Category Archives: Featured Stories

‘Cupid’ is the pet of the week

In an effort to find homes for animals up for adoption, state Sen. Patricia Ritchie, who represents Oswego County, is teaming up with local animal shelters to feature “Pets of the Week” from Central and Northern New York on her website and Facebook page.

“There are many people who bring pets home in December as holiday gifts who are now heading back to work and school and finding that they don’t have the time to dedicate to caring for an animal,” Ritchie said.

“Many of those animals end up at local shelters,” she said.

The Oswego County Humane Society is helping in Ritchie’s effort.

This week, the featured pet is Cupid, a male Rottweiler mix who is 6 months old.  He is house trained, and described by the Oswego County Humane Society as a pet that likes to play, but has a calm side too.

For more information on Cupid and other pets available for adoption, call the Oswego County Humane Society at 207-1070.

SUNY Oswego online MBA program receives honor

SUNY Oswego’s online MBA tied for 14th among online graduate business programs, highest of any New York college, says  U.S. News’ 2014 “Best Online Degree Programs: Business” rankings published Jan. 8.

The high ranking shows the traditionally strong School of Business — recently reaccredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business — has successfully translated campus-based instruction to serve students everywhere, said President Deborah Stanley.

The rankings emphasize factors like student engagement (in which Oswego ranked fifth overall), peer reputation, admissions selectivity, faculty credentials and training, student services and technology.

Hands-on opportunities, including co-ops, internships and volunteer service, have long been an emphasis of Oswego’s academic programs and the college extends these experiences for online learners as well.

“Online classes have the same rigor as traditional classes” at Oswego, said Richard Skolnik, business school sean. “Most of the faculty teaching in the online program also teach classroom-based courses. Online MBA faculty members are recognized for scholarly and professional accomplishments.”

Sharkey named to Pathfinder Bank board

John F. Sharkey III has been elected to the board of directors of Pathfinder Bank effective Dec. 19, said board chair Janette Resnick.

Sharkey is president of Universal Metal Works, a custom metal fabrication facility, in Fulton, and the managing partner of Universal Properties, LLC.

“John will bring his well established entrepreneurial and management skills to our board room, as well as his strong knowledge of the Central New York business community,” said Resnick.

“The board of directors has been engaged in its own succession planning process over the last several years,” Resnick continued, “and we are proud of our results.”

Prior to his role with Universal Metal Works, Sharkey was president of Universal Joint Sales, a heavy-duty trucks parts distributor, headquartered in Syracuse.

During his tenure at Universal Joint Sales, the company grew to 13 locations throughout the Northeast and Florida.

In 1998, Sharkey sold Universal Joint Sales to FleetPride. For three years following the sale of the company, Sharkey acted as FleetPride’s Regional Vice President.

Sharkey is an active member of the Central New York community, serving on boards including the Council of Fleet Specialists, Rockwell International’s Distributor Advisory Council and the Camillus Youth Hockey Association. He is also a committee member of the Syracuse Chapter of Ducks Unlimited.

Sharkey and his wife Barbara originally resided in Camillus where they raised their two sons. In 2005, the couple built a home in Oswego, where they reside.

He enjoys golfing, boating, skiing and flying and  earned his Instruments Pilot License.

Pathfinder Bank is a New York State chartered savings bank headquartered in Oswego.

Certified nurse midwife joins Oswego Hospital

Certified Nurse Midwife Theresa Check has joined the staff of Oswego Hospital’s maternity center and the local practice, Oswego County OB-GYN.

Check recently graduated from The Ohio State University, where she earned a master’s of science in nursing after studying midwifery and women’s health.

As part of her final year of midwifery training, she provided care at facilities in both Ohio and Pennsylvania.

“I am so happy to be here providing care,” Check said. “During my interview process, I really enjoyed talking with the physicians and staff.

“For me personally, I believe that midwifery was a calling,” Check said. “I am also a strong believer in getting to know my patients and becoming someone they are comfortable talking to about their health concerns.”

A native of Cleveland, Ohio, the new midwife said she found Oswego to her liking. “I grew up on a great lake and this area seemed like home; a nice place to live with a small-town atmosphere,” she said.

Check has also completed Lamaze childbirth education training and is a DONA International (formerly known as Doulas of North America) trained birth doula. She is a member of the American College of Nurse-Midwives.

Oswego Hospital’s maternity center offers large, attractive private labor and delivery rooms with the latest technology. Each labor and delivery room also has its own bathroom with a large soaking tub.

There are also 12 postpartum rooms, which have their own bathrooms, as well as a cheery, homelike atmosphere. The department is staffed by a caring and knowledgeable staff.

