Country singer aims to ‘encourage small-town pride’ in Fulton

By Matthew Reitz

RickyLee2Nashville recording artist Ricky Lee will be giving a free concert in Fulton next weekend to honor local veterans and first responders.

The “Hometown Heroes” concert will take place August 15 at the Bullhead Point pavilion on state Route 3 beginning at 6 p.m.

Lee describes himself as “basically a huge patriot” and said he’s honored to play for the veterans and first responders who “keep us safe.”

Lee is “living the American dream,” he says, by being able to do what he loves for a living. The Altoona, Pa. native said giving back to veterans is something he strives to do, and working with veterans and non-profits is rewarding. A large portion of Lee’s performances — he said about 50 percent — are geared toward veterans. He said “music is a very powerful and tremendous tool,” and the performances are just his way of trying to give back.

“There are a lot of veterans out there that need our support,” Lee said. “They’ve done a lot.”

After spending much of his time playing concerts for veterans, Lee decided to give back in another way, pursuing music therapy to help veterans dealing post-traumatic stress, depression and other issues.

“We don’t know what they’ve been through, what they’ve seen,” Lee said.

Music therapy has been used across the country as an effective tool to help veterans struggling to cope with PTSD, and Lee hopes that he can get other musicians to follow his lead. Our partners professional video equipment.

“It’s a different type of treatment and it could have a tremendous impact,” Lee said. “This is what they need.”

The therapy gives them something else to focus on, Lee said, and it “lets them know someone cares.”

Lee is currently in the middle of his “Small Town America Tour” aimed at “encouraging small town pride,” and he said Fulton caught his eye. While visiting the city recently, he thought to himself “this is small town America, let’s put on a show (here),” he told the Valley News

“Small-town America is what built this country,” Lee said. “We’ve got to keep patriotism alive so freedom never dies.”

GRB alumni pitch in towards Recreation Park restoration

Members of the G. Ray Bodley High School Class of 1975 surround the new sign at Recreation Park their fundraising efforts helped pay for. Members of the class celebrated their 40th reunion on Saturday, and released balloons in the park in honor of their deceased classmates.  Matthew Reitz photo
Members of the G. Ray Bodley High School Class of 1975 surround the new sign at Recreation Park their fundraising efforts helped pay for. Members of the class celebrated their 40th reunion on Saturday, and released balloons in the park in honor of their deceased classmates.
Matthew Reitz photo
By Matthew Reitz

The G. Ray Bodley High School class of 1975, which celebrated its 40-year class reunion over the weekend, gathered at Recreation Park on Saturday to remember their deceased classmates and celebrate their fundraising efforts toward the park’s improvements.

Friends of Fulton Parks board member Kelley Weaver said the class was able to raise $3,175 for improvements to the park, which is in part being used for a new sign located near the Chestnut Street entrance and a bench dedicated to their classmates who have passed away.

Colleen Madigan, now living in Virginia, organized the fundraiser and challenged a corporate sponsor to match the class’ donation. She also called on other classes to follow the group’s lead and contribute to the park’s restoration.

Madigan said she received $300 more on Saturday with “many more promises.” Additional funding will go toward the upcoming renovation of the park’s pavilion. Madigan said the park, which is adjacent to the school, meant a lot to her and her classmates when they were young. She spoke with optimism about the renovations at the park and the ongoing cleanup of Lake Neatahwanta. Madigan said the fundraising and reunion “went really well,” and the class was thinking about meeting once a year to stay involved. Attorney in New York.

“Everybody wants to be involved,” Madigan said, “and we agreed we want to do more for the park.”

Recreation Park is undergoing a three-phase project that will restore the pavilion and update playground equipment. Weaver said this campaign “is an example of how much Recreation Park means to past and present residents of Fulton.”

“They have great memories from the park and they appreciate their Fulton childhood,” Weaver said. “They would like to help pass that along for the next generation to have the opportunity to make their own fond memories in the park.”

