Off Broadway Dance Center will present its 17th annual spring recital “SHINE!” on Friday June 5 at 6:30 p.m. and Saturday, June 7th at 3 p.m. More than 160 students will take to the stage to perform dances in ballet, tap, jazz, hip-hop and lyrical. Tickets are available at the door. The OBDC Competition Team will present a free showcase of their award winning dances on Saturday, June 6 at 1 p.m. Ellen Russell Marshall is Off Broadway Dance Center’s Director. The recital is sponsored by Quirk’s Players.
Three-sport standouts Erica Pawlewicz and Chris Jones on Tuesday received the Dan McGinnis Senior Athlete of the Year Awards, highlighting the Fulton Athletic Boosters’ Senior Athletes Recognition Banquet at The Oasis at Thunder Island.
Pawlewicz has starred in volleyball, indoor track, and outdoor track for the Red Raiders.
She earned first-team all-league honors in volleyball, broke school records in the long jump and 200-meter dash during the indoor track season, and currently ranks among the Section III leaders in the long jump for the outdoor track season.
Jones was a star wide receiver and linebacker for the Fulton football team, earning first-team all-league honors and second-team All-CNY recognition. He made the all-league second team in basketball, and completed on the baseball team this spring.
Several awards and scholarships were presented during the evening, set up by the boosters to honor all of Fulton’s senior student-athletes.
Cheryl Wallace Vilardo, a 1996 graduate of G. Ray Bodley High School and a former Raider student-athlete, was the guest speaker. She lettered in soccer, basketball, and softball at Fulton. She overcame tearing both ACLs during high school and was named to all-league teams in soccer and softball.
Vilardo went on to play soccer at William Smith College and helped her team qualify for the NCAA Division III Tournament four years in a row. The team finished second in the nation in her sophomore year. She was named to the All-American and Academic All-America teams.
Currently an assistant principal at East Syracuse-Minoa High School, Vilardo had some words of wisdom for the Red Raider seniors. She said that sports are fun, build character, teach you to work hard, and teach you to persevere.
“They’ve guided me all along, and they still do,” she said, noting she is active in running, bowling, golfing, and other sports.
She referenced her torn ACLs and pointed out that life will pose challenges to everyone. “What matters is how you respond to those challenges,” she said.
She closed by saying that Fulton is “an amazing place” that provides its students with great opportunities and support.
“Why do communities support sports? Because sports make people better,” she said.
Following is a list of awards presented at the ceremony.
Judy & David Trepasso Fan of the Year: Bev & Henry Hudson.
Fulton Athletic Booster Lifetime Membership Award: Mike Phillips.
Outstanding Athletic Performance: Kendra Tryniski.
Section III Championship Awards: Fulton’s wrestling and boys bowling teams.
Dale Tombs Baseball Award: Jon Cummins.
Barney Naioti Leadership Award: Cheyenne Laun, Bailey Lutz.
Joe Castiglia Effort Award: Kendra Tryniski, Shawn Walberger.
Gene Adams Most Improved: Madden Rowlee, Geoff Michaels.
Sox Stuber Sportsmanship Award: Kara Bricker, Emma Harvey, Jon Cummins.
Dan McGinnis Senior Athlete of the Year: Erica Pawlewicz, Chris Jones.
Rick Luciano Football Scholarship: David Hursh.
Shirley Chalifoux Scholarship: Courtney Smith, Brian Hudson.
Danielle Rae Kunzwiler Guistina Scholarship: Grace Trepasso.
Brian Dodge Scholarship: Erica Pawlewicz, Bailey Lutz.
Margaret Beckwith Scholarship: Erica Pawlewicz.
Carl Barton Scholarship: Bailey Lutz.
By Matthew Reitz
The Town of Hannibal Planning Board will meet tomorrow at 7 p.m. to hear additional public comments on a proposed gravel mine on Harris Hill Road.
Earlier this year, the Hannibal Town Board held a public hearing regarding the proposed mine, but took no action because the DEC had yet to approve the project.
