Phoenix school board adopts budget; residents vote May 20

By Debra J. Groom

The Phoenix school board has adopted a $42,559,049 budget for the 2014-15 school year.

Residents will vote on the budget May 20. They also will elect three members to the board of education. Petitions to run for the school board must be turned in by Monday.

The proposed budget for 2014-15 is up 1.99 percent – or $550,122 – over the budget for the current school year. It does not cut any academic programs, athletics or extracurricular activities.

The OASIS summer reading program is being cut for the summer of 2014, but Superintendent Judith Belfield said it could be revisited for the summer of 2015.

Spending is up only 1.33 percent.   Mos of the increase comes from increased pension costs associated with the fiscal downturn of 2008.

Belfield the district received more state aid in the final state budget than originally was proposed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. This additional aid – about $300,000 – and the retirement of 10 teachers and five teacher assistants this year helped the district put together a budget that did not include staff and/or teacher layoffs.

The proposed budget includes money to replace some of the teachers who are retiring.

“We are replacing two K-6 teachers, a chemistry teacher, an instructional specialist and a special education teacher,” Belfield said. The budget also includes two new positions – a special education teacher and an elementary reading teacher.

Also, two part-time teaching positions are being increased from half time to full time – a high school social studies teacher and a high school Spanish teacher.

Belfield said the budget increases the tax levy – which is the amount to be raised by taxes – by 1.99 percent or $326,858. The estimated tax rate for most towns in the school district would be about $28.26 per $1,000 of assessed value, an increase of 55 cents per $1,000 from the current rate of $27.71 per $1,000.

Since the tax levy increase is less than the state-mandated cap placed on municipalities and school districts, residents will qualify for a refund of the tax increase from the state due to a proposal in the new state budget.

In addition to the budget and school board members, residents also will decide on whether to spend $429,200 to buy three 60-passenger school buses, one special needs bus and a camera system.

The public hearing on the budget will be at 7 p.m.May 6 at John C. Birdlebough High School. The vote is noon to 9 p.m. May 20 at Emerson J. Dillon Middle School.

Jerry’s Journal

Blame it on old-age, forgetfulness, or whatever, that I forgot to list in my last column, along with the other neighborhood school of our past, Walradt Street School, St. Mary’s School and Holy Family School.

Walradt Street School

Tony Leotta emailed me almost immediately to say it was sad that his alma mater hadn’t been included and to remind me that “Some of the best students of the First Ward and Granby attended and graduated from Walradt Street School.”

The building, constructed in 1922, is still standing.

“The first- and second-grade teacher in 1939-1941 was Ms. Sullivan,” he wrote, “and the third-grade teacher in 1941-42 was Ms. Hunt (both wonderful ladies). Ms. Sullivan was old and strict. Ms. Hunt was young and a sweetheart. We learned arithmetic and spelling very well.

“Walradt Street School only taught first through third grades. Kindergarten was not available in 1939 for us farm kids from the suburbs of Granby. Furthermore, farm kids were expected to be more mature and better disciplined before entering first grade,” he continued.

“Upon leaving Walradt, we joined Ms. Bracy’s fourth-grade class at Phillips Street School in 1942 with the kids from Oak Street School. The following year we advanced to Ms. Black’s fifth-grade class.

“Ms. Black was a wonderful teacher and a sweetheart. We began “passing classes” in the sixth grade at Phillips Street. Ms. Elsie Schneider (from Oswego) was our homeroom teacher. Ms. Schneider was a very nice and compassionate social studies and English teacher.

“Ms. Ellen Frawley was our outstanding arithmetic teacher and very knowledgeable in her teaching methods. Mental arithmetic was taught and emphasized. Jane Rasmussen, Barbara Edison, Marianne Nucifora, and Margie Campbell were all extra special star students at Phillips Street.

“And then in 1947, we advanced to Good Old Fulton High School along with eastside students from Fairgrieve and St. Mary’s School. . . I cherish all the elementary and high school memories. .  . Now I am 80 and on the on the verge of retirement next month.”

Tony Leotta graduated Fulton High School in 1951 and attended Syracuse University. I wish him well upon his retirement from his long-time position as Oswego city engineer and I thank him so much for sharing his precious memories with us.

(PS: There’s a big plaque on a mound of earth between two of the new houses on Phillips Street where the school once stood. It reads: High School, Union Free School, Dist. #2, AD, 1900.)

