Category Archives: Featured Stories

Cover-Pic-08-04-12

Bridge work to pick up next week, delays expected

Construction work continues on the Broadway Bridge in Fulton. Starting next week, traffic will be shifting to the north side of the bridge with only one lane eastbound and one lane westbound. The rebuilding of the bridge will take another year and a half to complete.

by Nicole Reitz

Those living and driving through Fulton’s west side can expect delays near the Broadway Bridge next week.

Construction work is about to be kicked up a notch.

So far, work that has completed on the four-lane bridge included the temporary north-side sidewalk. This wooden pathway allows foot travelers to get from one side of the bridge to the other and accommodates traffic flow.

Starting next week, traffic will be shifting to the north side of the bridge with only one lane eastbound and one lane westbound. Pedestrians will be allowed on the five-foot wide temporary sidewalk along the north-side of the bridge.

Beginning Tuesday, Aug. 7, a new, temporary traffic signal — recently installed by the New York State Department of Transportation — will begin regulating traffic at the intersection of West Broadway and West Second Street South.

Because of the closure of some lanes during the construction project, left turns for westbound bridge traffic at West First Street South will be prohibited, Fulton police officials said.

The new traffic signal will allow for a greater volume of left turn traffic of westbound traffic on State Route 3 at the intersection of West Second Street.

The police department is also advising motorists that the construction project will most likely lead to delays on the Oneida Street Bridge and its surrounding intersections as well. This will be due to the anticipation of vehicular traffic attempting to avoid the Broadway Bridge construction area.

Police are urging motorists to plan accordingly for the change in traffic patterns and for traffic delays.

Motorists are also asked not to enter an intersection if it causes their vehicle to block the intersection.  Blocking an intersection is a violation of the vehicle and traffic law and creates further traffic delays and hazards, police said.

The police department will be closely monitoring traffic and will be taking appropriate enforcement action during the construction project.

According to New York State Department of Transportation Public Information Officer Gene Cilento, the bridge’s renovation plan is over 300 pages and discusses the separate phases of construction.

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County’s unemployment rate increases

by Carol Thompson

Oswego County’s unemployment rate is on the rise once again, placing the county as one of six with the highest jobless rate in New York State.

The state Department of Labor recently released the figure for June, which shows the county’s jobless rate is at 10.9 percent.  The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate is 8.9 percent.

“Over the past year, the state had a decrease in the amount of initial unemployment insurance claims, and an increase in the labor force as more New Yorkers gained confidence in the economy,” the labor department said in a press release.

Claims dropped 8.5 percent from 92,628 in June 2011 to 84,738 in June 2012.

“Furthermore, the percentage of job seekers re-entering the labor force, or entering the labor force for the first time, increased 7 percent from June 2011 to June 2012,” the release states. “By comparison, the nation showed a two-percent increase during the same period.”

The county’s unemployment rate for May was at 10.2 percent, equal to the rate in June 2011.

The counties with the highest unemployment rate along with Oswego County include St. Lawrence, Orleans, Fulton, Bronx and Kings. The counties with the lowest unemployment include Hamilton, Putman, Saratoga, Tompkins, Rockland and Yates.

According to the Department of Labor,  New York State’s economy added 15,400 private sector jobs in June. By comparison, the nation’s private sector job count increased by 84,000.

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Oswego County prepares for landfill liner expansion

by Carol Thompson

Members of the Oswego County Legislature’s Infrastructure and Facilities Committee took the first step toward preparing for a costly landfill liner expansion at the Bristol Hill Transfer Station.

During Thursday’s meeting, the committee approved a budget transfer of $1 million to begin the project.

Oswego County Solid Waste Director Frank Visser has identified the need to begin planning for the engineering and construction of the next 5.4-acre cell.

The current estimate for the liner is $3.5 million.

According to an informational memorandum provided to legislators, the airspace currently left at the landfill will be sufficient for another six or seven years of use at the current filling rate.

“It is advisable to start working towards (sic) building the next cell now, because of the process involved,” Visser wrote.

The engineering needs to be completed April 2013 and the state Department of Environmental Conservation has to review and approve the plans and specifications.

Bidding and construction would begin around 2016.

Once landfill liners have been constructed, the first sold waste filled on top of the new liner must be “select waste” that generally consists of residential waste and is only available when the county’s Energy Recovery Facility bypasses waste during scheduled maintenance downtime.

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Police make arrests in assault case

by Andrew Henderson

Three people have been arrested in connection with a fight early Saturday morning, Oswego police said.

At approximately 2:40 a.m. July 28, police and EMS responded to West Bridge Street between West 7th and West 8th streets for a physical altercation between a two groups of males.

Upon investigation, it was determined that the fight had resulted in two people being injured.

One 20-year-old male suffered minor injuries. He was treated at Oswego Hospital for minor cuts, abrasions and bruises. The victim was later released.

A second male, also 20 years old, suffered serious injuries including broken facial bones and a possible skull fracture.

The victim was transported by private vehicle to Rochester General Hospital where he currently remains hospitalized. Police said the injuries do not appear to be life threatening.

Both victims are from the Rochester area.

