Fitzhugh Park elementary evacuated due to smoke

UPDATE from the police and fire departments:

At about 11:41 a.m., Oswego City Fire and Police crews were called to the Fitzhugh Park Elementary School (195 East Bridge Street Oswego, NY) in regard to a small fire
isolated in a trash can.
The school was evacuated as emergency crews arrived on scene. Upon arrival, the fire had already been extinguished by a school district employee.
The scene was evaluated by the Oswego Fire Department and deemed safe to allow reentry.
There were no injuries reported as a result of the incident, and Oswego Fire and Police personnel remain on scene investigating the cause of the fire in cooperation with Oswego City School District personnel.

Students at the Fitzhugh Park Elementary School in Oswego were evacuated from the building for a short time this morning as smoke was reported on the second floor.

Upon further investigation the source of the smoke was a fire in a waste basket.

The Oswego Fire Department and district personnel have been on the scene. 

There were no injuries.

Officials have allowed the students to return to their classrooms.

District officials are continuing their investigation  into the cause of the fire.

Snow now, tonight, tomorrow

The National Weather Service is calling for a winter storm warning for heavy snow to be in effect in Oswego County until 1 p.m. Friday (Feb. 14).

Snow will be heavy at time and there will be accumulations of an inch or less this afternoon, 4 to 7 inches tonight and 1 to 3 inches Friday.

Visibility will be as low as a quarter of a mile. Travel will be extremely hazardous with slippery snow covered roads and reduced visibilities.

Oswego State Downtown exhibits photos by Baldwinsville resident

Oswego State Downtown will open an exhibition Saturday, Feb. 15, of photographs by Baldwinsville artist Jeanne C. Lagergren.

“The Nature of Things” exhibition will feature a free public artist’s reception from 2 to 4 p.m. Feb. 15 at the downtown branch of the College Store and gallery, corner of West First and Bridge streets in Oswego.

The display will run through March 22.

“My love of nature came from growing up on Long Island’s Great South Bay,” said Lagergren, a watercolorist and photographer who has a collection of 132 cameras, including her mother’s, father’s and her own first cameras.

“Picture postcard vistas of water, sand dunes and glorious sunsets were a creative inspiration for me,” she said. “Using my camera for taking reference photos for my watercolor paintings, the balance shifted from brushes and paint to camera and film.”

During a 38-year career in the graphic arts with Carrier Corp., her own company Checker Graphics and Xerox Corp., Lagergren often has entered photographs and watercolors in “On My Own Time” shows, and six of her works have been selected for display at the Everson Museum of Art.

She twice won “People’s Choice” awards in the competition. Her paintings and photography also have appeared at the New York State Fair, Liverpool and Mundy branches of Onondaga County Public Library, Altered Spaces and Sparky Town restaurant.

“The digital era came, my love for photography grew, and wanting to learn more I joined the Syracuse Camera Club in 2011,” Lagergren said. “Viewing the work of its talented members has been both an educational and rewarding experience.”

Among other awards, the club honored Lagergren in 2012-13 with a first-place Print Merit Award and a first-place Digital Merit Award, both in the entry-level division, and a second- and third-place award for Print of the Year.

She also received a “Feminist in the Graphic Arts” award from the Central New York chapter of the National Organization for Women.

Oswego State Downtown is open noon to 5 p.m. Wednesdays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fridays and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays.

For more information about this and other SUNY Oswego art exhibitions, contact Tyler Art Gallery at 312-2113.

Got a summer event? Contact the Oswego County Tourism Office

Organizations, businesses and groups have until Feb. 19 to submit information for the Oswego County Tourism Office’s 2014 “Summer in Oswego County” brochure.

Events that take place between April and October will be posted on the county tourism Web site and listed in the calendar, which is widely distributed at travel and vacation shows, chambers of commerce, NYS Thruway information centers, businesses and other outlets.

“The brochure typically includes more than 200 events as well as information on fishing tournaments, farm markets, outdoor concerts, and other summer activities,” said David Turner, director of the Department of Community Development, Tourism and Planning.

People can fill out a form online and submit it directly to the Tourism Office at http://visitoswegocounty.com/more-to-see-do/calendar/events-in-oswego-county-entry-form/.

Forms have been sent to those who have submitted information in the past.

For more information, contact the Oswego County Tourism Office weekdays at 349-8322 or (800) 596-3200, ext. 8322, or e-mail fobrien@oswegocounty.com.

