Category Archives: Oswego News

Oswego County launches free snowmobile trail app

The Oswego County Department of Community Development, Tourism and Planning has partnered with Mohawk Valley GIS and the Oswego County Snowmobile Association to offer a free trail app for riders in the snow blessed Tug Hill region.

The app contains interactive maps of 378 miles of snowmobile trails, public parking locations, 10 snowmobile clubs, 25 restaurants, 21 gas stations, 11 lodgings, and several more snowmobile-related and supporting businesses along the Oswego County trail system.

As of press time, 837 people had downloaded the app, which displays the rider’s current GPS location and trail data. Once it’s been loaded on a smart phone, the trails can be accessed at any time.

“Oswego County is blessed with a wide variety of natural resources that are enjoyed by thousands of visitors from around the world throughout the year,” said Dave Turner, director of the county Department of Community Development, Tourism and Planning.

“Our annual snowfall (sometimes the highest this side of the Rockies) is near the top of the list of attractions here for outdoor enthusiasts. We were delighted to be selected as the model for this new service, and we hope that it will become the tool that helps create a safe and enjoyable experience for resident snowmobilers and wintertime visitors alike.”

Linda Rockwood, developer of the www.NYSnowmobileWebMap.com site and owner of Mohawk Valley GIS, approached the county more than a year ago and offered to develop the app as a pilot project.

“The timing was perfect, said Rockwood. “Oswego County wanted to include their trails in the interactive trail map website project, and we wanted to create a free app that featured the trails in one of our state’s more popular regions.”

As part of the joint promotional effort, sponsoring businesses in Oswego County were offered a discounted advertising package that includes the countywide paper trail map, web map, premium statewide and free trail apps, and GPS trail sets.

The Snowmobiling Oswego County app is available in both Apple’s appStore and Google’s Play store.

Julian Ross visited by troops, promoted to rank of ‘sergeant’

Major Darrick Gutting presents Julian Ross with a St. Michaels medallion, a reminder of strength and security. Soldiers of the 10th Mountain Division visited Ross and presented him with a plaque to commemorate his appointment to “honorary sergeant.”
Major Darrick Gutting presents Julian Ross with a St. Michaels medallion, a reminder of strength and security. Soldiers of the 10th Mountain Division visited Ross and presented him with a plaque to commemorate his appointment to “honorary sergeant.”

by Nicole Reitz

Tuesday, Julian Ross, a second grader battling cancer for more than a year, was visited at home by Senator Patty Ritchie and troops from Ft. Drum’s 10th Mountain Division.

Ritchie arranged a visit with the Ross family after learning of seven year-old Julian’s interest in all things military. Julian comes from a military-based family. His grandfather was in the military as well many of his mother Kristi’s  uncles and cousins. His uncle was serving in Iraq, but got discharged after being injured.

During the visit, Julian was appointed an honorary “sergeant” by members of the 10th Mountain Division. A proclamation was read of his promotion, which was presented to Ross for his “outstanding bravery when faced with challenges.”

He was also presented with gifts donated by soldiers and various groups at Fort Drum. Among the gifts were identification tags, a patrol cap, camouflage backpack with division memorabilia, a uniform and a St. Michaels medallion. He was also give a 10th Mountain Division hooded sweatshirt with sergeant stripes to keep warm during his trips to the hospital.

Julian changed out of his West Point jacket to change into his new uniform. His mother Kristi said that she can never get her son to take off that jacket. The soldiers and Ritchie took pictures with Julian, and the family dog, Cadence.

His mother teased that as a sergeant, Julian will have a higher rank than his Uncle Bruno. His uncle will be married this Dec. 29, and Julian is in the wedding.

Julian has expressed interest in being a helicopter pilot. The family visited a military base in Norfolk, Va. over the summer. Julian’s name was put on the side of a helicopter. Steve Ross, Julian’s father, said that from his understanding, the same helicopter is now deployed out in the Persian Gulf.

Julian’s mother Kristi explained how excited Julian was of the visit, but was rundown from emergency surgery he had over the weekend.

The visit came one day after he was released from the hospital and he is fighting four infections.

