Connecting with customers focus of May 1 meeting

Conklin
Conklin

When it comes to embracing products and services, To succeed as entrepreneurs, people must differentiate themselves and rise above the clutter to connect with customers and clients.

Susan Conklin will show how to find opportunities to connect with our customers and clients at the next Women’s Network for Entrepreneurial Training’s (WNET) monthly breakfast meeting at 8 a.m., Thursday, May 1, at the SUNY Oswego Phoenix Center in the Oswego County Industrial Park, Phoenix (exit 14, State Route 481).

This presentation focuses on using process mapping to identify opportunities to add value to your customers’ experience, by understanding how and when to effectively make contact.

Conklin is a university-level instructor, consultant, trainer and coach.

Owner of Concentric Personal and Professional Growth, she uses her 20 years of corporate experience managing people and projects to design and facilitate training programs that improve business performance.

The cost for each seminar is $12 for members and $15 for non-members.

The WNET annual (Sept. 2013-Aug.2014) membership cost is $25. Each seminar includes a light breakfast.

Pre-registration is required. Call Operation Oswego County, weekdays, at 343-1545, or via e-mail elivoti@oswegocounty.org.

Porky and Buddy: How to find a lost pet

Dear Jo and all of our readers,

Last week we offered some advice to Jo about precautions she could take to prevent her new dog becoming lost.

This week we want to talk about what to do if the worst case scenario happens and your dog comes up missing.

First, panic! Then get over that and start working.

(You might also want to feel guilty, but you don’t have time at first, so save that for later.)

There are many steps you can take to locate your missing dog. Swift action coupled with major neighborhood networking, will increase the odds. The key is to get the information out to as many people and places as you can.

So enlist the help of friends, family and neighbors in your search.

Knock on doors and talk to the people in your own neighborhood first. Cover at least a three-block radius, or if you are in a rural area, go to the nearest neighbors.

Hand out flyers with your pet’s picture on them, the date of loss and your phone number, and offer a reward..

Give copies of your flyers to veterinarians, groomers, trainers, pet stores, the post office, the grocery store and any place that gets neighborhood traffic and ask them to put them up. There is very good advice about how to turn your flyers into effective posters here.

Contact all of the Animal and Dog Control Officers, and all animal rescue groups, including the Oswego County Humane Society, in a 20-mile radius.

Visit the local shelters in person, bring a picture and ask to see their animals. Don’t give a description over the phone; descriptions can be misinterpreted. Go back every couple of days.

Don’t assume that your Animal or Dog Control Officer will be looking for you. Under New York Law, they are required to hold the pets they find for five business days to give you time to find them.

If your pet has no identification (or has lost it), the god control officers and animal control officers who may have found your pet have no resources to conduct a search for you but they do love to reunite pets with their owners. So keep contacting them.

Many local newspapers and shopping guides allow free “Lost and Found” ads. Also check the newspaper listings for Found Dogs and Cats. Some people look only in the local newspaper to locate an animal’s owner..

You can often register your pet online on services such as the online newspapers and Craig’slist and even upload a picture.

You should also search the “found” section of these same online services.  There are also online lost pet recovery services that charge a fee. One is petamberalert.com.

Do it all again and again …

Don’t give up. Lost pets have been found weeks, months, and occasionally years after they go missing. Good luck!

When you find your missing best friend, that is when you can indulge in guilty feelings, but you won’t want to because you are so relieved.

Speaking of guilt, the Oswego County Humane Society is always in need of dry cat and kitten food for its foster cats and for low income families in our county.

There will be a collection cart at the Fulton Price Chopper until May 4. Stop by to chat with Oswego County Humane Society volunteers and make a donation if you can.

The Oswego County Humane Society provides spay/neuter services and assistance, fostering and adoption of animals in urgent need, humane education programs, and information and referrals to animal lovers throughout Oswego County.

Our office is located at 265 W. First St., Oswego, New York. Phone is 207-1070. Email is ochscontact@hotmail.com. Website is  oswegohumane.org.

Tidy up Fort Ontario May 3

Tidying up Fort Ontario is the focus of I Love My Park Day May 3.

I Love My Park Day is a statewide event to improve and enhance New York’s state parks and historic sites.

Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. with work to start by 9 a.m. There will be assignments available for all ages and abilities.

Projects scheduled include:

Readying buildings – sweeping, dusting, mopping and returning exhibits to buildings from storage;

Painting – exterior of Officer Quarters’ privy as well as the fort’s many benches; and

Landscaping/clean-up –trimming of hedges and bushes inside the old fort, weeding and mulching flowerbeds in parking lots, cleaning up sticks, branches, and winter debris throughout the grounds, edging  sidewalks and pulling young weeds that grow among the stonework of the old fort.

Those interested in volunteering for any of Fort Ontario’s I LOVE MY PARK DAY projects may pre-register at www.ptny.org/ilovemypark, or by emailing Jenny Emmons, event coordinator, at jenny.emmons@parks.ny.gov or calling 343-4711.

