Elks donate dictionaries to Oswego elementaries

Submitted by Oswego schools

Dictionaries and the Oswego Elks’ Lodge 271 go hand-in-hand.

Once again the Oswego Elks’ Lodge 271 representatives brought boxes of dictionaries to  Oswego  elementary schools and continued support of area youth.

For the eleventh consecutive year the local fraternal organization has rallied to assist education with the donation of hundreds of student dictionaries to third graders throughout the Oswego City School District.

Oswego Elk’s representative Jan Pashley  distributed the dictionaries at  Charles E. Riley, Frederick Leighton, Kingsford Park, Fitzhugh Park and Minetto elementary schools.

Nearly 400 Oswego third graders are the beneficiaries of the nationwide “Dictionary Project”.

Pashley said, “This is a very worthwhile project that we have been involved in for several years. This is a great learning resource for these students and we are happy to be brining this program to our schools. “

The excitement was evident as the Elks’ members journeyed from classroom to classroom presenting each student with their new book.  Immediately after receiving their new books the students proudly put their names on their newest possession.

Students busily thumbed through their new books and discovered a variety of subjects that they didn’t know were in the dictionary.  This project provides for learning and organizing dictionary skills that are beneficial for all students to improve writing, comprehension and grammar.

The “Dictionary Project” has been supported by the Oswego Elks’ Lodge. It originated in 1995 as Mary French of Charleston, South Carolina, created the program to distribute dictionaries to as many third graders as possible.

In the last 18 years French, her board of directors and a network of volunteers, had raised enough money to put a dictionary in the hands of every public school third grader in South Carolina. The Elks’ have adopted this effort in New York State.

Currently the “Dictionary Project” has been implemented in all 50 states and the Oswego Elks’ Lodge once again displayed its dedication and commitment to Oswego’s children with the generous donation.

Author shares tips with Fulton students about how to tell a good tale

Submitted by Oswego County BOCES

Author/Illustrator Peter Catalanotto recently visited Granby and Fairgrieve Elementary schools to talk with kindergarten through second-grade students about his stories and where they originate.

The acclaimed author explained how some of the stories he writes are true, while others are make-believe. Ideas for his stories come partly from his own life, with added bits from his imagination.

All stories must have two essential elements; a character that wants something and an obstacle or problem they must solve to get what they desire.

To use his own work as an example, in Ivan the Terrier, Ivan the dog wants his own story. After interrupting three separate classic fairytales, the narrator gives up and starts a tale about a dog named Ivan.

Students in the audience giggled in delight when Catalanotto showed an illustrated page of Ivan’s hind end, leaving his own story to catch a nap.

In Dylan’s Day Out, a story of a bored Dalmatian that sneaks outside, Catalanotto uses his imagination. While the author does own a dog who always wants to be let out, his dog in real life never tended goal in a soccer game with penguins.

Catalanotto encouraged students to try looking at things in a new way. In the story Dylan’s Day Out, he used black and white animals with colorful backgrounds, something he’d never seen done in a dog book before.

Catalanotto also showed students the process in which he illustrates a story. First he mocks up a storyboard and quickly jots down ideas. He circles words that he’s misspelled, that will need attention later.

A storyboard does not look like a book, but it’s a visual aid for an author to see what he or she has already written. It also allows Catalanotto to see his best ideas.

He also illustrates in pencil in the rough or dummy copy, which makes elements on the page easier to alter.

Catalanotto drew a Dalmatian about to be hit by a soccer ball for the student audience to see. He first works in light pencil, and traces over his lines more firmly once he’s satisfied with the page.

Catalanotto showed off some of his own tricks students can use in their next work of art.

For instance, instead of drawing lines around a soccer ball to show movement, Catalanotto uses an eraser to blur a pencil line. In doing so, the eraser becomes dirty with smudge marks. To clean the eraser, Catalanotto “drew” with it, making a spot on the dog’s nose.

Letters to the editor

Dunsmoor looks forward to term

I would like to give a big thank you to the people that took the time to case their vote for me for my second term as town of Volney Highway Superintendent.

