By Debra J. Groom
Sheriff Reuel Todd is asking the Oswego County Legislature for more money to pay for inmates he has to ship to other county jails because his jail is full.
Todd said he put $100,000 in the 2014 county budget to pay for housing inmates in other county jails. The cost to do this is $90 a day per inmate.
Through February, Todd’s cost for housing inmates elsewhere was $130,000.
He is asking for $30,000 to make payments already incurred and another $500,000 to pay for housing inmates in other jails for the rest of 2014.
“We do a proposed budget and the county approvs it,” Todd said. “It was overly optimistic that the $100,000 would be enough.”
Todd had this same problem back in 2012, when he ended up asking the county legislature for about $1 million more to pay for shipping inmates to other jails.
When the Oswego County jail is full, any additional inmates have to be housed in other county jails, such as in Cayuga, Madison or Oneida.
There are three primary reasons for there being so many inmates, Todd said.
One is there is more crime taking place. Second is police are doing a great job in finding criminals and arresting them. If they can’t make bail, they have to stay in the county jail.
The third reason is state parolees who commit more crime. Todd said when a state prison inmate is released and put on parole and then commits another crime, that person is held in a county jail until the state decides what to do with him or her.
“They’re (the state) saving money in their budget by not taking these parolees back to state prison and costing the county money,” Todd said. For about two years, state officials, including state Sen. Patricia Ritchie, R-Oswegatchie, who represents Oswego County, have been trying to get the state to take back its parolees.
“But there’s been no movement on the state issues that should be addressed,” Todd said.
Todd’s request asks for $500,000 to be transferred from the County Appropriation Fund Balance to the Prisoners Charges — Other Facilities account.
The request was on the agenda for the April 1 Finance and Personnel committee meeting.
The jail overcrowding issue became so dire in Oswego County in 2012 that legislators approved a number of measures to reduce the number of inmates in the county jail.
District Attorney Gregory Oakes hired a part-time lawyer at $26,000 to handle all the county’s criminal case appeals. Before, one of his assistant district attorneys was handling the appeals, cutting by half the time she had to handle current cases.
Now, that person has a full caseload and is helping to move cases through the system quicker so defendants aren’t sitting in the county jail for months, Oakes said.
The county probation department also began a monitoring bracelet system so non-violent low-level felony offenders could be released with a bracelet instead of sitting in jail.
Oakes said there also is more discussion between prosecutors, defense lawyers and judges that helps to cut down on the amount of time defendants are in the county jail.
But still, with these changes, the jail population remains high.
Todd and Oakes said these measures are working (as of Friday, 25 defendants were on release wearing monitoring bracelets), but increased crime, more parolees and more arrests are putting a strain on the system.
By Rob Tetro
The Fulton girls’ varsity softball team is preparing to begin its season with great expectations.
After playing in the sectional quarterfinals and semifinals the last two seasons, not only do the Lady Raiders want to qualify for sectional play but they want to win a Sectional championship.
Coach Derek Lyons said his team has been playing together for a long time. With the improvement that they have shown along the way, he hopes to see his team qualify for the state playoffs.
Fulton is expected to be amongst the most experienced teams in Section 3 this season. The team will feature seven seniors and two juniors who have seen a lot of playing time over the past few seasons.
Lyons said his nine experienced players know what it takes to have a successful season. The seniors are Maureen McCann, Hannah Jones, Anna Guernsey, Mikayla Guernsey, Caitlin Chrisman, Kassidy Kearns and Keisha Pierce.
The juniors wth experience are Cheyenne Laun and Courtney Parker. These players are joined by fellow juniors Jessica Marvin and Katelyn Ely along with sophomore Casey Jones.
The Lady Raiders began practice in early March. Lyons expected them to be in pretty good physical condition when practices began and his team obliged.
Lyons said most of his players were in good physical condition because they took part in winter sports.
But Lyons said softball is a sport that relies on reaction a lot more than other sports. Developing reaction time was a big part of the first couple weeks of practice.
The players who didn’t participate a winter sport prepared for the season by taking part in open gyms and working hard in the weight room. Lyons feels every player could run the bases in a solid time.
However, the climate has limited the team’s outdoor training time. Lyons said even though his team appears to be in good shape, they will still be challenged when the time comes to adjust to running outdoors.
Fulton won’t have captains in a traditional sense this season. For the most part, Lyons expects to recognize his nine experienced players as leadership figures on a rotating basis. These players will be recognized based their work ethic and how they handle adversity and Lyons hopes the Lady Raiders benefit from the experienced players’ ability to lead by example.
The Lady Raiders will face a challenging schedule this season. A team they beat last season, Jamesville-DeWitt, is expected to be equally as tough this season.
Lyons hopes his team can continue to build off of the experience of winning against such a good team. East Syracuse Minoa is expected to be equally as challenging for Fulton.
Both Jamesville-DeWitt and East Syracuse Minoa are expected to benefit from strong pitching this season. Lyons also said Mexico, Cortland and Homer will be solid teams this season and be tough outings for the Lady Raiders.