Valley Viewpoints: Difficult choices for Oswego schools

This time of year, which is a season of fresh air, new growth, and our emergence from winter hibernation has also become “budget season” for public schools.   

Financial plans for public schools are built on a delicate balance between reasonable expenditures, and revenue from state aid and taxes.  The balance produces an academic and extra-curricular program in well maintained facilities that a community can support and be proud of.

When that balance is not struck and expenditures do not match your revenue, the difficult task begins. In the nine years I have served as a superintendent of schools, I have to say this season has proven to be the most difficult.

In finding balance with the proposed budget for the 2014-2015 school year, the district leaders and members of the board of education have worked diligently to craft a spending plan that is efficient yet supportive of our educational mission.

On April 23, the school board approved a spending plan of $79.9 million that is reflective of a 2 percent increase over this year’s spending plan.

Because our revenue is not balanced with our current expenditures, we had to make reductions of over $2 million. This task was difficult and we relied on close analysis of every department, building and program within the district.

In the end, we realized we are heavy on staffing for a district with declining enrollment and we had excessive costs in many areas that could be reduced.

The result is a reduction in staffing of over 27 positions and a reduction of over $500,000 in departmental expenses.

These decisions were difficult, but necessary. Our focus was to have reductions in areas that will have little or no impact to our students.

I believe that when students return in September they will have very little if any impact to their experience. Cuts and reductions were made based first and foremost on enrollment, and we used attrition to eliminate 12 of the 27 staffing reductions.

By following this guide, we were able to reduce our budget, protect our programs and craft a proposed budget that makes us a more efficient organization while still providing an academic and extra-curricular program of which the Oswego community can be proud.

Over the next several weeks, as your Superintendent of Schools, I will be presenting the budget to various groups and answering questions to inform our community of the budget proposal.

On May 20 the community will be asked to vote on this proposal.  I would be happy to speak with you or your organization as well and I welcome your feedback as we go through this process.

Thank you for your support of our students and school district and I hope you enjoy the spring season as it is intended.

Ben Halsey
Oswego City School District
Superintendent of Schools

State Senate Report

By state Sen. Patricia Ritchie

From camping and hiking to picnics and water sports, New York state parks provide the perfect venue for almost any outdoor activity.

Because our parks are such important natural resources, it’s so important that we protect them and keep them pristine.

That’s the goal of the third annual  “I Love My Park Day,” a statewide event taking place on May 3rd that aims to improve and enhance New York’s state parks and historic sites.

Through I Love My Park Day, thousands of volunteers from across the state will head out to beautify participating parks and historic sites by doing things such as cleaning up lands and beaches, planting trees and gardens, restoring trails and wildlife habits and working on other improvement projects.

There are more than 80 I Love my Park Day events taking place across New York State this year. To register to volunteer at a park or historic site near you, visit the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation’s website at www.nysparks.com.

If you’re someone who enjoys the outdoors and frequents our state’s many parks and historic sites, you’ll be pleased to know that the new state budget makes key investments that will help to protect and enhance New York’s natural resources as well as support important environmental initiatives that create jobs, boost tourism and benefit communities across our state.

Contained in the new spending plan is a $9 million increase to the Environmental Protection Fund, bringing the total funding to $162 million which will help to protect open spaces, restore historic sites, control invasive species, create and enhance parks as well as support numerous other projects related to the environment.

In addition, the new state budget also includes an additional $132.5 million in NY Works funding for improvements to parks and historic sites and environmental resiliency efforts.

While the state budget goes a long way to support our state’s parks and historic sites, there’s a lot more that can be done — and you can lend a hand. By volunteering at I Love My Park Day, you can help to preserve and beautify these important resources for future generations.

Editor’s Note: One of the clean-up events will be at Fort Ontario State Historic Site in Oswego. See story below.

View from the Assembly

By state Assemblyman Will Barclay

New York state has the unfortunate distinction of being a high cost-of-living state, and when it comes to auto insurance, New York lives up to its reputation.

Our auto insurance rates are among the highest in the nation. Although there are several reasons for our high rates, fraud plays a large part.

According to the state Department of Financial Services, the agency that oversees insurance in our state, about 36 percent of all auto insurance claims contain some element of fraud, resulting in higher e premiums for everyone.

New York state requires motorists carry a minimum of auto insurance that covers bodily injury and property damage and provides for no-fault coverage.

Because this insurance is mandatory, I believe the state has a special interest in ensuring state motorists’ rates accurately reflect an insurance company’s underlying costs.

When fraud is added into the formula however, it perverts this calculation and creates higher insurance costs for all motorists.

According to the Insurance Information Institute, no-fault fraud and abuse in New York state cost consumers and insurers about $229 million in 2009. The Institute further reports that when this extra cost of fraud is calculated on a per claim basis, it adds $1,644 per claim, or 22.4 percent of the cost.

According to the state Department of Financial Services, no-fault insurance fraud takes many forms. It occurs when (i) a driver and a body shop worker agree to inflate the auto damage claim and share the “profit,” (ii) a doctor bills an insurer for services that were not provided, or (iii) a driver stages a fake accident, and unscrupulous doctors and lawyers help “handle” the medical claims and lawsuits.

