New 4-H robotics club excels at first competition

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oswego County has begun a robotics 4-H Club that is seeing great success.

The TaskMasters 4-H Club participated in the Hudson Valley Regional FIRST Technology Challenge and scored enough points to place seventh out of 24 teams.

As a rookie team, this was quite an accomplishment; they outscored numerous veteran teams of high schoolers.

The FIRST Technology Challenge, FTC, is a student-centered activity that focuses on giving students a unique and stimulating experience.

Each year, teams participate in a new game that requires them to design, build, test and program autonomous and driver-operated robots that must perform a series of tasks.

This year’s game, Block Party, required the teams to move yellow blocks into goals and bins. The teams work with another team as an alliance to score more point than their opponents.

FTC participants develop a greater appreciation of science and technology and how they might use that knowledge to impact the world around them in a positive manner.

They also cultivate life skills such as:

** Planning, brainstorming and creative problem-solving

** Research and technical skills

** Collaboration and teamwork

Appreciation of differences and respect for the ideas and contributions of others.

The TaskMasters 4-H Club used Tetrix and NXT kits to build their robot and National Instrument’s LabView to program it.

The 4-H Club’s members — Nate Kraus, Eric Davis, Dante LaVergne and Liam Gnadt — are extremely grateful for all the mentors that assisted the club in preparing for the tournament: Bob Davis, Bill Gnadt, Christine Gnadt, Trevor LaVergne and Tim Kraus.

The TaskMasters 4-H Club meets on Thursday nights and its membership is open to sixth-graders and older. They will be participating in Oswego County 4-H’s Public Presentation Program before they return to learning and working with robots.

To receive information about the Oswego County 4-H and its Robotics Program,  contact Linda Brosch, 4-H team coordinator for Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oswego County, at 963-7286, ext. 400.

Health department sets clinic schedule

The Oswego County Health Department offers a variety of services to all residents of Oswego County, including preventive health services, certified home health care, long-term home health care, certified hospice, and a maternal and child health program.

Walk-in influenza clinics are held weekdays from 9 to 11 a.m. and 1 to 3 p.m. at the Nick Sterio Public Health Clinic, 70 Bunner St., Oswego, for people age 19 and older.

No appointment is needed; walk-ins are welcome.

Children’s flu vaccine is available for children who are uninsured, underinsured, or on Medicaid or Managed Medicaid, who qualify for the Vaccine for Children Program.

Children who meet these criteria may receive flu vaccine Tuesdays from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. in Oswego, and the third Tuesday of every month from 9 to 11 a.m. at the H. Douglas Barclay Courthouse, Pulaski.

Patients with private insurance, Managed Medicaid, Managed Medicare, Medicaid, Medicare, and Medicare Part B should bring their benefit cards with them to the immunization clinic.

No one will be turned away due to inability to pay.

The following services will be offered during the week of Jan. 21 at the Nick Sterio Public Health Clinic, 70 Bunner St., Oswego, and the H. Douglas Barclay Courthouse, Pulaski.

County offices will be closed Monday, Jan. 20, for Martin Luther King Day.

OSWEGO:

Adult Influenza Clinic: Tuesday through Friday, 9 to 11 a.m. and 1 to 3 p.m., walk-in clinic.

Immunization Clinic: Tuesday, Jan. 21, 12:30 to 3:30 p.m., walk-in clinic.

Pregnancy Testing: Free pregnancy testing is available. Call 349-3391 to schedule an appointment.

Sexually Transmitted Disease Testing and Treatment Services: Call 349-3547 to schedule an appointment.

HIV Counseling and Testing Service:  Call 349-3547 to schedule an appointment.

PULASKI:

Immunization Clinic: Tuesday, Jan. 21, 9 to 11 a.m., walk-in clinic.

Immunization clinics are held every Tuesday from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. at 70 Bunner St., Oswego, and the third Tuesday of every month from 9 to 11 a.m. at the H. Douglas Barclay Courthouse, Pulaski.

For more information about public health services, contact the County Health Department, weekdays, phone 349-3547 or (800) 596-3200, ext. 3547.

Third annual Run for Dennis set for March 15 in Oswego

The third annual Run For Dennis 5K Run/Walk is scheduled for 10 a.m. March 15 in Oswego.

The event honors the memory of Oswego resident Dennis Pacheco, who died of bladder cancer at age 51, said Jessica Newson, race director and Pacheco’s daughter.

“The first two years of the race raised more than $26,000 for bladder cancer advocacy and research,” Newson said.

“And the need is even greater. There were 72,000 new cases of bladder cancer diagnosed in 2013. Bladder cancer is the most expensive cancer to treat on a per patient basis, and no new treatments have been developed in the last 20 years due to lack of funding for research,” she said.

