State Senate Report

By state Sen. Patricia Ritchie

It’s often said that opportunity breeds success.

With the passage of the new state budget comes a wide variety of changes aimed at creating new opportunities that will enable all New Yorkers to continue moving forward.

Two weeks ago, I brought you news that my Young Farmers NY plan — aimed at encouraging more young people to enter careers in the agriculture industry — was included in the state’s new spending plan.

This is just one of the initiatives included in the state budget that will help to create more jobs and a better quality of life for those who live in our region.

Additional highlights of the 2014-15 spending plan include:

** New, much-needed tax relief for hardworking families, including lower utility taxes and the return of property tax rebate checks;

** A record $1.1 billion increase in State education aid, helping to ensure all students are set on a pathway for future success;

** More funding to  help New Yorkers and their families make college more affordable, including a boost in the maximum tuition assistance program (TAP) award;

** More tax relief that will enable small businesses and manufacturers expand, succeed and create jobs;

** New job training opportunities that will help train workers in an effort to help them attain a bright, rewarding future;

** Critical funding to expand the state’s EPIC program, which helps our state’s senior citizens afford the life-saving medications they need to stay healthy.

As your state senator, my goals have been to revitalize our economy, grow jobs, provide relief for hardworking taxpayers and create new opportunities that all have a shot at attaining.

With the new 2014-15 state budget, we have taken major steps forward towards reaching those goals.

For more information on the new spending plan — and how it affects you and your family — I encourage you to visit my website, www.ritchie.nysenate.gov.

Light in the Darkness

“A very great multitude spread their clothes on the road; others cut down branches from the trees and spread them on the road.  Then the multitudes who went before and those who followed cried out, saying:   “Hosanna to the Son of David!  ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’  Hosanna in the highest!”   Matthew 21:8-9

Chuck Warnoc, a small church pastor and regular contributor to Outreach Magazine, in a message titled, “What Kind of King Did You Expect?,” wrote, “If Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem was triumphal on Palm Sunday, what went wrong less than a week later?

Why did the crowds who adored Jesus on Sunday, turn on him by Friday of that week?” Both the title and the questions are thought-provoking.

This is especially so in this day when there are so many different ideas and images of just who Jesus really is. Paul implied early on that there would be those who would proclaim a gospel (s) different from the one revealed by Jesus.

Such a perverted gospels would, come from men emanating from the human heart which God long ago warned is, “deceitful above all things and desperately wicked.”  (Jeremiah 17:9).

Such were the hearts of many in that crowd who greeted Jesus that day He rode into Jerusalem. It was the day we now call Palm Sunday, remembering the palm fronds and garments they used to pave His way.

They had their own idea who Jesus was and what He had come to do. And they were wrong.

A few days later, when they realized that Jesus was not who they had expected Him to be, many turned on Him and joined the crowds crying out for His crucifixion.

Not that their expectations did not seem reasonable to some degree. Certainly the Jewish people were right in their anticipation that a king would come from the line of David. Years before they had heard the rumors that this king had been born in Bethlehem.

And, after all, what do kings do but protect their people from their enemies?  In their case it was the occupying Roman forces.

What you might not know is that Jesus’ arrival in Jerusalem that day was not the only one the people witnessed. Historians tell us that Pontius Pilate had come to Jerusalem that same day. He knew that the Passover Feast celebrated the deliverance of the Jews from their Egyptian oppressors. He was also aware of the rumors that a King and deliverer had been born of the Jews and there were rumors that Jesus was that king.

That, combined with the increased activity among the Zealots and others, caused Pilate to consider Jerusalem be at ‘Code Red’.

So, though his preferred headquarters was in Caesarea-by-the-Sea, he had traveled with a contingent of his finest military to Jerusalem just in case. On that day of two spectacular entries into Jerusalem, Pilate’s was a show of military might and strength while Jesus’ was meant to demonstrate just the opposite.

But back to the problem of the heart. All that threatening display of might and power on Pilate’s part, along with the heightened awareness that God was doing something spectacular caused many to believe that the deliverer, the Son of David, had come to dramatically overthrow the Roman oppressors and that meant the army which had just arrived.

Their desires for freedom and deliverance, fed by fertile imaginations led them to unbiblical expectations. Jesus was coming to show Rome who God’s people were!

Talk about anticipation and excitement! But a few days later they realized their mistake. Yet having made wrong assumptions, they did not blame themselves as they ought to have done, but rather turned on Jesus.

Oh, how he had let them down. He was, in many eyes, a fraud who had gotten their hopes sky high only to dash them to the ground and so,  “Crucify him!!”, they screamed.

What do you do when the Jesus you thought you knew doesn’t do for you as you expected? In your disappointment do you turn away from Him or do you in humility, recognize who it is who was wrong?

