Category Archives: Featured Stories

Oswego only local school district on comptroller’s fiscal stress list

By Debra J. Groom

The Oswego City School District is the only district in Oswego County on the list of fiscally distressed districts issued last week by the state Comptroller’s office.

According to a news release from the Comptroller’s office, the fiscal stress scores are based on financial information submitted as part of each district’s ST-3 report filed with the state Education Department as of Dec. 13, 2013.

The list includes more than 700 school districts in New York state. A total of 587 were classified as “no designation, which means their level of fiscal stress had not reached a critical level.

The levels of stress listed by the Comptroller’s report were significant fiscal stress (the highest level of stress), moderate fiscal stress and susceptible to fiscal stress. Oswego City School District was listed under the susceptible to fiscal stress category.

“We have received this report and are reviewing the data to better understand the declaration,” said Benjamin Halsey, Oswego superintendent. “We will use this report to assist with budget decisions going forward.”

According to the Comptroller’s office, a district was reviewed for financial indicators, such as how well the district generates enough money to meet its expenditures, and environmental indicators, such as trends outside a district’s control that can affect its budget and revenue-raising capabilities.

The Comptroller’s office used only the financial indicators to determine whether a district would be placed on the fiscal stress list.

The other districts in Oswego County — Altmar-Parish-Williamstown, Central Square, Fulton, Hannibal, Mexico, Phoenix, Pulaski and Sandy Creek  — received no designation.

According to a report issued with the fiscal stress scores, school districts found to be in fiscal stress share a number of common characteristics. Most are operating with low fund balance, operating deficits and limited cash on hand. These districts

Of the top 10 districts found to be in the worst fiscal stress, only the Utica City School District (number 10) is in the Central New York region.

The district with the worst stress, according to the report, is Watervliet, outside Albany. The rest of the top 10 includes three districts from Western New York, two from Long Island, two from the Mid-Hudson region and one from the North Country (General Brown Central School).

The report also found:

• High-need urban/suburban school districts were three times more likely to be considered in fiscal stress compared to low-need districts;

• Upstate school districts were more likely to be in some level of stress compared to downstate districts; and

•  Regions with the highest percentage of stressed school districts were Central New York (22.9 percent of districts); North Country (16.9 percent) and Western New York (13.9 percent).

The report did not include scores for the “Big Four”cities of Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and Yonkers. Information for these districts will be incorporated into the scoring for their respective cities and reported by the Comptroller later this year.

The Comptroller’s office also has looked at the fiscal stress levels of New York state’s municipalities. As reported earlier, the city of Fulton is listed as moderate stress. Another Oswego County municipality on the list is the town of Parish, which is listed as susceptible to fiscal stress.

Honorary chairpersons sought for fundraiser

Oswego County Opportunities is focusing on eliminating hunger this year and is conducting its OCO “Retro Bowl” fundraiser to help the effort.

The “Retro Bowl” is the agency’s annual bowling tournament fundraiser set for noon to 6 p.m. April 5 at Lakeview Lanes in Fulton.

This event will raise money to help feed the hungry throughout Oswego County.

In keeping with this focus, OCO is inviting restaurant owners in Oswego County to consider serving as honorary co-chairs of the Retro Bowl. OCO is asking honorary co-chairs to:

** Commit to donating a portion of the proceeds (recommended 10% or more) from meals served at your restaurant during the day and hours of your choosing during the month of March.

** Donate two gift cards redeemable at your restaurant, or two gift baskets, to be raffled off at the Retro Bowl on April 5.

In return, the businesses will receive the following:

** Promotion of your business as a sponsor and co-chair through news releases, posters, flyers, the OCO website and social media and an event program booklet

** Your promotional materials will be handed out at the event

** You or your designee can participate in opening ceremonies for each flight of bowling on April 5 and say a few words to the hundreds of bowlers and spectators in attendance

** A free team for your business to use and join in the fun, or donate to OCO consumers who cannot afford to register a team of their own

Call OCO Executive Director Diane Cooper-Currier by Feb. 5 at 598-4735 or email her at dcurrier@oco.org if you are interested in participating or would like more information.

