Applications due soon for Oswego revitalization grants

The Oswego Renaissance Association  began accepting pre-applications for the “Renaissance Block Challenge” grant program April 2.

As the first of several revitalization and beautification projects to come to the city of Oswego this year, these are matching grants to property owners in the city of Oswego. The Oswego Renaissance Asociation will match expenses, dollar-for-dollar, up to the first $1,000 for exterior improvements to homes and properties in targeted neighborhoods in the city.

The deadline for submitting pre-applications in April 21; with final applications due May 15.

Applications and details are available at the ORA website at

“A large number of residents in neighborhoods throughout Oswego are very excited about this opportunity,” said association Director Paul Stewart.

“Many residents and neighbors are passionate about the revitalization of their neighborhoods, and when multiple neighbors work and invest together, they often have confidence to invest more than the matching amounts — both financially and socially,” he said.

“The ORA is growing partnerships with these residents in a multi-year strategy to restore beauty, vibrancy and community to Oswego neighborhoods.,” Stewart said.

Tanya Miller, a homeowner on West Fourth Street, has been organizing her neighbors to apply.

“Our area of West Fourth and Schuyler has had an overwhelmingly positive response to the program, with planned projects ranging from new fencing to garden plantings to new siding,” Miller said.

“I myself am planning to have my house painted in a Victorian era color palette and could not be more excited,” she said. “The most rewarding aspect of the program so far, however, has been the opportunity I have had to get to know so many more of my wonderful neighbors.”

Another Oswegonian, Casey Towne, of East Utica Street, also plans to apply.

“I am so excited to see this plan come to fruition. The response on my block has been great, with over half the households participating in the application,” Towne said.

“Summer plans for our block include repair and replacement of fences, paint, windows, landscaping, porches and a roof. More important than the physical improvements are the social strengths that we are building upon. We are bringing back block parties, establishing a block directory and planning group yard sales and clean ups,” Towne said.

Four areas in the city, each 15-25 blocks in size, have been targeted for the program. Houses located in or very close (within a block) to the target zones may apply.

Applications are awarded to clusters of houses. Each cluster must include a minimum of 5 households on or near the same street, and fill out a Pre-Application Form.

Applications require coordination among neighboring households, so the block cluster works as a team to improve their homes and neighborhoods. The Oswego Renaissance Association expects to grant awards to 10-15 clusters this year.

Renaissance Block Challenge grants will cover half of the homeowner’s investment (minus sales tax). If the application is funded, a homeowner who invests $1,000 on a project would be reimbursed half or $500; likewise a homeowner who invests $2,000, or more, into a project would be reimbursed half, or $1000.00.

A homeowner who invests more than $2,000 total on a project would be reimbursed the maximum $1,000.

Before and after pictures of the completed work, along with copies of all receipts related to expenses of each project must be submitted once the work is completed. All work for the 2014 Block Challenge Grants must be completed by Oct. 31, 2014.

Once the work is completed, property owners will receive a matching reimbursement check in approximately 4 weeks.

“My neighbors and I are really excited,” said Rob Way, of East Seventh Street. “It’s great motivation. Some of my neighbors are looking to replace their porches, others just to touch up the trim around their houses. Either way, it’s a terrific way for us all to invest together in our block.”

Last year, the ORA, participated in revitalization projects at Franklin Square Playground, Montcalm Park, as well as the Bridge Street Tree Canopy Project.

For more information visit the ORA website at


Porky and Buddy discuss FIV positive cat

Dear Porky and Buddy,

Yikes! I took in a stray cat last winter.

He had been hanging around my back porch looking pathetic and it got to one of those 10 below nights and you know how that goes.

The next thing I knew he was in my bed with me. He was thin but seemed to be in pretty good shape and he had already been neutered so one thing led to another and I only just now got around to getting him to my vet to check him out, get him his shots etc.

