Students meet reading challenge; giggle at principal’s purple hair

Volney Principal Lisa Garofalo with her purple hair and pajamas takes to the school roof after her students met her reading challenge.
Volney Principal Lisa Garofalo with her purple hair and pajamas takes to the school roof after her students met her reading challenge.

Submitted by Oswego County BOCES

Volney Elementary Principal Lisa Garofalo set a challenge for students at the last school spirit day assembly, read 2,500 books during Read Across America Week and she would sleep on the school roof and dye her hair purple.

The idea came from the book “Miss Malarkey Leaves No Reader Behind,” by Judy Finchler and Kevin O’Malley.

In the book, character Principal Wiggins promises to dye his hair purple and spend the night on the school roof if the students read 1,000 books in a school year.

Students recorded their book tally through reading logs, which were then submitted to librarian Sarah Fay. At the close of the week, students had read a total of 3,467 books.

As promised, Garofalo (outfitted in pajamas) got on the school’s snowy roof, her purple hair tucked under a winter cap, and waved goodbye to students at dismissal.

Youth Summit March 20 at college

The SUNY Oswego Office of Business and Community Relations, in conjunction with the Workforce Development Board of Oswego County, will host the eighth annual Youth Career Summit from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday, March 20, in Lanigan Hall.

The summit is an opportunity for eighth-graders from school districts across Oswego County to explore their interests and how they align with career opportunities in the community.

The event will feature local speakers on topics such as criminal justice, food and agriculture, STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and trade careers, as well as how to understand one’s individual strengths, said Jeffrey Grimshaw, director of business and community relations for the college.

SUNY Oswego, Huhtamaki, Constellation Energy, Fulton Savings Bank, Eastern Shore Associates, and Chris Nelson-State Farm Insurance support the event.

Oswego County Federal Credit Union is providing an iPad Mini to be awarded in a drawing to a student participant.

For more information about events and services of the college’s Office of Business and Community Relations, visit oswego.edu/obcr, call 312-3492 or email obcr@oswego.edu.

Fairgrieve students read for thousands of minutes

Submitted by Oswego County BOCES

A novel idea at Fairgrieve Elementary School in Fulton has translated into reading success within the building, and students recently were rewarded for their efforts.

At the beginning of the school year, Principal Jean Ciesla launched a reading challenge to all the students at Fairgrieve. Each student received a calendar to take home and log their time spent reading.

Once the minutes are recorded, parents or guardians have to sign off on it and then students submit the completed calendar to their teacher.

“We encouraged the students to read at least 15 minutes a day,” Ciesla said. “Our goal was to have the boys and girls read 2,000 minutes by the halfway point, and 4,000 minutes by the end of the year.”

For dozens of students, the 2,000-minute goal was an attainable one, and they earned special recognition during an ice cream social in late February.

“Congratulations everyone for making it to the 2,000-minute mark,” Ciesla said. “You should be very proud of what you accomplished. “

The principal encouraged students to continue reading each night and reminded them another celebration would be held in June if they are able to keep on pace and log another 2,000 minutes.

Volney Elementary students get lesson in Indian art

Dr. Rani Jha, master painter and teacher at the Mithila Art Institute in Madhubani, stopped at Volney Elementary in late February to give students a lesson in art and culture.

Dr. Jha visited a few schools during her visit to the United States, and agreed to teach the mithila art form to small groups of students. The top art students from grades four through sixth participated in the lesson.

Librarian Sarah Fay first introduced the mithila art form to the 30 selected students in a brief library presentation.

Mithila painting is a centuries old traditional women’s art form of north India, in the area just below the border with Nepal.

Dr. Jha started painting in her home at seven years old. Conventionally done on newly plastered mud wall of huts, mithila paintings can now be found on hand-made paper, cloth and canvas.

The wall paintings feature symbols of luck and religion, each illustrating an artist’s individual flair.

Dr. Jha drew for the students a peacock, the national bird of India. In their 40-minute session students drew fish, turtles (a symbol of patience and long life) and peacocks in the mithila style.

Students asked Dr. Jha questions about her religion, Hinduism, and about the sari.

Organic farmer speaks at worker program

Dick deGraff, who with his wife, Vic Ladd-deGraff, founded Grindstone Farm, will speak at noon Sunday, April 6 at First Universalist Society of Central Square, 3243 Fulton Ave. (Route 49 west of Route 11).

DeGraff has more than 30 years of experience as an organic farmer and mentors young farmers. Grindstone Farm, south of Pulaski, was a Community Supported Agriculture supplier for many years, providing produce to families in Syracuse and Central New York. The farm continues to provide ways for folks to support local agriculture. For more information about the farm, visit its website at grindstonefarm.com.

DeGraff will speak as part of the free Voices for Worker Equality Series co-sponsored by the church and the Workers’ Center of Central New York, based in Syracuse.

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.

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