Oswego County Opportunities is launching its “Bling, Fling and Swing” drawing with three prizes: a diamond/sapphire ring; an overnight getaway for two to Vernon Downs Casino; and Canyon Combo tickets for two from Wonderworks at Destiny USA.
Proceeds raised benefit OCO services and programs that address hunger needs in Oswego County.
“The first day of ticket sales will be Saturday, April 5, during the OCO Retro Bowl fundraiser,” said OCO Executive Director Diane Cooper-Currier.
“Every ticket sold that day, before the end of the Retro Bowl festivities, earns the ticket holder an entry into a special early-bird prize drawing to be held that day, at the end of the Retro Bowl. One lucky winner will receive a lottery ticket board,” she said.
The name ‘Bling, Fling & Swing’ helps describe the prizes. First prize is a sapphire and diamond ring, donated by Bridge Street Jewelers in Oswego.
Second prize is an overnight getaway for two at Vernon Downs Casino, donated by Vernon Downs Casino.
Third prize is two Canyon Combo tickets donated by Wonderworks at Destiny USA, redeemable for one canyon climb and admission to the Wonderworks experience.
Tickets are $5 each or 5 for $20. Only 300 tickets will be sold. They are available at the OCO Main Office, 239 Oneida St., Fulton, and at the Midtown Plaza Office, lower level (next to Jo-Ann Fabrics), Oswego, starting Monday, April 7, during regular office hours.
Drawing for all prizes takes place at noon Thursday, May 15, at the OCO Main Office, 239 Oneida St., Fulton.
After the first- and second-prize drawings, the winning tickets are returned to the hat for the next prize drawing.
“This means you have more than one chance to win,” Cooper-Currier stated.
Ticket holders need not be present to win. Winners will be notified by phone or email. Must be 18 years of age or older to participate.
“There is a real need to help the hungry in Oswego County,” Cooper-Currier said.
Ten-year-old Marc Barnhart of Granby finally has some weight off his shoulders — 11 inches of bright red hair, that is.
Last weekend, Patti Mancino of Carla’s Hair Fashions in Fulton snipped two ponytails’ worth of hair from Marc’s head to send to Locks of Love, a Florida-based charity that provides wigs to children suffering from long-term medical hair loss.
Marc’s hairy journey began in late summer of 2012, when he and his grandmother, Carrie Fellows, saw a “Today Show” segment about men who had lost their hair to cancer.
“I saw it on the news that the men didn’t want to wear (wigs made of) girls’ hair, so they wanted boys to do it,” Marc said.
With his grandmother’s permission, Marc began to grow out his hair. For the last year-and-a-half, Marc has endured teasing, stares and comments from classmates and teachers alike at Kenney Middle School in Hannibal, which he and his four siblings attend.
Marc said his classmates have hurled insults at him such as “you girl,” but his family told him, “Words are words and remember what good you’re doing.”
“I just ignore it,” he said.
Marc’s siblings have borne some of the unkind words as well.
“Everyone in my grade kept saying, ‘Don’t you have two sisters?’ and I say, ‘No, my brother’s growing his hair for a great cause,’” said Matthew, 11. “It’s really sad that they have to pick on him and get satisfaction from talking to me.”
Matthew said one of their aunts died of cancer, another reason for Marc’s donation.
Cailynn, Marc’s twin sister, said that she and her other brothers tried to grow their hair to donate too, but gave up. Jeffrey, 13, said his effort to grow his hair “did not work out.”
Cailynn said other children at school have donated their hair as well.
“It’s not really nice because they’ve done it too, and no one picked on them,” Cailynn said.
The Barnhart children and their grandparents said their former bus driver and teachers have made comments to Marc as well.
Marc’s grandmother Carrie said one teacher said to Marc, “Hey kid, you need a haircut, you look like a girl.”
Marc said the school has held anti-bullying events, but he doesn’t think that makes a difference to students.
Kenney Principal Dee Froio said the school has hosted various anti-bullying events, including Jared Campbell’s “Blue Project” and a “bully-away spray” skit through Merry-Go-Round Playhouse’s “Echoes” program.
