Category Archives: Valley Viewpoints

Valley Viewpoints: Alarm in Schroeppel

by Rebecca Robertson, Pennellville

The alarm has gone off at least for this sleeping giant.

Being an apolitical person, I was drug into the arena when I heard many in our Town of Schroeppel wanted an increase in their wages. What? In this economy?

I’m all for trickle-down if I’m at the top but our community is poor and elderly.

It was clear at the budget meeting how volatile this situation was when the supervisor singled me out and told me to shut up.

The heated discussion was whether to pay a well-connected part-time employee to plant a garden. My big bad comment? How about volunteers?

Valley Viewpoints: Dedicated candidate

by Sandra J Blanchard, Hannibal

It is close to election time again and we have some very important issues with in Oswego County Clerk’s Office.

For more than 20 years, this office was run by George Williams. George past away recently and I am sure he will be missed by family and friends.

The Oswego County Clerk’s Office is in a big mess and could end up being very costly to the taxpayers. The public taxpayer needs to wake up. How long are we going to let this go on?

Twenty years of Republican control in this office has shown just how dangerous it is for the taxpayer. There should be term limits for any office. Our future depends on it.

Phil Vasho has been nominated by the Democratic party to fill the position of county clerk. Phil has years of experience serving as a legislator in Oswego County, giving him the understanding of how this office works.

During his time as a legislator, he served on the records committee and later on the consumer affairs committee. He worked on Oswego County budgets. He was also a business agent for a construction company. He works well with people and is a straight shooter.

Phil is a local man, a taxpayer, and also a family man. Phil understands the issues that are going on within the clerk’s office. taxpayers. He was never afraid to cross lines to do what was needed to see that the taxpayers’ rights came first and I believe that attitude will continue.

Valley Viewpoints: Increase needed

by Roxanne Stuart, President Resident Council Michaud Residential Health Services

As a resident of Michaud Residential Health Services in Fulton, I ask you to contact your elected state officials and urge their support of legislation that seeks to amend the social services law, in relation to the personal expense allowance for residents of residential health care facilities receiving or eligible to receive supplemental security income payments and/or additional state payments (Senate Bill 2464/Assembly Bill 7832).

This legislation seeks to increase the personal needs allowance of residents of residential health care facilities from $50 to $100 per month.

Currently, residents of residential care facilities are afforded a personal care allowance of fifty dollars per month. Residents are primarily senior citizens who reside in skilled nursing facilities, many of whom depend solely on Social Security and SSI or other forms of assistance.

All are on fixed incomes that depend on this allowance to pay for everything from their clothing, haircuts, and special toiletries to the few additional amenities such as cable television, telephone service and trips away from the nursing home which may cost more than half of the monthly share.

The last increase in the personal needs allowance was in 1981. Since that time, recipients have seen a drastic decrease in the real dollar value of their allowance. This personal needs allowance is an important quality of life issue for residents.

The personal needs allowance for nursing home residents comes from state funds. No cost of living adjustments of the past 19 years have been applied to this allowance.

I urge you to contact state lawmakers and support this legislation and ensure that it moves from committee, is passed by Legislature and ultimately signed into law by the governor.

Valley Viewpoints: Throw out the plan

by Barbara Brown, Pennellville

A news article in the Oct. 13 edition of The Valley News, regarding Democrats irked over redistricting, should have included Republicans, too!

I had been advised that Palermo, which had been in one piece 20 years during my tenure in the legislature, was being split with the Scriba district, the New Haven district, and looking at the property map, even the Volney district.

I spoke to Chairman Beardsley and inquired as to why. For 20 years, children who had gone to school in five school districts and had six mail routes within their area could still know they lived in Palermo and had some sense of community.

I worked for what was the best for the community I lived in. I got it grant monies for a salt shed. I worked with the fire company to secure grants. I worked with my assemblymen to get a member-item generator for the Palermo United Methodist Church to fulfill our Emergency Preparedness Plan.

Is a Scriba legislator going to worry about Palermo? Is a New Haven legislator going to concern his or herself about Palermo?

There was no need to split District 8 into different districts. Why wasn’t Legislator Farfaglia’s plan looked at? Why didn’t the committee give it consideration?

Why wasn’t the board of elections allowed to do the redistricting? Both commissioners would have all the numbers of electorate in each area and would be able to keep the department within budget instead of causing more expense for more districts and more employees.

When I went to the committee meeting on reapportionment, the map I was given was the 17th version of the committee endeavors.

This time, the District of Hastings crossed Route 33, came down Blumer Road, ran up County Route. 54, across to County Route 18, back down County Route 33 to Blumer Road, carving a heavy agricultural and rural housing area out of the Palermo District 8, right next door to Legislator Dan LeClair’s residence.

Why is he being denied his district? Rumor has it, so that I can’t run against him. Do you believe this? I could, however, now run against Fred Beardsly. Did this “non-partisan” committee even think of that?

My suggestion is to throw out the 17th version and let the board of election commissioners do their job. Give administrator Phil Church a chance to control the county budget by not burdening him with extra unnecessary expense for hackneyed election districts that are not needed or wanted.

