Category Archives: Hannibal News

Students and families learn how to be healthy

Submitted by Oswego County BOCES

Fairley Elementary School transformed into a massive health fair on March 3 as dozens of local health care agencies, businesses and organizations set up shop in the gymnasium for the first-ever Healthy Family Night.

The event was a huge collaborative effort and a significant undertaking, according to organizer and school psychologist Geri Seward. However, Seward noted that months of planning paid off as hundreds of people packed the school’s two gymnasiums.

“It was a lot of work but really was a fabulous event and successful in every way,” Seward said. “The presenters were amazing; the donations were amazing; the families and kids were amazing.  The feedback from all participants was amazing. What else could you ask for?”

Vendors were on hand from Oswego Health to provide information about their services and display X-ray images of bones. Businesses like Ontario Orchards also participated and gave out free bottles of apple cider. Representatives from police and fire agencies were on hand as well, discussing safety and even issuing child identification tags. Even youth development organizations, such as Boy Scouts, provided demonstrations.

“It was such a great bridge-building (effort) between home and school and community and school,” Seward said. “We all had a chance to learn, have fun and be together.”

In addition to holding raffles and hosting different vendors, Healthy Family Night focused on physical fitness as well. Students had an opportunity to show their parents what they learned in physical education class by using some of the equipment in the small gym.

Although the inaugural event just wrapped up, organizers are already looking toward the future.

“We hope it will be the first of many Healthy Family Nights,” Seward said.

Kenney students behave, achieve good grades

Submitted by Oswego County BOCES

At Hannibal’s Dennis M. Kenney Middle School, student achievement has soared this school year while disciplinary referrals have plummeted, creating a cause for celebration among faculty and pupils alike.

During a recent school board meeting, DMK Principal Dee Froio, DMK counselor Meg Jaworski and school psychologist Meredith Furlong discussed the reinvigorated Character Education Program. The program has gained traction since the beginning of the school year, when members of the building leadership team first got together to discuss their goals for the year. That team has evolved into a separate subcommittee and developed various initiatives to help boost student achievement while also addressing student disciplinary issues.

“We are looking to infuse character education within the culture and climate of the school,” Froio said.

The principal noted that the eight-person character education subcommittee meets monthly to decide on a particular trait that they want to see reinforced in the school community. However, rather than simply expecting students to know what respect is, there is an educational process that teaches students exactly what respect looks like.

“The focus of the committee is to take those traits and make them a focus every month so students can see these things in action, being practiced. “We have different activities for each trait that really helps reinforce everything.”

Morning announcements typically incorporate a word of the day that correlates with that month’s character trait, which also helps emphasize the trait. Respect, citizenship, kindness, caring and other qualities have been the focus of the initiative so far this school year, with announcements, incentives and activities held in conjunction with each. Activities include a free breakfast pizza event, an ice cream social, prize drawings and other celebratory happenings.

“We are trying to couple each character trait with academics and expectations and help our kids grow into (well-rounded) individuals,” Furlong said.

So far, mission accomplished. Teachers, counselors and faculty members have reported a noticeable change among the students. According to Jaworski, students are going out of their way to exhibit the character trait of the month. In addition to positive feedback from staff members, disciplinary data also confirms the strides students have taken to exhibit good behavior.

“We’re holding the students accountable and we’re also asking the staff to enforce those expectations,” Froio said. “If you compare the total referrals from September to December last year, we had 529 for that period; this year we’re at 435. We are trending in the right direction.”

With the district placing an emphasis on character education, Froio said she expects that trend to continue into the next marking period, the next school year and beyond. Judging by the 20 percent increase in students who earned recognition during  a recent character education breakfast, the principal’s vision is becoming a reality.

Ole Fashioned Day at Fairley

Fourth-grade student Dylan Ritchie, of Sarah Schumaker’s class, in the gymnasium that was set up as a museum on Ole Fashioned Day.
Fourth-grade student Dylan Ritchie, of Sarah Schumaker’s class, in the gymnasium that was set up as a museum on Ole Fashioned Day.

