Category Archives: Featured Stories

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Sweet considers write-in campaign for county clerk

by Carol Thompson

Susan Sweet, a registered Conservative and 29-year employee of the Oswego County Clerk’s office, said Wednesday she is considering a write-in campaign for the clerk’s position that will be on the ballot in November due to the death of George Williams.

Sweet did not receive the endorsement of the Oswego County Conservative Party. She was not made aware the Conservative Committee was holding a meeting to nominate a candidate to put on the ballot.

Instead, the Conservatives nominated Michael Backus, a Republican, who did attend the meeting.

County Conservative Party Chairman Ron Greenleaf said he was surprised Sweet had not sought the nomination because he was aware she had been interested in running for the office in the past.

He said Sweet had not been notified that a meeting was going to be held for the purpose of nominating a candidate.  A notice had been issued stating than an organizational meeting was to be held, however, it did not reference the nomination and Sweet did not receive it, Greenleaf said.

“We had a short time frame,” Greenleaf said, adding that no one had called Sweet to tell her of the meeting in the event she was still interested in running.

“I was approached after the fact,” Sweet said. “I had calls the day after the meeting asking why I didn’t attend and why I wasn’t running.”

Sweet said she has been encouraged by members of her own party and some residents of the county to launch a write-in campaign.

“I’ve had calls from registered Conservatives who said they were disappointed the line went to a Republican and not someone from their own party,” she said. “They encouraged me to do a write in campaign.”

Sweet said she has not made a firm commitment, although she said she has had many offers of help with a campaign, should she decide to run.

Two years ago, Sweet attempted a run against George Williams, however, her nominating petitions were not valid due to a technicality.

At that time, she did interview with the Conservative committee and was passed over for Williams, a Republican.

Her campaign theme was to add a mobile office to the clerk’s office, which would travel to towns around the county on a regular schedule.

“I wanted, and still would like to see, a traveling office so that it is convenient for those living a far distance from the Oswego office to have easy access to the services the clerk’s office provides,” she said.

Sweet said she also campaigned on the negatives of outsourcing the clerk’s office to Onondaga County-based Info Quick Solutions, Inc., the company that provides the data imaging services for the office.

“Before IQS, the public could come to the Oswego office and purchase a map at a very low cost,” Sweet said. “Now maps must be ordered from IQS and not only are they more costly, but the public is forced to pay a shipping fee. The price of a map for the public has more than doubled and I firmly believe that it is wrong.”

 To read the rest of the story, pick up the latest copy of The Valley News. You may also subscribe to the paper by calling 598-6397
Michael Backus
Republican candidate for county clerk

Backus to take an ‘evaluative’ approach

Michael Backus
Republican candidate for county clerk

by Carol Thompson

Oswego County Clerk candidate Michael Backus said he will evaluate some of the concerns with the office to determine the best path to take.

When asked if he would call for an audit of the office, Backus responded, “Should the taxpayers of Oswego County honor me with their vote in November and elect me County Clerk, I will do my own personal evaluations of the office and work with the oversight committee in the legislature, our auditors and the comptroller’s office to determine the best path forward for the office.”

Backus said he will address the controversy and allegations of mismanagement and investigations also by his personal evaluation.

“As with any change in administration, I will certainly take the time to evaluate the office as it currently exists after I am sworn in and make changes to ensure the office is accountable and responsive to the taxpayers of Oswego County,” he said.

The clerk’s office has been shrouded with controversy in recent years and some problems have been discussed at legislature meetings. Backus said while he has read news reports and heard rumors and innuendo, he did not feel it was appropriate to comment.

“If mismanagement took place, if laws or rules were broken, I will act swiftly and constructively to ensure the integrity of the office going forward for the taxpayers of Oswego County,” he said.

The controversial contract for data imaging services is also something Backus said he would need to evaluate.

 To read the rest of the story, pick up the latest copy of The Valley News. You may also subscribe to the paper by calling 598-6397
Phil Vasho
Democractic candidate for county clerk

Vasho: ‘I will return transparency to office’

Phil Vasho
Democractic candidate for county clerk

by Carol Thompson

Phillip Vasho, who received the nomination of the Oswego County Democrat Committee as its candidate for county clerk, said he will bring accountability of the office back to the people if elected.

“I want transparency, I want integrity and I’m not afraid to go after it,” Vasho said Tuesday evening after winning his party’s nomination.

