Category Archives: Featured Stories

Park Hall reopens at SUNY Oswego

Park Hall, SUNY Oswego’s second-oldest building at age 82, reopened this semester at the end of a two-year, $17.5 million modernization, as did a soaring new entrance to the School of Education.

Park’s top-to-bottom renovation features a wealth of new opportunities for collaborative teaching and learning, from a more visible Center for Urban Schools to innovative partnerships with the sciences and mathematics in the now-connected Richard S. Shineman Center for Science, Engineering and Innovation.

Dedicated in August 1930 as then-Gov. Franklin D. Roosevelt laid the cornerstone, Park Hall opened in 1932. It has served as a cradle for innovation in teacher training since Dr. Joseph C. Park was earning a global reputation for his broad influence on education and the industrial arts.

The renovated Park Hall reopened at the start of the spring semester, unveiling high-tech flexible classrooms, a webinar room, fully renovated transportation lab and much more.

The school’s new south-facing main entrance — an atrium with three levels of walkways — also opened, connecting to the school’s adjacent Wilber Hall and, through it, the Shineman Center.

Financed through the SUNY Construction Fund, the project blossomed from a Bergmann Associates design and the school’s collaborative planning effort.

“The changes are absolutely amazing when I think about all the possibilities,” said Pam Michel, interim dean of education.

Center for Urban Schools

Park Hall eventually will house all six departments of Oswego’s School of Education: technology, vocational teacher preparation, educational administration, health promotion and wellness, curriculum and instruction, and counseling and psychological services.

The School of Education puts a high premium on social justice and improving opportunities in the state’s high-need schools, so the college’s Center for Urban Schools also has a prominent new location.

“We have moved the Center for Urban Schools to the third floor of Park Hall, the same floor as the dean’s suite, and I’m really excited about that,” Michel said. “It’s going to be much more visible to faculty, students and staff, and will assist our recruiting and supporting a diverse faculty and student body and our seeking funds to support partnerships across the state.”

Michel said she has already seen new synergies with the sciences as a result of the highly visible new 13,700-square-foot Wilber Hall addition with its state-of-the-art technology labs and the school’s field placement office.

The STEM for Kids program, Youth Technology Days and last fall’s Nor’easter VEX Robotics Competition are all examples, she said.

“Alumni and the public school teachers are very excited to see the significant improvements, not only in the labs but in the curriculum,” Michel said.

Joe Messmer of Facilities Design and Construction, the college’s liaison with general contractor PAC & Associates of Oswego, said the list of what’s new in Park Hall is extensive, from the lower level’s all-new mechanicals and a modernized transportation lab to a fully renovated auditorium for SUNY Oswego’s Faculty Assembly meetings and other events.

Historic building

In a project that sometimes resembled an archeological dig, PAC and its subcontractors transformed the building to a brighter, more open, more flexible and high-tech home for the next generations of teachers and those who teach them.

“We found a fireplace inside a wall on the second floor that still had wood stacked in it,” Messmer said during a tour.

Joseph Park, a 1902 alumnus of the college, devoted countless hours to helping design and equip what was then a state-of-the-art home for Oswego’s renowned industrial arts programs.

Now Park Hall — renovated to LEED Gold standards — features new foam insulation, heating, air handling, electrical, sprinklers and alarms, Messmer said.

New metered steam lines feed the heating system. Much of the building’s brickwork remains, but new brick matches it, and there are new touches throughout, such as the atrium’s terrazzo floors and recycled redwood feature wall.

As Michel looked out over the atrium from the third-floor walkway, it brought to mind another set of collaborations she would like to see — with the arts.

“Wouldn’t it be wonderful in this atrium if there were a string quartet or a small performance to bring to the School of Education?” she said.

Oswego Public Library offers tax prep workshop

The Oswego Public Library’s Library Learning Center will offer a Tax Prep Resources workshop from 1 to 3 p.m. Feb. 28.

Topics covered by the instructor include: online resources, navigating the Internal Revenue Service webpage and tax tips.

