Category Archives: Phoenix News

Banzai program comes to Phoenix schools

by Nicole Reitz

As part of National Financial Literacy Month, Empower Federal Credit Union has partnered with the award-winning financial literacy program Banzai.

Due to donations by Empower FCU, Banzai, an online-based program, will be offered free to students and teachers in the Phoenix Central School District.

Empower is sponsoring 96 schools, including Phoenix, reaching over 64,500 students.

National Financial Literacy Month is recognized in April in an effort to highlight the importance of how money works in the world, while also teaching people how to establish and maintain healthy financial habits for a lifetime of well-being.

Debbie DuFour, who teaches business at JCB High School, has started using Banzai in her Small Business Management class, which is comprised of mostly juniors and seniors. She has also used the program in her account course.

DuFour instructs a unit on financial literacy and has students follow up with a simulation using Banzai. Students are then graded for completing the simulation.

To read the rest of the article, pick up a copy of The Valley News. You can also subscribe by calling the office at 598-6397 or clicking on the link on our homepage

Phoenix school budget draft eliminates programs

by Nicole Reitz

The Phoenix Central School District presented the first draft of next school year’s budget last Monday.

The proposed budget eliminates programs and increases the tax levy in an attempt to close a projected $1.6 million budget gap.

Under a plan presented by Karl Seckner, the district’s business administrator, property owners in Phoenix would experience a 1.6-percent tax levy increase. A 4.45 percent tax levy is allowable without a super majority vote.

With program cuts and reserve spending, another $1.3 million would be trimmed from the proposed $42.7 million budget.

Phoenix’s expenditures are projected to raise to 3.6 percent — more than five times than its state aid.

“I don’t know how many more years we can continue to cut the state aid and still have quality programs for our students,” said Superintendent Judy Belfield.

Seckner advised the board of education to consider eliminating the $100,000 minor project fund and $77,000 for the Oasis Summer Reading Program. The reading program runs for 16 sessions and enrolls 100 students during summer recess.

Board members discussed the effectiveness of the reading program and whether the elimination would, in the long run, cost the school more money in extra supports for those students.

“Do you want to lose the program or do you want to lose a teacher? Because that $77,000 is a teacher,” said Seckner.

With seven teachers filing for retirement, the district will save $514,000 through attrition. Of those teachers, the board would only consider replacing two positions: an instructional specialist and a high school physics teacher.

To read the rest of the story, pick up a copy of The Valley News or subscribe today by calling 598-6397

Barbershop group to perform at library

The Phoenix Public Library will present Roger Wells and members of the Barbershop Harmony Society Thursday, March 21 at 7 p.m.

Wells will give a short presentation on the art of singing in barbershop harmony followed by a 15-minute performance by the quartet. Wells will be available for questions after the presentation. Light refreshments will be served.

The library will hold a presentation by Toni McEniry from ARISE Thursday, March 28 at 2 p.m. in the Century Club Room.

ARISE has received funding from Central New York Affiliate Susan G. Komen for the Cure to promote education and awareness on breast cancer.

The presentation by McEniry focuses on self-breast examinations, clinical examinations and mammograms. The goal is to reach underserved women and uninsured women, a population that is growing as the economic recession continues.

This program from ARISE is to insure that more women receive preventive screening and follow-up breast health care, when needed, by providing one on one support to overcome barriers.

Those seeking more information may call McEniry at 671-2991.

These programs are free and open to the public. Those seeking more information may call the library at 695-4355.

Phoenix boys basketball team splits pair of games

by Rob Tetro

The Phoenix Boys Varsity Basketball Team topped Chittenango but came up short against Westhill in games played in the last week.

Phoenix outscored Chittenango 35-15 during the second and fourth quarters to come away with a win Feb. 5.

In the Feb. 9 contest against Westhill, Phoenix lost to one of the premiere teams in all of New York State

Phoenix earned a hard fought win against Chittenango (3-14) in what proved to be a game of runs. Chittenango got off to a solid start. By the end of the first quarter, Chittenango had built an eight-point lead.

The Firebirds fought back during the second quarter. They outscored Chittenango by 14 points to take a six-point lead into halftime at 23-17.

Chittenango cut into the deficit they faced in half during the third quarter. They outscored Phoenix by three points to bring The Firebirds lead down to three points by the end of the quarter.

The Firebirds, however, put the game out of reach during the fourth quarter. They outscored Chittenango by six points to come away with a 51-42 win.

Dylan Doupe led Phoenix with 16 points while Richard Howington finished with 15 points. Zach Sisera added 13 points and Brian Sawyer, Chris Vaverchak and Kyle Huniford combined to score seven points for The Firebirds.

