Category Archives: Featured Stories

County legislature considers extending nurses’ incentive program

By Debra J. Groom

Oswego County is moving ahead with continuing a program to retain and recruit registered and licensed practical nurses.

Legislator John Proud, R-Mexico, chair of the County Legislature’s health committee, said the committee this week approved a measure to add about $39,000 for the retention and recruitment program.

He said the program began about five years ago to help the county keep its nurses, who work in various programs through the county health department.

“We were losing nurses to places that offer higher salaries,” Proud said. “We had to look for ways to keep these nurses.”

He said one nurse who was ready to be promoted in her Oswego County job left for a hospital job where she was going to be paid $10,000 more than she was making in her county job.

“You can’t hate them for that,” Proud said.

The money is used to provide incentives to nurses already working for the county at the beginning of each year. The money also is paid to new nurses coming onboard with the county once they finish their probationary period.

Only full-time nurses are eligible for the incentives, said Carol Alnutt of the county Personnel Office.

Proud said there is only one nursing position open and officials have been working to fill the position for a few weeks.

There are 20 full-time nurses and five part-time with the health department and three full-time at the sheriff’s department.

They work in areas such as skilled nursing and home health work and provide “with skilled care and supportive health services in a safe, secure home-based environment. Services are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week,” according to the county nursing website.

Proud said the program seems to be working well as “we have a stable, permanent staff right now.” When the program was started, though, the county was going through a bad patch in which “we had lost staff and we were stretched very thin,” he said.

But the county doesn’t want to just assume the program is working well.

Proud said the personnel department will be doing a five-year history review of staffing for nurses and the incentives program “to see whether it has worked.”

He said this report will come to his health committee toward the end of February.

The measure to continue the incentive program for this year passed the health committee this week and will be taken up by the finance committee next week and then the full legislature will vote on it Feb. 13.

Phoenix softball pitcher raises money to fight cancer

Team up with the Phoenix Lady Firebird Varsity Softball team this season for an opportunity to strike out cancer.

Support seasoned pitcher Megan Brown in her mission to raise money for the Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital Cancer Center.

Brown, a student at Phoenix’s John C. Birdlebough High School, is accepting sponsors to pledge a dollar amount for each strikeout she throws during the upcoming 2014 regular season.

Inspired by her team’s participation in the annual local “Strike Out Cancer” tournament that raises money for the same mission, Brown said, “I really want my journey this season to help others.”

Varsity softball coach Raina Hinman said she is so proud of her junior pitcher, saying, “Megan finished last season with an astounding 128 strikeouts. This year she really wants her varsity career strikeouts to make a difference in more than just stats.

“Megan is a leader on and off the field and truly wants her strikeouts to help others and make a difference in someone else’s life,” Hinman said.

To join Megan Brown’s strikeout cancer campaign, make a donation or pledge a per-strike amount, contact Hinman at 695-1521, 552-7526, email at rhinman@phoenixcsd.org, or visit www.PhoenixCSD.org and look for more information under the news section of the homepage or under the Athletics Department page.

The 2014 varsity softball season begins in March.

Phoenix girls’ hoops seeks elusive second win

By Rob Tetro

The Phoenix girls’ varsity basketball team continues to search for another win, with losses at Cazenovia 59-46 and Bishop Ludden 58-48.

The girls now have an overall record of 1-12.

In the game with Caz on Jan. 21. the Lakers led by only two points after the first period. Cazenovia extended its lead during the second quarter, outscoring Phoenix by 4 points to take a 24-18 lead into halftime.

The deficit faced by the Lady Firebirds continued to grow during the third quarter, as Caz outscored Phoenix by 9 points to push its lead to 15 points. But the Lady Firebirds didn’t fold. During the fourth quarter, Phoenix outscored Cazenovia to cut into its lead, but the deficit proved to be insurmountable as Cazenovia came away with a 13-point win.

Phoenix was led by Samantha Doupe with 17 points, followed by Kimberly Holbrook with 11, Alexandra Wilson with 7 and Morgan Stoutenger chipped in 5 points.

Bishop Ludden jumped out to an early 8-point lead over Phoenix Jan. 24 and then increased the lead in the second period to go into the half with a 35-18 lead.

Bishop Ludden continued to pour it on during the third quarter, outscoring the Lady Firebirds by 8 points to extend the lead to 25 points. However, Phoenix went down swinging. They outscored Bishop Ludden by 15 points during the fourth quarter to cut into the lead. But despite these valiant efforts, Bishop Ludden held off Phoenix for the 58-48 win.

