Category Archives: Fulton News

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month

Members of the Prince of Peace Church representing the "Cherish All Children Ministries." From left to right front, the Rev. Richard Klafehn, Fulton Mayor Ronald Woodward, Dianne Klafehn - Upstate NY Leader of Child Advocacy Center; back row  church member Alexandra Sorbello, Friend of CAC Ben Jarred, church member Margaret Nichols. Absent from photo Child Advocacy Center Executive Director Karrie Damm.
Members of the Prince of Peace Church representing the “Cherish All Children Ministries.” From left to right front, the Rev. Richard Klafehn, Fulton Mayor Ronald Woodward, Dianne Klafehn – Upstate NY Leader of Child Advocacy Center; back row church member Alexandra Sorbello, Friend of CAC Ben Jarred, church member Margaret Nichols. Absent from photo Child Advocacy Center Executive Director Karrie Damm.

For more information on the Child Advocacy Center of Oswego County, call 592-4453.
To report a case of abuse, call the state Child Protective Services hotline at (800) 342-3720. If you feel a child is in immediate danger, call 911.

By Debra J. Groom
April is Child Abuse Prevention Month.

And Oswego County is doing more to help children be safe by reporting more cases of child abuse than ever before.
The number of children and families served by the Child Advocacy Center in Fulton increased by 48 percent from 2012-2013 – from about 320 in 2012 to 475 in 2013.

The Child Advocacy Center, the Oswego County Department of Social Services and others are stressing the importance of knowing the signs of abuse and letting authorities know when abuse occurs.

Oswego County is keenly aware of child abuse as a result of the Erin Maxwell case in 2008.

Erin was 11 years old when she was found unresponsive in her Palermo home by her stepbrother, Alan Jones. She was taken to the hospital where she was pronounced dead.

Jones was charged with her murder and her father and stepmother, Lindsey and Lynn Maxwell, were found guilty of four counts of endangering the welfare of a child. Jones’ conviction eventually was reduced to manslaughter and he is serving tie in Fishkill Correctional Facility. According to Vinelink, he is scheduled for release in June 2015.

Lindsey and Lynn Maxwell were sentenced to two years in the Oswego County jail, but were released after serving 15 months.

When investigating Erin’s death, police found that she lived in deplorable conditions, was locked in her room to eat and sometimes went to school with dirty clothing and no lunch. It came to light during the investigation that the Oswego County Department of Social Services had investigated reports about the Maxwell household and Erin, but did not remove her from the house. Many faulted the department for its inaction.

Since then, many changes were made to the way these cases are handled in Oswego County. Cornell University completed one of three studies done looking at how the social services department worked at that time. The report found Oswego County’s caseworkers were overworked, handling nearly double the national and state average of cases per caseworker.

Changes were made after the reports and more caseworkers were hired. Gregg Heffner, who was hired as commissioner of the Department of Social Services about three years after the Erin Maxwell case, said previously all of those working in the department learned from the Erin Maxwell case and have made improvements to ensure it never happens again.

One change made is the start of a Child Protection Advisory Council that meets monthly. The group, consisting of people from many different agencies throughout the county, works to increase employees’ training, make sure they are all following regulations and that workers are using the best practices possible.

Karrie Damm, executive director of the Child Advocacy Center, is on that advisory council.

“I heard a quote once that stated ‘for every one educated adult, 10 children are safer,’” she said. She believes the more people learn about child abuse, the more they understand what abuse is and how to prevent it, then the number of children being abused will decrease.

Both she and Oswego County District Attorney Gregory Oakes say the number of reported cases of child abuse coming into the Child Advocacy Center has increased so much because there is more abuse going on, but also because people are coming forward more often to report abuse cases.

Heffner recently said in a letter to the editor to The Valley News that it is important for people to report child abuse to the authorities. There is a state hotline for reporting cases, and abuse also can be called into the Child Advocacy Center or any police agency.

But people often are reluctant to report, feeling they shouldn’t stick their noses into someone else’s life or worrying the person they are reporting will come after them.

“People have to be trusting that there will be a response to their call,” Damm said. “People often feel as though ‘no one will listen to me.’”

Sometimes, the authorities aren’t listening well enough.

Oakes tells a story on how a trustworthy person he knows in the community called him about child abuse he saw in a family. Oakes said he checked out the information with others and found it to be valid and “caused me great concern as a DA and as a father.”

