Category Archives: Other News

Lynch to retire from FCSD next year

LynchHeadShot
Superintendent Bill Lynch speaks at a budget hearing earlier this year.
By Colin Hogan

Fulton City School District Superintendent Bill Lynch will be retiring from his position at the end of the 2015-16 school year, district officials confirmed Wednesday.
Lynch, who has served as superintendent for more than a decade, recently announced his plan to retire to the district’s staff via email. Board of Education President David Cordone said Wednesday that Lynch will continue in his role through the end of his current contract, which ends June 30, 2016.
Cordone, who has served on the board for most of Lynch’s tenure with the district, praised Lynch for the level of stability his leadership has provided over the last 11 years, noting that many districts struggle to keep superintendents in place for that long.
“We’re very fortunate to have had the same superintendent in place for that length of time. He really brought a level of stability to the district,” Cordone said. “We’ve appreciated his leadership.”
The board has begun putting wheels in motion to find Lynch’s successor, Cordone said. In an executive session Tuesday, board members reviewed qualifications of consulting firms recommended by the New York State School Boards Association that specialize in such matters. Cordone said the board has narrowed its list to three candidates, and will officially make its selection in a special meeting on Sept. 3.
Once a consultant is lined up, the board will begin tailoring a search and hiring plan that fits the district’s specific needs. Cordone called the act of hiring a superintendent “one of the most important decisions a school board makes,” and said the board plans remain transparent and seek community input through the process.
“Right now, we’re looking to fine tune and tailor a plan that looks at what the district and community need in the next superintendent,” Cordone said.
Cordone said once the plan has been worked out with the consultant, residents can expect to see an online survey posted on the district’s website that seeks input for the superintendent search. The board also intends to schedule either site-based or general public gatherings to hear feedback from the community, the details of which will be announced as the process unfolds, he said.
Cordone noted that, unlike neighboring Hannibal Central School District — which saw its superintendent retire this summer and had to find an  interim replacement within about month’s time — Fulton has the benefit of a full school year to work through the process.
“We’re fortunate that we will have the whole school year to work this out,” he said.
Lynch, who was away on vacation this week, was not reachable for comment as of press time Thursday.

Granby officials debate plow options

By Matthew Reitz

Officials in Granby are in disagreement on how to deal with the town’s aging fleet of snowplows.
Councilor Lori Blackburn expressed concern over the town’s lack of a viable backup vehicle in a work session Wednesday, and the board struggled to come up with a plan to address the issue.
At a previous meeting, officials discussed a snow truck analysis report prepared by DeLong Enterprises, which lead Town Supervisor Ed Williamson to suggest the town put two of its aging snowplows and a wood chipper on the website Auctions International. In the same meeting, the board began weighing options for a backup snowplow, including the possibility of renting a vehicle from the county.
Blackburn said she spoke with Oswego County Highway Superintendent Kurt Ospelt, and he told her that he couldn’t guarantee a truck would always be readily available to the town. She conveyed that the town should be looking to the county strictly in the case of an emergency, and should have its own backup truck.
“You can’t rent a snowplow from the county for the year or for the month,” Blackburn said. “The only option we have if one of our trucks break down is, if they have a vehicle available—because they serve 22 towns—then we could go up and get it.”
Blackburn said this wasn’t a viable option, because it could cause interruptions in snow removal that create hazardous road conditions and school delays.
“We’ll have a real mess on our hands if we don’t have a backup on site,” Blackburn said. “We can’t run a fleet without a backup.”
Councilor Matt Callen said he had “heard horror stories” about the town’s oldest truck and said they would need a new truck, or some other alternative, to get through the winter. Blackburn said the town could put a down payment on a new truck by moving forward with the sale of the two aging snow plows and delaying what she called “unnecessary” purchases of furniture for the town offices.
Williamson said the town should look into how much it would cost to make one of the two trucks it currently plans to sell operable. Blackburn said “it’s not fiscally responsible to invest in a vehicle that old and in that much disrepair.” Highway Superintendent Robert Phillips and Deputy Highway Superintendent Mike Longo appeared to agree with Blackburn’s assessment.
Councilor Brenda Frazier-Hartle said she wasn’t against purchasing a new truck, but stressed that she was against purchasing one this year. Williamson said there was no money in the budget for a new vehicle, and suggested “intelligently working it into the budget (next year).”
Longo said he received a quote for a new truck, which would cost the town $216,000 and could be bought with payments delayed until next year. Blackburn said the town could purchase a new truck now and work the cost into next year’s budget. She said that would give the town a safe, reliable fleet to get through the coming winter, and the necessary time to plan for the expense.
“This is absolutely reasonable and attainable,” Blackburn said. “We have to be forward thinking about this.”
The board unanimously approved the sale of the two aging trucks, but took no action on replacing them. Williamson asked Longo to bring a representative from the snowplow company to speak with the board next month to further explore the possibility of purchasing a vehicle and the financing options available.
Following the debate over the snowplows, the board discussed a project that will replace the floors, paint the walls and bring new furniture to two town offices at a cost of nearly $8,000.
Blackburn questioned whether the furniture for both offices was urgent.
“I don’t think we think the process through very well,” Blackburn said. “When you say we don’t have money, we have money—it’s what we choose to spend it on.”
Williamson said the money was coming out of the town’s buildings fund, and the costs are “way under budget.” A divided board hesitantly approved the project with Frazier-Hartle and Callen approving the measure, and Blackburn opposing it.

