Category Archives: Featured Stories

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View From The Fourth Floor: July 18, 2012

by Carol Thompson

It’s official! Oswego County has a new health director.

Jiancheng Huang received the final approval needed to take the helm.

Legislator Dan Farfaglia was the only legislator present to vote against Huang. Minority Leader Mike Kunzwiler was excused from the July 12 meeting and Legislator Kevin Gardner was absent.

Huang received a standing ovation following the vote.

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There are short meeting and there are really short meetings. Prior to the start of the legislature session, a meeting of the legislature’s Infrastructure and Facilities Committee was held.

Legislator James Oldenburg, who serves as the chairman, took care of business in 58 seconds — easily swooping the lead from Legislator Art Ospelt, who chairs the Finance and Personnel Committee. Ospelt held a seven-and-one-half minute meeting.

In fairness, Ospelt had a much larger agenda. The Infrastructure Committee passed one agenda item for a budget modification.

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Water chestnuts made the news quite often last year and while the pesky plant has less media attention, it is being aggressively attacked.

The Soil and Water Conservation District plans to use a chemical treatment on 200 acres in the Oswego River this summer and volunteers have been busy conducting hand pulls along the Salmon and Oswego rivers.

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County employees are currently on summer hours.

The legislative building hours are from 8:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. through Aug. 31.

The Department of Motor Vehicles offices in Oswego, Fulton and Pulaski will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. during July and August.

Learner’s permit testing at the DMV offices will be from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. while CDL testing will be from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

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

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County has no immediate plans to spray for West Nile virus

by Carol Thompson

The Oswego County Health Department has announced the finding of West Nile virus in the county, however, no aerial spraying is expected to take place.

Inga Back, acting public health director of the Oswego County Health Department, announced last week that the New York State Department of Health found evidence of West Nile virus in two collections of mosquitoes in the village of Central Square.

There are no known human cases of West Nile virus in Oswego County at this time.

The mosquitoes were collected July 2 and July 4 in Central Square.

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County approves name change for special committee

by Carol Thompson

A special committee formed for redrawing legislative district lines received a name change when the Oswego County Legislature met Thursday.

The Redistricting Committee was approved to be now called the Reapportionment Committee.

The change came in the form of an amendment when a resolution was introduced in request of a $5,000 budget modification for the purchase of software.

Legislator Jake Mulcahey asked why the reason for the change.

Legislator Dan Chalifoux responded that the change is because the legislature is not reducing in size, but rather reapportioning the districts.

Legislator Doug Malone said he wanted to know why the legislature wasn’t looking at downsizing.

Chalifoux said a committee had been formed to do that and reported back to the legislature.

The committee agreed that a reduction in the number of legislators was not needed.

Malone said he believes the issue should still be studied.

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

DSS wins another appeal against Family Court decision

by Carol Thompson

The Oswego County Department of Social Services has won another appeal in an effort to overturn a decision made by Oswego County Family Court Judge Kim Seager.

The county commenced a neglect proceeding against a father and sought emergency removal of the children, Austin M. and Anna M.

Following a hearing, the Family Court granted the application with respect to Austin but not to Anna. The court also granted the father unsupervised visitation with Austin.

“Initially, we note that it appears that the court applied a best interests analysis only and did not first make a determination whether the children were at imminent risk of harm, as required by the statute,” the court decision, dated July 6, states. “The court (Seager) removed Austin from the father’s home upon determining that it was in Austin’s best interests to allow the father time to engage in necessary anger management services.”

The appeals court agreed with DSS that there was a sound and substantial basis in the record for a determination that Austin was at imminent risk of harm.

“The evidence at the hearing was overwhelming that the father slapped Austin in the face with an open hand with such significant force that the child had marks on his face the next morning,” court papers state.

“The court’s finding that it was not clear who caused the injury to Austin is not supported by the record,” it continues.

“The medical testimony established that an adult caused the injury to the child, and thus only the father or his girlfriend could have caused the injury inasmuch as they were the only two adults who were with the child during the relevant time period.”

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

In this photo, Oswego County Legislator Amy Tressider has been digitally removed.

Oswego Health CEO apologizes for photograph snafu

In this photo, Oswego County Legislator Amy Tressider has been digitally removed.

by Carol Thompson

Oswego Health CEO Ann Gilpin personally apologized to Oswego County Legislator Amy Tresidder after the legislator was digital edited out of a photograph that appeared in the most recent Inside Oswego Health newsletter.

Tresidder, who is a candidate for the New York State Senate’s 48th District seat, was an invited guest at an April 11 ribbon cutting ceremony hosted by the Greater Oswego-Fulton Chamber of Commerce for Oswego Health’s newly remodeled outpatient center at the Fulton Medical Center.