In addition to our Tax Prep Resources workshop, the Oswego Public Library’s Library Learning Center will feature Downloading Ebooks for Ipad and Android Tablets, Intro to Excel, Photoshop Elements for Artists, Photosharing, and Medicare Made Simple.

Dates and times are as follows:

Feb. 13 – Downloading Ebooks for Ipad & Android Tablets 2:00-4:00

Feb. 14 – Intro to Excel 10:00-12:00

Feb. 15 – Photoshop Elements for Artists Part 1 12:00-3:00

Feb. 21 – Photosharing 1:00-3:00

Feb. 22 – Photoshop Elements for Artists Part 2 12:00-3:00

Feb. 27 – Medicare Made Simple 2:00-4:00

The Library Learning Center is located on the lower level of the Oswego Public Library, and is open Monday-Saturday.   All programs are free and open to the public.

Call the library at 341-5867 to register for workshops or if you have further questions.

Also, the library has finally received state and federal tax forms to pass on to everyone for free.

Tax forms are in the addition through the left of the main reading room. If you need forms that are not provided for free, they may be printed from irs.gov and tax.ny.gov.

Of course, the government would prefer you file online and New York state has a great site to guide you through e-filing for FREE:  tax.ny.gov/pit/efile

The Oswego Public Library is open Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; we close at 5 p.m. Friday through Sunday.  Weekend hours begin at noon.

Questions?  email us at oswegopl@northnet.org or call 341-5867.

Valley Viewpoints

Help foster cats

Sometime on Wednesday, Jan. 22, with the temperature below zero, two declawed long-haired cats were abandoned on Route 104A.

They were found and taken into the Humane Society foster care, but if that had not happened they could not have survived. One was so badly matted she had to be taken to a groomer to be shaved down.

Yet they had been someone’s pet once — they were not only declawed, they had been spayed.

On Saturday, Jan. 28, with the temperature again below zero, a 9-month-old cat was found by two Hannibal teenagers when she was trying to find shelter in their garage.

She had almost no fur on her body, the result of a severe flea infestation and resulting skin infection. She too would have frozen to death had she not been found and given immediate medical attention.

These stories are not uncommon to the Humane Society — but this year we have seen a disturbing increase in the number of older cats that were obviously once someone’s pet being abandoned and essentially left to die.

This article, though, is not about the people who abandon their pets.  It’s about the people who save them by providing foster care for them until we can find them new, safe homes.

In 2013, the Humane Society  rescued and adopted out 332 cats.  These numbers are down slightly compared to the year before and we were pleased.

We felt the Humane Society’s spay/neuter clinic was finally having an impact on the problem of abandoned pets in our county. By the end of 2013 we had spayed/neutered 676 cats and 67 percent of those cats were from low-income families.

So we were hoping to start seeing a decrease in the number of cats needing rescue each year, and, in fact, there have been fewer litters of young kittens coming into foster care.

The problem now is this. These older cats, unlike cute fluffy kittens, typically stay in foster care for much longer until we find them homes. They may have health problems, they may have been traumatized by their time in the wild; but mostly they are just not cute and fluffy.

This reality is starting to put a strain on our foster families. If you look at our website, we have 46 cats listed for adoption and only one is a young kitten. Our foster homes are almost always full with these older cats that are harder to find homes for — not impossible, just harder.

We know if this continues we will not be able to rescue all those cats out there in the cold.

Can you help? Would you be willing to foster a cat or two. We are not asking for a long term commitment, just your help us get through the rest of the winter.

We provide the vet care, food and equipment if you need it. You provide a home and a second chance.

Please consider it. You will be amazed when you discover what a beautiful experience it is to save a life.

Go to our website at www.oswegohumane.org  to read more about the fostering program and for an application to fill out. If you have questions about fostering, call Barb at 343-2959.

Diane Broadwell

Animal Services Chair

 

Why do we pay tuition?

The Oswego County Legislature needs to explain why senior citizens have to pay tuition for college students through our property tax.

We are mandated by New York state to pay one-third of the cost of tuition for each student from our county attending community college, even though there is no Oswego County Community College. We are paying an 85 percent tax increase for Cayuga Community College and 19 percent for Jefferson Community College on our county taxes.

