Phoenix hoops finish successful season

By Rob Tetro

The Phoenix boys’ varsity basketball team recently concluded its season with an 11-8 record and having earned a second place finish in league play.

Four seniors also wrapped up their hoops career at Phoenix. As Nick Tassone, Emilio Tassone, Bryce Plante, Jeff Sawyer and Brandon Wood depart, they do so having made their impact felt on the Phoenix boys’ basketball program.

Coach Jim Rose sais his four seniors worked hard to improve from game to game and season to season. After failing to qualify for Sectional playoffs last season, the seniors and their work ethic were on display this season.

In fact, the work ethic seemed to have trickled down to the team’s younger players.The Firebirds worked hard to improve throughout the season, which put them in position to win more games than a year ago en route to returning to during the Sectional playoffs.

With Nick and Emilio Tassone, Plante and Sawyer set to graduate, Rose hopes they move from their participation in the Phoenix boys’ varsity basketball program having learned the importance of responsibility and hard work in a team setting.

Rose said a successful unit is one that is cohesive, which allows that unit to work together for common goals.

Phoenix accomplished many goals this season.Rose is proud his seniors will be able to move on after being a part of a team that succeeded while working together in a family atmosphere.

Rose also hopes his younger players move on from this season having learned as much from the seniors work ethic and dedication as it seems they have. This season, they were able to see firsthand how hard work and dedication during both the in-season and off-season can benefit a team.

He also hopes his returning players quickly regroup and renew or expand their determination with the expectation of building on the success from this season.

Looking ahead, two starters will be returning for the Firebirds next season. The team will also feature two key bench players from this year’s team.

Strong leadership will be expected from Zach Sisera next year as a senior. Also as a senior, Connor Haney will be looking to improve at the center position next season.

Walker Connoly and Shaun Turner came off the bench last season, but will be looked upon to fill the voids left behind that this year’s group of seniors. Rose hopes to see the trend of hard work, dedication and improvement trickling down to the program’a younger players continuing.

He said having players who work hard and have the success to show for it will be great examples for new players who lack basketball experience at the varsity level.

Poetry Corner

March Madness, by Jim Farfaglia

 

Somebody above missed the message

that winter’s officially done;

the white stuff keeps fallin’,

the big trucks keep plowin’

and nobody’s having much fun.

 

We’ve had enough of skiing,

of sledding and cute snowmen;

still the temperature ain’t risin’,

and golfers are agonizin’

over when they’ll see green grass again.

 

I’d be happy to deliver the word

if I could just find Mr. Sun.

It sure would be pleasin’,

if we had a new season;

here’s hoping he sends the right one!

Willy Wonka Jr. on stage again this week

 

More performances of ‘Willy Wonka Jr.’ are being presented this week.

The play is being staged at 7:30 p.m. March 21 and 3 p.m. March 22 and 23. CNY Arts Center presents the children’s musical as part of its Kids Onstage program at 357 State St. Methodist Church, in Fulton (use the Park Street entrance).

For tickets and reservations visit www.CNYArtsCenter.com or call 592-3373.

Illustration class exhibits its work

Submitted by SUNY Oswego

Students in a SUNY Oswego illustration class will display their artwork beginning Saturday, March 29, at Oswego State Downtown.

An opening reception will take place from 2 to 4 p.m. that day at the downtown branch of the College Store at West First and Bridge streets in Oswego. The exhibition will run through April 19.

The display, “Traditional Illustration by Oswego Students,” began as a pair of assignments in instructor Judith Ann Benedict’s introductory class in illustration last fall. The students worked on portraits of historical figures and came up with endings to a graphic novel.

Benedict said for the historical figures, students “were encouraged to look beyond a likeness and include indications of personality, etc., in their finished work.”

For the graphic novel assignment, each student worked from the same story to illustrate the ending in nine to 15 panels, using a color palette restricted to black, white-grays and reds.

The course’s goal was to acquaint students with creative techniques, technical processes and business aspects commonly used in illustration, Benedict said.

Oswego State Downtown is open noon to 5 p.m. Wednesdays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fridays and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays. For more information, call 216-4985 or email thestore@oswego.edu.

School districts ponder veterans exemption

By Ashley M. Casey

Although the March 1 deadline to grant a partial property tax exemption to wartime veterans has passed, local school boards are mulling the decision for 2015.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo approved a law in December 2013 giving school districts the same power as municipalities to authorize a property tax reduction of at least 15 percent to district residents who served in the armed forces during a time of war.

The Fulton City School District board of education first discussed the issue at its Feb. 11 meeting.

Director of Finance Kathy Nichols and Superintendent Bill Lynch told board members that based on data from Oswego County, veterans or their spouses own 774 parcels of land in the Fulton district.

Under the new law, $13,851,354 could be exempt from the district’s assessed value if the board authorizes the veterans’ exemption.

“We had received notification (of the law) in early February,” Fulton board president David Cordone said. “There wasn’t a lot of time for us to investigate … the majority of the board felt we didn’t have enough information to vote for the March 1 deadline.”

