By state Assemblyman Will Barclay
Library use has increased across the state.
According to some of New York State Library’s latest statistics, visits to public libraries increased by seven million from 113 million to 120 million from 2007 to 2009.
The number of items borrowed — books, ebooks, movies, magazines and more — has increased by more than 11 percent.
National Library Week is celebrated in April. This year’s theme is “Lives Change @ Your Library.”
The Assembly commemorated the week (April 13-19) with a resolution, which I was happy to sponsor. I’m an advocate for libraries and believe their presence is an important component to any community.
This year’s enacted state budget provided $86.6 million for libraries across the state. Thankfully, we were able to prevent cuts to libraries as the governor had proposed and instead, the Legislature slightly increased funding from last year by $1 million.
Libraries are an important part of both urban and rural communities and I was pleased funding was increased even if by a relatively small amount.
Historically, libraries have always been important to literacy, but they are also the leading digital literacy educators in New York and are the number one point of Internet access for those who do not have Internet access at home.
To meet the demand of New Yorkers seeking Internet access, including job seekers, libraries have responded by increasing the number of publicly-available Internet-connected computers by more than 28 percent, to more than 17,000 computers.
There are a number of resources available through libraries. I wanted to highlight one in particular that is provided by New York State Library called NOVELny.
It’s an electronic resource access project that enables residents across New York State to have online access to the full text of journals, newspapers and other references for free. It’s funded in part from federal dollars to libraries through the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) of 2013.
Users can access databases that maintain a warehouse of business highlights and journals, encyclopedias, elementary level periodicals, general periodicals, health references, and newspaper articles.
For example, a subject search in the eLibrary Elementary, one of the many searchable databases accessible through NOVELny, retrieves child-safe articles published in encyclopedias or magazines that are age appropriate.
Articles can be read in their entirety by the user. Users may also opt to have the article read aloud with a computer-enabled reader called ReadSpeaker.
Users can create and save a list of articles they like or may want to reference for research as well. Genealogy may also be researched through NOVELny.
To find out more, visit http://novelnewyork.org/databases.php.
According to the New York State Library, NOVELny provides a minimum of $35 in resources for every $1 of LSTA funding through statewide purchase of electronic information, now freely available. It’s a vast database but even more will be added beginning in July.
We need to continue to invest in our libraries, especially considering how much library use has increased in recent years.
I sponsor legislation that would amend the education law and enable libraries to utilize state aid to install broadband services. Given recent statistics of how much Internet use has increased at libraries, this is important, and especially important to Upstate and rural communities.
Currently, under the Public Library Construction Grant Program, $14 million is appropriated annually for construction, acquisition, renovation or rehabilitation of public libraries.
Excluded from this grant is aid for the purpose of installing broadband services. My bill would allow for libraries to access these funds for broadband installation.
I will continue to advocate for this legislation, A7680, moving forward.
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 email@example.com or by calling 598-5185.
Saturday, May 3 marks the third annual I LOVE MY PARK Day at Fort Ontario State Historic Site, Oswego.
I Love My Park Day is a statewide event to improve and enhance New York’s state parks and historic sites, bringing visibility to the entire state park system and its needs.
Volunteers from across the state will participate in cleanup, improvement and beautification events at New York state parks and historic sites.
Last year, Fort Ontario had one of the highest turnouts across the state with at least 80 volunteers showing up on I LOVE MY PARK DAY to help ready the fort for the 2013 season.
Coordinators are looking forward to doubling that number in 2014.
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.
General projects scheduled for I LOVE MY PARK Day include:
** Readying buildings for the 2014 season – sweeping, dusting, mopping and returning exhibits to buildings from winter storage
** Painting – the exterior of Officer Quarters’ privy as well as the fort’s many benches
** Landscaping/clean-up -– trimming of hedges and bushes inside 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.
In addition to these yearly tasks, the support garnered from I LOVE MY PARK Day 2013 has prompted organizers to plan three larger scale projects this year.
Cuts in both staffing and budgets in recent years have resulted in an overgrowth on the bluff overlooking Lake Ontario, which threatens to completely occlude views of the lake.
With enough volunteers on May 3, officials hope significant clearing can be done that will benefit literally thousands of people who use the grounds of Fort Ontario annually.
