Category Archives: Featured Stories

News in brief

The Fulton Art Association will host its eighth High School Invitational Art and Photography Show from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, March 1 (today) and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, March 2 in the Community Room in the Fulton Municipal Building.

High school students from Fulton, Hannibal, Oswego and Phoenix school districts compete in up to 14 media, including 3D, ceramics, drawing, acrylics, watercolors, oils, printmaking, mixed media and photography.

The show is free. An artists’ reception will be held Saturday from 6 to 8 p.m.

Every show visitor can vote for his or her favorite piece in the competition.   The winner of the public’s vote wins the Viewers’ Choice Award. Viewers’ Choice voting results will be in the local newspapers.

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The Oswego County Farm Bureau will host its March Coffeecake Meeting at 1 p.m. Monday, March 3 at the Oswego County Federal Credit Union in Mexico. Located on Scenic Avenue/Route 3 North.

The featured speaker will be an official with UnitedWind, a wind power company, with a presentation on windmills for farm and landowners. As always, light refreshments will be served.

The Coffeecake Meetings are free and open to the public as well as Farm Bureau members.

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A meatball and spaghetti dinner is set for 4:30 to 6:45 p.m. Saturday,  March 8, at the First United Methodist Church of Oswego, 7111 Route 104, just west of SUNY Oswego entrance.

The menu consists of homemade meatballs, homemade sauce, homemade marinara sauce for vegetarians, salad, bread, drinks and dessert.

Takeouts and preorders the day of the dinner can be done by calling 343-6335.

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The Dugway Methodist Church will host a corned beef and ham and cabbage dinner from noon to 3 p.m. March 9.

Homemade desserts, coffee, tea and lemonade are included with the meal.

Also, there will be a Gospel Musical at 2 p.m., with bands such as Misfits, Forgiven Stranger, Charlie Tanguama and Steve Wilson and Karen and Wayne performing.

Dugway Methodist Church is located on Route 104 (2 miles east of I-81 Mexico Exit).

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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.

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Blessings in a Backpack Blast fundraiser is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. March 15 at the Episcopal Church of the Resurrection, 120 W. Fifth St., Oswego.

Luncheon of corned beef and toasted cheese sandwiches will be served. There also will be a craft sale, vendors, baked goods, a silent auction of baskets, quilts, baskets and more.

Sponsored by the Oswego-Fulton Lutheran-Episcopal Faith Partnership, Blessings in a Backpack provides food for school children on weekends.

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The West Monroe Volunteer Fire Department will have a pancake breakfast at its fire station from 8 a.m. to noon Sunday, March 16.

The menu consists of pancakes, French toast, sausage, ham, eggs cooked to order, toast, tomato or orange juice, coffee, tea, hot cocoa or milk.

The West Monroe Fire Station is located on County Route 11, two-tenths of a mile north of State Route 49 in West Monroe, and can be found on the Web at westmonroefire.org.

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Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oswego County will host a workshop to help new owners and veterans get acquainted with their sewing machines from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, March 18 at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oswego County, located on Main Street in Mexico.

During this hands-on workshop, participants will learn how to clean, oil and maintain their personal appliance.  Attendees should bring their sewing machine with its manual, foot control, and attachments with them.

Workshop cost is $8 per person.  To register for this class or to learn more about Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oswego County, call 963-7286, ext. 301 by Thursday, March 13.

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Fulton author Jim Farfaglia will speak at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday March 18 at the Oswego Public Library in the Community Room.

He will talk about his book about muck farms in Oswego County titled “Of The Earth,” a compilation of oral histories garnered from Oswego County muck farmers. Farfaglia also writes a weekly poem for The Valley News.

Oswego County has about 4,000 acres of muck land, an organic-rich soil that produces high-quality vegetables.

The book includes narration by muck farmers, their families, neighbors and agricultural support staff on how the mucks were formed and modernized and why living a muck-farm life is a unique experience.

Homelessness program set for March 13

Homelessness is an issue that many know exists, but few feel comfortable discussing.

On March 13, homelessness in Oswego County will be front and center as COACH, Oswego County’s continuum of Care committee, hosts a community forum from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Oswego County Health Department, 70 Bunner St., Oswego.

The Community Forum on Homelessness will offer the community the opportunity to hear the specifics on homelessness in Oswego County and learn of plans being developed to address the issue.

Doug Baldwin, case management supervisor with Oswego County Department of Social Services’ Division of Mental Hygiene, said the forum will bring together the full membership of COACH as well as members on COACH’s sub-committees.

“HUD has required all Continuum of Care committees throughout New York State to plan and implement a more formal organizational structure. This forum allows us to solicit input and ideas, as well as an opportunity to re-energize our membership,” Baldwin.

One subject to be addressed is the number of people that are homeless or at risk of homelessness in Oswego County.

