Forest management workshop March 28

The Oswego County Soil and Water Conservation District, is offering a free workshop to forest owners from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Friday, March 28 at the Oswego County Federal Credit Union located at 5828 Scenic Drive, Mexico.

This educational event includes a classroom presentation with three speakers as well as a light dinner from 5:30 to 6.

Landowners interested in obtaining information about managing their forested properties for timber, recreation, wildlife or other goals, should attend. The workshop will answer the basic questions landowners often have about how to get started with forest management on their properties, the steps involved in harvesting and selling forest products, timber stand improvement, invasive species and several other topics.

The presenters will include, Joe Chairvolotti of Oswego County Soil and Water Conservation District, Art Brooks of Brooks Forestry and Resource Management Co. and Josh Hornesky with U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Pre-registration is required by Wednesday, March 26. Call Joe Chairvolotti at Oswego County Soil and Water Conservation District at 592-9663 or send an email to joe.chairvolotti@oswegosoilandwater.com to register.

Volunteers sort Girl Scout cookies for ‘emergency drill’

By Ashley M. Casey

Blowing snow and bitter winds didn’t deter the Oswego County Health Department on Wednesday as they unloaded and sorted 26,500 boxes of cookies for about 25 local Girl Scout troops.

About 30 volunteers from several county departments processed the cookies at the Oswego County Highway Garage in Scriba as a practice run for distributing emergency supplies from the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS).

This was the second year the Girl Scouts and the county teamed up for the Strategic National Stockpile drill.

The SNS is the nation’s collection of vaccines, medicines and other supplies that state and local governments must be able to distribute to the public in case of a health emergency such as a massive flu outbreak or bioterrorism attack.

“We’ve been asked by the state to demonstrate our ability (to distribute the supplies),” said Diane Oldenburg, senior public health educator for the Health Department. “It was a way to test our capabilities that goes beyond sitting around the table … with ‘paper’ scenarios.”

Volunteers wore color-coded vests — yellow and red for picking boxes, silver for quality assurance and orange for inventory control — over coats and scarves in the chilly garage.

Oldenburg said a health department staff member is involved in Girl Scouts, so the county contacted local Girl Scout leaders with the idea for the drill. Last year, volunteers handled 30,000 boxes of cookies at the drill.

County volunteers had to work quickly to break down pallets stacked high with Thin Mints and Tagalongs, sorting out the orders for area troops.

“It’s not an empty box. It’s got a little more value — it’s something that can be damaged, so it makes it a little more realistic,” Oldenburg said.

Girl Scouts NYPENN Pathways Community Development Manager Judi Knowlton and several local “cookie moms” were on hand to help as well.

“It saves us from having to get the volunteers, and it gives the county the practice they need, so it’s a win-win,” Knowlton said.

Public Health Director Jiancheng Huang said Wednesday’s weather — which led to school cancellations and traffic woes across the region — did not affect the drill.

“The weather is not a factor,” Huang said. “When the real (emergencies) happen, we don’t know what the conditions will be.”

Marine Museum hosts lecture on Shepard, telescope

As part of March as Women’s History Month, the H. Lee White Maritime Museum is hosting New Haven town historian, Marie Strong, who will present the first history lecture of the year at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, March 22.

Strong will speak about prominent New Haven resident, Elizabeth Shepard. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Shepard was born in New Haven Nov. 6, 1830 and lived on a farm with her parents. Elizabeth developed a passion for astronomy. Elizabeth’s son, C. Sidney Shepard, had an observatory tower built on the estate for her pleasure.

In 1956, the telescope was donated to SUNY Oswego where it was housed in a retractable observatory near Romney Field parking lot until 2013.

The old observatory is scheduled to be torn down sometime in the near future. The telescope is currently on display in Pontiac Hall in the H. Lee White Marine Museum’s main building.

Marie Strong was born in New Haven. She was mentored for 23 years by former New Haven historian Nancy Searles. In 2004, she became the town historian for New Haven.

Strong’s father sang with Mr. Shepard in the singing group Quartet, similar to a barbershop quartet. He was employed to maintain the family’s fleet of automobiles.

Marie’s three brothers looked after the Shepard Estate after Elizabeth’s death.

John Rusho, adjunct professor at SUNY Oswego Department of Physics, will discuss this type of telescope. Rusho has maintained the telescope for the last several years.

The H. Lee White Maritime Museum is located at the end of the West First Street Pier, in Oswego’s Historic Maritime District.

For information about the lecture, or other museum activities, contact the H.L. White Marine Museum at 342-0480, or at info@hleewhitemarinemuseum.com.

Legislature approves investment policy change

By Debra J. Groom

The Oswego County Legislature OKed a measure Thursday that will allow the county treasurer to get a better interest rate when he invests county money.

Treasurer Fred Beardsley said the county already has an investment policy. But the governor recently signed a law that allows a change in how county invetments are made, so the Legislature on Thursday approved a new investment policy.

