Community Thanksgiving Dinner seeks donations, volunteer help

Financial donations and volunteer help are needed for this year’s Community Thanksgiving Dinner from noon to 2 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 28 at First United Church of Fulton at 33 South Third Street in Fulton.

The free sit-down dinner is open to everyone, and features a complete Thanksgiving Dinner and an opportunity for good food and fellowship.

Checks can be sent to the First United Church of Fulton, 33 S. Third St., Fulton, 13069. Interested volunteers may call Dinner Chairperson Carol Dexter at  592-5162.

An organizing committee consisting of representatives of several Fulton churches and the Salvation Army is busy planning the eighth annual dinner. “It has become such a community effort and wonderful holiday tradition,” Dexter said. “Over 200 meals were served last year.”

Farfaglia to give another presentation on his muck farming book

Jim Farfaglia will give another presentation on his book about local muck farms at 3 p.m. Sunday Nov. 24 at the Fulton Public Library.

Farfaglia recently released a book about the history of muck farms in Oswego County. He will present a slideshow and read excerpts from his book. Farfaglia recently presented the program to a capacity crowd and decided to schedule a second one.

“The response from the public was overwhelming,” Farfaglia explained, “and I believe this is because there is a lot of interest in muck farming here in Central New York. Many people know muck farm families and some have worked on their farms over the years. I enjoy doing this program because it gives me a chance to talk about this unique type of farming and to offer some of the rich stories farmers shared with me.”

Farfaglia interviewed about 35 muck farmers, their family members, neighbors, workers and agricultural specialists and used the interviews, along with photographs and maps, to create the book.

During the Nov. 24 program, Farfaglia will share highlights from the book, call on those in the audience with muck farming ties to offer their memories, and answer questions about his research and creation of the book.

Copies of the book will be available to buy. Refreshments will be served. Call the Fulton Library at 592-5159 or Farfaglia at sjimf903@twcny.rr.com for more information.

Phillips receives ‘above and beyond’ award

Diane Phillips, customer service representative, commercial and municipal lines, for Eastern Shore Associates Insurance (ESA), Fulton, recently earned the agency’s 2013 “Above and Beyond” award, it was announced by Martha Murray, agency president. Phillips works at ESA’s Fulton office.

“Diane’s hard work and professionalism have made her an asset to both our clients and to our team, “ Murray said. “She is most deserving of this award.

“The Above and Beyond program is designed to recognize the individual who goes above and beyond their normal job duties to exceed the needs of fellow employees, our customers and our agency.”

Phillips has worked at ESA since 2004. She resides in Fulton with her domestic partner and has three children, one stepdaughter and two grandchildren.

“It’s a wonderful honor to be recognized by your peers for doing the best you can every day,” Phillips said. ”I really love the family atmosphere working here.”

Headquartered in Fulton, Eastern Shore Associates is a Trusted Choice® agency and ESOP (employee stock owned) company.

ESA offers a full range of business and personal insurance, including property, liability, automobile, boat, farm, recreational vehicle, workers compensation, and bonds. In addition, they offer financial planning and risk management services through strategic alliances.

“Our agency roots date back to 1846,” said Murray. “And we have more than 100 years of continuous representation with some of our insurance companies. 2013 is our 27th year as Eastern Shore Associates Insurance.

Eastern Shore Associates Insurance, www.esainsurance.com, has offices in Fulton, Pulaski, Phoenix, Camden, Waterloo, Rochester, N. Syracuse and Walworth. The Fulton office can be reached at 598-6000.

Volney board hears update on water districts

By Scott Allardice

The Volney town board Nov. 13 heard an update on the progress of several water districts in the town.

Bob Guminiak, an engineer with the firm C2AE, reported the MacDougall 6/45 water district work is nearly done.

“By the 1st of December everything should be done,” Guminiak said. The contractor has installed all the pipe, fire hydrants, made all the connections to existing water mains and completed work on virtually all the water service lines for customers.

Restoration of the ground in the project area will probably have to wait until spring, but before winter “all disturbed areas will be mulched with hay,” he said.

