Category Archives: Featured Stories

Largest group graduates from Oswego County Drug Treatment Court

by Nicole Reitz

Twenty-two participants have successfully completed the Oswego County Drug Treatment Court — the largest graduating class since the program began in August of 1999.

“Tomorrow is a fresh opportunity to make it better,” said Drug Court graduate Tracie Ormsby.

Drug Court is structured to give non-violent offenders with a history of substance abuse a second chance at life outside of prison.

Those who are accepted into the treatment court program receive intensive supervision and monitoring by the court and are also required to complete addiction treatment programs.

Those selected for the alternative to incarceration program are required to stay in drug court for a minimum of one year.

In the first four months, people in drug court are required to go to weekly court sessions. After those four months, they must appear in court every two weeks and so on. Some must make payments towards restitution.

Drug court members also need to complete 25 hours of community service. In order to get to graduation, participants must also have a significant amount of clean and sober time under their belt. In their speeches at Friday’s ceremony, several people mentioned their sobriety date.

Although these 22 people made it through the program, not everyone does.

Program administrator David Guyer said that the completion rate is between 50 and 55 percent, which is in line with the state and national average for drug court programs.

To read the rest of the story, pick up a copy of The Valley News or call 598-6397 to subscribe

 

Largest group graduates from Oswego County Drug Treatment Court

by Nicole Reitz

Twenty-two participants have successfully completed the Oswego County Drug Treatment Court — the largest graduating class since the program began in August of 1999.

“Tomorrow is a fresh opportunity to make it better,” said Drug Court graduate Tracie Ormsby.

Drug Court is structured to give non-violent offenders with a history of substance abuse a second chance at life outside of prison. Those who are accepted into the treatment court program receive intensive supervision and monitoring by the court and are also required to complete addiction treatment programs.

Those selected for the alternative to incarceration program are required to stay in drug court for a minimum of one year.

In the first four months, people in drug court are required to go to weekly court sessions. After those four months, they must appear in court every two weeks and so on. Some must make payments towards restitution.

Drug court members also need to complete 25 hours of community service. In order to get to graduation, participants must also have a significant amount of clean and sober time under their belt. In their speeches at Friday’s ceremony, several people mentioned their sobriety date.

Although these 22 people made it through the program, not everyone does.

Program administrator David Guyer said that the completion rate is between 50 and 55 percent, which is in line with the state and national average for drug court programs. The most common reason for this is either the person absconds or is arrested on new charges.

“We don’t terminate a person just for a relapse,” said Guyer. “We attempt to work with people through their addiction. Our ultimate goal is to rehabilitate people.”

As always, there were more male than female graduates, but Guyer said that dynamic is changing. Over the last 14 years of the program, the number of women arrested for drug charges has increased significantly.

A majority of the graduates are in their late teens to early 30s. Guyer has found that 16 and 17 year olds are not as successful in the program, but they have other avenues for turning their lives around.

“We once had a guy who made it through that was 77 years old, but that’s a rarity,” said Guyer.

Before entering drug court, many of the graduates were facing felony convictions. Most of these cases have since been reduced to a misdemeanor. In addition to the legal benefit, those in the program become healthier, get jobs, an education and pay taxes.

“This group of people worked hard,” said Guyer. “These people will hopefully go on to lead healthy and productive lives.”

Drug Court also works alongside the probation department, treatment providers such as Harbor Lights Chemical Dependency in Mexico, and Judge James Metcalf. Many graduates thanked Metcalf specifically for his “tough love” approach, and showed their gratitude for counselors that listen and shared their wisdom.

To read the rest of the article, pick up a copy of The Valley News. You can subscribe by calling 598-6397 or click on the link on our home page.

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Local businesses join lake restoration effort

Lake restoration effort – Local merchants are helping the effort to restore Lake Neatahwanta. This Monday, many local businesses will be offering $1 donation cards — in the shape of Lake Neatahwanta — in order to raise local funds for the cleanup to begin. Pictured are Mayor Ron Woodward and Second Ward Councilor Dan Knopp who were the first to make a donation.
Lake restoration effort – Local merchants are helping the effort to restore Lake Neatahwanta. This Monday, many local businesses will be offering $1 donation cards — in the shape of Lake Neatahwanta — in order to raise local funds for the cleanup to begin. Pictured are Mayor Ron Woodward and Second Ward Councilor Dan Knopp who were the first to make a donation.

by Andrew Henderson

Local merchants are helping the effort to restore Lake Neatahwanta.

This Monday, many local businesses will be offering $1 donation cards — in the shape of Lake Neatahwanta — in order to raise local funds for the cleanup to begin.

Second Ward Councilman Dan Knopp presented the idea to the Fulton Community Revitalization Project Board.

