Sharon Vina Whelsky

Sharon V. Whelsky, 69, of Fulton, passed away on Wednesday, July 22, 2015 at Seneca Hill Manor. She was born on June 2, 1946 a daughter to the late Harold and Vivian Durant. Sharon worked as an industrial nurse at Birds Eye Foods, Inc. in Fulton. She will be greatly missed and forever loved by her husband of 50 years, Edward Whelsky; two children, Cheryl (Tim) Gregory of Walworth and Edward (Dorie) Whelsky of Oneida; several grandchildren and one great-granddaughter. A graveside service was held Friday, July 24, 2015 at St. Mary’s Cemetery, Fulton. The family would like to sincerely thank the staff at Seneca Hill Manor for their love and care for Sharon over the last 13 years. For those wishing donations may be made to Seneca Hill Manor, 20 Manor Drive, Oswego, NY 13126, in memory of Sharon. Foster Funeral Home, Fulton has care of arrangements.

Joan G. Farmer

FarmerJoan G. Farmer, 78, of Liverpool passed away Tuesday, July 7 peacefully at home surrounded by her family. Mrs. Farmer was born in Pulaski, N.Y. to the late Charles and Geraldine (Young) Freeden. She has been a resident of Liverpool, N.Y. for the past 16 years. Mrs. Farmer was a United States military veteran having served in the Air Force. She was retired from Syracuse Regional Airport Taxi, East Syracuse, where she worked as a dispatcher. Mrs. Farmer loved to read, birdwatch and cook, and occasionally visit the casino. A devoted and loving mother and wife, she is survived by her husband of 60 years, James D. Farmer Sr., of Liverpool; their eight children, Mary Beth Farmer of Liverpool, James Farmer Jr. of Ohio, Jon Farmer of Ind., Tim Farmer of Liverpool, Tom Farmer of Maine, David Farmer of S.C., Amy Hayden of N.C., and Darren Farmer of Syracuse; five siblings, Joyce Comstock, Dian Johnson, Sharon Keating, and Mary Lou Betts, all of Pulaski, and Jim Freeden of Oswego; 23 grandchildren; 24 great-grandchildren; one great-great-grandchild, and several nieces and nephews. Calling hours were Saturday, July 11 at the Sugar Funeral Home, Inc., 224 W. 2nd St. S. Fulton. Burial and committal services were to be conducted by Onondaga County Hospice Chaplain Jeannie Moore followed by military honors bestowed by the United States Air Force Honor Guard at the Onondaga County Veterans Memorial Cemetery, Syracuse, N.Y. Sugar Funeral Home, Inc., 224 W. 2nd St. S. Fulton, N.Y., has care of the arrangements.

Fulton investing in energy efficiency at city facilities

By Matthew Reitz

Fulton officials are moving forward with a project to make energy conservation improvements to the city’s facilities.

Mayor Ron Woodward Sr. said the $465,000 project will focus mainly on Fulton’s municipal building, which is one of the city’s major energy consumers. According to Woodward, the energy savings will eventually pay for the costs of the project. He said the heating and cooling system has not been replaced in many years, and those costs are significant for the city.

“Heating and cooling — that’s the biggy,” Woodward said. He said the current system at the municipal building “has about 38 mixing boxes in the ceiling that don’t work anymore which will all be replaced.”

City Clerk/Chamberlain Dan O’Brien said the bulk of the money will go toward improving the performance and efficiency of the heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems. O’Brien said the new system will cover the police, fire and city offices, and an updated control system will likely provide the most significant savings.

“It’s going to have an updated control system so that when the building is not in use things will ramp down,” O’Brien said.

Woodward said the automated controls would be a significant improvement, and the project will also include motion sensor lighting to help conserve energy. He said the project will be contracted out through Honeywell.

O’Brien said the city will be able to remove the municipal building’s cooling tower because the new system does not require it.

As part of a separate project, the city will install LED lighting throughout the municipal building. That work will be completed by the city, according to Woodward. O’Brien said the city is currently comparing the available grant and rebate programs in hopes of get reimbursed for those costs.

“We’re hoping that what we spend on the LED lighting we’ll get reimbursed for,” O’Brien said.

The Common Council approved a $465,000 bond resolution for the energy projects Tuesday.

