Category Archives: Featured Stories

News in Brief

A book launch party is scheduled for 5 to 7 p.m. Saturday Feb. 22 at the Salmon River Fine Arts Center.

The Visionary Book Launch Party and book signing will celebrate the launch for Alyshia Hull’s latest novel: The Visionary, a mystery for young adults. Hull will have copies available for purchase, she will provide autographs and there will be photo props to have your picture taken with her.

A small reception will be held in her honor, with gold/black themed balloons and light refreshments.

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The Minetto United Methodist Church will host a free dinner from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 23.

The menu will be meat loaf, mashed potatoes, vegetable and dessert. Donations are not expected but will be accepted.

A collection shed has recently been placed in the parking lot at the back of the church for usable clothing items that can be recycled. Acceptable items include: all clothing, shoes, sneakers, purses, blankets, sheets, pillowcases, drapes, and stuffed toys.

The building is fully accessible and is located at the corner of State Route 48 and County Route 8, one block south of the Stewarts Shop, midway between Oswego and Fulton, in the village of Minetto.

For more information about programs and services call 343-0613 or visit our website at MinettoUMC.org.

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The Oswego Valley ATV Club is having its eighth annual NASCAR chicken barbecue from noon until sold out Feb. 23 at the Hannibal American Legion.

The dinner consists of a half chicken, baked beans, potatoes, macaroni salad and a dinner roll.

The dinner is eat in or take out. There also will be 50/50s and club members will be taking information for club registration from ATV owners.

For more information, go to the website at www.oswegovalleyatvclub.com

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A program about maple syrup is set for 3 p.m. Sunday Feb. 23 at the Arts in the HeART Gallery in downtown Fulton.

Rich Finzer, of Ira, Cayuga County, will talk about his book “Maple On Tap,” which tells the novice how to tap those maple trees and make delicious syrup.

The program will also include a talk on how to use maple syrup in cooking.

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On Monday, Feb. 24, New Haven Senior Citizens will meet at noon at the Congregational Church for a shared meal, brief business meeting, followed by a program with Sheriff Reuel Todd.

All seniors are welcome, just bring  a dish to share and table service.

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CNY Arts Center ushers in National Arts Education Month with a showcase of Young Performers, at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 28 at The Arts Center, 357 State St. in Fulton.

With a generous grant from the Shineman Foundation, CNY Arts Center will spotlight several talented young people making their marks in the performing arts.

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The American Red Cross will host a blood drive from 8:30 a.m. to 1:20 p.m. Saturday March 1 at the First Universalist Church of Central Square.

Anyone 17 years of age or older, you can give the gift of life by donating blood.  Call 1-800-RED-CROSS, (1-800-733-2767) to schedule an appointment.

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The Red Creek Westbury United Methodist Church is planning a prayer service at 2 p.m. March 7 as part of the World Day of Prayer 2014 celebration.

The prayer service, written by women in Egypt, calls about attendees to look for “streams in the desert.”

The church is at 6837 Church St., Red Creek.

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The Callimachus Masonic Lodge on Main Street in Phoenix is having fish dinners and seafood dinners throughout Lent.

The dinners will be from 5 to 7 p.m. March 7, 14, 21, and 28 and April 4, 11 and 18.

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The Oswego Democratic Committees (both City and County) announce the first Jefferson-Jackson Dinner Celebration beginning at 6:30 p.m. March 14 at Bridie Manor in Oswego.

The dinner is named after United States Presidents Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson. Thomas  Jefferson is credited for forming the modern Democratic Party and Andrew Jackson was the first Democratic Party President, serving from 1829 to 1837.  There have been 15 Democratic Presidents.

The celebration will feature state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli. There also will be a launch of the “Grow Oswego” campaign.

Guests will dine on a menu of roast beef, roast chicken, seafood newburg, Italian roast potatoes, chef salad, pasta with sauce, bread and butter, coffee and tea. Tickets are $25 along with a cash bar and can be purchased from any of the Committee Members or reserved by calling 439-2040.

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The SUNY Oswego Metro Center in Syracuse will offer programs on two Thursdays in March designed to help participants learn how to better use communication skills to be more successful and effective in personal and work relationships.

The programs — “Cultivating Positive Attitudes and Emotions” on March 6 and “Relationship Building Through Assertive Communication” on March 17 — will take place from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at the Metro Center, 2 Clinton Square in downtown Syracuse.