Sergeant Ross was curious as to whether the Ft. Drum had tanks. He was given an open invitation to visit Watertown’s military base to get a tour.

To read the rest of the story, pick up the latest copy of The Valley News. You may also subscribe to the paper by calling 598-6397
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Oswego Health to bring back Holiday Pops Concert

Oswego HealthThe sounds of the season and a long-standing community tradition, the holiday pops concert, returns to Oswego courtesy of Oswego Health.

The concert is presented by the newly formed Musical Associates of Central New York.

The holiday concert will be held Sunday, Dec. 16 at 3 p.m. at the Oswego High School auditorium. The high school is located at 2 Buccaneer Boulevard.

“I am so pleased that we are able to once again be the major sponsor of this concert and bring this wonderful holiday tradition back to the community,” said Oswego Health President and CEO Ann C. Gilpin.

“I would like to thank SUNY Oswego, the Musical Associates of CNY, the Oswego City School District and the City of Oswego, among others for helping us make this possible.”

Members of the community will be able to enjoy the sounds of the holiday with their family and friends at the concert.

The holiday concert will include the music of the Syracuse-based symphony. A community sing-a-long is also planned for the afternoon.

Serving as the evening’s conductor will be accomplished musician Sean O’Loughlin, a native of Syracuse.

In addition, the vocal soloist will be Amanda Brasher.

Tickets are available through a new arrangement this year. Community members wishing to attend the concert may purchase tickets online at tickets.oswego.edu.

They will also be on sale at the door the night of the concert.

“I hope community members will join us for what we know will be a wonderful afternoon,” Gilpin said.

Mary DeStevens, Oswego resident

Mary Louise (Wilson) DeStevens, 78, of County Route 25, Oswego, died Dec. 3, 2012.

She is survived by her husband of 60 years, Louis; their children, Connie DiStefano of Washington, Joseph of Oswego and Karen of Oswego; grandchildren, Joseph DeRousie, Matthew (Kristina) DeStevens, William (Nicole) DeRousie, Stacy DeStevens, and Daniel (Ashely) DeRousie; 10 great-grandchildren; and her brothers and sisters, Jack Wilson, Richard (Hedi) Wilson, Nancy Wilson, and June Morton.

She was daughter of the late William and Marguerite Wilson. She was a lover of all animals, especially dogs. She was a Christian. Services and burial were private. Contributions made be to Southwest United Methodist Church, 7721 State Route 104, Oswego, NY 13126.

Arrangements are in the care of the Sugar & Scanlon Funeral Home, Oswego.

Second grader Julian Ross sits in the front seat of his family’s new minivan, donated by Timebuyer owners Bob and Peg Natoli. Julian was diagnosed with cancer in 2011 and has since undergone a series of scans, transfusions and chemotherapy treatments. He wished for a van that had automatic doors, sunshades, an air conditioner and a television. To be updated about Julian’s condition, visit www.juliansjoust.com.

Seven year old checks item off his bucket list

bucket list
Second grader Julian Ross sits in the front seat of his family’s new minivan, donated by Timebuyer owners Bob and Peg Natoli. Julian was diagnosed with cancer in 2011 and has since undergone a series of scans, transfusions and chemotherapy treatments. He wished for a van that had automatic doors, sunshades, an air conditioner and a television. To be updated about Julian’s condition, visit www.juliansjoust.com.

by Nicole Reitz

Julian Ross, a second grader in Oswego, likes to play with his brothers as well as his Nintendo DS and he has a fascination with all things military.

He is also fighting stage 4 Neuroblastoma Cancer.

The cancer started in Julian’s adrenal gland and has spread throughout his body. He has been battling cancer since he was diagnosed Aug. 4, 2011.

Since then, Julian has had multiple surgeries, chemotherapy treatments, scans, transfusions, bone marrow aspirations, and a stem cell transplant in May.

The Ross family makes monthly visits to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia for rounds of experimental treatment and Julian is often admitted to the hospital.

Julian’s parents, Steve and Kristi, tried to explain to their son what is happening to his body the best they can by using age appropriate language. Since Julian’s dreams of being in the service, his parents told him that his cancer is the “bad army” and that the “good army,” or treatment, will help him beat the war going on inside him.

