Category Archives: Featured Stories

Hannibal girls’ track team wants Sectional championship

By Rob Tetro

The Hannibal girls’ varsity track and field team comes into the 2014 season hoping to build off of its third place finish in last season’s Section 3, B-2 Meet.

This season, Hannibal has its sights set on winning the sectional championship. However, that’s not the only goal the Lady Warriors want to accomplish this season.

Coach Dan Pawlewicz said his athletes want to see 95 percent of the Hannibal runners improve on their times. Hannibal team members also are striving to be a team recognized for what they accomplish in the classroom.

It’s also important that the Lady Warriors have solid efforts in each invitational they participate in.

A year ago, the Lady Warriors sent two athletes to the New York State Qualifying Meet. This season, Hannibal also hopes to match or expand on the number of athletes who are invited to the state qualifying meet.

However, it all goes back to being the top team in Section 3, Class B-2 for the Lady Warriors. Pawlewicz said if his team can avoid injuries and maintain its impressive work ethic, sectional supremacy may be in the cards for Hannibal.

The Lady Warriors will feature a handful of both experienced and inexperienced athletes this season. In fact, 21 of the 31 athletes are in 10th grade or younger including four eighth-graders.

However, Hannibal has two juniors and two seniors who are expected to play key roles this season. Many of these athletes have the benefit of taking part in cross country and indoor track with Pawlewicz this year.

Some of the athletes have participated in all three sports for a number of seasons under Pawlewicz and have great familiarity with him. He feels his experienced athletes have a solid understanding of the expectations he has for them.

Yet, the future is now for two of the Lady Warriors eighth-graders.

McKenzie Mattison and Reilly Harris have already completed two seasons on Hannibal’s girls’ varsity cross country team and are embarking on their second season on the schools girls’ varsity track and field team.

Many Lady Warrior athletes who were part of Hannibal’s varsity cross country and/or varsity indoor track teams are also a part of their track and field team.

Pawlewicz said his athletes took part in an active but rather laid back summer program with the hope of peaking towards the end of last fall’s cross country season.

During indoor track season, varsity track and field athletes were prepared throughout the winter. They worked at a steady pace to build momentum throughout the winter.

These athletes have a chance to peak later on in the track and field season. For the athletes that did both varsity cross country and indoor track, they were in decent physical condition.

The athletes who didn’t take part in indoor track weren’t as physically prepared to begin practices. However, Pawlewicz is impressed with how hard these athletes are working to prepare themselves for the season. He is confident the physical conditioning of these athletes will develop as the season goes on.

The Lady Warriors will be led by seniors (Clarkson University bound) Devin Sorell and Gabby Griffin and juniors Micheala Sheldon and Kristen D’Angelo.

Pawlewicz points out the basic traits of a captain is leadership on and off the track and being a great role model for teammates and peers. Taking it a step farther, Pawlewicz feels a captain is someone who dedicates him or herself to working as hard to be a student as he or she does to being an athlete.

Not only does Pawlewicz believe his captains personify the expectations he has for his captains, but he also mentions his captains have so much familiarity with him that they could almost serve as secondary coaches.

The road to a Sectional Championship will be challenging one for the Lady Warriors.

This season, Hannibal takes on the likes of Cazenovia and Skaneateles. Pawlewicz considers those to be among the best teams in the state.

Jordan-Elbridge will also be a challenging meet for the Lady Warriors. Pawlewicz goes on to mention that meets against Westhill and Tully won’t come easily either.

Perhaps Hannibal will be tested the most when they compete in the numerous dual meets that have been scheduled.

First off, the Lady Warriors will host the Hannibal Sports Boosters Invitational April 26. Along with Jordan-Elbridge, Hannibal will face perennial powers Christian Brothers Academy and Holland Patent.

The Lady Warriors will also be competing in the Tully Invitational and the Fulton Athletic Boosters Invitational. Perhaps one of the more challenging events Hannibal will be taking part in this season will be the Oswego County Invitational. In this meet, the Lady Warriors will face the likes of Mexico, Fulton, Phoenix and Oswego.

