Valley Viewpoints

Loves Fulton library

Congratulations to the residents of Fulton and the surrounding area for your wonderful library.

One of the historic Carnegie libraries, Fulton Public Library is a treasure that was built on the banks of the Oswego River. And, not only do you have a unique and beautiful building, the library has something to offer  almost every citizen.

Libraries are not just about books any more. Library services include access to computers, to databases and to downloadable books and audio books and to the collections of 64 other libraries in the interlibrary loan system.

Fulton Public Library offers programs that range from the celebration of local writers to the joy of children working together in an afterschool Lego club. If your family has history in the area, the Fulton library has cemetery and other recoreds prized by genealogists for research.

This is a story time for preschoolers and an outreach program to the senior housing centers. There are movie shows at the library and guest lectures.

Did you know that in 2013 local residents wrote remembrances of growing up in the area and published a book from a writing program at your library?

There is a lot happening at the library in Fulton, including job searches, tutoring and research. The community is connecting in ways that continually strengthen the very fabric of the area.

I believe libraries provide our best hope for the future because knowledge and information that is available to everyone is too dear to give up.

Noreen Patterson

Phoenix

A job well done

We had a very busy morning meeting with members of the Fulton VFW Post #569 and the Fulton American Legion at Mt. Adnah and St. Mary’s cemeteries in Fulton to help with the placement of flags upon the graves of our local veterans.

We had requested help from the students of Fulton Junior High and G. Ray Bodley High School boys’ lacrosse teams and the Fulton 13-14 indoor and travel boys’ soccer team.

We had about 50-plus students and parents and other Fultonians who met at 9 a.m. to volunteer time to this community event.

It was a wonderful experience to watch the students ranging in age from 13 to 18 years old listen to directions from the man in charge, Mr. John Young, and then begin to place flags, upright the usable flag holders and replace the broken flag holders as they walked the length and width of both cemeteries.

It was equally heartwarming to catch a glimpse of some of the students pausing for a moment and reading several of the headstones and then calling their friends over to show them a unique monument or read an epitaph.

I heard one boy mention, “wow this one was in WWI,”  and others mentioned that they were surprised to see so many people/couples who were married for over 50-plus years (as the years were listed on the individual monuments).

Several also paused to learn about the memorial garden at Mt. Adnah because it didn’t make sense to some of them as to why the stones were set up a little differently than the rest of the cemetery until one of the funeral director’s daughters explained how large caskets were not buried there, but instead smaller urns or containers of individuals who have chosen to be cremated and then buried.

What began as a community service effort turned into a life lesson for many participants. We also saw how the adults would stop for a moment and watch the reactions of the younger people when they saw a stone that may have said, for example, “Going Home,” or “Gone Fishing,”  or how the pictures etched on the stones told a story of a life once lived.

The history of the cemeteries did not go unnoticed as several boys also remarked about the large mausoleums dating back to the 1800s in Mt. Adnah and how they were awesome because they were made like a concrete shelter directly into the hillside.

We ended the morning with pizza and water provided by the Sugar Funeral Home, Inc. and Sugar and Scanlon Funeral Home. We thank the owner of Red Baron Pizza, Fulton and Mr. Wes Dean for going into work on a Sunday — a day off — to make pizzas for our volunteers.

When Mr. Dean learned that students were volunteering to help the local veterans groups he didn’t hesitate to change his plans and help provide lunch.

We at the Sugar Funeral Home, Inc., and Sugar & Scanlon Funeral Home would like to publically thank our local veterans for having served our country and how they continue to serve our community.

We would also like to thank them on our behalf and the behalf of all of the participants of the flag placing. It was truly a wonderful experience and we enjoyed being a part of a small slice of your history.

As a bonus, the veterans  welcomed our help and extended an invitation for us to come back next year to help prepare cemeteries for Memorial Day.

Therefore, thank you all for a job well done.

Sugar and Scanlon

Funeral Home

Fulton

Don’t ask, don’t tell

That is the motto of the Oswego County Legislature.

It’s just a little bit different with them — it is more, ‘if you don’t ask we won’t tell.’ If you do ask, it is like you just committed a capital crime.

Let me explain in as few words as possible.

The last Infrastructure Committee meeting (that is the regular one not the special one), the committee chairman opened the meeting telling us that one item would be added to the agenda. It was a contract approval to change the electrical supplier for the waste treatment plant  on Route 481.

Among the first words out of the department head’s mouth were we are going to save money. He stated we have to change because we have gone through over half the money budgeted for electrical.

With that being said, I asked how much we are going to save. Not a good thing to do. The answer was, I’m not sure.  He gave us some paper work showing us estimated usage for the first 12 months in kwh. (Now that should have been a clue). He stated that it was a one-year contract, saying we would be paying close to 6 cents per kwh used.

It came time to vote. The vote came to me and I said “NO”. One of the other legislators yelled at me saying something like How can you vote NO on saving money? I said I can vote any way I please.

