Category Archives: Columnists

Bodley Bulletins

By Julia Ludington

As the school year comes closer to its end, it seems as though the schedule of G. Ray Bodley events becomes busier and busier!

Our GRB Quirks Players will be participating in the 55th annual Dramafest at SUNY Oswego May 2.

Rehearsals were held last Wednesday, and will also take place today and tomorrow from 6 to 8 p.m. in the auditorium.

The group will be performing an excerpt from Curtains, the musical that appeared onstage this spring at GRB. We wish all of our actors and actresses the best of luck!

Yearbooks are still available for pre-order for $60. Students can bring payments to Mr. Senecal in room 228 during Guided Study Hall if they have not yet ordered one.

The yearbook is a fantastic investment and will be valuable to you when you are much older (think how much your grandchildren will love it!). Don’t wait until they are all gone!

If you are attending the junior prom and have not picked up an order form for pictures yet, they are available in Mr. Lacey’s room. Pictures will be taken outside, weather permitting.

Any boys interested in playing soccer this summer and next fall must attend a mandatory meeting May 2.

If you are unable to attend, make sure you see Mr. Murray before May 2 to receive the information you will be missing.

Check out the district website for upcoming sports games and concerts. Sectional matchups are just around the corner, and I am sure that many of our teams would appreciate the support!

Porky and Buddy: How to find a lost pet

Dear Jo and all of our readers,

Last week we offered some advice to Jo about precautions she could take to prevent her new dog becoming lost.

This week we want to talk about what to do if the worst case scenario happens and your dog comes up missing.

First, panic! Then get over that and start working.

(You might also want to feel guilty, but you don’t have time at first, so save that for later.)

There are many steps you can take to locate your missing dog. Swift action coupled with major neighborhood networking, will increase the odds. The key is to get the information out to as many people and places as you can.

So enlist the help of friends, family and neighbors in your search.

Knock on doors and talk to the people in your own neighborhood first. Cover at least a three-block radius, or if you are in a rural area, go to the nearest neighbors.

Hand out flyers with your pet’s picture on them, the date of loss and your phone number, and offer a reward..

Give copies of your flyers to veterinarians, groomers, trainers, pet stores, the post office, the grocery store and any place that gets neighborhood traffic and ask them to put them up. There is very good advice about how to turn your flyers into effective posters here.

Contact all of the Animal and Dog Control Officers, and all animal rescue groups, including the Oswego County Humane Society, in a 20-mile radius.

Visit the local shelters in person, bring a picture and ask to see their animals. Don’t give a description over the phone; descriptions can be misinterpreted. Go back every couple of days.

Don’t assume that your Animal or Dog Control Officer will be looking for you. Under New York Law, they are required to hold the pets they find for five business days to give you time to find them.

If your pet has no identification (or has lost it), the god control officers and animal control officers who may have found your pet have no resources to conduct a search for you but they do love to reunite pets with their owners. So keep contacting them.

Many local newspapers and shopping guides allow free “Lost and Found” ads. Also check the newspaper listings for Found Dogs and Cats. Some people look only in the local newspaper to locate an animal’s owner..

You can often register your pet online on services such as the online newspapers and Craig’slist and even upload a picture.

You should also search the “found” section of these same online services.  There are also online lost pet recovery services that charge a fee. One is petamberalert.com.

Do it all again and again …

Don’t give up. Lost pets have been found weeks, months, and occasionally years after they go missing. Good luck!

When you find your missing best friend, that is when you can indulge in guilty feelings, but you won’t want to because you are so relieved.

Speaking of guilt, the Oswego County Humane Society is always in need of dry cat and kitten food for its foster cats and for low income families in our county.

There will be a collection cart at the Fulton Price Chopper until May 4. Stop by to chat with Oswego County Humane Society volunteers and make a donation if you can.

The Oswego County Humane Society provides spay/neuter services and assistance, fostering and adoption of animals in urgent need, humane education programs, and information and referrals to animal lovers throughout Oswego County.

Our office is located at 265 W. First St., Oswego, New York. Phone is 207-1070. Email is ochscontact@hotmail.com. Website is  oswegohumane.org.

State Senate Report

By state Sen. Patricia Ritchie

From camping and hiking to picnics and water sports, New York state parks provide the perfect venue for almost any outdoor activity.

Because our parks are such important natural resources, it’s so important that we protect them and keep them pristine.

That’s the goal of the third annual  “I Love My Park Day,” a statewide event taking place on May 3rd that aims to improve and enhance New York’s state parks and historic sites.