Can’t our legislature represent us and fight this excessive tax? I am sure our legislators will say what they always say — “there is nothing we can do.”

But people are losing their homes and property through foreclosures by the county treasurer’s office and re-sold at auction. This is a disgrace and should not happen because people are being overtaxes by state, county and federal governments.

Like many of my senior friends, I paid for children to go to school and to college — why should we pay again for other kids to go to college after we retire? It is getting so it’s a curse to own property because of our “tax and spend” government.

We are also taxed to pay for the state retirement fund so teachers and state employees and state politicians can retire with a tax pension. No one paid for my pension or for many others that I talk with.

My belief is when a person retires, it should be their golden years. What golden years? At 88 years old I am still paying college taxes, with not one red cent going to Oswego County — it all goes to Cayuga County. We are being hurt very badly and our representatives cannot see it.

We elect our legislators to look out for each and every citizen’s benefit, but it certainly isn’t working that way.

I would appreciate our county representatives to at last reply to this letter with some answers.

Rose Anthony

Fulton  

 

No more cigs at CVS

In recent news, CVS/Caremark has announced their plans to end all tobacco sales by October 1 of this year.

This is a huge step forward for public health. It has been a conflict of interest for pharmacies, providers of health care, to also profit from the sale of harmful products such as tobacco, known to cause cancer, heart and pulmonary diseases.

No doctor would prescribe tobacco so why would a pharmacy sell it? Selling tobacco products doesn’t fit a pharmacy’s mission of providing health products and services. In fact, reducing the availability of tobacco products helps people to quit.

CVS’s decision to remove tobacco products from their pharmacies is a step in the right direction to working together as a community to improve our residents’ health.

CVS is not the first pharmacy to recognize the importance of eliminating tobacco products in our local stores.

Did you know the overwhelming majority of independently owned pharmacies in Oswego County already don’t sell tobacco?  Many of the mom and pop pharmacies have chosen to put the health of our residents above a profit.

We thank the pharmacies that have made this decision to demonstrate their commitment for supporting the health of our community.

Further, we encourage all local pharmacies to consider their role as the neighborhood expert for improving health.

 

Abby Jenkins Wrolsen

Program Coordinator of the Tobacco Free Network of Oswego County

 

Sub shop owners explain 

In November 2013, the Oswego Sub Shop was contacted by the United States Secret Service and identified as a possible common point of purchase of a credit card breach (hack).

They informed us that our computers may have been compromised resulting in the unauthorized use of customers’ credit card information.  We are currently working diligently, in full cooperation, with the United States Secret Service in finding the point of origin of this possible breach.

We have replaced all hard drives in our Point of Sale terminals and hired experts in PCI (Payment Card Industry) Compliance to ensure that our system is and will remain secure to the highest degree.

Information received thus far indicates that the possible compromise of this information may have been accomplished via an unauthorized EXTERNAL breach.  It is also important to understand that this is NOT an “internal investigation,” as it has been speculated in social media outlets, but rather a much larger investigation and scope.

Oswego Police Chief Tory DeCaire said “The Management of the Oswego Sub Shop has fully cooperated in this investigation and, at this point, there is no reason to believe that the customers of the Oswego Sub Shop are at any greater risk than those at any other business that allows electronic transactions.”

We assure you that nothing was or is more important than keeping our customer’s payment card data secure. We have taken this matter very seriously, and fully understand and apologize for any stress or inconvenience that it may have caused you and your family.

It is important to understand that this is an “ongoing investigation” and the local, regional and national law enforcement agencies are taking this situation very seriously, along with similar fraudulent activity reports seen recently at national retailers including Target, Neiman Marcus, Michaels and others.

We want to thank you for your patience, understanding and continued loyalty during this investigation.  Please do not hesitate to contact us personally with any questions regarding this matter.

 

Sincerely, 

Bill and Kathy Greene,

Owners, Oswego Sub Shop

Birdlebough students travel “Back to the Future”

Seventeen students from John C. Birdlebough High travelled back to their elementary school, Michael A. Maroun, recently to assist educators in teaching for the day.

The Back to the Future program is held annually during Regent’s week, allowing high school students to volunteer when they aren’t taking tests.

