Category Archives: Featured Stories

Report: Granby, town highway workers, could save with ‘Obamacare’

By Scott Allardice

The federal Affordable Care Act, or “Obamacare,” could change the way the Town of Granby provides health insurance for its highway department employees.

And it could save both the town and the workers money.

At the Oct. 9 meeting, the town board heard a presentation from Brooks Wright, of KBM Management, Inc., on an alternative health insurance plan for the five highway employees.

Wright explained the workers, members of the Teamsters Union, are covered under a plan through the union. This plan costs the town $124,946 this year.

But under a plan through Excellus Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Wright said, the town could provide coverage for $105,348, a savings of almost $20,000.

The benefits, Wright said, “are pretty similar to what they have now.” The cost savings, Wright indicated, could be greater depending on the demand for services by the employees.

The employees also could see a drop in their contributions toward health insurance of about $100 per month.

The town is negotiating a new contract with the Teamsters Union employees. The employees would have to approve any change in health insurance plans.

Town Supervisor Ed Williamson said he wanted to set up a meeting with the workers and Brooks Wright so the alternative plan could be presented and explained to them.

Wright also discussed the insurance coverage for the town’s non-unionized workers. Those workers also would get their coverage through Excellus, but the monthly premiums for the town would increase slightly; $28 for individual coverage and $140 for family coverage.

In other business at the meeting, the board:

** Learned that Gordon Marvin had resigned as a member of the planning board, effective Sept. 14. The board authorized the town clerk advertise for a replacement.

** Accepted a $785 bid from Sunrise Construction for work in the town hall conference room that includes patching holes in the wall, painting walls and new wood baseboards.

** Approved a request from Judge Bruce Wells for permission to apply for grants from the state Office of Court Administration.

** Noted that the board had received the resignation of Councilor Joseph Cortini, effective Sept. 27.

** Agreed to pay the town’s scrap recycling firm 25 cents a pound for electronics dropped off at the recycling shed.

** Accepted an offer from Williamson of $15 for a surplus cabinet from the highway department.

** Agreed to hold a public hearing on the preliminary 2014 town budget at 6 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 23 at the town hall, 820 county Route 8.

Fulton native completes Cancer Crush Campaign, raises more than $6,000 in 353-mile run

Benjamin Hall’s last two weeks were a triumph of the spirit.

There was the day of torrential rain — rain so bad that he had to stop his Crush Cancer Campaign run temporarily when his legs locked up.

Then there were the dogs who showed up on a dirt road to check him out.

“And I even had to stare down a buck,” he said. “We just kept staring at each other until he finally moved.”

On Saturday, Oct. 12, Hall, 31, completed his 353-mile run from his home in Maryland to Fulton, where he was born and many of his relatives still live.

He ran nearly 29 miles a day — more than a marathon, which is 26.2 miles.

His Crush Cancer Campaign began more than a year ago as he decided he had to do something to raise awareness of the dreaded disease that claimed two people near and dear to him — his uncle Timothy Thurlow in 2003 and aunt Michele (Thurlow) Bellinger, in 2007. Both were from Fulton.

“My brother and sister were looking down on him every day during the run,” said Hall’s mother, Jamie Prue. “They were the wings beneath his feet.”

Hall, who once was overweight and out of shape, was shocked into doing something about his health after the deaths of his aunt and uncle. He worked with a personal trainer in Baltimore, who gave him weight goals and helped him learn how to eat healthy.

Today, he is fit and trim and focused on helping others learn how to ward off diseases like cancer.

“I want to get people in the best shape they can. Diet and lifestyle increase (chances of cancer) another 30 percent,” he said in an interview before leaving on his run Sept. 28.

“One out of three cancer deaths is related to diet and exercise,” he said.

His aunt, Lynn Coulon, a sister to Thurlow and Bellinger, said the deaths of his aunt and uncle hit him hard.

“I think it was a traumatic experience for him,” Coulon said.

Hall said he met many nice people along his route, with some — like the motel crew in Owego, NY — putting out signs encouraging him on his journey.

The rainy day almost broke him. He  was between Clarks Summit and Montrose, Pa. “It was a 33-mile day and I had no motivation. It was miserable,” he said. “I had to keep stopping because my legs locked up. It took me eight hours to finish that day.”

