Residents concerned with Owens Road truck traffic

By Matthew Reitz

A group of Volney residents, led by Doug Ingersoll, have petitioned the town board to post a four-ton weight limit and 40 mph speed limit on Owens Road, which is frequently used by large trucks entering and exiting the Sunoco plant in the southwest part of the town.
Nearly 40 people signed Ingersoll’s petition, all of them residents of Owens Road. Ingersoll said there are only 20 occupied houses on the road, and just about everybody living on the road signed the petition.
Ingersoll said he’s been after the town to do something about the truck traffic on the road since the ethanol plant began operating in 2010. He said the current speed limit of 55 miles per hour is “dangerous,” and the trucks could potentially enter the plant from state Route 481, which would reduce wear and tear on the town road. It would also make the roadway safer, he said.
“The road is only 2.3 miles long, and what we’re looking to do is just post it to the railroad tracks,” Ingersoll said.
The railroad tracks Ingersoll refers to are east of the former Miller Brewing Company, midway between county Route 57 and state Route 481.
Town Supervisor Dennis Lockwood said the town has already followed up on Ingersoll’s petition and the proper documentation was sent to the county last week.
“It’s done,” Lockwood said. “From the county it goes to the state, and the state will send troopers out to investigate what the traffic is like and the road conditions.”
After a traffic study is completed, the state will then make recommendations to the town regarding the speed limit or any other restrictions on the road, Lockwood said. He said weight limits can be placed on town roads by the highway superintendent, but urged caution on acting too quickly.
“He’s (the highway superintendent) the one that has to make the final decision on that, but the bottom line is we have to be careful with that, because we’re not here to put Sunoco out of business,” Lockwood said.
Town Highway Superintendent Roger Dunsmoor said, at first, he didn’t favor the proposal, but is now “kind of changing” his decision after having spoken to the road’s residents.
The road had been posted year-round in the past, but a previous superintendent “didn’t believe” in posting town roads and took the signage down, according to Dunsmoor. He said county Route 6 and Owens Road is a “dangerous intersection” and, with Sunoco looking to expand, traffic conditions aren’t going to improve.
“I just had a change of heart with that road,” Dunsmoor said. “They’re running all night long down that road, and our road is not going to be able to handle that.”
Representatives from Sunoco had not returned calls for comment as of press time Monday.

Sunoco plant to begin malting barley on site

State grants $700K toward $9M project
By Matthew Reitz

Part of the beer making process will return to the former Miller Brewing Company campus in Volney next year, driven by a $700,000 New York State Regional Economic Development Grant awarded to Sunoco.
Sunoco was awarded the $700,000 grant as part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s $1.5 billion Upstate Revitalization Initiative. The REDC grant will be used to help fund a new $9.1 million barley malting facility that officials say will become an integral part of New York’s growing craft beer industry.
“This REDC grant helps make the construction of our malting facility a reality and expands its potential,” said Sunoco Ethanol General Manager Tim Hardy.  “We are grateful for this grant, for the unflagging support of our local legislators, and for the central New York economic development team, whose tireless advocacy for economic development in the region is responsible for this and other success stories.”
The malting facility will be constructed adjacent to the Sunoco Ethanol Plant, and will help to further revitalize the former Miller Brewing Company campus that was closed in 1994.
Construction is set to begin in the next 90 days, and will employ 150 to 200 contractors. Sunoco expects the facility to be up and running by fall 2016, and will create five to eight permanent full-time positions by the time the malting facility is fully operational in 2017.
Company officials said engineering for the project is already underway, and they plan to repurpose an unused, existing warehouse into a truck receiving and loading center, raw grain storage and cleaning components, malting equipment, and malt bagging and storage capacity.
Malting was not previously done at the site under the Miller Brewing Company, so all new equipment will need to be brought in to perform the malting process.
New York’s current malting capacity is unable to meet the growing demand of New York farm and craft breweries, and the new Volney facility expects to purchase malting barley grown on about 3,000 acres in the state, according to company officials.
The facility will be able to produce approximately 2,000 total tons of high-quality malt annually, which would make it the largest malting facility in the eastern United States.
The state Farm Brewery Law was passed in 2012 in an effort to support New York’s breweries and wineries, increase demand for locally grown farm products and expand industry-related economic development and tourism.
The law requires those holding a farm brewery license to purchase 60 percent of their ingredients for beer from suppliers within New York state in 2018, with a 90 percent requirement by 2024.  State officials expect the measure to lead to increased demand for locally grown farm products as well as expanded economic development and tourism in the state.
“Our state’s craft beer industry is flourishing, and it’s projects like this new barley malting facility that capitalize on its potential for even further growth,” State Senator Patty Ritchie, R-Oswegatchie, who co-authored the 2012 Farm Brewery Law in an effort to stimulate growth of the state’s brewing economy, said. “I’m pleased funds were awarded to make this project possible, and look forward to it creating much-needed jobs here in central New York and boosting the farming industry that is so important to our region.”
Sunoco Communications Manager Jeff Shields said the law encourages the company and brewers to use as much state-grown barley as possible, but the company was still working on sourcing some of the barley that will be processed at the facility.
“You can’t just make beer out of barley, you need malted barley,” Shields said, adding that nobody else has the ability to process barley on the same scale as the Volney facility.
Assemblyman Will Barclay said Sunoco has demonstrated its commitment to the community by repeatedly investing in its facility, and this $9 million project shows that the Farm Brewery Law is having an impact on the local economy.
“We have seen the work Sunoco Ethanol has done with the plant, and I am confident they will create a production facility that will grow the state’s brewing industries and our local community while expanding their own business and creating jobs,” Barclay said.

