All posts by Debbie Groom

Insurance programs offered in Fulton

All uninsured residents of Oswego County can learn more about the New York Official Health Plan Marketplace at information sessions held this month by  Fidelis Care at the gazebo in Fulton Municipal Park.

Fidelis Care representatives will be at the gazebo in Fulton Municipal Park on South First Street from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., weather permitting, every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday in October to help eligible residents apply for enrollment.

Current Fidelis Care members may also receive assistance completing their annual recertification at this event.

Those unable to attend should contact Fidelis Care at (888) FIDELIS (1-888-343-3547) to make an appointment to meet with a Fidelis Care representative.

The New York State of Health Official Health Plan Marketplace was founded so all New Yorkers could have access to affordable, quality health insurance.

Bodley Bulletins — by Julia Ludington

Keep listening to the morning announcements, as the activities of the school year are in full swing!

It may seem early, but many clubs and organizations have begun fundraising for trips later in the year. The GRB Chorus and Symphonic and Concert Orchestras are heading to Boston this spring and are putting together numerous fundraisers to support their visit.

The items they are selling are quite useful and oftentimes delicious. Members are selling Music Money Cards, which are a sort of reusable coupon that gives you discounts to several restaurants and other forms of entertainment in the area. If you are a frequenter of any of these establishments, a card could save you a lot of money.

Additionally, the members are selling candy bars throughout the school day and have just begun taking orders for frozen pies. If you know anyone in either of these organizations, make sure to treat yourself to either of these to help support the cause.

The first National Honor Society meeting for current members went well, and the chapter is hoping to give back to the community more than ever this year.

Members now have to complete eight in-school community service hours, which will be mainly through tutoring, and four outside-of-school hours each semester. The second meeting will take place Oct. 21 after school.

The end of fall sports is also the last time some of our seniors will play on the home turf.

The boys’ soccer senior night was last Tuesday, and it was an extremely exciting matchup. The boys played Marcellus and won 1-0, with Derek Prosser scoring the loan goal. The win was definitely bittersweet, as the underclassmen said goodbye to 11 extremely talented and dedicated team members.

Another senior night takes place tomorrow for girl’s soccer. The girls take on Homer, with JV playing at 4:30 and varsity starting at 5. The night will consist of a tribute to the team’s six beloved leaders and exciting play. Please come support.

Speaking of seniors, don’t forget to submit by Nov. 5 the prom and baby pictures you would like to see in the yearbook. Additionally, if you will be using your own headshot instead of the one taken by the school, then those pictures need to be in by the same date. All pictures can be turned in to Mr. Senecal.

Nov. 5 is a date to mark on your calendars not only because of the photos are due, but because it is the date of the first GRB orchestra concert. Nov. 6 is the date of the first GRB band concert.

The November concert is always a nice prelude to what the groups will play for the rest of the year. I know both groups have been working hard on their pieces. Be sure to come and listen to our very own musicians!

Proposed Volney town budget for 2014 features slight tax increase

By Scott Allardice

The Volney town board discussed the town’s 2014 budget at its Tuesday afternoon meeting and the early version of the plan calls for a tax increase of 8 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation.

The board’s proposal would raise the general fund tax rate 2 cents, from 72 to 74 cents per $1,000 and the highway fund’s tax rate by 6 cents, from $2.78 to $2.84 per $1,000.

General fund spending, budgeted at $736,741 this year, would increase to $743,750 in 2014. The bulk of the $7,000 increase would be used to cover pay increases of no more that 3 percent for town employees, including judges, clerks and secretaries.

The board had quickly dismissed requests for larger raises submitted by town employees, some as high as 16 percent.

“The employees of this town do a great job,” said Councilor Dave Canfield. “But if you’re asking for a 16 percent raise, you’re not living in the real world.”

The general fund also pays highway superintendent Roger Dunsmoor and the board is considering a 3 percent raise, from $50,000 per year to $51,500 per year.

The highway fund, budgeted at $1,118,650 this year, would increase to $1,128,050 in 2014. The $9,400 increase in spending pays for 2 percent raises for the town’s seven unionized highway

The town’s contract with the Volney Volunteer Fire Corp., which pays $319,640 this year and is the town’s second largest expense after the highway department, remains stable in the 2014 budget.

