Category Archives: Phoenix News

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month

Members of the Prince of Peace Church representing the "Cherish All Children Ministries." From left to right front, the Rev. Richard Klafehn, Fulton Mayor Ronald Woodward, Dianne Klafehn - Upstate NY Leader of Child Advocacy Center; back row  church member Alexandra Sorbello, Friend of CAC Ben Jarred, church member Margaret Nichols. Absent from photo Child Advocacy Center Executive Director Karrie Damm.
Members of the Prince of Peace Church representing the “Cherish All Children Ministries.” From left to right front, the Rev. Richard Klafehn, Fulton Mayor Ronald Woodward, Dianne Klafehn – Upstate NY Leader of Child Advocacy Center; back row church member Alexandra Sorbello, Friend of CAC Ben Jarred, church member Margaret Nichols. Absent from photo Child Advocacy Center Executive Director Karrie Damm.

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For more information on the Child Advocacy Center of Oswego County, call 592-4453.
To report a case of abuse, call the state Child Protective Services hotline at (800) 342-3720. If you feel a child is in immediate danger, call 911.

By Debra J. Groom
April is Child Abuse Prevention Month.

And Oswego County is doing more to help children be safe by reporting more cases of child abuse than ever before.
The number of children and families served by the Child Advocacy Center in Fulton increased by 48 percent from 2012-2013 – from about 320 in 2012 to 475 in 2013.

The Child Advocacy Center, the Oswego County Department of Social Services and others are stressing the importance of knowing the signs of abuse and letting authorities know when abuse occurs.

Oswego County is keenly aware of child abuse as a result of the Erin Maxwell case in 2008.

Erin was 11 years old when she was found unresponsive in her Palermo home by her stepbrother, Alan Jones. She was taken to the hospital where she was pronounced dead.

Jones was charged with her murder and her father and stepmother, Lindsey and Lynn Maxwell, were found guilty of four counts of endangering the welfare of a child. Jones’ conviction eventually was reduced to manslaughter and he is serving tie in Fishkill Correctional Facility. According to Vinelink, he is scheduled for release in June 2015.

Lindsey and Lynn Maxwell were sentenced to two years in the Oswego County jail, but were released after serving 15 months.

When investigating Erin’s death, police found that she lived in deplorable conditions, was locked in her room to eat and sometimes went to school with dirty clothing and no lunch. It came to light during the investigation that the Oswego County Department of Social Services had investigated reports about the Maxwell household and Erin, but did not remove her from the house. Many faulted the department for its inaction.

Since then, many changes were made to the way these cases are handled in Oswego County. Cornell University completed one of three studies done looking at how the social services department worked at that time. The report found Oswego County’s caseworkers were overworked, handling nearly double the national and state average of cases per caseworker.

Changes were made after the reports and more caseworkers were hired. Gregg Heffner, who was hired as commissioner of the Department of Social Services about three years after the Erin Maxwell case, said previously all of those working in the department learned from the Erin Maxwell case and have made improvements to ensure it never happens again.

One change made is the start of a Child Protection Advisory Council that meets monthly. The group, consisting of people from many different agencies throughout the county, works to increase employees’ training, make sure they are all following regulations and that workers are using the best practices possible.

Karrie Damm, executive director of the Child Advocacy Center, is on that advisory council.

“I heard a quote once that stated ‘for every one educated adult, 10 children are safer,’” she said. She believes the more people learn about child abuse, the more they understand what abuse is and how to prevent it, then the number of children being abused will decrease.

Both she and Oswego County District Attorney Gregory Oakes say the number of reported cases of child abuse coming into the Child Advocacy Center has increased so much because there is more abuse going on, but also because people are coming forward more often to report abuse cases.

Heffner recently said in a letter to the editor to The Valley News that it is important for people to report child abuse to the authorities. There is a state hotline for reporting cases, and abuse also can be called into the Child Advocacy Center or any police agency.

But people often are reluctant to report, feeling they shouldn’t stick their noses into someone else’s life or worrying the person they are reporting will come after them.

“People have to be trusting that there will be a response to their call,” Damm said. “People often feel as though ‘no one will listen to me.’”

Sometimes, the authorities aren’t listening well enough.

Oakes tells a story on how a trustworthy person he knows in the community called him about child abuse he saw in a family. Oakes said he checked out the information with others and found it to be valid and “caused me great concern as a DA and as a father.”

