Robert Stevens, World War II veteran

Robert N. Stevens, 98, of Rose, N.Y., died March 24, 2013 at the DeMay Living Center in Newark, N.Y.

He was a former Fulton resident where he was an union carpenter and millwright. He served in the Army during World War II.

He is survived by daughter, Betty Jane (Stevens-Ashby) Baker and husband James of Ontario; a son, Robert N. (Darlene) Stevens of Wolcott; 11 grandchildren Robert (Elizabeth) Ashby,Betty H. Ashby, William (Leisha) Ashby, Fred (Debbie) Ashby, Steven (Tina) Ashby, Debbie Wheaton, Christine (Brian) Keene, Sheri Bogart, Traci Hollebrandt, Connie (Kyle) Jones and David Reed; 46 great grandchildren; 32 great-great grandchildren; and one great-great-great granddaughter.

He was predeceased by his wife, Rose Anna, in 1999 and a daughter, Roberta Reed. Funeral services will be held April 2 at the Paul L. Murphy & Sons Funeral Home, Newark. Burial was in Macedon Cemetery.

Remembrances may be made to

Phoenix, Mexico named best communities for music education

by Nicole Reitz

The Phoenix Central School District and the Mexico Academy and Central School District were recognized by the NAMM Foundation as one of the country’s Best Communities for Music Education.

The distinction acknowledges schools and districts across the United States for their commitment to and support for music education.

In all, 373 communities were recognized, including 307 school districts and 66 schools.

New York State dominated the list, accounting for 84 of the 307 award-winning districts in 2013.

Mexico and Phoenix are the only districts in Oswego County to earn the distinction from the NAMM Foundation.

“I’m very proud of the fact that we are one of the best,” said Judy Belfield, Phoenix superintendent of schools.

Participation in the competition set a record this year. Nearly 2,000 schools and school districts competed by filling out detailed surveys for the foundation, which is affiliated with the National Association of Music Merchants.

University of Kansas researchers analyzed information on funding, staffing and commitment to standards and student access to music instruction.

According to NAMM, the increase in survey participation is an indication of growing support from both parents and administrators who see the vital tole that music learning plays in student achievement.

Part of the NAMM Foundation’s mission is to advocate for school-based music education. Numerous studies have demonstrated that learning to play music can boost other academic and social skills, such as math and learning to cooperate in a group.

Many districts across the country have cut music programs as means to deal with tight budgets.

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Three Oswego County bridges slated for repair

by Carol Thompson

The Oswego County Legislature’s Infrastructure and Facilities Committee authorized approximately $900,000 to be used for the repair of three bridges.

When the committee met Tuesday, the request was made by county Highway Superintendent Kurt Ospelt.

The County Route 11 bridge over the south branch of Little Salmon River will be repaired with decking and beams, Ospelt noted.  The Black Creek Bridge over Black Creek in the Town of Volney is also slated for repair. The state has given the bridge a structural yellow flag and if deterioration were to continue, the bridge would eventually have to be closed.

Also yellow-flagged is the County Route 35 bridge over Catfish Creek in the Town of Palermo.  Ospelt said it is a narrow bridge that will be widened to two lanes.

Most bridges have a standard 30-foot width, he added.

All of the work will be done in-house and is expected to be completed by fall.

The County Route 11 bridge will be the first to go under construction this spring as it won’t interfere with the school bus routes, Ospelt noted.

The committee also approved the transfer of $85,000 from the capital reserve fund into a capital project account to pay for a new roof on the welding shop, located in Parish.

Ospelt said the roof “leaks pretty good” and is beginning to deteriorate the underlying plywood sheeting and roof trusses of the structure.

Committee members also agreed to transfer two insurance checks to cover the cost of materials lost in a theft from the Parish garage and plow damage into the highway fund.

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For the love of peeps

RoyHodge_WEBby Roy Hodge

When I was working, I was known as a lover of “Peeps,” or more affectionately, “the Peepster,” and often at Easter time I discovered packages of the squashy marshmallow treats in my mailbox or on my desk.

I often spent part of my day enjoying my favorite confection by popping them in my mouth and squishing them around for several minutes.

That is my favorite way to enjoy Peeps but it is also challenging to put one Peeps in each side of your mouth and squish away. Yum!  If you enjoy eating Peeps right out of the box, but are willing to try something different, try to track down the recipe for “Peepza,” a desert pizza.

People do many things with Peeps – eat them out of the box (after they are hurriedly rescued from the cellophane); some people let them get hard and slice them; they are deep-fried or roasted; some people put them in the microwave; and there are Peeps diorama contests.

Peeps are mostly an Easter time pleasure for me, but I have partaken of a couple of Halloween ghosts and trees and snowmen at Christmas time.

Peeps got their start in the early 50s when dozens of women were employed to squeeze them out of pastry bags. The process was automated in the mid 1950s.