Anyone who would like to volunteer for the project or with fundraising can contact Friends of Fulton Parks at

Wanda J. Stevens

Wanda J. Stevens, 58, of Hannibal died Wednesday, July 28, 2015 in the Oswego Hospital after a long illness. Mrs. Stevens was born in Fulton the daughter of the late Sebastian and Viola Alfano. She is survived by her husband James Stevens of Hannibal; sons Jason and Jamie Stevens, both of Hannibal; six grandchildren and one great-grandson. In addition, she is survived by her brothers Buck (Vicky) Alfano of Rochester, Vincent (Laurie) Alfano, George Alfano, Robert Alfano; and sisters Sara Woodward and Starr Bolster, all of Fulton. Burial will be private. The arrangements are in the care of the Sugar Funeral Home 224 W. 2nd St. S Fulton.

Bonnie Bodewaldt

Bodewalt obitBonnie Bodewaldt, 73, passed away on July 19, 2015 in Big Sky, Montana while on vacation with her family. She was born in Fulton, N.Y. on January 25, 1942 to Jack and Marian Ketcham.  Newark Valley, N.Y. was home for Bonnie and her husband, Jack Bodewaldt, for 24 years. After Jack retired in 1998 they moved to Fair Haven, N.Y. where Bonnie was living until the time of her death.  Bonnie was an active member of the Fair Haven Community Church and the Sterling Silver Swingers. She is survived by her brother Thomas (Linda) Ketcham of Oswego, N.Y.; daughters Cheryl (Mark) Yount of Wilmington, N.C., Amy (Glen) Bodewaldt of Walker, La., Karen (Will) Tracy of Fayetteville, N.Y.; sons, Jack Welch of Plymouth, Wisc., Robert (Rhonda) Bodewaldt of Albuquerque, N.M.; 10 grandchildren and several great-grandchildren; nephews Thomas (Kim) Ketcham, Jr., Wayne Ketcham and Mark Bodewaldt; nieces Deborah (Robert) Gates and Allison (Michael) Skinner. She was preceded in death by her parents, husband and daughter-in-law, Carla Welch.  A memorial service will take place on August 8 at 2 p.m. at the Fair Haven Community Church. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Fair Haven Community Church, or your local SPCA.

County’s solar farm project moving forward in Volney

By Matthew Reitz

The Town of Volney will hold a public hearing on August 4 to take comments on a site plan review for a large solar power system submitted by SolarCity Corporation.
The solar farm, along with a similar project at the county’s highway garage on state Route 104 in Scriba, is part of an effort by Oswego County to become more financially and energy efficient. The efforts began several years ago when a task force was created to research opportunities for the county to use environmentally friendly technology in ways that could save money, according to county administrator Phil Church.
The two projects are expected to save the county $355,897 in 2017, with increased savings in following years reaching up to $400,000.
The Volney site is located west of the Bristol Hill landfill behind the Oswego County Soil and Water Conservation facilities, and will sit on over nine acres of county-owned property. Officials say the proposed 2-megawatt solar farm will produce enough electricity to power the equivalent of over 400 average homes.
County Legislator Linda Lockwood said certain project details still needed to be worked out, but the endeavor is “still in the works” and moving forward.
“I know it’s coming,” Lockwood said.
Church said the project documents have been signed, and the county hopes to finalize the planning process and break ground later this year.
“I want it done before the snow flies,” Church said.
He said the county has entered into a 20-year contract with SolarCity in which it will purchase power at a fixed rate that is less than current utility prices. The panels will be installed on county-owned property, but SolarCity will own and maintain the system throughout the terms of the lease. Church said the plan will “guarantee savings” without putting any additional stress on county taxpayers.
Based in San Mateo, Calif., SolarCity is one of the nation’s largest developers, financers and installers of solar power products.
Church said the county has installed smaller solar projects in the last few years that have worked out well, including systems at Camp Hollis and the Bunner Street facilities in Oswego, but this will be the county’s first experience with a large-scale solar farm.
Volney’s planning board will hold the public hearing at 6:30 p.m. on August 4, directly preceding the regularly scheduled planning board meeting.

