Category Archives: Valley Viewpoints

Valley Viewpoints: Community support

by Karrie Damm, Executive Director of the Child Advocacy Center

On behalf of the hundreds of children and their families that we serve at the Child Advocacy Center of Oswego County, I would like to thank those caring businesses and individuals who helped to make our second annual Chicken Wing & Micro-Brew Fest such a success!

The event raised more than $10,000 to help support our efforts to provide vital services to children who have been sexually or physically abused, neglected or maltreated.

The success that we enjoyed would not be possible if not for the support we received from the community members that attended the event, our board of directors, and our event sponsors.

It takes tremendous courage for children and their families to speak up about unimaginable things that happen to them most often by people they like, live with, or love.

An event such as this not only raises much needed funds to allow services to continue, it also sends a message to the children that there are a lot of good people in the community who are here to help.

I hope it also sends a message to people who perpetrate crimes against children, that being “we’re not going to stand for abusive behavior in our community to our children…no way, no how.”

Thank you again for the overwhelming community support we received and thank you for recognizing the Child Advocacy Center and the work that we do to help child abuse victims in Oswego County.

Valley Viewpoints: Repeal snowmobile bill

by Robert Jonick, North Syracuse

The year 2012 was the lowest snowmobile registration year in the past 18 years. New York State and the Snowmobile Association need to wake up. They are on the “Titanic” and need to change course.

Last year, registrations for snowmobiles saw a drop of about 45,000, causing the trail fund to lose about two million dollars. It’s time now to resolve this snowmobile registration issue and enact a $25 non-trail registration fee.

At the May 2010 meeting, the board of directors of the Snowmobile Association president, Gary Broderick, said he wanted to resolve the sportsmen’s issue regarding the non-trail registration fee.

The Association can no longer use the excuse that the winters are warmer, the economy is bad or gas prices are too high. You now need the sportsmen’s money. The numbers say it all.

In 2005, when Gov. Pataki held office, snowmobile registrations were at an all time high of 172,000. After Bill No. 6815, Snowmobile Rights and Responsibility, was enacted snowmobile registration has seen a steady drop.

In the last eight years, there has been a loss of 78,000 snowmobile registrations resulting in a huge loss of revenue to the New York State Trail Fund and 170 snowmobile clubs.

Also, revenue losses to many small businesses that depend on snowmobiling for their livelihood.

How does this registration loss promote the sport of snowmobiling?

New York State should get out of the business of recruiting new members for snowmobile clubs. Bill No. 6815 has cost the state millions of dollars. In the corporate world, a CEO would be fired for such a loss and the mandate causing the loss repealed or scraped. It is time for Albany to do the right thing. Repeal or modify Bill No. 6815 and resolve the issue of the $25 non-trail registration fee.

Sportsmen such as ice fishermen, trappers and hunters would thank you.

The bill now pending for the $25 non-trail registration fee is S-1973 sponsored by Sen. Joseph Griffo and A-152 sponsored by Assemblyman Bill Magee.

Valley Viewpoints: Paying twice

by Rodney Delong, Granby

I would like to share a concern regarding the use (or misuse) of taxpayer dollars when it comes to snow removal at my local fire station.

Each year, Cody Fire Commissioners Les Johnson, Dave Pittsley, Doug Wolford, Richard Allen and Morris Sorbello (also an Oswego County Legislator) bid and contract out a snow removal contract for the two Cody fire stations.

Included in this contract is “prompt snow removal and ice control” defined as snow removal when there is three inches of accumulation, as well as shoveling the doors and salting.

My concern is not the awarding of the contract, it is that at least once per year and quite often more frequently, the fire commissioners request the Town of Granby come and salt the parking lot at the fire stations. I would expect that the statement “prompt snow removal and ice control” would somehow include salting the parking lot.

The property tax bill that I pay includes a portion for fire taxes, which includes among other items the planned costs for snow plowing.

As a part of that same property tax bill, I pay the Town of Granby to plow and sand/salt the road that I live on.

When the town salts the fire stations, I am paying for the same service twice. I have paid the Cody Fire District to have the lot salted as a part of their plowing contract and then I am paying for this service again as a part of my town taxes, which includes the salaries/wages of the town worker who is running the salting truck and the actual cost of the salt. If we continue to do this, it increases our town taxes to cover the additional hours/salt and yet we have already paid for this once as a part of the fire.

I have brought this to the Granby Town Supervisor Ed Williamson, who told me that he has no control over what Cody Fire District uses their money for. This is an accurate statement, but Mr. Williamson does have some control over what the town uses their money for.

Is the Cody Fire District going to reimburse the town for these costs? If not, the town budget could be depleted before it really should resulting in an increase in town taxes next year to cover the additional costs.

I personally feel that we pay enough in taxes that we really shouldn’t have to pay anyone for the same service twice. I would expect that this issue could be better handled should the fire district control their contractors instead of having the town take care of what the fire district doesn’t want to address.

