Category Archives: Featured Stories

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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 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.


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.


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.

Oswego city taxes up about 80 percent in proposed city budget

By Debra J. Groom

Oswego city residents could see their taxes go up nearly 80 percent if the proposed 2014 city budget is adopted by the Common Council.

But Mayor Thomas Gillen is hoping work with the council in coming weeks will find some places to cut in the plan. He already cut $65,879 from the budgets submitted to him by department heads.

The proposed budget totals $34,574,842, an increase of 14.2 percent compared to the 2013 budget of $30,112,264.

This is an increase of $4,462,578.

Gillen said this would increase the tax rate paid by residents and businesses from $10.03 per $1,000 to $18.25 per $1,000, up more than 81 percent.

He said it amounts to about an additional $575 in taxes for people who own an average home in Oswego assessed at $70,000.

“By all means, I am not minimizing this at all,” Gillen said. “That’s a lot of money to people.”

He said one reason taxes are going up is the city has lost more than $48 million in assessed value. He said the Port of Oswego and Oswego Hospital — both tax exempt entities — have bought up land whose owners used to pay taxes on that land.

Other budget increases came in the following:

A loss of $804,879 in non-property revenue. Gillen said this is items such as reduced payments to the city by Brookfield Power and National Grid for use of hydrostations on the Oswego River.

Mandated retirement rates. Gillen said the Police and Firemen’s Retirement System rate is increasing from 25.1 percent to 28.4 percent. The Employees Retirement System rates are increasing from 18.5 percent to 22 percent.

Affordable Care Act. Mandates a 2.3 percent increase for Medicare contracts and a 8.46 percent increase in insurer fees for active and non-Medicare contracts.

Union contracts. Gillen said constracts with the city’s unions resulted in higher pay for workers, lump sum payouts and retirement cost increases.

Gillen also said in his budget message:

“We also have to prepare ourselves for the potential loss of revenue in on-going and future negotiations with NRG, National Grid and the Metropolitan Water Board,” which own property in the city.

Gillen said the proposed budget includes no layoffs or cuts in city services. No elected officials are getting raises.

In his budget message, Gillen said if all new positions were removed from the budget, the tax rate would decrease to about $17.46 a $1,000. If all equipment purchases also were removed, the tax rate would be about $17.18 per $1,000.

If the city did both, the tax rate would be about $16.39 per $1,000 of assessed value.

“For every $1 million we cut from the budget, the rate changes by $1 per $1,000,” Gillen said in his budget message.

Other areas where the city saw decreases in revenue was in fewer launches at its marina, Medicare subsidies, loss of revenue from Midtown Plaza redevelopment and a new hotel due to lawsuits.

Even with the increase, Gillen believes Oswego residents get a lot for their money.

“They get ambulance, fire, police, DPW, clearing of leaves, parks and recreation. The value of living is a safe and clean city is worth something.”

For about four years straight, Oswego’s tax rate didn’t change, staying at $8.98 per $1,000. then it went up to $10.03 a $1,000

Gillen said Oswego’s rate for 2013 still is below most cities close to its 18,200 population: Amsterdam, 18,620, 2013 rate of $13.07; Auburn, 27,000, rate of $13.05; Cortland, 19,204, rate of $15.34; Ogdensburg, 11,000, rate of $16.75.

Bodley grad completes infantry training

Army Pfc. Sean L. LaBeef, a 2005 graduate of G. Ray Bodley High School in Fulton, has graduated from basic infantry training at Fort Benning, Columbus, Ga.

During the nine weeks of training, LeBeef received training in drill and ceremonies, weapons, map reading, tactics, military courtesy, military justice, physical fitness, first aid, and Army history, core values and traditions.

Additional training included development of basic combat skills and battlefield operations and tactics, and experiencing use of various weapons and weapons defenses available to the infantry crewman.

LaBeef is the son of Charles Knapp and Yvette LaBeef of Fulton.

He earned an associate degree in 2008 from Herkimer County Community College.

Lions barbecue benefits scholarship

The Fulton Lions Club has announced it will host its eighth annual chicken barbecue from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday Feb. 9 at the Fulton Polish Home.

The barbecue benefits the club’s Mary and Harold “H” Dowd Memorial Scholarship, said Don LaBarge, Fulton Lions president.

“This year, the tickets may be purchased in advance,” LaBarge said. “All tickets purchased before Jan. 9, 2014 will be entered in a drawing for a $50 Struppler’s Market gift card, or a Struppler’s $50 Valero gas card.

Barbecue Chairman Ken Ruscitto is selling the advance tickets; he can be reached at 427-1629.

Chicken dinner tickets may also be purchased for at the door for takeout, Ruscitto said.

Local delivery of five or more dinners may be pre-arranged by contacting any Lions Club member in advance of the event or by calling Ruscitto at 427-1629 on the day of the event.

In addition, there will be a 50-50 drawing that day.

The chicken, as last year, will be barbequed by Jim Aluzzi of Kristen’s Kitchen & Catering, Fulton, who is donating his time and equipment.

Each dinner features chicken, baked beans, salt potatoes, macaroni salad and dessert.

“We also want to thank Chris Satchel and Mimi’s Drive–In for donating macaroni salad to our event,” said Lion Charles McIntyre, event co-chair.

“Harold ‘H’ Dowd was a member of the Fulton Lions Club for more than 40 years,” LaBarge said. “ He served both our club and our community with dedication, selflessness and good humor.

Mary Dowd was an honorary Fulton Lions Club member who always opened her home to the club and to foreign exchange students for years. The Fulton Lions have established a scholarship for a graduating Fulton high school student in their name to be awarded on a yearly basis.”

For more information, contact Ruscitto at 427-1629. For more information on the Fulton Lions Club or membership with the club, visit