Category Archives: Featured Stories

The weather outside has been frightful

By Debra J. Groom

The letter “S” has been at the forefront of Oswego County residents’ minds of late.

It could stand for shivering — temperatures Friday Jan. 3 and Tuesday Jan. 7 were beyond cold. With wind chills, the mercury on Tuesday never made it to zero.

Can you say minus 25 degrees?

It was actually colder Friday, Jan. 3, but the wind chills were not as frigid. Temps that day got down to about minus 5 as residents cheered the lack of wind.

“S” also could stand for snow. As of Tuesday, Jan. 7, Fulton had 72 inches of snow for the season, said John Florek at the city’s water works, an official reporting station for the National Weather Service.

For the storm that hit the Oswego-Fulton area beginning Thursday, Jan. 2, through Friday, Jan. 3, Fulton got about 9 inches.

Weather observer Paul Cardinali measured 9 inches for that storm while Florek measured 9.8 inches.

William Gregway, who is a National Weather Service observer in Oswego, said the Port City saw about 13.5 for that storm.

But nothing in the county’s two cities even comes close to the northern part of the county -— namely the snow capital, Redfield.

Weather observer Carolyn Yerdon said the area already has topped 200 inches for the season — and it’s only the beginning of January.

“We are having a pretty wild winter so far — 224 inches and counting!” she said. “This is the most snow I have recorded in the past 18 years this early in the season.

“We should be headed for possibly a record breaking year if we can get over 420 inches, which is the current record (from 96-97 winter season),” Yerdon said.

The final “S” could stand for shoveling — something folks from Pulaski north have been doing more than they’d like.

After the Thursday-Friday storm of last week, a huge lake effect band swept off Lake Ontario Monday and didn’t move much for a couple of days.

Yerdon said another 17 inches fell in Redfield from 1 p.m. Monday to about 2 p.m. Tuesday and then another 5 inches came down Wednesday.

The season’s total is at 224 inches as of 4 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 7.

The bitter cold actually has been causing more problems for folks in the Fulton-Oswego area than the snow.

AAA reported on its website Tuesday afternoon that areas such as Fulton and Oswego had three-hour waits for service calls.

The same was true for the Interstate 81 corridor from Mexico to Adams Center in Jefferson County.

Cardinali said he recorded a high Fulton temperature on Jan. 7 of 6 degrees and a low of minus 2.

But with winds gusting up to 45 mph, Cardinali estimates wind chills in the minus 25 to minus 30 range.

“These were the coldest wind chills we’ve had since Jan. 17, 1982,” he said.

It was actually colder Jan 3, with a high of 8 and a low of minus 5. “But there was not as much wind,” Cardinali said.

On that bitter day, Fulton saw a high of minus 4, a low of minus 8 and winds more than 40 mph.

Oswego County search and rescue academy to begin

Submitted by Oswego County

The Oswego County Pioneer Search and Rescue Team will begin its second Search and Rescue Academy beginning March 6.

Class size is limited to 24 individuals. Classes begin March 6 and end June 15.

The academy will be held primarily at the Oswego County Emergency Response and Training Center, 720 E. Seneca St., Oswego. Classes will be held on Thursday nights and one to two weekend days a month.

Individuals interested in attending  should obtain an application at the team’s website or contact Dan Arena at djarena@gmail.com.

Completed applications, along with a check for $100, should be mailed to the team at:  Oswego County Search and Rescue, PO Box 229, Parish, NY  13131-0229.

Applications must be received no later than Feb. 16, 2014.

“The curriculum will provide a thorough introduction to Search and Rescue and meets the state Department of Environmental Conservation’s minimum training requirements,” said Roger Fox, Oswego County SAR Coordinator.

The SAR Academy will cover topics such as map and compass, global positioning systems, man-tracking, wilderness survival, radio communications, search techniques, cold weather emergencies, crime scene preservation, the National Incident Management Systems (NIMS), and a variety of other topics.

Individuals who complete the Academy will be certified  as state Deaprtment of Environmental Conservation Basic Wildlands Searcher, certified in Wilderness First Aid, American Heart Association CPR, certified as a Project Lifesaver Electronic Search Specialist.

The academy is open to all interested individuals — applicants do not need to reside in Oswego County.

Students should be in good health, at least 18 years of age, and capable of passing a moderate physical fitness test.  Graduates of the academy who are accepted onto a local SAR team may be eligible to have their course fee reimbursed.

More information can be found at the team’s web site www.oswegosar.org.

All applicants will be contacted and interviewed prior to selection to the Academy. As soon as the class selection is finalized, applicants will be contacted.  Individuals who are not accepted into the class will have their money refunded.

