It’s time to ring bells for the Salvation Army

Oswego Mayor Thomas Gillen recently proclaimed Nov. 15 through Dec. 24 to be Salvation Army Kettle Fund Drive Season.

The proclamation noted all funds raised will be returned to Oswego County people in need throughout the year for clothing, housing assistance, groceries and hot meals from the soup kitchen each week in Oswego and Fulton.

The Christmas kettle campaign provides about one-third of the county corps’ annual budget. The goal this year is to raise $110,000.

Additional funds come from the Army’s mail appeal, donations for specific programs like the soup kitchen, and grants such as the Emergency Food and Shelter Program. Many individuals, businesses, and organizations contribute gifts in kind of food and clothing.

Major James Purvis, corps officer, said there is a great need for kettle volunteers.  There are more than 20 kettle locations in Central Square, Fulton, Hannibal, Oswego, Phoenix, Pulaski and Sandy Creek.

The kettles are in place from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Most kettle locations are outdoors, but there are indoor kettles available in Fulton, Mexico and Oswego. Anyone wishing to volunteer at a kettle may call 343-6491, or stop at the office at 73 W. Second St., Oswego from 1 and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Customer service topic of upcoming Women’s Network program

Kelly Sullivan, of Core Skills, True Impact, will show business owners how to attract and retain customers at the 8 a.m. Dec. 5 Women’s Network for Entrepreneurial Training’s (WNET) monthly breakfast meeting at the SUNY Oswego Phoenix Center in the Oswego County Industrial Park, Phoenix.

In this workshop, attendees will learn strategies for creating a relationship with customers that will keep them coming back. Sullivan will show those at the workshop how to dazzle customers with excellent customer service.

Sullivan is a strategic consultant, trainer and catalyst for change. In business since 1996, she has worked with manufacturers, universities, service-sector businesses and non-profit organizations to help them harness the potential of their people.

A certified facilitator and a member of the Society for Human Resource Management, Sullivan has helped organizations develop employees, build skills, execute strategy, enhance leadership capability, improve collaboration and cultivate customer relationships.

Through networking, presentations and information sharing, the Women’s Network for Entrepreneurial Training provides professional development and personal growth for women business owners.

The cost for each seminar is $12 for members and $15 for non-members. Pre-registration is required by calling Operation Oswego County, weekdays, at 343-1545, or via e-mail Payments may also be made via Credit Card on our website.

For more information about WNET, visit

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In and Around Hannibal

Moving along at our usual rapid rate, I bring you news from School District No. 5 in beautiful downtown Fairdale.

The exact date of the construction of the first school in Fairdale is not known, but would have been in the early 1800s. It was a red brick structure and contained seats with writing desks running around the inside.

The schoolhouse, like so many others of the day, was used as a Christian meeting house on Sundays.

In this instance, it was the Methodists who used the structure. In addition, many funeral services were held there, often under the direction of Harvey Randall. It was said his manners were perfect and had undertaking been in vogue, he would have found his vocation.

Eventually, a larger schoolhouse was built to the east of the intersection of County Route 7 and Old Route 3. Usually two teachers were employed there. For small classes, the cloakroom sometimes doubled as a classroom.

About 1934, the main classroom was partitioned into two classrooms.

The original school was sold to Dennis Broderick, who proceeded to add a second story. He then used the remodeled structure as both a residence and a grocery store.  Later on, the grocery business was operated in partnership with Melnychuk and Penkala.

Many years ago, Mr. and Mrs. Noah Wright lived near the school and when any of the students got sick they went to Mrs. Wright for comfort. The couple also had a number of fruit trees and it wasn’t uncommon for them to share the fruit with the youngsters.  For several years, Mrs. Raynor held the school library and kept the scholars supplied with good books.

In 1850, Miss McDugall taught in Fairdale – there is a more complete list of the early teachers in the Hannibal Historical Society’s Hannibal in History and Prose. Teachers beginning in 1927 were Bertha Youngs and Marie Gallagher, who taught there until 1933 with fellow teachers Marjorie Jackson, Kenneth Upcraft Winfred Beckwith.

