Maroun Elementary students mark 100 days in school

Submitted by Oswego County BOCES

After a handful of snow days altered the Phoenix Central School District’s schedule, students at Michael A. Maroun finally had a chance to celebrate the 100-day mark Thursday, Feb. 27.

In first-grade classrooms, students rejoiced by capping off a month-long food drive to collect 100 items for the local food pantry.

As students in Brenda Bailey’s class sorted and counted their donations, they celebrated the number 100 and realized they exceeded their goal by 44.

“It is very rewarding to see the kids give back,” Bailey said. “Plus they are able to practice counting and sorting items by 10 to get to 100.”

In addition to the food pantry donation, Bailey’s students had a chance to use food in other ways as they counted to 100.

Students separated Froot Loops cereal pieces  into 10 different groups of 10, and then put a string through the holes to make necklaces.

Not only were they able to learn about numbers, but they were able to enjoy a tasty take-home treat too.

Work begins on 2015 county budget

By Debra J. Groom

Oswego County began down the road to structuring a county budget Feb. 27, as the legislature’s finance and personnel committee heard a report about pros and cons that will affect the 2015 spending plan.

County Administrator Philip Church told those at the meeting about the significant factors that will affect the budget, what the big picture looks like right now concerning the 2015 spending plan and the legal process for putting together a budget.

So far, there are a number of negatives that could affect the budget.

One is the proposed state budget from Gov. Andrew Cuomo. He has proposed reducing revenue to the county health department by about $30,100, increasing the county’s Medicaid payment by 1 percent or $256,140 and leveling off funding for other county departments.

Other factors that will or could increase costs in 2015 are:

** Recently adopted union contracts have increased payroll by about $730,000 and three other bargaining units still have contracts pending.

** Tax agreements with Nine Mile Point 1 and 2 expire in December. They amount to $10 million.

** A public safety grant ends this year that total $500,000.

 

** An upcoming landfill expansion that could cost about $3.5 million.

** Nearly $800,000 in Medicaid offset revenue may not be renewed for 2015.

** The state is revising its formula for computing community college chargebacks. Impact of how this would affect the county is unknown.

** The tax agreement with Entergy concerning the James FitzPatrick Nuclear Station is in court and will probably be heard by a judge by year’s end. This totals about $6 million.

Add to this a trend of two-years of increases in Safety Net program (a state mandated public welfare program that provides benefits to people who have timed out of their federal welfare) payments (up 16 percent or more than $727,000 in two years) and sales tax revenue being flat ($41.5 million) and Oswego County already has its work cut out for it in putting together a budget.

Church also said some “vulnerabilities” facing the county are low amounts in reserves (nearly $3 million in fund balance, $2 million in retirement reserve and $500,000 in debt reserve) and the trend toward full value assessments “coming down,” which would lead to fewer tax dollars coming in.

Health clinics for week of March 10 announced

Submitted by Oswego County

The Oswego County Health Department offers a variety of services to all residents of Oswego County, including preventive health services, certified home health care, long-term home health care, certified hospice, and a maternal and child health program.

Walk-in influenza clinics are held weekdays from 9 to 11 a.m. and 1 to 3 p.m. at the Nick Sterio Public Health Clinic, 70 Bunner St., Oswego for people age 19 and older. No appointment is needed; walk-ins are welcome.

Children’s flu vaccine is now available every Tuesday from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. in Oswego, and the third Tuesday of every month from 9 to 11 a.m. at the H. Douglas Barclay Courthouse, Pulaski.

The children’s flu vaccine is available at no cost to all children who qualify for the Vaccines for Children Program provided by the New York State Department of Health. For those who do not qualify, the cost is $37 for the inactivated vaccine.

Patients with private insurance, Managed Medicaid, Managed Medicare, Medicaid, Medicare, and Medicare Part B should bring their benefit cards with them to the immunization clinic.

No one will be turned away due to inability to pay.

The following services will be offered during the week of March 10 at the Nick Sterio Public Health Clinic, 70 Bunner St., Oswego.

OSWEGO:

** Adult Influenza Clinic: Monday through Friday, 9 to 11 a.m. and 1 to 3 p.m., walk-in clinic.

** Immunization Clinic: Tuesday, March 11, 12:30 to 3:30 p.m., walk-in clinic.

** Pregnancy Testing: Free pregnancy testing is available. Call 349-3391 to schedule an appointment.

** Sexually Transmitted Disease Testing and Treatment Services: Call 349-3547 to schedule an appointment.

** HIV Counseling and Testing Service:  Call 349-3547 to schedule an appointment

Immunization clinics are held every Tuesday from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. at 70 Bunner St, Oswego, and the third Tuesday of every month from 9 to 11 a.m. at the H. Douglas Barclay Courthouse, Pulaski.

For more information, call the Oswego County Health Department, weekdays at 349-3547 or (800) 596-3200, ext. 3547.

Nine Mile 2 shuts down

Unit 2 at Constellation Energy Nuclear Group’s (CENG) Nine Mile Point Nuclear Station was manually shut down at about 1:45 a.m. due to an electrical component failure on the non-nuclear side of the plant.

All safety systems responded as designed and the plant went offline as expected, safely and without incident.

Unit 2 operators took immediate and appropriate action based upon plant parameters to shut down the unit in accordance with their procedures and training.  Station personnel are investigating the cause of the shutdown and will then take actions to complete necessary repairs in order to return the unit to service.