If boards did not pas a resolution to grant the exemption by the March 1 deadline, they can consider the matter again next year.

Cordone said the Fulton board decided to gather more data in order to “be prepared to vote next year.”

“It’s up for discussion, but we need community input,” said Erin Hess, president of the Hannibal school board. “It’s really not so much for the board to decide — it’s up to the community.”

Hess echoed a concern that Fulton board member Christine Plath voiced in February.

“The only big question about it is the exemption gets picked up by other taxpayers, so it’s up for debate,” Hess said.

In February, Plath told her fellow board members she didn’t “see how certain households (in the Fulton district) can handle an increase in the tax rate.”

“It is going to be an impact (on the other taxpayers),” Mexico school board president Jim Emery said.

“With, for example, the STAR program, the state reimburses the districts. With this … it leaves it up to the district to shift the cost to other taxpayers. It puts the school board in an unenviable position.”

Emery said Mexico and other rural, lower-income districts would have a harder time distributing the cost of the veterans’ exemption to other taxpayers.

Across the state, school board members seem to have their reservations as well.

According the New York State School Boards Association, 69 percent of board members in an informal poll opposed the veterans’ exemption.

“School board members strongly support our veterans, but they believe that reimbursement for the veteran’s exemption should be covered by the state rather than by other local taxpayers,” school boards association Executive Director Timothy G. Kremer said in a press release.

“The law as is presents school boards with a dilemma,” Kremer said. “If they adopt the exemption, that would increase taxes for other taxpayers in their district. If they do not adopt the exemption, they could be viewed as not being supportive of veterans.”

In Oswego County, several municipalities have authorized a similar property tax reduction for Cold War veterans.

In 2009, the county legislature passed “Cold War Veterans Property Tax Exemption Act,” which granted a basic 15 percent reduction to veterans. Combat veterans receive an additional 10 percent exemption, and those with service-related disabilities receive even more.

Donna Kestner, director of the Oswego County Veterans Service Agency, said the following municipalities granted exemptions to Cold War vets: city of Fulton, Amboy, Minetto, Oswego Town, Palermo, Parish, Sandy Creek, Schroeppel, Volney and Williamstown. The city of Oswego and Scriba have not approved the exemption.

“I think it’s excellent,” Kestner said of the potential exemption from school districts. “I’d love to see our vets get school tax exemptions.”

Kestner said she could not make it to the Fulton board meeting Feb. 11 but thought the Fulton board was “in full support of the veterans, and I appreciate that.”

“Some places, they’re not as supportive as they are here,” she said.

Salon specialist, cancer survivor, gives back to others fighting cancer

Oswego County Opportunities’ Cancer Services Program Partnership has a new community partner to help clients whom are diagnosed with cancer.

Liz Lucas, an ovarian cancer survivor, wants to help others that are faced with a cancer diagnosis and the treatment side effects.

“I will help anyone I can regardless of their type of cancer!  I want to give something back now after my journey with cancer,” said Lucas.

Lucas, a salon specialist at Hair We Are on 201 Academy St., Fulton, is volunteering her specialties and offering free hair cuts, make up applications; including how to draw on eyebrows and eyelashes during chemotherapy treatments, wig fitting and/or finding wigs online.

“I have learned so much throughout my journey and I know how challenging every day can be during cancer treatment.  I want our community to know that I am there for them and I am willing to assist them with anyway I can,” says Lucas.

OCO’s Cancer Services Program is funded by the New York State Department of Health and the Susan G Komen of CNY Foundation and offers free cancer screenings including clinical breast exams, mammograms, pap/pelvic exams and colon cancer screenings for community members that do not have health insurance and are between the ages of 40-64.

In addition the program offers diagnostic services and has a treatment program for men and women that are diagnosed with breast, cervical, colon or prostate cancer.

“I am ecstatic to continue to increase the resources we have available to our community and applaud Liz for her efforts to share her experience with others,” said Cancer Services Program Coordinator, Carolyn Handville.  “Feeling good about yourself and being confident is a key component when fighting this disease and I cannot thank Liz enough for offering her services to others.”

For more information on the many cancer screenings available through the Cancer Services Program Partnership, or to make an appointment, contact Carolyn Handville at 592-0830.  Don’t wait, early detection saves lives!

Helping senior citizens to be fed

Oswego County Opportunities’ Nutrition Services is asking Oswego County residents to be a part of its annual March for Meals campaign by being a part of the many events that they will be hosting during the month of March.

OCO’s annual March for Meals campaign helps to raise the awareness of senior hunger in Oswego County and serves as a fundraiser to help support the agency’s Home Delivered Meal Service.

To celebrate their March for Meals Campaign, OCO Nutrition Services has planned the following community events:

** Wednesday, March 19 (today), Fundraiser from 4 to 9 p.m., at the Bake Shop Eatery, 3281 Main St, Mexico. A total of 15 percent of all proceeds will be donated to OCO’s Nutrition Services to support the Meals on Wheels program.