Submitted by Oswego County BOCES

Students in fourth grade at Fairley Elementary recently took part in Ole Fashioned Day, a school tradition for 42 years.

The fourth-graders have been learning about what life was like in Colonial America.

Ole Fashion Day brought the English language arts modules to life as students navigated a museum of antiques in the gymnasium, learned to square dance in a classroom “barn” and got their lessons in a one-room schoolhouse.

The day began with a morning assembly featuring bluegrass music. Then students moved onto classroom stations, where they drank a spot of tea and played colonial games.

Members of the Hannibal Historical Society helped in the one-room schoolhouse, where students were addressed as “master” and “mistress” and asked to spell words from their lesson aloud.

If a word was spelled incorrectly, the student was asked to write the word on the blackboard several times for memorization purposes.

Students “misbehaving” were sent to the corner and made to wear a dunce cap, a punishment once used as discipline in schools.

Prior to Ole Fashion Day, fourth-graders learned of the different jobs both children and adults held prior to the 21st century.

They wrote their own historical fiction narrative and made help wanted ads for trades like carpenter and shoemaker.

Parents joined in the fun after dismissal, and were treated to lemonade and homemade cookies.

These (Hannibal) kids got talent

Foreign exchange student Keti Chapiashvili shared her country’s music and culture when she sang a medley of Georgian folk songs during the Junior/Senior Talent Show at Hannibal High School on March 6.
Foreign exchange student Keti Chapiashvili shared her country’s music and culture when she sang a medley of Georgian folk songs during the Junior/Senior Talent Show at Hannibal High School on March 6.

Submitted by Oswego County BOCES

The Annual Junior/Senior Talent Show at Hannibal High School showed why the event has continued for many years when more than two dozen acts took the stage before a packed audience at the school on March 6.

Emcee and host for the evening was Victor Licatese and guest judges included teachers Nicole Erkan, Patrick Earley, Brooke Fingland, and John Manion, who scored each act on a scale of one to five.

Setting the tone for the night’s fun and frivolity, the first act by “More Than Cookies,” featured Girl Scout camp songs that had the audience laughing non-stop. The songs contained lyrics that involved electrocuted squirrels, dead reindeer, weenies, shaking tails and finished with God Bless My Underwear, to which judge Erkan exclaimed, “I was a Girl Scout and we didn’t sing those songs!”

Other acts included: Alexis Hartle singing Try Hard; Cati Emmons’ and Gabby Griffin’s dance entitled Double D; Dominique Santore, Amanda Miano and Aryel Griffis with If You Say So; and Chumani Ketcham and Amanda Kimball with an original clarinet composition entitled Mystic Tears.

Also there was a strobe light dance number entitled Reptile by a group called Pattosaurus Rex that spoofed a certain judge on the panel; Billy Skipper surprised and delighted with his rendition of Your Man in a deep baritone voice; and rounding out Act One a Happy dance by The Foreigners, aka the foreign exchange students at the school.

Judge Fingland said to the students following their performance, “I think I speak for everyone here and in the Hannibal community when I say, you make us happy.”

Following a short intermission, act two continued to please those in attendance beginning with a medley of Georgian folk music by foreign exchange student Keti Chapiashvili; followed by a dance number titled Courage Is by Aryel Griffis;  and an a capella duet by Rayshelle Smith and Chumani Ketcham called Let It Go.

Also there was a large group of “front row girls” who performed a singing spoof on the Backstreet Boys’ hit I Want It That Way that altered the lyrics to say “I want to graduate.”

There also was Lindsey Wheeler, who performed a beautiful, lyrical dance routine to the song Skinny Love; Brett Dumas sang a solo performance of Just the Way You Are; and the band Chicken and Crackers sang a number of “school appropriate tunes” that got the whole crowd up and dancing before the senior class joined the band onstage for the grand finale song Don’t Stop Believing.

Hannibal High School’s Annual Junior/Senior Talent Show was a huge success, packing the auditorium and delighting the audience with a wide variety of talent showcased at the school.

