All posts by Andrew Henderson

In and Around Hannibal: Schools in Hannibal

by Rita Hooper

There’s an old adage that if you don’t know what to write about – just keep writing and it will come. That’s sort of my predicament tonight except I want to share some info provided me my Mary Pawlenko Phillips on when she was a student at North Hannibal School. However, I know many of my readers will say, “Huh, never heard of North Hannibal School,” so I think it best if I do a little background work.

This may just turn into a series on schools of Hannibal.Once again, I’m indebted to the Hannibal Historical Society’s Hannibal History in “pictures and prose,” as compiled by Lowell Newvine for much of my information.

Hannibal Central Schools became centralized into one district in 1949 by a vote of 767 to 318. This new district encompassed approximately 90 square miles and included the Town of Hannibal and portions of the towns of Oswego, Granby and Sterling. The student body that first year was about 670 with teachers and staff numbering 38.

Let me imagine the discussions around the kitchen tables and at the local hangout back then: “Why we’ve been running this school for over a 100 years and we dun just fine.” “All those kids will have to be bussed – whose going to pay for all those busses?” “But the children will have more options in a bigger school – like sports and music.” “The kids will have a more uniform education – one that meets higher standards…following the guidelines of the NYS Board of Regents.” “While it will cost more in the beginning, it will be more economical in the long run.” “The children learn just fine, because all the students are in the same room. Younger students have the advantage of also listening to the lessons taught to their older peers. In a similar manner, the upper level students could coach their younger counterparts.”

By the way, the first school session was held in Hannibal Center in 1810. Laura Kent was the first teacher, a daughter of one of Hannibal’s earliest families having moved here from Vermont. Just think Mayor Kent could have been a Green Mountain Boy!

Before centralization, there were 15 school houses in the area. They were one-room structures most of them made of wood. Student desks would be in rows and the building was heated by a pot-bellied stove in the middle of the room. Those near the stove roasted and those far from it shivered. Usually one teacher taught all the children in grades 1-8 and they also did the custodial work.

To read the rest of the column, pick up a copy of The Valley News or subscribe by calling 598-6397

Good bye, Fulton

by Andrew Henderson

The great New York Yankee Yogi Berra coined many bewildering phrases and he is perhaps one of the most quoted personalities of our time.

These utterances, now called “Yogi-isms,” have invaded our society, often bringing us delight in the simplicity and truthfulness of these phrases. “It ain’t over ‘til it’s over” is arguably his most famous and often quoted “Yogi-ism.”

This utterance brings relevance to me personally as this is my last Laughing Through Life column. Yesterday was my last day at The Valley News.

It has been a great and rewarding career as I have tried to deliver the best and most comprehensive local news coverage to your mailboxes twice a week. For nearly 14 years, I have been a part of this community. You welcomed me in. You were quick to say hello and offer a smile.

And to that, I say, thanks.

Even though I grew up in Phoenix and currently live in Onondaga County, I consider myself a Fultonian. I love this community. I love the people. I even appreciate those who called and complained. Without you, I wouldn’t be doing my job.

I have many people to thank, so if you will just bear with me…

First and foremost, I want to thank Vince and Ron Caravan for their trust and faith in me. Three months after I was hired in 2000, they saw it worthy to promote me to managing editor. The Caravans are true champions in journalism. I have learned a lot from them ­ — not just about the newspaper business and journalism, but about life, family, integrity, and faith.

Vince and Ron, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. You are truly newspapermen and I only hope that I was half the newspaperman that you both are.

To all my co-workers over the years, I thank you for putting up with me and my sometimes over-the-line antics. Thank you for making this job fun. Obviously, I am limited by space and cannot list every one who I worked with over the years, but there are some who stand out the most in my mind:

• Former production coordinator Roger Beck is more than a colleague. He is a good friend and I will cherish our friendship. Thank you.

• Former graphic artist Jeri Jones made my job fun. I will never forget the way she laughs, jokes, and giggles. Keep giggling, Jeri!

• Former graphic artist Richard Forbes is one of my favorite people of all time. We would often exchange barbs and jokes, piling on each other with put-downs, all in jest, of course. ‘Zat you, Santa Claus?

• Office Manager Carolyn Eaton and Receptionist Roxanne Seeber are quality people in my book. But, of course, most of you already know that.