Howard Wilson and Flossie Kellogg taught together from 1933-41. Joanne Baldwin and Lois Chaffee taught in Fairdale from 1941-43, Clara Smith and Mildred B. Johnson from 43-45, Minnie Perkins and Lena C. Ward 45-46.

In 1946-47 Minnie Perkins and Lois Chaffee worked together. Emily Cox and Lois Chaffee worked together in 1947 and 48, and Emily Cox and Evelyn Baldwin in 1948 and 49.

After centralization the schoolhouse was sold. It has since been converted into a private residence but still maintains the outline of an old schoolhouse and is easily recognized as such.  It is located next to Deb’s Diner in Fairdale.

As always I look for people who can fill in with any additional information about teachers, students and neighbors in Fairdale.  So send me an e-mail or give me a call!


Well folks, the weekend you’ve been waiting for has finally arrived.  Hannibal officially kicks off the Christmas season this weekend with the 10th Annual Country Christmas this Saturday and Sunday.

Town merchants and organizations will be greeting guests, running specials and offering holiday treats. Each merchant will also be offering a door prize.

The Friends of the Library will hold their annual Christmas Tree Festival. Visitors to the Community Center, 162 Oswego St., can bid on decorated trees and wreaths from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

The theme for this year’s Festival is “The Polar Express.” Trees and Wreaths decorated with theme decorations will be eligible to win “The People’s Choice” Award.” Look for the featured Pet Tree.

The Annual Thanksgiving Raffle Basket is at the library full of great stuff for your holiday. It has a gift card from the Village Market, gift certificate from Travis Floral, turkey platter, tablecloths and more. Drawing is Nov. 24.

If you have ordered this year’s Christmas ornament from the Historical Society you may pick it up this weekend at the Library.

The Hannibal United Methodist Church, 320 Church St., is sponsoring a craft show from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. A soup, sandwich and homemade pie lunch will be served 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Takeouts are available.

God’s Vision Christian Church, 326 Church Street, will be holding an open house and tour from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. There will be refreshments.

The Hannibal Fire Company Auxiliary Breakfast with Santa from 8 to 11 a.m.  Sunday Nov. 24 at the Firehouse on Oswego Street. Pictures with Santa 9 to 10:30 a.m. provided free by C. Perkins Photography

Our Lady Of The Rosary Famous Chicken and Biscuit will be tempting your palette from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 24.

On Sunday afternoon, the Hannibal Historical Society is hosting The Village Christmas Tree Lighting Festival. This event starts at 4 p.m. in the Village Square, with the arrival of Santa Claus. At 4:15 students from Kami’s Kix Dance Studio will perform.

Community organizations involving students have been invited to set up tables where children can make crafts or families can make purchases.  At 4:45 The Port Byron Brass will begin playing songs of the season. Door prize drawings will take place, followed by the children’s parade and the lighting of the Christmas Tree in the Village Square. Each child who attends this event will receive a gift from Santa, and be given an ornament to hang on the Village Christmas Tree.

There will be a community Thanksgiving Service following the tree lighting – about 6 p.m. at the Hannibal Methodist Church, 1 block west of the village square on Church Street (Route 3.) The Rev. Dean Flemming will bring the message and refreshments will be served. You are asked to bring groceries for the Hannibal Resource Center…they are anticipating  they will need food for 2500 meals over the Thanksgiving weekend.

The Country Christmas merchants and organizations look forward to seeing everyone, and are excited to kick off this 2013 holiday season.

Hannibal Senior Dining Center meets at noon for dinner at the Senior Center (Library Building) on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Come early for coffee and news or to work on a jigsaw puzzle or  play games or just some idle chit-chat. Give Rosemary a call and make your reservation, 564-5471.

This week’s menu is:

Monday: Baked chicken, garlic red potatoes, vegetable blend, juice, jello

Wednesday: Roast pork w/gravy, sweet potatoes, Brussel sprouts & carrots, ice cream

Friday: Center closed.

Activities: Monday, Ellen Wahl from RSVP will be here to talk to anyone interested in volunteering; Chris Parks from OCO will be here also to meet with volunteers and volunteer wannabees. On Wednesday, there will be a hot game of BINGO after lunch.