In And Around Hannibal – March 22, 2014

I’m off to Maryland this week where I will volunteer with SERRV for a few days. SERRV is a nonprofit organization with a mission to eliminatee poverty by providing opportunity and support to artisans and farmers worldwide.

It began when a small group of church relief workers helped refugees rebuild after World War II. SERRV has grown into a $9 million fair trade network connecting thousands of artisans in developing countries with customers and volunteers across the United States.

If I’ve raised your curiosity, check it out on the net! Some of our local churches put on SERRV Fairs.

While in Maryland, I’ll also be delivering more that 250 school kits to Church World Service from all across Central New York.

On Friday, I’m headed to DC to attend Ecumenical Advocacy Days; EAD is a movement of the ecumenical Christian community and its recognized partners and allies.

Their goal, through worship, theological reflection and opportunities for learning and witness, is to strengthen their Christian voice and to mobilize for advocacy on a wide variety of U.S. domestic and international policy issues.

On Monday, 1,000 Christian advocates will take to Capitol Hill for meetings with their members of Congress. This year’s theme is, “Jesus Weeps: Resisting Violence, Building Peace.”

The longer I live, the more I realize that all those tiny beams of light that work on food pantries and clothes closets, fight and support for better health care, advocate against drug use, prepare free meals, put together assorted kits, etc. are just treading water.

It takes government to do for people what they can’t do for themselves. So it’s time I took that bigger step in faith and went to Capitol Hill. It will be a new experience for me, but one I’m looking forward to.

I feel a little like Ella Leonard Stevenson must have felt when she left Hannibal, traveling far and wide on behalf of women’s suffrage!

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This year’s honoree of the Hannibal Libraries’ Woman of the Year award is Christine Learned. The reception will be from 2 to 3:30 p.m. today, Saturday, March 22 at the Library.

Lenten Services of the Enoch Thomas Cluster of United Methodist Churches continue. All services start at 5 p.m. with refreshments afterwards; all are on Sunday, March 23, at Hannibal Center; March 30 at Ira (please note Hannibal and Ira have switched dates from what was previously announced); April 6 at Bowens Corners.

On Sunday April 13, Palm Sunday, they will all be taking part in a Choir Festival at Hannibal.

The Tri-County Singers will perform their Easter Cantata at the Hannibal United Methodist Church at 2 p.m. March 30. A free will offering will be received.

Senior Center

The Senior Meals Program meets Monday, Wednesday and Friday for lunch at the Senior Center promptly at noon. The Center opens at 10 for those who like to work on puzzles, read the paper or just have a chat over coffee.

There’s always something to do at the Center, which is located in the Library across from the Hannibal Fire Hall on Oswego Street.

This week’s menu features:

Monday, March 24: Hot turkey sandwich, mashed potatoes, vegetable blend, fruit cup

Wednesday: Turkey sloppy Joe, baked beans, cole slaw, mixed fruit

Friday: Chicken breast w/mushroom sauce, rice pilaf, vegetable blend, cookie

Activities: Monday is Wii bowling; Wednesday is Bingo after lunch; Friday is   shuffleboard, games.

Please call Rosemary at 564-5471 and make your reservation.

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The Hannibal Historical Society will be meeting at 7 p.m. Monday at the Community Center, Oswego Street. Alena Patane Sanford will tell about the history of the Hannibal Nursery School.  The school now operates under the umbrella of the Hannibal Free Library and provides for small group educational opportunities for pre-school children aged 3-5 years.

I remember 35-plus years ago receiving info for this column about the nursery school from Alena’s mom Vivian … wish I could be there to share the trip down memory lane.  Refreshments will be served.

Bone Builders don’t take the winter off — they meet at the American Legion at 9:45 a.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays. If you have osteoporosis, there is help for you and your bones —stop in and check it out, or give Louise Kellogg a call.

The Elderberries will meet for a covered dish dinner at noon this Tuesday at the Community Center.  Please bring your own table service and dish to pass.  The center is on Oswego Street in the Community Center, Library building.