• Former Assistant Editor Nicole Reitz is a very talented feature writer. She is also a great person whom I will miss dearly. Good luck in your new career!

• To all the sales representatives, especially Allyson McManus, I thank you for your faith in me. I truly appreciate and honor you all!

• Former graphic artist Jeff Adkins is a baseball nut like me. We could talk baseball for hours and hours. Thanks and go Cardinals!

• Photographer Kelly LeVea was always there when I needed her. Thanks for putting up with last-minute photo appointments!

• Outside of the Caravans, I probably learned most from Roy Hodge, former publisher of the Fulton Patriot and my partner in crime in hundreds and hundreds of Fulton Common Council and Fulton Board of Education meetings. Thanks, Roy!

• Reporter Carol Thompson has always kept me on my toes. Over the years, I have learned to lean on her knowledge and expertise and for that, I thank you.

There is probably dozens and dozens of people who I am forgetting. Please forgive me if I did not mention you. The reporters, columnists, and photographers are the reason for the success of The Valley News. It’s not the editor. It’s the workers. Thank you and job well done.

I would also like to thank the folks at Scotsman Media Group, including former Publisher Tom Cuskey, Sharon Henderson and all the artists in the composition department, and Associate Publisher Rich Westover. It’s been a pleasure working with you all. Thanks for all the cupcakes and cheesecake!

Of course, there are the people, groups, and organizations that I covered for the paper. Thank you for allowing me to do my job. I just don’t have the space to list you all. You know who you are.

And then there is you, the readers and members of this community. What else can I say? Thanks for allowing me to be a part of this community. Thanks for allowing me to bring you the news.

As I am writing this, a thought just occurred to me. There’s a good chance that I might never travel to Fulton again. It’s a sad and sobering thought. But know this: Even if I never step a foot into this great city and community again, Fulton will always have a special place in my heart.

God bless you all!

Exciting news at your hometown newspaper

For years, you’ve trusted the Valley News to be your No. 1 source for fair and accurate coverage of news and community happenings in your hometown. In an effort to continue that, we are excited to announce we are expanding our staff.

First, we welcome Tracy Kinne as managing editor. Kinne is no stranger to Oswego County or journalism. As a lifelong resident of the county, she has dedicated the last two decades to covering news at local papers like The Post-Standard, Watertown Daily Times, Oswego County Weeklies and more.

Kinne has a long history of solid reporting, editing and a track record of leading coverage with a keen eye for news and journalistic integrity.

Ashley M. Casey will be joining the reporting team as an assistant editor. Casey is a graduate of Le Moyne College and has been writing for Today’s CNY Woman magazine and Finger Lakes Vacationer, also published by the Scotsman Media Group. Her fresh approach to coverage will be a welcome addition to the Valley News.

Debbie Groom will be an investigative reporter covering a variety of issues including Oswego County government. Groom certainly knows her way around a newsroom and has been both an editor and reporter at papers such as The Post-Standard, Utica Observer-Dispatch and the Plattsburgh Press-Republican.

As an award-winning journalist, skilled in social media and research, Groom will give an assured voice to the community. Rich Westover has been promoted to associate publisher of sales for the Scotsman Media Group, which includes the Valley News. This promotion allows Westover to take a lead role in guiding the company’s sales team for all publications.

Finally, Cammi Clark will drive the direction of the publications as associate publisher. As an award-winning journalist, formerly at The Post-Standard, Clark led the creation of Today’s CNY Woman magazine. While she will continue in her lead role with the magazine, her company role has expanded to include leading editorial for the Valley News as well.

We are excited about the upcoming opportunities that the staff changes will provide in our efforts to continue to stand strong as your hometown newspaper!

Hot times

by Leon Archer

Man, is it me or have we had a lot more hot sticky weather than is usual in upstate New York this year?

Sure, I can remember plenty of days in my 70-plus years when the temperatures pushed 100 and nights were so humid that the sheets on my bed were wet from sweat almost before I hit the hay, but

I don’t remember such long stretches of uncomfortable heat. I haven’t checked the historic weather records, so maybe it’s just my sometimes faulty memory, but in any case, I don’t believe anyone would deny it’s been really steamy so far in 2013.

The heat hasn’t left me with any desire to go fishing lately, but if I was so inclined I would probably opt for going out on the open water in a boat.