“The results of a recent Point in Time survey that identified 280 people in one evening and the number of homeless individuals that have received services from Catholic Charities, Oswego County Opportunities, and the Department of Social Services, combined with the other people that meet the HUD definition of homelessness but are not captured, indicate that homelessness is a serious problem in our County,” Baldwin said.

The highlight of the forum will be a special presentation from William O’Connell, community and planning office director, HUD Buffalo Field Office. O’Connell, will share his experiences and how communities are responding and working together to address homelessness.

O’Connell, who has also headed the Continuum of Care initiative in Buffalo, will join COACH members to discuss strategies to prevent homelessness such as providing appropriate education and skills training, adequate employment opportunities, and a decent stock of affordable housing.

One of the key elements in meeting these challenges is establishing a clear picture of what homelessness looks like in Oswego County.

To accomplish this, COACH is in the planning process for a Homeless Management information System, which Baldwin aid will allow them to more accurately capture and quantify the true nature of homelessness in Oswego County.

Additionally, Baldwin said COACH is discussing plans to rapidly re-house the homeless in permanent affordable housing with necessary support services available as needed, and to provide staff to monitor and support homeless individuals in emergency housing situations, to foster rapid transitions.

“Homelessness is an issue that effects the entire community,” said COACH member and Oswego County Opportunities Executive Director Diane Cooper-Currier.  “I encourage human service agencies, community members, fraternal groups and other organizations to join us for this enlightening forum and learn how we can work together to alleviate homelessness in Oswego County.

For more information on the Community Forum on Homelessness, or to register contact Melanie Trexler, executive director, United Way of Greater Oswego County, at 593-1900 or at melanieunitedway@windstream.net.

Fulton’s East Side pool will be closed this summer

By Ashley M. Casey

Fultonians will have to find a new place to cool off this summer — the East Side pool will be closed.

The City of Fulton’s Parks and Recreation Superintendent Barry Ostrander said the pool, located at Rowlee Beach Park on South 12th Street, is in “extreme disrepair.”

“Extensive repairs are needed to keep it open. It’s reached a limit where we can no longer do in-house repairs,” Ostrander said.

In August 2013, the city applied for New York state’s “highly competitive” Empire Environmental Protection Fund grant to cover half the pool’s repair costs, but was rejected, Ostrander said.

“One of the primary reasons we didn’t get it was the study we supplied … was outdated,” Ostrander said.

In 2005, the engineering study suggested repairs to the pool, its filtration system and bath house totaling $227,000.

“(The city) decided not to go through with repairs at that time,” Ostrander said.

At its Feb. 18 meeting, the Common Council tabled a resolution proposing an engineering study of the pool’s needs by Barton & Loguidice.

“The thought process was three councilmen said they were not willing to bond (the project),” said Mayor Ronald L. Woodward Sr. “I think we should have the study. Then we could apply for grants. But I understand they’re concerned about the budget — and they should be.”

Woodward said First Ward Councilor Tom Kenyon, Third Ward Councilor Ryan Raponi and Fourth Ward Councilor Jim Myers were the three councilors who opposed bonding the pool project.

“I’m only opposed to it at this time because I didn’t see the need to spend $4,600 on a study for something that we can’t afford to fix anyway,” Myers said.

Both Ostrander and Myers said the city may look into a grant that could cover a portion of the engineering study’s cost.

Either way, the pool will still be closed this summer.

Ostrander said if the city were to apply for a grant to cover the study, “that would be another year removed from (possibly receiving) a big grant for the pool.”

Kenyon said the War Memorial gymnasium floor was well-used and so he supported a similar engineering study for that, but the pool is another matter.

“When I was a kid, I was told ‘no’ sometimes. If we have to be without a pool for a year, so be it,” Kenyon said. He also advocated saving “every penny we can” to fix the city’s roads after a rough winter.

“I’d wait until the state (Financial Restructuring Board) comes in to see what they do,” he added.

At the Feb. 25 school board meeting, Fulton City School District Superintendent Bill Lynch said Second Ward Councilor and Common Council President Dan Knopp had called him to ask if Granby Elementary’s pool would be available for community use this summer.

Lynch said many BOCES special education classes use the Granby pool during the summer, so he could not give Knopp an answer about the pool’s availability.

“We have a lot of issues … if there was available time,” Lynch told the board, citing staff and supervision as two key issues.

“We’re already offering more special ed at Granby this year because of (renovations) at Volney and (asbestos) abatement at Lanigan,” Lynch said. “That’s a heavy load for Granby to be shouldering.”

Lynch said the district could not offer transportation for community members to use the pool either.

The Granby pool already offers limited community use in the early morning and for an hour in the afternoon.

School board member Christine Plath, a former Mexico teacher, expressed concern about the idea of opening Granby to the city.

“It was a disaster when Mexico had a community pool,” she said.

Ol’ Man Winter still with us in Oswego County

By Debra J. Groom

Well, another 15.8 inches of white stuff fell in Fulton from Monday through Wednesday.