Construction underway on Hannibal water extension

By Matthew Reitz

Crews have broken ground on the extension of a Water Service Area 3 in Hannibal, which will bring the service to about 70 more homes.
The project is being called Water Service Extension 4, and will cover the balance of Stock Road that is not currently serviced, Fowler Road and Sixty Six Road from Durbin Road to the other side of Dunham Road, according to Town Supervisor Ron Greenleaf.
Greenleaf announced at a recent meeting that the construction project was underway, with crews beginning to lay pipe and do what he called “pushes under the creeks,” where flexible pipe is needed as opposed to solid pipe.
“Our water project is going well,” Greenleaf said. “They were probably two weeks later than they said getting in here, but they’ll make that up in no time.”
The project is expected to be finished sometime this fall. Greenleaf estimated a mid-October completion.
“They have 100 days from last month,” Greenleaf said. “I really think they’re going to fly through on the main lines.”
He said the extension includes 22,000 feet of pipe, and will service approximately 79 additional parcels and 70 homes. Residents in the service area will have the option to hook in to the water service at their own cost. Voters approved the project in a referendum in 2013.
The entire project will cost approximately $1.457 million, according to Greenleaf. A $682,000 grant will come from the USDA Department of Rural Development, and the town will receive a low-interest loan for the remaining $775,000. Highlander Construction of Memphis, N.Y. is managing the installation.
Public hearing for
zoning laws set
The town board established a public hearing to discuss upcoming changes to the town’s zoning law before the September meeting, which will be held at 7:15 p.m. on Sept. 16. The board previously had a public hearing regarding its zoning laws in combination with a new set of regulations on dog boarding and breeding facilities, but Greenleaf said the it had to deal with the two issues separately.
“We have to separate them, and there’s some verbiage that needed to change,” Greenleaf said. The biggest change will take the responsibility of enforcement away from the planning board and place it with the code enforcement office.
Contention over
mileage payments
The board went into an executive session to discuss mileage claims made by the town’s dog control officer that one councilman deemed excessive.
Councilman George Ritchie brought the matter to the attention of the town board, and asked Greenleaf if mileage was paid from the town line or from the dog control officer’s home. Gary Thompson, a candidate for town council, has scrutinized past mileage claims and believes the dog control officer is improperly calculating mileage from her home in Scriba, rather than the town line.
Greenleaf said the board would discuss the issue in an upcoming workshop, and would likely set new, more specific regulations on how mileage is recorded and compensated.

Mary Pluff

PluffMary Pluff, 86, of Fulton died peacefully Aug. 22, 2015 at Pontiac Care and Rehabilitation Center, Oswego. Mrs. Pluff was born in Fulton, N.Y., to the late Leo and Menta (Ellis) Besaw. She remained a lifetime resident of Fulton. Mrs. Pluff was past employed with the Fulton Woolen Mill and she was a 14-year employee with General Electric, Syracuse.  Mrs. Pluff was a member of the Grace Bible Church, the Fulton Moose Lodge and the Volney Senior Citizens.
She was predeceased by her husband Glenn Pluff in 2000; two infant children, Baby Pluff and Glenn Pluff Jr.; and two brothers William Besaw and Leonard Besaw. Mrs. Pluff is survived by her sisters Dorothy Green of Palermo and Carol (Mark) Wilcox of Phoenix; special nephew Gary Pluff; and several nieces, nephews, cousins, great-nieces and great-nephews.
Funeral services were held Friday at the Sugar Funeral Home, Inc., with Rev. Rick Sivers officiating. Burial will be held in Mt. Pleasant Cemetery, Volney, N.Y. Calling hours were Thursday at the Sugar Funeral Home, Inc., 224 W. 2nd St. S. Fulton.