If Hannibal is to achieve its goals this season, it will need to be a team with many strengths. The Lady Warriors are expected to have many.

Pawlewicz said athletes taking part in the shot put event have a lot of potential. Expectations are high for Micheala Sheldon in the 3000-meters and Mckenzie Mattison is expected to be solid in the steeplechase.

Pawlewicz said Reily Harris has what it takes to be a strong contender in the 1,500-meters and Hannibal’s 4×100 meter team could be one of the toughest in Section 3.

Tayler Dence might be in for an impressive season in the 100 meter and hurdles events. Senior Captain Devin Sorell is striving to return to the State Qualifiers in the long jump and fellow senior Gabby Griffin is expected to have a solid season in the 400-meters.

Pawlewicz said freshmen Sydney Alton, Callie Cacchione and Janejira Cooper and others have the potential to provide depth for the 4×100 meters team. He also  expects athletes participating in the pole vault and high jump to improve as the season goes on.

News in brief

As of April 30, 2014, The Valley News will only accept classified advertisements for the Wednesday and Saturday print editions.

We will no longer publish classifieds online. To submit a classified ad, call us at 598-6397 or visit our office at 67 S. Second St., Fulton.


The Pratt House Museum, at 177 S. First St., Fulton, is hosting a program from 7 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, April 23.

The speaker will be Mercedes Niess,  executive director of the H. Lee White Marine Museum in Oswego. She will talk about the H. Lee White museum programming for this season, celebrating the 80th Anniversary of the lighthouse in Oswego and an art exhibit which will start at the Canal Museum in Syracuse, then move to Phoenix, then Fulton, and ending in Oswego.

Admission is free.


Anyone who is not registered to vote in the upcoming Fulton school board and school budget election can register from  to 5 p.m. April 22 at the Education Center at 167 S. Fourth St., Fulton.

The school board election and budget vote is May 20.


A fundraiser for the Fulton Jazz Festival is scheduled for 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesday April 23 at Under the Moon in Canal Landing, Fulton.

The event will include great music, food and fun. Space is limited. Register by calling 343-7681 or going online to

Phoenix school board adopts budget; residents vote May 20

By Debra J. Groom

The Phoenix school board has adopted a $42,559,049 budget for the 2014-15 school year.

Residents will vote on the budget May 20. They also will elect three members to the board of education. Petitions to run for the school board must be turned in by Monday.

The proposed budget for 2014-15 is up 1.99 percent – or $550,122 – over the budget for the current school year. It does not cut any academic programs, athletics or extracurricular activities.

The OASIS summer reading program is being cut for the summer of 2014, but Superintendent Judith Belfield said it could be revisited for the summer of 2015.

Spending is up only 1.33 percent.   Mos of the increase comes from increased pension costs associated with the fiscal downturn of 2008.

Belfield the district received more state aid in the final state budget than originally was proposed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. This additional aid – about $300,000 – and the retirement of 10 teachers and five teacher assistants this year helped the district put together a budget that did not include staff and/or teacher layoffs.

The proposed budget includes money to replace some of the teachers who are retiring.

“We are replacing two K-6 teachers, a chemistry teacher, an instructional specialist and a special education teacher,” Belfield said. The budget also includes two new positions – a special education teacher and an elementary reading teacher.

Also, two part-time teaching positions are being increased from half time to full time – a high school social studies teacher and a high school Spanish teacher.

Belfield said the budget increases the tax levy – which is the amount to be raised by taxes – by 1.99 percent or $326,858. The estimated tax rate for most towns in the school district would be about $28.26 per $1,000 of assessed value, an increase of 55 cents per $1,000 from the current rate of $27.71 per $1,000.

Since the tax levy increase is less than the state-mandated cap placed on municipalities and school districts, residents will qualify for a refund of the tax increase from the state due to a proposal in the new state budget.

In addition to the budget and school board members, residents also will decide on whether to spend $429,200 to buy three 60-passenger school buses, one special needs bus and a camera system.

