Chicken processing company opens in former Birds Eye plant

By Ashley M. Casey

Pakistan-based poultry processing company K&N’s Foods USA, LLC, has settled into the former Birds Eye Foods plant.

The company kicked off its new residence in Fulton with an inauguration ceremony Jan. 3. The plant, which Birds Eye vacated in December 2011, is located at 607 Phillips St.

The new plant is expected to add 183 jobs to the city over a course of three years. Although production will not begin for another two months or so, K&N’s  already has employed 44 people in Fulton, 35 percent of whom are former Birds Eye employees.

K&N’s will receive about $1 million in Excelsior tax credits from New York state in exchange for its promise to create jobs.

“It is much better as an elected official to come to an opening than a closing,” Assemblyman Will Barclay, R-Pulaski, said at the inauguration ceremony. “It’s great to have K&N’s step into that vacancy.

Founded in 1964, K&N’s processes halal chicken products such as chicken nuggets, patties and kebabs. “Halal” is an Arabic term that refers to food prepared under  Muslim dietary standards, which prohibit pork and alcohol and require certain methods of slaughtering an animal for meat.

K&N’s Foods is a popular brand in the global halal trade — which generates $700 billion annually — but the Fulton plant will be the company’s first step in entering the North American market.

“There’s a huge Muslim population here (in the U.S.),” said Khalil Sattar, founder and chairman of K&N’s Foods. “There is literally no halal exports from the U.S.”

Sattar said the company has “explored” some market options and are close to hiring a salesperson.

After reviewing several possible sites, including one in Buffalo, K&N’s decided on Fulton because of its proximity to Canada and available facilities.

But it was the Oswego County Industrial Development Agency (IDA) that solidified the decision.

It was a matter of “who would be more willing, ready and responsive” to K&N’s needs, Sattar said. He credited L. Michael Treadwell, CEO of IDA, as the “game-changer” in the decision.

“We were seriously looking in Buffalo, but things started changing when Mike entered the picture,” Sattar said.

Production at the Fulton plant is still about two months away, pending approval of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Sattar said the USDA has already visited the plant once, and the packaging is already prepared for the first batch of products.

“If we succeed, it means economic development (for Fulton),” Khalil Sattar said.

Maroun Elementary students receive dictionaries

Submitted by Oswego County BOCES

Third-grade students at Michael A. Maroun Elementary School have another resource to bolster their knowledge and vocabulary, thanks to a donation from the Fulton Sunrise Rotary Club.

On Dec. 20, Rotarians Ellen Nowyj and LaVerne DeLand brought 124 dictionaries for each third-grader at the school.

The resource books, complete with a periodic table, maps, a list of presidents, a plethora of words and other information, were funded through three Rotary Club fundraisers.

Nowyj said the dictionary initiative is a great way to get students using physical resource books rather than immediately going to the Internet and searching for information that may not always be reliable.

“All the information is right there for you,” Nowyj said. “You don’t have to go to the computer. It has everything from charts to metric system tables.”

In addition to the dictionary distribution, the Rotarians also discussed the importance of their organization.

“Our motto is service above self,” Nowyj said. “That’s something we really take to heart.”

That message wasn’t lost on the students, as the children asked questions about community involvement and discussed ways that people make a difference.

Birdlebough inducts 25 in National Honor Society

Submitted by Oswego County BOCES

More than two dozen John C. Birdlebough High  students were celebrated Dec. 17 as their service, scholarship, leadership and character were recognized with induction into the National Honor Society.

“An honor such as this is a wonderful way for the school and community to recognize and celebrate the choices and sometimes the sacrifices you have made,” said Adviser Angela Neiss.

The 25 inductees joined 33 current honor society  members who celebrate scholarly achievement and service to the community.

Neiss said members help organize blood drives, serve Thanksgiving dinner to the less fortunate, participate in an Earth Day community cleanup and volunteer for a variety of activities.

It is this kind of service that keynote speaker Joanna Young, JCB’s instrumental teacher, cited as a critical component of National Honor Society membership.

“Students have concerned themselves with the welfare and well-being of their fellow classmates and society as a whole,” Young said. “Their actions as leaders will be models for others to follow.”

The inductees took the Honor Society pledge and Superintendent Judy Belfield presented each with a pin signifying their membership.

