That’s the question first-graders at Fairgrieve Elementary School in Fulton talked about during Ag Literacy Week.
Erica Schreiner, a volunteer coordinated through Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oswego County, stopped at the school during the state-wide literacy campaign to read to students the book “Who Grew My Soup” by Tom Darbyshire.
The students munched and crunched on healthy carrot snacks as she talked to the classes about eating healthy. They all then played a ‘Let’s Make Soup” game in which she got the students thinking about where their food comes from and what items are grown and harvested in Oswego County.
Ag Literacy Week is a New York state Agriculture in the Classroom initiative celebrated the week of March 17 through 21. Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oswego County coordinates the educational outreach program for the Fulton City School District, organizing a literacy volunteer to stop by classrooms to discuss the importance of agriculture.
As part of the Ag Literacy Week program, the Fairgrieve Elementary School Library receives a free copy of the program’s featured book to keep in circulation for the students to sign out at their leisure.
Oswego native Elizabeth Marie Fortune will be signing copies of her first children’s book, “Shhh, Quiet, Listen: What Do You Hear When You Listen for God?” at the Connection Point in Oswego on April 5.
The picture book follows a little girl named Faith and her journey to listen to God in everyday life, whether she is at school with her friends or spending time with her grandparents.
Fortune, a customer service representative with the Scotsman Media Group’s commercial printing department, now lives in Camillus with her husband, William, and their 7-year-old daughter, Erin. She published the book through Inspiring Voices, an Indiana-based publishing company that specializes in spiritual literature.
Fortune began writing the book in 2009 while at home with Erin and found that many of the books she read to her daughter lacked a spiritual message.
“I started reading books and I saw there was a need for this type of book,” Fortune said. “As Erin was getting older, that’s when the concept came about because I saw how kids are really busy.”
Fortune said part of the book’s message is to take time from one’s busy day to be thankful.
“I’m also hoping that the book will open up a dialogue with parents and their children to start talking about God and how important it is to think about God each day,” she said. “Hopefully, the book will help children connect with God.”
Fortune said the process of creating the book was “really exciting.”
“When you see it, you just see your manuscript on two pages of paper. It’s so exciting to finally see it come together,” she said. Fortune worked closely with an illustrator from Inspiring Voices to create the finished product.
“Every page on the book is directed by me — every scene, color schemes … That was exciting, to see your vision come to life.”
The hardest part of the process for Fortune was time management, balancing life as a working mother with writing the book. She said her husband and daughter both have been involved in the process.
“He’s been so supportive regarding time management. He’s actually helping me with marketing my book (and) handling the business end of things. So therefore it’s a family endeavor,” Fortune said.
Fortune is looking to expand distribution of “Shhh, Quiet, Listen,” and the book is available on amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com. “I’m working on plans now, reaching out to different outlets for the book, not just locally, but regionally and nationally,” Fortune said.
She added she plans to write a series of religious children’s books to follow “Shhh, Quiet, Listen.”
Fortune will be signing copies of “Shhh, Quiet, Listen” from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, April 5, at the Connection Point, 198 W. First St., Oswego. The Connection Point will have copies of the book for sale during and after Saturday’s book signing. To learn more about the Connection Point, call 216-6455 or visit theconnectionpt.com and facebook.com/theconnectionpoint.
Partners of the SLELO-PRISM (St. Lawrence Eastern Lake Ontario – Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management) will again be busy controlling giant hogweed plants in the eastern Lake Ontario region.
More than 61 sites spread across five counties — including Oswego County — are scheduled to be treated. Counties included in this effort are St. Lawrence, Jefferson, Lewis, Oneida and cswego Counties.
“Giant Hogweed poses a serious threat to anyone who comes into contact with the sap from the plant,” said Rob Williams, PRISM coordinator. “The sap, combined with sunlight, creates a photosensitive reaction on human skin which can cause serious burns and blisters and eventual scarring.”
“Due to the biology of this plant, we believe it is still possible to eradicate local populations of Giant Hogweed,” Williams said. “Since the beginning of the program in 2011 we have achieved a 33 percent reduction in active hogweed sites.”
Techniques used to control this plant include cutting the root of the plant just below the ground surface, applying herbicides and removing the flowering seed head just before seed drop.
The group’s work takes place primarily on public property and rights-of-way. The most effective and “safe” way for landowners to control this plant on private property is to apply over-the-counter herbicides in accordance with their labels.
Invasive species of plants, animals, insects and microorganisms are among the most serious threats to native species, habitats and ecosystems within the five-county areas that define the St. Lawrence Eastern Lake Ontario (SLELO) region.
