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.
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.
By Mathew Reitz
Two Fulton City School District capital projects coming to completion have come in under budget, and the district will look to pursue further improvements with the leftover funds.
An $8.8 million capital project that was approved in 2012 and a $4.4 million project approved in 2014 did not cost as much as the district had planned for, and School Board President David Cordone said the district will use the additional funds to make more upgrades.
“The work came in favorably, and we’re going to be able to do more than we were anticipating,” Cordone said.
The board will consider a series of alternate projects before further work is commissioned.
The $4.4 million 2014 project is currently on schedule, according to Director of Facilities Jerry Seguin. A gym floor replacement and a new storage building at the athletic facilities have already been completed, and contractors are putting the finishing touches on roof replacements at Granby and Lanigan elementary schools.
Seguin said the membrane on both roofs was “completely installed,” and contractors were currently installing edge metal and ice guards.
There are also still some skylights that need to be installed in the gym at Lanigan, but Seguin said they should be in by the end of the week.
He said paving at Granby was beginning on schedule and should be completed next week.
Superintendent Bill Lynch said the work throughout the district “has proceeded well this summer.”
One of the final components of the 2014 project will be the replacement of locks on classrooms and offices throughout the district. Officials say the doors must currently be locked from outside the classroom, which they say is not ideal for safety.
Seguin said the hardware began arriving this week, and crews will immediately begin the installation.
Another small project driven by security concerns at G. Ray Bodley High School incorporates the mailroom into an existing office space. Seguin said the nearly completed project is a much better use of the space and improves security within the office.
Improvements to parking lots, sidewalks and access roads throughout the district have also been a priority this summer.
Seguin said “all the pavement” at Volney Elementary was resealed and repainted, and some paving was done on the south end of the high school. Access roads at the athletic complex and behind the junior high have been revamped, and Seguin said he hopes the district will “get a few more years out of that material” before it needs to be replaced.
A sign donated by the booster club is also expected to be installed at the athletic complex before school begins.
Major components of the 2012 project included the replacement of the stage curtain; lighting and rigging at the Education Center; a partial roof replacement at G. Ray Bodley High School; technology upgrades and new computer facilities at both Fairgrieve and Volney elementary schools; security upgrades, asbestos abatement, ceiling tile/grid replacement, removal of classroom lockers and new ductwork/relief fans at Fairgrieve; and a partial roof replacement at Volney.
Oswego Hospital will have to make a $1.4 million repayment to federal and state authorities as part of a settlement over “improperly submitted claims,” hospital officials announced in a prepared statement Thursday.
An internal investigation started in early 2013 into billing practices by independent contractors in the Behavioral Health Services Division (BHS) turned up a wide range of improperly submitted claims, according to the release, forcing the hospital to settle with state and federal authorities to the tune of $1.4 million.
The hospital must pay $890,553 to the federal government — specifically the Office of Inspector General for the United States Department of Health and Human Services — and $565,904 to the state Office of Medicaid Inspector General in the settlement proposed by the hospital and accepted by all parties.
“We take this matter very seriously,” said Allison Duggan, MD, executive vice president and administrator for Oswego Hospital. “We have been openly communicating and fully cooperating with federal and state officials since the billing discrepancies were discovered.”
The internal investigation started in the summer of 2013 after a question from a patient led to the discovery of “irregularities” in “patient care documentation and the corresponding billing records for Medicare and Medicaid services provided at BHS,” according to a release from the hospital.
The investigation was conducted by Harris Beach PLLC Attorneys of Rochester, who was hired by the hospital.
In a statement from Oswego Health, officials acknowledged the hospital received payment for situations where billing records were “not adequately documented.”
Hospital officials stressed that the psychiatrists providing care at the time were independent contractors, not hospital employees, but the release from the hospital notes that officials “discharged appropriate medical and administrative staff.”
Officials declined to say the names or the total number of those independent contractors involved in the billing irregularities, nor did hospital officials state whether any employees at BHS who were not contractors were terminated or disciplined.
The hospital “took immediate action to add internal controls” when the billing discrepancies were discovered, according to a release.
Hospital officials declined, though, to answer specifically whether controls and reviews had been in place for BHS prior to the investigation, nor did officials answer specifically what new controls were added.
Instead, Duggan stated that “Oswego Hospital maintains significant internal controls that manage the complex and ever-changing federal and state regulations related to reimbursement for health services. Oswego Hospital used this event as an opportunity to strengthen its internal controls at BHS, as well as through the health system.”
Hospital officials also declined to speculate on any future action that could be taken by federal or state authorities. Efforts to speak with state or federal officials were unsuccessful by press time.
The billing situation at BHS — which had a gross billing of more than $50 million during the time frame examined in the investigation — didn’t impact services for patients, according to hospital officials.
The settlement comes at a time of transition for the hospital as Chief Operating Officer Ann Gilpin abruptly announced her retirement on June 30. She had served as C.E.O. since 2007.
According to Duggan, Gilpin had actively supported a resolution to the issue.
“It’s important to note that we did the right thing by contacting the appropriate state and federal agencies with our findings in this matter,” said Duggan
By Matthew Reitz
Collectors of the locally made shotguns that helped put Fulton on the map will flock to the city this month for a weekend of nostalgia, sport and fun.
The L.C. Smith Collectors Association and Friends of Fulton History will host the fifth annual Hunter Arms Homecoming the weekend of August 21.
Les Weldin, a member of both the L.C. Smith Collectors Association and Friends of Fulton History, said the event was created to promote L.C. Smith shotguns, safe firearm practices and collecting and preserving the history of the Hunter Arms factory and L.C. Smith guns.