Through I Love My Park Day, thousands of volunteers from across the state will head out to beautify participating parks and historic sites by doing things such as cleaning up lands and beaches, planting trees and gardens, restoring trails and wildlife habits and working on other improvement projects.

There are more than 80 I Love my Park Day events taking place across New York State this year. To register to volunteer at a park or historic site near you, visit the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation’s website at www.nysparks.com.

If you’re someone who enjoys the outdoors and frequents our state’s many parks and historic sites, you’ll be pleased to know that the new state budget makes key investments that will help to protect and enhance New York’s natural resources as well as support important environmental initiatives that create jobs, boost tourism and benefit communities across our state.

Contained in the new spending plan is a $9 million increase to the Environmental Protection Fund, bringing the total funding to $162 million which will help to protect open spaces, restore historic sites, control invasive species, create and enhance parks as well as support numerous other projects related to the environment.

In addition, the new state budget also includes an additional $132.5 million in NY Works funding for improvements to parks and historic sites and environmental resiliency efforts.

While the state budget goes a long way to support our state’s parks and historic sites, there’s a lot more that can be done — and you can lend a hand. By volunteering at I Love My Park Day, you can help to preserve and beautify these important resources for future generations.

Editor’s Note: One of the clean-up events will be at Fort Ontario State Historic Site in Oswego. See story below.

View from the Assembly

By state Assemblyman Will Barclay

New York state has the unfortunate distinction of being a high cost-of-living state, and when it comes to auto insurance, New York lives up to its reputation.

Our auto insurance rates are among the highest in the nation. Although there are several reasons for our high rates, fraud plays a large part.

According to the state Department of Financial Services, the agency that oversees insurance in our state, about 36 percent of all auto insurance claims contain some element of fraud, resulting in higher e premiums for everyone.

New York state requires motorists carry a minimum of auto insurance that covers bodily injury and property damage and provides for no-fault coverage.

Because this insurance is mandatory, I believe the state has a special interest in ensuring state motorists’ rates accurately reflect an insurance company’s underlying costs.

When fraud is added into the formula however, it perverts this calculation and creates higher insurance costs for all motorists.

According to the Insurance Information Institute, no-fault fraud and abuse in New York state cost consumers and insurers about $229 million in 2009. The Institute further reports that when this extra cost of fraud is calculated on a per claim basis, it adds $1,644 per claim, or 22.4 percent of the cost.

According to the state Department of Financial Services, no-fault insurance fraud takes many forms. It occurs when (i) a driver and a body shop worker agree to inflate the auto damage claim and share the “profit,” (ii) a doctor bills an insurer for services that were not provided, or (iii) a driver stages a fake accident, and unscrupulous doctors and lawyers help “handle” the medical claims and lawsuits.

To combat this fraud and, hopefully as a result, reduce auto insurance premiums for policyholders, I have introduced the New York Automobile Insurance Fraud and Premium Reduction Act.

This legislation provides a comprehensive solution to no-fault auto fraud by addressing the issue from all sides. While there are many facets of this legislation, four of the legislation’s major provisions are as follows.

First, in effort to combat fictitious or unnecessary medical treatment usually emanating from a staged accident, my legislation would direct the establishment of medical guidelines to be employed in the evaluation and treatment of injuries sustained in any auto accident. It also requires pre-certification for certain treatments and equipment to curb fraudulent over-utilization of medical treatments.

Second, the legislation creates a monetary incentive of between 15 percent and 25 percent of an amount recovered (up to $25,000) for persons who report suspected insurance fraud to law enforcement authorities.

Third, to make people think twice before committing no-fault fraud, my legislation expands the definition of insurance fraud and increases penalties for insurance fraud violations.

Finally, to ensure that whatever reduced costs insurers receive as a result of the enactment of this legislation are passed on to the policyholders, my legislation requires the Superintendent of Insurance to recommend an appropriate one-time no-fault premium reduction for every insurer, by rating territory, equivalent to the insurers’ cost savings. This recommendation would be binding on insurers unless the insurer can show that such a reduction would result in an underwriting loss.

I recently participated in an Assembly Insurance Committee hearing in Albany regarding auto insurance in New York. Many who testified, including those from the insurance industry and from consumer groups, complained about the high costs of auto insurance.

It is my hope they will get on board with my legislation and together we can work to get it passed so New Yorkers can at last begin to see a decrease in their auto insurance premiums.

