FULTON—Fulton’s firefighters recently collected more than 200 winter clothing items to donate to those in need during the cold season.
The winter coat drive held by the Fulton Firefighters Association brought in nearly 100 coats and scores more hats, gloves and other cold-weather apparel the year. The items are being donated to Catholic Charities of Oswego County.
“We are very happy that we can help Catholic Charities by donating these items that will go to local families that are in need,” said Assistant Fire Chief David Eiffe.
In all, the FFA collected 97 coats, 40 hats, 70 sets of gloves and 10 pairs of snow pants.
Eiffe thanked Catholic Charities for allowing the fire department to help its cause, as well as Huhtamaki for supplying the collection box it used.
He said the experience was valuable not just to the firefighters, but some of their children at home, too.
“It was a great lesson for a lot of our members’ own children—that by donating these items from our own homes, it would help other children and families who are in need stay warm this winter,” Eiffe said.
HANNIBAL—Newly elected officials in the town of Hannibal were recently sworn in and are already looking to make an impact on local policies.
Town Councilman Gary Thompson said it was an honor to be sworn in by County Legislator Terry Wilbur, and representing the people is something he’s always dreamed of. He added that politics has always been a passion of his.
“It was definitely a surreal experience,” Thompson said. “It’s an honor to serve the people of Hannibal.”
Cutting costs, attracting people and growing the town are Thompson’s main goals, and he said he’s already looking into ways to cut spending.
“My goal is to cut costs in local government,” Thompson said. “We need to cut costs to make our town tax rates drop and attract people to move here.”
Thompson said high property tax rates are “a real burden” in Hannibal. The key to attracting businesses and getting people to move to Hannibal, he said, begins by cutting costs and dropping property tax rates. He said he campaigned on a promise of cutting costs, and he feels like he should act quickly on those promises.
“We’ll never make any forward progression as long as we have the highest property taxes,” Thompson said.
Thompson pointed out that the population of Hannibal has also dropped in recent years and, if that trend continues, the town will lose around 10 percent of its population in the next five years. Thompson said he sees that as a real problem.
“We need to work hard to prevent our population from dropping,” Thompson said. “I’m not going to waste any time.”
When his first four-year term is done, Thompson said he wants to be able to say he made a difference. He said other goals of his are to improve the quality of life in the community and to keep the residents of Hannibal more informed about what’s going on in the town. He said he’s already working on at least one major cost-cutting move that he’ll introduce at the next board meeting.
“I also hope to bring a new way of doing politics to the town,” Thompson said. “We need people in government that aren’t there to play politics—not there to play the game—there’s too much of that. We need a new kind of politics for the people.”
Former Town Councilman George Ritchie was also sworn in recently as highway superintendent, and has made several changes in his short time on the job. Ritchie appointed another former councilman, Charlie Reed, as his deputy supervisor—a move he said he’ll stand by, despite receiving some pushback from members of the highway department.
“I chose Charlie because I’ve known him a long time and he was a past highway superintendent,” Ritchie said.
Ritchie said he has been working on assessing and maintaining the town’s equipment. He’s also been in contact with school district officials and bus drivers to make sure they’re all on the same page and have an open line of communication about road conditions when needed.
Ritchie said he’s been getting out on the roads each morning to assess their conditions, and noted that there will be some pavement projects in the spring. For now, he said the department is doing everything it can “to get all the equipment into the shape it should be in.”
Town Councilman Rick Shoults is another addition to the Hannibal Town Board this year, but was unavailable for comment as of press time on Monday.
FULTON—Fulton police are investigating a vandalism incident that occurred last weekend at the former Nestle site and are seeking the public’s help in finding the perpetrators.
Police said 13 windows and two doors were broken at the site sometime late Friday night or early Saturday morning, and it appears the damage was done from inside the building. Sgt. Stephen Lunn said the investigation is ongoing and police are still evaluating the extent of the damage.
Mayor Ron Woodward Sr. estimated there was about $40,000 worth of damage done to the building, noting that the windows and doors were brand new.
The property in question, former Nestle Building #30, was the first parcel of the site to begin re-development. Spring Storage Park, Inc. of Liverpool purchased the building and an adjacent parking lot last year for $100,000. The company is currently in the process of converting the space to a storage facility.
The incident was reported to police Saturday morning. Police did not have any suspects as of press time Monday, Lunn said.
According to Woodward, people were at the site until about 6 p.m. Friday, so the incident must have occurred sometime between then and Saturday morning when it was reported.