The purpose of the program is to expose high school students to the field of teaching. The Birdlebough students who participate in Back to the Future are either thinking of entering the education profession or like to work with children.

Often, Back to the Future is the first experience the high school students have to experience working with children in a formal setting. High school freshman through seniors followed the schedule of their assigned teacher.

Second-grade teacher Joelle Hendry was excited to invite a high school student into her classroom. Hendry is a Phoenix alumna, and was in the first graduating class (96’) that went through the Back to the Future program.

As a high school senior, Hendry couldn’t decide whether to pursue a college degree in speech pathology or elementary education. She shadowed the school’s speech pathologist during the Back to the Future program, and was able to see how closely speech pathologists work with the classroom.

Hendry has two degrees, one in elementary education, and the other as a reading specialist.

“I hope that the high school students (here today) get to see what kind of work goes into being an elementary teacher,” said Hendry.

The Back to the Future program is mutually beneficial in that elementary students learn about high school expectations and Birdlebough students seek out possible options for their future.

High school participants involved were Josh Margrey, Alexis Bowering, Finella Campanino, Dylan Doupe, Conrad Karl, Kate McDonald, Mackenzie Young, Matt Pelton, Ben Bulgrien, Maria Musemeci, Abby Ewald, Olivia Uttamsingh, Evan Logee, Shaun Turner, Hannah Lees, Tyler Gabriele, Noah Neverette and A.C. Bowman.

 

March 1 deadline to apply for agricultural assessment

Oswego County residents who have agricultural land and would like to receive a lower land assessment have until March 1 to file their application.

In 1971, New York state passed the Agricultural District Law, including the Agricultural Assessment Program. This assessment program allows owners of agricultural lands to receive a lower assessment on eligible properties.

During these years of increasing property taxes, this program could save on taxes, making it more affordable to own open, agricultural land.

Owners whose land satisfies the minimum requirements may apply for an agricultural assessment.

The following eligibility requirements must be met:

1) Land must consist of 7 or more acres that is used for the production for sale of crops, livestock, or livestock products

2) The annual gross sales of agricultural products must average $10,000 or more. If an agricultural enterprise consists of less than 7 acres, it may qualify if the annual gross sales equal $50,000 or more.

Additional special stipulations are given to horse boarding operations, aquaculture, orchards and/or vineyard operations.

Land rented for agricultural purposes may receive an agricultural assessment.

To apply for an agricultural assessment in Oswego County, contact your local assessor’s office and obtain the Agricultural Assessment application (form RP-305). You must have one application form for each tax parcel you wish to apply for.

Next, call the Oswego County Soil and Water Conservation District Office at 592-9663 to schedule an appointment. This office will explain to you the next step(s) required in completing the application process.

A charge of $20 per parcel is assessed to complete the Soil Group Worksheet prior to March 2; after the charge is $30.

The completed application with all other required documents must be received at the local assessor’s office by March 1, 2014. Landowners already enrolled should remember to contact their local assessor’s office annually to see if they need to renew their application.

For more information about agricultural assessments, call 592-9663.

State police continue to investigate Granby man’s death

State police are following “several leads” in the death of a Granby man this week.

The body of Anthony Miller, 46, who lived in a mobile home at the Indian Hills Mobile Park on state Route 48 in Granby, was found by friends about 4 p.m. Monday in the mobile home. At first, troopers were calling the death suspicious, but later Monday said it had been ruled a homicide.

Trooper Jack Keller, public information officer for Troop D in Oneida, said the autopsy has been completed but state police are not releasing a cause of death at this time. He would not say if the body suffered any stab wounds or gun shots.

“We want to wait on that,” he said of the cause of death. “We’re following several leads and we are progressing.”

Anyone with information regarding Miller’s death should call State Police in Fulton at 598-2112.

Investigators believe there is no danger to the public concerning this death.

 

Fulton Speed Demons strong as swim season begins

The Fulton YMCA Speed Demons team has begun its season and already turned in some strong performances.

The team consists of swimmers ages 5 to 18 and is part of the CNY YMCA Competitive Swim League that includes Auburn, Norwich, Watertown, Oneida, Oneonta and Cortland.

