Category Archives: Featured Stories

Public hearing Dec. 11 on proposed new water district in Hannibal

A public hearing is scheduled for today (Dec. 11) at the Hannibal town hall concerning a proposed new water district.

Hannibal Supervisor Ronald Greenleaf said the town recently submitted an application for funding for a water district.

Town officials have been notified the town is eligible for money from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development.

Before funding will be committed, a final application must be submitted.

The estimated funding includes a grant of $697,000 and a loan of $760,000 at 2.75 percent for this $1,457,000 project.

As part of the project, the town must hold a public hearing to explain the project and projected user costs, as well as to obtain input from you whether to proceed or not.

Greenleaf said about 75 properties are involved in the project.

It would connect the two ends of Stock Road that already have water and would provide wter to Sixty-Six Road south of Route 104 to Dunham Road.

He said the cost to property owners would be about $638 a year for 38 years in addition to water usage.

He said it isn’t known yet if this cost would include the hookup of the water line to the house.

All of these properties now are on wells, Greenleaf said.

Sometimes in dry summers, the wells will go dry, he said.

“There is a need” for water in these areas, he said.

View from the Assembly — let’s fix the tax code

It is widely understood that New York state is a high-tax state.

New York state citizens are acutely aware of this fact. It is hardly surprising then that the governor, being the politician that he is, has appointed not one, but two, commissions to examine how to reform New York’s tax system.

The first commission he appointed, with the Orwellian name, “New York State Tax Reform and Fairness Commission,” released its report last month. Notwithstanding its name, the report contains some good ideas on how New York should reform its tax structure.

The report begins by acknowledging we are a high-tax state.  In the 2012-13 fiscal year, state and local governments levied about $146 billion in taxes.

Of that $146 billion, $64 billion is attributable to state taxes and the remaining $82 billion came from local tax collections.

Of the $82 billion raised in local taxes, $49 billion was raised through property taxes.

Although the report raises the issue of local taxes, the majority of its suggested changes deal with reforming our state’s tax system, not our local tax systems.

First, the report acknowledges the state’s use and sales tax system is antiquated and needs to be modernized. I agree with this conclusion.

At the very least, we need to simplify the system. I have heard from many small businesses about how difficult it is for them to understand exactly on what they need to collect sales tax.

For example, if you sell bagels, you do not charge sales tax on plain bagels, but if you toast it, slice it and put butter on it, then you must charge sales tax.

There are all sorts of inane examples along these lines that businesses encounter on a regular basis. The report states the structure is “unduly complex” and makes “voluntary compliance more difficult, increasing the cost of doing business in the state and creates financial risk for vendors who ‘get it wrong’ and adds to the government’s tax administration costs.”

If nothing else, in the upcoming legislative session, we should make revenue neutral changes to our sales tax system to take out much of the complexity that has arisen over the years.

Second, the report also acknowledges our state’s estate tax has not kept pace with changes made to federal estate tax laws.

As characteristic of our high-tax reputation, New York is one of only 17 states that has an estate tax. Moreover, there are only two states that have estate tax exemption amounts lower than New York’s $1 million amount.

I was pleased the report notes New York’s estate tax may be a factor in taxpayer migration from New York to states without an estate tax.

In Central New York, we have seen many change their residency to Florida (a state without an estate tax) in effort to avoid NY’s estate tax.

It is hard enough competing with Florida on the basis of the weather. We shouldn’t also be giving people an economic incentive to move there.

To try to alleviate this problem, the commission recommends in its report to raise New York’s exemption from $1 million to $3 million.

This is a start.  However, I would rather see us eliminate our estate tax entirely or, at the very least, match the exemption amount to the federal amount which is $5.25 million.

Third, the commission recommends an accelerated phase out of the 18-a surcharge. This surcharge is a 2 percent assessment on electric, gas, water and steam utilities.

Like all taxes on businesses, they are passed on to the consumers. This assessment is no different. It places an additional burden on New York families and businesses because we already pay high utility bills notwithstanding our taxes.

In last year’s budget, the legislature and governor agreed to phase out this charge over a three-and-a-half-year period. As mentioned, the commission recommends phasing this out more quickly because it has such a detrimental effect, particularly on businesses.

I agree and indeed sponsor legislation to fully repeal this surcharge.

The commission also recommends many other changes to our state’s tax code. Some of its other recommendations I agree with, some I do not.

However, I am pleased at least there is some focus being brought to what is a primary economic problem in our state.

As mentioned above, the governor also has appointed a second commission to look at our state’s tax system.

Apparently, this second commission is supposed to focus on coming up with proposals to relieve New Yorkers from our high property tax burden.

I look forward to seeing its proposals and hope that they will be broad based.

Solutions will have to get at the reasons why we have high property taxes in this state and not simply shift the burden of our taxes from one group of citizens to another.

I will provide an update once their report becomes available.

If you have any questions or comments on this or any other state issue, or if you would like to be added to my mailing list or receive my newsletter, please contact my office.

My office can be reached by mail at 200 N. Second St., Fulton, 13069, by email at or by calling 598-5185.

