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.

Some Valley News odds and ends

Well, come March 9, I will have been the managing editor of The Valley News for six months.

Boy, time flies.

I thought, to mark this occasion, I would discuss a few odds and ends that have come across my desk in the last few weeks.

1) People have been doing a great job with photographs after the column I write a while back that I like to call Photography 101. Photos being sent here are of good quality and most everyone is remembering to send along names of the people in the photos.

I still have received a couple of photos taken with cell phones that could not be used. Please remember to take photos for the newspaper with an actual digital camera and email them to editor@valleynewsonline.com as a jpeg attachment. I’ve been trying hard to get photos in the newspaper in a timely fashion.

2) Here are a couple of things everyone should remember when sending in letters to the editor — sign your letter and include your phone number.

I have one sitting on my desk right now with no phone number, which means it will not run until I can hunt down a number and call them.  If I can’t find a number to call the writers, the letter won’t run.

3) The schedule for cover photos for the Wednesday Valley News newspapers is just about full. As of Wednesday, Feb. 19, the only dates still open this year are July 2, Aug. 13, Oct. 15, Dec. 10, Dec. 17, Dec. 24 and Dec. 31. And those last two December dates are iffy depending on whether the paper publishes on those holidays.

I am always here to answer questions about anything in the paper or take information about possible stories. Just call 598-6397, ext. 31 or email editor@valleynewsonline.com

Thanks,

Debbie  Groom

Managing editor

Fulton native makes magic for the silver screen

By Ashley M. Casey

As a child growing up in Fulton, Marcus Taormina often borrowed his parents’ video camera to make live-action horror films and stop-motion movies.

But he never imagined he’d make a career out of it someday.

Taormina now lives in Los Angeles, Calif., and is a freelance visual effects and digital media supervisor for the film industry.

He has worked on “The Amazing Spider-Man,” “Fast and Furious 6” and the reality TV show “America’s Next Top Model.” Currently, he is working on “The Amazing Spider-Man 2,” which is slated for a May 2, 2014, release.

Although he works 12 hours a day — sometimes more — he says he “couldn’t be happier.”

Taormina originally majored in computer science, but “it just didn’t feel right to me,” he said. After a couple of semesters, he decided to switch gears to the University of Buffalo’s film production program.

“As soon as I took my first class, I knew that’s where I wanted to be,” he said.

Throughout college, Taormina took several small film jobs to familiarize himself with all aspects of production.

“One of the biggest things in the industry is making sure you understand your job and other jobs,” he said.

After graduating in 2007, Taormina moved to California to look for a job. Unfortunately, his move coincided with the Writers Guild of America strike, so it was hard to find work. Taormina worked in reality television, but his real dream was film.

“Film had more impact on people,” he said.

Taormina acts as a liaison for the director, camera crew and visual effects companies that are contracted to create computer-generated (CG) images, fix problems with props, and remove wires and other equipment that shouldn’t end up in the final shot. There are eight companies in the United States and Canada working on “The Amazing Spider-Man 2.”

“It’s basically a big puzzle piece,” Taormina said. “I’m guessing information we will need in case a shot is envisioned later on that was not before … to create a fully CG environment.”

Many characters are fully CG, so Taormina’s job is to provide photo references and map the photos onto a three-dimensional scan of the actor.

“The actors see what’s become of them and how their characters look in CG, and they can’t believe it,” Taormina said. “That’s how you know you’ve done your job.”

Thanks to his industry connections, Taormina has kept a steady stream of freelance visual effects work going. He has worked in New York City and Baton Rouge, La., in addition to Los Angeles.

“It’s a very weird working environment at times,” he said. “Once I’m done with (“The Amazing Spider-Man 2”), which is in about a month, I can find another job right off the bat, or I can take a little time off. That’s my vacation.”

The camaraderie on set makes Taormina’s sometimes grueling job more fun.

“This is the second ‘Amazing Spider-Man’ I’ve worked on. It’s a lot of the same team,” he said. “It’s the team bonding that you do. You’re all working an incredible amount of time. Long hours.”

But the movie magic is what Taormina finds most rewarding.

“It makes you feel like a kid and giddy when Special Effects comes in and they blow things up. It reminds you why you’re doing this,” he said. For the film he worked on in Baton Rouge, “There was an alien spacecraft (attacking) and we blew up a gas station. We closed an entire part of town. You could feel the heat from the explosion.”

Taormina has come a long way since setting up his G.I. Joes for stop-motion movies as a child.