St. Mary’s School and Holy Family School 

It was Jim “Hunky” McNamara who  informed me one night at dinner with him and his wife Marlene and Ed and me, that I had forgotten not one but two other old schools, St. Mary’s and Holy Family.

“Holy Family,” I said, “wasn’t like the other schools, it wasn’t here that long.”

Located just off Hart Street on the west side, near the church it was named after and closed like the church the past few years, it was nice and new just about the time my own kids started school in the late 1950s and 60s.

Although they didn’t go there, we did enjoy the dances and wedding receptions and other special events in the basement banquet hall, and I just bet the children who did attend class there must have many cherished memories, too, just like the students at Walradt Street and St. Mary’s do.

Hunky went to St. Mary’s — first through eighth grade, as did his siblings, Pat, Joe, John, Norma, Mike and Tom — until he entered Fulton High School, like Tony Leotta did, as a freshman in 1947 to became part of our graduating Class of 1951.

His children, Tim, Tom, Terry, Michele and Donna, also attended St. Mary’s, in the 1960s and 70s.

Truth be known, though, I probably didn’t even know St. Mary’s existed until my high school days.

The funny thing about it is that it was on Buffalo Street just around the corner from the old Fairgrieve School on South Fourth Street where I went to junior high.

We 1930s kids pretty much stuck to our own schools, friends, and neighborhoods — until high school, that is, when our small worlds met and grew a little in knowledge and friendship.

Hunky’s recollections of St. Mary’s include second-grade teacher Sister Rita Veronica, “a beautiful young nun;” a fifth-grade teacher, Sister Etia” (he wasn’t sure how to spell her name); and Sister John Dominick who was the school principal.

“Most of the guys were afraid of her,” Hunky declared. Did she rap their knuckles with a ruler? I wondered. “Maybe if they were bad,” was the reply.

“I remember the sandbox in first grade,” he laughed. “It was a table sandbox with about 12 inches of sand and we played with toy cars and trucks and there were little houses and trees in it.”

“We had to help Mr. Guilfoyle take out the trash,” he also remembered. “When you were little?” I inquired. “No! In seventh grade,” he said, as he recalled that it was expected of the boys to do this chore.

Bill and Dick Frawley, twin brothers who lived on Buffalo Street across from the high school, were among Hunky’s school buddies, he said, though a year ahead of him, while Mary Catherine O’Brien, Mary Ann Monforte, John Vogt, Joe Fox and Joe Muscolino he named as some of his classmates.

Asked if he was aware of the nearby Fairgrieve School, he said, “Yes, of course… I played softball with the guys… there were three softball fields in the park,” he recalled,

“The East Side Park, that’s what they used to call it, and I played basketball with them in the high school gym — I hung out with them in the park!” he said.

I thanked Hunky for his recollections and said I’d see him and Marlene at Mimi’s for dinner on Wednesday night at usual.

Now here’s my caveat: Readers beware! I write for fun. I am not a historian, nor a reporter. I write from memory and from what others want to share.

Sometimes I look things up; sometimes I mess things up. I hope you have fun reading my stuff.

Your comments, additions and corrections are always welcome.

You may contact me at 133 Tannery Lane, Fulton, phone 592-7580 or email JHogan808@aol.com. Please put Jerry’s Journal in the subject line. Thanks!

Beverly Deacons Owens, Fulton High grad, retired from Oswego County Employment and Training

4-19_OBITowens

 

Beverly Deacons Owens, 74, of State College, Penn., died Sunday, April 13, 2014, at The Hearthside Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, State College.

Born Sept. 6, 1939, in Fulton, NY, she was the daughter of the late Harold and Dora Arlene Tilton Wells.

On March 2, 1996, she married Danny Owens, who preceded her in death on Jan. 10, 2014.

She is survived by one son, Clarence J. Deacons and his wife, Jan, of Fulton, NY and one daughter, Wendy Deacons Steele and her husband, Richard, of Millsboro, Del.; three grandchildren, Tabor Deacons, Dean Miller and Hailey Steele; three great-grandchildren.

Beverly was a 1957 graduate of Fulton High School in New York.

She retired in 1995 from the Oswego County Employment and Training Office.

Services will be private at the convenience of the family.

