Category Archives: Featured Stories

SUNY Oswego visiting professor tells stories of minorities in politics

Submitted by SUNY Oswego

Miriam Jiménez of the SUNY Oswego political science faculty published her first book last month, using a database she built from scratch and years of research to construct a micro-political model for the rise of ethnic minorities in Congress.

The book is full of their stories and creative electoral strategies.

Published by Routledge of New York and London, “Inventive Politicians and Ethnic Ascent in American Politics: The Uphill Elections of Italians and Mexicans to the U.S. Congress” began as Jiménez’ quest for her dissertation in political science at City University of New York’s Graduate Center.

The author reconstructs the tales of ethnic minority politicians in Congress, from Italian-American Fiorello La Guardia’s breaking through the Tammany Hall machine in 1916 to such pioneering Mexican-American politicians of the 1960s as Edward Roybal and on to the rise of Latinos as pan-ethnic identifiers, including Loretta Sanchez in the 1990s.

Jiménez, a visiting assistant professor at Oswego through 2013-14, scoured archives and primary sources, periodicals and scattered studies of ethnic experiences for the kind of intimate detail she knew could move her away from traditional models.

She detailed a process of different and uneven stages of ethnic ascent to Congress, starting from marginalization, grudging acceptance, isolated victories and, ultimately, origin-blind acceptance.

Data on the history of ethnic minorities in Congress did not exist, so she built the dataset herself, painstakingly assembling the names — some of them Anglicized — of more than 150 ethnic House and Senate members from 1880 to 2012.

She used a wide variety of sources to reconstruct the tales, resourceful strategies, successes and failures of Italian-Americans and Mexican-Americans in congressional politics.

“I wanted to re-conceptualize how ethnic politicians gain access to the process,” Jiménez said.

“I took an interdisciplinary approach.,” she said. “My sister, a historian, talked to me about micro-history, changing the lens to look at individuals in their historical context rather than starting with the idea of ethnic minorities as homogeneous or with simplistic analyses of registration and voting patterns of an ethnic group.”

‘New insights’

Peer reviewers of the work praised her for breaking new ground.

“Miriam Jiménez’ innovative micro-political approach in this book yields new insights that turn some of the axioms of common wisdom on their head,” wrote Richard Alba, sociology professor and expert in ethnicity and ethnic identity at the CUNY Graduate Center. “As a result, the book breathes freshness into a comparison of Italians and Mexicans that has become a bit stale in the hands of others.”

Louis DeSipio, a political science professor with expertise in Latino politics and immigration at University of California-Irvine, wrote, in part, “Jiménez’ study carefully assesses not just the ethnic candidates who sought election to Congress and how they positioned themselves among co-ethnics, but also the critical role of changing political environments and institutional relationships to ensure their election to office. This book adds to our understanding of the likely future electoral influence of today’s immigrant-ethnic populations.”

Jiménez, understanding that the primary audiences for her book likely will include political scientists, politicians and students of ethnic political incorporation, said she also consciously tried to invite interested readers from the general public with her writing style and storytelling.

 Compelling stories

“The book is full of stories and against-all-odds case studies,” she said.

For example, Jiménez said, the story of how Fiorello La Guardia, a former congressman from and three-term mayor of New York City, ascended politically is dramatic and compelling.

“You really have to understand the context of the times in which he lived — Tammany Hall, kingmakers, party-centered politics — to realize what political marvels he achieved,” Jiménez said. “He campaigned like crazy, he understood the electorate and spoke their language — he was, in fact, multilingual and he used those languages. Inventiveness, energy, mercurial character — La Guardia always exceeded expectations.”

Edward Roybal beat an incumbent in 1962 to become the first Mexican-American elected to Congress in California in nearly 100 years. To accomplish it, he put together a multiracial coalition, spoke for the powerless and actively supported President John F. Kennedy through Viva Kennedy clubs. He stayed in Congress for 30 years and is credited with inspiring many Latinos to become politically involved.

Hannibal football players receive honors

By Rob Tetro

Eleven Hannibal varsity football players earned Class C-West All League Honors for the 2013 season.