When he jogged into the Kmart parking lot at 12:55 p.m. Saturday, nearly 50 people waiting for him, all decked out in fluorescent green T-shirts, cheered, applauded and broke into smiles that were at least 353-miles long.

Hall hugged his mother and then hugged or shook hands with everyone else. Many cried. hall and everyone else in the parking lot looked relieved it was over.

But then, after greeting everyone, Hall was joined by some of the crowd for the last 2.8 miles — a jog to his uncles house at 1740 Route 48, just north of Fulton.

With a police escort, he and his posse   moved on.

“I’m so proud of what he’s doing and what he’s accomplished,” said his mom. Anything he sets his mind to, he does it.”


News in Brief

There is a chicken barbecue benefit for Cody firefighter Andy Lawson and his family from 11:30 a.m. until sold out Oct. 20 at Cody Station 2, Wilcox Road.

The Lawson family recently lost everything in a trailer fire. In addition to the chicken dinner, there will be door prizes and raffles. Takeout dinners also will be available.

Call ahead to play an order at 593-8977.


Oct. 30 is the deadline to file applications to take a number of Civil Service tests in Oswego County.

The tests are: Caseworkers Aide and Caseworkers Aide Spanish speaking; Community Service Worker; Planning Technician; Principal Account Clerk (schools); and Senior Account Clerk.

All the tests are being given Dec. 7.

Applications and further information are available at the Oswego County Department of Personnel, County Office Building, 46 E. Bridge St., Oswego, 349-8209 or at



The Valley News is seeking events for December and in the coming New Year to be the primary photo displays on the cover of Wednesday editions.

Any organization, school, church or group that knows of a special event coming up, please e-mail that information to Managing Editor Debra J. Groom at

Include the name of the group, when the event is, what the event is and a contact name and phone number for the organization or group.

The photos are booked through Dec. 4 but we are looking for events that are occurring Dec. 4 and after.



People who receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits will see a decrease in their allotment beginning Nov. 1.

This is due to the increase provided by the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 will expire.

In 2009, Congress passed ARRA to allow for a temporary boost in SNAP benefits to help offset the economic downturn. This federal Act allowed for SNAP recipients to receive a 13.6 percent increase in their maximum monthly SNAP allotment. ARRA has not been renewed by Congress and as a result, the temporary increase is expiring.

Recipients will see two changes in their benefit amounts during the fall of 2013. Every Oct. 1, benefits increase slightly for most households to reflect the cost of living. This annual increase took place the beginning of this month.

In addition, on Nov. 1 of this year only, all SNAP recipients will see their benefits decrease due to the end of the extra benefits provided by the 2009 federal law.

Most SNAP recipients will see a decrease of about $11 per person, per month. The amount of the SNAP cut is based on the household size.


Two assemblymen and a state senator who represent Oswego County have been named to the New York Farm Bureau “Circle of Friends,.

They are: Sen. Patricia Ritchie, Assemblyman Robert Oaks and Assemblyman Will Barclay.

A total of 101 state legislators were named to the list for their support of New York agriculture and the Farm Bureau.

The “Circle of Friends” honor is based upon each legislator’s voting record on issues of agricultural importance as well as other evidence of legislative support, including sponsorship of bills that New York Farm Bureau has either supported or opposed during the most recent legislative session.

“The selected lawmakers from both the Assembly and Senate were chosen for their commitment to the hard working farm families in New York. Each friend has demonstrated that they understand the importance of agriculture to the people of their legislative district, and how farming significantly impacts the economy of this great state,” said Dean Norton, President of New York Farm Bureau.

The “Circle of Friends” is not an endorsement, and this distinction only recognizes the 2013 legislative session.

********************** reports with fall underway, leaves across the country are coming into senescence, creating a vibrant landscape of reds, browns, oranges and yellows.

Entering the first week of October, much of the East has already seen slight to moderate color change. Some areas farther North, have begun to enter the peak of their season.

“It looks pretty certain that the cold temps in September brought out early and good color to the Northeast, including Pennsylvania,” Marc Abrams, professor of Forest Ecology and Physiology at Penn State University, said.

“The August drought and early frosts (in places) is a slight negative, but overall the cold temps prevailed,” Abrams said.

Temperatures from September through mid-October have a significant impact on the vibrance of the displays. Cold temperatures become very important during this time, what Abrams considers the “critical period.”

“The warm temps this week may delay the trees that have not yet turned but shouldn’t deter the ones that have,” Abrams said.