2 Mexico grads perform with SU band at Super Bowl

By Ashley M. Casey

They didn’t get to stay for the game, but two Syracuse University students from Mexico, N.Y., played in the school’s marching band at Super Bowl XLVIII.

Anthony Veiga, a junior music education major, and Shaun Kinney, a sophomore music industry major, are alumni of Mexico High School. They boarded a bus at 4 a.m. Feb. 2, arriving in New Jersey five hours later to rehearse with the Rutgers University marching band.

“The NFL was looking for a band to represent what they considered the New York Super Bowl,” said Veiga, who plays the baritone.

But New Jersey governor Chris Christie pointed out that MetLife Stadium, while it is the home of the New York Giants, is located in East Rutherford, N.J.

“We had to ask Rutgers to join us,” Veiga said.

In 2013, SU’s marching band, led by Justin Mertz, played in Montreal for a Buffalo Bills game and Houston, Texas, for the Pinstripe Bowl. The band also plays for SU football’s home games and may travel to away games in the future.

“We went to the Heisman Gala, which is the dinner for the Heisman Trophy,” Veiga said.

Despite the miles the band has racked up, they had never been to the Super Bowl before.

“It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Veiga said.

The band members had to keep the news of the performance under wraps.

“When we were first told, we went nuts,” Veiga said. “We had to keep it a secret until the NFL let it go public.”

Kinney, a tuba player, said the band members complained somewhat about the rehearsal schedule, but “everybody thought the rehearsals were worth it when we got there.”

“It was amazing. It was just cool to be part of the production,” Kinney said.

The band spotted a few celebrities while waiting to run onto the field for the pre-game performance.

“Kevin Bacon walked by,” Kinney said. “Being around all these people you see on TV that are famous … (was) pretty crazy.”

“We got to see the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and they mingled with the band,” Veiga said. There was no sight of halftime headliner Bruno Mars, however.

Kinney said he remembered little of the performance because it was so brief.

“Being right about to run on the field — that’s where it really hit me that we were at the Super Bowl,” he said. “It went like a flash.”

“It was about just doing the show, and less focusing on the environment,” Veiga said. “I never thought I’d be able to do that.”

Veiga said performing with Rutgers was a unique part of the Super Bowl experience as well.

“We got to meet a different band. You double in size — it’s really loud and really cool,” he said.

Unfortunately, the musicians did not get to see the game. They loaded their equipment to head back to Syracuse during performance by opera singer Renee Fleming (grad of SUNY Postman’s Crane School of Music) of the national anthem.

Fireworks went off and helicopters buzzed overhead.

“Some of the (seniors) were actually crying … because it was their last marching band event,” Kinney said. “What a way to go out!”

Veiga said he didn’t think SU would get to play the Super Bowl again, but he joked with the band director, “What are you going to do next year to match this?”

SUNY Oswego lecture series focuses on gender equity in workplace

Submitted by SUNY Oswego

SUNY Oswego’s Ernst & Young Lecture Series on Gender Equity in the Workplace will kick off for spring 2014 on Thursday, Feb. 20, with an explorative lecture about the education of women in India today.

The free lectures will take place from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on selected Thursdays in the Campus Center auditorium.

Cristina Ioana Dragomir will present “Change and Tradition in the Education of Indian Women” on Feb. 20, exploring political tensions that impact their education and opportunities.

She will talk about her own experiences as a woman in India, compared with education for girls and women in tribal areas.

On March 27, Dee Moskoff, Humphrey Fellow at Syracuse University and director of Connect Network, South Africa, will examine “How HIV Affects the Workplace of South African Women.”

The talk will examine why South Africa, with one of the strongest economies on the continent, still has one of the highest HIVE prevalence rates.

Ruth Baltus, a 1977 alumna of SUNY Oswego and professor of chemical engineering at Clarkson University, will present “Following My Foremothers: Historical Perspectives and Strategies for Success for Women in Engineering and Science” on April 3.

Using her family’s experiences, she will discuss how things have changed over her 30-year career, and share lessons learned during that span.

Robert Feinberg, SUNY Oswego class of 1978, and his wife Robbi Feinberg, as well as Ernst & Young sponsor the lecture series. It is cosponsored by the women’s studies department and the Institute for Global Engagement at SUNY Oswego.

Those without a current SUNY Oswego parking permit can visit www.oswego.edu/administration/parking for information about obtaining a day-use permit.

