Category Archives: Other News

Legislator urging DOT to push up Route 3 project

By Matthew Reitz
A stretch of state Route 3 is set to undergo a facelift in the spring  of 2017, but one local county legislator is doing all he can to urge the state Department of Transportation to begin the project as soon as this year.
“I’d like to get it moved forward,” said Oswego County Legislator Frank Castiglia of Fulton.
The $1.7 million project is slated to begin in spring 2017 and to be completed in the summer of 2018.
In its proposed form, the project spans state Route 3 from W. 5th Street to eastern city border.
The undertaking will remove and replace the top layer of asphalt, and daily lane closures will be used to maintain traffic, according to the DOT.
“The road is falling apart,” said Castiglia, adding that there are “concerns about vehicle safety.”
Castiglia said he has written to Carl Ford, the DOT’s regional director for this area, asking that at least a portion of the project be repaired this summer.
“The biggest problem is from S. 7th Street to the city line,” Castiglia said.
He hopes that the department could do this portion in 2015, and then the rest could be done next year, he said.
Castiglia said he would hesitantly settle for 2016, but he “really would like it this year.”
Castiglia said he has the support of state Sen. Patty Ritchie, Assemblymen Will Barclay, and Fulton city officials. Castiglia said he has also reached out to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office for help.
Attempts to reach Ritchie and Barclay for comment were unsuccessful by press time Monday.
Castiglia called the stretch of road “horrendous.”
“I’m not going to let it go,” he said.

Neighbors helping neighbors in Fulton Mills’ “I’m Okay” program

Volunteers in Fulton Mills Apartment’s “I’m Okay” resident safety program were honored for their service last week. Pictured in the front, from left, are Resident Services Coordinator Linda Hughes with monitors Phyllis Walts, Cinda Shupe, Mary Hoyt, Cora Finn, Mary Meyer and Oneita Morrel. In the back, from left, are American Red Cross representative Steve Reed, Second Ward Councilor Daniel Knopp, Mayor Ron Woodward Sr., monitors Jack Smith, Red Cross representative Susan Pope, Catholic Charities representative Tim Archer, and monitors Elsie Tucci, Carol Bickford and Ruth Harmer.
Volunteers in Fulton Mills Apartment’s “I’m Okay” resident safety program were honored for their service last week. Pictured in the front, from left, are Resident Services Coordinator Linda Hughes with monitors Phyllis Walts, Cinda Shupe, Mary Hoyt, Cora Finn, Mary Meyer and Oneita Morrel. In the back, from left, are American Red Cross representative Steve Reed, Second Ward Councilor Daniel Knopp, Mayor Ron Woodward Sr., monitors Jack Smith, Red Cross representative Susan Pope, Catholic Charities representative Tim Archer, and monitors Elsie Tucci, Carol Bickford and Ruth Harmer.

By Colin Hogan
Now in it’s fourth year, the “I’m Okay” program at Fulton Mills Apartments is helping independently-living elderly and disabled residents look out for one another’s well being.
Through the “I’m Okay” program, participating residents are given a sign to place on their door every morning to let their neighbors know they’re up and around for the day. Each morning, a team of about three or four volunteers from each floor goes around to look for signs.
“We have a group of residents who, every morning at 10 o’clock, go around and check the doors, seven days a week,” said Hughes.
If someone hasn’t put out the sign, the volunteer who is checking will knock.
“Usually they answer,” Hughes said, “but if not, they come down and tell us in the office and then we call up to the apartment.”
If the resident still isn’t answering, Hughes or another member of the office staff then calls the resident’s emergency contact. Often enough, the resident had an appointment or an event planned, Hughes said, and left the facility early without remembering to put out the sign.
“Worst case scenario, if we still don’t know, we’ll go into the apartment and check ourselves,” Hughes said.
Staff then call 911 if there is an emergency.
Years back, the facility housed a resident who had a medical emergency, but wasn’t able to call for help. He went days unnoticed suffering in his apartment. Resident Services Coordinator Linda Hughes says that’s when her predecessor decided something needed to be done, and conceived the “I’m Okay” program.
“She realized that we needed something so this wouldn’t happen again, so she partnered with the Red Cross and Catholic Charities and the “I’m Okay” program was developed,” Hughes said.
Catholic Charities provided the facility with door hangers for the signs, and Red Cross representatives came in to train monitors on how to check on their neighbors, and they return every few months to do continued training.
Hughes said there have been “several times” since the program’s inception in which it has helped someone who was suffering but was unable to call for help.
“We’ve found people who have been going through a lot of pain, who might not otherwise have gotten the care they needed as quickly as they needed it,” she said.
Hughes said the approach is designed to ensure that everyone living in the facility is safe and kept track of, and to reduce a sense of panic or emergency during moments of uncertainty, all while allowing residents to maintain their own independence.
On Wednesday, the team of volunteer residents who routinely make their rounds to check for door signs were honored in a special ceremony by their neighbors, Fulton Mills staff, representatives from the Red Cross and Catholic Charities, and city officials.
“We just really want them to see that what they do is appreciated, and want people to see how important it is that they’re doing this,” Hughes said.

