Category Archives: Featured Stories

St. Baldrick’s event March 30 in Oswego

The Oswego County Legislature proclaimed March as St. Baldrick’s Month in Oswego County at its monthly meeting.

The St. Baldrick’s Foundation works to raise awareness and funding to support childhood cancer research and fellowship. So far this year, more than 170 Oswego County men, women and children have volunteered to shave their heads and raise money to support this cause.

They include the Oswego Minor Hockey Association, Oswego County Sheriff’s Department, the Oswego Firefighters Association, and many other groups and individuals from throughout Central New York.

Last year, their efforts brought in more than $93,000 and this year the goal has been set at $100,000.

Come to the Lake Ontario Conference and Event Center, 26 E. First St., Oswego on Sunday, March 30 to join the drive as the SUNY Oswego athletic department sponsors the 8th annual Oswego St. Baldrick’s Foundation fundraiser. For more information or to volunteer, call 1-800-899-BALD, or contact Dan Witmer at daniel.witmer@oswego.edu. 

Judges named for business plan contest

The panel of judges has been secured for The Next Great Idea 2014 Oswego County Business Plan Competition, said Austin Wheelock, economic development specialist for Operation Oswego County and co-chair of Next Great Idea.

“The Next Great Idea is the result of business and community leaders joining together to launch a competition that encourages entrepreneurs to commit to new business development in Oswego County and offers a $25,000 prize to help make a dream come true,” Wheelock said.

Judges for the event are Jeff Grimshaw of the SUNY Oswego Office of Business and Community Relations; Adam Gagas of Breakwall Asset Management; Kimberly Steele of the Steele Law Firm; Shane Broadwell of the Broadwell Hospitality Group; John Sharkey IV of Universal Metal; Sue Witmer of Cayuga Community College Fulton Campus; Mike Quenville of Pathfinder Bank; John Fitzgibbons, owner of the Fitzgibbons Agency; Atom Avery, local entrepreneur and owner of Avery Rental Properties & The Beacon Hotel; and Laurie O’Brien, owner of Port City Café & Red Sun Fire Roasting Co.

Judges were selected based on their local business knowledge and expertise in the fields of operations, management, financing, and entrepreneurship.

The first phase of the 2014 NGI Competition is underway and the deadline for submitting business concept proposals is April 11.

The entire competition will consist of three phases that will require semi-finalists selected from the first phase to develop full business plans and, in the third phase, finalists will make their “pitch” in person to the panel of judges.

This panel will determine which proposals will be selected to enter the subsequent phases culminating in the winner being chosen and honored at a luncheon Nov. 13.

Ideas that are not selected will receive written feedback from the judges of how to improve their proposals for the future.

The event web site, www.oswegocounty.org/NGI, includes an overview of the event, a competition timeline, guidelines, details on the $25,000 prize, sponsors, partners and contact information. In addition, the $25,000 can potentially be leveraged to borrow up to $250,000 in partnership with local banks, the Oswego County Industrial Development Agency, the cities of Oswego and Fulton community development offices, and the U.S. Small Business Administration.

SUNY Oswego students invited to participate in War of 1812 writing contest

SUNY Oswego students are invited to participate in the War of 1812 research paper competition in conjunction with the fourth annual Oswego War of 1812 Symposium Friday, April 4 to Sunday, April 6.

The symposium will be held at the Lake Ontario Event and Conference Center, 26 E. First St., Oswego.

The contest involves SUNY Oswego students writing and presenting their findings on any aspect of the War of 1812. All SUNY Oswego students are welcome to participate.

Students interested in competing must follow the requirements for the contest. The topic of the paper must be on some aspect of the War of 1812. There is no length requirement for the papers, but they must be able to be presented for at least 10 minutes.

All papers must be submitted by Monday, March 24 and several papers will be chosen to be presented Friday evening, April 4 at the symposium. Students whose papers are chosen to be presented at the symposium will have the chance to win up to $150.

