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Oswego VBS traveling back in time

At Kingdom Rock Vacation Bible School, children get to go back in time to a place with castles, tournament games, and strong boys and girls who stand strong in their faith. The program includes games, crafts and snacks. Kingdom Rock VBS will come to St. Joseph’s Church in Oswego from 10 a.m. to noon the week of Aug. 5. For more information or to register, call St. Joseph’s rectory office at 343-2160 or go online at

Fifth in Oswego Summer Sunset Concert Series to be held tonight

The fifth concert in the Oswego Summer Sunset Concert Series will be held tonight, July 31, at 7:30 p.m. at Breitbeck Park in Oswego. These concerts are provided free to the public by the City of Oswego and the Musicians Union of Oswego County. The 17-piece Jazz Ensemble, under the direction of Stan Gosek, will be performing this week. Popular selections from all eras of Big Band music will be featured.

Magic show celebrates 20 years of adult day care program

The St. Luke Adult Day Health Care program invites the community to a free afternoon of magic and more, as celebrations of the program’s twentieth year of service to the Oswego County community continues.

The afternoon of magic will take place at 1 p.m. Aug. 9 at the pavilion at Breitbeck Park in Oswego. The show features a performance by the “Twin Magicians,” David and Paul Jackman.

Dazzling audiences since 1973, the Jackman twins’ combination of magic and humor appeals to young and old alike. Their unique form of entertainment, including circus arts such as juggling and fire-eating, finds them in continued demand throughout New York and Pennsylvania.

The event is part of the St. Luke Adult Day Health Care program’s “20 Acts of Kindness” initiative marking the program’s 20 years of serving Oswego County.

Program registrants have been engaged in a variety of activities in support of other community organizations and initiatives. The effort is a way to say “thank you” for the support the St. Luke ADHC program has received since opening in 1993.

“This year our ADHC program’s 20 Acts of Kindness initiative has included a donation of homemade pet treats to the Oswego Animal Shelter, bake sales benefitting the Children’s Miracle Network and the Maggie Sue Glenister Wilcox Foundation, a food drive on behalf of Human Concerns, and a blood drive for the American Red Cross,” said Sherry Harrison, St. Luke ADHC program director. “Our registrants have other activities planned designed to show support for some of the organizations that help make our community a better place to live.”

The program has served registrants and families from across the county, including people with Alzheimer’s Disease or other dementia-related illnesses, traumatic brain injuries, chronic illnesses and developmental disabilities.

The program was the first of its kind in the county.

“Our medical model adult day care program is a daily health monitoring and activities program designed to promote independence and delay institutionalization of a disabled adult,” said Harrison. “We serve individuals age 18 years and older who require ongoing rehabilitation and medical services in an atmosphere that is friendly and supportive.”

The program staff includes registered and licensed nurses, a registered dietician, activities specialist, social worker, secretary and certified nursing assistants.

Program registrants can attend from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. Registrants can attend up to five days a week and as few as one day a week. Transportation for county residents can be arranged.

For more information about the service, call 342-3166, or visit St. Luke on the web at

Fairgrieve Elementary School holds sixth grade moving-up ceremony

Fairgrieve Elementary School recently held a moving up ceremony where sixth grade students were presented with moving up certificates and other awards.

Fairgrieve Principal Jean Ciesla welcomed parents, family and friends as the students were recognized for their outstanding academic achievements.

Student representatives Kaylee Waugh and Keara Patterson spoke to their fellow students and reflected on the momentous occasion.

Keara said, “This may be the end of elementary school, but it’s a whole new beginning,” while Kaylee reflected on the many teachers and others at the school that helped shape their personalities and helped them grow as individuals throughout their elementary years.

Awards given during the ceremony included recognition for academic excellence with the Presidential Awards for Educational Achievement and Excellence.

The following students received the award for Achievement: Paige Efaw, Lindsay McCraith, Taylor Minor, Makaylee Schmeer, Allison Collins, Katelin Matthews, Dakota Schmeer, Christopher Schreck, Jonathan Simpson, Alice Allen, Alessandro Berner, Evan Kistner, Kincaid Pollock, Isaac Crandall, Nariah Holden, and Connor Viau.

The following students received the award for Excellence: Ryan Michaels, Charles Mitchell, Kaylee Waugh, Haley Bort, Nathaniel Lindsey, Brendan Todt, Selene Belrad, Nicholas Cary, Keara Patterson, Aidan Percival, Shaylee Cealie, Justin Hatch, Leah Hulett, Luke Kimball, Jacquline Knoblock, and Madeline Williams. Each student recognized received a congratulatory letter from President Barack Obama for their achievement.

Other recognitions included the Comptroller’s Achievement Award to Haley Bort and Jacquline Knoblock for demonstrating academic leadership; the Triple “C” Award was presented to Kaylee Waugh and Keara Patterson for demonstrating outstanding character, courage and commitment to education; and the Robert and Alice Jonas Award was presented to Brendan Todt for his love of learning.

