Fulton Common Council hears concerns about city’s “moderate fiscal stress”

By Ashley M. Casey

Three people spoke during the Fulton Common Council public forum Dec. 3 to express their concerns about the state Comptroller’s recent audit of the city of Fulton.

Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli deemed Fulton in “moderate fiscal stress” after the city’s available fund balance dropped 84 percent.

“As CEO, the mayor’s managing the city well. The council’s making good budget decisions. The chamberlain’s handling the money well,” said Dennis Merlino. “I can’t imagine there’s anything else to cut.”

Merlino asked if the state would be willing to accept budget cuts on state mandates, but Mayor Ronald Woodward Sr.  explained the bulk of Fulton’s budget covers benefits for city employees.

He said in 1986, such costs comprised 40 percent of the city’s budget; today, they make up 70 percent.

“The lucrative laws for public employees that the state has put into place have got to change,” Woodward said.

He added he would ask the state’s Financial Restructuring Board for Local Governments if there are any legislative solutions, but said state leaders are out of touch with the financial challenges small cities such as Fulton are facing.

“They mean well, but I don’t think the people who sit at the top really know what’s going on,” Woodward said. He said he and the council are striving to improve Fulton’s situation, adding, “That’s why we ran. That’s why we live here.”

Woodward said other cities are facing similar issues, such as Oswego, Owego and Syracuse.

Josephine Farrell said she had written a letter to the state suggesting improvements for local budget cuts, but received no response. She asked the mayor if the comptroller’s recommendations were of any value to the city.

“Were they anything you couldn’t have come up with on your own?” she asked.

The mayor said no.

Woodward said the state suggested that city offices shut off their computers at night to save on energy costs, which the city already does.

Fulton may be eligible to apply for grants or loans of up to $5 million through the Local Government Performance and Efficiency Program as part of the Financial Restructuring Board for Local Governments assistance.

The newly elected 25th District county legislator, Frank Castiglia Jr., said he was wary of the possibility of accepting money from the state.

“It’s okay to dance with the devil and listen to what the devil tells you during the dance, but if you let the devil take you home, then you’re in trouble,” Castiglia said. “I know the council wants to save the city, but what’s it going to cost the taxpayers?”

Woodward said the Financial Restructuring Board’s review process would take six months, and the incoming Common Council would vote on the state’s recommendations.

Ethics Committee appointees

In accordance with a New York state mandate, the Common Council has created an ethics committee of five members.

Donald Ross, Josephine Farrell, Charles Marks, Dena Michaels and Dennis Merlino were appointed to the ethics committee.

Third Ward councilor Peter Franco spearheaded the yearlong committee development process.

“These were the best (people) to start it off,” Franco said after the meeting. “They’re upstanding citizens, pillars of the community and involved in the community.”

The Common Council and the ethics committee have drafted an ethics document based on a state model. The committee will meet periodically. Meeting dates have yet to be determined.

“They will entertain complaints about any (city) employees, elected officials, appointed officials,” Franco said. “They will investigate the complaint, find out if it’s valid, and recommend remedies for that.

The committee members will serve staggered terms of one to three years to keep “continuity of members,” Franco said.

Woodward called the ethics committee “wonderful,” and several councilors expressed their gratitude to the appointees for taking the time to devote to the new committee.

Also on the agenda

The council approved a Resolution of Respect for late Valley News publisher Vince Caravan. “The Mayor and members of this Common Council share a deep sense of loss with the family of the late Vincent R. Caravan and do, with the deepest regret, take official notice of the loss of this very special man,” the resolution read.

The mayor declared 2013 as Tree Growth and Care Year, and the council approved the decision to apply for grants from the DEC for tree maintenance and pest prevention.

 

Hodgepodge, by Roy Hodge

There are many things that I have learned, or at least remember one more time, by looking through some of the columns that I have written at Christmas time:

One of the worse things about the week after Christmas is seeing that almost all of the gifts that you purchased are now on sale.

You may not care (maybe because it is too late to send a card now) but lost in the shuffle between Christmas and New Year’s is Woodrow Wilson’s birthday on Dec. 28.

Did you know that there are no plums in plum pudding?*

I haven’t had cookies and milk for a bedtime snack on Christmas Eve since the kids have grown up.

This is the time of year that you start wearing lots of different ties — perhaps two a day if possible — so everyone will be convinced that you don’t need any more.

Almost every advertised price this holiday season, regardless of how lofty it may appear to us, is preceded by the word “ONLY.”

Why is there always some kind of a bill mixed in with the last of the Christmas cards?