He called the state hotline to make a report. The state worker took Oakes’ information, but asked more questions. Oakes couldn’t answer the other questions, so the hotline worker said there was not enough information to take a report.

“I got very loud and threw my title out there,” Oakes said. “This mandated CPS (Child Protective Services) involvement. How can you turn this down?” Oakes said to the hotline worker. “This case screamed out for CPS involvement.”

Oakes then said he was going to call a press conference to let the world know the state hotline office was doing. He then was switched over to a supervisor who took the report.

Damm said if someone from the Child Advocacy Center calls the hotline with the case and is rejected, “we call back 10 minutes later to get another person to talk to or we ask for a supervisor.” She said it’s important for the public to know if they don’t get anywhere when trying to report a case of child abuse, don’t stop – try again.

“We like to blame the system. This is a community problem with a community solution,” she said.

People can report to the state hotline anonymously if they are afraid of retribution. But Damm said often it doesn’t matter if a person does or doesn’t give their names when reporting because the person doing the abuse usually knows who made a report.

“We have to be braver than the people doing the evil deeds,” she said.

Oakes, who prosecuted child abuse cases for six and a half years as an assistant district attorney in Oswego County, said many who abuse were abused themselves as children. “One of the best ways to break the cycle is to use prosecution, social services for the family and mental health services” for the child and the family.

If abuser were just prosecuted and then thrown in jail, the cycle of abuse would continue. “In many cases, abuse has gone unreported for many years across generations,” Oakes said.

That is why the nonprofit Child Advocacy Center works hand-in-hand with local law enforcement, prosecution, child protective services, medical providers, therapy providers and victim advocacy professionals in Oswego County. The center works with the parents and with the children.

“To prevent child abuse, we have to have conversations about it, keep talking about it, educate yourself and support the local program that helps kids,” Damm said. “Remember —  one educated adult keeps 10 kids safer.”

Randy Lewis Wallace, racing fan, roofer

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Randy Lewis Wallace, 64, longtime West Phoenix, and Phoenix, NY resident, passed away Thursday April 10, 2014 at the V. A. Medical Center, Syracuse, NY.

He was born in Fulton, NY Sept. 10, 1949. He was a U.S. Army veteran serving from 1966-1968.

Randy was a roofer. He was an avid fan and participant in auto racing and was known for his famous Q-2 car, as well as the Car 99 NY with the Wallace and Waldron Racing Team.

Randy was a fisherman and enjoyed camping and spending time with his family and friends.

He was predeceased by his mother, Virginia Alice (Egan) Wallace on Feb. 5, 1965; his father, Lewis Wallace on Jan. 9, 1993; his step-mother, Evelyn Grace (Delaney) Wallace on July 4, 2000; his sister-in-law, L. Julie Wallace on April 24, 2003; and  a grandnephew Mitchell Wallace, II on Dec. 16, 1989.

Surviving are his life long partner, Nora J. Wallace of Gouverneur; his daughters, Virginia I. Wallace of Alexandria Bay, Regina L. (Christopher) Murphy of Martville; his three grandchildren, Jacob Alan, Mariah Wallace; and Christopher Murphy, Jr.; his brother, Roland J. “Ronnie” Wallace; his two nephews, Mitch Wallace, and Mark Wallace; his one niece, Michelle Wallace; grandnieces and nephews, his many friends; and a special friend Tommy Considine.

Calling hours were Monday April 14 at the Allanson-Glanville-Tappan Funeral Home, 431 Main St., Phoenix. The American flag was presented to the family.

Phoenix school board adopts budget; residents vote May 20

By Debra J. Groom

The Phoenix school board has adopted a $42,559,049 budget for the 2014-15 school year.

Residents will vote on the budget May 20. They also will elect three members to the board of education. Petitions to run for the school board must be turned in by Monday.

The proposed budget for 2014-15 is up 1.99 percent – or $550,122 – over the budget for the current school year. It does not cut any academic programs, athletics or extracurricular activities.

The OASIS summer reading program is being cut for the summer of 2014, but Superintendent Judith Belfield said it could be revisited for the summer of 2015.

Spending is up only 1.33 percent.   Mos of the increase comes from increased pension costs associated with the fiscal downturn of 2008.

Belfield the district received more state aid in the final state budget than originally was proposed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. This additional aid – about $300,000 – and the retirement of 10 teachers and five teacher assistants this year helped the district put together a budget that did not include staff and/or teacher layoffs.

The proposed budget includes money to replace some of the teachers who are retiring.

