All posts by Colin Hogan

City takes action to prevent another Nestle cleanup situation

By Colin Hogan

Fulton adopted a new policy last week that officials say will help prevent the city from getting stuck with the cleanup bill after a building gets demolished.

The Common Council approved an amendment to the city’s “Demolition” law last week that requires anyone seeking a permit to demolish a structure to provide the city with a performance bond, provided the project is expected to cost $35,000 or more.

“There’s a lot we have to do before we issue a demolition permit,” Mayor Ron Woodward Sr. said, citing things like requiring property owners to have the building’s gas and electric service shut off and having asbestos surveys conducted. “But the one thing we didn’t put in there initially is a guarantee that when they do the demolition, they have to clean up afterwards.”

According to the amendment, the bond must be equal to the project’s estimated cost, which must include the removal and disposal of any hazardous substances and any other work needed to achieve the minimum site restoration as determined by the city.

“What this does is protect the taxpayers from having to cover those costs (for cleanup following a building’s demolition),” Woodward said.

Woodward said the new law is intended, specifically, to help prevent another situation like the city’s current struggle with the former Nestle Co. facilities, the cleanup of which has been estimated to cost more than $250,000.

“If it’s a small building they’re going to demolish, it’s easy. But if you get a property the size of Nestle, you can run into a lot of problems, as we’ve seen,” Woodward said. “We want to make sure that, when that happens again, we can force them to do what they should be doing.”

Once the cleanup of the Nestle site is complete, the city plans to divide the complex into several different parcels to be sold off. Woodward said he has met with “several” parties interested in portions of the property, but isn’t yet at liberty to disclose who they are.

Fulton allocates $49K for Phillips Street bridge replacement

By Matthew Reitz

Plans to replace the Phillips Street Bridge over Tannery Creek in Fulton are moving forward after city officials authorized funding for the project last week.

City Clerk/Chamberlain Dan O’Brien said the city was “just buttoning up the last few documents that need to be done.”

“The environmental assessment is complete, and permits are in place,” O’Brien said.

O’Brien said the project is still awaiting approval from New York state, and once approved, the city will put the project out for bid. The project is expected to take about three months once it starts, and the city is hoping to break ground in June.

Officials say the bridge is beyond repair and will need to be replaced entirely.  Once the project begins, residents can expect to see that portion of Phillips Street closed until the replacement is complete.

The project will require a 5 percent local contribution, while 80 percent will come from federal funds and 15 percent will be covered by the state’s Marchiselli program.

Last week, the Common Council appropriated $49,150 to cover the local contribution.

According to New York State Highway Bridge Data, the bridge was last replaced in 1978 and has been ruled structurally deficient by the state.

New York state gives condition ratings on bridges, with anything below 5.0 being deemed deficient.  The Phillips Street Bridge received a 3.49 rating during the last inspection in June 2014.

Josh Batstone to give concert in Fulton

By Matthew Reitz

Josh Batstone had a short-lived experience on NBC’s “The Voice,” but plans to build on that moment of national exposure to develop a career in the music industry.

“I want to be a musician for the rest of my life,” Batstone said. “I want to make people smile with what I can do with my guitar and my voice.”

Batstone believes the experience on “The Voice” was the “foot in the door” he needed to get a career in music off the ground.

He says the experience showed him how to be more professional in his approach to music and gave him his first impressions of the music industry. Batstone said working with celebrity singer and vocal coach Adam Levine was “incredible” and he was “ridiculously grateful” for the opportunity.

While he didn’t get to stay in the competition as long as he would have liked, it’s hard for Batstone to find a downside to the endeavor. Getting some first-hand experience in the competitive world of pop music, making contacts in the industry, and reaching a wider audience were more than enough to satisfy him.

“I have big dreams and big goals, but all I really want to do is make people happy with music,” Batstone said.

He said performing for a national television audience wasn’t as stressful as one might think, noting that it was something he “didn’t really think about.”

Looking back, Batstone said getting on the show in the first place might be his favorite memory, but he also “made some great lifelong friends” in the process.