If his election bid is successful, Vasho said the first order of business will be a complete audit of the office.

“I will call for an audit immediately and I will open the door to any investigators,” he said.

The clerk’s office has been shrouded with controversy and has reportedly been, or is, the subject of an FBI investigation, something the agency will not confirm or deny.

Among the most recent controversies is the awarding of a contract for data imaging services to Info Quick Solutions, Inc, of Liverpool, a company that the opposing legislators claim will cost taxpayers more than $300,000 than need be paid for the service.

The company was the highest bidder and had the lowest overall rating.

 To read the rest of the story, pick up the latest copy of The Valley News. You may also subscribe to the paper by calling 598-6397

Candidates selected for county clerk race

by Carol Thompson

The two major political parties met Tuesday night to select candidates to be on the ballot for the race for Oswego County Clerk.

The Oswego County Republican Committee unanimously selected its party chairman, Michael Backus, as its candidate.

The Oswego County Democrat Committee selected former legislator Phillip Vasho as its candidate.

Republican party Vice Chairman David Fontecchio said Backus is the exact kind of leader Oswego County is looking for.

“Michael has led the County Republican committee for the past year with great success, but it is his leadership and public service credentials that I think make him such a strong candidate for county clerk,” he said.

Town of Mexico Republican Chairman Chuck Fortier said Backus knows the meaning of hard work, public service and what it means to be a part of the community.

“The Backus family is deeply rooted in this community and from their business background to community service, I know Michael is the kind of leader this county needs as clerk,” he said.

Backus said approximately 125 members of the county Republican committee were in attendance at the meeting held at Lombardo’s Bridie Manor in Oswego.

County Democrat Chairman Mike Kunzwiler said he was pleased with the turnout his committee had Tuesday evening at Democrat headquarters.

“We had every town committee represented,” Kunzwiler said, adding that the standing room-only meeting was very energized.

“Our people understand the severity of the clerk’s office and the goal is to return integrity and public accountability,” he said. “Phil has pledged to return transparency and to run the office with the honesty and integrity the public deserves.”

 To read the rest of the story, pick up the latest copy of The Valley News. You may also subscribe to the paper by calling 598-6397

Legislator calls for investigation into backdating of county records

by Carol Thompson

The meeting of the Oswego County Legislature turned into an inquisition when some legislators questioned the backdating of legal documents in the office of the County Clerk by Deputy Clerk of Operations Matthew Bacon.

Legislator Shawn Doyle said there had been a discussion at a recent meeting of the legislature’s Community and Consumer Affairs Committee in regard to Bacon instructing employees to backdate legal documents.

Doyle said he was told the timestamp had been tampered to reflect an earlier date to appear on the documents. He asked County Attorney Richard Mitchell if he had given permission to Bacon to backdate the records and what the status is.

“I’d like to know what Mr. Mitchell has found about this,” Doyle said.

Mitchell said he was not aware of any tampering of the timestamp.

He said the mail had become backlogged and it was being stamped for the date it was received.

If the envelopes were not marked received, they were clocked to the closest date of when they may have been received, Mitchell added.

Doyle said he was concerned about the backdating as it pertains to abstractors who may be conducting search.

Mitchell cut him off by stating, “I share that concern.”

He added that if Doyle had questions he could certainly contact him at his office. “I don’t know of tampering,” he noted.

Minority Leader Mike Kunzwiler said he wanted an extensive investigation to be sure the county would have no liability.

“Do we know for sure that we haven’t put ourselves in liability?” he asked, calling for Mitchell to investigate.

Mitchell said it is not his job to investigate. He added that he would prefer to discuss the question of liability elsewhere.

Kunzwiler said he wanted to be sure the county, the legislature and the public are protected by going back and insuring what was done would pass muster with the law.

 To read the rest of the story, pick up the latest copy of The Valley News. You may also subscribe to the paper by calling 598-6397
Cayuga Community College hosted a dedication and ribbon cutting ceremony Friday in celebration of the completion of construction at its new Fulton Campus. The new location is the fourth — and final — home for the college.

Cayuga Community College celebrates new Fulton campus

Cayuga Community College hosted a dedication and ribbon cutting ceremony Friday in celebration of the completion of construction at its new Fulton Campus. The new location is the fourth — and final — home for the college.

by Carol Thompson

Cayuga Community College hosted a dedication and ribbon cutting ceremony Friday in celebration of the completion of construction at its new Fulton Campus.

