Category Archives: Featured Stories

Deadline Dec. 4 for United Way mini-grants

United Way of Greater Oswego County is offering a limited number of mini-grants to community organizations.

The organizations must reflect the United Way’s mission and its five funding  categories: emergency services; heal and special needs; supporting families and children; senior services; and youth development.

United Way Executive Director Melanie Trexler said the mini-grants are for nonprofitsts serving Oswego County.

“Organizations that wish to apply for a mini-grant must submit a brief narrative that includes a description of the project and proposed activities, its goals, who it will serve and how it will benefit those served.

“The project must also have clear, measurable goals and a defined beginning and end. Applicants are also encouraged to partner with other community organizations on the project,” said Trexler.

Nonprofits wishing to apply for a mini-grant may download an application from the United Way website at

For more information, call Trexler at 593-1900, or send an email to

All proposals must be submitted no later than Dec. 4.

In And Around Hannibal, by Rita Hooper

In 1920, seven acres were purchased on Cayuga Street for use as a school athletic field.

Financing for this acquisition was quite unique. All the money was raised and donated by the students, alumni, residents and teachers of the school system.

Subscribers of the fund actually held the deed to the property and granted the school exclusive use of it for athletic purposes. Not one dime came from the levy of school taxes.

At 3:15 in the afternoon of Friday, Feb. 23, 1923, smoke was discovered pouring out the second floor windows of the school building by the janitor, Frank Little.  (Remember from last week…this building was on the site of the present day Dollar General, built in 1868.)

Fortunately, the students had left the building just minutes before the blaze was noticed. Responding to the alarm, the firemen hastily arrived on the scene with their chemical apparatus, directed by Chief R.A. Bradt.

(R.A. Bradt was the first fire chief of the Hannibal Volunteer Fire Company, Inc. and was one of the charter members in 1910.)

Unfortunately, their chemical equipment failed to operate, necessitating the formation of a bucket brigade bringing water from the Methodist parsonage next door.

This proved inadequate to check the flames and within two hours the structure was reduced to smoldering ruins. However, the firemen and villagers were able to save a quantity of furnishings and books, plus the school piano.

In addition, the firemen were able to save the vocational training building to the rear of the school and other nearby dwellings. This was due in large part to the fact that all the roofs had a heavy covering of snow and there was no strong wind.

The cause of the fire was attributed to the buildup of soot in the chimney as a result of burning soft coal in the furnace.  Once the accumulated soot ignited, the hot chimney then in turn set fire to the adjoining woodwork.

The Board of Education met the following morning to assess the damage and to make arrangements to use the local churches and halls for instruction until a new school could be built.

The first three grades finished that school year and the next in the session room of the M.E. (Methodist Episcopal – the present day United Methodist Church, same church and congregation just a name change) Church.

Grades four through six were in the session room of the Presbyterian Church  until the fall of 1924. (The Presbyterian Church later federated with the Baptists and currently known as God’s Vision Christian Church.)

High school classes were held in McFarland and Chillson Halls. The homemaking and agricultural classes continued in the vocational training building.

The first action taken for the construction of a new school occurred March 20, 1923, when the decision to acquire a new site was approved at a district school meeting.

The considered location was the athletic field owned by the citizen’s group.  This property was just up the street from the burned out school, separated by two residences.

It made good sense to have the scholastic and athletic activities all in one place.

Plans for a new 18-room school building, including a gymnasium/auditorium, were created by architects Hallenbeck and Van Auken. On Oct. 26, 1923, the corner stone for the new school was laid during a special ceremony which included an address by David P. Morehouse, Sr.

Construction continued into the following year and was finished in time for the beginning of school in September of 1924.  There were 18 in the first graduating class in 1924; Helen Cooper was valedictorian and Harold Horton was salutatorian.

At a special meeting held Jan. 26, 1942, authorization was given to purchase additional land for school purposes from Grant Wilson. Today, what used to be District No. 4, is now the center of the sprawling Hannibal Central School system.

