Willy Wonka Jr. takes the state March 14, 15, 16, 21, 22 and 23

After more than six weeks of rehearsals, the cast of Willy Wonka, Jr. prepares for the musical opening March 14 at CNY Arts Center, located in State Methodist Church at 357 State St. in Fulton.

The production, featuring more than 30 local children, will run for two weekends March 14, 15 and 21 at 7:30 p.m. and March 16, 22 and 23 at 3 p.m.

The production is led by theater professionals under the direction of Amy Price, with Adam Schmidtmann as assistant director, Gina Holsopple as music director, Nellica Rave as costume designer and John Gamble is the technical director.

“We’ve assembled the most exciting team of professionals for this production,” said Nancy Fox, executive director, “and audiences will see a spectacular show onstage in every aspect, all in support of these very young performers with limited stage experience.”

“Countless parent volunteers are also helping with everything from lumber and labor to painting and props, to press photography and corporate contributions and will even assist with ‘kid wrangling’ during the performance run ensuring every child has a positive experience,” Fox said. “There is no other way to have a production of this size without the generous help of parent volunteers.”

The junior musical, based on Roald Dahl’s “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International, the leading producer of children’s versions of popular musicals.

In this junior version, words and music by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley, with stage adaptation by Leslie Bricusse and Timothy A. McDonald, present the same performance material in dialogue and music but accommodates immature voices with appropriate vocal ranges, adapted choreography and overall shorter in length.

Ticket sales are already brisk and reservations are encouraged at www.CNYArtsCenter.com.

Tickets can also be purchased from any Willy Wonka parent or at Arts in the Heart Gallery at 47 S. First St., Fulton, or at the Arts Center at 357 State St. church through the Park Street entrance, or call 592-3373 for reservations.

 

Nominations being accepted for Distinguished Hannibal Warriors award

Submitted by Oswego County BOCES

Notable Hannibal High School alumni, staff members and community members will have a chance to shine in the public spotlight as Distinguished Hannibal Warriors during an event in June.

The nomination deadline is quickly approaching. The public has until March 15 to nominate an individual for the inaugural recognition, essentially a Wall of Fame for Hannibal.

The initiative is aimed at honoring a distinguished alumnus, faculty or community member who has contributed to the community and/or school district, achieved distinction for their work and set the standards for others to emulate.

Athletic Director Pat Keefe said the Distinguished Hannibal Warriors effort is a way to instill pride in students and show them the possibilities are limitless.

“It gives the students who are graduating an opportunity to see people in the community – who are possibly former graduates of the district – who have been successful,” Keefe said.

“And it shows kids that this is what they could do. It shows them that they could and should be the next leaders in the community or in the world,” Keefe said.

To nominate a Distinguished Hannibal Warrior, fill out an application from the athletics page of the district website, www.hannibalcsd.org.

All applications should be submitted to Distinguished Hannibal Warriors c/o the Hannibal Central School District, 928 Cayuga St., Hannibal NY.

Although the deadline for submissions is March 15, nominations will be accepted on a continuous basis for future consideration.

The selection process will take place in April and May. For more information, call Keefe at 564-7910.

Arts group helps local author

Board members of the Best Development of the Arts presented local author Craig Abbott a check to help him toward funding his dream of getting his autobiography published.

Abbott, 24, lives in Fulton, and is thought to be the oldest survivor of Spinal Muscular Atrophy Type-1 who is not connected to a ventilator for life support. Doctors originally doubted that he would live past the age of 2.

Abbott and his co-author, Joe Abbate (also of Fulton) have been working for almost three years on the autobiography and are contacting publishers in the hopes that it will receive mass distribution. They are planning a presentation where they will speak and sign books on May 4. The event will take place at the William Michael Center for the Arts, 4 Harold Drive, Fulton. 

Light In The Darkness

“His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.”  Matthew 25:23

The words, “Well done, good and faithful servant,” are often repeated. Indeed,  it is  the wonderful acclamation any servant of Jesus Christ hopes to hear when his or her labors on this earth are completed.

It is something to strive toward and look forward to hearing. What could be better than to hear Jesus say those words to you?

Few things, indeed. However, as I have meditated upon the verse, I have come to think that the second part of his statement is even more precious.

It hinges upon our walk with him here, of course, but what could be better than to hear Him say, “Enter into the joy of your Lord”?

That joy is not found in isolation somewhere on the backside of the Kingdom. No, Psalm 16:11 tells us that this joy is found, “In His presence!”  It is the fullness of joy.”

To enter into His joy is to be with the one who is the author of joy unfathomable this side of Heaven. A little verse I read recently (author unknown to me) says it well.

“There, in your blissful presence, reigns immortal joy serene; No wintry storms are heard to roar, nor desolation seen. Around you flow unmixed delights, the rivers deep and wide;

While from the ocean of your love, proceeds an endless tide.”

Such reality ought to captivate our heart above all. It ought to fill us with desire for that day to arrive sooner rather than later.

It should cause us to say… no, not simply be able to say but rather to move our hearts to cry out with Paul,  “Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far.” (Phil 1:22-23)

Better by far. When we have passed through the valley of the shadow of death, and are done with all mortal care and grief, the Savior welcomes us home with this joyful invitation, “Enter into the joy of your Lord.”

Thus begins our heavenly joy as we rest with Jesus forever. The joy of heaven is full, satisfying and eternal. It is an ecstatic joy. One writer said that, “It transports the ransomed soul with ineffable delights!”

If your spirit is not as deeply moved by these words as you might wish, do not be too surprised for the joy that awaits us is so far beyond what we can experience here as to sound foreign to our mortal ears.

It is the promise of something which, in this life, we have only the smallest taste. But, oh, what it will be then!