Joanne E. Starzec

Joanne E. Starzec, 94, of Fulton died Sunday, December 13, 2015 at her home surrounded by her family. Mrs. Starzec was born in Fulton the daughter of the late John and Anna Dudeck. She was a former employee of Sealright prior to becoming a lunch room monitor and Phillip Street Elementary School in Fulton. Mrs. Starzec was a member of the PLAV, and a communicant of St. Michael’s Church and Holy Trinity. She was predeceased by her husband George Starzec in 2006, and her daughter Kathleen Starzec in 1975. Mrs. Starzec is survived by her daughter and son-in-law Elaine and Charles McIntyre of Fulton; her sister Patricia Tracy of N.C.; grandchildren Tyson McIntyre, Trevis McIntyre, Krysia McIntyre; and great-grandson Drake McIntyre. Funeral services were held Saturday ­­in Holy Trinity Church where a Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated. Burial will be in St. Mary’s Cemetery. Calling hours were held Friday at the Sugar Funeral Home Inc., 224 W. 2nd. St. Fulton.

Christine Ann Simmons

Christine A. Simmons, 55, of Mexico, passed away on Sunday, December 13, 2015 at Oswego Hospital. She was born in Fulton on January 24, 1960 and was a Licensed Practical Nurse at St. Luke Health Services for 25 years. Chrissy loved riding horses and going camping.
She will be greatly missed and forever loved by her daughter, Kayla Ives; her parents, Thomas and Elizabeth Chatterson Simmons; nine siblings, William (Julie) Simmons of North Carolina, Daniel Simmons of Hannibal, Patrica Sherman of Hannibal, Peggy (Duane) Shephard of Hannibal, Sandra Simmons of Texas, Cynthia (David) Fountain of Texas, Samuel Simmons of Hannibal, Catherine Simmons of Alabama and Michael (Desiree) Simmons of Hannibal; as well as several nieces and nephews.
Calling hours and a funderal service were held Wednesday, December 16 at Foster Funeral Home, 837 Cayuga Street, Hannibal.  A graveside service was held Thursday, December 17 at Hannibal Village Cemetery.
For those wishing, memorials may be made to the Oswego County S.P.C.A., P.O. Box 442, Fulton, New Yok 13069, in her memory.

