FULTON FAMILIES: Four decades strong, the Pawlewicz family perseveres

Editor’s note: Today we run the first in our series of stories about Fulton Families. The series will tell the stories of families that have either lived in Fulton for ages or perhaps only a short while — but the common bond will be they love the city and wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. If you know of a family we should highlight, please email Debbie Groom, Valley News managing editor, at dgroom@scotsmanmediagroup.com.

 

The Pawlewicz family takes a portrait at their large Christmas every year. This is the 2011 family picture. Today, the clan numbers 53 — and counting.(Photo courtesy of Noretta and Bob Pawlewicz)
The Pawlewicz family takes a portrait at their large Christmas every year. This is the 2011 family picture. Today, the clan numbers 53 — and counting.
(Photo courtesy of Noretta and Bob Pawlewicz)

By Ashley M. Casey

Nearly every available square inch of wall space is covered in photographs at the home of Bob and Noretta Pawlewicz. With 10 children, 31 grandchildren, one great-grandchild — and counting — they need all the photo space they can get. Another grandchild is expected to arrive in December, and their second great-grandchild is due next April.

Of those 10 children, six have homes in or near Fulton. The other four remain in Upstate New York.

Although the Pawlewicz family is seemingly a fixture in Fulton history — perhaps you went to school with a Pawlewicz, or worked with one, or worshiped at the same church — Bob and Noretta, surprisingly, are not natives to the area. Bob hails from Syracuse; Noretta, from Cazenovia.

In the fall of 1969, with six children in tow and plans for more, the Pawlewiczes sold their house in Syracuse and began to search for something that could accommodate their family’s growth.

Bob worked at R.E. Dietz Company in Syracuse, so they drew a 45-minute radius on a map around the city and started hunting for a house.

“We wanted to go to the country but didn’t want my husband to have to drive more than 45 minutes to an hour,” Noretta said. She recalled packing up her brood and visiting potential houses all over Central New York.

Finally, the family settled in the massive house just outside the city on County Route 8, where Bob and Noretta still live today.

“The more we stayed, it was like we had lived here forever,” Noretta said. “The last half of our family was born here, so that’s all they knew.”

 

Proud family – Noretta and Bob Pawlewicz pose in front of one of the many family portraits displayed in their home.Valley News photo by Ashley M. Casey
Proud family – Noretta and Bob Pawlewicz pose in front of one of the many family portraits displayed in their home.
Valley News photo by Ashley M. Casey

Keeping the faith

The Pawlewiczes attended Holy Family Roman Catholic Church and sent their kids to Catholic school.

“Looking back, the school system was a big influence on my family, and the church,” Bob Pawlewicz said of his children’s Catholic education. “With these two things behind us, we make good citizens.”

Their children attest that family and faith are the two main pillars in their lives.

Dan Pawlewicz of Palermo is the ninth of Bob and Noretta’s children. He teaches physical education at Hannibal Central School District and is vice president of the Fulton school board.

He recalled the role that religion has played throughout his life: the late Father Joseph Champlin baptized him; performed communion, confirmation and marriage rites; and even baptized his and wife Julie’s four daughters, Alexis, Erica, Olivia and Abigail.

Julie Galvin — Pawlewicz No. 6 — and her husband, Pat, are striving to include the same spiritual education for their children, Patrick and Meghan. Julie is a special education teacher at Lanigan Elementary School.

“Faith and spirituality (were) a big part of our life,” Julie recalled. “We prayed together. My mother always said, ‘The family that prays together stays together.’ … I practice that with my own kids, and my husband has that same belief.”

Julie said that Pat, raised in Oswego, comes from a similarly large family with 11 children, so the parallels in their families’ structure have made it easy to align their views for raising their own kids.

“As a kid, I didn’t understand because I thought it was more of a job that my parents wanted me to do — go to church, say my prayers,” she said. Now, she sees the importance of the morals her parents instilled in her and her nine siblings. “I want my kids to see those same values.”

 

This photo was taken in 1969, the year the Pawlewicz family moved from Syracuse to Fulton. Top row: Lori, Bob, Debbie; bottom row: Bill, Julie, Sheri, and John.Photo courtesy of the Pawlewicz family
This photo was taken in 1969, the year the Pawlewicz family moved from Syracuse to Fulton. Top row: Lori, Bob, Debbie; bottom row: Bill, Julie, Sheri, and John.
Photo courtesy of the Pawlewicz family

Family first, then Fulton

“Our community is a source of who we are,” said Sheri Spencer, Bob and Noretta’s seventh child. Sheri is a therapist who lives in Clifton Park, N.Y.

