Category Archives: Featured Stories

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.

Youth deer hunt successful

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens said New York’s second annual Youth Deer Hunt, held Columbus Day weekend, Oct. 12-14, was enjoyed by thousands of junior hunters, many of whom were successful in taking their first deer.

“The youth deer hunt is an important step in preserving our hunting heritage and provides junior hunters a unique opportunity to spend focused time with an experienced adult mentor as they learn the ropes of firearms deer hunting,” Martens said.

“With plenty of advance notice and good weather, more junior hunters were able to participate this year.  There was a lot of enthusiasm among families with eligible junior hunters, and we’ve been hearing stories from happy hunters.”

During the youth deer hunt, junior hunters ages 14 and 15 with a big game hunting license are eligible to take one deer of either sex with a firearm when properly accompanied by a licensed and experienced adult.

About 18,000 junior hunters were eligible to participate in the 2013 youth deer hunt, and, to date, junior hunters have reported taking nearly 700 deer. The DEC anticipates the final harvest estimate for the youth deer hunt will be higher after all reports are in and the harvest is calculated.

Last year, during the inaugural youth deer hunt, about 60 percent of eligible junior hunters participated and DEC calculated that they took more than 1,400 deer.  A report on the 2012 youth deer hunt is available at www.dec.ny.gov/docs/wildlife_pdf/youthdeer2012.pdf.

Peewee Hockey wins 1, loses 1

The Step One Creative Peewee Independent Hockey Team, of the Oswego Minor Hockey Association, opened its season this past weekend against the Valley Red and Syracuse Blazers Minor Teams.

The Bucs defeated Valley Red 5-1 at Crisafulli Rink in Oswego, and then lost the following day 6-2 against the Blazers at the Cicero Twin Rinks.

In the game against Valley Red, the Oswego team jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first period, with Derek Morgia getting the scoring started at the 6:18 mark, off a pass from Monica Cahill. The Bucs added another just minutes later when Ryan Mosher found the net off a feed from Nick Burnett.

After Valley’s Shemar Thomas made it 2-1 in the second period, Morgia added his second goal of the day at 4:17 of the period. Spencer Stepien made it 4-1 Oswego later in the second, scoring past the Valley goalie on a rebound off an initial shot from Cahill.

The Bucs would add a goal later in the third period, when Dylan Reitz delivered a blue line marker past the opposing net minder to close out the scoring 5-1.

Step One Creative goalie Tyler Wallace captured the win in net, while registering 8 saves.

“The team did a lot of great things in this season opening win,” said Oswego Head Coach Dave Morgia. “They really came out and played some strong hockey, and were awarded with a win as a result of their effort on both ends of the ice.”

In the second game of the weekend, the Bucs took on the Syracuse Blazers Minor team in Cicero and fell 6-2.

Derek Morgia and Tyler Eckert picked up the goals for the Step One Creative Peewees, and Christian Talamo added an assist.

Oswego goalie Tyler Wallace had 17 saves in the loss.

The Blazers scored on 3 of their 6 power play opportunities in the game, and pulled away in the final period to capture the win against the Bucs.

Despite the loss, Coach Morgia was pleased with the team’s overall effort.

“Our coaching staff took away a lot of positives from this game,” Morgia said. “Yes, the penalties hurt us, but our team is really coming together after only a few practices, and these initial first two games.”

“The players will continue to learn and make adjustments going forward,” he added.

The Step One Creative Peewee coaching staff includes: Head Coach Dave Morgia, and Assistants Bill Cahill, Bob Graham, and Rob Raby.

Hannibal Country Christmas Nov. 23 and 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.

Town merchants and organizations will be greeting guests, running specials and offering holiday treats. Each merchant also will offer a door prize.

The Friends of the Library will hold their annual Christmas Tree Festival at the Community Center, 162 Oswego St.. Visitors 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 is “The Polar Express”.  Trees and wreaths decorated with theme decorations will be eligible to win “The People’s Choice” Award.” And be sure to look out for the featured Pet Tree.

Call Linda Remig at 564-6643 for information or pick up an entry form at the library.

Beginning at 4 p.m. Nov. 24, the Hannibal Historical Society hosts The Village Christmas Tree Lighting Festival in the Village Square.

Festivities begin with Santa’s arrival, followed at 4:15 p.m. with a performance by students from Kami’s Kix Dance Studio. Community organizations involving students have been invited to set up tables where children can make crafts or families can make purchases.

At 4:45, 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.

The Country Christmas merchants and organizations look forward to seeing everyone, and are excited to kick off this 2013 holiday season.

Pink remote starter covers sold to promote breast cancer awareness

Even though National Breast Cancer Awareness Month is over, Dynamic Automotive & Home Accessories is continuing its program to raise awareness of breast cancer by selling pink remote starter covers.

The company, located at 143 George St., Oswego, has partnered with Oswego County Opportunities’ Cancer Services Program Partnership to help raise awareness of breast cancer and support the program’s efforts to reduce breast cancer in Oswego County.

Carolyn Handville, coordinator of the Cancer Services Program, said all prcoeeds from Dynamic Automotive & Home Accessories’ sales of the pink remote starter cover now through the end of the year will benefit the Cancer Services Program.

“I’m grateful that Dynamic Automotive and Home Accessories chose to support our efforts,” said Handville. “It’s encouraging to see business and community members recognizing the work that we do.

“Statistics show that 1 in every 8 women will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime,” Handville said. “We are determined to reduce that number in Oswego County by increasing the awareness of breast cancer and the importance of receiving regular breast exams.”

Adminstered by OCO, the Cancer Services Program Partnership of Oswego County provides free cancer screenings including clinical breast exams, mammograms, pap/pelvic exams and colorectal cancer screenings to community members who are both uninsured and between 40 and 64 years of age.

For more information on the Cancer Services Program Partnership of Oswego County contact Carolyn Handville at 592-0830 or visit OCO’s website at www.oco.org.

OCO, Inc is a private, nonprofit agency that has been supporting communities throughout Oswego County since 1966. A member agency of the United Way of Greater Oswego County, OCO provides more than 50 vital services throughout 80 separate locations.  For more information, visit www.oco.org.