The public hearing on the budget will be at 7 p.m.May 6 at John C. Birdlebough High School. The vote is noon to 9 p.m. May 20 at Emerson J. Dillon Middle School.

Hannibal girls’ softball ready to tackle tough season

By Rob Tetro

David Meeker inherited a relatively inexperienced team when he was named interim Hannibal girls’ varsity softball coach.

Fully grasping the state of his team, Meeker feels it’s important for his team to have simple goals for the upcoming season.

A key goal the Lady Warriors have this season is to become more of a fundamentally sound team, especially when it comes to base running. It’s also important to Meeker and his team to learn how to play together.

Perhaps most importantly, Hannibal hopes to be a team that benefits from a strong work ethic in 2014.

The Lady Warriors are a young team this season, with only a few players returning from last season’s team. However, Meeker said the younger players on his team have a lot of potential.

Hannibal’s softball team features numerous multi-sport athletes. Given how active his team has been throughout the school year, Meeker feels that his team was in decent physical condition when practices began in early March.

He wanted to dedicate a lot of time developing softball related skills in preparation for the season. Meeker was pleased his players were physically able to handle all the developmental work that was expected of them.

Meeker said his team did a nice job of handling some of the adjustments that come with being an athlete who competes in winter and spring sports. Developing softball fundamentals often involves the development of arm strength and hand-eye coordination for hitting.

Though his team needed to work on each area at the beginning of practices, Meeker credits his team for being able to handle the adjustments that come with going from a sport such as basketball to softball.

Currently, most of the players are physically prepared to begin the season. Meeker does point out that a few of his younger players aren’t as physically prepared for the season as his more experienced players.

Seniors Samantha Bowers, Malana Scott and sophomore Megan Norris will serve as the Lady Warriors team captains this season.

Hannibal softball will have a challenging time of it this season, playing in a league with powerhouse teams from like Westhill and Solvay. Also, Meeker expects to see many weeks throughout the season where his team plays three or four games a week.

The Lady Warriors return an impressive pitcher in junior Hailey Dunsmoor, but Meeker suggests she won’t be able to do it all alone. It will be key for Hannibal to build depth behind Dunsmoor in order to handle such a challenging workload.

It is possible the Lady Warriors could take a few lumps this season, but Meeker feels the experiences they have in 2014 will be good for them in the long run.

Meeker expects to have a team that will have many strengths to build off of. First and foremost, his team is dedicated to developing its fundamental skills. Led by Dunsmoor, Meeker feels his teams’ pitchers and catchers have a lot of potential.

He also said he expects the top of the lineup to do a decent job at getting on base and into scoring position this season.

SUNY Oswego names new extended learning dean


Submitted by SUNY Oswego

Veteran continuing education administrator Jill Pippin has joined SUNY Oswego as dean of extended learning.

Oswego’s Division of Extended Learning serves a wide array of part-time students and working adults interested in pursuing degrees, career-specific coursework and professional development opportunities in Oswego, Syracuse and Phoenix and online.

Pippin comes to SUNY Oswego from Jefferson Community College in Watertown, where she was dean for continuing education and a member of the senior academic leadership team responsible for innovative and community-oriented programs for adult and nontraditional students.

In her new position, Pippin takes charge of programs at the SUNY Oswego Metro Center in Syracuse, offering graduate courses in business, education, mental health counseling and other fields as well as professional development workshops, contract training and noncredit courses.

She also will be in charge of the SUNY Oswego Phoenix Center and its management consulting and professional development programs; the college’s summer and winter sessions; and a variety of other programs and initiatives to serve nontraditional students.

“What I really get excited about in terms of extended learning is I like to serve those under-served populations — the part-time student, adult student, evening student, online student — in ways that allow us to be flexible so that they can continue their education,” Pippin said.

“We offer the gamut, from our high school programs for students who are ready to take on the challenge of a college class all the way through to the person who already has a master’s degree and comes back for some professional development to hone a skill.

