Category Archives: Valley Viewpoints

Lanigan is number one

by Rosemary A. Occhino, Board of Education

Once again, the students in the Fulton City School District collected pop-tabs for the Ronald McDonald House throughout the school year.

Each of the elementary schools contributed pounds of pop-tabs.  Lanigan Elementary collected in excess of 75 pounds and was the winner for this year.

As a  thank you, Ronald supplied me with 35 color photos that were autographed by him. Each teacher received a picture for his/her classroom. The gifts were presented at a recent Lift-Off Ceremony held in June.

Over our two-year competition, the school district collected over one million tabs, weighing over 1,000 pounds and giving Ronald McDonald  Charities over $600 to assist families with life threatening illnesses by providing  housing and food, while their child is hospitalized.

According to the math, 1,276 pop-tabs equal one pound and for each pound they gain 60 cents.  It takes many, many tabs to donate over $600.

Congratulations everyone…both  students and families, for a job well done!

Please continue to collect pop-tabs from beverage, soup, and pet food  cans. We will collect again during the school year 2013-2014.

Ask the question

by Doug Malone, Legislator

It’s time for candidates to start circulating the nominating petitions for the upcoming election.

This is a good time for the public to ask the question that we in the legislature can get no answer to.

Many of you registered Republicans are going to be asked to sign a petition to put Fred Beardsley on the ballot for county treasurer. Mr. Beardsley was a legislator, wannabe county clerk and is now the appointed treasurer. How’s that for political patronage?

The “in crowd” of the Republican legislators, led by the know-it-all and know-everybody-except-the-Queen of England County Republican Chairman Mike Backus, includes legislators Jim Oldenburg, Dan Chalifoux, Kevin Gardner, Louella Leclair, Dan Leclair, Milferd Potter, Shane Broadwell, Jay Martino, Jim Weatherup, Bob Hayes, Morris Sorbello, Jack Proud, Dave Holst, Ron Sakonyi, Linda Lockwood and Terry Wilbur, who all vote as they’re told.

They put Mr. Beardsley in as the treasurer, not knowing his qualifications, with the exception of Mr. Weatherup, who was appointed to take Mr. Beardsley’s place.

When it came time to vote for Mr. Beardsley, the question was asked over and over if he had finished high school.

None of the Republicans named above would answer the question.

So, maybe it’s a question that you, the public, should ask when you’re asked by one of these clowns to sign a petition to put Mr. Beardsley on the ballot.

Ask the question.

You have the right to know if the hand-picked choice of the above-named Republicans has a clue as to Mr. Beardsley’s qualifications.

You have the right to know if the man in charge of an almost $200 million budget knows how to add two plus two.

You have the right to know if the man overseeing your tax dollars has a high school education.

You have a right to question why these legislators voted to put Mr. Beardsley in as the treasurer, not knowing if he’s qualified to do the job.

I think the answer you’ll get from Mrs. Lockwood is that she voted for Mr. Beardsley to get him out of the legislature.

That’s really representing the people of Volney, isn’t it?

Of course, Mr. Wilbur’s membership with the “in crowd” moved him right up the food chain.

Now he’s the vice chairman of the legislature. His yes vote gave him a nice promotion.

Maybe if the public demanded answers, maybe if the public refused to sign the petition for Mr. Beardsley without an answer, then maybe county government could be returned to the people where it belongs, instead of in the control of the “in crowd.”

So when one of the “in crowd” comes knocking, ask the question. What makes Mr. Beardsley qualified to be the county treasurer, other than being a Republican good ole boy. Maybe you’ll have a better shot at getting an answer.

Thank you, volunteers

by Bob Weston, Fulton

As a member of the City of Fulton Recreation Committee, I want to thank two organizations for their volunteering to provide cleanup and maintenance of our city parks.

Over the years, the Fulton Lions Club has worked at C.V. Abbott Playground at Hulett Park, the playground at Voorhees Park and four years ago, adopted Oswego Falls Park, which is located south of Huhtamaki and adjacent to the Oswego River.

The second organization is the Fulton Alliance Church Building Bridges Committee’s children’s group called the Community Kids that recently worked at C.V. Abbott Park and will continue to work at three other parks for the next three months.