Retro Bowl registration is $100 and  opens Feb. 3 for five-person teams, with choice of flights: Noon – 2:30 p.m. or 3:00 – 5:30 p.m. (first come, first served).

Businesses and individuals are invited to donate door prizes for the raffles and silent auction, and major sponsors are being solicited as well.

OCO donations now as easy as buying off Amazon

Did you know you could help others in your community just by shopping?

Oswego County Opportunities (OCO), a nonprofit agency that offers 50 programs and serves hundreds of families and individuals throughout Oswego County, has teamed with Amazon.com’s AmazonSmile program to allow you to do just that.

AmazonSmile, a program of the AmazonSmile Foundation, will donate 0.5 percent of the purchase price from your eligible AmazonSmile purchases directly to OCO.

It is a simple and automatic way for you to support the work that OCO does at no cost to you.

To shop at AmazonSmile log onto www.smile.amazon.com from the web browser on your computer or mobile device. On your first visit simply select Oswego County Opportunities as the charitable organization to receive donations from your eligible purchases before you begin shopping.

Your choice of OCO will be stored and all future eligible purchases you make from AmazonSmile will result in a donation to OCO.

“We are excited about our participation in the AmazonSmile program,” said Betsy Copps, director of information and compliance for OCO.

“Smile.amazon.com offers the same prices, selection and shopping experience as Amazon.com with the added bonus that a portion of your purchase price will be donated to OCO to help others right here in Oswego County,” Copps said.

“Those that currently shop on Amazon.com may use their current Amazon account and items eligible for donations will be clearly indicated on their product detail,” Copps said.

There is no cost to OCO or to AmazonSmile customers. Purchases through AmazonSmile may be made using an internet browser on a desktop or laptop computer, mobile phone or a tablet.

All payment methods available on Amazon.com are available for use on AmazonSmile.

“Our collaboration with AmazonSmile provides community members with a convenient way to support OCO and our many human services programs,” said OCO Executive Director Diane Cooper-Currier.

“We are always looking for new and creative ways to help raise funds that benefit the nearly 30,000 consumers OCO serves each year,” she said. “This method works without any extra effort. You just shop; donations are calculated automatically. What could be easier?”

OCO’s website also contains an online donation section where donors can use a credit card through PayPal.

“This has been a popular option for those wishing to donate in honor or in memory of a loved one, or a former employee of the agency,” Cooper-Currier said.

While monetary donations are always beneficial, Cooper-Currier continued, the agency also welcomes in-kind donations of professional services (legal, consulting, graphic arts, media) as well as gently used home furnishings, appliances, clothing, toys, linens, and more.

“We have consumers in crisis situations who come to us with only the clothes on their backs,” she said. “Your donations help them get a new start. We can find an apartment for them, but they need just about everything to make it a home.”

For more information about donations or sponsorship of OCO events, call Cooper-Currier at 598-4717. If you have household items, clothing, baby items, personal care items, or food donations, call Sandy Wells at 598-4717.

Business opens new site in Schroeppel

SAMphoto

SAM North America celebrated its grand opening with a ribbon cutting Tuesday, Jan. 21. Pictured, from left, are Kevin Gardner, Oswego County Legislator, New Haven, who also is the legislature chairman; Morris Sorbello, Oswego County Legislator, Granby; Andrew Christie, managing director at SAM North America; Steve Hutchins, Schroeppel town councilman; L. Michael Treadwell, executive director of Operation Oswego County; Holly Carpenter, representing state Sen. Patty Ritchie; Terry Wilbur, County Legislator, Hannibal; and Edward Lincoln, vice president of sales at SAM North America.

SAM North American Tuesday kicked off its new site in the Oswego County Industrial Park in Schroeppel.

The company had been operating out of a small site in Granby. It is projected to employ 14 people.

The company manufactures equipment for the paper and plastics industries. Michael Treadwell of Operation Oswego County said potential customers in North and South America will be able to come to the Schroeppel site, see the equipment in action and determine if it is something they want to buy for their own businesses.

Before, customers had to travel to SAM’s headquarters in South Korea to check out its products.

SAM also will have a marketing office at the Schroeppel site, which encompasses a 10,000-square-foot building and 2 1/2 acres.

