Oswego County tourism a mouse click away

Submitted by Oswego County

The Oswego County Tourism Office has launched a new interactive map (iMap) that allows prospective visitors and local residents to create their own customized itinerary for visiting hundreds of places in Oswego County.

The iMap is a computerized map linked to the Oswego County tourism website at www.visitoswegocounty.com.

Designed to be a mobile-friendly tool, it contains more than 500 properties or points of interest, including places to stay, eat, shop and explore with location details and links to web sites.

“The iMap provides quick access to information on destinations throughout Oswego County,” said David Turner, director of the Oswego County Department of Community Development, Tourism and Planning.

“It allows you to create your own itinerary and customize it to your interests, such as museums, fishing spots, farm markets, shopping and eating,” he said. “You can share the map with friends, print it out, and access it from anywhere there is internet service.”

Former County Legislator Louella LeClair, R-Fulton, former chair of the Legislature’s Economic Development and Planning Committee during 2013, said the iMap provides a valuable tool for people who are already planning trips to visit Oswego County as well as local residents.

There is no charge for Oswego County businesses and attractions to be included on the iMap.

“The iMap contains information already in our tourism database such as Internet links, photographs and social media sites,” said Faith O’Brien, tourism assistant.

“We ask businesses and attractions to look at the iMap and contact our office if we are missing any information, so that we can provide the most accurate and up-to-date information for Oswego County visitors and residents,” she said. “We’re also working to make sure that the locations of points of interest are accurately placed on the map.”

Anyone who would like to submit information for the iMap may e-mail the county tourism office at tourism@oswegocounty.com, or call O’Brien at 349-8322.

The map was created by the county tourism staff in partnership with Lunar Cow Design of Akron, Ohio.

Turner said the tourism Office is also working on a fishing app for mobile phones which will be released soon.

The department also has developed a free snowmobiling app, which includes information about the 360 miles of groomed trails in the county.

The snowmobile app, which has experienced several thousand downloads already, was developed in partnership with Mohawk Valley GIS and is available at http://www.nysnowmobilewebmap.com/smartphone.htm.

Phoenix girls’ basketball takes its lumps

By Rob Tetro

The Phoenix girls’ varsity basketball team is taking its lumps as it faces some of the toughest teams Section 3 has to offer.

On Dec. 19, the Lady Firebirds fell to Solvay 54-46. Arch rival and county foe Mexico cruised past Phoenix Dec. 26 by a score of 53-34. On Dec. 27, Carthage rolled past Phoenix 50-22 and Westhill topped the Lady Firebirds 69-40 Dec. 30.

In the Solvay game, Phoenix got off to a decent start, outscoring Solvay by 3 points during the first quarter.

Solvay then stormed ahead during the second quarter, outscoring the Lady Firebirds by 11 points to take a 30-22 lead into halftime. Solvay expanded its lead to 12 points in the third quarter.

But the Lady Firebirds weren’t about to back down and poured it on in the fourth, cutting into Solvay’s lead. But the deficit they faced proved to be too much to overcome.

Leading the way for the Lady Firebirds was Samantha Doupe with 17 points, followed by Brianna Squier with 11 and Shannon Dolan with 9.

At the Mexico Christmas Tournament, Mexico got off to an impressive start, outscoring Phoenix by 13 points during the first quarter. Mexico extended its lead during the second quarter to lead 33-14 lead at the half.

Phoenix came out swinging during the third quarter, outscoring Mexico by 6 points to cut the deficit down to 13 points. But Mexico capped off a solid effort during the fourth quarter for the win.

Mexico was led by Bailey Groves and Kendra Harter who scored 16 points each.  Following Groves and Harter was Amylyn Holland with 8 and Lydia Becker scored 4 points.

Leading the way for Phoenix were Kimberly Holbrook and Alexandra Wilson with 10 points each. They were followed by rianna Squier and Samantha Doupe with 5 points each.

In the second round of the Mexico Christmas Tournament, Carthage pulled out all the stops and was leading by 18 points in the first quarter.