In addition, they have volunteered to do ground work near the lake, paint and stain the gazebo pier at Bullhead Point and attend the Christmas Tree Lighting Committee, which is under the direction of Recreation Superintendent Barry Ostrander and his staff.

Mayor Woodward, the city council and the recreation committee encourage our citizens to get involved either through organizations or individually to make our city a more attractive place to live.

If interested, please contact the mayor’s office at 592-7330 or Barry at the recreation department at 592-2474.

Memorial Day Salute

by Larry Macner, Memorial Day Salute Chairman

On behalf of the Fulton Service Clubs Memorial Day Salute Committee, I thank the people of the Fulton area who attended and participated in the various events sponsored by the four Fulton Service Clubs over the Memorial Day Weekend.

The sponsors of this community service project were the men and women in the Fulton Kiwanis Club, the Fulton Sunrise Rotary Club, the Fulton Lions Club and the Fulton Rotary Club.

The committee was aided and advised by several members of the Fulton Veterans Council.

The service club members worked very hard for several days, and in many cases, for several months, to make this weekend the great success that it was.

Some 33 years ago, a group of service club members met and planned a weekend of activities that would honor our military veterans with a parade, provide a high level of entertainment for our citizens who are unable to travel to distant places, and provide our children with constructive activities on the first weekend of summer.

This year’s event was our 32nd  year of the Memorial Day Salute.

The Memorial Day Salute is only successful because you, the citizens of the Fulton area, came out to participate in the weekend activities. The parade route was lined with thousands of people.  The main feature of our parade is the Veteran of the Year.

This year’s Veteran of the Year was World War II Army veteran  Alfred Myhill. The Fulton Veteran’s Council chose Mr. Myhill for this honor.

The entertainment in the Fulton Community Center was well attended, especially on Friday evening with Magical Mystery Tour and Saturday evening with Rob Garrett’s Neil Diamond tribute.

Hundreds of children enjoyed the rides and the children’s shows during Saturday afternoon. Food sales were good and most of all, the weather was sunny, but a little cool.

We also express our sincere appreciation to Fulton Mayor Ronald Woodward, Fulton Common Council Members, all of the city employees in the Public Works and Recreation departments, police and firemen, and others who helped us in any way.

This event would not be possible without the help of the advertisers in the Memorial Day Salute newspaper. Please extend your thanks and your business to these fine people. Most of all, remember that “Freedom is never free, it is earned by our veterans.”

Families enjoy ‘Day of Play’

by Karrie Damm, Executive Director Child Advocacy Center

Thanks to the efforts of great volunteers and the support of several area businesses and human services agencies our first ever Family Day of Play event was a big success.

Almost 200 children and family members joined us at Camp Hollis for a day of fun and learning and to enjoy the opportunity to interact with each other, make new friends, and participate in a number of child and family friendly activities.

The Family Day of Play was a chance for our children to experience the care, love, and compassion that their community has for them.

This event would not have been possible if not for the efforts the Oswego City/County Youth Bureau, Huntington Family Centers, & OCO, who co-sponsored the event, our valued volunteers and the businesses who graciously donated time, talents, monetary donations, refreshments and other items.

I extend a heartfelt thank you to the families who joined us for our Day of Play and everyone who helped to make it such a success!

Father deserves better

by Sandra Blanchard, Hannibal

I have lived in Hannibal all my life and proud of it. We have a great fire department with some great equipment that the men have secured through grants and fund-raisers.

I, for one, thank them for what they have done for the town. For those reasons, I was surprised, along with my mother Dorothy Pratt, to have gone to the Fairdale cemetery to place flowers on the graves of my father and younger brother and found that there were no Hannibal Fire Department flags of honor placed on the graves in the Fairdale cemetery.

My father was a member of the Hannibal Fire Department for 56 years. He worked on the design and construction of the fire station that still stands today.

He worked to bring the ambulance service to Hannibal. My father, Ted Pratt, and his wife, Dorothy Pratt, went and picked up the first ambulance that Hannibal ever had.

I will tell you this for anyone who cares. No matter what the time or type of call received, my dad was up and gone before you could take a breath. He never missed a call. I cannot tell you how proud of him we were.