Other news

The common council passed a resolution that will allow for the purchase of a new garbage truck. The city has set aside $100,000 for the new truck.

O’Brien said one of the trucks the city is currently using is “constantly going through repair,” and a replacement is needed.

“It was time to cut our losses and move on,” O’Brien said.

Woodward reappointed Louella LeClair to the Fulton Housing Authority Board. He said once the Pathfinder Courts facilities are transferred to their new non-profit LLC, which is expected to happen this summer, this position will be eliminated.

“It’s gone (after that point),” Woodward said. “The city won’t be appointing them (any more).”

K&N’s celebrates a year of growth in Fulton

K&Ns
Above, Stephen Dean (left), the company’s warehouse and logistics manager, and finance director Jon McDonald (right) display some of the products made in Fulton. 

By Colin Hogan

With the one-year anniversary of its operations approaching, the leadership at K&N’s Foods USA in Fulton is feeling optimistic about where the company is headed.

Located in the former Birds Eye Foods plant on Phillips Street, K&N’s began setting up shop in Fulton — its flagship operation in the United States — in 2013, and started commercial production on Aug. 4, 2014. By the end of September 2014, it had completed its first sale, and has continued lining up new distributors since.

At its earliest stage it only had two employees and now is up to about 60, with plenty of room in its facilities to continue growing.

The company prides itself on the food it produces, saying its products are “purely different.” Not only does it make foods that are unique to the North American market, but produces them under high quality standards with locally sourced ingredients, which company officials say sets them apart from most other frozen foods.

“Our product is a whole food. We buy ingredients, like for instance chicken, whole. It isn’t mechanically separated meat — it’s an actual chicken leg when we start with it,” said Jon McDonald, the company’s finance director. “One of the things that I, and I think a lot of people, really like about working here is that you can stand behind our food.”

K&N’s line of foods is mostly themed along the cuisine of Pakistan, where the global company is headquartered. K&N’s products are considered to be the frozen foods of choice for millions of people in that region and around the globe.

Company officials in Fulton boast the “premium edge” their foods carry. McDonald said all the chicken the company uses comes from a farm in Fallsburg, N.Y., and a lot of the produce that goes into the food comes from C’s Farm Market in Oswego. The company uses Vermont-based Cabot brand cheese for its cheese-stuffed products, and there is no MSG, no nitrates or nitrites, no preservatives and no trans fat to be found in any of their products. Most of their non-breaded foods are gluten free, as well.

“It all has a premium edge to it, and we won’t compromise on that,” McDonald said. “Any idea that has ever been brought up that would compromise the quality has been shot down immediately.”

The products — which K&N’s sells locally out of its cash and carry outlet at 28 Lakeview Avenue in Fulton — provide an interesting spin on the usual American frozen fare. Its lineup includes everything from seekh kabobs and kofta meatballs to skinless frankfurters (some stuffed with cheese) to not-so-basic chicken nuggets that come packed with a little extra spice and some cilantro. Company officials say that this day and age — with a popular culture growing increasingly interested in both exotic and quality foods — marks an ideal time to be growing K&N’s presence in the North American market.

“It’s an interesting taste, it’s a good taste, and I think America is ready to try something like this,” McDonald said.

According to warehouse and logistics manager Stephen Dean, K&N’s has already begun selling its products through 10 distributors in the U.S. and another two in Canada.

“We’re trying to really branch out in a smart way to ensure the kind of growth we want,” Dean said.

A big part of the company’s growing success, Dean said, is its employees. He said K&N’s places a premium on talented workers, and often looks to its staff for the next great idea.

“Working here isn’t just moving a box — it’s thinking outside the box,” Dean said.

Dean said ideas like opening a cash and carry outlet for the local market, and offering samples at places like the Fulton Speedway and Oswego Harborfest were both ideas that came from the bottom up.

“It was one of our team members who came up with the idea for the cash and carry store, so we sat down and came up with a spot and plan to launch,” Dean said.

Dean stressed that the company sees its employees as a vital investment, and knows the Fulton area has no shortage of talented workers who can help the company grow.

If you haven’t tried any of the fare from K&N’s, you’ll get your chance at Oswego Harborfest today. Officials from the company will have a table set up along Riverwalk East near Alex’s on the Water where they are offering samples of their foods. Samples include their Jumbo Franks filled with Cabot cheese; gluten-free Kofta meatballs in fresh tomato sauce; and their popcorn-sized chicken nuggets filled with Cabot cheese, called Croquettes.

