Category Archives: Featured Stories

Sheriff seeks more money for jail

by Carol Thompson

The Oswego County Correctional Facility continues to exceed its limits and Sheriff Reuel “Moe” Todd has once again requested funds to pay the expenses incurred due to the overcrowding problem.

Todd has asked for an additional $200,000 to pay the costs associated with transporting and housing inmates in out-of-county facilities. The sheriff’s department must bear the expense of the costs associated with the relocation of inmates.

Initially, $100,000 was adopted in this year’s budget, however, that amount was exhausted in the first quarter of the year.

At that time, a request was made to transfer $600,000 to cover the added expenses.

That led to an additional $200,000 allocated through the adoption of a resolution in March, according to a memorandum Todd presented to legislators.

The fund balance is not enough to cover the expenses incurred through the month of May.

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

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No business: Clerk’s office came to a halt due to computer glitch

by Carol Thompson

For two business days, visitors to the Oswego County Clerk’s office were turned away due to a computer system shut-down that has left legislators angered and employees left with nothing to do.

“I am concerned that Oswego County has been unable to serve the public from the County Clerk’s office for two days,” Legislator Amy Tresidder said. “I am disappointed that I was not contacted regarding the situation.”

The computer system failure came at a time when the county is seeking to award a contract to a vendor to provide data imaging services to the clerk’s office. Attempts to award the contract have been shrouded in controversy for the past 18 months.

The current vendor, Info Quick Solutions, Inc. of Liverpool has been providing the service on a month-to-month basis until a provider is selected. There are reportedly eight companies vying for the contract.

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


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District attorney salary increase will go for final vote next week

by Carol Thompson

A state mandated salary increase for Oswego County District Attorney Greg Oakes is slated to be voted on when the full legislature meets July 12.

It’s an issue, however, that the county has little say.

For the county to be in compliance with a state court system compensation mandate, Oakes will receive a raise of $20,000 raise this year as well as a retroactive pay.

Oakes’ salary will increase from $119,800 to $140,300 to bring his compensation into compliance with a new state mandate. The money for the raise is fully funded through state aid and is retroactive to March 29.

While the salary increase is covered by the state this year and through March 2013, legislators are concerned with the local cost beginning April 2013.

Minority Leader Mike Kunzwiler said he was frustrated with state mandates and he, as with others, are concerned how the county will pay the increase after next year. The state has not promised the money beyond this year.

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

County redistricting begins

by Carol Thompson

The redistricting committee for the Oswego County Legislature met for the first time Tuesday.

The five Republican, one Democrat committee mapped out a plan for redrawing legislative district lines.

There are several districts that have either too many or too few residents.

Districts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 fall within the appropriate population range.

Districts 7 (Mexico), 8 (Palermo), 9 (Central Square) and 10 (Phoenix) are over the allowed population variance and 11 and 12 are within the allowance.

Districts 13 (Mexico) and 14 (Oswego) are under the allowed variance and Districts 15 and 16 are within the appropriate population range. District 17 (Oswego) is under the allowed variance and Districts 18 and 19 are within the allowance. The population of District 20 (Town of Oswego) is over the allowance and Districts 21 (Hannibal), 22 (Fulton and Granby) and 23 (Granby) are under the allowed variance.

Districts 24 and 25 are within the appropriate range.

Legislator Jim Oldenburg, who represents District 14, has the lowest population at 4,322 while Legislature Chairman Fred Beardsley, who represents District 9, has the highest at 5,635. The average population per district should be 4,884.

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

Legislator, Board of Elections commissioner spar at meeting

by Carol Thompson

Is it a shortfall or an anticipated shortfall?

Semantics played into a disagreement between Oswego County Board of Elections Commissioner Dick Atkins and Legislator Dan Chalifoux during Tuesday’s meeting of the legislature’s Finance and Personnel Committee.

Atkins and fellow commissioner Donald Wart had requested a $55,000 budget transfer to cover the cost of ballots for the 2012 election.