Arrangements are under the care of Koch Funeral Home, State College. Online condolences and signing of the guest book may be entered at www.kochfuneralhome.com.

Hannibal girls’ softball ready to tackle tough season

By Rob Tetro

David Meeker inherited a relatively inexperienced team when he was named interim Hannibal girls’ varsity softball coach.

Fully grasping the state of his team, Meeker feels it’s important for his team to have simple goals for the upcoming season.

A key goal the Lady Warriors have this season is to become more of a fundamentally sound team, especially when it comes to base running. It’s also important to Meeker and his team to learn how to play together.

Perhaps most importantly, Hannibal hopes to be a team that benefits from a strong work ethic in 2014.

The Lady Warriors are a young team this season, with only a few players returning from last season’s team. However, Meeker said the younger players on his team have a lot of potential.

Hannibal’s softball team features numerous multi-sport athletes. Given how active his team has been throughout the school year, Meeker feels that his team was in decent physical condition when practices began in early March.

He wanted to dedicate a lot of time developing softball related skills in preparation for the season. Meeker was pleased his players were physically able to handle all the developmental work that was expected of them.

Meeker said his team did a nice job of handling some of the adjustments that come with being an athlete who competes in winter and spring sports. Developing softball fundamentals often involves the development of arm strength and hand-eye coordination for hitting.

Though his team needed to work on each area at the beginning of practices, Meeker credits his team for being able to handle the adjustments that come with going from a sport such as basketball to softball.

Currently, most of the players are physically prepared to begin the season. Meeker does point out that a few of his younger players aren’t as physically prepared for the season as his more experienced players.

Seniors Samantha Bowers, Malana Scott and sophomore Megan Norris will serve as the Lady Warriors team captains this season.

Hannibal softball will have a challenging time of it this season, playing in a league with powerhouse teams from like Westhill and Solvay. Also, Meeker expects to see many weeks throughout the season where his team plays three or four games a week.

The Lady Warriors return an impressive pitcher in junior Hailey Dunsmoor, but Meeker suggests she won’t be able to do it all alone. It will be key for Hannibal to build depth behind Dunsmoor in order to handle such a challenging workload.

It is possible the Lady Warriors could take a few lumps this season, but Meeker feels the experiences they have in 2014 will be good for them in the long run.

Meeker expects to have a team that will have many strengths to build off of. First and foremost, his team is dedicated to developing its fundamental skills. Led by Dunsmoor, Meeker feels his teams’ pitchers and catchers have a lot of potential.

He also said he expects the top of the lineup to do a decent job at getting on base and into scoring position this season.

SUNY Oswego names new extended learning dean

Pippin
Pippin

Submitted by SUNY Oswego

Veteran continuing education administrator Jill Pippin has joined SUNY Oswego as dean of extended learning.

Oswego’s Division of Extended Learning serves a wide array of part-time students and working adults interested in pursuing degrees, career-specific coursework and professional development opportunities in Oswego, Syracuse and Phoenix and online.

Pippin comes to SUNY Oswego from Jefferson Community College in Watertown, where she was dean for continuing education and a member of the senior academic leadership team responsible for innovative and community-oriented programs for adult and nontraditional students.

In her new position, Pippin takes charge of programs at the SUNY Oswego Metro Center in Syracuse, offering graduate courses in business, education, mental health counseling and other fields as well as professional development workshops, contract training and noncredit courses.

She also will be in charge of the SUNY Oswego Phoenix Center and its management consulting and professional development programs; the college’s summer and winter sessions; and a variety of other programs and initiatives to serve nontraditional students.

“What I really get excited about in terms of extended learning is I like to serve those under-served populations — the part-time student, adult student, evening student, online student — in ways that allow us to be flexible so that they can continue their education,” Pippin said.

“We offer the gamut, from our high school programs for students who are ready to take on the challenge of a college class all the way through to the person who already has a master’s degree and comes back for some professional development to hone a skill.

“We are trying to address the different, the nontraditional, audiences — the veterans audience, the international and English as a second language audience, folks more physically or geographically bound. It’s about being innovative, flexible and responsive,” Pippin said.

At Jefferson Community College, Pippin managed several associate’s degree programs, an office at Fort Drum, military and veterans’ services, a high school program, summer and winter course offerings on campus, online and at offsite locations, and Jefferson Express noncredit, workforce development and contract course programs.

