Seven Oswego County municipalities, businesses, and not-for-profit agencies have been awarded state funding through Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Regional Economic Development Council program.
Central New York and Northern New York were named “Top Performers” — taking home prizes of $93.8 million for 73 projects and $90.2 million for 82 projects respectively.
“Once again, we are showing that Central and Northern New York communities are ready to grow,” said Senator Patty Ritchie. “We have the good ideas, a trained and enthusiastic workforce and now, the needed investment and support of state government to continue to make our plans a reality and keep creating the jobs we need to revitalize our economy.
“I have been proud to work with Governor Cuomo on ideas and initiatives that will help our state grow and create more — and better — jobs,” added Ritchie. “This is just one more example of how by working together we are creating a brighter future for New York and the people who live here.”
Ten Regional Economic Development Councils, comprised of experts and stakeholders with backgrounds in business, academia and local government and non-governmental organizations, were created last year to develop long-term strategic plans for economic growth for their regions.
In 2011, $785 million was up for grabs by 10 regions. Central and Northern New York received more than $200 million in funding for presenting “best plans” for growth. The funding awarded last week will help both regions continue those plans.
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Oswego County officials are mourning the loss of a colleague who gave more than four decades of public service to Oswego County residents.
Arthur Ospelt, District 12 legislator and vice chairman of the legislature, died Dec. 18.
Ospelt served in several leadership roles in town and county government. He is remembered as a strong and visionary leader who took great pride in the people and resources of Oswego County.
“His heart and soul were truly devoted to Oswego County,” said Legislature Chairman Fred Beardsley. “Art truly was a larger than life presence in Oswego County. His knowledge of the county and his dedication to it was immeasurable. His accomplishments will continue to benefit our citizens for generations to come.”
Ospelt is best known for the development of Oswego County’s comprehensive solid waste management system.
When New York State began to close town dumps across the state, under Ospelt’s leadership, Oswego County took a proactive position and offered to implement a centralized county-owned solid waste system.
The county took over the locally operated Silk Road landfill from the municipalities of Fulton, Granby, Volney and Phoenix.
In 1975, the county opened the first solid waste transfer stations in Hastings, Pulaski and Oswego. All were located on active dumps that were closed by the county.
The county began the process of developing a new county landfill in 1976. Following a number of permit applications, public hearings, and lawsuits, the county was issued a construction permit and began building the Bristol Hill Landfill in Volney in 1982. The new state-of-the-art landfill opened in September 1983.
Having suffered through the sometimes painful trials and tribulations of siting the county’s first landfill, Ospelt quickly recognized the advantage of prolonging its projected life. It was this quest that led him to propose the construction of an Energy Recovery Facility in 1979.
The resource recovery facility was constructed on N.Y.S. Route 481 north of Fulton, and by late 1985, the facility was converting vast quantities of potential landfill materials into steam and electricity that could now be sold to third party users.
A few years later, under Ospelt’s leadership, Oswego County implemented one of the first voluntary recycling programs in New York State.
Soon after, the county began a feasibility study for a materials recovery facility to process and sell recyclable materials. Separate recycling drop-off centers were built at the Pulaski, Hastings and Oswego transfer stations. Mandatory recycling was enacted in 1992 and the Materials Recovery Facility opened for business the same year.
“Art’s efforts to minimize the amount of materials that go into the landfill have likely extended the potential life of the facility by as much as five times the original estimates,” said Beardsley. “As a result, Oswego County has received several awards and international recognition for the solid waste system and energy recovery facility, which will serve our residents for years to come.
“As county legislator, superintendent of Public Works, and as county administrator, Art always had the ability to see the big picture and look for the best solution for Oswego County residents,” continued Beardsley.
“He made sure that Oswego County roads were in excellent condition. Our snow removal programs are second-to-none, with the best crews and equipment anywhere. He was instrumental in the development and maintenance of the county airport and served for many years on the county industrial development agency board. He was a kind and caring person, with a great sense of humor that smoothed over many a debate on the floor of the legislature.”