Thinking of this explanation, Julian expressed that he didn’t want any other kid to get his “bad army.” With the help of his parents, Julian came up with a dozen items on his own personal bucket list, experiences that are important and special to him.

One item in the top five was to have a van with automatic doors, sunshades, air conditioning and a television. The Ross’s family van is old and rusted, without heat and running on 120,000 miles.

Bob Natoli, owner of Timebuyer, was made aware of Julian’s story by his daughter, who read about Julian on Facebook. Natoli read that number four on Julian’s bucket list was a new van and he realized that he could help the Ross’s with that pursuit.

Natoli and his wife, Peg, presented the Ross family with a personal donation of a 2006 Chrysler minivan Monday at Timebuyer in Oswego. The van is valued at about $8,200 and will allow Julian to be more comfortable when traveling back and forth for therapy.

The vehicle is fashioned for a wheelchair, if Julian should ever need one.

“When I heard about the Ross’s plight, my heart went out to them immediately,” said Natoli. “The worst thing in the world has to be having a sick child. We pray for his recovery.”

Natoli also wanted to assist Julian and the family further by helping them get publicity for their own needs and because Julian is interested in helping other’s fight their own battle against cancer.

Steve, Julian’s father, was overwhelmed with Natoli’s kindness and generosity. Not only will the new minivan get better mileage, but also be safer for Julian. The family’s old van didn’t have heat in the back and Julian’s compromised immune system makes him vulnerable to illness.

To read the rest of the story, pick up the latest copy of The Valley News. You may also subscribe to the paper by calling 598-6397

Emily Bradshaw (center), a student at Oswego Middle School, delivers some of 540 personal care bags that she has collected to OCO Homeless Services for distribution to people in need. Bradshaw, who is currently lobbying for the establishment of a homeless shelter in Oswego County, is collecting personal care items for distribution to homeless people in Oswego County. Pictured with Bradshaw are Sabine Ingerson (left), director of ARISE of Oswego County and Sarah Irland (right), deputy executive director of Oswego County Opportunities.

Oswego student continues mission to help the homeless

homeless
Emily Bradshaw (center), a student at Oswego Middle School, delivers some of 540 personal care bags that she has collected to OCO Homeless Services for distribution to people in need. Bradshaw, who is currently lobbying for the establishment of a homeless shelter in Oswego County, is collecting personal care items for distribution to homeless people in Oswego County. Pictured with Bradshaw are Sabine Ingerson (left), director of ARISE of Oswego County and Sarah Irland (right), deputy executive director of Oswego County Opportunities.

Homelessness. It exists in virtually every community and impacts all ages.

In some cases, the plight of the homeless is easily recognizable, in others it is more of a silent, unseen issue.

While homelessness in Oswego County is not always recognizable, it does exist. A one day study conducted by the County of Oswego Advocates Challenging Homelessness indicates that on any day in Oswego county over 85 county residents have no place to call home and over 30 more are on the brink of homelessness.

While there are some services available, one basic need is not: shelter where they find temporary comfort from the elements.

There is no homeless shelter in Oswego County, however, 12-year old Emily Bradshaw, a student at Oswego Middle School, is on a mission to change that.

“My grandmother works at DSS (Oswego County Department of Social Services) and when I heard that there were hundreds of homeless people in Oswego County but no homeless shelter it upset me a lot,” she said. “I decided I was going to do whatever I can to get one.”

Bradshaw began her quest for a homeless shelter with a visit to the Oswego County Legislature in September when she voiced her concern and spoke of the issue of homelessness and the need for a homeless shelter. “This is a serious issue and we need to help people,” said Bradshaw.

Following her appeal to the Oswego County Legislature, she spoke with Oswego County Social Services Commissioner Greg Heffer and the executive director of Oswego County Opportunities, a community action agency that offers several programs for the homeless.

“They suggested that since it may take a while to get a homeless shelter and that while I was lobbying I could start a drive to collect personal care items that would be distributed to homeless people,” said Bradshaw.

