Category Archives: Featured Stories

Backus wants veteran ID fee suspended

Oswego County Clerk Michael C. Backus has joined several other clerks in New York state calling on Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Department of Motor Vehicles Commissioner Barbara Fiala to immediately suspend fees related to veterans seeking identification on a driver’s license.

Effective Oct. 3, any person who was a member of the Armed Forces and was honorably discharged can have their status as a veteran displayed on their photo documents by having the word “Veteran” printed on the upper left hand of the photo driver’s license.

Backus said this identification is beneficial to veterans when seeking discounts offered at many retail stores and restaurants.

The identification decal is free, but the state mandates veterans pay a $12.50 fee to make the transaction.

“Our office has been contacted several times by veterans seeking this kind of service and I strongly believe the state should offer this service at no fee as a thank-you to our veterans,” said Backus.

“Asking veterans to pay the $12.50 transaction fee to amend their driver’s license is simply unnecessary considering the sacrifice these folks have made for our country,” he said.

Veterans need to provide proof of an honorable discharge (U.S. Department of Defense Form DD-214 or DD-215 or Enlisted Separation Paper).

Veterans interested in having their status put on their driver’s license can do so at any one of Oswego County’s DMV offices located in Pulaski, Fulton and Oswego. The veteran’s status will be printed on all of the veteran’s future New York State DMV photo documents.

Additional information on the DMV requirements is available at

Ryan Barry benefit Oct. 20 at Thunder Island

A benefit fundraiser “All You Can Eat Pasta Dinner” is scheduled for noon to 4 p.m. Oct. 20 at the Oasis Room at Thunder Island on Wilcox Road in Fulton.

The event is taking place to raise money for the Barry family, Sue, Bob and Ryan. Ryan, 12, was riding a mountain bike at camp at Casowasco when he hit a rock on the trail, lost control of the bicycle and hit a tree.

Were it not for the helmet he was wearing, he probably would not have survived. Ryan suffered a severe spinal cord injury as well as other injuries and is now in a wheelchair.

The funds raised by this event will go towards handicapped modifications to the Barry home and other quality of life needs.

Dinner will include all-you-can-eat pasta, salad and bread. Baked goods will be available for purchase.

There will be door prizes, raffles, a 50-50 and a cash bar. Raffle items will include a Vermont Inn Weekend for two and a 50” flat screen TV.

Marybeth and Rob Hill will provide music and a local artist will be doing face painting for the children.

For advance sale tickets or information, contact Theresa Broderick (592-8068), Sue Patrick (592-7449) or Jan Rebeor (593-1930).

A limited number of tickets will be available at the door the day of the event. Takeout meals will be available.

Fulton Savings Bank receives Friends of History award

The recipient of the fourth annual Elma J. Smith Award is Fulton Savings Bank.

The award is given annually by the officers and directors of the Friends of History In Fulton, N.Y., Inc.

The award will be presented at its annual Celebrations Program and Awards Event scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Nov. 1 at the Fulton Polish Home.

Fulton Savings Bank opened its first office in a rented office on the Northeast corner of Second and Oneida Street Sept. 25, 1871, and was organized by a group of civic leaders “to receive deposits from tradesman, clerks, mechanics, laborers, minors, servants and others.”

A special act of the state Legislature allowed the group to incorporate the new mutual financial institution and by the end of the year the bank’s deposits were $27,939.00.  From this modest beginning, Fulton Savings Bank has today become the tenth largest savings bank in the State of New York, with its main office in Fulton, N.Y., and six branch offices in the area.

The Elma J. Smith award is presented to the individual or business whose life and work demonstrate a commitment to the mission and objectives of the Friends of History In Fulton, N. Y., Inc. Fulton Savings Bank has long history of philanthropic contributions to civic and not for profit organizations and groups and to historic preservation.

The mural of the Oswego Canal and Hunter Arms Factory in downtown Fulton was a gift to the City and its residents by Fulton Savings Bank. Fulton Savings Bank officers, trustees and employees have given of their time and talents by serving on the boards of many not for profit corporations and membership in many service organizations.