Eight of those players were named to first and second offensive and defensive teams, while the remaining three Hannibal football players earned honorable mention honors.

Senior running back Tim Webber, senior quarterback Trevor Alton and senior kicker Lander Ezama were named to the Class C-West, Offensive All-League First Team. While junior defensive end Nate Welling earned First Team, All-League Defensive Honors.

Junior tight end Austin Mattison and freshman wide receiver Conor McNeil were named to the Class C-West, Offensive All-League Second Team. Senior linebackers Christian Knox and Greg Hadcock came away with Second Team, All-League Defensive Honors. Charlie McCraith, Devon Weldin and Jake Whitcomb were given honorable mention acknowledgement.

Fulton wrestling shows more depth

By Rob Tetro

When talking to Fulton Junior Varsity Wrestling Coach Jeff Waldron, he suggests that the Fulton wrestling program is as strong as it’s ever been.

This season, Fulton’s varsity and junior varsity teams will have a combined 70 athletes. Waldron will coach 55 of those wrestlers on the JV squad.

But, just a few years ago, the Red Raiders lacked the depth they have this season. Three years ago, Fulton’s JV team was barely able to provide an athlete for each weight class.

Waldron’s athletes come into the season having had a very productive offseason. His team took part in clinics, wrestling tournaments and a weight lifting program. A year ago, the junior varsity team lost only one of the dual meets they participated in.

They ended the season by winning The Martin Luther King Duals in Penfield. Waldron said this event is considered one of the most challenging dual tournaments New York state has to offer.

To qualify for The Martin Luther King Duals, a team not only has to be able to fill a lineup but they must have a competitive record as well.

Recently, G. Ray Bodley High School has allowed athletes to enter the weight rooms before school to obtain the head start they need on their daily fitness. During one of last week’s early morning workouts, 28 wrestlers were in the weight room continuing their preparation for the upcoming season.

While looking at the program from top to bottom, Waldron is excited about the amount of younger wrestlers they being developed. With only 18 out of the 55 varsity and junior varsity wrestlers being juniors or seniors, Waldron looks to the future with optimism.

He feels both teams will be able to go to events this season with the mindset that they can win each one. Waldron also believes if a varsity wrestler is unable to perform, his wrestlers will be more than ready to fill the void.

“I expect that if a varsity wrestler cannot perform for any reason, such as an injury, the JV guy in his weight class can step up and do the job.”, Waldron said.

Palermo woman chosen to have artwork displayed in senator’s office

A budding watercolor painter from Palermo was selected to have her artwork grace the office of state Sen. Patricia Ritchie through her “Senator Patty Ritchie Celebrates Local Artists” program, an initiative organized to highlight local talent from Central and Northern New York.

Nearly two dozen artists have been featured through the program, which showcases local artists from the region with free public displays of artwork in the senator’s district offices in Oswego, Watertown and Ogdensburg.

“From painters to photographers, our region is home to so many individuals with a broad range of talents,” Ritchie said. “I’m so pleased to be able to celebrate their creativity and draw attention to those who are creating works of art right here in our backyard.”

Phyllis DiSalvo of Palermo, who began watercolor painting in 2008, has her work exhibited now in Ritchie’s office at 46 E. Bridge St., Oswego. DiSalvo continues to grow as an artist by learning new techniques using different types of media. 

SUNY Oswego offers graduation cash

ow promises students who graduate in four years a $300 return on their investment, said SUNY Oswego President Deborah F. Stanley.

Starting with the December 2013 graduating class, students who enrolled at SUNY Oswego as freshmen in the fall 2010, or subsequent fall, semester and graduate no later than May of their fourth consecutive year, and meet all other requirements of the Oswego Guarantee, will receive the $300 Oswego Graduation Return on Investment (Oswego Graduation ROI).

“We are enhancing the Guarantee we introduced over a decade ago to remind students of the value and financial benefits of earning their baccalaureate degree in four years or less,” Stanley said.

Kristi Eck, the president’s interim chief of staff, said the new Oswego Graduation ROI could provide a jump-start on job-hunting expenses or graduate school applications and help SUNY Oswego graduates transition from college into the next phase of their adult lives.