I certainly wouldn’t take a hot sweaty hike down a little trout stream, but sitting beside a lake, pond or big stream in a folding chair with a cooler of cold drinks at my side while I waited for a bite would be acceptable as long as the fish didn’t keep me too busy.

We had a family reunion last week and all my children and grandchildren were here with the exception of my oldest grandson, Willie, a marine deployed overseas.

We did a picnic at Fairhaven and a trip to Boldt Castle in the St. Lawrence, but mostly we did inside things where we could take advantage of air conditioning. The youngsters all went to Sea Breeze one day, but Sweet Thing and I stayed home and relaxed.

Usually when we have our biannual family reunion we do some fishing, but I wasn’t able to put it together with the rest of the things we were doing.

Now that the reunion has run its course, a weekend in Canada at my son’s property on 30 Island Lake is in the cards and I’m looking forward to that.

 

To read the rest of the column, please pick up a copy of The Valley News or subscribe by calling 598-6397

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Fire department offers free smoke detectors

Free smoke detectors – With the help of Eagle Beverage and Raby’s Ace Home Center, the Oswego Fire Department is offering free smoke detectors to owner-occupied residences in need. From left are Lt. Brooks Hourigan, secretary of The Oswego Firefighters Association; Rob Raby of Raby’s Ace Home Center; Jeff McCrobie, fire chief; Dan Dorsey Jr., co-owner of Eagle Beverage; and John Geraci, president of the Oswego Fire Fighters Association.
Free smoke detectors – With the help of Eagle Beverage and Raby’s Ace Home Center, the Oswego Fire Department is offering free smoke detectors to owner-occupied residences in need. From left are Lt. Brooks Hourigan, secretary of The Oswego Firefighters Association; Rob Raby of Raby’s Ace Home Center; Jeff McCrobie, fire chief; Dan Dorsey Jr., co-owner of Eagle Beverage; and John Geraci, president of the Oswego Fire Fighters Association.

Oswego residents in need of a smoke detector need to look no further!

With the help of Eagle Beverage and Raby’s Ace Home Center, the Oswego Fire Department is offering free smoke detectors to owner-occupied residences in need.

“This program is an outstanding example of people helping people,” said Jeff McCrobie, Oswego fire chief.

Eagle Beverage kicked off its “Paint the Town Black” fund-raiser in early March, selling Guinness Firefighter Helmets at more than 40 taverns, restaurants, and convenience stores in Jefferson and Oswego counties.

All the money raised was matched dollar for dollar by Eagle Beverage and passed along to local fire departments in the area.

The Oswego Fire Department was given a check for $934 dollars. The department will use the money to help buy smoke detectors.

“The association chose to purchase smoke detectors for local residents in need with the money donated and contacted Raby’s, who donated 100 detectors,” said John Geraci, president of the Oswego Fire Fighters Association. “Raby’s was also generous enough to provide other detectors at a reduced price.”

“We are so glad to see the money raised with the generosity of the community put to good use,” said Dan Dorsey, Jr. co-owner of Eagle Beverage. “Being that this was the first year we did the fund-raiser and having such a positive turn out, we are looking forward to next year and raising more money to give back to the local fire departments. “

Those seeking more information on this program may call the Oswego Fire Department at 343-2161.

 

 

 

Family reunion

by Leon Archer

I was at the loop two weeks ago on a calm day and as I sat at a picnic table I could count 17 boats well out on the lake, probably fishing for trout and salmon.

I could imagine what was taking place on those craft as they trolled their lures and watched their arched down rigger rods for a strike.

The salmon are silver bright right now and full of fight. Some nice browns are out there with them and they have not turned into their fall colors yet. I munched my haddock sandwich and envied those fishermen just a bit.

My Lake Ontario afternoon was part of the Archer family reunion. All my children and grandchildren were here with the exception of my oldest grandson, Willie, a marine deployed at the present time. Rudy’s and the Loop are so ingrained in the areas culture and my kid’s memories that we had to go at least once.

Some of the fishermen coming into port had been into great fishing and it appeared that this year’s Oswego County Pro-Am Salmon and Trout Team Tournament should be a good one.

To read the rest of the column, pick up a copy of The Valley News or subscribe by calling 598-6397

Literacy Volunteers hold annual picnic to recognize students and tutors

More than 80 people gathered at Breitbeck Park in Oswego Thursday, July 11 for Literacy Volunteers of Oswego County’s annual picnic and awards ceremony.

