Birdlebough student competes in Shakespeare competition

Abigail Venskus, a sophomore at John C. Birdlebough High School in Phoenix, recently competed in the 26th annual Shakespeare Competition held at Archbold Theatre at Syracuse Stage.

The public-speaking contest, which is conducted by the Syracuse branch of the English-Speaking Union of the United States, commemorated William Shakespeare’s 450th birthday.

Venskus, a winner of her local school competition, attended a workshop for Syracuse’s competitors on Feb. 25 at Syracuse University’s Storch Theatre. There she was critiqued on her chosen monologue and sonnet.

At the regional competition, Venskus was asked to recite her monologue and sonnet in front of a panel of judges. She competed against 19 other contestants, other high school students from around Central New York.

The purpose of the competition is to develop student’s understanding of Shakespeare and his universality.

Although Venskus did not place in the regional competition, she is thankful for the opportunity.

Venskus’ journey with Shakespeare does not end there. She participates in the Syracuse Shakespeare Festival theater camp every summer at Thornden Park.

Children learn old English dances, join in acting games, paint sets and are given parts in two-scene plays. Past productions include A Midsummer Night’s Dream, in which shee played the character Bottom.

Venskus is also a member of the Birdlebough Drama Club and marching band.

David N. Cravetz, charter member of Fulton Men’s Chorus

David N. Cravetz, 90, Delray Beach, FL, formerly of Fulton, NY, passed away peacefully March 11, 2014 after a long illness.

David was born in Syracuse, NY, and moved to Fulton at a very early age. While in Fulton, he was affiliated with the family businesses, Ontario Star Cleaners and B&T Sport Shop.

He and his wife Betty retired and moved to Florida in 1991.

David was a charter member of the Fulton Men’s Chorus and was involved in several musical productions in town. He was a member of the Masons, Hiram Lodge, #144. David was a member of Congregation Adath Israel, Oswego, NY and Temple Emeth, Delray Beach, FL.

Survivors include his loving wife of more than 66 years, Betty, Delray Beach, FL; two children, Paul “PJ” (Michelle) Cravetz, Clifton Park, NY, and Amy (Phil) Mrazik, Waterbury, CT; two granddaughters, Alexis Cravetz, New York, NY, and Jordan (Jeff) Speanburg, Huntersville, NC; and many nieces and nephews.

Funeral services were held March 14 at Beth Israel Memorial Chapel, Delray Beach, FL, and burial took place at the South Florida National Cemetery, Lake Worth, FL.

Donations may be sent to Hospice of Palm Beach County, Gerstenberg Hospice Center, 5300 East Ave., West Palm Beach, Fl. 33407-2387.

Timothy M. Fellows, loved his computer

Timothy M. Fellows, 51, formerly of Ohio and currently of Fulton, died Friday March 14  at Oswego Hospital, Oswego.

He was born in Oswego, NY to the late Donald and Evelyn (Sawyer) Fellows.

Mr. Fellows enjoyed spending time on his computer.

He was pre-deceased by his step-mother Patricia M. Fellows in 2013.

Mr. Fellows is survived by his longtime caregiver, Perry May of Ohio; 11 siblings,  Lucian (Debbie) Fellows of TN, Robert Fellows of FL., Dorothy (Terry) Dery of Fulton, Patricia (Mark) Bristol of Volney, Jeffrey (Carrie) Fellows of Fulton, James (P.J.) Fellows of Fulton, Brenda (Walt) Leiste of WA, David Fellows of TN., Donna (Rodney) Blackmar of Oswego, Linda (Ray) Duvall of FL., Bryan (Michelle) Fellows of Liverpool; three step-brothers:  Rodney Howe of Fulton, Anthony Howe of VA, and Floyd (Carolyn) Raff of Fulton; and several nieces and nephews.

There will be no funeral services.  Burial will be held privately.  Calling hours are 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday (today) at the Sugar Funeral Home, Inc., 224 W. Second St. S., Fulton.

Frederick Foster Dunsmoor, loved boating, golf

Frederick Foster Dunsmoor, 88, a resident of 3F, No. 15, Alley 38, Lane 24, Cheng-te Road, Section 3, Taipei, Taiwan, passed away Tuesday March 11, 2014.

He was birn in Osego Oct. 20, 1926, a son of the late Orlia and Bernice (Bullock) Dunsmoor.

He was a Navy and Air Force veteran. Fred loved boating and golfing and spending time with family and friends.

He was a member of Christ Church, Oswego, and Good Shepherds Church.

Surviving is his wife of 23 years, Ruth Dunsmoor; five children, Janet Morgan, sharon Dunsmoor, Rick Dunsmoor, David Dunsmoor and Cindy (Scott) Lambries; eight grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren; two sisters, Sena Stone and Rose Pepper of Scriba.

He was a member of Master Masons, Shriners, past patron of Eastern Star, very active in all Masonic bodies — Scottish Rite, York Rite, the Royal Order of Scotland, Order of DeMolay and International Order of Rainbow for Girls.

He was predeceased by his brothers, Robert, Orlia, Jack, Edgar, Bryant; and a sister Norine Buske.

A memorial service will be held in Taipei. He will be bureid in Alaska.

