Category Archives: Featured Stories

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.

Health clinics for week of March 10 announced

Submitted by Oswego County

The Oswego County Health Department offers a variety of services to all residents of Oswego County, including preventive health services, certified home health care, long-term home health care, certified hospice, and a maternal and child health program.

Walk-in influenza clinics are held weekdays from 9 to 11 a.m. and 1 to 3 p.m. at the Nick Sterio Public Health Clinic, 70 Bunner St., Oswego for people age 19 and older. No appointment is needed; walk-ins are welcome.

Children’s flu vaccine is now available every Tuesday from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. in Oswego, and the third Tuesday of every month from 9 to 11 a.m. at the H. Douglas Barclay Courthouse, Pulaski.

The children’s flu vaccine is available at no cost to all children who qualify for the Vaccines for Children Program provided by the New York State Department of Health. For those who do not qualify, the cost is $37 for the inactivated vaccine.

Patients with private insurance, Managed Medicaid, Managed Medicare, Medicaid, Medicare, and Medicare Part B should bring their benefit cards with them to the immunization clinic.

No one will be turned away due to inability to pay.

The following services will be offered during the week of March 10 at the Nick Sterio Public Health Clinic, 70 Bunner St., Oswego.

OSWEGO:

** Adult Influenza Clinic: Monday through Friday, 9 to 11 a.m. and 1 to 3 p.m., walk-in clinic.

** Immunization Clinic: Tuesday, March 11, 12:30 to 3:30 p.m., walk-in clinic.

** Pregnancy Testing: Free pregnancy testing is available. Call 349-3391 to schedule an appointment.

** Sexually Transmitted Disease Testing and Treatment Services: Call 349-3547 to schedule an appointment.

** HIV Counseling and Testing Service:  Call 349-3547 to schedule an appointment

Immunization clinics are held every Tuesday from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. at 70 Bunner St, Oswego, and the third Tuesday of every month from 9 to 11 a.m. at the H. Douglas Barclay Courthouse, Pulaski.

For more information, call the Oswego County Health Department, weekdays at 349-3547 or (800) 596-3200, ext. 3547.

Nine Mile 2 shuts down

Unit 2 at Constellation Energy Nuclear Group’s (CENG) Nine Mile Point Nuclear Station was manually shut down at about 1:45 a.m. due to an electrical component failure on the non-nuclear side of the plant.

All safety systems responded as designed and the plant went offline as expected, safely and without incident.

Unit 2 operators took immediate and appropriate action based upon plant parameters to shut down the unit in accordance with their procedures and training.  Station personnel are investigating the cause of the shutdown and will then take actions to complete necessary repairs in order to return the unit to service.

The plant is communicating with the regional grid operator, and the temporary shutdown is not expected to impact electrical service to homes and businesses in the region.

 

Program on medical billing, coding career March 6

The SUNY Oswego Phoenix Center will host a free information session from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday, March 6, for people who are interested in learning more about a professional career in medical billing and coding.

The medical coding program is offered through an interactive online training in partnership with CodeSmart University.

The course is open to each student for 18 months from the date they enroll, and the program is self-paced so students can go as fast or slow as they would like.

The U.S. Department of Labor has projected that medical coding and billing jobs will grow at a greater than average rate. In New York, the current average salary of a medical coder is just less than $40,000 per year.

To register for the free information session, call the SUNY Oswego Phoenix Center at 934-4900 by March 4.

The SUNY Oswego Phoenix Center is at 70 County Route 59 in Oswego County’s Industrial Park, just off Exit 14 from Route 481.