Category Archives: Featured Stories

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.

School finance forum set for March 12

Stakeholders from 33 school districts will converge on West Genesee High School in Camillus on Wednesday, March 12, to draw attention to the ongoing fiscal crisis facing public schools.

Those attending also will develop a firm understanding of the key issues and learn how to be effective advocates for their children, schools and communities.

The event, “Our Kids, Our Schools…Our Future!,’’ has been organized to bring community members of all backgrounds together for an informative and inspiring forum that will let them know what is at stake if state leaders do not eradicate the Gap Elimination Adjustment and provide adequate, equitable and sustainable funding for our schools.

This forum originally was scheduled for Feb. 5, but was canceled due to snowy weather.

“The snow got us on our first attempt on Feb. 5, but the goal of this re-scheduled forum remains the same,’’ said Charles Borgognoni, executive director of the Central New York School Boards Association.

“Our focus is to inform the public about the state of the public education fiscal crisis and how it equates to lost opportunities for our children and communities. The 2014-15 state budget being hammered out in Albany is nearing completion,” Borgognoni said.

“It’s not too late to stand up for our kids and be heard. We are on a mission to inspire people to contact their state legislators and express their concerns about education spending,” he said.

The March 12 program will start at 6:30 p.m. and end at 8:30 p.m. West Genesee High School is located at 5201 W. Genesee St., Camillus.

The featured presenter for the forum is Rick Timbs, executive director of the Statewide School Finance Consortium.

Timbs will address the need to repeal the Gap Elimination Adjustment, or GEA -– a state fiscal gimmick that for the past four years has withheld billions of dollars in legally entitled state aid from districts across the state — that includes more than $350 million deducted from the 33 schools districts participating in this forum.

The forum is being coordinated by the Central New York School Boards Association in partnership with the Onondaga-Cortland-Madison and Oswego County BOCES on behalf of the students, families, and community members in the districts that make up the two BOCES regions.

BOCES celebrates 100th day of school

 Submitted by Oswego County BOCES

The 100th day of school is more than just a milestone worth noting – it’s the perfect time to have fun with the number 100.

Robyn Yorker’s Blue Team at Oswego County BOCES Stepping Stones Day Program participated in 100-day activities that provided opportunities for the students to practice English  language arts and math skills.

Students made as many words as they could out of the word ‘hundred’ and created addition and subtraction sentences that equaled 100. The students also sharpened their observational skills during a science experiment that required them to predict the level that 100 drops of water would fill a cup.

The day wrapped up with students listening to the story “100th Day Worries” by Margery Cuyler, about a teacher who gives an assignment for his students to bring in 100 items for the 100th day of class.

 

Nominations being accepted for Distinguished Hannibal Warriors award

Submitted by Oswego County BOCES

Notable Hannibal High School alumni, staff members and community members will have a chance to shine in the public spotlight as Distinguished Hannibal Warriors during an event in June.

The nomination deadline is quickly approaching. The public has until March 15 to nominate an individual for the inaugural recognition, essentially a Wall of Fame for Hannibal.

The initiative is aimed at honoring a distinguished alumnus, faculty or community member who has contributed to the community and/or school district, achieved distinction for their work and set the standards for others to emulate.

Athletic Director Pat Keefe said the Distinguished Hannibal Warriors effort is a way to instill pride in students and show them the possibilities are limitless.

“It gives the students who are graduating an opportunity to see people in the community – who are possibly former graduates of the district – who have been successful,” Keefe said.

“And it shows kids that this is what they could do. It shows them that they could and should be the next leaders in the community or in the world,” Keefe said.

To nominate a Distinguished Hannibal Warrior, fill out an application from the athletics page of the district website, www.hannibalcsd.org.

All applications should be submitted to Distinguished Hannibal Warriors c/o the Hannibal Central School District, 928 Cayuga St., Hannibal NY.

Although the deadline for submissions is March 15, nominations will be accepted on a continuous basis for future consideration.

The selection process will take place in April and May. For more information, call Keefe at 564-7910.