Category Archives: Featured Stories

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.

Linda Daley new VP of human resources at Oswego Health

Linda Daley is the new vice president for human resources at Oswego Health.

Daley arrives at Oswego Health with more than 15 years of human resources experience, the last six in the healthcare field.

She most recently served as the director of compensation and benefits at the Albany Medical Center, which has some 8,000 employees.

The new vice president of human resources was attracted to the Oswego Health position as she believes it will enable her to make a positive impact.

“I saw the health system as large enough to make a difference and small enough to have a personal impact on the people that work at the organization,” Daley said.

Daley added she was also found the community appealing.

“I did some research and liked the smaller size, that it was a community on two beautiful waterways and was home to a college, offering a young and vibrant atmosphere,” she said.

She earned her bachelor’s degree from Southern Vermont College and her masters of business administration from Iona College. Daley holds certifications as both a compensation professional and as a benefits professional.

Along with working in healthcare, for the past seven years Daley has taught online courses through the University of Phoenix.

She also enjoys home restoration and has taken several centuries-old buildings and completely renovated them. All together she has restored nine homes and a barn.

Since her appointment in November, Daley is getting to know her new community, joining the Oswego YMCA and taking walks with her two dogs in her neighborhood.

The Oswego Healthcare System includes Oswego Hospital, The Manor at Seneca Hill, a skilled nursing facility, which also offers a complete rehabilitation department and an Adult Day Health Services Program; Springside at Seneca Hill, a retirement living community; as well as the Central Square and Fulton Medical Centers, which offer urgent care, lab, medical imaging and physical therapy. For more information, call (315) 349-5500 or visit

Renovation project vote Feb. 4 in Fulton school district

By Ashley M. Casey

The Fulton City School District board of education Tuesday approved several renovation projects with a proposed cost of $4.4 million.

The public will vote on the projects Feb. 4.

The district’s main priority is the replacement of the roofs at Lanigan and Granby elementary schools, which will comprise the majority of the cost. The roof renovations would take place in the summer of 2015.

The gym floor in Lanigan also must be replaced, as it has tested positive for mercury. Superintendent Bill Lynch said New York state’s laws regarding mercury disposal are so strict that the district may have to take the materials out of state.

Other items in the project include replacing the locksets in all classrooms and offices, paving work at Granby and the construction of an athletic storage building.

The district will sell bonds of up to $4.25 million to finance the capital project.

A public hearing regarding the renovations will be held at 6:30 p.m., Jan. 29, at Lanigan Elementary School.

Also on the agenda

** Director of Health, Physical Education and Athletics Chris Ells reviewed the district’s fall sports season. A total of 414 students participated in modified, junior varsity and varsity sports, up 29 from the 2012 fall season.

Several student athletes qualified for NYS All League Honors, and Connor Goss, of the golf team, is set to compete in the state quarterfinals in May 2014.

Ells highlighted the cheerleading team’s activities as well. He said New York state does not yet classify cheerleading as a sport, but Fulton’s 27 cheerleaders are preparing for the Love to Cheer competition, which will take place Feb. 8 at G. Ray Bodley High School. The school will host more than 300 cheerleaders from 24 schools.

** Executive Director of Instruction and Assessment Betsy Conners reviewed the district’s updated procedures for students in need of Academic Intervention Services (AIS).

The district has updated the academic standards for AIS students to better reflect the Common Core. AIS intervention now begins as soon as the students in need are identified instead of waiting until the following semester to start services.

Conners said that the parental notification system for AIS has also become more detailed.

In other business:

** Lynch thanked Volney interim principal Mike Egan for stepping into the role over the past few months. Lisa Garofalo has been chosen to take over as principal at Volney starting Jan. 6. “I truly appreciate the opportunity,” Egan said. “It is a very fun building.”

** The next school board meeting will be held at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 14, 2014, at the Education Center.

SUNY Oswego December graduation set for today

Submitted by SUNY Oswego

SUNY Oswego’s December Commencement (today) Saturday, Dec. 14, will feature as speaker an alumnus of the college who used his business administration degree to advance to leadership positions at Fortune 100 companies.

Now chairman and chief executive officer of W.R. Grace & Co., Alfred “Fred” Festa gained experience and acumen as he ascended the management ranks over two decades with General Electric, Allied Signal, ICG Commerce and Morgenthaler Private Equity Partners.

He joined Grace, a global specialty chemicals and materials company, as president and chief operating officer in 2003. He assumed the CEO responsibilities in 2005 and was named chairman of the board in 2008. He served as president from 2003 to 2011.

Festa championed the transformation of Grace into a fully integrated operating company.

Under his leadership, the company’s revenue grew 60 percent, from $2 billion in 2003 to $3.2 billion in 2011. He spearheaded intensified productivity efforts at Grace that delivered cost savings and revenue enhancements of $155 million in 2011.

He created the Grace Research Council to oversee greater R&D collaboration, generating an active innovation pipeline. Products introduced in the past five years delivered around one-third of Grace’s annual revenues in 2011.

Loyal alumnus

Festa will receive the SUNY Oswego Presidential Medal at the ceremony in recognition of his support of his alma mater.

He and his wife MaryLynn Barbero Festa, a 1982 graduate of Oswego, established

Taxes up, personnel cuts to come in preliminary Fulton city budget

By Ashley M. Casey

Fulton Mayor Ronald L. Woodward Sr. announced Tuesday the Fulton Common Council has worked out a preliminary budget for 2014.

The $16,279,089 budget includes a 27 percent tax rate increase and elimination of city employees.

The budget in 2013 is $15,452,097. The tax rate is $17.06 per $1,000 of assessed value.and tax He stressed many changes are still to come before a final budget is presented for a public hearing. The date for this public hearing will be announced later.

Under the current version of the budget, taxes would increase 27.864 percent, bringing the tax rate  up to $21.78 per $1,000.

People owning an average house assessed at $60,000 would pay about $283 more in taxes in 2014 if this budget became the final budget.

But, Woodward said while taxes will definitely increase in 2014, this rate is by no means the final rate.

“The public has to realize that myself and the council members live here and pay property taxes,” the mayor said. “We don’t want to pay more either.”

The mayor and the Common Council held a budget workshop Dec. 7 to outline the 2014 budget. They found the city’s assessed value has decreased by more than $10 million, revenue is down $305,490, expenses are up $826,992 and there is no fund balance for the new year.

Of the increased expenses, $526,186 comes from health care benefits to city employees, most of them public safety workers.

“This is the biggest contributing factor to the depletion of the fund balance,” Woodward said of the skyrocketing health care costs.

Although the city has cut 10 percent of its workforce during Woodward’s term as mayor, more personnel cuts are to come.

“We will not get through this budget without staff reductions,” he said.

The mayor declined to discuss which positions were on the line.

“They’re very difficult (decisions). It’s a human thing. They’ve all got lives and have to make ends meet,” Woodward said. “Do you do what’s best for all people, or a few people?”

The impending renegotiation of the fire department, police department and CSEA union contracts will pose an additional financial challenge to Fulton in 2014. The contract negotiations are expected to take much of the year.

Fortunately for Fulton, the state’s Financial Restructuring Board for Local Governments will be offering recommendations for the fiscally stressed city next year.

The public hearing date will be announced at a community development meeting 6 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 17, at the Fulton Municipal building.

The Common Council is holding a budget workshop immediately after the community development meeting.