Category Archives: Featured Stories

The Rev. Anne Wichelns enters ministry

A church full of parishioners, two area bishops and musical performances were  part of the celebration at Episcopal Church of the Resurrection, Oswego, Nov. 21 as the Rev. Anne Wichelns was installed as assistant priest for the Episcopal-Lutheran Faith Partnership of Oswego and Fulton.

Wichelns, who previously worked as an English teacher in the Indian River High School and a facilitator for a school based drug abuse prevention program, is a welcome addition to a faith partnership that includes Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church in Oswego, Prince of Peace Evangelical Lutheran Church in Fulton.

Wichelns, who also shares time with St. Andrew’s Shared Presbyterian/Episcopal Ministry in Evans Mills, is excited about putting her experience in faith partnerships to work.

“As we move forward our challenge is how we live together as a community.  Why do we gather, and what is the benefit of sharing our faith? By sharing our resources and our talents we have full ministry in all churches and we can grow together,” she said. “This is an exciting time.”

One of Wichelns’ duties will be to focus on youth and their families.

“The cultural shift that has taken place over the past few years has lessened the role that the church plays in many people’s lives. Work schedules and children’s activities can make it difficult for young families to be actively involved with their church,” she said.

“I will be reaching out to parishioners of all three churches and discovering ways in which we can better accommodate them and make it possible for them to become more involved with their church.”

The celebration was followed by a reception with light refreshments in the church’s Great Hall.

‘Christmas at Sea’ sails into Oswego Dec. 8

Only in Oswego does Santa Claus arrive on a boat.

Come to the H. Lee White Marine Museum from 1 to 4:30 p.m. Dec. 8 for “Christmas at Sea,” the annual open house during the holiday season in Oswego’s gaily decorated “Historic Maritime District.“

Munch on homemade cookies while enjoying the uniquely decorated holiday trees. This year’s theme trees will highlight snow and ice, lighthouses, canoes and sailboats.

Model train displays will be exhibited throughout the building courtesy of the Oswego Valley Railroad Association and Museum.

A vintage Waterfront Village is featured under the 10-foot high Christmas tree.

At 2 p.m., Santa Claus will arrive by U.S. Coast Guard Cutter and there is no need to have your child wait in a long line to see him!

Unlike the mall, children will have plenty to do as they participate in crafts, listen to festive stories, hear music or watch the train display run while waiting to take their turn. Santa will not leave until he hears every child’s wish.

The Museum and Treasure Chest Gift Shop are open daily 1 to 5 p.m.

Call 342-0480 or visit or for more information.

Severe weather expert, SUNY Oswego grad, speaks on campus Dec. 6

Submitted by SUNY Oswego

James Ladue, a SUNY Oswego alumnus and national weather scientist, will speak from 3 to 4 p.m. Friday, Dec. 6, in Room 175 of the college’s Richard S. Shineman Center for Science, Engineering and Innovation.

Ladue will talk about extreme natural disasters, as well as how to improve communications with the public and the resiliency of our communities to severe weather.

Last May, two tornadoes ripped across Oklahoma, including the Oklahoma City metro area, killing 25 people and wounding 390 more. Less than two weeks later, a third tornado ripped through Oklahoma, injuring and killing scores more, including professional and amateur storm chasers.

Ladue will discuss these tragic events and what meteorologists are doing to improve forecasting.

With more than 20 years of experience as a meteorologist, Ladue works as a meteorologist instructor at the National Weather Service Warning Decision Training Branch in Norman, Okla., a division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The office is responsible for training National Weather Service personnel on warning methodology and situation awareness to better serve the public in hazardous weather warning situations.

Ladue earned a bachelor’s degree in meteorology from SUNY Oswego in 1986. His previous work experience includes creating new satellite-based techniques to assist in improved forecasting of short-term hazardous weather.

The event is free and open to the public.

Ladue’s presentation is part of the Science Today Lecture Series, which brings together top names and developments from throughout the sciences, while also showing how the different avenues of science intersect. The content is geared toward a general audience.

Parking on campus for those without a current SUNY Oswego parking sticker is $1. Visit for information on obtaining a day-use permit.

For more information, contact Stephanie Lamb at or 312-2258.

Unemployment rate improves in Oswego County

By Debra J. Groom

Oswego County’s unemployment rate still is the highest in Central New York, according to figures released Tuesday by the state Labor Department.

Oswego County came in at 8 percent for October 2013. Only Jefferson County to the north has a higher rate at 8.7 percent.

But the Labor Department did have some good news. Oswego County’s 8 percent unemployment rate was down from the 8.7 percent in September 2013 and also is much improved over the 9.4 percent rate from a year ago in October 2012.

But still, Oswego County is slow to create jobs and see improvement in its economy compared to other Central New York counties.

