Judson L. Oot

Judson L. Oot, 35, of Sterling, passed away unexpectedly Wednesday, November 26 at his home. Born in Oswego, N.Y., June 20, 1979, he spent the majority of his life in the Martville, N.Y. area and a few years in Ira, N.Y., and had attended Hannibal and Cato high schools. For a very proud but brief time he was a member of the Ira Fire Department.Oot OB

Judson always said he learned everything about “wrenching” from his dad when he was a young boy. He had been employed over the years with several automotive service companies, starting at age 13 at Baker auto parts yard in Red Creek and was able to fix anything with a motor. Even worked for John Deere in Florida.

After a serious accident in 2007 in Florida left him with a TBI, he started his own small engine service. Known for a kind heart, he was always willing to help those in need.

Surviving are his partner and soulmate Barbara Hadcock of Sterling; his parents James and Juanita Oot of Ira, N.Y.; one brother, James Oot II of Ira, N.Y.; two nephews, Jacob and Cilas Oot of Ira, N.Y.; three uncles, Richard Oot of Albuquerque, N.M., Guy Osborn of Fla., and Roger Osborn of North Carolina; two aunts, Doris Mansfeld of Decator, Alabama and Lori Landford of Texas; many cousins, and some very best friends, Tom, Eric, Donny and Steve.

He was predeceased by his paternal grandparents, William and Frances Oot, and maternal grandparents, Guy and Virginia Osborn and an uncle, Dale Osborn.

Calling hours and a memorial services were Wednesday at Foster Funeral Home, 837 Cayuga St., Hannibal.

Doris S. Perkins

Perkins OBDoris S. Perkins, 68, of Hannibal, passed away on Wednesday, November 26, 2014 at home. She was born March 2, 1946, a daughter to the late Norman H. and Laura A. Beckley Starr. Along with her parents, Doris was predeceased by her husband, Timothy in 2013, two sisters, Arlene VanVorst and Rose Hammond and one brother, Robert Starr.

She is survived by her four children, Norman Merrill of Hannibal, Maxine Merrill-Hines of Fulton, Raymond Merrill of Volney and Michael Merrill of Hannibal; several grandchildren and great-grandchildren; one sister, Maxine (Tom Blowers) Barrett of Oneida; brother-in-law Paul (Marge) Goodwell of Williamson and as well as several nieces and nephews.

Calling hours and a funeral service were held Thursday at Foster Funeral Home, 910 Fay St. Fulton.

Amy Jo “Missy” Conner

Conner OBAmy Jo “Missy” Conner, 48, of Middletown and formerly of Fulton, passed away Tuesday, November 25, 2014. Born in Syracuse, she had lived in the Fulton area for many years before moving to Middletown in 2007. Missy had worked at DDA for more than 10 years. She enjoyed music, singing and spending time with her family and friends. She was predeceased by her son, Justin Michael, who passed away in 1985. Missy will be greatly missed and forever loved by her long time love, Jimmy Hasher; children, Jeramiah (Dana), Jessica (Eric) and Jennifer (TJ); parents, Phyllis and Tracy Wood; several brothers and sisters; eight grandchildren, Ryan, Mathew, Victoria, Kailey, Gabriella, Madaylnn, Cayden and Emerie; several nieces and nephews. A memorial service was held Friday at Foster Funeral Home, 910 Fay St., Fulton. There are no calling hours. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions in Missy’s memory be made to American SIDS Institute, 528 Raven Way, Naples, Florida 34110 or sids.org.

State St. UMC holding Christmas Bazaar

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State Street United Methodist Church will be holding its Christmas Bazaar and Auction, along with a cafe lunch on Saturday, Dec. 6 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. There will be a live auction at 2 p.m. One of the items featured in the auction will be this quilt that was sewn at Robin’s Nest Quilt Shop by participants in the Oswego Industries life program. The quilt was originally made and raffled off to benefit Friends of Fulton Parks. The winner, Ann King, gave it to her friend Janet Sellars, who then donated it to State Street church for its auction. The church is located at 357 State St., Fulton.

Photo provided

CNY Arts Center celebrates new CCC location, partnership

By Colin Hogan

Following months of anticipation and preparation, the CNY Arts Center Friday formally celebrated the opening of its new location within Cayuga Community College’s Fulton campus.

Representatives from both organizations gathered for ribbon cutting at the campus Friday morning to officially commemorate the new partnership, which leaders from both sides say will be mutually beneficial.

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“The exciting thing about this is that we’ve entered into a partnership for collaboration,” said CNY Arts Center Director Nancy Fox. “Their space, for us, is an expansion from our current space, and will help us offer more to our artists. And we bring the accoutrements of theater and galleries and all that we do, so hopefully that can enhance opportunities for their students, too.”

Fox said having the arts center on campus will help CCC achieve one of it’s own goals: “to bring the community to the college.”

“This will be another reason for people who might not normally visit the college to go and see all they have to offer,” Fox said. “(The college) made a determination that they wanted to really bring in the community aspect, and that’s our promise to them — to bring the community to the college. Our hope is that the people who have been patronizing the arts center will also get involved with the college.”