The unit is staffed 24 hours a day with either an obstetrician or certified nurse midwife with physician collaboration and with neonatal nurse practitioners for immediate newborn care. For a tour of the facility, call 349-5572.

News in Brief

Trinity United Methodist Church in Oswego will serve an all-you-can-eat pancake Breakfast from 8 to 11 a.m. Saturday Jan. 11.

The menu includes your choice of French toast, waffles, or pancakes, sausage, juice, coffee or tea.

Trinity United Methodist Church is located at 45 E. Utica St. (corner of East Fourth at Utica Street) in Oswego.

For more information, you may call the church at 343-1715.


Granby Center United Methodist Church is hosting an all-you-can-eat soup luncheon from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. (or until sold out) today, Saturday, Jan. 11.

Takeouts are available. The church is one mile west of Fulton on County Route 3.


The first meeting of the new Fulton Alliance Church Pioneer Clubs will be from 7 to 8:15 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 16.

The club are for children age 2 through sixth grade. The Fulton Alliance Church is located at 1044 State Route 48, two miles south of Pizza Hut.

Pioneer Clubs will meet every Wednesday evening and all children are welcome to come and join the fun and excitement.


The First United Church of Fulton is having a series of health forums during January.

Each Wednesday from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., local men and women will share their experiences from childbirth to menopause providing tips and tools for total wellness and improved health.

The programs are Jan. 15, 22 and 29 at the church at 33 S. Third St., Fulton.

The classes are free if you preregister by calling 593-1113 or emailing

If you don’t preregister, they are $5 at the door.


The Phoenix Public Library will host local fitness instructor Jennifer Johnson from 3 to 4 p.m. Monday, Jan. 13 in the Century Club Room.

She will give a presentation on nutrition and provide attendees the latest information on your best food choices for weight loss and weight control.

Johnson will talk about food choices and the optimum portion sizes for your nutritional needs. There will be handouts and a question and answer session after the program.

The event is open to the public.


Registrations for the upcoming 2014 season for Fulton Little League Baseball and Softball will take place from 8 a.m. to noon Jan. 18 at the Fulton War Memorial.

Other dates for signups are noon to 4 p.m. Jan. 25 and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 1.

All boys or girls who reside in, or attend school in, the Fulton and Hannibal school districts are eligible to play Fulton Little Baseball or Softball.

A child must be 4 years old before May 1, 2014 for the T-Ball program. A girl cannot be 17 as of Dec. 31, 2013 and a boy cannot be 17 as of April 30, 2014 to play in their respective Senior Divisions of play.

All participants should present a birth certificate at the time of registration. A late fee will be assessed for any player registered after Feb. 1.

Anyone with questions can call John Florek, league president, at 591-4993 or Dave Webber, vice president, at 532-2598.


Trinity United Methodist Church in Oswego will have a Penny Carnival from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 18.

There will be games and activities of all sorts, such as a duck pond, bean bag toss, face painting, spin the wheel and more.

Don’t be stuck inside — come on out and join us to enliven a dreary winter day!

There will be hotdogs, popcorn, water and soda, too.

Trinity United Methodist Church is located at 45 E. Utica St. (corner of East Fourth at Utica Street) in Oswego.

For more information, call the church at 343-1715.


The Fulton Board of Education and Superintendent William Lynch will host a morning coffee from 9 to 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 25, in Room 130 at G. Ray Bodley High School.

The intent of the meeting is to provide members of the community and school district the opportunity to ask questions of the superintendent and school board members relative to thoughts and concerns regarding the Fulton school district, services and current education initiatives in the district and New York state.


The First United Church of Fulton is conducting its first ever Karaoke Night at 7 p.m. Jan. 25 at the church, 33 S. Third St., Fulton.

Admission is free. Chuck Ramsey will be with us to provide the latest in Karaoke performance. Popcorn and soda will be served free of charge. All ages, children, youth and adults, are welcome to share in the fun. The community is welcome.

This event is sponsored by Children and Families Team of The Open Doors Neighborhood Center of the First United Church. For more information, call the Rev. David Nethercott at First United Church at 592-2707.


The Greater Oswego-Fulton Chamber of Commerce donated more than $900 to the United Way of Greater Oswego County for local food pantries.

The money was raised from a silent auction held at the chamber’s recent Holiday Social event. This is the third year the chamber has made this donation from this event.

Founded in 1915, the Greater Oswego-Fulton Chamber of Commerce today has more than 500 members who are working to improve businesses and the quality of life for the entire region.

The growth of Oswego County has been top priority within the chamber for over 85 years and continues the legacy today. For further information on the Chamber, visit


A New Year-New You Health and Craft Fair is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Jan. 25 at the Fulton Polish Home.

More than 30 vendors and crafters will be on hand. Admission is free and there will be giveaways, blood pressure checks and more.