Paul Charles Litchison

Litchison OBPaul Charles Litchison, 88, of Phoenix, N.Y., died Saturday, February 28, 2015 in St. Joseph’s Hospital after a long illness. He was born on May 19, 1926, the son of Paul Charles and Josephine E. Litchison (nee Whitecotton {Wirt}.)
He spent his early childhood in Syracuse and high schools in Liverpool. Paul joined the Boy Scouts in 1939, achieving the rank of Eagle Scout in 1943.
He was a US Army veteran and served in Italy at the very end of World War II. A huge fan of the big bands of the 1940s, he greatly enjoyed events at Drumlins and at the Persian Terrace of Hotel Syracuse.
Paul married Alma Jean Hill on October 21, 1950 at the First United Methodist Church on West Genesee Street, Syracuse. They moved to Phoenix in 1954 where they raised four children, Louis, Charles, Becky and Bonnie. Paul worked for Allied Chemical at Solvay Process as a lab technician from 1949 to 1981. He was assistant and Scoutmaster for 40 years with Boy Scout Troop 20. He was a member of the Phoenix United Methodist Church; the Kananake Canoe Club; the Joy Germ Club; and the Phoenix Village Players theatrical group. He donated well over 10 gallons of blood to the American Red Cross over his lifetime. Paul loved family vacations camping in the Adirondacks with his homemade camper, and later at Camp Litchhaven. He loved music and played the ukulele and recorder instruments.
After retiring, Paul made and played a broom handle-washtub bass with the “Chuckles ‘n’ Tunes,” performing hundreds of times at area VFW’s senior facilities, and social venues for over 20 years. His friend, and radio personality, Phil Market, dubbed him “Hot Tub Paul!” Reading, doing the daily word scramble, and writing rhyming poems were his lifelong passions.
Paul is predeceased by his wife Jean, of 45 years (Dec. 24, 1995); his son Charles (July 17, 1990); a brother-in-law, Rev. Irving G. Hill (June 10, 2010) Surviving are his son Louis  and Krista Litchison (nee Sweetser) of Manlius; two daughters, Becky Betts of Baldwinsville, and Bonnie Litchison of Oswego; daughter-in-law Diane Litchison-Kuzio (nee Reitz) of Fulton; sister-in-law Marcia Hill (nee Coons) of Syracuse; eight grandchildren, Aaron Litchison of Manlius, Stephanie (Betts) and Miller Young of Delmar, N.Y., Katherine Betts of Hartford, Conn., Erica (Betts) and David Smith of Baldwinsville, Amy (Litchison) and Brian DeMott of Fulton, Jeffrey and Cory (Greenwood) Litchison of Fulton, Teresa (Litchison) and Carlos Cruz-Tejeda of Hawaii, and Jaielle Litchison of Oswego; ten great-grandchildren, Emma Litchison, Mya, Sawyer, and Macy Young, Charlotte Smith, Kayleigh, Skylar, Piper and Aubrie Litchison, and Athena DeMott.
Services were held at the funeral home on Tuesday, March 3, at 11 a.m.
Contributions should be made to the American Red Cross in Paul’s memory.

