All posts by Nicole Reitz

Author’s dream will become reality

by Carol Thompson

Lisa Buske’s dream has turned to reality as the book she has penned about her sister’s abduction is scheduled to be released April 3, 2013 — the anniversary date of Heidi Allen’s disappearance.

Buske, a Town of New Haven resident, made the announcement on her blog Sunday. “I am happy to announce ‘Where’s Heidi? One Sister’s Journey’ is tentatively scheduled to be released in April 2013,” she wrote. “We, my husband, daughter, and parents are so excited to share this book with all of you. The ultimate goal is a release date of April 3, 2013.”

Heidi disappeared from a convenience story in New Haven 18 years ago. Authorities say she was kidnapped and is presumed dead. Her body has never been located and the case remains open.

“I speak to the siblings left to deal with the stress and grief experienced when their brother or sister is tragically taken from their lives,” Buske said of her book.

The cover will be released on Allen’s birthday, Sept. 14.

Buske has taken the emotional journey in writing the book about a painful subject with the support of her family and her faith in God.

“My parents are both very excited about the book’s release and are my greatest cheerleaders,” she said.

“When I asked them if I could write the book, their response; ‘It is your story to tell. We are proud of you for doing it. You are honoring your sister and helping others. We couldn’t ask for anything more’.”

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

County chairs weigh in on Paul Ryan

by Carol Thompson

Presidential Republican candidate Mitt Romney has selected Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan to be his running mate.

Who he is and how he will impact the outcome of the presidential election is the topic of conversation in political circles.

According to an Aug. 12 Gallop poll, nearly six in 10 polled are not familiar with Ryan to offer an opinion of him.

That leaves the local party chairman with a responsibility to educate voters as to who Ryan is and what he stands for.

Oswego County Republican Chairman Michael C. Backus said he is ready to take on that challenge.

“I am proud to welcome Congressman Ryan to the race,” Backus said. “I know he and Governor Romney will be a tremendous ticket that will help us win not only the White House this November but a number of House and Senate seats.”

Backus added, “Congressman Ryan brings with him an insatiable appetite for confronting issues facing this nation head-on. He will not shirk away responsibility today, to deal with it tomorrow.”

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

DSS asbestos abatement project becomes more costly

by Carol Thompson

The Oswego County Department of Social Services asbestos abatement project will move forward — with a higher price tag.

During the Aug. 9 meeting, the legislature approved hiring Tetra Tech Architects and Engineers and also voted to increase the capital project funding for the abatement project from $30,000 to $100,000.

Asbestos was found in the ceiling tiles of the older part of the DSS complex in Mexico earlier this year after an employee reportedly questioned if the tiles had been tested. The cost of the entire project is estimated to cost up to $1 million, depending on whether the employees will need to be relocated during the removal process.

County Administrator Phil Church said Cayuga Community College in Fulton has offered a location for DSS employees, but added the college needs the space back by Feb. 1.

If it is decided to move the employees to another part of the DSS building, accommodations will be needed, such as constructing temporary walls, Church noted.

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

AG’s office: Doyle has no conflict of interest

by Carol Thompson

Legislator Shawn Doyle has no conflict-of-interest in his role as an Oswego County Legislator and the Town of Richland historian.

The New York State Office of the Attorney General issued an informal opinion in response to a request made by County Attorney Richard Mitchell.

In a letter dated Aug. 8, Kathryn Sheingold, assistant solicitor general in charge of operations, wrote that the position of town historian is not subordinate to the county historian or, by extension, the county legislature.

“We thus are of the opinion that the positions of town historian and member of the county legislature are compatible,” Sheingold wrote.

Mitchell requested the informal opinion following an ethics board complaint filed last year by then-legislature chairman Barry Leemann.

The complaint alleged Doyle was improperly using a small office the town provides to the historian.

The town rents space from the county.

The ethics board cleared Doyle of the charges, however, questioned whether he had a conflict-of-interest with county historian Justin White.

