All posts by Nicole Reitz

In And Around Hannibal: July 14, 2012

Rita Hooper

I understand that the commencement speaker at Hannibal this year was retired Air Force Lt. Colonel John E. Norvell.

He was a member of the Hannibal Class of 1962. He graduated from Hobart College 1966 with high honors in American history, earned his M.A. in American history from the Maxwell School of Citizenship at Syracuse University in 1968, and was a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Air War College in 1981.

A decorated veteran, he earned air medals for flying combat missions during the Vietnam War and was an assistant professor of military and American history at the U.S. Air Force Academy.

He and his wife, Bonnie, live in Canandaigua where he has been a freelance writer for the Washington Post, historical journals, newspapers and other media since 1975.

He is a master gardener for Cooperative Extension in Ontario County and wrote the gardening column for the Geneva newspaper for several years.

I guess you can say, Lt. Colonel John Norvell fits into my series of columns on people who have graduated from Hannibal High School and have gone on to make our community proud of their accomplishments.

By the way, the Hannibal Class of 1962, is planning a reunion in August. I’m hoping to hear more about it so I can include the details in this column.

Lt. Colonel Norvell is the son of the late Marjorie and Phil Norvell.

The Norvells lived on upper Oswego Street. I remember Marge fondly as a member of Hannibal Willing Workers Class, this group began as a Sunday School class at the Community Church in the late 1800s early 1900s and lasted well into the late 1980s or 90s.

She was a faithful member of both the church and the class until her death. I believe she worked in the high school attendance office, too.

She falls into the category of one of Hannibal’s characters.  Her life was not an easy one, having taken care of a daughter, Katy, born with cerebral palsy, and later taking care of her husband, who was an invalid the last seven years of his life.

Bonnie Norvell is the daughter of the late Norma and Howard Irwin of Sterling and Hannibal (upper Oswego Street, too!)

The Irwins moved to Hannibal in 1974 after RGE electric company acquired their property on Lake Ontario for an atomic plant that was never built. Today, their old farm is part of the Sterling Nature Center and preserve.

Many of my readers may well remember Norma as the piano teacher for the area. She was also a member of the Willing Workers Class although she was a member of the Sterling Community Church in Sterling Valley.

By the way, Norma Eno Irwin was a member of Hannibal Class of 1926!

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Americorps workers will be holding a Health and Nutritional Program at the Hannibal Town Hall Park and Pavilion from July 9 through Aug. 10 for children in pre-K to the fourth grade.  Parents are welcome.

The Senior Meal Program will be hosting lunch Monday and Friday at noon. Come early for coffee, conversation and games. They meet at the Senior Center (Library Building) on Oswego Street. Monday, they will be serving Italian Stew. Wednesday will be meatball subs and summer squash and Friday, chicken chow mein.

Wednesday, they will also be playing Bingo and Friday, they will be working on beading crafts. Call Rosemary at  564-5471, to make your reservation.

On behalf of the community, I would like to extend our condolences to Rosemary and her family on the death of her dad, Walter Glod of Fulton.

The Jammers will meet at the Legion on Rochester Street for their Monday night from 7 to 10 p.m. jam.

The Summer Reading Program has started at the Hannibal Library, and runs through Aug. 16. The reading program has set a goal of reading 3,000 books.

We were close to that last year and if we make that goal, Jim Morabito & the IGA will bring all of the fixings for a picnic at the end of the summer.

Thursday at 11:30 a.m., the Methodist church will hold a chilli-soup lunch. This is available for free to any and all who would like to come to the church on Church Street, one block west of the Village Square. Take-outs are available. Good food, good fellowship at comfortable temperatures.

I don’t know if dates have changed for the summer so you might want to check the following if it applies to you:

Monday at 6:15 p.m., the Hannibal Library Board of Trustees will meet.

Wednesday, the TOPS chapter 1065 will meet at Our Lady of the Rosary at 5:45 p.m.

Wednesday, the Hannibal Town Board meets at 7 p.m.

The S.O.S. FEST is fast approaching. It will be held July 20-22 at the Hannibal Firemen’s Field, Rochester Street, Hannibal.

The S.O.S. FEST is sponsored by the Cabin 3 Youth group of God’s Vision Church. The S.O.S. FEST is a three-day music festival that will host over a dozen bands play from all over the USA and Canada, including Newworldson, Everyday Sunday, Silversyde, Cry Of the Scapegoat, The Vintage Band, Wes Aarum, Good Fight, The 7 Thunders, The Sent Forth, Infusion Ministry, and Against The Slate.

