Category Archives: Featured Stories

Fulton girls’ basketball looks toward the future

By Rob Tetro

The Fulton girls’ varsity basketball team took the court this season as a team that lacked experience at the varsity level.

However, Fulton went on to finish the 2013-14 season with an overall record of 7-13 en route to a Sectional Playoff appearance.

The Lady Raiders fell to Jamesville-DeWitt in the quarterfinals of The Class A, Section 3 Playoffs.

This season, Fulton played a very tough schedule, but often answered the challenge.

Fulton Coach Derek Lyons said the experiences his team had this season should help them realize they can play with anyone if they are able to play together.

Looking ahead, Lyons is optimistic about the future of Fulton girls’ basketball.

He feels the promise his young team showed this season could pay off for them in a couple of years. Lyons points out the key to his teams’ success in the future will be its work ethic.

“These kids are hard workers and have the capability to be really good,” he said.

Local woman helps kick off proposed law against synthetic drugs

Teresa Woolson of Oswego joined state lawmakers Tuesday to push for the ban of synthetic drugs.

Woolson’s son Victor, a Mexico High School graduate, died from injuries suffered as a result of synthetic drug use.

He drowned in Lake Ontario while swimming at Flat Rock. His friends who were with him told police he had purchased a synthetic marijuana, called “K-2 Avalanche,” at Xtreme Underground in Oswego right before going swimming.

He purchased the drug after the state and federal ban of synthetic drugs was in place.

“I came to Albany today to help prevent another family feeling the pain and destruction these poisons can cause,” Woolson said.

“This legislation, when passed, will help us stay one step ahead of the criminals and help keep these poisons off store shelves, ultimately saving lives.  I want to thank everyone here in attendance for your concern about this important issue,” she said.

Assemblyman Will Barclay, R-Pulaski, state Sen. Patricia Ritchie, R-Oswegatchie, Assemblyman Robert Oaks, R-Macedon, and other state Senate and Assembly members and Upstate Poison Control officials said at a press conference March 4 that banning synthetic drugs has been a challenge because New York and the federal government outlaw drugs based on their chemical compounds.

Because these drugs are synthetic, manufacturers have been able to slightly change their chemical composition so they are no longer on the state’s controlled substance list and therefore no longer illegal.

In addition, synthetic drugs are often mislabeled and sold as products other than drugs (i.e., bath salts, shoe deodorant and incense). However, the seller and the purchaser realize that the intended use of the synthetic drug is to provide a high for the user.

The legislation announced Tuesday addresses mislabeling, chemical swapping and creates penalties for possessing and selling synthetic drugs equivalent to their “street drug” counterpart.

The bill contains two key provisions:

** Broader power is given to the Commissioner of Health to add synthetic drugs and their chemical compounds to the controlled substance list, rather than having the legislature act to add to the controlled substance list; and

** Stores will be penalized for selling mislabeled products when they are clearly intended to be used as drugs.

In addition, pursuant to this legislation, if a person believes a store is selling synthetic drugs, they can file a complaint with the Attorney General. Based on evidence, the Attorney General can act and make an application to the court requesting a special procedure, to issue an injunction to stop selling the product.

If it is determined by the court that the store violated the law of mislabeling synthetic drug for a minor to purchase, those individuals could be charged with a felony.

By expanding the Department of Health commissioner’s powers to add these substances to the controlled substance list, action can be taken immediately to put these dangerous items on the banned substances list, eliminating the need for the Legislature to revisit this issue each time a new chemical compound is introduced.

“This legislation helps us to take the next step when it comes to putting an end to the use of these dangerous substances that as we’ve seen, have the potential to cause violence, crime and even death,”  said state Sen. Patricia Ritchie, R-Oswegatchie, who sponsors the legislation in the Senate.

Oaks, who represnts western Oswego County, said the push for change in the law to end easy access to dangerous synthetic drugs must continue until people can no longer obtain them at all.

