Category Archives: Featured Stories

SUNY Oswego ‘Go Big’ exhibition reception Dec. 6

SUNY Oswego graduate and advanced ceramics students will “Go Big!” starting with a free artists’ reception from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 6, at Oswego State Downtown.

The “Go Big!” exhibition, featuring large works and installations by students of art department faculty member Roxanne Jackson, will run through Feb. 8 at the downtown gallery and branch of the College Store, corner of West First and Bridge streets in Oswego.

jackson said students with work in the exhibition include Linda Paris, Stephanie Arney, Kathryn Alonso-Bergevin, Desirae Collins and “Lotus” Lu.

“This project asked students to challenge themselves by creating an installation and/or large-scale sculpture,” Jackson said. “They were encouraged to think outside the box, take risks, try something new and incorporate mixed media.”

Students will be expected to install their own work for the exhibition. “In addition to thinking about form, students were required to consider the space surrounding their work and the presentation of their work,” Jackson said.

Oswego State Downtown is open noon to 5 p.m. Wednesdays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fridays and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays. The store and gallery will be closed on Thanksgiving.

For more information about the exhibition, call SUNY Oswego’s art department at 312-2112.

It’s gingerbread house time

CNY Arts Center is having a Gingerbread House Contest.

People throughout the area are being asked to build a gingerbread masterpiece and deliver it to the Arts in the HeART Gallery between 2 and 4 p.m. Dec. 1.

Others should stop by to vote for their favorite gingerbread house. Final judging will be from 10 a.m. to noon Dec. 14 during CNY Arts Center Holiday Open House at Arts in the HeART Gallery, 47 S. 1st St., Fulton. The open house is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Local judges will award first and second place in each category. Winner will be announced at noon. The categories are individual, family or team. Age divisions are   for Individuals — Adult – age 17 and up; child  – under 17.

The rules are:

1). All entries must depict something related to one of the following arts areas:

Your gingerbread entry could be a Gingerbread Theatre, or perhaps a gingerbread house with a bake shop or Library, or have a paint brush leaning up against it or cookies, dance notes or anything related to the Arts.

2.) The Gingerbread House must be made of 100 percent edible materials. (Except for the board it is placed on).

3.) One Gingerbread House per participant/team.

4.)  All Gingerbread Houses must be placed on a board base not exceeding 18 inches by 18 inches. We suggest using plywood or something durable. (Cardboard could cause your house to crack or fall apart.)

5.) Include your name and Gingerbread House Title on the bottom of the base.

6.) All Gingerbread Houses must be in the form of a house.

7.) Non-edible decorations, like paint, ribbon, figurines, etc. may be used ONLY to decorate your base.

8.) A list of materials used to create your Gingerbread House along with a title and brief description should be submitted with your entry.

9.) Participants must register for the competition by Nov. 25. Entry forms may be obtained by downloading an entry form at, or pick up an entry form at the gallery.

To register by mail: Go to and print and complete the PDF and mail to: CNY Arts Center, P. O. Box 477, Fulton, NY 13069

To register in person: Stop in our gallery, 47 S. First St., Fulton, from noon to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and noon to 4 p.m. Saturday.

To register on-line, go to www.

10.) All entries must be delivered to the Art Gallery by 4 p.m. Dec. 1.

All entries will be judged on the following criteria: overall appearance, difficulty, creativity and originality, technique and skill and use of art theme.

Children’s author Bruce Coville visits Volney Elementary

Submitted by Oswego County BOCES

The fast-talking, energetic author of 102 published books, Bruce Coville, recently visited Volney Elementary to talk to students about his works and where his ideas come from.

Coville spoke about his journey as an author, and how in the start of his career he received many rejection slips. But that didn’t stop Coville from reworking his stories until he finally received his first acceptance.

The acclaimed author follows a three-step model in his writing; first he creates a character, then a problem and a solution. Everything else he says is just choosing details that enlighten the senses.

The reader must also care about a character, or else it won’t matter what happens to them.

“Take someone you like and get him in trouble,” said Coville.

To make a good story a great one, there must be a tough choice, or a moral decision the protagonist has to solve by him or herself. Just as kindergartners are constantly asking why, the why is what needs to be answered in a scene.

Coville shared with fifth- and sixth-grade students an excerpt from his book, “The Monster’s Ring.” In the story a character named Russell is upset about a bully named Eddie.

