Otto Sitterly captures fifth Shampine Memorial title

Otto Sitterly won his fifth 75-lap Jim Shampine Memorial event at Oswego Speedway Saturday.
Otto Sitterly won his fifth 75-lap Jim Shampine Memorial event at Oswego Speedway Saturday.

For the second race in a row, Otto Sitterly parked his Nicotra Racing Supermodified on the front stretch at Oswego Speedway.

This time, however, Sitterly climbed out of the No. 7 as a five-time champion of the 75-lap Jim Shampine Memorial event.

With a 12th place feature finish May 11, Sitterly’s handicap placed him fifth in the starting order Saturday night.  Methodically working his way to the runner-up position, Sitterly grabbed the point from early leader Kody Graham on lap 45 and steamed on untouched to victory lane to claim his second consecutive Jim Shampine Memorial.

Sitterly’s victory Saturday was his fifth Shampine Memorial title, joining wins in 2006, 2009, 2010, and 2012. No other driver has scored more than three victories in the event which has been run at the Speedway since 1991.

Joe Gosek, Dave Gruel, Michael Barnes, Dave Danzer, Michael Muldoon, Tim Jedrzejek, Brandon Bellinger, Jeff Holbrook, and Tim Devendorf completed the top ten finishers.

At race’s end, Sitterly, who had an altercation two weeks ago in the Novelis Supermodified ‘Kick-Off’ with Gruel, still seemed visibly torn about the May 11 events, which saw him leave his racecar on the front straightaway on lap 66, retiring for the evening.

Barely cracking a smile for cameras in victory lane, Sitterly had little to say to infield announcer Keith Zehr after his victory.

“We just took it one lap at a time,” said Sitterly. “The car is good.”

When asked about his victory pulling him back into a battle for his sixth career Oswego Championship, Sitterly said, “We’re just going to take it one week at a time.”

With the victory, Sitterly now has 25 career Novelis Supermodified wins at Oswego Speedway — only one behind 1985 track champion Steve Gioia Jr.

A total of 26 Novelis Supermodifieds were in the pit area Saturday night with 25 taking the green flag in the Jim Shampine Memorial main event.

Last year’s championship runner-up, Pat Lavery in the No. 22, was once again one of the fastest racecars in warm-ups, but his night would come to an end as the engine expired under the hood of his machine dropping him out of the night’s action after the qualifying heats.

Graham and Bellinger would lead the strong Novelis Supermodified field to the Cam’s NY Pizzeria feature green flag on Saturday night with Graham quickly shooting to the race lead in the No. 21 Xtreme chassis.

Sitterly, who started inside the third row, immediately dove to the inside of Jeff Locke’s No. 37 to pull to fourth on the Speedway and not long after the race’s first caution would wave for a spinning Jerry Curran down the back stretch.

Curran made his Oswego debut on Saturday night in the No. 24, looking very good in early warm-ups, running in the 16-second bracket. After spinning backwards on the race’s first lap, Curran would continue on.

Another caution would wave on the race’s restart, this time for a spinning Jeff Holbrook down the front chute.

Holbrook, who won his qualifying heat race earlier in the evening, was running seventh at the time he spun. The No. 35 would head to the pits, but did return to action before the lights went green.

The next restart would stay green for a handful of laps and it would see the Gruel No. 50 hit the fast lane.

After starting seventh on the grid, Gruel shot to the topside of the Speedway powering around Locke to fifth, and just one lap later drove around Sitterly into the first turn to take fourth.

Just like two weeks ago, Gruel and Sitterly would now be bumper to bumper and together they worked through the field, next making quick work of the Bellinger No. 02 to charge to third and fourth with both Dan Connors Jr. and race leader Graham in their sights.

After five circuits, yet another caution would hit the Speedway and it was again for Curran entering turn three, but this time he would be joined by Dave Cliff in a much more serious incident.

Heading down the back stretch Keith Shampine, who debuted the brand new Chris Osetek No. 55 roadster Saturday, appeared to slow out of turn two moving to the bottom of the speedway.

As Shampine slowed down the back stretch, Cliff’s No. 06 caught the right rear tire of the No. 55 causing the front end of the Gnomey Racing machine to go air born and lose control. Cliff flew across the Speedway directly for the outside steel and caught Curran with him as he tried to roll by on the high side.