“We’ve banned the products from retail stores, but that’s not enough. Now, we need to urge the rest of our colleagues and leaders in Albany to take this important issue up once again. We need to prevent our youth from obtaining these drugs underground, while at the same time, imposing harsh penalties for those who continue to sell these substances,” said Oaks.

“The scariest thing about these drugs is people don’t know what’s in it. The compounds keep changing and the packaging is designed to be attractive even to young children,” said Lee Livermore, public education coordinator for the Upstate New York Poison Control Center.

“Some packages even have statements that the product is legal, but don’t list the actual ingredients,” Livermore said.

Brian Colombo, the owner of Xtreme Underground, the store where Victor Woolson is reported to have purchased his “K-2 Avalanche,” will be in Oswego City Court March 19.

He is charged with two misdemeanors stemming from selling unbranded synthetic drugs at the store.

Wrestling season closes with 1 state champ, three medal winners

By Dan Farfaglia

Last weekend at the Times Union Center in Albany, top high school wrestlers from around New York state assembled to determine who were the best in each weight class for the 2013-2014 season.

Six wrestlers from Oswego County representing Section 3 competed in the two state tournaments.

Fulton`s Mitch Woodworth and Travis Race participated in Division One and Mexico`s Theo Powers, Jake Woolson, Austin Whitney and Trevor Allard took part in Division Two.

Wearing the uniform of their high schools in the medal rounds, four of them placed in this prestigious event, thereby earning a spot at the winners` podium.

The biggest story that came out of the State Capitol is Mexico`s Trevor Allard. He became the first State Champion from his high school in its history.

At 160 pounds, he shocked all of his competitors in his weight class by defeating the number one ranked wrestler, Alex Smythe of Section 6, in the second round of wrestling, in triple overtime. He also won in overtime again, this time over Section 2`s Conner Lawrence in the finals to secure the state wrestling crown.

An enthusiastic Trevor had this to say: “Winning the state tournament exceeded all of my expectations this season. Going into the tournament, all I expected of myself was to wrestle hard and leave it all out on the mat, and if I did, that it’s all I could do … I had been to the tournament so many times before as a spectator, and I knew that even as an 8th seed, anything was possible!”

Earlier in the tournament, Allard defeated Dan Khomitch from Section 5 by a score of 10-4 and also won over Section 4`s Nik Hanson 4-3 in the semi-finals.

Trevor’s teammates, Theo Powers finished in 3rd at 106 pounds and Jake Woolson placed 4th at 170 pounds.

Mexico Wrestling Coach Bill Kays has just completed one of the most successful seasons in his career as a coach.

“All four of our guys wrestled very well and it was nice to see 3 out of 4 on the podium … I felt great for Trevor because he has worked very hard for many years and to be there when he accomplished his dream was a very gratifying feeling” said Kays.

Kays is the recipient of the 2013 – 2014 Section 3 Division 2`s “Coach of the Year” Award.

In Division One, wrestling at 120 pounds, Mitch Woodworth became the third Fulton wrestler in the last decade to earn a medal at this event. He took home 5th place honors.

He got to this point in the tournament by defeating Isaiah Colgan of Section 4 by a 4-3 score in the first round. He lost to the eventual tournament runner up in round two, but then won by a score of 1-0 in double overtime over Section 6`s Donny McCoy, thereby guaranteeing himself a medal.

He lost in his next match to the eventual winner of the 3rd place prize, Benjamin Lamantia from the Catholic Schools Section. He concluded his junior year by pinning Dominic Inzana of Section 2 in the first period.

Of all of the competitors at this tournament this year who hailed from Oswego County, none of them were seniors.

Mexico`s Theo Powers is a sophomore and Fulton’s Travis Race is only a freshman. All the others are juniors. So it`s quite possible that some of these wrestlers may be returning to the NYS tournament again next year.

After having the success he just had, Trevor Allard is wasting no time getting ready for the 2014-2015 season, he concluded: “My plans for next year are to work even harder than I did this year … I hope to be back on top of the NYS podium with a few of my teammates.”

OPINION: It’s Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

By Debra J. Groom

I was reading through some things on my desk and came across a notice that March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.