Fulton Common Council President Tom Kenyon called it “very disheartening” to see something like this happen while people were working to develop the property. Woodward said the act was “disgraceful” and an “assault on the city of Fulton.”
“I can’t tell you how mad I was when I found out Saturday morning,” Woodward said, adding that he can’t believe there are people in the city who are so inconsiderate of other people’s property.
Local officials made a strong push in 2015 to attract developers to the former Nestle site, and this incident “certainly doesn’t help” that effort, Woodward said.
“I think it goes way beyond vandalism,” Woodward said. “To me, vandalism is some kid spray-painting a dirty word on the side of a bridge. This is a lot more. This is pretty much a low-life attack on a brand new property owner in the city of Fulton—it’s inexcusable.”
Woodward said “whoever did it are criminals,” and need to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. He called the incident “full-fledged criminal activity” and said it seemed like it may have been targeted.
“I think that we have to use every effort we can to find out who did it and make an example of them,” Woodward said.
The current owner of the property could not be reached before press time Monday.
Lunn urged anyone with any information about the incident to contact the Fulton Police Department at 315-598-4504.
FULTON—After more than half-a-century of giving the people of Fulton a clean trimming and an ear to bend, Gerald Allen of Jerry’s Barber Shop is ready to hang up his smock and enjoy retirement.
Since the summer of 1961, Jerry’s — which sat on the corner of West 3rd and Broadway — was a staple among downtown Fulton shops, and the man himself played a role in many Fultonians’ lives.
He was only 21 years old and just a few years out of barber school when he opened the shop. At that time, he had few years of experience working in shops in Pulaski and Liverpool, but wanted to find something a little closer to home in the Fulton-Hannibal area.
When a building fire disrupted things at Wayne Arnold’s Barber Shop in February of 1961, Allen seized an opportunity to start his own operation in that building and, by June, he was ready to open for business.
“It worked out to be a good thing for me. I had the advantage of living in the Fulton area all my life, so I knew people. Plus, he already had a lot of regular customers, so that helped me a out a lot,” Allen said.
From the day he opened his doors to the day he closed them, he was renting his space from the building’s owners, the Galletta family. Today, he can’t say much about his business without singing their praises.
“I opened in 1961 and Joe and Katherine Galletta were my landlords. I closed 54 years later and the Galletta family were still my landlords,” he said. “They are such a wonderful family, and without their help I could not have lasted this long.”
Being a barber was much different in those early days. Allen said, at that time, there were 18 licensed barbers operating around Fulton. Today, actual licensed barbers are few and far between, he said. In spite of the abundant competition, though, Allen had no problem staying in business for more than five decades.
“I never really had any problem (dealing with the competition). I worried about it, but I always managed fine,” he said. “I think haircuts were $3 when I started out, and we had to abide by the union’s rules, which kept the prices the same.”
Allen can’t even begin to list all the Fultonians he got to know over his five decades in business, but the tally includes scores of great local leaders, friends and even some big-shot out-of-towners.
“One Saturday morning I came in and there was a guy sitting on the step who I hadn’t seen before, but he came in and joined the three or four other guys who were there and started talking with us,” Allen said.
As the chatter progressed, Allen learned that the stranger waiting for a trim was a scout for the Boston Red Sox, temporarily staying in Fulton to do some recruiting with the Syracuse and Rochester minor league teams. The Sox had actually just won the World Series not long before the encounter.
“He was very interesting and easy going,” Allen said. “About 45 minutes later he came back to show us his World Series ring. I had a lot of Red Sox fan in the shop, so that was really nice.”
If you never knew Allen as a barber, you might have known him as an avid sports enthusiast. The barber-by-day also filled his evening time up by participating in several local sports programs—particularly Fulton’s adult softball and basketball leagues. As a coach, he took his undefeated women’s softball team — which his daughters played on — to cities around the country to play in championships. In other years, if he wasn’t playing or coaching, he was serving as umpire or referee in those leagues. He was also the president of the Fulton City Basketball League at one point.
Now, as he retires after 54 years in business, he’ll spend more time enjoying the sports he still loves to do, like golfing with his wife of 57 years, Sharon. He’ll also be enjoying more time with his three lovely daughters and four grandsons, he said.
At age 76, after years of being on his feet, a knee replacement and some problems with the other knee, Allen won’t miss things like shoveling the sidewalk in front of the shop every cold winter morning. One thing he will miss, though, is always being in the know on what’s happening around town.