The DEC has since ruled the project would “not have a significant effect on the environment” and issued a permit to C.J. Ferlito Aggregates on May 7. Now, the planning board must decide whether it will issue a special use permit or reject the proposed mine.
Town Supervisor Ron Greenleaf said he couldn’t say if he was for or against the mine, but said it would be an “interesting meeting” on June 4.
“The town basically has to either accept it, or reject it,” Greenleaf said, “and they have to have a good reason to reject it.”
Greenleaf said the planning board can establish stipulations for the site, such as the hours of operation or limiting the number of trucks coming to and from the mine. He said if there were concerns about dust or noise, the planning board could place conditions within the permit to address those issues, as well. The stipulations must be put in place prior to the issuance of a permit, according to Greenleaf.
“You can’t go in after the fact. You have to set it right out front,” Greenleaf said.
Residents from both Hannibal and Granby have voiced concerns over the proposed mine amid ongoing complaints about a similar mining operation on county Route 85 in Granby. Residents living in the vicinity of that mine have made several complaints to the Granby Town Board over what they call excessive dust, noise and unenforced hours of operation — all of which they say violate that mine’s permit conditions.
Duane Shepard, a resident of the Village of Hannibal, said the town will have to address these issues.
“Eventually we are going to have to deal with the problems,” Shepard said in reference to the traffic, dust and noise concerns that residents have raised.
Shepard also wondered what the town stands to gain by issuing a permit.
“If we’re not making anything (in taxes), why would we want them to keep coming in here and opening these pits up?” Shepard asked.
Kelly LaRock, a resident of Hannibal and neighbor to the proposed mine, recently visited a town board meeting in Granby to urge residents there to attend the June 4 meeting in Hannibal and share their experiences.
Harris Hill Road goes through the town of Granby, and the proposed mine’s location is in close proximity to the Granby town line. LaRock said the mine would have an impact on the lives of Granby residents, too.
“Harris Hill Road goes through the town of Granby, and everybody on that road will be affected should this be approved,” LaRock said.
LaRock said there are several towns in New York state that have successfully argued against a DEC permit. She said the issuance of a DEC permit “does not demand that the towns grant special use permits” for projects they aren’t in favor of.
“A special use permit is not an entitlement to a mining company. It must be approved by town boards, and towns can take the initiative not to grant these special use permits,” LaRock said. “When you get a DEC permit that does not mean you are entitled to tear up the town.”
LaRock said local zoning laws were in place for issues like the proposed mine and asked the planning board to follow the laws.
“We’re just asking them to do the right thing and follow the laws. I don’t know if they’re going to or not,” LaRock said.
By Matthew Reitz
Officials in the Fulton City School District discussed changes to the Comprehensive District Education Plan last week with a focus on closing achievement gaps.
FCSD Director of Instruction and Development Elizabeth Conners presented the adjusted plan to the school board last Tuesday.
The changes to the CDEP are geared toward utilizing data and monitoring district processes to help reach a number of goals and objectives. The CDEP aims to close achievement gaps that persist among economically disadvantaged students and those with disabilities. Conners told the board the process was lengthy, but informative.
“It gives us a chance to really look at our data and look at where we are going,” Conners said.
Conners said the main academic goal for the district was to achieve a 5 percent annual increase in rates of proficiency and college and career readiness.
“Goal number one is to increase college and career readiness,” Conners said. “That’s the same, it has not changed.”
The district also hopes to have 80 percent of students consistently meeting behavior expectations, and to engage all families in the education of their students. Conners said the CDEP changed “a bit” with regard to engaging families.
“It’s not about just communicating anymore, but how do we really engage people,” Conners said.
The importance of community engagement with economically disadvantaged students and their families will be a main focus. The district will continue to try to increase the participation of all families, but measuring that will be a new challenge.
“We don’t really have any concrete data that shows what is working and what isn’t,” Conners said.
