Category Archives: Featured Stories

Former Oswego school superintendent will lead Syracuse Catholic schools

William W. Crist, former superintendent of the Oswego City School District, has been named the new superintendent of the Catholic Schools for the Diocese of Syracuse, Bishop Robert J. Cunningham announced.

The Diocese of Syracuse consists of 22 schools in its seven-county area with more than 5,000 students Pre-K-12.

Crist comes to the diocese with a career history in education of thirty-one years. Since August, he has been the interim superintendent of Schools for the Massena Central School District.

Prior to that, Crist was superintendent for the Oswego City School District since 2008, and assistant superintendent prior to that time, since 2004.
Crist is a graduate of Ithaca College with a master of music education degree; the State University of New York with a certificate of advanced study – educational administration; Cornell University with a certificate in labor relations and the State University of New York having completed the Superintendent Development Program of Studies.

Crist and his family are active Catholics and members of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in Minetto.

“I eagerly anticipate the challenges and experiences associated with transitioning to the Roman Catholic educational program and sharing my instructional leadership and Catholic faith with professionals, parishioners, parents and children,” Crist said.

“I am most pleased to welcome Bill Crist as our new superintendent of Catholic Schools and am very happy that he has accepted our invitation to join us,” said Bishop Cunningham. “I am also most grateful to the search committee who prayerfully and professionally considered each of the 12 applicants.”

Crist will begin his new post March 10 in order to complete his current responsibilities. For more information, call Danielle E. Cumming, assistant chancellor/director of communications at 470-1476.

Oswego County BOCES remembers 9/11

Sept. 11, 2001 is a day that most people can remember exactly what they were doing when the first plane struck the north tower of the World Trade Center in lower Manhattan.

Many, including Oswego County BOCES District Superintendent Christopher Todd, call it a “day that forever changed my life.”

Students in the Public Safety and Justice morning and afternoon programs at BOCEs held remembrance ceremonies to mark the date and to pay tribute to those first responders, who ran toward the danger rather than away from it. Students and staff members from Oswego County BOCES were silent as they watched the Public Safety students and color guard raise the flag and then lower it to half-staff.

Guest New York State Trooper Elizabeth Fallon sang the National Anthem before Todd spoke about that eventful day back in 2001.

He called on those gathered to respect and recognize the sense of duty possessed by those men and women who did not hesitate to go into the danger zone to help others. “Thank those who volunteer, thank your family and support systems and never forget what happened on 9/11,” Todd said.

Oswego residents have new way to keep in touch with their government

The City of Oswego has launched a new civic engagement and reporting tool, called Oswego Mobile.

Oswego Mobile is a smartphone app that allows residents of Oswego to report issues directly to city staff and councilors. The app is available for iOS, Android and Blackberry markets and is free to download.

The program allows residents to create reports with pictures, video or audio attached, as well as tag the location of the issue on a map using the phones’ GPS. The user then selects the report they would like to make from a list of issues and can add comments to go with the report.

Once the report is sent, it will go directly to the department head or staff member. From that point, the staff will be able to mark the status of the report, request information from the submitter, if needed, or include another department, all being notified to the submitter from the app.

The issues will be stored in a database and will allow city officials to pull information and trends from them to help better use our resources. The app also allows for the city to send out notifications to all app users, like parking ban information, road closings and public meetings.

Sixth Ward Councilor Eric VanBuren was instrumental in researching the implementation of this program and bringing the idea to the full Common Council for its consideration and subsequent approval.

This program is not limited to just smartphone users; residents with computers can log onto and select Oswego and report issues from there as well. The app can be found by searching for Oswego Mobile in the app market.

CCC Fulton students learn to ‘Arrive Alive’

By Ashley M. Casey

Students at Cayuga Community College’s Fulton campus learned about the dangers of texting or drinking while driving in Arrive Alive’s virtual reality driving simulation on Sept. 17.

UNITE International, a national distracted driving prevention organization, sends the Arrive Alive tour to high schools, colleges and other places around the country.

After answering a survey and signing a “Fight for Life” pledge to not drive distracted, participants took a “spin” in a Kia Soul outfitted with sensors on the steering wheel, brakes and gas pedal while wearing virtual reality goggles that showed a busy road course.

Drivers could choose between a program that simulated the effects of driving while drunk, or a program that allowed them to text using their own phones while attempting to drive.

Once the simulation was over, Arrive Alive team leaders Patrick Sheehy and Marty Burke, both of Myrtle Beach, S.C., presented the driver with a “citation” of his or her infractions, ranging from not driving the posted limit to vehicular manslaughter, and asked them to take a follow-up survey.

For Sheehy, the issue of distracted driving is personal. At the age of 18, Sheehy ran his car off the road into a tree while changing the radio station. He later joined the Arrive Alive campaign to prevent other drivers — especially teenagers and young adults — from making the same mistakes.