Tops slated to purchase Struppler’s next month

Staff Reports

Upstate New York-based supermarket chain Tops Friendly Markets is currently working through a deal to purchase Struppler’s Shurefine Supermarket on West First Street in South Fulton.

A Tops spokesperson said Monday that the company is currently “going through a process of due diligence” before the deal can be closed. Once that process is complete, the company expects begin operating out of the Struppler’s location in late August.

The store’s current staff members will have the option to continue working there.

“Tops will also be extending the opportunity for all current associates to continue employment at the store,” the company stated.

John Struppler, store owner, said he had been considering the sale since he was approached by Tops late last year and confirmed the arrangement with Tops to maintain continuity through the sale process.

“They [Tops] were impressed with the operation of the store and our personnel,” Struppler said, praising his staff for their professionalism and hard work. “The staff are the ones who do most of the work and take care of our customers.”

Struppler, who also owns stores in Clayton and Warsaw, N.Y., said the grocery store business was requiring him to lose out on time spent with his family and cited the long, seven-days-a-week hours as one of the reasons he’s ready to sell the Fulton location.

Tops’ plans for the change over include some renovations to the facility, the details of which were not available Monday. The company also stated that it would utilize the fueling station currently operating on the Struppler’s site for its gas rewards program.

“Soon enough, Fulton citizens will have a renovat­ed local supermarket with enhanced product variety, a fueling station that utilizes Tops gas points, and more ways to save on their grocery shopping trips,” the company stated.

According the store’s current website, it has been operating under the Struppler’s name since 1990. Prior to that it was known as Angelo’s. In 2008, the switching of distributors changed the store’s name from Big M to Struppler’s Shurfine. It represents one of the last small family-owned grocery stores in the area.

Tops Friendly Markets, which is headquartered in Williamsville, N.Y., had previously operated a store in Fulton at the corner of West First and Oneida streets until selling that location to Price Chopper in October 2005.

Twelve compete in third annual Fulton Idol

Participants in this year's Fulton Idol singing competition, hosted by the Open Doors Neighborhood Center at the First United Church of Fulton, gather after their performances Friday.
Participants in this year’s Fulton Idol singing competition, hosted by the Open Doors Neighborhood Center at the First United Church of Fulton, gather after their performances Friday.

By Matthew Reitz

The third annual Fulton Idol was held at the First United Church of Fulton last week.

The “star-making experience,” hosted by the Open Doors Neighborhood Center, was open to children ages 10-15, and participants worked with vocal coaches throughout the week before performing in competition Friday night.

Open Doors board chair Carol Dexter said Fulton Idol came to be because the center wanted to “do something nobody else was doing” in the area that could engage older adults, families and children. Dexter said she was “absolutely happy” with the turnout this year, but noted that “every year has been good.”

“It was just a positive experience for the entire week,” Dexter said of the event. “Everybody worked extremely hard all week long and it was great.”

Mistress of Ceremonies and Open Door Neighborhood board member Barbara Hubbard said it was great to see all the supporters who came to cheer on the contestants.

“Anyone who participates has really good support and I think that’s wonderful,” Hubbard said.

Dexter said she was pleased to see how many kids had returned to the event after participating in previous years’ competitions.

“What’s nice is there are a lot of repeats coming back,” Dexter said. “They enjoyed the program and wanted to be a part of it again.”

Lisa Kisselstein, a coach for the event, said the kids she worked with were “wonderful” and very responsive to coaching and suggestions.

“I love seeing people that I’ve worked with,” Kisselstein said of the performances. “I love to help them uncover what gifts they have and to help them learn to step out of the comfort zone and into what the fullness of their gifts can be.”

Another coach for the event, Gina Mazolli, said what she enjoyed most was “seeing the camaraderie among the contestants.” She said it was good to see, because getting up on stage to sing and compete is hard to do, “especially in that middle school age.”

“I think the biggest thing the kids will take from this is that they all grew musically, they all learned something, and some of them got over stage fright,” Mazzoli said. “I feel like I had a lot of individual moments with each kid and that I got to create some kind of musical impact on them.”