Ezra Michael Natoli-Bourdon, infant

Ezra Michael Natoli-Bourdon, infant son of David Bourdon and Marianne Natoli, entered into God’s loving arms Monday March 17, 2014 at Highland Hospital, Rochester, due to Triploid Syndrome.

In addition to his parents, Ezra is survived by his brother, Ledger Natoli–Bourdon; his maternal grandparents, Bob and Peggy Natoli of Oswego; paternal grandparents, Jim and Nancy Bourdon of Oswego; paternal great-grandmother, Phyllis Maniccia of Oswego; uncles Bobby Natoli of Oswego, Matt (Mylien Le) Bourdon of Washington, DC; his aunt Emily Bourdon of Oswego; and cousin Hannah Bourdon of Oswego.

Funeral services and burial for Ezra will be private.

The arrangements are in the care of the Sugar & Scanlon Funeral Home 147 W. Fourth St., Oswego.

SKYWARN spotter training today in Fulton

The Buffalo office of the National Weather Service will be conducting a SKYWARN spotter training seminar in Fulton, at the Oswego County Offices, 200 N. Second St., at 7 p.m. Wednesday March 19 (today).

The training session is sponsored by the Oswego County Office of Emergency Services and will last about two hours. The session is open to the public and there is no cost for the training. 

The first Maple Weekend is this coming weekend

By Debra J. Groom

This coming Saturday and Sunday are the days to get out and visit area maple syrup producers.

It’s the first of two Maple Weekends, in which many producers open their operations so visitors can see how maple syrup is produced. Many also have pancake breakfasts so folks can taste that sweet nectar of the maple tree and have products people can buy.

So far this season, the weather hasn’t been ideal. There were a few days a couple of weeks ago that were warm enough for the sap to run. But then it got cold again.

“We’re scared,” said Kim Enders, who runs Red Schoolhouse Maple in Palermo. “We just boiled for the first time yesterday (Thursday March 13) but we didn’t make any syrup. We haven’t been able to get a string of good days in a row to get sap.”

Maple producers need temperatures during the day in the 40s and lows in the 20s to get a good sap flow. It has just been too darn cold for the sap to flow for a good number of consecutive days.

The temperatures for this week are OK for a four-day stretch in Onondaga County, but cooler in Oswego County, which means it is iffy how much sap will flow this week.

Some producers, like Timothy Whitens who runs Willow Creek Farm of just outside Fulton in the town of Granby, said he did get enough sap to make syrup in late February when there were four days of 40 degree temperatures.

“That first weekend, I made about 75 gallons, mostly medium amber,” Whitens said. “The sap ran again Monday and Tuesday (March 10 and 11) and I was able to make more.”

Feb. 19-23 all had temperatures of 40 or higher during the day and cold nights. But on Feb. 24, it got brutally cold again and shut off the taps.

While the temperatures this year have be too cold, in 2012, it was the opposite problem.

The weather during maple season began fine in January. But by early February, temperatures rose into the 50s. In mid-March, when sap should still be flowing and syrup would normally still be made, temperatures hit near 70.

Cornell University officials said the average temperature for the first 50 days of winter in Central New York is usually 24 degrees. In 2012, it was 32 degrees, the second warmest since 1950.

Anothr problem for maple producers in the Tug Hill area has been the amount of snow. Helen Thomas, executive director of the New York State Maple Producers Association, said with more than 300 inches of snow in some places, producers were having a difficult time getting to their lines and taps.

Enders said she hopes to have enough maple products to sell and offer for tasting during Maple Weekend. Red Schoolhouse Maple is open both days of the weekends, March 22 and 23 and March 29 and 30, and offers pancake breakfast, tours of the sugarbush and boiling area and tastings.

Whitens is open only Sunday, March 23 and March 30, and offers tours.

Maple Weekend hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Go to http://www.nysmaple.com/mapleweekend/ or www.mapleweekend.com for more information.

Maroun Elementary students show wonders of NY to kids in Texas

Submitted by Oswego County BOCES

As students in the Phoenix Central School District are dealing with a relentless winter season, they learned how their peers in Texas were coping with below-average temperatures while interacting with one another during a recent Read Around the Planet videoconference.

Fourth-graders in Rachel Faulkner’s class at Michael A. Maroun Elementary and fourth-grade students at Ada Mae Faubion Elementary School in Cedar Park, Texas, learned about the differences and similarities of their home states.

Students in Texas began the videoconference by performing a skit detailing the history, geography, weather and different animals found in their state.

Phoenix students were amazed to learn schools in Texas even get snow days on occasion.

“We had two snow days this year, but mostly because of the cold,” a Texas student said. “But we did close when we got less than an inch of snow.”

While that statement was met with laughter by the Maroun fourth-graders, the videoconference provided much more than interesting facts and skits as the classes collaborated to write a poem.

Building on an experience the students had last year when children’s poet Kenn Nesbitt came to Phoenix, the Maroun students asked their Texas peers for a list of sports and a list of foods.

Using a rhyme scheme and alliteration, the classes created two poems titled “Playing with your Food.”

The videoconference was part of a distance learning offering provided by Oswego County BOCES.

The program strives to bridge the gap in educational opportunities and enhance learning experiences for students, teachers and community members by providing overall program coordination services, technical support, identification of district needs and connectivity access to school districts and educational institutions.

For more information, call 963-4298 or visit www.oswegoboces.org/web/iss/distancelearning.

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