New members are: Kellen Arnold, MacKenzie Berube, Alexis Bowering, Marisa Dona, Mike Doran, Chris Fisk, Nicole Fitzgerald, Matti Gleason, Sarah Hoag, Jordan Jock, Jessica Jones, Meghan Lees, Chris Nicolella, Meghan Rowe, Michael Sadoski, Jonathan Schmidt, Austin Scruton, Andrew Smith, Morgan Stobart, Zack VanGorder, Abby Venskus, Derick White, Caroline Woodside, Ryan Wranesh and Jolene Zaia

BBB alerts donors about local nonprofit charity

The Better Business Bureau is alerting donors about a Central New York  charity, Camp Fire USA Central New York Camp Talooli – currently F rated – that has had its tax-exempt status revoked.

This means anyone donating to the nonprofit would not be able to use that donation as a tax deduction on his or her income taxes, said BBB spokeswoman Peggy Penders.

The BBB said while the tax exempt status was revoked, Camp Fire and Camp Talooli still is operating as a charity and soliciting gifts from the public.

She said the Internal Revenue Service revoked the organization’s 501(c)(3) IRS tax exempt status in February 2013 for failing to file its 990 forms for three years. A 990 is a nonprofit’s equivalent to a 1040 tax form.

The BBB states the revocation was not contested and was posted to the public in May.

Camp Talooli is located near Pennellville in the town of Schroeppel.

Since the Camp Talooli revocation posting date in May, any donations made were no longer tax-deductible. The BBB said in a release that Camp Talooli advertised donations would be tax exempt.

The Camp Fire and Camp Talooli website this week states: “Currently we are updating/resolving some filing inconsistencies that are required to regain/retain this status (tax-exempt) for 2014 and beyond. If you have any questions in this regard please do not hesitate to contact me (Executive Director Jan Peneston) at 934 4051.

BBB officials say not all charities operate the same and encourage donors to do their research and verify current tax-exempt status before they give.

Camp Talooli officials have not responded to BBB requests for information.

Peneston said Monday the organization has submitted one of the three 990s to the IRS and it is waiting to hear what the  next step is to obtain tax-exempt status again.

She said Camp Fire also has hired a new accounting firm and should have all 990s filed by the end of January.

State Senate Report, by state Sen. Patricia Ritchie

Along with a New Year come a number of new laws for New York state.

As the calendar page turned to 2014, a number of new measures went into effect — many of them aimed at providing much-needed tax relief that will create new opportunities to enable businesses and taxpayers to succeed.

Here’s a look at a few of the new measures:

Support for small businesses

Beginning in 2014, hundreds of thousands of small businesses that pay under the state’s personal income tax will see a $35 million tax reduction.

This is the first year of a three-year tax cut phase-in, that during the next three-year period will save small businesses $140 million that can be used to reinvest in their businesses in an effort to grow and create new jobs.

Tax relief for manufacturers

Starting in 2014, the state’s corporate tax on manufacturers will be reduced by nearly 10 percent.

This will save roughly 13,000 manufacturing companies $30 million in 2014 and a cumulative, three-year total of $120 million by 2017-2018 when the tax reduction is fully phased-in.

Help for hardworking families

Providing tax relief for hardworking families is a new middle class family tax cut that will return hundreds of dollars this year to the pockets of hardworking New Yorkers — and save them $1 billion annually by 2017.

As state senator, my top priorities are creating jobs and providing relief to hardworking taxpayers.  That’s why I supported a total of 30 different tax cuts in the past three years — saving New Yorkers $3 billion.

This year, I’m looking forward to working just as hard to continue to push for new tax cuts that help to create more opportunities for New Yorkers to succeed.

Best wishes for a safe, happy, healthy and prosperous 2014!

View from the Assembly, by Assemblyman Will Barclay

The governor recently signed a number of bills into law.

I wanted to take some time this week to make you aware of a few new ones that will or have recently become effective.

Military Tax Exemption

A6223 exempts members of the military upon returning to New York from having to pay New York sales tax on vehicles that they purchased while stationed in another state — provided they paid sales tax in the other state. The law became effective immediately. I was pleased to co-sponsor this measure in the Assembly.

New York residents who purchase a vehicle outside of New York state are required to pay sales tax upon registering the vehicle. For those who served in the military, this proved problematic.

Military service members often keep their residency and driver’s license in their home state while serving because they intend to someday return to their home state.

