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!

SUNY Oswego students win two awards in media arts competition

Submitted by SUNY Oswego

Students from SUNY Oswego won two awards in the recent Broadcast Education Association Festival of Media Arts, a national competition.

The writing, videography and production team of broadcasting and mass communication majors Daniel Frohm, Joseph Salvatore and Shaune Killough tied for third in the instructional/educational category for a video made under contract with the Central New York Interoperable Communications Consortium.

In radio hard news reporting, Patrick Malowski took honorable mention for a piece titled “Harlem Shake Translation Controversial.”

“I didn’t expect it at all,” said Killough, a sophomore from Glenwood Landing on Long Island. “The fact we were all able to win this award is incredible.”

Through communication studies faculty member Marybeth Longo and a production company she helped form, Great Laker Communications at SUNY Oswego, Killough and teammates Frohm, a junior, and Salvatore, a senior, set to work on a Motorola-sponsored $10,000 project to produce an explanatory film about the need for reliable communications among the wide variety of first responders in New York state.

The project had mentoring and assistance from Longo and from sound and lighting professionals.

“What made this project good is we all had different fortes,” said Killough, who was in charge of all post-production, including editing and graphics.

Killough said one reason he came to SUNY Oswego was the college’s broadcasting program “wants you to get your hands on the equipment right away,” rather than as an upperclassman.

He said he produced his first commercial for the student-run WTOP-TV in his first month in school, and he continues to work at the Campus Center-based station.

The Interoperable Communications Consortium project took hands-on a step further, enabling the students to shoot video from the Air 1 helicopter and to work “many more hours than any of us cares to admit” on a video that’s in professional service today, Killough said.

Nine counties in Central and Northern New York cooperate with the consortium’s project for an effective cross-agency mobile radio communications system for E-911, fire, law enforcement and other responders.

Nationally competitive

By contrast, Malowski, a senior broadcasting and mass communication major, put together his Harlem Shake audio report as part of a multimedia package for an upper-level broadcast journalism course taught by Michel Riecke of communication studies.

Malowski, from Herkimer, seized on the opening line of Baauer’s version of “Harlem Shake” that, translated from Spanish, says, “with the terrorists.”

“Professor Riecke wanted us to think outside the box and find something interesting,” Malowski said.

The resulting news package — with interviews from students, a professor of Spanish and others about the dance craze and the song’s controversial wording — was published on the SUNY Oswego broadcast journalism students’ blog, Oswego News.

“I am just excited to know my work can stand out in a national competition,” finishing fourth among 80 entries, said Malowski, who will take his SUNY Oswego experience into the work force after commencement in May.

The BEA competition drew entries from many colleges and universities, including University of Maryland, Ithaca College, Arizona State University and University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

Judging for the BEA’s Festival of Media Arts focused on professionalism, the use of aesthetic and creative elements, structure and timing, production values, technical merit and overall contributions to the discipline.

The awards presentation will take place at the organization’s national convention, April 6 to 9 in Las Vegas.

For more information on broadcasting and mass communication or on any of the more than 110 other majors and programs at SUNY Oswego, visit www.oswego.edu.

 

Bird festival set for May 10 in Mexico

Bring your family and friends for a fun day about birds and nature as the Onondaga Audubon Society hosts its annual Bird Festival from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, May 10.

The event is at the scenic lakeside Derby Hill Bird Observatory just off State Route 104B in the town of Mexico.

Admission and parking are free.

Live hawks, bird walks, nature activities and kids’ face painting are scheduled throughout the day. Visitors can help monitor a bluebird trail, talk with experts about bird behavior and migration, see live hawks and owls, and hear a presentation about the fascinating world of raptors.

The festival’s star performers will be the eagles, hawks, vultures and other species of birds that soar over Derby Hill on their annual migration northward.

A silent auction will offer bird and non-bird items. Vendors will be on hand with wildlife photography, native plants, artwork and handcrafted jewelry. The ever popular Chompers Smokin’ Barbeque will also be on site.

For a complete schedule of activities and directions to Derby Hill Bird Observatory, visit www.onondagaaudubon.com/public-programs/bird-festival/. For lodging and visitor information, go to www.visitoswegocounty.com.

Hospice receives Shineman Foundation grant

The Friends of Oswego County Hospice are beginning a year-long education campaign regarding the benefits of Hospice care for people with a life-limiting illness.

Made possible through a grant from the Richard S. Shineman  Foundation, this education program will target residents of Oswego County and the professional medical community.

“Our goals with this program are to educate the community at large about the benefits of the family-centered care that Oswego County Hospice has been providing for 25 years, and to provide the medical community with the tools they need to refer patients to Oswego County Hospice,” said Debbie Bishop, executive director of the Friends of Oswego County Hospice.

The Friends of Oswego County Hospice are partnering with Step One Creative to develop a series of  educational and promotional materials that focus on the interdisciplinary care provided by Oswego County Hospice including nursing, social work, volunteers, home health aides and financial support if necessary.

“The Shineman Foundation recognizes the remarkable service Oswego County Hospice provides and the profound assistance it has given to so many families,” said Lauren Pistell, executive director of the Shineman Foundation.

“We are delighted to partner with the Friends of Oswego County Hospice to educate and inform the community and hope the grant will increase Hospice’s capacity to help those in need,” Pistell said.