Helen (Locke) Hall

Helen (Locke) Hall, 87, of Hannibal, passed away in the arms of her family on Saturday, December 12, 2015. Born in Fabius, N.Y., she was one of six children of Charles and Lizzie Locke. She is survived by two sons and their wives, Randall (Patricia) and Douglas (Barbara); their children, Melissa, Christopher, Melanie, and Lisa; and her great-grandchildren, Olivia, Lila, and Ava.
Helen attended high school in Fabius and went on to study nursing at Morrisville Technical Institute and graduated with her associates degree in Practical Nursing in 1950. She worked the majority of her career as an LPN and Charge Nurse at Harr-Wood Nursing Home in Oswego. Through the years, she was an active member at the Hannibal United Methodist Church, was a member and past president of the United Methodist Women, and was a recipient of the UMW Mother of the Year award. In her later years, she was a very active member of the senior group known as the Sterling Silver Swingers, and helped organize their monthly trips to regional areas of interest. She was also a member and matron of the Order of the Eastern Star for several years. Helen was beloved by her family and friends, adored spending time with her great-granddaughters and was known for her loyalty, honesty, and good sense of humor.
Calling hours and services were held Thursday, December 17 at Foster Funeral Home, 837 Cayuga Street in Hannibal.  A graveside ceremony was held Friday at Hannibal Village Cemetery in Hannibal.

Howard W. Rose, Sr.

Howard W. Rose, Sr., 88, of Fulton died Thursday at Seneca Hill Manor, Volney, surrounded by his family.
Mr. Rose was born in Fulton to the late Howard and Nellie (Sivers) Rose. He remained a life resident of Fulton. Mr. Rose was a United States Veteran having served in the Army Air Force during WWII. He was the recipient of the WWII Victory Medal, and Army of Occupation Medal.  He later retired from D&K Machine Shop, Fulton. Mr. Rose was pre-deceased by his wife Sonia Rose in 1982; siblings Charles Rose in 2004, Ralph Rose in 2004, Glenn Rose in 2003, Theresa Miner in 1985, Burton Rose in 2006; and grandson Lawrence Seeley in 2008. Mr. Rose is survived by his companion Eileen “Jackie” Usakewicz of Syracuse, N.Y.; five children Howard (Christine) Rose Jr., of Baldwinsville, Michael (Ann) R. Rose of Fulton, Roxanne (Martin) Ingleston of Texas, Leslie (Lawrence) Seeley of Baldwinsville and Melodie (Anthony) Squitieri of Fla.; his sister Leona Abrams of Okla.; 14 grandchildren; several great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews.
Funeral Services were held at Saturday at the Sugar Funeral Home, Inc., 224 West Second St. S. Fulton, with Rev. Sandra Rude officiating. Burial was in Mt. Adnah Cemetery, Fulton.

State awards funds to improve Phoenix wastewater infrastructure

By Matthew Reitz

As part of a $440 million state investment in water quality announced by Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday, the Village of Phoenix will receive up to $6 million in state aid to make improvements to wastewater infrastructure and improve water quality in the Oswego River
The Village of Phoenix has for years been plagued with water quality issues resulting from aging infrastructure and drinking water wells that are susceptible to ground water infiltration. The village will now receive a $1,593,750 grant and a $4,781,250 loan, for a total of $6,375,000 in aid, to help pay for much needed sanitary sewer improvements.
Mayor Ryan Wood said the grant was one of several the village had pursued, and they were still evaluating exactly what the funds could be used for.
The village is also in the process of transitioning from drinking water wells to tying in to the Metropolitan Water Board. That move is expected to be completed sometime next year, and should alleviate concerns about the quality of drinking water in the village.
Wood said the village was not awarded the $600,000 grant it applied for to help pay for that project.
The village has been experiencing ground water infiltration problems within the sewer system, and has found some areas where rainwater is entering sanitary sewer lines, according to Wood. He said some work has already been done to improve the village’s wastewater infrastructure, including a recent $1 million project.
“We’ve already done some of the projects, because we couldn’t wait for any grant money,” Wood said. “We tried to wait as long as we could, but sooner or later you have to do the project.”
According to information provided by the governor’s office, the funds will help pay for inflow and infiltration corrections, upgrades to pump stations, and modifications and upgrades at the sewage treatment plant to improve water quality in the Oswego River.
Village officials hope some of the grant money can be used to help pay for the previously completed projects, but it’s not yet clear if that is possible.
The projects the village has already completed have not made them compliant with the Department of Environmental Conservation, Wood said, but it has relieved some of the issues.
“We’re on the right path with the DEC,” Wood said. “We’re still working on that.”
Wood said the village is currently in the eighth month of a 12-month hydro analysis study that will further identify problems within the wastewater infrastructure. Once the study is complete, the village will be able to move forward with plans to alleviate the issue after identifying specific areas in the system that need to be addressed.
“We’re looking at everything,” Wood said. “We’re looking at all the savings that we can to make sure we’re compliant and doing the best for the village.”
Along with the village’s funding, Cuomo announced $75 million in grants to support 45 drinking water and wastewater infrastructure improvement projects throughout the state. In addition to grants, interest-free and low-interest loans will be provided to communities to further reduce costs. The state Water Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2015 was established as part of the 2015-2016 state budget and provides $200 million in grants to municipalities over three years.
The governor’s office said the $75 million in grants are expected to be supplemented with more than $362 million in interest-free and low-interest loans, allowing for a more fiscally sustainable investment for communities.
The $440 million will aim to further improve New York’s water quality and infrastructure, and the projects chosen are expected to save local taxpayers more than $284 million through a 59 percent reduction in municipal costs.
Funding will be administered by the Environmental Facilities Corporation (EFC), and the Departments of Health and Environmental Conservation.