The plant is communicating with the regional grid operator, and the temporary shutdown is not expected to impact electrical service to homes and businesses in the region.

 

Program on medical billing, coding career March 6

The SUNY Oswego Phoenix Center will host a free information session from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday, March 6, for people who are interested in learning more about a professional career in medical billing and coding.

The medical coding program is offered through an interactive online training in partnership with CodeSmart University.

The course is open to each student for 18 months from the date they enroll, and the program is self-paced so students can go as fast or slow as they would like.

The U.S. Department of Labor has projected that medical coding and billing jobs will grow at a greater than average rate. In New York, the current average salary of a medical coder is just less than $40,000 per year.

To register for the free information session, call the SUNY Oswego Phoenix Center at 934-4900 by March 4.

The SUNY Oswego Phoenix Center is at 70 County Route 59 in Oswego County’s Industrial Park, just off Exit 14 from Route 481.

3 Baldwinsville teens charged in Granby man’s death

The New York State Police in Fulton announce the arrest of three Baldwinsville teenagers as a result of the investigation into the death of Anthony J. Miller of Granby.

Miller was found dead Feb. 3 in his mobile home in the Indian Hills Mobile Home Park.

Arrested and charged with second-degree murder and first-degree burglary, both felonies, are: Michael H. Celi, 17, of 9 McHarrie St., Baldwinsville; Glenwood E. Carr, 16, of 610 Lamson Road, Baldwinsville; and Zachary M. Scott, 19, of 7645 Van Buren Road, Baldwinsville.

The three subjects were arraigned by Granby Town Justice Bruce Wells and sent to the Oswego County jail.

The investigation is continuing.

At first, troopers called the death of Miller, 46, suspicious, but later said it had been ruled a homicide.

Friends found Miller in his home off Route 48.

Fulton school budget firming up; winter break renovations on track

By Ashley M. Casey

Voting on the Fulton City School District’s 2014-15 budget and electing three board of education members will be May 20 at the elementary schools, the school board announced at its Feb. 25 meeting.

A public hearing on the budget will be at 7 p.m. May 7 at the Junior High School.

The terms of board members Fred Cavalier, Barbara Hubbard and board president David Cordone expire June 30. The new terms would last from July 1, 2014, to June 30, 2017. Lynch said it was too early to say if these members would be running again or if there would be any other contenders.

Another issue expected to appear on the ballot is the Fulton Public Library. Lynch said he and Cordone met with library representatives Feb. 10 to discuss increasing the amount of library tax the district collects and a possible charter change for the library.

“Currently, we collect $190,000,” Lynch said. “They are going to ask for an additional $100,000.”

The library also wants to change its charter from a municipal library to a school district public library.

“They are not part of the school district, although they are a public school district library,” Lynch said of the proposed change. “We have nothing to do with the library building (or) staff.”

Lynch said this arrangement is common, citing examples in Liverpool, Baldwinsville and Oswego.

The library will have to submit the proposition to the board by April 1, and will have to collect 200 signatures from qualified district voters by April 30.

February break renovations on track

Lynch told the board renovations begun during the February break at Fairgrieve and Volney elementary schools have gone according to schedule.

The renovations are part of the 2012 capital project

Asbestos abatement is continuing upstairs at Fairgrieve and the sixth-grade wing is closed.

Volney is on track for abatement and renovations outside the third-grade classrooms.

“The project is … moving along as it’s been planned,” Lynch said.

Another project that had to be moved up is the replacement of floor tiles in the social studies wing at G. Ray Bodley High School.

“We originally planned to do the work this summer,” Lynch said.

The floor tiles contain asbestos and are peeling up and coming loose.

Lynch said a solvent used to remove the loose tiles left a “quite pungent” citrus odor in the building, but changes in ventilation have reduced the odor.

Classes using the affected rooms have been relocated, and the tiles are expected to be replaced during April break.

GRB proposes college prep course

Bodley High School Principal Donna Parkhurst presented to the board a plan for a college readiness course in collaboration with Cayuga Community College.

The semester-long class, called “Cayuga 101: Foundations for College Success,” would be open to students in grades 10 through 12 and would teach time management, organization, study skills and other qualities needed to succeed in college.

“This past December, we sent three teachers to be trained (to teach this),” Parkhurst said. “They were so excited.”

Parkhurst said GRB could definitely offer two sections of the class, but would like to add a third. This would open the class to 150 students.

“Current enrollment has to drive what teachers we can pull,” she said. The school would redistribute class sizes in less busy departments, such as U.S. history and business, to free up teachers for the Cayuga course.

School board member Christine Plath, who teaches part-time at CCC, said she has met students who have taken similar courses before.

“Students say it is very helpful to them. Students that don’t have time management and study skills are lost and don’t know what to do,” she said.

Parkhurst said students would earn three college credit hours and the cost of the “On Course” textbook would be included in GRB’s budget.

Coming up

  • The eighth annual High School Art and Photography Invitational is on display in the Community Room at the Fulton Municipal Building (141 S. First St.) 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, March 1 (today), and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, March 2. It will showcase artwork from Fulton, Hannibal, Oswego and Phoenix schools.
  • The next school board meeting is at 7:30 p.m. March 11 at the Education Center (167 S. Fourth St.).

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