Invasive species interfere with many types of outdoor recreation. They reduce crop yields and interfere with harvest operations on local farms.
Along public roads and highways, invasive plants restrict visibility and create roadside hazards. Invasive insects and diseases kill trees in forested areas as well as along community streets.
The economic impact of invasive species in the United States alone has been estimated at 120 billion annually.
Local communities have been challenged with controlling invasive species or remediating their impacts at costs ranging from several thousand to millions of dollars.
For more information on Giant Hogweed, visit the SLELO website at sleloinvasives.org.
To report a sighting call the Giant Hogweed Hotline at 845-256-3111.
Last week, members of the Tri-Oswego Triathlon Steering Committee presented $5,000 to the Oswego YMCA for the creation of a new youth training program.
The donation will fully fund a program geared towards preparing youth between 11-15 years old for entry in to the Tri-Oswego Splash & Dash held in Oswego June 14.
The USA Triathlon-sanctioned Splash & Dash is a youth aquathlon consisting of a timed 200-yard indoor swim followed by a 1.6 mile run where youth athletes will run side-by-side with adult triathletes to the event’s finish line in Breitbeck Park.
The Oswego event is part of the USAT Splash & Dash Series, making it one of only 50 events of its kind being held in the United States this year.
“We are excited to see new programs and clubs created since the inception of the Tri-Oswego Triathlon and we want to see this carry through the years by building the next generation of Multisport athletes,” said Christopher Jones, Tri-Oswego assistant race director.
“Seeing our local YMCA create a Tri Club and it’s accompanying training program last year encouraged us to reach out to them to take the lead in this new program,” he said.
Youth must pre-register for the new training program at the Oswego YMCA. Training will be held at 5:15 p.m. Wednesdays and alternate between swim and run sessions.
The cost of the 10-week training is $20 per person. This is not a learn to swim program, and youth must be able to swim the length of the pool freestyle.
For more information about this program, contact the Oswego YMCA at 343-1981.
“We all need to focus on the health, wellness, and quality of life of our children. Our mission with the Oswego County Sunset Group is to fund programs exactly like this one,” said Tri-Oswego Race Director Sshane Broadwell.
“Whenever we can create new and exciting programs for the youth of our community we should rally behind it,” he said.
Registration for the Tri-Oswego Splash & Dash race is open to children ages 11-15 years old.
The $25 registration includes a required One-Day USAT membership, race shirt, finisher’s medal, and race swag.
Harry L. Bartlett Jr., 31, of Mexico, died in a one-car crash Wednesday March 19 in the town of Richland.
Oswego County Sheriff’s deputies said Bartlett was driving west on State Route 13 about 11:25 Wednesday night and the car left the road, struck a fence and became airborne. It then overturned and hit a tree and then came to rest in a field.
Deputies said Bartlett was ejected from the car. They also said slippery roads and imprudent speed were factors in the crash.
Ringgold Fire Department out of Pulaski assisted the Sheriff’s Office at the scene.
The students and staff at Michael A. Maroun Elementary School in the Phoenix Central School District are coordinating a project to help the homeless population in their community.
The school has teamed with Hikers for the Homeless, a Phoenix-based non-profit organization, to help create more than 100 Easter baskets for people in the district’s community who do not have a permanent residence.
Students in third grade have been working with art teachers Kathy Lambert and Ashley Myers to create homemade baskets for the project.
The students put into practice some of the art and drawing techniques that they have been learning about in class to create baskets with unique patterns, designs, and festive bunny faces.
The paper baskets will be filled with personal care items that the school is in the process of collecting.
Items being collected by Maroun students and staff include: washcloths, travel-sized toiletries such as shampoo, conditioner, soap, lotion, powder, and deodorant, lip balm, toothpaste, toothbrushes, small first aid kits or first aid supplies, sewing kits, clean cotton or wool socks, plastic baggies (any brand and any size), low-value gift cards and coupons to fast-food restaurants, pens, small notebooks, playing cards, small games and individually wrapped Easter candies.
Those wishing to support the Maroun children in their community service project to help the homeless population in the community can drop off donations of any of the above items to the main office of the elementary school on or before April 11.
Members of the Oswego Bookmobile’s Student Advisory Council recently reported on their winter project.
The project involved helping the bookmobile purchase popular books to give to youngsters free of charge during the bookmobile’s summer program.
Students who are Advisory Council members are generally avid readers who talk with their classmates about favorite book titles, and are therefore well qualified to suggest favorite and popular books for purchase.
Members of the Council also help to prepare the high-interest books for the bookmobile.
