Category Archives: Featured Stories

Auditions Dec. 17 and 18 for first play in Fulton Community Theatre 2014 season

Fulton Community Theatre will open auditions for the first production of its 2014 season, the romantic comedy “2 Across” by Jerry Mayer.

Auditions will be held from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, Dec. 17 and 18 at Holy Trinity Church, 309 Buffalo St., Fulton.

The production will be directed by Michael A. Bolio. No preparation is necessary; auditioners will read scenes from the script. The production will run weekends, Feb. 15-16 and Feb. 22-23.

The comedy tells the tale of two strangers, Josh and Jane, who meet on a commuter train. They are alone in the car, each is married, and both are doing the New York Times crossword.

She’s an organized, sensible, psychologist. He’s a free spirited, unemployed ad exec. She is a crossword pro, he always quits. They learn from each other, argue, laugh, reveal big problems, they kiss.  Will they meet again?

The character descriptions are as follows (Please note, both characters are in their late 40s to mid 50s): Janet is Catholic, structured, responsible, a good mother and usually right. She’s an achiever whose standards are high and her patience is low.

As a psychologist, she’s blunt and honest. She’s a law abider and a rule follower. Everything she attempts, she does well, except for one thing — she has got to learn to have fun.

Josh is Jewish and a paradox. He’s part free spirit, part executive, part dreamer, part good son, part Peter Pan. During the trip, each time Janet decides Josh is a flake, he does or says something that wins her total admiration, or he makes her laugh, which she’s not used to.

About two thirds through their journey, Josh decides that he and Janet might be meant for each other. Now all he’s got to do is convince Janet of that.

For more information, including upcoming auditions for the season, please contact FCT at its website,, or by emailing at

Photographer featured at Fulton gallery

Martha Lanctot is the featured artist for December at the CNY Arts in the heART Gallery in Fulton.

Lanctot’s work is affordable and so very versatile and she is a great addition to the gallery, officials say. The world of photography has evolved and so much has changed but Lanctot has changed along with it.

Here is how she describes her foray into photography:

“My fascination with photography began when I was five, which was 1947. My father was an electrical engineer for Alcoa. His job was to analyze how well various alloys of aluminum wire conducted electricity.

“The analysis required miles of photographic film. At the end of each of these gigantic rolls was a trailer of nearly 3 feet which would only be discarded. Dad would rescue the trailer.

“Later he would have mom lock him in the pitch dark of the car trunk so that he could fit that piece of film into his camera. ..  Then on a given magic night a bedroom would be turned into a darkroom.

“Dad, ever the engineer, rigged a tuna fish can, and tomato juice can, a length of pipe, and his camera to project an image on to the piece of photo sensitive paper.  The paper went through various Pyrex dishes of chemicals and finally into the bathtub for rinsing.  We had photos! It was magic in black and white.

“One Christmas in the early 1950s I received my very own box camera. Each roll of film had only eight precious frames.  The roll had to be mailed away for developing, and it took forever for the prints to be returned.

“I think Dad had as much fun teaching me to take pictures as I had being with him. Once, early on, he showed me how to take a picture of myself pouring a basin of water on myself by taking a carefully arranged double exposure. Oh, how I wish I had that picture today.

“My mother was a quilter and as such she was a wonderful fabric artist. She had a strong sense of color and composition for her quilts. I spent long hours watching her put her designs together, and hopefully some of her talent has seeped into me.

“She is 98 now and nearly blind, but her quilts are still known and sought in St. Lawrence County.

“Over the next 60 years, I went through a number of cameras. One drowned off the coast of Nova Scotia when I was helping put out lobster pots. Another died on safari in Kenya while “shooting” lions.

One was smashed to smithereens in a horrible car accident. One was ruined by sand and suntan lotion in Florida. Just recently my newest and best went over a cliff and bounced into a stream of water. The telephoto lens now has a visible curve, but remarkably still works.

“With my retirement has come time to explore the process of putting together the thousand piece jigsaw puzzle of technology and art that is photography.  And still the surprises keep coming.”

Lanctot is one of the many photographers with work on display.  Work by Judy Campany showing her treasure chest of beautiful Oswego County, Roxanne Butler with her many facets of photographs, William Grace Jr. with his very contemporary line, and Kendra Matott with her magical, fantasy line of prints can all be seen at the Arts in the heART Gallery.

‘Next Great Idea’ business competition set to begin

“The Next Great Idea: 2014 Oswego County Business Plan Competition”  is about to begin.

The competition culminates with  $25,000 awarded to the winner at an awards luncheon in November 2014, said Austin Wheelock, co-chair of the NGI Steering Committee.

The NGI competition will accept Business Concept Proposals Jan. 22 through April 11.

The Next Great Idea Oswego County Business Plan Competition began in

2008 when economic development officials along with business and community leaders came together to develop a program to encourage entrepreneurism and develop a solution for a problem many businesses find when getting started- access to equity capital.