Froio added the school has not been notified about a student being bullied for growing their hair, but they would follow up any report of bullying.
Fortunately for Marc, not all the feedback has been negative.
“My art teacher this year did it two times, so she’s proud of me doing it,” Marc said.
Carrie, an adjunct professor at SUNY Oswego, brought Marc to one of her classes and shared his story. The students gave him a standing ovation.
“He made the decision to do it and he’s stuck with it,” said grandfather Jeff Fellows. “He has taken a lot of razzing the last year or so … When you explain to people why he’s doing it, they change their view.”
Hairstylist Patti Mancino has cut Marc’s hair since he was a baby. She said he is her only male client who has donated his hair to Locks of Love, but she has had many female clients donate to that organization and to a similar one, Pantene Beautiful Lengths.
“Sometimes I talk somebody into it if they want a new hairstyle. If you have enough, why not donate it?” Mancino said. “For a young man to do it is special because a lot of girls do it.”
After the big chop, Marc opted for a super short style. His brother Jeremy, 11, said he was glad that Marc did it, but “I’ll wake up to a stranger in the morning.”
“I got so used to Marc with long hair,” Matthew said.
As for the man with the mane, he said he plans to grow it out again for Locks of Love in the future, perhaps after the summer.
“Now I don’t have to wear my ponytail for tech,” he said.
To learn more about donating hair, visit
locksoflove.org or pantene.com and click on “Ready, set, grow: pony up!”
Sheriff Reuel Todd is asking the Oswego County Legislature for more money to pay for inmates he has to ship to other county jails because his jail is full.
Todd said he put $100,000 in the 2014 county budget to pay for housing inmates in other county jails. The cost to do this is $90 a day per inmate.
Through February, Todd’s cost for housing inmates elsewhere was $130,000.
He is asking for $30,000 to make payments already incurred and another $500,000 to pay for housing inmates in other jails for the rest of 2014.
“We do a proposed budget and the county approvs it,” Todd said. “It was overly optimistic that the $100,000 would be enough.”
Todd had this same problem back in 2012, when he ended up asking the county legislature for about $1 million more to pay for shipping inmates to other jails.
When the Oswego County jail is full, any additional inmates have to be housed in other county jails, such as in Cayuga, Madison or Oneida.
There are three primary reasons for there being so many inmates, Todd said.
One is there is more crime taking place. Second is police are doing a great job in finding criminals and arresting them. If they can’t make bail, they have to stay in the county jail.
The third reason is state parolees who commit more crime. Todd said when a state prison inmate is released and put on parole and then commits another crime, that person is held in a county jail until the state decides what to do with him or her.
“They’re (the state) saving money in their budget by not taking these parolees back to state prison and costing the county money,” Todd said. For about two years, state officials, including state Sen. Patricia Ritchie, R-Oswegatchie, who represents Oswego County, have been trying to get the state to take back its parolees.
“But there’s been no movement on the state issues that should be addressed,” Todd said.
Todd’s request asks for $500,000 to be transferred from the County Appropriation Fund Balance to the Prisoners Charges — Other Facilities account.
The request was on the agenda for the April 1 Finance and Personnel committee meeting.
The jail overcrowding issue became so dire in Oswego County in 2012 that legislators approved a number of measures to reduce the number of inmates in the county jail.
District Attorney Gregory Oakes hired a part-time lawyer at $26,000 to handle all the county’s criminal case appeals. Before, one of his assistant district attorneys was handling the appeals, cutting by half the time she had to handle current cases.
Now, that person has a full caseload and is helping to move cases through the system quicker so defendants aren’t sitting in the county jail for months, Oakes said.
The county probation department also began a monitoring bracelet system so non-violent low-level felony offenders could be released with a bracelet instead of sitting in jail.
Oakes said there also is more discussion between prosecutors, defense lawyers and judges that helps to cut down on the amount of time defendants are in the county jail.
But still, with these changes, the jail population remains high.
Todd and Oakes said these measures are working (as of Friday, 25 defendants were on release wearing monitoring bracelets), but increased crime, more parolees and more arrests are putting a strain on the system.