When I was first introduced to Peeps they seemed to all be yellow chicks, and those are still my favorites. There are also many different colors of Peeps bunnies.

Just Born Inc., of Bethlehem, Pa., produces five million Peeps a day at its plant 60 miles north of Philadelphia and plans to turn out more than one billion during this year’s Easter season.

Ross Born, who has the proper last name to be the third generation operator of Just Born, Inc., recently addressed the perennial Peeps debate – fresh or stale? Do you like your Peeps fresh, frozen, or “aged to perfection?”

“There is a lot of gray area here,” Born says diplomatically.  “There are people who tell me they put a one-inch slice in the film (that seals the box), and they’ll lay it on top of their refrigerator for two days.  No more, no less. Then they are perfect to eat.

“So, it’s not necessarily stale, it’s just a little firmer. All right? It’s just like politics,” says Born. “You’ve got people way on one side, and people way on the other side, but there are a whole lot of people in the middle.”

Born says that everyone seems to have a Peeps story, and they are willing to talk about how they eat their Peeps, how they cure them, how they store them, how they decorate with them – “and these are adults.”

Just Born calls it the “Peepsonality” of “consumers who buy Peeps not only to eat, but also to play around with.”

(I feel like I grew  up knowing about Peeps, but some of this information is from an Associated Press article, “The History of Peeps,” published March 8, 2013).

*  *  *  *  *

When I heard the good news recently that one of my younger friends and his wife are expecting their first child next fall, I was flooded with memories and started looking for back issues of The Fulton Patriot when I used my newspaper column to write about adventures with my kids.

In the early years of my column, youngest son Adam, as an eight-year-old, was in the spotlight.

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New coach seeks to change landscape of Hannibal softball

by Rob Tetro

This season, Krystal Ward will take over as coach of the Hannibal varsity softball team. The foundation of the goals Ward and her team have for the upcoming season are based on becoming both quicker and stronger.

In fact, how Ward describes her vision for the landscape of Hannibal softball can be compared to a mathematical equation.

She said that improving overall speed and strength results in better skills on both sides of the ball, which equals a more competitive output for The Lady Warriors.

Hannibal will be welcoming back five seniors for the upcoming season. Ward expects the abundance of experience that these seniors have to help them to have solid seasons.

She added that her group of seniors are primed to be leadership figures as well.

When season practices began in early March, Ward expected her players to be in solid physical condition.

With great enthusiasm, the Lady Warriors proved to be right on track with the physical conditioning expectations Ward had for them.

In fact, it seemed Hannibal had the benefit of being able to work towards improving both their physical and mental preparation as practice continued.

Currently, the Lady Warriors are still focused on making the improvements that Ward feels will change the tide for Hannibal softball this season and beyond. They are working hard to become quicker and stronger by the day.

To read the rest of the story, pick up a copy of The Valley News or subscribe today by calling 598-6397

Scrabble 21

Scrabble Club spells fun for Fairley students

For the past two weeks, 25 to 30 Fairley Elementary School third- and fourth-grade students have participated in the Scrabble Club. They play for an hour using the 10 Scrabble games purchased by the school through a grant from Novelis.
For the past two weeks, 25 to 30 Fairley Elementary School third- and fourth-grade students have participated in the Scrabble Club. They play for an hour using the 10 Scrabble games purchased by the school through a grant from Novelis.

by Terri DiGregorio

Remix? Bakery? Leader? What do these words have in common?

They are all words used by third and fourth graders in their games of Scrabble during the last meeting of the Fairley Elementary School Scrabble Club.

Yvette Gigliotti, a third grade teacher at Fairley, loves to play Scrabble with her coworkers through Literacy Volunteers and thought maybe the children in her class might like it, too.

Not only did her classroom enjoy it, all of the third and fourth graders in the school got involved in a weekly tournament held in the cafeteria after school.

When asked how they liked staying an extra hour after being in school all day, the replies included, “I think about it all day. I can’t wait!” “I hope we can do it again, it’s a lot of fun.”

For the past two weeks, 25 to 30 students have participated in the Scrabble Club. They play for an hour using the 10 Scrabble games purchased by the school through a grant from Novelis.

“They come right in and got started with such enthusiasm,” said Gigliotti. “I’ve watched their spelling improve each week and the words they come up with are amazing.”

One student spelled “Water” using two blank tiles in place of the “T” and “R.” Another spelled “Popes” for a score of 33 points.

Not only are the kids using their spelling and math, they’re learning to work as teams and making new friends. The excitement builds throughout their last game to see who the top scorers will be.

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Hannibal school board continues budget work

by Terri DiGregorio

 The Hannibal Board of Education held its third budget workshop Monday night.

School board members discussed administrative costs, debt service and benefits for employees.

“The budget is a work in progress,” said Superintendent of Schools Donna Fountain. “We still don’t have all the numbers from the state, so that makes it difficult.”