This year’s fire department tax rate is $1.05 per thousand and by contract renews at that rate. But while the tax rate remains the same, the tax revenue and payment to the fire department increases by just over $1,000 due to a small increase in assessed value in the town.

The total projected tax rate for Volney property owners in 2014 is $4.63 per $1,000, up from $4.55 this year.

The budget reviewed by the board Tuesday is expected to become the town’s tentative 2014 budget; that budget will first be the subject of a public hearing and then it is expected to be formally adopted at the Nov. 14 town board meeting.

Water district update

Also at Tuesday’s meeting, the board heard an update on the MacDougall 6/45 water district construction from Bob Guminiak, from c2ae, the town’s engineering firm on the project.

Guminiak said more than 1,800 feet of pipe has ben installed and that “all the main line pipe should be installed before the end of next week.”

He said work is complete on Silk Road, County Route 45, east of Silk Road and Black Creek Road. The remaining water main work is on MacDougall Road, Mount Pleasant Road and county Route 6.

After attending a construction meeting earlier in the day, Guminiak said the contractors “expect to do all the hook-ups before winter,” connecting homes and businesses in the district to the water mains.

The meeting had a missing component, officials from the USDA’s office of Rural Development were unable to attend due to the federal government shutdown.




Learn tree pruning ideas at Great Bear program Oct. 26

A program titled “Renovational Pruning Demonstration of Apple Trees” is set for 10 a.m. Oct. 26 at the Great Bear Springs Recreational Area.

In preparation for the upcoming pruning season, whether you have apple trees in need of care, or would just like to have your questions answered about pruning, arborist Fernando Araya can answer your questions and demonstrate renovational pruning of apple trees at Great Bear Springs.

Renovational pruning promotes proper growth and structural form for maintaining the best growth of fruit and maintenance of the tree.

Several of the pruning techniques can be applied to other fruit and landscaping trees. A highlight will be a discussion on wildlife habitat management for your apple trees.

Bring the family and enjoy the day at Great Bear. Along with the pruning instruction, a demonstration of making apple cider from Great Bear apples using a hand press will be given. Free cider and donuts will be available.

Afterwards, go for a fall hike on one of the many trails.

Up until the early 1980s, a thriving orchard business operated, selling apples, apple cider and other locally grown fruit. Today Great Bear is a non-motorized recreational area with a variety of trails through diverse wooded areas and the historic Oswego Canal tow path.

The demonstration will be near the parking and entrance area located adjacent to Route 57 and Hawthorne Road, 3.5 miles south of Fulton.

For a directional and trail map, go to:  Information, call 343-4565

Sponsored by the Fulton Public Library and Friends of Great Bear.

Report: Granby, town highway workers, could save with ‘Obamacare’

By Scott Allardice

The federal Affordable Care Act, or “Obamacare,” could change the way the Town of Granby provides health insurance for its highway department employees.

And it could save both the town and the workers money.

At the Oct. 9 meeting, the town board heard a presentation from Brooks Wright, of KBM Management, Inc., on an alternative health insurance plan for the five highway employees.

Wright explained the workers, members of the Teamsters Union, are covered under a plan through the union. This plan costs the town $124,946 this year.

But under a plan through Excellus Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Wright said, the town could provide coverage for $105,348, a savings of almost $20,000.

The benefits, Wright said, “are pretty similar to what they have now.” The cost savings, Wright indicated, could be greater depending on the demand for services by the employees.

The employees also could see a drop in their contributions toward health insurance of about $100 per month.

The town is negotiating a new contract with the Teamsters Union employees. The employees would have to approve any change in health insurance plans.

Town Supervisor Ed Williamson said he wanted to set up a meeting with the workers and Brooks Wright so the alternative plan could be presented and explained to them.

Wright also discussed the insurance coverage for the town’s non-unionized workers. Those workers also would get their coverage through Excellus, but the monthly premiums for the town would increase slightly; $28 for individual coverage and $140 for family coverage.

