Raceway proposal obtains state grant

The plan to develop a racetrack outside Central Square has received a boost from the state.

Central NY Raceway Park, Inc., which was formed in 2012 to develop a 145-acre site in the town of Hastings, into the CNY Raceway Park, will use a grant of up to $1 million for a portion of pre-development costs, including planning, design, engineering, investigation, legal and accounting for its proposed $38 million development.

This is the third state grant the project has received, officials said.

Mark Bombardo, director of code enforcement and community planning and development in Hastings, said the town still is waiting for the project developers to come back to he town with more information on its project.

“We had a scoping session in January 2013 and then had a public hearing in January 2014 on some of the information,” Bombardo said. “We found some things to be deficient, so we asked for more information.”

Some of the issues town fathers wanted more information on included traffic and noise.

Bombardo said the entrance to the raceway would be off of U.S. 11, an already busy highway. There also are a number of houses near the proposed site.

Bombardo said the town of Hastings is coordinating the review of the proposal with the state Department of Transportation, state Department of Environmental Conservation and the Army Corps of Engineers.

“We are waiting on them now,” he said of the developers.

Oswego County is a motorsports destination that includes several race tracks, including the Oswego, Fulton and Brewerton Speedways. The availability of different types of racing is considered beneficial to the industry, building opportunity and interest in the sport.

The CNY Raceway Park will schedule events to complement the schedules of the existing facilities and will distinguish itself by offering opportunities for a wide array of racing and a year-round venue not available elsewhere.

Additionally, the Park will be strategically positioned at major crossroads in New York state, making it convenient and accessible for race participants and the public.

It will be located minutes from Syracuse and the state Thruway, adjacent to I-81 and Route 11, and 80 miles from Canada.

The completed project will transform the site into a premier multi-use destination facility for motor sports, trade shows, concerts and other events, and attendance is expected to be 5,000 to 7,000 spectators per event.

Fulton boys don’t make hoops postseason

By Rob Tetro

The Fulton boys’ varsity basketball team’s season came to an end with four losses to finish the season at 5-13.

Fulton needed to win one of its final 4 games to qualify for Sectional Play.

On Jan. 31, Cortland cruised past the Red Raiders, 73-52. Christian Brothers Academy rolled past Fulton, 77-53 Feb. 4. On Feb. 7, Bishop Ludden topped the Red Raiders, 76-49. While a final chance to qualify for Sectionals was lost when East Syracuse Minoa rallied for a 64-57 win Feb. 11.

Fulton had a 1-point lead over Cortland in their game, but Cortland took command of the game during the second quarter, outscoring Fulton by 11 points to take a 37-27 halftime lead.

Cortland kept pouring it on during the third quarter, outscoring the Red Raiders by 7 points to extend the lead to 17 points. Cortland capped off an impressive effort during the fourth quarter, outscoring Fulton again to win by 21.

Leading the way for the Red Raiders was Chris Jones with 17 points, followed by Cody Green with 12, Josh Hudson with 8  and Jon Cummins chipped in 5 points.

CBA and Fulton were competitive in the first quarter of their game, with the Brothers having only a 3-point lead over Fulton after the first. The Red Raiders hung tough during the second quarter and CBA had a 38-31 lead at  the half.

CBA pulled away in the third quarter, outscoring the Red Raiders by 9 points to push its lead to 16 points. Christian Brothers Academy put the game out of reach during the fourth quarter, outscoring Fulton by 8 points to cruise to the 77-53 win.

The Red Raiders were led by Cody Green with 18 points, followed by Chris Jones with 11, Jon Cummins and Josh Hudson with 8 points each and Brian Hudson added 6 points.

Bishop Ludden wasted little time putting its game with Fulton out of reach. They jumped out to an 18-point lead in the first quarter. The Red Raiders were far more competitive during the second quarter and were outscored by only 2 points. Ludden still had a 44-24 halftime lead.

Bishop Ludden refused to let up during the third quarter. They outscored The Red Raiders by 9 points to expand the lead to 29 points. To Fulton’s credit, they didn’t quit until the clock hit all zeros. They battled on while outscoring Bishop Ludden by 2 points during the fourth quarter. But the deficit they faced proved to be insurmountable as Bishop Ludden came away with 27-point victory.

Leading the way for Fulton was Cody Green with 13 points, followed by Chris Jones with 10, Seth Britton with 7, Josh Hudson and Mark Pollock scored 5 points each and Taylor Jordan chipped in 4 points.

The Red Raiders took on East Syracuse Minoa in hopes of winning to qualify for postseason play. After a competitive first quarter, the Red Raiders had a 2-point lead over ESM. But then the Spartans stormed ahead during the second quarter, outscoring Fulton by 10 points to take a 30-22 lead.

