Category Archives: Featured Stories

Tops Friendly Markets receives United Way Team of the Year Award

The United Way of Greater Oswego County presented Tops Friendly Markets with the Company Campaign Team of the Year Award at the United Way’s Annual Meeting and Salute to Volunteers held March 12 at the American Foundry in Oswego.

Presented annually, the Company Campaign Team of the Year Award is presented to volunteers whose extraordinary commitment, energy, enthusiasm, and creativity contributed to the success of their company’s campaign.

“We are proud to recognize the team from Tops Friendly Markets’ Oswego County stores with this award,” said Melanie Trexler, executive director of the United Way of Greater Oswego Count.

“These remarkable individuals inspired their co-workers and coordinated a campaign that achieved an unprecedented 132 percent increase in both the amount of donors and the amount of money raised.,” she said.

“In addition to the support of their company campaign, the Pulaski store donated desserts to our Stone Soup Luncheons in Pulaski.,” Trexler said. “This company’s commitment to providing its customers with quality products and its employees with a comfortable work environment is commendable.”


Hannibal runner takes weird turn, ends up in states

Submitted by Oswego County BOCES

After nonstop training, which included running 36 miles per week, Hannibal indoor track star Ben Slate thought he had finished his senior season just shy of his goal: a state qualifying time.

However, thanks to a twist of fate, he found himself lacing up a borrowed pair of spikes for one final race with a state berth in his sights, and he made the most of his opportunity.

Slate said he was in the right place at the right time when he got his second chance.

Dressed in street clothes, the team captain was cheering on a teammate during the state qualifying meet at Onondaga Community College when race officials asked if anyone wanted to run in the 1,000-meter event to fill out the field since an athlete was ill.

Without spikes, a jersey or other gear, Slate improvised. He borrowed a teammate’s jersey, a pair of spandex from a friend and spikes – two sizes too small – from a Jordan-Elbridge athlete.

Although the spikes weren’t ruby slippers, they were magic for Slate, who crushed his personal best in the 1,000-meter by six seconds and qualified for the state meet in the process.

“I just had a great race,” Slate said. “I worked hard in cross country, did everything my coach wanted me to and it paid off.”

With the qualifying time under his belt, Slate joined other Section 3 athletes to form a team in the 1,000-meter relay. In the state tournament March 1, they finished 10th in the intersectional relay.

Now, with the indoor track season completed, Slate, son of Stacy and Jerry Slate of Hannibal, will turn his focus to outdoor track — his final sports season of his high school career — before making the transition into college athletics and, more importantly to him, academics.

“I haven’t decided which college yet, I know I’ll definitely be running,” Slate said. “I want to focus on my academics and continue my running, but I’m looking more for academics.”

The standout runner noted Hannibal Coaches Dom Pike and Dan Pawlewicz helped mold him into the person he is today.

“Mr. Pike and Mr. Pawlewicz, they both pushed me and helped shape my work ethic,” Slate said. “They said, ‘You can be the best runner, but you have to have the grades too.’ And ever since I heard that I’ve been working hard.”

That hard work has translated into an 88 average and two academic scholarships, which Slate hopes to take to either Niagara University or Utica College.

He is planning on pursuing a degree in biology before moving on to medical school.

If Slate continues his hard work at the next level, he would become the first person in his family to graduate from college. From there, he would add the initials “M.D.” after his name.

“Everyone in my family is just supporting me,” Slate said. “They have encouraged me to do what I want to do and have told me to not let anyone change my mind. That’s how I see it.”

For Coach Pike, Slate’s efforts have not gone unnoticed.

“He’s just a great kid and a great representative of the Hannibal community,” Pike said. “He works hard and it’s nice to see him have the success he’s experienced.”

Phoenix wrestling searches for state supremacy

By Rob Tetro

Sometime soon, the Phoenix varsity wrestling team could once again be one of the best teams in New York state.

This possibility was enhanced by the presence of seven seniors this season. Codie Corso, Ryan Pinzer, Jason Nipper, Austin Dristle, Billy Orstrander, Brian Stafford and Derrick Powell left a unique mark on the Phoenix wrestling program.

