Victor and Margaret Potish celebrate 70th wedding anniversary

Victor and Margaret Potish of Sandy Pond recently celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary.

Assemblyman Will Barclay presented the couple with a state Assembly Resolution commemorating the family milestone. The resolution states: “Whereas, their love, devotion, caring, sensitivity and responsiveness to their family, friends and all who know them are their hallmark and tradition.”

The couple celebrated the occasion with their family. 

Matthew Burnham, Abby Mandel married Aug. 3

Matthew Burnham and Abby Mandel were married Aug. 3, 2013 at Vintage Villas, Austin, Texas.

Officiating was the bride’s sister, Beth Mandel, of Ohio.

The groom is the son of Bruce and Ann Burnham, of Fulton. The bride is the daughter of Jeff and Rae Mandel, of Shelby Township, Michigan.

Maid of honor was Dana Mandel, of Michigan. Bridesmaids were Jessica Etien, of New York; Beth Moore, of Virginia; Lindsey Ferguson, of Michigan; Carrie Bochenek, of Texas; Lydia McClure, of Texas; and Christen Schram of Michigan.

Best men were Matt Ely, of New York, and Chris Guenther of Texas. Groomsmen were Bradford Burnham, of New York; Tim Lee, of Massachusetts; Mike Leota, of California; Mark Roberts, of California; and Brian Swift, of Massachusetts.

A reception at Vintage Villas followed the ceremony. The bride and groom honeymooned in Spain.

The couple resides in Austin, Texas.

In and Around Hannibal, by Rita Hooper

Lest we forget — today is Dec. 7, the date that President Franklin Roosevelt said “will live in infamy,” when he addressed a joint session of the US Congress in 1941.

On Dec. 7, Japanese planes attacked the United States Naval Base at Pearl Harbor, killing 2,300 Americans.

The USS Arizona was completely destroyed and the USS Oklahoma capsized.

Twelve ships sank or were beached, nine more were damaged. A total of 160 aircraft were destroyed and 150 more damaged.

On Dec. 8, Congress declared war on Japan bringing the United States into World War II.

Within days, Germany and Italy also declared war on the U.S.

WWII began in 1939, when Germany invaded Poland and ended in 1945 when Germany and Japan surrendered to the allies.

In all, 60 million people were killed, over 2.5 percent of the world’s population.

In this Christmas season, as we await the birth of the Prince of Peace, let us take a few minutes to remember those who have lost their lives through wars, past and present.

Let us work to bring peace to the earth and to turn our swords into pruning hooks, that those who have died, may not have died in vain.


Hannibal Center Schools

Well folks — we are up to District No. 7 — Hannibal Center — Schools in Hannibal area before centralization.

Hannibal Center was settled in 1805.  Orren Cotton, one of the first settlers to the area was a millwright by trade and built the first grist mill.

He was a descendant of the celebrated Puritan preacher of Boston, Dr. John Cotton.

In the next 50 years or so, Hannibal Center became a thriving little hamlet.  There were a number of industries that gave employment to the residents.

John McLaury operated the tannery and Norman Titus was the proprietor of a flour and feed mill on the west side of Nine Mile Creek.

There were several saw mills and a peppermint still operated by W.W. Brackett. Later a carding mill and later a foundry came into being.

The Hannibal Center Church can date its beginnings back to 1830 with James A. Brackett as the first class leader.

The church building was built in 1862 or 63.

W.W. Brackett also had the largest of three general stores in the Center and he also had a general store in the Village.

There were also two hotels/taverns.  Judson S. Kellogg began blacksmithing in Hannibal Center in 1877.

At one time, great excitement was raised over digging for gold in the area.

Additional prominent residents of the center were Issac Ketcham, the Dickinsons, James Knolton and William Ames.

The first school in the town of Hannibal was kept at Hannibal Center in 1810; Laura Kent was the first teacher.

A large two-classroom wooden schoolhouse was built in Hannibal Center probably in the last half of the 19th century although the exact date of construction is unknown.

It was located on what is now call the Town Garage Road.

In 1931, the school was changed from a two-room school to a one-room school because of the small number of children in attendance.

Electricity was installed in 1933.

Two years later, the two-room school arrangement was re-established due to increased enrollment. However, this was a temporary condition and the school eventually went back to a one-room set up.