Other key things Fox said the center gains from the new partnership are a more visible spot in the community, better access to its facilities and parking for visitors.

While the arts center remains grateful for its last space, which was provided by the State Street United Methodist Church in Fulton, Fox said the new facilities provide an environment that will help both accommodate, and recruit, more artists.

“Our last space was wonderful, and we were very grateful to have it,” Fox said. “They (the church) really gave us a chance to grow, but with all we’ve been able to do, we started to outgrow that space. And State Street (UMC) is such an icon in the community and doing big things, so they really needed the space back, too.”

The first CNY Arts Center endeavor to debut in the new facilities will be its upcoming Kids Onstage production of “Wizard of Oz,” which Fox said is one of the bigger events the organization coordinates each year.

“Kids Onstage is our biggest program,” Fox said. “We have 35 kids in the production for the ‘Wizard of Oz,’ which is huge, and everyone’s excited about this new opportunity.”

Following that show, which runs the weekend of Dec. 12, the center will begin working on its spring program. Fox said the center has lots of interesting endeavors on tap for early 2015, which include cabarets, open mic nights, the family-oriented “Snow Day” event, classes and galley exhibits.

“We’re going to be able to both do more programs, and improve the programs we have been doing,” Fox said. “The new location will enable us to accommodate some programs that just didn’t work out at the previous space. There’s just tremendous potential in all of this.”

In addition to the gallery space at the CCC location, CNY Arts Center will continue operating its Arts in the HeArt Gallery in downtown Fulton.

To keep up on what’s happening at both locations, Fox said people should regularly visit the center’s website, www.cnyartscenter.com.

“We’re unique in that we are a multi-arts organization — writing, visual, performances — so to really keep track of what we have going on in all of those different aspects, people can go to the website, which we are going to try to keep up-to-date with everything we’re doing,” Fox said.

Fire damages trailer in Pennellville

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Colin Hogan photo

Several agencies responded to a fire at the Blue Jay Lane mobile home park in Pennellville Monday. Firefighters were able to knock down the blaze in less than a half-hour from when the call was made at 10:54 a.m. No one was transported away from the scene for injuries, according to the Oswego County E911 Center. Several agencies responded to the incident, including fire departments from Pennellville, Phoenix, Clay, Central Square, Palermo, Cody, Caughdanoy, Volney and Brewerton, as well as New York State Police.

Nutrition standard changes put FCSD food services in red

By Colin Hogan

Changes in the types of foods school districts are required to serve their students left the Fulton City School District’s food services in the red last year, district officials say.

During the 2013-14 school year, FCSD’s student breakfast and lunch programs ended up operating on a $110,000 deficit. District officials say this is largely because changes in state and federal guidelines that mandate what types of food are served, and how big the portions are, caused more students to bring in their own lunches, rather than opt for what the school was serving.

FCSD Food Services Director Terry Warwick said those changes, which were mostly implemented during the 2012-13 school year, included keeping meals to a certain number of calories, lowering sodium levels, making sure whole grains are the primary ingredient in grain-based foods served, and requiring students to take at least one portion of fruits or vegetables with breakfast.

“Basically, when the portion sizes were cut and certain things became mandatory, that’s when thing started going downhill.” Warwick said. “It was like students everywhere just boycotted it.”

Patty Barbar, the director of food services in the Phoenix Central School District and president of the Oswego County School Nutrition Association, said the effect the new standards have had on school food service programs is endemic, not just in Oswego County or New York state, but the entire nation.

“If you look at school districts nationwide, everyone is struggling,” Barbar said.

Reports by the federal government show this to be true. An audit by the the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released earlier this year shows that about 1.2 million students across the nation stopped buying school lunches after the standards were implemented in 2012-13. Prior to that, participation in school lunch programs had increased steadily for almost a decade, the report shows.

Barbar calls the drop in participation an “unintended consequence” of what was otherwise a well-intentioned policy change.

“The law, in theory, was a great idea,” Barbar said, “but the unintended consequence has been that food services all over the U.S. are losing money.”

And it’s not just the result of lower participation. Barbar said once the new standards were enacted, the prices of many of the required products soared.

“When the guidelines came down, and everyone in the country had to buy these things, prices skyrocketed,” Barbar said. “Even by combining forces (with other food service programs), and trying to gain better buying power, we still can’t save nearly as much as we thought we could.”

Both Warwick and Barbar say their districts had been serving foods that mostly aligned with the new standards long before the policy changed.

While a school district’s food service programs typically run on a combination of their own revenues and state and federal funds, when they fall into the red, the district has to cover the gap with local tax dollars.

“The school districts only help fund us when we’re in the red, and districts, as you know, don’t have extra money to spare,” Barbar said. “So we need to be able to support ourselves and, up until about two years ago, we were doing awesome.”

The situation has left food service directors like Barbar and Warwick with a difficult choice:

“We’re put in this situation where we have to cut costs — and I can’t cut the quality of food, that’s not an option —so we end up having to cut staff, which really hurts our customer service,” Barbar said.

