The Sportsman’s World

By Leon Archer

It might surprise some, but as a writer, I read a huge amount more than I write, and recently while sharing nanny duties with Sweet Thing in Sammamish, Wash., I’ve had the opportunity to do plenty of reading.

When it comes to reading, one of my passions is history, especially North American history. In the last three weeks I have read seven books on the topic.

I am sure some readers will wonder what in the world this has to do with the outdoors, but hang with me for a bit.

I read the following books: “The Frontiersman,” by Allan Eckert (600-plus pages); “Forgotten Allies,” by Joseph Glattharr and James Martin (400-plus pages); “Fusiliers,” by Mark Urban (380 pages); “Betrayals,” by Ian K. Steele (250 pages); “Rebellion in the Mohawk Valley,” by Gavin Watt (432 pages); “A Dirty Trifling Piece Of Business,” by Gavin Watt (500+ pages); and “I Am Heartily Ashamed,” by Gavin Watt (463 pages).

Altogether, I read better than 3,000 pages. It was an adventure for me.

If you got beyond the sixth grade, at some point you should have learned that Europeans came to the new world primarily for three reasons: religious freedom, free land and wealth.

The Spanish were the first to come in any numbers, and their interests carried them across the South to the Southwest, and West of what is now the United States.

However, their real impact was on Mexico, Central America and South America, where they found large quantities of gold and silver in the kingdoms of the Aztecs, Incas and Mayans, whom they immediately set about decimating while relieving them of the precious metals.

I confined my reading to colonial North America where settlers arrived primarily from the Netherlands, England and France. I know that ignores the sizeable numbers of Scots and Germans (Palatines) who also came to the new world, but they represented peoples, not nations.

The French claimed Canada, a strip of land on the southern shore of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River, as well as the Ohio Valley and vast areas of land surrounding the upper Great Lakes.

The Dutch were modestly situated primarily in our New York state along the Hudson River, and traded for furs with the Iroquois Indians between 1610 and 1664. This brought them into a direct competition with the French and their Indian allies.

The Dutch encouraged the Mohawks to expand their fur gathering into areas that were under the control of the French and the numerous Indian tribes who provided the furs to them.

That brought about the “Beaver Wars,” also called the French and Iroquois wars, as the Iroquois sought to extend their power and the French endeavored to stop them.

The English were not unaware of the Dutch fur monopoly that was developing in New Netherlands. England’s power was growing both north and south of the Dutch colony, and between 1664 and 1674 the two countries fought the three Dutch-Anglo Wars.

As a result of the wars, England relieved the Netherlands of her North American Colonies, leaving only France and England vying for the prize. It mattered little to them that the land was already occupied by various and sundry Indian tribes.

The fly in the ointment was the two European powers now standing astride this vast land were mortal enemies. Hundreds of years of intermittent warfare would now spread to North America.

The migrants who came from England came to settle the land. The Dutch before them had come for the same reason, but not with the ferocity and persistence, and numbers of the English.

The French came for the lucrative fur trade, and their settlements were established primarily to facilitate and protect that trade, not to really colonize and settle.

After digesting New Amsterdam, the English set about taking over its fur trade, but they also encouraged settlers to move north towards Lake Champlain and the Mohawk Valley. Over the next 80 years, several wars were fought between the French and English across the vast wilderness they both coveted.

At first the French were victorious, but year after year England’s strength in the new world grew while the French languished.

By 1763, the English had conquered the French and sent them packing but their victory would be short lived south of the Great Lakes, as a great new nation was in the throes of birth.

We are here and English speaking in a significant part, because of fur. That’s where it all began. Fur, mostly beaver, was a vital interest and desirable commodity in the New World, but by 1783, when peace was signed between the new United States of America and England, the beaver had nearly vanished from New York State, and at one point was down to a single small colony.

It may be hard to believe when we have so many beaver today, but 75 years ago, it was illegal to trap the beaver that had just begun to recolonize our state.

Next week, I’m going to be writing about the fur trade today. I would enjoy hearing from trappers, how they have been doing and the recent prices they have been getting for their pelts.

Drop me an email at lfarcher@yahoo.com — I’d love to hear from you.

What does Cuomo’s tax rebate plan really mean?

By Debra J. Groom

In his 2014-15 state budget presentation, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he will provide $1 billion for property tax relief.

At a recent Oswego County Legislature meeting, Oswego County Administrator Philip Church broke down the proposal on what it would mean for Oswego County residents.

In a 13-page analysis, Church said there are many unanswered questions as to how this tax relief will work and how it will be funded.

He said using the county’s tax levies (the amount raised by taxes) for operations, community college and workers compensation, residents with an average Oswego County home valued at $94,500 would receive a rebate of about $16.

And because the tax relief would affect all taxing jurisdictions (county, town, city, village, school districts), the full rebate would be less than $74.

This would be a two-year rebate, Church said.

He believes the state should take the money Cuomo wants for tax relief and instead of one-time rebates, put it toward permanent mandate relief.