As Russell runs from Eddie, he stumbles onto a street he’s never been on before.

Russell wanders into a magic store, where Mr. Elives gives him a black wooden box. Just as the students were about to find out the contents of the box, Coville ended the story.

He did this, not to be cruel, but to illustrate to students how to capture an audience. Coville must always write each sentence, paragraph and page in a way that makes his reader want to keep flipping pages.

“You are all smarter than you think you are,” said Coville, who believes that anyone can be a writer if they have dreams, luck, talent and courage.

The Volney Parent Group and Arts and Ed funded the visit.

Agencies work to help pregnant women quit smoking

By Ashley M. Casey

Integrated Community Planning of Oswego County, Inc., is teaming up with agencies across the county to help pregnant women quit smoking.

The campaign is part of the 38th annual Great American Smokeout, sponsored by the American Cancer Society.

Using funds from its Excellus BlueCross BlueShield Community Health Award, ICP is contributing to smoking cessation efforts coordinated by Oswego County Opportunities, the SUNY Oswego Communications Department, the Oswego County Health Department and local health providers.

Helping pregnant women stop smoking has “been a target of ours for a very long time,” said Ellen Holst, senior director for health and nutrition at OCO.

“Any way we can help pregnant women understand how to help themselves is something we want to strive for,” Holst added.

According to the 2010-2013 Oswego County Community Health Assessment, more than 28 percent of pregnant women in Oswego County smoke. Among pregnant women who receive Medicaid, that number jumps to 75 percent.

Local data from WIC reported that 11 percent of breastfeeding mothers and 35 percent of postpartum mothers in the county continue to smoke.

Twenty-one percent of pregnant women in Oswego County have been exposed to secondhand smoke.

The Center for Disease Control outlines several risks of smoking while pregnant, or being exposed to secondhand smoke:

Increased risk of miscarriage

Problems with the placenta

Premature birth and low birth weight

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)

Increased risk of birth defects such as cleft palate

“Efforts to help smokers quit and keep even the youngest kids from starting to smoke will continue to have a major impact on the health of New York State now and in the future,” ICPs Executive Director Christina Wilson said in a press release. “We hope all smokers take advantage of the resources available today for the Great American Smokeout and give quitting a chance.”

Smokers who want to quit can visit for smoking cessation resources. Call 343-2344 or email at to find out more about ICP’s programs for pregnant and parenting smokers.

Fulton Lions hear talk about Lake Neatahwanta

Joe Fiumara, director of the Fulton Community Development Agency, made a presentation on behalf of the Lake Neatahwanta Revitalization Project at the Lions Club Nov. 14 meeting.

Also, Zac Merry was inducted as the newest member at the Fulton Lions Club.

Merry is a Fulton native and is a pharmacist at The Fulton Medicine Place, 360 W. First St. S., Fulton.

Lion Past President Frank Badagnani was his sponsor and Fulton Lions Past President Leo Chirello conducted the induction ceremony.

The Fulton Lions Club, also know for their Lions Loot Sweepstakes and annual Duck Derby, provides financial assistance for those in need of eyeglasses, eye exams and hearing aids to residents in the Greater Fulton area.

For further information on Fulton Lions, visit For more information on the revitalization project visit

Williams named program coordinator for Children’s Mental Health Services

Mary Margaret Pezzella-Pekow, executive director of Catholic Charities of Oswego County, has announced that Christine Williams has been named program coordinator for the agency’s Children’s Mental Health Services.

Williams, who previously served as a parent educator in Catholic Charities, will oversee the Family Education Partnership program as well as the Community Based Mentoring, and Keeping Kids Connected programs.

Williams said her passion for helping children and families helps her look forward to the challenge of growing these programs and serving as many youth and their families as possible.

“Having worked as a parent educator, I am very familiar with the need of our Children Mental Health Services and how successful they are,” she said. “I enjoy working with youth and helping them create stronger bonds with their families and their communities.”

In addition to her work as a parent educator, Williams has been a mentor with Catholic Charities’ Community Based Mentoring program.

The program matches youth between ages 8 and 17 with a mental health diagnosis with an adult mentor. The match is determined based on personalities, likes and dislikes, and other similarities.

