at car accidents, anniversaries, city and town halls, courtrooms and even the state capitol with a notebook in his pocket and a camera in his hand; and

WHEREAS, As the author of "Kelly's Comments", Charles W. Kelly used his position to force public officials of all political persuasions to discuss the issues facing the communities of Northern New York, prompting all to read him every week, whether they agreed or disagreed with him; and WHEREAS, Even his toughest critics acknowledge that Chuck W. Kelly always gave equal opportunity to offer their side of the story in the pages and columns of his newspapers; and

WHEREAS, When he was not raising a ruckus in the pages of his newspapers, he was working behind the scenes to improve the lives of the people of Northern New York, recruiting new businesses, fighting for economic development projects, raising funds for charities, serving as a Lions Club member, helping to found the Ogdensburg Boys and Girls Club, promoting the Ogdensburg Volunteer Rescue Squad and the North Country's volunteer fire and emergency service, and helping to build Ogdensburg's recreation programs in the early years; and

WHEREAS, A true family man, Chuck W. Kelly has always acknowledged that he was lucky to have a wife like Therese and three children, Bridget, Maureen and Timothy, who, like his wife, always helped him keep a sense of perspective while supporting his efforts to improve the lives of those around him; and

WHEREAS, Throughout his life and career, Chuck Kelly has always remembered his responsibility to speak out when others have stayed silent and to stand up for those who have no one else to serve as their champion, even if he must sometimes stand alone; and

WHEREAS, It is the custom of this Legislative Body that when individuals of such noble aims and accomplishments are brought to our attention, they should be celebrated and recognized by all the citizens of this great Empire State; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That this Legislative Body pause in its deliberations to honor Charles W. Kelly, legendary reporter, editor and publisher, after 57 years of distinguished service, and to wish him continued success in all his future endeavors; and be it further

RESOLVED, That a copy of this Resolution, suitably engrossed, be transmitted to Charles W. Kelly.