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Youth Summit March 20 at college

The SUNY Oswego Office of Business and Community Relations, in conjunction with the Workforce Development Board of Oswego County, will host the eighth annual Youth Career Summit from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday, March 20, in Lanigan Hall.

The summit is an opportunity for eighth-graders from school districts across Oswego County to explore their interests and how they align with career opportunities in the community.

The event will feature local speakers on topics such as criminal justice, food and agriculture, STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and trade careers, as well as how to understand one’s individual strengths, said Jeffrey Grimshaw, director of business and community relations for the college.

SUNY Oswego, Huhtamaki, Constellation Energy, Fulton Savings Bank, Eastern Shore Associates, and Chris Nelson-State Farm Insurance support the event.

Oswego County Federal Credit Union is providing an iPad Mini to be awarded in a drawing to a student participant.

For more information about events and services of the college’s Office of Business and Community Relations, visit oswego.edu/obcr, call 312-3492 or email obcr@oswego.edu.

Fairgrieve students read for thousands of minutes

Submitted by Oswego County BOCES

A novel idea at Fairgrieve Elementary School in Fulton has translated into reading success within the building, and students recently were rewarded for their efforts.

At the beginning of the school year, Principal Jean Ciesla launched a reading challenge to all the students at Fairgrieve. Each student received a calendar to take home and log their time spent reading.

Once the minutes are recorded, parents or guardians have to sign off on it and then students submit the completed calendar to their teacher.

“We encouraged the students to read at least 15 minutes a day,” Ciesla said. “Our goal was to have the boys and girls read 2,000 minutes by the halfway point, and 4,000 minutes by the end of the year.”

For dozens of students, the 2,000-minute goal was an attainable one, and they earned special recognition during an ice cream social in late February.

“Congratulations everyone for making it to the 2,000-minute mark,” Ciesla said. “You should be very proud of what you accomplished. “

The principal encouraged students to continue reading each night and reminded them another celebration would be held in June if they are able to keep on pace and log another 2,000 minutes.

Volney Elementary students get lesson in Indian art

Dr. Rani Jha, master painter and teacher at the Mithila Art Institute in Madhubani, stopped at Volney Elementary in late February to give students a lesson in art and culture.

Dr. Jha visited a few schools during her visit to the United States, and agreed to teach the mithila art form to small groups of students. The top art students from grades four through sixth participated in the lesson.

Librarian Sarah Fay first introduced the mithila art form to the 30 selected students in a brief library presentation.

Mithila painting is a centuries old traditional women’s art form of north India, in the area just below the border with Nepal.

Dr. Jha started painting in her home at seven years old. Conventionally done on newly plastered mud wall of huts, mithila paintings can now be found on hand-made paper, cloth and canvas.

The wall paintings feature symbols of luck and religion, each illustrating an artist’s individual flair.

Dr. Jha drew for the students a peacock, the national bird of India. In their 40-minute session students drew fish, turtles (a symbol of patience and long life) and peacocks in the mithila style.

Students asked Dr. Jha questions about her religion, Hinduism, and about the sari.

Organic farmer speaks at worker program

Dick deGraff, who with his wife, Vic Ladd-deGraff, founded Grindstone Farm, will speak at noon Sunday, April 6 at First Universalist Society of Central Square, 3243 Fulton Ave. (Route 49 west of Route 11).

DeGraff has more than 30 years of experience as an organic farmer and mentors young farmers. Grindstone Farm, south of Pulaski, was a Community Supported Agriculture supplier for many years, providing produce to families in Syracuse and Central New York. The farm continues to provide ways for folks to support local agriculture. For more information about the farm, visit its website at grindstonefarm.com.

DeGraff will speak as part of the free Voices for Worker Equality Series co-sponsored by the church and the Workers’ Center of Central New York, based in Syracuse.

Forest management workshop March 28

The Oswego County Soil and Water Conservation District, is offering a free workshop to forest owners from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Friday, March 28 at the Oswego County Federal Credit Union located at 5828 Scenic Drive, Mexico.

This educational event includes a classroom presentation with three speakers as well as a light dinner from 5:30 to 6.

Landowners interested in obtaining information about managing their forested properties for timber, recreation, wildlife or other goals, should attend. The workshop will answer the basic questions landowners often have about how to get started with forest management on their properties, the steps involved in harvesting and selling forest products, timber stand improvement, invasive species and several other topics.

