All posts by Nicole Reitz

Largest group graduates from Oswego County Drug Treatment Court

by Nicole Reitz

Twenty-two participants have successfully completed the Oswego County Drug Treatment Court — the largest graduating class since the program began in August of 1999.

“Tomorrow is a fresh opportunity to make it better,” said Drug Court graduate Tracie Ormsby.

Drug Court is structured to give non-violent offenders with a history of substance abuse a second chance at life outside of prison. Those who are accepted into the treatment court program receive intensive supervision and monitoring by the court and are also required to complete addiction treatment programs.

Those selected for the alternative to incarceration program are required to stay in drug court for a minimum of one year.

In the first four months, people in drug court are required to go to weekly court sessions. After those four months, they must appear in court every two weeks and so on. Some must make payments towards restitution.

Drug court members also need to complete 25 hours of community service. In order to get to graduation, participants must also have a significant amount of clean and sober time under their belt. In their speeches at Friday’s ceremony, several people mentioned their sobriety date.

Although these 22 people made it through the program, not everyone does.

Program administrator David Guyer said that the completion rate is between 50 and 55 percent, which is in line with the state and national average for drug court programs. The most common reason for this is either the person absconds or is arrested on new charges.

“We don’t terminate a person just for a relapse,” said Guyer. “We attempt to work with people through their addiction. Our ultimate goal is to rehabilitate people.”

As always, there were more male than female graduates, but Guyer said that dynamic is changing. Over the last 14 years of the program, the number of women arrested for drug charges has increased significantly.

A majority of the graduates are in their late teens to early 30s. Guyer has found that 16 and 17 year olds are not as successful in the program, but they have other avenues for turning their lives around.

“We once had a guy who made it through that was 77 years old, but that’s a rarity,” said Guyer.

Before entering drug court, many of the graduates were facing felony convictions. Most of these cases have since been reduced to a misdemeanor. In addition to the legal benefit, those in the program become healthier, get jobs, an education and pay taxes.

“This group of people worked hard,” said Guyer. “These people will hopefully go on to lead healthy and productive lives.”

Drug Court also works alongside the probation department, treatment providers such as Harbor Lights Chemical Dependency in Mexico, and Judge James Metcalf. Many graduates thanked Metcalf specifically for his “tough love” approach, and showed their gratitude for counselors that listen and shared their wisdom.

To read the rest of the article, pick up a copy of The Valley News. You can subscribe by calling 598-6397 or click on the link on our home page.

DEC proposes plan to investigate former Breneman site in Oswego

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is seeking comment on a plan to investigate the former Breneman site at 8 E. Utica St., Oswego, as a possible brownfield.

A brownfield is any real property that is difficult to reuse or redevelop because of the presence or potential presence of contamination.

The draft investigation work plan was submitted to the DEC under New York’s Brownfield Cleanup Program. The investigation will be performed by Canalview Development LLC with oversight by DEC and the New York State Department of Health.

The investigation will define the nature and extent of contamination in soil, surface water, groundwater and any other parts of the environment that may be affected.

Data collected previously at the site indicated relatively low levels of certain contaminants in soil.

The site covers approximately 2.1 acres and is situated on the southwest corner of the intersection of East Utica and East First streets, which is also State Route 481.

The Oswego Canal is located approximately 100 feet west of the site.

The site is currently vacant and lies in the B3 Redevelopment zoning district, which allows for commercial uses and certain residential uses, such as condominiums, multi-family dwellings.

The surrounding area consists primarily of residential properties with some commercial properties along East First Street and East Utica Street.

The site was used for manufacturing purposes from approximately 1834 until approximately 1981.

Owners and operators during this period included the Oswego Shade Cloth Company and Stewart Hartshorn Company, and possibly others.

From approximately 1954 through 1982, the site was owned by Breneman of Wisconsin, Inc., which manufactured window shades at the site until approximately 1981.

It was reported that industrial wastes were formerly disposed of on the property.

For a time, the Breneman facility was divided by a canal, which was labeled “hydraulic canal” on historic maps of the facility and was presumably used for power generation.

It was present on maps from 1890 through 1964, but anecdotal history of the site suggests the hydraulic canal was present prior to any industrial development in 1834. It has since been filled.

Several paints, dyes, oils, organic solvents and plasticizers were used in the manufacturing processes at the facility, including acetone, methyl ethyl ketone, naphtha, polyvinyl chloride resin, and dioctyl phthalate.

Chemical and petroleum storage tanks were formerly located on the site, including both above-ground storage tanks and underground storage tanks.

 To read the rest of the article, pick up a copy of The Valley News. You can subscribe by calling 598-6397 or click on the link on our home page.

