All posts by Nicole Reitz

Hodgepodge: June 30, 2012

by Roy Hodge

Last week, before we were scheduled to visit grandson Marcus on the occasion of his second birthday, I brushed up on what to expect from two-year-olds.

I remembered that two-year-olds like to move quickly from one activity to another and then come back to the beginning.

They will play with a toy for a few minutes and then move on to another one.  When you are two, ripping wrapping paper from a present and the box the toy was packaged in might be more appealing than the gift itself. The ribbons are a lot of fun, too, and they taste good.

Two-year-olds walk, jump, run and climb. A great deal of time is spent exploring, pushing, pulling, filling and dumping.  They cry, and then very quickly they are laughing and giggling.

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Bertha Mae Kelly, former Fulton resident

Bertha Mae Kelly, 89, died June 23, 2012 in Carlsbad, Calif. at home with family at her bedside, after a short battle with maxillary sinus cancer and much longer battle with suspected Alzheimer’s disease.

Born June 25, 1922 in Watertown, she lived in Carlsbad with husband Donald Paul Kelly, who died Sept. 7, 2006, and daughter, Valerie G. Browne. She was primarily a homemaker, but worked with her husband at J.R. Wood Company in Atwater, Calif. until they both retired in 1996. The pair returned to Fulton to enjoy family and friends during early retirement. They moved to Centralia, Ill. to spend time with family and friends; and, returned to San Diego County, Calif. for their final years with family.

She was predeceased by her husband of 27 years, Donald Paul Kelly; and husband of 32 years,  Harold Howard Bronner; her father and mother, Nicholas Cleophous Martin and Lida May Landon; brother, Nicholas Martin; sister Mary Martin; and great-grandson, David Wayne Morrison II.

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Meeting adjourned: Final Fulton Board of Education meeting for Robbin Griffin

by Nicole Reitz

Robbin Griffin, a 21-year member of the Fulton Board of Education, said goodbye to her fellow colleagues during Tuesday’s meeting.

Griffin’s three-year term ends June 30. She will be replaced by former board member Dan Pawlewicz, who will rejoin the table next month.

Griffin first ran for a seat on the school board in 1991. At that time, she had attended board meetings for ten years and was an active member of the Friends of Fairgrieve Parent Group.

Twenty-one years ago, the school board was much different and didn’t have the policies that exist today, said Griffin.

“We had absolutely nothing written down,” she said.

Now, there are more than 9,000 policies outlined in the district’s handbook. These policies include expectations of the staff as well as the intent of the district.

“Overall, the development of strong policies are beneficial for kids and people who work in our system,” noted Griffin.

In the last two decades, Griffin said the board is more accepting and open to accountability. She added that she is also proud of her peers’ commitment to the board.

As far as the students, Griffin said technology has changed the classroom. Students are more distracted with handheld technology and need interaction. Teachers have to be more in-tuned to the millennial generation, which requires them to make plans above and beyond a sit and listen lecture.

“Expectations of students are much more rigorous than they were 21 years ago,” said Griffin.

She often jokes at monthly public meetings that her grandson is going to be more knowledgeable than her soon.

To keep up with her knowledge of education, Griffin sits on many committees. She has sat on the audit committee since its formation, which she described as a well-working group that works at a high level of performance. In the past, she also served on a committee that studied student eligibility.

Throughout her career, Griffin said she has kept her focus on education, whether it be focused on the school board or lobbying in Albany or Washington, D.C.

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

County considers camp renovations

by Carol Thompson

The lodge at Camp Zerbe in Williamstown is in disrepair and funding is being sought once again to fix the ailing building.

In 2010, the county received a grant to conduct an assessment of the lodge in order to determine if the building could be restored to a usable condition. It was determined that the lodge could be stabilized without the need for a full restoration.

Last year, a grant was applied for but the project was not selected for funding.

The county will now file a grant application for $350,000 from the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.

The old Adirondack style lodge, built in the mid 1940s, consists of a large room that features a fire place at each end, a kitchen and a large open front porch that overlooks Lake Lorraine, a supporting memorandum states.

Due to disrepair, the lodge was never used and has been boarded up for some time.

The county cannot demolish the structure without state approval due to conditions that were set forth when the county purchased Camp Zerbe.

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County committee members discuss transfer station accident

by Carol Thompson

A Pulaski man was taken to Upstate University Hospital in Syracuse after his car crashed through the Pulaski transfer station shortly before noon Monday.

The man, identified as Joseph Holynski, 65, backed his car into the main building and failed to stop, emerging his car out the other side, where it fell approximately 20 feet, landed on its back end and rolled onto its roof.

Oswego County Solid Waste Director Frank Visser told members of the legislature’s Infrastructure and Facilities Committee Tuesday: “In my mind, it is amazing that person didn’t get hurt.”

Visser noted that Holynski backed up into the bay and kept going.

Employees of the transfer station acted quickly and Legislator James Oldenburg, who chairs the committee, commended them for their quick response and the manner they handled the entire incident.

Visser said Holynski was talking when employees arrived to assist him.

“He had no idea where he was and what had happened,” Visser said of the accident victim.