Wanted: Pop tabs

by Rosemary Occhino, Fulton Board of Education

For the remainder of the 2012-2013 year, the Fulton City School District will participate in the Ronald McDonald House Charities of CNY’s “Pick Up the Tab” campaign.

This campaign collects aluminum  pop tabs year-round. Pop tabs  are found on soda and soup cans, some animal food containers, and other food and beverage items.

A second Ronald McDonald House was recently built in Syracuse. More than 200 organizations, including many school districts, are on the bandwagon collecting pop tabs to help keep families in need together. Pop tabs are an easy way to recycle and help others. Anyone can do it!!  Did you know that one pound of aluminum is sold for $0.60? It takes 1,267 pop tabs to make a pound.

The pop tabs can make a big impact in collected in big numbers. We would like to be apart of that impact, and making a difference to others by collecting as many pop tabs as possible.

Last year we held a competition between our local schools. In May 2012, we delivered over one million pop tabs that weighed over 900 pounds to the Ronald McDonald House. The check for the Ronald McDonald House was nearly $500. Fairgrieve and Volney elementary schools contributed over 500 pounds together.

This year, Lanigan Elementary is ahead with 13 pounds. It is my hope that everyone will encourage others to pop off a tab and eventually assist others in need. Please allow the Fulton City School District to be an example of “The Golden Rule.”

Valley Viewpoints: Shame on Fulton

by Vincent T. LaQuire, Fulton

I attended another meeting of the Fulton Zoning Board Jan. 10.

The last meeting I attended I left feeling confused by the board’s action. This time, I left feeling ashamed of the board members, who I feel dropped the ball in restoring 112 Division Street to the city’s tax roles by not compromising by allowing a variance for a single-family home, as offered by Mr. Tetro.

I must ask the board, “Where are your hearts for Fulton and its residents?”

Now I must live next to a house going to ruin; instead of one where my granddaughter and her children could have lived by their grandmother and me.

My pleas and arguments fell on deaf ears and cold hearts. They appeared set on keeping Mr. Tetro from owning another home on Division Street.

Every reasonable and sound argument was given as to how this would be to Fulton’s advantage. But it seemed to me that it was game, set, and match from the get go.

I feel if Christ himself were there speaking for Mr. Tetro, the board wouldn’t of heard him either as they had made up their minds already and no argument no matter how sound could of changed it.

I’m disappointed they wouldn’t even allow a single-family home at 112 Division. Where are honor, justice and fair treatment in Fulton now? I can only wonder!

Valley Viewpoints: Heartwarming

by Mary Margaret Pezzella-Pekow and Helen Hoefer, Catholic Charities of Oswego County

Words cannot express the gratitude we have for the overwhelming amount of food and gift donations that we received during the holiday season.

The generosity of our community members, organizations, church members, and area business both large and small, was truly heartwarming.

Through the efforts of employees at Constellation Energy Nuclear Group’s Nine Mile Point Nuclear Station, Entergy, SUNY Oswego and CSEA Local #611, Huhtamaki and United Steel Workers Local 54, members of the Fulton Rotary Club, First United Church of Fulton, St. Mary’s Church in Oswego, Holy Trinity Church in Fulton, the Fulton Communitçy Theatre, local Boy Scout and Girl Scout Troops, Fulton YMCA, Catholic Daughters, Court Pere LeMoyne, students and faculty at Cayuga Community College’s Fulton Campus, and the countless number of caring individuals and families who shared their good fortune with others, we were able to provide Thanksgiving meals and a memorable Christmas Day complete with presents and dinner for hundreds of families throughout Oswego County.

This would not have been possible without the compassion and concern that these wonderful people showed for those less fortunate in their community.

To everyone who so graciously supported our efforts this holiday season, from those who donated food and gifts to those who volunteered their time, we extend our sincerest thanks and wish you all the best in the New Year!

Valley Viewpoints: Truth, justice, the American way

by Frank Castiglia, Fulton

No, it’s not a Superman show — it was the show put on at the last Common Council meeting on the City of Fulton budget.

First the truth:

General Appropriations: $15,452,097, which is up $292,649 from 2012;

Fuel budget for police cars: $50,000, which is up $1,000.

Overtime budget: $899,600, which is down $33,500 (overall only down four percent since 2009).

Cell Phone budget: $10,425, which is up five percent since 2009 (should be $1,440 only).

Sewer budget: $1,767,919, which is a projected loss of $164,991 (last year’s loss was $241,423).

Water budget: $1,353,877, which is a projected loss of $ 20,597 (last year’s loss was $84,065).

Garbage budget: $825,610, which is a projected gain of $5,670 (last year’s loss was $14,500.

Snow removal: $316,053, which is down five percent.

About the OT budget, I stated that I knew that there was a lot of OT that couldn’t be helped but that some of the OT could be eliminated, such as code enforcement, personnel, treasurer, etc. The answer was “code needs to attend meetings at night.” I said change their start time.

About the cell phone budget, I stated that the costs are up and that only the mayor, police chief/fire chief, and DPW/Water Department commissioner should have a phone. It would only cost S1,440. The mayor said he would look into it. I kind of doubt that it will change. Once someone gets something it’s hard to give it up.