Fulton Little League captures District 8 title

Fulton’s Intermediate Division baseball team won the District 8 championship last Wednesday with a 2-1 win over Oswego. Fulton continued its run Monday when it started sectional play with a three-game series against Canastota. Game two of the sectionals is schedule for today, July 3 and game three is Friday July 5 if necessary.
Fulton’s Intermediate Division baseball team won the District 8 championship last Wednesday with a 2-1 win over Oswego. Fulton continued its run Monday when it started sectional play with a three-game series against Canastota. Game two of the sectionals is schedule for today, July 3 and game three is Friday July 5 if necessary.

Fulton’s Intermediate Division baseball team won the District 8 championship last Wednesday with a 2-1 win over Oswego.

Fulton played Oswego in a three-game series starting Monday for the district title.

Game one was never in doubt as Fulton won 15-5, putting them one win away from capturing the title.

Game 2 was a pitching duel between Will Caster of Fulton and Tanner Coleman of Oswego.

Fulton struggled early to put runs up while leaving men on base. They finally broke through in the bottom of the fourth inning after a bunt by Bryce Guernsey advanced Nolan Bonnie to third. Bonnie scored on Austin Fleming’s ground ball.

Fulton added another in the next inning when Malcolm Wettering scored.

Oswego added one run in the top of the sixth inning but would not get any closer as Caster pitched a gem. Fulton continued its run Monday when it started sectional play with a three-game series against Canastota.

Game two of the sectionals is schedule for today, July 3 and game three is Friday July 5 if necessary.

Bond bounces back for first SBS win of the year

One race after a dismal 24th place finish at Oswego Speedway, Mike Bond bounced back for his first win of the season behind the wheel of the Four Sevens Motorsports No. 74 as a part of RJ Caruso Tax & Accounting/C’s Farm Market & Beverage Center Night at the Races Saturday evening.

Bond started the event from the fifth position, quickly slicing his way through the field to the race lead on lap six holding off his Four Sevens Motorsports teammates Cameron Rowe and Dan Abt on his way to victory, the 28th of his career in the Pathfinder Bank SBS division.

Rowe, Abt, Russ Brown, and Jason Simmons would complete the top five order for the night’s main event.

“The car has been good all year, we’ve just been getting caught up in some other stuff,” said Bond.  “It is tough coming from the back, there are a lot of guys that are quick this year, starting spot is a lot of it.  The car was actually jumping out of gear on me so I was holding it in gear with one hand and trying to drive it with the other hand.”

Chris Proud, AJ Bernys, Tim Gareau, JJ Andrews, and Jack Patrick completed the top ten in Saturday night’s 30-lap main event.

Josh Kerr and Abt started the Pathfinder Bank SBS main from the front row with Abt stealing the lead at the drop of the Cam’s NY Pizzeria green flag.

Bond, who started to the inside of row three, quickly jumped to the runner-up spot passing several cars in consecutive laps.

Driving out of turn two on lap four, Bond stole fourth from Rowe before next diving under Bernys to third into turn three. Just one lap later, the No. 74 made quick work of Kerr heading into the third corner to take the second position.

With Bond now running second, the rookie Abt had built a comfortable lead at the head of the pack in the No. 57 until Brian Sobus found himself pointing the wrong direction in the No. 6 exiting turn two to bring out the caution.

The yellow would allow Bond, Kerr, Bernys, Rowe, Brown, Simmons, Proud, Mike Bruce, and Gareau to all close in for the restart.

On the restart, Bond would waste little time, slipping to the low side of Abt into turn three to take the lead putting a good bit of distance on his chasers out in front.

With Bond running away from the field, Rowe began to pick up the pace in the No. 77 as he moved by Kerr for third on lap 10 heading into turn three.

From there, Kerr would back slide some allowing both Brown and Simmons to slide on by as well.

The race’s next caution would wave at lap 11 for a spun Mark Castiglia on the back stretch, which would allow Kerr to regain his fourth position on the speedway.

But, when the lights went back to green Brown and Simmons reassumed their positions ahead of Kerr trying to give chase to front runners Bond, Abt, and Rowe.

Abt continued to run a great race in the runner up position near the halfway point, but would relinquish the second position to his teammate Rowe on lap 13 heading into turn three.

From there second through sixth including Rowe, Abt, Brown, Simmons, and Proud would be locked in a great battle as Bond had built an insurmountable full straight lead in the No. 74.

After several laps ticked away with drivers in that order, Bond’s pursuers would have another shot at him as Dalton Doyle found the third turn foam on lap 26 with the No. 01. Doyle was able to pull away and the caution tightened the field one last time.

With green lights on one more time Bond picked up where he left off, running away with his 28th career win leaving his teammates Rowe and Abt in second and third holding off Brown and Simmons for front five positions.