Coach Gene Mills said this group of seniors worked hard while showing some of the Firebirds impressive younger wrestlers what a consistently solid work ethic is all about.Their efforts paid off. This season, Phoenix had many younger wrestlers put in the work necessary for them to begin to realize their potential.

Mills hopes the seniors’ participation in the Phoenix wrestling program taught them the value of hard work. He hopes his seniors are now physically and mentally prepared to display the work ethic necessary for them to accomplish any goal they have for themselves.

However, as important as athletics is to Mills, most important is that his athletes begin to learn about being good citizens. As those traits continue to develop in his athletes throughout their participation within Phoenix wrestling, he also encourages them to be good students and good athletes, in that order.

Now that these seven seniors are a few months away from taking on the next phase of their lives, Mills hopes Phoenix wrestling has helped them to become better wrestlers, better students and most importantly, better people.

Mills hopes supporters of the Phoenix wrestling program are excited about the athletes he has coming up through the ranks. He said individual and team success could be in the cards for the Firebirds in the very near future because his returning athletes understand that given the abilities they bring to the table, the sky is the limit.

Yet, he points out that the difference between a good team and a State Championship team isn’t based on ability but rather on how dedicated a team is to consistently improving.

Make no mistake about it, Mills believes his younger athletes have the potential of bringing Phoenix another State Championship. However, they will not be able to earn the right to compete at that level until they embrace a hardnosed mentality in every phase of the wrestling season.

Local men named wrestling Coaches of the Year

By Dan Farfaglia

Former Fulton wrestler David Wise, now the head wrestling coach at Liverpool High School, is the recipient of the 2013-2014 Section 3 Division One Coach of the Year Award.

Wise guided the Liverpool Warriors to an 18-5 record this past year, a League Title, and the team placed 2nd at the Sectionals (State Qualifiers). That was the best tournament performance in the school`s history.

Wise has been the head coach at Liverpool for five seasons and has compiled a 92-44 record, two Section champions, eight class champions and 31 Sectional place winners.

He was presented with this distinguished honor at the Friends of Section 3 Wrestling Banquet at the Rusty Rail Restaurant in Canastota March 9.

Bill Kays, the head wrestling coach at Mexico High School for the past 26 years, is the recipient of the 2013-2014 Section 3 Division Two Coach of the Year Award.

The Mexico Tigers ended the season with a 13-2 record, won the League title, and defeated the Fulton Red Raiders for the first time since the early 1960s.

In his career, Kays has had 40 Section 3 Champions, one Section 3 Dual Meet title, 12 League Championships, three NYS Tournament runner ups and for the first time, a State Champion just this season.

He also was presented with this distinguished honor at the Friends of Section 3 Wrestling Banquet at the Rusty Rail Restaurant in Canastota on March 9 .

‘Searching for Eden’ returns for an encore

CNY Arts Center announces the return of’ Searching for Eden: The Diaries of Adam and Eve’ for an encore weekend April 4, 5 and 6 at the Arts Center located at 357 State St. Methodist Church, (Park Street entrance) in Fulton.

The romantic comedy written by James Still and starring Peter and Kelly Mahan in the roles of Adam and Eve will be presented for three performances only, at 7:30 p.m. April 4 and 5 and at 3 p.m. April 6.

The performances will be presented as dessert theatre where desserts are included in the ticket price of $15.

“This production was well received by audiences who saw it in February as part of our Date Night Dinner Theatre on Valentine’s Day and we felt strongly we should bring it back for a limited run,” said Nancy Fox, director.

“We heard audience members tell us ‘Every couple should see this play’ and ‘More people need to see this play.’ It is very gratifying to get such vocal support from the audience and with the winter we’ve had and the distractions of the holiday weekend it first played, we felt it was a great kick-off to our spring season,” she said.

This is the first time Peter and Kelly Mahan have worked together as the only characters in a play and their personal relationship as husband and wife lends credibility to the play based on Mark Twain’s original Diaries of Adam and Eve.