“We knew we had a lot of great business ideas in the community but the recurring obstacle we kept finding when trying to assist businesses was a lack of equity for companies to get off the ground or to go to a bank and obtain traditional financing,” Wheelock added.

“We were losing companies and talented entrepreneurs to areas that had these types of programs and cultures of entrepreneurism in place,” he said.

Financial contributions that support this program come from the Richard S. Shineman Foundation of Oswego, Operation Oswego County, the Small Business Development Center at SUNY Oswego, Key Bank, and Pathfinder Bank.

In addition, the $25,000 equity prize can potentially be leveraged to borrow up to $250,000 in partnership with local banks, the County of Oswego Industrial Development Agency, the cities of Oswego and Fulton community development offices, the U.S. Small Business Administration, and other economic development agencies and programs.

Since the program began, it has made the dream of owning a business come true for two companies.

Lakeside Artisans Cooperative won the 2010 competition and Ocean Blue Technology, LLC, was the winner of the inaugural NGI competition in 2008.

Lakeside Artisans is a start-up, for-profit cooperative that has developed a retail and gallery showcase in Oswego’s Canal Commons to promote local artwork and artisans’ crafts. They have grown from a core group of six artists to more than 20 and continue to expand.

OBT, a Fulton-based manufacturing company, developed the DiveBud™ Scuba Safety Platform which is designed to be safer than its competitors and to appeal to the recreational and commercial diving market.

The DiveBud is a floating marker with a reflective flag and LED beacon that is tethered to the diver below.

The first phase of the 2014 NGI Competition will formally begin on Jan. 22 and the deadline for submitting proposals is April 11. The entire competition consists of three phases that will require the selected participants to develop full business plans and make their “pitch” in person to a panel of judges.

The judging panel will be composed of local bankers, business owners, venture capitalists and angel investors. This panel will determine which proposals will be selected to enter the subsequent phases culminating in the winner being chosen and honored at a luncheon in late 2014.

Ideas that are not selected will receive written feedback from the judges of how to improve their proposals for the future.

“We’ve designed the NGI program in a way to benefit all the participants involved, not just the ultimate winner of the competition,” Wheelock said. “If we have one $25,000 prize winner come out of this, but several bankable, feasible business plans with confident entrepreneurs then everyone wins, especially Oswego County.”

For more information, visit the website at, which includes an overview of the event, the application, a competition timeline, guidelines, details on the $25,000 prize, sponsors, and partners.

You may also call Austin Wheelock at -343-1545 or email at

New Oswego senior residence prepares for the holidays

For the residents of St. Francis Commons Assisted Living Residence in Oswego, this holiday season will mark their first in the new residence.

And like many others who enjoy the “art” of holiday decorating, they have been hard at work making their new home look attractive and festive in the spirit of the season!

“We have had a wonderful time in the past few weeks making the new residence into a place to call home,” said Peg Livoti, Director of Activities at St. Francis Commons.

“I think our folks are very proud of their home and have had many opportunities to ‘show off’ their holiday decorating to the family and guests who have been stopping in to visit or tour the new residence and learn about our service and amenities,” she said.

St. Francis Commons offers state licensed Assisted Living Program services and amenities. The residence provides supportive housing and care at a level that is less than a nursing home but more than may be found in an independent setting.

Services at St. Francis Commons include three meals a day, housekeeping with linen and personal laundry services, scheduled transportation, social programs, assistance with personal care and medication management. A hair salon, gift shop, as well as cable television and telephone connections in each room are some of the amenities offered.

St. Francis Commons will accommodate sixty individuals in three “neighborhoods” within the residence. Private payment, Medicaid, private insurance reimbursement and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are accepted.

St. Francis Commons Assisted Living Residence is the newest phase of development on the St. Luke healthcare campus, located on the east side in the City of Oswego. For more information about St. Francis Commons, call 326-0870.

Porky and Buddy thank those who have helped animal shelter this year

Dear Readers,

Well, #GivingTuesday has come and gone and we let it go by without a lot of Hoo! Ha!, because, quite frankly, we thought, why should we harangue all you good people about giving on one day of the year when you all do so much all year long.

But . . . in the spirit of creating “#days” just because we can, we have decided that today is #GivingThanksFriday.   (If it’s not Friday when you read this column, don’t worry about it, we write it on Fridays and we had to pick a day.)

On #GivingThanksFriday, we give thanks to and celebrate YOU!

You foster animals for us, a difficult and sometimes heartbreaking job, but one that is the foundation of our rescue and adoption program.

You volunteer hours every week in our spay/neuter clinic, helping us move closer every year to our mission to end abandonment and homelessness for pets.

You help us get our mailings out, organize our special events, hold your own fundraiser events with your friends and colleagues, all of which enables us to function and provide services on a bare bones budget.

You call us when you find an animal in distress and then go out of your way to help us help that animal.

You adopt our animals and get your friends to do the same so that we can help even more animals.  Then, after doing all of that, you help us with your financial support.

You are the Oswego County Humane Society.