To combat this fraud and, hopefully as a result, reduce auto insurance premiums for policyholders, I have introduced the New York Automobile Insurance Fraud and Premium Reduction Act.

This legislation provides a comprehensive solution to no-fault auto fraud by addressing the issue from all sides. While there are many facets of this legislation, four of the legislation’s major provisions are as follows.

First, in effort to combat fictitious or unnecessary medical treatment usually emanating from a staged accident, my legislation would direct the establishment of medical guidelines to be employed in the evaluation and treatment of injuries sustained in any auto accident. It also requires pre-certification for certain treatments and equipment to curb fraudulent over-utilization of medical treatments.

Second, the legislation creates a monetary incentive of between 15 percent and 25 percent of an amount recovered (up to $25,000) for persons who report suspected insurance fraud to law enforcement authorities.

Third, to make people think twice before committing no-fault fraud, my legislation expands the definition of insurance fraud and increases penalties for insurance fraud violations.

Finally, to ensure that whatever reduced costs insurers receive as a result of the enactment of this legislation are passed on to the policyholders, my legislation requires the Superintendent of Insurance to recommend an appropriate one-time no-fault premium reduction for every insurer, by rating territory, equivalent to the insurers’ cost savings. This recommendation would be binding on insurers unless the insurer can show that such a reduction would result in an underwriting loss.

I recently participated in an Assembly Insurance Committee hearing in Albany regarding auto insurance in New York. Many who testified, including those from the insurance industry and from consumer groups, complained about the high costs of auto insurance.

It is my hope they will get on board with my legislation and together we can work to get it passed so New Yorkers can at last begin to see a decrease in their auto insurance premiums.

If you have any questions or comments or if you would like to be added to my mailing list or receive my newsletter, contact my office by mail at 200 N. Second St., Fulton, NY 13069, by e-mail at barclaw@assembly.state.ny.us or by calling 598-5185.

SUNY Oswego students raise money for CAC

Denvol Haye, president of Delta Kappa Kappa, left, and Eli Kim Swallow, a member of the SUNY Oswego men’s ice hockey team, right, present Melanie Proper, mental health counselor with the Child Advocacy Center of Oswego County with the proceeds from the ‘For the Kids’ fundraiser.
Denvol Haye, president of Delta Kappa Kappa, left, and Eli Kim Swallow, a member of the SUNY Oswego men’s ice hockey team, right, present Melanie Proper, mental health counselor with the Child Advocacy Center of Oswego County with the proceeds from the ‘For the Kids’ fundraiser.

Hundreds of SUNY Oswego students filled The Shed recently to show their support for the Child Advocacy Center (CAC) of Oswego County, based in Fulton.

Hosted by Delta Kappa Kappa Inc. (DKK), in collaboration with SUNY Oswego’s men’s varsity ice hockey team, the ‘For the Kids’ fundraiser was the culmination of a campaign created by SUNY Oswego students Denvol Haye, president of DKK, and Eli Kim Swallow, a forward on the SUNY Oswego men’s ice hockey team, to raise money for the CAC and to help raise awareness of child abuse in Oswego County.

The ‘For the Kids’ fundraiser, which was held April 12 at The Shed, 1 Washington Blvd. in Oswego, began in the afternoon and continued into the evening.

The ‘For the Kids’ fundraiser, which featured a barbecue, both a silent and chinese auction, music provided courtesy of WNYO, and a live performance from Zeta band, raised more than $2,500.

In addition to the event at The Shed, Haye and Swallow created an online donation page at indiegogo.com that received more than $1,000 in donations.

“We’re very pleased with the results of our ‘For the Kids’ campaign,” said Haye.  “In addition to SUNY students we had several groups of parents and families that joined us in the afternoon.  It was a great success.”

With more than $3,600 raised in support of the CAC, Haye said they are looking forward to planning next year’s ‘For the Kids’ campaign and are hoping it becomes an annual event.

“It was encouraging to see the support we received, from not only our fellow students, but from the community as well.  From the families that attended the event to the many businesses who donated items for our auctions, the feedback we received was overwhelmingly positive,” said Haye.

Delta Kappa Kappa, a social fraternity whose general purpose is to foster the development of fellowship, scholarship, and leadership in young men, and the SUNY Oswego men’s ice hockey team, each have a history of supporting nonprofit organizations in and around Oswego.

“We have a lot of respect for what the CAC does,” said Swallow. “With April being National Child Abuse Awareness Month, we felt it was a perfect time to help the CAC raise awareness of child abuse in our community and the many services that the CAC provides for children and their families who have suffered child abuse.”

Located at 301 Beech St., Fulton, with a satellite office at 4822 Salina St., Pulaski, the CAC of Oswego County is a nonprofit charitable organization that works hand-in-hand with local law enforcement, prosecution, child protective services, probation, medical providers, therapy providers, and victim advocacy professionals in Oswego County to protect and serve children that are victims of sexual and physical abuse.

For more information on the Child Advocacy Center of Oswego County, call  592-4453.

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