The Lake Neatahwanta Revitalization Project will be partially funded by a grant from Senator Patty Ritchie and other private donors.

“Every member of our community can show their own support by donating $1 to this very important project,” said Knopp. “Just sign your name, your family’s name or just write a note of encouragement. Your personal donation will be displayed by the businesses to show your support for the lake cleanup.”

All contributions will go directly to the restoration of Lake Neatahwanta.

The city recently partnered with the Fulton Community Revitalization Corporation to begin a comprehensive restoration project.

When completed, it will enhance the area’s tourism, economic development, and recreation opportunities for the community, Mayor Ron Woodward said.

 

To read the rest of the story, pick up a copy of The Valley News or call 598-6397 to subscribe

 

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Fulton Little League team wins title, needs $5,000 to advance to state tournament

Section 2 champions – The Fulton Little League Intermediate Team is Section 2 champions. To make the trip to the New York State Championship in Montgomery, N.Y., Monday, July 8, they need to raise $5,000. Businesses or individuals who would like to make a donation may contact coach Dingman at 598-7485 or coach Randy Cotton at 593-2284.
Section 2 champions – The Fulton Little League Intermediate Team is Section 2 champions. To make the trip to the New York State Championship in Montgomery, N.Y., Monday, July 8, they need to raise $5,000. Businesses or individuals who would like to make a donation may contact coach Dingman at 598-7485 or coach Randy Cotton at 593-2284.

Fulton Little League’s Intermediate Team won the District 8 Championship last week and followed that up with a Section 2 Championship July 3, said coach David Dingman.

“Following that game, there was little time for celebration as we were informed that we need to be in Montgomery, N.Y. Monday, July 8 for the New York State Championship Tournament. To make that trip, we need to raise $5000 to cover our expenses.

“The tournament runs from Tuesday, July 9 through Monday, July 15,” he added. “The team was obviously not prepared for a weeklong stay just outside of New York City. We are doing everything we can as fast as we can to raise the money to get the team and coaches there on Monday.

The team is holding the following events/activities:

• Bottle and Can Collection — Return all your bottles and cans to the Three Little Pigs and say they are for this team.

• Candy bar sales at the Fulton Wal-Mart

• Car Wash – Come give a donation and get your vehicle washed at Lakeview  Lanes Saturday from 1 to 7 p.m.

• Business Donation – Businesses or individuals who would like to make a donation can contact coach Dingman at 598-7485 or coach Randy Cotton at 593-2284.

“If the team is successful, they will have four days before having to go to Long Island for the Super Regional for eight days,” said Dingman. “If successful there they would have to go to California for the World Series. Why not us?

“We would like to thank you for any consideration you give to this urgent cause,” he continued. “The kids have worked hard and are playing well. Currently they are sitting at 15-1, winning their last 13 games and outscoring their opponents 180 to 20.”

Team members are Nolan Bonnie, Will Caster, Cole Cotton, Nick Dingman, Austin Flemming, Jacob Geitner, Bryce Guernsey, Josh VanHorn, Malcolm Wettering, and Kameron Whipple.

Coaches are Cotton, Dingman, and Larry King.

DEC proposes plan to investigate former Breneman site in Oswego

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is seeking comment on a plan to investigate the former Breneman site at 8 E. Utica St., Oswego, as a possible brownfield.

A brownfield is any real property that is difficult to reuse or redevelop because of the presence or potential presence of contamination.

The draft investigation work plan was submitted to the DEC under New York’s Brownfield Cleanup Program. The investigation will be performed by Canalview Development LLC with oversight by DEC and the New York State Department of Health.

The investigation will define the nature and extent of contamination in soil, surface water, groundwater and any other parts of the environment that may be affected.

Data collected previously at the site indicated relatively low levels of certain contaminants in soil.

The site covers approximately 2.1 acres and is situated on the southwest corner of the intersection of East Utica and East First streets, which is also State Route 481.

The Oswego Canal is located approximately 100 feet west of the site.

The site is currently vacant and lies in the B3 Redevelopment zoning district, which allows for commercial uses and certain residential uses, such as condominiums, multi-family dwellings.

The surrounding area consists primarily of residential properties with some commercial properties along East First Street and East Utica Street.

The site was used for manufacturing purposes from approximately 1834 until approximately 1981.

Owners and operators during this period included the Oswego Shade Cloth Company and Stewart Hartshorn Company, and possibly others.

From approximately 1954 through 1982, the site was owned by Breneman of Wisconsin, Inc., which manufactured window shades at the site until approximately 1981.

It was reported that industrial wastes were formerly disposed of on the property.

For a time, the Breneman facility was divided by a canal, which was labeled “hydraulic canal” on historic maps of the facility and was presumably used for power generation.

