All posts by Debbie Groom

ARISE ramp builders busy this summer

With the help of volunteers, the ARISE Oswego County Ramp Program reached a new milestone this summer.

During one weekend, volunteers built three ramps for three different families living in three different parts of the county – and they were able to do it twice.

If additional volunteers lend a hand, there’s still time left to help more families before winter hits.

So far this year, the Oswego County Ramp Program has helped many local Oswego County families reclaim access to their homes.

Earlier this month, ARISE built a ramp for a couple who has not been able to leave their home for over two years. With the ramp in place, they’ll be able to resume everyday activities like going to the grocery store or just enjoying the crisp fall air from their front yard.

With more than 60 families on the waiting list, ARISE will continue to build ramps for as long as the weather permits. However, in order to help as many families as possible before the end of the year, more volunteers are needed.

Construction experience is a plus but not necessary. If you’d like to volunteer or make a donation to help ARISE purchase more construction materials, email Kris Rabideau, ARISE Housing Advocate/Ramp Coordinator, at or

Volney public hearing on overriding state tax cap Oct. 10

By Scott Allardice

It looks like the town of Volney may be raising taxes in 2014 in excess of the state-mandated cap on property tax increases.

But it only looks that way, said Supervisor Dennis Lockwood.

Revenues from a new water district in the town are expected to boost Volney’s income over the tax cap number; which is 2 percent or the rate of inflation, whichever is lower.

State Comptroller Thomas DiNapolli recently set the tax cap at 1.66 percent for the 2014 budget year.

The new water district includes County Route 45, McDougall Road and part of County Route 6.

“The rest of it might be less than 2 percent,” Lockwood said, referring to the rest of the town’s 2014 spending plan.

Town officials are in the midst of the 2014 budget process this month and next, and must adopt a final 2014 spending plan by Nov. 20.

But with the anticipated “excess’ spending, the town is required to adopt a resolution to override the state spending cap.

There will be a public hearing on the tax cap override resolution at 5 p.m., Oct 10 at the town hall.

New ramp built at Parents of Special Children

Parents of Special Children, Inc. recently had a wheelchair ramp built at its new office in Fulton.

The nonprofit agency,  funded through the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities and Family Support Services), moved to a larger suite in June to accommodate its growing programs.

Parents of Special Children support families who are caring for individuals with developmental disabilities by assisting with reimbursements of goods and services that allow them to better care for their individuals.

Construction for their ramp took place Sept. 14 with the help of many volunteers and donors.  The project was coordinated by Dick Bonanno of Operation Northern Comfort and Theresa Familo of PSC.

The staff, board of directors and families of Parents of Special Children would like to thank everyone who helped make this project a success, including Operation Northern Comfort, Hannibal American Legion, Hannibal’s Poorman’s Snowmobile Club, ARISE, ARC of Oswego County and the many family and friends who volunteered.

“This project was a huge success because of the volunteers. Working with so many amazing individuals allowed me to better understand the dynamics of people,” said Parents of Special Children Executive Director Theresa Familo.

“Believing that the more you give of yourself, the more your community is going to flourish,” she said. “It is also incredible to see things from a different perspective.  Seeing how everything is put together, from beginning to end, is extremely interesting to me.”

Parents of Special Children, Inc. will  hold an open house from 4 to 7 p.m. Oct. 16 for friends and families to visit its new office and use the new ramp.

For more information, call Familo at (315) 598-7672.

Valley Viewpoints: Candidate thanks those who voted in primary

I would like to thank everyone who voted in the recent Primary Election, whether they voted for me or my opponent.

While waiting for the results at the polls I had a chance to meet Ralph Stacy Jr., who will be my opponent in November. I found Ralph to be a gentleman and a friendly person. We had a nice chat about family, the neighborhood and whatever else came to mind. We congratulated each other on our respective wins that night, he on his Independance Party win and me on my Republican win.

We also wished each other good luck, but not too much. I like to think that whichever one of us gets elected, the fourth ward will be well represented.

