All posts by Andrew Henderson

Tight finishes highlight holiday victories at Fulton Speedway

A huge holiday crowd with fireworks on the track and in the sky saw the fourth of July holiday weekend end with a bang at the Fulton Speedway Saturday night.

On the track, the two big divisions, the Tracey Road Equipment Big Block Modifieds and the Lucas Oil Empire Super Sprints saw their feature and A-Main come down to last lap with Jim Witko Jr. and Bryan Howland standing in victory lane.

Other winners on NAPA Auto Parts and Safety Kleen night were Beth Schneider, SUNY Canton Sportsman; Alan Fink, NAPA Late Models; Jeremy Dygert, E&V Energy Novice Sportsman; and Tim Dunn, Four Cylinder Stocks.

Tim Sears Jr. would lead the opening three laps of the 35-lap Tracey Road Equipment Big Block Modified feature before Matt Hulsizer, using the top of the speedway would take over the top spot on lap 4. With 10 laps showing on the lap counter, Hulsizer and Jim Witko would run nose to tail and side by side battling for the lead.

Behind the top-two, you could have thrown a blanket over Chris Hile, Sears, Pat Ward and Dan Vauter as they fought for third through sixth.

One lap later, after digging on the bottom Witko would take the narrow lead on lap 11. By lap 15, Witko and Hulsizer were in a two-car breakaway with Vauter, Hile and Ryan Phelps running third through fifth. At the halfway point, Witko was a man on a mission as he opened a half a straight lead on the field. All of a sudden, at that point Hulsizer slowed going to the pits while racing hard with Vauter and Phelps in the top five. With 10 laps to go, Witko was still on cruise control out front with Phelps giving chase as the final laps started clicking off.

Behind the top two, Vauter, Billy Decker and Pat Ward were in a tight fight of their own in the top five. When the starter gave the field the five laps to go sign, Phelps had cut Witko’s lead down to about 10 car lengths setting up a two car chase to the checkers for the win.

With two laps to go, Phelps caught Witko by using lapped traffic that was using up every inch of the speedway making it tough for Witko to get by. On the last lap in turns three and four, Phelps threw everything he had at Witko coming down for the checkers.

Witko didn’t flinch by hitting his marks to be the first across the line by a narrow margin over Phelps. Billy Decker, Dan Vauter and Chad Phelps finished third through fifth.

After getting out of his self-sponsored/No.24/Troyer and giving his wife, Barb a huge hug, Jim Witko talked about his first win since 2008. “I can’t describe it, it’s awesome, it’s unbelievable,” said Witko.

Witko and his wife travel every weekend from Clarks Summit, Pa. to compete at the Brewerton and Fulton speedways. They are usually the only two working on the car on race weekends, making the win even more special and popular with the fans. “Lapped cars were all over the place,” Witko said that allowed Phelps to catch him for the exciting finish. “They’re racing hard too, so you have to find a way around them.”


Kiwanis Baseball begins season with Opening Day ceremony

FirstPitchFulton Mayor Ron Woodward read a proclamation during the Opening Ceremony of the Fulton Kiwanis Baseball season.

After many years of supporting local youth baseball, Woodward announced that the 2013 season will be dedicated to John Woodworth.

After having the 2013 Fulton Kiwanis Baseball season formally dedicated to him, Woodward threw out the ceremonial first pitch while his grandson, Matt served as honorary catcher.

After a Summer Storm

by Jim Farfaglia

The sky pulls back its curtain

and the world, light again,

is revealed:

Every flower, every greenery,

battered by the rain,

bows to its power.

The oak and the maple,

having gallantly faced the tempest,

raise their arms in jubilation.

Street and roadside streams,

carrying tales of sound and fury,

gather to chatter away while the mourning dove,

who’s survived it all before, circles the world with a calming coo.

Louise Abraham, Fulton TV bookkeeper

Louise E. Abraham of Fulton died Monday, July 8, 2013 at St. Luke Residential Health Services in Oswego.

Born in Scranton, Pa. to the late William and Elizabeth Spohrer, she resided in Fulton most of her life. As the oldest of five girls and as a result of her mother’s illness, she was often called upon at an early age to do the cooking, cleaning and shopping for the family.

She attended church and graduated high school from St. Mary of the Assumption Church in Scranton. In 1941, she met and married George Abraham, also of Scranton.

In the early 1950s, they moved to Fulton and established Fulton TV, which later become Fulton TV & Appliance Inc. She was the bookkeeper and receptionist, a position she would maintain for over 40 years, first with her husband and later with her son Stephen.

In a time before cell phones, she became a licensed amateur radio operator and communicated with other radio operators from around the world.

She was happiest when she was busy and hard work was never a chore to her. She enjoyed reading and the company of her family most of all, especially her grandchildren and great grandchildren.

She was predeceased by her husband George Abraham in 1995.

She is survived by a daughter, Jane (Jerome) Miller of Tully; three sons, George (Haike) Abraham of St. Petersburg, Fla., Stephen (Teresa) Abraham of Fulton, and Douglas (Gina) Abraham of Matthews, N.C.; a sister, Ruth Marhevka of Millington, Tenn.; seven grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.