“I always loved going to work. I’ll really miss the camaraderie of the shop. You’ve always got people to talk to, and you get to know a lot. My wife would always ask me ‘what’s that new building going up’ or ‘who’s opening that new shop,’ and if I didn’t know, I was sure to find out the next day in the shop,” Allen said. “I love the people of Fulton, and I’ll miss getting to see a lot of them.”
Looking back, he said he couldn’t be happier with how his many years in business in Fulton turned out.
“One thing I’ve always liked about being a barber—you always start at the top,” he joked.
FULTON—Members of the Fulton Fire Department and other local agencies responded to a call of two men partially buried in a collapsed trench at 515 Lyons Street Wednesday.
First responders from the Fulton Fire Department, Fulton Police Department, and Menter’s Ambulance Service responded to the call late Wednesday afternoon and were able to quickly and safely extricate both victims, according to dispatchers from the Oswego County 911 Center.
At least one person was transported by ambulance to SUNY Upstate Medical University with what authorities called minor injuries.
“I believe they were minor injuries, extremity injuries, but they were minor,” Fulton Assistant Fire Chief David Eiffe said.
The 911 call came in at 4:20 p.m. after the walls of a trench collapsed with two contractors inside, officials said. Eiffe said he believes the contractors were working on the replacement of a water line when the walls caved in. He said he wasn’t sure if the men working were licensed contractors, but the police filed an incident report and the situation will be under investigation by Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
“From my professional opinion, on our arrival there were not things in place that should have been in place,” Eiffe said.
Both men appeared to be working inside the trench when it collapsed, with another contractor operating an excavator, according to Eiffe.
Eiffe said the incident had the potential to result in more serious injuries to the two individuals.
One cubic yard of soil can weigh as much as a car, according to a Trenching and Excavation Fact Sheet posted to the OSHA website. OSHA notes that cave-ins pose the greatest risk and are much more likely to result in worker fatalities than other excavation-related incidents.
Trenches five or more feet deep require a protective system unless the excavation is being made entirely in stable rock, according to OSHA. Several types of protective systems are deemed acceptable by OSHA, including forming a series of horizontal steps, cutting back the trench wall at an angle inclined away from excavation, and installing aluminum trench boxes, or other types of supports to prevent soil cave-ins.
“We encourage all contractors working within the city to operate safely and follow rules and regulations,” Eiffe said.
FULTON—The New York State Department of Transportation held an open house on Wednesday night to gather public input on a project that will revamp state Route 3 in the city of Fulton later this year.
The project spans state Route 3 from the Lakeview Ave. intersection near the Fulton War Memorial to the Oneida Street intersection near the eastern city line, with the exception of the Broadway Bridge, which the DOT finished improvements on last year.
Planning and design for the approximately $2.7 million project is expected to be completed sometime in February, with construction tentatively set to begin in the spring and finish sometime in fall 2016. Key aspects of the project include the milling and resurfacing of the roadway, which will include 1.5 inches of new asphalt pavement, according to DOT officials. The scope of work also includes the repair of other pavement defects, cleaning and repairing drainage structures as needed, replacing sidewalk ramps to meet ADA requirements, replacing traffic signal loops disturbed by paving work, and new pavement markings to meet current requirements.
During the construction phase, one lane in each direction will remain open at all times in four-lane sections. In two-lane sections, flaggers will control traffic as needed. Driveways will remain open with the exception of areas where multiple access points exist, but on-street parking will be restricted when work is being performed in or adjacent to parking lanes, according to documents provided by the DOT.
DOT officials said there were no major modifications in the flow of traffic, but there will be a few minor lane changes and several new road markings aimed at improving traffic in the area that will go along with the resurfacing.
A lack of pavement markings on the roadway, especially on the east end of the city, has left some drivers guessing about traffic patterns, DOT officials said. New pavement markings will make traffic patterns more clear and, together with improved road conditions, should make the roadway safer, according to DOT officials.
Construction on this section of state Route 3 was originally scheduled to begin in 2017, but in April the DOT announced it would alter its strategy and move the project up to 2016. At that time, plans only called for the resurfacing of the approximately 1.5 miles from West 5th Street to the eastern city line, but the project will now extend about 2,000 feet further, totaling 1.9 miles, and include the area adjacent to the War Memorial.
