Category Archives: Featured Stories

Volney board hears update on water districts

By Scott Allardice

The Volney town board Nov. 13 heard an update on the progress of several water districts in the town.

Bob Guminiak, an engineer with the firm C2AE, reported the MacDougall 6/45 water district work is nearly done.

“By the 1st of December everything should be done,” Guminiak said. The contractor has installed all the pipe, fire hydrants, made all the connections to existing water mains and completed work on virtually all the water service lines for customers.

Restoration of the ground in the project area will probably have to wait until spring, but before winter “all disturbed areas will be mulched with hay,” he said.

The new water mains are being pressure tested and chlorinated, in preparation for seeking health department approval for the system.

Once the system is approved, customers can begin hooking up to the water system. While homeowners are responsible for the costs of their hookup to the system, “The homeowners don’t have to buy the meters, the project is paying for them,” Guiminiak said.

Guminiak also reported on the progress of the proposed Airport Water District Extension #2. The project recently received approval from the state comptroller, but suffered a setback when the project’s projected interest rate jumped from 2.75 percent to 3.75 percent.

“That was unusual,” Guminiak said. He said the higher interest rate raises the project’s proposed costs for customers above earlier estimates. The funding proposal has been adjusted, with the federal government pledging more grant money.

“They’re anticipating it (the interest rate) will go down in January,” Guminiak said. “If it drops a quarter of a point we’re good.” If the rate fails to drop or goes up, the project may have to go back to the public for approval.

Another proposed water project, the Sherman Road – County Route 57 South Water District Extension #1, was also discussed.

The project would serve eight parcels that were left out an earlier water district because the homeowners at the time were opposed to the project.

Now the current homeowners are anxious to join the existing 70 users in the water district. “They call all the time,” Supervisor Dennis Lockwood said.

Guminiak worked a plan to add the new users into the exiting district at a cost of $478 annually for five years. After the five years, the new users would pay “the exact same rates as the people in the existing district,” Guminiak said.

The additional customers in the district could actually help reduce the $374 annual cost during the last 33 years of the project’s loan repayment.

In other business:

1) The board discussed whether the town should continue selling licenses for the state Department of Environmental Conservation. Hunting, fishing and trapping license sales are sold by the town using a computer supplied by the DEC. After Dec. 1, the DEC will reclaim its computer and town clerk Barbara Mac Ewen was unsure if the sales could continue using her computer or if the town would have to purchase additional equipment.

“Do I really want to keep selling licenses for a 3 percent return,” Mac Ewen said, citing the town’s share of the license revenue. “But we need to keep doing it for the convenience of the people,” she added.

Councilor Kevin Kio asked about the town’s revenues and “if it’s cost effective” for the town to continue to provide the service. “We’ll have to look at it,’ he said.

Since the exact revenues, costs and costs to continue service were unknown during the meeting, Lockwood said, “It’s an issue we’ve got to look into.”

Lack of quorum delays Granby budget vote

By Scott Allardice

The Granby town board, already shorthanded due to a resignation, was forced to cancel its meeting Wednesday Nov. 13 when only two of the remaining four board members showed up.

Supervisor Ed Williamson and Councilor Matt Callen sat on the dais at the Granby town hall with the empty chairs and nameplates for councilors Lori Blackburn and Sue Richardson, the two missing board members.

The board lacked the required quorum of three members, so Williamson thanked the 10 members of the public in attendance for coming and announced the meeting was canceled.

Richardson was absent due to a family illness, Williamson said, and she had emailed the town to inform them she would be unable to attend.

At about 7 p.m. when the meeting would normally have started, Deputy Supervisor John Snow texted Blackburn to ask if she was planning to attend. Blackburn’s response, Williamson said, was “no.”

Frustrated, Williamson said, “I can’t imagine why anyone would run for office and then not want to serve.” Blackburn also did not attend an Oct. 9 board meeting and a Sept. 25 meeting, which was also canceled for lack of a quorum. She did attend an Oct. 23 meeting.