The true test of faith and those who prove they have it, are those who remain faithful and obedient even when the Savior disappoints. They recognize that the disappointment resulted not from His lack of love or ability, but from our own desires and expectations that distorted our image of who He is.

Pastor David M. Grey      

Mt. Pleasant United Methodist Church 

Fulton Park of the Day, Wednesday April 16 — Foster Park

4-16_FULfosterstone

Twenty stones looking like this one are hidden in Foster Park.

 

Find one and begin your collection of stones from the various parks in Fulton. Each day a different park will be highlighted on this Valley News website — find out what the park of the day is and go there to find a stone.

 

By April 19, folks should have collected 10 stones. Bring them to a ceremony at 4 p.m. April 22 in Recreation Park to win a small prize.

 

Auditions April 17 and 19 for new CNY Arts Center play

One of the performers from the recent success, Willy Wonka Jr. at the CNY Arts Center
One of the performers from the recent success, Willy Wonka Jr. at the CNY Arts Center

With a record-setting run of Willy Wonka, Jr, CNY Arts Center announces open call auditions for You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown.

Auditions are from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m.  Thursday, April 17 and 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, April 19 at CNY Arts Center, 357 State St. Methodist Church, Fulton (Park Street entrance).

People from seventh grade through college-age are invited to audition for the musical production to be directed and choreographed by Amy Price, with music directed by Dan Williams, and with the same artistic team from Willy Wonka, Jr in place.

“We had a phenomenal response to Willy Wonka, Jr with at least three sell-out performances,” said Nancy Fox, executive producer.  “We want to keep the fun going with another musical we think everyone will enjoy, this time with a slightly older cast.“

All the favorite Peanuts characters are in the popular show billed as an average day in the life of Charlie Brown.

The production is scheduled to open June 6 for a two-week run through June16. For more information visit www.CNYArtsCenter.com or call 592-3373.

Djug Django Band to play Oswego Music Hall May 3

Djug Django Band
Djug Django Band

The popular eight-member Djug Django Band will play at the Oswego Music Hall at 8 p.m. Saturday, May 3.

Djug Django is largely devoted to the music of Django Reinhardt, the legendary gypsy guitarist of the 1930s hot jazz scene in Paris, who founded the Quintette du Hot Club in Paris in the 1930s.

But they also perform jazz standards, Latin rhythms and “N’awlins soul,” as well as originals by band member and multi-instrumentalist.

The band combines this range of music styles in wonderfully creative ways. From the great songs of the Swing Era, including legends like Ellington, Gershwin, and Fats Waller, to Brazilian and Argentine classics sung in Spanish and Portuguese, and even wonderful original music, the band is known for its exciting performances, exquisite taste, and uniquely relaxed vibe.

The members of Djug Django must be among the busiest working musicians in the Northeast, in constant demand to play at all sorts of gigs and events.

The band started out years ago in Ithaca playing at the well-known Moosewood Restaurant. Since then Djug Django has been delighting dancers and jazz buffs.

When they come together to play, each band member brings his special background and influences to the music.

The members of Djug Django are Harry Aceto, guitar; Doug Robinson, guitar and vocals; Dave Davies, guitar, trombone and vocals; Brian Earle, clarinet; Eric Aceto, violin; Chad Lieberman, piano; and Al Hartland, drums.

There also is Jim Sherpa,  who plays a genuine lowdown washtub bass, adding that special down home flavor.

“Djug Django deserves to be on the national stage–this is one of the hottest little bands I’ve ever heard.

It is my honor and pleasure to perform with these wonderful musicians”  from time to time — [Frank Campos, Ithaca College, Professor of Trumpet]

Djug Django “has a delicacy and refinement we rarely witness in jazz . . . the group’s overall musicality is on a very high level — sophisticated and dead-on. These guys really enjoy playing together, and that spirit comes across clear as crystal” [Russel Tarby and Pat Carroll, review in JazFax, Nov. 2010].

Check out some of  Djug Django’s music on http://www.watershed-arts.com/djug.html and then come and catch the wonder of their evocative and infectious music in a live performance at the Music Hall on May 3.

The venue is the McCrobie Civic Center, 41 Lake St., Oswego. Tickets can be purchased on line at http://oswegomusichall.org/ or at the river’s end bookstore, 19 W. Bridge St., Oswego.

Holders of tickets purchased before 1 p.m. on the day of the concert will have preferred seating. After 1 p.m., seating will be general admission.

Ticket prices for this event are $14 if purchased in advance and $16 at the door.   Children 12 and under are half-price; under 5 is free.

For information contact Membership Secretary, Carol Forrest at 343-2988.