The second large scale project planned for the event is straightening headstones in the Post Cemetery. Many of the stones in the historic cemetery are leaning and in danger of falling over.
As this little cemetery is also visited by thousands of people per year, this small improvement will impact visitors throughout the entire year.
Finally, a replacement entry sign for Fort Ontario has been received over the winter and what better time to install it than on I LOVE MY PARK Day? Not only will the new sign and framework be erected, a new flower bed at its base is being designed to enhance the entrance to the fort’s main parking lot.
Everyone is needed on at Fort Ontario on I LOVE MY PARK Day. Scout troops, youth groups, sports teams, school clubs and civic organizations are all definitely welcome.
Bringing your own tools is highly encouraged although only hand tools are allowed (no power tools). Volunteers are advised to wear appropriate footwear, sunglasses and hats when working outside and consider wearing an extra layer of warmth as it is usually slightly cooler on the shore of Lake Ontario.
Feel free to bring your own water and snack, although a light lunch will be provided through our faithful sponsor Marks Pizzeria of Oswego.
In addition to volunteers, organizers are also looking for area businesses and individuals interested in donating supplies and/or tools to help make Fort Ontario’s third I LOVE MY PARK Day event a rousing success.
Kindness will be acknowledged by recognizing you as an official sponsor of the event. Individuals with expertise or backgrounds in forestry, landscaping or cemetery preservation willing to help lead project teams are also needed.
If you are interested in supporting Fort Ontario’s I LOVE MY PARK Day in either of these two ways, call Ron Healt at 343-4711 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Those interested in volunteering for any of Fort Ontario’s I LOVE MY PARK DAY projects may pre-register for the event at www.ptny.org/ilovemypark, or by emailing Jenny Emmons, event coordinator, at email@example.com or calling 343-4711.
By Rob Tetro
The Phoenix varsity baseball team won 3 out of its first 5 games of the season.
Solvay knocked off Phoenix 4-1 on April 2. Westhill held off the Firebirds, 7-5 on April 9. Phoenix topped Skaneateles, 7-2 on April 14 for its first win of the season and then they continued their winning ways cruising past Hannibal in both games of a doubleheader April 17.
In the Solvay game, Solvay took an early 1-0 lead over Phoenix during the first inning. After a scoreless second inning, Solvay scored 2 more runs to take a 3-0 lead.
The Firebirds battled back, scoring in the fourth inning to cut Solvay’s lead to 3-1. But they were unable to get any closer. Solvay added another run during the fifth inning to cap off a 4-1 win.
The Firebirds were led by Emilio Tassone with a hit and an RBI, followed by Bryce Plante with 2 hits.
On the mound, Emilio Tassone pitched a solid game for Phoenix. In 6 innings of work, Tassone threw 4 strikeouts while allowing 4 runs off of 8 hits.
Against Westhill, Phoenix took a 3-0 lead after a scoreless first inning. But Westhill quickly stormed ahead, erupting for 6 runs during the third inning to take a 6-3 lead.
After a scoreless fourth and fifth innings, the Firebirds scored 2 runs to cut the lead to 6-5. Westhill added a run during the seventh inning to come away with a 7-5 win.
Leading the way for the Firebirds was Dan Frawley with 2 hits and an RBI, followed by Bryce Plante with a hit and 2 RBIs, Emilio Tassone and Codie Corso each had a hit and an RBI and Bradley Dietz chipped in a hit for Phoenix.
Once again, Emilio Tassone led the Firebirds on the mound. Tassone threw 4 strikeouts while allowing 6 runs off of 7 hits in 6 innings of work. In relief of Tassone, Dan Frawley threw a strikeout while allowing only a run in an inning of playing time.
Phoenix won its first game of the season when it took on Skaneateles. After an evenly played first inning, the game was tied at 1. However, the Firebirds pulled ahead during the next 2 innings to take a 3-2 lead.
It was all Phoenix from there. After 2 scoreless innings, the Firebirds scored 4 unanswered runs en route to a 7-2 win.
Phoenix was led by Zachary Wells with 2 hits and an RBI. Codie Corso and Dan Frawley had a hit and an RBI each. Bradley Dietz, Jordan Jock, Bryce Plante, Zach Schlatcher and Emilio Tassone combined for 5 hits and 2 RBIs.