Each car would slam the outside steel, sliding passed the third turn pit gate, and eventually scattering a great deal of foam.  Unfortunately, the damage had already been done to both the No. 06 and No. 24, who ironically park next to each other in the pit area, as both cars took on massive right front damage.

Both drivers exited their machines under their own power and were in good condition.

The race’s restart would see Graham out in front ahead of Connors, Gruel, Sitterly, Bellinger, Gosek, Locke, Muldoon, Shaun Gosselin, and Michael Barnes in the front ten.

As the lights went green, Gruel again found the outside lane, this time sliding passed Connors to take over the runner-up spot, now beginning to give chase to Graham for the race lead.

At this point, Gruel appeared as though he would be the car to beat, but Sitterly would soon also get around Connors to move to third in turn four, and the Gosek No. 00 was also lingering.

By lap 15, Graham and Gruel had settled into a bit of a lead over Sitterly, who himself had built a nice cushion over Connors, Gosek, and Gosselin running fourth through sixth.  Gosselin, driving the family owned No. 26, looked very good early on but at lap 17 would bring out another caution as he broke out of turn four, stopping on the front straight.

The No. 26 would be pushed to the infield, parking nose first in his pit stall, done for the evening.

The previous restart belonged to Gruel, but the lap 17 restart belonged to the Gosek No. 00 as he pushed to the outside of Connors to move to fourth, now joining a tight four car battle for the race lead with Graham, Gruel, and Sitterly.

It was at this point of the race that dejavu began to set in with Gruel and Sitterly riding second and third, just as they did two weeks ago.

Each driver ran clean, leaving plenty of room between each other as Graham continued to power away out front.

A long green flag period would now set in, providing a clear indication of the drivers that had racecars to potentially battle for the win.

At one point, Graham built a sizeable lead over the dueling duo of Gruel and Sitterly as Gosek began to fade in the No. 00 running fourth.  During this stretch Barnes and Muldoon would emerge as top runners after starting 8th and 12th on the grid, as they now rode 5th and 6th respectively.

As the cross flags went in the air showing half-way, Graham’s lead began to shrink, and on lap 40 both Gruel and Sitterly had tightened the gap.

On lap 44, Sitterly’s persistence would pay off as he pulled low on Gruel heading into turn one yet again, just like two weeks ago.  But this time their cars would not touch and Sitterly would drive on by to the runner-up position.

One lap later as leader Graham and Sitterly hit lapped traffic, Graham would leave the door open for Sitterly on the low side out of turn two, which was all the No. 7 needed.

Sitterly would now be the race’s second, and final, leader at lap 45 quickly building a large gap over the field.

As Sitterly mounted as much as a full straightaway lead on the field, the trio of Graham, Gruel, and Gosek battled for second. By this time the Speedway had seen a green flag spell of almost 50 consecutive laps, which forced the handling on several cars to go away.

One car however seemed to improve as the race went on and that was the No. 51 of Muldoon. After a top five finish on May 11, Muldoon seemed poised to chase down Barnes for fifth in the late going, but just as that thought crept into the minds of some the No. 51 would spin out of turn four bringing out the yellow flag at lap 68.

With the long stretch of green flag racing, and an attrition filled night, only seven cars remained on the lead lap with seven laps to go, meaning Muldoon would restart seventh only losing one spot on the Speedway.

With just a handful of laps to go Sitterly led Graham, Gruel, Gosek, Barnes, Danzer, Muldoon, Jefrzejek, Bellinger, and Holbrook in the top ten with Jeedrzejek being the first car a lap down to the field.

It looked as though this order would hold, but that was until the field charged out of turn two on the restart.

The Graham No. 21, which had led 44 laps of the main event, suddenly faltered out of turn two jamming up Gruel on the low side of the Speedway.

With Graham and Gruel jammed on the bottom of the track, Gosek powered to the high side taking advantage and passing his way to second in the field behind Sitterly.

Graham immediately pulled the No. 21 pit side.

Initially it was believed that Graham may have run out of fuel, but that was not the case at all.  Graham says it was an engine issue, which actually first appeared earlier in the race.

“At about lap 30 or so I lost oil pressure, it dropped to about 40,” said Graham. “It felt like I had a parachute behind the car heading down the straightaways and that’s when I think they starting to catch back up to me.  While we were up to speed during that long run it was ok, but when we had that last yellow and everything cooled down, I pinned it on the restart (out of turn two) and nothing happened.”