The Music Hall’s next concert, May 17, will feature Stephanie Bettman & Luke Haplin, a fast-rising duo from Denver.

Paws Across Oswego County Open House and Fundraiser April 27

April 27 is a very big day for Paws Across Oswego County, a local nonprofit animal rescue located in Oswego.

For its ninth year, Paws Across Oswego County is hosting its annual Open House and Rescue Fundraiser.

Paws Across Oswego County’s Open House will be from noon to 5 p.m. at Paws & Effect at 2035 County Route 1 in Oswego. Inquiries regarding event questions or donations can be sent to paoc@twcny.rr.com.

This event is known for bringing local animal rescues together to spread the word about animal adoption and to raise funds for their cause.

There are drawings, a silent auction, food, demonstrations, a bake sale, door prizes and more.

The silent auction includes more than  $5,000 in products donated by local and nationwide businesses for the attendees to bid on. Including baskets and gift certificates, the products offered will be both human and pet related.

The drawings also have brought a lot of attention to the cause this year. Tickets are being sold for items such as a Disney Getaway, a one-year supply of Merrick Dog Food, a one-year supply of Merrick Cat Food, a one-year supply of Whole Earth Farms Dog Food and a 32 GB iPad Air.

The Disney trip includes four one-day Park Hopper Passes to Disney World and a three day-two night stay at the Buena Vista Palace Hotel in Orlando, FL.

The pet food drawings will be presented as 12 gift certificates for bags of food and have been generously provided by Merrick Pet Care.

The iPad Air is a 32 GB model that has been donated by Stella and the Merriam Barrett Guest House.

Tickets for the drawings are available for presale at Paws & Effect and will be sold the day of the event for $5 each, three tickets for $10 or 10 tickets for $20.

Lighthouse Lanes will be supplying barbecued chicken and pulled pork meals for sale. Each meal comes with two sides and will be $10 each.

There also will be small salads for vegetarians. There will be a bake sale and drinks available for purchase, as well.

Married couples honored at special breakfast

4-16_OScouplebreakfast

 

Married couples at Morningstar Residential Care Center recently enjoyed a special luncheon in their honor.  Morningstar is home to seven married couples that enjoy the opportunity to share a room together at the facility.  Seated from left are: Barbara and Harold Blake, Laverne (semi hidden) and Doris Stevens, and Shirley and James Furnari.  Standing from left are: Director of Activities for Morning Star, Kelsey Rose, and Activities Aides, Heidi Baldwin and Doreen Shortt.

 

Happy faces, good food, and cherished companionship lit up the dining room during the Morningstar Residential Care Center’s Married Couples Luncheon.

The event is a new edition to the growing list of activities available to the facility’s residents.

The idea of a doing something special for its married couples first came to mind during Morningstar’s Valentine’s Day celebration. Director of Activities Kelsey Rose said the feedback she and her staff received inspired them to add the married couples luncheon to the activities calendar.

“The luncheon was a big hit. They enjoyed each other’s company and were happy to be able to have a nice meal together and share their stories,” she said.

“Our married couples thought it was wonderful and we will be having more of these in the future,” said Rose.

Activities Aide Heidi Baldwin echoed those thoughts and added that themed events are always welcome.

“Whether it’s a casual event like men’s night or ladies’ night or a more formal event like our veterans’ luncheon and our holiday luncheons, which their family members often join us for, our residents have a great time and look forward to them,” said Baldwin.

One of the few residential care facilities that offer shared rooms for married couples; Morningstar is the home of seven married couples.

Located at 17 Sunrise Drive in Oswego, Morningstar Residential Care Center is a family-owned and operated, 120-bed long-term and sub-acute skilled nursing facility with full rehabilitation services including: physical, occupational and speech therapy; post-surgical orthopedic care; respiratory care; and additional sub acute care services.

For more information, call 342-4790 or visit them online at www.morningstarcares.com.

 

Pinwheels for Prevention of child abuse

4-16_FULpinwheelschurch

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month and as part of the “Cherish All Children” ministry at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church (Fulton), the Child Advocacy Center has been designated to be the focus for contributions during the month. Art teacher Ben Jerred recruited his students from Volney and Lanigan elementary schools to create these beautifully decorated pinwheels. This “Pinwheel Garden” was planted to help raise awareness to our community of the various types of child abuse and the need for organizations such as he Child Advocacy Center of Fulton and Pulaski and its dedicated staff who work to keep our children safe and happy. Pictured (l to r) are: Dianne Klafehn, Sheri Bush, Margaret Nichols, Brittney Jerred, Alexandra Sorbello, Mary Jerred, and in front, Henry Jerred.

Your hometown. Your news.