The evening began with Sarah Irland, deputy executive director of Oswego County Opportunities, welcoming all attendees. The picnic was an occasion for everyone to share their stories and have a good time.

“This event gives the organization an opportunity to celebrate the accomplishments of its outstanding students and tutors and to express appreciation to all of our supporters,” said Beth Kazel, education director of OCO. “The highlight of the evening was the enthusiasm of student Andrei Gunin and tutor Nancy DeGilormo whose speeches reminded us of what LVOC is all about.

“In the United States, the ability to read, write and speak in English are the most important skills needed in daily life, something many of us take for granted,” Kazel added. “Our students recognize the significance of these skills.”

This affair acknowledges the courage and determination of all of the students in pursuing the ability to read and the generosity of the volunteers for their time and dedication.

Over the past year, the program has grown serving almost triple the number of people compared to last year at this time.

From July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2013 volunteers tutored over 2,600 hours.

“It was extremely difficult selecting our award recipients this year,” said Meg Henderson, LVOC Program coordinator. “The program has expanded. We serve both Basic Literacy Learners and English Language Learners. We have greatly increased the number of students we provide literacy services to including people residing in rural areas of Oswego County.

“Many students made progress and educational gains,” Henderson added. “All of our tutors and students worked very hard and accomplished numerous goals.  Besides improving their reading, math, computer or communication skills; many gained or retained employment, were promoted, became actively involved in their child’s literacy activities and education, entered a secondary education program, obtained a driver’s license, and much more.” Henderson noted, “All of our tutors are devoted to their students and rejoice in their progress. We have recruited many new tutors this year to meet our growing demand. It is through everyone’s hard work and dedication that we have accomplished so much this past year.

“Everyone here is driven by their love of literacy, need to help, and desire to learn,” she continued. “We continue to learn and aspire to improve throughout our lifetimes. I am proud of every one of our students and I am very grateful to all of our tutors. Our annual picnic is a good time to honor all of them (students and tutors).”

Awards were presented by Henderson and Kazel. Award winners were presented with a commendation from Senator Patty Ritchie and Assemblyman Will Barclay.

The Citizenship Award was given to student Cindy Jiang. Students recognized for completing the program were Mike Kemp and Yin Yin Sim-Fellows.

The top three BLL Students of the Year were Eric Lance, David Loftus, and Jennifer Pickard.  The top three ELL Students of the Year were Andrei Gunin, Jung Ha Lee, and Carlos Rodriguez.

The Spirit of Literacy recipients were students Steve Kirby, Patricia Mazzoli and Ndomba Tshiwabwa.

Tutors Vivian Anderson, Laurie Wood and Dianne Woods were given the Outstanding Dedication Award.

Tutors of the Year were awarded to Laura Bishop, Kathy Boutelle, and Bridgette Sequin.

Volunteers of the Year were tutors Nancy DeGilormo and Mary Stancampiano.

Water levels to be lowered along Oswego River

Brookfield Renewable Power will be lowering the water level along the Oswego River next week.

Brookfield will be lowering the water level behind the dam at Varick (between locks 6 and 7) approximately three feet below normal to replace flashboards on the dam and facilitate a regularly scheduled inspection  of the dam.

The water level will be lowered starting Tuesday, July 23 in preparation for work to be done that day. The water level will return to normal that afternoon.

Depending on the weather or flow condition, the flashboard repairs and dam inspection may be required to be cancelled and rescheduled for Wednesday, July 24.

In addition, Brookfield will be lowering the water level behind the dam at High Dam (between locks 5 and 6) approximately 1.5 feet below normal to replace flashboards on the dam and for the City of Oswego to conduct a dam inspection.

The water level will be lowered starting Thursday, July 25 in preparation for work to be done that day. The water level will return to normal the afternoon of Friday, July 26.

Depending on the weather or flow condition, the flashboard repairs and dam inspection may be required to be cancelled and rescheduled for Friday, July 26.

Lastly, Brookfield will be lowering the water level behind the dam at Minetto (lock 5) approximately 1.5 feet below normal to replace flashboards on the dam.

The water level will be lowered starting Tuesday, July 30 in preparation for work to be done that day. The water level will return to normal that afternoon.

Depending on the weather or flow condition, the flashboard repairs and dam inspection may be required to be cancelled and rescheduled for Wednesday, July 31.