I look forward to a good clean race. I would also like to point out that both the Conservative primary and Independance primary were decided by a single vote so I encourage everyone to get out and vote Nov. 5. I hope you will vote for me but regardless for whom you vote, make sure your voice is heard.


Thanks again to all who voted,

Jim Myers, Republican candidate for 4th Ward Councilor


Fulton CROP Walk set for Oct. 6

The Greater Fulton area community joins together Sunday, Oct. 6 for the Fulton CROP Hunger Walk.

The event takes place rain or shine.  Participants will meet at the Fulton Municipal Building  for registration at 1 p.m. and will walk either a Golden Mile or a 5-kilometer route.

Church World Service is the ecumenical organization which sponsors CROP hunger walks.  The Greater Fulton Area Council of Christian Churches has been the walk local host for more than 25 years.

Interested individuals or families  should contact their local church recruiters for envelopes and information on raising money for their walk.  A total of 25 percent of the money raised by the walkers returns to the

Fulton area to support SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) and four local food pantries. The food pantries include Oswego County Catholic Charities, the Salvation Army Oswego County Corps, Believer’s Chapel and Dexterville Community Services.

Last year, the Fulton CROP Walk raised more than $8,000 — more than $2,000 came back to the Fulton area.

Church World Service  is an international relief, development, and refugee settlement  agency working to eradicate hunger and poverty and to promote peace and justice around the world.

Recently it has been present in the aftermath of hurricane Sandy and the flooding in Oneida County and Southern Tier areas in New York state.

The slogan for the CROP Walks is “Ending Hunger One Step at a Time” and the community can participate as walkers or support walkers with their donations.

For further information contact your local church or Fulton CROP Walk committee member Lois Mirabito at 593-2731.

It’s pumpkin time!!



Logan Hilbert, 1, tries to pick up a pumpkin at Behling’s Orchard in Mexico.


It’s pumpkin time and farms across Oswego County have plenty of the orange fruits to buy.

But how the crops fared varies on where in the county a farm is located.

For instance, Will Ruby of Mexico said his half acre or so “look good” and the weather was great for raising pumpkins.

But Josephine Godfrey, of Godfrey’s Last Stand on Route 264 near Phoenix, said the pumpkins her family planted early in June didn’t do well.

“It was the wet weather,” she said. “We planted, they started blossoming and then we were getting a lot of rain.”

She said the pumpkins the family planted later, in early July, did much better. She said the farm will have enough pumpkins for its customers, but won’t be able to ship any to any other locations.

“We have about half a crop,” she said of the 4 1/2 acres planted with pumpkins.

Ruby said he planted his pumpkins late (beginning of June) so they are just turning orange in the field now.

Pumpkins are huge sellers this time of year the closer Halloween gets on the calendar. Most people throughout the region use them for either autumn decorations or carve them to make spooky adornments for their windows at Halloween time.

As pumpkin are grown lying flat in a field, they can be harmed by too much rain or not enough rain. Too much rain and either they won’t develop when first planted or they will be subject to mildew or rot nearer harvest time.

Cornell Cooperative Extension says on its website that another concern for growers are several different viruses which can cause plants to not produce fruit at all or results in poor fruit quality (size or color). Striped Cucumber Beetles and Squash bugs remain the main insect pests.

New York state ranks amongst the top three states (Illinois and Pennsylvania are the other two) in pumpkin production in the country with more than 6,800 acres of pumpkins produced with an estimated value of $24 million each year. Nearly all of these are for fresh market use for either decorating or eating. The pumpkin industry is highly variable with fruit ranging from quarter pound to several hundred pounds each.

Pumpkins are grown throughout New York state and are marketed through roadside stands, nursery centers and farmers markets and are also important in areas that have lots of agritourism. Included in this group are also other fall ornamentals such as gourds and ornamental squash.

News in Brief

The First United Church of Fulton is having its annual fall rummage sale from 10 a.m. To 2 p.m. Friday, Oct. 4 and 9 a.m. To 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 5 at the church at 33 S. Third St., Fulton.