Since his time on the show, Batstone has kept himself busy by working diligently to hone his skills and release new material for his fans. The 18-year-old musician has published a series of original videos on his YouTube Channel recently and plans to continue doing so.

In a few months, Batstone plans to move to New York and further pursue his dreams of making a living as a musician. He said wants to be in a place surrounded by other musicians to collaborate with and help develop his skills.

“I plan to be bouncing around places like Nashville, New York and Los Angeles the rest of my life,” Batstone said.

In the meantime, though, Batstone will continue sharing his gift here in Fulton. On May 1, he will be holding a public concert at the Fulton War Memorial.

“I want everyone to come and everyone to have a good time,” Batstone said.

The concert will be at 8 p.m. on May 1. Tickets are available at Mimi’s diner and B&G Sports. For more information, visit the Josh Batstone (Entertainer) Facebook page.

Alfred Tesoriero

Alfred J. Tesoriero, 90, of Oswego died Sunday, April 12, 2015 in the Oswego Hospital. Mr. Tesoriero was born in Manhatten, N.Y., the son of the late Dominico and Maria (DeStafani) Tesoriero. He has been a resident of Oswego County since 1945. Mr. Tesoriero retired from the maintenance department at Nestle Co. in Fulton in 1981. Prior to his retirement he worked at Sealright Corp. Mr. Tesoriero served in the United States Army Air Corp during World War II, from 1942 until 1945. He was a former member of the VFW. Mr. Tesoriero was predeceased by his first wife Jennie Zeno Tesoriero, and his second wife Mary Mattot Tesoriero. He is survived by his children Catherine (William) Deban of Oswego, JoAnn (Joseph) Conzone of Oswego, James (Vicky) Tesoriero of Oswego, and MaryAnn Drumm of Baldwinsville. In addition he is survived by his grandchildren, Holly, Shannon, Keri, Joe, Lindsey, Kaelyn, step-granddaughter Carrie, and great-grandchildren J.J., Anthony, Miller, August and Giuliana. Mr. Tesoriero was predeceased by his siblings Josephine, Mary, Anthony, Dominick and Nancy. Funeral services will be Wednesday at noon at the Sugar & Scanlon Funeral Home with Rev. Greg Kreinheder. Calling hours will be Wednesday morning from 10 a.m. to noon at the funeral home, 147 W. 4th. St., Oswego, NY.

Betty Jane Davis

Betty Jane Davis, 88, a former Phoenix, N.Y. resident, passed away on April 2, 2015 at Syracuse Home Association in Baldwinsville. She was born in Johnson City, N.Y. on April 20, 1926 to her late parents, Fannie Bell (Jenkins) and Hoyt Holbert. Betty was predeceased by her husband, Albert Driscoll Davis in 1996; and her brother, Robert Holbert in 2001. Surviving are her daughter, Jana Jo (Davis) Schmidtmann of Baldwinsville, NY; her son Thomas P. Davis of Oak Island, N.C.; two grandchildren, Jennifer Schmidtmann and Erich K. Schmidtmann; and three nephews Bobby, Gary and Jeff Holbert. Betty was a graduate of Johnson City High School. She was a cafeteria supervisor for A. L. Lee Memorial Hospital, Fulton, N.Y. Betty was a fine homemaker. She enjoyed spending time with Jana gardening and swimming. Betty was a loving mother and grandmother who will be long remembered and sadly missed. Services included a Catholic mass on Tuesday April 14, 2015 at Saint Stephen’s Church, 469 Main St., Phoenix, N.Y. Spring interment will be in Phoenix Rural Cemetery, 126 Chestnut St., Phoenix, N.Y. Contributions in Betty’s memory may be made to: Alzheimer’s Association CNY Chapter, 441 Kirkpatrick St., Syracuse, NY 13204.