Although she said she misses Fulton, she and her husband, David, have no plans to return to the city. But she will never forget how growing up in Fulton shaped her and her siblings.

“I am so blessed. I think, ‘Wow, we were so fortunate to have grown up in a community with so many resources,’” she said.

Bob and Noretta encouraged all their children to pursue sports and other activities in school and in the community.

Sheri recalled swimming at the Westside pool, participating in traditional Polish dancing and seeing “Grease” with the whole family at the old movie theater downtown.

As much as she loves Fulton, Sheri said that her parents taught her that “community is secondary — family is first.”

Her sister, Julie, said that their parents helped them “understand what it looked like to have a healthy relationship.” Julie recalled huge family dinners in which everyone could socialize and share their problems. The whole family — each person at a different age, a different mindset, a different stage in life — would offer a new perspective.

“It was an unspoken unity that we had at the dinner table that was very special,” Julie said.

 

Turning the tide

Although on the whole, the Pawlewiczes’ view of life in Fulton is very sunny, they are not ignorant of the problems in their beloved city. Fulton once made a name for itself as “The City the Great Depression Missed,” but the Pawlewiczes have seen industry decline in their more than 40 years here.

However, the problems they see here are indeed fixable, and not unique to Fulton.

“There are problems in this community just like anywhere else,” Noretta said. “You try to avoid those things, and correct where you can.”

Noretta said it offends her when people choose to leave Fulton instead of trying to make the community better.

“There are so many things that are positive if you just look for them,” she said. “I worked for the Fulton Community Development Agency for more than 20 years. … I had a taste of both sides of the fence. Like anything else, you have your good days and your bad days, but certainly the positives outweigh the negatives in the things I did for the community.

She added that Fulton offers its citizens many resources, such as Oswego County Opportunities and the YMCA.

Her husband stressed that if Fultonians want their city to improve, they must take an interest in the community and each other.

“They can’t just sit back and moan and groan about how things aren’t right. They have to make things right,” Bob said. “I’m a firm believer in the ripple effect: You do good things and they keep moving on to other people. … We have to see this as our city and make it a good city.”

Dan echoed his father’s “ripple effect” philosophy. He suggested that the people of Fulton volunteer in schools and community organizations.

“There’s hope. There’s promise. There’s a lot of good things in our community. I believe in our mayor, trying his hardest to do with what he’s got. I commend volunteers … trying to make it a better place,” he said. “It’s a new generation of people. Granted, you don’t have your ‘Nestlés,’ but there’s a lot of interesting things going on.”

“My parents have tied Fulton to good things and family,” Julie said. “Good things happen in Fulton.”

Julie said that she and Pat have never had a desire to leave Fulton.

“We just knew this is where our heart was, in the area closest to our family,” she said.

In addition to their extensive clan, the Pawlewiczes hold dear the Fulton community as a whole.

“It’s a very giving, caring community,” Noretta said. “Many of our kids have professions where they could work anywhere, but they’ve chosen to stay here. They grew up with a sense of belonging and loyalty.”

“There’s a lot of hard-working people here — lot of honest people,” Dan said. “I hope people have hope (and) do their part. … It’s a team approach.”

Fifty-plus members strong, the Pawlewicz team shows no sign of giving up on Fulton, and they hope their fellow Fultonians don’t either.

The 10th and youngest Pawlewicz, Jennifer, was born in 1973. Top row: Noretta and Bob; middle row: Bob Jr., Julie, John, Sheri, Bill; bottom row: Lori, Dan, Jennifer, Rick and Debbie.Photo courtesy of Noretta and Bob Pawlewicz
The 10th and youngest Pawlewicz, Jennifer, was born in 1973. Top row: Noretta and Bob; middle row: Bob Jr., Julie, John, Sheri, Bill; bottom row: Lori, Dan, Jennifer, Rick and Debbie.
Photo courtesy of Noretta and Bob Pawlewicz

Nothing to do? Check out our calendar for coming events

Here’s a list of calendar items coming up for the next few weeks:

Sat., 10/5
9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Scrapbooks for genealogy and regular reading, Volney Town Hall, County Route 3, Volney Center
9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Fall rummage and bake sale, First United Church of Fulton, 33 S. Third St.
4:30 p.m., Palermo Harvest Dinner, Palermo United Methodist Church, 11 County Route 35, Palermo.
9 a.m. to 1 p.m., First United Church of Fulton rummage sale, 33 S. Third St., fulton.