Dugway United Methodist Church is having a harvest dinner from noon to 3 p.m. Sunday Oct. 20 at the church on Route 104, Parish, two miles east of I-81 at Mexico.

The menu consists of scalloped potatoes, ham, squash, baked beans, cabbage salad, cranberry sauce, applesauce, homemade breads and pies, coffee, tea and lemonade.

Prices will be $7.50 for Adults, $6.50 for Seniors, $5.00 for Children 6-12, and Children under 6 for free.  Family rates for 2 adults & 2 children over 5 is $20.00

The dinner benefits the United Methodist Women of Dugway United Methodist Church.




The Dugway United Methodist Church is putting on a hunger walk at 10 a.m. Oct. 19.

There will be refreshments afterwards.    Benefits will go to the local food pantries.


The Century Club is now taking orders for its annual nut sale to raise money for the Phoenix Public Library.

Orders will be taken through Oct. 16 (today). Nuts being sold include walnuts, pecans, cashews and chocolate-covered nuts.

To place an order, call a Century Club member of stop at the Phoenix Public Library on elm Street. For more information, call library at 695-4355 or the Century Club fundraising chairperson at 695-2232.



The Woodland Hallooween Festival is scheduled for 3 to 7 p.m. Sunday Oct. 27 at the Amboy 4-H Environmental Center.

Creatures of all ages will delight in the afternoon of free and fun family activities.  An adult must accompany all children for this special event.

Woodland Halloween Festival includes children’s games, crafts, face painting, campfire program, light refreshments and a trick and treat trail at dusk. Along this trail, trick and treat’ers will meet and greet friendly forest critters. The trick and treat trail will be open only between 6-7 p.m. The last group will leave the trailhead at 6:45.

Woodland Halloween Festival will be held rain or shine. Participants should dress to stay warm and to ward off the spirit of chill, and bring a flashlight.  This is a free public program.

The Amboy 4-H Environmental Education Center is located at 748 State Route 183, one mile south of Williamstown.



The Fulton Dining and Activity Center is having its annual candlelight dinner Oct. 24 in the community room in the Fulton Municipal Building.

Doors open at 11 a.m. With lunch served at noon. The fee will be collected at the door. There will be entertainment and door prizes.

Seating is limited to call Eileen for reservations at 592-3408. The deadline is Oct. 18.


Foster Funeral Home, with sites in Fulton and Hannibal,  has renewed its membership in the Lofty Oaks Association, a New Hampshire organization dedicated to reforestation and conservation efforts in New York state.

Foster arranges to have a tree planted for every service is performs to provide a living memorial in honor of the deceased and to renew forests in New York. The trees are planted in the spring and fall.

After each service, close family members and friends are informed that a memorial tree has been arranged for  by Paul E. Foster. When the tree has been planted, the designated people in the family will receive a certificate of planting suitable for framing at home.



The United Methodist women of the Red Creek Westbury United Methodist Church will conduct their annual SERRV Bazaar from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nov. 2 at the church.

Visitors will be able to pick up Christmas gifts for family and friends and enjoy lunch at the Holy Cow Cafe.

Proceeds from the bazaar go to the major mission project to support the the Folts Foundation, Westside Ministry, Pines of Peace Home, Matthew House, Church World Service, Doctors Without Borders, The Heifer Projects, Care Net of Wayne County, Gateway-Longview, Christian Mission Camp, Red Bird Mission, The Jambo Jipya School in Kenya and the farmers and artisans of SERRV.


Hollie Doyle of Oswego recently was selected to participate in the 2014 Mis Teen Syracuse/Binghamton pageant.

The pageant was held Oct. 12.


The Empire State Bottle Collectors Association will have its 15th annual fall antiques, bottles and more show and sale from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 20 at the Scriba Fire Station, Route 104 two miles east of Oswego.

There will be antiques, collectibles,  bottles, post cards, coins, insulators, watches, advertising items, glassware and brewery items.

Food and other refreshments will be available.






Tours, athletics and fun all part of SUNY Oswego’s Family and Friends Weekend

SUNY Oswego’s Family and Friends Weekend from Oct. 25 to 27 promises a rich mix of entertainment and tours, athletics and dining options as students welcome their loved ones to life on campus and the Oswego community.