How much time do we spend each year before Christmas trying to find the end of the Scotch tape roll?

Gift giving became a tradition in 1857.

Santa Claus is the American adaptation of St. Nicholas, a legendary European figure who brings presents to children on Christmas Eve. The name Santa Claus is derived from the Dutch “Sinter Klass.”

‘Tis the season to realize how wonderful it would be if our world could fulfill the eternal wish of the season —“Peace on Earth, Good Will Toward Men.”

And this, from one of the late Grace Lynch’s Christmas columns: “The old song says that Christmas comes but once a year, yet with it comes a flood of Christmases long gone by.”

*No plums in plum pudding?

Despite its name, plum pudding contains no actual plums due to the pre-Victorian use of the word “plums” as a term for raisins or other fruits.

The pudding is composed of many dried fruits and is held together by eggs and suet, sometimes moistened by treacle or molasses. It is flavored with cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger and other spices.

The pudding, also known as “Christmas Pudding,” is traditionally served on Christmas Day as part of the Christmas dinner.  It has its origins in medieval England.

The pudding is aged for a month or even a year. It can age for a long time because it has so much alcohol in it and never spoils. The mixture can be moistened with the juice of citrus fruits, brandy and other alcohol.

Some recipes call for dark beers such as mild, stout or porter.

Cheers!

Oh, Christmas Tree!

President Franklin Pierce had the first Christmas tree in the White House in 1856. Thomas Edison’s assistants came up with the idea of electric lights for Christmas trees. President Theodore Roosevelt banned Christmas trees from the White House for environmental reasons.

In 1923, President Calvin Coolidge started the National Christmas tree lighting ceremony now held every year on the White House lawn.

The tree became a temporary victim of World War II and in 1941 there were fears it wouldn’t be lit due to post-Pearl Harbor security concern, but it was eventually lit.

The 1942 tree wasn’t lit at all to conserve power and to adhere to wartime restrictions. The tree wasn’t relit until after the war.

In 1948, President Truman lit the tree by remote control from his home in Missouri. The tree was also lit by remote control in 1955 after President Eisenhower suffered a heart attack.

In 1963, the National Christmas tree wasn’t lit until Dec. 22 because of a national 30-day period of mourning following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

In 1979, the National Christmas tree wasn’t lit except for the top ornament.

There is a story behind the absence of lights on the tree in 1979. When President Carter’s daughter, Amy, went to light the tree only the star on top of the tree lit up.  President Carter told the crowd that it would remain that way until the hostages were freed.

The Rockefeller Center Christmas tree tradition began in in 1933.

A total of 77 million Christmas trees are planted each year, and 34 to 36 million Christmas trees are sold each year.

… Roy Hodge

Valley Viewpoints

As volunteers for the Oswego County Humane Society, we would like to thank all who made our recent pie sale a great success.

We appreciate the Fulton Tractor Supply store for allowing us to hold our fundraiser at their location. The management and staff have always been welcoming and very supportive of our efforts.

Of course, we thank the bakers. They give so generously of their time and talent to provide us with the baked goods. One hundred percent of the profits are used to support the activities and programs of the Oswego County Humane Society.

George and Carol Darling

Volunteers for Oswego County
Humane Society

Hannibal

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I would like to put forth my endorsement for the re-election of Peter Holmes to the position of fire commissioner in the First Fire District Town of Granby.

Peter has been a fire commissioner in the town of Granby for the last five years, and I have had the pleasure to serve with him as commissioner for the last three years.

Peter’s experience as a volunteer fireman, small business owner and his conservative upbringing, combined, give him a unique view as commissioner. He always looks for what will keep the firefighters safe, and be fiscally responsible for the district at the same time.

He can often be heard at meetings reminding the four other commissioners that we are elected to look out for the best interest of the taxpayers. Peter is a man of strong values such as integrity, honor, duty, respect, personal courage, and selfless service.

Peter believes the fire department should consist of members of the community, who are there to serve the community.

Using this idea of community, Pete is able to think outside of the box and help lead the community to better things.

For example, Peter was able to attain road millings from the state to fix the parking lot behind the firehouse. He was able to accomplish this through an inter-municipal agreement signed between the Town of Granby highway department and the Fire District.

These millings were then transported by the Town of Granby dump trucks to the fire house. Using equipment donated by three local businesses, Peter and a few other fire department members were able accomplish all of the site work.

This community action was able to save the taxpayers a great deal of money.

