Category Archives: Featured Stories

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.

Nine Mile 2 back on line

Constellation Energy Nuclear Group’s Nine Mile Point Nuclear Station Unit 2 is back online and achieved 100 percent yesterday afternoon.

Station personnel completed necessary repairs and post-maintenance testing in order to return the unit to service.

The plant had been safely shutdown on Tuesday due to an on-site electrical component failure on the non-nuclear side of the plant.

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.”