Up next for Phoenix was a matchup with league leading Westhill (16-2).

To read the rest of the story, pick up a copy of The Valley News or subscribe today by calling 598-6397

Phoenix students collect items for Hurricane Sandy victims

Hurricane Sandy
Students at Michael A. Maroun Elementary School in Phoenix helped to fill a van with items collected for victims of Hurricane Sandy. Pictured with Senator Patty Ritchie are, from left, teacher Lisa Balles, Assistant Principal Diane Galster, students and Principal Mary Stanton.

Students at Michael A. Maroun Elementary School in Phoenix helped to fill a van with items collected for victims of Hurricane Sandy.

The items were added to the donations made throughout the past month by Central and Northern New Yorkers taking part in State Senator Patty Ritchie’s drive to help those affected by the storm.

Lisa Balles’ Pre-K class filled more than 25 boxes with canned food, toiletries, blankets and other necessities to be delivered to people on Long Island who are still recovering from October’s devastating storm.

“This sort of response — especially from people this young — is extremely overwhelming,” said Ritchie. “I’m so grateful that the students at Maroun Elementary took action to help the victims of Hurricane Sandy.

“There’s still a very long road to recovery ahead for the people downstate who are trying to rebuild their homes and businesses,” she added. “I’m thankful that these students, and many other Central and Northern New Yorkers joined with me to come to the aid of those affected.”

For about a month, Ritchie has been collecting donations at her Oswego, Jefferson and St. Lawrence County offices. She has partnered with Senator John Flanagan — who represents part of Long Island — to give donations to Island Harvest, one of the affected region’s largest hunger relief organizations.

“On behalf of all Long Islanders, I want to thank everyone who got involved to help those who have been affected by Hurricane Sandy,” said Flanagan. “Senator Ritchie and her staff deserve a great deal of credit for organizing this donation drive and for taking the time to let those who are still rebuilding their lives know that there are people throughout our great state who are ready to help.”

Those still interested in helping victims of Hurricane Sandy can do so by calling Island Harvest at 631-873-4775.

Ritchie also recommends donating to help with the American Red Cross’ relief efforts. To make a donation, visit or call 1-800-RED-CROSS.

Phoenix indoor track team to feature new faces this season

by Rob Tetro

Phoenix girls varsity indoor track and field coach Andy Lewis will be leading 20 athletes this season, which is a few more athletes compared to a year ago. Overall, Phoenix is a young team which will feature only one senior.

Lewis added that there are many freshmen on the team this season who are learning about indoor track for the first time. Despite the inexperience his team has in certain areas, Lewis expects his team as a whole to improve this season.

Learning and development will be common goals for the Lady Firebirds this season. The team’s biggest goal of the season is becoming a more competitive team compared to last season’s team. Lewis suggested that his athletes can achieve its biggest goal by showing the development that they need to show throughout the season.

At this point in the season, Lewis said his team’s overall conditioning has met his expectations.

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

Phoenix Community Band to perform

The Phoenix Community Band, under the direction of Dave Frateschi, will present a fall concert Monday, Nov. 19 at 7 p.m. at JCB High School. The high school is located on Route 57 (Main Street) at the north end of the village of Phoenix.

“Once again, the band is performing music that you have not heard before (except for one reprised favorite), which will transport you from the high Himalayas to Broadway to the floor of a metalworking mill,” a spokesperson said. “Our percussion section has been particularly busy with this series and the trombones are featured on one number as are two of our trumpet players on another.”

The band is now over 70-strong. Admission is free, though donations – the band’s major source of funding – are welcome.

Technology upgrades highlight SUNY Oswego Phoenix Center renovations

The SUNY Oswego Phoenix Center, offering credit courses and professional development opportunities for people throughout the region, has upgraded its audiovisual and technology capabilities as part of a floor-to-ceiling interior renovation.

Two smart podiums with state-of-the-art computer, projection and other equipment partner with a new large-screen TV to offer a multimedia learning experience for those attending the many courses, career-development workshops and business consulting sessions at the center, off Route 481 at Exit 14.

“Teaching methods are continuously evolving and these technology upgrades allow us to have a dynamic learning environment for our students,” said Yvonne Petrella, dean of SUNY Oswego’s Division of Extended Learning.

“Smart boards have been shown to increase attention of students, encourage involvement and serve as a tool for educators to engage students of varied learning styles.”

Besides the technological gear, the center has new tables, chairs, paint and carpet throughout.

Among the current offerings at the SUNY Oswego Phoenix Center are the Women’s Empowerment Series, classes in government contracting, computer classes in Google mail and calendar applications, and courses under the auspices of the American Management Association that can stand alone or lead to AMA University certification in human resource management or administrative professional.