“It’s really an incentive and a gift,” Eck said. “The message behind earning the Graduation ROI is, ‘You’ve recognized the value of earning your baccalaureate degree within four years; you’ve planned wisely with your academic adviser to create a four-year degree completion roadmap; and you’ve achieved your goal of graduating on time. Now, you have a $300 gift that we hope will help you accomplish more goals in the future.”

 Unique approach

The Graduation ROI supplements the original Oswego Guarantee commitments: necessary classes will be available to complete a baccalaureate degree in four consecutive years or the college will enroll the student in the course or courses tuition-free; the college will continue to make small classes available to encourage discussion and interaction between students and faculty; and Oswego pledges to hold each student’s cost for room and meal plans constant for four consecutive years.

“Through the $300 Graduation ROI, we are emphasizing to students and their families that graduating in four years means real savings for them,” Eck said.

Mutual responsibility

The college encourages incoming students, from day one, to start working with faculty and staff on a roadmap to graduation in four academic years or less, she said. “We want to keep college a valuable, cost-effective investment for our students. Therefore, we must continue to have frequent degree-completion planning conversations with our students throughout their years at SUNY Oswego, starting with first-year student advising and continuing through senior year planning.”

To assist with advising, this year the college launched Degree Works, a software tool to help students, their advisers, and other key faculty and administrators easily focus on developing academic plans that lead to a degree.

Also,  the college works with students early in their careers to enroll in needed classes, set mandatory meetings with advisers and move steadily toward declaring a major en route to a four-year degree.

For more information, visit www.oswego.edu/guarantee.

Phoenix middle schoolers check out future careers

Middle school students at E.J. Dillon in Phoenix thought about their futures at the school’s annual Career Day.

Students were allowed to select their top five choices from a list of 40 careers. They received their schedules in homeroom outlining three sessions of their choosing that spanned a half day.

A variety of professionals, from the entertainment world to the medical field, were asked to prepare a 40-minute classroom presentation.

Several speakers were Phoenix alums, including architect Phil Squadrito, preschool teacher Lisa Balles, cosmetologist Korena Grover, F.B.I. agent Michael DuBois and firefighter Dan Dunn.

Others are current Phoenix residents; pastry chef Ann Pellegrino, “DJ Bob” O’Connell, nurse Teri Lawless and nuclear operations specialist Robert Pellegrino.

An emphasis was placed on ways in which school prepares students to be successful in any career.

Chef Pellegrino mentioned how knowing a foreign language is helpful in her line of work. Words like Tiramisu and Crème Brulee come from Italian and French. Science and math are also used in baking, from substituting an ingredient to doubling a recipe.

Pellegrino explained how there are two- and four-year programs in culinary arts.  In a competitive industry, those scooped up for jobs are often the ones with the most education and experience.

Lisa Myers from the Merry-Go-Round Playhouse encouraged students to work in a field they’re passionate about. Students in the session shared their dreams of becoming stunt and voice actors.

Myers told students if they’re interested in a theatrical career, they can begin building their special skills now. In the world of performance arts, that can mean anything from knowing how to ice skate and do a cartwheel to taking voice lessons.

Veterinarian Scarlett Springate of Highland Animal Hospital stressed the importance of education and getting good grades. To become a veterinarian, she had to obtain a bachelor’s degree before going on to vet school for another four years.

Veterinarians need to have strong communication skills, despite working with patients that can’t verbalize their symptoms. Springate often has to relay information to an animal’s owner.

Special Agent Michael DuBois is no stranger to the Phoenix Central School District. DuBois graduated in 1983, and hadn’t been back until this Career Day visit.

DuBois, who now manages F.B.I. agents, started his career as a social studies teacher, and since then has held a job as a police officer and detective. One of the most important documents he refers to daily is the Constitution, a historical document he learned of as a student.

Patrick McDougall, a sound recording engineer, emphasized in his presentation the connection between skills learned in school, and those needed to be successful in the workplace.

He urged students interested in becoming sound engineers to take music theory and technology courses in high school. Understanding the physics of audio is also important.