In a four-page opinion, Sheingold wrote that the positions are not incompatible because the county historian provides guidance and assistance to the towns but does not exercise the kind of authority or control that would implicate the principle of incompatible offices.

The opinion further states that a county historian may be, but need not be, appointed by the county legislature.

As with a town historian, the county historian is not compensated unless the governing board provides otherwise.

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

Oswego Canal Festival welcomes a parade of boats

The Urger, a New York State Canal tug, will join the fleet at Oswego’s Historic Maritime District on West First Street Pier from Wednesday, Aug. 29 to Saturday, Sept. 1.

Her visit is planned to help kick off the Oswego Canal Festival planned for Labor Day weekend. She will be available for free walk-aboard tours during regular museum hours.

The Oswego Canal Festival runs from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 1 through Monday, Sept. 3.

The public may visit an historic line-up of vessels and enjoy weekend festivities to honor the New York State Barge Canal System.

“The Urger tug is the flagship of the New York State Canal Corporation’s fleet and one of the oldest working vessels in the country,” said Mercedes Niess, executive director of the H. Lee White Marine Museum. “We’re so pleased to have her here to help launch the festival.”

The Urger was built in 1901 as a commercial shipping vessel. Twenty years later, she was sold into the New York State Canal fleet where she hauled machinery, dredges and scows. She was retired in the 1980s only to be returned to service a decade later.

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Harvia Chaffee, Hannibal resident

Harvia Gillespie Chaffee, 90 of Hannibal, died Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2012 at St. Luke Residential Health Services in Oswego.

She graduated from Fulton High School and had attended business school in Oswego. She had worked in Hannibal Central School District cafeterias for many years retiring in 1984. She resided on Auburn Street in Hannibal for over 50 years.

She was a member of the former Hannibal Community Church, which is now God’s Vision Christian Church, where she was superintendent of the Sunday school program for 25 years. She also sang in the church choir and had served as an officer in the women’s association, as church treasurer and as a deacon.

She was active and held various offices in the Order of the Eastern Star, Hannibal Senior Citizens and Hannibal Historical Society.

She enjoyed traveling, cooking, baking, sewing and interacting with her children, grandchildren and especially her great-grandchildren.

Her husband of 47 years, Neil Burleigh Chaffee, predeceased her in 1989.

Surviving are her son, James (Faith) Chaffee of Sterling; daughters, Carol (Lowell) Newvine of Hannibal, Muriel (Warren) Barkley of Three Mile Bay, and Donna (Jerry) Blake of Hannibal; 11 grandchildren; 17 great-grandchildren; sisters, Laura Stock of Baldwinsville, Mary Earle of Phoenix, and Marjorie (Donald) Strine of North Chili; and several nieces and nephews.

Calling hours and services were held Friday at Foster Funeral Home, Hannibal.

Contributions may be made to the Meadowbrook Manor Activities Fund, 31 Oswego Street, Hannibal, 13074 or to God’s Vision Christian Church, P.O. Box 69, Hannibal, 13074.

Leon Archer

The Sportsman’s World: August 18, 2012

Leon Archer

by Leon Archer

Nothing ever stays the same. The outdoorsman’s world is no exception. Sometimes the change is a fast one, but more often it’s slow enough that we don’t even realize it’s taking place until the day we start remembering the way things used to be.

I’m not thinking climate change here. I’m thinking more about smaller changes, ones that affect us here and now. Some changes I lament, others I like or can live with.

There are natural changes, man made changes and government, or regulatory changes. In most cases, those changes that affect the sportsman’s world come from a combination of all three. Probably the number one change in New York State is land use (including farming practices of course) and it never stops.

When I was a kid, the majority of farms were dairy and ranged from 15 or 20 cows up to large herds of a 100 or so.

Other than hay, corn was the main crop and a lot of that went into silage for the cows. Ringed neck pheasants had been introduced (man made change) and they nested successfully in the hay fields along with many song birds.

A boy could walk through the fields and find scores of leopard frogs while meadowlarks, bobolinks, and countless sparrows took wing at his approach.