He called the state hotline to make a report. The state worker took Oakes’ information, but asked more questions. Oakes couldn’t answer the other questions, so the hotline worker said there was not enough information to take a report.

“I got very loud and threw my title out there,” Oakes said. “This mandated CPS (Child Protective Services) involvement. How can you turn this down?” Oakes said to the hotline worker. “This case screamed out for CPS involvement.”

Oakes then said he was going to call a press conference to let the world know the state hotline office was doing. He then was switched over to a supervisor who took the report.

Damm said if someone from the Child Advocacy Center calls the hotline with the case and is rejected, “we call back 10 minutes later to get another person to talk to or we ask for a supervisor.” She said it’s important for the public to know if they don’t get anywhere when trying to report a case of child abuse, don’t stop – try again.

“We like to blame the system. This is a community problem with a community solution,” she said.

People can report to the state hotline anonymously if they are afraid of retribution. But Damm said often it doesn’t matter if a person does or doesn’t give their names when reporting because the person doing the abuse usually knows who made a report.

“We have to be braver than the people doing the evil deeds,” she said.

Oakes, who prosecuted child abuse cases for six and a half years as an assistant district attorney in Oswego County, said many who abuse were abused themselves as children. “One of the best ways to break the cycle is to use prosecution, social services for the family and mental health services” for the child and the family.

If abuser were just prosecuted and then thrown in jail, the cycle of abuse would continue. “In many cases, abuse has gone unreported for many years across generations,” Oakes said.

That is why the nonprofit Child Advocacy Center works hand-in-hand with local law enforcement, prosecution, child protective services, medical providers, therapy providers and victim advocacy professionals in Oswego County. The center works with the parents and with the children.

“To prevent child abuse, we have to have conversations about it, keep talking about it, educate yourself and support the local program that helps kids,” Damm said. “Remember —  one educated adult keeps 10 kids safer.”

Beverly Deacons Owens, Fulton High grad, retired from Oswego County Employment and Training



Beverly Deacons Owens, 74, of State College, Penn., died Sunday, April 13, 2014, at The Hearthside Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, State College.

Born Sept. 6, 1939, in Fulton, NY, she was the daughter of the late Harold and Dora Arlene Tilton Wells.

On March 2, 1996, she married Danny Owens, who preceded her in death on Jan. 10, 2014.

She is survived by one son, Clarence J. Deacons and his wife, Jan, of Fulton, NY and one daughter, Wendy Deacons Steele and her husband, Richard, of Millsboro, Del.; three grandchildren, Tabor Deacons, Dean Miller and Hailey Steele; three great-grandchildren.

Beverly was a 1957 graduate of Fulton High School in New York.

She retired in 1995 from the Oswego County Employment and Training Office.

Services will be private at the convenience of the family.

Arrangements are under the care of Koch Funeral Home, State College. Online condolences and signing of the guest book may be entered at

POMCO donates to OCO Retro Bowl event

Oswego County Opportunities Executive Director Diane Cooper-Currier, center, accepts a donation for the OCO Retro Bowl event from left Janice Webb, POMCO account manager, and right Vanessa Flynn, POMCO vice president of client services. POMCO donated $1,000.
Oswego County Opportunities Executive Director Diane Cooper-Currier, center, accepts a donation for the OCO Retro Bowl event from left Janice Webb, POMCO account manager, and right Vanessa Flynn, POMCO vice president of client services. POMCO donated $1,000.

POMCO Group, one of the nation’s largest benefits administrators, made a donation of $1,000 to support Oswego County Opportunities’ annual Retro Bowl fundraising event, which took place on Saturday April 5 at Lakeview Lanes in Fulton. 

OCO has partnered with POMCO Group since 2006 for the administration of its self-funded employee benefits plan. Each year, POMCO Group has supported OCO’s annual fundraiser and Retro Bowl event, which raises awareness and funding for the programs OCO offers to Oswego County and its community members.

“Oswego County Opportunities does tremendous work in Oswego County, particularly in the areas of health and nutrition services and education,” said Vanessa Flynn, vice president of client services at POMCO Group.

“Since the health and wellness of our community is a value that we share with OCO, and because it is, and has been, an important business partner to POMCO Group over the past eight years, it is important to us to support its fundraising efforts,” she said.