If you have any questions or comments or if you would like to be added to my mailing list or receive my newsletter, contact my office by mail at 200 N. Second St., Fulton, NY 13069, by e-mail at barclaw@assembly.state.ny.us or by calling 598-5185.

In and Around Hannibal

As I write this, Hannibal United Methodist Church has called in to announce their New-2-U sale (the sale begins on Friday with a bag sale on Saturday.)

Hannibal Elderberries will host their annual sale at the Community Center, where you begin your junk hunt day!

There will be a Community-wide Yard Sale in the Hannibal area Saturday, May 3rd beginning at 8:00 am. 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 this Sunday April 27.

Scott’s Building Supply will be holding a SPECIAL SALE on May 3, Hannibal’s Yard Sale Day. You won’t want to miss this sale, which will be held in one of their pole barns on Auburn Street in the village.

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

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.

The center is located in the Library across from the Hannibal Fire Hall on Oswego Street.

This week’s menu features:

Monday, April 28 — Cook’s choice (call for details)

Wednesday — Homemade macaroni and cheese, stewed tomatoes, vegetable blend, pears

Friday — Beef stew, biscuit, vegetable, juice, fruited gelatin

Activities: Monday — Games and Wii bowling; Wednesday — Games, bingo after lunch; Friday — games

The Senior Council would like to remind you that their rooms are available for groups and family rental when not being otherwise used.  Please give Rosemary a call for information and booking at 564-5471.

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

The Mother and Daughter Banquet for the Hannibal United Methodist Church will be held at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, May 8. Reservations may be made with Ulah Baker, 564-6376 by May 1.

Presbyterian Women of Cayuga-Syracuse will meet at First United Church in Fulton on Saturday May 3.

Rita Hooper will be presenting a program on her mission trip to Appalachia last year.  Meeting starts with registration at 9:45 a.m. In the afternoon there will be a ‘hands on’ project for the gals to work on while viewing a CD on the Brethren Center, including SERVV and Church World Service.  For luncheon reservations please call 706-3564.

Hannibal Dems will be hosting a chicken barbecue at the American Legion on Rochester Street Sunday May 4 beginning at noon.  They sell out quickly. If you would like to purchase pre-sale tickets, please call 564-5630.

The Jammers start up on Monday, May 5 with a covered dish dinner beginning at 6 p.m. at the American Legion on Rochester Street in Hannibal. Bring a dish to pass, the table service will be provided.

The Jam begins at 7.  It has been a long, long winter for many of us waiting for the return of the Jammers. Drat, I’ve got three places to be that night…guess I’ll get there late – save me dessert Gloria!

There’s always room for more musicians, so if you play a fiddle, guitar, harmonica, washboard, sing or yodel, mark the Jammers on your calendar.  They meet every Monday at 7 p.m. at the Legion from now until that white stuff that falls from the sky gets to bothersome to deal with!

The Oswego Association of American Baptist Women will meet for dinner May 5 at the Baptist Church in Pulaski. Registration is 6:15, dinner at 6:30. For reservations, please call Colleen at 298-5265 by May 1.

Last call for Church World Service Kits – If you have some kits and would like to get them on the Truck from Central NY going to the Brethren Center in Maryland, give Rita Hooper a call at 706-3564 and make arrangements to drop them in Fulton.  The truck is being packed on May 6.

Home and School will meet at 6:30 p.m. May 6 at Fairley School room 30.

North Volney Methodist Church, (corner of County Routes 4 and 6 in Volney) will host a gospel concert featuring the Misfits and Lake Effect Bluegrass from 1 to 3 p.m. May 10. They will also have a used book sale from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; a plant sale, bake sale and lunch will be available too!

The concert is free; a free will offering will be received to pay the musicians.

The public hearing on the Hannibal school district proposed budget for 2014-15 will be at 6:30 p.m. May 12 in the board room at the high school.

The Friends of the Library have a new raffle basket called Just Frogin’ Around, all things frog. Includes a fountain, garden ornament, calculator, wrapping paper and more. The drawing is May 13.

Plans are underway for the Hannibal Alumni Banquet June 14. This year it will be held at the Elks Lodge on Pierce Drive in Fulton. Watch for posters for reservation information.

Rita Hooper
706-3564
Twohoops2@juno.com

The Sportsman’s World — Adventures in the Marsh

By Leon Archer

Sweet thing and I have started packing for our long drive back home, but we won’t be leaving for a few more days.

It will seem strange when we leave and don’t have our grandson, Beckett, keeping us busy anymore. He just had his first birthday, but boy can he give his grampa a run for the money.

