Category Archives: Fulton News

FULTON FAMILIES — Labor of love: The Mirabitos celebrate a century in Fulton

The Mirabito family has lived through about a century of ups and downs in Fultons. Today, Jim Mirabito is a successful grocer in Hannibal. Back row, left to right: Ann, Jim and Dan; front row: Sue, Steve and Sara.
The Mirabito family has lived through about a century of ups and downs in Fultons. Today, Jim Mirabito is a successful grocer in Hannibal. Back row, left to right: Ann, Jim and Dan; front row: Sue, Steve and Sara.

Editor’s note: This is the sixth installment of stories about Fulton Families.  The monthly series will tell the stories of families that have either  lived in Fulton for ages or perhaps only a short while — but the common  bond will be they love the city and wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.  If you know of a family we should highlight, please email Debbie Groom,  Valley News managing editor, at dgroom@scotsmanmediagroup.com.

By Ashley M. Casey

According to Charlene Mirabito, six is the perfect number of children.

Having grown up as the only child of Polish immigrants to Fulton, she knew  that one would be lonely. But she thought two would fight, three would end up two-on-one, and four or five might gang up on each other as well. So she and her husband, Francis, settled on six: Ann, Jim, Sue, Dan, Steve and Sara.

Out of that brood of six, only Jim Mirabito remains a Fultonian. He and his wife, Cindy, own the Hannibal Village Market, which they bought from Francis back in 1996.

As a third-generation Mirabito in Fulton, he is carrying on the family tradition of engaging with the community. Continue reading

Shirley S. (Young) Bird, owned Bird Farm in Volney

Shirley  S. (Young) Bird, 73, of Volney, NY, passed away at home on Friday, Feb. 21, 2014 with her family by her side.

Born in Syracuse, NY to her late parents, Mildred E. (Drumma) and Roy  J. Young, Sr. on Dec. 22, 1940, she was the owner/operator of the Bird Farm in Volney, NY.

Shirley was predeceased by her late husband of 45 years, William Lamar Bird in April of 2006; a daughter, Sally  A. Satusky in April of 2009; her siblings, three brothers, John, Roy Jr., and James; six sisters, Janet, Joan, Beverly, Rosemary, Patricia and Marilyn.

Surviving are her daughter, Susan A. (Larry) Benjamin of Phoenix, NY; three sons William S. Bird of Southport, NC, Randy M. (Katy) Bird of Kapolei, HI, and Timothy P. (Gloria) Bird of Baldwinsville; eight grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; two brothers, Bud Young and Richard Young; three sisters, Jean Cook, Barbara Johnson and Ruth Whorrall; several nieces, nephews and cousins.

A private burial will take place in the summer.

Contributions in Shirley’s memory to: American Heart Association or the Alzheimer’s Association.

Allanson-Glanville-Tappan Funeral Homes, Inc., Phoenix, has care of arrangements.

Anita “Cathi” Ramacus, collected angels

Anita “Cathi” Ramacus, 57, of Fulton, died Thursday Feb. 20 at Oswego Hospital, Oswego after a long illness.

Cathi was born in Syracuse, NY and she has been a resident of Fulton for most of her life.

Cathi was a very spiritual person and she enjoyed collecting angels.

She is survived by her children, Antonita “Toni” Ramacus of Syracuse, Frances “Franny” Ramacus of Fulton, Ramsey Ramacus, and Gregory Ramacus both of Syracuse; two sisters, Rita of Clay and Terry of CA; 10 grandchildren and several nieces and nephews.

Calling hours were held Tuesday Feb. 25 at the Sugar Funeral Home, Inc., 224 W. Second St. S., Fulton. Burial will be held privately.

Lillian Margaret “GG” Distin, loved Jesus Christ

Lillian Margaret “GG” Distin, 96, left her Greenbrier, Ark. residence, Sunday, Feb. 23, 2014, for the mansion prepared for her in Heaven.

Born on Wednesday, July 4, 1917 in Fulton, N.Y., to Margaret and Leroy Barker, she was just as energetic and bright as the holiday of her birth.

When born again in 1961, Jesus Christ became her first love, next to her family and church. For 30 years she was a beautician in her own salon. A powerful prayer warrior is gone, but her legacy of Christian faith lives on in the family she leaves behind.

She is survived by her children, Dennis Distin and wife Ricki of Greenbrier,Arkansas and Ronald Distin and wife Elaine (Pipsy) Distin of Beverly Hills, Florida. Grandchildren: Christy Secrease, Chip Distin, Ronnie Distin, Danny Distin and Amy Valentine. Great-grandchildren: Ryan Harrington, Ronnie, Cale, Blake and Lacy Distin, Kaylee and Meagan Secrease.