Carthage expanded its lead during the second quarter to take a 33-10 lead into halftime.

Phoenix stepped up its defensive play during the second half, holding Carthage to only 17 points during the third and fourth quarters. But Phoenix still was outscored down the stretch and came up on the losing side of the contest.

The Lady Firebirds were led by Samantha Doupe with 10 points, followed by  Kimberly Holbrook with 6.

In its game against Phoenix, Westhill wasted little time putting the game out of reach, outscoring the Lady Firebirds by  17 points during the first quarter.

Westhill kept it going during the second quarter and led 37-14 at the half.

In the third, Westhill capped off an impressive performance outscoring PHoenix by 14. Phoenix cut into the Westhill lead some in the fourth quarter, but ran out of time to go for the win.

Leading the way for Phoenix was Brianna Squier with 11 points, followed by Samantha Doupe and Alexandra Wilson with 8 points each. Kimberly Holbrook scored 5 points while Shannon Dolan chipped in 3 points.

Hannibal girls’ basketball wins 2

 By Rob Tetro

The Hannibal girls’ varsity basketball team went 2-1 in its last 3 games.

On Dec. 17, Skaneateles rolled past Hannibal 52-36. The Lady Warriors cruised over Jordan-Elbridge 68-26 on Dec. 19 for their first win of the season and then followed it up with its second win Dec. 27 over Cato-Meridian 57-29.

In the Skaneateles game, the Lakers outscored Hannibal by 9 points during the first quarter.

The Lady Warriors cut into Skaneateles’ lead during the second quarter, but Skaneateles took a 26-18 lead into halftime.

Hannibal continued to cut into the deficit during the third quarter, outscoring  Skaneateles by 2 points to cut the lead to 6 points. But the Lakers put the game out of reach during the fourth quarter.

Hannibal was led by Devin Sorell with 16, followed by Gabby Griffin with 6 points, Rachel Shute scored 5 points and Spencer Kenney had 3 points.

Against Jordan-Elbridge, Hannibal got off to an impressive start, outscoring J-E  by 16 points during the first quarter. The Lady Warriors added to their lead during the second quarter, leading 35-9 at the half.

Hannibal didn’t let up during the second half. They outscored Jordan-Elbridge by 6 points during the third quarter to extend the lead to 32 points. The Lady Warriors outscored Jordan-Elbridge by 10 points during the fourth quarter.

Hannibal was led by Devin Sorell with 23 points, followed by Rachel Shute, Gabby Griffin and Emily Prell with 8 points each. Sydney Alton and Kaylee Esposito scored 5 points each. Spencer Kenney added 4 points.

The Lady Warriors jumped out to an impressive lead in the Cato-Meridian game.

They outscored Cato-Meridian by 13 points during the first quarter and then  expanded its lead during the second quarter to take a 29-9 halftime lead.

In the third quarter, the Lady Warriors  outscored C-M by 8 points to extend its lead to 28 points. C-M came on in the fourth and didn’t allow Hannibal to further add to its lead. But Hannibal still prevailed.

Leading the way for Hannibal was Devin Sorell wiht 23 points following by Sydney Alton with 12, Gabby Griffin with 9 and Spencer Kenney with 6 points.

Bodley Bulletins, by Julia Ludington

Editor’s note: We are running the Bodley Bulletins column today (Saturday) because we did not have a published newspaper on Wednesday, Jan. 1. The column normally runs every Wednesday.

New Years’ resolutions are on everyone’s mind, especially those of students. Take this opportunity to set goals for yourself for the rest of the school year.

On Jan. 6, the Oswego County Music Educators Association Scholarship Auditions will be taking place for musicians hoping to receive a monetary award for their abilities to be put toward their college tuition.

Students participating have been working hard on a solo to play before a judge. We wish them all the best of luck.

January is a busy month, as it is almost the mid-year mark. Second semester ends Jan. 30. New York State Regents week takes place from Jan. 27 to Jan. 30. Students taking a Regents exam will take it during one of these days.

Many students also have non-regents midterms during this time, so make sure to check with your teachers to see if you need to come into school at all.