Registration for the race, which begins and ends at Gibby’s Pub on Lake Street, is $20 per person by Feb. 21, $25 after that date, and $30 on race day, Newson said.

Registration is open at EZRaceReg.com.

The website for the race is runfordennis.com and the event is also on Facebook at facebook.com/runfordennis.

Newson can be contacted at runfordennis11@gmail.com.

“This run/walk will be chip timed and USA Track & Field (USATF) certified,” Newson said.

Proceeds from the race will benefit The Charles and Mary Haney Fund at Oswego Hospital (which assists cancer patients with medical expenses), Strong Memorial Hospital Urologic Oncology, Rochester, and the Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network. Prizes will be awarded to winners in all age groups.

“Before learning he had cancer, Dennis was always quick to lend others a helping hand,” Newson said. “We would like to honor his giving ways by helping to continue the fight against bladder cancer, the fourth most common type of cancer among men in the U.S.

“Throughout his three-year fight, Dennis was very proactive in researching bladder cancer trials and treatment. He was adamant that more could be done to help eradicate this disease.

“We’re continuing his fight. On behalf of Dennis and my family, we’re asking folks to support this race to ensure that a cure can be found for bladder cancer, so that other families get to enjoy their loved ones for years to come,” Newson said.

Newson said her father enjoyed motorsports, woodworking, hunting and all types of music. He also coached soccer and baseball teams while his children were growing.

Dennis Pacheco is survived by his wife, Jane (Kleinbach) Pacheco; and children, Jessica (Robert) Newson of Saratoga Springs, N.Y., and Kristin (David) DeGroff of Royal Oak, Mich., Nathaniel Pacheco of Oswego; daughter-friend, Jennifer Cushman of Fredericksburg, Va.; and grandchildren, Cole and Allison Newson.

Donations can be made to ‘Run For Dennis’ and sent to Oswego County Federal Credit Union, P.O. Box 310, Oswego, NY 13126.

Anyone who would like to sponsor or donate goods or services to the race can contact Newson at runfordennis11@gmail.com.

Sponsors lined up so far are Auyer Race Timing, Oswego; Top Stitch; Fleet Feet Sports, Syracuse; Chobani; Chirello Advertising; and RoadID.

January is Cervical Health Awareness Month

As January is Cervical Health Awareness Month, now is the ideal time to learn what you can do to detect and prevent cervical cancer by scheduling an annual gynecologic exam with your health care provider, according to health care workers with Oswego County Opportunities.

“This is an excellent time for women to learn about the risks of, and get screened for, cervical cancer,” said Carolyn Handville, coordinator of the Cancer Services Program of Oswego County.

“With regular screening and follow-up care, cervical cancer is avoidable, and, if caught early, curable,” she said.

According to the state Department of Health, cervical cancer is almost always caused by persistent infection of the human papillomavirus (HPV).

There usually are not any symptoms of cervical cancer in its earliest, most treatable stage. That’s why having a regular Pap test is the key to prevention.

In the United States, the Pap test has reduced cervical cancer rates by more than 70 percent, according to the health department.

“All women are at risk for cervical cancer,” said Handville. “It is especially important for women who have not had a Pap test within the past five years to get screened because six out of 10 cervical cancers occur in women who have never received a Pap test or have not had one in the past five years.”

It also is important to continue getting a Pap test, even if you think you are too old to have a child, or are not having sex anymore.

“Talk with your health care provider to schedule your pelvic exam and Pap test today. If you are uninsured and 40 to 64 years of age, call 592-0830 to schedule a free cervical cancer screening,” Handville said.

Administered through Oswego County Opportunities, the Cancer Services Program Partnership offers a number of cancer screening services including: clinical breast exams, mammograms, pap/pelvic exams and colorectal cancer screenings for men and women.

These screenings are available year round, free of charge, and play an important part in maintaining good health.

For more information, or for eligibility requirements on the Cancer Services Program Partnership, call Carolyn Handville at 592-0830.

For more information on Oswego County Opportunities, go oco.org.

Fulton-Oswego Faith Partnership receives grant for backpack program

Fulton-Oswego Faith Partnership, consisting of churches in Fulton and Oswego, recently received a $5,000 “Lutheran Community Matthew 25: Neighbors in Need”  challenge grant from the Thrivent Financial for Lutherans Foundation.

The funding was awarded to the “Blessings in a Backpack” Program, based on its effectiveness in addressing physical, emotional and/or spiritual needs in the local community based on Jesus’ words in Matthew 25: 35-36.

For every dollar raised from donors by March 31 for “Blessings in a Backpack,” the foundation will provide an additional 50 cents — up to $5,000 — in support of the organization’s ministry.

