County Envirothon takes to the woods Thursday

By Ashley M. Casey

Bring your boots: rain or shine, young nature enthusiasts will be facing off tomorrow at the Oswego County Envirothon, held at Jellystone Park in Mexico.

Since 1991, the Oswego County Soil and Water Conservation District has sponsored the county’s Envirothon, a hands-on test of high school students’ knowledge of forestry, aquatics, soils, wildlife and current environmental issues.

The county winner goes on to the New York state competition. Last year’s county champion, Altmar-Parish-Williamstown, came in 11th of 49 teams at the state Envirothon.

“(Envirothon) encourages students to be more in tune with the environment and the natural resources in the county,” said Erica Schreiner, district educator of the Oswego County Soil and Water Conservation District and Envirothon Coordinator.

The competition consists of five 30-minute exams with 25 questions, plus a video presentation submitted prior to the event.

Teams of five students must properly identify trees, analyze soil and perform other tasks to demonstrate their environmental knowledge. Schools can send two teams of five with up to two alternates.

Local experts in each field create a new test for each subject each year. This year, the Oswego County branch of Cornell Cooperative Extension is covering the current issue of sustainable local agriculture.

Schreiner said Envirothon is an outdoorsy outlet to keep students engaged.

“It sparks their interest in something and gives them something to belong to,” she said. “It’s a great hands-on event.”

Some Envirothon participants pursue the interest after high school.

“A lot of them do go on to ESF (SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry) at Syracuse and other environmental colleges,” Schreiner said.

Jamie Hefti, adviser of two Envirothon teams at Pulaski, said one of his graduating senior “stars” will study biology at Harvard University and another is headed to Clarkson University for environmental engineering.

He said the competition’s individual focus helps prepares students for college, especially the oral video presentation.

“It’s so self-directed. It’s on them,” Hefti said. “When I watched them prepare for the oral part of it, I think it’s the most truly applicable skill for preparing for college that there is in high school.”

Hefti said he has a study area in his classroom for students to visit and borrow materials when they have a free period during the day. The students each become an “expert” on one of the subjects and coach each other.

“It’s really an awesome thing to observe,” he said.

Roxane Thormann and her husband, Rich, led the APW team to a surprise victory last year. The Thormanns volunteered to coach APW’s Envirothon team after their daughter’s beloved science teacher retired. Roxane Thormann said she and her husband, who are not teachers, faced a “big learning curve” in coaching the kids in environmental science.

“We were awestruck,” Thormann said of the 2013 win, which was APW’s first Oswego County Envirothon victory. “We didn’t have any idea we had it in us. (The team was) just flabbergasted.”

Catherine Celeste and Billie Jo Peterson are the co-advisers of the environmental club at Oswego High School The club is open to students in grades seven through 12, so it provides a “feeder group” of middle schoolers preparing for the high school Envirothon team.

“I have a lot of younger kids … getting some of the preparation long before they have a chance to compete in it,” Celeste said.

In addition to the Envirothon, Oswego’s environmental club focuses on eco-tourism, fundraising and cleaning up around the district.

“We hope, bottom line, that there’s a better appreciation for nature, and we want our students to be better earth stewards,” Celeste said. “Every year they’re going to Envirothon, I know they’re learning something they didn’t know before.”

She said her students have worked hard to prepare for Envirothon.

“I’m proud that we can get students who put the time in,” she said.

Missing from tomorrow’s competition is ten-time consecutive winner G. Ray Bodley High School. The Fulton school is not fielding a team this year. Bodley last won in 2012, but was ousted last year by APW.

“Due to new duties and responsibilities, I relinquished the helm and it just didn’t transfer well for the students,” former GRB Envirothon adviser Dan Mainville told The Valley News in an email. “Sadly there just wasn’t enough interest this year. Maybe next year.”

“We will definitely miss them, but it opens up opportunities for other schools to win,” Schreiner said of Bodley’s absence from the competition.

“It opens the door a little bit for us,” Celeste said. “My students are a little more motivated now because they feel they can be more competitive.”

“There’s always someone to replace Fulton,” Thormann said. “I’m sure there’s someone who wants to knock us off the pedestal. All the teams are tough.”

Lois Helyn Brackett, former school bus driver

Lois Helyn Brackett, 70, died Saturday, April 26, 2014, at the home of her daughter in Palmyra.