The Friends of Oswego County Hospice is a nonprofit agency that supports the Oswego County Hospice Program through fundraising and public education.

Money raised through memorial contributions, fundraising and foundation grants assist Hospice patients and their families experiencing financial difficulties, supports the Hospice Volunteer Program and funds the operation of Camp Rainbow of Hope, a free bereavement program for children who have experienced the loss of a loved one.

Palermo historian seeks veteran information

Attention town of Palermo veterans!

Palermo Historian Beverly Beck is seeking information concerning veterans from the town to be added to the historical records.

A few years ago, a book was published from the information gathered about the town’s veterans.  Also, there is a display at the Town Hall listing all the veterans with facts regarding their service.

Since that time, there have been many new veterans who are not listed on our current informational database.

If you are a veteran living or born in the town of Palermo, call Beck at 593-6825. If you had a relative that served in the military who is now deceased, the historian would still like to have their information.

There is a short form to fill out, plus the addition of a photograph of the veteran would be appreciated.

A copy of your discharge DD 214 papers would most likely answer all questions.

Call the historian at 593-6825 for more information. She would like to include all veterans if possible in order to honor their service to this nation.

 

Oswego’s Ponderosa Steakhouse to close Feb. 23

By Ashley M. Casey

The Ponderosa Steakhouse located in Oswego is closing due to a failed lease negotiation, the restaurant announced Feb. 20. The restaurant’s last day will be Sunday, Feb. 23.

There are no plans to move to a new location.

Ponderosa Steakhouse, whose parent company is the Texas-based Homestyle Dining LLC, was located at 147 George St. in Oswego since its opening in 1981. Homestyle Dining also operates the Bonanza Steakhouse brand.

Erin Peacock, spokesperson for Homestyle Dining, said the Oswego Ponderosa employees have been offered the option to transfer to other area Ponderosa franchises.

“(In) a bit of good news, to show their appreciation of all the patrons over the last 30 years, they’re going to offer 50 percent off on Sunday,” Peacock said.

See more on this story in the Wednesday, Feb. 26, edition of The Valley News.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story stated that Homestyle Dining LLC was based in Indiana. The company is now based in Plano, Texas. The Valley News regrets the error.

H. Lee White Marine Museum receives grant for educational project

The H. Lee White Marine Museum in Oswego is one of 10 grant recipients to fund education and preservation projects along the Erie Canalway.

The Erie Canalway Natonal Heritage Corridor is investing $65,530 in grants, which will be matched by $478,000 in private and public project money raised by grant recipients.

The grants are aimed at inspiring people to learn more about New York’s legendary canals and further explore the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor.

The H. Lee White museum will use its $4,000 for an Oswego Canal Photo Essay, “Then and Now.” The museum will develop a photo essay documenting changes in the Oswego Canal and adjacent landscape using historical and current day images.

The exhibit will travel to multiple Oswego Canal communities for display.

U.S. labor secretary visits Fulton Cos. in Richland

U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas E. Perez visited the Fulton Cos. in Richland Wednesday to announce the availability of about $150 million in grants to prepare and place those facing long-term unemployment into good jobs.

The Ready to Work Partnership grant competition will support innovative partnerships between employers, nonprofit organizations and America’s public workforce system to build a pipeline of talented U.S. worker.

The partnership also will help those experiencing long-term unemployment gain access to employment services that provide opportunities to return to work in middle- and high-skill jobs.

About 20 to 30 grants ranging from $3 million to $10 million will be awarded to programs focused on employer engagement, individualized counseling, job placement assistance, and work-based training that facilitate hiring for jobs where employers currently use foreign workers on H-1B visas.

Perez made the grant announcement at Fulton Cos. headquarters. The company, a  global manufacturer of industrial and commercial heating systems, has developed strong training partnerships with area organizations to help its workforce, thanks in part to federal funding from the multi-agency Advanced Manufacturing Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge.

Fulton Cos. partners with the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry, the Manufacturers Association of Central New York, and the Syracuse Center of Excellence in Environmental and Energy Systems.

Together, they were able to develop the local workforce Fulton needed to expand the manufacturing capacity of their Pulaski plant to better serve the North American and overseas markets.

“These grants (announced Wednesday) are part of President Obama’s call to action to help ensure that America continues to be a magnet for middle-class jobs and business investment,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. “We need to do everything we can to help employers expand and grow while at the same time remembering that those who have been out of work through no fault of their own deserve a fair shot.”

Programs funded through Ready to Work Partnership grants will use on-the-job training, paid work experience, paid internships and Registered Apprenticeships to provide employers the opportunity to train workers in the specific skill sets required for open jobs.

Programs will have to recruit those who have been out of work for six months or longer and will incorporate a strong up-front assessment, allowing for a customization of services and training to facilitate re-employment.

As a pre-condition to be considered for funding, at least three employers or a regional industry association must be actively engaged in the project. The grants are financed by a user fee paid by employers to bring foreign workers into the United States under the H-1B nonimmigrant visa program.

Prospective applicants are encouraged to view additional online resources at http://www.doleta.gov/readytowork. Any organization that meets the requirements of the solicitation may apply. The Solicitation for Grant Applications, which includes information about how to apply, is available at http://www.grants.gov/.

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