Oswego couple are “Petal Pushers” at Rose Parade

By Ashley M. Casey

More than a decade ago, when Hannibal High School music teacher Shirley Terrinoni worked in the Mexico School District, she added an item to her “bucket list”: decorate a float for the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, Calif., on New Year’s Day.

Shirley’s inspiration was her then-coworker, history teacher and travel writer Sandra Scott, who had volunteered with the Petal Pushers to decorate the massive, flower-covered floats.

Since then, it had been a dream of Shirley’s to do the same.

“She’s always wanted to go there. She filled out the online application. When we got accepted, she was pretty excited. I heard her scream,” said Shirley’s husband, marketing strategist Jim Terrinoni.

“I was very excited because I didn’t think they would take everyone (who applied),” Shirley said. But with thousands of volunteers and several floats to decorate, the Petal Pushers will take all the help they can get.

“We’ve done volunteering for about five years,” Jim said. For the Race Across America (RAAM) transcontinental bicycle race, the Terrinonis would travel to Parkersburg, W.Va., to operate a time station from 2003 to 2008.

Once the route changed and different volunteers were involved, they stopped going.

“It was some of the same people, but it wasn’t that core group,” Jim said.

After years of California dreaming, the Terrinonis, who live in Oswego, finally made their trip to Pasadena a reality.

They made the cross-country trek and stayed in Pasadena for a week before New Year’s to help the Petal Pushers.

The Petal Pushers are made up of 4,000 volunteers, ranging from ages 13 to 96, who gather to decorate seven floats for the Rose Parade.

The most famous of these floats is the one sponsored by Lutheran Hour Ministries in St. Louis, Mo. It is the only Christian float in the Rose Parade.

This year’s theme was “Dreams Come True,” and depicted a church with a grove of trees.

Jim recalled Petal Pushers coordinator Dick Gast joking, “I realize for some of you that putting a single rose on the Lutheran float would be like going to Mecca.”

The Terrinonis were two of the lucky few assigned to work on the LHM float, though they worked on others as well.

Shirley also worked on the “closer” float, or the parade’s final float, which was a giant football covered in palm bark.

“We were fortunate that we ended up on a float that most people wanted to be on,” Jim said.

They were assigned the 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. shift. In some cases, the following evening shift worked through the night to get the floats finished.

“You wouldn’t think that it would happen, but every night when you leave and you know how much has been done, and there’s a second shift that comes in, in the morning you’re truly amazed at what was accomplished. Each person doing a small amount adds up quickly,” Shirley said.

Every surface on the float needed to be covered in flowers, seeds or other plant material.

“I’ve watched the Tournament of Roses Parade many times, and I know that they always tell you that everything has to be covered,” Shirley said. “But until you’re there, you don’t truly realize they mean everything from the trailer hitches to the grates that are over the engine exhaust outlets … All of those have to be covered one line at a time in seeds. Every space has to be done.”

“The judges go through it with a fine-toothed comb to make sure there wasn’t anything that wasn’t covered — not even a half-inch space,” Jim said. “Sometimes, you can’t even look at it because it’s so overwhelming.”

Despite the week of hard work, Jim said that working on the floats was “an enormous amount of fun” and the float designers’ “creativity is mind-boggling.”

“I witnessed the total experience. I’m glad I was there from the beginning when there wasn’t anything on the float to when it was totally finished,” Shirley said of their weeklong stay. “I think if I’d only been there one day, I wouldn’t have gotten the whole experience.”

Some of the families the Terrinonis met had been Petal Pushers for more than a decade.

“I would recommend it to anybody,” he said. “It is definitely a family affair. Outside of Disney, I have never seen … such a diverse population.”

“I would truly love to do it again,” said Shirley, “if I have the chance.”

Would Jim do it again?

“I’m open to thinking about it because it was a good experience. The people were so friendly,” Jim said. “We’ve traveled and done a lot of things, but never anything like this.”

Nelson Law Firm launches new website

Nelson Law Firm, 89 E. First St., Oswego, recently launched a new web site, said law firm owner Allison Nelson.

“We are delighted to have our new site, www.anelsonlaw.net, in place to assist both current clients and prospective ones,” Nelson said.

“The site gives a detailed background on our firm history, areas of practice, profiles of me and my associate attorney, Lesley Germanow.

“It also has detailed contact information for Lesley, our office and myself,” Nelson said.

“Nelson Law Firm practices in the areas of Municipal Law, Real Estate, Business and Corporate Law, Estates, Trusts, and Vehicle and Traffic matters,” Nelson said.