The Friends of History will celebrate its 34th anniversary and the successful operation of its John Wells Pratt house local history museum at this evening of Celebration. The Fulton Community Band will entertain and there will be a cocktail hour at 5:30 P. M. followed by a buffet dinner catered by G B Catering at 6:30.

The public is urged to attend this gala event and tickets can be purchased at the John Wells Pratt History Museum, 177 S. First St., Fulton, N.Y., or by contacting the Friends of History at 598-4616 or by sending an email to

Hannibal Republicans endorse candidates

The Hannibal Republican Committee is proud to present its candidates for the upcoming November election.

Legislator Terry M. Wilbur is endorsed for re-election to represent District 21 in the Oswego County Legislature. Wilbur currently serves as vice chairman of the legislature, and has four years experience as chair and member of various Oswego County committees.

Morris Sorbello, currently represents the 23rd district, a seat he has held for 14 years. Sorbello has served as past chairman of the legislature, and has earned the respect of his colleagues and constituents alike.

Sorbello is concerned about keeping jobs in the area and maintaining the quality of life for Oswego County residents.  Both legislators have strong ties to the agricultural community and support fiscal responsibility in government.

George Ritchie, a local businessman and life resident of Hannibal, expects to save the town money with his ability to drive trucks and plows and with his experience to repair equipment when elected to the position of Hannibal’s highway superintendent.

Ritchie has more than 25 years experience in the construction and contracting business, and holds a New York state CDL Class A Driver’s License.

Ritchie has more than 35 years experience as a heavy equipment operator and states that he will be “a hands-on superintendent who will work for the people”.

Randy Hendricks and Virginia Wilbur are endorsed to fill two seats on the Hannibal town council.

Hendricks, a grandfather and life resident, served four years on the town council and has retired from Frontier Communications and now has the time to dedicate to town issues.

Wilbur, an incumbent, has 18 years experience on the board, having served under two Hannibal town supervisors.

Both seats for Hannibal town justice will be filled this year.

Seeking re-election with strong support is Eugene Hafner, a dedicated public servant with 12 years experience on the bench.

Also supported in the September primaries is Jack S. Beckwith, Jr. who has an associate’s degree in criminal Justice from Cayuga Community College and judicial experience with Oswego County Youth Court. He serves on the Oswego Youth Court Advisory Board.

Both men pledge to maintain professionalism and decorum in the Hannibal town court.


Hannibal Democrats endorse candidates

At its regular committee meeting. the Hannibal Democratic Committee agreed to endorse a slate of candidates in this year’s election.

The committee is endorsing Michael Bukolt for legislator of the 21st District, Dan Mahaney for highway superintendent, Chris Soper for town councilor and Adam Labonoski for town Justice.

Michael Bukolt has 38 years experience in corporate sales management. He has  been the regional manager for the Northeast for major firms such as Polaris and Yamaha.

A veteran of the Air Force, he was the youngest noncommissioned officer in the  Air Force.  He and his wife Diana raised three children here in Hannibal — Sarah, Amy and Zak are are all graduates of Hannibal High School.

He believes strongly in community service and in government accountability, which is why he is running for office.  Fiscal accountability, government ethics and transparency are especially important to him. He believes the citizens deserve a choice on Election Day.  He has been active member of his church, especially in youth ministry.

Mahaney is completing his fifth term as highway superintendent.  A former town councilor and planning board member, Mahaney has been actively involved in many community activities.

Managing today’s highway department requires much more than mechanical knowledge.  Mahaney is an experienced supervisor with extensive knowledge of maintenance, budgeting, state rules and regulations and emergency response and safety procedures.

He has computerized the department’s recordkeeping to improve efficiency and completed improvements to the town garage to protect our investment in buildings, equipment and safety.

He also was successful in working with the Department of State to obtain a grant for the purchase of equipment needed by the town. Working within the limits of the reduced budget approved by the town board to maintain results while working with a reduced staff is an ongoing challenge.

Labonoski has long had an interest in the field of justice. In addition to working full time as a nurse at North Medical Center in Liverpool, he owns and operates Upstate NY Process Services, a legal process serving company that also buys and enforces judgments.

