Category Archives: Featured Stories

Literacy Coalition receives Shineman grant

The Literacy Coalition of Oswego County (LCOC), was recently awarded a $20,000 grant from the Richard S. Shineman Foundation..

“We are extremely grateful to Lauren Pistell, foundation executive director, and to the Shineman Foundation for their support,” said Jon Spaulding, Literacy Coalition president. “This grant will enable LCOC to contract with a research company to undertake a comprehensive survey and analysis that will identify the barriers to increasing literacy in Oswego County.

“For the first time in our county, we will have the data that shows us gaps in current services and recommendations for interventions and resources that can address these barriers.

“I also want to thank LCOC’s Fund Development Committee for their work in developing a Request For Proposal to secure a research company and for applying for the grant,” Spaulding said.

“The goal of The Literacy Coalition of Oswego County is to empower our community to build literacy in a collaborative, inclusive and comprehensive manner,” said Spaulding. “The Coalition is dedicated to supporting and expanding literacy services so that people can work, the economy can grow, families can thrive, and our community can prosper.”

The LCOC is a growing coalition of more than 36 local organizations. These organizations work together to address the literacy needs of people of all ages.

Members of the LCOC Fund Development Comittee are: Diane Cooper-Currier, executive director, Oswego County Opportunities; Jeffrey Grimshaw, director, SUNY Oswego Office of Business and Community Relations; Melanie Trexler, executive director, United Way of Greater Oswego County; Paul Gugel, director of Adult and Migrant Education, Oswego County BOCES  and Michael Egan, president, Weston T. Hyde Foundation.

Members of the LCOC Leadership Council include: Alliance Bank; Assemblyman William Barclay 124th District; Cayuga Community College; Steve Chirello Advertising, City of Fulton; City of Oswego; Constellation Energy; Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oswego County; Eastern Shore Associates; Entergy Nuclear Northeast; Fulton City School District; Fulton Family YMCA; Greater Oswego-Fulton Chamber of Commerce; Literacy Volunteers of Oswego County; Operation Oswego County; and the Central Southern Tier Regional Adult Education Network.

An estimated 40 to 44 million adults in the United States demonstrate skills in the lowest level of prose, document and quantitative proficiencies.

Many are unable to total an entry on a deposit slip, locate the time and place on a meeting form, or identify a piece of specific information in a brief news article (ProLiteracy Worldwide).

In Oswego County, close to 17,000 adults cannot read above a fifth grade reading level. For more information about The Literacy Coalition of Oswego County, visit www.oswegocounty.com and click on the literacy coalition link.

Oswego Hospice reaches out to more veterans

Oswego County Hospice has obtained Level 2 for the We Honor Veterans program.

This program was developed by the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization in collaboration with the Department of Veterans Affairs to better serve our veterans with life limiting illnesses.

Oswego County Hospice uses resources provided by the campaign to integrate the best practices for providing end-of-life care to veterans. By recognizing the unique needs of our nation’s veterans, Oswego County Hospice is better able to assist veterans and their families toward a more peaceful and dignified death.

Betty Dunsmoor, facilitator of the We Honor Veteran sprogram in Oswego County, said it is the mission at Oswego County Hospice to provide end of life services to the men and women who have served our country that reside within the community.

Dunsmoor said achieving Level 2 of the four-level program means Hospice will be able to do more training, more outreach and more education with other agencies dealing with veterans.

Statistics show about 25 percent of those who die every year in the United States are veterans.

Anyone who would like more information about this program should call Dunsmoor at 349-3480.

Royals boys’ homeschool soccer teams wins finals

By Abigail Winheld

The Royals boy’s soccer team finished off an excellent season this year by winning the finals.

On Oct. 26, the Royals played the last game against Corning Christian Academy. Although the temperature was rather cold, the Royals came ready to play.

In the first half, the Royals scored twice and CCA scored twice, making the score 2-2 at half time. At the start of the third quarter, Royals’ Tyler Bouldin made a goal making the score 3-2.

As the game moved along the Royals scored again making the final score 4-2.

This is the third time the Royals have won the finals and the second time in a row. The Royals won 10 games, lost two, and tied two this season.

This year the Royals had 10 players and four of them – Casen Lange, Matthew Wetmore, Tyler Bouldin, and Austin Hixon — are seniors.