In other business at the meeting, the board:

** Learned that Gordon Marvin had resigned as a member of the planning board, effective Sept. 14. The board authorized the town clerk advertise for a replacement.

** Accepted a $785 bid from Sunrise Construction for work in the town hall conference room that includes patching holes in the wall, painting walls and new wood baseboards.

** Approved a request from Judge Bruce Wells for permission to apply for grants from the state Office of Court Administration.

** Noted that the board had received the resignation of Councilor Joseph Cortini, effective Sept. 27.

** Agreed to pay the town’s scrap recycling firm 25 cents a pound for electronics dropped off at the recycling shed.

** Accepted an offer from Williamson of $15 for a surplus cabinet from the highway department.

** Agreed to hold a public hearing on the preliminary 2014 town budget at 6 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 23 at the town hall, 820 county Route 8.

Fulton native completes Cancer Crush Campaign, raises more than $6,000 in 353-mile run

Benjamin Hall’s last two weeks were a triumph of the spirit.

There was the day of torrential rain — rain so bad that he had to stop his Crush Cancer Campaign run temporarily when his legs locked up.

Then there were the dogs who showed up on a dirt road to check him out.

“And I even had to stare down a buck,” he said. “We just kept staring at each other until he finally moved.”

On Saturday, Oct. 12, Hall, 31, completed his 353-mile run from his home in Maryland to Fulton, where he was born and many of his relatives still live.

He ran nearly 29 miles a day — more than a marathon, which is 26.2 miles.

His Crush Cancer Campaign began more than a year ago as he decided he had to do something to raise awareness of the dreaded disease that claimed two people near and dear to him — his uncle Timothy Thurlow in 2003 and aunt Michele (Thurlow) Bellinger, in 2007. Both were from Fulton.

“My brother and sister were looking down on him every day during the run,” said Hall’s mother, Jamie Prue. “They were the wings beneath his feet.”

Hall, who once was overweight and out of shape, was shocked into doing something about his health after the deaths of his aunt and uncle. He worked with a personal trainer in Baltimore, who gave him weight goals and helped him learn how to eat healthy.

Today, he is fit and trim and focused on helping others learn how to ward off diseases like cancer.

“I want to get people in the best shape they can. Diet and lifestyle increase (chances of cancer) another 30 percent,” he said in an interview before leaving on his run Sept. 28.

“One out of three cancer deaths is related to diet and exercise,” he said.

His aunt, Lynn Coulon, a sister to Thurlow and Bellinger, said the deaths of his aunt and uncle hit him hard.

“I think it was a traumatic experience for him,” Coulon said.

Hall said he met many nice people along his route, with some — like the motel crew in Owego, NY — putting out signs encouraging him on his journey.

The rainy day almost broke him. He  was between Clarks Summit and Montrose, Pa. “It was a 33-mile day and I had no motivation. It was miserable,” he said. “I had to keep stopping because my legs locked up. It took me eight hours to finish that day.”

When he jogged into the Kmart parking lot at 12:55 p.m. Saturday, nearly 50 people waiting for him, all decked out in fluorescent green T-shirts, cheered, applauded and broke into smiles that were at least 353-miles long.

Hall hugged his mother and then hugged or shook hands with everyone else. Many cried. hall and everyone else in the parking lot looked relieved it was over.

But then, after greeting everyone, Hall was joined by some of the crowd for the last 2.8 miles — a jog to his uncles house at 1740 Route 48, just north of Fulton.

With a police escort, he and his posse   moved on.

“I’m so proud of what he’s doing and what he’s accomplished,” said his mom. Anything he sets his mind to, he does it.”


David Mitchell, loved to travel

David Mitchell was born May 7, 1941 in Eckman, West Virginia. He died peacefully at his home in Annapolis, Maryland on Thursday Oct. 10, 2013 after a long illness.

David is survived by his wife of 50 years, Carol Casler Mitchell and his son Robert A. Mitchell;  sisters Becky Diaz (Pedro), Pam Medlin (Billy Scott) and  a brother Richard C. Mitchell,  III. (Janet). He was preceded in death by his parents, Richard C. and Addie Peake Mitchell.