Kenney Middle School is holding a BoxTops for Education contest. Two students that bring in the most BoxTops in one week win free ice cream from the cafeteria. Anyone who brings in five or more BoxTops in one week is entered in a drawing for a large cheese pizza from the Village Market. The contest runs through Dec. 16.

The student who brings in the most BoxTops for the contest will win a Bowling Party.  Anyone that brings in 5 or more BoxTops during the contest will be entered in drawings for several prizes. Each BoxTops are worth 10 cents to the school.  We have raised over $ 600 for the school so far this year.  All monies earned benefit programs for the students.

We also have a new collection box at the Village Market for your convenience.

The Village Market (IGA) will be hosting their annual Christmas Luncheon for seniors at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 10. This is free and no registration is needed. The high school music department will provide music for your enjoyment.

Life is just so full of choices this time of year…

The Elderberry Christmas Dinner will be at noon Dec. 10 at the American Legion. Catered by Brenda Fletcher. Call George Darling and make your reservation today.

The Hannibal Senior Band will be presenting their Holiday Concert at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 10 in the Lockwood Auditorium. This concert will feature the Jazz Ensemble and the Concert Band presenting many familiar carols and winter songs. Audience members are asked to bring a donation for the Christmas Bureau.

Prior to the concert band members will serve their annual complimentary lasagna holiday dinner for local senior citizens in the high school cafeteria beginning at 6:15 p.m. Community seniors wishing to attend should make a reservation by calling 564-7910 extension 4132 before Dec. 9.

Shirts ‘N Skirts, Square Dance Club, meets from 7 to 9:30 p.m. every Friday at the Fulton Municipal Building, South First Street. All ages are welcome, under 16 years old must be accompanied by an adult. Info: 591-0093 or email

Remember this column is about and for the people of Hannibal and the surrounding area.  If you have an event that you would like the public to know about, send me an e-mail or give me a quick call. Rita Hooper, 706-3564,

LeClair writes to constituents

The election season is over and the holidays are upon us.

I want to express my heartfelt thanks to the people of Fulton for their support during the last six years. Serving on the legislature has been a wonderful experience, one that will remain with me always.

On Election Night, of course I was disappointed, but felt the right thing to do was to contact my opponent to congratulate him. I went to the Democrat gathering and did just that, stating that “he ran a clean race.”

It was not until a few days later that I learned of the campaign mailing he sent alleging that I made “ILLEGAL” votes. For the record, I am proud of each and every vote I have ever taken in the legislature and always voted with the best interests of Fulton in mind.

Just because some legislators on the opposite side of the aisle do not like something, does not make it “ILLEGAL.”

The two votes my opponent featured in his mailing were both upheld and completely researched through our county attorney and the courts.

Redistricting, while always uncomfortable and difficult, was conducted to the letter of the law using the 2010 census and a computer program. Politics played no role and it’s shameful how my opponent misconstrued this process.

The appointment of the county treasurer was done according to our laws as researched by the county attorney. The negative campaign to destroy Fred Beardsley failed and he was duly elected this fall by the people of Oswego County.

Honesty and character are essential in politics. For anyone who knows me I wear my emotions on my sleeve and fight for what I think is right. That’s how I served the good people of Fulton the last six years and, again, I am proud of that service.

I just hope that you will hold my opponent, your new legislator, accountable to you. Charracter assassination and this continuous reinvention of the facts from certain legislators in the minority caucus do nothing to help Oswego County.

It may sneakily win an election, but in the long run that unethical behavior will come back to bite you.

Louella LeClair

Legislator District 25

Editor’s note: the mailer does not call LeClair’s votes illegal, but calls the county’s redistricting plan and the appointment of Beardsley illegal.

Goodbye, Etaoin Shrdlu

I was saddened to hear that Vince Caravan, the alter ego of Etaoin Shrdlu (who wrote an occasional column for the Oswego Valley News when I worked there back in the mid-70s) passed away recently.

Etaoin was unfailingly droll, like Vince — who was also an intelligent, generous and supportive mentor to me. Etaoin got his foreign-sounding name from now-forgotten linotype operations, whereas Vince got his the familiar way.

I can’t think of Etaoin or Vince without smiling; either one could always be depended upon to lift your mood. But it was Vince who signed my paycheck.