She was predeceased by her parents, sisters Arlene Hall and Lucille of Fulton, N.Y., and Milton “Mike” Distin, her devoted husband of 52 years, of Holiday, Fla.

Friends and family attended an evening of celebration and remembrance Feb. 27 in Springhill, Ark. Internment will be at Sylvan Abbey Memorial Park in Clearwater, Fla.

Donations in lieu of flowers may be made to House of Prayer, P.O. Box 547, Greenbrier, AR 72058, Alzheimer’s Arkansas or Gideon International.

Arrangements are by Roller-McNutt Funeral Home in Greenbrier.

Homelessness program set for March 13

Homelessness is an issue that many know exists, but few feel comfortable discussing.

On March 13, homelessness in Oswego County will be front and center as COACH, Oswego County’s continuum of Care committee, hosts a community forum from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Oswego County Health Department, 70 Bunner St., Oswego.

The Community Forum on Homelessness will offer the community the opportunity to hear the specifics on homelessness in Oswego County and learn of plans being developed to address the issue.

Doug Baldwin, case management supervisor with Oswego County Department of Social Services’ Division of Mental Hygiene, said the forum will bring together the full membership of COACH as well as members on COACH’s sub-committees.

“HUD has required all Continuum of Care committees throughout New York State to plan and implement a more formal organizational structure. This forum allows us to solicit input and ideas, as well as an opportunity to re-energize our membership,” Baldwin.

One subject to be addressed is the number of people that are homeless or at risk of homelessness in Oswego County.

“The results of a recent Point in Time survey that identified 280 people in one evening and the number of homeless individuals that have received services from Catholic Charities, Oswego County Opportunities, and the Department of Social Services, combined with the other people that meet the HUD definition of homelessness but are not captured, indicate that homelessness is a serious problem in our County,” Baldwin said.

The highlight of the forum will be a special presentation from William O’Connell, community and planning office director, HUD Buffalo Field Office. O’Connell, will share his experiences and how communities are responding and working together to address homelessness.

O’Connell, who has also headed the Continuum of Care initiative in Buffalo, will join COACH members to discuss strategies to prevent homelessness such as providing appropriate education and skills training, adequate employment opportunities, and a decent stock of affordable housing.

One of the key elements in meeting these challenges is establishing a clear picture of what homelessness looks like in Oswego County.

To accomplish this, COACH is in the planning process for a Homeless Management information System, which Baldwin aid will allow them to more accurately capture and quantify the true nature of homelessness in Oswego County.

Additionally, Baldwin said COACH is discussing plans to rapidly re-house the homeless in permanent affordable housing with necessary support services available as needed, and to provide staff to monitor and support homeless individuals in emergency housing situations, to foster rapid transitions.

“Homelessness is an issue that effects the entire community,” said COACH member and Oswego County Opportunities Executive Director Diane Cooper-Currier.  “I encourage human service agencies, community members, fraternal groups and other organizations to join us for this enlightening forum and learn how we can work together to alleviate homelessness in Oswego County.

For more information on the Community Forum on Homelessness, or to register contact Melanie Trexler, executive director, United Way of Greater Oswego County, at 593-1900 or at melanieunitedway@windstream.net.

Fulton’s East Side pool will be closed this summer

By Ashley M. Casey

Fultonians will have to find a new place to cool off this summer — the East Side pool will be closed.

The City of Fulton’s Parks and Recreation Superintendent Barry Ostrander said the pool, located at Rowlee Beach Park on South 12th Street, is in “extreme disrepair.”

“Extensive repairs are needed to keep it open. It’s reached a limit where we can no longer do in-house repairs,” Ostrander said.

In August 2013, the city applied for New York state’s “highly competitive” Empire Environmental Protection Fund grant to cover half the pool’s repair costs, but was rejected, Ostrander said.

“One of the primary reasons we didn’t get it was the study we supplied … was outdated,” Ostrander said.

In 2005, the engineering study suggested repairs to the pool, its filtration system and bath house totaling $227,000.

“(The city) decided not to go through with repairs at that time,” Ostrander said.

At its Feb. 18 meeting, the Common Council tabled a resolution proposing an engineering study of the pool’s needs by Barton & Loguidice.

“The thought process was three councilmen said they were not willing to bond (the project),” said Mayor Ronald L. Woodward Sr. “I think we should have the study. Then we could apply for grants. But I understand they’re concerned about the budget — and they should be.”