Tickets are available now at

Would you like to honor or keep the memory alive of someone special to you in Hannibal? Buy a brick for the park with their name on it. Call Peg Shepard at 564-6998.


Norman Holmes, Air Force veteran

Norman E. Holmes, 79, of Hannibal, died Tuesday, July 10, 2012.

A native of Fulton, he was born July 12, 1932 to Floyd and Gertrude Holmes. He retired as a truck driver from Oswego Asphalt in Central Square after 27 years and was a snow plow driver for the Oswego County Highway Department for ten years.

He was a member of Teamster’s Local #317 in Syracuse.

He served in the U.S. Army Air Force from 1950 to 1953 during the Korean War and was a member of Prior Stock American Legion Post #1552 in Hannibal.

He was predeceased by a grandson, Jeremy Duger; brothers, James, Floyd and Edward Holmes; and sisters, Bertha Barlow, Margaret Mullen, Shirley Dunsmoor, Mary Sawyer and Alberta Catalone.

Surviving are his wife of 60 years, Marlene Holmes of Hannibal; children, David (Linda) Holmes of Oswego, Theresa Fairbanks of Florida, Cindy (Chris) Castaldo, Mona (Randy) Hendricks and Jean (Steve) Hanlon all of Hannibal, Shelly (Tim) Shatrau, Mark (Vicki) Holmes and Cathy (Doc) Kingsley, all of Oswego and Brenda (Bill) Matson of Hannibal; 21 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren; brothers, Robert and Steve Holmes; sisters, Caroline Wallace, Patricia Denny and Elizabeth Branshaw; and many nieces and nephews.

Services will be held today, July 14 at 11 a.m. at Foster Funeral Home, 837 Cayuga St., Hannibal, with burial to follow in Hannibal Village Cemetery. Contributions may be made to a favorite charity of your choice.

Mark Castiglia celebrates his second win of the year at Oswego Speedway in the Pathfinder Bank SBS division.

Mark Castiglia finishes first for the second time in 2012

Mark Castiglia celebrates his second win of the year at Oswego Speedway in the Pathfinder Bank SBS division.

The 2012 season at Oswego Speedway has been one of change for Mark Castiglia. The Oswego driver came into the year with a brand new race car, new number, and a new outlook.

In doing so, he managed to pull into Chris Nelson Insurance Victory Lane on Saturday night for the second time in 2012 at Oswego Speedway in the Pathfinder Bank SBS division.

Castiglia muscled the point away from long-time leader Andrew Schartner on lap 26 of the 35-lap battle and would then have to hold off garage mate Rob Pullen in the closing stages for the big win.

Kreig Heroth, Mike Bond, and Schartner completed the Top 5 order at the conclusion of the SBS main event.

“Andrew (Schartner) and I had quite the battle,” said Castiglia. “I got into him a little bit, I apologize for that, but we were slugging it out there for a couple laps and I finally got by him.

“I knew Robby (Pullen) was behind me, I felt him a couples times, and saw him high there and I was just trying to make laps. The car was pretty loose tonight, but I held on.”

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Officials: County highway employee did no wrong

by Carol Thompson

An Oswego County Highway Department employee, who is alleged to have driven a county roadside mower to his property as well as verbally accosting the Town of Hannibal deputy highway superintendent, was on his lunch hour and not far from the work site, hence, did no wrong, according to officials.

According to Hannibal Town Highway Superintendent Dan Mahaney, it was agreed with county Highway Superintendent Kurt Ospelt and county Deputy Superintendent Howard Nolan that county employee Duane Shepard did nothing wrong when he drove the county-owned mower to his property and got into an argument with town Deputy Highway Superintendent Nelson Hawkins.

“He did it on his own time,” Mahaney said. “Luckily, they were both on their lunch hour, which is unpaid.”

Mahaney added it was “just a verbal disagreement.”

Mahaney said Shepard had been roadside mowing on County Route 21 and 34 in the village June 20 and had taken the mower to his property for lunch.

“Duane didn’t do anything wrong with the county equipment,” Mahaney said.

Mahaney added that Ospelt was unable to be reached the day of the incident so Nolan was contacted and went out to the site. They all later spoke and agreed the incident did not involve the county or the town, he said.

Hawkins filed a complaint with the town against Shepard over the incident, according to Town of Hannibal Supervisor Ron Greenleaf. The board called a special meeting to address the issue.

“The whole thing was blown out of proportion,” Greenleaf said.

He added that because Shepard was on his lunch hour, he was on his property as a village resident.