I thought I would toss in my few cents on this subject in hopes of getting a bunch of Oswego County residents off their keisters to get their colons checked out.

The best screening available for colon cancer is the colonoscopy. Yeah, I know, the dreaded colonoscopy. There may be a few of you reading this saying to yourself “Hey, no one is going to put a scope up, well, you know where.”

But listen. It really isn’t that bad. And if it can save you from dying from colon cancer, I’d say, go for it.

I have had five colonoscopies. Colon cancer and colon problems run in my family. Both of my grandfathers had colon cancer. One died from it (back in 1944, before there were the tests and treatments we have today). The other was cured, but he lived with a colostomy for the rest of his life.

My mother had problems with benign colon polyps and my sister has had colon difficulties too. So you can bet your bottom I don’t miss a colonoscopy.

The Centers for Disease Control says colon cancer is the third most common cancer in men and women in the United States. It also is the second-leading cause of death from cancer for men and women combined in the United States.

In 2010 (the most recent year numbers are available), 131,607 people in the United States were diagnosed with colorectal cancer, including 67,700 men and 63,907 women.

A total of 52,045 people in the United States died from colorectal cancer, including 27,073 men and 24,972 women.

But here is the most important statement from CDC:

“Screening can find precancerous polyps — abnormal growths in the colon or rectum — so that they can be removed before turning into cancer. Screening also helps find colorectal cancer at an early stage, when treatment often leads to a cure. About nine out of every 10 people whose colorectal cancers are found early and treated appropriately are still alive five years later.”

Are you convinced yet?

Well, while the colonoscopy sounds yucky, it really isn’t that bad.

You spend the day before on a liquid diet, which leads to ravenous hunger. But hey, it’s only one day.

You drink some bad-tasting stuff the night before the procedure that makes you spend much of the next few hours on the porcelain throne. But you have to clean out that colon so the doctor can get some clean, pretty pictures.

That part — called the prep — is actually the worst part. And think about it, isn’t it worth it to go through a few hours of discomfort to live to a ripe old age with your colon in tact?

The test itself, I have found, is a breeze. I have always been totally knocked out by the anesthesia — I’ve never felt a thing. After, you lay in the recovery room for a bit, talk to your doctor to see what they found and then off you go. Most people can eat a regular meal not too long after the test is over.

Even with my extensive family history, I have this done only once every five years.

Of course, people should always mention any symptoms they have to their doctors immediately. The CDC lists the symptoms as blood in or on your stool (bowel movement, stomach pain, aches, cramps that don’t go away and losing weight when you don’t know why.

So if you have any symptoms or you’re over 50 and just want to be checked out, celebrate this month by see a gastroenterologist and having a colonoscopy.

I think that’s a small price to pay for life.

Lake Ontario water levels lower for 2014

By Debra J. Groom

Early estimates show water levels in Lake Ontario may be a bit lower in 2014 through June than they were in 2013.

A briefing on Great Lakes water levels given this week by the Army Corps of Engineers stated levels for February are 4 inches above last year for the month and near the long-term average for February.

But, long-range forecasts show through May, the lake’s level should be about 2 inches below last year and 2 inches to 4 inches below the long-range average through May.

The level is forecast at 3 inches below average in June and 5 inches to 7 inches below the long-range average in June.

So what does this mean?

Well, right now, no one knows for sure.

Cathy Goodnough is president of the Sandy Pond Channel Maintenance Association, which is charged with keeping an eye on water levels in the Sandy Pond area and ensuring the channel between the pond and the lake is open for boaters.

She said the area still has to see what the ice melt and snow runoff from the areas east of the lake do to the water levels. She said there was so much ice in January the Sandy Pond area flooded.

“We have 24 inches of ice here right now and we got a lot of snow,” she said Thursday.

One positive is the ice buildup at the Sandy Pond area. Goodnough said the channel between Sandy Pond and the lake close dup in January and the ice formation sucked a lot of water and sand out of the channel.