Hunter Arms Homecoming weekend is almost here

Organizers are getting ready for this year's Hunter Arms Homecoming, which will be held this weekend at the John Wells Pratt House and Pathfinder Fish & Game Club.
Organizers are getting ready for this year’s Hunter Arms Homecoming, which will be held this weekend at the John Wells Pratt House and Pathfinder Fish & Game Club.
Courtesy of the John Wells Pratt House Museum

Last year we challenged you with a trivia game about the Hunter Arms Factory and the L.C. Smith shotguns. This year, we have added a few more questions…

Why are we doing this? To get you ready for the Hunter Arms Homecoming weekend on August 21 and 22, held at the John Wells Pratt House Museum on West First Street in Fulton, N.Y.

Q: What is an anti side lock?

A: If you said how your Aunt locked her side door, you would be wrong. It is the unique locking device on the L.C. Smith guns that kept them shooting accurately.

Q. What is a lunch box special?

A: If you said your Roy Rogers lunch box, you would be wrong. It was a unique gun made by the workers at the Hunter Arms plant, assembled from mismatched parts. They were common in the Fulton area.

Q. How do you know if you have a lunch box special or an authentic one?

A: All authentic guns have internal matching serial numbers.

Q. How do you know if your gun comes from the Hunter Arms factory?

A. The guns have “Fulton” stamped on the barrel.

Q: What do kids and guns have in common?

A: They both get grades.

Q: What is 8,10, 12, 16, 20 and .410?

A. Yes they are all even numbers, but they are also gauges for shotguns.

Q: What is “side by side” and “over and under”?

A. If you answered kids’ games, you would be wrong. They are styles of gun barrels. Both were used by guns made at the Hunter Arms factory.

Q: What do Dodge, General Motors and Chrysler have in common?

A. Yes they are all cars, but all had top employees who owned L.C. Smith Guns.

Q: Who are Rich Beyer and Andy Anderson

A. If you answered two marksmen and collectors who did much to support the L.C. Smith Association, and who will be missed by the association, you are absolutely correct.

Interested in learning more about L.C. Smith shotguns and the Hunter Arms Homecoming weekend? Contact Les Weldin at weldinj@gmail; Sue Lane at alane3@twcny.rr.com; Karen O’Brien at kornonthe@aol.com or call the John Wells Pratt House at 315-598-4616.

Two injured, antique car smashed in collision

A crash involving three vehicles left two people injured and severely damaged an antique car in Fulton Saturday morning. The collision happened around 10:37 a.m. along state Route 481 near Burt Street, in front of McDonald's. According to Fulton police, three vehicles were involved in the crash, including one 1923 Ford (model unknown) which sustained serious damages. The crash left two people with injuries, police said, one of whom was in the antique car. Details on those injuries were not available by press time Monday, however, police said they were not believed to be life threatening. Police said tickets will likely be issued.  Roxanne Seeber photo
A crash involving three vehicles left two people injured and severely damaged an antique car in Fulton Saturday morning. The collision happened around 10:37 a.m. along state Route 481 near Burt Street, in front of McDonald’s. According to Fulton police, three vehicles were involved in the crash, including one 1923 Ford (model unknown) which sustained serious damages. The crash left two people with injuries, police said, one of whom was in the antique car. Details on those injuries were not available by press time Monday, however, police said they were not believed to be life threatening. Police said tickets will likely be issued.
Roxanne Seeber photo

Second year of dredging underway on Lake Neatahwanta

 Dredging is underway in the lake behind the Knapp farm in Granby. Matt Reitz photo

Dredging is underway in the lake behind the Knapp farm in Granby.
Matt Reitz photo
By Matthew Reitz

