March 1 deadline to apply for agricultural assessment

Oswego County residents who have agricultural land and would like to receive a lower land assessment have until March 1 to file their application.

In 1971, New York state passed the Agricultural District Law, including the Agricultural Assessment Program. This assessment program allows owners of agricultural lands to receive a lower assessment on eligible properties.

During these years of increasing property taxes, this program could save on taxes, making it more affordable to own open, agricultural land.

Owners whose land satisfies the minimum requirements may apply for an agricultural assessment.

The following eligibility requirements must be met:

1) Land must consist of 7 or more acres that is used for the production for sale of crops, livestock, or livestock products

2) The annual gross sales of agricultural products must average $10,000 or more. If an agricultural enterprise consists of less than 7 acres, it may qualify if the annual gross sales equal $50,000 or more.

Additional special stipulations are given to horse boarding operations, aquaculture, orchards and/or vineyard operations.

Land rented for agricultural purposes may receive an agricultural assessment.

To apply for an agricultural assessment in Oswego County, contact your local assessor’s office and obtain the Agricultural Assessment application (form RP-305). You must have one application form for each tax parcel you wish to apply for.

Next, call the Oswego County Soil and Water Conservation District Office at 592-9663 to schedule an appointment. This office will explain to you the next step(s) required in completing the application process.

A charge of $20 per parcel is assessed to complete the Soil Group Worksheet prior to March 2; after the charge is $30.

The completed application with all other required documents must be received at the local assessor’s office by March 1, 2014. Landowners already enrolled should remember to contact their local assessor’s office annually to see if they need to renew their application.

For more information about agricultural assessments, call 592-9663.

Hannibal-based hard rock band works on first full-length album

Hannibal-based hard rock band Far From Over is becoming more well known in the music business, rubbing elbows with nationally known artists and working on a full-length album.

The band is set to play at Monirae’s Restaurant in Pennellville 6:30 p.m. Feb. 13. Far From Over joins national recording artist Buckcherry and other local bands.

Started as a cover band in 2011 by drummer Zane Pointon, bassist Alex Carter and guitarist Tyler Battist, Far From Over welcomed vocalist Zac Birdslow in 2012. Pointon, Carter and Battist attend Hannibal High School, and Birdslow is taking classes at Cayuga Community College.

The show with Buckcherry is not Far From Over’s first time rubbing elbows with some of rock radio’s biggest stars. Last year, the band played at 95X Fest 2013, which featured acts such as Sick Puppies and Adam Gontier, formerly of the band Three Days Grace.

“95X-Fest was a blast! It was so amazing to be able to hang out backstage and talk with the other bands,” Pointon said in an email.

He cited Gontier and Sick Puppies as influences of the band.

“We tend to blend both modern rock sound and the newer post-hardcore genres into our own work,” Pointon said.

Far From Over began gaining local exposure when a 95X DJ played their music on his show.

“Scott Dixon has always been a huge help to us and the whole Syracuse music scene. I don’t think there is one thing he cares more about then this music scene,” Pointon said. “Dixon does a show on 95X called ‘Locals Only.’ Bands all throughout Syracuse can submit their music to be played.”

Having released the “Burn” EP in 2012, Far From Over is working on their first full-length album. The video for the band’s newest single, “Tonight,” has reached more than 1,600 views on YouTube.

“ Filming the music video was a lot of fun and a great experience. It was all produced by our bassist, Alex,” Pointon said. “Being able to make the video for free and on our own was awesome but it was a lot more work. Our bassist stayed up for nights reviewing the shots and making the final edit.”

The band is trying to raise money for recording the new album on fundraising website Indiegogo.

“Like most local bands we make close to nothing. So funding our production and buying are merch can sometimes be hard,” Pointon said.

Despite the challenges of finding funds and juggling work, school and music, Pointon said Far From Over allows him and his bandmates to do what they love.

“We plan to just keep growing bigger in hope of turning from a local act to a touring national one day,” Pointon said. “Our new musical style is just what this world is asking for and we’re ready for the next step.”