Last summer lake water levels fluctuated from being a little above average to a little below average, with Goodnough characterizing it as not a disaster, but not perfect either.

Residents of the lake shoreline have seen some bad times in previous years, with water levels so low they couldn’t get watr lines in or use their boats.

The International Joint Commission, consisting of U.S. and Canadian officials, regulate Lake Ontario water levels throughout the summer.

The cold and snow of this winter has caused near record conditions on the Great Lakes.

As of March 4, 91 percent of the Great Lakes’ surface was iced over. The lake with the most open water is Lake Ontario, which is ony 43 percent covered by ice.

The Army Corps of Engineers said the only year with more Great Lakes ice was 1979, when they were 94.7 percent ice covered.

Officials said extensive ice cover cuts down on lake water evaporation, so Lake Ontario is open to more water evaporation than the other lakes.

Women’s History Month: Fascinating women in Fulton’s past

By Ashley M. Casey

Those looking to celebrate Women’s History Month need look no further than our own backyard.

With the help of Sue Lane from the Friends of History, The Valley News has uncovered some fascinating ladies who have called Fulton home.

 

Edna Skinner

Best known as Kay Addison on the classic TV show “Mister Ed,” actress Edna Skinner was born in Washington, D.C., May 23, 1921. Her family moved to Fulton, where her father Eugene was the president of Sealright Co.

As a child, Edna suffered from chronic asthma and was not expected to live to adulthood. Her health bounced back under the care of a Lake Placid doctor, and she went on to study acting at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City.

Edna starred as as Ado Annie in the original Broadway production “Oklahoma!” and signed a contract with MGM in 1946.

She also helped sell more than $5 million worth of war bonds to help fund the United States military in World War II.

In 1964, Edna retired from acting and became a world-renowned expert on fly fishing. She wrote more than 280 articles on the subject.

According to variety.com, Skinner “was employed by two fishing equipment manufacturers, for whom she and her companion of more than 40 years, photographer Jean Fish, traveled more than 485,000 miles on fishing trips and to various sports shows.”

Edna Skinner died of heart failure on Aug. 8, 2003, in North Bend, Ore.

 

Betty Ford

Before she became First Lady, Betty Bloomer married William Warren in 1942. The couple moved to Fulton, where William worked for Sealright as a salesman.

The Warrens lived at 409 E. Broadway for nearly a year. Their Fulton neighbors remembered them as “an attractive couple, fun-loving, and an asset to the community,” according to a 1976 newspaper clipping from the Friends of History.

Betty worked on a production line at Birdseye during her time in Fulton.

After five years of marriage, Betty and William divorced. In 1948, Betty married Gerald R. Ford, who became President of the United States upon the resignation of Richard Nixon in 1974.

Betty famously struggled with addiction to alcohol and painkillers, which led her to found the Betty Ford Center to treat recovering addicts.

She died at age 93 of natural causes July 8, 2011, in Rancho Mirage, Calif.

 

Marion Dickerman and Nancy Cook

Fellow Syracuse University graduates and early 20th-century feminists Marion Dickerman and Nancy Cook rekindled their college friendship when they both taught at Fulton High School in the early 1900s.

The two women lived together for most of their adult lives and championed women’s causes, including the right to vote and fair labor legislation. They volunteered overseas during World War I, tending to wounded soldiers.

According to the March 24, 1919, edition of The Fulton Patriot, Dickerman spoke in front of the New York State League of Women Voters at a conference in Syracuse.

She was later chosen by the Democratic Party as the first female candidate for the New York State Legislature. She lost to Thaddeus Sweet of Phoenix, N.Y.

Cook was Dickerman’s campaign manager and served as executive secretary of the Women’s Division of the State Democratic Committee for 19 years.

Cook and Dickerman befriended Eleanor Roosevelt through their political activities and helped build the Stone Cottage at Val-Kill, which was part of Roosevelt’s Hyde Park, N.Y., estate.

The three women had a falling out in the late 1930s, but Dickerman and Cook continued to live at Val-Kill until the 1945 death of Eleanor’s husband, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

Cook and Dickerman moved to New Canaan, Conn., where Dickerman was the educational programming director for the Marine Museum.