This will be the last noon meeting.  In April, they will begin their summer schedule and resume meeting at 6 p.m.

They voted to continue to collect food and non-food items for the Hannibal Resource Center and blankets and pet food for the Humane Society. Some of the Berries involved with these organizations have agreed to drop them off.

Take Off Pounds Sensibly meets at Our Lady of the Rosary (Cayuga Street across from the High School) meets at 5:45 p.m. Wednesdays.

ZUMBATHON to benefit Upstate New York chapter of ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday March 26 at Hannibal Village Tavern. For more information call 564-5266 or 564-5479.

The Hannibal Methodist Church serves a free lunch (donations for this ministry accepted though) at 11:30 a.m. Thursdays. The church is one block west of the Village Square on Route 3 (Church Street).

Hannibal Fire Co. Breakfast with the Easter Bunny will be from 8 to 11 a.m. Sunday, March 30 at the firehouse on Oswego Street. FREE pictures with the Easter Bunny will be provided By C. Perkins Photography from 9 to 11 a.m.

They will be serving pancakes, French toast, scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, home fries toast, sausage gravy, biscuits and beverages.

The Hannibal Lenten soup dinners and devotionals will begin April 1 at Our Lady of the Rosary Church across from Hannibal High School on Cayuga Street.

The next one in on April 8 at the Hannibal Methodist Church and the last one is April 15 at God’s Vision Christian Church.

The Senior Council rooms are available for groups and family rental when not being otherwise used.  Please give Rosemary a call for information and booking (564-5471.)

The Friends of the Hannibal Free Library will be holding its Spring Book and Bake Sale from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, April 5, and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday April  6 at the Hannibal Community Center nextto the Library.  There will be hundreds of books,  for all ages and interests.

There will also be a wide variety of baked goods  for sale. For more information call Faith Chaffee,  564-5192.

Craft and Bake Sale at the Hannibal United Methodist Church, Church Street (one block west of the Village Square on Route. 3) from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 12. Lunch will be available from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. All homemade soup, chili, sandwiches and pie!  Two floors of crafts for you to browse and shop!

The Hannibal Library has a Garden Time raffle basket full of containers, gift certificate from Travis Floral, books on container gardening, gloves, tools and more. The drawing will be on April 15.

There will be a Community-wide Yard Sale in the Hannibal area at 8 a.m. Saturday, May 3. Last year we had 27 sales — all offering MANY bargains!

If you wish to participate and would like your sale placed on the master list call 564-6410 and provide your street address and phone number by Sunday, April 27.

If you will have special sale content like tools, antiques, sports equipment, or if multiple-families are participating, please note that also. (There is no need to provide your name.)

Multiple copies of the master list will be available for the buying public at the Community Center (Library) beginning at 8 a.m.

I can’t write it unless I have it — so you know what to do … phone or email me with your club’s or organization’s info. That includes the schools, churches, Dollars for Scholars, blood drives, Scouts, 4-H, TOPS, Resource Center etc.

Rita Hooper
706-3564
Twohoops2@juno.com

School districts ponder veterans exemption

By Ashley M. Casey

Although the March 1 deadline to grant a partial property tax exemption to wartime veterans has passed, local school boards are mulling the decision for 2015.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo approved a law in December 2013 giving school districts the same power as municipalities to authorize a property tax reduction of at least 15 percent to district residents who served in the armed forces during a time of war.

The Fulton City School District board of education first discussed the issue at its Feb. 11 meeting.

Director of Finance Kathy Nichols and Superintendent Bill Lynch told board members that based on data from Oswego County, veterans or their spouses own 774 parcels of land in the Fulton district.

Under the new law, $13,851,354 could be exempt from the district’s assessed value if the board authorizes the veterans’ exemption.

“We had received notification (of the law) in early February,” Fulton board president David Cordone said. “There wasn’t a lot of time for us to investigate … the majority of the board felt we didn’t have enough information to vote for the March 1 deadline.”

If boards did not pas a resolution to grant the exemption by the March 1 deadline, they can consider the matter again next year.