OK, fellow historians of Hannibal, where and what were Chillson and McFarland Halls?

Likewise who were Hallenbeck and VanAuken…yes I know they were architects but where were they located?  Who was David P. Morehouse, Sr.?  A local big wig or someone from Albany? Syracuse?

What happened to Helen Cooper and Harold Horton after graduation? Any other information you can offer about this story would be welcome, so drop me a note…All of Hannibal wants to know!


This week we learned of another weather related tragedy, this time in the Philippines when Typhoon Haiyan brought horrific winds and rain and storm surges topping 20 feet.

At this time the government has estimated 10,000 people may be dead. Many people are missing, many are homeless and hungry and looking for family.

Relief agencies from the United Nations to the Red Cross, to Catholic Charities and Church World Service have kicked in and are already on the scene trying to bring order out of chaos. Money and prayers are urgently needed. I have already heard from CWS and they have tapped into global networks to help provide emergency food, shelter, water and other relief to those most in need.  As the storm moves north, CWS staff in Vietnam stand prepared to help.


Hannibal Senior Dining Center meets at noon for dinner at the Senior Center (Library Building) on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Come early for coffee and news or to work on a jigsaw puzzle or  play games or just some idle chit-chat!  Give Rosemary a call and make your reservation, 564-5471.  This week’s menu is:

Monday: Beef stroganoff over noodles, green and yellow beans, orange juice, cookie

Wednesday: Thanksgiving luncheon of turkey with stuffing, mashed potatoes with gravy, 5-way blend vegetables, juice, pumpkin pie

Friday: Crispy fish clipper, au gratin potatoes, vegetable blend, juice, peaches

Activities: Monday, Wii bowling;  Wednesday, bingo after lunch; Friday,  shuffleboard and other games

Elderberries will not meet Nov. 26 – Have a wonderful, thankful Thanksgiving.

The Christmas gathering will be at noon Dec. 10 at the American Legion. Catered by Brenda Fletcher. Call George Darling and make your reservation today.

The annual Thanksgiving raffle basket is at the library full of great stuff for your holiday. It has a gift card from the Village Market, gift certificate from Travis Floral, turkey platter, tablecloths and more. Drawing is Nov. 24.

Plans are underway for the celebration of the 10th Annual Country Christmas in the town of Hannibal Nov. 23 and 24.  This event kicks off the holiday season and showcases local merchants’ seasonal offerings.

The Friends of the Library will hold their annual Christmas Tree Festival.  Visitors to the Community Center, 162 Oswego St., can bid on decorated trees and wreaths from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 23 and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 24.

The theme for this year’s Festival is “The Polar Express.” Contact Linda Remig at 564-6643 for information or pick up an entry form at the library.

If you have ordered this year’s Christmas ornament from the Historical Society, you may pick it up Nov. 23 and 24.

The Hannibal United Methodist Church, 320 Church St., is sponsoring a craft show from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 23. A soup, sandwich and homemade pie lunch will be served 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Lunch takeouts are available.

God’s Vision Christian Church, 326 Church St., will have an open house and tour at the church from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 23. There will be refreshments.

At 4 p.m. Nov. 24, the Hannibal Historical Society is hosting The Village Christmas Tree Lighting Festival at the Village Square, with the arrival of Santa Claus.

At 4:15 p.m., students from Kami’s Kix Dance Studio will perform. Community organizations involving students have been invited to set up tables where children can make crafts or families can make purchases.

At 4:45 p.m., the Port Byron Brass will begin playing songs of the season. Door prize drawings will take place, followed by the children’s parade and the lighting of the Christmas Tree in the Village Square. Each child who attends this event will receive a gift from Santa, and be given an ornament to hang on the Village Christmas Tree.

There will be a community Thanksgiving Service following the tree lighting – at about 6 p.m. at the Hannibal Methodist Church, 1 block west of the village square on Church Street.

The Rev.  Dean Flemming will bring the message and refreshments will be served.  You are asked to bring groceries for the Hannibal Resource Center…they are anticipating  they will need food for 2,500 meals over the Thanksgiving weekend.