Town board sets public hearings on zoning change, fracking ban in Hannibal

By Matthew Reitz

This week, the Hannibal Town Board said it will establish a committee to review the town’s zoning laws, and scheduled two public hearings in January to gather public input on zoning laws and a potential ban on hydraulic fracturing.
Code Enforcement Officer Wayne Newton suggested town officials look into making several changes to zoning laws, including adding a section to cover solar photovoltaic systems, and changing some wording that pertains to mining and foundations for manufactured homes.
“I’ve been looking at our zoning laws, and I see a few things that we probably ought to look at,” Newton said. “There are some definitions I feel we need, and some word and number changes.”
Town Supervisor Ron Greenleaf instructed Newton to set up a committee to review the zoning laws and make recommendations to the board. Greenleaf said he would like to see a five-person committee comprised of Newton, a planning board member, a town board member, and two members of the public.
Last month, Newton told the board about an issue in the town’s zoning laws that does not line up with New York state standards. Newton said he recently learned that mobile homes, whether in a park or on a private lot, must have a concrete pad or concrete pier foundation. He said the town’s current zoning laws allow for gravel pads, which do not meet state building code. Photoshoppo.com – photoshop online.
The words “or a compact gravel base” need to be removed from a portion of the town’s zoning laws, according to Newton. A public hearing is set for 7:45 p.m. on Jan. 20 to discuss the issue, immediately following a 7:30 p.m. public hearing on a hydraulic fracturing ban.
Town to close on WSA4
Greenleaf said the town has a tentative closing date for the recently completed Water Service Area 4, which is now functional. Greenleaf said closing for long-term repayment was set for Jan. 12, and the early closing will save the town about $2,000 in interest costs.
“It’s not a lot,” Greenleaf said of the $2,000 in savings, “but it’s better than paying it all.”
No Increase in Rental Fees for Community Room
A potential increase in the cost to rent town facilities had been discussed at recent meetings, but the board voted against making changes to the fees on Wednesday. Greenleaf said he spoke with Village of Hannibal Mayor Fred Kent, and the two did not feel any changes needed to be made. Greenleaf said Kent agreed to help close the building up when necessary, which would keep the town from having to hire someone to do so.
Highway department gets
time clock, new plow
Outgoing board member George Ritchie, who was recently elected Hannibal’s Supervisor of Highways, presented the board with quotes to purchase a time clock for the highway department. The board approved the purchase of a time clock that will cost a little less than $300, which Ritchie said would make payroll easier and keep better track of employees.
The board also approved the purchase of an $8,500 plow blade at the request of outgoing Highway Superintendent Dan Mahaney.

Your hometown. Your news.