The money raised in 2014 from OCO’s annual Retro Bowl fundraising event will focus on ways to reduce and eliminate hunger in Oswego County.

OCO Executive Director Diane Cooper-Currier said every level of support from businesses and members of the community helps to make a difference.

“We are grateful for the ongoing support that we have received from POMCO Group in helping us to meet our fundraising goals. We value the support of our business partners as we strive to make a difference in our community.”


Parks stone collection contest continues through today

Michael and Katie Gerth found three of the colored stones hidden in various Fulton Parks as part of the Treasure Fulton Parks 2014 Medallion Hunt. People who find the most of the colored stones in the parks will win smaller prizes in the contest. The special medallion was found Wednesday and that person will win cash from The Valley News. While the medallion has been found, the stone collection part continues through the end of today.
Michael and Katie Gerth found three of the colored stones hidden in various Fulton Parks as part of the Treasure Fulton Parks 2014 Medallion Hunt. People who find the most of the colored stones in the parks will win smaller prizes in the contest. The special medallion was found Wednesday and that person will win cash from The Valley News. While the medallion has been found, the stone collection part continues through the end of today.

2 Fulton grocers oppose plan for new Aldi store

By Ashley M. Casey

Despite the dissent of two local grocers, the city of Fulton is going forward with Aldi’s plan to build a 17,651-square-foot grocery store on the former Nestlé site.

If all goes as planned, the Nestlé buildings will be demolished by the end of June and construction of the Aldi store will begin in July with an anticipated opening in December. Continue reading

The Sportsman’s World — A Sign of the Times

By Leon Archer

My father always seemed to know when it was time to do certain outdoor things.

I’m sure he checked the calendar, but more often, he would look for signs that it was time for a certain activity.

For just about every year while I was growing up, my father would gather all the gear and we would go to Black Lake to put out a nightline for catfish. We always got catfish, which my father would clean and bring home to smoke.

Perhaps my very favorite food as a child was smoked catfish.

Black Lake catfish that we caught on the nightline averaged about 6 pounds, but we caught them as large as 26 pounds.

The small ones of a pound or two we would roll in cornmeal and fry up in a big cast iron frying pan on the shore of the lake the day after we ran the line. They tasted pretty much like bullheads, but they had a greater oil content.

That was why they smoked so well. We only set the line two nights before we headed back home, but we still took a cooler full of fillets with us.

A number of years after I graduated Albany State, I decided to put a nightline out on Black Lake. I had everything I needed and I put it out in the same spot off Manley Rocks where we had always taken fish.

The next morning when I checked the line, I had one eel, one small catfish, two bullheads and several large bluegills and perch. My father and I had never done so poorly.

When I got back from my less than stellar attempt at catching catfish on a nightline, my father told me, “I knew you wouldn’t do much. You went too late. If you want to catch catfish, you need to go when the shad berries are in blossom. They’ve been done for about three weeks.”

Shad berries or service berries grow on a small tree and the whole tree looks white when it is in blossom, so it’s hard to miss, and that was the sign dad always watched for before heading north to fish.

I’ve cataloged a few of nature’s signs over my 70-plus years, but that is the one I remember best. My father also always said, “Ice out for perch and trout.” That is right on for both of them.

The trout in ponds and lakes were right up near shore and hungry, and the perch were in shallow water ready to spawn. They bit like crazy.

Dad didn’t tell me, but I learned the very best stream trout fishing (at least on Little Sandy Creek) was when the willow trees were “eared out.” The new leaves on the willows looked like little squirrel ears.

Of course, I could have been scientific and kept track of air temperatures and water temperatures, but watching willow leaves come out was easier. In addition, right after the trout were in high gear, the sucker run would be starting.

Yogi Berra, who I got to watch play one time at Yankee Stadium, was noted for his quips that have become quotes. The one I like best is, “You can see a lot by looking.”

Dad would have agreed with that. You see, there is book learning, and then there is real learning; honest to God, hands on, eyes and ears open learning.

Nature is full of signs that animals are attuned to, but men are slower to see what is right in front of them. All too many of us have forgotten how to look.

Hodgepodge, by Roy Hodge

Sweaty Cities

I want to assure you that I was looking for something else one day last week when I came across this bit of information.