The first step is for the district to establish baseline levels of participation and set measurable goals. The district previously trained teachers in data driven inquiry, and the changes to the CDEP will put that training into practice, Conners said. The new approach will help monitor the progress of all students and subgroups toward district goals, and in turn help the district identify ways to close its achievement gaps.
Dan Carroll, the district’s director of instructional support services, told the board the three-year plan would help the district address its most critical educational needs. He presented data concerning the district’s achievement gaps to the board.
Carroll said the district does not have major gaps in achievement across racial or ethnic lines, but does see gaps among students with disabilities and economic disadvantages.
“We see concerning wide gaps in achievement between our economically disadvantaged students and our students with disability versus our student population as a whole,” Carroll said.
He said it’s expected that these students will have a lower proficiency rate, but the district is not seeing the type of year-to-year improvement it sees with other students.
“Our students with disabilities and our economically disadvantaged students are just getting further and further behind in terms of reading level,” Carroll said.
He said this was especially concerning due to a “very clear demographic trend” in the district’s student population. In recent years, the number of economically disadvantaged students in the district has surpassed the number of non-economically disadvantaged students.
“That demographic tendency adds a lot of urgency to our needs,” Carroll said.
By Colin Hogan
The pier at Bullhead Point now boasts a new wheelchair-accessible entry ramp thanks to the efforts of some volunteers and a donation from a county legislator.
Volunteers from Believers’ Chapel in Fulton recently built a new wooden entry ramp for the pier using materials donated by county Legislator Jim Karasek.
Karasek said the need for a new ramp was first brought up by Fulton city Councilor Tom Kenyon, who pitched the project to members of Oswego County ARISE — a nonprofit that helps provide ramps at the homes of individuals with disabilities. Karasek, who also works for ARISE, said because organization is geared towards serving the needs of disabled individuals at their homes, the pier project didn’t fall under its purview.
“The hurdle was that ARISE will use its resources to install a ramp at someone’s home, but it doesn’t do that for a public property like this, so we had to come up with something different,” Karasek said.
Recognizing that something still needed to be done, Karasek said he and his wife, Patricia, decided that they, personally, would donate the materials needed for the project.
“It’s something that needed to be done and we’re glad to be able to help out with it,” Karasek said.
Karasek said ARISE was still able to help coordinate the plans, and volunteers from Believer’s Chapel stepped up to do the installation.
A couple weeks ago, Fulton city employees removed the asphalt fill that previously led up to the pier. Then, on May 20, volunteers Pat O’Leary, Earl Sixberry, Dave Williams and 10-year-old Connor Tassone installed the new wooden ramp in its place.
“The original ramp, in addition to being run down, just couldn’t support a wheelchair. Now it’s got a wooden ramp that extends to the sidewalk, which I think everyone will benefit from, especially those with mobility issues,” Karasek said.
By Matthew Reitz
The Town of Granby Planning Board approved a special use permit for an ATV track at 371 South Granby Road last week.
More than 20 people showed up to the planning board’s meeting last Thursday to discuss the project. Residents in that area had been voicing concerns over the potential noise and dust the track could bring, and many of them questioned the property owner’s intentions.
Planning Board Chairman Jim Karasek began the meeting by clarifying the role of the planning board and the details of the project. Karasek said the planning board’s job was not to decide if it “liked” the project, but to verify that it follows local laws.
“It doesn’t matter what we think of it individually,” Karasek said. “When proposals come in front of the planning board, it is our job to make sure that the proposal does not break the laws of the zoning book.”
Karasek said he had received several phone calls about wetlands on the property. He specified that there were wetlands on the property, but they were not involved in the project.
“There are wetlands to the east of this project,” Karasek said. “They’re not disturbing the wetlands.”
Following his opening remarks, Karasek mediated a lengthy discussion that led to the inclusion of several restrictions on the property, the most prominent of which was that the track only be used by the property owner’s family and friends.
Veronica Elsworth, a homeowner in the area, voiced her concern about the property owner’s long-term intentions for the site and the noise that would be generated by the vehicles.
