Zone changes reduce nuisances in Fulton

By Ashley M. Casey

At the March 18 meeting, the Fulton Common Council approved two public hearings for residential zone changes in the Fifth Ward.

Properties enclosed within North Sixth, Ontario, Erie and North Seventh streets, and North Third, Oneida, Seneca and North Fourth streets block are both currently zoned as Residential R-2, which allows multi-family units.

The city seeks to change the zones to R-1A, which requires more than 50 percent of the properties to be single-family units.

Mayor Ronald S. Woodward Sr. told The Valley News the zone change will eliminate disturbances that occur in multi-family rental properties, which have contributed to the “deterioration of certain neighborhoods.”

Woodward said most of these problem properties are located in the Fifth and Sixth wards on the east side of the city.

“They generate a lot of police calls, a lot of ambulance calls, a lot of fire calls,” Woodward said.

“When one of these calls is generated, first responders have to stay until the ambulance comes. … If you’ve got somewhere else where the emergency services are needed, they’re tied up,” he said.

Woodward said city first responders received 69 calls from one resident in this area alone in 2013, and the person has called 17 times already this year.

The mayor said once more homes are filled with “working families,” the problems associated with these renters will go away. But he stressed it will take time.

“They weren’t (created) overnight, and they won’t go away overnight,” Woodward said.

Of the 33 properties between the two blocks in question, nine contain two or more families. After the zone change, these homes will be grandfathered in.

If a multi-family residence becomes vacant for more than a year, however, the property must be converted to a single-family unit or demolished.

The hearings will be held at the next Common Council meeting, at 7 p.m. April 1 in the Common Council chambers at the Fulton Municipal Building, 141 S. First St.


Other business

• The Common Council struck a discussion of the East Side Pool from the agenda.

Mayor Woodward said even if Fulton applied for a grant to cover the cost of the engineering study, the city would not be able to match the funds required.

“The council is not going to vote for that study because they know there’d be a 25 to 50 percent match that they’d have to bond for, and they’re not going to do that,” Woodward told The Valley News. “We’ve got to just quit spinning our wheels over it.”

Woodward said at the council meeting that the city has asked New York state’s Financial Restructuring Board about alternative funding sources for the pool study.

• A public hearing for a proposed local law that would prohibit feeding wild animals and waterfowl on public property will be held at the next council meeting, April 1.

“We’ve had quite a problem downtown with people feeding seagulls,” Woodward told the council.

He said the seagulls have made messes on cars and a mural on the Fulton Savings Bank building on South First Street.

Feral cats have been an issue, and people have been feeding geese at Stevenson Beach as well.

“The DEC frowns upon it. They claim if the feeding stops, the waterfowl will seek more remote areas for wild feeding,” Woodward said.

• Carolyn Mosier has been appointed to fill the Fulton Public Library Board of Trustees position vacated by Elizabeth Mirabito.

Mosher’s term will expire Dec. 31, 2015.

Army Jazz Ambassadors coming to Oswego

Jazz and patriotism -- The Jazz Ambassadors, an acclaimed ensemble of the U.S. Army Field Band, will play the work of jazz legends as well as patriotic music in a free concert at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 3, in Hewitt Union ballroom at SUNY Oswego. The free general-admission tickets are available at all SUNY Oswego box offices, online at or by calling 312-2141.
Jazz and patriotism — The Jazz Ambassadors, an acclaimed ensemble of the U.S. Army Field Band, will play the work of jazz legends as well as patriotic music in a free concert at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 3, in Hewitt Union ballroom at SUNY Oswego. The free general-admission tickets are available at all SUNY Oswego box offices, online at or by calling 312-2141.

Submitted by SUNY Oswego

The Jazz Ambassadors, an ensemble of the U.S. Army Field Band, will appear at SUNY Oswego in a free, ticketed concert at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 3, in the Hewitt Union ballroom.

The band will deliver its message of patriotism and goodwill through jazz and other swing-related music.

The 19-member ensemble performs in a wide range of musical genres in addition to jazz. These include big band swing, bebop, Latin contemporary jazz, standard, popular tunes, Dixieland and patriotic.

Members of the ensemble compose or adapt much of the group’s music. The repertoire at SUNY Oswego will include selections from a wide variety of jazz greats, plus patriotic favorites and a salute to veterans.

At the Hewitt Union concert, three students will perform one selection with the Jazz Ambassadors, said Trevor Jorgensen of Oswego’s music department faculty.

The ensemble’s members will provide master classes for students from both the college and local high school jazz ensembles.

The Jazz Ambassadors’ current concert tour began March 11 and ends April 16 — with only five days of rest — taking them to SUNY schools, high schools and theaters. The ensemble’s reputation and demanding tour schedule have earned it the nickname “America’s Big Band.”