You can also friend me, Assemblyman Barclay, on Facebook.

Seguin named manager at ARISE

Lisa Seguin has been named manager of the Oswego Medicaid Service Coordination, Consolidated Support Services, and Family Support Services programs for ARISE in Oswego.

Seguin’s experiences and strong commitment to the mission of independent living and self-direction make her extremely well-suited for this role.

She began her career with ARISE in 2003 as a Medicaid Service Coordinator (MSC).

Two years later she became a senior MSC.

This year she was approved as a broker and began to provide Office of Persons with Developmental Disabilities trainings.

In the community, Seguin is known for her work on the Family Support Services Council in Oswego as well as on the state level.

She pursued self-directed services (Consolidated Support Services) for her daughter Kateri, who has Down syndrome, when this option was first introduced in Central New York.

The families that work with Lisa have commented on her good listening skills, compassion and her passion for focusing on the abilities and strengths of everyone with whom she works.

Volney students ‘on a roll’

Volney Elementary School students were treated to a spirit assembly Nov. 26 in recognition of their positive behavior and for being role models.

The entire student body united in the auditorium to sing “You Can Count on Me” prior to Interim Principal Michael Egan recognizing one student from each classroom for exemplifying the character trait of gratitude.

In addition to the classroom role models, 22 students were awarded certificates for being “On A Roll” models.

The monthly classroom role models were Brady Jacobson, Zackery McDougall, Branden Garner, Cassie Clarke, Santina Cunningham, MaKenna Grant, Gabriella Runge, Hunter Riebel, Zachary Ranieri, Nicholas Shaw, Ben Roberts, Noah Morales, Amara Fischel, Mallorie Smart, Brandon Burch, Erin Phillips, Destiny Miller, Rain Frank, Alicia Merritt, Emily Tice and Heidie Hall.

Students earning recognition as the monthly “On a Roll” models included Hunter Stein, Ellie-Mae Barnum, Deven Searor, Aiden St. Germain, Cadyn Reed, Danielle Boyce, Mackenzie Kerfien, Amber Dumas, Sydni Casler, Daymon Hooper, Alex Knapp, Lexis Casler-West, Ethan Jacobson, Sydney Osborn, Noelle McDougall, Serenity Lauckarn, Logan Wilson, Kalista Reynolds, Mason Williamson, Isabella Robillard, Travis Loomis, and Robert Moon.

To cap off the assembly and get the audience ready for Thanksgiving, Jessica Hyman, Lyle Beeman and Cassandra Seaton read “Giving Thanks” as a slideshow played in the background.

Lanigan Elementary students learn history while getting in holiday spirit

First-graders at Lanigan Elementary got into the Christmas spirit recently, and learned a little about Fulton history too, with a visit to the John Wells Pratt House Museum.

The museum had on display decorated Christmas trees as part of their 25th annual Parade of Trees.

This year’s event drew in a total of 11 themed trees decorated by local organizations, clubs, youth and children’s group. Julie Galvin’s class from Lanigan Elementary decorated a tree with the theme “Sweet Christmas.”

All of the tree’s ornaments were made from candy; a marshmallow snowman, peppermint wreaths and candy cane sleds.

Gracia Thompson’s class at G. Ray Bodley also decorated a tree, with the theme “Home is Where the Heart Is.”

Ornaments were made from foam hearts, and embellished with beads and sequins.

Students on the field trip were able to vote for their favorite tree in each of the three categories — adult, youth and children’s. They also toured the Pratt House and learned about factories that used to call Fulton home, including Nestlé and Hunter Arms.

Oswego Middle School takes on mural challenge

Upon entering the Oswego Middle School art room, immediately visitors’ attention is turned toward a massive ceramic sea aquarium mural.

Student teacher Cassandra Mazur has conducted a collaborative project with seventh- and eighth-graders to create a lasting memory for students.

“Over the course of the last month the 140-piece ceramic mural was created by a group of 93 students. The mural measures 6 by 8 feet,” she said.

“It focuses on collaborative community art. It began with a simple idea and transformed into students learning about group collaboration, ceramic tile making and personal artistic expression. The story of this mural is about imagining a vision, believing in all possibilities, working with others, trusting the process and spreading inspiration,” she said.

Initially, the project began by introducing students to ceramic tile murals found throughout history and in everyday life.

“I created a full size ocean themed drawing of the mural to provide a solid framework for the students to work from. Students spent the next two weeks sculpting the tiles,” Mazur said.

“They were given templates of the larger design to trace on to the clay tiles. That design would become altered and personalized by students through various sculpting techniques.

“This process allowed students to apply their own unique style and artistic fingerprint to the tiles which in turn made the work unique and one of a kind,” she said.

Students then spent another week glazing and adding color to the tiles. The seventh-graders were in charge of glazing the border tiles, which include the words “Inspire, Love, Imagine, Create, Dream and Believe,” while the eighth-graders were assigned to specific tiles according to their artistic styles.

Those who preferred detailed work were in charge of painting the fish, turtles and smaller coral reef. Others who preferred to work at a faster pace were assigned to water and the larger coral reef.