She developed and cultivated the Jefferson Higher Education Center from its inception, proposed and administered more than $2.15 million in grants, and increased revenue and enrollment during her eight-year tenure at the community college.

Her earlier career spanned both academic and business positions in roles such as director for graduate services and enrollment, business adjunct instructor, director of operations, and major accounts manager.

Pippin earned a master’s degree in business administration at Franklin University in Columbus, Ohio, and a bachelor’s degree from SUNY Oswego in communication studies with an emphasis in interpersonal communication.

She received the Continuing Education Association of New York’s Outstanding Continuing Educator Award for 2013 and the 20 Under 40 Award from the Watertown Daily Times in 2009.

POMCO donates to OCO Retro Bowl event

Oswego County Opportunities Executive Director Diane Cooper-Currier, center, accepts a donation for the OCO Retro Bowl event from left Janice Webb, POMCO account manager, and right Vanessa Flynn, POMCO vice president of client services. POMCO donated $1,000.
Oswego County Opportunities Executive Director Diane Cooper-Currier, center, accepts a donation for the OCO Retro Bowl event from left Janice Webb, POMCO account manager, and right Vanessa Flynn, POMCO vice president of client services. POMCO donated $1,000.

POMCO Group, one of the nation’s largest benefits administrators, made a donation of $1,000 to support Oswego County Opportunities’ annual Retro Bowl fundraising event, which took place on Saturday April 5 at Lakeview Lanes in Fulton. 

OCO has partnered with POMCO Group since 2006 for the administration of its self-funded employee benefits plan. Each year, POMCO Group has supported OCO’s annual fundraiser and Retro Bowl event, which raises awareness and funding for the programs OCO offers to Oswego County and its community members.

“Oswego County Opportunities does tremendous work in Oswego County, particularly in the areas of health and nutrition services and education,” said Vanessa Flynn, vice president of client services at POMCO Group.

“Since the health and wellness of our community is a value that we share with OCO, and because it is, and has been, an important business partner to POMCO Group over the past eight years, it is important to us to support its fundraising efforts,” she said.

The money raised in 2014 from OCO’s annual Retro Bowl fundraising event will focus on ways to reduce and eliminate hunger in Oswego County.

OCO Executive Director Diane Cooper-Currier said every level of support from businesses and members of the community helps to make a difference.

“We are grateful for the ongoing support that we have received from POMCO Group in helping us to meet our fundraising goals. We value the support of our business partners as we strive to make a difference in our community.”

 

Hannibal Democrats plan chicken barbecue

The Hannibal Democratic Committee’s annual chicken barbecue will be held from noon to 3 p.m. (or until the chicken is gone) Sunday May 4  at the Hannibal American Legion on Rochester Street in Hannibal. Take outs are available. Advance sale tickets are available and recommended. For information or tickets call: 564-5658 or 564-5630. Preparing for the upcoming chicken barbecue in Hannibal are, pictured from left to right, standing Dan Mahaney, town highway superintendent and Gordon Prosser, committee chair;  seated Rita Hooper, Judy Prosser and Becky Corvick.
The Hannibal Democratic Committee’s annual chicken barbecue will be held from noon to 3 p.m. (or until the chicken is gone) Sunday May 4 at the Hannibal American Legion on Rochester Street in Hannibal. Take outs are available. Advance sale tickets are available and recommended. For information or tickets call: 564-5658 or 564-5630. Preparing for the upcoming chicken barbecue in Hannibal are, pictured from left to right, standing Dan Mahaney, town highway superintendent and Gordon Prosser, committee chair; seated Rita Hooper, Judy Prosser and Becky Corvick.

Parks stone collection contest continues through today

Michael and Katie Gerth found three of the colored stones hidden in various Fulton Parks as part of the Treasure Fulton Parks 2014 Medallion Hunt. People who find the most of the colored stones in the parks will win smaller prizes in the contest. The special medallion was found Wednesday and that person will win cash from The Valley News. While the medallion has been found, the stone collection part continues through the end of today.
Michael and Katie Gerth found three of the colored stones hidden in various Fulton Parks as part of the Treasure Fulton Parks 2014 Medallion Hunt. People who find the most of the colored stones in the parks will win smaller prizes in the contest. The special medallion was found Wednesday and that person will win cash from The Valley News. While the medallion has been found, the stone collection part continues through the end of today.

Your hometown. Your news.