My first term was a great experience and there is much more to learn. when you have a team of highway workers that Volney has, the next two years should be ever better.

Roger Dunsmoor,

Volney highway superintendent


Myers thanks voters

I would like to thank everyone who voted in the recent 4th Ward election for councilor.

I appreciate you putting your faith in my hands for the next two years. I look forward to working with the mayor and rest of the Common Council and will do the best job I can.

I would also like to thank my Democrat opponent Mr. Ralph Stacy. He ran a clean campaign and was a gentleman both during and after the election. He congratulated me on my win and pledged his help if I needed it.

Ralph did have some ideas I agreed with and hope to include them with my own. I hope he stays involved in helping to move the city forward.

I wish I could say the same thing about the third-party opponent. He resorted to low-level tactics instead of sticking to the issues. I put my confidence in the voters to see through that kind of negative campaigning. The people of this city don’t go for those kind of shenanigans.

Lastly I would like to point out once again, as I did after the Primary Election, how important it is for everybody to exercise their right to vote. Two of the primary races were decided by a single vote and this general election was decided by just two votes between Mr. Stacy and me. Nobody should think that their vote doesn’t matter because it does.

Once again, thank you to all who voted and especially those who supported me, I truly appreciate it.

Jim Myers

Councilor-Elect 4th Ward


Lyons thanks Granby voters

Heartfelt thanks to my supporters in the Town of Granby.

It makes me humble to think that so many people came out on Election Day and voted for me. Thank you so much.

Lynn Lyons


State Senate Report, by Patty Ritchie

With decorations up and festive music dominating the airwaves, it’s no secret, the holiday season is in full swing.

The same goes for the gift giving season. According to the National Retail Federation, the average American shopper will spend $737 this Christmas.  That translates to a total of $602 billion spent nationwide during the 2013 holiday shopping season.

One of the best ways to find unique and meaningful gifts for your loved ones is by shopping local.

When you shop from independent retailers, you support your neighbors and the local economy. It’s estimated that for every dollar spent at a locally-owned business, 45 cents is reinvested locally.

From fresh food and drink to handmade crafts, the offerings in our region for local gifts are endless.  One of my favorite options?  Artwork that captures the beauty of Central and Northern New York.

In an effort to highlight local talent, I have worked with local arts organizations to feature nearly two dozen artists through my “Senator Patty Ritchie Celebrates Local Artists” program.

Artists selected for this program have their artwork displayed at my district office locations in Oswego, Watertown and Ogdensburg.

Artists currently on display include:

Oswego County: Phyllis DiSalvo of Palermo began watercolor painting in 2008.  She continues to grow as an artist by learning new techniques using different types of media.  Phyllis’s work can be viewed at my Oswego office, located in the county office building at 46 E. Bridge St., Oswego.

St. Lawrence County:  Ogdensburg artist and photographer Dave Bracy takes his inspiration from everyday scenes on the Oswegatchie and St. Lawrence Rivers. An employee of the St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center, Dave spends a lot of  his time studying landscapes and fishing on the two rivers near his home. Dave’s work can be viewed at my St. Lawrence County office, located at 330 Ford St., Ogdensburg.

Jefferson County: Mary Randazzo is a renowned historical landmark artist inspired by the natural history and beauty of the Thousand Islands. A resident of Clayton, Mary is a self-trained artist who uses photos and on site sketches to paint the natural surroundings of her home. Mary’s work can be viewed at my Jefferson County office, located at 317 Washington St., Watertown.

For more information on these artists, as well as past participants, visit my website at www.ritchie.nysenate.gov.  Artists interested in being featured in the program can contact 782-3418.

During the holiday season, it’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle.  As you continue to shop for gifts for friends and family don’t forget to support our economy by buying local.

View from the Assembly, by Will Barclay

Common Core — the new academic standards adopted by 46 states intended to make students ready for college and careers—was put into motion for grades K-12 this school year.

The State Board of Regents adopted Common Core in 2010 in part to secure more federal aid for education. State assessments are now aligned with Common Core.

Beginning this September, teachers in most public school districts across New York were required to teach this brand new curriculum known as the Common Core.

