Man sentenced to 20 years on rape conviction

Joseph A. Stefanovich, 43, of Liverpool, on Friday was sentenced to 20 years in state prison, along with 5 years post-release supervision, based upon his conviction for rape in the first degree.

District Attorney Gregory Oakes said Stefanovich was convicted of rape 1st Nov. 22, 2013, after a week long jury trial in which Stefanovich testified on his own behalf. The conviction is based upon an allegation that Stefanovich forcibly raped a woman in Phoenix July 30, 2005.

It was alleged that Stefanovich grabbed the victim from behind, put her in a chokehold, and dragged her into a wooded area, where the offense was committed.

Oakes said Stefanovich was linked to the case due to a DNA hit that occurred in 2006.  Stefanovich’s DNA was on profile due to a prior sexual offense conviction.  In fact, he had already pleaded guilty to sexual abuse 1st and was pending sentence when this offense took place, Oakes said.

He was sentenced in Onondaga County Court Aug. 1, 2005 to 10 years probation and thereafter was required to register as a sex offender and provide a DNA sample.

At trial, Stefanovich claimed that his DNA appeared in the rape kit because he had a consensual encounter with the victim on the day of the offense, Oakes said.  He told the jury that another person must have raped her later that same day.

The victim testified that she did not know Stefanovich and had never voluntarily engaged in intercourse with him.  The victim disclosed the rape to law enforcement immediately afterward, and police promptly took her to the hospital for treatment.  At trial, the treating ER physician testified about the injuries he observed on the victim that night, which he believed were consistent with a forcible assault.

The Village of Phoenix Police Department initially investigated the case, but the investigation was transferred to the Oswego County Sheriff’s Department in March of 2010.  A sheriff’s investigator ultimately located Stefanovich in December of 2012, at which time Stefanovich denied knowing the victim or ever engaging in sexual acts with her.

“I want to commend the victim for having the strength to come forward and the courage to testify at trial.  Our community is now safe from this predator because of her bravery and fortitude.  It was an honor to stand up and fight for her in court,”  Oakes said. “While I thank all of the officers involved in this case, I want to give particular recognition to Officer Donald Duzak (retired) and Investigator Carmen Rojek for their outstanding work in bringing this monster to justice.”

News in Brief

A book launch party is scheduled for 5 to 7 p.m. Saturday Feb. 22 at the Salmon River Fine Arts Center.

The Visionary Book Launch Party and book signing will celebrate the launch for Alyshia Hull’s latest novel: The Visionary, a mystery for young adults. Hull will have copies available for purchase, she will provide autographs and there will be photo props to have your picture taken with her.

A small reception will be held in her honor, with gold/black themed balloons and light refreshments.

***************

The Minetto United Methodist Church will host a free dinner from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 23.

The menu will be meat loaf, mashed potatoes, vegetable and dessert. Donations are not expected but will be accepted.

A collection shed has recently been placed in the parking lot at the back of the church for usable clothing items that can be recycled. Acceptable items include: all clothing, shoes, sneakers, purses, blankets, sheets, pillowcases, drapes, and stuffed toys.

The building is fully accessible and is located at the corner of State Route 48 and County Route 8, one block south of the Stewarts Shop, midway between Oswego and Fulton, in the village of Minetto.

For more information about programs and services call 343-0613 or visit our website at MinettoUMC.org.

**********

The Oswego Valley ATV Club is having its eighth annual NASCAR chicken barbecue from noon until sold out Feb. 23 at the Hannibal American Legion.

The dinner consists of a half chicken, baked beans, potatoes, macaroni salad and a dinner roll.

The dinner is eat in or take out. There also will be 50/50s and club members will be taking information for club registration from ATV owners.

For more information, go to the website at www.oswegovalleyatvclub.com

**********

A program about maple syrup is set for 3 p.m. Sunday Feb. 23 at the Arts in the HeART Gallery in downtown Fulton.

Rich Finzer, of Ira, Cayuga County, will talk about his book “Maple On Tap,” which tells the novice how to tap those maple trees and make delicious syrup.

The program will also include a talk on how to use maple syrup in cooking.

**********

On Monday, Feb. 24, New Haven Senior Citizens will meet at noon at the Congregational Church for a shared meal, brief business meeting, followed by a program with Sheriff Reuel Todd.

All seniors are welcome, just bring  a dish to share and table service.