Cleanup efforts to continue at contaminated Fulton site

By Matthew Reitz

Fulton officials took action last week to continue a decade-long cleanup effort of gasoline-contaminated soil at a site on N. 5th Street.
The Common Council agreed to amend a 2006 contract with the state Department of Environmental Conservation that will extend the original agreement to complete what the mayor called “ongoing cleanup.” The original contract was part of a DEC Brownfield Cleanup Program that called for a joint venture, funded by the state, in which the city would conduct investigation and/or remedial activities at the site of 60 N. Fifth Street. Mayor Ron Woodward Sr. said the Brownfield cleanup projects often take extensive time and effort, which deters some municipalities from participating in the program.
The city acquired the property through tax foreclosure in 2003, and demolished a single-story concrete block building on the site in 2004. During the demolition, the city discovered a 700-gallon underground storage tank containing approximately 200 gallons of gasoline product. The storage tank was removed, but it became evident gasoline had leaked into the soil.
Woodward said the building was most recently a maintenance garage for a small business. In the past, the site had also been used as a brass and metal works facility, a foundry, an automobile paint shop, an automobile warehouse, and a construction materials warehouse.
A 2007 report prepared for the City of Fulton and Oswego County by ENSR Corporation spelled out a work plan to move forward with the cleanup. Woodward said the city “did the remediation” work that was recommended for the site when it removed the gasoline-impacted soils and brought clean fill in to the site.
“We took out all the bad dirt and brought in new,” Woodward said.
As part of the cleanup, the DEC also required the city to put monitoring wells on the property, and the results of that monitoring now indicate more work needs to be done.
“It turned out the ground water on the site was contaminated,” Woodward said.
The findings necessitate further cleanup, but the path forward it not yet clear. City officials are waiting for the DEC to instruct them on how to proceed with the project.
“There will be an added phase,” Woodward said, “and we’re waiting on what they want to do.”
The city also changed engineers “a couple times” throughout the process, causing further delays, according to Woodward.

Fulton native charged in Rochester-area murder

Soble mugStaff Report

A former Fulton woman has been arrested as an accomplice in a Rochester-area murder.
Jessica Soble, 34, is facing a second degree murder charge for her alleged role in the stabbing death of 39-year-old Jehon Gervalla late last Thursday at a Motel 6 in the town of Gates.
Police say Soble was an accomplice to Donovan Zuhlke, 26, of Rochester, who reportedly stabbed Gervalla once in the chest, causing his death.
The district attorney told local media Soble faces the same murder charge as Zuhlke “because she was in the motel room and was a ‘knowing accomplice,'” according to 13WHAM in Rochester.
According to Gates police, the two suspects were acquaintances who had met only days before the killing.
Police discovered Gervalla’s body after they had been called in for a welfare check. They believe the killing took place some time just after 11 p.m. last Thursday.
According to the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, both suspects were clearly pictured on the motel’s security camera. Police believe their motive was to rob the victim.
Gervalla was reportedly a refugee from Kosovo who moved to the United States in 1999. Police said he did not know either of the suspects.
Soble was arrested Saturday afternoon at a trailer in Oswego County, the Democrat and Chronicle reports, and Zuhlke had been apprehended from a home in Rochester by a police task force earlier that morning.
Both were scheduled to appear for a preliminary hearing in Gates Town Court Thursday, though no further information was available by press time.

Judith Kessler Kay

Judith A. Kessler Kay, 71, of Phoenix, N.Y., passed away at St. Joseph’s Hospital Center, Syracuse, N.Y., on Saturday, July 25, 2015.
Judith was born to her late parents, Margaret Palocy Kessler and Alexander W. Kessler on February 24, 1944 in Syracuse. She was a graduate of West Genesee High School. Judy enjoyed her hobbies, such as crocheting, as well as her interest in drawing. She was a very unique lady. Her natural tendencies were loving by her actions of caring and giving to others throughout her life. A down-to-earth loving soul, she also was a very funny person, with the ability to make others laugh. Judy could keep her wit about her, as she kept delivering one-liners one right after another.  She truly had a wonderful gift of creating laughter.
She is survived by her loving daughters and sons-in-law, Christine Meyers of Phoenix, Kathleen and Garry Cavanaugh of Phoenix, and son-in-law, Rick Meyers of Pennellville; her brother and sister-in-law, Alexander J. “Bud” and Carole Kessler of North Syracuse; her sister and brother-in-law, Deborah and Martin DeWitt of Camillus; seven grandchildren; 12 great-grandchildren; several nieces, nephews, and cousins; and many friends.
Calling hours and a funeral service were held  Wednesday July 29, from in the Allanson-Glanville-Tappan Funeral Home, 431 Main St., Phoenix, NY 13135.

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