Category Archives: Oswego News

Oswego students see play thanks to mentors

SUNY Oswego’s Mentor-Scholar program, thanks to support from Artswego, brought six students from the Oswego school district to the final performance of the college production “Fahrenheit 451.”

Mentor-Scholar matches college mentors with middle and high school students from seventh-grade to ninth-grade in an afterschool setting and provides opportunities to visit and explore campus.

The SUNY Oswego theatre department’s adaptation of “Fahrenheit 451” was based on Ray Bradbury’s classic 1953 novel, which he later developed into a stage play in 1979. It envisions a future dystopian America that has outlawed the reading of books and employs “firemen” to burn any they find in guilty hands.

For the Oct. 27 “Fahrenheit 451” performance, six Mentor-Scholar students joined family members and mentors in Tyler Hall’s Waterman Theatre.

“Due credit goes to all involved — director, production team, actors and actresses — for creating a dramatic but educational experience for the young scholars,” said program coordinator Nicholas Greene.

Events such as these provide an opportunity for the program’s growing, young academics to experience the world of college life and promote an appetite for higher education in their own lives, Waters said.


‘Vocal Array’ of faculty voices fill Nov. 10 concert

SUNY Oswego faculty voices will rise at 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 10, in Sheldon Hall ballroom in a concert titled “Vocal Array,” featuring songs of France, Germany and Japan.

Voice faculty Mihoko Tsutsumi, Todd Graber, Nancy James and Robert Allen will sing selections whose composers range from Debussy to Beethoven, Strauss to Charpentier, accompanied by Rebecca Horning on piano.

“I’m so pleased to have them all here,” said Graber, chair of the music department. “It adds variety to the way we approach teaching voice — it gives our students exposure to similar information disseminated differently. It’s a nice ‘array’ of talent and teaching.”

In tribute to her native land, the soprano Tsutsumi, SUNY Oswego’s new director of choral activities, will perform three Japanese art songs, “Hamabe no Uta,” “Kono Michi” and, in a duet with Graber, “Hana.” She and Graber also will offer “Et misericordia” from Johann Sebastian Bach’s “Magnificat.”

The concert, part of the music department’s Focus on Faculty series, will feature a four-song French repertoire from James, a soprano who has served as chorus master for the Syracuse Opera as well as an adjunct instructor of voice at Oswego. Debussy’s “C’est l’extase” from “Ariettes oubliees” is among them.

Allen, an adjunct instructor, voice teacher and tenor, will offer three songs from Richard Strauss, including “Morgen,” and another, “Adelaide,” from Ludwig van Beethoven.

Graber, a tenor, will solo with “An die ferne Geliebte,” a cycle of six songs by Beethoven.

Tickets for “Vocal Array” and other concerts in the Focus on Faculty series are $8 ($5 for SUNY Oswego students) and are available at the college’s box offices, online at and by calling 312-2141.

Parking for this event is included in the price of admission, and is available in the employee lots adjacent to and across Washington Boulevard from Sheldon Hall. Patrons with disabilities needing assistance should call 312-2141 in advance of the performance.

Learn about muck farming in Oswego County at Nov. 10 event

A discussion of a book about muck farming in Oswego County will be presented at 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 10 at Springside at Seneca Hill.

Local author Jim Farfaglia will talk about his recently-published book and will present a slideshow with photos used in the book, an overview of why muck farming has been so important to Oswego County and stories told to Farfaglia by local muck farmers.

“The idea for this book started with an event at the Fulton Public Library in March 2012,” Farfaglia explained.

“I was conducting a reading from my book of poems, ‘Country Boy,’ which is about growing up in rural Central New York and working on my uncles’ muck farms. Members of several muck-farm families attended and, after my reading, these farmers started telling stories and comparing experiences from the mucks.

“I saw people nodding in agreement with each anecdote and noticed how one story built upon another. As I listened to the emotion underlying each farmer’s recollections, I knew I wanted to capture their memories.”

Farfaglia proceeded to interview muck farmers, their family members, neighbors, workers and agricultural specialists. Using the interviews, photographs and maps, he created the book.

“I like to say that I compiled and edited the book instead of saying I wrote it,” Farfaglia said. “About 90 percent of the book is the story of the mucks in the interviewees’ own words. After all, the people who lived and worked the mucks should be the ones to tell their story.”

Following the Nov. 10 program, Farfaglia will present a complimentary copy of the book to each farm family he interviewed, introduce the farmers to the audience and take questions about the book.

Refreshments will be served. Because of limited seating, reservations to attend the event are required. Contact Farfaglia at 402-2297 or to register.

Art Association of Oswego plans holiday tour

The Art Association of Oswego is having its first ever Holiday Studio/Gallery Tour from 3 to 6 p.m. Nov. 9.

The tour will end with an opening reception for the exhibit by Bob and Laurie Kester, ‘Til Death Do We Art, at the Art Association from 6 to 8 p.m.

This is a perfect time for the community to come out and visit local artists in their studio as well as purchase art and enjoy the husband and wife show, ‘Til Death Do Us Art.