Business Administrator Nancy Dingman gave a detailed presentation regarding the increases faced by the district, explaining why the numbers have almost doubled in some areas.

“Many of the additions are not something we have any control over,” Dingman said. “These are requirements which must be met. They are amounts set by the state that we have to meet in order to continue operating our schools.”

One of the largest increases falls under the central data processing costs, which have been outsourced to Oswego County BOCES.

Due to a need for more bandwidth to allow students to simultaneously take state-mandated tests such as the Regents and SATs, all of the computer services are in transition.

Eventually, there will be a savings to justify the doubling of the budget now, but it is an unavoidable cost in today’s competitive education needs.

“Another big cost is for bettering our curriculum,” said Fountain. “Hannibal is in the lowest five percent in New York State in performance. We need to do this. We need a full-time person working on our curriculum development. If this matter is not addressed, we could be looking at being taken over by the state.”

Personnel costs have also increased as well as health benefits offered to employees, but these, too, can be justified by the need to attract quality educators to the school district. Regarding health costs, negotiations with the unions are ongoing to try to decrease the numbers.

To read the rest of the story, pick up a copy of The Valley News or subscribe today by calling 598-6397

Tales of West Broadway, Part V

JerryHoganKasperek_Wby Jerry Kasperek

Tales of West Broadway, Part V:  Let’s use the old 1948-49 and 1953 City Directories as our guide once again and let’s start at the Broadway Cleaners and head toward West Second Street.

Who remembers Ottman’s Department Store? It was between Buell’s Drapery Shop and JR Sullivan’s furniture store. My classmate Joanne Bower Thompson said her father took her there at the beginning of each school year to buy her a pair of shoes.

What kid doesn’t like a new pair of shoes? Another good friend, Ellie Roach Pryor, remembers Ottman’s, too. “They sold Buster Browns!” she said.

My classmate Joanne Bower Thompson said her father took her there at the beginning of each school year to buy her a pair of shoes. Another good friend of mine, Ellie Roach Pryor, remembers getting shoes there, too.

“They sold Buster Browns!” she said.

Crossing West Second, who remembers the Polish Educational Society at 206 West Broadway? Or, that it would be replaced by the West Broadway Grill, to eventually become a carpet and tile store by the name of Litwak and Baker?

My friend Mary Czeriak West remembers it well; her sister Anna Burnett had her wedding reception in the Polish Educational Society Hall in 1946

“Or 47? Our memories aren’t always that good,” Mary chuckled.

It was Fulton’s original Polish Home before a “new” one was built in 1949 (or 1950) on West First Street. Many of us older citizens fondly remember that once-vacant lot on West First for the carnivals that were held during the summers of our youth.

And, who remembers Dick Wray’s Ice Cream Parlor in 1949 at 304 West Broadway? Or that it had become Chet’s (Dlugozima) Soda Spot by 1953?

And that Faucett’s Furniture Repair at 312 West Broadway in 1949 was gone four years later, to be filled up with new furniture and called Ward and Winchell’s warehouse?

Another surprise, at least to me, was that there was a funeral home on West Broadway — Boland’s Funeral Home at 506. I do, however, seem to remember the Co-operative GLF Services farther west on the 500 block, I think by the railroad tracks. (Does anyone know what GLF stood for back then? I looked it up on the internet and it says it has something to do with, well, the internet.)

Speaking of modern technology, I have a number of e-mails I’d like to share with you. Let’s begin with the one from Enid Yager Wahl, who remembers in particular Bill Myers’ Restaurant.

“He had a wonderful cook and baker. I think it was his wife. It was next to the corner building of West Broadway and West Second Street.”

Enid was married in 1953 and she and her husband both worked for her dad at Yager’s Plumbing and Heating, “Who, by the way,” she wrote, “had just moved from Second Street to North First Street – they have been across from Mimi’s for 40 years!”

The Wahl’s lived on West First Street across from Sieron’s grocery store, when the Sieron’s daughter, Jean (now Mrs. Bill Niver), was just a little girl.

“She used to come over and help with my babies,” Enid recalled.

“When I got pregnant for our first son, I quit working and told Bill Myers it was my last day to eat meals there and told him he was going to miss me, he said,‘Not as much as you’ll miss me!’”

She said she used to walk her baby in his stroller across the bridge when it was under repair in 1957 and sometimes stop to visit with Bob Tretch who had a gas station on East Broadway.

Bob was a good friend of her husband as was Earl Bartlett who worked for Bob. She also mentioned one of her own best friends, Nancy Greco White, who used to live in the house next to the CYO on West First Street.

I thank Enid so much for sharing her memories. Incidentally, Tony Gorea, our esteemed, retired Fire Chief, also remembers how good Bill’s Restaurant was.

To read the rest of the column, pick up a copy of The Valley News or subscribe today by calling 598-6397

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