Category Archives: Featured Stories

Application pulled for third nuke plant at Nine Mile Point

UniStar Nuclear Energy has withdrawn its applications to build a third nuclear reactor at Nine Mile Point in Scriba,  according to the Associated Press.

The company submitted an operating license application in September 2008 to build what would have been Nine Mile 3. But just over a year later UniStar submitted a letter requesting the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to temporarily suspend the application review.

The AP reports the company told the NRC it was withdrawing the application because Nine Mile Point 3 was not selected for federal loan guarantees.

Fulton Common Council hears concerns about city’s “moderate fiscal stress”

By Ashley M. Casey

Three people spoke during the Fulton Common Council public forum Dec. 3 to express their concerns about the state Comptroller’s recent audit of the city of Fulton.

Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli deemed Fulton in “moderate fiscal stress” after the city’s available fund balance dropped 84 percent.

“As CEO, the mayor’s managing the city well. The council’s making good budget decisions. The chamberlain’s handling the money well,” said Dennis Merlino. “I can’t imagine there’s anything else to cut.”

Merlino asked if the state would be willing to accept budget cuts on state mandates, but Mayor Ronald Woodward Sr.  explained the bulk of Fulton’s budget covers benefits for city employees.

He said in 1986, such costs comprised 40 percent of the city’s budget; today, they make up 70 percent.

“The lucrative laws for public employees that the state has put into place have got to change,” Woodward said.

He added he would ask the state’s Financial Restructuring Board for Local Governments if there are any legislative solutions, but said state leaders are out of touch with the financial challenges small cities such as Fulton are facing.

“They mean well, but I don’t think the people who sit at the top really know what’s going on,” Woodward said. He said he and the council are striving to improve Fulton’s situation, adding, “That’s why we ran. That’s why we live here.”

Woodward said other cities are facing similar issues, such as Oswego, Owego and Syracuse.

Josephine Farrell said she had written a letter to the state suggesting improvements for local budget cuts, but received no response. She asked the mayor if the comptroller’s recommendations were of any value to the city.

“Were they anything you couldn’t have come up with on your own?” she asked.

The mayor said no.

Woodward said the state suggested that city offices shut off their computers at night to save on energy costs, which the city already does.

Fulton may be eligible to apply for grants or loans of up to $5 million through the Local Government Performance and Efficiency Program as part of the Financial Restructuring Board for Local Governments assistance.

The newly elected 25th District county legislator, Frank Castiglia Jr., said he was wary of the possibility of accepting money from the state.

“It’s okay to dance with the devil and listen to what the devil tells you during the dance, but if you let the devil take you home, then you’re in trouble,” Castiglia said. “I know the council wants to save the city, but what’s it going to cost the taxpayers?”

Woodward said the Financial Restructuring Board’s review process would take six months, and the incoming Common Council would vote on the state’s recommendations.

Ethics Committee appointees

In accordance with a New York state mandate, the Common Council has created an ethics committee of five members.

Donald Ross, Josephine Farrell, Charles Marks, Dena Michaels and Dennis Merlino were appointed to the ethics committee.

Third Ward councilor Peter Franco spearheaded the yearlong committee development process.

“These were the best (people) to start it off,” Franco said after the meeting. “They’re upstanding citizens, pillars of the community and involved in the community.”

The Common Council and the ethics committee have drafted an ethics document based on a state model. The committee will meet periodically. Meeting dates have yet to be determined.

“They will entertain complaints about any (city) employees, elected officials, appointed officials,” Franco said. “They will investigate the complaint, find out if it’s valid, and recommend remedies for that.

The committee members will serve staggered terms of one to three years to keep “continuity of members,” Franco said.

Woodward called the ethics committee “wonderful,” and several councilors expressed their gratitude to the appointees for taking the time to devote to the new committee.

Also on the agenda

The council approved a Resolution of Respect for late Valley News publisher Vince Caravan. “The Mayor and members of this Common Council share a deep sense of loss with the family of the late Vincent R. Caravan and do, with the deepest regret, take official notice of the loss of this very special man,” the resolution read.

The mayor declared 2013 as Tree Growth and Care Year, and the council approved the decision to apply for grants from the DEC for tree maintenance and pest prevention.

 

Oswego police add K-9 officer

The Oswego City Police Department is pleased to announce the addition of its new K-9 unit consisting of Officer James LaDue and Crixus, a 2-year-old Dutch Shepherd donated by the State Police.

The pair recently completed a New York State Police 20 week Basic K9 Handler training program in Cooperstown, where they were trained in tracking, building searches, handler protection and narcotic detection.

Additional funding for the program including food, equipment and veterinary bills have been supplemented through forfeitures acquired by the Oswego City Police Anti-Crime Team.