The board was scheduled to adopt the town’s preliminary 2014 budget during the regular meeting. State law requires towns to adopt a budget by Nov. 20, which the town may yet do.

Williamson said there’s a public hearing at 6 p.m., Nov. 20 in the Granby Community Center on a proposal to create a new water district. After that meeting, if there are three board members present, Williamson could call an emergency town board meeting to adopt the budget.

But the town’s preliminary budget, Williamson said, “was all set.” The board was set to adopt it and now, with or without a vote Nov. 20, the budget discussed at an Oct. 23 public hearing will become the town’s 2014 spending plan.

The budget holds the line on taxes for the third year in a row, Williamson says. The project town tax rate is $2.46 per $1,000 of assessed value.

In late September, Councilor Joseph Cortini resigned from the board. His seat on the board and Susan Richardson’s were up for election this year. The winners of the Nov. 5 election, Republicans Brenda Frazier-Hartle and Eric Clothier were in attendance at the Nov. 13 meeting.

Sign up now for Wednesday cover photos in The Valley News

As regular readers of The Valley News know very well, each Wednesday’s paper has a photo on the front page highlighting an event coming up in the community.

Organizations, nonprofits and other groups call us to line up this spot in the paper. Our photographer, Kelly LeVea, takes the photos ahead of time and the photos usually run one or two weeks before the event.

The Valley News has some open Wednesday papers coming up for which we have no photos scheduled. They are: Dec. 18, Dec. 26 and and Jan. 8.

We also have no one scheduled for Jan. 22.

If you have an event after but close to one of these dates, give me a call. Debbie Groom, 598-6397, ext. 31.

Follow these tips to get photographs into The Valley News

We at The Valley News love photographs.

We love photos of kids doing great work in school, people getting promotions at work, organizations conducting fundraisers for the community and people attending one of the many things to do here in Fulton and Oswego County.

I’m sure readers like opening their Valley News on Wednesdays and Saturdays to see the fabulous photos we run. Most of these great shots are taken by people just like you and then sent to me by email or snail mail.

But there are some guidelines to ensure your photos can be used in the newspaper. Here they are:

1)Do not take photos with your phone. Smartphones and iPhones take photos that are clear enough for online posting such as on Facebook or Flickr. But they do not reproduce well enough to put in the newspaper. We need photos to be at least 300 ppi (pixels per inch).

2)Try to use a digital camera. It doesn’t have to be some fancy smancy expensive camera. I have a point-and-shoot Canon PowerShot 2500. It shoots at 16 megapixels and has a 5 times zoom. Put in on the Auto mode and ANYONE –  even I – can take great photos. And the camera cost me only $89 on Amazon. Might be worth it for every organization to have one of these hanging around to take shots to submit to the newspaper.

3)Once you take that great shot, be sure to get the names of the people in the photo. Usually people are in rows, so get the names going left to right and, if there are more than one row of folks, do front row, then second row and on and on. It’s always important to remember for newspaper photos to not have too many people in the photos. We will not use photos submitted without names identifying the people in the photo.

At The Valley News, we are sensitive to issues surrounding children and photographs. Every school district I know has a policy about students being photographed for newspaper or website use. Usually, on the first day of school, a permission slip is sent home for the parent or guardian to fill out on whether the child is allowed to be in photos for the newspaper or a newspaper website.

When a person takes a photo for use in a newspaper or website, he or she can be steered clear of students who cannot have their photos taken. Then photos can be taken and names of the students can be includes for use in The Valley News.

We enjoy having photos emailed to us because it is easy for us to get them ready for publication. If someone has a hard copy photograph to put in the paper, it can be mailed to the office or dropped off and we can scan it into the computer system. That takes about two minutes and then we can return the original photo.

If anyone has any questions about how to submit a photo to The Valley News, please don’t hesitate to ask. You can reach me at dgroom@scotsmanmediagroup.com or editor@valleynewsonline.com  Or call me at 598-6397 or stop in the office at  67 S. Second St., Fulton.