That led to a story that I’ll tell now for the second time in print. (The first was in a Bantam memoir I co-wrote called “Younger Than That Now — A Shared Passage From the Sixties.”)

When I got my first check, I noticed that it came out to just short of a round $100 after taxes. So I went in to Vince’s office, showed him the odd number and suggested he could remedy the situation by throwing a few more bucks into the pot.

He stared at me for a moment but then broke into that wonderful smile of his and said: “I like even numbers, too. A hundred it is.” For the rest of my time there we got along like old friends.

I used to love to read Etaoin’s columns in the paper, and when time passed without one I’d get on Vince’s case about it. I’m not saying I had anything to do with it, but sooner or later Etaoin would be back and all would be right in Valley News world.

Goodbye, Etaoin and Vince. I’ll always remember you both fondly.

Jeff Durstewitz

Saratoga Springs, NY

Residents thank sand pit owner

We wanted to write and thank William Simmons for offering his sand to the county for use on the roads in the winter.

In July, Kurt Ospelt wrote the Hannibal planning board that the county has “abandoned its plan to open a sand pit on the Beckwith property immediately” after it was found out the road to the sand pit had been put in illegally. This left the county without sand on the west side of the river.

The neighboring towns, at the direction of Mr. Ospelt, this year had to get their sand from the Scriba pit instead of the transfer station.

At a recent town of Hannibal meeting, Terry Wilbur got up and said ‘if you have sand, contact Kurt Ospelt and the county administrator, they need sand for this side of the river.”

Mr. Simmons has a sand pit right near Mr. Beckwith’s sand pit and Mr. Simmons already has a road to it and the pit was already permitted by the DEC for mining a few years ago.

This is a wonderful opportunity for the county to get sand and not have to spend any more money to get to it after they’ve  already spent $15,000 to $43,000 on the road to the Beckwith sand pit.

Mr. Simmons sent a letter Oct. 9 to Kurt Ospelt offering his sand. It reads: “In light of the situation in Hannibal, I feel obligated to help the taxpayers and inform them that my sand is for sale.

My sand pit is located off of Mill Street in the town of Hannibal. It will be available for $1 a cubic yard. This should eliminate a lot of previous problems with access to available sand. There is already an access road to the sand pit off Mill Street and it has already been permitted in the past. This could decrease the amount of truck traffic through the center of town. I believe it would be a more cost effective alternative for the taxpayers of Hannibal.”

Again we would like to thank Mr. Simmons for stepping up and helping out the residents of Hannibal and the surrounding towns who will use the sand.

Bill and Barb Bogacz

Josh and Molly Bomgren

Tim Harmon

All of Hannibal

State Senate Report, by state Sen. Patty Ritchie

How does hundreds of extra dollars in your pocket each year sound?

If you’re a homeowner, that’s what you could be receiving through the state’s STAR program, which provides 2.6 million homeowners in New York state — including nearly 85,000 in our region — with savings on their school property tax bills each year.

Recently, dozens of people in the Central and Northern New York region re-registered for the program through my STAR workshops, held in Pulaski, Watertown and Gouverneur. Made possible with the help of local assessors, these events helped those who currently receive Basic STAR re-register for the benefit.

A new state law mandates re-registering to streamline administration of the program and help prevent fraud. The requirement does not affect senior homeowners enrolled in Enhanced STAR.

The Basic STAR exemption is available for owner-occupied, primary residences where the combined income of resident owners and their spouses is $500,000 or less. Married couples with multiple residences are only eligible to receive one Basic STAR exemption.

I’ve been working hard to spread the word about re-registering for this money-saving program, and as a result, more than 1,100 homeowners have clicked through my website to reapply online for Basic STAR.  But, state officials say more than 20,000 Basic STAR enrollees in our region still need to re-register.

Recently, Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued a warning regarding deceptive STAR program solicitations. State officials said companies have been sending letters to homeowners offering to help them apply for their Basic STAR exemption in exchange for the first year’s tax savings.

Please know if you’re a homeowner, you can reapply on your own for free.

If you still need to re-register, you can find a link to do so on my website,  You can also call the special STAR hotline at (518) 457-2036.  Representatives will be available Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Jerry’s Journal

The night the lights went out: 

How many people remember that night of the Northeast Power Failure?

