Category Archives: Featured Stories

Awards presented by supermodified group

A number of awards were presented in November at the International SuperModified Association Awards Banquet.

Receiving awards were:

Drivers Point Fund sponsors — Carol D. Haynes, Debbie Lane, Howie Lane,  Brad Lichty and Kathy Harrington.

ISMA Owner and Driver of the Year  — Vic Miller and Lou Cicconi.

Owners Champion — Vic Miller

Drivers Champion — Lou Cicconi

The Shea Concrete ISMA Super Series Steel Palace point fund to the top five point getters –  Ben Seitz, Mark Sammut, Vic Miller, accepting for Chris Perley, Lou Cicconi and Mike Lichty.

2013 ISMA Locke Crane Services Mechanic of the Year — Ryan Klingelhofer of the Lichty-Reed team.

2013 ISMA Randy Witkum Memorial Rookie of the Year — Alison Cumens

2013 Slice n Go Deli ISMA Most Improved Driver honors — Alison Cumens.

2013 ISMA Support Award — Carol D. Haynes

2013 Gater Racing News Fans Choice Driver Award — Mike Lichty

2013 ISMA Achievement Award — Alison Cumens.

2013 Race Threads ISMA Crew of the Year — Lichty-Reed race team

2013 ISMA Lois Matczak Memorial Award — Delores Murphy

2013 ISMA Jim Soule Dedication award — Presented posthumously to Jack Murphy, past president, head tech person and long time supporter of ISMA.  2013 Jim Shampine Memorial Award — Ed Shea

Shineman grant funds MASH Camps

The Central New York Area Health Education Center was awarded a $20,000 grant from the Richard S. Shineman Foundation to support its Medical Academy of Science and Health (MASH) Camps.

Through the MASH Camps, middle and high school students have a chance to learn about various health professions by participating in interactive and hands-on activities that highlight job duties.

Students attend one of nine camps offered in collaboration with hospitals and nursing homes located throughout Central New York.

“MASH Camps provide an exciting experiential entrée for our local students to explore and initiate pursuit of a healthcare career. This is an effective process for ‘growing our own’ healthcare providers,” said Richard K. Merchant, health education center chief executive officer.

“By virtue of this donation, the Shineman Foundation has demonstrated the importance of investing in our youth to ensure the well-being of our communities into the future,” he said.

“As a chemist, (Dr. Shineman) was particularly passionate about encouraging students to love the sciences,” said Lauren Pistell, executive director of the Foundation.

The Central New York Area Health Education Center is a nonprofit health workforce development organization serving a 14-county region..

Established in 2001, its mission is to improve access to quality health care by promoting improvements in the supply, training, development and distribution of health care professionals.

In 2002, the education center offered its first health careers exploration camp. The number of camps has grown from 2 in 2002 to 19 in 2013.

Locally, Oswego Hospital hosts a MASH Camp.

Chicken processing company opens in former Birds Eye plant

By Ashley M. Casey

Pakistan-based poultry processing company K&N’s Foods USA, LLC, has settled into the former Birds Eye Foods plant.

The company kicked off its new residence in Fulton with an inauguration ceremony Jan. 3. The plant, which Birds Eye vacated in December 2011, is located at 607 Phillips St.

The new plant is expected to add 183 jobs to the city over a course of three years. Although production will not begin for another two months or so, K&N’s  already has employed 44 people in Fulton, 35 percent of whom are former Birds Eye employees.

K&N’s will receive about $1 million in Excelsior tax credits from New York state in exchange for its promise to create jobs.

“It is much better as an elected official to come to an opening than a closing,” Assemblyman Will Barclay, R-Pulaski, said at the inauguration ceremony. “It’s great to have K&N’s step into that vacancy.

Founded in 1964, K&N’s processes halal chicken products such as chicken nuggets, patties and kebabs. “Halal” is an Arabic term that refers to food prepared under  Muslim dietary standards, which prohibit pork and alcohol and require certain methods of slaughtering an animal for meat.

K&N’s Foods is a popular brand in the global halal trade — which generates $700 billion annually — but the Fulton plant will be the company’s first step in entering the North American market.

“There’s a huge Muslim population here (in the U.S.),” said Khalil Sattar, founder and chairman of K&N’s Foods. “There is literally no halal exports from the U.S.”

Sattar said the company has “explored” some market options and are close to hiring a salesperson.

After reviewing several possible sites, including one in Buffalo, K&N’s decided on Fulton because of its proximity to Canada and available facilities.

But it was the Oswego County Industrial Development Agency (IDA) that solidified the decision.

It was a matter of “who would be more willing, ready and responsive” to K&N’s needs, Sattar said. He credited L. Michael Treadwell, CEO of IDA, as the “game-changer” in the decision.

“We were seriously looking in Buffalo, but things started changing when Mike entered the picture,” Sattar said.

Production at the Fulton plant is still about two months away, pending approval of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Sattar said the USDA has already visited the plant once, and the packaging is already prepared for the first batch of products.

“If we succeed, it means economic development (for Fulton),” Khalil Sattar said.

Maroun Elementary students receive dictionaries

Submitted by Oswego County BOCES

Third-grade students at Michael A. Maroun Elementary School have another resource to bolster their knowledge and vocabulary, thanks to a donation from the Fulton Sunrise Rotary Club.

On Dec. 20, Rotarians Ellen Nowyj and LaVerne DeLand brought 124 dictionaries for each third-grader at the school.

The resource books, complete with a periodic table, maps, a list of presidents, a plethora of words and other information, were funded through three Rotary Club fundraisers.