Unfortunately, in doing so, if a service member kept their New York residency and purchased a vehicle while stationed in another state, they would be obligated to pay New York’s sales tax on that vehicle upon their return to New York – even if they paid sales tax in another state.

This meant a veteran returning to New York State may have had to pay sales tax on their vehicle twice. The new law prevents this.

NY Farm Produce at State-run Facilities

I was pleased to support A5102 in the Assembly, which supports local agriculture.

This law requires hospitals, prisons and other state agencies to buy more local produce. It requires the state to put in place better purchasing and tracking systems to make this possible.

The law already favored that state agencies purchase locally produced food, but this new law gets more specific in terms of purchasing systems and reporting those purchases.

It authorizes the commissioners of general services and agriculture and markets to develop regulations to “establish guidelines to increase purchases of New York food products; publish the guidelines on the Office of General Services website; and provide for monitoring and implementation…”

It also requires annual reports be made to the legislature and the governor so the public can better track these purchases.

Food Establishment Inspection

Results to be Posted Online

A2116-C requires the state Department of Health to make available on its website all public food service establishment inspection results for the most recent three years.

The law also requires local health departments that maintain a website to post a link to the state Department of Health website where inspection results are available. This will become effective next year.

Animal Cruelty

A5113-A gives district attorneys the ability to seek a reasonable cost for the care of seized animals from individuals convicted of certain animal cruelty crimes on behalf of impounding organizations.

According to the law, “animal cruelty and animal fighting are serious crimes in New York state.

“Because crimes against animals often involve the seizure of the victimized animals, these cases … involve arranging for the housing and care of the animals while the criminal case is pending.

Private organizations, such as shelters, humane societies and societies for the prevention of cruelty to animals have traditionally assisted law enforcement agencies by providing care for these animals with little or no reimbursement.”

I was pleased to support this in the Assembly.

If you have any questions, comments or would like to be added to my mailing list, send a letter to 200 N. Second St., Fulton, New York 13069, or an e-mail to barclaw@assembly.state.ny.us or call 598-5185.

You can also friend me, Assembly Barclay, on Facebook.

Light in the Darkness

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”  John 3:16

This may be one of the best know verses in all of scripture and probably the most quoted.

It speaks of the wonderful gift the Father has given to mankind. It is the gift that makes the difference between eternal life with God and eternal separation from Him.

Jesus bore our sin and its penalty, opening the way for forgiveness and restored relationship with our loving Creator. As such, it is an incomparable gift.

There never has been nor can there ever be another like it.

However, dearly beloved, have you ever considered the meaning of Jesus’ words in John 17 where He says, ““Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am.” (v. 24).

Though I  touched on this in my last column, I would like to take time to consider more carefully what it means to those of us who believe.

Think of this for a moment, especially during this season of gift giving and receiving.

Even as the Son was a gift from the Father to mankind, you, beloved believer, are a gift from the Father to the Son.

Jesus proclaimed this in another place, also, as He prayed something remarkable.  As He speaks to the Father, He says of us,  “They were always yours. You gave them to me.” ( John 17:6).

I don’t know if you ever thought of yourself as a gift given by the Father to the Son, but you are. Can any thought be more wonderful?

Now there are some who think that God redeemed us because He was lonely or simply wanted a big family, but I don’t think that this is true. God did not do this because of some need He had, but because of the need we have.

Dr. John Piper writes,  “It expresses his concern for the satisfaction of our longing, not his loneliness. Jesus is not lonely. He and the Father and the Spirit are profoundly satisfied in the fellowship of the Trinity. We, not he, are starving for something.”

God has done all that He has because we, not He, had a need we could never do anything about. We were in a dilemma and He loved us enough to meet that need. First by giving His Son for us and then by giving us to His Son.

Pastor David M. Grey      

Mt. Pleasant United Methodist Church      

Volney councilman retires

Town of Volney Councilman Carl Rusaw retired from public service Dec. 31.

Rusaw has a long career as a six-year Oswego County legislator, six-year Town of Volney Planning Board member and five-year member of the Volney Town Board. Proclamations from the offices of Sen. Patricia Ritchie, Assemblyman Will Barclay and the Oswego County Legislature were read at Volney’s December town board meeting.

Supervisor Dennis Lockwood presented a plaque to Rusaw from the town of Volney. Rusaw plans to spend his winters  in Florida and summers in Fulton.

Your hometown. Your news.