According to the mission statement of CommonCore.org, its aim is to “provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn, so teachers and parents know what they need to do to help them.

The standards are designed to be robust and relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that our young people need for success in college and careers. With American students fully prepared for the future, our communities will be best positioned to compete successfully in the global economy.”

The mission is well intended but, as with many federal mandates tied to federal dollars, there are troubling aspects of Common Core.

Some critics are calling it ObamaCore — a one-size-fits-all model for education. Others are in support of Common Core and want to see it work.

Whether for or against, the consensus is the State of New York could have done a better job implementing these sweeping curriculum changes that affect all grade levels and build on the previous year’s knowledge.

Last week, I hosted a forum in Baldwinsville with some of my Assembly colleagues from throughout the state. We wanted to give the public a chance to submit testimony and provide us with their thoughts on this program. I attended not only as a Legislator, but also as a parent of a fifth- and eighth-grader.

For me, the forum was an opportunity to learn of the concerns of  other parents, teachers, administrators and even a young student. I appreciate all who attended and took time from their schedules to speak and/or submit testimony.

There was a variety of testimony. I’d be hard-pressed to summarize all sentiments in this space but there were many concerns. One thing is clear though: The State Education Department has put the burden on localities to make this work this year, with no phase-in period.

Though New York adopted Common Core in 2010, it wasn’t until late this summer that curriculum became available for teachers through the form of teaching modules. Many at the forum said they received the modules too late to adequately prepare lessons from them. Administrators said they had little time for staff development on the curriculum overhaul.  Also, staff development is expensive and districts say they are strapped for cash and not getting the federal or state aid to cover expenses associated with all of the mandates and teacher evaluations. The public can view the curriculum at http://www.engageny.org/

Parents who testified said their children are struggling and suffering with low grades and low self-esteem. Other teachers and parents are concerned with having scripted lessons and measuring a student’s ability based on tests. Some worry about students falling behind and the overall graduation rates.

There seemed to be variations too at the district level. Some districts are adhering strictly to the teaching modules while other teachers and school districts are more loosely following the teaching modules or, in some cases, are preparing their own teaching modules.

Regardless of teaching methods, students will be tested on the same material with the same exams, and their understanding of Common Core.  And teachers are being evaluated based on their ability to teach the brand new curriculum and student test scores.

As you can see, this is complicated. Further dialogue is needed so that either the Legislature or the State Education Department can respond with helpful solutions. Most people agree with having higher standards, however, I too am concerned about the way in which these standards are being implemented. Clearly, we need to slow down. Perhaps we need to delay testing, to give all grades a better chance of learning the material until 2015. Maybe we need to reduce the amount of testing or at least the stakes involved for the students and teachers—so that exam scores are not the sole judge of students’ knowledge and teachers’ ability. As we know, and science has supported with multiple studies, not all students learn the same way.

I invite you to watch some of the testimony recorded at the forum. There are videos from five different panels available to view.

Here are the links. I would invite you to also participate in this dialogue and encourage you to submit letters or emails to my office on this so I can share them with leaders in Albany and the State Education Department.

** Opening Remarks and Superintendents –http://youtu.be/MJUH0xUaoW0

** Administrators/SUNY/Chamber – http://youtu.be/Mu9QCP4TDs8

** Teachers (Part 1) – http://youtu.be/T79OyasE-9k

** Teachers (Part 2) – http://youtu.be/DLJgGQwznr4

** Parents and Student – http://youtu.be/GuMy254Za9U

If you have any questions or comments on this or any other state issue, or if you would like to be added to my mailing list or receive my newsletter, contact my office by mail at 200 N. Second St., Fulton, 13069, by e-mail at barclaw@assembly.state.ny.us or by calling 598-5185. You can also friend me, Assemblyman Barclay, on Facebook.

Honor rolls at Fulton Junior High Schools

Fulton Junior High has announced its high honor roll and honor roll for the first quarter.