Sun., 10/6
11:30 a.m., Friends of History in Fulton chicken barbecue, Pavilion, Bullhead Point, Fulton.
10 a.m., New Life Band performs at Gods Vision Christian Church, Hannibal.

Mon., 10/7
7 p.m., Phoenix school board of education.
1 p.m., Fulton CROP Hunger Walk, Fulton.

Tues., 10/8
Noon to 1 p.m., live online information session on SUNY Oswego’s MBA programs.

Wed., 10/9
Noon to 2 p.m., senior citizen lunch for those age 55 and up, Little Utica United Methodist Church.
11 a.m., senior health and wellness fair, sponsored by state Sen. Patricia Ritchie, Fulton War Memorial.

Thurs., 10/10
7 p.m., Schroeppel town board meeting.

Fri., 10/11
5:30 p.m., potluck covered dish birthday supper, Phoenix Senior Citizen club, town building on County Route 57A
2 to 9 p.m., photography event for church members and the community, Palermo United Methodist Church, sign up for an appointment at www.appt.lifetouch.com
5 p.m., fish dinner, Masonic Hall, Main Street, Phoenix

Sat., 10/12
4 p.m., roast port and dressing dinner, Pennellville United Methodist Church, County Route 54. Crafts for sale also.
8 to 11:30 a.m., all-you-can-eat Belgian waffle breakfast, Lamson Grange #588, 9108 Fenner Road, Lysander.
1 to 4 p.m., open house, St. Francis Commons assisted living residence, Oswego.
10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Hannibal American Legion Auxiliary craft show.
Noon, registration for United Way Walk-A-Thon, outside Lanigan Hall at SUNY Oswego. Walk begins at 1 p.m.
10 a.m. to 5 p.m., photography event for church members and the community, Palermo United Methodist Church. Sign up for appointment at www.appt.lifetouch.com
4:30 p.m., turkey and biscuit dinner, Oswego Center United Methodist Church, County Route 7, Oswego

Sun., 10/13
1 to 4 p.m., open house, St. Francis Commons assisted living residence, Oswego.

Mon., 10/14
6:30 p.m., meeting, Catholic Daughters of the Americas Court #833, Holy Trinity Church, 309 buffalo St., Fulton.

Tues., 10/15
7 p.m., Phoenix village board meeting, Sweet Memorial Building.

Wed., 10/16
6:30 p.m., wellness discussion, “Protection from Colds and the Flu,” First United Church of Fulton, 33, S. Third St., Fulton.

Thurs., 10/17
4:30 to 5:30 p.m., live online information session on SUNY Oswego’s MBA programs.
7 p.m., second annual Desserts for a Cure, Oswego Alliance Community Building on Thompson Road. Money raised goes to making Strides Against Breast Cancer.

Fri., 10/18
6:30 p.m., Anthony Joseph Swingtet at Under the Moon, below Blue Moon Grill, Fulton.
6:30 p.m., Oswego County Harvest Dinner, American Foundry, Oswego.

Sun., 10/20
Noon to 4 p.m., benefit for Ryan Barry and his family, Oasis Room, Thunder Island, Granby. Ryan was paralyzed in an accident at Casowasco camp this summer. For information, call Jan Rebeor at 593-1930.
11:30 a.m., chicken barbecue, Cody Fire Department Station 2

News in Brief

A panel discussion of the deliberate sinking of historic ships with ties to the Great Lakes Seaway Trail waters of the St. Lawrence River, Lake Ontario, Niagara River and Lake Erie has been added to the Oct. 5 Great Lakes Seaway Trail Blue Byway Seminar at SUNY Oswego in Oswego, NY.

Sarah Tichonuk, a nautical archaeologist with the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, Vergennes, Vt., will join Dive Captain Dale Currier and New York Sea Grant Coastal Recreation and Tourism Specialist Dave White for the panel and open discussion at the 9am to 1pm event.

The practice of deliberately sinking ships from significant military to commercial vessels creates artificial reefs suitable for recreational divers, diver training programs, and tourism promoters.

Other presenters on the 9 a.m. To 1 p.m. program include Christopher Nicholson, designer of the remotely-operated underwater vessel used by National Geographic to film the wrecks of the War of 1812 schooners in Lake Ontario. National Weather Service Forecaster Bob Hamilton will present information on the historic weather conditions that influenced the Revolutionary War wreck of the HMS Ontario and will share his recent research into the 1913 White Hurricane on the Great Lakes.
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It is the time of year to return to the woodland and join its spirits in a Halloween celebration.