He saved many lives in those years and I cannot believe that the Hannibal Fire Department left those great service men out of the recognition that they deserved.

To be fair to all of the firemen, I expect that one man was put in charge of this duty and did not do it. We not only pay a fire tax but we also pay all the firemen retirement — something that many of the firemen did not receive in the past.

They did it because they cared; they wanted nothing in return. It brought tears to my eyes as my dad deserved better from his service and friends.

Granby soliciting

by Ed Williamson, Granby Town supervisor

Someone has been canvassing residents in the Town of Granby, indicating they got a list from the Granby Codes Department of people that were going to get fined.

This information and accusation is false. The town does not give out information of this kind.

They are soliciting their “business” to clean-up your yard. When they stop at your door, send them on their way.

If you have any information to give or any questions, please call me at 598-6500, ext. 223.

‘King Cotton band marches on’

by John T. Sullivan Jr. (via e-mail)

The more things change, the more they stay the same! Who said that? It must have been someone from Oswego, because Oswego always provides ample evidence for the verity of this vernacular conundrum. Particularly when it comes to politics.

Forty-one years ago, I was elected a member of the newly formed Oswego County Legislature (formerly known as the Board of Supervisors). I was a Democrat in a Republican sea and I was quickly made aware of that fact when I asked to see copies of the resolutions we had to vote on.

“What?” exclaimed then County Attorney Charlie Sauers. “Do you know how much making Xerox copies would cost?”

Undaunted, I persisted in my quest to be able to read what I was about to vote on. It took a few months, but the Republican majority finally relented and cranked up the copy machine!

In those days, Ray Cotton, who was the sheriff and the chairman of the Republican Party would stand in the back of the chambers, and when it came time to vote, the roll call would start with the Town of Albion, whose Legislator at the time, Kenny Wheeler, would look back at Sheriff Cotton, who would literally give either a thumbs up or thumbs down signal, and Ken would vote accordingly.

The rest of the majority members then followed suit. That was just the way things were done, way back then.

I criticized the county government for acting like the “Toonerville Trolley,” puffing and snorting its way into the 20th century. I know, I know,  Trolleys don’t puff and snort, they run on electricity, but believe me, this one did, and anyone who dared to rise up to challenge the status quo, as I most often did, was rebuffed, rebuked, and reviled for having the temerity to challenge the powers who be.

Well, fast forward 41 years, and the Oswego County Legislature is back at it again — with a vengeance.

They have re-drawn legislative district lines without paying much heed to existing town lines, but lots of heed to whatever will further solidify their political hegemony.

They have appointed their chairman, Fred Beardsley, who by all accounts is unqualified for the post, as county treasurer. Why? Because they can. It is a perfect example of the arrogance of power that comes from unfettered one party rule.

But to add insult to injury, the coalition of Democrats,  Conservatives and disgruntled Republicans who have finally said enough is enough, have had to take to the courts to challenge this majority exercise in raw partisan redistricting power, only to find that the Judge hearing the case, who should be an impartial arbiter, is himself a former chairman of the local Republican party.

In addition, his brother-in-law, H. Douglas Barclay, is the respected and venerable former state senator from the area, and the power of all the powers that be in Oswego County.

Indeed, Doug’s law firm was paid to give an opinion to the majority Republican legislature that what they were doing, apportionment wise, was perfectly legal.

Under normal circumstances, Seiter is seen as a fair and impartial jurist, but when it comes to political cases, it will be hard for him not to see things from the Republican side of the aisle.

It is where his bread has been buttered all of his life and they are the team that brought him to the seat of power he now occupies.

A fair and impartial judiciary is critical to the administration of justice, and in this situation, fairness and impartiality may fall victim to partisanship, even if unwittingly.

It seems to me that the most sensible thing for Judge Norm Seiter to do would be to recuse himself from this case, and that way, avoid even the appearance and/or mere hint of impropriety.

He is unlikely to do that, however, so justice ill served may be justice denied. To quote an old friend of mine, the late Harry O’Brien of Fulton, “John Phillip Sousa may be dead, but his King Cotton band marches on in Oswego County.”

It is as true today as it was back then. Only the names have been changed to protect the less than innocent.