Hoping to see you all at the public hearing when it is called.

Valley Viewpoints: McCausey Cemetery

by Jennie Saunders, Hannibal

In 1999, Charlene Cole and I mapped a small abandoned cemetery on State Route 176 west of Bowens Corners. It had become overgrown with trees and poison ivy. It is recorded at the Record Center and on the web site.

There are about 30 people buried in the McCausey Cemetery, including a Civil War soldier, Eli Poison Co. E 184th Reg NY Vol.

About five or six years ago, Carol Newvine became involved and Hannibal adopted it. A grant was requested and received to clean it up.

Ron Greenleaf, Hannibal supervisor, had the trees cut and poison ivy eliminated and a piece of fence put up.

Greg Woloven did a great job with tree stumps and cleaning and mowing. This year, Derek Hilton took it as a Scout project and Steve Earl kept it mowed. The result is a fence, gate, sign and flag pole.

Thank you to all who became involved and helped make a sad overgrown cemetery into a really nice memorial.

Valley Viewpoints: At a crossroads

By Bryan L. Haynes II

As a native of Oswego County, I couldn’t be happier that Mike Backus is running for Oswego County clerk.

Our country is at a crossroads and it is the youthful, independent minded yet principled leadership of men and women like Mike that give me hope for the future.

I have complete faith that Mike will discharge his duties as Oswego County clerk diligently by working closely with government officials and advocating for the citizens of Oswego County.

Valley Viewpoints: Why you should care

by Dan Farfaglia, Legislator

Every 10 years, the county legislative districts we live in are reviewed and changed when necessary because of changes in population.

These changes are supposed to ensure that all the county’s districts are roughly equal in population.

Just as important, these new districts are supposed to be designed in a way that voters and communities are fairly represented in the county legislature.

Sadly, the mostly secretive and blatantly partisan process that produced the new proposed county legislative districts doesn’t meet that standard. It disrespects our communities, is a disservice to voters, and wastes taxpayer money.

The secretive process that created these new districts unnecessarily divided communities and paired up some towns and cities that have previously never been historically connected and, frankly, have different interests.

The Town of New Haven should not be in a district with a part of the Town of Palermo and the Town of Minetto should not be split up. The Town of Hannibal should be its own district.

A neighborhood in the City of Oswego should not be in a district with part of the Town of Volney and part of the Town of Oswego should certainly not have a legislator that also represents part of the City of Fulton.

My goal and the goal of my Democratic colleagues on the county legislature has always been to make government leaner, more responsible, and more accessible to county residents.

This plan does the opposite. Anyone who has lived in this county for six months even recognizes that Oswego Town, for example, has more in common with the City of Oswego than the City of Fulton.

The Town of Oswego and the City of Oswego shop in the same places are served by the same media and their kids go to the same school district. To put it simply, ask a resident of the Town of Oswego where he lives. Do you think he’s going to say Fulton?

For the record, the reapportionment committee was presented with an alternative plan. A plan that would balance the district populations as required by law, keeps most of the districts intact, respects our communities and would even cost less to implement.

Predictably, there was little support for the simpler initiative. Since I was the only Democratic member of this committee, I was the only who was raising objections to their unfair redistricting plan.

These new districts are not law yet. And they should not become law.

Valley Viewpoints: County clerk race

by Wes Belcher of Fulton

Recently, Legislator Doug Malone wrote a very eloquent letter concerning the race for the county clerk opening.

The election for this seat is to held in the November election between Michael Backus and Phil Vasho.

I agree with Mr. Malone’s opinion that the voice of the people must be heard as to who runs the clerks office and as to how it is run (to a degree). I know Mr. Malone well enough to know he means this and believes it.

However, it appears that the same cannot be said of Mr. Vasho and his handlers. It seems Mr. Vashos’ supporters asked the governor to “appoint” Mr. Vasho and the election would not be held. The governor, being an honorable man, declined.

Next, a lawsuit was filed to “force” the governor to appoint a person to the position.

This is typical of how Mr. Vasho does things; he does not like to be questioned or overruled. He also, apparently, doesn’t think he can win the election and doesn’t care to let the voice of the people be heard by a vote.

What his qualifications, if any, are remains to be seen. To the best of my knowledge, he has no real qualification.

If in fact he was that qualified, he had the option of running in an election against Mr. Williams when he was alive in the many races Mr. Williams won…by the voice of the people through a vote.

Instead, he chose to wait for Mr. Williams to pass away and then figured the governor (a fellow Democrat) would just appoint him.

He figured wrong and persists in his efforts to force the appointment.

To say Mr. Vasho would bring a change to county government is a bit disingenuous as a check of the list of county employees who got a job while he was a legislator might show.

Having seen the heavy-handed way he runs the Fulton committee, I hold little hope for any real change in his sought after election to county clerk.

I wish both he and Mr. Backus success, but as a registered Democrat I cannot pull the lever for Mr. Vasho.

To anyone who believes in democracy and voting rights, this action to have the governor appoint someone to the position is an affront to a fair and open election. His actions only indicate he is in favor of back room deals and political partisan politics.