Granby fire officials commission facilities study

Fire district holding series of public meetings throughout process

By Matthew Reitz

The Granby Center Volunteer Fire Department’s First Fire District has hired Heuber-Breuer Construction to conduct a feasibility study on the department’s buildings, vehicles and equipment.
Fire Commissioner Peter Holmes began a public forum last week by introducing Sean Foran, executive project manager for Heuber-Breuer. Foran said the purpose of the meeting was to discuss the process with the community and “make sure everyone understands it’s a process that we believe should be a community effort.”
Foran stressed that the process was just beginning, and, presently, he has little information about what the district needs.
“We don’t have any answers right now, but we have a lot of questions,” Foran said.
He noted that he was beginning the process with a “truly unbiased outlook,” and without any preconceived notions or political connections.
Foran said his goal is to help the fire department meet the needs of the community and find the most cost-effective way to do so.
Some residents questioned why the study was being done now and how it was being paid for. Holmes said the fire commissioners decided to have the feasibility study done now to ensure the district doesn’t reach a point where it has a building and equipment that don’t meet its needs. Holmes said the study will cost $24,000 and will help the district identify needs and plan for the future. He brought “some safety issues” to the attention of his fellow commissioners several years ago, and the board recently voted to move forward with the study.
“Whatever it leads to, the information will be valuable,” Holmes said. He said the money for the study “didn’t come out of this year’s budget,” but from funds that have been saved over time.
Fire Commissioner Tim Carly said he didn’t want people to think the fire commissioners are coming to the public to say they want a new building. Foran said the current building, built in 1962, looked to be in decent shape. Carly said the commissioners want to be as fiscally conservative as possible, but they know they have a problem to address.
“We don’t know what the answer is,” Carly said. “That’s why we’ve hired this company to come help us with the discussion.”
Foran said one of the more serious problems is the size of the engine bays. He said there have been numerous accounts of firefighters being crushed by vehicles in their own stations because the bays are not large enough and visibility is poor. Fire officials said in the past the district has had to spend extra money to get trucks custom built to fit into the existing bays.
A series of three public meetings will be held to gather information and keep residents informed. Meeting minutes and other pertinent information will also be posted on a website that will be updated throughout the process. According to Foran, the final product of the study will be a Facilities Master Plan for the First Fire District that will be available online once it is completed.
The next public outreach meeting is scheduled for September 3, and the study is scheduled to be complete by December 2015.

Ronald W. Bartlett, Sr.

Ronald W. Bartlett, Sr., 61 of Fulton passed away peacefully Wednesday at home with his loving family by his side after a long courageous battle with cancer. He was a lifelong resident of Fulton. Ron worked construction in his earlier years and was a carpenter who loved to build things with his hands. He was also a wonderful caretaker. He enjoyed the outdoors and the beauty of nature. One of Ron’s favorite hobbies was to take care of the ducks and geese in his pond. He was also one of Elvis Presley’s biggest fans.
Ron was predeceased by his mother, Bernice Draper Bartlett, and by a brother, Scott Bartlett. He is survived by his six children, Ronald W. Jr., Erin, Heather, Amanda, Samantha and Alex Bartlett; father, William Bartlett; nine siblings, Kenneth (Vikki) Bartlett, Melinda (Robert) Davis, Michelle Atkinson, Christine (Ronald) Austin, Kimberly Bartlett, Randy (Caroline) Bartlett, Timothy (Cindy) Bartlett, Jeffrey (Trudy) Bartlett and Ralph Bartlett; several grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews and cousins.
Funeral services were held Tuesday, July 28 at Mt. Pleasant United Methodist Church, county Route 45, Fulton.  Burial followed at Mt. Pleasant Cemetery.  Calling hours were held Monday at Foster Funeral Home, 910 Fay St., Fulton. In memory of Ron, contributions may be made to Friends of Oswego County Hospice, P.O. Box 102, Oswego, 13126.

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

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.

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