According to the annual rankings of America’s “sweatiest cities,” sponsored by Proctor and Gamble’s Old Spice Deodorant, Syracuse, Buffalo, Rochester and Albany are traditionally among the top 100.

According to the most recent rankings available, Syracuse was ranked in 77th place; Albany, 80th; Buffalo, 81st; and Rochester, 85th.

As I continued to read the article I wasn’t surprised to learn that New Orleans, my favorite vacation destination, is just outside the top 10 at number 12.  I have done a lot of sweating in the Big Easy, but I have enjoyed at least most of it.

You may be interested to know the cities of Phoenix and Tucson, Ariz., Las Vegas, Tallahassee, Miami and Tampa, Fla. and Houston and El Paso in Texas, work up top 10 sweats every year.

The temperature in Phoenix averages 94 degrees in June, July and August – causing the average Phoenix resident to produce 27.7 ounces of sweat per hour.

Old Spice points out, “that’s more than two cans of soda.”

Florida’s combined sweat would fill Shamu the Whale’s Sea World tank in about 3.25 hours – that’s 6.5 million gallons of sweat. Seven of the top 10 sweatiest cities are in Texas.  San Francisco, with an average summer temperature of just 63.5 degrees, is the nation’s least sweaty city, coming in at 100 on the list.

How do you finish up an article about sweating? There must be something good to say about sweat. How about — “A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work.”                          –Colin Powell

“Don’t sweat the petty things and don’t pet the sweaty things”.       –George Carlin

“I’m not out there sweating for three hours every day just to find out what it feels like to sweat.”         –Michael Jordan

“Nobody ever drowned in his own sweat.”                                –Ann Landers

“It took a lot of blood, sweat and tears to get us where we are today, but we have just begun. Today we begin in earnest the work of making sure that the world we leave to our children is just a little better than the one we inhabit today.”

–Barack Obama

 Losing a Friend   

I was saddened this week by the death of my friend, Jan Peacock, following a lengthy illness.

We had been friends since my early days in Fulton. When we met we lived in the northwest area of Fulton, and the Peacocks were neighbors from around the corner.

The Peacock daughters, Sheila and Marcia, were babysitters for our boys.

Several years later, Jan joined others in the Patriot’s “shop” once a week to put the finishing touches on that week’s newspaper for publication the next day.

Jan was the last surviving original member of the Fulton Hoboes clown group.  If you read Jan’s obituary which has appeared in area newspapers this week, you will know the real Jan.

She was fun-loving; she considered herself one of the “ink-stained wretches in the back room” at The Fulton Patriot. Jan didn’t invent that role, but she certainly did play it to perfection.

She was compassionate, having served as a foster mother to 57 children. Jan could have taught the course on love of family, as evidenced by the long list of surviving family members in her obituary – including children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, brothers-in-law, nieces, great nieces and nephews, and a cousin.

Jan Peacock will be sorely missed.

Vintage Hodgepodge

From Hodgepodge, Aug. 15, 1989:

On Saturday I sat on the front porch of The Patriot building for three hours, soaking in the soothing Dixieland strains of the Hanover Squares, a talented six-some of musicians from the Syracuse area.

I was joined by many other Fultonians and visitors who were enjoying the Riverfest activities.

The afternoon’s musical program had been underway for a few minutes when the city’s esteemed group of fanatical funsters, The Fulton Hoboes, showed up to partake of the entertainment.

I guess the Hoboes had sent an advance clown to scout the premises and as soon as the announcement was made that there was food and drink inside, the Hoboes trooped in enmasse.

Hanover Squares drummer Dick Jones, who is always quick with appropriate commentary, noted: “That must be the paper’s staff.”

Funny?  Yes, but . . . two of the hoboes actually are (in real life, as they say), members of The Patriot’s staff.

The Fulton Hoboes were formed in the early ‘60s as part of the program at the First Methodist Church annual talent show. The group became well known publicly after Fulton’s Cracker Barrel Fairs were started in 1966.

Original members of that troop of clowners included Chubby Scaringi, Jan Peacock, Barbara Phelps, and Betty McGraw, with Shirley Collins and Norma Owens also logging plenty of duty in the early years.