Part of West Fifth Street in Oswego closes Monday

J.J. Lane, the contractor for the on-going Combined Sewer Separation Project, has provided the following road closure/detour details for Monday, Feb. 10.

The road closure/detour will go into effect at 7 a.m. Feb. 10. And as part of the Consent Decree Project, J. J. Lane will be closing West Fifth Street from Ellen Street to Prospect Street, in order to install a new storm sewer on the west side of the street.

Traffic detours will be set up at Tallman Street. Normal traffic flow is expected to resume by the end of the day on Wednesday, Feb. 12.

Contact the City Engineer’s Office at 342-8153, if you have any questions or concerns.

Park Hall reopens at SUNY Oswego

Park Hall, SUNY Oswego’s second-oldest building at age 82, reopened this semester at the end of a two-year, $17.5 million modernization, as did a soaring new entrance to the School of Education.

Park’s top-to-bottom renovation features a wealth of new opportunities for collaborative teaching and learning, from a more visible Center for Urban Schools to innovative partnerships with the sciences and mathematics in the now-connected Richard S. Shineman Center for Science, Engineering and Innovation.

Dedicated in August 1930 as then-Gov. Franklin D. Roosevelt laid the cornerstone, Park Hall opened in 1932. It has served as a cradle for innovation in teacher training since Dr. Joseph C. Park was earning a global reputation for his broad influence on education and the industrial arts.

The renovated Park Hall reopened at the start of the spring semester, unveiling high-tech flexible classrooms, a webinar room, fully renovated transportation lab and much more.

The school’s new south-facing main entrance — an atrium with three levels of walkways — also opened, connecting to the school’s adjacent Wilber Hall and, through it, the Shineman Center.

Financed through the SUNY Construction Fund, the project blossomed from a Bergmann Associates design and the school’s collaborative planning effort.

“The changes are absolutely amazing when I think about all the possibilities,” said Pam Michel, interim dean of education.

Center for Urban Schools

Park Hall eventually will house all six departments of Oswego’s School of Education: technology, vocational teacher preparation, educational administration, health promotion and wellness, curriculum and instruction, and counseling and psychological services.

The School of Education puts a high premium on social justice and improving opportunities in the state’s high-need schools, so the college’s Center for Urban Schools also has a prominent new location.

“We have moved the Center for Urban Schools to the third floor of Park Hall, the same floor as the dean’s suite, and I’m really excited about that,” Michel said. “It’s going to be much more visible to faculty, students and staff, and will assist our recruiting and supporting a diverse faculty and student body and our seeking funds to support partnerships across the state.”

Michel said she has already seen new synergies with the sciences as a result of the highly visible new 13,700-square-foot Wilber Hall addition with its state-of-the-art technology labs and the school’s field placement office.

The STEM for Kids program, Youth Technology Days and last fall’s Nor’easter VEX Robotics Competition are all examples, she said.

“Alumni and the public school teachers are very excited to see the significant improvements, not only in the labs but in the curriculum,” Michel said.

Joe Messmer of Facilities Design and Construction, the college’s liaison with general contractor PAC & Associates of Oswego, said the list of what’s new in Park Hall is extensive, from the lower level’s all-new mechanicals and a modernized transportation lab to a fully renovated auditorium for SUNY Oswego’s Faculty Assembly meetings and other events.

Historic building

In a project that sometimes resembled an archeological dig, PAC and its subcontractors transformed the building to a brighter, more open, more flexible and high-tech home for the next generations of teachers and those who teach them.

“We found a fireplace inside a wall on the second floor that still had wood stacked in it,” Messmer said during a tour.

Joseph Park, a 1902 alumnus of the college, devoted countless hours to helping design and equip what was then a state-of-the-art home for Oswego’s renowned industrial arts programs.

Now Park Hall — renovated to LEED Gold standards — features new foam insulation, heating, air handling, electrical, sprinklers and alarms, Messmer said.

New metered steam lines feed the heating system. Much of the building’s brickwork remains, but new brick matches it, and there are new touches throughout, such as the atrium’s terrazzo floors and recycled redwood feature wall.

As Michel looked out over the atrium from the third-floor walkway, it brought to mind another set of collaborations she would like to see — with the arts.

“Wouldn’t it be wonderful in this atrium if there were a string quartet or a small performance to bring to the School of Education?” she said.

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