April is National Poetry Month and the Fulton Library is having a celebration.
In partnership with local writer Jim Farfaglia, the library will offer a four-week class titled “Celebrating Poetry!” This free program will take place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the four Saturdays in April: April 5, 12, 19 and 26.
“We are excited to offer this program for poets and for those who are interested in learning more about poetry,” said Betty Mauté, director of the Fulton Library.
“The program, planned by Jim, is designed to be welcoming and relaxed. There is no previous writing experience needed to participate. We’ve even scheduled each class to run through the lunch hour and are encouraging participants to bring a bagged lunch.
“While sharing a meal (the library will provide beverages), Jim will share poetry and encourage the class to explore their thoughts and feelings about a variety of poems,” she said.
“I want this class to inspire people who normally might not consider poetry, including both the more classically famous, as well as some of the newer nontraditional poets,” said Farfaglia. “I also want to encourage people to try their hand at writing and to know that there are no hard-and-fast rules in poetry. It’s just about listening to your heart.”
The class is being provided at no cost due to the success of last year’s Fulton Memoir Project.
“The book sales from the collection of 41 memoirs written by Fultonians have given the library a fund to provide writing programs such as Celebrating Poetry,” added Mauté.
Participants should be 18 years or older or a teenager accompanied by an adult. Seating is limited and those interested should call 592-5159 for more information and to reserve your spot.
Oswego native Elizabeth Marie Fortune will be signing copies of her first children’s book, “Shhh, Quiet, Listen: What Do You Hear When You Listen for God?” at the Connection Point in Oswego on April 5.
The picture book follows a little girl named Faith and her journey to listen to God in everyday life, whether she is at school with her friends or spending time with her grandparents.
Fortune, a customer service representative with the Scotsman Media Group’s commercial printing department, now lives in Camillus with her husband, William, and their 7-year-old daughter, Erin. She published the book through Inspiring Voices, an Indiana-based publishing company that specializes in spiritual literature.
Fortune began writing the book in 2009 while at home with Erin and found that many of the books she read to her daughter lacked a spiritual message.
“I started reading books and I saw there was a need for this type of book,” Fortune said. “As Erin was getting older, that’s when the concept came about because I saw how kids are really busy.”
Fortune said part of the book’s message is to take time from one’s busy day to be thankful.
“I’m also hoping that the book will open up a dialogue with parents and their children to start talking about God and how important it is to think about God each day,” she said. “Hopefully, the book will help children connect with God.”
Fortune said the process of creating the book was “really exciting.”
“When you see it, you just see your manuscript on two pages of paper. It’s so exciting to finally see it come together,” she said. Fortune worked closely with an illustrator from Inspiring Voices to create the finished product.
“Every page on the book is directed by me — every scene, color schemes … That was exciting, to see your vision come to life.”
The hardest part of the process for Fortune was time management, balancing life as a working mother with writing the book. She said her husband and daughter both have been involved in the process.
“He’s been so supportive regarding time management. He’s actually helping me with marketing my book (and) handling the business end of things. So therefore it’s a family endeavor,” Fortune said.
Fortune is looking to expand distribution of “Shhh, Quiet, Listen,” and the book is available on amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com. “I’m working on plans now, reaching out to different outlets for the book, not just locally, but regionally and nationally,” Fortune said.
She added she plans to write a series of religious children’s books to follow “Shhh, Quiet, Listen.”
Fortune will be signing copies of “Shhh, Quiet, Listen” from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, April 5, at the Connection Point, 198 W. First St., Oswego. The Connection Point will have copies of the book for sale during and after Saturday’s book signing. To learn more about the Connection Point, call 216-6455 or visit theconnectionpt.com and facebook.com/theconnectionpoint.
The Pratt House in Fulton is open for the 2014 season.
During the winter, a remarkable job was done transforming the first floor of the Pratt House Museum, located at 177 S. First St., Fulton, into a toy store of sorts. Toys from the 1800s up to about 1970 are on display.
