Category Archives: Oswego News

Former Oswego school superintendent will lead Syracuse Catholic schools

William W. Crist, former superintendent of the Oswego City School District, has been named the new superintendent of the Catholic Schools for the Diocese of Syracuse, Bishop Robert J. Cunningham announced.

The Diocese of Syracuse consists of 22 schools in its seven-county area with more than 5,000 students Pre-K-12.

Crist comes to the diocese with a career history in education of thirty-one years. Since August, he has been the interim superintendent of Schools for the Massena Central School District.

Prior to that, Crist was superintendent for the Oswego City School District since 2008, and assistant superintendent prior to that time, since 2004.
Crist is a graduate of Ithaca College with a master of music education degree; the State University of New York with a certificate of advanced study – educational administration; Cornell University with a certificate in labor relations and the State University of New York having completed the Superintendent Development Program of Studies.

Crist and his family are active Catholics and members of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in Minetto.

“I eagerly anticipate the challenges and experiences associated with transitioning to the Roman Catholic educational program and sharing my instructional leadership and Catholic faith with professionals, parishioners, parents and children,” Crist said.

“I am most pleased to welcome Bill Crist as our new superintendent of Catholic Schools and am very happy that he has accepted our invitation to join us,” said Bishop Cunningham. “I am also most grateful to the search committee who prayerfully and professionally considered each of the 12 applicants.”

Crist will begin his new post March 10 in order to complete his current responsibilities. For more information, call Danielle E. Cumming, assistant chancellor/director of communications at 470-1476.

Catholic Charities office in Fulton goes smoke free

Submitted by Catholic Charities

Catholic Charities of Oswego County has joined the growing list of area, business, clubs and organizations that have officially become tobacco-free environments.

Using the resources of the Tobacco Free Network of Oswego County, Catholic Charities has gone tobacco free both inside and outside of its building.

Mary Margaret Pezzella-Pekow, Catholic Charities executive director, said the assistance she received from the Tobacco Free Network was invaluable in the implementation of the agency’s tobacco free policy.

“Abby Jenkins (coordinator of the Tobacco Free Network) was great,” said Pezzella-Pekow.  “She provided us with informational materials, best practices on introducing the tobacco free policy to our employees and consumers, and signage for inside and outside of building.”

Established in 1999, the Tobacco Free Network of Oswego County is a community-based coalition committed to reducing the human and social toll of tobacco use in Oswego County.  Supported by funding from the New York State Department of Health Tobacco Control Program, Tobacco Free Network utilizes local outreach opportunities to:

** Eliminate exposure to secondhand smoke
** Decrease the social acceptability of tobacco use
** Reduce tobacco displays in local retail environments
** Create greater access to tobacco-free parks and playgrounds
** Prevent the initiation of tobacco use among youth and young adults
** Promote cessation from tobacco use and the NYS Smoker’s Quitline

For more information on the Tobacco Free Network, call Abby Jenkins at 343-2344, ext. 21 or visit, For more information on Catholic Charities of Oswego County, visit

Rice Creek in Oswego launches fall programming

SUNY Oswego’s Rice Creek Field Station will launch fall programming in September with a new Sharing Science series, followed by naturalist-led walks, a hands-on sustainable art series, tours of the new headquarters building and winter bird study.

Three sessions of Sharing Science at 1 p.m. on selected Saturdays will feature scientists, ecologists and other experts communicating for children and adults the how and why of ecological projects.

On Sept. 28, those attending will meet at the stone house at Fallbrook Recreation Center for “Rice Creek Restored and Running Free,” an opportunity to learn about the removal of the Fallbrook dam on the creek that gives the field station its name. The group will walk a short distance to Rice Creek just west of the Fallbrook barn, learning about how the project is changing habitats above and below the former dam.

The Oct. 19 program, “Wonderful World of Wood Ducks,” will feature a presentation by SUNY Oswego biological sciences faculty member Michael Schummer’s class in waterfowl ecology.

Attendees will learn about water birds common to Rice Creek and how to help conserve wetlands. Visitors can bring a flat and a Phillips head screwdriver and a hammer to participate in making wood-duck boxes for Rice Creek, and take home a set of plans for building their own.

On Nov. 16, Noelle Rayman of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will present “Bat Ecology and Conservation,” sharing facts and revealing myths about these flying mammals. Rayman will talk about how scientists study bats, and the latest on the White Nose Syndrome affecting bat populations, as well as about monitoring, conservation and management.