Despite Gosek now moving into the runner-up position, Sitterly had already built an insurmountable lead, dominating the field for his fifth Shampine title and 25th career Oswego win.

Oswego Speedway will next be in action Saturday, June 1 with a 50-lap Novelis Supermodified main event and a 30-lap Pathfinder Bank SBS feature.

Grandstand gates will open at 4 p.m. with racing beginning at 6:30 p.m.

Fulton softball team rallies past New Hartford

by Rob Tetro

The Fulton varsity softball team ended the regular season with a 10-6 overall record, earning the Lady Raiders a fourth seed in the Section III Class A playoffs.

Following an  opening round bye, Fulton took on New Hartford, the fifth seed, May 27.

After a back-and-forth game, The Lady Raiders scored three runs during the bottom of the seventh inning to pull out an 8-7 win over New Hartford.

Fulton took on top seed Oneida on yesterday in Liverpool.

The Lady Raiders got off to a quick start. They jumped out to a 2-0 lead during the bottom of the first inning. However, New Hartford came ready to battle. They tied the game at 2-2 during the top of the second inning.

Fulton answered back with a run during the bottom of the second inning to take a 3-2 lead. Following a scoreless third inning, New Hartford tied the game at 3-3 during the top of the fourth inning.

The Lady Raiders retook the lead during the bottom of the fifth inning. They scored two runs to take a 5-3 lead.

Once again, New Hartford battled on. They delivered what could have been a crucial blow during the top of the sixth inning. They scored four runs to storm ahead to take a 7-5 lead.

To read the rest of the article, pick up a copy of The Valley News. You can subscribe by calling 598-6397 or click on the link on our home page.

Reapportionment lawsuit dismissed

by Carol Thompson

Oswego County Court Judge Norman Seiter has dismissed the reapportionment lawsuit filed against the County of Oswego. The case now appears that it will move to appeals court.

“We are disappointed but not surprised by the judge’s decision,” said Legislator Dan Farfaglia, one of the plaintiffs. “We figured from the start that we would have to get the case out of Oswego County. We intend to appeal the decision.”

The plaintiffs are represented by Buffalo-based attorney Frank Housh, who said in a recent interview that he, too,  expected that the case would be dismissed in county court.

The lawsuit addresses several causes of action, including the manner in which the Republican majority proceeded with re-drawing the district lines. Housh alleged that the county legislature used “a baltantly political modus process to marginalize the Democrats.”

No one was available from the county to comment as of press time.

To read the rest of the article, pick up a copy of The Valley News. You can subscribe by calling 598-6397 or click on the link on our home page.

Hannibal baseball team falls in sectional quarterfinals

by Rob Tetro

The Hannibal varsity baseball team’s regular season came to an end with an 8-10 overall record, which earned them the tenth seed in the Section III Class B playoffs.

In the opening round May 21, Hannibal cruised to an 8-2 win over the seventh seed Holland Patent.

The Warriors were rewarded for their win with a contest against top seed Westhill in the sectional quarterfinals May 23. Despite Hannibal’s best efforts, Westhill won the contest.

Westhill supplied the first, last and only scoring in a game that consisted of solid pitching and glove play.

After 5 and 1/2 scoreless innings, Westhill took a 2-0 lead. Unfortunately for Hannibal, they were unable to respond during their final at bat as Westhill came away with a 2-0 win.

The Warriors’ season concludes with a 9-11 overall record.

Leading the way for Hannibal were Austin France, Jamie King and Jake Shortslef, who all had a hit against Westhill.

On the mound, Greg Pitcher finished with three strikeouts while allowing two runs on two hits in six innings of action.

Light in the Darkness: May 30, 2013

by Pastor David Grey

“If you love me, you will obey what I command.  And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever—  the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” – John 14:15-19

The first command the disciples were to obey was to remain in Jerusalem and “wait for the gift my Father promised…the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 1:4).

This promise of the Holy Spirit to His disciples (and to all who believe, of course) is both amazing and wonderful. He promises that the one who would come would be their helper and teacher. He said that this one would also be exactly like Himself.

The word Jesus used did not mean “same” in the way that two “identical” Fords coming off the assembly line are alike, for an expert would easily find some material flaw or difference between them.