“It’s like opening Christmas presents for the students when the new books arrive,” said Amy Armet, who advises the Student Advisory Council.
The Student Advisory Council met recently at Frederick Leighton Elementary School in Oswego to see and showcase newly arrived books for Oswego Bookmobile Committee members.
Also on hand were representatives of river’s end bookstore, who assisted with the book purchase, as well as AmeriCorps and the Oswego City-County Youth Bureau.
The books were purchased with a $1,000 Mini-Grant from the Youth Bureau.
The project was also made possible by the state Office of Children and Family Services.
The Oswego Bookmobile and its Student Advisory Council express their appreciation for the funding and to those who assisted with this project.
Hundreds of area children will benefit during the next year due to this grant.
When it comes to fighting hunger in Oswego County, perhaps no one plays a more important role than Oswego County Opportunities.
Virtually all of OCO’s human services programs have elements that address hunger. From homebound seniors to homeless teens and single mothers, to low-income families and hungry youth, OCO does its best to provide nutritious meals to those in need.
With the need for food subsidy at almost record levels in Oswego County, and state and federal funding continuing to dwindle, OCO’s fundraising efforts are on a roll.
To help continue to feed those in need OCO will host its “Retro Bowl” fundraiser Saturday, April 5, at Lakeview Lanes in Fulton.
Proceeds from the Retro Bowl will be spread across all of the agency’s programs to assist in providing consumers of these programs with emergency food when needed and help the agency build a reserve for the future.
Executive Director of OCO Diane Cooper-Currier said supporting programs and services that combat hunger aligns nicely with OCO’s mission.
“As an anti-poverty agency, our focus is fighting poverty in any form. The inability to afford or prepare nutritious meals is certainly one of the most troubling forms of poverty we see,” she said.
“Our Retro Bowl fundraiser will help ensure that our consumers, regardless of which program they are accessing, will have the emergency food supplies they need for themselves and their families,” said Cooper-Currier.
While food subsidy is an aspect of all of OCO’s programs, the agency’s premier anti-hunger program is its Nutrition Service program.
Originally established to help provide meals for seniors, OCO Nutrition Services has evolved into a well-rounded program that operates eight dining and activity centers; provides a home-delivered meal service for seniors, as well as a private pay program for those under 60; offers a supplemental summer food program for youth throughout Oswego County; and an after-school program in Fulton that provides food for youth up to 18 years of age.
Last year alone, OCO Nutrition Services served 239,769 meals to Oswego County residents 60 and older; provided 16,360 meals to youth up to 18 years of age; and fed 50 children in its after school and summer food programs.
Additionally, OCO Nutrition Services delivered 650 “Blizzard Bags” filled with non-perishable foods to homebound residents so that they may have a day or two of food on hand in the event of bad weather.
The centerpiece of OCO Nutrition Services is the eight Dining and Activity Centers that the program hosts.
The centers provide a warm meal and a welcoming environment for those 60 and older wishing to enjoy some fun, quality time with others in their community.
The Dining and Activities Centers are open 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and are located at:
Constantia – St. Bernadette’s Church, 1667 State Route 49, open Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, 623-9803
Fulton – Fulton Municipal Building, 141 S. First St., open Monday through Friday, 592-3408
Hannibal – Community Library, 162 Oswego St., open Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 564-5471
Mexico – Presbyterian Church, 4316 Church St., open Wednesday and Friday, 963-7757
Parish – Presbyterian Church, 814 Rider St., open Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, 625-4617
Phoenix – Congregational Church, 3 Bridge St., open Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 695-4841
Sandy Creek – Methodist Church, 2031 Harwood Drive, open Monday through Friday, 298-5020
“It’s amazing to think of the impact that our program has on hunger in our county,” said Amy Roland, director of OCO Nutrition Services.
“Our kitchen staff, our drivers, the staffs of our dining and activity centers, and our army of volunteers that we are fortunate enough to have, are busy all day long preparing, packaging and delivering meals each and every day, Monday through Friday,” she said..
Roland added she is looking at ways to expand the OCO Nutrition Services by providing even more meals and making the summer food program for local youth available at more locations.
The summer food program, currently at 12 locations in the county, provides up to two meals per day, Monday through Friday throughout the summer break.
The OCO Retro Bowl takes place from noon to 6 p.m. April 5 at Lakeview Lanes in Fulton.
Registration is now open for five-person teams, with choice of flights: noon to 2:30 p.m. or 3 to 5:30 p.m. (first come, first served).
For registration or sponsor information, or to donate a door prize, contact OCO at 598-4717 or visit the agency’s website at oco.org.