Since program size is limited, Sharing Science is not able to accommodate groups. An adult needs to accompany children. All programs will start at the renewed Rice Creek Field Station, unless planned to meet somewhere else. Call 312-6677 for more information.

Rambles return

With the rustle of leaves and smell of fall in the air, naturalist-led Rice Creek Rambles will resume at 11 a.m. on the following Saturdays:

Oct. 5: “Nature’s Banquet” will examine what Rice Creek’s creatures eat this time of year.

Oct. 19: “Reports from the Field” will hear from SUNY Oswego students and faculty studying plants and animals in Rice Creek’s nearly 400 acres of varied terrain.

Oct. 26: “Tucking in for Winter” will unveil how flora and fauna prepare for the cold and snow.

Nov. 2: “Changing Seasons” will explore altered appearance among inhabitants of Rice Creek.

Dec. 14: “Early Winter Wonders” attendees will hike the trails with snowshoes, if conditions are suitable. Rice Creek’s snowshoes will fit most children ages 9 and older, and participants are welcome to bring their own.

Those planning to attend are asked to call 315-312-6677 on the morning of the hike to check trail conditions. Since program size is limited, Rice Creek cannot accommodate groups. An adult needs to accompany children.

Adventures in art

The family-centered Sustainable Art series, inspired by the natural setting at Rice Creek, will take place at 11 a.m. on three Saturdays this fall:

Nov. 9 (preregister by Oct. 30): During “Animal Totems,” participants will utilize natural objects and clay to create totems in the traditions of Native Americans and learn what the lore says their birth totem means.

Nov. 23 (preregister by Nov. 13): “Hidden Treasures” will explore reusing and recycling household materials to make fun and unique gifts.

Dec. 7 (preregister by Nov.  27): Using pods, cones, feathers and dried grasses, participants in “Nature-Inspired Holiday Creations” will invent whimsical and festive creatures. If time permits, those attending will create a sleigh for them as well.

Beginning in December, the field station will welcome visitors as citizen scientists to assist with counts of birds at Rice Creek feeders from indoors most Fridays and Saturdays.

Rice Creek also will host an open house with tours, displays and student poster presentations from noon to 7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 30, as well as a celebration of the main building’s reopening at 3 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 3.

For more information about Rice Creek’s fall programs, visit

Oswego residents have new way to keep in touch with their government

The City of Oswego has launched a new civic engagement and reporting tool, called Oswego Mobile.

Oswego Mobile is a smartphone app that allows residents of Oswego to report issues directly to city staff and councilors. The app is available for iOS, Android and Blackberry markets and is free to download.

The program allows residents to create reports with pictures, video or audio attached, as well as tag the location of the issue on a map using the phones’ GPS. The user then selects the report they would like to make from a list of issues and can add comments to go with the report.

Once the report is sent, it will go directly to the department head or staff member. From that point, the staff will be able to mark the status of the report, request information from the submitter, if needed, or include another department, all being notified to the submitter from the app.

The issues will be stored in a database and will allow city officials to pull information and trends from them to help better use our resources. The app also allows for the city to send out notifications to all app users, like parking ban information, road closings and public meetings.

Sixth Ward Councilor Eric VanBuren was instrumental in researching the implementation of this program and bringing the idea to the full Common Council for its consideration and subsequent approval.

This program is not limited to just smartphone users; residents with computers can log onto and select Oswego and report issues from there as well. The app can be found by searching for Oswego Mobile in the app market.

Scrabblefest to offer lively competition

Get out your dictionary, search the Internet for little-known words and practice your spelling.

It’s time for one of the hottest games in town, the seventh annual Diane Falise Memorial Scrabble Fest fundraiser for Literacy Volunteers of Oswego County.

To be held Sept. 20 at Elks Lodge No. 271, at 132 W. Fifth St., Oswego, the event promises to be an entertaining evening as participants partake in friendly competition, Literacy Volunteers Program Coordinator, Meg Henderson explains.

“Teams of four will compete against each other in four 20-minute rounds. At the end, team scores will be tallied and the top three teams will be awarded prizes; there will also be a silent auction, and for some added fun we will be awarding prizes for best team spirit, as well as for the most pledges brought in by a team or individual,” Henderson said.

Doors open at 5:30 p.m., with games beginning promptly at 6:30 p.m.

Entry fee includes light refreshments.