This past year, regulators have lighted the standards a bit, allowing districts to serve portions that are a little bit larger than they had been the year before. In Fulton, that has helped bring back some participation in the school lunch program, but Warwick said the numbers still don’t compare to years prior to 2012.

“This year it’s been better. We’re not losing a ton of meals, but we’re not really gaining a ton either,” she said.

Accomplished author, businessman shares life lessons with local students

Fred Sarkis was 12 years old and working 15-hour days on his family’s fruit and vegetable truck when he learned three important life lessons from his immigrant father.

The lessons of enthusiasm, education and integrity, or “The Golden Rule,” each stemmed from his personal daily experiences he shared with his father.

Author Fred Sarkis shares a laugh with Volney Elementary student Angel Ortiz during his recent visit to the school. Photo provided
Author Fred Sarkis shares a laugh with Volney Elementary student Angel Ortiz during his recent visit to the school.
Photo provided

It was the 1930s, and America was feeling the crippling effects of the most significant economic challenge of its history, the Great Depression, while even more uncertainty loomed with the realities of a second World War.

Sarkis, a Rochester native who is now 88, is the founder of the Yes Pa Foundation; author of “Prisoner of the Truck” and “Yes Pa”; and a World War II Navy Veteran. He is also the motivational speaker for the foundation’s instructional program, which he shared recently with students in Bill Cahill’s sixth grade classroom at Volney Elementary School.

It was Sarkis’ eighth annual visit to Volney Elementary, and he once again provided the lessons learned from his own personal adversities, and the harsh disciplines of growing up as kid during the Depression era.

According to Sarkis, his Lebanese-born father, an uneducated “huckster,” wanted more for his eldest son, and offered three important teachings that would shape him, and his life journey.

A self-proclaimed “prisoner” of his father’s fruit and vegetable truck, Sarkis would use the time working on the truck as a study center, educating himself by the light of his lantern.

The lantern has now become iconic within the Yes Pa Foundation, and Sarkis’ learned lessons are now shared at over 500 schools throughout the country, as well as in numerous prisons, and other educational settings.

Cahill, along with fellow team teachers Daniel Bartlett and Stephanie Zimmerman, have worked with Sarkis for years, introducing his Yes Pa program to their students, while building a curriculum around Sarkis’ lessons.

Pictured is Sarkis with Volney Elementary School student Destiny Miller. Photo provided
Pictured is Sarkis with Volney Elementary School student Destiny Miller.
Photo provided

“The enthusiasm that stems from the Yes Pa curriculum and Fred’s visit is incredible,” said Cahill. “We always welcome the opportunity have Fred work with our students, and have him teach them the importance of establishing goals, character traits, personal accountability, and other keys towards happiness and success.”

“The smiles are contagious from both Fred and the students as a result,” he added.

Sarkis tells the story of how his own lack of enthusiasm selling strawberries at age 12 led to a confrontation with his father and, in turn, led to the three powerful five-minute lessons.

“My father would have my eight-year-old brother and I go door-to-door selling strawberries out of the back of the truck,” Sarkis said. “I began every sales pitch with the words ‘you probably don’t want to buy any strawberries, do you ma’am?’ which resulted in very few sales compared to my younger brother.”

According to Sarkis his father’s advice on taking a smarter, more positive and enthusiastic approach to the sale was something he embraced.

Sarkis explained, “my father’s approach was ‘these strawberries were picked early this morning on a farm in Webster. See how fresh they are. They are only 10 cents a quart or three quarts for a quarter. Do you want one or three, ma’am?’”

According to Sarkis, it was this simple change in approach that shaped his success going forward.

At age 16, Fred graduated from a business school, first in a class of 70. At age 17, earning five times more than the minimum wage, he bought his mother of eight children a home on Park Avenue in Rochester. At age 18, during World War II, he enlisted in the Navy. After discharge, at age 20, he worked full time while attending the University of Rochester at night focusing on business courses.

He started a coffee vending business at age 24 and, with his brother Joe’s help, expanded it into a full line of vending machines and an automatic cafeteria. He later expanded into the management of employee cafeterias for major corporations including Xerox and Eastman Kodak.

At 34, he became a multi-millionaire, and invested in numerous high-risk investments — including a major ski area and a lakeside village in his hometown of Canandaigua which, today, although he is no longer involved, employ hundreds of people and provide recreational service to thousands.

It was 15 years ago that Sarkis founded the Prisoner of the Truck Foundation, now called the Yes Pa Foundation. Since then, through the assistance of volunteer regional and national educators, over 500 schools throughout the United States (including Volney Elementary) have downloaded this character education program that uniquely connects the parent, or mentor, with the teacher and the child.

“Growing up, I was small, knock-kneed, pigeon-toed, dark-skinned and a prisoner of my father’s truck,” said Sarkis. “Feeling bullied, I lacked confidence, self-esteem and many character traits that kids struggle with today.”

“It has been my personal and foundation’s mission to help and serve others to overcome their own inhibitions or obstacles, offer advice on how to embrace failure, admit mistakes, learn from it, and move on to reach their full potential, strive for greatness, and achieve a lifetime of goals,” he added.

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