The three days show family members and friends what SUNY Oswego students have been up to for the first several weeks of the semester, while providing a range of special events for the campus and community to enjoy. Most events are free and open to all.

Balloon sculptor and installation artist Larry Moss of Airigami, Jonathan “Flexible Comedy” Burns, comic magician Derek Hughes and Jabali Afrika’s rhythms all join the weekend’s playbill with the college theatre department’s staging of Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451” (a ticketed event), a mini-carnival for younger siblings and a “splash-in” movie.

Student-athletes will strut their stuff in women’s field hockey games, a men’s soccer game and swimming and diving competition, while the Laker men’s and women’s ice hockey teams each will have intrasquad matchups in the Campus Center arena.

Participatory sports include open skates in the arena (for a small fee), a three-point contest for basketball aficionados, open swims and open recreation.

Self-guided tours will feature the newest buildings on campus — the Richard S. Shineman Center for Science, Engineering and Innovation and the Rice Creek Field Station — yet all academic buildings will welcome visitors.

Dining halls will serve family and friends for $5.99 a person per meal, receptions will greet legacy students and parents, and the options for on-campus food will culminate in the already-sold-out Caribbean-themed buffet dinner.

Meanwhile, restaurants, entertainment venues and lodging places around Oswego will greet throngs of students and their guests for one of the year’s most popular weekends.

Following is a sampling of scheduled events:

Friday, Oct. 25: Rice Creek tours, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; open skate, noon to 2 p.m.; Lakers field hockey vs. Oneonta, 4 p.m. at South Athletic Fields; three-point contest, 4 p.m. at Lee Hall gym; “Fahrenheit 451” stage production, 8 p.m. at Waterman Theatre; splash-in movie “Wreck-It Ralph” in Lee Hall pool.

Saturday, Oct. 26: Rice Creek and self-guided tours of Shineman Center and other academic buildings, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.; balloon artist Larry Moss, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Campus Center’s Swetman Gym; brief student performances, 11 a.m., Swetman Gym; music by Jabali Afrika, 11:30 a.m., Swetman Gym; Tyler Art Gallery exhibitions, 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.; music department concerts, noon, Hewitt Union ballroom; open swim, noon to 2 p.m., Lee Hall; open recreation, noon to midnight, Lee Hall; swimming and diving vs. Oneonta, 1 p.m., Laker Hall; field hockey vs. New Paltz, 1 p.m., South Athletic Fields; men’s soccer vs. Cortland, 1 p.m., Laker Soccer Field; mini-carnival, 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. in Swetman Gym; Jonathan Burns’ Flexible Comedy, 1:30 and 3 p.m. in the Campus Center auditorium; women’s and men’s ice hockey intrasquad competitions, 3 and 7 p.m., respectively, Campus Center arena; “Fahrenheit 451” at 8 p.m. in Waterman Theatre; comedian and magician Derek Hughes, 8 p.m., Hewitt Union ballroom; open skate, 10 p.m. to midnight, Campus Center arena.

Sunday, Oct. 27: open swim, noon to 2 p.m., Lee Hall; open recreation, noon to midnight, Lee Hall, and noon to 5 p.m., Swetman Gym; men’s club ice hockey “Pink the Rink” event, 2 p.m., Campus Center arena; “Fahrenheit 451,” 2:30 p.m., Waterman Theatre.

For a complete schedule of Family and Friends Weekend events, visit For tickets to “Fahrenheit 451,” visit any SUNY Oswego box office, or call 315-312-2141.


Trees planted in Oswego

About $25,000 has been donated to the Oswego Renaissance Association for the planting of 60 trees in highly visible sections of Oswego this month.

The money was donated by Novelis Oswego. The trees will be planted along the West Bridge Street corridor as part of the Oswego Renaissance Association’s revitalization work in the City of Oswego.

In addition to the donation, Novelis Oswego employees will be planting the trees alongside volunteers from the City of Oswego, the Oswego Tree Stewards, Trees for Vets, Oswego DPW,  SUNY students among others.

“Our Novelis colleagues around the globe will be committing time, energy and resources to their local communities during the company’s Month of Service in October,” said Chris Smith, Novelis Oswego plant manager.

“We are excited to work closely with Oswego Renaissance Association and other members of the community to help revitalize the area,” Smith said.