Calling hours were April 29 at the Paul L. Murphy & Sons Funeral Home, 127 E. Miller St., Newark. Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday April 30 (today) at the funeral home with Rev. Brian Maag officiating. Burial will follow in Newark Cemetery.

Memorials, in her name, may be made to the Cracker Box Palace, 6450 Shaker Road, Alton, New York 14413 or the American Cancer Society, 1120 South Goodman Street, Rochester, New York 14620.

Lois was born Nov. 7. 1943 in Paducah, Kentucky, the daughter of Laurance H. and Lois Helyn Ritchie Paquette.

She was a 1962 graduate of Fulton High School and had taken courses at the Community College of the Finger Lakes in Canandaigua. She was a member of the Woodlane Community Church.

Lois drove bus for the Newark School District, before her 29 year career as office manager at Paradise Veterinary Practice in Marion.  She competed in Dog Agility competitions and had won many ribbons.  Lois was proprietor of Glamor Paws Grooming and also bred, raised and trained horses.

Lois was dedicated to her family and is survived by her son Tim (Kathy) Brackett of Manchester; two daughters Tammy (Jean) Brackett of Alfred and Tara (Gary) Carr of Palmyra; her eight perfect grandchildren, as she would say, Christopher, Sara, Emily and Clavin Brackett, McKenna Jaden, Trentyn Carr and Samanatha Sims; her sister Janet (Charles) Giarratano of Newark; and her devoted dog Bella.

She was predeceased by her loving companion Donald VanHoute on Jan. 31, 2014.

murphyandsonsfuneralhome.com

Altmar woman dies in Thursday crash

An Altmar woman died Wednesday in a crash in the town of Albion.

Oswego County Sheriff’s Deputies said Andrea M. Raszi, 29, of State Soute 13, was driving her Chevrolet Venture east on State Route 13 near Austin Road at about 3:37 a.m. Thursday when she struck a guardrail and was ejected from the vehicle.

She was alone in the car.

She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Unsafe speed, no seatbelt, crossing hazardous markings and alcohol were contributing factor to the accident, deputies said.

Members of the Oswego County Sheriff’s Office, NOCA Ambulance, Altmar Fire Department and Williamstown Fire Department responded to scene.

The investigation is continuing.

Interns open new copy center in Oswego

iHeart Oswego Interns create and develop the new copy and print center Copies In Time which opened April 24. From left are Emily Chambers, Molly Darrow and Elizabeth Shepherd.
iHeart Oswego Interns create and develop the new copy and print center Copies In Time which opened April 24. From left are Emily Chambers, Molly Darrow and Elizabeth Shepherd.

Copies In Time, Oswego’s newest copy and print center, offers an array of services aimed at meeting the needs of virtually everyone that walks through the door.

Located in the iHeart Corp Incubator building at 29 W. Seneca St., Copies In Time is locally owned and operated, offering Oswego residents the option to shop locally without giving up competitive pricing.

SUNY Oswego Intern Elizabeth Shepherd says the idea is to “provide not only quality service and low prices, but convenience for customers as well.” Copies In Time will open early or stay open late by request in an attempt to meet the demands of all customers.

Development, planning and promotion for the launch of Copies In Time was provided by three SUNY Oswego students interning at iHeart Oswego through the college’s Experience Based Education program: Elizabeth Shepherd, Emily Chambers and Molly Darrow and led by Victoria Gailinas of iHeart Oswego.

“With advancements in technology such as computers and the Internet, people are forgetting the power of print media,” Chambers said. “In addition, the high quality printers generate a product much better than any home printer.”

The company byline, “Color is Everything,” refers to the exceptional quality of the prints produced by the company’s cutting edge equipment.

Copies In Time provides copy services including copies ranging in size from 8.5”x 11” to 11”x 17,” banners, brochures, posters, programs, and more.

Copies start at 8 cents each for black and white and 39 cent apiece for color. Finishing services such as binding and stapling are available as well.

The owners plan to have the store open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and noon to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. It also will be open by appointment for business owners or students.

For more information, visit CopiesInTime.com, on Facebook, or call 402-6623.

