Category Archives: Featured Stories

Porky and Buddy gives advice to teen who wants a dog

Dear Porky & Buddy,

Can you help me? I am 13 years old and I really, really, really want a dog, but my mom won’t allow it.

She says they are dirty and we can catch diseases from them and that she would end up taking care of it and blah, blah, blah.  What can I tell her to persuade her?



Dear Annie,

First of all, ditch the phrase “blah, blah, blah.” Then try this approach: “Ask not what your mother can do for you — ask what you can do for your mother.”

So . . . are your grades up to par?  Is your room clean?  Do you ever help around the house? Do you complain about it? Ditch the complaining.

Because, in fact, your mother is right.   If you have a dog it will be your parents’ ultimate responsibility, as the adults in the family, to make sure he is trained, fed properly, walked, taken to the vet, and licensed and to clean up or repair any damage that he might do in your house or the neighbor’s yard.

You are 13. You need to start acting like you are 23.

Make a pact with your Mom.  You will save up a certain sum of money to contribute toward the expenses of owning a dog. You will spend some time at the local shelter interacting with dogs (and not come home whining about how you want to adopt one immediately).

You will go to the library and check out some books about how to choose the right dog, how to care for a dog, how to train a dog, how to practice good hygiene  around a dog so you don’t catch any parasites or diseases. (It’s rare but it can happen.)

You will figure out what equipment your dog will need and what it will cost.  You will talk to a veterinarian about what she recommends for routine health care and the costs of vaccinations, office visits for check ups, and flea and heartworm medications.

Then, and only then, will you be ready to help your Mom (and Dad) with the responsibilities of caring for a new pet.

Will it work? We have no idea. Will it be worthwhile? Absolutely, because even if you still can’t persuade her, you will have impressed her with your maturity, you will have learned a lot, you will have had fun helping out with shelter dogs, and you will be ready for your own dog when you really are 23.

And if it does work then you and your Mom (and Dad) will experience both the joy and the awesome responsibility of having a dog in your life.

So good luck, either way!

The Oswego County Humane Society provides spay/neuter services and assistance, fostering and adoption of animals in urgent need, humane education programs, and information and referrals to animal lovers throughout Oswego County.

Our office is at 265 W. First St., Oswego. Phone is 207-1070. Email is Website is

Officials review county’s pressing healthcare issues

Healthcare professionals representing virtually every healthcare provider in Oswego County gathered recently at the American Foundry to review and discuss the most pressing health issues that exist in our county.

Facilitated by Danielle Wert, coordinator of the Rural Health Network of Oswego County, the event featured presentations from Dan Dey, chief executive officer of Northern Oswego County Health Services, Jiancheng Huang, public health director for the Oswego County Health Department, and Jeff Coakley, vice president for Strategic Services at Oswego Health.

Dey, who also serves as chair for the Rural Health Network’s advisory board, spoke of the role the Rural Health Network plays regarding health services in Oswego County.

“Sponsored by the state Department  of Health, the Rural Health Network of Oswego County is a collaboration of healthcare providers, human service agencies, health education services, and political leaders whose mission is to improve the quality, affordability, and availability of health care services in Oswego County by focusing key resources to address specific health care priorities and to strengthen the local health care system,” Dey said.

Dey said while Oswego County does have its challenges, the level of primary care providers and resources is one of the highest of any rural community in the country and the Rural Health Network is working to continue to retain and expose those resources.

Huang and Coakley echoed those remarks and outlined many of those challenges when they shared their respective health needs assessment results and community service plans.

According the results of the Oswego County Health Department’s health assessment, Oswego County’s risky health behaviors have resulted in higher than average rates than surrounding counties and the state for a number of health issues including; incidence of cancer, cancer related deaths, obesity, smoking, diabetes, and suicide.

All significant challenges, but Huang said they are challenges that can be met.

“Based on our physician to population ratio, doctors and other healthcare providers in Oswego County are working harder than those in other counties throughout the state,” Huang said.