David will be remembered for his love of life. He was a loyal friend, faithful brother, loving father, and devoted husband. He loved to travel, and his favorite place to spend his time was at his home in Fort. Myers, FL. David retired as a systems analyst with the US Department of the Treasury.

Family and friends may visit from 10 a.m. to noon Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013 with services immediately following at Foster Funeral Home, 837 Cayuga St., Hannibal, New York.

Memorial Contributions may be made to the David Mitchell Memorial Fund at Cape St. Claire United Methodist Church, 855 Chestnut Tree Drive, Annapolis, Maryland 21409.

News in Brief

There is a chicken barbecue benefit for Cody firefighter Andy Lawson and his family from 11:30 a.m. until sold out Oct. 20 at Cody Station 2, Wilcox Road.

The Lawson family recently lost everything in a trailer fire. In addition to the chicken dinner, there will be door prizes and raffles. Takeout dinners also will be available.

Call ahead to play an order at 593-8977.


Oct. 30 is the deadline to file applications to take a number of Civil Service tests in Oswego County.

The tests are: Caseworkers Aide and Caseworkers Aide Spanish speaking; Community Service Worker; Planning Technician; Principal Account Clerk (schools); and Senior Account Clerk.

All the tests are being given Dec. 7.

Applications and further information are available at the Oswego County Department of Personnel, County Office Building, 46 E. Bridge St., Oswego, 349-8209 or at



The Valley News is seeking events for December and in the coming New Year to be the primary photo displays on the cover of Wednesday editions.

Any organization, school, church or group that knows of a special event coming up, please e-mail that information to Managing Editor Debra J. Groom at

Include the name of the group, when the event is, what the event is and a contact name and phone number for the organization or group.

The photos are booked through Dec. 4 but we are looking for events that are occurring Dec. 4 and after.



People who receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits will see a decrease in their allotment beginning Nov. 1.

This is due to the increase provided by the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 will expire.

In 2009, Congress passed ARRA to allow for a temporary boost in SNAP benefits to help offset the economic downturn. This federal Act allowed for SNAP recipients to receive a 13.6 percent increase in their maximum monthly SNAP allotment. ARRA has not been renewed by Congress and as a result, the temporary increase is expiring.

Recipients will see two changes in their benefit amounts during the fall of 2013. Every Oct. 1, benefits increase slightly for most households to reflect the cost of living. This annual increase took place the beginning of this month.

In addition, on Nov. 1 of this year only, all SNAP recipients will see their benefits decrease due to the end of the extra benefits provided by the 2009 federal law.

Most SNAP recipients will see a decrease of about $11 per person, per month. The amount of the SNAP cut is based on the household size.


Two assemblymen and a state senator who represent Oswego County have been named to the New York Farm Bureau “Circle of Friends,.

They are: Sen. Patricia Ritchie, Assemblyman Robert Oaks and Assemblyman Will Barclay.

A total of 101 state legislators were named to the list for their support of New York agriculture and the Farm Bureau.

The “Circle of Friends” honor is based upon each legislator’s voting record on issues of agricultural importance as well as other evidence of legislative support, including sponsorship of bills that New York Farm Bureau has either supported or opposed during the most recent legislative session.

“The selected lawmakers from both the Assembly and Senate were chosen for their commitment to the hard working farm families in New York. Each friend has demonstrated that they understand the importance of agriculture to the people of their legislative district, and how farming significantly impacts the economy of this great state,” said Dean Norton, President of New York Farm Bureau.

The “Circle of Friends” is not an endorsement, and this distinction only recognizes the 2013 legislative session.

********************** reports with fall underway, leaves across the country are coming into senescence, creating a vibrant landscape of reds, browns, oranges and yellows.

Entering the first week of October, much of the East has already seen slight to moderate color change. Some areas farther North, have begun to enter the peak of their season.

“It looks pretty certain that the cold temps in September brought out early and good color to the Northeast, including Pennsylvania,” Marc Abrams, professor of Forest Ecology and Physiology at Penn State University, said.

“The August drought and early frosts (in places) is a slight negative, but overall the cold temps prevailed,” Abrams said.

Temperatures from September through mid-October have a significant impact on the vibrance of the displays. Cold temperatures become very important during this time, what Abrams considers the “critical period.”