This mandate relief would be reducing the cost of programs the state makes the county pay each year. Church said this would help taxpayers by reducing their property tax burden permanently.

“Many counties and the New York State Association of Counties are proposing this alternative method to provide property tax reductions to New Yorkers,” Church wrote in his analysis.

“The alternative consists of the state taking over the costs of four of its own programs: Medicaid, indigent defense, preschool special education and Safety Net,” he said.

Church said if the state paid for these programs, the reductions to the average Oswego County taxpayer’s bill would be about $514.

He also believes if the state pays for the programs itself, it would be forced to reform services.

Other problems with Cuomo’s tax rebate plan, according to Church:

** It is only temporary

** Rebates are reportable as income on federal income tax returns, “diminishing the overall financial benefit,” he writes.

** The cost of implementing the rebate program isn’t known. Church said the state will use tax levy data to compute the rebates and “the bureaucracy needed to collect, record and organize all tax levy date in the state” and then determine each homeowner’s eligibility and tax rebate will be large and a large cost to taxpayers.

** The state is operating now on tax levy data from 2012, stating this is the most recent data the state has. “How will the state be able to calculate rebates on a current year tax levy with any reasonable assurance to taxpayers that is was done accurately and fairly?” he writes.

** For homeowners to receive a rebate in the second year, the county must develop and submit plans to the state by June 2015 concerning consolidation and shared services. The county cannot use in its plan any consolidations or shared services it has already completed. He estimates Oswego County would have to come up with about $7.2 million in savings through its consolidation/shared services plan if all tax jurisdictions in the county participated.

** In order for a municipality to participate in the tax freeze rebate program, it cannot adopt a precautionary waiver of the state’s 2 percent tax cap. Oswego County adopts the waiver each year due to the ongoing tax status negotiations with Entergy for the FitzPatrick nuclear plant in Scriba.

Without the waiver, taxpayers could be left having to come up with millions of dollars in penalties if a tax settlement for Entergy greatly changed previous years county tax levies.

So participating in the tax rebate program would pose a large risk for Oswego County, Church said.

Legislature Minority Leader Michael Kunzwiler, D-Oswego, said he believes  Cuomo’s idea to push for more shared services and consolidation is good, especially as it get more people talking about the issue.

“If this stirs things up, that’s good,” he said.

He disagreed with Church’s emphasis on state mandate relief, stating Church for too long has been singing this same song.

“Phil has to stop pointing the finger and srart looking in the mirror,” Kunzwiler said. “Phil’s top worry is about what the state is doing — instead we should start cleaning up our own house.”

Calvin C. Hall, owned Hall Electric and Motor

Calvin C. Hall, 87, of Fulton, died Monday Feb. 17 at Michaud Residential Health Services.

He was born in Volney, the son of the late Clinton and Ella (Allen) Hall.

He was the owner of Hall’s Electric and Motor of Fulton until his retirement.

Mr. Hall was a life member of the Lions Club of Fulton. He served in the United States Navy during World War II.

He is survived by his wife of 49 years, Josephine Hall of Fulton; his sons Gary (Beth) Hall of Fulton, Calvin A. Hall of Oswego; brother Cedric Hall of Fulton; sister Carrie Palmer of Fulton; four grandchildren; and one great grandchild.

Spring burial will be in Fairdale Cemetery.

The arrangements are in the care of the Sugar Funeral Home 224 W. Second St. S. Fulton.

Fulton GOP endorses Katco for Congress

At the regularly scheduled monthly meeting Feb. 17, the City of Fulton Republican Committee unanimously voted to endorse Republican Congressional Candidate John Katco.

Katco is running for the 24th Congressional District seat currently held by Democrat Incumbent Daniel Maffei, D-Syracuse.

GOP Committee Chair Mark H. Aldasch Sr. said the Republicans have a great slate of candidates, but the committee felt that the best candidate by far was Katco.

“I am pleased with the committees choice,” Aldasch Sr. said. “I believe John Katco is the best and strongest choice for the city of Fulton, the county of Oswego and the entire 24th District.”

Fulton Common Council OKs study of War Memorial gym floor

By Ashley M. Casey

At its Feb. 18 meeting, the Fulton Common Council approved a bid from engineering firm Barton & Loguidice to make a $4,500 study of the gymnasium floor in the War Memorial.

Parks and Recreation Superintendent Barry Ostrander told The Valley News the gym floor is experiencing similar issues as the Lanigan Elementary School gym floor.

The floor is delaminating — its components are separating and causing the floor to bubble and blister.

“It’s almost (in) an identical fashion, but we need to make a determination whether it’s a moisture problem or the way the subflooring is propped,” Ostrander said.

Unlike Lanigan’s floor, the War Memorial gym floor has not tested positive for mercury. The engineering study involves cutting away portions of the floor and drilling core samples to determine the cause of the delamination.

Ostrander said the War Memorial floor was installed in September 1996. Such floors have a useful life of 15 years, with a recommended resurfacing at 10 years.

“Usually, at that point in time (15 years), they’re looking to replace it, but we’ve exceeded that. We’ve never even had it resurfaced because we take exceptional care of the floor,” he said.