The board concluded that the two men should work out their differences, Greenleaf noted.

Along with his full-time job with the county highway department, Shepard also works as the chief operator of Hannibal’s water department and is a trustee on the Village of Hannibal board.

He has been employed with the county since March 2011, according to county records.

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

Dave Gruel drove car owner Steve Miller’s 16 to victory lane Saturday night at the ISMA King of Wings at Oswego Speedway.

Gruel helps car owner Steve Miller get his first career win

Dave Gruel drove car owner Steve Miller’s 16 to victory lane Saturday night at the ISMA King of Wings at Oswego Speedway.

Car owner Steve Miller began his supermodified career in 1971. Over the years, he has fielded many cars with many drivers and his car, nicknamed the Sweet Sixteen, has been a familiar site at Oswego, all over the northeast and in Canada.

But there was one place the team hadn’t visited over the five decades and that was victory lane.

Saturday night at the ISMA King of Wings at Oswego Speedway, that all changed. When Miller’s driver, Texan Paul White, couldn’t make the trip, Steve called Dave Gruel, whose non-winged number 50 was not running with a wing, and asked him to drive the uniquely designed blue 16.

The rest is history. Gruel jumped aboard, drove the car to a heat win and picked the second starting spot for the 50-lapper.

Gruel said later that he had one plan. To get out front and go hard. Fifty laps later, Steve Miller had his first career win as a car owner and Gruel, his first ISMA feature win. He definitely deserved the King of Wings title this night.

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Henri Floch, former Phoenix teacher

Henri J. Floch died Tuesday, July 3, 2012. He was born June 1, 1928 in Brooklyn to his late parents, Henri G. and Martha (LeCoz) Floch, who were both newly immigrated from France.

While still a young boy, Mr. Floch got the opportunity to live in France.

He met his wife Doris, of nearly 58 years,also a Brooklyn native, on a blind date while in college.

After graduating from SUNY Oswego, he started teaching the sciences at Phoenix schools.

He was drafted by the U.S. Army soon after the Korean War began.  Upon his return, he resumed teaching. He often credited Principal John C. Birdlebough for shepherding him through all the steps as a new teacher.

Henri and Doris were married in 1954. They started a family by having three daughters. He wrote and published two science textbooks over his career.

He is survived by his wife, Doris (Burkle); daughters, Margot Floch and her husband, Greg Irving,

Nancy Mansson and her partner, Sheila Blais, and Barbara Floch and her partner, Bonnie Foley; grandson, Andrew Mansson and his wife, Christina Mansson; and two great-grandchildren, Henry and Jillian Mansson.

Calling hours will be held Tomorrow, July 12 from 4 to 7 p.m. at Allanson-Glanville-Tappan Funeral Home, 431 Main St., Phoenix.

The family is planning on establishing a scholarship fund in Henri’s name in the near future. Contributions may be made to the family at this time.

Fulton YMCA to be managed by YMCA of Greater Syracuse

by Andrew Henderson

The Fulton Family YMCA has entered into a one-year management agreement with the YMCA of Greater Syracuse.

The agreement was timed to coincide with the retirement of Fulton YMCA Executive Director Betty Fadden.

The YMCA of Greater Syracuse is providing the full range of administrative support, including accounting, human resources and program development.

By running the day-to-day operations of the Fulton YMCA, the board will have time to examine all facets of the operation and explore all options in order to continue to best serve members and the greater Fulton community.

“The YMCA of Greater Syracuse has a solid organization – committed volunteers, expert staff and engaged members,” said Steve Osborne, president of the Fulton Family YMCA Board of Directors.

“We are grateful for their support during this time of transition. Working together, we’re stronger,” added Osborne.

The most visible sign of that support will be Lisa Pachmayer, the interim executive director for the Fulton YMCA.

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

County to consider airport grant

by Carol Thompson

When the Oswego County Legislature meets tomorrow, one item on the agenda is the consideration of the acceptance of a grant offer for the design phase of aircraft deicing equipment acquisition and collection tank installation at the county airport.

The total design cost is estimated at $198,000, according to an informational memorandum attached to the resolution.

The highway department will receive 90-percent federal funding in the amount of $178,200 and five-percent state funding in the amount of $9,900 for the project. The local share will be $9,900.

The resolution recommends entering into an agreement with the Federal Aviation Administration to accept the grant offer.

The legislature will also consider the transfer of $30,000 to pay for assessment and survey work at the former county jail.  The funds will be used to pay for Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the environmental assessments and surveys of possible hazards such as asbestos.

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