Brown, Bond, and Rowe would collect Shell Shock Custom Helmet Paint heat race challenge victories on the evening.

Bond would go on to collect the Sherwood Racing Wheel Lap Leader Award as well.

After starting deep in the field Kreig Heroth was the D&S Landscaping Hard Charger in the No. 04, while Abt took home the Nice Price Auto Sales Up & Comer prize.

Brown would be the White’s Car Care 4th place Award recipient.

Light in the Darkness: July 3, 2013

by Pastor David Grey

“Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heaven!

Praise him for his mighty works; praise his unequaled greatness!

Praise him with a blast of the ram’s horn; praise him with the lyre and harp!

Praise him with the tambourine and dancing; praise him with strings and flutes!

Praise him with a clash of cymbals; praise him with loud clanging cymbals.

Let everything that breathes sing praises to the Lord! Praise the Lord!”  – Psalm 150

In a recent column, I stated that I have always been intrigued with this Psalm in light of the differences of opinion regarding various types of music and instruments consider “permissible” in a worship service.

Because it is clear that the instruments listed here cover the whole gamut of instrumental types, I have strived to understand why so many Christians I know (myself included) struggle with certain instruments in worship.

I have conclude that there are two major reasons we struggle to accept instruments God has approved.

The first is our past experience with various instruments or types of music. When we hear them, they immediately bring to the forefront the past associated with that instrument and we find ourselves unable to worship with that particular instrument or style of music.

I know that for several years as a new believer I could not worship or center my attention upon the Lord with any music in which drum brushes were used.

The sound brought back associations with a night club I had visited and all the godless lifestyle present in that place.

It was personal. It had nothing to do with the amoral drum brush nor was my inability and indictment against the Christian group using them.  I simply could not worship because of the baggage I personally carried with me.

To read the rest of the column, pick up a copy of The Valley News. You can subscribe by calling 598-6397 or click on the link on our home page.

Hope Fest 2013 grows from three-day event to eight-day celebration

What was planned as a three-day weekend outreach event turned out to be an eight-day celebration of God in the greater Fulton area.

Hope Fest 2013 was held at the Fulton War Memorial as scheduled June 7-9.

“But it did not stop there,” said John Palm, evangelist and leader of this outreach, which was presented by Christian churches throughout Oswego County and beyond. “Our steering committee felt that there was more being offered from God, so we kicked into high gear and kept Hope Fest going each evening through Friday, June 14.”

Attendance averaged around 300 during the initial three evenings. Guest speakers Norman “Jay” Foster, who is the Fulton Common Council president, and Andrew Henderson, managing editor of The Valley News, shared testimonies of how God has worked in their lives. They also urged those in attendance to pray for the local area and to seek God’s presence in their own lives.

Pastor Joe Palm, John Palm’s son, shared a message Friday evening, June 7. He provided the messages Saturday and Sunday evenings.

Special guest Pastor Julio Roque gave his testimony about God breaking through his experiences as a heroin addict and New York City gang member.

“So many lives were touched through the power of the Holy Spirit,” John Palm stated. “There are several stories of physical and mental healing that took place. We will be posting these, as well as photos and video clips, on the Hope Fest web site,, in the near future.”

“The vision for Hope Fest was to bring the message of hope, joy, love and peace to so many in our area who are suffering with burdens of addiction, sickness, unemployment, abuse, and despair,” said John’s wife, Mary Lou said. “With Jesus Christ alive and active in peoples’ hearts and lives, we saw countless lives changed in powerful ways that will surely bless our entire community!”

John and Mary Lou Palm were drawn to Oswego County in early 2012 after serving as missionaries to Australia.

“I was given a vision for ‘Oswego’ and we didn’t even know what or where ‘Oswego’ was,” John Palm said. “We looked it up on a map and we started writing letters to the churches in the Oswego area.”

The pastors from River of Life Assembly of God in Fulton and Martville Assembly of God in Martville both wrote back to the Palms.

Before long, the couple journeyed around the world to upstate New York because the vision that God shared with them was one for revival – something that these two churches, as well as many others, have been praying for.

“We believe that revival is very close, and that it will be like nothing that has ever happened before in this area,” John Palm said. “Hope Fest 2013 helped prepare the minds and hearts of hundreds of people and we’re very excited to see what God does next!”

There is a prayer request form on the Hope Fest web site and people may continue submitting prayer requests and praise reports.

“We realize that sometimes a person is healed gradually from a physical condition or a mental problem, so we are keeping the web site open and active,” said Betsy Copps, director of marketing.