“It becomes an issue when you have basketball, whether it is trying to control a basketball for a dribble or someone rolls an ankle,” Ostrander added. “It becomes a safety concern.”

In a letter to the city, Barton & Loguidice said this testing would take place “away from the normal playing surfaces … to minimize disruption of the playing surface of the floor and the ongoing activities at the facility.”

Ostrander said he does not know how long the engineering study will take, or what the replacement floor will cost. He said the city will look for a flooring company that can install a similar floor, as “We’ve gotten a good life out of the existing floor.”

The Common Council also:

** Agreed to issue a $120,000 bond to buy a garbage packer truck. “It’s not going to affect the general budget,” said Second Ward Council Dan Knopp. “It comes out of the garbage budget.”

** Increased rental rates for Parks and Recreation programs and facilities at the War Memorial, Bullhead Point Pavilion, community Room, indoor tennis and North Bay Campgrounds, effective March 1.

The city will honor contracts made before March 1, 2014, until their expiration dates.

The new rates can be found on the city’s website at cityoffulton.sharepoint.com/Pages/ParksRecreation.aspx.

** Set a public hearing for a proposed residential zone change. The city block surrounded by South Third, Rochester, Buffalo and South Fourth streets includes Holy Trinity Church, three single-family residences and one two-family residence.

A zone change has been requested to change the area from R-2, Residential, to R-1A, Residential.

The public hearing will be held at 7 p.m. March 4 in the Common Council Chambers of the Municipal Building, 141 S. First St.

2 local National Guard troops reenlist

Major General Patrick A. Murphy, the Adjutant General, said a number of New York Army National Guard troops have reenlisted as members of the Army National Guard.

Two are local. They are:

Staff Sgt. Brett Janes from Cato,  has reenlisted to continue service with the Company F, 1-169th General Support Aviation Battalion.

Sgt. Eric Shaffer from Phoenix, has reenlisted to continue service with the Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 102nd Military Police Battalion.

“The New York Army National Guard has sustained our force at or above 100 percent strength for the better part of five years now,” Murphy said.

“Keeping those ready forces in our ranks means that New York is ready to provide forces for state missions here at home, as we saw during Hurricane Sandy or for the federal missions supporting our nation around the country and around the world.”

Greene’s Ale House wins wing contest fundraiser for CAC

Hundreds of community members filled the Lake Ontario Event and Conference Center to enjoy some hot wings and cold brews at the Child Advocacy Center of Oswego County’s 3rd Annual Chicken Wing & Micro-Brew Fest.

The event raised more than $15,000 to help support the agency’s efforts to combat and prevent child abuse in Oswego County.

“Our 3rd Annual Chicken Wing & Micro-Fest was a tremendous success!,” said Executive Director Karrie Damm.

“Thanks to our many supporters and the nearly 700 community members who attended the event, we raised some much needed funds that will allow us to continue to provide services free of charge to victims of child abuse in Oswego County,” Damm said.

Contestants in this year’s competition included: Greene’s Ale House; Canale’s Restaurant; The Press Box; Jimmie James BBQ; Oswego Ancient Order of Hibernians; Kristen’s Kitchen at Battle Island; Steamer’s; Lighthouse Lanes; Garafolo’s Importing; The Red Sun Fire Roasting Co.; and the Office Tavern.

The winners included:

Greene’s Ale House: Judges Choice – Best Garlic Wings

Steamer’s: Judges Choice – Best BBQ Wings

Kristen’s Kitchen at Battle Island:  Judges Choice – Best Signature Wing

Popular Vote Winner, Best Tasting Wings: Greene’s Ale House (second year in a row)

“I extend a sincere thank you to all of our chicken wing contestants, as well as Eagle Beverage for providing the micro-brews. They are all winners for supporting the Child Advocacy Center and making our 3rd Annual Wing and Micro-Brew Fest a success,” said Damm.

The Child Advocacy Center is a nonprofit that works hand-in-hand with local law enforcement, prosecution, child protective services, medical providers, therapy providers and victim advocacy professionals in Oswego County to protect and serve children who are victims of sexual and physical abuse.

In 2013, the CAC served 475 children and families in Oswego County.

For more information on the Child Advocacy Center of Oswego County you may contact them at 592-4453.

Jessica Rocheleau, Andrew Fadden plan August wedding

Karl and Cheryl Rocheleau of St. Albans, Vt., along with Charles and Karen Fadden of Hannibal, N.Y., are delighted to announce the engagement of their children, Jessica Ann Rocheleau and Andrew Charles Fadden.

Jessica is a 2004 graduate of Bellows Free Academy in St. Albans and received her bachelor and master of science degrees in civil engineering from Clarkson University in Potsdam, N.Y.

Andrew is a 2003 graduate of Hannibal Central School and received his bachelor of science in electrical engineering from Clarkson University, Potsdam.

Jessica is a structural engineer with C&S Engineers in Syracuse. Andrew is an electrical engineer with TRC Solutions in Liverpool.

An August 2014 wedding is planned in Vermont.

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