When Jesus said another just like Me, He meant precisely and perfectly. In other words, if something is true about Jesus it is true about the Holy Spirit. This is why we often use the Holy Spirit and Christ interchangeably as the one who indwells us. There is not the slightest difference between them.

These words must have been a comfort to the disciples, if not immediately at least later when they reflected on them. This promise was timely for Jesus had recently dropped the bomb that He would be leaving and returning to the Father.

To read the rest of the column, pick up a copy of The Valley News. You can subscribe by calling 598-6397 or click on the link on our home page. 

‘King Cotton band marches on’

by John T. Sullivan Jr. (via e-mail)

The more things change, the more they stay the same! Who said that? It must have been someone from Oswego, because Oswego always provides ample evidence for the verity of this vernacular conundrum. Particularly when it comes to politics.

Forty-one years ago, I was elected a member of the newly formed Oswego County Legislature (formerly known as the Board of Supervisors). I was a Democrat in a Republican sea and I was quickly made aware of that fact when I asked to see copies of the resolutions we had to vote on.

“What?” exclaimed then County Attorney Charlie Sauers. “Do you know how much making Xerox copies would cost?”

Undaunted, I persisted in my quest to be able to read what I was about to vote on. It took a few months, but the Republican majority finally relented and cranked up the copy machine!

In those days, Ray Cotton, who was the sheriff and the chairman of the Republican Party would stand in the back of the chambers, and when it came time to vote, the roll call would start with the Town of Albion, whose Legislator at the time, Kenny Wheeler, would look back at Sheriff Cotton, who would literally give either a thumbs up or thumbs down signal, and Ken would vote accordingly.

The rest of the majority members then followed suit. That was just the way things were done, way back then.

I criticized the county government for acting like the “Toonerville Trolley,” puffing and snorting its way into the 20th century. I know, I know,  Trolleys don’t puff and snort, they run on electricity, but believe me, this one did, and anyone who dared to rise up to challenge the status quo, as I most often did, was rebuffed, rebuked, and reviled for having the temerity to challenge the powers who be.

Well, fast forward 41 years, and the Oswego County Legislature is back at it again — with a vengeance.

They have re-drawn legislative district lines without paying much heed to existing town lines, but lots of heed to whatever will further solidify their political hegemony.

They have appointed their chairman, Fred Beardsley, who by all accounts is unqualified for the post, as county treasurer. Why? Because they can. It is a perfect example of the arrogance of power that comes from unfettered one party rule.

But to add insult to injury, the coalition of Democrats,  Conservatives and disgruntled Republicans who have finally said enough is enough, have had to take to the courts to challenge this majority exercise in raw partisan redistricting power, only to find that the Judge hearing the case, who should be an impartial arbiter, is himself a former chairman of the local Republican party.

In addition, his brother-in-law, H. Douglas Barclay, is the respected and venerable former state senator from the area, and the power of all the powers that be in Oswego County.

Indeed, Doug’s law firm was paid to give an opinion to the majority Republican legislature that what they were doing, apportionment wise, was perfectly legal.

Under normal circumstances, Seiter is seen as a fair and impartial jurist, but when it comes to political cases, it will be hard for him not to see things from the Republican side of the aisle.

It is where his bread has been buttered all of his life and they are the team that brought him to the seat of power he now occupies.

A fair and impartial judiciary is critical to the administration of justice, and in this situation, fairness and impartiality may fall victim to partisanship, even if unwittingly.

It seems to me that the most sensible thing for Judge Norm Seiter to do would be to recuse himself from this case, and that way, avoid even the appearance and/or mere hint of impropriety.

He is unlikely to do that, however, so justice ill served may be justice denied. To quote an old friend of mine, the late Harry O’Brien of Fulton, “John Phillip Sousa may be dead, but his King Cotton band marches on in Oswego County.”

It is as true today as it was back then. Only the names have been changed to protect the less than innocent.

Hannibal Senior Band to premiere ‘For Those First Called’

The Hannibal Senior Band will premier “For Those First Called,” in honor of first responders, by Syracuse composer Kevin Mixon June 4.

Mixon is an accomplished composer and arranger with several works for band and orchestra published by Carl Fischer, Kendor Music, and Alfred Publishing.

In addition, he is a National Board Certified Teacher, was an instrumental music teacher for several years, and is currently the director of fine arts for the Syracuse City School District.