When I brought up the fact that we have been running the sewer and water departments at a negative since 2009 and that the rates will more than likely have to go up, the mayor had nothing to say and just looked confused. Not a real good thing for us taxpayers.

When I brought up the fact that the garbage department had only lost $14,000 instead of the $50,000 that was announced. he said that the final cost wouldn’t be in until February, which means (I believe) that the carry-over goes on next year’s costs and last year’s costs were in this year.

We only had a loss of $14,000 not $50,000 — just tell us the truth that’s all. One of the reasons given by Dan O’Brien for the loss of revenue to the garbage department was the loss of the number of customers. Well, Mayor Woodward says that we have gained 400 people to Fulton. Kind of confusing isn’t it. Must be those 400 people didn’t have any garbage. That or it was really only 41.

I also brought up the fact that with last year being one of the least snowy years in quite some time, how did we go through $400,000, of which $70,000 was in overtime. The mayor explained how the workers on the garbage trucks are the wingmen on the snowplows and the road crew work on snow removal. No answer as to how they went through $400,000.

I also addressed the fact that the Fulton Police Department didn’t need a dodge interceptor muscle car to cover a city with a square millage area of about 3.5 miles. I was told that car had a blown engine and that they were looking into getting 6 cylinder cars in the future. That will help the fuel budget a great deal. Two police officers in each car would cut it in half and still keep the officers and public safe.

Also the fact that the police use SUV’S all year long when they were bought with the premise to be able to get up the Utica Street hill in the winter (I don’t know how we got up that hill the 100 years before that). It was mentioned that they may take them out of 4 wheel drive in the summer. Yahoo  now they will get 10 mpg instead of 8 mpg in the summer time.

I also brought up the fact that the city was losing homeowners because of the high taxes and homeowners couldn’t sell their houses because of the high taxes. The ansswer to that was that the city in the last census gained 400 people, according to the mayor.

When you look at the U.S. Census for the City of Fulton and County of Oswego, you see the City of Fulton gained 41 people and the county of Oswego lost 268. So where the other 359 people came from I don’t know. Unless there was a census taken that I don’t know about. Could be I misinterpreted this numbers again. If so someone should tell the federal government so we can get more state and federal aide.

Now, for the justice:

All five of the councilors who were at the meeting adopted the budget. So, we get about a three-percent tax increase and we may get an increase in our water and sewer bill next year. You get what you vote and pay for. If you don’t speak up. get ready to pay up.

Now for the American Way:

Elected officials are suppose to protect our interests. I know that they have all said that this is the best budget that they could come up with. I respectfully disagree when I see $10,425 for cell phones and $899,600 in OT and a $15,000 difference in revenues — it just isn’t right. I know they will all say that with the state and federal mandates they couldn’t do any better. I say look at all the costs that aren’t mandated and cut them. The contracts with the unions are not state or federally mandated — it’s not easy but that is life. The days of wine and roses are gone; it’s now the days of beer and dandelions. Speak up or pay up.

Valley Viewpoints: ‘It’s a shame…’

by Vincent T. LaQuire (via e-mail)

Thomas Jefferson said it best: “The Tree of Liberty from time to time must be refreshed with the blood of patriots and tyrants!” And now is the time to renew those words, for America has become a den of thieves and tyrants. Like Mrs. Obama, I’m ashamed to be an American.

Our Congress — and I use the word “our” congress lightly — has become corrupt and thinks only of itself instead of the people it supposedly serves. I laugh at their servitude. They make laws that exempt themselves like the pigs in “Animal Farm” by George Orwell.

Wake up, America! You’ve voted for fools to rule you…the blind to lead the blind. We who are lucky enough to work and pay taxes watch as our tax dollars go to foreign nations while the children of our country go hungry and ignorant. Billions and trillions are spent in aid to those that hate us and want our demise.

The congress of this land eats our tax dollars without fear; knowing if un-elected they shall still collect their wages! Terms in office mean nothing.

Wouldn’t the normal employees love to have total health benefits and full wage benefits for life like our so-called leaders have?

The Tree of Liberty needs to be shaken or burned down. Those in

Washington not only need to be removed but also the benefits they voted for themselves need taken away. We need to return to a policy of this country first and to hell with the world.

The Bible, that the leaders hate, states that we must take care of our own first or be worse than infidels. Sadly, moral values have been lost is the muck of laws the representatives and I use that term loosely have imposed on us. A perfect example of this is Obamacare that was passed at the urging of Nancy Pelosi by stating, “Just pass it…no reading necessary!”

I for one say, “It’s a shame I can’t vote you out of office and have this removed, or your pay for life, or you constant pay increases; while those on Social Security receive a pittance compared to your pay increases and who now must live with the dishonor of having paid for it our entire lives must suffer to have it called a federal benefit…one we worked for and that you in office paid not one dime for!”

If Thomas Jefferson were still alive; along with the founding fathers they would say, “Shame, Shame, Shame on you!”