Calling hours will be held from 3 to 6 p.m. Friday at Foster Funeral Home, 910 Fay Street, Fulton. Services will be 10 a.m. Saturday at the funeral home with burial at Mt. Adnah Cemetery in Fulton. Memorial contributions may be made to the Mt. Adnah Cemetery Association, 706 East Broadway, Fulton, NY 13069.

What’s Happening at CNY Arts Center? July 10, 2013

It’s time for ARTY Day Camp, which starts this Monday, July 15 and runs through Friday, July 19. We still have spots open and scholarship funds available for this camp each day from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. for ages 5 to 15.

Participants may choose from art, writing, dance or theater and spend five days exploring their favorite art, have lunch and create special group art projects in the afternoon. Friday, parents will join us for a special presentation. Camp takes place at the State Street Methodist Church in Fulton. Find us on the Park Street side of the church.

Visit for more information.

Art classes continue with Oil Painting Wednesday, July 17 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Taught by Bonnie McClellan, this class will paint “Sunset Geese” and students will go home with a completed original painting.

Author Spotlight, also July 17 from 7 to 9pm, will introduce Jim Farfaglia’s newest book, “People, Places & Things, the Powerful Nouns of My Life.” As CNY Arts Center’s writing coordinator, Farfaglia will share excerpts from his latest book of poetry; will talk about his process of writing; and will also work with those in attendance to create a “group poem.”

Leslie Paice continues her Introductory Stained Glass series Thursdays, July 18 through Aug. 29 for ages 16 and up from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Make a stained glass panel using the leaded method; be introduced to copper foil method; andlearn glass selection, cutting, grinding, soldering, framing, hanging and patina techniques. Some patterns provided or help adapting your custom design.

Writers on the Road, set for July 20, is a one-day class for all writers to explore how artwork can inspire and prompt their work. The program will take place at CNY Arts Center’s “Arts in the Heart” Gallery, located at 47 S. First St., downtown Fulton. Instruction will be provided to guide participants as they write short pieces inspired by the artwork on display at the Gallery.

Brittney Jerred offers Journal Entries – On a Personal Note as a one-time workshop July 22 from 4 to 8 p.m. Learn voice, colorful writing, and “showing – not telling” writing journal entries based on real-life experiences. Bring a lunch and be ready to write! Writing projects (blog) will be published on the internet. Bring laptop or pad and paper.

Kids get ready to draw your favorite super hero July 23 from 1 to 4 p.m. in a great new class for ages 8 to 15: Art of Heroes: Learning to draw Super Heroes! Learn the basic steps to drawing comic book super heroes and creating your own super hero with Frank Reis. Story Time Art for 4-7 year olds returns Tuesday, July 23 from 6 to 7 p.m. with Kendra Matott. The class will read “Fancy Nancy” and design their own fancy outfits!

More great titles and fun art projects are bringing summer fun. Don’t miss out. Please pre-register at Students are reminded to pre-register for all classes and workshops to avoid missing out. Classes and workshops charge a modest fee. Visit for more information or call 592-3373 for details and updates and remember we bring all arts for all ages at two separate locations.

Gruel dominates for Novelis Supermodified win at Oswego Speedway

Dave Gruel
Dave Gruel

One week after seemingly nothing could go right at Oswego Speedway, nearly everything did during the Toys for Tots ‘Christmas in July’ event Saturday.

Starting from the sixth position, Fulton driver Dave Gruel sped through the field to take the lead from Jerry Curran through lapped traffic on the 18th of 75 circuits to claim his third career Novelis Supermodified victory.

At one point, Gruel built a dominating half-track lead in the Lighthouse Lanes No. 50 before lapped traffic allowed runner-up and championship point leader Joe Gosek to slightly close the victory margin. In the race’s final laps, Gosek appeared to be the fastest car on the speedway, needing a caution to close further ground on Gruel. Championship contenders Otto Sitterly and Shaun Gosselin would trail both Gruel and Gosek to the line with Curran completing the top five in the No. 24.

With the victory, coming just one week before he looks to defend his ISMA Supermodified King of Wings title behind the wheel of the Steve Miller Sweet 16, Gruel has visited Turning Stone Resort Casino Victory Lane in each of his first four seasons behind the wheel of a Supermodified dating back to 2010.

“I think the car was taking me for a ride,” said Gruel. “The car was set-up awesome. I was just trying to do everything I could once I knew I was out there in the lead. Bill Samuels gave me an awesome car; he is the set-up guy. “I have to thank Bob Hoefer, Bill and Linda Samuels,” he added. “This is just awesome for both sides of this team. I was starting to conserve a little bit later, but I am really glad there were no cautions, because I did not have much left the last couple laps.”

Lapped traffic played a key role in the event, helping Gruel to snag the race lead, and later on caused some tense moments in the closing laps. Just one week ago, Gruel spun in the 50-lap Supermodified feature attempting to lap a slower car.

“I usually like to use that (lapped traffic) as an opportunity to try and get ahead of the guy I am racing with,” said Gruel. “Luckily, it paid off this week, last week it didn’t work out too well.”

