Category Archives: Featured Stories

County budget woes zap YAP; director worries about clients

By Debra J. Groom

A program that Oswego County has used for more than 15 years to help at-risk youth and their families has been cut in the proposed 2014 county budget.

The Oswego County Youth Advocacy Program, or YAP, consists of 20 advocates and three administrators work to help families in crisis, youths who are truant from school or getting into trouble in school, youths at risk of becoming juvenile delinquents and entering the court system or youths who could be removed from their homes.

The county’s Department of Social Services contracts with YAP for these services at a cost of $765,000 for 2013.

But Social Services Commissioner Gregg Heffner said when it came time to drawing up his proposed budget for 2014, the program had to go.

“It was budgetary,” he said. “We went through this process for six months with our management team. We received instructions from the legislature of what they needed (for the budget) and I needed to make cuts and this was the appropriate and reasonably safe place to do that.”

Heffner said the work done by YAP was preventative and he is looking for more therapeutic and case work in his department. While he agreed preventative work, especially with youth, is important, he said he wants the work done by YAP advocates to be done by caseworkers in the Social Services department for 2014.

“This was not a judgment about the effectiveness of YAP services,” he said. “People benefitted from it. But we have an increasing number of kids in the justice system, becoming PINS (Persons In Need of Supervision) and they need a more intense therapeutic approach.”

YAP Director Stacie Roberts said she has lots of questions on how this system is going to work. She discussed her reservations with legislators at the Oct. 10 county legislature meeting and hopes, through publicity about YAP being cut, that some legislators will see the need for the program and insist it be put back into the budget.

“How are they (social services caseworkers) able to fill the need, meet the needs of the youths and families?” Roberts asked. “We work with our families five to 20 hours a week. How is that going to be fulfilled by the department?”

Roberts said her advocates go out at all hours if a child or family is having a crisis and needs help. She wonders if Social Services union workers will do the same.

She said YAP works with more than 100 families a year. “Several times a week” her advocates are called out after regular 9 to 5 business hours, she said. If YAP remains cut from the final budget, the advocates and administrators will lose their jobs.

The final 2014 budget will be approved by the full county legislature by December.

Seven graduate from BOCES Dental Assisting Program

Submitted by Oswego County BOCES

Oswego County BOCES held its graduation ceremony for the Dental Assisting Program recently, marking the successful completion of the program for seven graduates.

Director of Adult and Migrant Education, Paul Gugel, welcomed the graduates and their families to the event.

Guest speaker and February graduate Emily Hoyt spoke to students about her real-world experience as a full-time employee of the Pulaski Health Center. Hoyt told students that above all else, a dental assistant’s priority is to make their patient feel comfortable and at ease.

Class speaker for the evening was Michele Files, also the salutatorian for her class.

Files and her classmates spent seven months working toward their diploma, which included 490 hours of dental theory and a shadow experience with an orthodontist and oral surgeon.

Adele Sherman, the dental assisting instructor, presented each graduate with a commemorative pin and diploma as confirmation of their completion of the program before additional special recognitions were presented.

Sherman graduated from BOCES 22 years ago from the same program as her students.

Elizabeth Crandell was named the CDA class valedictorian, and the following students were accepted into the National Technical Honor Society: Michele Files, Crandell and Shelby Rotach.

The National Technical Honor Society is America’s highest award for excellence in education. Students in NVTHS must have an overall GPA of at least a 3.0.

‘Painterly Prints’ exhibit opens Oct. 26 at Oswego State Downtown

SUNY Oswego’s art department will raise the curtain on an exhibition titled “Painterly Prints” on Saturday, Oct. 26, at Oswego State Downtown.

A free reception for 17 students in faculty member Mary Pierce’s “Introduction to Printmaking” class will take place from 2 to 4 p.m. at the gallery and store, corner of West Bridge and First streets. The exhibition will run through Nov. 30.

Each student will exhibit one monotype, or monoprint, a unique form of printmaking where the artist works directly on a flat plate that runs through a printing press to make a single edition.

“This is a contrast to other forms of printmaking in which editions of multiple prints from the same plate are possible,” said Pierce. “The title ‘Painterly Prints’ refers to the method of preparing the plate, which is very direct and similar to painting.”

Oswego State Downtown, a branch of the College Store, is open noon to 5 p.m. Wednesdays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. The phone is 216-4985.

For more information, go to or contact Tyler Art Gallery, 312-2112.

Oswego County honored for its work against synthetic drugs

Oswego County leaders and the New York State Association of Counties were among the driving forces behind recent legislation signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo criminalizing the sale and possession of dangerous unregulated synthetic drugs.

Cuomo signed the bill into law Sept. 13, 2013.