“I really don’t know what they are going to do with this property, but we are concerned,” Elsworth said.
Elsworth and other residents were concerned that the track could easily become a business in the future. Karasek stressed that the project they were reviewing was not a business. He said the owner would need to come back in front of the board to open a business or he would be in violation of the permit.
Peter Mott, the property’s owner, told residents the track would not be run as a business.
“The track is just for me, my family, and my friends,” Mott said.
Some residents questioned why he purchased the property under the name Granby Properties LLC if he had no intentions of starting a business.
“This is absolutely for personal use. I have no desire to run a business. The only reason I put it in an LLC is for liability reasons,” Mott said, “in case someone gets hurt.”
In light of residents’ noise concerns, the board imposed a limit on both the number of vehicles that can operate on the track, and the hours they would be allowed to do so. The board set the limit at six operating vehicles on the track at any given moment. The hours of operation are limited to 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sundays.
Mott assured his neighbors that vehicles would not be running on the track all day.
“It’s nothing that’s going to be every day, all day long,” Mott said.
Another stipulation made by the planning board was that all vehicles operating on the track be legally registered and, if necessary, insured.
Mott addressed the crowd after the public comment period was finished, fielding questions and thanking everyone for their feedback. He said he “didn’t understand the emotional reaction people would have.”
“What I should have done in retrospect is taken the time to meet everyone and told them my intentions clearly and concisely,” Mott said.
The planning board unanimously approved the project when it was brought to vote.
“We’re still concerned, but I just want to let Mr. Mott know if he comes to the neighborhood and he does what he’s saying we will be fine with it,” Elsworth said following the vote.
By Matthew Reitz
Upgrades to Fulton’s Recreation Park, including a new boat launch, playground equipment and restored pavilion, will move forward this summer.
Officials with Friends of Fulton Parks, the nonprofit that has been coordinating the endeavor, say the first phase of the project is fully funded and set to begin this summer with the installation of strength and conditioning equipment designed for teenagers.
The equipment was selected with help from students at Fulton Junior High School, who were asked to choose items that are of particular interest to their age group.
The second phase, also expected to begin this year, will restore the existing pavilion structure and add a cement floor with a wheelchair-accessible ramp. The existing slide and swing set at the park are still functional and will remain in place, FOFP officials say.
A third phase of the project, currently scheduled for 2016, would install ropes and other climbing equipment geared toward helping children improve their agility.
Kelley Weaver of Friends of Fulton Parks said the estimated cost for all three phases of the project is $375,000.
The project is being funded mostly through state funds acquired by state Sen. Patricia Ritchie’s office and Friends of Fulton Parks. Weaver said “a significant portion” of the second and third phases are covered, but FOFP is still looking to make up the difference.
The organization still needs to raise $87,000 for the project, according to Weaver. She said the group has been able to collect over $40,000 to date with contributions from local businesses and residents.
“Support from service organizations, the Fulton YMCA, local businesses, residents and former residents of all ages, and the city council and parks department has been overwhelmingly positive,” Weaver said.
Several community groups and businesses have been working hand-in-hand with FOFP in efforts to both raise money for park upgrades and clean the parks for the season. The latest to join the efforts is the GRB Class of 1975, which will be celebrating its 40th class reunion this summer. As part of their reunion, class members have been raising funds to contribute to the Recreation Park restoration project.
“Their goal was $2,000,” Weaver said, “and they may surpass that goal.”
Collen Madigan, a Class of ’75 member, said she felt “very fortunate” to have grown up in Fulton, and thought donating to the restoration of Recreation Park was a way to give back to the community. Madigan said she “enjoyed the simple joys of childhood” in Fulton’s parks.
“My classmates and I enjoyed Recreation Park, Stevenson Beach, swimming at Lake Neatahwanta, family picnics, baseball games, roller skating, and even our graduation at the War Memorial,” Madigan said.
Anyone who would like to help with the project or fundraising can contact Friends of Fulton Parks at FriendsofFultonParks@gmail.com.