With another consistent finish in the No. 00, Gosek will head to Race of Champions Weekend at the Speedway in two weeks still on top of the Novelis Supermodified standings. “I think a lot of guys slowed down a bit, but our car was pretty consistent throughout,” said Gosek. “We gained big from warm-ups, to the heat, to the feature and that is a plus.”

With a long green flag stretch run, Gosek said his philosophy is rather simple in those situations. “Basically you just keep picking them off and go as fast as you can”, said Gosek. “I couldn’t see the leader but I figured it was the 50, he was the only one I didn’t pass. I didn’t really look at the board, I saw I was second, but didn’t look at the lead.” Sitterly wrestled the No. 7 home with a third place finish. “The track changed a lot and the car has been really tight,” said Sitterly. “I talked with a lot of guys; Pat Lavery, Joe Gosek and everyone has been really tight the last few weeks. I imagine it has something to do with the heat, track change, or what? Joe was going awful good tonight, and Pat was good early, but we just sort of stayed mediocre the whole race but we’ll take it.”

A fourth place finish for Shaun Gosselin continues his banner season as well as keeping him in the championship battle with Gosek and Sitterly. Gosselin would end the night as both the Lightouse Lanes Hard Charger and Up & Comer. Shell Shock Custom Helmet Paint heat race challenge victories would go to Devendorf, Connors, and Bellinger.

Pat Lavery, Dan Connors Jr., Brandon Bellinger, Kody Graham, and Tim Snyder completed the top ten order. Toys for Tots “Christmas in July” at Oswego Speedway kicked off with a visit from Santa Claus to the “Steel Palace” along with a very successful toy drive in both the grandstand and pit areas. A total of 12 Toys for Tots toy boxes were filled for donation to Toys for Tots of Oswego County. Oswego Speedway took on a winter’s touch throughout the evening with a plethora of Christmas decorations and activities for the young ones, headed up by Christmas in July coordinator Lisa Sova and her helpful volunteers.

Regional traveler growth on the rise in Oswego County

Tourism in Oswego County is on the move based on data from the 2012 report prepared by Tourism Economics, which shows that there has been a significant increase in traveler spending.

The report is focused on the Thousand Islands Seaway Region, which covers Jefferson, Oswego and St. Lawrence counties.

According to the report commissioned by New York State, tourism in the Thousand Islands region is a $480 million industry that supports 8,896 jobs. Oswego County increased traveler spending last year by 13.2 percent. In 2010, travelers spent $102,713,000 in the county and last year that amount jumped to $128,621,000.

Travelers in Oswego County spent the bulk of their travel budget, $37.4 million, on food and beverages in 2012 with second homes and lodging placing second and third at $27 and $15.9 million respectively.

Both state and local taxes made the jump as well. Collection of state taxes from tourism activity in the county increased by 12.6 percent, while local taxes had an increase of 13.7 percent. If it were not for tourism-generated state and local taxes, the average household in the county would have to pay an additional $338 to maintain the same level of government service.

“Some of the reason for this huge increase in visitor spending is the result of excellent fishing conditions and the increase in angling effort,” said David Turner, director of Community Development, Planning and Tourism. “Other factors include the opening of the Lake Ontario Event and Conference Center in Oswego, maintenance outages at the nuclear power plants and ongoing construction at the Novelis facility.”

Turner explained that the Salmon River steelhead catch has increased dramatically in recent years, making the total angler hours on the Salmon River 751,127 compared to 488,792 in 2005. The Oswego County Fishing Hotline also received 15,442 calls in 2012 from anglers all over the country hoping to take advantage of the world-class fishery here.

“While fishing is our main attraction, we are also blessed with an abundance of natural, cultural and historic resources here,” said Turner. “So it is no surprise that, as more people become aware of what we have to offer, our visitor numbers continue to improve.”

Civil right or moral wrong

by Samuel A. Vescio of Fulton

I have no qualms writing this viewpoint, as I am on God’s side in this matter, something the Supreme Court failed to do.

In 1969, homosexuality was illegal in event state in the union, except Illinois, and abortion in all states as well.

Boy, have we come a long way. Millions of babies killed and gays are now allowed to marry.

Marriage is a sacred institution between one man and one woman to procreate. For two people of the same sex to have relations together is an abomination to the Lord. Not my words, but God’s words.

Furthermore, I don’t think that beging gay is a choice, as many of them wish they weren’t; but a sickness and/or an addiction, with proper treatment can be cured. However, this is as probable as trying to get someone to quit smoking. I’m not saying that gay people are bad people.

On the contrary, the are some of the nicest people I know. Straight or gay, we are all sinners and must repent and seek forgiveness while we still can.

God’s wrath is upon us daily with natural disasters, wars, and total unrest the world over — and we still don’t get the message. This is not a matter of equality but immorality and the time to repent and be forgiven is now.

For on that last day, it isn’t going to be the Supreme Court to render judgement, but the Supreme Master and it will be too late for forgiveness — only justice. Think about that long and hard.