**********

CNY Arts Center ushers in National Arts Education Month with a showcase of Young Performers, at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 28 at The Arts Center, 357 State St. in Fulton.

With a generous grant from the Shineman Foundation, CNY Arts Center will spotlight several talented young people making their marks in the performing arts.

**********

The American Red Cross will host a blood drive from 8:30 a.m. to 1:20 p.m. Saturday March 1 at the First Universalist Church of Central Square.

Anyone 17 years of age or older, you can give the gift of life by donating blood.  Call 1-800-RED-CROSS, (1-800-733-2767) to schedule an appointment.

**********

The Red Creek Westbury United Methodist Church is planning a prayer service at 2 p.m. March 7 as part of the World Day of Prayer 2014 celebration.

The prayer service, written by women in Egypt, calls about attendees to look for “streams in the desert.”

The church is at 6837 Church St., Red Creek.

**********

The Callimachus Masonic Lodge on Main Street in Phoenix is having fish dinners and seafood dinners throughout Lent.

The dinners will be from 5 to 7 p.m. March 7, 14, 21, and 28 and April 4, 11 and 18.

**********

The Oswego Democratic Committees (both City and County) announce the first Jefferson-Jackson Dinner Celebration beginning at 6:30 p.m. March 14 at Bridie Manor in Oswego.

The dinner is named after United States Presidents Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson. Thomas  Jefferson is credited for forming the modern Democratic Party and Andrew Jackson was the first Democratic Party President, serving from 1829 to 1837.  There have been 15 Democratic Presidents.

The celebration will feature state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli. There also will be a launch of the “Grow Oswego” campaign.

Guests will dine on a menu of roast beef, roast chicken, seafood newburg, Italian roast potatoes, chef salad, pasta with sauce, bread and butter, coffee and tea. Tickets are $25 along with a cash bar and can be purchased from any of the Committee Members or reserved by calling 439-2040.

**********

The SUNY Oswego Metro Center in Syracuse will offer programs on two Thursdays in March designed to help participants learn how to better use communication skills to be more successful and effective in personal and work relationships.

The programs — “Cultivating Positive Attitudes and Emotions” on March 6 and “Relationship Building Through Assertive Communication” on March 17 — will take place from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at the Metro Center, 2 Clinton Square in downtown Syracuse.

Mike Mullins, who will lead the interactive sessions, is a trainer who helps participants gain insights and real skills that can be used immediately.

The programs will utilize mindfulness techniques that will help people become more aware of how they interact with and react to people and will show them how they can be more assertive to get more out of their relationships.

Each program is $100. To learn more, visit oswego.edu/success or call the SUNY Oswego Metro Center at 399-4100.

**********

The Alzheimer’s Association is having caregiver support groups in Oswego County in March and April.

They will be at 7 p.m. the fourth Monday of the month at Divine Mercy Parish Center (St. Michael’s), 592 S. Main St., Central Square and at 7 p.m. the fourth Wednesday of the month at the Manor at Seneca Hill, 20 Manor Dr., Minetto.

**********

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oswego County in collaboration with Oswego County Soil and Water, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the United State Department Of Agriculture Farm Service Agency is sponsoring a workshop for agriculture producers on how each of these agencies can assist them when everything doesn’t go to plan.

The four agriculture agencies that serve the farmers and residents in Oswego County will be together from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 26 at the Oswego County Federal Credit Union Community Room, 5828 Scenic Ave, Mexico.

The day is geared toward beginning and experienced farmers alike who are looking for information on how to improve or expand their agriculture businesses.

Federal and state programs will be discussed including some cost-share programs.

The goal is to improve the awareness of agriculture agencies that are available to address the challenges faced by agriculture producers in Oswego County.

There is no cost to attend but registration for lunch is needed by noon Tuesday, Feb. 25 by calling Brenda at 963-7286, ext. 201.

*****************

The Pennellville United Methodist Church, 389 County Route 54 in Pennellville, will be having a roast beef dinner at 4 p.m. Saturday March 8.

The menu will consist of roast beef, mashed potatoes, gravy, beans, coleslaw, rolls and butter.  You may choose from a wide selection of homemade pies and other desserts.  Coffee, tea, cool aid and water will also be available.  The dinner is served family style.

Music will be provided while you wait to be seated. There also are crafts, goodies and books for sale.

**********

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oswego County will host a workshop to help new owners and veterans get acquainted with their sewing machines from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, March 18 at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oswego County, located on Main Street in Mexico.

