Category Archives: Featured Stories

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

 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

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

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 or by calling 598-5185.  You can also friend me, Assemblyman Barclay, on Facebook.

State Senate Report, by state Sen. Patty Ritchie

From friends and family to good food and gifts, for many people, the holidays are the happiest time of the year.  However, for our brave troops serving overseas, they can be the loneliest.

In an effort to send a “touch of home” to our troops, I’m once again calling on Central and Northern New Yorkers to participate in my “Holiday Mail for Heroes” program.

The program — sponsored by the American Red Cross — aims to collect donated Christmas cards to be sent to U.S. soldiers serving overseas.

This year, for the second year in a row, I’m partnering with Ogdensburg native and radio personality Melody Burns to collect holiday greetings. Last year, thanks to many of you, we were able to collect 2,200 cards to distribute to service members at military installations, veterans hospitals and other locations.

To help send holiday greetings to our troops:

** Do not include envelopes;

** Do not include personal letters, photos or inserts of any kind;

** Use generic salutations such as “Dear Service Member,” as cards addressed to specific individuals cannot be delivered through the program;

** Avoid cards with glitter or using loose glitter in cards as it can aggravate health issues of ill or injured warriors;

After being signed, cards can be mailed to or dropped off at the following locations:

Office of Senator Patty Ritchie

330 Ford St.

Ogdensburg, NY 13669

Office of Senator Patty Ritchie

317 Washington St.

Watertown, NY 13601

Office of Senator Patty Ritchie

46 East Bridge St.

Oswego, NY 13126

The deadline to contribute cards is Nov. 15.

It’s important to recognize and pay tribute to our troops year round, but, it’s especially important during the holidays. I encourage you to join me in sending warm wishes this season through my “Holiday Mail for Heroes” program to the troops who have sacrificed so much for our freedom.

Parents of Special Children has open house at new site

Parents of Special Children, Inc. held its second annual AIM High night and open house last month at their new office location.

The agency, located in Fulton, recently moved into a larger suite to accommodate their growing programs.

Parents of Special Children, Inc. is a nonprofit agency, funded through the New York State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities, Family Support Services, private donations and local fundraising events.

Its goal is to support families who are caring for individuals with developmental disabilities by assisting with reimbursements of goods and services that allow them to better care for their individuals.

Families also enjoy a variety of events throughout the year such as the Backyard BBQ and Family Fun Festival, Breakfast with Santa, bowling and ice cream parties, Chicken Jamboree fundraiser, and the newly added Doing It Our Way sports and recreational programs.

In addition to reimbursement supports and family functions, the agency has an educational advocate on staff to assist families in researching answers to the special education process.

The advocate at Parents of Special Children is able to attend school meetings, mediation and hearings, explore alternative programming, help protect the child’s rights under federal and state laws and regulations, actively participate in negotiations regarding evaluations, IEPs and placement, evaluate meeting outcomes and help to identify the next step.

There is no charge for this service from PSC.

Parents of Special Children recently began holding Family Connections, a monthly support meeting for families living with any type of developmental disabilities. The group meets at 6:30 p.m. the second Tuesday of each month. It offers a safe place to talk about personal issues, experiences, struggles and thoughts.

During the three-hour community event held at the Parents of Special Children office last month, staff and board members welcomed about 50 people to explore the agency’s new suite. Families and community members were able to check out the new wheelchair ramp (built by Operation Northern Comfort), enjoy delicious foods, network and learn about the agency’s new programs.

The highlight of the evening was the unveiling of the new SENSORY ROOM, which was made possible by a mini-grant from the Oswego County Autism Task Force. The SENSORY ROOM will allow the agency to offer child care during their monthly meetings, workshops and trainings and office consultations.

Parents of Special Children, Inc. is a parent driven organization, dedicated to family empowerment and improving the quality of the everyday lives of special needs families.

For more information, call Theresa Familo, executive director, at  598-7672.

4 SUNY Oswego alums named to Athletic Hall of Fame

Four former standout athletes at SUNY Oswego recently joined the ranks of 78 other accomplished individuals who have been voted into the college’s Athletic Hall of Fame.

The college officially inducted baseball player Bob Brutsch of the class of 1971, swimmer Anne Sarkissian DeRue ‘04, wrestler Brian V. McGann ‘70, and lacrosse and soccer player Kathryn “Kat” Stead ‘04 during a ceremony Nov. 2 in Sheldon Hall ballroom on campus.

“This year’s honorees represent some of the best athletes in Oswego State’s long athletic history,” said event organizer Laura Pavlus, interim director of alumni and parent relations. “We are honored to recognize them today.”