The group has played in well-known venues such as the Toronto and Newport jazz festivals, and often has performed joint concerts with regional orchestras that include the Columbus (Ohio) Symphony, the Rochester Philharmonic and the former Syracuse Symphony.

Army Field Commander Maj. Hal Gibson created the ensemble in 1969 as the Studio Band. Its name changed a decade later to the Jazz Ambassadors, and members have lived up to the title by performing over the years in all 50 states, Canada, Mexico, Japan, India and throughout Europe.

Candidates for the group come from leading conservatories, universities and the professional ranks, and undergo a highly competitive audition process. Many of the current members have extensive experience in civilian performance.

Tickets — all general admission — are available at SUNY Oswego box offices, online at or by calling 312-2141.

There is a $3 processing fee for online orders for the otherwise free tickets.

Parking for those attending this concert is available in the lot in front of Culkin Hall, the rear half of the lot behind Hart and Funnelle residence halls and in the adjacent commuter lot. Doors to the ballroom will open at 7 p.m.

For more information about the Jazz Ambassadors, visit the U.S. Army Field Band’s site at Information about SUNY Oswego arts events is available at

Fulton UPK teachers collaborate

Submitted by Oswego County BOCES

Universal Pre-Kindergarten (UPK) teachers in the Fulton City School District’s four elementary school buildings participate in quarterly joint collaboration meetings with the District’s Director of Literacy and UPK, Carri Waloven.

The team collectively discuss progress through the curriculum, content objectives and instructional strategies that they have found to be successful.

The most recent collaboration session focused on preparing for the full integration of the common core curriculum in the pre-kindergarten classrooms beginning September 2014.

Teaching staff worked with Lynnette DePoint, the district’s kindergarten through grade eight math coach, to discuss techniques teachers at the higher grade levels have found to be successful that UPK teachers could adopt in their classrooms.

One such technique they discussed is something called the “snap response.” Quite simply, “snap response” requires a teacher to ask a question – For example: What number comes after six?

The teacher asks the class to think about the answer, put the answer in their hand (figuratively speaking), and raise their hand when they have they answer. The teacher counts to three, snaps his/her fingers and the students say the answer out loud. This technique practices the students’ fluency skills as well as helps teachers gauge each student’s ability to process through a question. In addition, the technique appeals to students who have a tendency to be reluctant to call out an answer – “students feel safe to say what they want,” DePoint said.

Waloven spoke about the importance of mirroring successful techniques and instructional strategies from the higher elementary school grade levels to help pre-kindergarten students transition to kindergarten and through higher elementary grade levels more seamlessly.

The Fulton School District offers UPK programs at Fairgrieve, Granby, Lanigan, and Volney Elementary Schools in conjunction with partnerships with the YMCA, Pinnacle Preschool, Oswego County Opportunities and First Step Universal Preschool.

For more information about the UPK program, including how to register a child for the program for the 2014-15 school year, visit

Granby kindergarteners get the ‘royal’ treatment

Submitted by Oswego County BOCES

Granby Elementary was treated to a royal parade recently, as kindergarten teachers lead their students through the halls, with the children wearing jeweled crowns and carrying scepters.

The parade was part of a culminating activity on the Common Core listening and speaking unit on kings and queens.

Kindergartners have been listening to read-alouds about kings and queens and royal families.

Many of the fictional rhymes, poems, and stories in this domain are classic, well-loved tales.

Students in Mary Ellen Ellis’s kindergarten class read King Midas and the Golden Touch, a story told in Greece long ago during a time where people made up tales to teach a lesson.

In the book a rich king wishes for something foolish, and learns a lesson a valuable lesson about consequences.

By listening to a variety of texts, the kindergartners built on their understanding of the responsibilities, lifestyle, and customs associated with royalty throughout history.

Young drivers to hear about distracted driving

Submitted by Oswego County BOCES

Looking to educate young drivers and emphasize the importance of paying attention behind the wheel, several local agencies, service providers and educational institutions are collaborating to bring national speaker Jacy Good to the SUNY Oswego campus.

Good, a survivor of a crash caused by a distracted driver in 2008, will tell her story during the Regional Awareness Program for young drivers at 7 p.m. March 26 in the Hewitt Union ballroom.

The 10th annual program is free to the public and is sponsored by Oswego County BOCES, the Oswego County Traffic Safety Board, New York State University Police at Oswego and the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee.

Good will speak about the accident that changed her life on her college graduation day. The car carrying her and her parents was struck head-on by a tractor trailer as the truck swerved to avoid a vehicle — whose driver was talking on his cellphone — making an illegal left turn through a red light.