“The warm temps this week may delay the trees that have not yet turned but shouldn’t deter the ones that have,” Abrams said.



Dugway United Methodist Church is having a harvest dinner from noon to 3 p.m. Sunday Oct. 20 at the church on Route 104, Parish, two miles east of I-81 at Mexico.

The menu consists of scalloped potatoes, ham, squash, baked beans, cabbage salad, cranberry sauce, applesauce, homemade breads and pies, coffee, tea and lemonade.

Prices will be $7.50 for Adults, $6.50 for Seniors, $5.00 for Children 6-12, and Children under 6 for free.  Family rates for 2 adults & 2 children over 5 is $20.00

The dinner benefits the United Methodist Women of Dugway United Methodist Church.




The Dugway United Methodist Church is putting on a hunger walk at 10 a.m. Oct. 19.

There will be refreshments afterwards.    Benefits will go to the local food pantries.


The Century Club is now taking orders for its annual nut sale to raise money for the Phoenix Public Library.

Orders will be taken through Oct. 16 (today). Nuts being sold include walnuts, pecans, cashews and chocolate-covered nuts.

To place an order, call a Century Club member of stop at the Phoenix Public Library on elm Street. For more information, call library at 695-4355 or the Century Club fundraising chairperson at 695-2232.



The Woodland Hallooween Festival is scheduled for 3 to 7 p.m. Sunday Oct. 27 at the Amboy 4-H Environmental Center.

Creatures of all ages will delight in the afternoon of free and fun family activities.  An adult must accompany all children for this special event.

Woodland Halloween Festival includes children’s games, crafts, face painting, campfire program, light refreshments and a trick and treat trail at dusk. Along this trail, trick and treat’ers will meet and greet friendly forest critters. The trick and treat trail will be open only between 6-7 p.m. The last group will leave the trailhead at 6:45.

Woodland Halloween Festival will be held rain or shine. Participants should dress to stay warm and to ward off the spirit of chill, and bring a flashlight.  This is a free public program.

The Amboy 4-H Environmental Education Center is located at 748 State Route 183, one mile south of Williamstown.



The Fulton Dining and Activity Center is having its annual candlelight dinner Oct. 24 in the community room in the Fulton Municipal Building.

Doors open at 11 a.m. With lunch served at noon. The fee will be collected at the door. There will be entertainment and door prizes.

Seating is limited to call Eileen for reservations at 592-3408. The deadline is Oct. 18.


Foster Funeral Home, with sites in Fulton and Hannibal,  has renewed its membership in the Lofty Oaks Association, a New Hampshire organization dedicated to reforestation and conservation efforts in New York state.

Foster arranges to have a tree planted for every service is performs to provide a living memorial in honor of the deceased and to renew forests in New York. The trees are planted in the spring and fall.

After each service, close family members and friends are informed that a memorial tree has been arranged for  by Paul E. Foster. When the tree has been planted, the designated people in the family will receive a certificate of planting suitable for framing at home.



The United Methodist women of the Red Creek Westbury United Methodist Church will conduct their annual SERRV Bazaar from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nov. 2 at the church.

Visitors will be able to pick up Christmas gifts for family and friends and enjoy lunch at the Holy Cow Cafe.

Proceeds from the bazaar go to the major mission project to support the the Folts Foundation, Westside Ministry, Pines of Peace Home, Matthew House, Church World Service, Doctors Without Borders, The Heifer Projects, Care Net of Wayne County, Gateway-Longview, Christian Mission Camp, Red Bird Mission, The Jambo Jipya School in Kenya and the farmers and artisans of SERRV.


Hollie Doyle of Oswego recently was selected to participate in the 2014 Mis Teen Syracuse/Binghamton pageant.

The pageant was held Oct. 12.


The Empire State Bottle Collectors Association will have its 15th annual fall antiques, bottles and more show and sale from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 20 at the Scriba Fire Station, Route 104 two miles east of Oswego.

There will be antiques, collectibles,  bottles, post cards, coins, insulators, watches, advertising items, glassware and brewery items.

Food and other refreshments will be available.