The Firebirds got another solid performance from Dan Frawley on the mound. In 4 innings of work, Frawley threw 6 strikeouts while allowing 2 runs off of 3 hits. In relief of Frawley, Emilio Tassone threw 2 strikeouts in 3 innings of play.
Phoenix expanded its winning streak when it played Hannibal in a doubleheader.
In the first game, after a competitive first inning, the Firebirds only had a 3-1 lead over the Warriors. Then Phoenix took over from there.
During the next 4 innings, the Firebirds scored 13 unanswered runs to take a 16-1 lead. The Warriors scored again down the stretch but the lead they faced proved to be insurmountable. Phoenix rolled to a 19-2 win over Hannibal.
The Firebirds also came away with a 7-0 win over The Warriors in Game 2 of their doubleheader.
Leading the way for Phoenix was Bryce Plante with 4 hits and 6 RBIs, followed by Bradley Dietz with 3 hits and 2 RBIs, Codie Corso with 2 hits and 2 RBIs, Dylan Borza and Dan Frawley with 2 hits and an RBI each, while Zach Schlatcher, Emilio Tassone and Zachary Wells added 2 hits each for the Firebirds.
Emilio Tassone led the way for Phoenix on the mound. In 4 innings of work, Tassone threw 5 strikeouts while allowing 1 run off of 4 hits. Following Tassone was Bradley Dietz who threw a strikeout while only a run off of 2 hits in 2 innings of play. Zach Schlatcher pitched during the seventh inning to clinch the save.
The Warriors were led by Sam McCraith and Austin Mattison, who each had a hit and an RBI each against Phoenix. Following McCraith and Mattison were Ethan Straub, Shane Sweeting and Jon Combes with a hit each.
Taber Carter got the start for Hannibal on the mound. In 3 innings of work, Carter threw 1 strikeout while allowing 10 runs off of 8 hits.
Following Carter was Ethan Straub who allowed 9 runs off of 12 hits in 3 and 2/3 innings of play. Troy Landis is credited with pitching 1/3 of an inning.
By state Sen. Patricia Ritchie
If you’re like me, you’ve had a teacher in your life who has made a significant, lasting impression on you.
Whether he or she taught you your ABCs or impressed upon you some of life’s bigger lessons, like being kind to others, many of us have teachers to thank for the people we have become.
In an effort to recognize teachers who go above and beyond to help their students succeed, I will once again be honoring educators with my “Golden Apple” Award for Teaching Excellence.
Last year, I was able to honor more than 40 educators from Oswego, Jefferson and St. Lawrence Counties with this special program. This year, I am excited to recognize a new group of teachers for their dedication and commitment to helping others learn.
Teachers residing in the area I represent — Oswego, Jefferson and part of St. Lawrence County — are eligible for this award. Nomination forms can be found on my website, www.ritchie.nysenate.gov, or you can request that one be mailed to you by calling 782-3418.
All nominations must be received by May 9. All nominees will be recognized at a special ceremony taking place on May 30.
I know how important a quality education is, and I know how hard our educators work to ensure every student succeeds. That’s why I’ve been working hard to support our region’s schools as well as our teachers.
Recently, the newly-enacted state budget provided $20 million in new funding for schools in the region I represent. This is the largest hike in five years, and nearly three times the increase proposed in January by the governor for Northern and Central New York schools.
It was once said, that a great teacher takes a hand, opens a mind and touches a heart. I’ve met many of those teachers through my “Golden Apple” award program, and know there are countless others out there.
If you know a teacher who is impacting young lives by enabling students to achieve success, I encourage you to nominate him or her for this special honor.
By Abigail J. Winheld
On Tuesday, April 15, the Port City Royals of Oswego County boys’ volleyball team defeated the Cortland Saints.
Played at the Royals’ gym, the game was exciting and full of quick maneuvers and excellent saves.
The Royals beat Cortland soundly earlier this season and anticipated a similar outcome at this game. To the Royals surprise, Cortland came with an unanticipated energy and determination.
In the first set, the Royals served first but quickly found their opponents ready for the ball — a closely matched game ensued.
The first set ended with the score 25-23 Royals.
During the second set the Royals played more intensely and won 25-16.
Royals Mark Winheld made the winning point with a simple tap over.
Set number 3 was close again and ended with the same score as set one — 25-23 Royals.
Although it was harder than they anticipated, it was a great game for the Royals.