Pastor David M. Grey

Mt. Pleasant United Methodist Church

2 hockey players named Oswego High Athletes of the Month

FitzGibbons Insurance owner John FitzGibbons sponsors the “FitzGibbons Insurance Athletes of the Month” in cooperation with the Oswego Buc Boosters Club.

Oswego High School “Athletes of the Month” for January were hockey players Zach Zerrahn, senior, boys hockey and Allie Rodgers, freshman, girls hockey. Each received a $25 gift certificate for rivers end bookstore. 

State Senate Report

By state Sen. Patricia Ritchie

From sowing crops by hand and working the land with simple wooden plows to employing new and advanced technologies to grow better — and more — crops, agriculture has come a long way since it first took root in the United States.

Illustrating these changes is the newly-released U.S. Department of Agriculture  2012 “Census of Agriculture.”

The survey, taken every five years, not only indicates agriculture continues to be a strong and major driver of our state and local economies, it also shows there are tremendous opportunities for further growth in the industry.

According to the report, the market values of livestock, crops and total products grown and produced by those in the industry are at an all time high. Farms in the United States saw sales totaling $395 billion in 2012 — 33 percent higher than in 2007.

In New York state, farmers saw sales grow more than 25 percent since 2007.

While there has been significant growth in the agriculture industry, the report points to a number of sobering statistics.

According to the survey, during a period of five years we continued to lose three farms per week. This figure is due to a number of factors including consolidation, competition and lastly, aging farmers.

According to the survey, a third of farmers were older than 65 in 2012.  Although the farming population is aging, the number of young farmers has increased slightly.

Despite this small increase, we need to continue to add more young people to the ranks of our state’s farmers.

As chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, encouraging growth of the industry is a top priority, and in the days to come, I plan to unveil an ambitious plan to put New York at the forefront of addressing the issue of our state’s aging farmer population.

I encourage you to visit my website www.ritchie.nysenate.gov, where you’ll soon be able to find details on the effort as well as a link to the USDA’s 2012 Census of Agriculture.

Responsible for generating more than $5 billion annually, agriculture is New York’s leading industry and it’s poised for explosive growth thanks to an increased consumer demand for food, drink and other products of high quality, fresh and local.

As state senator, I’m looking forward to working alongside our state’s farmers to seize opportunities for expansion in an effort to keep New York’s number one industry vibrant and growing.

View from the Assembly

By Assemblyman Will Barclay

This year marks the 50th anniversary  of the first Surgeon General’s report on Smoking and Health.

That report, issued in 1964, was the first federal government report linking smoking to ill health, including lung cancer and heart disease.

The news was a wake-up call to America.

Following the landmark report, government began its tobacco control efforts. Since 1964,  the smoking rate in the nation has been reduced by 58 percent. Fifty years ago, about 42 percent of adults smoked. Today’s rate is 18 percent.

The lower smoking rate has saved numerous lives. According to a report issued by the Journal of the American Medical Association last month, researchers estimate 8 million lives have been saved since 1964 when the public became more aware of the dangers of smoking.

Our state rate — 17 percent — is still a high rate when you consider the known health costs associated with smoking. Unfortunately,  our regional smoking rate is estimated to be even higher.

A state report indicates Oswego County’s smoking rate is 27.4 percent, based on data from the state Health Department from 2010.

Local health officials more recently estimate the rate to be as high as 32 percent. In Jefferson County, the smoking rate is 23.7 percent and in Onondaga County, the smoking rate is 20 percent.

I recently met with local health officials to discuss some of the health care challenges unique to our region. Presentations on tobacco use, among other health issues, were given at the local Rural Health Network’s meeting.

Data presented there showed as many as 26 percent of pregnant women smoked during their pregnancy in Oswego County in 2011. Health officials also reported Oswego County has a high death rate from lung cancer, cardiovascular disease, and respiratory diseases.

Research shows obesity and smoking contribute to all of the above.

Local data also indicates smoking rates of pregnant women on Medicaid was as high as 42 percent compared to 8 percent of pregnant women with private insurance. While the numbers are alarming, it’s beneficial to have this data so we can work to reduce these rates, specifically in Oswego County.

The good news, health officials say, is the physician to population ratio will hopefully help our region reduce these rates and prevent premature death and illness.

At the state level, I’m pushing for reforms that would make those on cash assistance unable to purchase cigarettes using EBT cards. In fact, the state is in jeopardy of losing federal dollars if it does not reform its policies as well, so I’m hopeful this will change soon.

Though incidents of tobacco use may be higher regionally, tobacco use remains the number one preventable cause of death in New York, and lung cancer remains the leading cause of cancer deaths in the state.

Other health issues such as high blood pressure, stroke and other ailments are also caused by smoking.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that those who smoke are two to four times more likely to develop coronary heart disease and two to four times more likely to have a stroke. Men and women who smoke are 25 times more likely to develop lung cancer.

Tobacco use is also responsible for diminished health, increased absenteeism from work and increased health care costs. The CDC also reports that tobacco use costs at least $133 billion in direct medical care of adults and more than $156 billion lost in productivity.

Secondhand smoke is also estimated to cost the country $5.6 billion in lost productivity each year, according to the CDC. Last year the state Assembly unanimously passed a bill that banned smoking at on the grounds of 100 hospitals. I was pleased to support this in the Assembly.

To access cessation resources, visit http://www.nysmokefree.com/ or call NY Quits at 1-866-NY-QUITS.

If you have any questions or comments or if you would like to be added to my mailing list or receive my newsletter, contact my office by mail at 200 N. Second St.,Fulton, NY 13069, by e-mail at barclaw@assembly.state.ny.us or by calling  598-5185.

Your hometown. Your news.