Athletic Director Sue Viscomi congratulated the inductees, and provided a historical perspective on Oswego’s athletics facilities as well as updates on renovations or new developments since the former athletes competed on campus. She paid special note to the renovations made to the swimming pool, soccer game field and plans for a new artificial turf field by next fall.

“Times have really changed for the better for our athletes,” Viscomi said.

Brutsch of Crested Butte, Colo., who was unable to attend the ceremony, was a four-year member of the college’s baseball team from 1968-71.

A catcher for three seasons, he earned first-team All-SUNYAC recognition in 1970 when he wrapped up the season batting more than .300 and was named the squad’s Most Valuable Player.

He followed that up by moving from behind the plate onto the mound, where the senior captain posted an overall earned run average of 1.54, recording a 0.75 ERA in SUNYAC play.

Brutsch finished the season 5-0 to become one of only eight Laker pitchers to finish a campaign undefeated.

After leaving Oswego, he continued to succeed, and is a qualifying and lifetime member of the Million Dollar Round Table, an international association of successful life insurance and financial services professionals, and a member of the Oswego City Softball Hall of Fame.

Sarkissian DeRue of Oswego enters the Hall of Fame as a 12-time All-American in swimming, arguably the most decorated athlete in school history.

Her best season came in 2002-03 as a junior when she was an All-American in six events at the NCAA Championships, including a runner-up finish in the 100 butterfly, helping the Lakers place 16th.

The three-time NCAA qualifier was a four-time conference champion in the 100 and 200 butterfly, earning SUNYAC Outstanding Female Swimmer honors in 2002 and 2004.

Sarkissian DeRue also received the 2004 SUNYAC Grace Mowatt Award, and was an inaugural recipient of the SUNYAC Award of Valor. She owns the oldest SUNYAC Championship Meet and overall conference swimming records in the 100 butterfly to go along with her school records in the 100 and 200 butterfly.

She serves as an assistant coach of the college’s swimming and diving team and is a math teacher in the Fulton City School District.

McGann of Cutler Bay, Fla., served as a four-year co-captain on the wrestling team from 1965-69. McGann earned NCAA College Division All-America honors in 1969 at 130 pounds following a fourth-place finish at the NCAA Championships.

He was crowned SUNYAC champion in 1966 at 123 pounds and in 1969 at 130 pounds, while finishing second in 1968.

During his freshman season, McGann was voted Most Outstanding Wrestler at the Eastern Championships hosted by Army after winning the title at 115 pounds against competitors across all NCAA divisions. He also posted an undefeated record of 22-0 as a freshman and sophomore.

McGann continued to be involved with education after graduation, as he became a technology education teacher and was named the 2004 Miami-Dade County Technology Education Teacher of the Year.

Stead of Clifton Park graduated as the school’s premier scorer in women’s lacrosse and among the top five scorers in women’s soccer.

Stead holds every career offensive record in women’s lacrosse, having scored 304 points on 221 goals and 83 assists.

In addition to owning the single-season goals record of 66 set as a freshman, she set three of the top-five single-season scoring marks in college history.

Stead was a three-time first-team All-SUNYAC selection, a two-time first-team Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches’ Association All-New York Region honoree, an honorable mention All-SUNYAC pick in 2002, a second-team New York State Women’s Collegiate Athletic Association honoree in 2003 and a two-time captain.

In soccer, Stead ended her career second all-time in assists (22), fifth in points (68) and sixth in goals (23).

She was a three-time first-team All-SUNYAC selection, a two-time first-team NYSWCAA honoree, an honorable mention NSCAA All-Northeast Region pick in 2000, a second-team NSCAA All-Northeast Region honoree in 2001, a first-team NSCAA All-Northeast Region selection in 2002 and a two-time captain.

“These individuals’ athletic achievements and contributions to Oswego State Athletics and their communities are truly remarkable, and we are honored to welcome them into our Athletic Hall of Fame,” said emcee Jeff Rea ‘71, writer and editor in Oswego’s Office of Public Affairs.

The Alumni Association established the Hall of Fame in 2001 to honor those who have made outstanding contributions to Oswego State athletics. Its purpose is to perpetuate the memory of those persons who have brought honor, distinction and excellence to Oswego State in athletics.

A Sportsman’s World, by Leon Archer

When I was a kid, I was a Boy Scout, and I had many adventures as a result of my association with that wonderful organization.

We had a great scout master, Lyle Rexford Huyck, but we all called him Rex. He had been a drill instructor in the Navy and he transferred a lot of his knowledge and abilities into his role as our leader.