. . . Today’s contingent of Hoboes includes veteran (not old) Hobo Jan, who also spends time in the city’s Civil Service office and does part-time duty as a layout artist at the Patriot; Jeff Hodge, whose byline appears every week in The Patriot; Hobo Sheila (Peacock), Project Architect for Dalpos, currently working on the Carousel Mall project; and the two youngest Hoboes, the two little Kings, Mike and Adam.

The Fulton Hoboes have been an important part of almost every Fulton celebration for almost a quarter of a century.

That’s Funny!

I want to die peacefully in my sleep, like my grandfather. Not screaming and yelling like the passengers in his car.

I asked God for a bike, but I know it doesn’t work that way. So I stole a bike and asked for forgiveness.

Knowledge is to know that a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.


  . . . Roy Hodge

Medallion finder excited with her win

By Debra J. Groom

Audrey Avery of Fulton was out every day, no matter what the weather, looking for the special medallion.

“Tuesday we were out in the rain and snow for an hour and a half at Oswego Falls Park — we looked like the Gorton’s fisherman,” she joked.

Her persistence paid off. At 1:12 p.m. Wednesday, Avery, 45, of South Fourth Street, found the hidden medallion at Van Buren Park.

“My husband pulled in on the Tarvia by the tennis courts,” she said. “He said ‘let’s start here on the left.’ I started to scour the perimeter of trees and went into a pricker bush. I said ‘it’s got to be here.’”

Then she walked a bit further. She looked near another tree.

“I looked and said ‘oh my God, there it is,” she said. “I was so excited. It was tied with a big bread tie.”

The Treasure Fulton Parks 2014 Medallion Hunt contest began April 9. People had to read all the advertisements in each edition of The Valley News to look for the clue as to where the medallion was hidden.

There were four clues — one to run in the paper April 9, April 12, April 16 and April 19.

There now will be no clue in today’s paper since Avery found the medallion on Wednesday. She hunted every day from April 9 with her friend, Donna LeVea.

Just what made Avery go to Van Buren Park?

“It was the second clue,” she said. That one read “Go for a joy ride with three friends or go alone down the slippery slope.”

“I knew there was a slope at Van Buren behind the tennis courts,” Avery said. “Then today’s (Wednesday’s) clue said something about picnicking rain or shine. Van Buren is one of three parks with pavilions.”

Strangely enough, the “slippery slope” in the clue had nothing to do with the slope Avery said exists at Van Buren.

Kelley Weaver, a member of Friends of Fulton Parks who came up with the idea for the contest, said the slope refers to the slide on the playground equipment.

(See accompanying box for explanation of all four clues, including the one that was never published).

Avery said she enjoyed the contest immensely and the Friends of Fulton Parks succeeded in its goal to get people out to visit all the city’s parks and see what they have to offer.

“I’ve lived in Fulton my whole life,” said Avery, who is very familiar with Voorhees Park near her house. “But Patrick, Lincoln and Quirk parks, I never knew they existed. Now I know where all the park are.”

She took in so much while searching in the parks that she called Weaver to discuss issues she believes should be addressed at various sites.

“I might even get involved” with the parks group, Avery said.

She will receive her prize — a check for $250 from The Valley News — at a ceremony at 4 p.m. April 22 at Recreation Park. She receives $250 because she is a Valley News subscriber.

If she had not been a subscriber, she would have won $150.

Even though the medallion has been found, the other park contest continues through today.

People visit the Park of the Day (find out which one by visiting each day to find colorful stones with the park name on them.

People should collect one stone from each of the 10 parks and bring their collection to the ceremony April 22 at Recreation Park. People with the most complete collections will receive smaller prizes.

Avery said she also has been collecting stones and will be back out in the parks to complete her stone collection.

Medallion contest clues explained

April 9, Clue 1: Swingers will be thrilled to play here!

Swingers refer both to the tennis players swinging their rackets, and people swinging on the swingsets.

April 12, Clue 2: Go for a joy ride with three friends or go alone down the slippery slope.

There is a 4-seated bouncer at the park, to “go for a joy ride with 3 friends,” and the “slippery slope” is the slide.

April 16, Clue 3: Have a picnic or a celebration, come rain or shine.

The pavilion provides a place to picnic or have a celebration, with shelter from rain and sun.

April 19, Clue 4: Tennis anyone? Keep your feet on the ground, and look to the trees.

Van Buren Park is the only park with tennis courts. The medallion was tied to a small tree, within easy reach of the ground.