Category Archives: Other News

Quirk’s Players holding fundraiser Saturday

QuirksPlayersQuirk’s Players of G. Ray Bodley High School will hold a chicken barbecue dinner from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at the Fulton Polish Home, 153 W. First St. South in Fulton. The event will include a meal prepared by Fricken Chicken, with music provided by Mystic Music Entertainment. Additionally there will be gift baskets and a dessert table. Proceeds will help the Fulton students present this year’s annual school musical. Pictured here finalizing details for the event are, from left, Brandon Webb, Erica Perwitz, Zach Almeter, Sarah Fisch, Tim McAfee, Gina Babcock, Michael Mankiewicz, Victoria Eckhard, David Houck and Quirk’s Players’ Assistant Director Rob Lescarbeau.
Photo provided

Greenleaf: Dog control officer never violated spending limits

By Matthew Reitz

After recently coming under fire from some town officials over mileage claims, Hannibal Dog Control Officer Theresa Penfield says she never violated any rules — something the town supervisor affirms.
At last month’s meeting, the Hannibal town council approved changes to the mileage claims policy, including a 20-mile round-trip restriction for calls within the Town of Hannibal and a 130-mile limit on necessary trips to Lollypop Farm in Fairport, where Penfield often brings unclaimed animals. Town councilor George Ritchie said changes needed to be made to the policy to ensure Penfield couldn’t submit excessive mileage claims, and used language that suggested she had been improperly taking money from the town.
Penfield responded to those remarks this week, saying she never took anything, nor did she violate any rules by calculating mileage from her home in Scriba instead of the Hannibal town line.
“He said I’ve taken $10,000 (over time),” Penfield said about Ritchie’s comments. “No, I haven’t.”
Penfield said her budget goes in front of the board every month, and mileage claims and other expenses are scrutinized and voted on. She said no one has ever had an issue with her mileage or budget until recently.
“For nine-and-a-half years I’ve never had an issue,” Penfield said. “No one ever had a problem. I did my job, and everyone was happy.”
In recent months, Ritchie brought the mileage matter to the attention of the town board after he and Gary Thompson, a candidate for town council, looked at past mileage claims and concluded Penfield was calculating mileage from her home in Scriba, rather than the town line, which they say is improper.
Town Supervisor Ron Greenleaf confirmed that the town never had a formal agreement in place regarding mileage, and Penfield has never gone over her department’s contractual spending limits. He hopes everyone can move on from the issue.
“Anything in the past is in the past,” Greenleaf said.
Ritchie previously said Penfield had travelled as far as Alexandria Bay to pick up a rescue dog and charged the town for the 139 miles. Penfield has since clarified that the trip was to drop off a dog whose adoption she had arranged, not to answer a call.
Greenleaf said Penfield is a “very caring person,” and has been an asset to the town over the years. He said if the town put all the animals down, its costs would double.
“I’ve tried to save them (the town) money over the years and still have the dogs cared for in a proper, humane manner,” Penfield said. “The only time I’ve taken dogs from another township is when it’s a 9-1-1 call.”

Out-of-use river turbine being refurbished

Staff Report

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced $175 million in awards to clean energy projects across the state this week, $1.3 million of which has been allotted to a 20-year contract for a refurbished hydroelectric turbine in Fulton.
Andy Davis, a community relations manager for Brookfield Renewable Power Inc., the company that owns the turbine, said the award will fund the refurbishing of an out-of-service unit on the Oswego River near Lock Three.
The contract will be between Brookfield and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), and was one of five projects to have been selected as a winner from a wide-ranging pool of applicants, according to the governor’s announcement.
Support for these awards comes from New York’s Renewable Portfolio Standard, which is an initiative that encourages the development of sources of renewable energy throughout the state.
The Fulton unit has been out of commission for “about two years” according to Davis, who said Brookfield applied for the award “a couple years ago.”
Brookfield’s project is the smallest out of the five recipients, according to a release, which states that, once operational, the turbine will be a 560-kilowatt minimum flow system.
“Bringing this unit back to service will provide renewable energy to several hundred homes in the Oswego area,” Davis said, noting that Brookfield would also be repairing a second turbine at the same location at its own expense.
While the award has been announced, Davis explained that there was still most likely a year before the hydroelectric unit would be operational.
“We’re hoping to start the project in June 2016 and finish it up in the fall,” he said, noting that the company had to put bids out for the project’s contract and custom-made materials would have to be ordered.
“It’s going to take some time,” he added.
According to the governor’s announcement, every dollar invested in these projects creates approximately $3 in economic benefits to New York state.
These awards, which will be opened again in 2016, are part of the state’s efforts to meet its “Reforming the Energy Vision Goals” – an initiative to increase the amount of electricity brought to New Yorkers from renewable sources.