The Oswego Public Library’s learning center will offer a Twitter For Organizations workshop from 2 to 4 p.m. Jan. 21.

This class is free and topics covered by the instructor include: tweeting, best practices for using Twitter for non-profit organizations, using Hashtags and understanding the site’s privacy settings.

In addition to our Twitter For Organizations workshop, the learning center will feature Computer Tune Up, Advanced Iphones, Downloading Ebooks for Ipads, Photoshop Elements, and SkyDrive.

Dates and times are as follows:

1 to 3 p.m. Jan. 11 — Advanced iPhone

2 to 4 p.m. Jan. 14 — Downloading E-Books for iPads

3 to 4:30 p.m. Jan. 25 — Photoshop Elements

2 to 4 p.m. Jan. 28 — SkyDrive

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 341-5867 to register for workshops or if you have further questions.


Oswego City School District 2014 graduating seniors are invited to apply for scholarships or an occupational education award offered by the Oswego Rotary Club.

Applications are available at the Oswego High School guidance office or at the Student Services Office of Oswego County BOCES. Completed applications must be postmarked by March 31.

Each of four college scholarships provides $1,000, paid in two $500 checks upon the successful completion of full-time study in the first and third semesters of college.

The principal criterion for the scholarships is need for financial assistance in meeting college expenses, but consideration will also be given to high school academic record, school activities, community activities, academic honors and awards, quality of a written essay, and likelihood of success in college.

The occupational education award offers $500 for a graduating student who has completed an occupational education program.

Selection will be based on demonstrated skill in the chosen field of work and demonstrated leadership.

Applications may be requested or questions answered by calling 343-9692.


A meeting concerning cover crops and soil health is scheduled for 10 a.m. Feb. 18 at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Cayuga County in Auburn.

The meeting is being held so the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service can kick off a National Soil Health Initiative.

The National Conference on Cover Crops & Soil Health in Omaha, Nebraska kicks off this major effort.

The NY USDA-NRCS State Conservationist Don Pettit will start the meeting and then there will be a live broadcast by webinar concerning the soil and crop initiative.

Howard G. Buffett, an Illinois farmer, conservatonist and philanthropist, and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack will lead the webinar by discussing: The Big Picture: Conservation, Cover Crops and Soil Health.


The New Haven Senior Citizens are sponsoring a trip to Lancaster, Pa., April 29-30.

The trip is open to the public. Attendees will see “Moses” at the Sight and Sound theater and a play called “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” at the Dutch Apple Theater with dinner.

For more information, call Elaine Parkhurst at 343- 9475 or 289-2148. Reservations and deposits are due by the middle of February.

Real estate group donates to homeless youth program

The Oswego County Board of Realtors® recently presented Karen Merrill, coordinator of Oswego County Opportunities’ PATH program with a check in support of the programs’ efforts of helping area youth. Each year, the Oswego County Board of Realtors® organizes a fundraiser for the PATH program.

“Our members open their hearts and their pocketbooks to support the PATH Program,” said Gene Friske, Executive Officer of the Oswego County Board of Realtors®.

“We are happy to be able to assist such a worthwhile endeavor as OCO’s PATH program and I am pleased to say that our support has increased steadily over the years,” Friske added.

Established in 1991, OCO’s PATH program has provided hundreds of homeless youth with transitional independent living services and helped them become contributing members of society.

This year, the program was awarded another 5-year grant from the federal government to continue to provide services to the homeless youth of Oswego County.

“The donations we receive from caring organizations such as the Oswego County Board of Realtors® helped us provide youth in the PATH program with a little something special at Christmas such as food, clothing, and some gifts, many times these gifts are the only ones these youth receive.,” Merrill said.

“The homeless youth population is a very misunderstood and many times, unjustly criticized population,” added Merrill.  “PATH helps youth realize there are members of the community and that their community supports them and acknowledges the positive things they are doing to better themselves.”

Those interested in learning more about the PATH program may contact Karen Merrill at OCO’s Crisis & Development Services office, 598-6664, ext. 1708.

Birdlebough grads discuss gender stereotypes, healthy relationships

Submitted by Oswego County BOCES

Two John C. Birdlebough graduates returned to the Phoenix Central School District as educators this week, promoting healthy relationships and discussing gender stereotypes.

The 2002 graduates, Megan Bittel, an educator with Oswego County Opportunities’ Services to Aid Families program, and Colleen Saxby, community development manager with the Girl Scouts, led discussions with middle school students in Joe Adams’ health classes.

Divided into two groups – one for boys and one for girls – the educators addressed a variety of social and relationship issues that commonly lead to bullying.

“We are working to identify gender stereotypes and hoping they can break these stereotypes through education,” Bittel said.