“Trees will be planted in high need, high visibility areas along the West Bridge Street corridor. They will provide a 200- year improvement in the visual impact, air cleansing, storm water handling capacity, reduction of the city ‘heat island’ effect, improvement in property value and the many social and tourism aspects of a solid tree canopy,” said Phil Mac Arthur; founder of the Oswego Tree Stewards.

“This is more than just planting trees,” said Oswego Rensaissance Association Director Paul Stewart explained. “This is also about reconnecting people and building community. This is a win-win for the community and all involved.”

The ORA promotes the “Healthy Neighborhood Approach” to neighborhood and community revitalization, which is a market-based approach that builds on strengths.

“There is that old saying; ‘You only get one chance to make a first impression.,’” said Steven Phillips, an ORA resident leader and coordinator for this project. “This project will improve the first and lasting impressions people get entering our city from the West allowing us to compete better for new residents and businesses.”

Stewart said the community is beginning a steady rebirth, with many places in neighborhoods and downtown coming alive.

“Many of our neighborhoods and business districts are beginning to demonstrate that our community is ‘invested’, it encourages additional new investment. The Tree Canopy Project will be a visual signal that our community is invested and continues to re-invest.”

Emotions up, grad rate down at Fulton school board meeting

By Ashley M. Casey

Tuesday’s board of education meeting saw some tense moments with a discussion of lower testing and graduation rates and the resignation of a teacher.

In a lighter moment of the meeting, board president David Cordone and superintendent William Lynch awarded a diploma to Bob LaRock, a veteran of the Korean War.

“Bob would have graduated in 1953 had he not left high school to join the Marine Corps,” Lynch explained.

Several of LaRock’s family members were present for the occasion, which was made possible by Operation Recognition. This is a campaign that allows veterans of World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam conflict to receive a high school diploma if they present satisfactory discharge papers.

Secondary assessment results

G. Ray Bodley High School principal Donna Parkhurst and department chairs presented the results of the 2012-2013 secondary assessments. Last year’s exams were graded on the 2005 standards, but the next set of exams will be based on the new Common Core standards.

Nate Fasulo, chair of English and social studies, explained the 14 percent drop in English Regents scores. Compared to 86 percent of students passing in 2012, 72 percent of students passed the English Regents in 2013. Fasulo attributed this drop to two factors.

He said the grade conversion chart has been adjusted by 4 percentage points to reflect the tougher Common Core standards that will be in place for next year’s tests.

Fasulo also said that the weather-related cancellation of school in January 2013 prevented approximately 3 to 5 percent of students from taking the English Regents in January, so students only had one chance to pass the test instead of two.

GRB has overhauled many aspects of the English department to boost test scores. Following the example of Oswego High School, 11th graders will take the English Regents in January 2014. In June, students will be required to take the Common Core test, and they may retake the Regents if they want to aim for a higher Regents score.

Students who require academic intervention services (AIS) have been pooled from three groups into one to allow teachers to better meet their needs.

English teachers also will be instructing other departments’ teachers on close reading, or a careful, detailed interpretation of a passage, to help students with the learning style required by the Common Core.

The January test cancellation also greatly affected math scores for AIS students, math chair Penny Downing explained. However, the passing rate for Regents Integrated Algebra increased 11 percent.

Integrated Algebra students in eighth and ninth grade will take both the Common Core and Regents tests in June. The higher score will count in the students’ transcripts.

Geometry and Algebra 2/Trigonometry scores dipped, but Downing said that Applied Geometry and Applied Trigonometry students were included in the test results.

Downing called the inclusion of these students a step forward because previously they had not had a chance to be tested, which kept them from seeking an Advanced Regents diploma. She said trigonometry was essential for success in college math classes as well.

Science chair Chris Leece presented mainly stable numbers, especially for chemistry and physics, but the passing rate for the Earth Science Regents dropped to 52 percent.

“We have some places where we’re teaching far beyond what is expected, and in other places we have some gaps,” Leece said.

He added earth science teachers at Fulton Junior High School and GRB are meeting regularly and following common planning and pacing guides to keep students on track.

Fasulo’s report on social studies was brighter. Fulton students scored the best in Oswego County and the region on Regents Global History. Scores also have been consistently high for Regents U.S. History and Government.

As for college preparation tests, Parkhurst said Fulton students scored higher than the national and state averages on the reading portion of the SAT. Math scores were about level compared to state and national averages, and writing was lower but steadily improving.

ACT scores were between the state and national rates.