Authorities seek public’s help in addressing winter challenges

By Matthew Reitz

A recent stretch of heavy snowfall and unrelenting cold temperatures is creating challenges for local emergency workers.
Fire crews across the area are dealing with longer response times as road conditions are slowing them down on their way to emergency scenes. They say, in addition to what they’re responding to, freezing temperatures and snow on the ground can create major issues at the scene.
Acting Fulton Fire Chief Paul Foster cited narrow roads, high snow banks and buried fire hydrants as some of the biggest challenges facing the department due to recent weather.
“If (residents) can make a path to a hydrant, that makes it that much easier on us,” Foster said.
In January, frozen hydrants “caused a substantial delay in combating a fire,” on Murray Street in Oswego, according to assistant chief Jon Chawgo of the Oswego Fire Department. Firefighters had to connect to six hydrants to find two that functioned properly.  Luckily, the first hydrant they connected to worked, but the fireman had to run 1,000 feet of hose down to West 1st Street to find a second hydrant.
Scriba Volunteer Fire Deparment Chief Kurt Wehrmann named hydrants as one of their biggest issue, as well.
“We can’t possibly get to (shoveling out) every hydrant in the area,” Wehrmann said.
Scriba has not seen an increase in call volume, but narrow driveways and poor road conditions have created challenges for them, Wehrmann said.
As snow banks grow and road widths narrow, side streets can be especially difficult for emergency vehicles to traverse.
“The (Oswego) DPW is doing the best job they can,” Chawgo said.  “Emergency parking bans enacted in Oswego in recent days should allow the DPW to clear more streets and improve the situation in the city.”
The Fulton Police Department is dealing with the “same challenges everyone else is,” according to Deputy Chief Thomas Abelgore.  Enforcing the overnight parking ban and keeping vehicles off the street is a pressing issue with current snow deposits, he said.
There have been “a lot of accidents caused by high snow banks,” according to Abelgore.  He urged people to “use a little more caution, and take their time,” when entering the roadways.  Abelgore also urged residents to be patient and stressed that the DPW is working with its limited resources to take the banks down.
Abelgore also called on residents “not to put snow in the roadway,” as it “creates hazards for cars passing through.”  On its Facebook page, the Fulton Police Department said, “there is a Fulton City Code that prohibits the placing of unsafe substances in the roadway, which includes snow.”  Residents can be ticketed for this offense, police say.
Foster also noted that the “wind chill has just been brutal.”  The cold temperatures sometimes drive people to seek auxiliary heat sources that can become a hazard if people aren’t careful.  Foster stressed that people need to use caution with plug-in heaters and be sure not to “forget it’s there or stack stuff on it.”
Foster has called on residents to “cooperate and help” as much as possible.

Burke’s warehouse roof collapses under snow


Under the weight of snow, the roof of Burke’s Home Center’s warehouse, pictured above both inside and outside, collapsed earlier this week.
Under the weight of snow, the roof of Burke’s Home Center’s warehouse, pictured here both inside and outside, collapsed earlier this week.

By Matthew Reitz

The roof of the Burke’s Home Center warehouse in Fulton collapsed earlier this week, but fortunately there were no injuries in the incident, according to store officials.
The building houses lumber, plywood and insulation behind the store at 65 North Second Street in Fulton.
According to owner Chuck Handley, the back half of the 25-year-old building gave way under the weight of the snow.
The walls and foundation of the building are still intact, but new trusses and a new metal roof will be needed to restore the structure. Handley said the building is insured. Burke's3
Employees planned to begin pulling out the contents of the building Thursday morning, according to Handley. The business will continue to operate as normal.
“We’re in pretty good shape up there,” Handley said, “anything we can’t do out of Fulton, we can deliver from Oswego.”
Handley said that a mid-April repair is likely.

Council makes changes to food truck permits following lively hearing

Councilors hear input on changes to the city’s policy for food truck vendors during an hour-and-a-half long public hearing Tuesday.



By Colin ­Hogan

Dingles Ice Cream truck owner Paul Cooper was one of many people to address the Common Council Thursday during a public hearing on mobile vendor permits.