He said something. Then I said you know what, I’m changing my vote to abstain. He said you have to give a reason. I said fine. I don’t know enough about this to vote in favor of it or against it. Maybe you can look at something for five minutes and vote but I can’t.

I took the paperwork home that night and after reading it a little bit closer I read where it went from 2014 to 2016. The next day in the Health Committee meeting I asked the young lady that had taken notes of the Infrastructure meeting if it fact Mr. Visser had said that the contract was for one year or two years. She said he had said it was for one year. Why she asked. I then read her what the contract said. She then said, yeah that is two years.

The next day I called the person representing the new company trying to sell us an electrical contract. I asked him if what I had in front of me was a one-year or a two-year contract. He said it was a two-year contract.

I then called the person in our purchasing department. I asked him if he knew that this was a two-year contract, not a one-year contract. He said no. What makes me say that. I said that I didn’t take advance math. but if I subtract 2014 from 2016 I get two.

He then looked at the proposal in front of him and he said you’re right Frank.

I said this was not presented to us properly it should have been presented showing how much we paid last year and how much we should pay this year under the new plan. It wasn’t and therefore I can’t support it.

Now we may very well save some money, but with penalties for over use and possible penalties for under use, it is in doubt.

Well low and behold, they held a special meeting on a day I couldn’t attend and passed it changing it to a two-year contract.

Now I would say that each and every one of these legislators had a field day when Nancy Pelosi  said, “We have to pass the bill so we can find out what is in it.” Most people put it a different way. They said vote now, read it later.

This in fact is what the Republican caucus in the Oswego County Legislature seems to have done here and most of the time.

So again it comes down to “Don’t Ask and We Won’t Tell,” but if you do ask, we may not be able to tell.

Now you know why the county is heading straight to the Blue Boy.

Frank Castiglia Jr.

Fulton

Oswego County

Legislator 25th district

OCO installs new board officers

Executive Director of Oswego County Opportunities Diane Cooper-Currier, right, announced the installation of the new slate of officers for OCO’s board of directors at OCO’s annual meeting April 23 at Springside at Seneca Hill. From left are: Vice President Debra Turner; Treasurer Ron Darrow; Board President, Connie Cosemento; Secretary, Terry Bennett; Past President, Joe Caruana; and Diane Cooper-Currier.
Executive Director of Oswego County Opportunities Diane Cooper-Currier, right, announced the installation of the new slate of officers for OCO’s board of directors at OCO’s annual meeting April 23 at Springside at Seneca Hill. From left are: Vice President Debra Turner; Treasurer Ron Darrow; Board President, Connie Cosemento; Secretary, Terry Bennett; Past President, Joe Caruana; and Diane Cooper-Currier.

Karate class supports Make-A-Wish

Here are some of the karate students, and their teacher, who helped raise money for Make-A-Wish. Front left to right: Allen Michael Borasky, Tyler Bertrand, Aiden Brewster, Back: Taylor Bonoffski, Sensei Suzanne Summerville
Here are some of the karate students, and their teacher, who helped raise money for Make-A-Wish. Front left to right: Allen Michael Borasky, Tyler Bertrand, Aiden Brewster, Back: Taylor Bonoffski, Sensei Suzanne Summerville

Students from the Fulton YMCA’s karate class helped raise money for Make-a-Wish by holding a kick-a-thon. 

Sensei Suzanne Summerville held the event with her classes April 29 (World Wish Day) and May 1. Continue reading

ARISE cleans Rowlee Beach Park

Staff and volunteers from ARISE who helped clean Rowlee Beach Park included, from left to right, Mike Moss, Jim Karasek, Kristen Drumm, Elizabeth Weimer, Marjorie Yerdon, Christine Ward, Kris Rabideau and Jim Cronk.
Staff and volunteers from ARISE who helped clean Rowlee Beach Park included, from left to right, Mike Moss, Jim Karasek, Kristen Drumm, Elizabeth Weimer, Marjorie Yerdon, Christine Ward, Kris Rabideau and Jim Cronk.

On Thursday, April 24 a team of staff members and volunteers from ARISE’s Oswego offices arrived at Rowlee Beach Park in Fulton to help clean up the park.

The wind was brisk and made it feel like the upper 30s instead of the “balmy” upper 40s that it was. Continue reading

Fulton annexes Granby wastewater treatment plant

By Ashley M. Casey

The state Supreme Court Appellate Division has ruled in favor of the city of Fulton’s petition to annex the Granby wastewater treatment plant.

The decision was announced May 9 and the annexation was made official May 15.

Three appellate judges upheld state Supreme Court Justice James McCarthy’s May 2013 ruling that the annexation is “in the public interest.” Continue reading

State Street United Methodist Church begins public capital campaign

The Rev. Marion Moore-Colgan of State Street United Methodist Church sings a hymn during Saturday's service kicking off the public capital campaign.
The Rev. Marion Moore-Colgan of State Street United Methodist Church sings a hymn during Saturday’s service kicking off the public capital campaign. At left is a tube showing how much money has been raised to date.