Grade 7 High Honor Roll

Alice Allen, Dustyn Arroway, Joshua Austin, Dani Avery, Collin Baker-LaBreck, Jada Ballard, Ryan Barry, Maddison Baum, Rachel Bedford, Selene Belrad, Joseph Benavidez, Collin Bennett, Alessandro Berner, Michael Boak, Haley Bort, Holly Bourgeois, McKenna Bourgeois, Caleb Bowen, Nicholas Brown, Wendy Burch, Haley Calkins, Kaleb Carreon, Nicholas Cary, Kelly Caza, Shaylee Cealie, Caleb Clarke, Liam Clary, Montanah Coe, Felicity Couch, Isaac Crandall, Kaitlyn Crandall, Jasmine Criswell, Abigail Cuyler, Aaron Dedich, Andrew Dedich and Anthony DeMasi.

Also: Dylan Demauro, Ryan Denson, Cory Dexter, Kathryn Distin, Alexander Dombroski, Jacob Ely, Abigail Everts, Sarah Fisch, Victor Fischel, Cloe Gagnon, Michael Gilbert, Michaela Grant, Jacob Gugula, Katie Hall, Raiden Hansen, Roy Harvey-Studer, Justin Hatch, Mackenzie Hayden, Emily Hilton, Zachary Hobby, Caleb Hogan, Jenna Hood, Bailey Hourihan, Jacob Hughes, Leah Hulett, Andrew Hyde, Jadelyn James, Domonique Johnson, Devan Ketcham, Luke Kimball, Nora Kingsbury, Evan Kistner, Jacquline Knoblock and Jason Knopp.

Also: Jordan Knopp, Cassady LaBarge, Nathaniel Lindsey, Corey Maher, Kacey Markarian, Katelin Matthews, Jonathan McCann, Lindsay McCraith, Ryan Michaels, Courtney Miner, Taylor Miner, Charles Mitchell, Darian Monaghan, Montana Myhill, Michael Newton, Nicholas Noel, Hailey Nugent, Jacob Parkhurst, Keara Patterson, Aidan Percival, Lane Phillips, Kelsey Pickard, Kyle Ranieri, Haylee Rivera, Elizabeth Roik and Kelsey Rosenbarker.

Also: Killian Rowlee, Elisabeth Russell, Jenna Ruzekowicz, Trevor Schleicher, Destiny Schneider, Christopher Schreck, Katelynn Serio, Faith Sharkey, Eric Shear, Sierra Sheldon, Emily Smith, Ana Snyder, Morgan Stacey, Camille Stevenson, Ean Stevenson, Quynn Sweeney, Chayton Sykes, Steven Thompson, Brendan Todt, Katie Tyrrell, Hayley Vann, Carter Vashaw, Erin Waloven, Conner Ware, Kaylee Waugh, Gage White, Connor Wilde, Cody Wright and Caitlin Zupancic.

Grade 8 High Honor Roll

Olivia Abrams, Marissa Allen, Alfred Arduini, Gabriella Bailey, Zachary Barker-McLain, Justin Barney, Katelynn Belson, Addison Billion, Matthew Borrow, Maura Botsford, Zoie Bowering, Devin Boyce, Gabrielle Boyce, Lillian Bray, Jade Brien, Elizabeth Brown, Gillian Brown, Hannah Burlingham, Jahnyne Carey, Alicia Carroll, Hailey Carroll, Calinda Ceterski, Mckenna Chesbro, Julia Cieszeski, Jenna Coakley, Tyler Coant, Joshua Compson, Sheenvia Conley, Cole Cotton, Jordan Coulon, Breanna Debiew, Kaitlyn Dexter and Nicholas Dingman.

Also: Paige Drake, Hunter Dudley, Ernest Ferro, Austin Fleming, Makayla Florczyk, Meghan Foster, Devon Frank, Morgan French, Jacob Geitner, Michael Gerth, Hannah Gigliotti, Meredith Grimshaw, Julia Guarrera, Megan Guernsey, Abigail Gugula, Jordan Hagan, Brooke Halstead, Cody Hartle, Kira Hartnett, Cassandra Hartranft, Samantha Heywood, Kayleigh Hotaling, Nicholas Hughes, Dustin Huller, Charles Hyland, Jasmine James, Megan Johnson, Nolan Johnon, Mallori Kitts, Tessa Kunath, Ryan Lalik, Madison Lang, Savannah LaPage, Amber LaRosa, Bradley Martin, Jordyn Mason, Caitlyn McAfee, Ana Mendez-Rodriguez, Elver Merida, Annamarie Michels and Alyssa Mt. Pleasant.