Some new changes to the city’s peddling and soliciting law had residents and city officials in a lively debate this week during an hour-and-a-half-long public hearing on the matter.
City officials had been discussing changes to the stipulations within food truck merchants’ permits after some local business owners complained last fall that the vendors pay only a yearly fee to the city and reap taxpayer-funded benefits.
Under the new policy, the mobile merchants will have to pay $250 more per year, now $1,000 up from $750, to operate in the city. Eligible hours of operation have expanded from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., though the time of year they’re allowed to operate under the permit was reduced to a nine-month span. If a vendor wants to work at an event outside of that span, he or she must pay an additional fee for a one-time special use permit. Vendors will also need to provide the Common Council with a comprehensive list of the items they serve.
Crystal English, owner of the Shannon’s Hot Dogs food truck which has operated at Bullhead Point for decades, said she thought a fee increase and some other policy changes were fair. However, she was displeased that the council began pursuing the changes to appease her complaining competitors.
One speaker, Brian Sweeney, showing support for English and other mobile vendors, said he didn’t feel it was fair for businesses who may be struggling to use the Common Council “as a weapon” against their competition.
Speaking on behalf of property-based merchants, Lakeview Lanes owner Mike Tryniski said, whether or not a fee increase is implemented, city officials need to do more to ensure fairness between tax-paying businesses and the mobile vendors with whom they compete.
“The world is based on buying property, building a business — a building — and opening your doors. And for that right, we pay taxes to the city that go to all the services that help the whole community,” he said.
Tryniski said businessmen like himself willingly pay those taxes, but find it unfair that they are going to support his food truck competitors, who operate on city property and, thus, have taxpayer resources covering a portion of their overhead. He also spoke out against the daily hours those vendors are allowed to keep.
“I pay for my own snow plowing. I pay for my own garbage. I pay for my own lawns to be mowed. I pay for upkeep on my parking lot. All of that is out of our pocket at the bowling center,” Tryniski said. “They don’t have those same costs, and they’re allowed to be there for unlimited hours. If it was just lunch, that would be fine, and that’s what you originally said would be the case. But now it’s turned into evenings, weekends, and they’re competing against businesses that pay a lot of money in taxes.”
Mayor Ron Woodward Sr. noted that, regardless of whether a vendor is operating at a place like Bullhead Point, the city would be plowing that parking lot and keeping up with the grounds, anyway.
Some attending the hearing agreed that there is an injustice to one merchant’s tax dollars being used to support its competitor. But many also felt that, because those vendor permits and locations are up for grabs to anyone, the system is already fair — a point raised by Councilor Tom Kenyon during Tryniski’s statements.
Tryniski felt that, rather than the fee, there should be a tax structure in place, or some other alternative, to ensure that mobile vendors pay a fair share for the city-funded services they receive.
One sentiment made by several speakers, including former Fulton Mayor Daryl Hayden, was that customers will visit the merchant of their choice, regardless of whether it is a property-based business or a mobile vendor, because they like the product being offered.
“If you have good food, they will come there. If you have a good product, they will come there. It doesn’t matter if they stay open 50 hours,” Hayden said.
Another point made by several both in attendance and on the council is that the vendors, particularly those at Bullhead Point, help draw visitors to Lake Neatahwanta.
The changes were ultimately approved by the council in a 5-1 vote, with Councilor Ryan Raponi as the lone dissenter. Raponi’s “nay” vote hinged on one item in the new policy — a grandfather clause that allows vendors to keep their place if they return to do business in the city for a certain number of years. He called the clause “favoritism” and said it even could be considered “unethical.”
Raponi felt the clause limits the city’s ability to cultivate competition among vendors. He said that, as someone who has been elected to represent that taxpayer’s interest, he believed the council should remove that item to allow for competitive bidding for those permits in the future.
“I know that we could make more money on those locations. We’re always blaming our revenue problems on the state or the county, saying ‘it’s not our fault,'” Raponi said. “But these little things that we can control (add up.)”

Grand effort reunites Fulton woman with her lost dog

Watson, a black chow chow from Fulton, was recently reunited with her owner after spending 12 days in the cold.
Watson, a black chow chow from Fulton, was recently reunited with her owner after spending 12 days in the cold.