WRVO wins Murrow Award

SUNY Oswego-based WRVO Public Media earned a 2014 regional Edward R. Murrow Award from the Radio Television Digital News Association for “New York in the World,” a documentary based on research by famed broadcast journalist the late Garrick Utley, who was SUNY Oswego senior fellow and professor of broadcasting and journalism. From left are WRVO news director Catherine Loper, documentary producer Sidsel Overgaard and senior producer Mark Lavonier.
SUNY Oswego-based WRVO Public Media earned a 2014 regional Edward R. Murrow Award from the Radio Television Digital News Association for “New York in the World,” a documentary based on research by famed broadcast journalist the late Garrick Utley, who was SUNY Oswego senior fellow and professor of broadcasting and journalism. From left are WRVO news director Catherine Loper, documentary producer Sidsel Overgaard and senior producer Mark Lavonier.

Submitted by SUNY Oswego

“New York in the World,” a documentary produced by SUNY Oswego-based WRVO Public Media, has won a 2014 regional Edward R. Murrow Award from the Radio Television Digital News Association.

The association has honored outstanding achievements in electronic journalism with the Murrow Awards since 1971.

Award recipients demonstrate the spirit of excellence that Murrow set as a standard for the profession of electronic journalism.

The hourlong “New York in the World” was produced by Sidsel Overgaard, a nationally recognized public radio reporter and contributor to WRVO; Mark Lavonier, senior producer; and Catherine Loper, director of news and public affairs.

The late Garrick Utley, who was a veteran journalist and SUNY Oswego senior fellow and professor of broadcasting and journalism, hosted the show and spent much of last year collaborating on and working to produce the documentary.

“We received the news that WRVO was awarded the Edward R. Murrow Award for ‘New York in the World’ with a mixture of great pride and deep sadness that collaborator and narrator Garrick Utley, one of the most distinguished international journalists of his era, will share the honor posthumously, having succumbed to cancer in February,” General Manager Michael S. Ameigh said.

Ameigh describes “New York in the World” as Utley’s project.

The documentary is based on research Utley commissioned as head of the SUNY Levin Institute, which promotes thoughtful engagement and an active response to globalization and its impact on New York state.

“That he invited WRVO to produce the documentary is in itself profoundly gratifying,” Ameigh said.

“New York in the World” shares stories of union workers in Buffalo, fashion designers in New York City and farmers in the Finger Lakes — all talking about how they’ve found a place amid the current economic realities.

In this era of globalization, no other state has benefited as much and suffered as much as New York, the documentary said. The documentary chronicles residents’ lives and their futures by examining the bonuses, bailouts and wealth on Wall Street; the remains of once-mighty manufacturing littering Upstate New York; and more.

To hear the documentary or read a transcript, visit http://bit.ly/1tytzri.

For more information, call 312-3690 or visit www.wrvo.org.

Minetto Cub Scouts learn first aid

The Minetto Cub Scout Pack 819 went on a “Go See It” to the Minetto Fire Department to learn about first aid. The scouts got a hands-on demonstration with firefighters Dan Buske and Tyler Vosseller showing the scouts what needed to be done in a situation when camping, hiking or riding a bike. Pictured left to right are firefighter Tyler Vosseller,  Jason Rodriguez, Kai Clary, Caden Inch, Logan Inch, Trey Tesoriero and firefighter Dan Buske.
The Minetto Cub Scout Pack 819 went on a “Go See It” to the Minetto Fire Department to learn about first aid. The scouts got a hands-on demonstration with firefighters Dan Buske and Tyler Vosseller showing the scouts what needed to be done in a situation when camping, hiking or riding a bike. Pictured left to right are firefighter Tyler Vosseller,
Jason Rodriguez, Kai Clary, Caden Inch, Logan Inch, Trey Tesoriero and firefighter Dan Buske.

Program to cut smoking in pregnancy begins May 1 in Oswego County

On May 1, a new program called “Smoke Free For My Baby & Me” will be rolled out in Oswego County.

The program supports pregnant women’s efforts to quit using tobacco during their pregnancy and to abstain from smoking after delivery. This program has been made possible thanks to community partnerships and financial support from multiple parties.

The “Smoke Free For My Baby & Me” program will have its primary site at Oswego County OB/GYN and will enroll qualified pregnant women.

Participating women successfully abstaining from smoking will receive diapers for their babies each month. Clinical, online and social media support will be available for these women in their cessation process.

Various measurements will take place throughout the project to evaluate the programs’ success. For more information, call Oswego County OB/GYN at 343-2590.

Plans for the program started about a year ago when Oswego County agencies with public health concerns came together via the Rural Health Network. They realized smoking was still a big issue in the county even though smoking rates were dropping across the state.

State data reveals 32 percent of adults smoke in Oswego County as compard to 18 percent in New York state.