Minority Leader Mike Kunzwiler asked if the money was needed to cover the cost of ballots for special elections.

Legislator Art Ospelt, who chairs the committee, said yes.

However, Atkins said that it wasn’t because of a special election. He added that during the budget process, County Administrator Phil Church advised that money needed to be cut from the board of elections budget to help the overall budget.

“We took $65,000 out of our budget,” Atkins said.

He added that because of cuts made by the board, the department is able to transfer the funds from another line rather than the contingency account, as was originally agreed upon.

Chalifoux noted that the memo attached to the resolution from Atkins and Wart referred to a shortfall.

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

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Sheriff’s department receives equipment grant

by Carol Thompson

The Oswego County Sheriff’s Department will be the recipient of a new boat for water patrolling.

The department is in line to receive a 2012 24-foot Boston Whaler Justice model fiberglass boat with twin outboard motors and a new trailer from the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.

The Oswego County Legislature must first approve the donation.

The department operates a marine and snowmobile unit. The members of the unit patrol the seasonal recreation areas of the county. The boat marine patrol covers the areas of Lake Ontario and Oneida Lake. It also has smaller patrol boats on various lakes, rivers and reservoirs. The unit responds to incidents and complaints throughout the county.

In 2008, the Oswego County marine patrol responded when West Monroe firefighters were called because a woman lay unresponsive in a boat at Three Mile Bay on Oneida Lake. The patrol helped firefighters find the woman.

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

Lawsuit filed against Fulton business owner

by Carol Thompson

A former member of the Fulton Common Council has been accused of stealing more than $300,000 from the revocable trust of a woman who entrusted him to oversee her finances.

A lawsuit was recently filed in Oswego County Supreme Court against Harley Thompson, owner of Empire Advisors, Inc.

The plaintiffs, Lisa Taylor-Guy and the Vivian Walts Revocable Trust, are suing both Thompson and his company.

The lawsuit alleges that Thompson became the trustee of the Walts estate June 6, 2007. Court documents further allege that Thompson mismanaged the estate and misappropriated more than $300,000 to himself and his company.

When Walts passed away Oct. 18, 2008, Thompson did not distribute the trust assets as directed, the lawsuit alleges. Thompson notified Taylor-Guy in January 2011 that the trust had no more assets. Thompson never provided an accounting of the trust.

“As I set out in my original affirmation, I learned two days ago- when we received the copies of the checks from the Vivian R. Walts Revocable Trust — that Harley Thompson stole more than $300,000 from that trust,” states the lawsuit filed by Bond, Schoeneck and King. “He abused his position as both trustee and broker to write checks directly to himself and his company.”

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

David Canfield, county director of Youth Advocate Program of Oswego County, stands with 2012 Advocate of the Year Amanda Cole. Cole has worked at YAP for two years and was nominated for the award by her supervisor, co-workers and families that she serves.

YAP’s Advocate of the Year seeks to make children smile

David Canfield, county director of Youth Advocate Program of Oswego County, stands with 2012 Advocate of the Year Amanda Cole. Cole has worked at YAP for two years and was nominated for the award by her supervisor, co-workers and families that she serves.

by Nicole Reitz

The Youth Advocate Program of Oswego County recognized the accomplishments of its staff Friday at an awards presentation held at the Volney Town Hall.

YAP is an alternative to placement program that is a contracted service by the Oswego County Department of Social Services. Families are referred to YAP off the DSS caseload. YAP works with a wide range of situations throughout Oswego County.

DSS Commissioner Gregg Heffner attended the Advocate of the Year ceremony and spoke about the joint effort between YAP and DSS.

“YAP is an important and vital part of the service structure for the Department of Social Services,” he said. “The flexibility and the ability to morph and evolve to what a family needs is what YAP is all about, and that is a very dynamic and important service. I’m proud of all of you. The work that you do is an absolute asset to the human services profession in Oswego County and Central New York.”

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