County Legislator Frank Castiglia Jr., who reached out to the DOT to request the earlier start date, said he was happy with what he’s heard on the project. He said a lack of available funding placed constraints on the scope of work designed by the engineers, but added he would continue a push for additional money to “take the pitch out of East Broadway between (East) Seventh (Street) and Holly Drive” to reduce flooding in that area. Castiglia, along with several other attendees Wednesday, voiced concerns over drainage in several spots along the route.
“Their project doesn’t call for that right now,” Castiglia said. “It would have to be an add-on.”
DOT spokesperson Gene Cilento said a seemingly simple change such as that could involve significant additional work and money, but noted that receiving feedback and hearing the concerns of local residents is always a positive. Cilento said he was hoping construction would begin by May or June and be finished by the end of the year. He said now that the funding is lined up and the preliminary design is complete, the project should move forward quickly. He pointed out the design phase was not complete, but some of the most time-consuming work is finished.
“The design is relatively simple,” Cilento said. “Still, in advance you have to go out and survey it, you have to get the digital terrain model, you have to determine all these cross-sections, you have to see if there are underground utilities that are in the way.”
Assemblyman Will Barclay released a statement acknowledging his support for the DOT’s decision to move the project up on its list.
“I have had countless discussions with the DOT and sent letters on the importance of making Route 3 a priority,” Barclay said in the statement.
Barclay said the project was important for the city, and he is “pleased the DOT listened so residents in Fulton and those who travel through the city can have passable roads sooner rather than later.”
FULTON—At its swearing in ceremony on Jan. 1, the Fulton Common Council elected First Ward Councilor Tom Kenyon as its president, and city officials urged unity following an evenly divided vote.
Newly sworn-in Second Ward Councilor David B. Ritchie nominated Kenyon for president in the first action the council voted on this year. After Kenyon, Ritchie and Third Ward Councilor Donald R. Patrick Jr. voted “yes,” while Fourth Ward Councilor Jim Myers, Fifth Ward Councilor Jay Foster and Sixth Ward Councilor Larry Macner, the 2015 council president, voted “no.”
That left Mayor Ron Woodward Sr. to cast the deciding vote.
Before deciding, Woodward noted that he “didn’t have a dog in the fight” and that he had worked well with both Macner and Kenyon in the past, but ultimately chose Kenyon for the position.
“I just want to say thanks to the council for the opportunity,” Kenyon said. “I want to thank everyone for coming tonight, especially my wife. She supports me all the time.”
Kenyon said he sought the position of council president because he feels he has the communication skills and time needed to get the job done. He also said, contrary to what some might assume, he works well with Woodward and other city officials.
In remarks following the meeting, Kenyon and others urged the council to work together to find solutions to the many pressing issues Fulton currently faces. Others on the council echoed his sentiment and congratulated him on being chosen for the seat.
“My problem out here today is we have two Conservatives, we have two Democrats, and we have two Republicans,” Kenyon said. “To get anything done, I think all six of us have to work together—with the mayor—to see the light at the end of the tunnel.”
As council president, Kenyon said he will work with the mayor and others to continue developing the former Nestle property and attract businesses to the area. He said he expects to see a “domino effect” after Aldi is constructed, with businesses moving in to develop the site that has sat vacant for years.
“Right now, I can see things happening—I can see the light at the end of the tunnel that I didn’t see before,” Kenyon said.
Kenyon said he doesn’t anticipate any lingering animosity following the vote for council president, and he thinks city officials will be able to work together to do what’s right for the Fulton. If the council is divided, they “won’t get anything done,” Kenyon said. Woodward agreed with that, and added that the city had “a lot of issues.”
Myers and Foster both said they thought the council would continue to work together without issue, and Foster added “it’s all about the people and the city.”
Macner congratulated Kenyon on the post, and said it was a pleasure to serve the city as Common Council president in the past. He also urged unity, and pointed out the need to work with other levels of government, as well.
“What we have to try to do is work with the county, state and federal government,” Macner said. “We’ll get there.”
The addition of Ritchie and Patrick, and their more-than-50 years of experience working for the city, will be beneficial to the council, Kenyon said. He said he thinks they’ll bring fresh ideas to help the city save money and find new ways to attract businesses and job creators.
Along with drawing in business and pursuing ways to provide relief to local taxpayers, Kenyon said he would also like to see more recreational opportunities for Fulton residents of all ages.
“We’re working for the people,” Kenyon said. “I think all of us need to work together. We have to get this city going again.”