Anyone interested in playing for the Royals homeschool girls’ and boys’ soccer, volleyball, or basketball teams contact John at jobrienosw@aol.com .

“Lizzie Borden” cast takes in opulence of Victorian age

Submitted by Oswego schools

Cast members of the upcoming Oswego High School Drama Club production of “Lizzie Borden Took an Axe” recently took in the splendor of the Victorian Age at the Richardson-Bates House Museum at 135 E. Third St., Oswego.

Historical Society president Justin White and board of trustees member Peg McKinstry guided the student actors on a tour of the lavish home, tying in references to the world Lizzie Borden and her contemporaries populated in Fall River, MA circa 1892.

Drama Club adviser Robert Dumas and playwright-director Garrett Heater put the trip together to highlight various connections the two regions shared.

“Lizzie Borden’s father had the money to build a home like the Richardson-Bates House, but he was notoriously frugal with his money and instead resided with his two unmarried daughters, Emma and Lizzie, and his second wife, Abby, in a very modest home that was close to the heart of the city,” said Heater.

“Lizzie was friends with girls whose fathers built homes similar to the Richardson-Bates House in the fashionable part of town in Fall River, Mass., called ‘The Hill.’ Recorded testimonies cite how frustrated Emma and Lizzie were — being forced, they felt, to live beneath their station.”

To those interested in the unsolved hatchet murders of Andrew and Abigail Borden, for which Lizzie herself stood trial and received an acquittal, many point the finger at Andrew’s unwillingness to spend his money on conspicuous displays of wealth.

The architectural and fashionable aesthetics of Victorian society would have deemed excessive and foohardy by Andrew, who struggled his entire life to escape the poverty of his childhood.

Just as Oswego’s Kingsfords made the region synonymous with starch production, Andrew Borden’s savvy business dealings put him in control of three major textile mills in Fall River, once known to be the textile capital of America.

While Andrew’s colleagues ‘kept up appearances’ by building gorgeously embellished homes on “The Hill” and dressing their daughters in the latest fashionable attire, Andrew saw that his own daughters were comfortable without being ostentatious.

But the Borden girls surely did not understand why a potentially upper-class family such as theirs should have to settle for a middle-class existence.

“The Richardson-Bates House is stunning,” said Dumas. “There is so much artistic detail everywhere you look. What a remarkable asset to the Oswego community.”

Lizzie, whose friends’ homes would have resembled the Richardson-Bates House, certainly longed for a gilded mansion of her own.

“She eventually got it,” remarked trustee McKinstry, “but only after the murders occurred.” McKinstry said Lizzie bought a  sprawling home on French Street in Fall River once she and her sister Emma received deceased Andrew’s millions.

Lizzie decorated her new home with artistic precision, even installing decorative carved stone fireplaces featuring quotes from her favorite poet. She named the home Maplecroft.

The drama club actors also chatted with two members of the original cast. The play premiered in Syracuse in 2010 with Bernie Kaplan as Andrew Borden and Chuck Parsons as Lizzie’s maternal uncle John V. Morse.

“Lizzie Borden Took an Axe” will be presented at the Robinson-Faust Theatre for the Performing Arts at Oswego High School at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 15 and 16. Tickets are $10 at the door; call the Box Office at 341-2270 with any questions.

Phoenix girls’ soccer should improve next year

By Rob Tetro

The Phoenix girls’ varsity soccer team is losing only one senior now that this season has ended.

Phoenix girls’ varsity soccer Coach Bill Conklin, said Senior Haley Besaw led by the example of hustle. He feels Besaw will leave behind a void that will be hard to fill next season.

Conklin points out Besaw always gave a consistently solid effort on and off the field. He believes Besaw’s younger teammates will benefit from being around someone who has the impressive all around work ethic that she has.

The conclusion of the season marks the end of Conklin’s second season as coach of the Lady Firebirds. However, he credits Besaw for learning all that she did from the experience that she gained in such a short time span.

Conklin hopes every player he coaches can experience some of the all-around development that Besaw experienced during the last two seasons.

Conklin believes his young team will move on from this season ready to embrace a bright future. Phoenix this season won its first regular season game in five years, which is something the team continues to build on.

He also feels his team can hold its head up high after playing competitively against some very good teams.

With only one senior and two juniors this season, the remainder of the team consisted of seven eighth-graders and one seventh-grader, which meant younger players showed signs of development on an everyday basis.