Police: Brawl led to July hit-and-run, multiple arrests made

By Matthew Reitz

Fulton police recently charged four people following their investigation of a hit-and-run incident outside of Shotz bar in July.
Police say Michael A. Kessler, 24, of Fulton, Marquis D. Andrews, 23, of Fulton, Kevin L. Waugh Jr., 24, of Fulton, and Bryan M. Whelan, 46, of Pennellville, had all assaulted Michael K. Stafford III outside the bar around 2 a.m. on the morning of July 31.
Following the alleged assault, Stafford reportedly got into his 2011 Kia and recklessly drove the vehicle into a group of eight people standing on the sidewalk in front of the building.
Stafford reportedly struck and injured three people with the Kia — including two of the men who allegedly assaulted him, along with one bystander — before fleeing the scene of the incident.
A lengthy investigation began with police executing a search warrant at the bar and seizing video of the incident.
The video evidence led police to Stafford, who admitted to being involved in the incident, according to police.
Police said interviews with Stafford and other patrons of the bar led investigators to witnesses, and ultimately the arrests of Kessler, Andrews, Waugh and Whelan.
Stafford, 30, of Fulton, has been charged with class D felony counts of second-degree assault, third-degree criminal possession of a weapon and eight counts of first-degree reckless endangerment.
According to police, an arrest warrant has been issued for Stafford, who is currently incarcerated at the Willard Correctional Facility in Seneca County for a parole violation.
Kessler, Whelan and Waugh have been arrested and charged with one count of third-degree assault, a misdemeanor.
Police said the three men intentionally engaged in the physical altercation. They said Waugh initiated the fight by rushing Stafford and pushing him to the ground.
Police say Kessler, Andrews, Waugh and Whelan then punched and kicked Stafford causing facial swelling, bruising to the left eye, and a loss of consciousness.
Whelan was additionally charged with one count of second-degree strangulation, a class D felony, for allegedly choking Stafford during the fight and causing him to lose consciousness.
The motor vehicle incident following the alleged assault caused injuries to Kessler, Whelan, and Cindy Coe, 45, of Baldwinsville.
Kessler was treated for fractured vertebrae, and Whelan and Coe suffered minor bruising and abrasions.
A criminal summons has been issued for Andrews, who remains at large. Kessler, Whelan and Waugh were arraigned by Judge David Hawthorne and released on their own recognizance.

Update: Power restored to most Fulton area households

FullPolePolice: Drugged driver crashed into pole, caused outages


macdonald mug
Nathen A. MacDonald

A Granby man is facing charges after he allegedly crashed his truck into a utility pole Sunday morning, causing a transformer to explode and resulting in power outages throughout the city.
According to police, 29-year-old Nathen A. MacDonald, of Granby, was driving with his ability impaired by drugs when his vehicle crashed into a utility pole on W. Third Street, between Curtis and Cedar streets, around 11:15 a.m.
Eyewitnesses said they saw MacDonald’s pickup truck heading southbound on W. Third Street when it crossed the oncoming lane and struck the pole, which was on the other side of the road. The crash then caused a transformer about 200 feet down the road to blow, resulting in power outages throughout the area lasting well into the afternoon.
One National Grid official estimated “about a quarter” of the city had lost power as a result of that incident. That outage also left some of Fulton’s traffic lights out of order, including the intersection of Broadway and W. First Street, where police were directing traffic for hours after the crash.
Power had mostly been restored to the households affected by the blown transformer when, around 7 p.m., another transformer on W. Fifth Street overheated and blew, causing a utility pole to catch fire and another wave of power outages. National Grid said the second transformer blowing came as a result of work being done on the first transformer.
The Fulton Fire Department responded to the burning utility pole, which took about an hour to extinguish.
National Grid said about 2,500 Fulton area residents went without power through the evening Sunday and into Monday morning. As of 9:30 a.m. Monday, over 90 customers were still without power, according to National Grid’s outage map.
The incident also caused several households’ electric meters to fail. National Grid was working to the replace those Sunday.
MacDonald was charged with driving with ability impaired by drugs (misdemeanor), aggravated unlicensed operation 3rd degree (misdemeanor), criminal possession of a controlled substance 7th (misdemeanor) and failure to keep right.
He was released on pre-arraignment bail set by the police department. He is scheduled to be arraigned in Fulton City Court on Sept. 24.