But believe it or not, the city still is about average when it comes to snowfall for a season, said Paul Cardinali, local weather observer.

“The problem Wednesday was the blowing snow,” he said. “It was a white out.”

The season total for Fulton as of Wednesday is 140.9 inches, Cardinali said. The average for this time of year is 132 inches.

The city of Oswego also saw the snow pile up earlier this week.

Weather observer William Gregway said the Port City received 14 inches from Monday through Wednesday, bringing its seasonal total to 131.6 inches.

The average for this time of year in Oswego is 150 inches.

On Wednesday, Oswego Mayor Thomas Gillen issued a travel advisory in his city to allow Department of Public Works crews the chance to remove snow from roadways. The travel advisory was lifted at 10 a.m. Thursday Feb. 27.

Gregway said it wasn’t so much the amount of snow Oswego saw on Wednesday, but the winds gusting at 30 mph or more, making visibility nonexistent at times.

“It wasn’t constant, though. It would come and go,” Gregway said.

Eight of the county’s nine school districts closed again Wednesday — only Pulaski opened.

Between the snow and frigid cold from the season’s earlier Polar Vortex, most of the school districts have maxed out on their snow days. Only Pulaski has one more snow day to use.

Free fishing programs scheduled for Oswego County

Local author Spider Rybaak announces he’ll conduct his popular, free kids fishing classes again this year.

All bait and tackle will be provided free of charge. Dates and locations are listed below.

For more information, call Spider at 633-1245.

Classes held at Lake Neatahwanta, May’s Point and the Oneida Lake Fish Hatchery will be in partnership with Mike McGrath & Associates Carp Angling Services and will include instructions on carp fishing.

May 10:  Oneida Lake Hatchery, NYS Rte. 49, Constantia; 11 a.m.-1 p.m.

May 17:  Lake Neatahwanta, State Route  3, Fulton; 11 a.m.-1 p.m.

June 14:  Lake Neatahwanta, State Route 3, Fulton; 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.;

June 28:  Oneida Lake Hatchery, State Rte. 49, Constantia; 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

July 12:  Lake Neatahwanta, State Route  3, Fulton; 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

July 19: May’s Point Fishing Access Site, Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge, State Route 89; 11 a.m. -1 p.m.

Aug. 9:  Lake Neatahwanta, State Route 3, Fulton; 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Sept. 6: Lake Neatahwanta, State Route  3, Fulton; 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Oct. 18:  Lake Neatahwanta, State Route 3, Fulton; 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Novelis wins environmental award

Novelis, the world leader in aluminum rolling and recycling with a plant in Oswego, was honored Tuesday by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as a winner of its Climate Leadership Award for exemplary leadership in reducing carbon pollution and addressing climate change.

Only 15 companies won the honor.

Novelis was honored in the Excellence in Greenhouse Gas Management (Goal Achievement Award) category for publicly reporting and verifying corporate greenhouse gas inventories and achieving aggressive greenhouse emissions reduction goals.

In addition, Novelis was recognized for demonstrating leadership in managing and reducing greenhouse gas emissions in internal operations and throughout the supply chain, as well as integrating climate resilience into its operating strategies.

Since 2007, the company has reduced its overall greenhouse gas intensity by nearly 12 percent across its U.S. locations, and globally, plans to cut its greenhouse gas contamination in half from 2007 to 2020.

“Novelis has made great strides in reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” said Janet McCabe, acting assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation.

“Their commitment to reducing carbon pollution demonstrates that efforts to address climate change are repaid by saving money and energy, while supporting more livable and resilient communities, and a healthier, better protected environment.”

At all Novelis locations, the company has made gains in reducing its greenhouse gases through optimizing its re-melt processes and sharing best practices on the efficient use of lighting and compressed air.

Not only is the company committed to reducing its greenhouse gases, it has also made a commitment to increase the recycled content in its products to 80 percent by 2020, among other goals.

“The EPA’s Climate Leadership Award is recognition that we are making real progress in our sustainability commitment, which we believe will be key to Novelis’ long-term competitiveness,” noted John Gardner, vice president and chief sustainability officer for Novelis.

“We are radically transforming our company to achieve our aggressive sustainability goals and are focused on the work that remains to reduce our carbon footprint, increase our recycled content and operate ethically and responsibly worldwide,” Gardner said.

Closings and cancellations

Be sure to check back here periodically for updates:

** Fulton, Pulaski, Mexico, Hannibal and Sandy Creek schools dismissed early Thursday, Feb. 27.

** All after school and evening activities for the Oswego City School District for Thursday Feb. 27 have been canceled.
** Pulaski has no after school or evening activities. The Family Fun Night at Lura Sharp Elementary has been postponed until March 20 due to the weather.
** Mexico will have no after school activities.
** Hannibal has canceled all after-school activities.