All posts by Nicole Reitz


Barden’s legacy remains a guiding influence

by Rob Tetro

Ridge Barden is never far from the minds of his teammates.

Phoenix Varsity Football Coach Jeff Charles and his players recently began practice for the first season full season of football since Barden died tragically last October.

But when there is darkness, there is light and Phoenix players have found light in Barden’s legacy.

The 2012 season, which is dedicated to Barden, will be influenced by Barden’s legacy on a daily basis, according to the coach.

Charles said Barden’s presence serves as motivation for everyone on the team. For example, there have been moments in practice when the players begin to wear down and one of the players yelled out in encouragement “What would Ridge do?”

Charles even mentioned a recent moment during a practice as rain began to fall. One of Barden’s teammates yelled out, “It was raining the day Ridge died. It’s raining for us to know that he is with us!”

This season, Charles welcomed the addition of three new coaches who bring an a lot of experience to the table.

Joining Charles staff is former Westhill coach Pat Burns, former Nottingham coach Paul Sealy and former Nottingham coach Jeff Paul.

This season, Phoenix will be trying to replace a handful of Seniors from last season’s team. As Phoenix begins play in Class C-West this season, they do so with 36 players on the roster. This is the largest roster the Firebirds have had to date.

The Firebirds’ conditioning program began during the spring. Though some players were taking part in spring sports, other football players were in the weight room working on their agility and running.

Throughout the summer, the players took part in cross-fit training. Three days a week for 75 minutes each day, players followed a lifting and running regiment.

The Firebirds also took part in 7-on-7 scrimmages against players from Solvay and Fulton. With practices underway, the team’s conditioning seems to be where coaches want it to be.

Though practice consists of an abundance of fundamental drills, the team still does conditioning drills three times a day. The players understand that they need to be committed to conditioning in order to be in the shape that they need to be in for a 9 game season, the coach said.

Charles has yet to name any team captains. He suggested that traits of a team captain consist of full time dedication and leadership in both the weight room and the classroom.

To read the rest of the story, subscribe to The Valley News by calling 315-598-6397

The H. Lee White Marine Museum welcomes the traveling exhibit, “War of 1812: A Nation Forged By War,” now through Sept. 30. The display will be featured along with the Lois McClure during the Oswego Canal Festival over Labor Day weekend.

Oswego Canal Festival features U.S. Navy National Museum exhibit

The H. Lee White Marine Museum welcomes the traveling exhibit, “War of 1812: A Nation Forged By War,” now through Sept. 30. The display will be featured along with the Lois McClure during the Oswego Canal Festival over Labor Day weekend.

The H. Lee White Marine Museum is hosting a traveling mini-exhibit, “War of 1812: A Nation Forged By War,” from the National Museum of the United States Navy.

Now through Sunday, Sept. 30, the exhibit is on display in New York State Canal Derrick Boat No. 8 on West First Street Pier in Oswego.

“We are very fortunate to be able to present this display highlighting our county’s maritime history,” said Mercedes Niess, executive director of the H. Lee White Marine Museum. “Lake Ontario has played an integral role in U.S. and New York State history. It was significant during the War of 1812 as British and American forces battled for control of the lake and, by extension, the war.”

The temporary exhibit illustrates the role that military forces from the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, and U.S. Revenue Cutter Service played in securing European recognition of the U. S. as a truly independent nation.

Visitors will learn the heroic stories of ocean and Great Lakes battles as well as those that took place on land from Louisiana to Canada. Each panel contains a QR code with more details for those with smart phones.

Niess added, “This is really great timing as we continue our bicentennial commemoration of the War of 1812 with the Lois McClure at the Oswego Canal Festival.”

The Oswego Canal Festival runs from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 1 through Monday, Sept. 3 in Oswego’s Historic Maritime District on West First Street Pier.

“We encourage the public to come out and enjoy the festivities,” said Niess. “We’ll have a parade of boats along the pier and people can take walk-aboard tours. We’ll also have music, baked goods, crafts, games and more.”

Esther Gravelle, former Fulton resident

Esther A. Gravelle, 90, a former Fulton, Arizona, and Florida resident, died Sunday, Aug. 25, 2012 at St. Luke Health Services, Oswego.

Born Aug. 25, 1922 to her late parents, Anna A. (Ellison) Alvord, she was a graduate of Minoa High School. She was a homemaker.

She was predeceased by her husband, Francis C. Gravelle, who died March 20, 2000; a sister, Ella H. Brownell; and a brother, James Dwight Alvord.

Surviving are her son, James E. (Suzanne) Gravelle of Fulton; two daughters, Esther F. Tecklenburg of Tucson, Ariz. and Doris E. (Eric) Deadwyler of Cashiers, N.C.; three granddaughters; and nieces and nephews.

