Category Archives: Featured Stories


Funding for homeless veterans

by Carol Thompson

Rep. Bill Owens announced Tuesday that the Department of Veterans Affairs has awarded a total of $1,976,402 in homeless prevention grants to two non-profit community agencies to help serve homeless veterans and their families.

United Veterans of America, Inc. (Soldier On) will receive $976,402 to serve approximately 400 participant households in 18 counties in the state, including Oswego County.

“As American service members return from overseas, it is critical that we make good on our promise to support them in their return to civilian life,” Owens said upon announcing the funding. “Veterans today are returning from service and it is incumbent upon us to ensure there are quality jobs waiting for them and that they have full access to the benefits they earned overseas.

“This funding will help non-profit organizations prevent at-risk veterans and their families from falling through the cracks or ending up without a home,” he added.

The United Veterans of America was founded by Dr. Barry Allen Krupkin as the original worldwide veterans organization in January of 1980.

As a veteran himself, Dr. Krupkin saw a great need for a veteran’s organization that would offer membership to veterans and allied veterans of the United States, including their families.

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

Wayne Hanson of Fulton (left) stands with his son, Christopher Davis of Illinois. The father and son recently reunited for the first time in 33 years. Hanson held onto two photographs of Christopher as a toddler and has searched for his son since 1979.

Father and son reunited after 33 years

Wayne Hanson of Fulton (left) stands with his son, Christopher Davis of Illinois. The father and son recently reunited for the first time in 33 years. Hanson held onto two photographs of Christopher as a toddler and has searched for his son since 1979.

by Nicole Reitz

A Fulton resident and his first-born son were happily reunited last week after being separated for more than three decades.

Wayne Hanson, a supervisor at the Energy Recovery Facility, has four sons and one daughter.

Hanson, however, had not seen his first-born son, Christopher, for 33 years — that is, until they met last Friday.

Hanson became a father when he was 22 years old. He and his son’s mother lived together in Mississippi, but split up before Christopher’s third birthday.

Hanson, a deputy officer at the time, paid for his son’s immediate needs, but Christopher’s mother wanted a monthly child support sum.

Unsure whether or not the money would make it to Christopher, he was left with three options: get prosecuted for failure to pay child support, come up with the money, or sign off on parental rights.

He sought legal advice and chose to sign off on his son’s parental rights.

Hanson, describing himself as “young and dumb,” thought that giving up his rights meant that he had no say in matters such as discipline or what school he went to.

He realized the extent of his decision when he was told by his ex-wife that he couldn’t hold Christopher because he was no longer his son.

Three months following their split, Christopher and his mother left Mississippi, unbeknownst to Hanson.

“I didn’t know if she went across the street or to Russia,” he said.

With no Internet in the 1970s, Hanson found it impossible to track down the location of his son.

Making his search even more difficult, Christopher’s name was legally changed from Christopher Wayne Hanson to Christopher J. Davis.

Hanson moved to Fulton in the late 1980s and had two sons, Aaron and Cory. Hanson still searched for Christopher, but found that his son’s name was a common one.

“There were a million of them, but it wasn’t him,” said Hanson.

In 1985, Hanson even called the Maury Povich show, seeing if they could help. He hit a brick wall with the producers because Hanson couldn’t be certain what his son’s name was.

After years of actively searching, and assuming that his son’s middle initial was still W., Hanson’s search wasn’t producing any hits.

The last place he had seen Christopher was in Mississippi, but he could of easily of lived in any of the 50 states or abroad.

Frustrated with looking, Hanson gave up on finding his son five years ago. He figured that sooner or later, curiosity would get the best of Christopher and he would start looking.

One month ago, Christopher Davis found him.

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

Legislators question grant application for Camp Zerbe

by Carol Thompson

A grant application seeking funds for the repair of a lodge at Camp Zerbe that would require Oswego County taxpayers to kick in 25 percent of the cost was questioned during Thursday’s meeting of the Oswego County Legislature.

“I still remain extremely concerned over this,” Legislator Jim Karasek said. “Even when the project is completed, it still won’t have heat and water.”

Oswego County Youth Bureau Director Kathleen Fenlon requested permission to apply for a grant not to exceed $349,419 to repair the ailing lodge. The old Adirondack-style lodge, built around the mid 1940s, consists of a large room that features a fireplace at each end, a kitchen and a large front porch that overlooks Lake Lorraine. The county has never used the lodge.

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‘What are we doing?’: Jail overcrowding sparks debate

by Carol Thompson

As more money had to be transferred to cover the cost of transporting inmates from the Oswego County Correctional Facility to other facilities, one legislator questioned the long-term plan to correct the problem.

During last Thursday’s meeting of the Oswego County Legislature, a resolution to transfer $200,000 to cover inmate costs sparked a debate when Legislator Jake Mulcahey asked what the long-term plan is to resolve the problem.

“I understand we are waiting on potential funding from the state, but I don’t know if that’s the answer. Looking ahead, where are we going?” Mulcahey asked.

“Are you questioning whether we want to build a bigger jail?” asked Legislature Chairman Fred Beardsley.

Mulcahey said the county has spent nearly a million dollars on the problem. “We have to start looking at what we can do to be investing rather than dumping money on this,” he said.

The state requires the county to house state prison parolees who have violated parole, which adds to the overcrowding problem.

As of July 10, there were 20 parole violators housed in the county facility. Of those violators, 10 have local charges that will keep them at the jail until they have a hearing, according to Undersheriff Eugene Sullivan.

The hearings are held twice a month. “It’s a local process that takes time, Sullivan said Friday.

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


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.

*  *  *  *  *

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.

*  *  *  *  *

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.

*  *  *  *  *

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


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.”

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