SAM has been a leading supplier of converting machinery for package printing, specialty coating, extrusion coating and laminating for more than 50 years.

Be sure to pick up a copy of Saturday’s Valley News for more on this company.

Phoenix swimmer wins award

Submitted by Oswego County BOCES

John C. Birdlebough senior Alyssa Harley is making a splash with the Fulton varsity swim team this year.

On Saturday, the standout athlete from Phoenix was selected as the female swimmer of the meet during 16th annual HAC Swim Invitational held at the Harley School in Rochester.

As the top seed in the 100-meter freestyle and 100-meter backstroke, Harley dominated both events on her way to first-place finishes. Her times of 1:01.78 (freestyle) and 1:08.78 (backstroke) earned her a spot in the sectional meet in February.

Coach Raina Hinman said despite sitting out her junior season due to an injury, Harley has come back stronger than ever.

The Phoenix senior is also a member of a club swim team in Baldwinsville.

Thirteen boys’ teams and five girls’ teams from the Section V conference competed in the 22-event meet.

Phoenix boys’ hoops boost record to 7-4

By Rob Tetro

The Phoenix boys’ varsity basketball team has won 2 out of its last 3 games and now has an overall record of 7-4.

On Jan. 10, the Firebirds came away with an exciting win over Marcellus 53-52. Phoenix rolled past Solvay Jan. 13 by a score of 62-37 but the fell to Syracuse-ITC 60-54 on Jan. 14.

Against Marcellus, the first period was competitive and Phoenix led by just 1 at the end. In the second, Marcellus stormed ahead, outscoring Phoenix by 11 points for a 31-21 lead at the half.

The Firebirds answered back during the third quarter, outscoring Marcellus by 10 points to tie the game at 42 going into the fourth quarter. Then the Firebirds got it done during the fourth quarter, outscored Marcellus down the stretch to escape with a 53-52 win.

Phoenix was led by Dylan Doupe with 13 points, followed by Bryce Plante with 11, Brian Sawyer and Zach Sisera scored 7 points, Connor Haney added 6 and Walker Connoly chipped in 5.

Phoenix cruised past Solvay, even though Solvay outscored the Firebirds by 4 in the first quarter.

Phoenix cut into the deficit during the second quarter and Solvay led by only 2 — 23-21 — at the half.

Phoenix took over in the second half. They outscored Solvay by 12 points during the third quarter to take a 10-point lead and then didn’t let up in the fourth, outscoring Solvay 41-14 during the third and fourth quarters.

Leading the way for Phoenix was Zach Sisera with 14 points, followed by Walker Connoly with 11, Dylan Doupe and Brian Sawyer scored 10 each, Connor Haney chipped in 7 and Bryce Plante added 6 points.

In their loss to Syracuse-ITC, the first quarter was tight with Syracuse-ITC having only a 1-point lead after the first quater. Syracuse-ITC added to its lead during the second quarter and took a 35-28 lead into halftime.

The Firebirds cut into the deficit during the third quarter, bringing Syracuse-ITC’s lead to 5 points. But Phoenix couldn’t get any closer.

Phoenix was led by Dylan Doupe with 17 points, followed by Connor Haney with 13, Brian Sawyer and Zach Sisera scored 7 each, Bryce Plante had 6 and Walker Connoly added 4 points for The Firebirds.

Juried Student Exhibition begins Jan. 31 at SUNY Oswego

Submitted by SUNY Oswego

Tyler Art Gallery at SUNY Oswego will host the 51st annual Juried Student Exhibition starting Friday, Jan. 31.

The exhibition, running concurrently through March 1 with a display titled “Recollection: A Memory Loss Awareness Project,” will open from 5 to 7 p.m. Jan. 31 in Tyler Hall with a free public reception featuring the student artists.

The Juried Student Exhibition welcomed 150 submissions from undergraduates around campus, and 62 were selected for the show, said Michael Flanagan, director of Tyler Art Gallery.

Artistic media included are book arts, drawings, paintings, photographs, digital illustrations, ceramics, sculpture, prints and newer media such as websites, digital animation and web applications.