So, now that I have gotten very fond of Mr. Slim, I found out that he is FIV positive! My vet said that he seemed to be in good health at this point and I don’t have other cats right now so not to worry too much, but I feel like such an idiot.

What should I do?


Dear Carol,

Let’s get this straight. Out of the goodness of your heart you took in a stray cat who would probably be dead by now if it wasn’t for your kindness, and yes, you really should have taken him to the vet sooner (but one thing led to another) and, let’s face it, if you had taken him in sooner you would still have an FIV positive cat who has stolen your heart.

Why do you feel like an idiot and not a saint???

Here are the simple facts straight from our friends at the ASPCA.

FIV stands for Feline Immunodeficiency Virus, a disease that weakens a cat’s immune system. Cats with FIV can live full, long, happy lives with proper care.  Humans, dogs and other animals cannot contract FIV. Other cats can contract FIV—and that’s why you should adopt an FIV-positive cat only if you have no other cats or you have only FIV-positive cats.

So what should you do?  You need to be vigilant about any illnesses that Slim Jim might develop. Because his immune system may be weaker now or may become weaker over time, early intervention for infections is critical.

Many FIV cats have dental problems so you need to watch for that.  And of course you need to keep him inside. You should be careful to feed him a high quality cat food.

Feel free to ask your vet for recommendations and for more practical advice about caring for your new best friend.  And then go buy more cat toys to enjoy his company even more.

Speaking of saints . . . you could be one too by adopting Shadow, a gorgeous FIV positive cat up for adoption on the Oswego County Humane Society website.

The Oswego County Humane Society provides spay/neuter services and assistance, fostering and adoption of animals in urgent need, humane education programs, and information and referrals to animal lovers throughout Oswego County.

Our office is located at 265 W. First St., Oswego. Phone is 207-1070. Email is Website is

State Senate Report

By state Sen. Patricia Ritchie

Snow and cold aside, March is a “sweet” month.

That’s because of “Maple Weekend,” an annual celebration held to promote New York’s maple industry. With 2.2 million taps, our state is the nation’s second largest maple producer (after Vermont) with plenty of room for growth.

During this year’s Maple Weekend, I had the chance to visit with our region’s newest young farmer, Josh Parker.

A 16 year-old, Josh has set up his own maple sugar operation in St. Lawrence County.  The operation uses wood pellets to power an evaporator — a first for the maple industry in New York state.

Meeting with Josh during Maple Weekend gave me the opportunity to talk with him about my Young Farmers NY plan, an initiative to support and encourage careers in agriculture.

Included in the new state budget is $1 million to support key elements of this plan, including my proposal for new farmer innovation grants — now called the “NY Beginning Farmer Fund” — of up to $50,000 each to help start or expand an agriculture business.

In addition, the budget also includes $100,000 for student loan forgiveness for agriculture college graduates who commit to farming careers, increased funding for the in-school, agriculture leadership–focused FFA program, and reforms the Estate Tax, to make it easier for families to pass on their farm business to the next generation.

In addition to funding for my Young Farmers NY plan, the budget also includes record funding — the highest rates in six years — for critical agriculture marketing, education and research programs.

This record amount includes funding for the Apple Growers Association, Farm Viability Institute, the NY Wine and Grape Foundation, wildlife rabies prevention, the NY Maple Producers Association and much more.

You can find complete details of the agriculture portion of the State Budget — as well as the other details of the spending plan — on my website,

Throughout my years as your senator, I have worked to restore cuts to agriculture funding and secure new funding to help our state’s largest industry continue to grow.

I’m confident the investments contained in the new State Budget will encourage more young people to consider careers in farming and strengthen family farms across the state.

Fulton Home Show coming April 12

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 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. to 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 highly successful venue is being sponsored by Fulton Savings Bank, and the event itself being sponsored by Burkes Home Center. The Home Show 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.’ So we anticipate our vendors to be offering tips and efficient ideas to achieve this”

Fiumara explained the idea of the Home Show was in response to many comments from residents and homeowners who 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 something 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 will feature more than 40 local exhibitors, as well as on-going demonstrations by local contractors, building supply companies, and landscapers.