A $3 bag sale will take place Saturday from noon to 1 p.m. The basement boutique will be open both days.

The sale will include winter clothing, shoes, books, household items, jewelry, toys, collectibles and other items. Light lunch foods and bake sale items also will be available for purchase.


Main Street Wine & Spirits at 600 Main St., Fair Haven is hosting its second annual wine tasting to benefit breast cancer research and awareness programs.

The tasting will be from 3 to 7 p.m. Friday Oct. 4 and Saturday Oct. 5.  Stop by to sample The Purple Cowboy, a red blend from California, Washington Hills Late Harvest Riesling from Washington and some Chardonnay and Merlot from France.

The wines featured in this tasting all donate to various research, support foundations and awareness programs as well.  A percentage of the profits from sales for October will go to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. Donations also are welcome.


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. 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.


Oswego County Harvest Dinner set for Oct. 18

Two of Oswego’s best chefs will be creating six delicious courses for guests of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oswego County’s Fourth Annual Oswego County Harvest Dinner on Friday, Oct. 18.

The dinner will showcase the quality and diversity of agriculture in Oswego County by featuring locally grown and sourced food from local farmers and agriculture businesses. The featured chefs this year are Eugene Batrak, Head Chef of The American Foundry, and Peter Belmonte, Executive Chef of Red Sun Fire Roasting Co.

Oswego-born Eugene Batrak is the new Head Chef for The American Foundry. However he is no stranger to the kitchen, serving as sous chef for 10 years to the former Head Chef, Emil Nymander, a great man and chef. Batrak has worked in restaurants since he was 14, both in the front and back of the house. He has a great passion for food and has also worked as a private chef in New York City. The American Foundry is located at 257 West Seneca St. in Oswego and will once again be the host of this annual celebration of local food.

Red Sun Fire Roasting Co.’s Executive Chef Peter Belmonte is a former Marine, turned award-winning Executive Chef. Belmonte has been a chef for 19 years and an executive chef since 1999 mainly in New York City and New England. His food has received seven Four-Diamond Awards by AAA and, while working at The Inn at Thorne Hill, that establishment was rated on Conde Nast’s Gold List twice. He left fine dining two years ago to enjoy life more. Belmonte joined Red Sun earlier this year and appreciates cooking with a more rustic approach. The Oswego County Harvest Dinner falls in line with what Red Sun’s approach to dining is, using seasonal and local foods. Red Sun Fire Roasting Co. is located at 207 W. First St. in Oswego.

Assisting with the prep work for the event is the Oswego County BOCES Culinary department. Students enrolled in the Culinary Arts classes will help prepare the local foods for the chefs to utilize in their dishes. From peeling potatoes and garlic to chopping onions and squash, the students will gain valuable experience in food preparation.

The Oswego County Harvest Dinner begins at 6:15 p.m. at the American Foundry in Oswego. Tickets are on sale now and must be purchased ahead of time. Prepaid reservations can be made sending payment to CCE of Oswego County, Harvest Dinner, 3288 Main St., Mexico, NY 13114. No tickets will be sold at the door. The event is expected to sell out as it has in the past, so make your reservations now.

The evening will start with a social hour, including a sampling of Oswego County beverages. Guests will be served a six-course meal showcasing the delicious and diverse agricultural products produces in Oswego County, followed by the guest speaker. There will also be raffle baskets featuring Oswego County’s finest agricultural products and more. For more information on the Oswego County Harvest Dinner please call 315-963-7286 or e-mail

Oswego County is a rural county, with a prosperous agricultural community.  The diversity of land allows for the growth of a variety of agricultural products including onions, apples, meat, cheese, wine, maple syrup, honey, berries, plums, peaches, and a wide variety of vegetables. Within the county there are at least seven local farmers markets, with one open almost every day of the week. The agricultural community in this county generates $39.4 million in annual revenue from 639 farms and supplies over 5,000 jobs.

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oswego County provides equal program and employment opportunities. Its mission is to improve the quality of life for the community through education that is valuable to the lives of Oswego County residents. For more information, call 963-7286 or go online to