The presenters will include, Joe Chairvolotti of Oswego County Soil and Water Conservation District, Art Brooks of Brooks Forestry and Resource Management Co. and Josh Hornesky with U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Pre-registration is required by Wednesday, March 26. Call Joe Chairvolotti at Oswego County Soil and Water Conservation District at 592-9663 or send an email to joe.chairvolotti@oswegosoilandwater.com to register.

Marine Museum hosts lecture on Shepard, telescope

As part of March as Women’s History Month, the H. Lee White Maritime Museum is hosting New Haven town historian, Marie Strong, who will present the first history lecture of the year at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, March 22.

Strong will speak about prominent New Haven resident, Elizabeth Shepard. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Shepard was born in New Haven Nov. 6, 1830 and lived on a farm with her parents. Elizabeth developed a passion for astronomy. Elizabeth’s son, C. Sidney Shepard, had an observatory tower built on the estate for her pleasure.

In 1956, the telescope was donated to SUNY Oswego where it was housed in a retractable observatory near Romney Field parking lot until 2013.

The old observatory is scheduled to be torn down sometime in the near future. The telescope is currently on display in Pontiac Hall in the H. Lee White Marine Museum’s main building.

Marie Strong was born in New Haven. She was mentored for 23 years by former New Haven historian Nancy Searles. In 2004, she became the town historian for New Haven.

Strong’s father sang with Mr. Shepard in the singing group Quartet, similar to a barbershop quartet. He was employed to maintain the family’s fleet of automobiles.

Marie’s three brothers looked after the Shepard Estate after Elizabeth’s death.

John Rusho, adjunct professor at SUNY Oswego Department of Physics, will discuss this type of telescope. Rusho has maintained the telescope for the last several years.

The H. Lee White Maritime Museum is located at the end of the West First Street Pier, in Oswego’s Historic Maritime District.

For information about the lecture, or other museum activities, contact the H.L. White Marine Museum at 342-0480, or at info@hleewhitemarinemuseum.com.

Legislature approves investment policy change

By Debra J. Groom

The Oswego County Legislature OKed a measure Thursday that will allow the county treasurer to get a better interest rate when he invests county money.

Treasurer Fred Beardsley said the county already has an investment policy. But the governor recently signed a law that allows a change in how county invetments are made, so the Legislature on Thursday approved a new investment policy.

Beardsley said banks were losing money when there were large investments made at the banks. This is because the bank had to put up collaterol of its own money on large deposits.

For example, he said if the county invested $100,000, the bank has to put up the $100,000 plus an amount for hte interest.

“With interest rates so low, the banks are losing money on this,” Beardsley said. “So many banks are refusing to take these investments.”

The change OKed by the governor allows the county to invest the money, which then goes to a holding company and then is divvied out to banks in smaller increments.

For example, Beardsley said if the county invests $1 million, the money goes to the holding company and then is given to different banks in $250,000 increments, called insured cash sweeps.

“It provides us with a higher interest rate and the banks will take the investments,” Beardsley said.

He said the county has had trouble making much money on its investments since interest rates have plummeted.

He said interest rates now are about 0.05 of a percent to about 0.15 of a percent.

“Our income on inteerst used to be about $1 million a year,” he said. “This year, we’ll be lucky to see $75,000.”

The legislature also approved a measure to transfer cemetery accounts in the custody of the county treasurer to the cemetery owners.

Beardsley said when he became treasurer, he checked all the bank accounts and found two accounts that were more than 40 years old. They were from cemeteries founded back in the 1880s.

“The cemeteries went defunct at one time and the money was transferred over to us,” Beardsley said.

He researched the cemeteries and found both — one in Richland and one in Pennellville — still are being kept up. So the money in the accounts will be given to those in charge of upkeep at the cemeteries to help with the maintenance.

The total being transferred is about $900.

The legislature also approved:

• Supporting a statewide indigent defense legal system. County Administrator Philip Church said having the state run the system to provide lawyers to low-income defendants  would save the county about $1.5 million.

• Supporting an alternative to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposed tax freeze that would lead to the state taking over mandated programs such as Medicaid, indigent defense and special education preschool.

Harborfest kicks off ‘Friends of Festival’

March kicks off the annual “Friends of the Festival” Campaign for Oswego Harborfest.

Each year, Harborfest friends support the festival through donations.

These donations are a part of what helps to keep Harborfest admission-free.

Along with sponsors, Friends of the Festival supports programming, entertainment, children’s activities, staging tents, and more.

Become a “Friend of the Festival” today.

Harborfest 2014 is slated for July 24-27.

“Friends of the Festival” forms are available at oswegoharborfest.com or at the Harborfest offices in the McCrobie Building, 41 Lake St.

For more information, call 343-6858.