He was a no-nonsense sort of guy when it came to scouting, but he tempered that with a good sense of humor. Thanks to him, I could hardly wait for the meeting to roll around each week to see what we were going to be doing.

When I turned 14, I became an Explorer Scout, and scouting got kicked up a notch. We went on a number of trips, and we attended jamborees. We went to the east coast several times. We went to Boston and did a tour of the historical sites there including touring the USS Constitution. We took a side trip to Lexington and Concord.

But the thing I liked best each year when we went to the coast was we would go out on a party boat to do some deep sea fishing. We caught a heap of fish that none of us had ever caught before. It was fantastic.

In addition, most of us Explorers took our hunter safety training together and got our junior licenses. Often several of us would get together with an adult to go hunting.

It all seemed to be a natural outgrowth of our scouting experience. Many times some of us would hunt with Rex and his son, Dale, who was also an Explorer, but hunting opportunities abounded in those days, and there was always an adult that was willing to get us out.

Once we turned 16, we often hunted together in groups of two up to as many as six at a time.

Thanks to Rex and Dale, I had the chance to hunt deer out of an honest-to-God deer hunting camp located on a farm near Deposit, in Delaware County.  Rex’s in-laws owned the farm, and there was a small cabin that had been built near the woods in the back lot. For three years, Rex and several of the Explorers transformed the cabin into a deer camp.

I was 16 the first year I hunted there, and it was where I shot my first deer. In my mind, I can see that deer as clearly today as I did the morning I shot it, but what I remember most is the camp.

The cabin was small, roughly 16 feet by 20 feet, and there was nothing fancy about it —  no insulation, no running water and no electricity. It had a metal covered roof that kept out the rain, and the sides, though uninsulated and unpainted, were sealed well enough that the wind never found its way in.

There were three small windows, and there was an even smaller window in the door. It was possible to look in every direction for any deer that might come wandering by while we were enjoying the relative comfort of the inside of the cabin.

There were six bunk beds along two walls. I always seemed to end up with an upper bunk, but I didn’t mind. There was a wooden table and four wooden chairs; if we had a full complement of six in camp, there were a couple of folding chairs under one of the bunks.

We had an old kitchen wood stove that we cooked on and it doubled as our source of heat when the weather was cold. It was often also the reason for sweaty bodies when the weather was warm. The stove was part of the reason for the cabin being a hunting camp, not just some quaint little getaway in the woods. It was the odors that tagged the camp for what it was and they remain indelibly etched in my memory.

Here’s what I remember.

Once the deer camp was up and running, the first thing that hit you as you came through the door was the overarching smell of wood smoke (when you came home from deer camp you usually smelled for all the world like a ham).

It didn’t matter what time of day or night it was, there would also be the lingering smell of bacon that had been cooked each morning before the eggs were slipped into the hot fat. Coffee that had been boiled on the stove added to the aromatic patina of the camp. Those were the good things.

As the days went by, sweaty long underwear, which doubled as pajamas and was seldom changed, began to radiate cosmic rays as well as a strangely sweetish addition to the atmosphere of the camp.

Boots drying behind the stove and wet socks draped over the end of bunks in hopes they would dry before time to go hunting in the morning each did their part in creating an odor that is hard to forget.

Once those things were flavoring the air the hunters were breathing, a few other items could be added.

Most years someone would bring a brick of limburger cheese, which if eaten up quickly only added a momentary spike in the toxicity of the camp vapors, but the wrapper with the scrapings from the rind often ended up in the paper trash bag in the corner, and for days hunters would comment how the smell of that cheese had lingered on.

If a deer was shot early in the season, liver and onions frying in a cast iron pan on the stove would add another layer.

The variety, quality and volume of the food and drink being consumed often led to intestinal problems, which were often relieved in the evening, producing gasps, groans, shouts and inane chuckling as one more gaseous substance was added to the already burdened air.

Fortunately this addition quickly dissipated, unfortunately it could be pretty much counted on to be reintroduced each ensuing evening. You have to remember, we were just boys.

By the end of just the first week, a deer camp would have usually taken on enough olfactory markers that any deer hunter with deer camp experience could identify them blindfolded just standing outside the door.

I will say, leaving camp for my stand in the morning, I hardly noticed any odor in the building, but upon returning later in the day after hunting in the fresh air, I became acutely aware of what would  eventually find a forever place in my memory.

I wouldn’t want you to think that was the only thing that impressed me; I have other memories of deer camp as well, but I will come back for them another day.