Category Archives: Featured Stories

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.

Conservatives endorse Katko

The Conservative Party committees that constitute the 24th Congressional District (Onondaga, Wayne, Cayuga and Oswego) have endorsed former U.S. Attorney John Katko to challenge Dan Maffei fr Congress in November.

Katko, of Camillus, beat several other candidates for the endorsement.

“While emphasis on the economy has to be our primary goal for this election”, state Ron Greenleaf from Oswego County Chairman, “it cannot be our only focus.

“Mr. Katko has shown an ability to grasp issues that face us locally and nationally. It’s great to have such strong candidate as John representing the Conservative Party and the 24th district,” Greenleaf said.

“Mr. Katko aligns with our Conservative principles philosophically and understands the significance of this election,” said Chuck Mancabelli, chairman of Onondaga County’s Conservative Party. “Mr. Katko has a strong command of the issues and more importantly, an ability to connect with the voters.”

“For me, John Katko has the right mix of strengths to prevail in this election and help restore common sense to the NYS Congressional delegation,” said Jim Quinn, chairman in Wayne County.

Katko recently received the four counties GOP endorsements. Republican and Conservative Party unity are critical for Katko’s success.

Raceway proposal obtains state grant

The plan to develop a racetrack outside Central Square has received a boost from the state.

Central NY Raceway Park, Inc., which was formed in 2012 to develop a 145-acre site in the town of Hastings, into the CNY Raceway Park, will use a grant of up to $1 million for a portion of pre-development costs, including planning, design, engineering, investigation, legal and accounting for its proposed $38 million development.

This is the third state grant the project has received, officials said.

Mark Bombardo, director of code enforcement and community planning and development in Hastings, said the town still is waiting for the project developers to come back to he town with more information on its project.

“We had a scoping session in January 2013 and then had a public hearing in January 2014 on some of the information,” Bombardo said. “We found some things to be deficient, so we asked for more information.”

Some of the issues town fathers wanted more information on included traffic and noise.

Bombardo said the entrance to the raceway would be off of U.S. 11, an already busy highway. There also are a number of houses near the proposed site.

Bombardo said the town of Hastings is coordinating the review of the proposal with the state Department of Transportation, state Department of Environmental Conservation and the Army Corps of Engineers.

“We are waiting on them now,” he said of the developers.

Oswego County is a motorsports destination that includes several race tracks, including the Oswego, Fulton and Brewerton Speedways. The availability of different types of racing is considered beneficial to the industry, building opportunity and interest in the sport.

The CNY Raceway Park will schedule events to complement the schedules of the existing facilities and will distinguish itself by offering opportunities for a wide array of racing and a year-round venue not available elsewhere.

Additionally, the Park will be strategically positioned at major crossroads in New York state, making it convenient and accessible for race participants and the public.

It will be located minutes from Syracuse and the state Thruway, adjacent to I-81 and Route 11, and 80 miles from Canada.

The completed project will transform the site into a premier multi-use destination facility for motor sports, trade shows, concerts and other events, and attendance is expected to be 5,000 to 7,000 spectators per event.

Local author Bruce Coville to give keynote address at Quest event

Submitted by SUNY Oswego

SUNY Oswego’s Quest has chosen Bruce Coville, alumnus and famed author of books for children and young adults, as keynote speaker for the daylong celebration of scholarly and creative pursuits.

Coville is scheduled to speak at 10 a.m. Wednesday, April 9, in the Campus Center auditorium.

The session is free and open to the public, as are scores of presentations, exhibitions and demonstrations that day, most in the Campus Center.

A 1973 alumnus and author of more than 100 books in such series as “The Unicorn Chronicles” and “Sixth Grade Alien,” Coville will set an inspiring tone, said this year’s Quest coordinator, Norm Weiner, SUNY Oswego emeritus professor of sociology and past director of the Honors Program.

“I was trying to find a keynote speaker students may have heard of and be interested in hearing,” Weiner said.

Generous to SUNY Oswego with his time during the years, Coville told graduates at the college’s December 2011 Commencement to hang onto their “deepest, truest beliefs” in searching for their life’s work: “Do as you love,” he prescribed.

As Coville and his wife, illustrator Katherine Dietz, struggled to sell books in the ‘70s and ‘80s, he lived by those words.

Long before his success with such international bestsellers as “My Teacher Is an Alien,” Coville worked many jobs.

A former elementary school teacher — as well as former “toymaker, gravedigger, cookware salesman and assembly line worker,” as he likes to say — Coville publicly credits his sixth-grade teacher, Florence Crandall, and a professor at SUNY Oswego, the late Helen Buckley Simkiewicz, with encouraging his love of writing.

Creative immersion

Weiner said Coville’s education and its connection to the creative life is a key ingredient that will energize students and members of the community at Quest.

“I think as someone immersed in creative activities, Bruce brings a lifetime of experience relevant to students,” Weiner said.

“I think he can speak personally and professionally about taking risks, being creative and about the place of creativity in every pursuit, from sciences to the humanities.”

Besides writing books, Coville has authored four musicals, formed Syracuse audiobooks publishing company Full Cast Audio and appeared frequently at schools around Central New York and elsewhere to pass along his love of reading and writing.

His best-selling works of science fiction, fantasy, adventure and magic have appeared in more than a dozen languages.

Along with Coville’s many literary awards, the Oswego Alumni Association honored him with a Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1998, and the State University of New York system awarded him an honorary doctor of letters degree in 2003.

Parking is free April 9 for visitors to Quest in the rear half of the lot behind Hart and Funnelle residence halls and in the adjacent commuter lot.

Work begins on 2015 county budget

By Debra J. Groom

Oswego County began down the road to structuring a county budget Feb. 27, as the legislature’s finance and personnel committee heard a report about pros and cons that will affect the 2015 spending plan.

County Administrator Philip Church told those at the meeting about the significant factors that will affect the budget, what the big picture looks like right now concerning the 2015 spending plan and the legal process for putting together a budget.

So far, there are a number of negatives that could affect the budget.

One is the proposed state budget from Gov. Andrew Cuomo. He has proposed reducing revenue to the county health department by about $30,100, increasing the county’s Medicaid payment by 1 percent or $256,140 and leveling off funding for other county departments.

Other factors that will or could increase costs in 2015 are:

** Recently adopted union contracts have increased payroll by about $730,000 and three other bargaining units still have contracts pending.

** Tax agreements with Nine Mile Point 1 and 2 expire in December. They amount to $10 million.

** A public safety grant ends this year that total $500,000.

 

** An upcoming landfill expansion that could cost about $3.5 million.

** Nearly $800,000 in Medicaid offset revenue may not be renewed for 2015.

** The state is revising its formula for computing community college chargebacks. Impact of how this would affect the county is unknown.

** The tax agreement with Entergy concerning the James FitzPatrick Nuclear Station is in court and will probably be heard by a judge by year’s end. This totals about $6 million.

Add to this a trend of two-years of increases in Safety Net program (a state mandated public welfare program that provides benefits to people who have timed out of their federal welfare) payments (up 16 percent or more than $727,000 in two years) and sales tax revenue being flat ($41.5 million) and Oswego County already has its work cut out for it in putting together a budget.

Church also said some “vulnerabilities” facing the county are low amounts in reserves (nearly $3 million in fund balance, $2 million in retirement reserve and $500,000 in debt reserve) and the trend toward full value assessments “coming down,” which would lead to fewer tax dollars coming in.