Herman R. Harrington

Herman R. Harrington, 73; passed away at home on April 8 peacefully with his family after a long illness. He was born in Portsmouth, Va., to the late George and Elva (Laws) Harrington. Mr. Harrington was a United States Veteran having served from 1960-1963. He was past employed as an ironworker at Cape Canaveral, Cocoa Beach, Fla., and Allied Chemical, Syracuse, N.Y. Mr. Harrington with his wife co-owned and operated Midway Stables, Fulton. He enjoyed being an avid hunter and fisherman. Mr. Harrington is survived by his wife Linda Harrington of Fulton; three children Christopher (Jill) Harrington of Phoenix, N.Y., Kirk (Tracy) Harrington of Volney, N.Y., Nichole (Dennis) Deyo of Fulton, N.Y.; brother Glenn Harrington of Calif.; 10 grandchildren, four great-grandchildren and several nieces and nephews. Funeral Services will be held at 3 p.m. Sunday, April 19 at the Sugar Funeral Home, Inc., 224 W. 2nd St. S., Fulton, followed by Military Honors bestowed by the NYS Army Honor Guard. Burial will be held privately. Calling hours will be conducted Sunday, April 19 from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Sugar Funeral Home, Inc., Fulton. Contributions may be made to VA Medical Center 800 Irving Ave., Syracuse, NY 13210; and/or Oswego County Hospice P.O Box 102 Oswego, NY 13126.

James I. Galusha

James Irving Galusha, 82, of Fairport, N.Y., died March 24, after a short illness. The cause of death was metastatic melanoma, according to his son, Jeffrey. Jim was an insurance executive and owner of Canaltown Insurance Agency in Fairport for several decades before retiring and settling in both Fairport and a second home in Georgetown, Texas. He was born in Fulton, N.Y., on January 13, 1933, the son of Irving C. Galusha, long-time advertising manager and editor of “The Fulton Patriot” newspaper, and Helen S. Galusha. A graduate of Fulton High in 1949 as salutatorian, he went on to Cornell University, earning a degree from its Industrial and Labor Relations School in 1953. At Cornell he was a member of the R.O.T.C., of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity, and sang and wrote musical arrangements for Cayuga’s Waiters, a male a cappella group. Having discovered his real vocation, which was music, specifically jazz, and after serving in the Army for two years, Jim went on to The Westlake College of Music in Los Angeles, where he became an accomplished musician. A trumpet player as he grew up, he was good enough to be asked to join Tony Bennett’s band after Bennett’s manager heard him play at Three Rivers’ Inn outside Fulton. Instead, he chose to go to Westlake and to study a new instrument, the string bass. Subsequently he performed widely as a bassist with jazz bands. In addition to his dual identity as insurance executive and jazz musician, Jim became an avid sailor. He named his boat “The Taciturn” in a wry nod to one of his defining qualities. Eventually he earned the position of Commander of the Sodus Bay Yacht Club’s U.S. Power Squadron and taught a course in celestial navigation for the Squadron. Jim was preceded in death by his wife of 48 years, Gloria, and is survived by his present wife, Margie; three sons, Vincent of Salisbury, England, Jeffrey and Steven, both of Fairport; sisters Helen Devitt of San Antonio, Texas, Nancy Thomas of Reston, Va., and Donna Allen of Fulton and Indio, Calif.; seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Jim was greatly loved and will be missed by all who knew him as a man of large intelligence, decency, and measured judgment, who relished a good story and never met a crossword puzzle he couldn’t solve.

Robert “Red” Bowers

Robert Bowers, 84, of Fulton passed away Wednesday, April 8 at home surrounded by his family. Born in Philo, Ohio, Bob had lived in the Fulton area since age 15. He worked for Armstrong as a machine operator for 40 years and served in the 82nd Airborne from 1949-1952. Robert enjoyed camping, NASCAR, watching wrestling and, most importantly, spending time with his grandchildren. Bob was predeceased by his parents and six of his siblings. Robert will be greatly missed and forever loved by his wife of 60 years, the former Jo Ann Salsbury; children, Robert G. (Donna), Thomas F. (Lisa), Michael D. (Michele), Douglas C. (Debra) and James R. (Millie); 12 grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; sister Thelma Slonaker and several nieces and nephews. A celebration of life will be held at a later date. If friends should desire, donations can be made in Bob’s memory to Friends of Oswego County Hospice, Inc., P.O. Box 102, Oswego, N.Y. 13126. Foster Funeral Home, Fulton has care of arrangements.