Mazur said this was a positive experience as “You never heard ‘I’m not artistic’ because everyone was helping each other through the process and fully contributed their own unique abilities.”

Erin Platten, an Oswego Middle School art teacher, was extremely positive concerning the experience.

“She came to me with this huge idea of creating a mural. I could see the passion she had and the excitement, and I do love a good challenge and new opportunities for my students,” Platten said. “She worked very hard to design the project, and put endless hour and purchased many materials.”

“We had many discussions along the way about the process and the outcome and we both learned a lot. I really enjoyed the experience and watching my students learn and grow from a totally different perspective,” Platten said. “They really seemed to enjoy the overall project and it is a lot of fun to watch students, faculty and staff come into my room and ogle over the mural. I can see it being a conversation piece for years to come.”

Mazur noted there is further credit that needs to be given.

“Once we had all the tiles fired and out of the kiln, they were ready to be installed,” she said. “Albert Lemire, an employee of Raby’s ACE Hardware story in Oswego, donated his time to install the mural on the wall. The final mural would not have been possible without him.”

Patten noted, “The mural is beautiful and a real testament to Cassie’s love and devotion for teaching. She will be a wonderful teacher, and I think that by beginning big and being successful she will go forth and do amazing things.””

Oswego County health clinics scheduled

The Oswego County Health Department offers a variety of services to all residents of Oswego County, including preventive health services, certified home health care, long-term home health care, certified hospice, and a maternal and child health program.

Walk-in influenza clinics are held weekdays from 9 to 11 a.m. and 1 to 3 p.m. at the Nick Sterio Public Health Clinic, 70 Bunner St., Oswego for people age 19 and older. No appointment is needed; walk-ins are welcome.

Children’s flu vaccine is available every Tuesday from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. in Oswego, and the third Tuesday of every month from 9 to 11 a.m. at the H. Douglas Barclay Courthouse, Pulaski.

The children’s flu vaccine is available at no cost to all children who qualify for the Vaccines for Children Program provided by the New York State Department of Health.

For those who do not qualify, the cost is $37 for the inactivated vaccine (the shot) and $43 for the flu-mist (nasal vaccine).

Patients with private insurance, Managed Medicaid, Managed Medicare, Medicaid, Medicare, and Medicare Part B should bring their benefit cards with them to the immunization clinic.

No one will be turned away due to inability to pay.

The following services will be offered during the week of Dec. 16 at the Nick Sterio Public Health Clinic, 70 Bunner St., Oswego, and the H. Douglas Barclay Courthouse, Pulaski.


Adult Influenza Clinic: Monday through Friday, 9 to 11 a.m. and 1 to 3 p.m., walk-in clinic.

Immunization Clinic: Tuesday, Dec. 17, 12:30 to 3:30 p.m., walk-in clinic.

Pregnancy Testing: Free pregnancy testing is available. Call 349-3391 to schedule an appointment.

Sexually Transmitted Disease Testing and Treatment Services: Call 349-3547 to schedule an appointment.

HIV Counseling and Testing Service: Call 349-3547 to schedule an appointment


Immunization Clinic: Tuesday, Dec. 17, 9 to 11 a.m., walk-in clinic.

Immunization clinics are held every Tuesday from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. at 70 Bunner St, Oswego, and the third Tuesday of every month from 9 to 11 a.m. at the H. Douglas Barclay Courthouse, Pulaski.

For more information about public health services, contact the Oswego County Health Department, weekdays at 349-3547 or (800) 596-3200, extension 3547.

Faith partnership helps fill kids’ bellies on the weekend

By Debra J. Groom

A number of children in the Oswego and Fulton school district do not go hungry on the weekends anymore thanks to the Episcopal-Lutheran Faith Partnership of Oswego and Fulton and its participation in the Blessings in a Backpack program.

The program, which began in 2005 in two schools in Louisville, Ky., provides backpacks of food for needy children to take home over the weekend.

The faith partnership began the program the second week of this school year and church members get together at the end of each week to fill bags with food for the children.

Beth Hallinan, of Episcopal Church of the Resurrection, Oswego, said children receiving the bags are selected by school nurses, social workers and psychologists. Children are from families that qualify for the federal Free and Reduced Price Meal program.

At the beginning of the school year, the church members packed 25 bags each for children at Leighton Elementary in Oswego and Volney Elementary in Fulton.

“But then an anonymous donor allowed us to expand that to 50 bags at each school each week,” Hallinan said.

A donation of $80 will provide a bag for one child each week of the school year.

More than 62 percent of children in the United States are fed meals at school, but often there isn’t much food for them when they are at home on the weekends.

Long-term childhood hunger can lead to a weaker immune system, increases hospitalizations and impaired neural development which can hamper a child’s ability to learn in school, according to a fact sheet issued by Blessings in a Backpack.

Hallinan said the program used to use actual backpacks, but officials were having difficulties getting the bags back, cleaning them and keeping them in good condition. So now the food is sent home in plastic bags.

The faith partnership consists of Episcopal Church of the Resurrection, Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church in Oswego and Prince of Peace Evangelical Lutheran Church in Fulton.