News in brief

J.J. Lane, contractor for the on-going combined sewer separation project in Oswego, says there will be some road closures and detours the week of Dec. 9 due to the project.

Weather permitting, the road closure/detour will go into effect at 7 a.m. Dec. 9 at the intersection of West First Street and Ellen Street. All southbound traffic on Route 48 (West First Street), will turn onto Murray Street and proceed to Munn Street, turning east onto Munn and continuing to Route 48.

All northbound traffic on Route 48 (West First Street) will be detoured at Munn Street, proceeding on Munn Street to Murray Street, turning north onto Murray Street and continuing to Route 48.

On Friday, Dec. 13, the intersection at West First Street and Ellen Street will re-open to all traffic.

Call the city engineer’s office at 342-8153, if you have any questions or concerns.

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The Fulton Medical Center will host an American Red Cross blood drive from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 12 in the healthcare facility’s lower level conference room.

Members of the public are encouraged to donate a pint of blood during the drive. To make an appointment, call 592-3505. Walk-ins are also welcome.

Those donating are asked to use the Park Street entrance.

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The congregation of the Southwest Oswego United Methodist Church is preparing for its annual Live Nativity and Nativities by Candlelight event from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14.

Church members will present a tableau of the special night at Bethlehem when Christ was born in the manger. The scene, which also includes live animals, will take place outside in the shed.

Inside the church sanctuary a wide variety of Nativity sets will be on display in candlelight. The Nativity sets, on loan from church families and friends, have in past years ranged in size from a scene in a walnut shell to a large white ceramic set.

Last year there were over 100 sets on display. There are new additions every year as some church members have started collecting Nativity sets.

There will be some new surprise additions to the live Nativity this year. The gazebo will be decorated with trees and lights, making it a perfect spot for family pictures.

Children attending will receive a special Nativity gift from Ernie the donkey. Cookies and cocoa will be served.                                                                                                                                               The church is at 7721 State Route 104 west.

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The annual St. Joseph’s Church’ Craft Show and Bake Sale  is set for 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 14 in the Parish Center, across from the YMCA.

Fifty vendors will be available. The site is handicapped accessible.

Homemade soup and chili will be served for lunch as well as home-baked goodies for dessert. Proceeds from this year’s show will again benefit the building repairs.

The show will feature a huge bake sale as well as craft item such as , including homemade breads, rolls and dog sweaters and catnip toys, handmade crocheted and knitted hats, sweaters, scarves and mittens, angels dressed in brocade, doll clothes for Barbie and other baby dolls. Crochet-topped towels, slippers, scarves, jewelry, Christmas wreaths, lamps and nightlights created from recycled wine bottles, birdhouses and walking sticks.

Hourly raffles also will be drawn and you must be present to win.

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Oswego AmeriCorps Member Gabrielle Vono will be hosting a community involvement project to benefit the Oswego Animal Shelter.

Vono is asking for donations of canned dog or cat food to help increase the shelters supply.

Donations can be made directly at the shelter from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday-Friday, the Oswego AmeriCorps Youth Bureau entrance from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday- Friday, or the Fulton Public Library from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Saturday.

Donations will be accepted Dec. 3 through 23.

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About 200 jobs are expected to be created by the end of next year when Gatehouse Media’s Center for News and Design relocates to Austin, Texas.

Gatehouse Media, based in Fairport outside of Rochester, owns and operates 431 newspapers, including the Palladium-Times in Oswego.

The move is expected to be completed by spring 2014 when all design house publications will transition to Austin.

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It is New Year’s Resolution time and the Red Creek Community Center has you covered.

The center is offering new classes this session. Classes include: Build and Burn Total Body Workout, Personal Training, Yoga, Bone Builders Osteoporosis Club, Twinges and Hinges Arthritis Club, Walk/Run Group, Weight Loss Body Transformation Program, Full Court Pick-Up Basketball for ages 16+ and Full Court Pick-Up Basketball for ages 40+, recreational volleyball league, and Red Cross Swimming Lessons.

Registration for all programs begins Friday, Dec. 13. All classes begin the week of Jan. 4.

The Red Creek Community Center also has a fitness room with Cybex strength equipment, cardio equipment, and free weights, a gymnasium with an indoor track, a 25-yard pool with 1 meter spring board, a sauna, steam room and spa, a racquetball court and multi-purpose room.

Stop by the Community Center or call 754-2065 for more information.

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The Mt. Pleasant United Methodist Church recently joined in making Christmas Shoe Boxes with other area churches to help with the Mission of Operation Christmas Child.

The program was founded to to demonstrate God’s love in a tangible way to needy children around the world.

The 84 shoe boxes were completed under the direction of Betty Crouch. The boxes contained toys, school supplies, tooth brushes, tooth paste, soap, wash cloths, hair brushes, combs, flashlights, hard candy, socks and more.

The church is located on County Route 45, Fulton.