Karen Knapik-Scalzo, a statistician with the Central New York region of the Labor Department headquartered in Syracuse, said Oswego County struggles with two problems.

One is the county is rural and doesn’t have as much industry as other counties like Onondaga. Second,   50 percent of its jobs are in two industry sectors: government (federal, state, local governments and schools) and utilities (such as National Grid, cable and the nuclear plants).

“In the metro Syracuse area of Madison, Onondaga and Oswego counties, the government sector overall was up 200 jobs for the year,” Knapik-Scalzo said. “And utilities sector jobs for the three-county area were pretty much even.”

Knapik-Scalzo said Oswego County always is in the top 10 for counties with the highest unemployment rates in New York state.

Unemployment across the region

Counties    Oct. 2013    Sept. 2013    Oct. 2012

Oswego           8.0                 8.7                     9.4

Onondaga       6.7                6.9                     7.7

Madison         6.7                 6.9                     7.8

Cayuga           6.5                  6.5                       7.4

Cortland        7.1                   7.1                       7.6

Oneida           7.2                  7.5                        8.1

Doctor knows benefits of New Vision program

Submitted by Oswego County BOCES

A passion for health care and helping others, which was ignited during observational rotations as an Oswego County BOCES New Vision Allied Health student, has transformed into a successful career in the medical field for Pennellville native Jerry Emmons.

The 30-year-old director for emergency services at Oswego Hospital said his experience in New Vision created a solid foundation for his future.

“There’s no other way to see so many different parts of medicine as you do in New Vision,” he said. “It was an investment on the part of my school district, but I’m so glad that I had that opportunity.

“I met a lot of interesting people, a lot of professionals that I would work with later on in my career  … So much of what I did after school came out of the New Vision Program,” he said.

From 2000 to 2001, Emmons was enrolled in the BOCES-run program, which provides Oswego County students the opportunity to enhance their college applications by experiencing various health care settings.

“You would go … out on the (surgical) floor with the nurses, various doctors’ offices, primary care offices that were affiliated with the hospital, local cardiologists’ offices, there was a nursing home experiences … a little bit of everything,” he said.

While Emmons experienced every aspect of the health care field, he said a ride-along with Menter Ambulance was a life-changing opportunity that he was able to experience thanks to New Vision.

“I had never been on the ambulance before and I had no exposure to EMS, but I loved it,” he recalled. “It was just a chance encounter. After that, I was hooked.”

With an interest in emergency medicine, Emmons took the knowledge he gained through New Vision and pursued a biological sciences degree from Cornell University — spending school vacations and breaks as a paramedic with Menter, where he now serves as medical director.

Emmons earned his medical degree from Upstate Medical University in 2009.

After completing his residency there, he decided that home is where the heart is.

“I decided that I really wanted to be in this community. I didn’t want to leave. I didn’t want to go to a big city,” Emmons said.

He began his tenure as the director for emergency services at Oswego Hospital Jan. 3, overseeing a department that treats nearly 25,000 people per year.

From student to teacher, Emmons now provides instruction to New Vision Allied Health students during their rotations through the Oswego Healthcare System.

“Definitely if we have an interesting case or if we’re going to do a procedure, I’ll ask them to come in for that,” Emmons said of today’s New Vision students.

“It is very rewarding. When I’m teaching them I’m telling them, ‘Look, this program is really worthwhile if health care is something you want to do, this is definitely a good foot in the door,’” he said. “It’s also valuable to those who discover that healthcare is not what they are interested in — sometimes rotations are the only way to know.”

While New Visions does serve as a “sneak peek” into the medical field, the success of the program has been much more than a preview for students like Emmons.

The Oswego County BOCES Career and Technical Education Department offers three New Vision programs for high school seniors: Allied Health, Specialized Careers and Law and Government.

Each program provides a balance between classroom instruction and hands-on work in the career field.

For more information, visit or call 963-4255.

Fulton wrestlers strive for sectional, state supremacy

By Rob Tetro

The Fulton varsity wrestling team comes into the 2013-14 season with great expectations.

Varsity wrestling coach Chris Stalker said the Red Raiders are hard at work preparing to make a run at both a Section 3 Championship and The Class B State Championship.

However, Stalker is aware of the winning tradition associated with Fulton wrestling. In fact, he suggests the best way to respect the Red Raiders winning tradition is to duplicate it.

“We always want to be one of the top 10 teams in all of New York state,” Stalker said.

Fulton will have its work cut out for it to accomplish those goals. Only a few wrestlers return from last season’s team. For the most part, the Red Raiders are a young and inexperienced squad.

In preparation for the upcoming season, wrestlers have been allowed and encouraged to take part in the morning lift sessions available to them four days a week before school.

