Category Archives: Featured Stories

Fulton Kmart to close in January

By Ashley M. Casey

The Kmart at 2078 Route 481 in Fulton will close in mid-January 2014, Sears Holdings Corp. announced Friday, Oct. 11.

The Fulton store is among several others nationwide that are closing, including a 43-year-old Kmart in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

The closures are part of Sears’ efforts to reduce expenses, refocus investments and change the direction of the company’s business model, said Howard Riefs, director of corporate communications for Sears Holdings.

Kmart and Sears merged in 2005.

“These actions will better enable us to focus our investments on serving our customers and members through integrated retail — at the store, online and in the home,” Riefs said in an email to the Valley News.

Riefs also said the 51 employees of the Fulton store will be given the opportunity to apply to other Sears and Kmart stores.

Kmart shares the plaza with the Fulton campus of Cayuga Community College. River Glen Holdings Inc., an offshoot of Cayuga County Community College Foundation, Inc., owns the property. According to CCC’s website, Kmart had been committed to the lease on that property through 2018.

Jeffrey Rosenthal, vice president for student affairs at CCC, said the college had not yet discussed taking advantage of the upcoming vacancy in the plaza.

“In the short term, there are no plans to use that space,” he said in a phone interview. “In the long term, and certainly as enrollment grows, there will be a need for space, and the storefronts and Kmart will provide that space.”

Rosenthal added that any plans to expand the campus would need to be included in the next update of CCC’s facilities master plan.

An employee at the Fulton Kmart told the Valley News that the store’s manager would have no comment on the store’s closing.

Riefs said the store will continue to be open for customers up until January, and liquidation sales would begin Oct. 27.

Oswego Fire Department supports breast cancer awareness

Statistics show that 1 in every 8 women will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime.

For Oswego County Opportunities’ Cancer Services Program Partnership (CSPP) that is an unacceptable number, and one they are dedicated to reducing in Oswego County.

In recognition of October being National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the Cancer Services Program has begun a month long campaign aimed at increasing the awareness of the importance of obtaining annual clinical breast exams in the fight against breast cancer in Oswego County.

Carolyn Handville, program manager for the Cancer Services Program Partnership, said a phone call from the Oswego City Fire Department helped get the campaign off to a fast start.

“Its was a pleasant surprise when fire chief Jeff McCrobie called to tell me that the Oswego City Fire Department wanted to support our efforts and asked me come down to the fire station for a photo.  When I arrived I was thrilled to see the firefighters dressed in pink shirts!

“Jeff told me that Carol Emmons is leading the fire department’s breast cancer awareness campaign and that they are selling pink T-shirts to raise money for OCO’s Cancer Services Program,” she said.  “I’m very appreciative of the fact that the Oswego City Fire Department recognizes our efforts and chose to support us in this way.”

Fire chief Jeff McCrobie the Oswego City Fire Department said the pink shirts are available at the East Side Fire Station, 35 E. Cayuga St., Oswego. All proceeds from sales of the pink T-shirts will benefit the Cancer Services Program Partnership of Oswego County.

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

OCO is a private, nonprofit agency that has been supporting communities throughout Oswego County since 1966. OCO provides more than 50 services in 80 separate locations.

Oswego High School Drama Club presents Lizzie Borden play

“Lizzie Borden took an axe and gave her mother 40 whacks. When she saw what she had done she gave her father 41!”

This morbid old schoolyard tune may be familiar to most, but the true legend of Lizzie Borden is largely unknown to many. The Oswego High School Drama Club aims to set the record straight with the award-winning original play “Lizzie Borden Took an Axe,” written and directed by Garrett Heater, music teacher at Fitzhugh Park Elementary in Oswego.

The play will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 15 and 16 in the Robinson-Faust Theatre for the Performing Arts at Oswego High School. Tickets are $10 at the door; reservations may be made by calling the box office at 341-2270.

“I feel the play comes closer to the truth than any play or movie that has come before it,” said Heater. “The text of the play is derived from court transcripts and inquest testimonies, which brings the audience extremely close to the actual events.”

The play recreates scenes leading up to and immediately after the 1892 double-murder of wealthy businessman Andrew Borden and his second wife, Abby Durfee Gray Borden. Both were found mutilated in their home in Fall River, Mass., by hatchet or axe.

Andrew’s 32-year-old daughter Lizzie (step-daughter of Abby) was indicted and stood trial for the crime. She was acquitted of the gruesome homicides and the crime has remained unsolved for more than 120 years.

Following her acquittal, Lizzie Borden remained in Fall River. Her friends and neighbors, once staunch supporters of her innocence, quickly left her side after the trial and she became a social pariah.

“Once she received her father’s money, which was millions, she spent it on everything she felt she had been denied while living in the small house on Second Street,” said Heater. “People in Fall River found that suspicious.”

But Lizzie (played by Rachael Leotta) isn’t the only suspect in today’s world of armchair sleuths. Some feel that the Irish maid Bridget “Maggie” Sullivan (Sarah Lamb) had been pushed to the limit of servitude by her employers and killed them.

Others suspect Lizzie’s older sister Emma (Natalie Griffin), who may have planned the murders with their uncle John Morse (Mark Forger) in order to prevent a new will from being drawn up, giving most of the Borden fortune to their step-mother Abby (Gabriela Castiglia).

Dr. Seabury Bowen (Ryan Smith) is often viewed as being complicit in the murders, perhaps feeling sorry for possible abuse Lizzie suffered at the hands of her father Andrew (Stephen Mahan). Nosy neighbor Adelaide Churchill (Jordan Oatman) was on hand to comfort Lizzie after the murders were discovered, while Lizzie’s dear friend Alice Russell (Keelan McGreevey) eventually found herself testifying at the trial one year later.

“We may never know who committed the crime,” said Heater, “but our talented cast will present the event with exceptional skill and the audience must determine who had the motivation to wield the axe.”

American Red Cross blood drives for November

Here are some American Red Cross blood drives set for November in Oswego County:

8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., Nov. 5, Sandy Creek High School School – gym, 124 Salisbury Street, Sandy Creek

12:30 to 5:30 p.m., Nov. 6, Believers Chapel – Fellowship Hall, 614 S. 4th St., (Route 481), Fulton

12:30 to 6:30 p.m., Nov. 11, UMC Sandy Creek – Fellowship Hall, 2031 Harwood Dr, Sandy Creek

1 to 6 p.m., Nov. 13, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7325 – Main Hall, 1560 State  Route 49, Constantia,

8:15 a.m. to 2:15 p.m., Nov. 14, Hannibal High School – Board Room, 928 Cayuga St., Hannibal

11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Nov. 20, Oswego Elks Lodge 271 – Banquet Hall, 132 W. Fifth St., Oswego

9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Nov. 23, Lowes – Bloodmobile, 445 State Route 104, Oswego

12:30 to 5:30 p.m., Nov. 26, Oswego Moose Lodge – Main room, 134 W. Oneida St., Oswego


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.”