Woodland Halloween Festival will be held at the Amboy 4-H Environmental Education Center from 3 to 7 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 27. Creatures of all ages will delight in the afternoon of free and fun family activities.  An adult must accompany all children for this special event.

Woodland Halloween Festival includes children’s games, crafts, face painting, campfire program, light refreshments and a trick and treat trail at dusk. Along this trail, trick and treat’ers will meet and greet friendly forest critters. The trick and treat trail will be open only between 6-7 p.m. The last group will leave the trailhead at 6:45.

Woodland Halloween Festival will be held rain or shine. Participants should dress to stay warm and to ward off the spirit of chill, and bring a flashlight. Activities will be moved indoors with inclement weather. This is a free public program.

The Amboy 4-H Environmental Education Center is located at 748 State Route 183, one mile south of Williamstown.

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The Fulton Dining and Activity Center is having its annual candlelight dinner Oct. 24 in the community room in the Fulton Municipal Building.

Doors open at 11 a.m. With lunch served at noon. The fee will be collected at the door. There will be entertainment and door prizes.

Seating is limited to call Eileen for reservations at 592-3408. The deadline is Oct. 18.

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The First United Church of Fulton is having its annual fall rummage sale from 10 a.m. To 2 p.m. Friday, Oct. 4 and 9 a.m. To 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 5 at the church at 33 S. Third St., Fulton.

A $3 bag sale will take place Saturday from noon to 1 p.m. The basement boutique will be open both days.

The sale will include winter clothing, shoes, books, household items, jewelry, toys, collectibles and other items. Light lunch foods and bake sale items also will be available for purchase.

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The Fulton Gauchos alumni is having a chicken barbecue from noon until sold out Saturday, Oct. 5 at Chester’s Neighborhood Bar., West Broadway, Fulton.

Menu includes a half chicken, macaroni salad, baked beans, salt potatoes, roll and butter and soda. Free movie coupons from Family Video will be available.

Tickets for the barbecue can be purchased at Red Baron, Chester’s or from any Gauchos member.

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Partnership for Success in the Fulton school district is putting on a forum titled “What Does it Really Mean to be College and Career Ready? from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 10 at Fulton Junior High School.

Presenters will be Superintendent William Lynch and Executive Director of Instruction and Assessment Elizabeth Conners.

Child care and refreshment will be available. For more information, call 593-5509.

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Foster Funeral Home, with sites in Fulton and Hannibal, has renewed its membership in the Lofty Oaks Association, a New Hampshire organization dedicated to reforestation and conservation efforts in New York state.

Foster arranges to have a tree planted for every service is performs to provide a living memorial in honor of the deceased and to renew forests in New York. The trees are planted in the spring and fall. After each service, close family members and friends are informed that a memorial tree has been arranged for by Paul E. Foster. When the tree has been planted, the designated people in the family will receive a certificate of planting suitable for framing at home.

 

 

 

 

Poetry Corner

Poetry by Jim Farfaglia

 

Mum’s the Word

All season long you’ve waited,

letting others tell their story:

the lilac and the lily,

the iris and the daisy.

Month after month

you’ve kept still,

holding back such colorful thoughts,

cupped in patient hands.

Not until the others have gone silent

do your fingers gently open, revealing,

in your own special language,

what you came here to say.

Valley Viewpoints: Stop whining about Beardsley candidacy

To Mr. Munger and the few Democratic dissenters of Mr. Beardsley’s appointment and ultimate victory:

Fred Beardsley was staunchly opposed by this writer.  I supported a candidate that was from our local Granby Republican Committee.  I wrote letters to the Valley News and spoke for an opposing candidate at many gatherings.

Mr. Bearsdley was appointed to the county treasurer position because he is a fierce campaigner, a good Republican, a long time asset to many candidates now in office.  Beardsley is qualified because he is a citizen of the USA and an Oswego County resident. Fred meets all requirements.  He even has a real birth certificate.

Where were the complainers last summer when petitions were being gathered to place an opposing candidate on the ballot? Obviously Beardsley’s signatures were genuine and the Republican Party came together and worked for him.

About Mr. Beardsley’s education, I don’t think all of the Einsteins in this nation went to Harvard or Onondaga Community College.  I believe there are many people who have made their way through this life and they haven’t had a, so called, formal education.