Mike Mullins, who will lead the interactive sessions, is a trainer who helps participants gain insights and real skills that can be used immediately.

The programs will utilize mindfulness techniques that will help people become more aware of how they interact with and react to people and will show them how they can be more assertive to get more out of their relationships.

Each program is $100. To learn more, visit oswego.edu/success or call the SUNY Oswego Metro Center at 399-4100.

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The Alzheimer’s Association is having caregiver support groups in Oswego County in March and April.

They will be at 7 p.m. the fourth Monday of the month at Divine Mercy Parish Center (St. Michael’s), 592 S. Main St., Central Square and at 7 p.m. the fourth Wednesday of the month at the Manor at Seneca Hill, 20 Manor Dr., Minetto.

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Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oswego County in collaboration with Oswego County Soil and Water, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the United State Department Of Agriculture Farm Service Agency is sponsoring a workshop for agriculture producers on how each of these agencies can assist them when everything doesn’t go to plan.

The four agriculture agencies that serve the farmers and residents in Oswego County will be together from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 26 at the Oswego County Federal Credit Union Community Room, 5828 Scenic Ave, Mexico.

The day is geared toward beginning and experienced farmers alike who are looking for information on how to improve or expand their agriculture businesses.

Federal and state programs will be discussed including some cost-share programs.

The goal is to improve the awareness of agriculture agencies that are available to address the challenges faced by agriculture producers in Oswego County.

There is no cost to attend but registration for lunch is needed by noon Tuesday, Feb. 25 by calling Brenda at 963-7286, ext. 201.

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The Pennellville United Methodist Church, 389 County Route 54 in Pennellville, will be having a roast beef dinner at 4 p.m. Saturday March 8.

The menu will consist of roast beef, mashed potatoes, gravy, beans, coleslaw, rolls and butter.  You may choose from a wide selection of homemade pies and other desserts.  Coffee, tea, cool aid and water will also be available.  The dinner is served family style.

Music will be provided while you wait to be seated. There also are crafts, goodies and books for sale.

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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.

Attorney general warns of computer scam

Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman Tuesday issued a warning to New Yorkers based on numerous complaints received by his office from consumers who have been contacted recently by scam artists posing as representatives of Microsoft or an organization allegedly affiliated with Microsoft, such as P.C. Solutions.

In some cases, the callers will even spoof the telephone’s Caller ID to identify the source as “Windows Support.”

The scam artists attempt to gain remote access to consumers’ computers by claiming their units are running slowly because they are infected with malware or viruses or need additional software, which the scam artists offer to remedy.

After gaining access, scammers are able to extract a fee – as much as $300 – by obtaining credit card information over the phone, or by directing consumers to enter PayPal, bank or credit card information on a website the scammers control.

“Consumer fraudsters come in all shapes and sizes, from false advertisers and illegal pet sellers, to identity thieves and predatory lenders. Unfortunately, we can now add scammers posing as computer experts to that list,” said Schneiderman. “There are simple, easy steps New Yorkers can take to identify these calls and avoid becoming victims of this increasingly prevalent scam.”

The scammers first walk consumers through various steps on their computers to display Microsoft’s event viewer log, which contains a log of red-marked “errors,” yellow “warnings” and other events that have occurred on the computer. Such events are usually inconsequential notifications and are not evidence of a virus.

However, the con artists claim they demonstrate that the PC is corrupted and will sustain further damage or be susceptible to “hacking” if additional action is not taken.

The consumer is then given instructions that ultimately allow the scam artist to access the computer remotely. Once the perpetrators gain access, they typically advise consumers that they must pay a fee, which can be as much as $300, to have the problems corrected or their Microsoft warranty extended. The scammers collect payment by obtaining consumers’ credit card information over the phone, or by directing consumers to fraudulent websites to enter credit card, PayPal, or other personal or financial information online.

The perpetrators appear to be operating from overseas and often speak with heavy foreign accents.

If you get such a call, hang up. Do not give out passwords or any financial information.

Local students achieve honors at colleges, universities

A number of Oswego County students have received various honors at colleges.

They are:

SUNY Oneonta

December graduates: David Stanton, Parish, bachelor’s in business economics; Jacquelyn Kugler, Williamstown, bachelor’s in communication studies

St. Lawrence University

Sarah R. Argersinger, West Monroe, named to the dean’s list for fall 2013. She is majoring in English and Francophone studies. To be on the dean’s list, a student must have completed at least four semester units and have an academic average of 3.6 based on a 4.0 scale for the semester.