The accident killed Good’s parents and left her badly injured, with a 10 percent chance of survival.

However, after multiple surgeries and physical therapy, Good beat the odds and has made it her mission to educate people about the dangers of cellphone use behind the wheel and to advocate for legislation to help crack down on distracted driving.

Billie Crandall Brady, coordinator of the Oswego County Traffic Safety Board, said Good’s story is a powerful one that will hopefully resonate with the audience at the RAP program.

“I’m hoping kids will walk away from the program with the ability to make better choices about who they get in the car with and they’ll speak up if their taxi driver is texting, if their friend is texting, if their mother is texting, I don’t care who it is,” Brady said. “Just hang up and drive. It’s very simple.”

Brady said students and young drivers aren’t the only demographic that makes reckless decisions behind the wheel. “It’s not just teenagers texting,” she said. “It’s adults too. So many people are guilty of either talking or texting or distracted in other ways. I encourage parents and adults to come to the event too.”

In addition to Good’s discussion, the program will offer police agency exhibits, student projects, and a STOP DWI display. The Phoenix Central School District Transportation Department will join he program talking about essential bus safety tips and guidelines.

Parking is free in campus lots 18 and 32, adjacent to Hewitt Union and Culkin Hall at the Route 104 entrance.

For more information, call Brady at 343-2344 ext. 22.

BOCES student carpenters hear about apprenticeships

Submitted by Oswego County BOCES

George Baldwin, a representative from the Empire State Carpenters’ Apprenticeship Training Center, was on hand at the Construction Technology class at Oswego County BOCES recently where he shared carpentry career opportunities available through the apprenticeship program.

He praised the preparation students receive from participation in the BOCES career and technical education programs saying “this is a great feeder program to an apprenticeship.”

He explained to the students that an approved apprenticeship program will provide them with two things to prepare them for a career in carpentry:

1) on the job training and

2) related instruction, very similar to what the students get through a CTE program.

“If you like what you are doing here, you’re going to love the apprenticeship program,” Baldwin said, noting the apprenticeship programs are paid, full-time programs while the participants are training.

Baldwin also shared job market predictions for those interested in a career in carpentry. Recent expansion in the technology industry in New York state has increased the need for construction of new buildings that utilize “clean room” technology.

A “clean room” is 200 times more sterile than a hospital surgical suite and is necessary when producing high tech products such as cell phone and computer chips.

“There is so much work for carpenters in Upstate New York for the next 20 years,” he said.

Baldwin encouraged interested individuals to apply for the apprenticeship program and noted that students in a career and tech program are wanted for entrance into the apprenticeship because they have an aptitude for the field and have experience with the tools of the trade.

For more information about the Construction Technology program at Oswego County BOCES, contact Marla Berlin, Principal of Career and Technical Education at 963-4433.

Oswego UPK sets open house

Submitted by Oswego School District

An open house is set for 6 to 7 p.m. March 26 at all five Oswego school district elementary schools for children and parents to come learn about the district’s Pre-Kindergarten program.

Applications for the Oswego City School District Universal Pre-Kindergarten (UPK) program are now available.

Anyone who would like their child considered for the program can complete an application that is available at all elementary schools, or the Office of Curriculum and Instruction on the first floor of the Education Center.

Anyone with questions may call 341-2013. An application form is also available online at

Screening will be held in April so please send in applications as soon as possible.

The program is designed for children who were born between Dec. 2, 2009 and Dec. 1, 2010 and is offered at no cost to children who are selected by lottery, said Cathleen Chamberlain, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction.

The UPK teachers and staff strive to create a warm and nurturing environment for the four year olds. The goals of the program are to meet the individual needs of 4-year-old children in the areas of social, academic, language, emotional and physical development. This prepares them to successfully enter kindergarten the following year.

Sessions are available at all five elementary schools. The program runs in conjunction with the regular school district calendar.


Meals, math on menu at Fairgrieve

Meals and math were served up at Fairgrieve Elementary School’s Lunch and Learn March 11 in the cafeteria.

Third-graders displayed their math prowess during a brain gym exercise, which got their bodies and their minds moving.

Elementary Academic Intervention Services teacher Kristine Kaufman said the activity helps bolster the students’ memorization skills when it comes to math facts.

“The students are expected to master multiplication and division by the end of third grade,” Kaufman said. “Brain gym helps with repetition and memory.”

After the brain gym exercise, students sat down with their parents and guardians to review number operations and number bonds.

The Lunch and Learn program is spearheaded by school/home liaison Ariana Suhr and was designed to give parents an up-close glimpse at the new curriculum implemented as part of the Common Core Learning Standards.

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