Cordone said the Fulton board decided to gather more data in order to “be prepared to vote next year.”

“It’s up for discussion, but we need community input,” said Erin Hess, president of the Hannibal school board. “It’s really not so much for the board to decide — it’s up to the community.”

Hess echoed a concern that Fulton board member Christine Plath voiced in February.

“The only big question about it is the exemption gets picked up by other taxpayers, so it’s up for debate,” Hess said.

In February, Plath told her fellow board members she didn’t “see how certain households (in the Fulton district) can handle an increase in the tax rate.”

“It is going to be an impact (on the other taxpayers),” Mexico school board president Jim Emery said.

“With, for example, the STAR program, the state reimburses the districts. With this … it leaves it up to the district to shift the cost to other taxpayers. It puts the school board in an unenviable position.”

Emery said Mexico and other rural, lower-income districts would have a harder time distributing the cost of the veterans’ exemption to other taxpayers.

Across the state, school board members seem to have their reservations as well.

According the New York State School Boards Association, 69 percent of board members in an informal poll opposed the veterans’ exemption.

“School board members strongly support our veterans, but they believe that reimbursement for the veteran’s exemption should be covered by the state rather than by other local taxpayers,” school boards association Executive Director Timothy G. Kremer said in a press release.

“The law as is presents school boards with a dilemma,” Kremer said. “If they adopt the exemption, that would increase taxes for other taxpayers in their district. If they do not adopt the exemption, they could be viewed as not being supportive of veterans.”

In Oswego County, several municipalities have authorized a similar property tax reduction for Cold War veterans.

In 2009, the county legislature passed “Cold War Veterans Property Tax Exemption Act,” which granted a basic 15 percent reduction to veterans. Combat veterans receive an additional 10 percent exemption, and those with service-related disabilities receive even more.

Donna Kestner, director of the Oswego County Veterans Service Agency, said the following municipalities granted exemptions to Cold War vets: city of Fulton, Amboy, Minetto, Oswego Town, Palermo, Parish, Sandy Creek, Schroeppel, Volney and Williamstown. The city of Oswego and Scriba have not approved the exemption.

“I think it’s excellent,” Kestner said of the potential exemption from school districts. “I’d love to see our vets get school tax exemptions.”

Kestner said she could not make it to the Fulton board meeting Feb. 11 but thought the Fulton board was “in full support of the veterans, and I appreciate that.”

“Some places, they’re not as supportive as they are here,” she said.

Legislature chairman gives State of the County speech

Oswego County Legislature Chairman Kevin Gardner, R-New Haven, gave his State of the County speech to the legislature March 13.

Here is what he said:

“Good afternoon and welcome!

And to our first term legislators, Roy Reehil (Dist. 5), Richard Kline (Dist. 12), Steven Walpole (Dist. 14), Marie Schadt (Dist. 19) and Frank Castiglia Jr. (Dist. 25) a renewed message of welcome that comes with my encouragement to accept and approach your new-found responsibilities in a patient and thoughtful manner.

It has been just over 10 years now that I have served in this body and slightly more than 10 months since I first accepted the responsibility as your chairman. As I look around the room today, only three other legislators were here with me in 2004, Legislators Kunzwiler, Malone and Proud.

But while the faces have changed dramatically in those 10 years, many of our goals and objectives have not. Unfortunately neither have the various issues that continue to prevent us from fully reaching those goals.

Like most of you, from the very first day that I decided to run for public office, one of my guiding principles has been to always be a careful steward of the taxpayers’ dollars. With respect to that as an overarching goal, I would say that we, collectively, for however long you have personally been a part of this team, have succeeded.

Not only have we managed to hold the county tax rate down but we have actually reduced the rate from $9.60/1000 in 2004 to $7.22/1000 in 2014, a 25 percent decrease over that period.

This has required a lot of hard work and many tough decisions, but through good management and strategic planning we have been able to continue to provide most of the services that our taxpayers demand.

This has been and will continue to be a very difficult task. One that needs careful and thoughtful deliberation as we attempt to strike a balance between keeping the county tax rate down and providing the types and levels of services that our constituents believe are essential to maintaining the quality of life that we all enjoy here in Oswego County.