Graduation rate down

“We are dealing with some very significant issues,” Parkhurst said when introducing the presentation on the 2013 graduation rate.

Of students who entered ninth grade in 2009, 63 percent graduated from Bodley in 2013.

Parkhurst said the school has examined 86 individual cases of students who did not graduate to determine why they did not complete school. Of these 86 students, half were of low socioeconomic status.

Parkhurst listed other statistics as well:

  • 14 pregnant or parenting
  • 28 with drug or alcohol dependence
  • 14 incarcerated
  • 22 homeless
  • 16 with mental health issues

The dropout rate for 2013 was 17 percent, and overall attendance has dropped 1.1 percent. GRB’s attendance rate is down 2 percentage points to 85.1 percent. In their presentation on math and science assessments, Downing and Leece noted many students in applied classes or who had low socioeconomic status had missed a significant amount of class time.

Board vice president Dan Pawlewicz asked for reasons for these figures, and noted that the district has many resources for struggling students, including AIS, home-school liaisons and counselors.

“How do we fix it? How do we get every kid across the stage?” Pawlewicz asked.

Parkhurst said many of these students’ problems begin in junior high or even elementary school.

“With some of them, their problems presented in the intermediate grades,” she said. “Their problems did not begin in ninth grade.”

Board member Rosemary Occhino put Parkhurst’s figures on troubled students into perspective for the board. She said although resources are available to these students, many of them lack supportive parents and a stable home life.

“It is somewhat foreign to we individuals who sit around this table. The children we raised — we encouraged them,” she said. “Not all young people have that advantage.”

Fred Cavalier said the ever-tightening testing standards might cause a child to fall even further behind and not want to come to school.

“If he’s struggling before, he could be discouraged,” Cavalier said.

Betsy Conners, executive director of instruction and assessment, said attendance is key to reaching these students.

“When we have the kids in the seat, we can teach them,” she said. “But we can’t drag them and handcuff them there.”

Superintendent Lynch mentioned the Fulton police have assisted in reminding students in parks that they should be in school.

“One of the detriments of having a beautiful fall is kids want to be outside (and not in school),” Lynch said.

O’Brien resigns

Colleen O’Brien, the science teacher who says she suffers from multiple chemical sensitivity, announced her resignation during the public forum.

She recounted stories of students deliberately spraying fragrances in front of her classroom to trigger an attack of her illness, and other students who tried to stand up for her.

O’Brien claimed the district would not cover her $13,000 in medical expenses. She also said she would no longer be attending school board meetings to discuss the issue. The board has previously discussed enacting a fragrance-free policy, which O’Brien supports. She added that she plans to write a book about her experience with multiple chemical sensitivity.

She said her resignation would be effective when her sick leave ran out, and she exited the meeting in tears.

Other business

  • Enrollment in college-level courses at GRB is strong. The high school offers courses for credit from Cayuga Community College, Onondaga Community College, SUNY Oswego, SUNY ESF, Rochester Institute of Technology and several Advanced Placement courses. BOCES offers some AP courses online. In English, 51 students earned college credit in 2013 through AP or OCC English. In social studies, 149 students earned credit from AP or CCC courses.
  • Kathy Nichols, director of finance, presented the audit report. The school district is in a positive fiscal state. Raymond F. Wager, CPA, PC, has performed the audit for the last four years.
  • The Lanigan Elementary school gymnasium floor is separating from the subflooring. While physical education classes have not been disrupted, testing indicates the floor contains mercury and must be replaced. Lynch estimated the cost of removal and replacement at $400,000. The board will discuss this and other facilities issues at the next meeting.

Coming up

The Fulton school board will meet next at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 22 at Granby Elementary School.

At the Education Center at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 17, administrators will present “Common Core Learning” to teach families about the new standards and their impact on students.

This is part of the Partnerships for Success workshops.

Childcare and refreshments will be available. Call 593-5509 with any questions.

Oswego Health promotes Breast Cancer Awareness Month

The physicians and staff of Oswego Health will take part in activities throughout October that promote national Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Perhaps the most important action community members can take is to encourage the women they know to have a mammogram.

Oswego Health Radiology Chief Dr. Mark Franklin recommends most women undergo a yearly mammogram beginning at age 40. Women who are at higher risk of breast cancer should talk with their healthcare provider about whether to have mammograms before the age of 40 and how often to undergo one.