“It was so magical to see what I could do by just pushing a button … and then bring the product upstairs and put it in the VCR. It got my mind thinking about what I could do creatively,” he said. “Not in a million years did I ever think I’d be working on a huge production like ‘Spider-Man.’”

Taormina’s advice for young Fultonians is to “always pursue your dreams.” He added, “(Even) if you think it’s silly, you never know what could happen.”

Phoenix family loses house, dog in fire

By Ashley M. Casey

A fire in the village of Phoenix on the evening of Feb. 17 left a family of five unharmed, but without their home and their dog.

Several local fire companies helped put out the blaze at 33 Elm St., which was reported at 5:30 p.m.

The family escaped with their cat and dog, but the dog ran back into the burning house and firefighters were unable to revive it.

Firefighters were met with some difficulty when the fire hydrant in Johnson’s front yard was frozen. They used a fire hydrant two blocks away.

“We were able to knock down the fire pretty quick,” Phoenix Fire Chief John McDonald said. He estimated it took about 45 minutes to extinguish the fire.

Firefighters from Baldwinsville, Caughdenoy, Cody, Liverpool, Mexico, Moyers Corners and Volney assisted the Phoenix Enterprise Fire Company No. 1.

Homeowner Mark Johnson shares the residence with his fiancée, another adult relative and two children. The American Red Cross is helping Johnson and his family, who are staying with relatives.

McDonald said the home is no longer livable due to damage mostly on the first floor.

“(There’s) pretty extensive damage from the smoke, heat and water damage,” McDonald said. “Fire damage was minimal.”

McDonald said the investigation into the cause of the fire is ongoing, but the dryer is suspected. The fire began in the laundry room.

Fulton Home Show returns April 12

More than 40 booths and exhibits from building suppliers, home repair specialists, and financial institutions will fill the Fulton War Memorial for the eighth consecutive year when the Fulton Area Home Show returns on Saturday, April 12.

A true sign of spring, the free home show is an opportunity for local homeowners and potential homebuyers to get a glimpse of the many services available for buying, selling, renovating, and sprucing up a home.

The show runs from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. and features a variety of different vendors from financial institutions offering help on mortgages to contractor’s offering ideas on improvements.

The event is sponsored by Burkes Home Center and is presented by the City of Fulton and the Fulton Community Development Agency.

In addition to the more than 40 exhibits, the home show will again emphasize “curb appeal” this year, said Joe Fiumara, executive director of the Fulton Community Development Agency.

“This year’s show will feature more vendors from the landscaping and exterior trades as we did last year,” Fiumara said.

“We know from experience that what gives everyone the nice inviting sense from a perspective buyer to a neighbor visiting is ‘curb appeal,’” he said. “So we anticipate our vendors to be offering tips and efficient ideas to achieve this.”

Fiumara said the home show came about in response to many comments from the community that homeowners didn’t know where to go for certain information, were not aware of certain services in the community, or were looking for a place where they could ask questions without being under any obligation to buy or sign up for something.

“Regardless of income, people are looking for certain things and were not sure where to get them,” he said. “The Home Show will be an ideal place for people looking to buy a home, as well as people who own a home and are looking to make some improvements.”

The show also will feature ongoing demonstrations by local contractors, building supply companies, and landscapers.

Exhibitor spaces for the home show are sold out, but organizers are compiling a waiting list for next year, Fiumara said.

“We have been pleased with the response by the business community so far,” he said. “This is such a good opportunity for our community to see what’s available to them and to look forward to the spring and summer home improvement and landscaping months.”

More information on the show, including exhibitor information, is available at the Fulton Community Development Agency, 125 W. Broadway, Fulton. Call 593-7166 or email fultonhousing@windstream.net to learn more.

Rodney E. Johnson, former curator at Fort Ontario

Rodney E. Johnson died at his Middlefield home Feb. 14, 2014.

He was born Nov. 6, 1928, in Fulton, N.Y., the eldest of two sons of Erwin R. Johnson and Kittie Ferguson Johnson.

Mr. Johnson graduated from Fulton High School in 1947 before going on to graduate from State University College at Oswego, and later, doing graduate work at Oswego, Oneonta, Saint Rose, Albany and Boston University.

After Rod married his high school sweetheart, Elizabeth Jeanne Walker,  they moved to the old Sutton Farmhouse at Sutton’s Corners in Oswego County.

They restored the house in the 1950s, naming it Mulberry Hill. For a short time, he was curator of Fort Ontario and they lived in the former lighthouse keeper’s cottage across from the fort.