He is also working toward a bachelor’s degree in legal studies, which will provide a sound background for the position of town justice.  He and his wife Tiffany and their three daughters live on County Route 3 in Hannibal.

Soper has worked for the town of Sterling highway department for seven years. A Hannibal High school graduate and Eagle Scout, Soper attended SUNY Delhi, majoring in horticulture, and now does landscaping and tree care.

He has also been a member of the Hannibal Town Planning Board for five years.  He wants to be a voice for the taxpayers, bringing their problems and concerns to a fair resolution.  He also wants to give voters a choice on election day.

News in brief

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.


Thomas W. Schneider, president and chief executive officer of Pathfinder Bancorp, Inc., the mid-tier holding company of Pathfinder Bank, has announced the company has declared a cash dividend of 3 cents per share on the company’s common stock relating to the fiscal quarter ending Sept. 30.
The dividend will be paid Nov. 4, 2013.

********************** 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.


Are you new to Excel? Have you forgotten how to copy and paste?
The Oswego Public Library’s Learning Center will offer two Microsoft Office Assistance workshops from 2 to 4 p.m. Oct. 15 and 29.
Bring your Microsoft Office project into the lab and we’ll help.
In addition to our Microsoft Office Assistance, the Oswego Public Library’s Library Learning Center is offering “Job Hunting” help by appointment every Thursday in October from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
The Library Learning Center is located on the lower level of the Oswego Public Library, and is open Monday-Saturday.

Pray for the cure!
St. Joseph’s Church, 240 W. First St., Oswego, will host a prayer service at the church at 7 p.m. Oct. 16.
This service will be dedicated to praying for a cure for cancer.


The Oswego Jazz Project will perform with well-known trombonist Keith Jackson at 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 13, in SUNY Oswego’s Sheldon Hall ballroom as part of the music department’s Focus on Faculty Series.
OJP, in its eighth year as SUNY Oswego’s jazz quartet-in-residence, features faculty members Robert Auler on piano, saxophonist Trevor Jorgensen, drummer Eric Schmitz and Oswego alumnus Max McKee on bass.
Jackson, music director of the West Virginia University School of Music, serves on his school’s faculty as professor of low brass. His performance credits include the Phoenix Symphony, the North Carolina Symphony, the West Virginia Symphony, the Crown Chamber Brass and the North Carolina Jazz Repertory Orchestra, among others.
Tickets are available at all SUNY Oswego box offices, online at or by calling 312-2141. Parking is included in the price of the ticket, and is available in the employee lots adjacent to and across from Sheldon Hall.

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 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.

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. 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.

The Fulton Gauchos alumni is having a chicken barbecue from noon until sold out Saturday, Oct. 5 at Chester’s Neighborhood Bar., West Broadway, Fulton.
Menu includes a half chicken, macaroni salad, baked beans, salt potatoes, roll and butter and soda. Free movie coupons from Family Video will be available.
Tickets for the barbecue can be purchased at Red Baron, Chester’s or from any Gauchos member.


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.

Main Street Wine & Spirits at 600 Main St., Fair Haven is hosting its second annual wine tasting to benefit breast cancer research and awareness programs.
The tasting will be from 3 to 7 p.m. Saturday Oct. 5 (today). Stop by to sample The Purple Cowboy, a red blend from California, Washington Hills Late Harvest Riesling from Washington and some Chardonnay and Merlot from France.
The wines featured in this tasting all donate to various research, support foundations and awareness programs as well.  A percentage of the profits from the sales of these wines for the entire month of October will be donated to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.  Donations are welcomed.

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


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.


The John C. Birdlebough High School in Phoenix is presenting its fall drama production at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 1 and 2

The play will be presented at the high school.


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.

Oswego County BOCES teacher has project information published

Submitted by Oswego County BOCES

What began as a project examining nonverbal communication etiquette has culminated in acknowledgment for the Oswego County BOCES teacher who spearheaded the effort.

Looking to bridge the communication gap between local businesses and hearing or speech-impaired customers, Tammy Seymour, a BOCES teacher of the deaf for 27 years, launched the project in December 2011 with four of her students at Mexico High School.