During this hands-on workshop, participants will learn how to clean, oil and maintain their personal appliance.  Attendees should bring their sewing machine with its manual, foot control, and attachments with them.

Workshop cost is $8 per person.  To register for this class or to learn more about Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oswego County, call 963-7286, ext. 301 by Thursday, March 13.

Valley Viewpoints

Educate on the Holocaust

After reading the article about Arlene Laut’s class at Hannibal Central School on the Holocaust and Genocide, I want to commend her on her commitment to educate our youth and let no one ever forget that horrific era of history.

It’s too bad that more educators do not have the same conviction as Arlene Laut.

More people need to remember and re-educate themselves and others on how the Holocaust was allowed to occur.

It started with government propaganda in schools’ curriculum, then with complacency of the citizens. They were disarmed, new relentless regulations and restrictions were brutally forced upon targeted citizens, with no recourse against the lawless government.

As Ms. Laut said, the phrase “Never Again’ is not true. Citizens must forever be constantly vigilant of the activities of government and other forces.

Diane Gardner

Fulton

 More on the Holocaust

Congratulations to Hannibal High School special education teacher Arlene Laut, the Hannibal Board of Education and Hannibal Central School District for the design and implementation of the college-level course for 11th- and 12th-graders in Holocaust and Genocide studies.

One goal of Ms. Laut is to educate the students in this subject which students may have limited knowledge of, and her belief that, “….if people don’t teach it, it’s going to disappear.” If Ms. Laut continues to teach this class to Hannibal students, I dare say the atrocities that occurred in Europe during WWII and the genocides that continue to arise in Rwanda, Sudan and Armenia will be remembered by the students decades from now.

Unlike traditional history classes where students learn from textbooks and teacher lectures, Ms. Laut’s multi-dimensional class includes learning tools such as listening to survivor testimonials, visiting out-of-town Holocost museums, reading books written by concentration camp survivors, watching documentaries and Hollywood movies, group discussions in the classroom, writing and project-based learning.

I congratulate the District for making the decision to offer such a progressive, innovative class to our students, thus giving them a taste of the style of learning used in exceptional colleges, and enriching their total high school educational experience. The classes that encourage students to think on their own and be aware of social injustice are the types of classes that make a difference and empower students to form a lifelong interest in social responsibility.

Keep up the good work, Hannibal High School. The community appreciates your achievements.

Laura H. Bishop

Hannibal

 

 

Hodgepodge, by Roy Hodge

Grandma’s House

Our house was one block from my grandparents’ house when I was growing up, so it seems like I split my time almost evenly between home and Grandma’s.

I knew every inch of Grandma’s house frontwards and backwards. When my brother and sister were with me at Grandma’s, we played “hide and seek” and I always had a favorite hiding place – and I don’t think that the other “hiders” and “seekers” ever discovered it.

My hiding place was inside Grandma’s “broom closet,” a narrow closet which, when the door was shut, looked like it was just another cupboard in the kitchen, filled with bottles, jars and boxes on shelves; but, as far as I was concerned, it was a neat place to hide among the brooms and dust mops.

One of my favorite spots in Grandma’s house was in the “cellar,” a place called the “coal bin.” Many older homes, including ours, as well as my grandparents’, included a space in the basement which in the not so distant past was used to store the coal which was shoveled into the nearby furnace several times each day.

When the coal bin wasn’t needed any longer to store coal it became a convenient little play space.

Another interesting place in the cellar was the nook, or was it a cranny, properly known as the fruit cellar. That little room had several shelves to store the fruits and vegetables that were put there during canning season, but was more useful to us kids as another hiding place.

Two floors and several stairs away, there was another part of my grandparents’ house which was a neat place for us kids to play in.

The attic was cleverly disguised as a closet in one of the  upstairs bedrooms, which made it a handy play room or hiding place.

And, don’t forget the cellar door.  While the cellars (or basements) of most houses were accessible by doors from inside the house there also were doors from outside the house at ground level, which lifted up to reveal stairs going down from the backyard into the house.

Those steps were necessary for grandmas and mothers to have a direct route to the clothesline in the backyard on laundry day, and, they provided another good place to hide.

Grandma’s house – it was such a great place for playing and hiding in the “good old days.”

Bargains – 1901 Style

I have been looking through some pre-Christmas issues of The Fulton Patriot from December 1901.