“We and the other members of the Rural Health Network understand the challenges we are facing and are working to introduce new practices and programs,” he said. “Health is determined by where and how we live, work, study, and play.  We must establish initiatives with a goal of engaging community members and lowering the rate of risky health behaviors in Oswego County.”

One of these initiatives is the Oswego County Primary Care Collaborative, comprised of Oswego Health, Oswego County Opportunities, a nonprofit community action agency offering more than 50 human service programs, and Northern Oswego County Health Services.

Coakley said the collaborative is working to ensure that primary care services will remain available in Oswego County for the foreseeable future.

“Previously, the three health partners collectively operated six primary care clinics,” Coakley said “During the past year, these centers transitioned to NOCHSI, which can operate them more efficiently and with financial stability.

“This collaboration was recognized as the Outstanding Rural Health Program of the Year by the New York State Association for Rural Health at its annual meeting in September,” Coakley said. “In addition, individuals from the three partnering organizations were honored as Healthcare Workers of the Year.”

Moving forward, partners in the Rural Health Network will expand their efforts of developing partnerships, coordinating resources, implementing programs and informing and educating the public in an effort to lower the risky health behaviors and reduce the rate of chronic diseases in Oswego County.

“We are fortunate to have a very robust Rural Health Network in Oswego County.  We have 35 active network member organizations and 10 subcommittees that meet monthly,” Wert said.

“The network membership represents virtually every aspect of healthcare, and our members are committed to improving the delivery of and access to quality and affordable health care in Oswego County and contiguous areas,” she said.

For more information on the Rural Health Network, go to

Apply now for Oswego UPK program

Submitted by Oswego City Schools

The Oswego City School District is gearing up to welcome next year’s class of pre-kindergarten students!

Applications for the Oswego City School District Universal Pre-Kindergarten (UPK) program are now available. The program is designed for children who were born between Dec. 2, 2009 and Dec. 1, 2010 and is offered at no cost to children who are selected by lottery, said Cathleen Chamberlain, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction.

The UPK teachers and staff strive to create a warm and nurturing environment for all our four year olds. The goals of the program are to meet the individual needs of 4-year-old children in the areas of social, academic, language, emotional and physical development.

This prepares them to successfully enter kindergarten the following year.   The UPK teachers and District work closely together to deliver the best first educational experiences for your children.

Sessions will be available at the five elementary schools: Charles E. Riley, Fitzhugh Park, Frederick Leighton, Kingsford Park and Minetto. The program runs in conjunction with the regular school district calendar.

“There will be a maximum of 18 students in each class and the classes will be taught by a certified teacher and teaching assistant,” said Chamberlain.

Morning and afternoon sessions are available. The program runs from 9 to 11:30 a.m. for the morning session and 12:45 to 3:15 p.m. for the afternoon session.

Partial transportation will be offered for all four year olds. Students attending the morning session will be provided transportation to school and parents would be responsible for transportation home at 11:30 a.m.

In the afternoon session, parents are expected to transport their child to school at 12:45 p.m. and the school will transport the child home at 3:35 p.m.

An open house will be held from 6 to 7 p.m. March 26 at all elementary schools. Children are welcome to accompany parents, but are not required to attend.

This is an opportunity for everyone to see the classroom and learn more about the UPK program.

Anyone who would like their child considered for the program can complete an application — applications are available at all elementary schools, or the Office of Curriculum and Instruction on the first floor of the Education Center.

Questions? Call 341-2013. An application form is also available online at

Screening will be held in April, so send in applications as soon as possible.

County legislature meets Thursday March 13

By Debra J. Groom

The Oswego County Legislature will decide on a number of resolutions at its Thursday March 13 meeting that officials hope will save the county money.

One deals with Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s tax freeze proposal. The legislators will vote on supporting an alternative to the governor’s plan — namely having the state take over paying for the mandated programs it tells counties they must provide.