The event is open to the public, and allows collectors, shooters and other enthusiasts to share stories and display their L.C. Smith shotguns, which were produced in Fulton from the 1890s to the middle of the 20th century. Trap, skeet and five-stand shooting competitions, in which participants use L.C. Smith shotguns, will take place at the Pathfinder Fish & Game Club on Crescent Road in Fulton. An awards banquet for those competitions and displays will take place Saturday at Tavern on the Lock. Flac lossless download here. best music portal!
The history of the Hunter Arms Company began in 1877, when W.H. Baker and Company started making the Baker Three-Barrel Gun in Lisle, N.Y. Two years later, Baker formed a partnership with L.C. Smith to begin manufacturing the weapon in Syracuse, and by 1888, Smith had taken over the company and sold it to John Hunter Sr. of Fulton. A year later, a factory in Fulton was completed and L.C. Smith guns were being manufactured by the Hunter Arms Company.
Weldin said the factory was on the east side of the Oswego River just north of where the Oneida Street Bridge sits. Weldin said Hunter Arms produced L.C. Smith shotguns of various grades, from a basic “field grade” to the “deluxe grade,” which Weldin said had “intricate etchings with gold inlays.”
More than 500,000 L.C. Smith guns were produced in 25 different grades and variations, but most of them were “field grade,” which Weldin said sold for about $25. He said there were only 37 “deluxe grade” shotguns made, and those sold for around $1,000.
The L.C. Smith brand competed with some of the best English- and Belgian-made shotguns, according to Weldin. He said it was known as “the best American side-lock” or “the gun that never shoots loose.” Weldin said the guns were owned by many famous Americans, such as Humphrey Bogart, Teddy Roosevelt and Clark Cable, and have become valuable collector’s items over the years, with some valued over $200,000.
The Hunter Arms Company employed around 400 people at its peak, and is a “big part” of Fulton history, according to Weldin. Ownership of the Fulton factory changed hands on several occasions, but production of the L.C. Smith guns remained in the city until the late 1940s when a section of the first floor of the factory collapsed, and was not rebuild.
“By this time, pump shotguns and automatics were coming out and could be produced with interchanging parts,” Weldin said. “They were made so easily and cheaply that the market changed.”
On Tuesday, Mayor Ron Woodward Sr. was to deliver a proclamation during the Common Council meeting declaring Aug. 22 Hunter Arms Homecoming Day in Fulton.
To learn more about the event contact Weldin at weldinj@gmail or call the John Wells Pratt House museum at 598-4616.
By Matthew Reitz
The “Hometown Heroes” concert will take place August 15 at the Bullhead Point pavilion on state Route 3 beginning at 6 p.m.
Lee describes himself as “basically a huge patriot” and said he’s honored to play for the veterans and first responders who “keep us safe.”
Lee is “living the American dream,” he says, by being able to do what he loves for a living. The Altoona, Pa. native said giving back to veterans is something he strives to do, and working with veterans and non-profits is rewarding. A large portion of Lee’s performances — he said about 50 percent — are geared toward veterans. He said “music is a very powerful and tremendous tool,” and the performances are just his way of trying to give back.
“There are a lot of veterans out there that need our support,” Lee said. “They’ve done a lot.”
After spending much of his time playing concerts for veterans, Lee decided to give back in another way, pursuing music therapy to help veterans dealing post-traumatic stress, depression and other issues.
“We don’t know what they’ve been through, what they’ve seen,” Lee said.
Music therapy has been used across the country as an effective tool to help veterans struggling to cope with PTSD, and Lee hopes that he can get other musicians to follow his lead. Our partners professional video equipment.
“It’s a different type of treatment and it could have a tremendous impact,” Lee said. “This is what they need.”
The therapy gives them something else to focus on, Lee said, and it “lets them know someone cares.”
Lee is currently in the middle of his “Small Town America Tour” aimed at “encouraging small town pride,” and he said Fulton caught his eye. While visiting the city recently, he thought to himself “this is small town America, let’s put on a show (here),” he told the Valley News
“Small-town America is what built this country,” Lee said. “We’ve got to keep patriotism alive so freedom never dies.”
By Matthew Reitz
The G. Ray Bodley High School class of 1975, which celebrated its 40-year class reunion over the weekend, gathered at Recreation Park on Saturday to remember their deceased classmates and celebrate their fundraising efforts toward the park’s improvements.
Friends of Fulton Parks board member Kelley Weaver said the class was able to raise $3,175 for improvements to the park, which is in part being used for a new sign located near the Chestnut Street entrance and a bench dedicated to their classmates who have passed away.
Colleen Madigan, now living in Virginia, organized the fundraiser and challenged a corporate sponsor to match the class’ donation. She also called on other classes to follow the group’s lead and contribute to the park’s restoration.
Madigan said she received $300 more on Saturday with “many more promises.” Additional funding will go toward the upcoming renovation of the park’s pavilion. Madigan said the park, which is adjacent to the school, meant a lot to her and her classmates when they were young. She spoke with optimism about the renovations at the park and the ongoing cleanup of Lake Neatahwanta. Madigan said the fundraising and reunion “went really well,” and the class was thinking about meeting once a year to stay involved. Attorney in New York.
“Everybody wants to be involved,” Madigan said, “and we agreed we want to do more for the park.”
Recreation Park is undergoing a three-phase project that will restore the pavilion and update playground equipment. Weaver said this campaign “is an example of how much Recreation Park means to past and present residents of Fulton.”
“They have great memories from the park and they appreciate their Fulton childhood,” Weaver said. “They would like to help pass that along for the next generation to have the opportunity to make their own fond memories in the park.”
Anyone who would like to volunteer for the project or with fundraising can contact Friends of Fulton Parks at FriendsofFultonParks@gmail.com.