Yesterday I had him out in the back yard. It was about 70 degrees and the sun was shining, and it was way too nice to stay inside. Beckett hasn’t quite gotten used to grass, but he still likes being outside, mostly on the patio.

I had been doing some work in the flower garden and had laid my little hand spade down before Beckett joined me. He is very inquisitive, so he was investigating all the nooks and crannies around the patio while I lounged for a few minutes on the big swing.

I figured he couldn’t get into too much trouble on the patio, but the next thing I knew he had the spade in his mouth. By the time I caught up with him, he was spitting and gagging a little, but the spade seemed to be OK.

Apparently good black dirt isn’t immediately fatal as Beckett seems pretty lively today. My mother always used to say, “You have to eat a peck of dirt before you die.” Beckett’s off to a good start.

I’ve been keeping track of what the fishing has been like back in New York state, and I am ready to be back there.

The bullheads are biting and perch have been showing up. The smelt haven’t started running in the Niagara River yet, probably because the water is still too cold.

It shouldn’t be long though, because the guys fishing on the lake where the river empties out onto the Niagara Bar have noticed smelt in the trout stomachs.

This is the time of year when my father would announce that he was going to pick a bunch of cowslips for dinner. I couldn’t stand cowslips (more properly known as marsh marigolds) but my father actually looked forward to them.

If you read about them, you will find out they are poisonous, but when prepared properly, they are edible. I use the word “edible” advisably and in its broadest sense. Anyone who watches the TV show Bizarre Foods will understand.

The thing I liked about cowslips wasn’t eating them, it was going after them. They grew in the marsh, and the only time to pick them, according to my father, was in the early spring when the new leaves were about the size of a half dollar and they hadn’t blossomed out with their bright yellow flowers.

Dad would say to me, “Get your hip boots, we are going after cowslips.” I didn’t complain; I hopped to it, and was ready to head out before he was.

We would walk up East Main Street, past Charlie Beldock’s barn, and in no time we were in the marsh that bordered his farm.

Once we were in the marsh, I was in a wonderland and I had precious little time for actually picking cowslips. We both carried a large paper grocery bag to put the round leaves in; dad’s was always full when we left the marsh, and mine was, shall we say, easy to carry.

It was an adventure to walk in the marsh, and there was so much to see, so picking marsh marigolds was not my top priority.

This particular marsh was home to many muskrats and their houses were sources of great interest to me. Sometimes I would catch site of a muskrat sitting on a feeding mound, munching away on a cat tail root or see one swimming along the surface before plunging into an underwater run.

There were areas of water – of course – and I watched for the big, dark purplish, yellow spotted spring salamanders that gathered to breed in them. They were easy to catch, but I just looked them over and put them back.

Overhead the male snipe and woodcock were swooping down towards the marsh and then climbing back up almost out of sight before diving again over and over, and over again.

The quavering sound of the wind on their wings and the diving display was all for the attention of demure females watching from the ground. The woodcock also vocalized as they dove.

I once had a woodcock that had been displaying high above me, come plunging down to land on a small hummock about 10 feet away from me. I can still see his huge brown eyes inspecting me, before he decided I wasn’t a threat.

Then I caught a slight movement about three feet from where he had come to rest. The first thing I saw was another set of huge brown eyes, and then the brown body of the hen took shape. She had been perfectly camouflaged against the brown background of the hummock.

We had silently watched the show together, and I’m pretty sure she was just as appreciative as I had been.

I usually picked a bouquet of pussy willows for my mother before we left the marsh. They would grace the table in our home for a few days.

Several kinds of frogs abounded in the marsh. Most of them I could find if they were singing, but I never could locate peepers that I heard – very frustrating.

I’ve never lost my appreciation for the marsh. The sights and sounds enthrall me as much today as they did when I picked cowslips with my father.

Oh, by the way. Marsh Marigolds are edible when prepared properly. They must be boiled at least twice, three times is better, emptying out the water each time and putting them into fresh to boil.

This apparently leaches out whatever the toxin is and makes them less acrid and bitter.

My mother always sautéed the greens with some bacon or salt pork after their last boiling. Over the years, I got so I could eat them, but now I only think about it.

On the other hand, I bet they would make great beans and greens. I might have to hit the marsh again to find out – maybe.

View from the Assembly

By state Assemblyman Will Barclay

Library use has increased across the state.

According to some of New York State Library’s latest statistics, visits to public libraries increased by seven million from 113 million to 120 million from 2007 to 2009.