By Act Two Adam and Eve are imagined in contemporary society caught up in all too familiar busy lives and annoying cell phones. Drawn to revisit Eden, now a resort called “E,” the couple struggles to rekindle the innocence of their beginnings in the garden when everything was an simple.

“The play is a wonderful portrayal of relationships, the sweet innocence of discovering the special person created just for you, “ Fox said.

“Peter and Kelly lead us through those moments of realizing you’re incomplete without the relationship you were created for which suddenly makes personality differences worth the confusion,” she said. “The play has rich moments of humor and tenderness. It’s a healthy look at what’s important in all relationships.”

Searching for Eden: The Diaries of Adam and Eve runs April 4-6 at CNY Arts Center, 357 State St. Methodist Church in Fulton. Tickets can be reserved and purchased online at

For reservations and more information, call 592-3373.

‘Run Boy Run’ to play April 5 at Oswego Music Hall

Run Boy Run, a young five-piece band from Arizona, is coming to town to play traditional and new traditional music in their fresh “string-heavy, old-timey, not-quite-bluegrassy way” at the Oswego’s Music Hall at 8 p.m. Saturday, April 5.

Run Boy Run is officially listed as one of Arizona’s hottest bands. On its current tour, the band is crossing the country to perform in cities the like Denver, St. Louis, Minneapolis, New York and Baltimore.

All in their 20s, the members of Run Boy Run still consider themselves a Tucson band, because they began playing together there in 2009, when the five were students at the University of Arizona.

They got their start, playing open-mics and wherever else they could get gigs. Mere weeks after forming, Run Boy Run won the band contest at Pickin’ in the Pines.

Soon they got a special appearance at the Tellerude Bluegrass Festival in 2012 and two appearances on National Public Radio‘s A Prairie Home Companion. Run Boy Run has been making friends and fans alike ever since with their open-ended musical approach and wonderful stage presence.

Their debut CD, So Sang the Whippoorwill, was released in March 2013 to regional and national critical acclaim.

Garrison Keillor, host of Prairie Home Companion was so impressed with Run Boy Run, that he penned the notes for their debut CD.

“When I hear Run Boy Run,” he wrote,  “it all comes back to me, why I started doing that [radio] show back then. I hope they go on forever.”

The band is brother and sister Matt Rolland (guitar and two-time Arizona state fiddle contest winner) and Grace Rolland (cello, vocals); sisters Bekah Sandoval Rolland (fiddle, vocals) and Jen Sandoval (mandolin, vocals); and bass player Jesse Allen.

Comfortable in the tension between tradition and the current musical frontier, Run Boy Run‘s all-acoustic format blends bluegrass, folk and the old timey American vernacular with touches of classical and jazz.

Their music is rooted in the traditional music of the Appalachian South, but is also definitively present in the 21st century. Run Boy Run plays a mix of original compositions, cover songs, and traditional tunes attributed to the public domain.

Learn more the band’s luminous harmonies at, and then come and see for yourself how Run Boy Run warms up the stage at the Oswego Music Hall on April 5.

The venue is the McCrobie Civic Center, 41 Lake St., Oswego. Tickets can be purchased on-line at or at the river’s end bookstore, 19 W. Bridge St., Oswego.

Holders of tickets purchased before 1 p.m. on the day of the concert will have preferred seating. After 1 p.m., seating will be general admission.  Ticket prices for this event are $14 if purchased in advance and $16 at the door. Children 12 and under are half-price; under 5 is free.

The Music Hall’s next concert, April 19th, will feature “Percussion Wizard” Jeff Haynes & Co., including NYC guitarist Sean Harkness.

The Music Hall has been run entirely by volunteers from its inception more than  36 years ago. Volunteers can earn admission to shows through different tasks.

Music Hall concerts are made possible in part with funding by the state Council on the Arts.