Famed trumpeter to play at SUNY Oswego

Submitted by SUNY Oswego

Gifted trumpeter Brian Shaw will appear Dec. 5 and 6 in free SUNY Oswego concerts featuring college ensembles.

Shaw, a member of Louisiana State University’s music faculty, will perform with the college’s Big Band in a concert at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 5, in Tyler Hall’s Waterman Theatre.

That show will feature works by Duke Ellington, Kenny Wheeler, Pat Metheny and arrangements made famous by Doc Severinsen and the Tonight Show Band. The Latin Jazz Ensemble also will perform.

At 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 6, in Waterman Theatre, Shaw will perform with the college Wind Ensemble in Fisher Tull’s “Rhapsody.”

“Brian Shaw is a fantastic trumpet player and highly accomplished performer in classical and jazz music,” said his host, percussionist Eric Schmitz of the SUNY Oswego music faculty.

“We went to school together at Eastman in the early 2000s, so this will be a ‘reunion’ of sorts,” Schmitz said.

An alumnus of the Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester, Shaw plays Baroque as well as prize-winning modern trumpet, and has performed throughout North America, including Trinity Church on Wall Street, Music City Baroque in Nashville and Boston Early Music Festival.

His CD, “Virtuoso Concerts for Clarino,” includes what are considered some of the most difficult pieces written for trumpet.

Parking for those without a current campus parking sticker is $1. Visit oswego.edu/administration/parking for information on obtaining a day-use permit.

For more information about these and other end-of-year concerts, visit oswego.edu/arts or contact the SUNY Oswego music department at 312-2130.

What’s happening at the CNY Arts Center?

Snow isn’t the only flurry on the radar.

December brings a flurry of activity to the CNY Arts Center in Fulton.

“Sew You Can” Christmas projects class will be offered Nov. 30.  Level One meets from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. followed by Level Two from 3 to 5 p.m.

The project will be making Christmas cookie coin purses. Students must have taken the beginners class and class will be limited to six students. All classes take place at the Arts Center at 357 State St. Methodist Church. Use the Park Street entrance.

Our Gingerbread House contest kicks off the holiday season for us. Gingerbread creations made by teams or individuals are due at the Gallery between 2 and 4 p.m. Dec. 1.

Stop by the gallery between Dec. 1 and Dec. 14 to vote for your favorite gingerbread creation. Winners will be announced Dec. 14 at our Holiday Open House from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Arts in the Heart Gallery, 47 S. First St.

Please see our web site for rules and suggestions.

Following the open house, there is a dinner planned, called Gifts of the Season Dinner Cabaret, the evening of Dec. 14.

This is a capital fundraising event. We will be serving roast beef and chicken, mashed potatoes, a vegetable and dessert. Entertainment will be provided throughout the evening. Tickets are available at the gallery or on-line at www.CNYArtsCenter.com or call 592-3373.

Managers, why not buy a table of eight for your hard-working employees. This is a great way to have your Christmas party with no work on your part!

From 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 4 we offer a class in collage. Learn about theme and composition to create interesting pieces. This class is in our classrooms on Park Street.

Saturday, Dec. 7 will be filled with holiday offerings. Have a day of art fun with holiday goodies from 9 a.m. to noon; holiday crafts from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. ; and watercolors from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m.

All classes require pre-registration. Classes and workshops charge a modest fee. Visit www.CNYArtsCenter.com  for all the latest details and updates or call 592-3373.

All classes are held in CNY Arts Center located in the lower level of State St. Methodist Church, 357 State St., Fulton unless otherwise noted.

Remember we bring all arts to all ages at two separate locations. Classes, Writer’s Café, Author Spotlight, live theatre, and Arty Camp, are held in CNY Arts Center located in the lower level of State St. Methodist Church, 357 State St, Fulton. Please use the Park St entrance.

Arts in the HeART Galleryis located at 47 S. First St., downtown Fulton across from the gazebo for local artists who want to display their artistry. Monthly artists’ meet-ups and TH3 Happy Hour also takes place at the gallery. Artists can apply for gallery space online at www.CNYArtsCenter.com.