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Believers Chapel North invites you to come and celebrate with us as we enter into this new Holiday Season.

The church meets at 10 a.m. every Sunday. The music is contemporary in style and the sermons are relevant to everyday life. Full family ministry is offered each Sunday.

Doors are open several times during the week for various activities.  The community is invited to all upcoming events. Arise Youth Ministries meets weekly from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesdays at the church. Teens in grades seven through 12 are welcome.

The next Second Friday Prayer will be at 7 p.m. Dec. 13. Anyone is welcome to join this time of prayer.

A coffee house is conducted at 7 p.m. the fourth Friday of every month. This is a relaxed atmosphere with a few songs of worship and some discussion around the topic of “God is…”  Then there is time for coffee and socializing.

A favorite event at Believers Chapel North is the Christmas Eve Candlelight Service from 6 to 7 p.m. It is a beautiful tradition of Christmas carols, drama, worship, an encouraging message and candle lighting.

Believers Chapel North can be found at bcnorth.org or by calling 963-4100. The church is located at 5375 State Route 3 in Mexico, one mile south of the Mexico post office.

Oswego County gets $6 million grant to enhance E-911 radio system

By Debra J. Groom

A $6 million grant for Oswego County’s 911 radio system has been approved by the state.

The county’s 911 Director Michael Allen said the money will be used to enhance parts of the county’s new radio communications system. A total of 17 counties were awarded grants through the state Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services.

Oswego County rolled out its new $28 million radio communications system last summer. New radio communication towers were built in Fulton, Scriba, Oswego Town, Orwell, Parish, Pulaski and northern Redfield. Existing towers in Redfield, Constantia, Hastings, Granby, Boylston, the city of Oswego and the hub site, at the Oswego County Justice Center, were refurbished. New handheld radios were purchased for emergency responders such as police and firefighters.

The new system not only provides better communications within the county (people in the Tug Hill area of Redfield now can talk to people in Phoenix or Hannibal), but also links Oswego, Madison, Cayuga, Cortland and Onondaga counties.

E-911 officials said the old radio system did not allow officials in one county to communicate with emergency officials in neighboring counties.

This was evident in 2005, when a train derailed in Central Square and some of the 28 cars contained toxic chemicals. Emergency responders from four counties, including Oswego and Onondaga, were on the scene, but emergency workers from Oswego County couldn’t talk by radio with Onondaga County workers, because their radio systems were incompatible.

Allen said the $6 million grant will be used for the following:

1. Expand the existing radio system to allow  agencies responding to Oswego County who operate outside the network to communicate using National Mutual Aid frequencies.

2. Provide  a redundant Prime Site and harden existing connectivity with suurounding counties to ensure critical communications are received..

3. Upgrade and replace radios using proprietary encryption. to comply with future interoperable requirements

4. Conduct a series of exercises and training to demonstrate interoperability and strengthen existing procedures in operating the system.

5. Conduct a study with recommendations to provide further shared services within the region , control costs and continue to provide the highest level of service to the public.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced earlier this week the $80 million in grant funding to strengthen local emergency preparedness capabilities in municipalities. The money comes from the cell phone surcharge users pay on their monthly cell phone bill.

This was the third round of funding for these grants. During the three rounds, 53 counties across the state will benefit from a total of $197 million that has been awarded.

Time to get out and buy a fresh Oswego County-grown Christmas tree

The holiday season is here and it’s time to get out to buy a fresh Oswego County-grown Christmas tree.

Buying local not only supports Oswego County farms, but it also assures the freshest tree possible. Fresh cut trees smell better and keep their needles longer.

“If purchased locally, and displayed properly with plenty of water, most real Christmas trees have excellent needle retention,” said Faye Beckwith, of Beckwith Family Christmas Tree Station in Hannibal and former president of the Christmas Tree Farmers of New York State.

“Many of our customers report few or no needles on the floor after several weeks in their homes. While most people enjoy the aroma of our farm fresh trees, we also grow a fragrance-free variety that is a favorite with people with sensitive noses,” she said.

“Real Christmas trees are the best choice for both the environment and the economy,” Beckwith said. “Real Christmas trees are a renewable and recyclable resource. They are grown as a crop, by local farmers who provide jobs for others.

“Trees are harvested and replenished annually. As they grow, real trees absorb harmful carbons and produce fresh oxygen,” she said.

Beckwith added “the experience of going to the farm to choose the perfect tree fosters family traditions and creates memories that last a lifetime.”