And in that spirit, here is one more thing YOU can do.  The Humane Society has lots of handsome, elegant, interesting and cats available for adoption. You can see them at For the entire month of December, adopt one cat over six months old and the adoption fee is only $50.  Adopt another best buddy for him or her and the  adoption fee is only $25 for the second cat.  The adoption fee for all cats over one year old is only $25–not because they’re worth less–but only because they need homes more.

Speaking of being a part of the  Humane Society, bring a bag of scoopable litter or a bag of dry cat or kitten food (or $5) to the American Foundry on December 21st from 7 to 11 for the Third Annual Holiday fundraiser for the Oswego County Humane Society. Featuring the Billionaires with Tom Ciappa. A party for the animals with the party animals!

The Oswego County Humane Society provides spay/neuter services and assistance, fostering and adoption of animals in urgent need, humane education programs, and information and referrals to animal lovers throughout Oswego County. The office is located at 265 W. First St.,  Oswego. Phone 207-1070. Email: Website:


State Senate report, by state Sen. Patty Ritchie

It’s the holiday season, and for many people, that means there are holiday parties to attend.

This time of year, get-togethers are not only a great way to spend quality time with family and friends, they are also an opportunity to treat ourselves to our favorites — whether it be Christmas cookies, hot cocoa, mulled cider, eggnog or any of the season’s specialties.

Much of the food and drink we enjoy during the holidays (and in fact year-round) is produced right here in New York.

If you’d like to taste the best of what our state has to offer — and help support local businesses too — I encourage you to visit the “Pride of New York” website.

Located at, you can use the site to search for locally grown and produced food and beverage products from more than 3,000 “Pride of New York” members.

But it’s not just individuals who are buying locally produced food and drink.  According to a recent, informal survey I conducted, half of our region’s bars, taverns and restaurants serve wine and beverages produced locally in Jefferson, Oswego and St. Lawrence Counties.

Key findings of the survey — which included barkeeps, restaurateurs and chefs from the region — include the following:

** 65 percent said they currently serve New York-made wine, craft beer or distilled spirits;

** 51 percent said they served products from some of the 14 wineries, craft breweries or distilleries in Jefferson, Oswego or St. Lawrence Counties;

** 91 percent said they believed local products were “as good” or “better” than national brands.

While the growth of wineries, craft brewers and distilleries has exploded across New York State in recent years, there’s still a lot more that can be done to foster their growth — as well as the growth of the jobs they will create.

Recently, I sponsored and supported legislation easing taxes and regulation on wineries, craft brewers and distillers. In addition, for the past three years, I have also published an annual Farmers’ Market Guide for consumers.

Most recently, I have been working on drafting legislation to create the region’s newest Wine and Beverage Trail, located in St. Lawrence County, to help promote local businesses and draw new tourists to the region.

As the holiday season continues, I hope you’ll think about buying — and tasting — some of the local food and drink our region has to offer.

As a reminder, if you do decide to enjoy locally made wine, beer, spirits or other alcoholic beverages, I encourage you to do so in moderation and in a way that’s safe.

Remember to pace yourself, make every other drink a nonalcoholic one and be sure to plan on having a designated driver that can get you home safely.

A note about holiday news deadlines

We here at The Valley News love receiving news items and photographs sent to us to place in the newspaper.

As devout readers know, we fill the paper twice a week with lots of school news, events and happenings from area nonprofit agencies, business news, city and county government news, church happenings, sports and senior news.

There also are the popular weekly columns — Hodgepodge, In and Around Hannibal, Jerry’s Journal, Bodley Bulletins, A Sportman’s World and Light in the Darkness.

For all of you who send items to us, there are some deadline changes for the coming weeks due to the Christmas and New Year’s holidays. These deadlines are for news items — retail advertising, classified advertising, etc., has different deadlines.

If you want to get an item in the Saturday, Dec. 21 Valley News, you must have it to me by 1 p.m. Monday Dec. 16.

If you want to get an item in the Tuesday Dec. 24 paper (we are publishing Dec. 24 because Wednesday is Christmas), you must have the items to me by 3 p.m. Monday Dec. 16.

If you want to place an item in the Saturday Dec. 28 Valley News, please have it to me by 9 a.m. Monday Dec. 23.

There is no newspaper Wednesday Jan. 1.

If you want to place an item in the Saturday Jan. 4 Valley News, send it along to me by noon Dec. 31.

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and keep those items coming. Send to or dgroom@scotsmanmediagroup.comand

Breast cancer support group meets Dec. 17

The breast cancer support group will meet from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 17 in the community room of Oswego Health’s Fulton Medical Center.

Community members diagnosed with breast cancer can be guided through their journey of treatment by members of the support group. The local support group meets the third Tuesday of the month.

In addition to the support group, its members can provide a facilitator 24 hours a day to those that need support before the next meeting. Liz Schremp can be contacted by calling 592-7468.

Those attending the support group meeting are asked to use the Park Street entrance to the Fulton Medical Center.