At the association of counties fall seminar last month, Executive Director Stephen Acquario presented members of the Oswego County Legislature with copies of the legislation, signed by Cuomo and framed with the signing pen.

“The voice of Oswego County and counties across the state was heard. With the passing of this legislation, our communities will better be able to protect their residents from significant public health threat posed by these substances,” Acquario said. “I applaud the efforts of Oswego County officials in speaking out about the dangers of these drugs.”


Lockwood runs for re-election to county legislature

Oswego County Legislator Linda Lockwood is running for re-election in the 11th district, serving the town of Volney and parts of Fulton

Lockwood serves as chair of the Public Safety and Emergency Services committee, which oversees the Sheriff’s Department, 911 Emergency Services and the Probation Department.

This committee has been instrumental in developing and designing a new radio communication network that will be an asset to all of Oswego County.

Lockwood also serves on the infrastructure committee as a representative to the solid waste management board, while acting as director on the Soil and Water committee.

She also served on the airport advisory committee, the protocol committee for E-911 and several other committees.

The major issue at this time for the legislature are state mandates and trying to maintain no increase in taxes without cutting employment or cutting services.

Lockwood is always available to constituents or anyone in Oswego County who needs help. She prides herself on being levelheaded and a good listener. She asked for your vote on Nov. 5.

3 Oswego County area men graduate from DEC Training Academy

On Friday, Oct. 18, 47 uniformed officers who successfully completed the basic police academy for state Department of Environmental Conservation Police and Forest Rangers graduated at the Training Academy in Pulaski.

New officers and rangers from the Oswego County area are:

Officer Waldemar Auguscinski, Pulaski; Officer Edward J. Piwko, Parish; and Officer Geoffrey A. Younglove, Red Creek.

Oswego County receiving nearly $600,000 for brownfield development

Oswego County is receiving $597,540 in state money to complete a strategic plan for the Oswego Canal Corridor.

The plan includes the Oswego River, the Oswego Canal and Lake Ontario. This strategy will foster redevelopment on strategic sites for mixed use development, professional offices, niche retail/service, hotels, housing, public waterfront amenities and open space.

This was part of a $10 million announcement Gov. Andrew Cuomo made Thursday for the cleanup and development of brownfields in the state. Brownfields are dormant properties where the presence or potential presence of contamination has impeded site redevelopment, turning the properties into economic and environmental drains on localities.

These grants provide money to help municipalities implement revitalization strategies that are necessary in order to redevelop impacted sites. Once redeveloped, brownfield sites become community assets that can attract businesses, jobs, and ultimately expand the local tax base.

LeClair graduates from Dennis A. Pelletier County Government Institute

Louella LeClair, Oswego County Legislator representing Fulton, was honored Sept. 26 by the New York State Association of Counties  for graduating from the NYSAC Dennis A. Pelletier County Government Institute.

The NYSAC Pelletier County Government Institute is an educational program established by association of counties in conjunction with Cornell University.

The institute provides an educational program for county elected and appointed officials, to enhance the knowledge, skills and abilities of county officials. The Institute allows the public officials to engage in informed, constructive and civil discussions on the current challenges they face as public servants. For more information, visit

“The Pelletier Institute’s vigorous curriculum prepares county leaders with the skills and knowledge necessary to meet the intense demands of local government leadership today,” said NYSAC Executive Director Stephen J. Acquario.

Ed Diana, President of NYSAC and Orange County Executive agrees. “County officials who graduate from the Pelletier Institute are equipped with the tools necessary to make the most of the challenges and opportunities of leadership, and are more effective in serving the public.”

Louella LeClair is an Oswego County Legislator serving constituents in the City of Fulton. She is the chairwoman of the Economic Development, Tourism and Planning committee.  LeClair is passionate about seeing the county’s resources developed to grow its economy and bring tourists to fish, hunt, experience our rich history, snowmobile, and enjoy the beauty of Lake Ontario. LeClair also serves on Finance and Personnel, the last committee before legislation is sent to the floor.  Her main concerns are giving the departments what they need while keeping the taxes low to help the residents.

“The Dennis Pelletier County Government Institute courses have been an invaluable resource to learn all aspects of county government.  I will continue to take advantage of the courses offered in the future.”

The Institute’s comprehensive curriculum includes extensive course work on government ethics, building consensus in a political environment, principles of county budget and finance, and public sector labor/management relations. The courses are supplemented with electives, training sessions, and continuing education courses designed to support county leaders in serving their constituents to the absolute best of their ability.

The New York State Association of Counties is a bipartisan municipal association serving the counties of New York State including the City of New York. Organized in 1925, NYSAC’s mission is to represent, educate and advocate for Member Counties and the thousands of elected and appointed county officials who serve the public.