The new location at the former Kmart Plaza is the fourth — and final — home for the college, Dr. Daniel P. Larson, president of Cayuga Community College told those in attendance.

The ceremony marks the completion of the nine-month, $16.1 million construction of the 82,150-square-foot campus.

The first course work in nursing was offered in Mexico in 1979 and in 1994, the first campus was located at the Fulton Education Center. The college moved to the former Holy Family school building and in 2001 moved to the leased campus on West Broadway.

The college foundation has purchased the remaining part of the River Glen Plaza so over time the campus can move into the storefronts, Dr. Larson said.

Athletic fields and student housing are the vision for the future on 45 additional acres that have been purchased.

“We want you to know that our doors are open to the entire community,” Dr. Larson noted.

Dr. Nancy L. Zimpher, chancellor of the State University of New York, said she couldn’t say enough about the project as she congratulated all those involved with bringing the project to fruition.

Matt Driscoll spoke on behalf of Governor Andrew Cuomo. “On behalf of Governor Cuomo, congratulations and thank you for your investment in our collective future,” he said.

Assemblyman Will Barclay said it is a very proud day for the City of Fulton and he congratulated all involved.

“You really ought to be very proud of yourself,” he said.

To read the rest of the story, pick up the latest copy of The Valley News. You may also subscribe to the paper by calling 598-6397
Bodley-RothrockKate_W

Bodley Bulletins: September 19, 2012

by Kate Rothrock

The first full week of school is over! Students are now totally back into the swing of things and going to school is part of the normal routine.

Clubs are starting up and will begin their meetings this week or next. There are many different clubs available to any student interested such as the language clubs, Hope Club, Future Business Leaders of America, Science club, and many more. They are a great way to meet new people and to get involved in the school and community. Plus, they look great on a resume or college application!

The Fultonian Yearbook is an amazing finished product but there is a lot of work that goes into it. Vanessa Langdon, editor of the 2013 yearbook, said the Yearbook Club is always looking for help and anyone can be a part of the club. Meetings are in room 102 every Tuesday.

If you buy your yearbook before Christmas it is $50 but if you wait until after Christmas it will cost $60. At an open house Sept. 26, there will be a booth for parents to buy parent ads.

This year’s Fultonian Yearbook will have a theme, making it more organized and cohesive. Students can share their photos to be used in the yearbook at www.hjeshare.com using the school code 3045662. Don’t miss this opportunity to put your favorite pictures in the yearbook!

This past week was a great week for sports. Girls soccer, boys soccer, and girls volleyball all picked up wins. The volleyball team had victories over Marcellus and Lafayette. The boys soccer team rallied for a win against Homer and the girls soccer team won against both Homer and Syracuse.

To read the rest of the column, pick up the latest copy of The Valley News. You may also subscribe to the paper by calling 598-6397

OswegoCountySeal_WEB

Oswego County Legislature approves bath salts legislation

by Carol Thompson

The Oswego County Legislature approved four resolutions that are now local law in regard to the sale and distribution synthetic drugs, more commonly known as bath salts.

During Thursday’s meeting, the four resolutions were passed unanimously with Legislator James Karasek excused from the meeting so that he could be in attendance at the New York State Association of Counties conference.

Prior to passage of the resolutions, several residents addressed the legislature.

Steve Olson, director of Oswego Hospital’s emergency department, urged the lawmakers to pass all four local laws.

“I myself have seen firsthand the patients under the influence of these substances,” Olson said. “Often times, you ask the patient what did they do and they say, ‘I am not really sure’.”

Teresa Woolson, who lost her son due to bath salts, said her son had struggled with the synthetic drug for a very short time.

“In early August, he found out from a friend that these synthetics were still available,” she said. “He walked into a store and bought the stuff over the counter — two and a half hours before his body was pulled from Lake Ontario.”

She said the problem with bath salts is becoming epidemic, adding that the drugs are a poison.

Oswego resident Duane Crasper said that not only should the synthetic drugs be banned, but the stores selling the pipes used to smoke illegal substances be outlawed as well.

 To read the rest of the story, pick up the latest copy of The Valley News. You may also subscribe to the paper by calling 598-6397