Also as part of the agreement, the fire department then washed out the salt building behind the town hall, saving the town from having to pay an outside company to come in with high pressure water hoses.

This is just one of many examples of how Peter’s strong values and ability to think outside of the box has greatly helped the town.

I would encourage everyone In the First Fire District Town of Granby to vote  from 6 to 9 p.m. Dec. 10 to help re- elect Peter Holmes for commissioner.

 

Timothy Carley

Fire commissioner,

First District Town of Granby.

 

Jerry’s Journal

Most everyone who grew up back in the day has fond memories of their old neighborhood, the streets you walked to your friends’ house and to school, and the houses and the people who lived in them along the way.

My neighborhood was in the Sixth Ward and North Sixth Street became my pathway to the world as I knew it back then.

Well, you know how it goes, the years flew by and the next thing I knew I was grown up, married to Mike Hogan, living up over my parents on Porter Street, and was pushing a baby carriage up and down North Sixth on my way to most everywhere I went.

Mike was just starting out at Niagara Mohawk and we didn’t have a car yet. (I think that baby carriage had more mileage on it than most cars did when our first child was born back in 1953!)

“Let me see your baby,” a young woman sitting on a porch on North Sixth called out to me one fine day. That led us to admiring each other’s infants — my little girl and her little boy — both of whom, of course, were the most adorable babies you’ve ever seen!

My new friend’s name was Geri Garbus. She and her husband, Fred, were renting an apartment from her grandfather and grandmother, Rex and Goldie Carvey.

Come to find out, Geri is sister to Joyce Carvey (Boynton) who is one of my classmates, and the oldest of the four Carvey sisters: Geri, Joyce, Judy and Joan.

The Carvey house was on the opposite corner of North Sixth and Seward Street from my grandparents, Ralph and Edna McKinney, where I spent many an hour, so Geri and I saw each other quite often. (View’s grocery store, later to become Koval’s, was just across the street.)

Now fast forward to a few weeks ago when Geri (who also goes by Jeri or Gerry), called and said she’d like to put our heads together to see who and what we could remember from our days on North Sixth Street.

By the way, how many other Gerrys did we know? Geraldine Blakeslee, Geraldine Hubbell, and Geraldine, who was the manger of Harper’s store, was about all we could come up with!

Thus we chatted at my kitchen table, drank tea, reminisced and got so busy enjoying it that we skipped around that neighborhood, randomly mentioning this person or that person as he or she came to mind. So, Dear Readers, bear with me as I do the same.

Rex Carvey was a well-known local politician, an alderman or county legislator, we couldn’t remember, except, as Geri recalled, he was known as a “supervisor” back then.

She spoke lovingly of her Grandma Goldie Carvey.

“Everybody wanted to have their picture taken in Grandma’s garden,” she said. “Shirley Jenkins was the next place after the garden.”

Earl View had the store but wasn’t a bit friendly — “a son-of-a-gun — but his wife was nice,” she said.

Elsie O’Neil lived down Seward Street. She was a nurse who took care of almost everyone who ever spent time at the old Lee Memorial Hospital.

“A little old man lived all by himself,” also on Seward Street; he made Geri “a grater out of a tin can.”

Starting at Porter Street and going south, there was Dick Guyer, a boy my age and a great clarinet player, his mother a maternity nurse at Lee Memorial, and his father, a cop on the beat.

Across from them was Jack Percival, his mother, brother and sister.

Now crossing Freemont Street but still on North Sixth,was the Young family, some of them cousins and some siblings: Mary Ellen, Pricilla (Marcino), John and Kay (Cafolla).

Down a couple of houses were Mrs. Diehl and her children Yvonne and Phillip. They were next to my grandparent’s house. Keith Smithers lived across the street from them.

Gloria Simons (Lyons) lived on the corner of Freemont and North Sixth. Also on that side of the street was the Koenigs, Carol (Kellogg) and Janice (Kincaid) Koenig, and Emma Rowlee who married Jack Walsh.

Going west off North Sixth onto Freemont Street, there was Lola Wells and her twins, Frances and Franklin. They were a year ahead of me in school.

Going east on Freemont, there were the Truesdales, the Wordens — Carl Worden was a great little guy, and Neil, Barbara and Jean Barnard, Theresa Maloney (Dings), Muriel, “Tootie” Ingersol and her sister Shirley (Terzulli) and her brother Bruce, while Chuck and Sally Shortsleeve, and John, Earl and Dick Dempsey lived farther up Freemont.