“We are replacing two K-6 teachers, a chemistry teacher, an instructional specialist and a special education teacher,” Belfield said. The budget also includes two new positions – a special education teacher and an elementary reading teacher.

Also, two part-time teaching positions are being increased from half time to full time – a high school social studies teacher and a high school Spanish teacher.

Belfield said the budget increases the tax levy – which is the amount to be raised by taxes – by 1.99 percent or $326,858. The estimated tax rate for most towns in the school district would be about $28.26 per $1,000 of assessed value, an increase of 55 cents per $1,000 from the current rate of $27.71 per $1,000.

Since the tax levy increase is less than the state-mandated cap placed on municipalities and school districts, residents will qualify for a refund of the tax increase from the state due to a proposal in the new state budget.

In addition to the budget and school board members, residents also will decide on whether to spend $429,200 to buy three 60-passenger school buses, one special needs bus and a camera system.

The public hearing on the budget will be at 7 p.m.May 6 at John C. Birdlebough High School. The vote is noon to 9 p.m. May 20 at Emerson J. Dillon Middle School.

Maroun Elementary students help make Easter baskets

Galena Ojiem, of Phoenix, founder of Hikers for the Homeless, shows off some of the toiletry items and other merchandise collected to fill Easter baskets made by third-graders from Maroun Elementary in Phoenix. The baskets will be given at shelters and to homeless in Syracuse on Easter morning.
Galena Ojiem, of Phoenix, founder of Hikers for the Homeless, shows off some of the toiletry items and other merchandise collected to fill Easter baskets made by third-graders from Maroun Elementary in Phoenix. The baskets will be given at shelters and to homeless in Syracuse on Easter morning.

Hikers for the Homeless has partnered with Maroun Elementary in Phoenix and Catholic Charities in Syracuse to brighten Easter for some of Syracuse’s poorest residents with an Easter basket giveaway.

The third-graders at Maroun Elementary made paper Easter baskets and also collected items to be placed in the baskets.

Hikers for the Homeless will fill the baskets with washcloths, soap, shampoo, lotion, wipes/tissues, chapstick, toothbrushes, toothpaste and, of course, candy and Easter treats.

The 123 baskets will be passed out on Easter morning at two Catholic Charities shelters in Syracuse – one that houses women and one for women and children.

The 76 residents here will also be receiving multicolor carnations. The remaining baskets will be given to John Tomino with In My Father’s Kitchen to be passed out when he distributes lunches to those living under bridges in Syracuse.

Any remaining will be given to refugees during his April 26 giveaway.

Sponsors of the event are Guignard’s Flowers, Adirondackmama.com blog and Sandy Pratt Photography.

Maroun Elementary collected more than 1,200 items pictured below and Hikers collected $365 in donations from 12 individual donors, which was used to purchase additional supplies for the baskets.

Chiropractors help out United Way

Area chiropractors will offer Patient Appreciation Day April 26 in support of the United Way. Shown getting ready for the event are Dr. Richard Falanga, Dr. Brent Tallents, Dr. Beth Dubois, Lois Luber, Dr. Richard Tesoriero, Dr. Casey McCaffrey, Dr. Dustin Wahrendorf, and Dr. Jason Cunningham.  Absent from photo are; Dr. Franklin Perkins II, Dr. Michael Soucy, Dr. Ryan Barker, Dr. Anthony Licatese. All proceeds go to the United Way.
Area chiropractors will offer Patient Appreciation Day April 26 in support of the United Way. Shown getting ready for the event are Dr. Richard Falanga, Dr. Brent Tallents, Dr. Beth Dubois, Lois Luber, Dr. Richard Tesoriero, Dr. Casey McCaffrey, Dr. Dustin Wahrendorf, and Dr. Jason Cunningham. Absent from photo are; Dr. Franklin Perkins II, Dr. Michael Soucy, Dr. Ryan Barker, Dr. Anthony Licatese. All proceeds go to the United Way.

Chiropractors throughout Oswego County will host a special Patient Appreciation Day in support of the United Way of Greater Oswego County.

On Saturday, April 26, participating chiropractors will offer chiropractic treatments for current and former patients, as well as examinations for new patients in exchange for a $20 donation to the United Way of Greater Oswego County.

“Patient Appreciation Day is a wonderful opportunity for health conscious individuals to receive an important examination and valuable information at a very affordable price,” said Melanies Trexler, executive director of the United Way. “You really can’t afford not to take advantage of this rare opportunity.”