With so much of this year’s team being so young, Conklin feels confident Phoenix girls’ soccer can develop into a stronger program in the coming years.

Looking ahead, Conklin is excited about the potential his young team is showing. He likes the idea of having the opportunity to coach some of these players from junior high on up.

The Lady Firebirds are expected to return 15 players on next years’ team. “With 15 returning players next year and 13 incoming eighth-graders, the Phoenix girls’ soccer team will be looking at a bright future.”, Conklin said.

Student athletes honored for fall sports

By Rob Tetro

A number of high school senior student -athletes were honored recently for excelling in fall sports.

They are:

Phoenix — football, Billy Ostrander, Austin Furco, Dylan Doupe, Zach Young, Ashton Morrison, Trevor Ferens, Derick Powell, Michael Mironti, Tyler Sahm, Daniel Taylor, Billy Stone, Bobby Reynolds, Sage Dygert,  Ralph Casillo, Tyler Hanna, Nick Tassone; boys’ soccer, Andy Padula, Bryce Plante, Ryan Pinzer, Trevor Wells; volleyball, Kaitlyn Clapp and Paige Recore; girls’ tennis, Kimberly Holbrook and Alex Wilson

Also: girls’ soccer, Haley Besaw; boys’ cross country, Anthony Brienza,  Michael Girard, Eric Hillpot, Michael Leach, Jason Nipper, Brian Stafford, Dylan Switzer; girls’ cross country, Meghan Lentz, Nichole Marr, Destiny Teel, Haylie Virginia; golf, Kyle Andrews, Dylan Borza, Codie Corso, Sebastian Czyz, Austin Dristle

Hannibal — football, Lander Ezama, Trevor Alton, Dallas DeNise, Tim Webber, Greg Hadcock, Zach Janes, Dustin Ouellette, Dennis Spaulding, Joshua Darrow, Brandon Wolfe, Christian Knox, Trevor Stiles, Sean Lange, Patrick Sullivan, Charlie McCraith; girls’ soccer, Kaylee Esposito, Devin Sorell, Erin Sly, Gabby Griffin, Marissa Renne; volleyball, Samantha Bowers, Ketevan Chapiashvili, Brittany Clark, Marina Esanu, Ashley McKenzie, Page McKenzie, Carolina Nicol, Jessica Stauring, Carolyn Thompson; girls’ cross country, Hunter Beckwith, Malana Scott, Natasha Waloven; boys’ cross country, Zane Pointon, Ben Raymond, Ben Slate

Fulton — football, Connor Aldasch, Mark Pollock, Seth DeLisle, Solano Sanchez, Seth Britton, James Bailey, Liam Roberge; boys’ soccer, Anthony Anderson, Carlos Feliciano, Derek Prosser, Paul Reynoso, Carson Vono, Jeff Waldron, Jeremy Langdon, Hector Marroquin, Udiel Jimenez, Logan Carvey; girls’ soccer, Lena Pawlewicz, Christine Hotaling, Amelia Coakley, Julia Lee, Meriah Dishaw, Sarah Halstead; volleyball, Monica Falanga, Sami Miller, Keisha Pierce, Jordyn Stone; girls’ tennis, Savannah Bray, Fabiane DaSilva, Sophia Giovannetti, Anna Guernsey, Miki Iijima, Kassidy Kearns, Julia Ludington, Maureen McCann, Taylor Rose, Casey Shannon; golf, Connor Goss, Daniel Shatrau, Jacob Strauss; boys cross country, Chase Halstead, Michael Holcomb, Jimmy Martin, Tevin Simard

BOCES students bring beauty to life

Students enrolled in the Floral Design and Greenhouse Technology program at Oswego County BOCES are sprucing up employees desks with their Bud Vase Club.

Members of the Bud Vase Club receive flowers biweekly, and are delivered on the main campus in Mexico as well as Cayuga Community College in Fulton. Every time a new arrangement is dropped off, the bud vase from the previous arrangement is collected.

The funds collected from the club, as well as funds generated in the flower shop, are used to buy flowers so students can work with the medium, and enhance their design skills and techniques.

The flowers come from two wholesalers, one in Liverpool and the other in Syracuse that deliver once a week.

Employees have the option of paying weekly or in advance, in five-week, 10-week or one-year increments. The program runs from October to May for 16 weeks. The vase also includes an attached card with a spot that identifies what the flowers are, as well as the name of the student who student arranged it.