Bob Kester is a local photographer, taking photos of local scenery. Laurie Kester is a stained glass artist who owns and operates her studio, Glasshaven. She also enjoys other media such as, pottery, painting and collage.

The show is a collaboration of both artists. The Kesters enjoy inspiring each other through their art. This exhibit runs from Nov. 9 through Dec. 8.

The Holiday/Gallery Tour includes:  printmaker Bill Demott, whose studio is at the Oswego Armory; Allen Bjorkman of the Picture Connection is opening his Fenix art studio; Lakeside Artisans, a unique art gallery with local artists; SUNY Oswego’s  Downtown  gallery will exhibit ‘Painterly Prints’ by Mary Pierce’s printmaking students; and Zinc, with original screen prints, will also have their gallery open.

Plus, at the Art Association of Oswego, several local artists — Kathy Besaw, Sandra Dowie, Phyllis Richardson and Jane VanEmmerik — will be displaying their art.

The tour will end at the Art Association where participants can turn in their postcards. Postcards are available at all locations on the tour.

Cards need to be signed off at all locations to be eligible for a drawing of art prizes. The drawing will be held at 6:30 p.m. and participants must be present to win.  Refreshments will be at all locations.

Join the Art Association for a festive evening and do your holiday shopping with us. The AAO is located at the northernmost end of East Fourth Street, across from the fort,  in Oswego.

Regular gallery hours are from 2 to 5 p.m. on weekends or by appointment and all events are free and open to the public.  This event is made possible in part by funds from CNY Arts of Syracuse.

‘Graphic Flash’ set for Nov. 8 at SUNY Oswego

SUNY Oswego students in the graphic arts and creative writing programs have teamed up for an exhibition titled “Graphic Flash 2” opening Friday, Nov. 8, with a special presentation Tuesday, Nov. 12, on campus.

The “Graphic Flash” exhibition, following last year’s successful debut, will open with a reception from 4 to 5:20 p.m. Nov. 8 in the Penfield Library lobby.

At 6:30 p.m. Nov. 12, readings will take place in the Campus Center auditorium as illustrations project on-screen. The exhibition will run through Dec. 7 in the library.

Graphic artists from art faculty member Amy Bartell’s advanced graphics class illustrated the flash fiction — stories of no more than 1,000 words delivering strong impact — of writers from English and creative writing faculty member Leigh Wilson’s advanced fiction-writing course to create what Wilson called “an explosion of creative collaboration, from striking micro-stories to bold and colorful illustrations.”

Both events are free and open to the public. Parking for those without a current SUNY Oswego parking sticker is $1; see for information.

For more information about “Graphic Flash 2,” contact Wilson at or Bartell at

Volunteers, sponsors needed for abandoned, retired and abused horses

Kate Starr always had a love for horses, especially those who were mistreated, forgotten, abandoned.

So a few years ago, she decided to do something to help these horses.

“I needed a purpose,” she said. “So I decided to help find homes for these horses.”

In 2001, Starr founded Sunshine Horses Inc., a nonprofit that takes in these abused, ready-to-retire or no longer needed horses. The organization became an official nonprofit in 2003.

Right now, 28 horses are being cared for by Sunshine Horses at the Little Apple Stables on County Route 12 just west of Central Square. Starr has a waiting list and wants to increase her fold to 40 horses.

But first, she needs more volunteers. The entire organization is run by volunteers – she herself volunteers and takes no salary.

“We have about 100 volunteers on our list and about 25 to 30 are active,” Starr said. “But we need more.”

Volunteer Coordinator Nila Frerrand has been working at Sunshine Horses for four years. She has been involved with horses for years and both she and her husband Jack wanted to get involved in their retirement.

“It just warms my heart to see these horses run in the pasture,” Frerrand said.

She said she needs six volunteers for each shift in order to get all the work done. “This gives us enough to take care of the horses ad not kill ourselves,” she said.

On this particular morning, only two volunteers showed up. “The more we have, the better off we are,” she said.

There are two shifts. Volunteers are needed in the morning from about 8 or 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and in the evening from 5 to 8 p.m. Starr said volunteers do whatever they feel comfortable doing. Chores that need to be done include feeding, cleaning stalls, ensuring all water buckets are filled, moving horses from stalls to pasture and back again and horse training.

And people who don’t have time to actually volunteer at the stables still can get involved by sponsoring a horse. Starr said it costs $150 a month to fully take care of a horse’s needs and all sponsors get their photos posted at the stables.

If a person cannot afford the entire $150 to care for a horse, he or she can pitch in what they can or combine with someone else for one sponsorship.

The horses at Sunshine Horses Inc. come from all walks of life.

Some are former race horses that either can’t race anymore due to injury or age or that weren’t fast enough and were being sold off.

Some of the horses were owned by people who were elderly and couldn’t care for them anymore. Some were overworked on farms. Others were being sent to the slaughterhouse.

“We never know when they are coming to us, but we know we have to help them,” Starr said. She tries to get the horses adopted to new families.