Successful teachers in this district were Hannah Wood, Malissa Lake, Richard Smith, Frank Haven, Eva Brackett, Georgia Brackett, Fannie Rogers Cooley, Mr. Vanderlinder, Leon Harris, Will Allen, Mattie Cox, Helen Gardenier, Mrs. Carrie Pooler, Cora Blake, Ruth Ames, Lorilla Loomis, Katie Walsh, Ruth Dennison, Ann B. Brackett, Grace Atwater Rogers, Maggie McNamara, Frank Tuller, Belle Tuller and Nettie Rogers.

In 1890, Frank E. Brackett; 1890-91 S.W. Holden; 1892-93 Emma J. Smith; 1893-94 Emma Smith and Jane Talmadge; 1894-95 Ella Mae Ames; 1897-98 Hattie J. Smith;1899-1900 Edna Godfrey and Mertie L. Dann; 1902-03 Rena Gardenier and Robert Burns; 1905-06 Ella Lounsbery; 1906-07 Zilpha Stickle; 1907-08 Mae Pellet Rogers; 1908-10 Mildred Perkins and Mae D. Pellett, 1910-11 Robert J. Burns and Ethel Robinson. 1917-Agnes Farden and Susie Spafford; 1919-20 Ruth

Baldwin Weldon; 1920-26 Ella Lounsbery and Mae Rogers; 1926-28 Mae Rogers and Ella Wheeler Perkins; 1928-30 Letty McGlen and Meda Cooper; 1930-31 Grace Welling and Mae Rogers; 1931-32 Grace Welling; 1932-35 Ella Lounsbery; 1935-38 Clara Wilke and Ella Lounsbery; 1938-39 Clara Wilke and Mae Rogers; 1939-41 Marion Gannon and Vivian Megraw; 1941-42 Olive Schneider and Vivian Megraw; 1942-43 Olive Schneider and Reta Merriam; 1943-49 Ella Lounsbery.

After centralization and the resulting closing of the school, the Town of Hannibal used the building for storage.

In 1983, the Town of Hannibal constructed a new town barn and no longer had any need for the old school.

The Town offered to give the schoolhouse to the Hannibal Historical Society; but the building would have been costly to restore. Therefore the group declined the offer and the structure was town down.

Teacher Grace Welling married John Cox and was organist at Hannibal Community Church for 43 years if memory serves me correctly.

And teacher Marion Gannon married and I can’t remember her married name and moved to Syracuse. She had a brother Jimmy (I think that was his name) who became a professional musician if I have the story correct.

I’m indebted once again to Hannibal’s Historical Highlights by Gordon Sturge and Hannibal History in Pictures and Prose by the Hannibal Historical Society.

Didn’t want you to think I was ‘that smart!’

Let me know if you have something to add so we all know the ‘rest of the story!’


Around the Town

The Sons of the American Legion will hold their monthly breakfast buffet from 8 to 11 a.m. Sunday Dec. 8 at the Legion, Rochester Street, Hannibal.

Hannibal United Methodist Church will have an afternoon of entertainment with the Tri-County Singers performing a Christmas Cantata at 2 p.m. Dec. 8. They will perform “On This Shining Night.”

It is a free performance with donations accepted.

Refreshments served after.

Also on the 8th, First United Church of Fulton, 33 S. Third (east side of the River) will be holding an afternoon of music with the Hannibal Jammers at 2 p.m.

Hannibal Senior Dining Center meets at noon for dinner at the Senior Center (Library Building) on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Give Rosemary a call and make your reservation at 564-5471.

This week’s menu is:

Monday: Lasagna with meat sauce, vegetable blend, green and yellow beans, ice cream

Wednesday: Baked chicken, creamed potatoes, zucchini and tomatoes, juice, cookie

Friday: Hamburger on roll, garlic red potatoes, vegetable, applesauce

Activities: Monday, Wii bowling;   Wednesday, bingo after lunch; Friday,  games.

Kenney Middle School is holding a BoxTops for Education contest.

Two students who 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 bringing in five or more BoxTops during the contest will be entered in drawings for several prizes.

Each BoxTop is worth 10 cents to the school. Hannibal has raised more than  $600 for the school so far this year.

All money earned benefit programs for the students.

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


Holiday Events

The Village Market (IGA) will host its 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 be providing music for your enjoyment.

The Hannibal Senior Band will be presenting its 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.

Serving begins at 6:15 p.m. Community seniors wishing to attend should make a reservation by calling 564-7910 ext. 4132 before Dec. 9.

Mentioning Christmas Bureau reminds me drivers are needed to help deliver packages for Santa from 9 to 11 a.m., Dec. 18.

Give the high school or district office a call if you can help do this.