Mary Ann Cartner does. With her permission, I share with you now her personal account of that very scary event:

“It was a dark, cold and rain-stormy night in Buffalo, New York on November 9, 1965. I was expecting my first child and was home alone as my husband was working the night shift.

“I lay on the couch covered with an afghan while listening to a Canadian radio station. The music playing was soothing and I started to doze off when suddenly it sounded as though the music was playing on a warped record.

“The lights went out. The room was silent except for the sound of heavy raindrops on the parlor windows. There was total darkness and I thought a fuse blew, but I had no flashlight so I couldn’t take the chance to get to the basement.

“I eventually found the way to my bedroom and was happy that we had a gas space heater to keep me warm until the power finally came back on. My son was born two days later on Nov. 11, 1965.”

I thank Mary Ann for her memory-sharing and for suggesting a website about the ‘Power Failure” that, according to the New York Times, not only snarled the Northeast, but left 800,000 caught in subways in NYC, tied up auto traffic, left the city groping in the dark, and lasted for 13 hours.

“The snarl at rush hour in New York City spread into nine northeastern states and two provinces of southeastern Canada. Some 80,000 square miles, in which perhaps 25 million people live and work,” the reporter Peter Kihss wrote.

The lights and the power went out first at 5:17 p.m. somewhere along the Niagara frontier of New York state and spread outward from there. “The tripping of automatic switches hurled the blackout eastward across the state” and all over the northeast… “It was like a pattern of falling dominoes,” he said.

While some people wondered if sabotage was the cause, that idea was dismissed by the government and soon after President Lyndon Johnson called for a study of the power failure and a task force was formed.

 In Popular Culture: 

With my curiosity wetted by Mary Ann’s email and the write up in the New York Times, I googled Wikipedia (the free online encyclopedia) to learn what the study showed.

“The cause of the failure was human error,” it basically said, and that “a lack of voltage and current monitoring was a contributing factor to the blackout.”

That discounts the sabotage notion but, if you’re a fan of UFO sightings, this is what the section of Wikipedia entitled “In Popular Culture” has to say about an idea that continues to float around even today:

“When no cause for the blackout was immediately apparent, several UFO writers (including John G. Fuller, in his book Incident at Exeter) postulated that the blackout was caused by UFOs. This was evident by numerous sightings of UFOs near Syracuse prior to the blackout.”

Well, Dear Reader, I don’t know much about UFOs in and around Syracuse or anywhere else, but I do know that Mary Ann’s recollection is sure to prompt a lot of memories for many of you out there.

Do you remember what were you doing that dark night 48 years ago? (PS: not every place in the Northeast had a long blackout because they had their power plant.)

Sunrise, sunset:

As it has become the custom over the years — my mother used to do it and before her my grandmother — I will be hosting several of my family members to sit down to a turkey dinner with all the trimmings with Ed and me on Thanksgiving Day.

Actually, everyone — men and women and children — help out with the food, the table setting up and the cleaning up afterward. I couldn’t do it other wise.

As I tell my kids, I want to do it as long as I can. When I can’t, I say, they will have to take over at one of their houses!

My mother’s been gone a year and I miss her. My grandmother’s been gone several years and I still miss her. That’s how it goes, years fly by and people you love come and go.

That’s why, as I grow older, I have become more aware of this “sunrise, sunset” thing they sing about in “Fiddler on the Roof”.

We humans sure do fiddle a lot of our life away, spending too much of our time on things that don’t really count.

Why aren’t we grateful for the goodness in our lives instead of dwelling on all the bad things we have no control over? Who cares if So and So does such and such? Aren’t they struggling with how to get through this life like everybody else is?

Watching the news on TV and seeing so much misery in this world makes me wonder what the heck I have to complain about.

Sure, I have my share of old age aches and pains, but who doesn’t? And sure, my house is not quite as tidy as it used to be, but who’s to judge?

And if I sit in my recliner with my feet up and rest a little more than I used to, so what?  I have it good. That’s all there is to it. I hope you do, too. Happy Bird-day, everyone.

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 Please put Jerry’s Journal in the subject line. Thanks!

Your hometown. Your news.