For more information call 342-1733 or access the Music Hall website:

Heidi Allen’s sister writes about coping with loss

Lisa Buske, left, and her younger sister, Heidi Allen
By Lisa Buske
On April 3, 1994, Heidi M. Allen, opened the D &W Convenience store in New Haven, NY by herself.
Instead of leaving at the end of her shift, she was abducted and remains missing today.
Many relate to the parent’s loss after the abduction of a child because this resonates to the core of family. You don’t have to be a parent to understand the impact this loss has because we all have parents and know how we would feel to lose them, the impact when the role is reversed is more intense, heart breaking, and life changing.
As the sister to one of America’s missing, I’ve seen the toll it takes on the parents, family, friends and community. Of course the family suffers the greatest loss, yet the pain and after effect is felt farther than anyone may realize. Many lives are changed forever after the abduction of one child or adult.
The family’s focus is more internal initially, our bodies enter survival mode. Sleep isn’t possible. Overeating or lack of eating is common. An inability to focus for more than a moment makes daily tasks difficult. The poor nourishment, lack of sleep, and stress induced brain freeze can even trigger mental and physical disabilities, preventing the family from returning to their daily routines.
There is a void left in the community as they accept the tragedy. The challenge is to move forward without paralyzing yourself, children, and neighborhood with fear of the unknown.
A common and natural thought is “I can’t do this. How can I survive this loss?”
Our thoughts have the ability to take us captive. It’s a choice each member of the family must make, to accept defeat or keep fighting, like we imagine our loved ones did…to survive. Twenty years later, we still wrestle with the loss of Heidi yet with the help of God and each other, we are stronger and more determined to make sure
Heidi is never forgotten and others know it’s possible to survive tragedy.
Think of the family’s journey as a roller coaster ride. The ride starts when the loved one disappears, and over the years, you are forced to travel up, down, sideways, and even upside down at times because of the things thrust at you during the search, investigation, trials and waiting.
Phone calls from law enforcement to say “A body was found. It could be Heidi.” Or “We’re following up on a tip, we’ll keep you posted.” These induce sleepless nights. Recoveries of cold case missing persons’ trigger grief and hope at the same time.
Heidi’s friends get married, have children, and share milestones via social media. Although thankful to be included in their lives, often tears trickle down our cheeks because Heidi was denied these simple joys. Natural twists and turns yet when your loved one is missing, the responses vary.
We hope and pray to know where Heidi is, but regardless of how she is found, the roller coaster ride is never over, we just get on a new one. There is no closure for the families of the missing. If you’ve lost a loved one, you say “rest in peace” when you say good-bye but to the families of the missing, we may never be able to list RIP on the headstone.
Our question is still the same, “Where’s Heidi?” but some things have changed. We are stronger. We’ve learned to endure, persevere, and cherish each moment for what it is, a memory waiting to happen. A life lesson learned years ago yet one that motivates us daily, tomorrow isn’t a guarantee, so make the most of today.
Will you join us April 3, 2014 to remember Heidi M. Allen, on the platinum anniversary of her disappearance? Enjoy a time of fellowship and light candles of hope to light Heidi’s way home. The initial search and rescue organized at the New Haven Fire Barn so it’s only fitting we gather here for this special occasion.
Today’s moment is tomorrow’s memory. Will you join us as we make new memories of hope for Heidi M. Allen? We hope you will.


Hannibal school district updates website

Submitted by Oswego County BOCES

Months of dedicated efforts among the Hannibal Central School District’s technology department, administrators and staff have culminated with the successful launch of a new website.

The site, which can still be found at, experienced a significant overhaul and was unveiled recently.

It addresses some of the flaws that users ran into with the previous version. It also is much more user-friendly, said district director of technology, Matt Dean.

“From what I’ve gathered from the people who have provided feedback, (the new site provides) ease of access, it’s cleaner, all the information is centrally located,” Dean said.

In addition to being streamlined and easier to navigate, Dean said that instead of stock photos, the website creates a feeling of Purple Pride, as district students are featured prominently throughout the site.

“We’ll do what we can to make sure you have updated information and pictures right at your fingertips,” he said.

With access to information and school news at the top of the priority list, the district has also added a YouTube channel and joined Twitter as other communication tools.

To follow the district on Twitter, search for the handle “HannibalSchools,” or click on the Twitter icon at the top of the district’s home page.