Fulton also has a wrestling club in which the school’s wrestlers can participate. The wrestling club is an open mat workout available to The Red Raiders 3 days a week.

Currently, Fulton is in good physical condition, but Stalker said there is room for improvement. On top of the morning workout sessions and the wrestling club, the Red Raiders practice usually lasts 2 to 2 ½ hours.

Stalker said recentl practices have gotten more and more intense. Aided by an additional 30 minutes of conditioning development, the wrestlers are showing they are physical capable of handling more intense practices.

The Red Raiders have not yet named team captains for the upcoming season. The criteria Stalker uses for naming a captain is based on leadership, commitment and initiative.

A wrestler Stalker is considering naming a captain is someone who leads both verbally and with action and makes the most out of every practice — a wrestler who takes advantage of the opportunities that the morning lift sessions and the wrestling club offer is also someone who could be named a captain.

As Stalker assess his teams’ schedule, two opponents immediately stand out —   Phoenix and Baldwinsville. Stalker considers those teams to be two of the top teams in all of Section 3.

The Red Raiders will be looking to avenge losses to both schools from last season.

Interestingly enough, Stalker feels his teams’ inexperience can be considered a strength. Thus far, Stalker’s young team has shown development as a result of a lot of hard work and enthusiasm.

Child Advocacy Center names three new board members

Karrie Damm, executive director of the Child Advocacy Center of Oswego County, has announced the agency recently welcomed three new members to its board of directors.

Mary Helen Park, a retiree from the Oswego City School District Technology Department, has served as a volunteer for McMahon/Ryan Child Advocacy Center in Onondaga County and Prevent Child Abuse NY in Albany.

Her experience with child abuse prevention and her passion for protecting children made the opportunity to serve on the CAC’s board of directors very appealing.

“Reports of child abuse in the news bother me and made me want to get involved in its prevention,” Park said. “I had read several articles about the CAC and was impressed with their efforts. The CAC does a tremendous job supporting children of abuse as well as providing outreach programs for prevention.

“With the increasing numbers of abuse and neglect in our area, I feel there is much more to be done to protect children.  With my primary interest being prevention, the CAC is a perfect fit for me,” said Park.

Allison Nelson, a lawyer in private practice with the Nelson Law Firm, has prosecuted neglect and abuse cases in Oswego County for much of her career.

Upon establishing the Nelson Law Firm two and half years ago, she began representing and providing legal services to the Oswego County Department of Social Services.

“As my firm handles all neglect/abuse cases for Oswego County, I am very aware of the work that the CAC does,” Nelson said. “It is important for children who have been abused to disclose this information in a child-friendly site and as few times as possible.

“The CAC provides a one-stop location where interviews and physical examinations of children can occur in a location that is child-friendly and provides a location for those children to receive counseling after experiencing a trauma such as child abuse,” Nelson said. “I am ecstatic about being a member of the CAC board of directors. The CAC is something I hold near and dear to my heart and I look forward to offering my expertise and helping to enhance the CAC.”

John Zanewych of Big John Sales, discovered the CAC when he attended a function of the Greater Oswego-Fulton Chamber of Commerce held at the CAC offices. When he heard the CAC was interested in adding new board members, he knew he wanted to be involved.

“Prior to the meeting I was not aware of the CAC and the work that they do,” said Zanewych. “Child abuse is far too prevalent. It is a vast problem that needs to be addressed.

“The CAC does wonderful work and I am happy to be able to help them in any way I can. Additionally, as a board member for the Chamber of Commerce, as well as the CAC, my hope is that we may develop a synchronicity between the chamber, its members, and the CAC that may lead to increased awareness and bigger and better events that benefit the CAC and the businesses it partners with.” he said. “This is an exciting adventure. I have already been named co-chairperson of the fundraising committee and I am looking forward to being a CAC board member.”

“We are fortunate to add these talented individuals to our board of directors,” said Damm. “They bring with them a wide range of skill sets and experiences that will undoubtedly prove beneficial to CAC and help us focused on our goal of eliminating child abuse in Oswego County.”

Located at 301 Beech St. in Fulton, the CAC of Oswego County is a nonprofit charitable organization that provides a safe, child-friendly site for the investigation, prosecution and treatment of child abuse.

The CAC also has a satellite office located at 4822 Salina St., Pulaski.

For more information on the Child Advocacy Center of Oswego County, call 592-4453.

Events needed for Wednesday cover photos

The Valley News is seeking events coming up during the end of December and beginning of January for cover photos for our Wednesday editions.

If you have an event coming up within a week or two after the following dates, please call Debbie Groom, managing editor, at 598-6397 or email her at to line up a cover photo for your event.

The dates are: Dec. 18; Dec. 24; Jan. 8; and Jan. 22.