Donations for the Program can be sent to any of the partnership churches.

The “Blessings in a Backpack” program helps children from low-income famlies have food to eat on the weekends throughout the school year.

Working with the schools to identify those in need, the Faith Partnership is providing healthy weekend meals for 100 students in Fulton and Oswego.

“Many families whose children receive reduced or free lunches in school may need assistance with meals on the weekends,” said the Rev. Richard Klafehn. “Our Blessings in a Backpack program provide 50 children in Oswego and 50 children in Fulton with additional food so that they may enjoy healthy meals over the weekend.

“The Blessings in a Backpack program is another way in which we reach out to the youth of our community to help them reach their true potential,” Klafehn said.

Fulton-Oswego Episcopal-Lutheran Faith Partnership includes Prince of Peace Lutheran in Fulton, Grace Lutheran Church and the Episcopal Church of the Resurrection in Oswego.

Klafehn, and assistant pastor, the Rev. Anne Wichelns, share ministerial duties at the three churches.

Founded in 1982, the Thrivent Financial for Lutherans Foundation is a private foundation that operates exclusively for charitable, educational and religious purposes.

Grants are provided for projects and missions that reflect Thrivent Financial for Lutherans’ charitable interests.

The primary charitable interest of the foundation is assisting nonprofit organizations and those they serve in achieving economic security and sustainability.

To learn more about the foundation and its programs, visit: thrivent.com/foundations.

Fulton couple receives thank-you from Will and Kate

By Ashley M. Casey

For the past four years, Karen and Jack Sushereba have been writing and illustrating books and stories for their 14 grandchildren’s eyes only.

But just before Christmas, the Susherebas decided to share their latest story with someone else — the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

The idea came from a distant noble connection. Karen said an ancestor of hers had been dubbed a knight, so she and Jack shipped a copy of their self-published book “Special Moments” to Kensington Palace, where Prince William and his wife, the former Kate Middleton, reside.

“We said, ‘Why don’t we just send them a copy and see what they think?’” Karen recalled.

The book included several short stories, photos and drawings done by Karen. Jack did most of the writing.

Together, they created a fictitious tale about their granddaughter called “Emma Visits the Queen of England.”

A few weeks went by, and the Susherebas had not heard anything more about their gift to the royals.

But on Jan. 13, they received an envelope postmarked from Buckingham Palace.

“When I saw that it said ‘Buckingham Palace,’ I almost passed out,” Karen said of her excitement.

The letter was sent by Claudia Spens, MVO, head of general correspondence for the Office of Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and His Royal Highness Prince Henry of Wales.

“Their Royal Highnesses are most grateful to you for taking the trouble to send them the copy of your book, ‘Special Moments,’” read the letter inside.

“It really was most thoughtful of you and The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have asked me to send you their warmest thanks and best wishes.”

Karen said she has been “on Cloud Nine” since receiving the letter.

“I was just so elated that they took the time to do it,” she said.

Jack and Karen have written and illustrated more than 55 stories and 13 books for their grandchildren, working with an online publishing service to print the books.

Sister raises money for gym floor, clock in memory of brother

Michael E. Clark was a beloved coach in the Fulton Youth Basketball League.

When he died suddenly and unexpectedly in December, boys in Fulton, other coaches and Clark’s family were devastated.

Now, Clark’s sister, Nancy Clark of Williamsville, near Buffalo, wants to remember her brother by helping the place where he spent so much time.

Nancy has started a fund drive through gofundme.com to raise money to help pay for a new gym floor at the Fulton War Memorial.

The gym is home to the Fulton Youth Basketball League and its nearly 400 children in grades kindergarten through six who are learning the game.

“He loved the boys on the basketball team,” Nancy said of her brother, who was the assistant coach for the grade five and six team.

“My grandson is on that team and he really looked up to his Uncle Mike.”

Clark, 55, of Liverpool, was Christmas shopping Dec. 18 when he died of a sudden heart attack.

Nancy said she was extremely close to her brother, texting or talking to each other “four or five times a day.”

In fact, the day he died, he texted her at 4 p.m. He died about four hours later.

“He was very sports-oriented and worked the drills with the kids,” said Chris Atwater, Nancy’s son-in-law and coach of the boys’ grades five and six team.

“He also would coach the kids on the bench. He enjoyed the kids. He was attentive to them and would even go to other events for them,” Atwater said.

Clark spent time “on the side” working with team member Justin Atwater, Chris Atwater’s son.

“The boys were upset when he died,” Atwater said of Clark. “At our game on Dec. 21, Mike’s father had come up and we dedicated the game to Mike

and had a photo taken of the team and Mike’s father.”