The city of Fulton and the town of Granby are both moving ahead with the dredging of Lake Neatahwanta this month.
Fulton Mayor Ron Woodward Sr. said efforts in the city could begin as early as Friday, and Chairman of the Lake Neatahwanta Reclamation Committee Ed Williamson said the dredging operation in Granby is already underway.
Woodward said Groh Dredging and Marine Construction, the same contractor used last year, will be arriving with the dredge as early as Friday to begin setting up. Woodward said it will take a few days to get situated, but sediment removal could resume as early as next week.
He said the ongoing efforts were “a good thing,” and the lake is now closer to becoming a more useful part of the community.
“What we did last year made a big difference in the water quality in that area,” Woodward said. “If we continue, it will only improve it further.”
Local officials believe the 750-acre lake can once again be a valuable recreational resource for the city and town.
The water was deemed unsafe by the Oswego County Health Department nearly three decades ago, but officials believe removing the sediment will open the flow of freshwater springs that feed the lake and restore the water quality.
The dredging efforts in Fulton and Granby each secured state funding last year, and community fundraising efforts have also been successful. Williamson said he was “so proud” of the people that continue to support the effort.
He said collections at Mimi’s Drive-in and NBT Bank, along with several large donations of both money and services continue to help move the project forward.
The Lake Neatahwanta Revitalization Corporation — which administers Fulton’s portion of the project — began work last September after awarding the project to Illinois-based Groh.
In just two months, the dredging effort in the city was able to remove more than 20,000 cubic yards of sediment.
Rather than hire a contractor, the Granby operation — The Lake Neatahwanta Reclamation Committee — opted to purchase the equipment and conduct the work with volunteers.
Williamson said the on shore infrastructure is now functional, but not totally completed. He said there was a “storage trailer set up down there,” and one of the collection pits is finished with a second in the works.
Earlier this month, Kansas City-based Geo Form International, the manufacturer of the equipment, trained several volunteers in Granby. Williamson said those individuals will train the remaining volunteers, and so far two volunteers have been training each week.
He said there are around 25 people that have expressed interest in helping, and volunteers will also have the option to take a water safety course conducted by the U.S. Coast Guard. Williamson said he expects to have enough volunteers trained to begin steady work in a couple of weeks.
“By the end of the month we should have a daily schedule set up,” he said.

Granby town board weighs options for snow plows

By Matthew Reitz

The Granby Town Board discussed plans for the upcoming snow plowing season and auctioning of old highway department trucks, equipment and supplies at Wednesday’s meeting.
Town Supervisor Ed Williamson said the board received a “snow truck analysis report” from DeLong Enterprises, and the results lead Williamson to suggest the town put two snow trucks on the website Auctions International.
The trucks are model years 1992 and 1997, and are “rusted out completely” from sitting outside and in the grass over the years, Williamson said. He said the analysis red flagged a 2005 snow truck as well “because it had a broken tie rod,” but when the town fixes that issue it will have four working snow trucks.
Williamson said the Oswego County Highway Department provided him with pricing on rental equipment, and the town could use a 10-wheel plow truck for $1,945 per month. The board debated the advantages of purchasing a truck versus renting the equipment from the county. Williamson said the cost of renting a truck from the county for 10 years was comparable to the estimated $220,000 cost of a new truck.
Councilor Lori Blackburn pointed out that if they purchase a vehicle it would last longer than 10 years. She said the town currently has a 2001 truck on the road right now.
Blackburn also asked if the town was responsible for maintenance, and what would happen if a rental truck broke down. Williamson said the town was responsible for maintaining the vehicle, but if it broke down the county would bring in a replacement.
“It seems too good to be true,” Blackburn said.
Deputy Supervisor John Snow said the town could rent the trucks by the month, and doesn’t need to always have a backup on hand.
“We don’t need five trucks for 12 months of the year,” Snow said. “We plow for four months, and if something breaks down we call the county and we borrow a truck.”
Blackburn said the town needed to make plans because men that plow the roads “have to go on call November 1.”
Snow said the town would not be able to get a new truck before November, so they should plan on renting equipment from the county if they need a backup this winter.
Snow said the town would have to come up with $47,000 a year for the next five years if they wanted a new truck.
“You’re going to have to find $47,000 and raising taxes is not the answer,” Snow said.
The board did not produce a formal plan for a backup truck, and tabled the issue.
The board also delayed a decision on signing the county highway department’s snow and ice agreement. Frazier-Hartle said she wanted to table the issue because she noticed there were many differences from last year.
“I’d like to table this motion until we can discuss this at a work session,” Frazier-Hartle said. “There are changes and I’ve got questions—and I know there are other people that have questions.”
The town discussed putting two plow trucks, a wood chipper, v-plows and a pallet of crack sealer on Auctions International, but Highway Superintendent Robert Phillips said he would like to get an idea of what the wood chipper is worth before it goes to auction, because it’s in good shape and doesn’t have “a whole lot of hours.”
“If we put it on there I think we ought to have a reserve on there just to make sure we get a decent price,” Phillips said.
He said the report from DeLong said the cabs, the engines, the running gears and everything are good in the trucks, but he said the town should try to get rid of them as soon as possible while they’re still worth something. Phillips recommended the board hold off on making a resolution until he gets a better idea of the value of the items.
In other news, the United Stated Department of Agriculture approved funding for upcoming water service area 6A. Williamson said some funding details still need to be finalized, but the engineers are working on the drawings and the project is moving forward.