By Debra J. Groom

State Street United Methodist Church in Fulton has reached out many times to help people in the Fulton community.

Now, people in the Fulton community are being asked to help the church.

The historic brick building at South Fourth and Park streets is in need of a new roof and other repairs. On Saturday, church officials and the congregation kicked off a capital campaign to raise $250,000 with a service and celebration at the church.

Politicians and officials who use the church building spoke about what State Street church means to them and why keeping it open is so vital to Fulton.

“Two years ago this July, we came to this church,” said Nancy Fox, director of CNY Arts Center in Fulton. “We needed a home and they worked with us and helped us.”

The CNY Arts Center now runs a summer camp, children’s theater program, an afterschool drama club and other art events at the church. The center’s administrative offices also are in the church building, allowing it to use a space downtown on South First Street as the Arts in the HeART gallery.

“The church gave us a roof over our heads,” she said. “Now the church needs a roof.”

Mayor Ronald Woodward Sr. said State Street church holds a fond spot in his heart – nearly 46 years ago, he and his wife stood at the State Street church altar and exchanged marriage vows.

“This church is so willing to give – there is such a unique group here that has opened their hearts to youth,” he said. “And to have a place that is on the historic register makes it all worth it.”

Tom Moore, owner of Synergistic Martial Arts, said he ran a martial arts school in Syracuse for years, but wanted to open one in his hometown of Fulton. He had no idea how and where he would be able to do it.

“I called around to various places and State Street was the only one who called back and wanted to work with me,” he said. “I wouldn’t be able to teach what I teach without State Street.”

“This church and other churches I the city are the foundation for everything that happens in this community,” said county Legislator Frank Castiglia Jr,. fondly remembering he took horn lessons in the church basement as a child. “This church is part of Fulton’s past – but we need this church to move to the future.”

To date, the church has raise about $165,000 of the $250,000 through donations and some grants.

And now it need help from the community.

“We have put an awful lot of work into this and we are just getting started,” said the Rev. Marion M. Moore-Colgan, pastor.

“A successful campaign will mike it possible for State Street UMC to replace the church’s badly eroded roof and make other essential repairs to this Fulton historic landmark,” said Barbara Camic, co-chair of the campaign with Mike Stafford.

Church officials announced Saturday State Street church has received a  $35,000 Sacred Sites Wilson Challenge Grant from the New York State Conservancy.

“We are thrilled to have received this wonderful,competitive grant,” Camic said. ”State Street will be required to match $20,000 of this grant over the next 12 months, but we are confident we can do just that.”

 The campaign also has two other special giving opportunities, made possible by longtime friend and generous supporter Bill Fivaz.

Fivaz will match 1:1 the first 10 gifts of $500 or more and fund a permanent plaque, to be placed in a prominent location in the church, that will list both the names of those who make gifts of $500 or more in honor of someone involved with State Street church or anyone a donor chooses.

Founded in 1890, State Street United Methodist Church has long played a prominent role in the Fulton community. In 2013, State Street was added to both the New York State and National Registers of Historic Places in recognition of its architectural value.

Great Bear vandalized

By Debra J. Groom

The Great Bear Recreation Area has been vandalized twice in the last month, officials say.

John Florek, who runs the Fulton water works, said the weekend of May 3-4, the kiosk where people sign in and pick up brochures was kicked in and damaged. The weekend of May 17-18, the light near the kiosk was damaged by a rock.

“We know the people who are doing this are not coming in the front gate, but coming in from the perimeter,” Florek said. “We are talking about putting up a camera there so we can catch these discourteous people.”

Great Bear consists of 275 acres of trails and beautiful scenes that people like to view. Florek said on most weekends at least 50 cars are parked there as people take to the trails.

The property also houses six drinking water wells for the city of Fulton. The city owns the property even though it lies in the towns of Volney and Schroeppel.

Florek said this was the first time in about two years that the area has been vandalized. He said it “would be in the city’s best interest” to prosecute the individuals once they are caught.

Richard Drosse, of Friends of Great Bear, said some of the areas vandalized were Eagle Scout and Cub Scout projects.

Nearly all school budgets in the state pass

Here is news from the New York State School Boards Association:

New York state voters approved 98.3 percent of school district budgets on Tuesday, May 20, according to an analysis by the New York State School Boards Association.

“School districts received a much-deserved pat-on-the-back from voters for their efforts to trim budgets and still maintain momentum on raising academic standards for students,” said NYSSBA Executive Director Timothy G. Kremer. “Low tax levy increases buoyed by a healthy state aid increase in many districts helped drive success at the polls.”

Initial statewide results gathered by NYSSBA indicate voters passed 652 school district budgets. The number of budgets defeated was 11. NYSSBA was still awaiting results for 13 districts. Continue reading

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