Oneida County is working to keep open the tower at Griffiss International Airport because of the business impact its closure could have.

''I believe we have to keep it open. Its one of those issues where everybody wonders what it means.'' Locally, Picente says it amounts to a cost shift for local government because the tower at Griffiss in important to our community.

''We've been growing various aspects of Griffiss, looking to do a customs center for international flights and working to commercial traffic. That's why keeping it open is essential,'' he said, appearing on WIBX First News with Keeler in the Morning.

''That runway is one of the largest in the United States and can handle the space shuttles,'' Picente said.

''We will not be Albany, Syracuse or Rochester. But we could offer flights for destinations. That's why maintaining the tower is important.''

On the MRO operations at Griffiss, ''Planes from Russia and Canada are among the customers who get repaired, he said, adding that commercial and military customers of the county's airport have indicated they may look elsewhere if there service would be interrupted.

He says that amounts to money, or lost money for those businesses and the county, when talking about touch-and-goes and other military operations at Griffiss.

AHL Hockey in Utica

''I think it's something that has been reached out to the community. I think Utica College hockey has put Utica back on the map as far as attendance, excitement and what this community can stir up.''

On New Jersey Devils and other teams, not succeeding here in the past: ''It was a different time, with teams looking at different aspects of revenue, etc. Some people will say we've been down that road before. I'm not a believer in, 'if we fail, we don't try again.'''