All proceeds from the day will benefit United Way of Greater Oswego County and the many member agency programs that the United Way supports.

Chiropractors participating in Patient Appreciation Day include:

Falanga Family Chiropractic 

Oswego – 343-2961

Dr. Beth Dubois

Dr. Richard F. Falanga

 Family Chiropractic Office

Fulton – (315) 593-7555

Dr. Brett R. Tallents

McCaffrey Chiropractic

Oswego – (315) 342-3877

Dr. Casey McCaffrey

Perkins Chiropractic

Hannibal – (315) 564-7022

Dr. Franklin L. Perkins II

Tesoriero Chiropractic

Oswego – (315) 343-5713

Dr. Richard Tesoriero

Licatese Chiropractic

Oswego – (315) 342-6300

Dr. Anthony Licatese

Dr. Ryan Barker

Active Chiropractic – Oswego 

Dr. Jason Cunningham (315) 383-9614

Dr. Dustin Wahrendorf (315) 591-1091

Advanced Wellness Chiropractic 

Mexico – (315) 963-8700

Dr. Michael Soucy

Those interested in Patient Appreciation Day are urged to call the participating chiropractor of their choice and schedule an appointment as soon as possible.

For more information, call one of the chiropractors or the United Way at 593-1900.

Hazardous waste collection site opens May 3

Submitted by Oswego County

Oswego County residents will be able to safely dispose of unwanted chemicals, pesticides and other hazardous waste products beginning Saturday, May 3, at the Oswego County Household Hazardous Waste Disposal Facility.

Located at the Bristol Hill Landfill, 3125 State Route 3, Volney, the facility will be open Wednesdays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Saturdays from 8 to 11 a.m. from May through September.

Managed by the Oswego County Department of Solid Waste, the program is free to Oswego County residents.

The household hazardous waste disposal program is sponsored by the Oswego County Legislature and the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

“The household hazardous waste collection facility gives residents a convenient way to safely dispose of expired chemical products and unwanted hazardous wastes,” said Frank Visser, Oswego County Solid Waste Director.

“This method of household hazardous waste management has proven to be cost-effective and user-friendly. Materials are packaged and stored in a secure area until a sufficient amount has accumulated for shipping,” Visser said.

Customers should pull their vehicle up to the side of the building, which is located between the transfer station and solid waste offices.

Drivers should remain in their vehicles and wait for materials to be unloaded by the solid waste department staff.

These items are accepted at the collection facility:

Adhesives, aerosols, antifreeze, auto batteries, light ballasts (non PCB), brake fluid, cements, degreasers, disinfectants, dry gas, flea products, fluorescent bulbs, gasoline, hobby chemicals, household cleaners, insect repellants,  lacquers, lighter fluids and  lubricants.

Also: mercury containing devices, oil-based paints (no latex paints will be accepted), paint removers and thinners, pesticides, pool chemicals, rat poisons, rug and upholstery cleaners, solvents, turpentine, varnish, weed killers, and wood stains.

A complete list of materials is listed on the solid waste department web site at www.oswegocounty.com/dsw/hhw.html.

Materials should be in their original containers and placed in sturdy cardboard boxes. Leaking containers should be wrapped in newspaper and placed in a clear plastic bag.

Dried latex paint, used motor oil, household batteries, cell phones, computers, electronic equipment, and appliances containing CFC refrigerant are accepted year-round at the transfer stations.

There is no charge for recycling electronic equipment such as computer monitors, microwave ovens, fax machines and televisions. There is a $15 fee to recycle appliances that contain CFC refrigerant.

Visser requests that, for safety reasons, people do not bring children or pets to the collection site. Smoking is prohibited in the unloading area.

When lines are long, cars may be turned away so that materials can be processed prior to facility closing.

The Solid Waste Department also accepts hazardous wastes from Oswego County businesses that meet the regulatory requirements. Business owners should contact the Solid Waste Office to find out if they qualify and to obtain a cost estimate for disposal of materials.

For more information, call the Oswego County Solid Waste Office at 591-9200, or visit the Department of Solid Waste Web site at http://www.oswegocounty.com/dsw/index.html

County Health Department clinics for week of April 21

Submitted by Oswego County

The Oswego County Health Department offers a variety of services to all residents of Oswego County, including preventive health services, certified home health care, long-term home health care, certified hospice, and a maternal and child health program.