Ospelt was first elected supervisor of the Town of Schroeppel, serving from 1970 to 1990. When the Board of Supervisors transitioned into the County Legislature, Ospelt served as chairman of the Legislature in 1976 and 1977.
He resigned as legislator in 1977 when he was appointed superintendent of highways and later superintendent of public works, a position he held until 1990.
In 1990, Ospelt was appointed Oswego County administrator, a position he held until his retirement in 1996. After a four-year retirement, he returned to his passion of serving the public and was elected legislator from District 12 in Pennellville, a position he served from 2000 until his death.
The Oswego County Legislature will meet at 2 p.m. Friday to vote on the new legislative district lines.
The meeting will be held in legislature chambers on the fourth floor of the county government complex in Oswego.
The legislature has anticipated having a new plan passed by the end of the year.
A public hearing was held earlier this month with several residents speaking in opposition of the plan. The new lines will divide several towns, including the towns of Oswego and Volney. The Volney Town Board sent an opposing resolution to the legislature.
Legislator Dan Farfaglia has been a vocal opponent of the plan and has proposed his own plan, which he claims meets the legal requirements.
Farfaglia is a member of a reapportionment committee formed to draw the new lines. Legislator Dan Chalifoux serves as chairman of the committee.
When legislators decide on a final plan, the new lines will be represented in next year’s election. At that time, all 25 seats will be on the ballot.
An employee of the Oswego County Clerk’s office walked off the job today.
Many legislators have been notified of the most recent incident and said that they are working toward a permanent resolution to the problems that have plagued the office for over two years.
The New York State Labor Department and the EEOC have been contacted as well as Oswego County Personnel Director Carol Alnutt.
The employee, an index clerk, has been asked to perform accounting work while the senior account clerk is out. The employee has refused to do the accounting work because it is not a part of her job duties, according to the legislators working to resolve the issue.
The accounting duties are supposed to be done by the deputy clerk of operations in absence of the account clerk, according to the job description of the deputy position.
Minority Leader Mike Kunzwiler said enough is enough and that legislators need to work together to end the constant turmoil. Legislator Shawn Doyle is working on the matter with other legislators and said he spoke with Alnutt Friday morning.
“I absolutely expect something to be done about this,” Doyle said. “I don’t need to restate the sympathy I have for these employees.”
Kunzwiler agreed. “This is exactly what happens when you create a political position,” he said.
Legislator Doug Malone said the turmoil has got to come to an end and that a special meeting needs to be called before the end of the year to eliminate the deputy clerk of operations position and to lower the pay of the deputy clerk.
“It needs to be addressed soon,” he said. “We need to seriously look into this.”
Legislator Amy Tresidder has also been working on the matter, she said, and is making telephone calls.
There was no word as to whether the employee would return to work.
North Volney Methodist Church will be holding a “Make a Gift Day” Saturday, Dec. 8 from 10 a.m. to noon.
There will be a variety of crafts available for the children to complete as well as materials to make cards for their family members. It is all free to those who attend with no charge for materials. Refreshments will be served.
The church is also sponsoring a “Lights of Christmas” tree for the upcoming Christmas season.
Lights will be sold and can be dedicated to a friend or family member, both living and deceased.
A listing of names will placed alongside the lit tree. The tree will be lit through the Christmas season on the church grounds at the corner of County Routes 4 and 6 in the Town of Volney.
Alfred Myhill, an 87-year-old native of Fulton and World War II veteran, has been named the 2012 Veteran of the Year by the Fulton Veterans Council.
From 1941 to 1943, Myhill worked at a farm in Fulton where he fed, tended and milked cows and operated a tractor and other farm machinery. He attended high school for two years before enlisting in the military Feb. 15, 1943.
Myhill attended Medical Technician School in Fort Harrison, Ind. for eight weeks in 1943. It was there has he received instruction in giving emergency medical treatment and giving hypodermic injections.
Just before being shipped overseas, Myhill got the mumps and was hospitalized. His unit left for England and Paris without him. He ended up sailing on the Queen Elizabeth with 15,000 other troops.