SUNY Oswego students who register with Richard Weyhing of the History Department a week prior, will have the registration fee covered to the symposium.

“Students are the future of our history. It’s superb the history department at SUNY Oswego took a leadership role in making Oswego a heritage tourism destination by engaging in cooperative programming with other community organizations,” said Paul Lear, superintendent of Fort Ontario State Historic Site and chair of the Oswego War of 1812 Steering Committee.

“While the action at the new Lake Ontario Conference Center during the 1812 Symposium won’t approach that at the Carrier Dome during basketball season, students and other attendees will rub elbows with the legends of history and be at center court for their often intense differences of opinions on the activities and actions of the armies, navies, and individuals who fought in our own backyard.”

Richard Weyhing, an assistant professor of history at SUNY Oswego, is coordinating the contest with SUNY Oswego students.

“This is going to be a great event that brings together SUNY Oswego students, the local community, and a slate of outside scholars to explore Oswego’s and New York’s place within the broader history of the War of 1812,” he said.

For more information regarding the contest or to submit your paper, please contact Weyhing at Richard.weyhing@oswego.edu

Hot air balloon fest coming to Oswego County

A hot air balloon festival is coming to Oswego County in June.

Hot air balloons will take to the skies over the Sandy Creek Fairgrounds June 6, 7 and 8 at the Oswego County Balloon Festival. The event opens at 3 p.m. Friday, June 6, and closes with music by Frostbit Blue Sunday night, June 8.

There also will be plenty of action on solid ground with music, a petting zoo, crafts and vendors.

At least 10 hot balloons in a variety of styles are scheduled to fly, with balloon launches Friday evening, Saturday and Sunday morning, and Saturday and Sunday nights, weather permitting. After the sun sets Saturday evening, spectators will be treated to the sight of glimmering hot air balloons in flight during the “balloon glow” from 9 to 10 p.m.

The event is being organized by All Over Events of Pulaski, NY.

Fulton wrestling prepares for next season

By Rob Tetro

James Bailey and Travis Kemp recently wrestled their final matches in Fulton red and green.

As they move on to the next phases of their lives, they do so while having left their marks on the Fulton Wrestling Program.

Both athletes were four-year wrestlers for the Red Raiders. Varsity wrestling coach Chris Stalker said Bailey and Kemp were great leaders who taught their teammates the importance of hard work, dedication and determination.

As these athletes move toward life beyond high school, Stalker hopes they do so while having learned that hard work pays off. He also hopes Kemp and Bailey move on with the ability to understand what it means to be a part of a successful team — that success isn’t just a part of individual efforts, but rather it’s understanding just how much a team can accomplish when they work together.

While the Red Raiders begin preparing for the 2014-15 season, they do so having been able to get many younger wrestlers some experience at the varsity level this past season.

However, Stalker feels James Bailey’s example could be felt for years to come.

As a junior, Bailey didn’t have as much as success as he hoped he would. Despite the disappointment, Bailey worked hard over the offseason and continued to display his impressive work ethic throughout the season.

The end result was a very successful season, including solid performances in Sectional and State meets.

Stalker said his younger wrestlers know what it takes to succeed at a high level because Bailey led by example and had the success to show for it.

Looking ahead to next season, Stalker is excited about some of the younger athletes making their way up the ranks of the Fulton Wrestling Program.

He said this past season, his team had ninth-grader Travis Race qualify for the State Meet and 11th-grader Mitch Woodworth had a solid performance at the State meet.

Stalker expects these two athletes to serve as key leadership figures next season. He looks forward to seeing these two  lead by example like Bailey and Kemp did with the hopes that they too, will succeed while encouraging others to follow in their footsteps.

Volunteers sort Girl Scout cookies for ‘emergency drill’

By Ashley M. Casey

Blowing snow and bitter winds didn’t deter the Oswego County Health Department on Wednesday as they unloaded and sorted 26,500 boxes of cookies for about 25 local Girl Scout troops.