“It’s a wonderful experience for both myself and my mentee. It’s an opportunity for youth to experience a different kind of family life and feel that they are a part of our family as well,” Williams said.

“Our Children’s Mental Health Services offer unique programs that makes families stronger, children stronger, and our community stronger. I am proud of these programs and I feel privileged to have the opportunity to oversee them and interact with the youth and their families they serve,” added Williams.

For more information on Catholic Charities’ Children’s Mental Health Services, call Christine Williams at 598-3980, extension 227, or visit the agency’s website at

OCO seeks donations for this year’s Blizzard Bags

Even though the grass is still green and the weather’s mild, members of Oswego County Opportunities’ (OCO) Nutrition Services already are planning for another winter season.

Each year, businesses, organizations and community members help OCO’s Nutrition Services prepare and distribute hundreds of “Blizzard Bags” to home delivered clients throughout Oswego County.

The “Blizzard Bags” program provides OCO’s clients with an emergency supply of food in the event that they are unable to receive their regular home-delivered meal due to inclement weather conditions.

Each “Blizzard Bag” is individually prepared and labeled and contains food and  a friendly note to brighten the recipient’s day and explain the purpose of the bag.

Last winter, more than 500 “Blizzard Bags” were delivered to OCO’s home-delivered meal clients with another 100 distributed to clients at OCO’s dining and activity sites.

With the “Blizzard Bag” project entering its eighth year, OCO’s Nutrition Services is looking forward to expanding the program and has begun soliciting donations and volunteers to ensure the program will be ready to go when the snow starts to fly.

“Our ‘Blizzard Bag’ program has been well received by both our clients and the community,” said volunteer coordinator Christine Parks.

“Thanks to the generous donations we receive from local grocery stores, concerned community members, service groups and our own OCO employees, we are able to ensure that our clients will have a nutritious meal on hand in the event that winter weather prevents the home delivery of their meal or if they are unable to visit one of our dining and activity sites,” she added.

Parks said they have already received support from the Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts of Oswego County.

“Many troops are returning this year to once again participate in our ‘Blizzard Bag’ project,” Park said. “Additionally, many elementary school students throughout Oswego County are decorating the bags, making cards and ornaments for inclusion in the ‘Blizzard Bags.’

“The students enjoy being a part of this community project. With all of this help from our community partners, this will be an awesome year for our home delivered clients,” said Parks.

OCO is accepting donations of food and paper bags for this year’s “Blizzard Bags.” Donation boxes can be found in the lobby OCO’s main office, at 239 Oneida St., Fulton, OCO’s Nutrition Services site at 5871 Scenic Ave. in Mexico, or at any of OCO’s eight Dining and Activity Centers.

Food items needed include:

Oatmeal packets

Ramen noodles/soup packets

Cereal bars

Small packaged crackers

Small packaged cookies

Small juice bottles/juice boxes

Hot cocoa packets

Tea bags

Hard candies

Microwave dish or packets

Fruit and pudding cups

Small can soups

OCO is also accepting donations of pet food so that they can offer pet “Blizzard Bags” for their clients who have pets.

For more information on donating items or volunteering to assist with OCO’s “Blizzard Bag” program, call Parks at 598-4712, extension 1807, or visit

It’s time to ring bells for the Salvation Army

Oswego Mayor Thomas Gillen recently proclaimed Nov. 15 through Dec. 24 to be Salvation Army Kettle Fund Drive Season.

The proclamation noted all funds raised will be returned to Oswego County people in need throughout the year for clothing, housing assistance, groceries and hot meals from the soup kitchen each week in Oswego and Fulton.

The Christmas kettle campaign provides about one-third of the county corps’ annual budget. The goal this year is to raise $110,000.

Additional funds come from the Army’s mail appeal, donations for specific programs like the soup kitchen, and grants such as the Emergency Food and Shelter Program. Many individuals, businesses, and organizations contribute gifts in kind of food and clothing.

Major James Purvis, corps officer, said there is a great need for kettle volunteers.  There are more than 20 kettle locations in Central Square, Fulton, Hannibal, Oswego, Phoenix, Pulaski and Sandy Creek.

The kettles are in place from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Most kettle locations are outdoors, but there are indoor kettles available in Fulton, Mexico and Oswego. Anyone wishing to volunteer at a kettle may call 343-6491, or stop at the office at 73 W. Second St., Oswego from 1 and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.