United Way asks community to help Stuff-a-Bus for students in need

The United Way of Greater Oswego County’s annual Stuff-a-Bus campaign collection day has been scheduled for 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Aug. 14.

School buses will be at the following sites to accept donations of school supplies from pens and pencils to notebooks and backpacks:

• Kinney Drugs, 17 S. First St., Fulton
• Fulton Savings Bank parking lot, Route 57, Phoenix
• Walmart, state Route 3, Granby
• The Hannibal Village Market IGA, Route 3, Hannibal
• Walmart, Route 104, Oswego
• Walmart, Route 49, Central Square
• Fulton Savings Bank parking lot, Route 57, Phoenix
• Kinney Drugs, 3318 Main St., Mexico
• Kinney Drugs, 3873 Rome Road, Pulaski

The Stuff-A-Bus campaign helps provide area youth in need with the supplies required to begin the school year.

“As the result of last year’s Stuff-A-Bus campaign, we were able to serve approximately 1,600 families throughout Oswego County,” said Melanie Trexler, executive director of United Way of Greater Oswego County. “This year, with the support of caring businesses and community members, we are hoping to serve even more Oswego County students.”

School districts throughout the county, along with more than 20 business and organizations participate in the campaign. For more information, contact Melanie Trexler at the United Way at 593-1900 or Jo Ann Conzone at the Oswego City School District superintendent’s office at 341-2001.

County is close to receiving all 2013 back taxes

By Debra J. Groom

Oswego County is close to receiving all the money it was owed in back taxes on foreclosed properties for 2013.

Real Property Tax Director Debra Mullenax said the county was owed $2,120,388 on 199 parcels of foreclosed land and property in the county. A total of $1,991,403 of that has been brought in, she said.

Of those 199 parcels, 76 were bought back prior to the July 13 tax auction by the people who owned the properties. They paid $578,553 to the county in back taxes.

Ninety-nine properties were auctioned, bringing in $1,412,850. Three parcels totaling $21,829 in back taxes did not sell, Mullenax said.

“We’re a little short, but close,” Mullenax said of the amount recovered for the cover.

She added the county still could hit the $2.1 million amount when interest and other fees are received from taxpayers.

County Treasurer Fred Beardsley said one of the three properties that did not sell was landlocked, one had an environmental issue and one was too small.

He said neighbors of the landlocked property are being contacted to see if they are interested in the parcel.

County moves closer to demolishing jail

By Debra J. Groom

It’s taken longer than expected, but the Oswego County legislature is getting closer to demolishing the old county jail in Oswego.

The legislature’s Old Jail Committee on Wednesday approved spending another $12,000 to complete four more steps to the environmental testing at the property and buildings on East River Road.

The additional work to be done by GHD Environmental in Salina consists of:

• Testing of samples taken from the septic tank on the property and soil at the river bank;
• Testing around the location of the septic tank to see exactly where the tank and any pipes running from it are located;
• Completing a full environmental report; and
• Explaining the report to the legislature.

The original contract for GHD’s environmental testing was for $13,350.

Legislator and committee member Jacob Mulcahey didn’t want the county to spend more money on additional tests at the site. He said a “for sale” sign should be put on the property immediately.

Legislator and committee chair Morris Sorbello disagreed, stating testing should be completed so contractors bidding on the demolition will know exactly what to expect when doing their work at the site.

“We should have had a ‘for sale’ sign on this property for the last six months,” Mulcahey said. “Buyers buy ‘as is’ all the time. Can’t we tear the building down without these tests?”

Sorbello, legislator and committee member Linda Lockwood, and Oswego County Administrator Philip Church said it is in the county’s best interest to do the tests.

“I think bids will be higher if there are any unknowns (on the property),” Church said.

“If they (contractors) know it’s clean, they’ll give you a better price,” Lockwood said.

Church said it should be at least a month until requests for proposals from contractors will be issued.

The Old Jail Committee decided Wednesday to obtain bids for each part of the site work (abatement, demolition, salvage) so legislature members can see and compare the costs for each portion of the project.

County officials agreed last year that the old county jail, built in 1909, is dilapidated and must be torn down.

Sorbello said last year the building would be demolished in the spring, but testing and studies have taken longer than expected.

Testing to date has found asbestos in the building and the roof in addition to the old septic tank that must be filled in.

Testing also was done on the steel in the cells to see if it was high quality that could be scrapped and sold, but Sorbello said the steel was not high-quality.

The old jail is located on land across the street from the present Oswego County Correctional Facility, which opened in 1994 and houses the jail, sheriff’s office, family court, county court and the district attorney’s office.

The old jail is a large, three-story building with the jail structure in the rear. The middle section was used as the sheriff’s and deputies’ offices and booking room.

Also on the same site is a one-story building that houses a Department of Motor Vehicles office and the county’s records center. County Clerk Michael Backus, who is in charge of the DMV and records center, on Wednesday voiced concern to the Old Jail Committee about the old jail demolition process and how it would affect customers coming to the DMV or records center.

It was agreed that this issue is important and will be addressed soon.