County Administrator Philip Church told the legislators last month that Cuomo’s plan would save Oswego County taxpayers with an avaerage home valued at $94,500 a little less than $74. This would be a two-year rebate, Church said.

But he said if the state instituted permanent mandate relief, paying for programs such as Medicaid, indigent defense, presschool special education and others, the reductions to the average Oswego County taxpayer’s bill would be about $514.

And these would be permanent reductions — not just a two-year fix.

In his 2014-15 state budget presentation, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he will provide $1 billion for property tax relief.

Church said this would help taxpayers by reducing their property tax burden permanently.

“Many counties and the New York State Association of Counties are proposing this alternative method to provide property tax reductions to New Yorkers,” Church wrote in his analysis.

Also on Thursday, the legislature will vote on supporting a statewide indigent defense legal system. Church said if the state picked up the cost of paying for poor defendants needing lawyers, the county would save about $1.55 million, which amounts to about $24 for the average resident.

This issue is hot in the state right now due to a lawsuit called Hurrell-Harring et al vs. the State of New York. In that suit, defendants in a numbr of counties, including Onondaga, say they were not represented in court by lawyers at various parts of the legal process because the county did not provide the required lawyer.

The lawsuit contends some counties do not have the money to send lawyers to every court hearing, such as an arraignment, but the law requires defendants have legal representation in court at all times.

The state mandated the indigent defense legal system, but passed it on to the counties to run and fund.

Also on the agenda for Thursday:

** Approving a new lease with Operation Oswego County for the county’s Board of Elections offices on East Seneca Street. The lease would be for two years for 10,156 square feet of space at an annual cost of $31,900.

** A public hearing for some land being added into the agricultural district in Oswego County. The additions include about 80 acres in Scriba, 2 3/4 acres in New Haven and a little more than 150 acres in Amboy. The legislature also will vote on including these parcels in the ag district during the regular meeting.

St. Patrick’s proclamation issued

Fulton Mayor Ronald L. Woodward Sr. has proclaimed March 16, 2014, as a day of remembrance, celebration and recognition of St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland.  

Woodward presented the proclamation to Doug Malone and Jim Brannan, representatives of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, Rev. Harold J. Flynn Division, Fulton.

St. Patrick’s Day events in Fulton will include a Mass at 4 p.m., Saturday, March 15, at Holy Trinity Church (309 Buffalo St.); a flag raising 11 a.m., Sunday, March 16, at the Fulton Municipal Building (141 S. First St.); and a St. Patrick’s Day Party from 2 to 8 p.m. March 16 at the Fulton Polish Home (153 W. First St.).

United Way seeks volunteers to decide where money is distributed

The United Way of Greater Oswego County would like to invite community members to be part of the agency’s program funding process by participating as a volunteer member of the United Way’s Community Investment Committee.

Comprised entirely of concerned community members, the United Way’s Community Investment Committee is responsible for evaluating various agency programs available in Oswego County and recommending to the United Way Board of Directors the funding support these programs should receive.

Participation in the United Way’s Community Investment Committee provides volunteers with a unique opportunity to learn more about their community and make critical decisions on how the money raised during the United Way’s Annual Campaign will be distributed to the county’s human services providers.

“The United Way addresses human service needs throughout Oswego County. It is of the utmost importance that the community is involved in this process,” said Kathy Fenlon, president of the United Way’s board of directors.

“Having volunteers from a broad cross section of the community is quite helpful as they all bring different knowledge and perspective to the process,” Fenlon said.

Volunteers will be asked to serve on one of five panels, each dealing with a specific field or services: emergency services; children and family services; health and special needs; senior services; and youth development.

Panel members will visit agencies that offer programs related to their specific field of service where they will receive a tour of the agency.

While the United Way’s program funding process does not begin until April, the United Way is recruiting volunteers now so the Community Investment Committee and the individual panels can be established and the volunteers can receive the training they need.

As a custodian of community contributions, United Way ensures those dollars are used in a cost efficient manner to fund effective, meaningful, unduplicated services.