Okay, Dear Readers, I’m going to stop here and finish this sweet sojourn another time. Because as I write this, I have Christmas on my mind; it’s such a busy time of year! So I wrote a poem about it:

‘Tis the Season

 

‘Tis the season

For blowing snow

For saying stuff like Ho, Ho, Ho,

It’s off to the mall we go!

 

But…whether you shop a lot

Or trim a tree or not…

Always remember in December

Jesus is still the reason for the season.

Now, here’s my caveat: Reader beware! 

I write for fun. I am not a historian, nor a reporter. I write from memory and from what others want to share. Sometimes I look things up; sometimes I mess things up.

I hope you have fun reading my stuff. Your comments, additions and corrections are always welcome.

You may contact me at 133 Tannery Lane, Fulton, phone 592-7580 or email JHogan@aol.com. Please put Jerry’s Journal in the subject line.

Thanks!

Oswego police add K-9 officer

The Oswego City Police Department is pleased to announce the addition of its new K-9 unit consisting of Officer James LaDue and Crixus, a 2-year-old Dutch Shepherd donated by the State Police.

The pair recently completed a New York State Police 20 week Basic K9 Handler training program in Cooperstown, where they were trained in tracking, building searches, handler protection and narcotic detection.

Additional funding for the program including food, equipment and veterinary bills have been supplemented through forfeitures acquired by the Oswego City Police Anti-Crime Team.

Stacia Swiader, worked for Sealright and Nestles

Stacia Swiader, 96, of Fulton, died Monday Dec. 2 at St. Joseph’s Hospital, Syracuse.

She was born in Oswego, NY to the late Peter and Caroline (Chowanice) Chernachowicz.

Mrs. Swiader was previously employed with Sealright Corp., Fulton and she later retired from Nestles Co., Fulton.

Mrs. Swiader was a past member of the St. Michael’ s Altar Rosary Society and Fulton Polish Home Ladies Auxiliary.

She was predeceased by her first husband Matthew Okoniewski, and second husband Michael Swiader.

Mrs. Swiader is survived by her daughter June Okoniewski Burrell of Buffalo; two grandchildren Matthew Burrell, and Gregory Burrell; several great grandchildren, nieces and nephews including David and Catherine Okoniewski.

Funeral services were Friday at Holy Trinity Church where a Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated by the Rev. Robert Stephenson. Burial was in St. Mary’s Cemetery, Fulton.

The Sugar Funeral Home, Inc., 224 W. Second St. S. Fulton has care of the arrangements.

Diane Spaulding, avid Bingo player

Diane Spaulding, 77, of Oswego, died Wednesday Dec. 4, 2013 in St. Joseph Hospital, Syracuse.

Mrs. Spaulding was born in Buffalo, NY, the daughter of the late Michael and Dorothy (Gray) Valley. Mrs. Spaulding lived in Akron, NY most of her life before moving to Oswego in 2010.

She loved spending time with her family, and she was an avid Bingo player, which was a love she passed down to her daughters and granddaughters. Mrs. Spaulding enjoyed her nightly card games with her friends.

She was predeceased by her husband J. Douglas Spaulding in 1991, her daughter Dodie L. Spaulding in 2000, and her siblings Nancy St. Onge, Michael Valley, and Suzanne Stratton.

Mrs. Spaulding is survived by her daughters Cynthia Spaulding of Oswego, Linda (Herb) Waterson of Lockport, Pamela (Douglas) Ribbeck of Lockport; six grandchildren; 13 great grandchildren; and two great great grandchildren.

Services and burial will be private. The arrangements are in the care of the Sugar & Scanlon Funeral Home 147 W. Fourth St., Oswego.

Arlene Crane, active member of Church of the Nazarene

Arlene M. Crane, 82, of Fulton, went to be with the Lord, Sunday Dec. 1 at University Hospital in Syracuse.

Born in Ballston Spa, she had lived in the Fulton area since 1952.

Arlene was an active member and Sunday school teacher at The Church of the Nazarene.

She was predeceased by her husband, Warren “Dick” Crane, who passed away in 2006.

Arlene is survived by her children, Constance C. Colling of Mexico, John W. Crane of Palermo, Paul R. Crane of Fulton and James R. Crane of Somerville, NJ; two grandchildren, Karen Miller and Keith Colling; one great-granddaughter, Kendall Miller.

A service was held Thursday at The Church of the Nazarene, 914 Utica St., Fulton.  There were no calling hours.

Contributions in memory of Arlene, may be made to The Church of the Nazarene, 914 Utica St., Fulton, 13069.  Foster Funeral Home, Fulton has care of arrangements.

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