Cooperative Extnesion supplied this list of Oswego County tree farmers:

Austin Tree Farm – 221 Baldwin Road, Volney

Beckwith Family Christmas Tree Station – 189 Mill St., Hannibal

Bis-Mar Farms – County Route, West Monroe

Chengerian’s Tree Land – Merritt Road,  Lysander

Darling’s Christmas Tree Farm – 280 Blythe Road, Hannibal

Emerald Mist Christmas Tree Farm – 1484 Rathburn Road, Oswego

Finnerty Hill Tree Farm – 3750 County Route, Williamstown

Goodman’s Christmas Tree Farm – 460 Gilbert Mills Road, Phoenix

Grace Farms – 78 Gunther Road, Central Square

Granger’s Christmas Tree Farm – 380 Tubbs Road, Mexico

H & H Trees – 1430 Co Rte 28, Tinker Tavern Road, Pulaski

Hemlock Haven Tree Farm – 460 County Route 22A (Ellisburg Street), Sandy Creek

Leonard’s Evergreens – 70 Dunham Road, Hannibal

Spring Pond Farm – 3439 U.S. Route 11, Mexico

Three Season Farm – 429 Drybridge Road, Mexico

Trust Nursery & Florist – 4347 U.S. Route 11, Pulaski

Whitetail Acres Christmas Tree Farm – 1685 State Route 264, Phoenix

Sheriff offers safe shopping tips

With the Christmas and holiday celebration season upon us, Oswego County Sheriff Reuel Todd is providing some safety tips to help everyone have a safe and enjoyable holiday season.

With the increased demands on time and attention this time of year, everyone is more vulnerable to crime. Take a few moments to review the following tips and go out shopping and celebrating, confident that you are prepared.

Parking Lots

When walking through parking lots, be aware of your surroundings.

Always park where there is plenty of light between your car and the store.

Keep your car locked and have your keys in hand before you go to your car.

Before leaving your vehicle, make sure there isn’t anything of value in sight, including cell phones, GPS units, and holiday purchases.

Shopping

Shop with a friend or relatives; there is safety in numbers.

Don’t leave your purse unattended (even for a few seconds) in your cart.

Don’t carry large amounts of money. Keep money in a front pocket.

Carry only one or two credit cards and make sure you secure them after use.

If shopping online, stick with established retailers and retailers from our local community with a presence online. Shopping locally is good for the local economy and more secure.

Shopping with Children

Always supervise your children in public places. Accompany young children to the restroom.

Teach young children to go for help if they get separated from you. Teach them to look for a cashier or uniformed security guard.

If you must allow your teenage children to shop without you, have them take a friend, check in with you on a regular basis and have a set time and place to pick them up.

At Home

Don’t display your gifts where they can be seen from a window or doorway.

Lock doors and windows when you leave the house.

Use only UL-listed extension cords, lights and Christmas ornaments. Don’t overload outlets or electrical boxes.

Driving

When celebrating away from home, don’t drink and drive.

Choose a designated driver before heading out.

If hosting a party, provide refreshments for designated drivers and arrange transportation for guests who should not drive home.

If possible, avoid driving during the early and late evening hours on Christmas and New Years.

Protect yourself and passengers by wearing a safety belt at all times, in case of a crash.

Please remember that if you are a victim of crime, you should contact your Sheriff’s Office or other law enforcement immediately.

If we all follow these common sense tips, we can enjoy a safe and Merry Christmas and a Happy Holiday season.

Masonic War Vets present gifts to VA Hospital patients

On Thanksgiving morning, Post 43 of the Masonic War Veterans in Oswego visited the VA Hospital in Syracuse to present gift baskets to more than 130 male and female patients.

The baskets were filled with special items of treats and needed items of hats, mittens and hand-knitted or crocheted lap blankets along with socks, gloves, sundries, T-shirts and more.

The Post also presented a fresh fruit bag to each patient, cheerfully delivered while singing Christmas carols.

The Post members and volunteers brought along professional clowns in tow and greeted the medical staff as well as the hospitalized veterans on this holiday.

Many volunteers came from area CNY Masonic Lodges on Thanksgiving morning to assist Post 43 in this annual true example of freemasonry at large.

Ages 13 to 80-plus arrived at 8 a.m. in the light snow to assemble the gift baskets in the VA Hospital auditorium before delivering to the seven floors.

Donations are encouraged each year, all year long to Post 43 so these American heroes may be honored on a day where many would not see a visitor otherwise.

For example, this month a very successful benefit breakfast buffet was held at Lake City Masonic Lodge No. 127 in Oswego to help fund this annual Thanksgiving tradition started decades ago by Post 43.

Everyone in the community who attended that breakfast helped to make this event possible.

Freemasonry is the oldest and largest fraternal organization in the world consisting of more than 6 million men from all walks of life.

Charity is a tenet of freemasonry. Across the U.S. Masons donate about $2 million dollars daily.

To become a member of the Masonic War Veterans, a man must be active in the Masonic Lodge and have been a veteran with military service.

Anyone interested in becoming a member, or wishing to make a donation, should call Commander Carl Hoyt Sr. at 383-2274.