Anyone interested in volunteering at Sunshine Horses or sponsoring a horse, call or email Kate Starr, president and founder, at 729-7016 or

Forum on aging set for Nov. 12

SUNY Oswego and Menorah Park will co-host “Aging in Focus — a Geriatric Mental Health Forum” from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 12, at the Crowne Plaza in Syracuse, focusing on the roles mental health and mental illness play in the lives of the elderly.

The event is free and open to the public.

“Whether you’re a health provider, social worker, caregiver, clergy member or someone who volunteers or is paid to assist senior citizens in some way, your involvement in this forum will be rewarding,” said Active Aging and Community Engagement Center Director Kimberly Armani of SUNY Oswego Metro Center in Syracuse.

“We all stand to benefit from starting this conversation — family and friends, providers, the community and seniors who will ultimately lead more rewarding and enjoyable lives through early recognition and treatment of depression and anxiety as well as the development of a community network for dealing with these issues more holistically.”

Dr. Stephen Bartels, keynote speaker for the Aging in Focus forum, is a psychiatrist and nationally recognized researcher who has focused on aging and the intersection of physical and mental disorders.

He is the Herman O. West Professor of Geriatrics, Professor of Psychiatry, Professor of Community and Family Medicine at Dartmouth Medical School, and Professor of Health Policy at the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice.

Bartels areas of expertise include health care management, health promotion interventions for obesity in adults with mental disorders, integration of mental health and primary care, self-management, applied use of telehealth technology for co-occurring physical and mental health disorders, shared decision-making, community-based implementation research and evidence-based geriatric psychiatry.

Kick-starting collaboration

Discussion will focus on costs the region and citizens are paying because of untreated or undertreated mental health conditions and a lack of prevention; therapeutic and preventative services; identifying barriers to service and the challenges of accessibility, quality and capacity; and exploring new forms of effective assessment and intervention that can be developed regionally for positive change.

The forum aims to kick-start community development of a regional collaborative infrastructure, as well as methods and strategies for service provision, workforce development, translational research and its application, and holistic integration of mental and physical health systems, said Institute at Menorah Park for Applied Research on Aging Director Judith Huober.

Potential for change

Geriatric psychiatrist Nanette Dowling also will speak at the event. Dowling, an attending psychiatrist and associate professor at SUNY Upstate Medical University’s department of psychiatry, will summarize preliminary findings of the collaborative’s ongoing geriatric mental health needs assessment for Central New York.

A panel discussion with a question-and-answer session will feature Dowling and local experts Robert Long, Onondaga County mental health commissioner; Judy Bliss Ridgeway, president of NAMI Syracuse; Chris Tanchak, executive director of Loretto’s Daybreak adult medical day program; and, Kimberly Langbart, a licensed clinical social worker and director of ARISE Mental Health Services.

SUNY Oswego professor and psychotherapist Terrance O’Brien is encouraged  the event could result in real change.

“Many people think it’s normal to be depressed or have less energy as we age,” O’Brien said. “That’s not the case. We are just older, but there’s no reason we should not be happy and enjoy life just as much as we did when we were younger.”

To register for Aging in Focus, visit

SUNY Oswego students chosen to work on statewide study

Two SUNY Oswego students will join six others from across the State University system as Student Fellows to work on helping to shape the 64-campus system’s use of big data, SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher announced Oct. 29.

SUNY Oswego’s Erika Wilson, a junior from Ontario, N.Y., majoring in applied mathematics, and Eyub Yegen, a senior from Schwaebisch, Germany, majoring in both finance and applied mathematical economics, joined peers from University at Buffalo, Buffalo State, Cayuga Community College, Cornell University and Old Westbury for the announcement at a conference in New York City titled “Building a Smarter University: Big Data and Ingenuity.”

They will work on the project for the next year.

“The ability to manage and accurately analyze data is a skill that is increasingly important in today’s marketplace,” said Zimpher. “Learning from experts from across the globe at this week’s conference, the SUNY student fellows will play a critical role in helping SUNY to educate and prepare future generations of students for this challenge.

“Selected by their campus provosts for this designation, our student fellows have each shown an interest in and capacity for using big data to enhance their academic and professional pursuits, and we are proud to partner with them as we determine the best uses for Big Data in the future of higher education,” Zimpher said.

Wilson, who minors in applied statistics, hopes to attend Columbia University to obtain her master’s degree in statistics following graduation from SUNY Oswego.

She has participated in several undergraduate research projects at the college, including image restoration and cupola model fitting. She won the spring 2013 Emmet C. Stopher Calculus Award.

Yegen, who minors in applied statistics, also is a part-time student at Harvard University’s Extension School. A 2013 Financial Management Association Collegiate Fellow, his goal is to pursue a doctorate in finance to develop an in-depth understanding of how to use financial tools to solve socioeconomic problems.

Yegen is a senator-at-large for the Student Association at Oswego, president of three clubs on campus and serves on the School of Business Student Advisory Council.

Last summer, he was invited to become a financial and statistical research intern at the Turkish Grameen Microfinance Program, where he assisted the organization by analyzing their big-data set. Yegen also worked on social business projects with students from Brown University and Cambridge University.