And so it began. Through personal visits and letters, Bradshaw contacted businesses, organizations, dentists, churches, family and friends shared her mission with them and asked for donations of personal care items.

She was very pleased with the responses she received noting that the community has been very generous, even her classmates helped her.

With a goal of collecting enough items to make 500 personal care bags, Bradshaw began collecting, sorting, and putting together the bags.  In less than three months she not only met her goal, she far surpassed it, and isn’t done yet. “I’ve made 540 bags…and counting,” said Bradshaw. “I’m happy that the community is helping me. It makes me feel good.”

Bradshaw said that she has already begun distributing the bags with DSS receiving 150 bags and Oswego High School, Oswego Middle School, and G. Ray Bodley High School each receiving 50 bags.  “Even though we may not know it there are a lot of homeless students,” she said. “I was told that during any given week there are at least two-dozen homeless students at Oswego High School alone. It makes me happy to know that I am helping them.”

Additionally, Bradshaw said that she would be distributing personal care bags along with hats and scarves during the Oswego Salvation Army Thanksgiving dinner.

Throughout her drive for personal care bags, Bradshaw has continued to lobby for the creation of a homeless shelter.  he continues to share her vision with Oswego County legislators, her city councilor, the Mayor of Oswego, and other county and state representatives.

She has met with Assemblyman Will Barclay and has reached out to Congressman Bill Owens and Senator Patty Ritchie.

“Bad things can happen to good people and everyone deserves to be treated equal. It makes my heart feel happy because I know I am helping people and that our community is helping people,” said Bradshaw.

Those seeking to contribute to Bradshaw’s personal care bags drive you may contact Jennifer Bradshaw at 342-3164 or via e-mail at hockeyfans@twcny.rr.com to arrange for pick up of items.

Donations may also be dropped off in the main office of the Oswego Middle School, 100 Mark FitzGibbons Drive.

Success story: Oswego family lands new job in Pennsylvania

by Carol Thompson

Bob and Mary, the Oswego couple living off the equivalent of $30 a week in food stamps, won’t have presents under the Christmas tree next month.

They won’t even have a tree — but they have been blessed with the greatest gift of all.

“Bob got the job, he landed the job,” Mary said through tears Wednesday evening. “I can’t stop shaking. I’ve never felt so blessed.”

Bob traveled with a friend to Scranton, Pa. Nov. 13 to interview for a position as an IT director at a starting salary of $72,000 annually plus full benefits.

Late Wednesday afternoon, he received the call he had been praying for.

“We never expected it,” Mary said. “When Bob interviewed he was told they had already interviewed a dozen candidates and had a dozen more to do interview that week. It was very competitive and we figured they would hire someone from the area.”

The company will not only pay their moving expenses, but will assist with their housing expense for three months.

“One of my fears was that if Bob got the job we would have no money for moving and to pay a security deposit on an apartment,” Mary said. “We had made an agreement that if he got the job we would sell our wedding rings so that we could move. I don’t think we will have to do that now.”

Bob and Mary were the subjects of a Nov. 7 Valley News story and the outpouring of the community made it possible for the couple and their daughter to have a Thanksgiving dinner.

“We planned on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for Thanksgiving dinner and we were able to buy a turkey and all the fixings,” Mary said. “We didn’t tell our story to get donations or sympathy. We told our story so that people would stop judging those using a food benefit card. We have so much to be thankful for and we feel truly blessed. Getting a new start on life and being able to have a Thanksgiving dinner because of your readers is the greatest gift we could ever ask for.”

Mary said she hoped the snide comment directed at her as she was cashing out her Thanksgiving meal purchases Wednesday evening was the last she would hear.

“I took my daughter shopping with me and she wanted a paper tablecloth with turkeys on it,” she said. “I’ve not been able to give her anything for over a year so I agreed. When I cashed out, I used my benefit card first and then handed the clerk cash. A man behind me said something about it being nice that I could afford the tablecloth and eat on his dime.”

Mary said her daughter immediately asked if she could still get the tablecloth.

“I was mortified that anyone would say something like that for a small child to hear,” she said. “I wanted to lash out at him but instead I told him may God bless him and may he never have to walk in my shoes.”