Mohawk Valley Community College

President’s List: Robert Brookins, Cleveland, business management; Jacynthia Woodcock, Westdale, business management; Carrie Dunn, Parish, nursing; Paul Brissette, Parish, school facilities management; James Sheeley, Pulaski, school facilities management certificate; Corey Bowman, Phoenix, welding technology; Maria Byrne, Cleveland, general studies; Gerald Reed, Pennellville, general studies. President’s List students must have a grade point average of 3.75 or higher (of a possible 4.00).

Vice president’s list: Adam Renwick, Westdale, criminal justice; Kaleigh Boyer, Mexico, individual studies, associate in applied science; Jordan Moteyunas, Camden, individual studies, associate in applied science; Hannah West, Mexico, liberal arts and sciences, general studies; Debora Murphy, Redfield, liberal arts and sciences, psychology. Vice President’s List students must achieve a grade point average between 3.50 and 3.74.

American International

Jessica Lawler, Mexico, freshman majoring in biology. Dean’s List students are full-time students, with a grade point average between 3.3 and 4.0.

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Daniel Fancher, Lacona, majoring in ustainability studies. Dean’s List recognizes full-time students who maintain grade-point averages of a minimum of 3.0 out of a possible 4.0 with no grades below “C.”

2 Fulton wrestlers, 4 Mexico wrestlers win Section 3 titles

By Dan Farfaglia

Fulton wrestlers Mitch Woodworth (120 pounds) and Travis Race (160 pounds) earned the right to represent Section 3 at the Division One New York State Public High School Tournament being held at the Times Union Center in Albany this year. 

They are other wrestlers from throughout the area competed Feb. 15 at the Section 3 Division I and II Championships at the SRC Arena at Onondaga Community College.

In his championship match, Woodworth won by a score of 12-2 over previously undefeated Dandre Norman of Rome Free Academy. On his way to the finals, he won by a 10-2 decision over Peter Nash of Liverpool and pinned Dylan Wallace from Central Square.

This is the second sectional title for Woodworth, who has more than 100 wins in his career. He is only a junior and therefore may break some school records by the time he finishes his senior season next year.

In addition to finishing the tournament in first place, Woodworth also received the Division One Tournament`s Most Outstanding Wrestler Award.

Race has been an upper weight varsity standout for two seasons, and he’s only a freshman.

In the finals, he defeated Jerrett Norton of Cicero-North Syracuse 12-8. Earlier in the day he pinned New Hartford`s Tom Zegarelli and defeated Tom Peterson, also of C-NS, 4-3.

Other wrestlers for Fulton who place in the tournament were Joe Abelgore (106 pounds), fourth place, and Collin Flynn (145 pounds), fourth place.

Coming in fifth were Kevin Tucker (113 pounds), Tim Holden (138 pounds), James Bailey (170 pounds), Matt Marshall (220 pounds) and Malachi Manford (285 pounds). Kyle Ware (145 pounds) finished the season in sixth.

Baldwinsville won the Division One Tournament for the second year in a row with 155 points. Liverpool, coached by former Fulton wrestler David Wise, earned second place with 137 points. Fulton came in third with an overall score of 134 points.

In other Division One news, Oswego`s Eric Doviak (285 pounds) and Central Square`s Blake Engebretsen (145 pounds) came in second place at the tournament. Elijah Sampo (220 pounds), also from Central Square, earned third-place honors and his teammates Max Emond (152 pounds) and Phoenix Webb (160 pounds) came in fourth.

Austin Coleman (132 pounds) from Oswego also finished fourth. Ending their seasons in fifth were Jacob Garrow (106 pounds) from Central Square, along with Jordan Attwood (152 pounds) and Austin Piazza (195 pounds) from Oswego.

In Division Two, South Jefferson came in first with 132.5 points and Mexico came in second with 123.5 points. Phoenix finished in sixth with 74 points.

Mexico is sending four wrestlers to the State Tournament in Albany. Winning championship titles were Theo Powers (106 pounds), Austin Whitney (132 pounds), Trevor Allard (160 pounds), and Jacob Woolson (170 pounds). William Hilliard (182 pounds) of Phoenix ended the day in second place.