Also: Morgan Murphy, Christopher Newton, Erin Nicholson, Anthony Noce, Alexus Pagan, Collin Parker, Cole Parkhurst, Dustin Parkhurst, Courtney Paro, Olivia Pawlewicz, Alexis Phelps, Aricka Phelps, Katerina Porcari, Celeste Raponi, Ethan Raponi, Destiny Rose, Mason Rowlee, Eliza Runeare, Tyler Ruttan, Anthony Salerno, Robert Salerno, Jeremy Samson, Alexander Semchenko, Jessie Sharkey, Ryan Sheffield, Dylan Sheldon and Valentina Shue.

Also: Emily Simpson, Zion Skipper, Cara Smith, Hailey Smith, Tucker Smith, Jesse Smithers, Shannon St. Andrews, Ariel Stacy, Alexander Stoutenger, Nathan Summerville, Maxwell Sunday, Austin Szymanski, Marissa Tanner, Samantha Tanner, Christopher Tetro, Brian Trombly, Andrew Trumble, Janeda Vasquez, Kenneth Verdoliva, Keegan Wallace, Nicholas Wallace, Karina Whitten, Jacob Willcox, Madison Wilson and Andrew Woodruff

Grade 7 Honor Roll 

Owen Ayotte, Taylor Babbitt, Alex Ball, Derrick Bort, Emily Bowers, Bethany Brummett, Jeffrey Button, Kaleb Calkins, Kyler Cashel, Damion Chevier, Joseph Cocozza, Allison Collins, Nathan Collins, Kayla Contois, Rylie Cotton, Chloe Davis, Adam DeMauro, Gage Doyle, Olivia Duca, Maya Ende, Mardivina Escalante-Rodriguez, Jacob Gibbs, Marguerite Grosvent, Ryan Gugula, Timothy Hall, Michael Hartmann, Dorothy Henopp, Thomas Hughes and Korbin Hyde.

Also: Samantha Jodway, Jasmine Malave, Molly Metcalf, Hannah Muckey, Emily Munger, Preston Netzloff, James Norton, Taylor Osborn, Mona Otvos, Alexis Paul, Cody Pittman, Adrieanna Rinn, Ariana Rivera, Kayla Ryder, Makaylee Schmeer, Ethan Serow, Paige Seymour, Brooke Shuster, Jonathan Simpson, Everett Stacy, Abigale Tanner, Emeraldlee Tanner, Kory Tyler, Isaiah Williams

Grade 8 Honor Roll

Ethean Akins, Julia Allen, Coby Anderson, Stephanie Boland, Brandon Brooks, Logan Brooks, Savannah Castle, Michael Cayer, Dominic Conn, Dedrah Crowson, Emily Dana, Mya Decker, Samantha Diezel, James Freeman, Dakota Gilchrist, Cole Green, Brooke Greenier, Brianna Grinnell, Brianna Gugula, Hunter Hall, Mitchell Haskins, Marissa Hayward, Heather Heywood, Mark Hoyt, Randy Huller and Emily Kelly.

Also: Mariah Kenyon, Brittany Kimber, Dylan Kress, Alexis Kurak, Arron LaBeef, Gage LeBlanc, Allison Loomis, Bobbi-Jo Mathews, Jacob May, Reed Mellen, Nicholas Merlino, Trinity Mills, Tayler Miner, Keely Morrison, Mariah Nolin, Nathaniel Paro, Jonathan Parrish, Harlea Perry, Zenia Petrie, Corey Pipher, Julie Piscitelli, Michael Ross, Kaitlynn Ryan, Daronda Scott, Jason Southworth, Kali Spaulding, Austyn Stoughtenger, Matthew Trapasso-Fowler, Joshua VanHorn, James Ward, Kameron Whipple and Annya Yeh.

Light in the Darkness

“The forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.”               