In the fall, the pheasants provided a couple weeks of fantastic hunting, and enough of them always survived the winter to produce a new crop the following year.

Over the years, that picture all changed. As a boy, I worked for farmers doing their haying after school was out. Pheasants and song birds had all hatched and departed the fields prior to that activity, but almost unnoticed the change was taking place. Methods and equipment were developed to make hay long before it had started to mature and turn color, and unfortunately, also before hen pheasants and song birds were off their nests with their young.

Then farmers began making grass silage, cutting the fields even earlier and several times during the spring and summer. Hens were killed and nests destroyed. The demise of the naturally reproduced pheasant was underway in much of New York State.

Another change came in the number and size of farms and that had its effect on wildlife as well. The small dairy farm wasn’t completely doomed, but it had a hard time competing with farms of 500 to over 1,000 a head.

The price of milk came down and small farms started to become marginalized. As I drive around these days, I have no problem identifying former farms with their brush choked fields, decrepit barns, or a silo sentinel guarding nonexistent cows.

There were a lot of effects from the emergence of the macro-farms and decline of the small family farm.

Some farmland slowly went back to brush and then on to forest, neither of which brought back the pheasants, but it did make a lot of cover for deer, small game and the newly arrived turkeys.

Since I was a kid, New York deer populations have absolutely boomed. As a sportsman, I’d have to say that change wasn’t too distasteful; however, all farmland did not revert to game habitat.

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


Hodgepodge: August 18, 2012

by Roy Hodge

I guess you never know what you’re going to see. Last week, when I was backing into a parking spot on the street in Skaneateles and watching traffic through the rear view mirror, I saw a motorcycle approaching.

The cycle had a side car and as it passed by, we realized that the passenger was a very contented looking pooch wearing goggles – or as we were told later by a very dedicated dog fancier – the happy passenger was wearing its Doggles.

Looking up “Doggles on Google” — say that one fast five times — I discovered that Doggles — said to be protecting the world…one dog at a time — are a commercial brand of sunglasses for dogs, in the form of tinted goggles designed to fit the shape of a dog’s head.

The Doggles Co. in North Carolina is the home of “the world’s best and only” eyewear made just for dogs. It was invented by a young couple after they noticed their dog squinting in the sunlight. Doggles have been sent to Army dogs working in Iraq and Afghanistan for protection from sun and desert sand storms.

Despite once being listed as one of the “most useless inventions ever,” Doggles were ranked number six in a list of “Eleven ideas that shouldn’t have worked – but made millions” by MSN Money.

So there, now you know something about Doggles, and at least one dog — the one I saw in Skaneateles — might feel a little better about riding around in his owner’s motorcycle side car.

Sheena, our much-loved canine companion, never wore Doggles or anything like them. I never noticed her squinting in the sun. If she did, I probably thought she was winking at me.

Sheena never rode in a motorcycle side car, but she did enjoy having the window in the car down a little sometimes. Who knows, maybe a pair of custom fitted Doggles would have been just the thing.

But the leather jacket with zippered “paw-kets” to share treats? That would have been a stretch.

*  *  *  *  *

My little neighbor friend, Andrew, came out of his house a couple of days ago wearing — not his Spiderman costume, which is one of his favorite selections of clothing  these days — but a Boston Celtics sweatshirt.

Immediately, my mind flashed back to the days when I, a little older than Andrew is now, was an avid fan of an NBA basketball team – but it wasn’t the Boston Celtics.

My favorite NBA team at the time I’m thinking about — in the early 1950s — was the Syracuse Nationals. The Syracuse Nats were an original member of the National Basketball Association and, of course, a hometown favorite.

The NBA was a small league at the beginning. I think I remember all of the teams – the Nats, the Celtics, the New York Knicks, the Philadelphia Warriors (Wilt Chamberlain’s first pro team), the St. Louis Hawks, the Minneapolis Lakers, the Rochester Royals and the Fort Wayne Pistons.

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