According to the paper’s front page, 1901 was the 65th year of publishing for The Patriot. The particular issue I was reading was the 50th of the year and was published for and distributed to Fulton and Oswego Falls, the village which occupied the west side of the bridges, across the river from Fulton.

The front page of that issue included a large picture of Santa Claus visiting and distributing gifts to two little girls on Christmas Eve.

Filling the rest of the page – the columns around and under the large photo – was an advertisement for  the J. L. Jones Store, 30 First St.,, Fulton.  The advertising was headlined “Jones’ Bulletin for Christmas” and “Our Goods Are Just As We Say They Are.”

Among items advertised were jewelry – bracelets from 15 cents to $2.50, and brooches and stick pins, from 29 cents to $3.00.

There also were sterling novelties – toothbrushes, nail files, etc.; leather goods – ladies card cases and purses, files, etc.; leather goods – ladies card cases and purses, and men’s wallets and card cases, 25 cents to $5.

Also advertised were men’s hosiery, handkerchiefs for ladies and men, gloves, neckwear, umbrellas and a full boys’ department.

Other advertisers in the Christmas issue included R. E. Phillips Drug Store, 5 S. First St., Fulton, which featured “All Nice, New, Clean Goods;” the Miller and Bogardus Grocery and Provisions Supply House, 108 Oneida St.,; and the Frank W. Lasher Store, on First Street, Fulton. They carried books and games for boys and girls, mechanical toys, fancy china and many other “Holiday Gifts.”

A Busy City

Also during that time, the city seemed to be alive with a full schedule of social events with the Maccabees, Fulton Tent, the Knights of Pythias, the Sons of Veterans, G.A.R., American Mechanics Lodge, the Lodge of Modern Woodmen, and the Grange planning events.

Lots going on, but remember, there was no television.

In the news department, the new Fulton-Oswego Falls Bridge across the Oswego River had recently been completed at a cost of $120,000.

As far as insightful information, the pages of that issue of The Fulton Patriot offered . . . “A Christmas Fact” – The future has a golden tinge; the past, too, may seem pleasant; But just about the Christmastide, There’s nothing like the present.”

Or, this . . . “Origin of Mince Pie – English plum pudding and mince pies both owe their origin, or are supposed to, to an occurrence attendant upon the birth of Christ.

“The highly seasoned ingredients refer to the offering of spices, frankincense and myrrh by the wise men of the East to the Christ Child.” – New York World.

It was a Merry Christmas, 1901 style.

. . . Roy Hodge

Attorney general warns of computer scam

Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman Tuesday issued a warning to New Yorkers based on numerous complaints received by his office from consumers who have been contacted recently by scam artists posing as representatives of Microsoft or an organization allegedly affiliated with Microsoft, such as P.C. Solutions.

In some cases, the callers will even spoof the telephone’s Caller ID to identify the source as “Windows Support.”

The scam artists attempt to gain remote access to consumers’ computers by claiming their units are running slowly because they are infected with malware or viruses or need additional software, which the scam artists offer to remedy.

After gaining access, scammers are able to extract a fee – as much as $300 – by obtaining credit card information over the phone, or by directing consumers to enter PayPal, bank or credit card information on a website the scammers control.

“Consumer fraudsters come in all shapes and sizes, from false advertisers and illegal pet sellers, to identity thieves and predatory lenders. Unfortunately, we can now add scammers posing as computer experts to that list,” said Schneiderman. “There are simple, easy steps New Yorkers can take to identify these calls and avoid becoming victims of this increasingly prevalent scam.”

The scammers first walk consumers through various steps on their computers to display Microsoft’s event viewer log, which contains a log of red-marked “errors,” yellow “warnings” and other events that have occurred on the computer. Such events are usually inconsequential notifications and are not evidence of a virus.

However, the con artists claim they demonstrate that the PC is corrupted and will sustain further damage or be susceptible to “hacking” if additional action is not taken.

The consumer is then given instructions that ultimately allow the scam artist to access the computer remotely. Once the perpetrators gain access, they typically advise consumers that they must pay a fee, which can be as much as $300, to have the problems corrected or their Microsoft warranty extended. The scammers collect payment by obtaining consumers’ credit card information over the phone, or by directing consumers to fraudulent websites to enter credit card, PayPal, or other personal or financial information online.

The perpetrators appear to be operating from overseas and often speak with heavy foreign accents.

If you get such a call, hang up. Do not give out passwords or any financial information.

Your hometown. Your news.