Tresidder was included in a ribbon cutting picture along with other legislators and persons involved with the health center.  The Oswego Health Facebook page shows the picture with Tresidder standing between Sarah Compo of Senator Patty Ritchie’s office and Legislator Dan Farfaglia.

The newsletter photo, however, has Tresidder removed with the exception of her legs. Instead, the space where Tresidder stood is replaced with a brown wall.

Along with the personal telephone call in apology, Gilpin’s secretary said Tresidder will also be receiving a letter of apology.

“By no means was it done with malice,” said Marion Ciciarelli of Oswego Health’s public relations office. “We didn’t know who she was and her position.”

Ciciarelli said the hospital was unable to identify Tresidder so she was removed from the picture.

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

School Board Notebook: July 14, 2012

by Nicole Reitz

The Fulton Board of Education has a new president.

David Cordone was elected as president. He replaces Robbin Griffin, who lost her school-board seat in the May election.

Fred Cavalier was also elected as the new board clerk. He replaces clerk Brian Hotaling.

Rosemary Occhino will remain on as the board’s vice president.

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Audience member attendance might have been at an all time low during Tuesday’s meeting.

The low attendance sparked an idea from board member Dan Pawlewicz. He suggested moving the board meetings to the city’s six schools.

“Offering a different venue could allow principals to show of their school,” said Pawlewicz.

Hotaling was open to the idea, but questioned if moving the meetings would be more work than an opportunity.

“It’s not a bad idea, I don’t know if the timing it perfect for it,” said Hotaling. “I’d like to hear from principals to see if they would be interested in hosting us.”

Changing the location of the twice-monthly meeting is something that the Fulton board has never done before, but is a common practice in other schools, such as Hannibal Central School District.

Pawlewicz’s concern is that the community is not attending board meetings not because of a lack of interest, but an intimidation factor.

“I know people won’t get into this building, people are afraid of it,” said Pawlewicz.

Superintendent Billy Lynch noted that a change in environment could mean more work for the schools’ principals.

The district’s portable sound system would also need to be set up. “It would give the board the opportunity to interact with that school community,” said Lynch.

The board approved the meeting schedule for 2012-2013, but will further discuss the possibility of holding meetings outside of the Fulton Education Center.

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During the regular business meeting, the board approved resolutions that highlighted the careers of 13 retiring staff members.

They include Katherine Biss, Melanie Bock, Kathleen Kinney, Stephen Kush, Patricia Lok, Mike Schroeder, Elaine McIntyre, Kathleen Rossi, Deborah Walbereger, Dave Wilson, Diane Wilson, Georgia Wood and Lynn Swayze.

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

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Wal-Mart assists lake effort

Granby Wal-Mart Manager Mike Hardesty presents a check to Ed Williamson, chairman of the Lake Committee for the Cleanup of Lake Neatahwanta and Granby Town supervisor. The money from Wal-Mart will be used to create a plan to help diminish the cause of the phosphorus-filled lake.

by Andrew Henderson

Wal-Mart donated $2,000 earlier this week to the Lake Committee for the Cleanup of Lake Neatahwanta.

The committee is currently raising funds and lobbying state and federal officials for money to dredge the lake, which is filled with high-levels of phosphorus and most likely contains blue-green algae.

Committee Chairman Ed Williamson, who is also the Granby Town supervisor, said Tuesday that the money from Wal-Mart will be used to create a plan to diminish the cause of the problem.

The lake is fed by three streams, including Sheldon Creek, which is said to be the cause of 70 percent of the sediment that lies on the lake bottom.

“We have to stop it in order to fix it,” said Williamson. “There is no use dredging the lake if the problem still exists.”

Williamson noted that many farms surrounding the lake are not as active as before, which could help with the problem.

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

Campaign check lists clerk’s phone number

by Carol Thompson

A check drawn on the account of New York State Senator Patty Ritchie’s campaign fund lists the telephone number of the St. Lawrence County Clerk’s office, something that Ritchie’s press spokesperson Sarah Compo said was simply a mistake.

The “Friends of Patty Ritchie” campaign fund account has imprinted the telephone number 3125-379-2237, which is the number of the St. Lawrence County Clerk’s office, along with the address P.O. Box 626, Canton, N.Y. 13617.

Community Bank, where the account is held, is located in Ogdensburg.

Ritchie is the former St. Lawrence County Clerk and served as the clerk during her campaign two years ago.

“We’re aware of this and obviously it’s a mistake,” Compo said Tuesday, adding it’s “an honest mistake.”

Compo said the matter will be rectified.

St. Lawrence County Administrator Karen St. Hilaire said she will see to it that the telephone number is removed from the checks and had initiated the steps to do so.

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