There are no services. Burial will be at a later date. Calling hours were held Monday at Allanson-Glanville-Tappan Funeral Home, Phoenix.

Contributions may be made to the John Foster Burden Fund, at St. Luke Health Services, 299 E. River Rd., Oswego, NY 13126.


State report: County child protective services improved

by Carol Thompson

The Oswego County Department of Social Services Child Protective Services has realized a significant improvement since 2008, according to a report issued by the Syracuse Regional Office of the NYS Office of Children and Family Services.

The last review performed in Oswego County was in 2008. A total of 38 cases were chosen randomly and reviewed.

“Oswego County Child Protective Services Caseworkers responded immediately and gathered sufficient information to assess safety within 24 hours in 97 percent of the cases reviewed,” the report states. “Sufficient information was gathered to assess safety within 7 days in 97 percent of the cases reviewed, and sufficient information was gathered to assess safety at determination in 95 percent of the cases reviewed.

“Caseworkers also made home visits in each case reviewed and often home visits were made to several different locations, including the homes of the noncustodial parents, in order to assess safety of children in various households,” it continued. “Caseworkers made diligent efforts to speak with all noncustodial parents, often face to face. Additionally, caseworkers conducted and documented thorough interviews with children, including efforts to engage and interview very young children.”

Caseworker interviews included detailed documentation of the child’s appearance, hygiene, and affect. The report concluded that sufficient information was gathered to determine all the allegations in 100 percent of the cases reviewed.

“Caseworkers fully explored alleged injuries to children and all appropriate collateral contacts were made in 89 percent of the cases reviewed,” the report states.

“Lastly, staff appropriately assessed the need for services in 89 percent of the cases reviewed and often appropriately referred to community based services to help families meet their needs. It was also noted that documentation throughout the case was thorough, detailed, and included institutional or historical information the district had regarding the family.”

The report noted that the most notable strength of Oswego County Child Protective Services was the significant improvement in case  practice since the 2008 review.

In 2008, caseworkers were  gathering sufficient information to assess safety within 24 hours in 50 percent of the cases reviewed, as compared to the 2012 review of 97 percent.

In 2008, caseworkers made all appropriate collateral contacts in 33 percent of the cases reviewed, compared to 89 percent in the 2012 review.

Casework activity was commensurate with case circumstances in 23 percent of the cases reviewed in 2008, compared to 95 percent in the 2012 review.

Recommended and/or required actions were made in the report.

To read the rest of the story, subscribe to The Valley News by calling 315-598-6397

Hunter Arms Weekend: Shooting event and awards banquet slated

Lovers of Fulton history and L.C. Smith shotguns may attend an event shoot and banquet starting the weekend of Sept. 14. The L.C. Smith gun was well known around the world for its craftsmanship and embellishments. The Hunter Arms Company factory in Fulton produced the shotgun until the 1950s. Pictured from left are Rich Beyer, Sarah Conley, Carol Dexter, Paula Rohn and Les Weldin.

by Nicole Reitz

Friends of History in Fulton will be welcoming the L.C. Smith Collectors Association during the second Hunter Arms Homecoming Weekend, which will be held Friday, Sept. 14 through Sunday, Sept. 16.

Hunter Arms made L.C. Smith shotguns in Fulton from the 1880s until 1951. They are known to be one of the finest American made shotguns.

There will be a three-event shoot at Pathfinder Fish and Gun Club, located on 116 Crescent Road in Fulton, Sept. 14 starting at 9 a.m.

Anyone wishing to shoot in one or more events using a L.C. Smith gun 12 gage or lower is welcome to pre-register by Sept. 5.

The public is encouraged to watch the competition using guns from around the country brought back to their home in Fulton.

An awards banquet will be held at Tavern on the Lock Sept. 15. Anyone interested in finding more about L.C. Smith guns, Hunter Arms or the L.C. Smith Collectors Association may attend.

Those seeking more information or to register for the events may call the Friend of History of Fulton at 598-4616.

A McGrath & Associates Carp Angling Services employee holds a large catfish hooked by Fulton’s Rebecca Bailey (center) and reeled in by Jakob Burghardt, also of Fulton.

Kids fishing class held at Fulton’s Lake Neatahwanta

A McGrath & Associates Carp Angling Services employee holds a large catfish hooked by Fulton’s Rebecca Bailey (center) and reeled in by Jakob Burghardt, also of Fulton.

A kids fishing class was held Aug. 18. Twenty-two children participated in the class, which was held at Lake Neatahwanta on Fulton’s west side.