Swimmers can compete in the freestyle, breaststroke, backstroke, butterfly and individual medley (IM, one of each stroke).

Events are categorized by age group: Seniors Class A (age 15-18) , B( 13-14) & C (11-12), Juniors Class D (9-10) & E (8 & under).

Coaches enter swimmers in three individual events each meet plus a relay. Practices and home competitions take place at Granby Elementary School in a 25-yard pool and swimmers push themselves at each dual meet to achieve a personal best swim time in the event swimming.

Taking a few seconds off an event time is often a challenge. The team is coached by Head Coach Cassandra Izyk and Assistant Coaches Cameron Lanich, and Ashley LaDue.

The Speed Demons started their season with an away meet in Auburn followed by a home meet against Cortland.

Starting the season strong against Auburn with first place finishes were first-year swimmer Joely LaPage (25 free), Ryan Morehouse (100 back) and Casey Jones (100 back).

Swimming personal best times were:

Naomi Roberts (50 free, 100 free, 50 back)

Angel Croci (50 free)

Alexis Loomis (50 free, 100 free)

Annaliese Archer (50 free, 50 fly)

Swimmers saw their hard work at practice pay off at the second meet of the season against Cortland.

Junior  swimmers Molly Williams and Courtney Pierce were 2 of 26 Fulton swimmers entered in the 100 Free and had the greatest time reductions of all events, crushing their previous times by 15 and 16 seconds.

Senior swimmer Anna Guernsey achieved the same improvement in her 200 IM. Junior teammate Hailey Coady posted a best time in the 25 back, taking 1st place.

Additional swimmers recording improvement in their events were:

Caleb Trepasso (50 free, 100 free)

Braeden Dempsey (50 free, 100 free, 50 back)

Tyler LaDue (50 free, 100 free, 50 back)

Zachary Loomis (50 free, 100 free, 50 back)

Oswego Little League registration Feb. 11

The 2014 baseball season for Oswego Little League will kick off with the annual Spaghetti Dinner and Player Registration from 5 to 9 p.m. Tuesday Feb. 11 at the Oswego Elks Lodge.

The season will be highlighted by Little League Baseball’s 75th Anniversary, which was established in 1939 in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

It will be the 59th season for Oswego Little League.

“It’s great to think about the nice weather and the start of Oswego Little League baseball this upcoming spring,” said Tim Murphy, president of Oswego Little League.

“We are equally excited about our traditional spaghetti dinner and player registration on February 11th. We hope to have a great night out with new and returning players and their families,” he said.

Murphy said Oswego Little League offers six divisions of organized youth baseball for all boys and girls, ages 5 through 16, including the Challenger Division, for players with special needs.

Registration fees vary by age and can be found on the league’s website.

Children residing within the boundaries of the Oswego City School District are eligible to register with Oswego Little League.

Registrants are required to provide proof of age, verification of residence inside the League’s boundary, and provide a signed copy of the Medical Release form.

Volunteer forms are also available. Oswego Little League has a need for many new volunteers, to fill several positions of need. Managers, coaches and team parents are needed. League volunteers are also needed for concession, field maintenance, scorekeepers and umpires.

The required forms and instructions are available now at www.oswegolittleleague.com, and may be filled out in advance, or at the registration tables Feb. 11.

Spaghetti dinners will be available for eat in or take out. Delivery of dinners may be arranged for groups that have to work that evening.

Pre-sale tickets are available from the league’s board of directors and at Oswego Printing at 412 W. First St. and Murphy’s Automotive Solutions at 21 Fred Haynes Boulevard in Oswego.

There will be an additional opportunity to register in person from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, March 1 at the Oswego YMCA Armory Building.

Oswego Little League is a fun and safe environment for your children to learn and play baseball. Register by March 1st to reserve a roster spot.

Further information and assistance is available by e-mailing coach@oswegolittleleague.com.

Little League, founded in 1939 in Williamsport, Pa., is the world’s largest youth sports program with more than 2.4 million children and 1 million volunteers in more than 83 countries and all 50 states.