All posts by Nicole Reitz

Fulton native returns for concert

Fulton High School graduate Allan Howe will return to perform as part of the band he leads, Swing Set, at the Canal Landing gazebo on South First Street, Friday, Aug. 3.

Coordinated by the Fulton Department of Parks & Recreation, the concert will get underway at 6:30 p.m.

For the concert in Fulton, Swing Set will consist of Howe on piano and vocals; Tom McClure of Geneva on sax, clarinet, flute; Rochester bassist Gary Cummings; and drummer Terry (“Spanky”) Haschmann from Greece.

The group will perform mostly Swing-era tunes, ones made popular by Frank Sinatra, Billie Holiday, Duke Ellington, and more recently Nancy Kelly, Diana Krall, and Mark Murphy, Howe’s cousin.

Howe comes from a long line of Fulton musicians: Howes, Murphys, and Bidwells.

“This past winter my cousin, Dwight ‘Doc’ Murphy, passed away, and I am dedicating this concert to his memory. He — along with my mother, Mary Howe Woodruff — was one of my main inspirations to continue in music and persevere through those early years when progress is so slow,” he said.

“Doc inspired lots of others, too, teaching music for just under 40 years, heading bands of his own, and always leading singalongs at family reunions, during which we started early and ended late, laughing and singing all the way.

“Dwight is also brother to one of the world’s best jazz singers, Mark H. Murphy, and the two men grew up making music all through the central New York area,” he added. “Brother Mark has had six Grammy nominations and produced more than 30 albums as a vocalist.”

Most of Howe’s playing takes place in western New York, where he resides, but in the summer, when his family returns to the family cottage in Fair Haven, he often plays in an area from Geneva to Fair Haven and Oswego.

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Welfare fraud program leads to 25 arrests

by Carol Thompson

Oswego County District Attorney Gregory Oakes gave the legislature’s Strategic Planning and Government Committee an update on the new welfare prosecution program Monday morning.

County Administrator Phil Church and Barry Leemann, who was the legislature chairman at the time, approached Oakes with concerns in regard to welfare fraud cases.

“Since we’ve began this program we’ve had 25 arrests,” Oakes said.

Between October and December, there have been 11 felony arrests. As of the first of the year, there have been 14 arrests. The total number of arrests in four years is 29.

“So essentially in the last three months, we’ve got what we had four years prior,” Oakes said.

He added that the staff is building great cases. “I thank this body,” Oakes said to the committee for allowing his department the resources to do the work.

The county has recovered $57,861 since the first of the year. The amount of $48,924 has been paid to the county Department of Social Services. Approximately $5,700 is being recouped through diminished benefits and $3,182 is being paid through probation.

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

Legislators consider hiring firm to assist with employee retention

by Carol Thompson

Members of the Oswego County Health and Human Services Committee will consider a proposal from Core Skills, True Impact in the amount of $9,200 to assist with the retention of employees in the county Health Department’s nursing services.

The county has seen a significant turn over of staff, especially registered nurses. The high turnover has been attributed to a lower salary than other entities offer.

If approved, the company will conduct an employee satisfaction assessment through interviews with 22 clinical staff and five supervisors. The company will then be required to analyze the results and provide both a written and oral summary to managers and staff as well as provide 20 hours of training for specific groups with the goal of improving staff satisfaction and retention.

Only one other bid was received. SUNY Oswego submitted a proposal for $15,000.

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

Phoenix resident chosen as one of six New York Sea Grant Launch Stewards

The first New York Sea Grant Launch Stewards are now at public boat launch sites along Lake Ontario, Oneida Lake and the Salmon River.

The six stewards are participating in a nationwide campaign educating boaters about how to inspect their vessels to help slow the spread of aquatic invasive species.

Boaters in New York State participate in the inspections voluntarily.

One of the 2012 New York Sea Grant Launch Stewards is Julia Gilbert of Phoenix. She is a sophomore at SUNY Canton. She is  majoring in engineering science with an interest in alternative energy and the environment.

New York Sea Grant Community Development Specialist Mary Penney, based at SUNY Oswego, leads the environment-focused workforce development initiative.

“This type of ‘in-the-environment’ employment is a great way for students to gain valuable experience through public interaction and education opportunities,” said Penney.

“They research a chosen aquatic invasive species topic and prepare a public information program and materials. They also engage citizens one-on-one on timely, need-to-know issues of local interest.”

The stewards’ observations and documentation of aquatic invasive species is useful to local resource managers and such organizations and agencies as the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

The students’ career aspirations include becoming environmental resource managers, marine biologists, and teachers.

County encourages state to provide more significant mandate relief

by Carol Thompson

Oswego County Administrator Phil Church presented members of the legislature’s Strategic Planning and Government Committee a draft resolution asking the state to finish the job it began in April and provide more significant and sustainable mandate relief to counties.

During Monday’s meeting, Church said the resolution addresses Medicaid and state retirement.

“Using the letter that they sent to us, the state health department is only taking over the state portion of Medicaid,” Church said.

Mandates consume 82 percent of the county’s annual budget and the Medicaid mandate alone is 58 percent of the entire property tax levy.

The three-year phase out of county-paid Medicaid growth will cost the county taxpayers an additional $500,000 in 2013 and an additional $250,000 in 2014.

“Taxpayers will send one-half million dollars to Albany every week,” Church said.

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

Eugene Ropelewski, resident of Fulton

Eugene Ropelewski, 87, of Fulton, died Sunday, July 22,2012 at Senenca Hill Manor with his family by his side.

He was born in Elmira and has been a resident of Fulton for over 25years. He was a member of the Plumbers and Pipefitters Local #273. He was the owned and operated Gene’s Heating & Air Conditioning in Fulton.

He is survived by his wife, Carol Cathcart of Fulton; children, Paul of Florida, Antionette Lyons of Florida, Markee Cathcart of Fulton, Kevin and Keith Sheridan of Oswego, Kim McPherson of Oswego, Kathy Sheridan Bradwisch of Oswego, Erin Cartcart of Syracuse, and Sean Cathcart of Baldwinsville; and several grandchildren.

Funeral services and burial will be private. Arrangements are in the care of the Sugar Funeral Home, Fulton.

Steven Cooper Sr., Eagle Scout

Steven C. Cooper, Sr., 51, of Fair Haven, died Saturday, July 21, 2012 at home.

Born in Oswego, he was a life resident of the Fair Haven area. He was the greenskeeper at Springbrook Golf Course in Sterling which he had helped his family build. He graduated from the National Hardwood Lumber Association Inspection Training School Dec. 12, 1980 and had worked in the lumber industry before working at the family golf course.

He was an Eagle Scout and had been very active with the scouts.

He was predeceased by his father, Clarence Cooper, who died in 1989 and an uncle and close friend, Manford Lehne, who died in 2009.

Surviving are a son, Steven C. Cooper Jr. of Fair Haven; mother, Patricia Cooper Maxon of Sterling; a brother, Curt (Lisa) Cooper of Sterling; two step-sisters, Alayne (Neil) Howard of Hudson and Joyce (Jurgen) Englehardt of Maine; and several aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and cousins.

Calling hours will be held tomorrow, July 26 from 4 to 6 p.m. at Foster Funeral Home, 837 Cayuga St., Hannibal. There are no services. Burial will be private at the family’s convenience.

Contributions may be made to the Fair Haven Fire Dept. P.O. Box 334, Fair Haven, NY 13064.