As she was wheeling her cart away, Mary heard the man tell the cashier that he couldn’t believe the things “people on welfare buy.” The cashier responded to him that she sees it all the time.

To read the rest of the story, pick up the latest copy of The Valley News. You may also subscribe to the paper by calling 598-6397

Sorority sisters of Sigma Delta Tau at SUNY Oswego staff a table in the Campus Center concourse aimed at “Saving Sandy Survivors,” offering red remembrance pins for $1 each. From left are sophomore English major Kristyn Bednarczyk, senior business administration major and event coordinator Erin Walls, sophomore graphic design major Veronica DeFazio, and sophomore business administration majors Katie Mott and Becky Unger.

Campus rallies around Sandy victims

Sandy
Sorority sisters of Sigma Delta Tau at SUNY Oswego staff a table in the Campus Center concourse aimed at “Saving Sandy Survivors,” offering red remembrance pins for $1 each. From left are sophomore English major Kristyn Bednarczyk, senior business administration major and event coordinator Erin Walls, sophomore graphic design major Veronica DeFazio, and sophomore business administration majors Katie Mott and Becky Unger.

SUNY Oswego students have been working hard to plan and execute relief efforts to help those severely affected by Superstorm Sandy.

Graduate student Bailey Smith, inspired by her mother and uncle who set up a collection site at Long Beach on Long Island, sought the help of her fellow students to gather a rental van-load of food, water, winter clothing, batteries, blankets and more, and drove there the weekend of Nov. 10 and 11.

“It looks like the end of the world down there,” Smith said. “I think tears ran down my face from the moment we got there until the moment we left.”

Meanwhile, the spirit of compassion spread across campus in the wake of a hurricane turned superstorm that killed more than 110 people in 10 states, with New Jersey and Downstate New York the hardest hit.

President Deborah F. Stanley sent a letter of encouragement and strength to all Oswego alumni and their families. Sororities began efforts in the Campus Center to raise money for the storm’s victims — some of whom were families of their own members.

A fraternity organized a three-day can and food drive at a local grocery store. And staff of the Compass student success center, Campus Life and Residence Life and Housing, as well as students and other staff, met to plan a large fundraising event for Dec. 5 from 7 to 9 p.m. in Sheldon Hall ballroom.

Additionally, John Halleron of the college’s Small Business Development Center plans to travel to New York City from Dec. 10 to 21 to assist small business owners in applying for disaster assistance.

The storm struck home for Sigma Delta Tau, as one of the sisters lost her family home. The sorority set up a table in the Campus Center, selling small red pins of remembrance for $1.

“We decided to make it for all victims of Sandy; we called it ‘Saving Sandy Survivors,’” said Erin Walls, a senior business administration major and coordinator of the sorority’s effort.

Alpha Sigma Chi turned out dozens of sisters in red sorority T-shirts to collect contributions at an adjacent table.

“We have a lot of sisters from Downstate — at least 10,” said sorority Vice President Stephanie Shannon. Immediately after it happened, she said, they knew they had to pitch in with fundraising.

Chelsea Flores of Alpha Sigma Chi, a junior from Rockaway Park in Queens, said the devastation —  from wind, water and fire — hit very close to home.

“The neighborhood is on a spit of land near Long Island,” Flores said. “We are so close to the beach, the water just went over the boardwalk and annihilated it.”

Her parents’ house had water in the basement and some damage to the front, but it was the loss of power for more than 10 days that persuaded her family to move in with a neighbor. “Everyone in Rockaway is trying to help each other,” she said.

Bayshore, Long Island, will receive food collected by Delta Sigma Phi fraternity at the Big M in Oswego.

“We have a lot of brothers downstate and it’s good to know that we can help out the area that is really affected and help those whose lives have turned upside down,” said fraternity member and junior chemistry major Joseph Starr.

For Bailey Smith, it meant a lot to act on this relief effort because many people will be recovering for a long time while those who were unaffected prepare for the holidays.

“We just have to make a conscious effort to not forget about them and continue giving them assistance,” Smith said.