He is in frequent demand as a conductor and clinician for festivals and conferences, such as the International Society for Music Education Convention, the Midwest International Band and Orchestra Clinic, National Association for Music Education events, and state and regional music conferences.

He is author of “Reaching and Teaching All Instrumental Music Students” and co-author of “Teaching Music in the Urban Classroom.”

This composition commissioned by the senior band is dedicated to the memory of past Music Booster President Ed “Skeeter” Carvey, whose died in a tragic accident in 2011.

The concert will begin at 7 p.m. in the Hannibal High School Lockwood Auditorium with the Jazz Band.

Graduating seniors Nicole McMahon, Ashley Moberg and Brooke Zapanta will be honored by the Hannibal Senior Band as well as foreign exchange students, Jakub Schinko and Monica Kollar in this send-off celebration.

As is tradition, alumni and friends will be invited to join the band on the final two selections, “Lexington March” and “A Tribute to Neil Diamond.”

A reception sponsored by the Hannibal Music Boosters will take place in the cafeteria following the performance.

What’s happening at CNY Arts Center?

A new month brings lots of weekend events, starting with the very first Saturday of the month. June 1 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., an open house for our new gallery “Arts in the Heart” located at 47 S. First St., Fulton. Come visit, take a walk through, enjoy Marcella Slater on the harp from 2 to 4 p.m.; see the display of some of the finest art in the heart of CNY. Get a free “ARTs in the HeART” bracelet while supplies last. The public is also invited to the official Ribbon Cutting set for June 5 at 11 a.m. just before Tunes in June.

We’ll also be open during Farmer’s Market every Saturday so stop by when you’re at the market, on your lunch hour during the week or whenever you’re downtown.

Make time to see what’s new at Arts in the HeART Gallery open Tuesday and Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Thursday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Hours are subject to change.

The second Saturday finds the third annual Arts Fest June 8 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the War Memorial Community Center Ice Rink. This annual event is growing in popularity each year. Crafters and artists, entertainment, a talent competition, art projects for kids, food, prizes, and family fun. With more 50 vendors to browse, this event will offer the best local handmade original art and crafts. Make it a day to celebrate the arts in CNY.

We still need performers for the talent competition to be held during Arts Fest from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Butler-Sheehan Irish Step Dancers are scheduled to perform during judges deliberations.

Lois Dixon and the Olives and Tom Eagan will each perform onstage following the Competition which awards prizes in three age categories plus a new category for bands just added. And there is still room for vendors. Talent and vendors can register online at

Our focus is on kids the third Saturday, June 15 from noon to 2 p.m. with sign-up for our summer play “Charlotte’s Web.” The play is open to all children from ages 5-15 and we’ll find a part for everyone. There is no charge to participate.

The play will run Aug. 16-18 at the Arts Center located in the 357 State Street church. Children should be prepared to tell their favorite story or sing a song. For more information visit or call 592-3373.

Digital Photography 101 series kicks off our class schedule June 4 and you can attend any or all of the six classes meeting on Tuesdays from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Learn the basics of taking photographs with a digital camera. A single lens reflex (SLR) digital camera is recommended, but not required. The class is taught by Kendra Matott, studio arts coordinator and Featured Artist of the Month at Arts in the HeART Gallery.

Sunday, June 9 brings our monthly Writer’s Café from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the center. This informal gathering for local writers and people who enjoy writing is the perfect place to share your writings and enjoy the work of others like yourself. All genres welcome. Contact Jim Farfaglia at 402-2297 or

Three great classes are on the calendar for Saturday, June 15 with Woodworking for Beginners, ages 10 and up from 1 to 5 p.m. Students will make a flower box and learn about proper tool safety and woodworking techniques. All materials and tools are provided.

Textured Memories with Kenneth Blount will run from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. You’re going to love this one using things around the house…a child’s toy, a favorite cup/spoon, a treasured memory that becomes a treasured work of art bringing back memories for years to come. Bring items to make a collage. Please pre-register.

Oil Painting with Bonnie McClellan returns from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. This class will paint “Abandoned Cabin” full of colors! All materials are provided and students will leave with a completed painting.

Students are reminded to pre-register for all classes and workshops to avoid missing out. Classes and workshops charge a modest fee. Visit  for more information or call 592-3373 for details and updates and look for us here every week with the latest classes and events.

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