What’s happening at the CNY Arts Center

As the holidays draw near, CNY Arts Center has lots to offer.

Mark your calendars!

TH3, from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 21 is Happy Hour at the Gallery for you to meet the artists and shop the gallery. With more than 30 artists on exhibit there is always something new to see.

At the Arts Center in 357 State St. Methodist Church, the Drama Club will debut at 7 p.m. Nov. 22 with monologues, skits and other original work.

The Drama Club is sponsored by Shineman Foundation for seventh- and eighth-graders to study theater twice a week after school at the Arts Center. This debut is a culmination of their efforts.

Ben and the Magic Paint Brush follows at 6 p.m. Nov. 23 with one performance only presented by Kids Onstage. The play written by Bathsheba Doran is produced by special arrangement with Playscripts, Inc. www.Playscripts.com.

Both events, Drama Club Debut and Kids Onstage, are open to the public for “Pay-What-You Can” at the door. In lieu of a ticket, you can support our young thespians with your donations.

At 6 p.m. Nov. 26 is an artist meet-up at the gallery for all artists – those already exhibiting their work and those thinking about it. Artists exchange ideas, share works in progress and socialize with others. The Studio Arts tab on the CNYArtsCenter.com web site can provide details.

“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.

Use your Thanksgiving holiday to make more than turkey. Stop by the gallery between Dec. 1 and 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.

Following our open house on the evening of Dec. 14, we are planning a lovely dinner – Gifts of the Season Dinner Cabaret. This is a capital fundraising event. There will be specific details in columns to come.

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.

On Saturday, December 7 we are offering a full day of art fun with Holiday Goodies: 9-noon; Holiday Crafts: 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.; and Watercolor: 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. Use the Park Street entrance.

Arts in the HeART Gallery is located at 47 S. First St. in 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.

Light in the Darkness, the Rev. David Grey

“As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem.  And he sent messengers on ahead, who went into a Samaritan village to get things ready for him;  but the people there did not welcome him, because he was heading for Jerusalem.  When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?” Jesus turned and rebuked them, and they went to another village.” Luke 9:51-54

These are the same James and John that Jesus had nicknamed  “Sons of Thunder” and here we find them asking if they should call down lightening from heaven to destroy these people for refusing to welcome the Savior.

Whatever possessed these two men to think that Jesus would want that? After all, he had long ago taught them what to do when they entered a town that refused their message.

“Whatever town or village you enter, search for some worthy person there and stay at his house until you leave.  As you enter the home, give it your greeting.  If the home is deserving, let your peace rest on it; if it is not, let your peace return to you.  If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town.” (Matthew 10).

Indeed, that is precisely what Jesus did in this Samaritan village. So why might they think Jesus would want to destroy them?

The answer probably lies in the manner that rabbis taught their disciples in that day and in something else Jesus had said in the very next verse in Matthew 10.  The disciples were expected to anticipate the deeper meaning of words spoken by their rabbi. They were expected to think, question and endeavor to draw intelligent conclusions from the various teachings.

In the next verse in Matthew, after telling them to shake the dust from their feet and leave town, Jesus had said, “I tell you the truth, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.”

I can almost hear these two Sons of Thunder trying to extrapolate what Jesus intended and saying, “By Jove, I think we’ve got it!”

We think he wants us to be instruments of judgment on this town, and so they ask the question, “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?”

But instead of praise, or even a mild correction, they receive a rebuke. Ouch!  They had either  missed or completely forgotten that the Son of Man did not come to destroy but to, “to seek and to save what was lost.”   (Luke 19:10)

Pastor David M. Grey

Mt. Pleasant United Methodist Church

“As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem.  And he sent messengers on ahead, who went into a Samaritan village to get things ready for him;  but the people there did not welcome him, because he was heading for Jerusalem.  When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?” Jesus turned and rebuked them, and they went to another village.” Luke 9:51-54

These are the same James and John that Jesus had nicknamed  “Sons of Thunder” and here we find them asking if they should call down lightening from heaven to destroy these people for refusing to welcome the Savior.