Nowyj said the dictionary initiative is a great way to get students using physical resource books rather than immediately going to the Internet and searching for information that may not always be reliable.

“All the information is right there for you,” Nowyj said. “You don’t have to go to the computer. It has everything from charts to metric system tables.”

In addition to the dictionary distribution, the Rotarians also discussed the importance of their organization.

“Our motto is service above self,” Nowyj said. “That’s something we really take to heart.”

That message wasn’t lost on the students, as the children asked questions about community involvement and discussed ways that people make a difference.

Birdlebough inducts 25 in National Honor Society

Submitted by Oswego County BOCES

More than two dozen John C. Birdlebough High  students were celebrated Dec. 17 as their service, scholarship, leadership and character were recognized with induction into the National Honor Society.

“An honor such as this is a wonderful way for the school and community to recognize and celebrate the choices and sometimes the sacrifices you have made,” said Adviser Angela Neiss.

The 25 inductees joined 33 current honor society  members who celebrate scholarly achievement and service to the community.

Neiss said members help organize blood drives, serve Thanksgiving dinner to the less fortunate, participate in an Earth Day community cleanup and volunteer for a variety of activities.

It is this kind of service that keynote speaker Joanna Young, JCB’s instrumental teacher, cited as a critical component of National Honor Society membership.

“Students have concerned themselves with the welfare and well-being of their fellow classmates and society as a whole,” Young said. “Their actions as leaders will be models for others to follow.”

The inductees took the Honor Society pledge and Superintendent Judy Belfield presented each with a pin signifying their membership.

New members are: Kellen Arnold, MacKenzie Berube, Alexis Bowering, Marisa Dona, Mike Doran, Chris Fisk, Nicole Fitzgerald, Matti Gleason, Sarah Hoag, Jordan Jock, Jessica Jones, Meghan Lees, Chris Nicolella, Meghan Rowe, Michael Sadoski, Jonathan Schmidt, Austin Scruton, Andrew Smith, Morgan Stobart, Zack VanGorder, Abby Venskus, Derick White, Caroline Woodside, Ryan Wranesh and Jolene Zaia

BBB alerts donors about local nonprofit charity

The Better Business Bureau is alerting donors about a Central New York  charity, Camp Fire USA Central New York Camp Talooli – currently F rated – that has had its tax-exempt status revoked.

This means anyone donating to the nonprofit would not be able to use that donation as a tax deduction on his or her income taxes, said BBB spokeswoman Peggy Penders.

The BBB said while the tax exempt status was revoked, Camp Fire and Camp Talooli still is operating as a charity and soliciting gifts from the public.

She said the Internal Revenue Service revoked the organization’s 501(c)(3) IRS tax exempt status in February 2013 for failing to file its 990 forms for three years. A 990 is a nonprofit’s equivalent to a 1040 tax form.

The BBB states the revocation was not contested and was posted to the public in May.

Camp Talooli is located near Pennellville in the town of Schroeppel.

Since the Camp Talooli revocation posting date in May, any donations made were no longer tax-deductible. The BBB said in a release that Camp Talooli advertised donations would be tax exempt.

The Camp Fire and Camp Talooli website this week states: “Currently we are updating/resolving some filing inconsistencies that are required to regain/retain this status (tax-exempt) for 2014 and beyond. If you have any questions in this regard please do not hesitate to contact me (Executive Director Jan Peneston) at 934 4051.

BBB officials say not all charities operate the same and encourage donors to do their research and verify current tax-exempt status before they give.

Camp Talooli officials have not responded to BBB requests for information.

Peneston said Monday the organization has submitted one of the three 990s to the IRS and it is waiting to hear what the  next step is to obtain tax-exempt status again.

She said Camp Fire also has hired a new accounting firm and should have all 990s filed by the end of January.

Volney councilman retires

Town of Volney Councilman Carl Rusaw retired from public service Dec. 31.

Rusaw has a long career as a six-year Oswego County legislator, six-year Town of Volney Planning Board member and five-year member of the Volney Town Board. Proclamations from the offices of Sen. Patricia Ritchie, Assemblyman Will Barclay and the Oswego County Legislature were read at Volney’s December town board meeting.

Supervisor Dennis Lockwood presented a plaque to Rusaw from the town of Volney. Rusaw plans to spend his winters  in Florida and summers in Fulton.

OCO to receive grants to improve agency

Oswego County Opportunities, Inc. is one of six Central New York nonprofits selected to participate in the Gifford Foundation’s fourth round of a major capacity building initiative.

ADVANS, or Advancing and Developing the Value and Assets of Nonprofits in Syracuse, was started by the Gifford Foundation in 2007. ADVANS 4 will include more than $500,000 committed to six nonprofits — including OCO – from Onondaga, Oswego and Cayuga Counties.

OCO is Oswego County’s Community Action Agency. Founded in 1996, OCO serves about 30,000 people each year through more than 50 programs.

These programs provide assistance for the homeless, education services for preschoolers, literacy services, reproductive health, independence for the disabled, meals for the elderly, disabled and youth, safety for the abused, case management services, crisis services, support for youth and transportation.

Between December 2013 and December 2015, OCO will undertake an intensive assessment and capacity planning process and will receive roughly $70,000 in grants and consulting services.

ADVANS follows the organizational capacity model developed by Dr. Susan Kenny Stevens as outlined in the book “Nonprofit Lifecycles: Stage-based Wisdom for Nonprofit Capacity.”

The organizations will work with trained area consultants utilizing the self-assessment techniques of Dr. Stevens, and then identify their primary capacity needs.

“We anticipate many positive improvements that will benefit OCO and the consumers we serve,” said Diane Cooper-Currier, OCO’s executive director.