Presale tickets for the Feb. 13 show are $25 and can be purchased at ticketweb.com, Monirae’s or the Sound Garden in Armory Square, Syracuse.

For more information about Far From Over, visit ffoband.com or like the band on Facebook at facebook.com/ffoband.

Fulton boys’ basketball goes 1-1 in last 2 games

By Rob Tetro

The Fulton boys’ varsity basketball team went 1-1 in its last 2 games and now have a 5-9 overall record.

On Jan. 24, Fowler knocked off Fulton, 76-71, but then the Red Raiders bounced back with an exciting 53-49 win over Chittenango on Jan. 29.

The first quarter of the Fowler game was pretty event, with Fulton leading by 1 point at its conclusion. The second quarter was even more competitive, with both teams scoring 24 points as Fulton took a 38-37 lead into halftime.

Fowler pulled ahead during the third quarter, outscoring the Red Raiders by 4 points to take a 3-point lead and then Fowler outcored Fulton by 2 points in the fourth quartr to pull out a 5-point win.

Leading the way for Fulton was Chris Jones with 20 points, followed by Cody Green with 17, Josh Hudson with 12, Jon Cummins added 9 and Mark Pollock and Dallas Bradley chipped in 5 points each.

Fulton had a 2-point lead over Chittenango after the first quarter of its Jan. 29 contest. But Chittenango stormed ahead during the second quarter, outscoring Fulton by 7 points to take a 30-25 halftime lead.

The Red Raiders answered right back during the third quarter, outscoring Chittenango by 7 points to take a 2-point lead. Chittenango still had plenty in the tank and following a hard fought fourth quarter, Chittenango forced overtime after tying the game at 49.

The Red Raiders stepped up their defensive play down the stretch. While scoring only 4 points during the overtime session, Fulton kept Chittenango off the scoreboard en route to a 53-49 win.

The Red Raiders were led by Chris Jones with 20 points, followed by Cody Green with 13 and Jon Cummins with 11 points.

State police continue to investigate Granby man’s death

State police are following “several leads” in the death of a Granby man this week.

The body of Anthony Miller, 46, who lived in a mobile home at the Indian Hills Mobile Park on state Route 48 in Granby, was found by friends about 4 p.m. Monday in the mobile home. At first, troopers were calling the death suspicious, but later Monday said it had been ruled a homicide.

Trooper Jack Keller, public information officer for Troop D in Oneida, said the autopsy has been completed but state police are not releasing a cause of death at this time. He would not say if the body suffered any stab wounds or gun shots.

“We want to wait on that,” he said of the cause of death. “We’re following several leads and we are progressing.”

Anyone with information regarding Miller’s death should call State Police in Fulton at 598-2112.

Investigators believe there is no danger to the public concerning this death.

 

Fulton Speed Demons strong as swim season begins

The Fulton YMCA Speed Demons team has begun its season and already turned in some strong performances.

The team consists of swimmers ages 5 to 18 and is part of the CNY YMCA Competitive Swim League that includes Auburn, Norwich, Watertown, Oneida, Oneonta and Cortland.

Swimmers can compete in the freestyle, breaststroke, backstroke, butterfly and individual medley (IM, one of each stroke).

Events are categorized by age group: Seniors Class A (age 15-18) , B( 13-14) & C (11-12), Juniors Class D (9-10) & E (8 & under).

Coaches enter swimmers in three individual events each meet plus a relay. Practices and home competitions take place at Granby Elementary School in a 25-yard pool and swimmers push themselves at each dual meet to achieve a personal best swim time in the event swimming.

Taking a few seconds off an event time is often a challenge. The team is coached by Head Coach Cassandra Izyk and Assistant Coaches Cameron Lanich, and Ashley LaDue.

The Speed Demons started their season with an away meet in Auburn followed by a home meet against Cortland.

Starting the season strong against Auburn with first place finishes were first-year swimmer Joely LaPage (25 free), Ryan Morehouse (100 back) and Casey Jones (100 back).