Serving as jurors for this exhibition were Michelle Roberts of Rochester, a 2006 Oswego alumna and owner of Michelle Roberts Design and Novus Creative, and Peter Valenti of Syracuse, a 1983 alumnus, teacher and developer of the ceramics program at East Syracuse Minoa High School, co-founder and president of the Independent Potters Association and director of the high school ceramics exhibition Central New York Feats of Clay.

In addition to “Recollection” and the juried student exhibition opening that night, the “Guerrilla Gorilla Grad Art Exhibition” will display recent work of SUNY Oswego students in master’s-related art programs from 5 to 7 p.m. on Jan. 31 in the Student Gallery, Room 21 of Tyler Hall.

Tyler Art Gallery is open 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays when college is in session.

Parking for Tyler Art Gallery patrons without a current SUNY Oswego parking permit is $1. For more information, visit oswego.edu/administration/parking. Parking is available in the employee and commuter lots east of Culkin Hall, the college’s seven-story main administration building.

Academic stars named at Emerson J. Dillon Middle School

Academic achievers at Emerson J. Dillon Middle School in Phoenix have been announced.

A Gold Star means the student earned an overall quarterly average of 90 or higher while Silver Star is awarded for an average between 85.0 and 89.99.

A failing grade or incomplete on the report card disqualifies a student from either award regardless of their average.

Grade 5 Gold Stars:

Isabella Allen, Shay Altman, Shayna Applebee, Christopher AuClair, Amaya Baker, Nicholas Bartlett, Ashleigh Besaw, Haley Bowersox, Natalie Brown, Sara Brunell, Kelsie Burgess, Chloe Calkins, Hannah Charleston, Emma Clark, Tabitha Clark, Alexander Coons, Sophia Crandall, Abigail Czyz,

Brielle DeRoberts and Alivia Eusepi.

Also: Hailey Fredericks, Francesca Goodell, Noah Gordon, Cierra Harvey, Mattison Hess, Braden Jolly, Amanda Justian, Lillyan Kingsbury, Nathan Kosakowski, Alivia Lamphere, Miranda LaRobardiere, Jock Li, Owen Lytle, Zack Mills, Robert Minard, Joslyn Mintonye, Garret Morrissiey, Kylie Mulcahey, Alex Olschewske and Kara Pierce.

Also: Andrew Quinn, Connor Roberts, Lily Roberts, William Semanchuk-Enser, Aiden Southworth, Isabella Stacy, Garrett Strang, Liam Sweeney, Benjamin Thibault, Corinne Thibault, Zoie Tracy, Melody Trask, Sophia Trinca, Aidan Trumble, Thomas Uhl, Mason Watkins,

Grade 5 Silver Stars:

Chase Altman, Zackary Byrne,  Cameron Cerul, Kolby Costello, Dylan DeBarth, Haylie Dodge, Alexis Dryer, Ethan Fox, Katherine Holbrook, Aliyah Ladd, Patricia Lamach, Jacob LaRocque, Tori-Lenn Loosen, Nicholas Merriett, Ariell Monaghan, Crystyna Morrison, Victoria O’Connor, Imari Piscitelli, Keaton Renfrew, Katrina Smith, Ashlyn Wallace, Carl Weller, Molly Werth, Jenasys Wood

Grade 6 Gold Stars:

Violet Ameele, Grace Arnold, Cade Bacon, Garrett Bowman, Mason Bresett, Matthew Doane, Elisabeth Dona, Camron Fordyce, Alexandra Galle, Caitlin George, Hailey Goudy, Allison Grabowski, Samuel Guthrie, Adam Hahn, Cassadee Handville, Samantha Harrison and Keera Hazen.

Also: Carly Ingerson, Laila Jones, Madison Kalt, Katelyn Kenner-Carbonaro, Jena Klimaszewski, Zaya Koegel, Lauren Kraft, Brigid Lawless, Anthony McCann, Savanah Neupert, Aubrianna Renfrew, Jillian Ricard, Vanessa Rivera, Leah Schlachter, McKenna Squier, Daniel St. Phillips, Tamika Stobart, Teresa Uhl, Nicholas Vaverchak, Grace Vestigo

Grade 6 Silver Stars:

Olivia Bigelow, Rachel Blake, Bryce Bobbett, Jadan Bruno, Brianna Buonagurio, Alexis Capenos, Danielle Case, Dominic Diaz, Michael Dion, Darren Fischel,  Andrew Hemingway, Haylie Homer, Brianna Horn, Paige Isabell, Natalie King, Julianna Lewis, Tina Li, Joshua Lovins, Chloe Lytle, Christian McKay and Caitlyn Mitchell.