“We provide our Community Investment Committee volunteers with a thorough overview of the principles and polices that are a part of our program funding process,” said United Way Executive Director Melanie Trexler.

“With those parameters in mind, their objective study and review of agency programs will help ensure that there will be an effective and well-balanced array of community services available in Oswego County,” she said.

Members are asked to invest about 15 hours of their time as they meet in April for training and then conduct agency tours and budget reviews throughout April and May.

“Volunteers learn about many of the services in Oswego County. They work together to make informed decisions, knowing that their input is important to the process,” Fenlon said. “It is a process that takes little time, but produces big results and provides volunteers with a real sense of accomplishment that many past volunteers have found rewarding.”

United Way Board of Directors member, Shawn Seale of Key Bank, and Debra Braden of Fulton Savings Bank, are co-chairs of the United Way’s Community Investment Committee.

For more information, or to volunteer, contact your United Way office at 593-1900, ext. 201.

Faculty, staff unions at CCC form new group

Faculty and staff at Cayuga Community College have united to form a new organization called United Cayuga Professionals.

Group officials say this organization was formed to facilitate transparency and clear communications within the college, while working on positive initiatives to bolster the work and learning environment for all at the Auburn and Fulton campuses.

United Cayuga Professionals combines members from the four unions which represent workers at the college, including the Faculty Association, the Administrative Professionals Group, the Educational Support Professionals, and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 932-C .

Organizers say the need for the group grew out of the frustrations experienced after the college struggled with a budget deficit last spring, which led to the College’s Board of Trustees declaring a state of financial exigency, staff reductions, and the resignation of the CCC president.

They say the primary mission of United Cayuga Professionals is to promote a unified voice representing all workers to the college’s administration, Board of Trustees and the community.

“Our intention is to get all the employees of the college working together as a larger unit to make a better place for our students and for our employees,” said Doug Brill, one of the founding members of United Cayuga Professionals and a member of the Administrative Professionals Group.

“Our first full group meeting was a way for many workers to begin healing,” said United Cayuga Professionals founding member Professor Dia Carabajal.

“We suddenly found ourselves in a crisis, no one knew who to be upset with, so we’re hoping this group will help us build relationships that would stand if we face a crisis again,” Carabajal said.

“As a member of the Educational Support Professionals group and the United Cayuga Professionals committee, I would like to see the members of the four unions work together to become more of a solid unified workforce here at the college,” said Patricia Hamberger, senior typist.

“Morale issues are also on the forefront of everyone’s mind as well.  I have always been proud to be an employee here and would like to feel that way again,” she said.

“I think the four unions working together only makes sense and will be beneficial for the college,” said Henry D’Amato, mechanic and a founding member representing the Mechanics and Custodial Unit.

Already the group has experienced success.

Founding member E. Bruce Walter says CCC’s Board of Trustees has agreed to have a representative from each union participate on the search committee for a new college president.

They also hosted a guest speaker in December. Robert Freeman, executive director of the New York Department of State’s Committee on Open Government, gave a presentation to the group on open meeting laws and the Freedom of Information Act.

“We’re committed to learning together so we can help facilitate open and clear communication among all of the College’s constituents and the College’s Board of Trustees,” said Carabajal.

Nine Mile 2 down again

Nine Mile Point Unit 2 automatically shut down at about 4:30 p.m. Monday when a worker inadvertently contacted a highly sensitive plant component. All safety systems responded as designed and the plant went offline as expected, safely and without incident.

This issue is unrelated to last week’s shutdown, which was caused by an electrical equipment failure.

Nine Mile Point’s reactor protection system uses highly sensitive equipment to monitor a host of plant conditions and components, constantly looking for signs of a potential issue. When an anomaly is identified, the system is designed to automatically shut down the reactor. 

Station operators informed the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and state officials of the issue. The temporary shutdown does not present a risk to public health and safety and is not expected to impact electrical service to homes and businesses in the region. 

Nine Mile Point 1 and 2 are owned and run by Constellation Energy Nuclear Group.