As we have clearly seen over this last decade, the challenges before us can be overcome only through a bi-partisan and coordinated effort, one that reaches beyond the 25 of us deliberating here today. To be successful we will need to continue to rely on the expertise of our management team and each and every one of our dedicated and skilled employees who have chosen public service as their calling.

On behalf of the taxpayers of Oswego County, I would like to thank all of them for their hard work and continued support.

So, where are we today and where do we want to be tomorrow?

2013, in general, while plagued with challenges, was a productive year for us. We settled several labor agreements and without any new capital expense, we added six new solar projects that should save us over $20,000 a year.

Through a very difficult project that required a lot of patience and cooperation from the public and our employees alike, we eliminated some environmental concerns while re-configuring our Social Services facility and certain processes within the building to create a safer and more efficient work environment there.

We used less of our reserves to keep county taxes down and, through a very professional and unbiased vacancy review process we have been able to avoid the typical knee-jerk solution of cutting jobs to resolve budget shortfalls. In fact, our process of carefully examining the need for services as we consider filling vacancies, netted us a savings of over $2.2 million dollars last year.

But more remains to be done…..

In 2014, working together as a bi-partisan group that understands the complex and diverse needs associated with running an effective and efficient county government, we have the opportunity to explore several issues that remain unaddressed.

For example, while we have made great strides in our efforts to make our fleet of buildings more energy efficient, which by the way has saved our taxpayers over $80,000 in 2 years, we have yet to address the Public Safety Center, our largest energy user and one ripe with opportunities for savings.

We have also identified our internal phone and communications network as desperately in need of modernization.

We know that in many cases, simple changes in the way that we are now required to provide services, our space needs have also changed and we will look carefully at how we can meet those varied needs as we move forward.

Our records center is a good example of this. As our mandates to provide services increases so does the volume of records that need to be maintained, some of which we are required to keep forever.  Our small records center, on the site of the old jail property, is at its capacity and with the pending demolition of the jail building we should be considering our ability to meet our records retention needs at the current site or at another location.

We have a nice piece of riverfront property and perhaps there is a higher and better use for the property that would put it back on the tax rolls.

Part of our responsibility, as the highest level of local government in our jurisdiction, is to work with all of our constituent partners, public and private, to help make our area a better place to live, work and raise a family.

Sometimes this can be accomplished through policy initiatives, like setting goals and objectives for how we would like to see our communities grow, or which natural, cultural or historic resources we would like to see protected as that happens.

Sometimes our role is to lead by example and demonstrate to others that there are better and more efficient ways to do things.

For example, the consolidation and sharing of services. The county has demonstrated this time and again over the years as town dumps were closed and replaced by a county wide state-of-the-art solid waste system, local health offices merged into a county health system, weights and measures services were consolidated, the list goes on but in every case, services that used to be provided by local governments are now provided in a more cost effective manner by a centralized county department or office.

Other counties have seen police and fire departments merge and even here in Oswego County we have witnessed the great efforts of the residents of the Village of Altmar, who recognized that it was not cost effective to continue to have multiple layers of government providing duplication of services over small areas and now, while the Village still has its identity as a place, the cost of local government in that area has been reduced.

I believe that there are opportunities for us to all work together to help make it less expensive to live and do business in Oswego County and if we share that as a common goal without as much focus on geographic boundaries and territories, we will be successful.

I also believe that there are times that we, as a county, can take measures that not only make good business sense for us internally but that also result in great potential for growth in our business sector and enhanced quality of life for our residents.

With regard to enhancing the potential for business growth, the availability of broadband is essential in today’s global marketplace and much of our county has suffered for years from this deficiency.

You will have the opportunity to consider a game-changing initiative, a project that will not only resolve our internal communications needs but one that will eventually bring affordable high-speed broadband service throughout  the county as a result of the base that will be laid to service our government operational needs.