The biggest strength Fulton expects to have this season is the leadership abilities that its experienced players bring to the table. The Lady Raiders also hope to get on base at a solid percentage. There are six players with .400 averages in hitting.
Fulton expects to have a fast and aggressive offense. Lyons said a hard-hitting offense equates to a lot of wins. He also expects the returning pitchers to be ready to preserve a lead their hard hitting teammates create.
Submitted by Oswego County Tourism
“Outdoor Passion” television host and producer Ray Carignan’s enthusiasm for fishing is contagious, and viewers will get a glimpse of the phenomenal brown trout fishing Carignan experienced in Oswego County on “The Early Summer Brown Trout Run in Oswego County” airing in April on the World Television Network.
Carignan, host of the Montreal-based “Outdoor Passion” weekly television series, fished with Capt. Kevin Keller of Fishchopper Charters last June out of Mexico Bay.
The episode will air on the World Fishing Network at 9:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. Saturday, April 5; at noon and 9 p.m. Thursday, April 10; and at 2 a.m. Friday April 11.
“If you love early summer brown trout fishing, you must watch this show,” said Carignan. “Fishing for big brown trout is a challenge. They are smart.”
The group caught their limit both days trolling for mid-depth brown trout with Keller off Mexico Bay.
“This world class fishery is full of excitement and fun – a great family outing,” said Keller.
Carignan and his cameraman, Claude Roulleau, also visited the Salmon River Fish Hatchery, Salmon River Falls and Sandy Island Beach on their visit to Oswego County, where they were hosted by Wally and Cheryl Kimmel, owners of Catfish Creek Fishing Camps.
“Outdoor Passion” has received numerous awards, including eight “Golden Moose” awards for best outdoor series in North America.
For additional information on the show, visit http://www.outdoorpassion.tv/schedule.html.
For Oswego County fishing conditions and visitor information, go to www.visitoswegocounty.com or call 1-800-248-4FUN (4386).
The Fulton Lions Club will host its “The Mane Event” comedy night with nationally known comedian Tom Anzalone at 8 p.m. Friday April 25, 8:00 p.m. at the Fulton Polish Home, said Don Labarge, Fulton Lions president.
“In addition to Tom Anzalone, we’ll also have comedians Grant Fletcher and Steven Rogers in what is sure to be a fun, entertaining night for all,” Labarge said. “Doors open at 7 p.m. and the show starts at 8 p.m.”
Advance sale tickets are $12 and can be purchased at Devine Designs, Fulton and The Fulton Medicine Place. The ticket donation is $15 per person at the door and tables of 10 may also be purchased in advance for $175 each.
By state Sen. Patricia Ritchie
To say Fort Drum is a significant part of Central and Northern New York is an understatement.
Home to the 10th Mountain Division — the Army’s most deployed infantry group — Fort Drum is our state’s biggest single-site employer with 18,000 soldiers and 4,000 civilian workers.
Last year, the post had a $1.4 billion impact on our state’s economy. And perhaps most importantly, the post is home to 38,000 soldiers and family members — our friends, co-workers and defenders of our freedom.
Recently, I hosted “10th Mountain Division and Fort Drum Day” at the State Capitol. This was the third year for the special event, held to honor our troops and their contributions to our region and our country.
The day included Fort Drum’s Color Guard opening up the Senate Session, which also featured an address by Brig. Gen. Michael Howard, who spoke on behalf of Maj. Gen. Stephen Townsend, who is serving in Afghanistan.
In addition, my colleagues and visitors to the Capitol were also given the opportunity to learn about our troops through displays hosted by the Fort Drum Regional Liaison Organization and Fort Drum soldiers.
The troops and Fort Drum supporters who were able to attend the event reminded my colleagues and me of the hundreds of thousands men and women who volunteer to serve and defend our nation. They also served to remind us of how critical Fort Drum is not only to our region but also to the entire state and country.
The 10th Mountain Division and Fort Drum Day represents just one way I’m working to make sure the men and women of our Armed Forces get the recognition they deserve.
Recently, I announced that I am once again accepting nominations for the New York State Senate “Veterans Hall of Fame” program. The Hall of Fame pays tribute to New Yorkers who have served their country in the US Armed Forces and made significant contributions to their communities.
Each state Senator can induct one veteran annually, who will be honored at a special ceremony in Albany May 20. All nominees from Oswego, Jefferson and St. Lawrence Counties will be recognized locally at an event to be held at Ft. Drum on May 15.
If you would like to nominate a veteran from Oswego, Jefferson or St. Lawrence County for the program, visit my website to download a nomination form or call 782-3418 to have one mailed to you. Nominations must be received by April 20.
Our troops make so many sacrifices and I’m proud, as well as humbled to be given the opportunity to recognize them. If you know a veteran who has gone above and beyond to serve his or her country and community, I encourage you to nominate them for this special program.