There are many solid citizens with solid families and well-raised children who are supervisors in a factory, owners of tractor-trailer companies, farmers, mayors and many, many successful small-business owners.

These people would excel as police officers, airplane pilots, human relations people and school principals.

They can handle money and people. They never went to college.  They could add, subtract, multiply, divide, read and reason.  My father went to the sixth grade. My father was a great man!

Fred Beardsley is a team player, he has worked hard. He is a good politician.  He must be. No one is running against him. He has already won. He is your next county treasurer, so stop whining and complaining.  Do your paperwork correctly and work harder next time.

 

Les Holmes, Chairman

Granby Republican Committee

Granby

Views from the Assembly: State working to eliminate suicide

 By Assemblyman Will Barclay

According to the most recent statistics reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, death by suicide surpassed death by motor vehicle crashes in 2010.

Suicide rates for adults, ages 35-64, increased 28 percent since 1999. A report issued by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health indicates that suicidal behaviors led to 1.1 million suicide attempts, many of which required hospitalizations or medical attention.

In 2010, there were 38,364 suicides in the U.S — an average of 105 each day.

The good news is New York state has one of the lowest suicide rates in the country. However, New York still had 1,514 reported suicides in 2010.

Rates in Upstate and rural areas are generally higher, statistics show.

Suicide is a concern to many. In September, local groups organized to raise awareness about its many effects and provide support to families. Out of the Darkness walks took place as part of Suicide Awareness Month which is in September.

These events help survivors cope with losing a loved one to suicide by letting them connect with others in a similar situation and remember their family and friends together. Several walks took place throughout the region.

There have been some changes at the state level to help lower suicide rates. I wanted use this column to let readers know about these efforts. Raising awareness and being proactive in treating the signs can save lives, and therefore, many efforts center around education.

In June, the governor signed a bill into law that requires the state Division of Veterans’ Affairs to maintain mental health, substance abuse, and physical disabilities portals on its website. This made phone numbers and resources easier to access online.

I was pleased to support this bill in the Assembly. Since the legislation was enacted, crisis information is displayed at the bottom of all web pages within the Division of Veterans’ Affairs website.

One in three Iraq veterans will face depression, anxiety and post traumatic stress disorder. Having access to peer outreach, as well as treatment options is easier now thanks to this legislation.

The state Office of Mental Health announced this month it has developed an iPhone app titled “Safety Plan.” It’s a free app designed to enable quick access if someone feels they are at risk.

It’s customizable as well, and reminds people to select different coping methods before they find themselves in a crisis. It gives users, for example, a reminder to go for a walk, or listen to music, or go to the gym, to help users change their mood. This can be accesses through the iTunes store.

Other measures I support in the Assembly include legislation that would improve awareness and education. One bill (A2497) would require suicide prevention as part of the health education curriculum in secondary education schools.

Another bill I support (A2496), would require colleges and universities to provide incoming and current students with information about depression and suicide prevention.

This literature also would list resources on campus students can go to for help. Many local colleges and universities do so already, but codifying this would ensure that less students fall through the cracks when young adults are making the adjustment to life away from home for the first time. These bills have not passed the Legislature.

The state Office of Mental Health funds the Suicide Prevention Center of New York. Their efforts center around education and training to reduce suicide attempts. They maintain a 24-hour hotline in partnership with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-877-273-TALK.

The public may also contact the agency to be connected with the right services locally at (518) 402-9122 or visit http://www.preventsuicideny.org.

The state also offers many educational resources at http://omh.ny.gov/omhweb/suicide_prevention/resources/. Some readings address the aftermath of a suicide, or living with someone who attempted suicide.

In Oswego County, residents may also call the Oswego Hospital Behavioral Services Division’s 24-hour hotline at 343-8162 for mental health help.

You may also contact your doctor’s office for advice or help accessing local services.

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, please contact my office.  My office can be reached by mail at 200 N. Second St., Fulton, New York 13069, by e-mail at barclaw@assembly.state.ny.us or by calling  598-5185.

Reopening celebration at Rice Creek Field Station Oct. 3

Submitted by SUNY Oswego

SUNY Oswego’s renewed Rice Creek Field Station, set among nearly 400 forever-wild acres south of campus, showcases its commitment to the natural world, utilizing such features as solar power, a state-of-the-art heating-cooling system, green construction materials and rain gardens to demonstrate conservation in practice.