It is a great deal of fun and some high school students help you so there is no heavy lifting for you to do.

The Elderberry Christmas Dinner has been changed to noon Thursday, Dec. 12, at the American Legion. The luncheon will be catered by Brenda Fletcher — sure hope you made your reservation.

You are reminded to bring a $3 gift for the exchange game.

I have it on good authority that Santa Claus Is Coming To Town.

Friday Dec. 13, he’ll be at the Hannibal Fire Department Firehouse on Oswego Street from 6 to 8 p.m.

He’s keeping his eye out for all those good little boys and girls from birth to 10 years old and I understand from one of his elves, that he’s put a few gifts in his bag!

Kids of all ages are invited to share in refreshments.

Shirts ‘N Skirts, Square Dance Club, meets every Friday from 7 to 9:30 p.m. at the Fulton Municipal Building, South First Street. Admission is $5.

All ages are welcome, under 16 years old must be accompanied by an adult. for more infomation, call 591-0093 or email

‘Tis the season to be jolly … please email me or give me a call if your organization has any special plans for the holiday season that you want to publicize.

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 email or give me a quick call.

Rita Hooper 706-3564

Oswego city taxes up about 80 percent in proposed city budget

By Debra J. Groom

Oswego city residents could see their taxes go up nearly 80 percent if the proposed 2014 city budget is adopted by the Common Council.

But Mayor Thomas Gillen is hoping work with the council in coming weeks will find some places to cut in the plan. He already cut $65,879 from the budgets submitted to him by department heads.

The proposed budget totals $34,574,842, an increase of 14.2 percent compared to the 2013 budget of $30,112,264.

This is an increase of $4,462,578.

Gillen said this would increase the tax rate paid by residents and businesses from $10.03 per $1,000 to $18.25 per $1,000, up more than 81 percent.

He said it amounts to about an additional $575 in taxes for people who own an average home in Oswego assessed at $70,000.

“By all means, I am not minimizing this at all,” Gillen said. “That’s a lot of money to people.”

He said one reason taxes are going up is the city has lost more than $48 million in assessed value. He said the Port of Oswego and Oswego Hospital — both tax exempt entities — have bought up land whose owners used to pay taxes on that land.

Other budget increases came in the following:

A loss of $804,879 in non-property revenue. Gillen said this is items such as reduced payments to the city by Brookfield Power and National Grid for use of hydrostations on the Oswego River.

Mandated retirement rates. Gillen said the Police and Firemen’s Retirement System rate is increasing from 25.1 percent to 28.4 percent. The Employees Retirement System rates are increasing from 18.5 percent to 22 percent.

Affordable Care Act. Mandates a 2.3 percent increase for Medicare contracts and a 8.46 percent increase in insurer fees for active and non-Medicare contracts.

Union contracts. Gillen said constracts with the city’s unions resulted in higher pay for workers, lump sum payouts and retirement cost increases.

Gillen also said in his budget message:

“We also have to prepare ourselves for the potential loss of revenue in on-going and future negotiations with NRG, National Grid and the Metropolitan Water Board,” which own property in the city.

Gillen said the proposed budget includes no layoffs or cuts in city services. No elected officials are getting raises.

In his budget message, Gillen said if all new positions were removed from the budget, the tax rate would decrease to about $17.46 a $1,000. If all equipment purchases also were removed, the tax rate would be about $17.18 per $1,000.

If the city did both, the tax rate would be about $16.39 per $1,000 of assessed value.

“For every $1 million we cut from the budget, the rate changes by $1 per $1,000,” Gillen said in his budget message.

Other areas where the city saw decreases in revenue was in fewer launches at its marina, Medicare subsidies, loss of revenue from Midtown Plaza redevelopment and a new hotel due to lawsuits.

Even with the increase, Gillen believes Oswego residents get a lot for their money.

“They get ambulance, fire, police, DPW, clearing of leaves, parks and recreation. The value of living is a safe and clean city is worth something.”

For about four years straight, Oswego’s tax rate didn’t change, staying at $8.98 per $1,000. then it went up to $10.03 a $1,000

Gillen said Oswego’s rate for 2013 still is below most cities close to its 18,200 population: Amsterdam, 18,620, 2013 rate of $13.07; Auburn, 27,000, rate of $13.05; Cortland, 19,204, rate of $15.34; Ogdensburg, 11,000, rate of $16.75.

Bodley grad completes infantry training

Army Pfc. Sean L. LaBeef, a 2005 graduate of G. Ray Bodley High School in Fulton, has graduated from basic infantry training at Fort Benning, Columbus, Ga.