This project, which by-the-way, requires no new expenditures, will position us well ahead of other county governments in NY with respect to the types and levels of communications services that will be available to us.   This project, if approved, will save us tens of thousands of dollars every year during its initial term and nearly ½ a million each year after that. .

As Oswego County becomes more widely known around the world through the multi-media efforts of the tourism and public information office, we need to be able to demonstrate to our visitors, whether they are here for business or pleasure that we have everything they need should they decide to make this place their home.

To that end, we can continue our efforts to be among the best at what we do and continue to work with our local businesses and communities to enhance the quality of life here in Oswego County, but without some relief from the growing list of unfunded State and Federal mandates all of our efforts and sacrifices will be for naught.

If we are going to be successful in our goal of keeping property tax stabilization as one of our top priorities in 2014 and if, we want to do that in a way that minimizes our reliance on reserve funds, we need relief from the requirement of providing state and federal programs without sufficient state and federal dollars to do so.

Over 80 percent of our 2014 County budget is spent on these unfunded programs. Every single property tax dollar and about 1/2 of all of the sales tax dollars that we collect is dedicated to providing services that someone else has decided is beneficial to our citizens.

If we have to pay for these services, then we should get to decide what services we will offer to best benefit our constituents.  If that is not an option, then the people who mandated these programs should also have to pay for them.

If the State of NY took over four of its own programs, Medicaid, Preschool Special Education, Indigent Defense and Safety Net, the average taxpayer in Oswego County would see their county tax bill reduced by about $500.

No discussion of state imposed hardships would be complete without mentioning that again, last year, this legislature decided to override the state-imposed 2 percent tax cap. Many municipalities across the state were forced to do this as well as they nearly all face expenses that are beyond their ability to control on a local level.

Our reasons are slightly more complicated than that and somewhat unique to our county because the state formula, under the tax cap program, still does not address the uncertain tax status of the nuclear plants.

The override was a mechanism that we could use to shield our taxpayers from an uncertain state audit process that could have resulted in an unnecessary penalty, potentially costing Oswego County taxpayers millions of dollars.  A risk we cannot and will not take.

In an effort to take a proactive and bi-partisan approach to the various issues that we are faced with, 2014 is my intent to task  the Legislature’s standing committees, with working with our department heads to explore opportunities that could lead to more efficient ways to utilize the taxpayer’s dollar both internally and in partnership with our constituent communities.

I am open and will remain open to suggestions from legislators regarding any issue they feel should be addressed. Again, all I ask is that the objective makes good operational sense and has a positive benefit to the taxpayer.

I would like to thank our county employees and department heads for a job well done. We need to I assure you, we know how hard you work and appreciate your dedication to your job and the people of this county. I would like to thank you on behalf of the Legislature for your efforts and cooperation during these difficult economic times.

In closing, I would like to re-emphasize that I am confident in the ability of this legislature, the county’s employees, and department heads. I am confident that together we can accomplish our task of providing the people of Oswego County with an efficient, friendly and effective government.

Our challenges are great and we will control spending. Let’s make the hard decisions this year so we can continue to stabilize taxes for years to come. We owe it to our constituents.

I thank you all for the opportunity and the honor to serve as your chairman and I look forward to a positive and productive 2014.

 

News in Brief

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oswego County is offering the 2014 edition of the Spring Dairy Managers Meeting from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday, March 24 at the Oswego County Federal Credit Union Community Room, located at 5828 Scenic Ave. (Route 3) in Mexico.

The cost is $15 and includes lunch.

From milk quality to profitability to robotic milking systems, this wide-ranging program will offer practical ideas for dairy farmers to stay afloat in the tough times and capitalize when milk prices are good.

Pre-registration is required and must be done by March 20. To register, call Brenda at 963-7286 and send payment to Oswego CCE, 3288 Main St., Mexico, NY 13114.

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Applications are due by March 26 for the Civil Service test for purchasing clerk.

The pay rate for the position is $14.67 an hour. Candidates must be legal residents of Oswego County for a minimum of four months immediately preceding the date of the test, which is May 3.