Make sure to be respectful of the students who are taking exams by being quiet when entering and exiting the building.

If you do not have a Regents exam or a mid-term, Regents week is a nice break before students get ready to finish the second half of the year.

Students and parents should also be reminded there is no school Jan. 20, as it is Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

View from the Assembly, by Assemblyman Will Barclay

The Tax Relief Commission issued its final report this month.

The commission was established by the governor and was charged with providing recommendations to cut $2 billion in state taxes during a three-year period.

Included in its final report were property tax relief recommendations the governor will consider.

Three property tax relief recommendations were outlined. They include a property tax freeze, a circuit breaker and a tax credit for manufacturers.

The commission recommends freezing residential property taxes for two years but only for jurisdictions within the property tax cap; property tax relief will only continue into a second year if the local government adopts reforms that reduce costs — such as sharing services or consolidating.

The circuit breaker would establish a personal income tax credit for taxpayers whose real property taxes exceeds a certain percentage of their household gross income.

Manufacturers would receive a tax credit and specifically, Upstate manufacturers would benefit.

While I’m pleased to see this conversation taking place, I’m disappointed by the lack of recommended budget cuts or long-term cost-savings measures included for localities or school districts.

The reason we have such high taxes is New York has a spending problem. For example, last year we spent 42 percent of our total budget on Medicaid, yet we continue to offer several coverage options within the framework of Medicaid that other states do not offer, such as dental care.

Medicaid costs are expected to grow only because last year, the state predicted 400,000 additional people would qualify for Medicaid due to changes caused by Obamacare — the giant federal mandate that requires people purchase health insurance.

In fact, according to news articles published recently, out of the roughly 1.6 billion who have enrolled in Obamacare, 1.46 million actually signed up for Medicaid.

The latest report contains only temporary fixes and does not fully consider that the state needs to cut spending. Tax freezes, tax credits and tax rebates are temporarily helpful but we need more permanent fixes — ones that will reduce the property tax load for New Yorkers for years to come.

We also need to stop passing state mandates onto localities. I sponsor legislation that would prohibit new unfunded mandates from passing the State Legislature (A1570).

Also, the report encourages consolidation, but we’ve budgeted for consolidation and shared services in the past. This year’s state budget provided $79 million in grants for local governments to fully explore and utilize shared services and consolidations.

Those resources have been largely underused and many times, the voting public rejects consolidations. We need to provide more direct tax relief to small businesses, but this latest list does not make recommendations for small business tax relief either.

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 email to barclaw@assembly.state.ny.us or call 598-5185. You can also friend me, Assembly Barclay, on Facebook.

State Senate Report, by state Sen. Patricia Ritchie

The New Year is a time for resolutions, and according to recent statistics roughly 45 percent of Americans usually make them.

However, of those who make resolutions, only 8 percent actually stick to them.

Not surprisingly, topping the list of resolutions year after year, are those related to our health.

Whether it’s losing weight, staying fit or quitting smoking, there are countless people looking to make healthy changes when we turn the calendar page to the next year.

Here are tips that can help you improve your health and achieve your goals in the New Year:

1) Cut the salt: Too much sodium can increase your blood pressure as well as your risk for a heart attack and stroke.

One of the most important steps you can take to become healthier is reducing the amount of salt you use on your food.

2) Convenience is key: It’s critical to get enough fruit and vegetables each day, and the key to that is making sure you have these foods accessible.

For example, keep a bowl of fresh fruit on your kitchen counter, place a box of raisins in your child’s backpack and in your briefcase or add fruit to your cereal or oatmeal.

3) Eat right while out and about: It’s easy to overeat and consume too many calories when eating at a restaurant.  It’s a good idea to skip the sides, try healthy options like grilled chicken and skip sodas, which are loaded with sugar and calories.

4) Choose fresh: Here in our region, we are fortunate to have so many options for healthy eating.

For fresh foods, vegetables and meats, try shopping at a local farmers’ market or farm stand. Not only will you be eating healthy, you’ll be supporting the local economy too.