Those at a higher risk for breast cancer include individuals who have a first degree relative — such as a mother or sister — who has had the disease.

Oswego Health radiologists, as part of the interpretation of each woman’s mammography screening, use a risk tool that can be found at U.S. National Institutes of Health web site: www.cancer.gove/bcrisktool.

“A digital mammogram is one of the most important tools physicians have to diagnose breast cancer,” Dr. Franklin said. “Early breast cancer detection through mammography likely results in improved outcomes.”

“Along with having a yearly mammogram, I encourage women to have a clinical breast exam yearly by their healthcare provider,” Dr. Franklin said. “Monthly self-breast exams are also important in the detection of breast cancer.”

In addition to offering digital mammogram services, Oswego Hospital can perform breast Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), adding one more diagnostic tool in the fight against breast cancer.

A breast MRI is one of the latest technologies available to assist in the detection of breast cancer. This new technology allows radiologists to see abnormalities that sometimes cannot be seen on either a mammogram or ultrasound. Specialized software assists radiologists with the interpretation of the approximately 1,200 images created during a single study.

Dr. Franklin encourages women who are known to be at high risk for breast cancer, or who have a first-degree family member with the disease, to have a breast MRI. Among those at higher risk are women who have had a first degree family member with breast cancer.

“This new technology is another tool for women at risk for breast cancer,” Dr. Franklin said. “A MRI of the breast has been performed for a number of reasons that include the diagnosis of breast implant rupture, surgical planning, staging of breast cancer and treatment planning, post surgical and post radiation follow up, dense breast tissue evaluation and evaluating trouble areas identified through a mammogram or ultrasound.”

Dr. Franklin added a breast MRI is not a replacement for mammography or ultrasound imaging, but rather a supplemental tool for detecting and staging breast cancer and other breast abnormalities.

The breast MRI takes about 20 minutes and entails the use of an intravenous contrast. A physician referral is required.

Digital mammography appointments can be made in several convenient locations throughout Oswego County, including the Oswego Health Services Center, Fulton Medical Center, the newly opened Central Square Medical Center and at the Pulaski Health Center.

To make a mammography screening appointment in either Oswego or Pulaski, call 349-5540. For appointments in Fulton and Central Square, call 592-3555.

To make an appointment for a breast MRI, call (800) 634-2468.

Oswego Health Offers Breast Cancer Support Group

For residents seeking a breast cancer support group, the caring and sharing breast cancer support group meets the third Tuesday of the month from 6:30 to 8:30 p. m. in the conference room of the Fulton Medical Center.

Leading the group is Liz Schremp.

“We call breast cancer treatment a journey and our members have all experienced the many emotions you feel during that journey,” said Schremp last year when the group began meeting at the Fulton Medical Center. “Breast cancer for a woman can be very, very overwhelming. There are phases of the journey and we lead each person on a positive route.”

In addition to the support group, its members can provide a facilitator 24 hours a day to those that need support before the next support group meeting. Schremp can be contacted by calling 592-7468.

New Oswego Health ENTs visit senior health fair

Oswego Health’s two new otolaryngologists who treat a variety of ear, nose and throat issues, as well as provide facial plastic surgery, attended state Sen. Patty Ritchie’s Senior Health Fair held earlier this week at the Fulton War Memorial.

Board Certified ENTs Nicholas Groch and Melanie Pence opened an office Oct. 8 in Suite 210 of the Oswego Health Services Center, located next to Oswego Hospital. Contact them by calling 349-5828.

The otolaryngologists have a joint practice providing services such as hearing and balance testing to allergy testing, sinus surgery, pediatric ear infections, snoring and sleep apnea, thyroidectomies, skin cancer excisions and cosmetic procedures.

Both physicians are board-certified by the American Osteopathic Board of Otolaryngology in head and neck/facial plastic surgery. An audiologist is also expected to join the practice in the upcoming weeks.

The ENTs will host an Ask The Doctor program at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 22 in the  lower level JPC conference room of the Oswego Health Services Center, next to Oswego Hospital. The program is free and open to the public.

The Oswego Healthcare System includes Oswego Hospital, The Manor at Seneca Hill, a skilled nursing facility; Springside at Seneca Hill, a retirement living community; an urgent care center in Fulton, and health services centers in Mexico, Parish and Phoenix. For more information, call 349-5500 or visit