“We are trying to address the different, the nontraditional, audiences — the veterans audience, the international and English as a second language audience, folks more physically or geographically bound. It’s about being innovative, flexible and responsive,” Pippin said.

At Jefferson Community College, Pippin managed several associate’s degree programs, an office at Fort Drum, military and veterans’ services, a high school program, summer and winter course offerings on campus, online and at offsite locations, and Jefferson Express noncredit, workforce development and contract course programs.

She developed and cultivated the Jefferson Higher Education Center from its inception, proposed and administered more than $2.15 million in grants, and increased revenue and enrollment during her eight-year tenure at the community college.

Her earlier career spanned both academic and business positions in roles such as director for graduate services and enrollment, business adjunct instructor, director of operations, and major accounts manager.

Pippin earned a master’s degree in business administration at Franklin University in Columbus, Ohio, and a bachelor’s degree from SUNY Oswego in communication studies with an emphasis in interpersonal communication.

She received the Continuing Education Association of New York’s Outstanding Continuing Educator Award for 2013 and the 20 Under 40 Award from the Watertown Daily Times in 2009.

POMCO donates to OCO Retro Bowl event

Oswego County Opportunities Executive Director Diane Cooper-Currier, center, accepts a donation for the OCO Retro Bowl event from left Janice Webb, POMCO account manager, and right Vanessa Flynn, POMCO vice president of client services. POMCO donated $1,000.
Oswego County Opportunities Executive Director Diane Cooper-Currier, center, accepts a donation for the OCO Retro Bowl event from left Janice Webb, POMCO account manager, and right Vanessa Flynn, POMCO vice president of client services. POMCO donated $1,000.

POMCO Group, one of the nation’s largest benefits administrators, made a donation of $1,000 to support Oswego County Opportunities’ annual Retro Bowl fundraising event, which took place on Saturday April 5 at Lakeview Lanes in Fulton. 

OCO has partnered with POMCO Group since 2006 for the administration of its self-funded employee benefits plan. Each year, POMCO Group has supported OCO’s annual fundraiser and Retro Bowl event, which raises awareness and funding for the programs OCO offers to Oswego County and its community members.

“Oswego County Opportunities does tremendous work in Oswego County, particularly in the areas of health and nutrition services and education,” said Vanessa Flynn, vice president of client services at POMCO Group.

“Since the health and wellness of our community is a value that we share with OCO, and because it is, and has been, an important business partner to POMCO Group over the past eight years, it is important to us to support its fundraising efforts,” she said.

The money raised in 2014 from OCO’s annual Retro Bowl fundraising event will focus on ways to reduce and eliminate hunger in Oswego County.

OCO Executive Director Diane Cooper-Currier said every level of support from businesses and members of the community helps to make a difference.

“We are grateful for the ongoing support that we have received from POMCO Group in helping us to meet our fundraising goals. We value the support of our business partners as we strive to make a difference in our community.”


Parks stone collection contest continues through today

Michael and Katie Gerth found three of the colored stones hidden in various Fulton Parks as part of the Treasure Fulton Parks 2014 Medallion Hunt. People who find the most of the colored stones in the parks will win smaller prizes in the contest. The special medallion was found Wednesday and that person will win cash from The Valley News. While the medallion has been found, the stone collection part continues through the end of today.
Michael and Katie Gerth found three of the colored stones hidden in various Fulton Parks as part of the Treasure Fulton Parks 2014 Medallion Hunt. People who find the most of the colored stones in the parks will win smaller prizes in the contest. The special medallion was found Wednesday and that person will win cash from The Valley News. While the medallion has been found, the stone collection part continues through the end of today.

2 Fulton grocers oppose plan for new Aldi store

By Ashley M. Casey

Despite the dissent of two local grocers, the city of Fulton is going forward with Aldi’s plan to build a 17,651-square-foot grocery store on the former Nestlé site.

If all goes as planned, the Nestlé buildings will be demolished by the end of June and construction of the Aldi store will begin in July with an anticipated opening in December. Continue reading