By Nicole Shue

Watson, a black chow chow, was recently reunited with her family after missing for 12 days in freezing temperatures.
The dog went missing on Feb. 10 from its home on Whitcomb Road in Fulton. Watson’s owner had adopted the dog a few weeks prior from the Chow Chow Rescue of CNY.  As he was opening his front door to get his mail, Watson escaped.
The owner’s daughter, Cindy Stone, founder of the volunteer rescue group), began a search for the dog that lasted nearly two weeks.
With below-zero temperatures, the thought that Watson may not come home crossed Stone’s mind, but she remained positive. In January, she rescued a chow chow from Oneida Lake with a snowmobile.
Stone’s brother- and sister-in-law checked the live animal trap they had set for Watson every day, and a call was also sent out through a Pet Amber Alert messaging system, but there was still no sign of it.
Stone’s family also set up two trail cameras, meant for deer, on the Oswego River where there were sightings of her. However, with the continual snowfall, the cameras weren’t much help, Stone said.
“The neighbors where Watson was believed to be hiding out were phenomenal in letting us set up our trap and cameras on their property,” said Stone.
Through following her tracks, Stone knew that Watson was crossing the Oswego River and staying on the ice.
Stone called her friend Amy, who lives in Georgia, for her help. Amy, Watson’s breeder, flew to New York to help Stone in her efforts to find Watson.
Finally, on Feb. 22, they were able to rescue Watson. It was 20 degrees and sunny that day. Stone spotted Watson under a boathouse on the Oswego River just north of Aspen Cove. She was pacing in and out of the boathouse, nervous and scared. It took 20 minutes to trudge through the snow to get to the dog, Stone said.
Amy threw hot dogs to Watson to entice her to come out of the boathouse on her own. With Watson not cooperating, Amy then tried to loop a lead around the dog’s neck, but missed. Luckily it still caught Watson by the foot, and Amy pulled her to safety.
“Once she came out of the boathouse she was licking Amy’s face,” said Stone. “I was so excited and relived to see her. We were all happy she was a black dog on white snow.”
After being out in the elements for 12 days, Watson had only two little patches of frostbite on her top lip. Her left front paw had a cut from either a bite or stepping on a nail, Stone said. She had lost eight pounds, but was otherwise healthy.
For the time being, Watson is living at Stone’s home in Brewerton with her other chow chows. Watson, she describes, is “as sweet as pie,” adjusting well, and enjoys the company of other dogs.
The Chow Chow Rescue of CNY is a volunteer rescue group that is dedicated to finding homes for purebred chow chows. The rescue is run through the support of volunteers and foster homes. At any given time, the rescue has 35 to 50 dogs waiting for their forever homes.

Residents ask Granby board to help stop mine expansion

By Ryan Franklin

Residents from county Route 85 asked Granby’s town board for help protesting a proposed expansion of the gravel mine and assistance paying for well testing during Wednesday’s meeting.

Lynn Lyons and Christine Bassett of county Route 85 told the town board a letter they had previously asked the board the send to the Department of Environmental Conservation regarding the mine’s expansion did not accurately address their concerns, specifically about what is happening and could happen to their water wells.

“There’s been nothing done to address what will happen downstream, to all of us,” Bassett said.

Lyons and Bassett asked the town to more adamantly protest the mine’s expansion rather than just reiterate to the DEC that the requirements of the permit must be met.

“We would like for them to back us to the DEC,” Lyons said. “We shouldn’t be having to do this.”

Town supervisor Ed Williamson told the pair that there was little the town could do since the permit had already been granted and the DEC was given lead agency status such a long time ago, before the current board administration.

“The DEC has a contract. You’re fighting with the state of New York. It’s a very difficult thing to fight a contract,” Williamson said after the meeting.

Williamson said that he had spoken to the DEC on several occasions about the wells and made sure that they knew the town wanted them to pay restitutions if anything happened to the wells.

“I have addressed the fact that we did not want any wells, and that if it did happen, they’d have to take care of it,” Williamson said.

Lyons and Bassett said that their wells and those of many others on county Route 85 have already been affected by the mine moving below the water table, and the proposed 14acre expansion would only make things worse.

“Our wells are showing great distress. Our filters are black every two weeks,” Bassett said. “We’ve been there 35 years and haven’t seen anything like this.”

The pair asked that the town pay to have the wells of residents throughout county Route 85 tested, in addition to their request that the town further oppose the expansion.

Williamson said that county legislator Morris Sorbello had told him the county was looking into finding a grant to pay for testing, but was unsure if Granby could pay for any potential difference.

“That would be up to the county. The county does the testing of all wells, both dug and drilled, when they’re requested. We don’t have it in our budget,” Williamson said.

Williamson said he is constantly talking to county and DEC officials and will continue to ask them to address the most recent concerns of residents along county Route 85.