In 1963, they relocated to the hamlet of Middlefield, near Cooperstown. The couple worked to preserve and restore several early Middlefield buildings, most importantly, their 18th century home, the Joshua Pinney Tavern, well-known for its beautiful wall murals featured in several authoritative books on this topic.

During the span of his 20-year teaching career he taught history, English and special education. He is fondly remembered by many former students who were inspired by his high standards.

He was ordained in the United Methodist Church in 1969. For 37 years, he pastored United Methodist churches, including those in McDonough, Preston, Willet, West Davenport, Davenport, Emmons and Cooperstown Junction. For several years, he held vespers for the scouts at Crumhorn Mountain Boy Scout Camp.

In 1981, following their passion for preservation, the Johnsons opened Leatherstocking Realty, which specialized in the pairing of historic houses with enthusiastic preservationists.

Mr. Johnson was a past president of Otsego-Delaware Board of Realtors, twice served as chair for the Otsego-Delaware Multiple Listing service, and was once Director of the Real Estate Board as well.

As President of the Town of Middlefield Historical Association for five years, he was instrumental in securing the Middlefield District Number One Schoolhouse to use as the organization’s headquarters.

In keeping with his interests in preservation, Rod helped create the Middlefield Zoning Board of Appeals, resulting in the current zoning laws that have helped preserve the heritage of the community at large.

He was a Master Mason and member of  Otsego Lodge No. 138, Free & Accepted Masons. It should be noted that the third floor of the Pinney Tavern was well documented as an early meeting hall for the Masonic Brothers, known as The Widow’s Son Lodge No. 391, chartered in 1824.

The Johnsons, along with a small group of residents, worked tirelessly to have the hamlet of Middlefield designated an Historic District on the State and National Registries; they were successful in this endeavor in the mid 1980s.

For many years, people enjoyed visiting with Rod and Jeanne at their antique store, The Village Peddler, where they shared their love of antiques and their vast knowledge of local history with store visitors.

This early building, at the crossroads of Middlefield, had been slated for demolition before Rod and Jeanne took on the mammoth restoration project to preserve the Middlefield landmark as it stands today.

Rod was predeceased by a son, Kevin Johnson, his brother, Roy Johnson, and his beloved wife, Elizabeth Jeanne.

Surviving  are his daughter, Karen Rury (Edward) and their children, Sarah, Jessica (Jason) and Jonathan (Maura); his daughter, Kittie Johnson (Mr. Blair Campbell); his son Mark Johnson (Gina) and children Matthew Carr (Heather), Benjamin and Samuel; his son, Seth Johnson (Doreen) and their children, Jessica, Scott (Amanda) and Weston.

He is survived by a great-granddaughter, Cameran Flint and five great-grandsons, Elliot and Aidan Rury ; Nathan Rury ; and Gabriel and Logan Johnson.

Rod was a person who possessed many fine qualities. He was loved dearly by his family and friends. He was versatile and talented, whether building stone walls, tending his honey bees or playing checkers with his grandson … all the time running on High Octane Coffee!

Contributions may be made to The Middlefield First Responders in recognition of the compassionate help Rod and his family received over the past several years.

Donations may be mailed in care of Doug Roberts, 208 County Highway 43, Schenevus, NY 12155.

Rod’s memorial service will be held this spring at the United Methodist Church at Cooperstown Junction.

Arrangements are with the Connell, Dow & Deysenroth Funeral Home in Cooperstown.

Jerry’s Journal, by Jerry Hogan

Peter Palmer is the guy with one arm you often see walking across the Lower Bridge.

He also happens to be Fulton’s historian. He can remind you in rapid-fire talk about all the factory whistles in our town that used to blow morning, noon and night, and tell you stories about our local cemeteries, churches, our old downtown, and more!

I sat at my kitchen table a few weeks ago for an interview with Peter and I have six pages of notes to show for it and, as our conversation went — jumping from subject to subject — so this column will go as well.

Peter lives on the west side, on Worth Street, in a house his grandfather bought about a hundred years ago. It was previously owned by a Mr. Thompson who had built it for his wife as a wedding present.

Peter’s first name actually is Lawton. He was named after his father, Lawton Palmer, who was born in that house in 1915, and Peter, a bachelor, has lived there his whole life.

He is the oldest of three children. His brother Colburn, aka Coby, lives in Indianapolis and his sister Barbara lives on Cape Cod.