About 30 volunteers from several county departments processed the cookies at the Oswego County Highway Garage in Scriba as a practice run for distributing emergency supplies from the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS).

This was the second year the Girl Scouts and the county teamed up for the Strategic National Stockpile drill.

The SNS is the nation’s collection of vaccines, medicines and other supplies that state and local governments must be able to distribute to the public in case of a health emergency such as a massive flu outbreak or bioterrorism attack.

“We’ve been asked by the state to demonstrate our ability (to distribute the supplies),” said Diane Oldenburg, senior public health educator for the Health Department. “It was a way to test our capabilities that goes beyond sitting around the table … with ‘paper’ scenarios.”

Volunteers wore color-coded vests — yellow and red for picking boxes, silver for quality assurance and orange for inventory control — over coats and scarves in the chilly garage.

Oldenburg said a health department staff member is involved in Girl Scouts, so the county contacted local Girl Scout leaders with the idea for the drill. Last year, volunteers handled 30,000 boxes of cookies at the drill.

County volunteers had to work quickly to break down pallets stacked high with Thin Mints and Tagalongs, sorting out the orders for area troops.

“It’s not an empty box. It’s got a little more value — it’s something that can be damaged, so it makes it a little more realistic,” Oldenburg said.

Girl Scouts NYPENN Pathways Community Development Manager Judi Knowlton and several local “cookie moms” were on hand to help as well.

“It saves us from having to get the volunteers, and it gives the county the practice they need, so it’s a win-win,” Knowlton said.

Public Health Director Jiancheng Huang said Wednesday’s weather — which led to school cancellations and traffic woes across the region — did not affect the drill.

“The weather is not a factor,” Huang said. “When the real (emergencies) happen, we don’t know what the conditions will be.”

Legislature approves investment policy change

By Debra J. Groom

The Oswego County Legislature OKed a measure Thursday that will allow the county treasurer to get a better interest rate when he invests county money.

Treasurer Fred Beardsley said the county already has an investment policy. But the governor recently signed a law that allows a change in how county invetments are made, so the Legislature on Thursday approved a new investment policy.

Beardsley said banks were losing money when there were large investments made at the banks. This is because the bank had to put up collaterol of its own money on large deposits.

For example, he said if the county invested $100,000, the bank has to put up the $100,000 plus an amount for hte interest.

“With interest rates so low, the banks are losing money on this,” Beardsley said. “So many banks are refusing to take these investments.”

The change OKed by the governor allows the county to invest the money, which then goes to a holding company and then is divvied out to banks in smaller increments.

For example, Beardsley said if the county invests $1 million, the money goes to the holding company and then is given to different banks in $250,000 increments, called insured cash sweeps.

“It provides us with a higher interest rate and the banks will take the investments,” Beardsley said.

He said the county has had trouble making much money on its investments since interest rates have plummeted.

He said interest rates now are about 0.05 of a percent to about 0.15 of a percent.

“Our income on inteerst used to be about $1 million a year,” he said. “This year, we’ll be lucky to see $75,000.”

The legislature also approved a measure to transfer cemetery accounts in the custody of the county treasurer to the cemetery owners.

Beardsley said when he became treasurer, he checked all the bank accounts and found two accounts that were more than 40 years old. They were from cemeteries founded back in the 1880s.

“The cemeteries went defunct at one time and the money was transferred over to us,” Beardsley said.

He researched the cemeteries and found both — one in Richland and one in Pennellville — still are being kept up. So the money in the accounts will be given to those in charge of upkeep at the cemeteries to help with the maintenance.

The total being transferred is about $900.

The legislature also approved:

• Supporting a statewide indigent defense legal system. County Administrator Philip Church said having the state run the system to provide lawyers to low-income defendants  would save the county about $1.5 million.

• Supporting an alternative to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposed tax freeze that would lead to the state taking over mandated programs such as Medicaid, indigent defense and special education preschool.