Shirts ‘N Skirts, Square Dance Club, meets from 7 to 9:30 p.m. every Friday evening at the Fulton Municipal Building, South First Street, Fulton.

All ages are welcome, under 16 years old must be accompanied by an adult. For more information, call 591-0093 or email

The Hannibal Town Board meets the third Wednesday of the month, Nov. 20.

Remember this column is about and for the people of Hannibal and the surrounding area. If you have an event that you would like the public to know about, send me an e-mail or give me a quick call.

Rita Hooper 706-3564

Phoenix dealership partner in line for association chair

William C. Fox, a partner in Fox Dealerships Inc. in Phoenix and Auburn, has been named vice chairman of the board of directors of the National Automobile Dealers Association.

The position puts him in line for chairman in 2015.

“I am honored to be elected by my peers as NADA vice chairman,” said Fox, who currently represents New York’s franchised new-car dealers on NADA’s board. “I am committed to ensuring NADA’s position as the voice of the dealer, and helping to shape the future of auto retailing for dealers across the country.”

Fox dealerships sell Chevrolet, Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram, Honda, Subaru and Toyota brand vehicles.

He is chair of the NADA’s Regulatory Affairs Committee and served as finance chairman of the Dealers Election Action Committee. Fox was chairman of NADA’s Public Affairs Committee and Policy and By-Laws committee.

He has also served on the association’s Government Relations, Industry Relations and Dealer Operations committees. He serves as a member of Subaru’s National Dealer Advisory Board and has served on several manufacturer dealer councils and advertising associations.

Fox serves as vice chairman for the New York State Automobile Dealers Association.

For the past 14 years, he served as a director for the NYSADA and charred several committees. He served as NYSADA secretary and treasurer, and has been a member of its executive committee for the past five years.

His community service activities include awarding scholarship to local students who attend Georgetown University, Cayuga Community College and BOCES. He supports Nazareth College, LeMoyne College, Auburn Memorial Hospital, Tyburn Academy, Merry-Go-Round Theater, Auburn Public Theater, Matthew House, the Cayuga Foundation, YMCA, Auburn Doubledays, the SPCA and local youth athletic leagues.

He recently funded the creation of two new athletic fields for the Auburn City School District, as well as many other improvements to their athletic complex.

Fox has a bachelor’s degree in finance from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., and a law degree from St. John’s University in New York City. He’s admitted to practice in all New York state courts, including the Federal District Court for the Northern District of New York and the U.S. Supreme Court.

He was a practicing attorney at Melvin and Melvin in Syracuse for 12 years, and has consulted for the law firm during the past 33 years.

Stone Soup luncheon raises money for food pantries

The annual Stone Soup luncheon, on Nov. 12, benefitted the UnitedWay Oswego’s fundraising efforts in support of local food pantries: Human Concerns Center, The Salvation Army Oswego NY and Catholic Charities of Oswego County.

Canale’s Restaurant, Lombardo’s Bridie Manor, Vona’s, Oswego County Club and GS Steamers Bar and Grill each provided hot soups. C’s Farm Market and Davis Brothers provided tossed salad and dressing and Bosco and Geers donated fresh baked rolls and butter. Coffee was from Dunkin’ Donuts and water was from Paul’s Big M. 

St. Luke residents enjoy ‘happy hour’

The sounds of lively conversation, music and some good food and drink are many of the things normally associated with the pubs or taverns located throughout Oswego.

But for one afternoon recently that atmosphere was found at St. Luke Health Services as residents enjoyed a special “Happy Hour” made possible through the generosity of Eagle Beverage, Inc.

Employees from Eagle Beverage brought beer and other specialty beverages for residents to sample. The St. Luke Food Service staff provided some snacks and residents took care of the lively conversation, making the event a true “Happy Hour.”

In addition to a few “cold ones”, residents also received hats and other mementos to keep.