“Exhibitor spaces for the Home Show are sold out, but we are compiling a waiting list for next year,” Fiumara noted.

“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 West Broadway, Fulton, phone 593-7166 or e-mail

Light in the Darkness

“The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; and He knows those who trust in Him”            (Nahum 1:7)  

I read somewhere that the simple affirmation that God is good is a wonderful and marvelous thing to consider.

It is certainly true. Think what an all powerful, all knowing God who is everywhere at once would be like if he was not also good. Perfectly good and unchanging.

Imagine even a god who is good today but might change his mind at any given moment. What a frightful thing to contemplate.

A. W. Tozer believed (and rightly so, I think) that we tend, “by a secret law of the soul” to gravitate toward our mental image of God and that in so doing, over time, we grow to resemble that mental image.

As a result, Mr. Tozer was convinced that what comes to your mind when you think about God is the most important thing about you. Lofty thoughts of God bring us into a more pure worship and careful walk, while low thoughts of God defile us as our deceitful hearts ultimately corrupt that walk.

The bottom line is that you become what you believe about God. Now, that is not to say that this happens apart from the ministry and work of the Holy Spirit but that He works through our thoughts and meditations upon who God is.

If we conclude that God is who He says He is, a good God and that He has our best interests at heart, then we naturally  hold that His Word is true and the necessary guide for all of life. One thing leads to another and another and we are transformed by the Holy Spirit into the image of God, the Son.

Make no mistake, the goodness by which God makes possible our reconciliation, and by which He will one day judge the world, doesn’t mean that all will be saved and none lost (Romans 11:22).

To commit sin is always, in one way or another, to refuse the benevolence of God’s will and if we’re lost in eternity, it will be the consequence of having refused that love for so long that time ran out (John 3:16-19).

Some will simply not accept God on His terms, and we’re told that these will experience, “everlasting separation from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power” (2 Thessalonians 1:9).

It is not so much that God sends them to eternal punishment as that He allowed them the freedom to choose and they will not have for all of eternity that which they chose while choice was still theirs. God will not force His goodness upon any whose final choice is to refuse it.

But no one needs to reject the truth about God’s goodness. Peter wrote that we can entrust ourselves “to a faithful Creator” (1 Peter 4:19).

This truth is far reaching. Whoever truly comes to terms with the unfailing goodness of God will never again treat sin or future concerns in the same way.

A deep, grateful confidence that God is good will win the war against both wickedness and worry.

Pastor David M. Grey

Mt. Pleasant United Methodist Church

Poetry Corner

Daffodils, by Jim Farfaglia

I like them best when they appear

in the ditches of rural roads,

hugging the trunks of apple trees

or lined up along neighborhood homes.


I like them best when they cluster,

as if someone from down below

broke through an endless winter

to hand us a bouquet all aglow.


I like them best when just opened,

their pale yellow abeckoning,

their delicate petals forming a cup,

where we drink in the birth of spring.

Classes available at CNY Arts Center during spring break

A number of classes are coming up at the CNY Arts Center during next week’s spring recess April 14 through 17.

** Digital Photography — $30 plus $1 material cost, 9 to 10:30 a.m. M-F,  ages 10-18, room 103. Instructor: Kendra Mattot. Students should plan to attend all sessions.