Applications and further information are available at the Department of Personnel, County Office Building, 46 E. Bridge St., Oswego or by calling 349-8209 or going to www.oswegocounty.com/personnel/openings.html

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The Hannibal Fire Co. will have breakfast with the Easter Bunny from 8 to 11 a.m., Sunday March 30 at the fire station on Oswego Street.

There will be free pictures with the Easter Bunny provided By C. Perkins Photography from 9 to 11 a.m. Breakfast will be pancakes, French toast, scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, home fries toast, sausage gravy, biscuits and beverages.

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Little Utica United Methodist Church and the EJ Thomas United Methodist Men are holding their second annual Lunch and Movie event Saturday, March 29.

Lunch will be served at noon followed by a family-friendly Christian movie.

The menu consists of all comfort foods including baked beans, macaroni and cheese, chili, chicken soup, chili-cheese and regular hot dogs. Grilled ham and cheese sandwiches will also be served along with punch, milk, tea and coffee and homemade chocolate chip cookies.

Cost will be $5 for adults, kids 12 and under $3. All proceeds will support their mission to provide children’s camper scholarships.

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The 50th annual Oswego County Numismatic Association Coin and Collectible Show will be from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, March 30 in the Fulton Municipal Building.

Free admission and free parking are available.

There will be a 50/50 drawing and attendees can bring items to the show to ask questions about them to club members.

There will be many dealers on hand with coins, stamps, postcards, pocket watches, jewelry, sports cards and other collectibles.

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Beaver Lake Nature Center is gearing up for its maple sugaring and pancake breakfasts in March.

A visit to Beaver Lake Nature Center’s demonstration sugarbush can be done from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays and 1 to 4 p.m. Sundays in March.

Every Saturday in March, from 9 a.m. to noon, the public can enjoy a hearty pancake breakfast, which also includes sausage and juice or fresh brewed coffee. Visitors, including groups, are served and seated on a first-come, first-serve basis.

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Do you know a child that has an interest in learning how to sew and does not know where to go for classes?

If the answer to this question is yes, then Oswego County 4-H is the solution. It is conducting a series of workshops, Learn to Sew, which will teach children ages 8 to 19 how to sew with a sewing machine and by hand.

The classes will be held from 1:30 to 3 p.m. Tuesday, April 15, Wednesday, April 16 and Thursday, April 17 at the Oswego County Cooperative Extension office in Mexico.

Each day participants will go home with a finished project: potholder, pillowcase, and decorative initial shaped pillow.

The program fee is $24 per child and covers all sewing supplies including sewing machines. Individuals can bring their own sewing machines if they choose.

To register for Learn to Sew or for more details, call the Oswego County 4-H Office at 963-7286, ext. 302 or email Mary Matteson at mmm65@cornell.edu by Thursday, April 10.

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Seasoned business equipment service technician James Rasmussen announced that Rasmussen Business Equipment, 296 E. Second St.,  Oswego, is now open for business.

Rasmussen Business Equipment specializes in the service and maintenance of high quality copiers, printers and fax machines.

Rasmussen, who has more than 23 years of experience in the business machine world, also holds certifications in the repair of more than 50 different types of business machines.

In addition to service and repair, Rasmussen Business Equipment also sells new copiers and printers as well as off-lease copiers.

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BJ’s Outdoor Power Equipment Inc will have its 20th anniversary celebration from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. April 4.

There will be cake, drinks and exclusive promotions.

The company has been in business at 3649 State Route 3 in Palermo for 20 years  focusing on quality outdoor power equipment like Ferris mowers, Branson tractors and Snapper mowers and snow blowers.

The company can be reached at 598-5636.

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There are two caregiver support groups run in Oswego County by the Alzheimer’s Association.

They are:

** 7 p.m. the fourth Monday at Divine Mercy Parish Center (St. Michael’s), 592 S. Main St. in Central Square. Call Gail Lauricella at 676-7533 for information.

** 7 p.m. the fourth Wednesday at The Manor at Seneca Hill, 20 Manor Dr., Minetto. Call Dianne Morrisette at 349-5341 for information.