Walk-in influenza clinics are held weekdays from 9 to 11 a.m. and 1 to 3 p.m. at the Nick Sterio Public Health Clinic, 70 Bunner St., Oswego for people age 19 and older. No appointment is needed; walk-ins are welcome.

Children’s flu vaccine is now available every Tuesday from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. in Oswego, and the third Tuesday of every month from 9 to 11 a.m. at the H. Douglas Barclay Courthouse, Pulaski.

The children’s flu vaccine is available at no cost to all children who qualify for the Vaccines for Children Program provided by the New York State Department of Health. For those who do not qualify, the cost is $37 for the inactivated vaccine.

The health department accepts cash or checks for payment. The department does not accept credit or debit cards. Patients with private insurance, Managed Medicaid, Managed Medicare, Medicaid, Medicare, and Medicare Part B should bring their benefit cards with them to the immunization clinic.  No one will be turned away due to inability to pay.

The following services will be offered during the week of April 21 at the Nick Sterio Public Health Clinic, 70 Bunner St., Oswego.

OSWEGO:

** Adult Influenza Clinic: Monday through Friday, 9 to 11 a.m. and 1 to 3 p.m., walk-in clinic.

** Immunization Clinic: Tuesday, April 22, 12:30 to 3:30 p.m., walk-in clinic.

** Pregnancy Testing: Free pregnancy testing is available. Call 349-3391 to schedule an appointment.

** Sexually Transmitted Disease Testing and Treatment Services: Call 349-3547 to schedule an appointment.

** HIV Counseling and Testing Service:  Call 349-3547 to schedule an appointment.

Immunization clinics are held every Tuesday from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. at 70 Bunner St., Oswego, and the third Tuesday of every month from 9 to 11 a.m. at the H. Douglas Barclay Courthouse, Pulaski.

For more information about public health services, contact the County Health Department, weekdays, phone 349-3547 or (800) 596-3200, ext. 3547. For information on rabies clinics, call 349-3564.

Phoenix track ready to begin season

By Rob Tetro
The Phoenix boys’ varsity track and field team is ready to participate in what is expected to be another competitive year in the OHSL Liberty League.
The Firebirds main goal is to have another competitive season in league play. Coach Keith Walberger said the OSHL Liberty League could be wide open this season and he expects Solvay to be the team to beat.
However, like Phoenix, Westhill and Marcellus are also expected to have solid teams and 2014 will be Cazenovia’s first year in the league. Walberger said nothing will be handed to the Firebirds this season. Phoenix expects to be challenged in every event of every meet they take part in.
The Firebirds’ seniors will play pivotal roles for the team this season. However, Walberger mentions his team also consists of many freshmen and sophomores with a lot of potential.
He credits his younger athletes for the attention and respect they have given to their experienced teammates. In fact, the desire and enthusiasm they have displayed already appears to be paying off. Walberger is encouraged by how quickly his younger athletes have been showing signs of development.
Many of Walberger’s athletes were members of the Phoenix varsity indoor track team this winter. His other athletes took part in other fall and/or winter sports. For the most part, the Firebirds were in decent physical condition when practices began in early March. However, nearly every athlete faced the challenge of redeveloping their event related skills and endurance levels to prepare for the upcoming season. Walberger said the adjustment was much easier for his experienced athletes. As anticipated, newer athletes had a harder time grasping what needed to be done to be physically prepared for the their events.
Seniors Dylan Switzer, Eric Hillpot, Mike Leach, Mike Girard and Anthony Brienza will serve as team captains for Phoenix this season. Walberger said he has never named this many captains in his tenure at the helm of the Firebirds track and field program and said athletes he selects to be captains have to be influential people both in competition and in the classroom.
Walberger said a captain is someone who sets an example other athletes want to duplicate. He mentions a captain is someone who leads by example in terms of work ethic on the track and in the classroom. Walberger also suggests someone who proudly represents Phoenix at local social functions will also be given leadership consideration.
Walberger said his five captains personify these qualities.
Phoenix enters the season with an abundance of strengths. Andy Padula is striving to remain among the best in Section 3 in the pole vault. After a solid performance in the Sectional Meet last season, Padula has put in a lot of hard work with a pole vault coach and is ready to make the most of his senior season. Walberger said expectations are high for high jumpers Eric Hillpot and Shaun Turner this season. They will be expected to be strong leadership figures for their event as well. The Firebirds will feature many talented new high jumpers in 2014.
In addition to being a premier pole vaulter, Andy Padula should have another solid season in the long jump and triple jump.