 Ephesians 1:7

Many there are who are unaware of or unwilling to admit their guilt before a Holy God.

But one who has felt the convicting power of the Holy Spirit (who came to ‘convict the world of sin…’) it is doubtful that there is a sweeter word than the word “forgiveness.”

When one understands there is nothing he or she can do to earn or be worthy of forgiveness, but experiences it at the hands of the living God, there is no more wonderful blessing in life.

“Blessed,” as Charles Spurgeon wrote,  “forever blessed be that dear star of pardon which shines into the condemned cell, and gives the perishing a gleam of hope amid the midnight of despair!”

True conviction and awareness of the depths of one’s guilt stands in awe and amazement that that sin, such sin as mine, can be forgiven, altogether and forever.

Hell is the rightful portion of every sinner and there is no possibility of escape while that sin remains upon me. There is only one way that this sin can be lifted from me; only one means of escape.

It is not through good works; never through  a sincere life devoted to serving ones fellow man or even God, Himself.  Yet Jesus tells us that we may have that burden, that guilt of sin removed forever.

Once again to quote Spurgeon, “Forever blessed be the revelation of atoning love which not only tells me that pardon is possible, but that it is (already) secured for all who rest in Jesus.”

Jesus offered Himself as the perfect lamb of God, was crucified, and therefore my sins are at this moment, and forever forgiven by virtue of His substitutionary pains and death. He died in my place.

My sins were laid upon Him. What joy is this! What bliss to be a perfectly pardoned soul!

We love Him and long for His return because He first loved us. We serve Him because He served us and our greatest need by sacrificing His all that we might be reconciled to the Father, made children of the most High God and joint heirs with His own Son, Jesus, the Christ.

To experience true forgiveness is to understand there is nothing we could have done or can do but allow our hearts to overflow with gratitude to the one who forgave. A life of worshipful service is the only thing we have to offer the One who paid the price of that forgiveness.

Once again the words of Spurgeon, “I bow before the throne which absolves me, I clasp the cross which delivers me, I serve henceforth all my days the Incarnate God, through whom I am this night a pardoned soul”.


Pastor David M. Grey

Mt. Pleasant United Methodist Church

Happy Thanksgiving!

By Debra J. Groom

Managing editor

I would be remiss on this day before the holiday if I didn’t wish all Valley News readers a pleasant and thankful day.

If you are gathering for a great meal with relatives and friends, you are truly blessed.

If you are alone, don’t despair. There are many places to go in the area for companionship and a tasty dinner. Many restaurants are open and a good number of churches or other organizations are putting on community Thanksgiving feasts.

If you have the time and money, stop into a nursing home to drop off some goodies for the hard-working staff or a gift or flowers for a resident. Nursing home residents often cannot leave for holiday festivities, so seeing someone drop in to say hi or “Happy Turkey Day” will really put a smile on their faces.

Share your good fortune by dropping off some doughnuts or bagels to others who work every holiday — namely police, firefighters, ambulance personnel and medical personnel at Oswego Hospital. They are putting in their time to ensure we all are safe and well so we can share this day with our loved ones.

And last but not least, say a little prayer or blessing for all the farmers in Oswego County and Central New York. Without them, none of us would have that fantastic turkey or squash or mashed potatoes or pumpkin pie to gouge ourselves with on Thanksgiving.

While the holiday is a day off for many, a day to eat ‘till you drop and a day for football and parades on TV, remember the day is called “Thanksgiving.” The best thing we all can do is take a moment between complaining about the lumps in the gravy or how that stupid quarterback fumbled that snap, and think about what we are really thankful for this year.

Personally, I am thankful to be back to work. Thankful I am making a paycheck again and don’t have to sell my house. Thankful that Scotsman Media Group gave me a chance at this job.

And I’m thankful to be back in Oswego County again. Having worked here for about six years before losiing my previous job, I am very happy to be back. The people here are one-in-a-million.

The weather, well, that’s another story. Not really excited about all the snow. But hey, maybe it will be a mild winter.

I’d be very thankful for that. (As long as it doesn’t hurt the snowmobile industry up north)

Anyway, Happy Thanksgiving.

Your hometown. Your news.