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County DA in line for 17 percent raise

by Carol Thompson

Oswego County District Attorney Greg Oakes will see his salary soar as the state has approved more compensation for the position.

Oakes salary will jump from $119,800 annually to a minimum of $140,166 — an increase of more than $20,000.

The legislature’s Strategic Planning and Government Committee approved the modification of the district attorney’s budget to accept an allocation in the amount of $59,989 from the State of New York for assistance under the District Attorney Salary Aid Program.

According to the memorandum attached to the resolution, “Chapter 567 of the Laws of 2010 created the Special Commission on Judicial Compensation to examine, evaluate and make recommendations with respect to adequate levels of compensation and non-salary benefits for Judges and Justices of the state paid courts of the Unified Court System.”

It continues, “The Commission recommended that all New York State judges receive phased-in salary increases over the next three fiscal years beginning April 1, 2012 and a law was adopted with these recommendations.

 To read the rest of the story, subscribe to The Valley News by calling 315-598-6397
Pictured are Steve Byrne, Owen Benjamin and Dan Luria in “Sullivan and Son,” a new situation comedy premiering Thursday, July 19 at 10 p.m. on Turner Broadcasting System. Benjamin is an Oswego native.

Oswego native premiers in new comedy series on TBS

Pictured are Steve Byrne, Owen Benjamin and Dan Luria in “Sullivan and Son,” a new situation comedy premiering Thursday, July 19 at 10 p.m. on Turner Broadcasting System. Benjamin is an Oswego native.

Oswego native Owen Benjamin is featured in a new situation comedy, “Sullivan and Son,” premiering Thursday, July 19 at 10 p.m. on Turner Broadcasting System.

“Sullivan & Son,” starring popular comedian Steve Byrne, is set in a popular pub in a working-class Pittsburgh neighborhood.

“Sullivan & Son” is executive-produced by Vince Vaughn (“The Break-Up”), Peter Billingsley (“Iron Man”) and show-runner Rob Long (“Cheers”).

In “Sullivan & Son,” Byrne plays Steve Sullivan, a successful corporate attorney from New York who brings his girlfriend, Ashley (guest star Brooke Lyons of “2 Broke Girls”), home to meet his parents.

Steve’s timing is impeccable, however, since his Irish-American father, Jack Sullivan (Dan Lauria of “The Wonder Years”), and Korean mother, Ok Cha (Jodi Long of “Beginners”), are preparing to sell the family business, a bar known as Sullivan & Son.

Filled with locals and regulars, Sullivan & Son is the unofficial “town hall” for the neighborhood. Within moments of his arrival, Steve reconnects with his best friend, Owen (Owen Benjamin); gets accosted by his long-suffering, under-appreciated younger sister, Susan (Vivian Bang of “Yes Man”); endures offensive comments from gruff barfly Hank (Brian Doyle Murray of “Groundhog Day” and “Saturday Night Live”); and gets hit on by tipsy cougar Carol (Christine Ebersole of “Royal Pains” and “Amadeus”).

He even feels a rekindled romantic spark with his former sweetheart, Melanie (Valerie Azlynn of “Tropic Thunder”).

It doesn’t take Steve long to realize that what he really wants out of life is to return to the old neighborhood and take over Sullivan & Son, even if it means giving up a lavish Manhattan lifestyle with the gorgeous Ashley. And so begins Steve’s quest for a more meaningful and rewarding life away from the courtroom but behind the bar.

Benjamin started his comedy career in music. While majoring in history at SUNY Plattsburgh, Owen honed his comedy skills. Owen was a regular on MTV’s “Punk’d,” E!’s “Chelsea Lately”, Comedy Central’s “Live at Gotham,” and Late Show with Jimmy Fallon.

Benjamin has had his own special “Comedy Central Presents Owen Benjamin.” He’s a regular on Nick Swardson’s “Pretend Time” as well as over ten appearances on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

Owen’s feature credits include “I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry” and “The House Bunny,” where he played Marvin the Butler. He starred in “All’s Faire in Love,” with Christina Ricci and appeared in “Born to Be a Star,” with Nick Swardson and “Jack and Jill,” with Adam Sandler.

He has done stand up at the Aspen Comedy Festival, Montreal Comedy Festival, a nationwide 18 city tour with Vince Vaughn and Kevin James as well as clubs and colleges across America, including SUNY Oswego and Owen’s alma mater, SUNY Plattsburgh.

His short films and web series have accumulated over 10 million hits.

Legislators want state to halt mandates

by Carol Thompson

The large raise handed down by the state for Oswego County District Attorney Gregory Oakes sparked a discussion in regard to unfunded state mandates that are strapping the county coffer.

During Monday’s meeting, the legislature’s Strategic Planning and Government Committee approved the salary increase for Oakes, which will jump from $119,800 annually to a minimum of $140,166, an increase of more than $20,000.

Legislator Doug Malone suggested that the legislature send a resolution to oppose the unfunded mandates because the raise was not budgeted.

County Administrator Phil Church said he could prepare a resolution for the next meeting that would address not only the issue of the raise, but other issues as well that impact the county budget due to unfunded mandates.

“As long as there’s enough teeth put into it,” Malone said.

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