Furthermore, a community tobacco survey conducted by Tobacco Free Network indicated young smokers are more willing to quit smoking than their elders, and female smokers are more willing than their male counterparts.

Taking all of this into consideration, this group decided to focus their efforts on smoking cessation during pregnancy, noting this will benefit both the woman and her child(ren).

The Tobacco Free Network, part of the Integrated Community Planning of Oswego County, Inc. had the expertise in addressing tobacco issues; Oswego County OB/GYN wanted to aid smoking women’s cessation efforts as they seek prenatal and postpartum care; the WIC Program of Oswego County Opportunities was naturally making connections with many young women in the county; and faculty from the Department of Communications at SUNY Oswego was willing to provide technical program assessment support.

But money was a problem. Many agencies had seen funding cuts, so no one was sure where the money for this project would come from.

“We can do it as long as we stay together,” said Christina Wilson, executive director of Integrated Community Planning.

The various groups stayed together and the team expanded. Oswego Hospital brought their tobacco cessation counseling experience to the team; the Tobacco Cessation Center at St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center came with a Performance Improvement Project for physicians, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners; the Northern Oswego County Health Services, Inc. approached the team with the vast rural area it serves.

But a lack of money was still the biggest challenge the team faced.

The first breakthrough in securing funds was the successful application for a Community Health Award grant from Excellus BlueCross BlueShield.

The Oswego County Health Department, Oswego County Opportunities and Integrated Community Planning worked together in the application process and the project was one of seven projects selected from more than 60 applications.

Oswego County OB/GYN also successfully applied to Fidelis Care for the purchase of needed equipment. The United Way of Greater Oswego County, Rural Health Network and the Oswego Elks Club came with money to support the diaper incentives for successful program participants.

Most recently, the Oswego County Health Department was notified the New York State Health Foundation will provide up to $26,000 in matching funds to support this project.

The foundation’s mission is to expand health insurance coverage, increase access to high-quality health care services and to improve public and community health.

As the funds were coming, other preparations for “Smoke Free For My Baby & Me” were under way as well.

Integrated Community Planning developed project materials; St. Joseph conducted a training session; the county health department Integrated Community Planning, Oswego OB/GYN, OCO, Oswego Hospital and Northern Oswego County Health Services Inc., now have staff trained; Oswego OB/GYN developed participant applications; SUNY Oswego refined assessment tools.

Everything is ready for the project to launch May 1.

“Partnerships are the best approach to solve many public health issues in the county,” said Jiancheng Huang, Oswego County director of public health.

He noted pregnant women who smoke are only a small portion of smoking adults and the group must not stop here. The county has many public health issues to address; such as childhood and adult obesity, excessive drinking and drug abuse.

“We need broad partnerships like this to get individuals and institutions involved in improving our community health,” he added.

Oswego Health honors volunteers, auxiliary members

Two volunteers at Oswego Hospital were cited during a special volunteer luncheon for the number of hours they have given to the hospital. At left is Maurice “Mo” Laws, who volunteered 3,522 hours this year at Oswego Hospital, nearly double what he volunteered the previous year. At right is Emma Corrdaino, who has volunteered for 28 years, the longest of any volunteer. Standing left are Amy Oralls, who has volunteered for 1,074 hours, more than double the number she volunteered last year. Standing at right is Debbie Hough, who has been a volunteer for 10 years.
Two volunteers at Oswego Hospital were cited during a special volunteer luncheon for the number of hours they have given to the hospital. At left is Maurice “Mo” Laws, who volunteered 3,522 hours this year at Oswego Hospital, nearly double what he volunteered the previous year. At right is Emma Corrdaino, who has volunteered for 28 years, the longest of any volunteer. Standing left are Amy Oralls, who has volunteered for 1,074 hours, more than double the number she volunteered last year. Standing at right is Debbie Hough, who has been a volunteer for 10 years.

Oswego Health recognized its many dedicated volunteers and auxiliary members at a luncheon held during National Volunteer Week.

The health system is fortunate to have nearly 100 volunteers and auxiliary members who devote their time helping to ensure exceptional healthcare is available locally.

At the luncheon, the volunteers were given a small gift in appreciation of their service and Oswego Health President and Chief Executive Officer Ann C. Gilpin showed a video illustrating how completing a small task can lead to big things.

At the luncheon, several members were also recognized for their many years of service.

Residents interested in volunteering at Oswego Health can call Sarah Weigelt at 349-5788.

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