Visitors will be transported back to a time when fun was careening down a hill on a “gravity racer,” playing a board game with friends, or pretending you were a mama tending to her baby. This is a wonderful display, filled with a lot of love.
Who among us wouldn’t like to go back to a time when the only worry we had was what we were going to play with when the sun came up!
The Pratt House is open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. every Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday beginning today, April 2 through December 2014. Call if you want to come in on a Saturday. For more information or to arrange a tour, call 598-4616.
Testing of more than 2,500 samples of deer statewide found no deer infected with Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), the state Department of Environmental Conservation announced last week.
CWD continues to pose a threat to New York’s wild white-tailed deer as Pennsylvania discovered CWD in both captive white-tailed deer and wild, free-ranging white-tailed deer in 2012.
Since 2002, DEC annually has tested hunter-harvested white-tailed deer for CWD. The last confirmed case of CWD in New York was in 2005.
Public reporting of sick and abnormal deer throughout the year is also important because these animals are collected and tested for CWD.
DEC’s Wildlife Health Unit conducts full necropsies (animal autopsy) to determine the source of illness or cause of death on many species, including deer.
In 2012, DEC revised the state CWD surveillance program to include information on population density, deer age and sex, and risk factors, including border counties with Pennsylvania. The goal was to collect samples from the highest risk areas. For further details on the initiation and timeline of DEC’s CWD surveillance program, visit http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/33220.html.
The Fulton girls’ varsity softball team is preparing to begin its season with great expectations.
After playing in the sectional quarterfinals and semifinals the last two seasons, not only do the Lady Raiders want to qualify for sectional play but they want to win a Sectional championship.
Coach Derek Lyons said his team has been playing together for a long time. With the improvement that they have shown along the way, he hopes to see his team qualify for the state playoffs.
Fulton is expected to be amongst the most experienced teams in Section 3 this season. The team will feature seven seniors and two juniors who have seen a lot of playing time over the past few seasons.
Lyons said his nine experienced players know what it takes to have a successful season. The seniors are Maureen McCann, Hannah Jones, Anna Guernsey, Mikayla Guernsey, Caitlin Chrisman, Kassidy Kearns and Keisha Pierce.
The juniors wth experience are Cheyenne Laun and Courtney Parker. These players are joined by fellow juniors Jessica Marvin and Katelyn Ely along with sophomore Casey Jones.
The Lady Raiders began practice in early March. Lyons expected them to be in pretty good physical condition when practices began and his team obliged.
Lyons said most of his players were in good physical condition because they took part in winter sports.
But Lyons said softball is a sport that relies on reaction a lot more than other sports. Developing reaction time was a big part of the first couple weeks of practice.
The players who didn’t participate a winter sport prepared for the season by taking part in open gyms and working hard in the weight room. Lyons feels every player could run the bases in a solid time.
However, the climate has limited the team’s outdoor training time. Lyons said even though his team appears to be in good shape, they will still be challenged when the time comes to adjust to running outdoors.
Fulton won’t have captains in a traditional sense this season. For the most part, Lyons expects to recognize his nine experienced players as leadership figures on a rotating basis. These players will be recognized based their work ethic and how they handle adversity and Lyons hopes the Lady Raiders benefit from the experienced players’ ability to lead by example.
The Lady Raiders will face a challenging schedule this season. A team they beat last season, Jamesville-DeWitt, is expected to be equally as tough this season.
Lyons hopes his team can continue to build off of the experience of winning against such a good team. East Syracuse Minoa is expected to be equally as challenging for Fulton.
Both Jamesville-DeWitt and East Syracuse Minoa are expected to benefit from strong pitching this season. Lyons also said Mexico, Cortland and Homer will be solid teams this season and be tough outings for the Lady Raiders.
The biggest strength Fulton expects to have this season is the leadership abilities that its experienced players bring to the table. The Lady Raiders also hope to get on base at a solid percentage. There are six players with .400 averages in hitting.
Fulton expects to have a fast and aggressive offense. Lyons said a hard-hitting offense equates to a lot of wins. He also expects the returning pitchers to be ready to preserve a lead their hard hitting teammates create.