The new water mains are being pressure tested and chlorinated, in preparation for seeking health department approval for the system.

Once the system is approved, customers can begin hooking up to the water system. While homeowners are responsible for the costs of their hookup to the system, “The homeowners don’t have to buy the meters, the project is paying for them,” Guiminiak said.

Guminiak also reported on the progress of the proposed Airport Water District Extension #2. The project recently received approval from the state comptroller, but suffered a setback when the project’s projected interest rate jumped from 2.75 percent to 3.75 percent.

“That was unusual,” Guminiak said. He said the higher interest rate raises the project’s proposed costs for customers above earlier estimates. The funding proposal has been adjusted, with the federal government pledging more grant money.

“They’re anticipating it (the interest rate) will go down in January,” Guminiak said. “If it drops a quarter of a point we’re good.” If the rate fails to drop or goes up, the project may have to go back to the public for approval.

Another proposed water project, the Sherman Road – County Route 57 South Water District Extension #1, was also discussed.

The project would serve eight parcels that were left out an earlier water district because the homeowners at the time were opposed to the project.

Now the current homeowners are anxious to join the existing 70 users in the water district. “They call all the time,” Supervisor Dennis Lockwood said.

Guminiak worked a plan to add the new users into the exiting district at a cost of $478 annually for five years. After the five years, the new users would pay “the exact same rates as the people in the existing district,” Guminiak said.

The additional customers in the district could actually help reduce the $374 annual cost during the last 33 years of the project’s loan repayment.

In other business:

1) The board discussed whether the town should continue selling licenses for the state Department of Environmental Conservation. Hunting, fishing and trapping license sales are sold by the town using a computer supplied by the DEC. After Dec. 1, the DEC will reclaim its computer and town clerk Barbara Mac Ewen was unsure if the sales could continue using her computer or if the town would have to purchase additional equipment.

“Do I really want to keep selling licenses for a 3 percent return,” Mac Ewen said, citing the town’s share of the license revenue. “But we need to keep doing it for the convenience of the people,” she added.

Councilor Kevin Kio asked about the town’s revenues and “if it’s cost effective” for the town to continue to provide the service. “We’ll have to look at it,’ he said.

Since the exact revenues, costs and costs to continue service were unknown during the meeting, Lockwood said, “It’s an issue we’ve got to look into.”

Lack of quorum delays Granby budget vote

By Scott Allardice

The Granby town board, already shorthanded due to a resignation, was forced to cancel its meeting Wednesday Nov. 13 when only two of the remaining four board members showed up.

Supervisor Ed Williamson and Councilor Matt Callen sat on the dais at the Granby town hall with the empty chairs and nameplates for councilors Lori Blackburn and Sue Richardson, the two missing board members.

The board lacked the required quorum of three members, so Williamson thanked the 10 members of the public in attendance for coming and announced the meeting was canceled.

Richardson was absent due to a family illness, Williamson said, and she had emailed the town to inform them she would be unable to attend.

At about 7 p.m. when the meeting would normally have started, Deputy Supervisor John Snow texted Blackburn to ask if she was planning to attend. Blackburn’s response, Williamson said, was “no.”

Frustrated, Williamson said, “I can’t imagine why anyone would run for office and then not want to serve.” Blackburn also did not attend an Oct. 9 board meeting and a Sept. 25 meeting, which was also canceled for lack of a quorum. She did attend an Oct. 23 meeting.

The board was scheduled to adopt the town’s preliminary 2014 budget during the regular meeting. State law requires towns to adopt a budget by Nov. 20, which the town may yet do.

Williamson said there’s a public hearing at 6 p.m., Nov. 20 in the Granby Community Center on a proposal to create a new water district. After that meeting, if there are three board members present, Williamson could call an emergency town board meeting to adopt the budget.

But the town’s preliminary budget, Williamson said, “was all set.” The board was set to adopt it and now, with or without a vote Nov. 20, the budget discussed at an Oct. 23 public hearing will become the town’s 2014 spending plan.