Leading the way for the Lady Firebirds was Alexandra Wilson with 14 points, followed by Samantha Doupe with 11, Kimberly Holbrook scored 9 and Shannon Dolan chipped in 8 points.

Oswego school board handles appointment, retirements, BOCES board appointee

Submitted by the Oswego school district

The Oswego school board had its regular meeting Jan. 22.

Two Oswego High School students, Emily King and Cassandra Hondro, were recognized for their selection as the two lone high school musicians in New York state to participate in the U.S. Army All-American Marching Band in San Antonio.

They thanked the board members and superintendent for their support of a strong music program. They also talked about the tremendous life experience that was provided by the selection to this elite marching band.

In regular action the board approved an amended policy that would allow a non-sitting board member to represent the Oswego City School District on the BOCES Board of Education.

Under the “Instruction” area, two field trips were approved. The Oswego girls’ lacrosse team will travel to Orlando April 10-15. The board indicated that it authorized the trip, but that transportation would be provided by the girls’ lacrosse team.

The Paradox yearbook staff was approved to attend a conference at Columbia University in New York City March 18-23.

There was some concern over the supervision of students and discussion relating to the permission form that was being used for the trip. Oswego High School Principal Brian Hartwell indicated he would conduct research and report back to the Superintendent of Schools Ben Halsey.

Under “Personnel” items, two retirements were accepted by the board as veteran elementary teacher Mary Jane Battista will retire effective on March 1 and custodian George Walpole retired Dec. 28.

A leave of absence was granted for one year to Oswego High School English teacher Isaac Kain while Amy Bonoffski was appointed as a regular substitute for the remainder of the school year at the Fitzhugh Park Elementary School.

Chelsea Jones was approved as a half-time special education teacher through June 30 while both Amanda Sprague and Elizabeth Heckert were approved as temporary school psychologist interns for the 2014-15 school year.

The support team of the Oswego High School musical was approved, as was Paula McKenney-Myers as Leighton chorus director.

Gary Caprin Jr. was approved for a leave of absence.

Probationary appointments were made for Katherine Nalle as part-time library clerk and registered professional nurse Deborah Brookes-Bauer.

Permanent appoints included Riley Elementary custodian Diane Mitchelson, Education Center senior typist Annette Geers and Transportation account clerk-typist Michele Carter.

Temporary appointments included part-time teacher aides Shannon Harter and Amanda Peterson.

Under “Finance,” transfers of funds for music equipment repairs and supplies as well as travel expenses for a district administrator and payment of the Town of Minetto sewer and water bills were OKed.

Other resolutions passed included an agreement between Tyler Technologies and the district for training on routing and planning software, acceptance of a $3,500 donation from Walmart for the holiday assistance program, a three-year contract renewal for Verizon and the payment to King and King Architects for previous work conducted in relation to The Buc School.

In his “Superintendent’s Report,” Halsey said the budget process is moving forward and talked about the state report regarding “fiscal stress” relating to the Oswego school district.

The next regular school board meeting will be after the committee meetings Wednesday, Feb. 12.

The committee meetings are open to the public. Those meetings, covering personnel, finance and instruction begin at 5 p.m. in the Oswego High School Anthony J. Murabito Media Center.

SUNY Oswego honors December grads

Several local residents completed their baccalaureate studies at SUNY Oswego in December and were recognized Dec. 14 at graduation:

Brittany M. Hilton, Cato (childhood education)

Ivan E. Castro, Central Square (psychology, cum laude)

Jane M. Deforge, Central Square (childhood education)

Britnie M. West, Constantia (teaching English to speakers of other languages)

Nicholas A. Coyne, Fulton (history)

Chelsea V. Hans, Fulton (wellness management)

Brandon Hood, Fulton (wellness management, magna cum laude)

Christina L. Liddell, Fulton (human development, magna cum laude)

Donald C. O’Brien, Fulton (philosophy-psychology)

Michael S. Prime, Fulton (psychology)

Marissa N. St. Onge, Fulton (psychology)

Daisy L. Vasquez, Fulton (global and international studies)

Erin L. Wilcox, Fulton (public justice)

Cynthia L. DeWolf, Hannibal (business administration)

Donald A. Tyson, Hastings (English)

Shelby L. Rusaw, Mexico (childhood education)

Aliza J. Smith, Mexico (history)

Dustin H. Blodgett, Orwell (wellness management)

Kyle J. Dolan, Pennellville (broadcasting, mass communication)

Zachary Pentland, Phoenix (information science)

Jessica L. Schauer, Phoenix (accounting)

Brooke A. Radley, Pulaski (psychology)

Kelly Brodeur, Richland (graphic design, cum laude)

Holly A. Greenfield, Sandy Creek (adolescence education)

Joseph J. Ostrom, Sterling (art, cum laude)

Shay N. Sheldon, West Monroe (childhood education)

Granby students learn about bucket-filling

Submitted by Oswego County BOCES

Students at Granby Elementary School in Fulton have made friends with a BFF — a Bucket Filling Fairy.