“We want to be a good example for the community, to show that it is possible to do things in a sustainable way,” said Lucina Hernandez, biological sciences faculty member and director of Rice Creek.

Rooftop photovoltaic solar panels — the solar array is about the same size as the one to rise soon atop the college’s new Richard S. Shineman Center for Science, Engineering and Innovation — will supply an estimated 40 percent of the power the 7,700-square-foot building needs.

Rice Creek’s high-efficiency, variable-volume-refrigerant system enables heating and cooling to go on in different parts of the building simultaneously. Super-insulated foam and high-performance windows help reduce energy consumption by about 30 percent compared with buildings of standard consumption.

With parking at a premium, at only nine spaces adjacent to the new field station, encouraging alternative means of transportation comes naturally to Rice Creek as well.

“There are few parking spaces, and that was not by chance,” Hernandez said. “We need people to realistically think about saving energy.”

Hernandez pointed out that a Centro shuttle delivers students to Rice Creek’s doorstep five days a week. The field station also encourages visitors to carpool and bicycle.

Retaining rainwater

SUNY Oswego chemistry faculty member Casey Raymond, who worked closely with Facilities Design and Construction coordinator Allen Bradberry on Rice Creek and the Shineman Center, pointed to bio-retention landscaped swales adjacent to the new headquarters as an example of concern for nearby wetlands.

“They help with storm-water management, allowing rain to run off the building, percolate among the swales’ hardy plants and naturally filter into the groundwater” instead of flowing directly into the pond, Raymond said.

Hernandez said several faculty members have enthusiastically embraced the new $5.5 million field station and its surroundings, holding classes this semester either in the building or on the grounds in plant, wetlands and waterfowl ecology, ichthyology (fish-related zoology) and behavioral biology, as well as field research projects.

Inside the field station, a terracotta lattice shades the two large and one small research laboratories from the sun, while energy-efficient windows and shades keep out heat and allow in light, decreasing the need for powered lighting.

“With the new building here, professors know we are very accessible,” Hernandez said. “The students see the advantages to coming here. More students want to take classes here.”

Diann Jackson, the field station’s assistant director coordinating educational programming, said the renewed field station opens up new interdisciplinary potential. For example, she is working with technology education to start a sustainability project for science and technology students modernizing the design and structure of Rice Creek’s compost bin.

Rice Creek Field Station resumed its naturalists’ public programming on Saturday, Sept. 7, and plans to announce more programs for the community, with a new emphasis on sharing faculty and student research and techniques with the public.

“We are not isolated here,” Hernandez said. “We do science for the service of the public.”

Rice Creek Field Station will have its formal reopening celebration at 3 p.m.  Thursday, Oct. 3.

 

Oswego County Opportunities received grant for housing for domestic violence victims

By Ashley M. Casey

As part of the Violence Against Women Act, the U.S. Department of Justice – Office of Violence Against Women has awarded a $300,000 grant to Oswego County Opportunities.

The grant will be used to provide transitional housing for victims of domestic violence.

The grant allots OCO’s Crisis and Development Services $100,000 a year for three years.

Eric Bresee, director of Crisis and Development Services, said OCO and the Department of Social Services applied for the competitive grant back in April.

OCO’s Services to Aid Families shelter provides a safe, temporary place for victims of domestic violence to stay before they can secure more permanent housing.

“One challenge for many women residing in the shelter is finding adequate, affordable housing to exit to,” Bresee said.  “Many times, survivors of domestic violence need to start over building resources as they pursue a life free from violence. Often, they do not have the financial resources to immediately secure housing on their own.”

In addition to housing help, the grant will provide domestic violence survivors with social and professional resources.

“This project will offer survivors a  case manager who can provide advocacy, transportation, supportive counseling and assistance with applying for Office of Victim Services compensation, as well as security deposits and rental subsidies to support housing,” Bresee said.

“The project will also offer job skills training and assistance with obtaining employment, including assisting participants in obtaining the National Work Readiness Credential,” Bresee said.

Rep. Dan Maffei, D-Syracuse, co-sponsored the Violence Against Women Act bill and voted for it in February 2013.

“Oswego County Opportunities serves as a lifeline to victims of domestic violence, and I am thrilled that this funding will support their work to provide essential housing services to some of the most vulnerable in our communities,” Maffei said in a press release.

If you or someone you know has been the victim of domestic violence, OCO has a 24-hour abuse and assault crisis hotline, 342-1600.

For more information, visit oco.org.

Your hometown. Your news.