Cook passed away Aug. 16, 1962, and Dickerman died in Kennett Square, Pa., on May 16, 1983.

Residents to receive batteries for tone-alert weather radios

Submitted by Oswego County

Replacement batteries have been mailed to county residents who have an emergency planning tone-alert weather radio from the Oswego County Emergency Management Office.

Director Dale A. Currier said replacement batteries are mailed to residents on an annual basis to ensure proper operation of these radios.

The tone-alert weather radios are provided to homes within the 10-mile Emergency Planning Zone surrounding the nuclear power plants that are out of hearing range of emergency sirens.

The radios are part of the Oswego County Radiological Emergency Preparedness Plan’s prompt notification system and are the property of Oswego County.

The battery distribution is part of the on-going maintenance program sponsored by the Emergency Management Office in conjunction with the Nine Mile Point Nuclear Station, a division of Constellation Energy Nuclear Group, and Entergy Nuclear to allow for prompt notification of the public during an emergency.

Any resident who has a tone-alert weather radio and has not received a new battery by March 14 should contact the Emergency Management Office at 591-9150.

Letters have been mailed to residents in the Emergency Planning Zone who are eligible to receive a free radio but who have not been issued one.

“If you’ve received the letter and would like a tone-alert radio, please call our office,” Currier said. “If you either have a radio issued by our office or do not wish to receive one, please fill out and return the form included with the letter to us.”

Residents receiving a new battery are reminded that batteries are recyclable in Oswego County.

Currier emphasized that, upon hearing either the siren or tone-alert radio signal, people should tune their AM/FM radio or television to an Emergency Alert System station for further information and instructions.

EAS stations are listed in the 2014 Public Emergency Response Information Calendar; the yellow pages of the telephone book; on posters placed in public areas; and on the EMO page on the county website.

The calendar can be found on the county website at www.oswegocounty.com/emo.

Sirens are tested quarterly and a full-scale simultaneous activation of all sirens takes place once a year. The tone alert radios are tested every Wednesday, generally between 11 a.m. and noon.

Any resident who has a question concerning any aspect of emergency planning may call the Emergency Management Office at 591-9150 or (800) 962-2792.

Applications being accepted for Camp Hollis Counselor-in-Training positions

Submitted by Oswego County

Applications are now being accepted for Counselor-in-Training positions at Camp Hollis.

Youth aged 15 or 16 years old may apply to be accepted into this training program. Camp Hollis will accept up to four 15-year-old participants and up to four 16-year-old participants.

Those who are 15 years old participate in the program June 22 through July 18 on a voluntary basis. Those 16 years old participate in the program from June 22 to Aug. 15 and receive a stipend.

Residency for both age groups is required from Sunday afternoon through Friday evening each week, with weekends off during the summer.

Camp Hollis is a children’s residential camp located in the town of Oswego on the shore of Lake Ontario with a strong focus on outdoor recreation and nature.  Children ages 8 to 14 attend camp for one week and participate in a variety of summer camp activities.

“The 15-year-old counselors-in-training shadow rotating counselors during the day to see what it is like and what it takes to work at a summer residential camp,” said Brandon Morey, coordinator of youth development and recreation for the Oswego City-County Youth Bureau.

“The 16-year-old counselors-in-training either shadow rotating counselors during the day and take a more involved role of the supervision and programming aspect of a residential camp, or work in the kitchen to help prepare meals for the campers while performing cleaning duties required to maintain camp standards.”

Camp Hollis is owned by Oswego County and operated by the Oswego City-County Youth Bureau as a residential camp. The facility is also available to rent from the beginning of May through October for use by families, clubs, school groups and other organizations.

Camp Hollis is located at 40 Health Camp Road, off Lakeshore Road in the town of Oswego.

Those seeking more information may call the Youth Bureau at 315-349-3451 or (800) 596-3200, ext.3451 or contact Morey at 349-3241 or by email at bmorey@oswegocounty.com.