An earlier version of this report contained misleading information about Macdonald’s arraignment. A press release provided by the Fulton Police Department Sunday stated that MacDonald had been “released on bail and is due back in Fulton City Court on Sept. 24.” Court officials have since clarified that MacDonald had not appeared in Fulton City Court Sunday, but was released on a pre-arraignment bail set by the police department. He was not arraigned Sunday, as was reported in the newspaper. His appearance on Sept. 24 will be the first time he appears before a judge for these charges. 

Fulton Veterans Council holding 9/11 remembrance ceremony

On Friday, Sept.18, the Fulton Veterans Council will hold its POW/MIA 9/11 Remembrance Ceremony at 6:30 p.m. in the Fulton Veterans' Park across the street from city hall. The council invites the public to come honor those who lost their lives in the Sept. 11, 2001 attack on the United States, as well as those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the protection of our country. Coffee and donuts will be served in the community room at city hall following the ceremony.
On Friday, Sept.18, the Fulton Veterans Council will hold its POW/MIA 9/11 Remembrance Ceremony at 6:30 p.m. in the Fulton Veterans’ Park across the street from city hall. The council invites the public to come honor those who lost their lives in the Sept. 11, 2001 attack on the United States, as well as those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the protection of our country. Coffee and donuts will be served in the community room at city hall following the ceremony.

Lynch to continue progress on curriculum, technology in final year

By Colin Hogan

Students returned to school last week to kick off the 2015-16 year, which will mark the final term for Superintendent Bill Lynch, who is retiring this coming summer.

“We had a great opening of school last week,” Lynch said. “Everyone was on task and working hard. It was really great to see all the kids come back in ready to start another year. I have a true appreciation of all the parents for all they do to make that first day back a positive experience for everyone.”

This year, Lynch — who has been serving in his position for more than a decade — will turn 62. He said he had planned on retiring at that age for a long time. However, having spent the vast majority of his career in Fulton, he said the transition into retirement is bound to be a bittersweet experience.

“I’ve had such a long connection with the Fulton community. Working in this district and with the families of this community, I feel very privileged to have worked in such a supportive and caring place,” Lynch said.

He began his career as one of the district’s school psychologists in 1980. A few years later, he would do a brief stint in the Batavia school district before returning to Fulton to work for Oswego County BOCES from 1985-1992.

“Even when I worked for BOCES, I was working with the western half of the county and my office was here in the (Fulton) Education Center, so I’ve been here in Fulton for almost all of my career,” Lynch said.

He then served as the principal at Granby Elementary from 1992-1997 before becoming the district’s executive director of instruction and assessment. Then in 2005, after eight years in that position, he was appointed by the Board of Education to take over as superintendent.

As the final year of his career pans out, Lynch said he plans to continue making progress on things like Common Core implementation, the incorporation of technology that supports the curriculum, and staff development — three initiatives he said have been among his priorities in recent years.

He said finances continue to be a challenge for low-wealth communities like Fulton, but the district is still making great strides in getting its students ready for whatever step they may take after graduation, whether it’s higher education, military service or the workforce.

“I certainly plan to do everything I can possibly do to make sure the district is in the greatest shape possible for whoever the board selects (to be the next superintendent),” Lynch said.

Earlier this month, the Board of Education hired a consultant to help guide the district though the process of finding Lynch’s successor. The board also put together a survey it hopes district residents will utilize to offer input for the search.

The survey is currently posted on the district’s website, where it will remain available until Sept. 23. For those without internet access, the board will provide hard copies of the survey at each school’s open house this fall. Board President David Cordone said at least one board member will be present at each open house to hear input and help residents fill out the survey.

“We’re encouraging people to use the online survey, but we do want to include everyone’s input and we know there are some people in the district who might not be able to access the website,” Cordone said. “We felt it was important that we have something for those who don’t have internet access, so those people can attend any open house and we will have a board member present with a paper copy.”

Cordone said the board hopes to announce Lynch’s successor in early 2016. Lynch said he plans to do everything he can to ensure a smooth transition to the new leader. Harkening back the lessons he learned as runner in high school, he said he plans to “end the race 10 yards past the finish line.”