It was present on maps from 1890 through 1964, but anecdotal history of the site suggests the hydraulic canal was present prior to any industrial development in 1834. It has since been filled.

Several paints, dyes, oils, organic solvents and plasticizers were used in the manufacturing processes at the facility, including acetone, methyl ethyl ketone, naphtha, polyvinyl chloride resin, and dioctyl phthalate.

Chemical and petroleum storage tanks were formerly located on the site, including both above-ground storage tanks and underground storage tanks.

 To read the rest of the article, pick up a copy of The Valley News. You can subscribe by calling 598-6397 or click on the link on our home page.

Reapportionment plan decision will not be appealed

by Andrew Henderson

The legal challenge to the reapportionment plan approved by the Oswego County Legislature is being put on hold for now, according to Legislator Dan Farfaglia.

Oswego County Court Judge Norman Seiter recently dismissed the reapportionment lawsuit filed against the county. There was talk of an appeal, but that’s been put on hold.

“After careful thought and consideration, we are not appealing Mr. Seiter’s decision because of timing issues,” said Farfaglia, who was one of the 11 plaintiffs in the lawsuit. “But we are not done fighting this very questionable scheme. We are simply putting our efforts on hold and intend resume the legal battle to rectify this travesty later this year.

Every decade after the U.S. census is completed, most legislative bodies in this nation have to alter district lines so that they represent an approximately equal number of people per district.

“There are also a set of laws in place to guide this process, like not splitting towns and communities unnecessarily,” said Farfaglia. “These laws are not optional. The majority party members of the county legislature have ignored most of the rules in place in order to produce a politically-motivated plan that benefits no one but themselves.”

Farfaglia said that country residents will have to “tolerate the borders of many county legislative districts, which unnecessarily splits communities” for one term.

 To read the rest of the article, pick up a copy of The Valley News. You can subscribe by calling 598-6397 or click on the link on our home page.

STOP-DWI detail planned for Fourth of July weekend

by Andrew Henderson

Oswego County police agencies will be participating in a special enforcement effort to stop drunk driving.

According to Oswego County STOP-DWI Program Coordinator Robert Lighthall, the statewide STOP-DWI detail begins today and ends July 8.

Fourth of July Weekend is historically a deadly period for impaired driving, said Lighthall.

New York State Police, county sheriff and municipal law enforcement agencies across the state will be out in force to reduce the number of alcohol related injuries and deaths.

The Fourth of July STOP-DWI is one of many statewide enforcement initiatives promoted by the New York State STOP-DWI Association.

Throughout the remainder of the year, the campaign will also target Labor Day weekend, Halloween and the Christmas season in December.

“The residents and visitors of Oswego County should be able to enjoy Independence weekend,” Lighthall said. “Oswego County law enforcement agencies will do their part to ensure our roadways are safe, by vigilantly and aggressively removing drunk drivers from our highways.”

While STOP-DWI efforts across New York have led to significant reductions in the numbers of alcohol and drug related fatalities, still too many lives are being lost because of crashes caused by drunk or impaired drivers, said Lighthall.

Highly visible, highly publicized efforts like the STOP-DWI Crackdown Campaign aim to further reduce the incidence of drunk and impaired driving, he noted.

Four county libraries receive special state grants

 

by Andrew Henderson

The libraries in Phoenix, Parish, Pulaski and Williamstown are recipients of grants from the State of New York, according to Senator Patty Ritchie.

Ritchie said she secured special funding for 25 area libraries and two library networks serving local communities.  The libraries — 15 in Jefferson County, six in St. Lawrence and four in Oswego — will share $85,000 in special funding that’s in addition to a $4 million increase in state budget aid for libraries statewide.

“Today’s libraries are more than just places to find a great book,” the senator said. “They are community centers that serve as excellent resources for researchers, job-seekers and families living on a budget.”

The Phoenix library is getting over $12,500 to repair its roof and enact energy-saving measures, according to Assemblyman Will Barclay.

“Our libraries provide access to vital information for the public, as well as host programs offering culturally enriching opportunities,” said Barclay. “These construction grants will greatly assist in providing the crucial infrastructure repairs our libraries need to continue serving our communities.”

More than 40 percent of library buildings across New York are over 60 years old and another 30 percent are more than three decades old. Many of the state’s libraries are unable to accommodate users with disabilities, are energy inefficient, cannot provide Internet and computer and other electronic technologies to users because of outdated and inadequate electrical wiring and do not have sufficient space to house the library’s expanding collection.

Ritchie serves on the recently re-formed State Senate Select Committee on Libraries. The Senate’s former leadership eliminated the library panel. Ritchie was appointed a member of the panel in 2012.

To read the rest of the article, pick up a copy of The Valley News. You can subscribe by calling 598-6397 or click on the link on our home page.