** Wednesday, March 19 (today), Mayors For Meals Day. To raise awareness and to encourage action at the local level, Oswego County dignitaries will participate in the campaign by delivering meals to homebound seniors or by serving meals at one of OCO’s eight senior Dining and Activity Centers.

** Date to be announced, Pinewood Derby, at the Sandy Creek Dining and Activity Center from 11 a.m. to noon. Judy Parker, center manager, has invited special guests and local dignitaries to build and race pinewood derby “meal delivery vans” to see which guest can deliver the meals the fastest on the derby track.

Lunch will be served at the center after the race. Reservations are requested. For more information and to make reservations contact Judy Parker at 298-5020 or via e-mail at jparker@oco.org

** Meals on Wheels Collection Vans.  Look for donation boxes shaped as delivery vans at senior centers and in local places of business for the month of March. All donations will be used to support Meals on Wheels participants and to provide special events at OCO’s Senior Dining and Activity Centers.

“In this tough economy, the food and human contact we provide to seniors in this community is needed more than ever,” said Bridget Dolbear, program services coordinator with OCO Nutrition Services..

“We need community members to come out and support our March For Meals events. Their support will help us continue feeding senior citizens in our community.  Our clients are counting on us. We can’t let them down,” she said.

The Meals On Wheels Association of America created the March For Meals campaign in 2002 to raise awareness about senior hunger.

‘We Are Meals On Wheels, so no senior goes hungry’ is the continuing slogan for the campaign. Senior citizens across the country go hungry every day and one in seven seniors is threatened by hunger.

The older population is increasing at a staggering high rate with an increase of more than 20 million senior citizens from this decade alone. The goal of Nutrition Services and other Meals on Wheels programs is to end senior hunger by 2020 and you can help.

The OCO’s Meals on Wheels program delivers around 1,000 meals each day to homebound seniors. There are no un-served areas in the county.

Typically, the Meals on Wheels driver is the only person that the homebound participants see for days at a time.

“Our participants have said that it makes them feel better to have someone check on them and they enjoy the conversations as much as the meals,” said Distribution Supervisor Allen Wert.

While the program does have nine paid employee routes, Wert said it is the volunteers that are the driving force behind the Meals on Wheels program.

“We have 19 volunteer routes for our home delivered meals. Our program relies heavily on the assistance we receive from our volunteers. We couldn’t do it without them,” said Wert.

If anyone is interested in delivering meals or helping out at one of our Dining and Activity Centers please call us at 598-4712, we would love to hear from you.”

In addition to the Meals on Wheels program, OCO Nutrition Services has eight senior Dining and Activity Centers located in Constantia, Fulton, Hannibal, Mexico, Oswego, Parish, Phoenix and Sandy Creek. The centers feed about 100 senior citizens daily and offer fun activities and friendly conversations.

Dolbear said updates on OCO’s March for Meals campaign as well as photos from the events and activities at OCO’s Dining and Activity Centers would be on the agency’s Facebook page at OCO Senior Centers.  “I encourage community members to like us on Facebook.  Our goal is to have 300 likes by the end of March!”

For more information on the March for Meals campaign and to learn how you can help put an end to senior hunger, contact Bridget Dolbear at OCO Senior Nutrition Services, 598-4712, ext. 1813 or via e-mail at bdolbear@oco.org.

 

Phoenix school district employees ‘pay it forward’ to the community

Submitted by Oswego County BOCES

The Phoenix school district recently spearheaded a campaign to pay it forward to an organization that has brought the message of bicycle, passenger, driver and pedestrian safety to the community.

A long-running partnership between the district and the Oswego County Traffic Safety Board has contributed to the success of the yearly safety expo.

The expo has helped ensure the community is armed with the knowledge and equipment to keep them be safe while on bicycles and in motor vehicles, district personnel said.

The employee group donated $905 to the traffic safety organization.

“For the past seven years, Billie Crandall Brady and the Traffic Safety Board has helped us with our safety expo,” said the district’s transportation department secretary Cindy Lees.

“They helped with the bike rodeo and donated helmets for every bike we gave away. They also did two car seat checks for the community. Billie is dedicated to traffic safety education for children and adults,” she said.

As a result of the partnership, the district wanted to show their support by holding a raffle. A lottery tree containing $50 worth of tickets was raffled off during a two-week period, and the results were overwhelming, Lees said.

“Once I sent an email out to our staff to let them know about the raffle, my inbox was full of responses within an hour,” Lees said. “We ended up raising $905, and some of our employees sold tons of tickets.”

Bus driver Harry Moffat sold 90 tickets, including the winning one to Smokey Horton.

While Horton was the winner of the lottery tickets, Brady said the community members are the real winners.

“This is just fantastic,” Brady said. “We depend on state funding and times are tough. This money will go a long way.

“We’ll be able to buy a lot of bike helmets thanks to this generous donation. On behalf of the Oswego County Traffic Safety Board, I would like to thank the Phoenix school district and the transportation department for their generosity.”

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