“Our folks really look forward to a visit from our friends at Eagle Beverage,” said Director of Activities Donna Rose. “We join in thanking Dan Dorsey, Jr. and everyone from Eagle Beverage who stopped in to not only serve residents some of their favorite beverages, but who took the time to visit and share a few laughs.”

“Flipped” math classroom a hit in Fulton

By Ashley M. Casey

Two Fulton Junior High School math teachers presented on their new system to teach seventh- and eighth-graders math at the Nov. 12 school board meeting.

Todd Parks and Pamela McHenry explained the concept of the “flipped” classroom, in which students complete guided note worksheets with video tutorials at home and then do assignments in class, where the teacher is there to assist.

Since last year, the two teachers have been using the online calendar Tockify and the website to create the video tutorials. They found inspiration from other teachers’ video tutorials on YouTube, SchoolTube and TeacherTube.

“I love it because students can go at their own pace, so a student who gets it like that can move on, and others can rewind it and watch it again,” McHenry said.

The “flipped” system also has been beneficial to students who have been absent or who participate in alternative education programs.

Junior High principal Ryan Lanigan said the program was working to “meet the diverse needs of the 21st-century student.”

A handful of students and parents gave their testimonial of the flipped classroom as well.

“I’m liking this (system),” said eighth-grader Alex Stoutenger. “You can print out your homework if you didn’t get a copy in class.”

“He’s a type-A personality like me, so that organization is very important,” said Alex’s mother, Angela. “When you have a busy lifestyle as we have, it makes it easier to go at your own pace … It builds your self-confidence.”

School board member Rosemary Occhino, who is a former educator, said she was “so impressed” with the flipped classroom concept.

“You are truly creating students that are college- and career-ready,” she said. “I can’t imagine the magnitude of the excitement of the seventh- and eighth-graders.”

Parks and McHenry said they plan to expand the concept and are working with teachers from other subjects.

3 schools on LAP list

Executive Director of Instruction and Assessment Betsy Conners shared with the board the district’s plan to improve three schools that are on the Local Assistance Plan.

These schools — the Junior High School and Lanigan and Fairgrieve elementaries  — are in good standing with the state, but are in danger of losing that standing if they do not improve academic achievement and  other areas.

Conners said the building teams from each school completed an extensive self-assessment to determine the areas of concern.

The district followed a rubric of five of the state’s “6 Tenets of Effective Schools:” school leader practices and decisions, curriculum development and support, teacher practices and decisions, student social and emotional developmental health, and family and community engagement.

The final tenet deals only with the district level of organization and was not relevant to the LAP discussion.

The district is working with consultant Pete Backus and Oswego BOCES Special Education School Improvement Specialist Tracy Mosher to get the three schools back on track.

Much of the schools’ issues involved students with disabilities, and Conners said that was “just a symptom of a bigger problem.”

Throughout October and November, the district has observed 115 classes and is seeking the school board’s approval of the DSRDRT and the plan to improve the issues identified. The board is set to adopt the plan Nov. 26.

The district seeks to provide more professional development and instructional support, including a new math instructional specialist. Administrators will also meet with the LAP schools monthly to gauge their progress.

Although it was not identified by the state as a LAP school, the district will examine G. Ray Bodley High School’s standing as well.

“We will be, in December, taking our high school through this process, not because they’re on a LAP, but because of the graduation rates,” Conners added.

Other items

Energy report: Representatives from Siemens Industry, Inc. presented their findings for the 2012-2013 energy performance report. Overall, the district saved $274,527 in energy costs by replacing lighting systems, reducing overnight energy use and installing solar photovoltaic panels on the roofs of every school building except G. Ray Bodley High School. The only school that did not exceed Siemens’ guaranteed energy savings was the Junior High School, and the district and Siemens will examine how they can reduce energy usage there.

thy Nichols reviewed the results of the district’s external audit for the previous and current school years.

Last year, pool revenue was not being turned in with the deposit, but the district has determined to leave the “honor system” of a sign-in sheet and money drop box in place despite the minimal risk of losing money.