Oswego Police have arrested three suspects in connection with the incident: 21-year-old Angel L. Lopez of Oswego, 21-year-old Jordan M. Perkins of Syracuse, and 16-year-old male of Oswego. The 16-year-old’s name is not being released due to his age.

Each suspect has been charged with third-degree assault, a class A misdemeanor, but, further charges and additional arrests are possible as the investigation continues.

Officers are asking anyone with information regarding the incident to call the Criminal Investigation Division at 342-8130 or 342-8201.

Legislators irked over ‘gag order’

by Carol Thompson

Some Oswego County Legislators are angered over an e-mail message they received from County Administrator Phil Church in regard to the pending award of a contract for data imaging services for the office of the County Clerk.

During the July 25 meeting of the legislature’s Community and Consumer Affairs Committee, legislators voted to award the contract to Info Quick Solutions, Inc. of Liverpool — despite the company being one of the most costly and having the lowest score given by a panel appointed to review the five bidding vendors.

The committee first received the vendor information blindly with letters replacing company names. Prior to the names being revealed to legislators, County Clerk George Williams said he wanted IQS to receive the contract. He praised the service of IQS and referred to them as “our company.”

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Kenny Loggins took center stage Friday evening during the 25th annual Harborfest celebration as thousands of people descended on Breitbeck park to hear the 64-year old music legend belt out tunes from the 1970s and 1980s.

Loggins ignites Harborfest crowd

Kenny Loggins took center stage Friday evening during the 25th annual Harborfest celebration as thousands of people descended on Breitbeck park to hear the 64-year old music legend belt out tunes from the 1970s and 1980s.

by Carol Thompson

Kenny Loggins took center stage Friday evening during the 25th annual Harborfest celebration as thousands of people descended on Breitbeck park to hear the 64-year old music legend belt out tunes from the 1970s and 1980s.

The opening act for Loggins was his own band, Blue Sky Riders featuring Georgia Middleman, Gary Burr and Loggins. The crowd was not as large for the opening act, however, began to fill in as the time approached for Loggins to take the stage under his own billing.

Loggins continually engaged the audience as he alternated between rock music and softer ballads such as “Return to Pooh Corner.”  His hit song “Footloose” from the movie of the same name, had concert goers on their feet, dancing and clapping. The performance of “Whenever I call you friend” mellowed the audience, many of whom sang along.

Loggins engaged the audience with his hit song “Celebrate Me Home,” having everyone sing the chorus to mimic the sound of his original cut that included gospel singers.

Loggins was popular in the 1970s as he teamed with Jim Messina. As Loggins and Messina, the duo recorded songs such as “Danny’s Song” and “Your Mama Don’t Dance.”

Loggins and Messina split in 1976 and Loggins launched a solo career, winning a Grammy for Best Male Pop Vocal in 1980 for the song “This is it.”

 To read the rest of the story, subscribe to The Valley News by calling 315-598-6397

Cayuga Community College tuition to increase two percent

by Andrew Henderson

The Cayuga County Legislature recently approved Cayuga Community College’s 2012-2013 budget, which includes a 3.4 percent, or approximately $130 a year, increase in tuition.

The 2012-13 annual tuition will be $3,950 for full-time students and the part-time rate will be $160 per credit. The student fees remain unchanged.

The $32.36 million college budget represents a 5.19-percent increase over last year, which is the result of the new Fulton campus in Oswego County and the fact that 80 percent of the operating expenditures are fixed costs. These expenditures include such items as heating, electrical, water, insurance, rent, and employee salary and benefit contractual obligations.

“We have done our best to propose a fiscally sound budget that keeps the college moving forward while acknowledging the investment made by Cayuga County taxpayers,” said CCC President Daniel Larson. “We are pleased to see that the county has approved the budget, including an increase in its direct allocation to us. We know from economic impact studies that for every dollar invested in the college, taxpayers will see a return with a cumulative added value of $3.30 in the form of higher tax revenues and avoided social savings costs.”

The Cayuga County Legislature approved the college’s operating budget for 2012-13 with a two-percent increase — or approximately $56,830 — in its local sponsor contribution.  This is the first increase in three years. The total direct contribution by Cayuga County now will be $2,898,345 for 2012-13.

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FOIL policy yet to be ironed out

by Carol Thompson

How Oswego County legislators will be treated when they need public information continues to be ironed out as members of the Strategic Planning and Government Committee once again postponed the passage of a policy.

At issue is whether legislators should be required to file a Freedom of Information request form and pay for copies of records as the public must.

A draft policy was considered during Monday’s meeting, however, the committee had not concluded how many copies of records would be available before a charge kicks in.

The draft document left blank the number of copies that can be obtained for free and a new clause was added to address the election season.

County Administrator Phil Church said he had spoken with County Attorney Richard Mitchell that morning in regard to payment during the election season.

The legislators would pay for FOIL requests during the season so that there is no advantage over an opponent.

“I have no problem, I think that’s a good change,” Minority Leader Mike Kunzwiler said.

There has been much discussion this year as to whether legislators should pay for records that are needed in their official capacity and whether they should be required to make a request under FOIL and wait for the records as the public must.

 To read the rest of the story, subscribe to The Valley News by calling 315-598-6397