Students complete each bud vase in about 20 minutes, a time instructor Margaret Rice said will quicken as students get more practice. Students are graded based on if they followed the correct “recipe” for the arrangement.

Because of the Bud Vase Club, students get to work with all different types of flowers. In the spring more delicate flowers such as roses, tulips and daffodils are used.

Employees can expect to see holiday flair in their bud vase creations in November and December. For Halloween, the arrangement included the spider mum.

 

View from the Assembly, by Will Barclay

Veterans’ Day is a time we honor our veterans and thank them for their service.

We pause to reflect on their lives and appreciate how their sacrifices keep us safe and protect our country and our freedoms. I’ve always believed that New York state should do more for our veterans. We can’t rely solely on the federal government’s benefit structure to honor our state veterans’ service.

This year, the state Legislature enacted a number of bills. Many seek to provide better access to services, education and jobs. I wanted to highlight a few that recently became effective or were signed into law that I supported in the Assembly.

 Hire a Vet Tax Credit

This year’s budget created a tax credit for employers who hire veterans. Beginning in 2015, those who hire a veteran who has been discharged on or after Sept. 11, 2001 will receive a tax credit equal to 10 percent of each veteran’s salary or $5,000, whichever is less. The credit increases to 15 percent for the employer if the veteran is disabled.

A Veteran’s Employment Portal was added last year. This offers a one-stop career priority service to veterans and their eligible spouses, which can be accessed at http://www.veterans.ny.gov/.

 Driver ID Mark

The Department of Motor Vehicles now provides a special mark on a driver’s license or non-driver identification card indicating that the holder is a veteran of the U.S. armed forces, as long as veterans provide proof, such as Form DD-214. This law came about because it is sometimes difficult for veterans to carry original paperwork to obtain health services, or discounts that businesses offer to veterans, for example.

With this mark, if the veteran has their license, they can easily receive a discount at a restaurant or through a service provider.  I was pleased to support this during our last session. It passed unanimously in the Assembly and I’m glad it went into effect last month.

 Mental Health Portal

Earlier this year, the state Legislature passed a bill requiring the state Division of Veterans’ Affairs to provide better access to services concerning suicide prevention, peer outreach, and other support services.

This bill was signed into law in June and created portals along every page within the state Veteran’s Affairs website.

This builds on last year’s legislation which created an “interagency plan” to address the needs of returning veterans. I was pleased to support both in the Assembly.

On every Division of Veteran’s Affairs webpage, there is a crisis hotline number to call. I recognize that this is a small step in helping veterans, but having the ability to find help at someone’s hour of need can save lives and pain for families.

Combat-related mental illness has been and still is a critical issue for American war veterans. According to the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, at least one in three Iraq veterans and one in nine Afghanistan veterans will face mental health issues like depression, anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder. Multiple tours have increased the stress of combat. Having quick access at a critical time can help save a life.

 Veterans Speakers in Classrooms

This year the Legislature passed a bill (A1601-A) that would coordinate efforts to get veterans into classrooms to talk about their military experiences.

The Division of Veterans’ Affairs has been directed to distribute information to school districts listing available speakers willing to discuss their experiences. This is designed to teach school-aged children about what military life is like and to bring a living history to the classrooms.

Many schools already invite veterans in for education, but this would formalize such a program and enable schools to, hopefully, have access to more veterans willing to speak to classes. This was signed by the governor in July.

More information on any of these services can be found at the New York State Division of Veterans’ Affairs at http://www.veterans.ny.gov/

While legislative changes and state programs can assist veterans, so can individuals by showing appreciation. Veterans deserve our respect and admiration for all they have done.

Whether it’s just saying “thank you” to one that you know or meet, or joining a more organized effort, all helps the sacrifices seem more worthwhile.

Locally, a group called Thank a Service Member was created to do just that. Since its inception in 2006, it has held a number of locally based events and has grown to a national organization. To learn more, visit http://www.thankaservicemember.org/.

If you have any questions or comments on this or any other state issue, or if you would like to be added to my mailing list or receive my newsletter, contact my office by mail at 200 N. Second St., Fulton, New York 13069, by e-mail at barclaw@assembly.state.ny.us or by calling 598-5185.  You can also friend me, Assemblyman Barclay, on Facebook.