Woodward said First Ward Councilor Tom Kenyon, Third Ward Councilor Ryan Raponi and Fourth Ward Councilor Jim Myers were the three councilors who opposed bonding the pool project.

“I’m only opposed to it at this time because I didn’t see the need to spend $4,600 on a study for something that we can’t afford to fix anyway,” Myers said.

Both Ostrander and Myers said the city may look into a grant that could cover a portion of the engineering study’s cost.

Either way, the pool will still be closed this summer.

Ostrander said if the city were to apply for a grant to cover the study, “that would be another year removed from (possibly receiving) a big grant for the pool.”

Kenyon said the War Memorial gymnasium floor was well-used and so he supported a similar engineering study for that, but the pool is another matter.

“When I was a kid, I was told ‘no’ sometimes. If we have to be without a pool for a year, so be it,” Kenyon said. He also advocated saving “every penny we can” to fix the city’s roads after a rough winter.

“I’d wait until the state (Financial Restructuring Board) comes in to see what they do,” he added.

At the Feb. 25 school board meeting, Fulton City School District Superintendent Bill Lynch said Second Ward Councilor and Common Council President Dan Knopp had called him to ask if Granby Elementary’s pool would be available for community use this summer.

Lynch said many BOCES special education classes use the Granby pool during the summer, so he could not give Knopp an answer about the pool’s availability.

“We have a lot of issues … if there was available time,” Lynch told the board, citing staff and supervision as two key issues.

“We’re already offering more special ed at Granby this year because of (renovations) at Volney and (asbestos) abatement at Lanigan,” Lynch said. “That’s a heavy load for Granby to be shouldering.”

Lynch said the district could not offer transportation for community members to use the pool either.

The Granby pool already offers limited community use in the early morning and for an hour in the afternoon.

School board member Christine Plath, a former Mexico teacher, expressed concern about the idea of opening Granby to the city.

“It was a disaster when Mexico had a community pool,” she said.

Mary E. Sperati, Nestle retiree

Mary E. Sperati, 99, of Fulton, passed away on Monday, Feb. 24 at Michaud Residential Health Services in Fulton.

She was the daughter of Nazareno and Louise Sperati and was born in Fulton on Aug. 4, 1914.

Mary was a machine operator at the Nestle Co. in Fulton for 37 years, retiring in 1979. She had previously worked at the M. H. Fishman Company department store in Fulton.

Mary was a communicant of Holy Trinity Church in Fulton and a member of the Catholic Daughters of the Americas, Court Pere LeMoyne #833; Holy Trinity Golden Agers; Fulton Senior Citizens and Granby Senior Citizens.

Surviving is her niece, Louise of Fulton and other nieces, grandnieces and grandnephews.

She was predeceased by her parents and brothers, Lawrence, James, Patrick and Peter Sperati.

A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated Friday, Feb. 28 at Holy Trinity Church, Fulton. Spring graveside services will be in  St. Mary’s Cemetery.

Calling hours were Thursday Feb. 27 at Foster Funeral Home, 910 Fay St., Fulton. Memorial contributions may be made to Holy Trinity Church, 309 Buffalo St., Fulton, NY 13069.

Ol’ Man Winter still with us in Oswego County

By Debra J. Groom

Well, another 15.8 inches of white stuff fell in Fulton from Monday through Wednesday.

But believe it or not, the city still is about average when it comes to snowfall for a season, said Paul Cardinali, local weather observer.

“The problem Wednesday was the blowing snow,” he said. “It was a white out.”

The season total for Fulton as of Wednesday is 140.9 inches, Cardinali said. The average for this time of year is 132 inches.

The city of Oswego also saw the snow pile up earlier this week.

Weather observer William Gregway said the Port City received 14 inches from Monday through Wednesday, bringing its seasonal total to 131.6 inches.

The average for this time of year in Oswego is 150 inches.

On Wednesday, Oswego Mayor Thomas Gillen issued a travel advisory in his city to allow Department of Public Works crews the chance to remove snow from roadways. The travel advisory was lifted at 10 a.m. Thursday Feb. 27.

Gregway said it wasn’t so much the amount of snow Oswego saw on Wednesday, but the winds gusting at 30 mph or more, making visibility nonexistent at times.

“It wasn’t constant, though. It would come and go,” Gregway said.

Eight of the county’s nine school districts closed again Wednesday — only Pulaski opened.

Between the snow and frigid cold from the season’s earlier Polar Vortex, most of the school districts have maxed out on their snow days. Only Pulaski has one more snow day to use.