Also: Joseph Murphy, Gregory Ojiem, Skyler Patnode, Taylor Petrie, Lilly Salotto, Briana Schreffler, Alan Seever, Ayden Slack, Jacob St. Laurent, Sarah Thorn, Nicole Tulowiecki, Madison Watkins

Grade 7 Gold Stars:

Annabelle Adams, Gabriella Allen, Kearra Backus, Maggie-Lee Basile, Marcus Berube, Cole Britton, Erika Brown, Gianna DeRoberts, Matthew Francis, Brianna Gates, Hannah Gilbert, Hans Goodnow and Johnna Harke.

Also: Xander Harrison, Declan Hawthorne, Kimber Hendrix, Megan Hess, Emilie Hilliard, Christian Johnson, Morgan Johnson, Ashley Kenner-Carbonaro, Jeffrey Lamach,Danielle LeFebvre, Wendy Li, Ashley Margrey and John Matzke V.

Also: Alayna Merrill, Makayla Newvine, Olivia Ripley, Kristine Rowe, Hannah Sallis, Mairin Sgroi, Mariah Sheirer, Joshua Smith, Crystal Stobart, Olivia Thrall, Joshua VanGorder, Garrett Watkins, Edward Zellar

Grade 7 Silver Stars:

Jason Alberici, Justin Alberici, Evan Baldini, Eric Betts, Madison Bird, Gage Breckenridge, Christopher Caltabiano, Abigail Clark, Alexandra Collins, Hannah Edwards, Allison Ernestine, Robert Fredericks, Kiersten Greenleaf, Bryon Halstead, Caroline Harrington, Courtney Holland, Ethan Hunt and Hunter Jewell.

Also: Trevor LaRobardiere, Taylor Mattice, Erin McArdell, Emmalie McIntyre, Riley Munger, Leo Murray Jr., Makenzie Nodine Jacob Palmatier, Dakota Palocy, Caytlyn Prikcett, Gabriel Rebensky, Hannah Root, Hannah Rounds, Alyssa Schafer, Payton Scruton, Gavin Trask, Natasha Zody, Mark Zogg

Grade 8 Gold Stars:

Dixon Ameele, Andrew Avery, Mikalah Bell, Jordan Cole, Hannah Grabowski, Morgan Gravlin, Natalie Hart, Zoe Heckert, Alexandra Hoag, Corinne Januszka, Nina Lewis, Megan Maestri, Emily McDonald, Breanna Mitchell, Ethan Murakami-Hamm, Catherine Musumeci, Bailey Otter, Lauren Schmidt, Alexis Smith, Brianna Squier, Haley Stellingwerf, Alisa Trudell, Kaitlin White, Leila Wooding, Julianne Yates

Grade 8 Silver Stars:

Mikayla Bailey, Scott Bell, Alexis Blackwell, John Blackwell Jr., David Burgess Jr., Christopher Cleary, Gabrielle Crandall, Julie Daubek, Mikayla Davis, Ryan Dolbear, Jonathan Downing, Devin Dubovik, Emily Forget, Becka Fuller, Dakotalee Gelling, Brandon Germain and Nathaniel Gill.

Also: Alyssa Goudy, Trinity Green, Bradlee Hess, Brittney Hunter, Matthew Johnson Jr., Gabriella Liberty, Jacob Marr,  Riley McCann, Paige McEwen, Frank Palmer, Lawrence Pilon, Cade Reed, Noah Scruton, Ryan Shafer, Alexander Sisera, Dana Stoutenger, Molly Thorn, Zachary Tulowiecki, Ben Vienneau, Jerrett Williams, Jordan Williams, Trevor Woren, Kolbey Young