The New York State Wrestling Tournament will be Feb. 28 and March 1.

What does Cuomo’s tax rebate plan really mean?

By Debra J. Groom

In his 2014-15 state budget presentation, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he will provide $1 billion for property tax relief.

At a recent Oswego County Legislature meeting, Oswego County Administrator Philip Church broke down the proposal on what it would mean for Oswego County residents.

In a 13-page analysis, Church said there are many unanswered questions as to how this tax relief will work and how it will be funded.

He said using the county’s tax levies (the amount raised by taxes) for operations, community college and workers compensation, residents with an average Oswego County home valued at $94,500 would receive a rebate of about $16.

And because the tax relief would affect all taxing jurisdictions (county, town, city, village, school districts), the full rebate would be less than $74.

This would be a two-year rebate, Church said.

He believes the state should take the money Cuomo wants for tax relief and instead of one-time rebates, put it toward permanent mandate relief.

This mandate relief would be reducing the cost of programs the state makes the county pay each year. Church said this would help taxpayers by reducing their property tax burden permanently.

“Many counties and the New York State Association of Counties are proposing this alternative method to provide property tax reductions to New Yorkers,” Church wrote in his analysis.

“The alternative consists of the state taking over the costs of four of its own programs: Medicaid, indigent defense, preschool special education and Safety Net,” he said.

Church said if the state paid for these programs, the reductions to the average Oswego County taxpayer’s bill would be about $514.

He also believes if the state pays for the programs itself, it would be forced to reform services.

Other problems with Cuomo’s tax rebate plan, according to Church:

** It is only temporary

** Rebates are reportable as income on federal income tax returns, “diminishing the overall financial benefit,” he writes.

** The cost of implementing the rebate program isn’t known. Church said the state will use tax levy data to compute the rebates and “the bureaucracy needed to collect, record and organize all tax levy date in the state” and then determine each homeowner’s eligibility and tax rebate will be large and a large cost to taxpayers.

** The state is operating now on tax levy data from 2012, stating this is the most recent data the state has. “How will the state be able to calculate rebates on a current year tax levy with any reasonable assurance to taxpayers that is was done accurately and fairly?” he writes.

** For homeowners to receive a rebate in the second year, the county must develop and submit plans to the state by June 2015 concerning consolidation and shared services. The county cannot use in its plan any consolidations or shared services it has already completed. He estimates Oswego County would have to come up with about $7.2 million in savings through its consolidation/shared services plan if all tax jurisdictions in the county participated.

** In order for a municipality to participate in the tax freeze rebate program, it cannot adopt a precautionary waiver of the state’s 2 percent tax cap. Oswego County adopts the waiver each year due to the ongoing tax status negotiations with Entergy for the FitzPatrick nuclear plant in Scriba.

Without the waiver, taxpayers could be left having to come up with millions of dollars in penalties if a tax settlement for Entergy greatly changed previous years county tax levies.

So participating in the tax rebate program would pose a large risk for Oswego County, Church said.

Legislature Minority Leader Michael Kunzwiler, D-Oswego, said he believes  Cuomo’s idea to push for more shared services and consolidation is good, especially as it get more people talking about the issue.

“If this stirs things up, that’s good,” he said.

He disagreed with Church’s emphasis on state mandate relief, stating Church for too long has been singing this same song.

“Phil has to stop pointing the finger and srart looking in the mirror,” Kunzwiler said. “Phil’s top worry is about what the state is doing — instead we should start cleaning up our own house.”

Fulton GOP endorses Katco for Congress

At the regularly scheduled monthly meeting Feb. 17, the City of Fulton Republican Committee unanimously voted to endorse Republican Congressional Candidate John Katco.

Katco is running for the 24th Congressional District seat currently held by Democrat Incumbent Daniel Maffei, D-Syracuse.

GOP Committee Chair Mark H. Aldasch Sr. said the Republicans have a great slate of candidates, but the committee felt that the best candidate by far was Katco.

“I am pleased with the committees choice,” Aldasch Sr. said. “I believe John Katco is the best and strongest choice for the city of Fulton, the county of Oswego and the entire 24th District.”

Fulton Common Council OKs study of War Memorial gym floor

By Ashley M. Casey

At its Feb. 18 meeting, the Fulton Common Council approved a bid from engineering firm Barton & Loguidice to make a $4,500 study of the gymnasium floor in the War Memorial.