Swimming personal best times were:

Naomi Roberts (50 free, 100 free, 50 back)

Angel Croci (50 free)

Alexis Loomis (50 free, 100 free)

Annaliese Archer (50 free, 50 fly)

Swimmers saw their hard work at practice pay off at the second meet of the season against Cortland.

Junior  swimmers Molly Williams and Courtney Pierce were 2 of 26 Fulton swimmers entered in the 100 Free and had the greatest time reductions of all events, crushing their previous times by 15 and 16 seconds.

Senior swimmer Anna Guernsey achieved the same improvement in her 200 IM. Junior teammate Hailey Coady posted a best time in the 25 back, taking 1st place.

Additional swimmers recording improvement in their events were:

Caleb Trepasso (50 free, 100 free)

Braeden Dempsey (50 free, 100 free, 50 back)

Tyler LaDue (50 free, 100 free, 50 back)

Zachary Loomis (50 free, 100 free, 50 back)

Firebirds beat Solvay, crushed by Westhill

By Rob Tetro

The Phoenix boys’ varsity basketball team beat Solvay, 52-46 on Feb. 4, but were crushed by Westhill 78-48 on Jan. 29.

The Firebirds now have a 9-6 overall record.

Westhill proved why its ranked number 1 in the New York State Sports Writers Association state rankings in Class B when the Warriors jumped out to a 14-point lead over Phoenix during the first quarter.

Westhill then didn’t let up during the second quarter, outscoring the Firebirds by another 12 points for a 46-20 lead at the half.

The Firebirds proved to be far more competitive during the third quarter and were outscored by only 4 points as Westhill. Phoenix remained competitive in the fourth quarter but could not make up Westhill’s huge lead and the Warriors won by 30 points.

Leading the way for the Firebirds was Dylan Doupe with 17 points, followed by Zach Sisera with 10, Connor Haney with 9, Walker Connoly with 5 and Shaun Turner chipped in 4 points.

Against Solvay, the Firebirds jumped out to an 8-point lead, but then Solvay roared back to pull ahead during the second quarter, taking a 25-24 lead into the half.

Both teams scored 13 points each during a hard fought third quarter as Solvay maintained its 1-point lead at 38-37. But Phoenix pulled ahead down the stretch, outscoring Solvay by 7 points during the fourth quarter en route to a 52-46 win.

The Firebirds were led by Zach Sisera with 16 points, followed by Bryce Plante with 13, Dylan Doupe with 11, Brian Sawyer chipped in 7 and Connor Haney added 5 points.

Oswego Little League registration Feb. 11

The 2014 baseball season for Oswego Little League will kick off with the annual Spaghetti Dinner and Player Registration from 5 to 9 p.m. Tuesday Feb. 11 at the Oswego Elks Lodge.

The season will be highlighted by Little League Baseball’s 75th Anniversary, which was established in 1939 in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

It will be the 59th season for Oswego Little League.

“It’s great to think about the nice weather and the start of Oswego Little League baseball this upcoming spring,” said Tim Murphy, president of Oswego Little League.

“We are equally excited about our traditional spaghetti dinner and player registration on February 11th. We hope to have a great night out with new and returning players and their families,” he said.

Murphy said Oswego Little League offers six divisions of organized youth baseball for all boys and girls, ages 5 through 16, including the Challenger Division, for players with special needs.

Registration fees vary by age and can be found on the league’s website.

Children residing within the boundaries of the Oswego City School District are eligible to register with Oswego Little League.

Registrants are required to provide proof of age, verification of residence inside the League’s boundary, and provide a signed copy of the Medical Release form.

Volunteer forms are also available. Oswego Little League has a need for many new volunteers, to fill several positions of need. Managers, coaches and team parents are needed. League volunteers are also needed for concession, field maintenance, scorekeepers and umpires.

The required forms and instructions are available now at www.oswegolittleleague.com, and may be filled out in advance, or at the registration tables Feb. 11.

Spaghetti dinners will be available for eat in or take out. Delivery of dinners may be arranged for groups that have to work that evening.