Jerry Schremp, head of the Fulton Youth Basketball Program, said the rubber gym floor at the Fulton War Memorial is 18 years old (eight years past its prime) and starting to bubble.

“The rubber is breaking down,” he said. “It’s not dangerous, but has to be replaced.”

Schremp said it will cost about $100,000 to replace the floor.

Atwater said the game score clocks also need replacement.

Schremp found out it will cost more to replace the broken parts than to buy new clocks.

The money raised by Nancy may go toward the clocks.

“This is my mission,” Nancy said. “This is big for my mother, big for my sister, big for all of us.”

Her goal is to raise $5,000. As of Wednesday, the site had raised nearly $500.

To Help

To donate, go to
gofundme.com/65wh14.

Click on the blue donate box.

You also can click on Facebook to share the page with others to gather more donations.

Fulton Junior High receives $500,000 grant

By Ashley M. Casey

Fulton Junior High School has received a $500,000 grant from the NYS Community Schools initiative to provide certain social, health and academic services to students and community members.

Oswego County Opportunities and the Oswego County Department of Social Services will partner with the junior high for the program.

Director of Student Support Programs Geri Geitner unveiled the tentative plan for the Community Schools grant at the Jan. 14 school board meeting.

The grant will help create an extended learning program for students in grades five through eight, opportunities for immunization and wellness clinics, and other social services available to the community.

It also includes a partial restoration of Runaway and Homeless Youth Services.

“Because of funding reallocations within the state, the two full-time (positions) went down to a half-time,” Geitner said. “We wrote in the grant to restore that to one full-time position.”

The district will spend the first six months of 2014 in a mandatory planning period for the project implementation.

Officials will determine what educational and community services will be available through the junior high and recruiting staff for the various services, which will begin July 1, 2014.

“Are there services that will be provided to parents as well (as students)?” asked board President David Cordone.

Geitner said the program would not be “just student-focused.” Some of OCO’s and DSS’s services will be “co-located” within the junior high.

Board member Christine Plath asked if the program will focus only on at-risk student populations.

“It will include all students, but the initial focus is on at-risk students,” Geitner said. “(The program will) remediate barriers to learning and set goals.”

Geitner added while the grant estimated a number of 80 target students, “there is no limit to the number of students that can access this.”

Space, funding and regulatory limits will help determine what specific health services will be provided, though Geitner said the district is looking into vaccination clinics and wellness screenings.

“We could have covered a wall with what we would like to have, but we had to cut down and prioritize,” said Betsy Conners, executive director of instruction and assessment.

OCO helped the district write the 60-plus pages grant request in a period of about nine days. DSS is providing additional funding.

“It really helps us refine our focus so we can apply for more grants in the future,” Geitner said.

Superintendent Bill Lynch thanked OCO and DSS representatives who attended the board meeting for the “very strong, collaborative partnership” among the school district and those agencies.

“It’s very gratifying to have these partnerships,” Lynch said.

Update on Volney, Fairgrieve
renovations

As part of the capital project approved by district voters in 2012, major overhauls are coming to Fairgrieve and Volney elementary schools.

Director of Facilities, Operations and Transportation Jerry Seguin told the board updates to electrical and data wiring as well as asbestos abatement will begin in both buildings during the February recess.

Contractors will work double shifts Feb. 14-23 to finish as much of the project as possible while school is out of session.

Contractors’ bids are expected next week, and the schools will send letters home to parents informing them of the work being done.

Ceiling tiles will be removed to replace wiring, so some asbestos removal and aesthetic work will be done as well.

The district is hiring separate contractors for each building.

“If they run into a problem in one building, it won’t affect the other building,” Lynch said after the board meeting.

Three sixth-grade classrooms on the second floor of Fairgrieve will be temporarily moved for the abatement and renovation process, some of which will take the rest of the year.

Other classrooms will be displaced after the break until the end of the year.

“Once school starts, electrical contractors can come in during the second shift to do the wiring,” Seguin said.

“No one will be working during instructional hours,” Lynch assured the board.

Contractors will work 4:15 p.m. to 12:15 a.m. after school and double shifts on days when school is not in session, excluding weekends, to finish the project by June. By then, the yet-to-be-approved 2014-2015 capital project is expected to have begun.

Coming up

A public forum with three board members and the superintendent will be held from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., Jan. 25, in Room 130 of G. Ray Bodley High School. Coffee will be served.

The next school board meeting will be held 7:30 p.m. Jan. 28 at the Junior High School.

The public hearing regarding the upcoming 2014-2015 capital project vote will be held 6:30 p.m. Jan. 29 in the Lanigan Elementary School Media Center.

Voting for the capital project will take place 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Feb. 4 at all elementary schools, as per the school board election and budget voting patterns.

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