“We have more than 75 combined years of experience in these areas and new clients are always welcome,” she said

The site was created and produced by Steve Chirello Advertising, www.chirello.com, Fulton.

Nelson can be contacted at 312-0318 or anelson@anelsonlaw.net.

Winter sports big business in Oswego County

By Debra J. Groom

When the snowflakes are falling in Oswego County, that also means dollar bills are falling into area cash registers.

Winter activities such as snowmobiling and cross country skiing are big business in Oswego County, bringing out not just the locals looking for some fun but also people from all areas of the Northeast seeking that great winter getaway.

The Oswego County Department of Community Development, Tourism and Planning estimates the total economic impact of snowmobiling alone in the county to be about $30 million during a good winter.

Janet Clerkin, speaking for Oswego County Tourism, said the state Snowmobile Association estimates snowmobilers spend between $106 and $113 per day while snowmobiling in NYS, and they spend about 21 days snowmobiling.

In 2011 there were 10,947 snowmobiles registered in Oswego County: 6,718 non-residents, and 4,229 Oswego County residents.

In addition to snowmobiling, there is cross country skiing, ice fishing and even driftboat fishing in which anglers from all over come to town searching for those huge steelheads.

All of these people are spending money in the area at restaurants, gas stations, parts stores and motels. And sales tax and bed tax money from these visitors goes directly into the coffers of the county and other municipalities to help pay for services for residents.

Carolyn Rees, president of the Winona Forest Recreation Association, said the snowmobiling trails in the Redfield area “are awesome,” considering the area has been socked with more than 200 inches of snow so far this year.

“We got about 9 to 10 feet prior to the rain coming,” she said of the couple of weeks before Christmas. “We’ve probably got another 2 or so feet here now.”

Weather observer Carolyn Yerdon, from Redfield, said the area has seen 202 inches of snow so far this season and the snow banks are huge. She said so far, the area is on tap to set a record for snowfall this year.

Rees said snowmobiling and other sports, like the popular cross country skiing and snowshoeing in the Winona Forest Recreation Area, are “a big deal.”

Just for snowmobiling, she estimates hundreds of thousands of dollars are generated just in the northern part of Oswego County. “Snowmobiling brings in a ton of money statewide and Tug Hill-wide,” she said.

Other areas of the county that haven’t seen the huge snowfall of the Redfield area are grooming their trails after last week’s storm.

Mike Schmid, trail coordinator for the Fulton Area Snow Travelers club, said the Fulton club has one 32-mile trail that links areas to the west in Hannibal and Sterling to the east side of Fulton.

From there, snowmobilers can get to Central Square and head east to Oneida County or head north to the Tug Hill.

“Snowmobilers tend to spend a lot of money,” he said. “They buy fuel, food, drinks.”

In Fulton, up to 4,000 people show up for the Great Eastern Whiteout, a weekend of snowmobile events including an antique snowmobile show. This year, the event is set for Feb. 8.

Schmid said organizers hope for Lake Neatahwanta to freeze enough so the popular snowmobile races on the lake can return to the event.

Oswego County launched a snowmobiling app for smartphones and other electronic devices in the fall of 2012 to make it easier for snowmobilers to find the best places to sled in Oswego County.

“The latest numbers show there were more than 5,000 users who had downloaded the app from all over New York state, 12 other states and Canada,” Clerkin said. “There were 29,000 sessions on the app between October 2012 and October 2013.”

Kevin Davis, who runs Catch the Drift Guide Service in Oswego, said he has people coming in from throughout the east coast — from Maine to the Carolinas — to fish the Oswego River in the winter months.

He even has a group that comes in every April from California to take two driftboat charters with him.

“I work with the Quality Inn for my fishermen — it comes out to about $90 a day for rooms,” he said.

Add to that money for meals in Oswego restaurants, gas to drive here and other expenses and that’s a lot of green going into Oswego-area cash drawers.

The same is true over on the Salmon River. Andrew Bliss, owner of Chasin’ Tail Adventures, said he has poeple coming in from Maine to Maryland looking to driftboat fish for steelhead.

And these anglers are dropping about $300 a day to do so, he estimates.

People from all across  New York and from outside also flock to northern Oswego County each year for the Winona Forest Tourathon cross country ski event. It is scheduled for Feb. 22 and consists of races of 12.5 kilometers, 25K, 37.5K and 50K.

These out-of-town folks are usually in town for a few days, adding to money being spent at area businesses.

And Clerkin said the Sandy Pond Sportsman’s Association conducts ice fishing events “almost every weekend” during the winter.