“I felt so funny because I didn’t know one soul in that outfit,” said Myhill.
Myhill was 19 years old when he landed on Normandy July 16, 1944, a month after D-Day. He was assigned to the first Platoon, Second Hospitalization Unit of the 53rd Field Hospital in Europe. A field hospital is comprised of three hospitals, with a first, second and third unit.
Myhill served as a member of the medical corps, setting up tents as makeshift hospitals, and sometimes occupying old factories and schools to repair wounded American soldiers.
The job was dangerous because streets were lined with bombs, and the hospitals were on the ground in close proximity to combat.
Soldiers with stomach and chest wounds that needed immediate care were sent to Myhill’s outfit. Tank drivers died before getting to the hospital because of their burns.
“We had to improvise a lot — we didn’t have colostomy bags,” said Myhill. “Cots would come in and they were so low that it was hard to keep bending over.”
Besides giving emergency medical treatment, Myhill worked alongside nurses and doctors to apply splints, clean and bandage wounds, give injections, and check vitals.
The unit continued to set up field hospitals in England, Normandy, Northern France, Belgium and Germany in 1944 to 1945 as they followed Patton’s Third Army across Europe.
Sept. 29, 1944, the second hospital unit accompanied the entire unit across France, arriving at Bastogne Oct. 2, 1944.
Myhill’s field hospital treated the wounded at the Battle of the Bulge, known as the largest and bloodiest battle of World War II. The battle happened in the Ardennes mountains of Belgium and the town of Bastogne, killing 89,000 Americans.
In 1945, Myhill was located in Germany and was 30 miles from Berlin when the war ended. After the war, as the hospitals were getting less of the wounded, Myhill was made a dental technician.
He assisted dentists in routine dental work and in surgical operations on gums and bones. He was awarded five battle stars, and had enough points to return home. Myhill was honorably discharged from the military Dec. 15, 1945.
Myhill came home in what he describes as a little liberty ship. “Boy it was the roughest thing, I didn’t think we’d make it,” he recalled.
He was welcomed home by friends and family and married his late wife Marion. The couple met before the war. Myhill carried a photo of Marion with him to England, France, Belgium, Holland, Luxembourg, Germany.
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The Appellate Division, Fourth Department, released its decision in the case of People v. Alan Jones today.
The court reversed Jones’s conviction for the crime of murder in the second degree (depraved indifference murder) for causing the death of his 11-year old stepsister, Erin Maxwell, while in their Town of Palermo home in 2008.
The appellate court held that, as a matter of law, the evidence before the jury was legally insufficient to establish that Jones acted with the mental state of depraved indifference at the time he caused Erin’s death.
In a press release issued by Oswego County District Attorney Greg Oakes, it is stated that the appellate court found that the evidence before the jury sufficiently established the lesser-included offense of second-degree manslaughter, meaning that Jones recklessly caused her death.
The court therefore reduced the conviction to second-degree manslaughter and transferred the case back to the Oswego County Court for sentencing on the reduced charge, which carries a maximum of sentence of 5 to 15 years in state prison.
The case was originally prosecuted by then-Oswego County District Attorney Donald Dodd, who indicted and tried the case under the theory of depraved indifference murder. Dodd retired at the end of 2011.
Current Oswego County District Attorney Gregory Oakes, who took office Jan. 1, argued the appeal on behalf of his office.
Oakes indicated that he is saddened by the appellate court’s decision to reduce the conviction, stating that he believes Jones deserves the 25 years to life sentence originally imposed by Judge Hafner.
Oakes stated, “The court’s decision affirms the jury’s finding that Jones caused Erin’s death. He committed a wicked and horrendous act against an innocent child, and he deserves to spend the rest of his life in a cell.”
Oakes stated that he will try to appeal the case to the Court of Appeals and seek to have the murder conviction reinstated.
Oakes added, “While no conviction can undo this tragedy, as a matter of justice, I will do everything in my power to make sure that Jones is held fully accountable for Erin’s death. Erin deserves nothing less.”