The district also discontinued a “meal deal” policy in which students who bought a certain number of lunches could get one free.

This year, the district is looking into internal control self-assessments, keeping an eye on the school lunch fund (which lost money last year in part due to a student boycott) and streamlining the employee salary notification process.

Alternative school: Oswego BOCES’ middle school alternative education program is relocating to the Erie Street school. The program will occupy four rooms on the middle floor.

“It’s a nice, old building. It’s got a lot of charm,” said Superintendent William Lynch. “The classrooms are spacious.”

He said other county districts who send students to this program — such as Phoenix, Hannibal, Oswego, Mexico and Central Square — find Fulton’s central location convenient.

BOE appreciation: Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared the week of Oct. 28 through Nov. 1 to be School Board Recognition Week. Lynch said that week fell between Fulton board meetings, so he chose to recognize the board at the Nov. 12 meeting. Board members received cards and gifts from students and school administrators.

Policy updates: Lynch also read updates to the district’s Accident Prevention, Hygiene Precautions and Procedures, and Emergency Plans and School Safety policies. The changes were largely stylistic and included references to community members and not just students and school employees.

Coming up

Assemblyman Will Barclay, R-Pulaski, and three of his Assembly colleagues will host an informational forum on state education reform 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 18, at Baker High School in Baldwinsville.

Three panels — teachers, administrators and parents — will address Barclay and fellow Assembly members Robert Oaks, R-Macedon; Gary Finch, R-Springport; and Ed Ra and Al Graf, two Long

Island Republicans. Community members who wish to speak may bring 10 copies of written testimony to share with the forum.

Lynch said he plans to submit testimony on the Fulton City School District’s behalf.

The next regular school board meeting is at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 26 at Lanigan Elementary School.

Fulton vets run for veterans awareness

By Ashley M. Casey
For Fulton resident Matias Garcia and his friends, Veterans Day is more than just a day off.

The four men — all veterans of various branches of the United States’ armed forces — decided to commemorate their service and their colleagues’ with a run from Oswego to Fulton for the second year in a row.

Matias, an Army veteran who served in on the front lines in Afghanistan, joined Tomas Garcia and Victor Garcia (no relation, both Marines) and Derek Shue, Navy, in carrying an American flag for the roughly 11-mile run.

He said it was Tomas’s idea to run to raise awareness for Oswego County veterans.

“A lot of people drove by, slowed down, took pictures and cheered us on,” he said of the public’s response on the day of the run.

Matias, a 2005 graduate of G. Ray Bodley High School, joined the Army in December 2008. After training at Fort Benning, Ga. and time in Vicenza, Italy, he deployed to Afghanistan with the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team.

“For me, I kept the fight over in Afghanistan,” Matias said of his reasons for joining the Army. “I didn’t want another 9/11.”

He grew close with his fellow “Sky Soldiers,” as the 173rd is nicknamed.

“It was always about your buddies to the left and to the right of you. Politics aside … when a bullet comes flying by,” he said.

Matias remained in the service for three years before returning home to Fulton. He said his family and friends have always been supportive of his military and civilian careers.

As for reentering civilian life, Matias said a soldier’s life is stressful, no matter where he or she is stationed.

“They didn’t necessarily have to deploy to struggle (with coming back),” he said, “Once that structure’s gone, you need something to keep you busy.”

Matias said he sought veterans resources within the county.

“The VA office in Fulton helped me get back on my feet and work,” he said.

He has considered reenlisting, but for now he is attending classes at Cayuga Community College thanks to the G.I. Bill. He wants to pursue a career in either criminal justice or the medical field, to bring back the “rush” that he misses from being in the Army.

“The only skill I was taught was to engage in combat,” he said. If he reenlists, he said he would want to choose a different field so he could bring home some marketable skills.

A former wrestler for GRB, Matias has been volunteering with his alma mater’s wrestling coaches.

As for the run, Matias and his friends garnered support on social media and plan to repeat the experience for many Veterans Days to come.

“We’re going to keep doing it until our legs fall off,” Matias said.