“I am God and not man, the Holy One in your midst.” Hosea 11:9
Some may wonder why I am writing so much about the holiness of God? Why is it so important?
Well, it is important because it is nothing less than His holiness that we need. We do not need moral perfection according to any other standard. We need God’s very Holiness within.
We human beings, even (dare I say especially?) Christians, are too often content with a simple standard of morality. Such contentment, even with the highest standard of moral behavior reveals a sad misunderstanding of what God requires.
It blinds us to true holiness and more often than not results in silly standards and behavior. When true holiness as God means it, is confused with morality… no matter how high that standard of morality… it muddies the waters terribly.
It seems right, but it is so, so wrong. The standard is mistaken for true holiness of life.
Thus ‘holiness’ becomes associated strictly with outward behavior, resulting in prohibitions against things like drinking, dancing, playing cards, chewing tobacco, the use of makeup, attending movies and a score of other behaviors. When such moral standards are equated with Christianity, thinking saints have questions and are often confused.
I remember well attending a church sponsored night at the roller rink and one of the women who loved to ‘dance’ on roller skates (and boy could she make those skates sing!) asked the question, why is it is OK to dance with wheels on our feet but it is prohibited otherwise?
There was also the standard that Christians did not attend the movies but nearly everyone had a television. What made the big screen sinful but the little screen OK?
Or, and this one that many struggle with, if the drinking of all alcohol is bad why did Jesus turn water into wine? Why does it say that an elder must not be a man who drinks too much? And if all alcohol is bad, why did Paul tell Timothy to take a little wine for his stomach’s sake and his chronic illnesses?
Questions which led to confusion and ultimately to guilt-ridden behavior when the believer secretly engaged in those practices they were told were wrong. Why? Because the focus was upon a moral standard or code without understanding that the holiness God requires is nothing less than His holiness operating in our lives.
There is no true holiness in mere morality. Though there may be much that is highly esteemed among men, there is nothing about it that is right in the sight of God. That holiness operating in us results in the best of moral behavior, of course. Do not misunderstand. But it is so very much more.
Joel Scandrett, an associate editor with Intervarsity Press, put it well when he wrote “I believe one crucial ingredient to healing our moral confusion is the recovery of the biblical idea of holiness, which, though it results in private morality is in truth, so much more. (It is) the very life of God in us. Holiness stands at the beginning and centre of God’s call on our lives: ‘Be holy, because I am holy.’” (Lev. 11:44).
Biblical “holiness” carries a strong secondary connotation of moral purity, of course, but moral purity is not, first and foremost, what Scripture is talking about.
Instead, the most basic meaning of the words is to be “set apart” or “dedicated” to God. “I will be your God, and you will be my people,” says Yahweh (Lev. 26:12; Heb. 8:10).
Thus, prior to any consideration of morality, biblical holiness describes a unique relationship that God has established and desires with his people. This relationship has moral ramifications, true enough, but it precedes moral behavior.
Before we are ever called to be good, we are called to be holy. Unless we understand this, we fall into the inevitable trap of reducing holiness to mere morality.
How much more God is asking of us than mere morality! As long as our notions of holiness are limited to doing certain things and not doing other things, we can go through our entire lives obeying the rules (or at least maintaining the appearance of doing so) without dealing with a far more fundamental question: To whom do we give our first love and loyalty?
To be a disciple of Jesus Christ requires nothing less than death to our fallen, egocentric selves in order that we might live in and for him. “For whoever wants to save his life will lose it,” says Jesus, “but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?” (Mark 8:35-36).”
Why study the holiness of God? Because the Christian life is nothing less than His Holiness in us. It is not some imitation of His life or adherence to his perceived standard. It is not simply obedience to some moral code. It is not even doing what Jesus would do.
It is His life, his holiness within, lived out in us. As the Apostle Paul said, “For me to live is Christ.”
Pastor David M. Grey
Mt. Pleasant United Methodist Church
Submitted by Oswego County BOCES
A group of 10 John C. Birdlebough High School students showed off their talents and interview skills as they recently battled it out for the title of Mr. Phoenix.
With a bit of swagger, junior classman Ben Bulgrien’s humor, quick wit and eloquent interview answer earned him the crown and title of Mr. Phoenix, the district’s third annual male pageant event.
Junior Wyatt Parker was the runner-up, while freshmen Zach Thompson and Conrad Karl finished tied for third place.
Rounding out the field were Joe Brennan, Chris Nicolella, Josh Margrey, Andy Padula, Mike Girard and Michael Sadoski.
The contest served as a fundraiser for the junior class and pitted freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors against one another in a variety of events. Students performed songs, comedy, skits and other talents to keep the audience entertained.
“This is always such a great event,” said JCB junior class adviser Kathy Lathrop. “These kids put so much work into the event and it really shows.”
The contestants’ efforts were judge by a five-person panel of teachers who scored each participant on a variety of factors in each category.
Judges included Jenn Epolito, Tim Fredenburg, Rick Heffernan, Michelle Lewis and Angie Neiss.