“We were so blessed to be able to present this event in Fulton,” said Laurie Ludlow, Hope Fest director. “We are grateful to the many churches, businesses and individuals who provided prayer, donations, and volunteer support. The staff at the War Memorial were absolutely wonderful. The shuttle bus drivers, the more than 100 volunteers, the musicians and the speakers all gave so much of their time, abilities, and prayers. We couldn’t have done this without them.”

Hope Fest 2013 may be over, but the committee is already praying for direction on what to do next. “My eyes and my heart are on the City of Oswego,” John Palm said. “We expect a mighty movement of God there, very soon. There may also be more Hope Fest events in Fulton and other communities around Central New York because nothing is impossible with God.”

What’s happening at CNY Arts Center?

Allyson Reynolds and Autumn Warring enjoy art projects at Arty Camp last summer. The CNY Arts Center’s Arty Day Camp this year will be held July 15-19. Scholarships are available.
Allyson Reynolds and Autumn Warring enjoy art projects at Arty Camp last summer. The CNY Arts Center’s Arty Day Camp this year will be held July 15-19. Scholarships are available.

Save the dates for these exciting summer time happenings:

Story Time Art for four to seven year olds continues Tuesdays from 6 to 7 p.m. July 9 with Kendra Matott. Each week children will listen to a story then create an art project inspired by the story.

The class will read “Harold and the Purple Crayon” and help children imagine and see what they can make with a magic purple crayon! More great titles and fun art projects are bringing summer fun. Don’t miss out. Please pre-register at

Leslie Paice will start a six week series with Introductory Stained Glass. It will meet Thursdays, July 11 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, learn glass selection, cutting, grinding, soldering, framing, and hanging and patina techniques. Some patterns provided or help adapting your custom design.

Open Studio debuts at the center July 11 from 6 to 9 p.m. All skill levels are welcomed to join other artists to practice life drawing/painting from still life. Chat with friends and just have fun! We’ll go outside some days (weather permitting). Bring your own materials or use some of ours. Artist facilitator will be on site. Artists can get practice drawing/painting from life and go home with a finished work. Come early, stay late!

Writer’s Café July 14 from 6 to 8:30 p.m. is free and open to all writers to come and share their work. Contact Jim Farfaglia at 402-2297 or to share your work.

Kids have lots to choose from next week with Arty Day Camp, July 15-19, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. With scholarship money available, no child should miss out. Choose from art, writing, dance or theatre, enjoy lunch and group art projects in the afternoons. Please register at

Writers on the Road 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. in downtown Fulton. Instruction will be provided to guide participants as they write short pieces inspired by the artwork on display at the Gallery.

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.

Fulton Community Theatre to hold auditions for fall shows

Fulton Community Theatre will hold open auditions for its October and November productions of “The Mercury Theatre’s War of the Worlds and Dracula” and Bettine Manktelow’s comic murder mystery “Curtain Up On Murder.”

The joint auditions will be held Monday and Tuesday, July 22 and 23 from 6 to 9 p.m. at Holy Trinity Church, 309 Buffalo St., Fulton.

No preparation is necessary. Auditioners will be asked to read scenes from the scripts. Both productions will play on FCT’s Jubilee Hall stage at Holy Trinity.

Directed by FCT Artistic Director William Edward White, “War of the Worlds” is a staged recreation of the Mercury Theatre’s 1938 terror broadcast adaptation of H.G. Wells’ science fiction classic.

The radio play, written by Howard Koch, relocated the invasion from London to the New York metropolitan area, leaving millions of listeners convinced that America was under siege by a vanguard from Mars.

The production, which will feature live sound effects and music, will play for one performance only, Oct. 30, the 75th anniversary of the original broadcast.

Coupled with the classic Koch script, the evening will feature as a second act John Houseman’s adaptation of Bram Stoker’s “Dracula,” which debuted the Mercury Theatre’s radio anthology series on CBS July 11, 1938.

White is looking for a versatile cast of seven men and two women to recreate the Mercury Theatre On The Air.

All 18 roles in both plays, with the exception of Orson Welles and Professor Pierson, are open, including the roles of Dracula, VanHelsing, Seward, Harker, Lucy, and Mina.

“Curtain Up On Murder,” directed by M. Marie Beebe, tells the deadly comic tale of an amateur dramatic company are rehearsing a thriller in a theatre at the end of a Pier when they find they are locked in and gradually the members are being killed off.

Is it one of their numbers or is there somebody else locked in the empty theatre who will not stop till they are all dead?

The murder mystery, which will wrap up FCT’s 23rd anniversary season, will run Nov. 9, 10, 16, and 17. The production calls for a cast of five women and three men. All roles in the production, except for Ginny, are open and will be auditioned.

Those seeking more information may contact Fulton Community Theatre via e-mail at