Community members looking to join the fun but not compete are welcome.  A spectator fee includes light refreshments.

A cash bar will be available.

Henderson added that while the field of teams is filling up there are a few team spots still available.

“Last year 34 teams joined us for the fun and we are anticipating even more teams this year.  We invite community members to enter a team or just stop down to be part of the excitement of Scrabble Fest. It’s a great way to support your community and LVOC while enjoying a fun night out with family and friends,” added Henderson.

For more information or to register a team, contact Literacy Volunteers of Oswego County at 342-8839 or visit

United Way kicks off 2013-14 fundraising campaign with soul

By Ashley M. Casey

Campaign Cabinet members of the United Way of Greater Oswego County donned fedoras, suits and sunglasses in a creative effort to present the organization’s 2014 fundraising goal of $800,000 at the 2014 Campaign Kick-off Breakfast.

Rob Rolfe, recently named the sole chair of the Campaign Cabinet, explained they were inspired by the 1980 movie “The Blues Brothers,” in which Jake and Elwood Blues reunite their band to raise money for the orphanage in which they grew up.

“We put the band back together for each and every one of you,” Rolfe said at the breakfast, held Sept. 11 at the American Foundry in Oswego.

For the rest of this story, pick up the Sept. 14 edition of The Valley News. Call 598-6397 to subscribe.

UNIQUE Magazine to be at the Oswego County Literacy Fair

UNIQUE is an annual art and literary magazine published by ARISE that celebrates the creative voices of Central New York artists and writers with disabilities. 2013 marked the magazine’s 13th edition and the fourth year of traveling community exhibitions.

For the third year, UNIQUE 2013 premiered at the Everson Museum of Art. After the Everson, the exhibit will travel to many partnering organizations with the first stop at the Literacy Coalition of Oswego County’s “Dig into Reading” Literacy Fair.

“UNIQUE demonstrates the power of self-expression and we are so pleased to partner with the Literacy Coalition for this special exhibition in Oswego County,” said Sabine Ingerson, Director of ARISE Oswego County Offices.

The artwork will be on display during the event from noon to 3 p.m. at Mexico Elementary School, 26 Academy Street, Mexico, NY 13114. Admission is free.

Local Oswego County artists featured in the magazine include: Donna August, Carolyn A. Bevins, Vivian Golding, Derek Grindle, Joseph Lisi, Jean K. Syrell, and Josh Webster.

UNIQUE is an important component of ARISE’s work to highlight the many talents and viewpoints of people who have disabilities. Many of the artists use writing and creative expression to help communicate their thoughts, feelings, and emotions and their work demonstrates the power of art to express, educate, and inspire.

The 13th Edition of UNIQUE Magazine and the traveling exhibits are made possible through support of our sponsors. Premier Sponsor: The Drescher Corporation. 13th Edition Sponsors: J.W. Burns & Company Investment Counsel and Haylor, Freyer & Coon, Inc. Patrons of the Arts: Tania S. Anderson, The Bonadio Group, PurEnergy, L.L.C., SUNY Oswego, and V.I.P. Structures. Friends of UNIQUE: Tim, Sue, & Robert George, INFICON, Onondaga Hearing Services, and Relph Benefit Advisors. Media Sponsors: NewsChannel 9 WSYR and WAER. Opening Exhibit Partner: Everson Museum of Art.


ARISE is a non-profit Independent Living Center run by and for people with disabilities.  The organization has been providing advocacy and services since 1979, and each year ARISE works with approximately 4,000 people of all ages who have all types of disabilities. ARISE has offices in Onondaga, Oswego, and Madison Counties and operates ARISE at the Farm, a 77-acre recreational facility in Chittenango, NY, and ARISE & Ski at Toggenburg Winter Sports Center in Fabius, N.Y.

Oswego Hospital bazaar starts Oct. 9

The Oswego Hospital Auxiliary will hold its annual fall bazaar 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Oct. 9 and 10 in the hospital lobby.

An Oswego business, Harbor Towne Gifts and Souvenirs, has donated a Winter Frost Church from Dept. 56’s Christmas Village series.

The bazaar offers many booths selling various items including baked goods, jewelry, gently used handbags, RADA Cutlery, homemade crafts, as well as many theme basket raffles.

A full turkey dinner will be served both nights in the hospital cafeteria from 5 to 7 p.m. Takeouts will also be available. All proceeds from the bazaar benefit the Oswego Hospital Auxiliary.