The number of items borrowed — books, ebooks, movies, magazines and more — has increased by more than 11 percent.

National Library Week is celebrated in April. This year’s theme is “Lives Change @ Your Library.”

The Assembly commemorated the week (April 13-19) with a resolution, which I was happy to sponsor. I’m an advocate for libraries and believe their presence is an important component to any community.

This year’s enacted state budget provided $86.6 million for libraries across the state. Thankfully, we were able to prevent cuts to libraries as the governor had proposed and instead, the Legislature slightly increased funding from last year by $1 million.

Libraries are an important part of both urban and rural communities and I was pleased funding was increased even if by a relatively small amount.

Historically, libraries have always been important to literacy, but they are also the leading digital literacy educators in New York and are the number one point of Internet access for those who do not have Internet access at home.

To meet the demand of New Yorkers seeking Internet access, including job seekers, libraries have responded by increasing the number of publicly-available Internet-connected computers by more than 28 percent, to more than 17,000 computers.

There are a number of resources available through libraries. I wanted to highlight one in particular that is provided by New York State Library called NOVELny.

It’s an electronic resource access project that enables residents across New York State to have online access to the full text of journals, newspapers and other references for free. It’s funded in part from federal dollars to libraries through the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) of 2013.

Users can access databases that maintain a warehouse of business highlights and journals, encyclopedias, elementary level periodicals, general periodicals, health references, and newspaper articles.

For example, a subject search in the eLibrary Elementary, one of the many searchable databases accessible through NOVELny, retrieves child-safe articles published in encyclopedias or magazines that are age appropriate.

Articles can be read in their entirety by the user. Users may also opt to have the article read aloud with a computer-enabled reader called ReadSpeaker.

Users can create and save a list of articles they like or may want to reference for research as well. Genealogy may also be researched through NOVELny.

To find out more, visit http://novelnewyork.org/databases.php.

According to the New York State Library, NOVELny provides a minimum of $35 in resources for every $1 of LSTA funding through statewide purchase of electronic information, now freely available. It’s a vast database but even more will be added beginning in July.

We need to continue to invest in our libraries, especially considering how much library use has increased in recent years.

I sponsor legislation that would amend the education law and enable libraries to utilize state aid to install broadband services. Given recent statistics of how much Internet use has increased at libraries, this is important, and especially important to Upstate and rural communities.

Currently, under the Public Library Construction Grant Program, $14 million is appropriated annually for construction, acquisition, renovation or rehabilitation of public libraries.

Excluded from this grant is aid for the purpose of installing broadband services. My bill would allow for libraries to access these funds for broadband installation.

I will continue to advocate for this legislation, A7680, moving forward.

If you have any questions or comments or if you would like to be added to my mailing list or receive my newsletter, contact my office by mail at 200 N. Second St., Fulton, NY 13069, by e-mail at barclaw@assembly.state.ny.us or by calling 598-5185.

State Senate Report

By state Sen. Patricia Ritchie

If you’re like me, you’ve had a teacher in your life who has made a significant, lasting impression on you.

Whether he or she taught you your ABCs or impressed upon you some of life’s bigger lessons, like being kind to others, many of us have teachers to thank for the people we have become.

In an effort to recognize teachers who go above and beyond to help their students succeed, I will once again be honoring educators with my “Golden Apple” Award for Teaching Excellence.

Last year, I was able to honor more than 40 educators from Oswego, Jefferson and St. Lawrence Counties with this special program. This year, I am excited to recognize a new group of teachers for their dedication and commitment to helping others learn.

Teachers residing in the area I represent — Oswego, Jefferson and part of St. Lawrence County — are eligible for this award. Nomination forms can be found on my website, www.ritchie.nysenate.gov, or you can request that one be mailed to you by calling 782-3418.

All nominations must be received by May 9. All nominees will be recognized at a special ceremony taking place on May 30.

I know how important a quality education is, and I know how hard our educators work to ensure every student succeeds.  That’s why I’ve been working hard to support our region’s schools as well as our teachers.

Recently, the newly-enacted state budget provided $20 million in new funding for schools in the region I represent. This is the largest hike in five years, and nearly three times the increase proposed in January by the governor for Northern and Central New York schools.

It was once said, that a great teacher takes a hand, opens a mind and touches a heart. I’ve met many of those teachers through my “Golden Apple” award program, and know there are countless others out there.

If you know a teacher who is impacting young lives by enabling students to achieve success, I encourage you to nominate him or her for this special honor.