Parks and Recreation Superintendent Barry Ostrander told The Valley News the gym floor is experiencing similar issues as the Lanigan Elementary School gym floor.

The floor is delaminating — its components are separating and causing the floor to bubble and blister.

“It’s almost (in) an identical fashion, but we need to make a determination whether it’s a moisture problem or the way the subflooring is propped,” Ostrander said.

Unlike Lanigan’s floor, the War Memorial gym floor has not tested positive for mercury. The engineering study involves cutting away portions of the floor and drilling core samples to determine the cause of the delamination.

Ostrander said the War Memorial floor was installed in September 1996. Such floors have a useful life of 15 years, with a recommended resurfacing at 10 years.

“Usually, at that point in time (15 years), they’re looking to replace it, but we’ve exceeded that. We’ve never even had it resurfaced because we take exceptional care of the floor,” he said.

“It becomes an issue when you have basketball, whether it is trying to control a basketball for a dribble or someone rolls an ankle,” Ostrander added. “It becomes a safety concern.”

In a letter to the city, Barton & Loguidice said this testing would take place “away from the normal playing surfaces … to minimize disruption of the playing surface of the floor and the ongoing activities at the facility.”

Ostrander said he does not know how long the engineering study will take, or what the replacement floor will cost. He said the city will look for a flooring company that can install a similar floor, as “We’ve gotten a good life out of the existing floor.”

The Common Council also:

** Agreed to issue a $120,000 bond to buy a garbage packer truck. “It’s not going to affect the general budget,” said Second Ward Council Dan Knopp. “It comes out of the garbage budget.”

** Increased rental rates for Parks and Recreation programs and facilities at the War Memorial, Bullhead Point Pavilion, community Room, indoor tennis and North Bay Campgrounds, effective March 1.

The city will honor contracts made before March 1, 2014, until their expiration dates.

The new rates can be found on the city’s website at cityoffulton.sharepoint.com/Pages/ParksRecreation.aspx.

** Set a public hearing for a proposed residential zone change. The city block surrounded by South Third, Rochester, Buffalo and South Fourth streets includes Holy Trinity Church, three single-family residences and one two-family residence.

A zone change has been requested to change the area from R-2, Residential, to R-1A, Residential.

The public hearing will be held at 7 p.m. March 4 in the Common Council Chambers of the Municipal Building, 141 S. First St.

Greene’s Ale House wins wing contest fundraiser for CAC

Hundreds of community members filled the Lake Ontario Event and Conference Center to enjoy some hot wings and cold brews at the Child Advocacy Center of Oswego County’s 3rd Annual Chicken Wing & Micro-Brew Fest.

The event raised more than $15,000 to help support the agency’s efforts to combat and prevent child abuse in Oswego County.

“Our 3rd Annual Chicken Wing & Micro-Fest was a tremendous success!,” said Executive Director Karrie Damm.

“Thanks to our many supporters and the nearly 700 community members who attended the event, we raised some much needed funds that will allow us to continue to provide services free of charge to victims of child abuse in Oswego County,” Damm said.

Contestants in this year’s competition included: Greene’s Ale House; Canale’s Restaurant; The Press Box; Jimmie James BBQ; Oswego Ancient Order of Hibernians; Kristen’s Kitchen at Battle Island; Steamer’s; Lighthouse Lanes; Garafolo’s Importing; The Red Sun Fire Roasting Co.; and the Office Tavern.

The winners included:

Greene’s Ale House: Judges Choice – Best Garlic Wings

Steamer’s: Judges Choice – Best BBQ Wings

Kristen’s Kitchen at Battle Island:  Judges Choice – Best Signature Wing

Popular Vote Winner, Best Tasting Wings: Greene’s Ale House (second year in a row)

“I extend a sincere thank you to all of our chicken wing contestants, as well as Eagle Beverage for providing the micro-brews. They are all winners for supporting the Child Advocacy Center and making our 3rd Annual Wing and Micro-Brew Fest a success,” said Damm.

The Child Advocacy Center is a nonprofit that works hand-in-hand with local law enforcement, prosecution, child protective services, medical providers, therapy providers and victim advocacy professionals in Oswego County to protect and serve children who are victims of sexual and physical abuse.

In 2013, the CAC served 475 children and families in Oswego County.

For more information on the Child Advocacy Center of Oswego County you may contact them at 592-4453.