During the nine weeks of training, LeBeef received training in drill and ceremonies, weapons, map reading, tactics, military courtesy, military justice, physical fitness, first aid, and Army history, core values and traditions.

Additional training included development of basic combat skills and battlefield operations and tactics, and experiencing use of various weapons and weapons defenses available to the infantry crewman.

LaBeef is the son of Charles Knapp and Yvette LaBeef of Fulton.

He earned an associate degree in 2008 from Herkimer County Community College.

Lions barbecue benefits scholarship

The Fulton Lions Club has announced it will host its eighth annual chicken barbecue from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday Feb. 9 at the Fulton Polish Home.

The barbecue benefits the club’s Mary and Harold “H” Dowd Memorial Scholarship, said Don LaBarge, Fulton Lions president.

“This year, the tickets may be purchased in advance,” LaBarge said. “All tickets purchased before Jan. 9, 2014 will be entered in a drawing for a $50 Struppler’s Market gift card, or a Struppler’s $50 Valero gas card.

Barbecue Chairman Ken Ruscitto is selling the advance tickets; he can be reached at 427-1629.

Chicken dinner tickets may also be purchased for at the door for takeout, Ruscitto said.

Local delivery of five or more dinners may be pre-arranged by contacting any Lions Club member in advance of the event or by calling Ruscitto at 427-1629 on the day of the event.

In addition, there will be a 50-50 drawing that day.

The chicken, as last year, will be barbequed by Jim Aluzzi of Kristen’s Kitchen & Catering, Fulton, who is donating his time and equipment.

Each dinner features chicken, baked beans, salt potatoes, macaroni salad and dessert.

“We also want to thank Chris Satchel and Mimi’s Drive–In for donating macaroni salad to our event,” said Lion Charles McIntyre, event co-chair.

“Harold ‘H’ Dowd was a member of the Fulton Lions Club for more than 40 years,” LaBarge said. “ He served both our club and our community with dedication, selflessness and good humor.

Mary Dowd was an honorary Fulton Lions Club member who always opened her home to the club and to foreign exchange students for years. The Fulton Lions have established a scholarship for a graduating Fulton high school student in their name to be awarded on a yearly basis.”

For more information, contact Ruscitto at 427-1629. For more information on the Fulton Lions Club or membership with the club, visit

Community Band performs at G. Ray Bodley

The sounds of the holiday season will once again be heard at 7 p.m. Sunday Dec. 15 at the annual Fulton Community Band Christmas Concert in the G. Ray Bodley High School auditorium, said Steve Chirello, president of the Fulton Music Association.

The concert is free.

The Fulton Community Band will perform several new arrangements and old favorites including Leroy Anderson’s “Sleigh Ride,” “Sounds of Christmas Joy,” “Go Tell it on the Mountain,” “Great Songs of Christmas,” “The Hallelujah Chorus,” and more.

The band also will perform “A Christmas Auld Lang Syne” in remembrance of Jack Walsh, longtime city clerk in Fulton, and Muriel Allerton, former Fulton mayor.

Walsh died in 2012 and Allerton died this year.

The Roamin’ Catholic Choir, under the direction of Dolores Walrath, will sing in the concert and will feature “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas,” “Christmas in 3 Minutes” and more.

“The evening will end with a rousing Christmas carol sing-along with the band, the choir, the Hamer Sing-a-long group and the audience, Chirello said.

Everyone in the community is invited to attend, Chirello said. For more information, call 342-2294.

Homeschool program finishes fall co-op

Oswego County LEAH (Loving Education at Home) announces the completion of its Homeschool fall cooperative.

Twice a year, homeschool students gather at the Christian Missionary Alliance Church in Fulton.

Classes are offered from preschool to high school, with a nursery available.

Once in the fall and once in the spring, area homeschoolers gather on eight consecutive Tuesdays from 9 a.m. to noon.

This year’s fall co-op ran from Sept.  17 to Nov. 12 and was comprised of nearly 150 children.

These three hours are divided into three 45-minute class periods with multiple choices available for each grade level.

Parent taught classes such as Shakespeare, Reader’s Theater, Magnetism and Electricity, Sewing and Gym were just a few of the class subjects available this co-op.

Co-op provides a chance for social interaction and supplements studies done at home.

Anyone interested in co-op or joining LEAH is invited to visit its website at

LEAH is a nationwide homeschool group was founded in 1983 to allow homeschoolers to connect with, support, and encourage one another.

Your hometown. Your news.