Pre-sale tickets are available from the league’s board of directors and at Oswego Printing at 412 W. First St. and Murphy’s Automotive Solutions at 21 Fred Haynes Boulevard in Oswego.

There will be an additional opportunity to register in person from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, March 1 at the Oswego YMCA Armory Building.

Oswego Little League is a fun and safe environment for your children to learn and play baseball. Register by March 1st to reserve a roster spot.

Further information and assistance is available by e-mailing coach@oswegolittleleague.com.

Little League, founded in 1939 in Williamsport, Pa., is the world’s largest youth sports program with more than 2.4 million children and 1 million volunteers in more than 83 countries and all 50 states.

The Sportsman’s World — Of Flounder and Sheepheads

By Leon Archer

I was just this week talking with a friend in Florida about fishing.

I was interested specifically in the fishing in the Indian River Lagoon, because it had been so poor the past couple of years. He told me it was still nothing to get excited about in the Sebastian area, but it was a little better than last year.

Apparently some sea grass has started to grow here and there on the sand flats. He said it is a red grass, but it must be better than nothing. Grass makes all the difference in the river fishing.

I can’t begin to remember the number of times I’ve grumbled about the grass back when it was thick, and I had to keep removing it from my lures or bait. How I wish it were that way again.

Most of the grass then was some shade of pale green depending on the species and area it was growing in. There were patches of the red grass even then, but not any great amount of it.

When I fished in and around the grassy patches, I caught fish and grass. When I avoided grassy areas, I came up with less grass, but I also caught a lot fewer fish.

The reasons are simple. The grass acts as a nursery for small fish and crabs, providing food and cover. Most people would not believe the huge number of organisms that can inhabit a relatively small patch of grass, many of them are the microscopic creatures that baby fish and crabs capture for their early meals.

Just as the grass provides food and cover for the smaller inhabitants, at the same time it provides cover for larger fish who prey on the smaller, and so it goes right up the old food chain. But without that first link made of grass, the chain never forms.

I sure hope the grass makes a strong comeback. Even though I am not in Florida this winter, I certainly plan to be back there next winter, and I’d like to find the fishing better than I did the last two years.

My friend was telling me that it had been a good winter for sheepshead and flounder. They aren’t the kind of fish that prowl the grass beds.

The sheepies hang around docks and pilings. They seldom eat fish. Their teeth are made for nipping barnacles and small oysters off pilings. They are also fond of crabs, shrimp and sand fleas. They aren’t the easiest things to hook, being probably the most proficient bait stealers I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting.

They are well worth pursuing, because they rival snappers for their table qualities. They are yummy.

The flounder are occasionally found in the grass, but more likely, if they are there at all, they will lurk just outside the beds waiting for an unwary small fish to wander out to see what the big world outside the grass looks like.

Flounder are fast predators when they strike, and a small fish seldom gets a do-over. Flounder are more often found on the flats at the edge of channels and in inlets where the current constantly brings them small fish struggling to hold their place in the fast tide water.

Flounder are fun to fish for, and the greatest challenge is to keep from getting hung up on bottom as one fishes. Most fishing is done with mud minnows or finger mullet kept near the bottom with a sinker weighing two to four ounces.

The bait needs to move back with the current until it is right in front of the waiting flounder. If everything goes right, and one has a bit of luck, a tap and then a feeling of weight almost like being hung up, will be transmitted up the line to the rod. Sometimes it is a false signal and one is actually hung up on bottom, but when the rod responds with a throbbing bend when the hook is set, it becomes worth all the time and effort.

Flounder are wonderful table fare, and one that weighs seven or eight pounds will feed a family with some left over for a snack later. They are mild and do not have the delicate flavor of the sheepshead or snapper.

I have never caught a lot of southern flounder, but I have caught enough to appreciate everything about them. They are a great fish, and the lack of grass has not had as negative an effect on them as it has with fish like the spotted sea trout.

I have enjoyed my time in Washington with our grandson, but I sure have missed Florida. I haven’t missed the weather Fulton has been getting, however.

Stay warm. Spring is coming.

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