Whatever possessed these two men to think that Jesus would want that? After all, he had long ago taught them what to do when they entered a town that refused their message.

“Whatever town or village you enter, search for some worthy person there and stay at his house until you leave.  As you enter the home, give it your greeting.  If the home is deserving, let your peace rest on it; if it is not, let your peace return to you.  If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town.” (Matthew 10).

Indeed, that is precisely what Jesus did in this Samaritan village. So why might they think Jesus would want to destroy them?

The answer probably lies in the manner that rabbis taught their disciples in that day and in something else Jesus had said in the very next verse in Matthew 10.  The disciples were expected to anticipate the deeper meaning of words spoken by their rabbi. They were expected to think, question and endeavor to draw intelligent conclusions from the various teachings.

In the next verse in Matthew, after telling them to shake the dust from their feet and leave town, Jesus had said, “I tell you the truth, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.”

I can almost hear these two Sons of Thunder trying to extrapolate what Jesus intended and saying, “By Jove, I think we’ve got it!”

We think he wants us to be instruments of judgment on this town, and so they ask the question, “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?”

But instead of praise, or even a mild correction, they receive a rebuke. Ouch!  They had either  missed or completely forgotten that the Son of Man did not come to destroy but to, “to seek and to save what was lost.”   (Luke 19:10)

Pastor David M. Grey

Mt. Pleasant United Methodist Church

ACE program celebrates with ziti dinner

A successful launch of the Academic and Community Enrichment program at Fairley Elementary School last year has translated into a great start for 2013-14, with a community dinner punctuating that success Nov. 14.

Eighteen first- and second-grade students who participate in the afterschool program helped make appetizers and desserts, prepare salads and create placemats for the dinner, with Canale’s providing baked ziti as the main course.

In addition to the students, their families and Canale’s, several Fairley teachers and staff members worked together to make the meal a reality.

“We have Lynn Bullard, who is our master chef,” said school psychologist Geri Seward. “She plans dinner at her church every week, so she knows how to buy in bulk and prepare in bulk. She is the queen of this dinner. She knows exactly what she’s doing.”

As teachers served nearly 75 meals to those in attendance, parents and students expressed their appreciation for the program.

“I like it, and I know they love it,” said Heather Hamrick, whose daughters Chloe and Lexus Sinko participate in ACE. “They’re eager to come to these events.”

The meal is just one of the many offerings provided through the afterschool initiative.

“We do 45 minutes of academics every day too, and then we do a project or craft. We’ve done all kinds of things. We’ve done yoga, we’ve had people come in, talk with them … a little bit of everything,” Seward said.

First-grade teacher Telia Tomayo said the program enriches the lives of students and their families and connects them with school in a positive way.

“We like to get the students and families here and involved, and this program does that,” she said.

Fairley Elementary students learn about Native American culture

Submitted by Oswego County BOCES

The Fairley Elementary School cafeteria was transformed into an Iroquois village Nov. 13 as fourth-grade students showcased homemade longhouses, recipe books, a lacrosse stick and other aspects of Native American culture.

As part of the curriculum, students studied Iroquois culture in the classroom and built upon that knowledge by watching a live performance from an expert on the subject.

However, learning was not confined to the school building, as students took their knowledge home and created a variety of projects, culminating with a presentation during this week’s board of education meeting.

“I think the live performance and demonstrations helped our kids connect to the Iroquois traditions and cultures,” Fairley Principal Jody Musa said. “That is evident through these projects.”

Students used everything from store-purchased goods to natural resources to items within their own homes to create their projects.

“The Iroquois did not use paint or cardboard because they did not have paint or cardboard,” fourth-grade Maria Khan said as she presented her longhouse made of tree bark.

For Musa, the presentations were a great way to wrap up the Iroquois unit and shine a spotlight on the students, their parents and teachers as well.