The class was sponsored by local fishing author Spider Rybaak and McGrath & Associates Carp Angling Services.

Mike McGrath, billed as the most knowledgeable carp expert on the East Coast, held several children and their parents captive for an hour, explaining and demonstrating carp subjects, including  knots and terminal tackle to habitat preferences, mixing chum (grains, syrups and Marukyu Japanese bait) and seeding it into the water to draw the fish close to shore.

After his course in theory, McGrath led the kids to a spot on the lake, cast out several lines and began catching carp ranging from 7 to 15 pounds and a couple channel catfish running from 4 to 8 pounds.

Meanwhile, Spider was teaching kids how to fish with lures and worms.

Nightcrawlers  were the bait of choice in the beginning, but the supply ran out after a couple hours and the students began using the Atomic Teasers, Ripple Shad and Honey Worm PowerBaits Spider handed out earlier, catching bluegills and white perch on the Berkley lures.

Loaner Shakespeare Classic rod and reel combos were available for the day for kids who didn’t have their own fishing equipment.

Spider and McGrath will hold another fishing class on Lake Neatahwanta, September 15 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Those seeking more information may contact McGrath at or 882-1549.


Taxpayers foot the bill for DSS apartment clean-up

by Carol Thompson

Oswego County taxpayers will foot the bill for the garbage cleanup and disinfecting of an apartment in the City of Fulton.

Two employees of Servpro spent Tuesday morning cleaning the apartment, owned by Rose Anthony of the Town of Granby.

Earlier this month, Anthony said an Oswego County Department of Social Services caseworker and a woman approached her about renting an apartment on the second floor of the building she owns at 306 Oneida St.

The woman is developmentally disabled, but Anthony claims she was misled into believing the woman could live independently.

Anthony alleged that the woman was eating off the kitchen floor and that there was raw garbage strewn about the apartment. Anthony further alleged that the woman’s only furniture was a mattress on the living room floor.

Neighbors, Anthony said, began complaining about the stench coming from the upper living area of the home. Upon inspection, Anthony said she saw the condition of the apartment and began contacting DSS.

When asked if Anthony had received a security deposit to cover the cost of the cleanup, Oswego County Department of Social Services Director Gregg Heffner said, “In an effort to appease the landlord who was upset and to help this client,” the work was completed.

To read the rest of the story, subscribe to The Valley News by calling 315-598-6397

Valley Viewpoints: Clean house

by Steven D. Burdick of Fulton

Even after the little girl in Scriba went to Heaven after contracting EEE last year, Phil Church and his legislature gang still told us “sheeple” here there would be no mosquito spraying.

Anytime a mosquito lands on a person in Oswego County, that person feels like they’re playing Russian Roulette if they get bit.

Patty Ritchie has been campaigning this year on “Fight the Bite,” and even though mosquitoes are rampant with EEE in our area, not enough has been done.

Everything our Oswego County government needs: parts, equipment, office supplies, should be put out to bid. This would save millions of dollars.

Keeping the “pencil sharp” by getting the best deals. And then they should not state there is not enough money for mosquito spraying. Jobs should be given to the fairest bidder, not just a person or corporation who “scratches” our Oswego County politicians backs. (And I’m not talking about mosquito bites.)

Bid requests should be advertised in the local newspapers and kept track of who the county is doing business with, how much the county paid and give other local businesses a good shot to supply fair bids and have fair opportunities to keep the money and jobs in this area. This plan would save local taxpayers money. This is the free enterprise system!

Local businesses, like mine, should be encouraged and patronized by our county. My business has been bypassed often in favor of their cronies. They have a monopoly on their towing services list. It’s like organized crime.

The political forces send their own “officer unfriendly.” The biggest crime in this area may be the police force.

There are some really good officers around, and my hat goes off to them. But some political bosses around send their charges off to do their dirty work for them.

Was it wrong to protest Hitler?

One of my employees was incarcerated for nine years, a young family man who graduated from Central Square High School. The law went after him like a pack of wolves, only to have his conviction proven false by New York State’s highest court.

Governor Cuomo has the right idea by tightening the reigns on our law enforcement groups.

Our area needs jobs to keep our good young people in our area, an also work for our local businesses. Everybody in Oswego County must get behind this idea, not just a select few but our true leaders, businessmen, school teachers, bankers, who are not afraid to stick their necks out in the middle of a battle.

Our youth and businesses need to come first for this area to prosper again. It’s like the old saying. “Where’s the beef?
Where’s the jobs?

Above the door of the Cherry Street School in Phoenix is engraved “Opportunity Awaits Youth” and it can happen again as soon as they “clean house” of our Oswego County so-called leaders.