The budget holds the line on taxes for the third year in a row, Williamson says. The project town tax rate is $2.46 per $1,000 of assessed value.

In late September, Councilor Joseph Cortini resigned from the board. His seat on the board and Susan Richardson’s were up for election this year. The winners of the Nov. 5 election, Republicans Brenda Frazier-Hartle and Eric Clothier were in attendance at the Nov. 13 meeting.

2 honored at OCO

Oswego County Opportunities recently honored Ewlina Wojnowska and Shauntelle Farden, supervised residence counselors with OCO Mental Health Transitional Living Services of OCO’s Residential Services, with the Outstanding Employee Award.

Nominated by fellow employees, the pair were recognized for their commitment, resourcefulness and dedication to OCO and those they serve. 

Shop local at holiday time

I like many other grandparents have our grandchildren living with us.

I am not seeking response here, just setting the tone for this letter. As such our holidays have been as they were when we were raising our two boys.

Full of work, planning, movement of furniture and working on the various lists…be they food items for menu planning, holiday cards to be written out, (who gets a letter, who gets a note, who just gets a signature), gifts for friends, family and finally that all important list….”this is what I want Santa to bring me”.

As such, my wife and I can find ourselves caught up in seeing the various lists grow in length to the point that we will set them aside and then go back to rework them to fit both the household budget and the square footage we live in.

(Several years ago we got the “boys” the complete micro machine village that was about 30 buildings, a couple hundred feet of connecting track and about a hundred mini sized cars), and within a half hour of setting it up our two dogs took on the roles of Godzilla and Megaton.

As a legislator, along with the others, we set the county budget and for several years in a row we have held the line. Each year we find that we have to look at what is important to everyday needs and what we can cut yet retain the tools, services and programs county residents want, need or insist upon.

Each year, the state passes down more costs to the county level, city level, towns and villages. The sources of revenue from our end are limited. Yet we all recognize that we cannot pass this down in the form of increased property taxes.

It does not work to seek growth, seek investment and commitment from companies to engage with our county if the property tax level is such that we cannot allow them to prosper and hire employees.

After the lists are created, and we have this rough battle plan which includes a semi approved menu, placement of household furniture, wish lists memorized we then start to map out the shopping extravaganza that will take place. (Remember with the price of gas, route strategy is very important).

In a last final step of this process, we will then seek out the routes and destinations that allow us to shop in Oswego County first. Here is the one avenue that holds no discrimination on property value, number of properties you own, size of house, total assessment, etc. You simply keep the sales tax in this county.

So if you shop anywhere in this county, or in the case of the City of Oswego, (who retains its sales tax) the sales tax monies stay local and go to fund programs, roads, security, health and so forth that we all use at one point or another.

The neat thing is that this form of funding is shared by all, not the single source budget line of revenue that comes from property taxes.

I know and fully accept that free enterprise and the excitement of going into other counties for that “shopping experience” is always going to be there and is always going to happen. All I ask is that as you put these lists together for your holidays take the extra few minutes to plan out a SHOP LOCAL FIRST day.

Why? Simply put….I DO NOT want more money to spend, I WANT the responsibly of financing government to be equitable.

Pat, (my wife) and I wish you the very best for the holidays and look forward to bumping into you or behind you at a check out line at a business somewhere in Oswego County.

James Karasek

Oswego County Legislator

Mahaney thanks voters

I thank everyone for the support you gave me in my re-election journey to keep my superintendent’s position for the Town of Hannibal.

Everyone’s help, no matter what is was, was very important to me. I personally had fun with everyone, the phone calls, sign preparation, mailers and strategy meetings, all with great people that I consider to be good friends.

I thank everyone that cast a vote for me. I will continue to do the best for our community and work hard for you.

Every year it is always a challenge to be able to improve and keep our roadways safe for all and still remain within a strict budget. New strategies and technology have allowed the department to use taxpayer dollars wisely and more efficiently.

I look forward in the next two years to do the best at meeting the concerns of the community and always moving ahead to improve our roadways.

Thank you all.

Dan Mahaney

Hannibal

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