A BFF and a colorful cast of characters made a stop at the school last week to perform the character-building play “Have You Filled a Bucket Today.”

The play is based on Carol McCloud’s award-winning book “Have You Filled a Bucket Today,” which introduces young readers to the concepts of bucket-filling and bucket-dipping.

The play, like the book, is a modern twist to the golden rule — “Treat others the way you want to be treated” — using the idea of invisible buckets to reinforce how saying and doing nice things creates happiness and “fills” a person’s bucket.

Doing or saying hurtful things can “dip” into a person’s bucket and leave a person feeling sad.

The play’s characters acted out a variety of skits to illustrate the difference between bucket filling and bucket dipping at school, at home, in cyberspace and on the school bus.

Through humor and audience interaction with a rhyming and high-energy BFF, the students became empowered to fill buckets and pay kindness and respect forward to others.

Cold weather comes in handy for Oswego County BOCES students

Submitted by Oswego County BOCES

Oswego County BOCES Exceptional Education teacher Mary Ryan has been making the most out of the cold weather by conducting science experiments with her students.

After learning about the physical properties of water, and seeing a video on Reddit.com on how hot water freezes faster than cold water, Ryan’s class tested the theory.

When boiling water is tossed in the air, it creates a larger surface area, which then turns the water to cool droplets.

In extremely cold temperatures, these droplets freeze, and turn the boiling water into a cloud of ice crystals midair.

Sure enough, when the boiling water was tossed into the air, the water turned instantly into what looked like mist.

Students were able to see for themselves how hot water changes from a liquid to a solid as soon as it comes into contact with cold air.

Students have also been learning about air pressure, and conducted their own experiment using a Styrofoam cup.

When a Styrofoam cup is filled with water, and an index card is placed over the rim, the cup can be flipped upside down without water flowing out.

This is because the air pressure inside the cup keeps the index card in place.

Once the index card is removed, a force is felt as the air pushes the water from the cup.

Tickets available for St. Luke “Bundle of Bucks” raffle

Tickets for the 10th annual St. Luke “Bundle of Bucks” Charity Raffle are on sale and now is the time to buy one to be part of the upcoming “Early Bird” drawing.

Everyone who purchases a “Bundle of Bucks” charity raffle ticket before Feb. 14 is entered in the “Early Bird” drawing when five – $100 prize winners will be selected from current raffle ticket holders.

“Bundle of Bucks” Raffle cash prizes totaling $25,000 will be paid out when the 1,000 tickets are sold by the time of the drawing on May 31.

If you already have your raffle ticket applications, send them in today. Raffle ticket applications are also available by calling St. Luke Health Services at 342-3166.

Ticket applications are online and can be downloaded at stlukehs.com. Or stop in at St. Luke Health Services, St. Francis Commons and Bishop’s Commons in Oswego or Michaud Health Services in Fulton and purchase tickets directly.

The entry fee for the raffle is $50 per ticket; only 1,000 tickets will be sold. The raffle features 15 cash prizes to be awarded with a top prize of $10,000.

Every raffle ticket is eligible for all of the cash prize drawings. Tickets can be purchased individually or consider purchasing a “group ticket” with family members, co-workers or friends.

Proceeds from the “Bundle of Bucks” Raffle benefit the St. Luke–John Foster Burden Fund, which provides resources for programs to help those served by the affiliate nonprofit community-based organizations comprising The St. Luke Family of Caring (St. Luke Health Services, Bishop’s Commons Enriched Living Residence, Michaud Residential Health Services and St. Francis Commons Assisted Living Residence).

Each raffle ticket admits two adults to the “Bundle of Bucks” Raffle Drawing Party from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, May 31 at the Elks Lodge in Oswego. The raffle drawing event features free food, beverages, live entertainment, games and prize drawings. You must be 18 years or older to participate.

You do not have to be present at the raffle drawing to win. For more information, call 342-3166.