The Red Raiders fought back during the third quarter, outcoring ESM by 7 points to bring its lead down to a point at 39-38. Fulton’s rally continued into the fourth quarter as well.

It seemed the Red Raiders were in position to win late in the game. But Fulton ran out of gas down the stretch and the Spartans seized the opportunity and pulled away. They outscored Fulton by 7 points to escape with a 64-57 win.

Fulton was led by Chris Jones with 27 points, followed by Cody Green with 19, Brian Hudson with 7  and Jon Cummins with 4 points.

Local author Bruce Coville to give keynote address at Quest event

Submitted by SUNY Oswego

SUNY Oswego’s Quest has chosen Bruce Coville, alumnus and famed author of books for children and young adults, as keynote speaker for the daylong celebration of scholarly and creative pursuits.

Coville is scheduled to speak at 10 a.m. Wednesday, April 9, in the Campus Center auditorium.

The session is free and open to the public, as are scores of presentations, exhibitions and demonstrations that day, most in the Campus Center.

A 1973 alumnus and author of more than 100 books in such series as “The Unicorn Chronicles” and “Sixth Grade Alien,” Coville will set an inspiring tone, said this year’s Quest coordinator, Norm Weiner, SUNY Oswego emeritus professor of sociology and past director of the Honors Program.

“I was trying to find a keynote speaker students may have heard of and be interested in hearing,” Weiner said.

Generous to SUNY Oswego with his time during the years, Coville told graduates at the college’s December 2011 Commencement to hang onto their “deepest, truest beliefs” in searching for their life’s work: “Do as you love,” he prescribed.

As Coville and his wife, illustrator Katherine Dietz, struggled to sell books in the ‘70s and ‘80s, he lived by those words.

Long before his success with such international bestsellers as “My Teacher Is an Alien,” Coville worked many jobs.

A former elementary school teacher — as well as former “toymaker, gravedigger, cookware salesman and assembly line worker,” as he likes to say — Coville publicly credits his sixth-grade teacher, Florence Crandall, and a professor at SUNY Oswego, the late Helen Buckley Simkiewicz, with encouraging his love of writing.

Creative immersion

Weiner said Coville’s education and its connection to the creative life is a key ingredient that will energize students and members of the community at Quest.

“I think as someone immersed in creative activities, Bruce brings a lifetime of experience relevant to students,” Weiner said.

“I think he can speak personally and professionally about taking risks, being creative and about the place of creativity in every pursuit, from sciences to the humanities.”

Besides writing books, Coville has authored four musicals, formed Syracuse audiobooks publishing company Full Cast Audio and appeared frequently at schools around Central New York and elsewhere to pass along his love of reading and writing.

His best-selling works of science fiction, fantasy, adventure and magic have appeared in more than a dozen languages.

Along with Coville’s many literary awards, the Oswego Alumni Association honored him with a Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1998, and the State University of New York system awarded him an honorary doctor of letters degree in 2003.

Parking is free April 9 for visitors to Quest in the rear half of the lot behind Hart and Funnelle residence halls and in the adjacent commuter lot.

Dillon fifth-grader commended for kindness

Submitted by Oswego County BOCES

Random acts of kindness are committed on a daily basis in the Phoenix Central School District and those efforts were recognized Thursday (Feb. 27) morning.

Emerson J. Dillon fifth-grade teacher Sandy Silky nominated Ashlyn Wallace for the recognition, which is a joint initiative between the district and SUNY Oswego’s Office of Business and Community Relations.

When students commit a random act of kindness, they receive completed Go.Do.Good cards from their classmates and/or teachers and then submit their cards to be entered into a random drawing.

The initiative at Dillon Middle piggybacked off an anti-bullying program at the beginning of February, said Raina Hinman, the district’s dean of students.

“Students took on a Post-It initiative as part of the anti-bullying campaign. They wrote words of encouragement and nice things onto sticky notes and put them on students’ lockers,” Hinman said. “That campaign ended Feb. 7 and rolled nicely into Random Acts of Kindness Week, which was Feb. 10-14.”

While Random Acts of Kindness Week helps reinforce the message of doing good deeds for others, Hinman said that the initiative has really been ongoing since the start of the school year.

“We hand out the blank cards to students at the beginning of the year,” Hinman said. “If a student does something that meets the criteria — and it can be anything from helping with homework to giving compliments – then they receive a completed Go.Do.Good card describing the random act of kindness.”

For this year’s honoree, a simple act of kindness grabbed her teacher’s attention when Wallace offered to lend a hand to a student who had dropped folders on the floor.

“It feels really good,” Wallace said of the recognition. “I was just doing something nice.”

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.

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