5) Get moving: The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends 30 minutes of physical activity per day for adults and 60 minutes per day for children at least five days a week.

For those who aren’t active, it may sound daunting. However, it’s a lot easier than you think — take the stairs, hit the gym, go for a walk — it all adds up.

6) Kick the habit: Each and every day, 4,000 U.S. children under the age of 18 smoke their first cigarette, and 1,200 people die from smoking-related illness — an average of 50 an hour.

Smoking can be deadly, and we need to do more to help those who want to quit. That’s why I joined a bipartisan group of 16 senators in calling on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to increase funding for smoking cessation and youth tobacco prevention programs in next year’s state budget.

If you need help quitting, I encourage you to contact the New York State Smoker’s Quit Line at (866) NY-QUITS.

The great thing about the New Year is that it offers us an opportunity to make a change and start fresh.

Whatever your resolution may be, I wish you the best of luck as you work to stick to it and make a difference in your own life. Happy New Year!

Oswego County jobless rate up in November

By Debra J. Groom

Oswego County’s unemployment rate was up in November and still is the highest in Central New York.

But for the first time in many months, Oswego County is not one of the top five highest rates in the state.

The jobless rate for November was 8.3 percent, up from 8 percent in October. But it is a vast improvement on the rate from November 2012 of 9.5 percent.

The only county in the area with a higher rate is neighboring Jefferson County, with a November unemployment rate of 9 percent. Jefferson County is the only county north of the Bronx with a rate of 9 percent or higher.

New York counties with the lowest unemployment rates are Tompkins, 4.4 percent; Putnam, 5 percent; Nassau, 5.1 percent; Saratoga, 5.2 percent; and Rockland, 5.3 percent. Counties with the highest unemployment rates are Bronx, 11.2 percent; Jefferson, 9 percent; Kings, 8.7 percent; Hamilton, 8.5 percent; and Orleans, 8.5 percent.

Christian Harris of the state Labor Department’s office in Binghamton said on average, there are about 400 more people entering the jobless market about this time in Oswego County. But in November, only 200 more were unemployed.

He believes the increase in the unemployment rate is due to construction jobs and other seasonal positions coming to an end and these people beginning to look for work.

He said often, the rates about this time of year bounce up and down for a few months.

“If there is a discouraged workforce, they will be jumping in and out of the job hunt,” he said. “We often see this slow growth cycle near the holidays.”

The United States unemployment rate was 6.6 percent in November, down from 7 percent in October and down from 7.4 percent a year ago.

The New York state rate was 6.9 percent in November, down from 7.5 percent in October and down from 7.9 percent in November 2012.

Parents of Special Children host ‘Breakfast with Santa’

Parents of Special Children, Inc. recently held its seventh annual Breakfast with Santa for individuals with special needs and their family members.

The 2-hour event was sponsored by the Fulton Elks #830 Lodge and featured a gourmet breakfast, arts and crafts and a visit from Santa, who had gifts for all.

Typically, the holiday season can become extremely stressful for everyone, especially those living with special needs.

The amazing members of the Elks Lodge helped create a relaxing and enjoyable time for all who attended.

“For many reasons, it is difficult for our families to visit Santa at the mall or in a store. Standing patiently in a long line, trying to keep our hands to ourselves and being in a confined space, is hard for many of our family members,” said Parents of Special Children Executive Director Theresa Familo. “Shrieking with excitement can be viewed by others as being impatient or rude, when in reality we just can’t control our emotions.

“Sometimes we need to jump or flap our hands and we often end up bumping into others. At this special event, our families are all accepted for who they are and their own uniqueness,” she said.

“The staff, board members and families of Parents of Special Children, Inc. would like to sincerely thank all those who helped make this such a memorable event. Without them, this would not have been possible. Your kindness and generosity remind us all of the true meaning of Christmas,” she said.

Parents of Special Children, Inc. is a parent-driven organization, dedicated to family empowerment and improving the quality of the everyday lives of special needs families.

For more information, call Familo at  598-7672.

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