Lawton was his grandmother’s maiden name, and while his mother’s name was Florence she liked to be called “Pete.” Perhaps that’s where Peter got his name from, but he doesn’t know for sure.

Peter said his neighborhood in the First Ward was settled by the Irish, English and Germans.

“They had cousins all over the place — like most neighborhoods did back then,” he said.

The Murphy and the Sullivan families, for example, and, come to think about it, “the Aldermans, a Jewish family, also lived around there, on West Third Street, over in back of their junkyard on West First.”

Barnes Cemetery was also on West First Street, about where the Polish Home is today. The remains were moved to Mt. Adnah Cemetery, which in its beginning was called Oswego Falls Rural Cemetery.

“Oswego Falls was on both sides of the river — because there was the upper falls and lower falls — Peter explained. That was before the city was consolidated and named Fulton after the village of Fulton on the East Side.

His great grandparents are buried in Mt. Adnah, he said. Everybody got buried there.

That was before there was a fence between Mt. Adnah and St. Mary’s Catholic cemetery. The first Catholic Mass in Fulton was said in a private home by a priest from Oswego in 1850 with about 20 people in attendance. St. Mary’s Cemetery was established in 1872.

Both sides of the river had their own fire department back then. The one on West First and Worth Streets was called the Cronin Fire Department and was manned by volunteers.

Peter recalled the city of Fulton’s fire department downtown, on South First Street, and its bell tower you couldn’t miss. Peter said the bell was rung to denote where a fire was located. For example, 24 rings meant it was at Phillips Street School, 10 rings meant the fire was outside the city, and 2 rings meant the fire was out.

Sadly, the bell was taken down in 1954 when the tower was deemed unsafe. The last anyone saw of it, Peter said, was being loaded onto the back of a flatbed and carted off to be sold or junked.

It was long before that, though, when in 1888, Thomas Edison came to town to experiment and “electrified” the first house in our area to have electricity and electric lights. Peter said the house was where Price Chopper’s parking lot now takes up space, specifically on its southeast corner (where TOPS market used to have a flag pole).

William Schenck owned that house, he and Thomas Edison were friends, Peter said, and Schenck Street — that short, one-block-long street that most people don’t even know exists — is named after him. It goes from West First Street to the Lower Bridge.

As to being recognized as the guy with one arm, Peter said he didn’t mind if I discussed it in my column. He said he was born that way but never saw it as an obstacle to leading a normal life — as his mother had taught him and as he had learned, sometimes the hard way.

Peter said he has a driver’s license and once owned a car but prefers to walk as much as he can.

“No problem with parking,” he said. As a child he went to the old Walradt Street and Phillips Street Schools, and as a teenager to Catholic high school in Oswego.

He grew up a Methodist, he said, but when he was 12 he read the history of the Catholic Church and decided to become a Catholic.

After high school graduation he entered a monastery. That didn’t work out as planned, he declared, and he left it because “everything was done by bells” and he “wanted to come back into the world.”

“It was hard getting a job,” he said. GE wouldn’t hire him because he was handicapped.  “There was so much discrimination.”

But he did land a job despite it all: “My mother said there is no such word as can’t,” Peter said quite emphatically, and his first job was at Montgomery Ward on Cayuga Street here in town. That was only the beginning.

Peter has had a varied career. He once worked at the Messenger, a publication in Mexico, NY, doing filing and as a typist. “A typist?” I questioned. “Yes, “he kind of chuckled, “The nuns at Catholic High taught me how to type. They had a special book on how to type with one hand.”

Peter also spent time in the Planning Department at Sealright, but got “bumped.” He worked in the Oswego County Social Service office for a couple of years as well, and in the library of Syracuse University for four years.

Eventually he went back to the Social Services from which he retired after 32 years. “I worked all over the place at Social Services,” he laughed. “Had a great time working with 300 women — it was fun!”

Okay, Dear Readers, writing this has also been fun but I need to end this journal for now. Please come back in two weeks, though, when they’ll be more of Peter Palmer’s stories of old Fulton in my next column. Now here’s my caveat:

Readers beware! I write for fun. I am not a historian, nor a reporter. I write from memory and from what others want to share. Sometimes I look things up; sometimes I mess things up. I hope you have fun reading my stuff.

Your comments, additions and corrections are always welcome. You may contact me at 133 Tannery Lane, Fulton, phone 592-7580 or email JHogan808@aol.com. Please put Jerry’s Journal in the subject line. Thanks!

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