As part of the venture, students Cody Cowen, Joshua LaCelle, Brianna Gillett and Char Purchas visited more than 40 businesses in the Mexico community, speaking to employees, managers and business owners to learn how businesses are serving the deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired population.

Each business that participated in the project was asked to complete a brief survey and describe an experience when an employee felt frustrated because of a communication breakdown with a customer. All responses were documented and compiled by the students.

“This was meaningful to my students,” Seymour said. “All of the students had experienced communication hiccups when frequenting businesses, so they were eager to participate in hopes of making a difference.”

Not only was the project meaningful for the participating students and businesses, but it was significant for Seymour as well, as the project was documented and published in a book by Dayna Laur released earlier this year.

“Authentic Learning Experiences: A Real-World Approach to Project-Based Learning” incorporates Common Core Learning Standards and documents ways to engage students in critical thinking by teaching skills such as research and collaboration to improve student learning.

Seymour’s contribution, a two-page synopsis of her project with her students in Mexico, details how the assignment helped students transform and become more confident individuals. Seymour said the transformation was evident as the students strengthened their communication skills and revisited businesses for different phases of the project.

Through the project, students created a nonverbal communication brochure that detailed some of the methods in which deaf, hard of hearing and speech impaired  people communicate, including American Sign Language, gestures, finger spelling or texting.

Other phases of the project included the creation of a DVD in which students acted out some of the correct and incorrect ways to communicate with a customer who is deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired;  the creation of an “I love you” American Sign Language symbol into a notepad for each participating business, which provided the necessary tools to help a deaf, hard of hearing and speech impaired people engage in conversation; and the creation of a personalized “Kit to Go” for each business that participated in the project.

“The students learned their strengths and supported one another,” Seymour noted. “As we revisited some of the businesses, we witnessed change … It was a positive experience for everyone … When I visited some of the stores (once the project ended), it was great to see that the businesses had followed through with some of the suggestions we made to make communication easier.”

The publication of Seymour’s work was just the icing on the cake, capping off a months-long project that had a communitywide impact.




Shineman Center at SUNY Oswego officially dedicated

SUNY Oswego President Deborah F. Stanley on Friday Oct. 4 officially dedicated the $118 million, 230,000-square-foot building in the name of the late Dr. Shineman, the founding chair of the college’s chemistry department.

The ceremony, complete with officials in full academic regalia, was proper for one of the largest newly-constructed buildings on campus in years.

The dedication ceremony was in the Shineman Center’s Nucleus atrium, with nearly 300 in attendance, including project staff, faculty and students.

Shineman’s wife, Dr. Barbara Palmer Shineman, professor emerita of education at SUNY Oswego, spoke on behalf of the Richard S. Shineman Foundation. She heads the foundation and made a $5 million gift — the largest cash philanthropic gift in SUNY Oswego’s 150-year history — for the construction of the building.

Also during the ceremony, Dr. Marshall A. Lichtman, a member of the SUNY Board of Trustees, conferred an honorary doctorate on sustainability pioneer Dr. Anthony Cortese.

Former State Sen. Jim Wright, an effective supporter of the new complex, also was honored.

After the ceremony, tours highlighted specialized laboratories and equipment, planetarium, greenhouse and sustainable attributes of the building. These include the state’s largest geothermal installation.

From the marvels of a state-of-the-art planetarium to the breathtaking view from the meteorology observation deck, SUNY Oswego’s $118 million Richard S. Shineman Center for Science, Engineering and Innovation drew the oohs and aahs of hundreds of community and campus visitors at a recent open house.

Those touring the Shineman Center saw demonstrations of such equipment as a scanning electron microscope, a greenhouse with variable-ecosystem growth chambers and an inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer.

They visited laboratories including quantum physics, human-computer interaction, microscopy and zoology.

Besides the planetarium, popular stops included a display of student research in the Nucleus atrium, a robotics demonstration and the Molecular Biology and Biochemistry Center.

The 230,000-square-foot building, which opened for classes Aug. 26, took nearly 10 years to plan, design and build, including the past three years of construction employing 350 workers.

Richard Shineman not only was founder of the chemistry department at SUNY Oswego, he was a leading force in developing the science facilities used at the college for at least 50 years.