Beardsley said banks were losing money when there were large investments made at the banks. This is because the bank had to put up collaterol of its own money on large deposits.

For example, he said if the county invested $100,000, the bank has to put up the $100,000 plus an amount for hte interest.

“With interest rates so low, the banks are losing money on this,” Beardsley said. “So many banks are refusing to take these investments.”

The change OKed by the governor allows the county to invest the money, which then goes to a holding company and then is divvied out to banks in smaller increments.

For example, Beardsley said if the county invests $1 million, the money goes to the holding company and then is given to different banks in $250,000 increments, called insured cash sweeps.

“It provides us with a higher interest rate and the banks will take the investments,” Beardsley said.

He said the county has had trouble making much money on its investments since interest rates have plummeted.

He said interest rates now are about 0.05 of a percent to about 0.15 of a percent.

“Our income on inteerst used to be about $1 million a year,” he said. “This year, we’ll be lucky to see $75,000.”

The legislature also approved a measure to transfer cemetery accounts in the custody of the county treasurer to the cemetery owners.

Beardsley said when he became treasurer, he checked all the bank accounts and found two accounts that were more than 40 years old. They were from cemeteries founded back in the 1880s.

“The cemeteries went defunct at one time and the money was transferred over to us,” Beardsley said.

He researched the cemeteries and found both — one in Richland and one in Pennellville — still are being kept up. So the money in the accounts will be given to those in charge of upkeep at the cemeteries to help with the maintenance.

The total being transferred is about $900.

The legislature also approved:

• Supporting a statewide indigent defense legal system. County Administrator Philip Church said having the state run the system to provide lawyers to low-income defendants  would save the county about $1.5 million.

• Supporting an alternative to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposed tax freeze that would lead to the state taking over mandated programs such as Medicaid, indigent defense and special education preschool.

Harborfest kicks off ‘Friends of Festival’

March kicks off the annual “Friends of the Festival” Campaign for Oswego Harborfest.

Each year, Harborfest friends support the festival through donations.

These donations are a part of what helps to keep Harborfest admission-free.

Along with sponsors, Friends of the Festival supports programming, entertainment, children’s activities, staging tents, and more.

Become a “Friend of the Festival” today.

Harborfest 2014 is slated for July 24-27.

“Friends of the Festival” forms are available at oswegoharborfest.com or at the Harborfest offices in the McCrobie Building, 41 Lake St.

For more information, call 343-6858.

Palermo begins dog count April 1

The town of Palermo Dog Control is conducting a Dog Enumeration (dog count) beginning April 1.

All dog four months and older are required by state law and town law to be licensed in the township.

Any owners who have dog(s) that are not licensed will be issued a ticket.

The fines for unlicensed dogs are as follows: $25 for the first, $50 for the second and $100 for the third and subsequent offenses.

The cost of a licenses are: $6 for spayed or neutered; and $13 for unspayed and unneutered.

New York state allows the town to collect a $5 fee during an enumeration at the time of licensing, which will be collected starting April 1.

A current rabies certificate is required in order to obtain a license.

The first Rabies Clinic will be held in Scriba at the County Highway Garage from 6 to 8 p.m. March 26.

Anyone with questions on licensing should call the Palermo Town Clerk at 593-2333 ext. 227 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

To obtain a license, bring or send a current rabies certificate with cash or check to Town Clerk, 53 County Route 35, Fulton, NY 13069.

The clerk’s office hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

County readies for autism walk

The Oswego County Autism Task Force is sponsoring its eighth Annual Family Fun Walk for Autism Saturday, May 3.

The family–friendly event will take place at Leighton Elementary School and Wilber Field and Track in Oswego, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Participants will join an organized 3-mile walk on Wilber Track, let the kids of all ages enjoy a variety of activities provided by local agencies and learn more about autism and resources available in Oswego County.

There also will be inflatables, face painting, crafts and a bubble area for all to enjoy throughout the afternoon.

This fun-filled day is a fundraiser for the Autism Task Force and will assist the organization with its mission to provide information and engage in social activities that relate to enhancing the lives of those touched by Autism Spectrum Disorder in Oswego County.

For more information, call Theresa Familo at 598-7672. This is event is free and open to the public.

Sign up now for farm workshop

A workshop titled “So you’ve bought a farm… now what?” is being offered by Cooperative Extension of Oswego County.

The focus is to educate new landowners and farmers interested in transitioning or adding to their current business. This program is designed to help these farmers make use of their land resources in a manner that fits their personal and business goals.

Those attending will hear topics such as understanding the  purchase of farm machinery, estimating farm machinery costs, alternatives for acquiring farm machinery, raising liverstock,  the production of fruit and vegetables and greenhouse operations.

The workshop will run March 27, April 10 and April 24 from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Mexico Library. Cost of the workshop will be $15 per person per session.  Anyone interested must pre-register no later than the morning of March 27. For more information, call 963-7286.

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