Poetry Corner, by Jim Farfaglia

This Year, by Jim Farfaglia

 

Every new year is a bridge that’s crossed,

it’s a wishing well where dreams are tossed;

it’s excitement, like the first day of spring,

or the tender joy a newborn brings.

 

A new year fills you like a sky so blue

or the welcome smile of a friend to you;

it’s the first snowfall gracing the ground,

it’s the sun rising on our little town.

 

A new year can be like a first bite of fruit,

or a remembered melody played on a flute;

yes, this year is the gift of life anew,

and it was made especially for you.

Oswego Children’s Theater sets auditions for teen play

The Oswego Children’s Theater will host auditions for an upcoming teen theater production from 6 to 8 p.m. Sunday Jan. 12 and Monday Jan. 13.

The auditions will be held at the home of the Mosher Family located at 151 E. Seneca St., Oswego.

The auditions for the production are open to any area youth who will be at least 13 years of age on or before April 12, 2014 on up to the age of 19

Lyndsie Lee Jones will direct the production. The show will be presented locally and will also be performed April 12 at the Michael J. Harms Theater Festival, in Auburn.

The Michael J. Harms Theater Festival is an annual event that features performances from area high school aged groups. The performances are judged by a panel of judges.

The judges award individual and group commendations. The festival also features workshops where each participant is given the chance to work on various theater projects.

Those auditioning for the production may bring along a monologue and will be asked to read from a script.

For more information, call 342-5265 or 529-1009.

SUNY Oswego, Chinese college OK agreement to expand international study

Submitted by SUNY Oswego

SUNY Oswego and a well-known communications university in Beijing recently signed an agreement that could send as many as 20 Chinese students a year to Oswego to complete their undergraduate degrees in broadcasting and mass communications, journalism and public relations.

While students from Communication University of China will apply to come here for degree completion, the door also is open for SUNY Oswego students to study at the university known as “a cradle of China’s radio and television talents.”

Lorrie Clemo, provost and vice president for academic affairs; Fritz Messere, dean of the School of Communication, Media and the Arts; and Joshua McKeown, director of international education and programs, signed the memorandum of understanding during a November visit to China.

“The CUC agreement is an important part of our overall strategy to become more internationally connected and to develop partnerships that offer reciprocal benefits for students and faculty across institutions,” Clemo said.

“We are purposefully seeking university partners like CUC that are inviting to international students and are able to offer more international research opportunities to our faculty,” she said.

Agreements in Asia

The five-year renewable pact with CUC represents the latest in a growing number of links with universities in Asia, particularly in Korea and China, as well as a new exchange agreement in India.

Oswego’s chemistry program has a degree-completion agreement with Zhejiang Gongshang University in Hangzhou.

Another pact offers students of Zhejiang Sci-Tech University, also in Hangzhou, and Oswego the opportunity to complete degrees at each others’ institutions in business administration, human resource management and marketing.

A similar agreement with Nanjing University of Science and Technology also exists.

“Through CUC and our other Asian university partners, Oswego students and faculty will have deeper engagement with issues in a part of the world that is currently the most populated and dynamic in shaping the global environment that we all share,” Clemo said.

As many as 50 Chinese students a year attend SUNY Oswego among the more than 200 international students, McKeown said, and their focus largely has been in business and the sciences.

“We have so many academic strengths in other areas, we consciously have sought out other types of programs for articulations,” he said.

This spring, two exchange students from CUC will enroll in Oswego for a semester in communications disciplines, preceding the first round of degree-completion candidates later in 2014.

Messere and McKeown said the college hopes to expand the agreement with CUC to include more opportunities for each other’s students.

“This (articulation) agreement will facilitate the transfer of high-quality students — the best communications students China has to offer — to come to SUNY Oswego to complete their degrees,” McKeown said.

“This agreement has the potential to open up a wealth of opportunities for their students and ours,” McKeown said.

Messere agreed, noting CUC also has programs in graphic design and music.

“I’m hopeful this is the beginning of a number of relationships,” Messere said. “I would like to see relationships such as this one extended throughout the School of Communication, Media and the Arts.”

Exploring potential

McKeown said an attractive option in the future for Oswego students could be completing a master’s degree in international communications at CUC.

It is a one-year program whose courses are taught in English.

Messere is excited about the possibilities of the new relationship. For example, the school is exploring a two-week course in New York City to enable Chinese students to meet and talk with business executives in communications industries headquartered there.

Top students also will have a chance to participate in the Hollywood P.O.V. program that visits the entertainment capital, he said.

“We would invite qualified Chinese students to join the Hollywood program, just as we invite qualified American students who have the necessary interests in large-budget entertainment and film,” Messere said.