“A lot of people don’t realize you’re actually four times more likely to get in an accident while texting and driving (than drinking and driving),” Sheehy explained.

He and Burke spend the school year driving their virtual-reality-outfitted Kia Soul across the country. They also show informational videos on alcohol- and texting-related car accidents and their tragic, lifelong consequences. UNITE compiles the surveys they administer to present to schools and for a nationwide research project.

“When I realized how many people this really needed to reach, that’s when I decided to stick with it and get the word out. It’s an epidemic,” said Burke, who has worked with Arrive Alive for about three years.

A few CCC students who tried the simulation shared their thoughts on the eye-opening experience.

Ricky Colón of Oswego said that he was familiar with the dangers of texting or drinking and driving through safety courses he took while in the Army.

“It’s something that happens way too frequently, so we have to have more severe laws,” Colón said. “It’s a good reminder.”

New York state announced in August that the penalty for texting while driving is five points on one’s license and a minimum $230 fine.

After trying the simulator himself, Devon Thomason of Fulton encouraged his friends and classmates to do the same.

“I’m a new driver as it is. I’m not invincible and I know it,” he said. “I’m not going to put my life at risk to send a text message. It’s stupid.”

Caroline Braley of Oswego vowed to stop texting while driving.

“I knew it was dangerous but I didn’t realize how much more dangerous it is. It was hard to focus on the road, keep my speed, watch out for pedestrians and send a text message all at once,” she said of the simulator.

Arrive Alive also visited CCC’s Auburn campus Sept. 18. This was their first visit to the Fulton campus.

For more information about Arrive Alive and UNITE’s mission to end distracted driving, visit

Threatening skies fail to cancel 9/11 remembrance

By Tracy Kinne

Skies were threatening, thunder rumbled in the distance and a few stray, light raindrops blew in the breeze at Henley Park in Phoenix a little after 6 p.m. Wednesday.

The village’s annual Sept. 11 remembrance ceremony was due to start in less than 30 minutes, and the National Weather Service had issued a severe storm watch.

“It’s going to go around us,” said Dan Dunn, a chief officer of Phoenix Enterprise Fire Co. No. 1.

Other firefighters raised a flag between ladder trucks from the Phoenix and Moyers Corners fire departments.

The Veterans of Foreign Wars, Phoenix post, lined up along the Oswego Canal. Members of Boy Scout Troop 750 scurried around.

Young people handed out red, white and blue helium-filled balloons to spectators, who were setting up lawn chairs.

For the rest of this story, pick up the Sept. 14 edition of The Valley News. Call 598-6397 to subscribe.

Budding authors debut work at Fulton Municipal Building

Fulton Memoirs Writing Project

Participants of Jim Farfaglia’s memoir writing workshop will present “The Stories from Our Past that Inspire Our Future” at 6 p.m. Sept. 19 at the Fulton Municipal Building, 141 S. First St.

Refreshments will be available.

For more information, visit or call the Fulton Public Library at 592-5159.

By Ashley M. Casey

Local author Jim Farfaglia teamed up with the Fulton Public Library to get the people of Fulton to share their stories of living in the city through the Fulton Memoirs Writing Project.

More than 40 locals participated, and will read excerpts from their work aloud at 6 p.m. Sept. 19 at the Fulton Municipal Building.

Made possible by a grant from the state Council on the Arts, Farfaglia led a series of writing workshops to draw memories out of his participants for the project, called “The Stories from Our Past that Inspire Our Future.” The memoirs will be collected for a book, the profits of which will benefit the library.

For the rest of this story, pick up the Sept. 14 edition of The Valley News. Call 598-6397 to subscribe.

Barbecue fundraiser nets $2,700 for Lake Neatahwanta cleanup

By Tracy Kinne

The Lake Neatahwanta Revitalization Committee raised about $2,700 at a chicken barbecue fundraiser Sept. 7 at Bullhead Point, said Mayor Ronald L. Woodward Sr.

Crystal English, owner of Shannons Hotdogs by Crystal, donated her proceeds from the day to the committee.

Also, core samples taken from the bottom of the lake were analyzed and revealed no substances that would require special disposal, Woodward said.

Woodward, who is a member of the revitalization committee, spoke prior to a special city council meeting Tuesday.

The samples all were “type A,” he said. “There’s nothing wrong with them,” Woodward said. “We don’t have worry about how we get rid of it.”

The committee plans to dredge the lake bottom to get rid of sediment, he said.

“Can we take the signs down?” asked Dan Knopp, a committee member, referring to no-swimming signs posted around the lake.

The signs refer to blue-green algae, which can be toxic, so they will have to stay up, Woodward said.

But the goal is clean the lake enough that the algae disappears.