“We teach acceptance of others, we should be aware of things that affect bullying so we can put an end to it.”

The group of boys talked about the adjectives that describe what society believes a man should be, the misconceptions that still exist in regard to male and female roles, and the judgment that teens often face from their peers if they don’t possess “typical” male traits.

“The reality is that boys and men who don’t fit neatly into these stereotypical categories, they’re called some pretty nasty things … sissy, wuss, wimp, girl. What message are we sending to boys when the worst thing they can be called is a girl?” Bittel asked.

“No one deserves to be called names because they don’t fit into this teeny, tiny box society expects them to,” she said.

Both Bittel and Saxby also discussed the importance of healthy relationships, from friendships to dating. Topics included dating violence and age of consent.

“This program teaches students what a healthy relationship looks like,” Saxby said. “It gives them a sense of self.”

The educational initiative spanned several days, with five classes participating in two sessions each.

Former Fulton resident ordained a priest in ceremony in Rome, Italy

Nicholas Fisher, of Fulton, was among 31 men who were ordained to the priesthood by His Eminence Cardinal Velasio de Paolis, CS, Pontifical Delegate for the Legionaries of Christ on Dec. 14 at the Papal Basilica of St. John Lateran, Rome, Italy.

Of the total 31 new priests, eight are American and one from Canada. The others are from Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Germany, France, Columbia and Chile.

Fisher said he had the beginnings of a calling as young child living in New York state.

The Fishers’ home parish was Our Lady of the Rosary in Hannibal, where Nicholas Fisher received his first sacraments and was an altar server during the Rev. Dennis Hartnett’s pastorate.

At the age of 5, Fisher remembers being in Mass at his local parish.

“That day our parish priest, Father Hartnett, a holy man, asked me if I would like to ring the bells during the consecration.  I said yes, so he gave me the bells and I sat in the first pew with my mother.

“At the moment of the consecration, she told me when to ring them, and I did, first for the consecration of the bread, and then of the wine. At that moment, I remember, I thought for the first time that perhaps I would like to be a priest.

“After that it was something I thought about over and over again all these years,” Fisher said. “I come from a Catholic family and we were educated in the faith. They always told me when the priest says those words and they ring the bells, the bread becomes the body of Christ.

“We used to talk with my friends about what we wanted to be when we grew up: of course one wanted to be a politician, another a firefighter, another a doctor, another the president,” he said. “In short, we all wanted to be heroes. In that instant, there in my parish church, I understood in some way that the priest is more important than all those others, for only he can change the bread and wine into the body and blood of Jesus.”

Fisher was born in Oswego June 5, 1982, to David and Carol Fisher, then residing in Sterling. they now live in Fulton.

His grandparents are the late Robert and Angie Arduini of Fulton and the late Carl and Dolores Fisher of Williamson.

As a young boy, Fishers attended Fulton Catholic and Seton Home Study Schools. In the summer of 1993 he entered the minor seminary of the Legionaries of Christ in Center Harbor, N.H.

In 1998, he joined the Legionaries of Christ as a novice, and did his novitiate in Salamanca, Spain, from 1998 to 2000.

He studied humanities at the order’s College of Humanities in Cheshire, Conn.Fisher has a bachelor’s degree in theology and a master’s degree in philosophy, both from the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum in Rome, Italy.

He has done apostolic internships in New York, Padua (Italy), and Vienna (Austria). He was ordained a deacon by the Rev. Msgr. Renato Boccardo, Archbishop of Spoleto-Norcia (Italy) in Rome June 29, 2013 and a priest Dec. 14, 2013 also in Rome.

Ten members of the family traveled to Italy to attend the ordination and events in Rome before and after, including a general audience and Sunday Angelus with Pope Francis, a retreat for families of the newly ordained, a presentation on the Shroud of Turin and Fisher’s first Mass the day after his ordination.

He was assisted by the Rev. Sylvester Heereman, LC, Vicar General and acting General Director of the Legion of Christ.

Fisher offered his first Masses of Thanksgiving in the United States at Our Lady of The Rosary Church, Hannibal, the Legionary Seminary in Cheshire, Conn., the Guardians of the Eucharist Center in Salina and at Holy Trinity Church, Fulton.

He also concelebrated and presided at several Masses throughout the Christmas season at Holy Trinity in Fulton, assisting temporary administrator the Rev. Richard Morisette, Deacon David Sweenie and the Rev. Moritz Fuchs.

Fisher returned Jan. 2 to his first assignment as chaplain of a Catholic elementary school in Mexico City.

For more details about their stories, go to

The Legionaries of Christ are a religious congregation of priests of pontifical rite founded in 1941 in Mexico. Members include four bishops, 932 priests and some 900 religious in preparation for the priesthood.