Eighth-grader Alexis Barth was awarded the top overall prize for her performance of the song “Warrior.” Barth said it “felt good” to win the event. She said last year, she competed and finished fourth, but this year she was determined to improve upon that performance.

“Last year I got fourth, and I felt like I really needed to step up my game this year,” Barth said.

Dexter said Barth also had a lot more confidence this year.

Chloe Hurlbut was voted second place, Vita Dean took third place, Mya Kinder took fourth place, and EvaLynn Dickens took fifth place. Also competing in the event were runners up Jessica Gilmore, Elizabeth Rowland, Serenity Lauckarn, Mikayla Vannorstrand, Madajiaha McLaughlin, Sabastion Lauckarn and Pipe Dunning.

“All of you who competed are winners, and I give you a lot of credit for that,” Hubbard said before handing out the awards. She said she thought it was an accomplishment “just for the kids to get up there” and perform, but noted that this year’s event featured some truly excellent singers.

Community comes together to add to Hulett Park

Pictured, from left, kicking off the playground equipment community build in Hulett Park are Shineman Foundation Executive Director Karen Goetz, Shineman Foundation board member Casey Raymond, Shineman Foundation Board Chairman Barbara Shineman, senior administrative assistant Penny Halstead, Fulton Mayor Ron Woodward Sr., Fulton Parks and Recreation Superintendent Barry Ostrander, and Friends of Fulton Parks board member Kelley Weaver.
Pictured, from left, kicking off the playground equipment community build in Hulett Park are Shineman Foundation Executive Director Karen Goetz, Shineman Foundation board member Casey Raymond, Shineman Foundation Board Chairman Barbara Shineman, senior administrative assistant Penny Halstead, Fulton Mayor Ron Woodward Sr., Fulton Parks and Recreation Superintendent Barry Ostrander, and Friends of Fulton Parks board member Kelley Weaver.
Volunteers pitch in to install the “Skyport Climber,” a new state-of-the-art piece of playground equipment, at Hulett Park in Fulton Friday.
Volunteers pitch in to install the “Skyport Climber,” a new state-of-the-art piece of playground equipment, at Hulett Park in Fulton Friday.

By Matthew Reitz

The Fulton community came together last week to install new playground equipment at Hulett Park on Division Street, with more than 75 people volunteering their time for the project.

Friends of Fulton Parks board member Kelley Weaver said Parkitects, the company the equipment was purchased from, was on site to lead and instruct volunteers in the installation.

The Fulton Department of Parks and Recreation worked with Parkitects and Broadwell Excavating & Construction to complete the heavy-duty portion of the project before volunteers took over.

The Hulett Park project was made possible through a collaborative community fundraising and installation effort, as well as funding from the Richard S. Shineman Foundation.

Shineman Foundation Executive Director Karen Goetz said that having a healthy parks program in Fulton is important. She said when the foundation’s board was considering the project last year, what they found most enticing is that it was “being done primarily with volunteers.”

Barbara Shineman, chairman of the foundation’s board, said “it’s wonderful to see volunteers like this.”

Shineman said she was intrigued by the “long-term benefit” of the project, and that several generations of kids would be able to enjoy the playground with their families.

“It’s for the kids,” she said. “It’s something that’s really worthwhile.”

Weaver said the “Skyport Climber” volunteers installed is the first of its kind in Central New York, and stressed the importance of volunteer work on not only this project, but the community as a whole.

“It’s important for the community to volunteer in order to build a sense of community pride, and it’s an excellent hands-on learning experience for the youth,” Weaver said. “People who want to make a difference in Fulton can do it through events like this.”

Over 75 community members, Friends of Fulton Parks, the Shineman Foundation, Broadwell Excavation & Construction, the Fulton Department of Parks and Recreation, and several other local businesses contributed to the project.

A second phase of the project is tentatively scheduled for about a month from now when the three remaining components arrive, according to Weaver. She said the installation of the “Swiggleknots Bridge,” “Rush Slide,” and “Overhead Trekker” will require 20 volunteers. The equipment vendor will again be on site to supervise the project.

Weaver said anyone interested in volunteering or making a contribution toward this project, or other efforts to improve Fulton’s parks, should contact Friends of Fulton Parks at friendsoffultonparks@gmail.com, or P.O. Box 572, Fulton NY.

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