** Painting/Drawing $7.50/session

Monday — Acrylics on paper; Tuesday — drawing with pencils and ink; Wednesday — water colors on water color paper; Thursday — acrylics on wood. 9 to 11 a.m. Ages 4-1. Room 105. Instructor: Bonnie McClellan

** Story Time Art $7.50/session

M-TH, 11 a.m. to noon, ages 4-7. Room 103. Instructor: Kendra Mattot

Take one class or all

** Painting/drawing, $7.50 per session, Monday – acrylics on albums; Tuesday oil painting on canvas paper; Wednesday – drawing with pencils and ink; Thursday – acrylics on sheet music. 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., ages 11-18. Room 105. Instructor: Bonnie McClellan

** Kids culinary, $13 includes materials, 2 to 4 p.m. Monday, ages 5 and up. Room is downstairs kitchen. Instructor: Diane Sokolowski

** Beginning Guitar, $7.50, 12:30 to 2 p.m. Tuesday. Room 103. Instructor: Gina Holsopple

** Glee Club $7.50/session, 2 to 3:30 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday. Room 103, ages 10 and up. Instructor: Gina Holsopple

** Theatre Improv, $7.50, 12:30 to 2 p.m., Wednesday, ages 6-10. Room Theatre. Instructor: Jessica Tetro

** Theatre Improv, $7.50, 2 to 3:30 p.m., Thursday, ages 11-14. Room Theatre. Instructor: Jessica Tetro

All classes are held at CNY Arts Center, 357 State St. Methodist Church in Fulton through the Park Street entrance. Please visit to pre-register or call 592-3373.

‘Percussion Wizard’ and guitarist take Oswego Music Hall stage

A show featuring “Percussion Wizard” Jeff Haynes & Co., including award-winning guitarist Sean Harkness, is coming to the Oswego Music Hall at 8 p.m. April 19.

When these passionate and talented artists perform together, they create a chemistry that is as wonderful to see as it is to hear, so catching them live — on stage — will be a special musical treat.

Grammy award winning percussionist and producer Haynes brings a sound to today’s music scene that takes percussion beyond “technique” and “tradition.”

New York City guitarist Sean Harkness, an award winning musician in his own right, garnered the Outstanding Instrumentalist of 2011 Backstage Bistro Award, and a MAC Award for his NYC solo shows.

When Jeff and Sean play together, there’s an intimate conversation happening with every beat of the drum and expression of percussive colors, with every chord of the guitar and melodic inflection.

In recorded and stage performances, Haynes moves effortlessly from varied and subtle textures, to grooving in the pocket or anchoring the rhythm section. He has toured and recorded for 15 years with Cassandra Wilson, and toured with numerous other musicians, including Al Jarreau, Lizz Wright, Harry Belafonte and Peabo Bryson.

His chops can be heard on more than 100 CDs, reflecting many kinds of music, from R&B to jazz to new age. Haynes was also a producer of his recent release, Pete Seeger The Storm King, the Grammy® nominee spoken word CD that Pete Seeger set to multi-genre music from over 50 musicians.

Harkness describes himself as a guitarist-for-hire. He lives in New York City, where he composes music for solo guitar, performs solo shows and is the go-to guitarist for duets and ensemble work with singers from Broadway and television as well as national and international productions.

Each year, Harkness performs in concert halls around the country with other Windham Hill artists such as Liz Story, Will Ackerman, Barbara Higbie and Jim Brickman.

Besides featuring Harkness on the cover of their 2011 product catalog, Walden Guitars is releasing a “Sean Harkness Signature” 12-string guitar.

Along with numerous compilations, TV, and film soundtracks, Harkness now has five commercial releases: Aloft [Windham Hill] -1999; Trio Of One [independent release] -2001; Urakaji solo guitar [Rinken Records, Japan, USA] -2004; Harkness Knight w/saxman Eric Knight and great drummers -2009 and brand new: H2 Flights: Volume One w/fab Canadian trumpeter Mike Herriott on Canadian Brass‘ label ODEG -2011

Check out these gifted and multi-faceted musicians at and and then see for yourself the enthusiasm and commitment they bring to their performances April 19. The Oswego Music Hall is in the McCrobie Civic Center, 41 Lake St., Oswego.

Tickets can be purchased on line at or at the river’s end bookstore, 19 W. Bridge St., Os

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