OSWEGO, NY – The following are just a few of the stories that made news in and around the Port City the past 12 months.
The Port City and county were negotiating the possible swap of sewage sludge and leachate as part of an intermunicipal agreement that would be beneficial to both entities.
The city’s Administrative Services Committee approved the tentative deal Nov. 1. The county’s Infrastructure and Facilities Committee had already given its seal of approval.
The plan needed to be approved by the Common Council and the Oswego County Legislature before it officially took affect. It never made it that far and now the city is seeking options for sludge disposal as the county won’t accept the city sludge at Bristol Hill Landfill in 2011.
Two Coast Guard 47-foot Motor Life Boats were under way on Lake Ontario for heavy weather training when one of the vessels rolled more than 90 degrees about a half mile north of Oswego Harbor on Nov. 17.
Following the accident at about 3:30 p.m., the vessel was driven back to the station, where the crew members were evaluated by emergency medical services.
Of the five crew members, two were taken to local hospitals via ambulance while the rest were evaluated and released. One crew member suffered a head wound and was admitted to Upstate Medical University, Syracuse. Another crew member suffered a shoulder injury and was transported to Oswego Hospital.
The 47-foot MLB was under way on Lake Ontario with an additional Station Oswego MLB for heavy weather training necessary to qualify members for heavy weather responses and was under way for about 30 minutes when the accident occurred.
The weather when the vessels departed the station was reported to be 30-mph wind gusts and 12-14 foot waves, both within the MLB’s operating parameters of 30-foot waves and 57-mph winds.
The Oswego Board of Education gathered Nov. 16 to get an early start on what the 2011 – 2012 school district budget will look like.
Board president Dave White gave each of the members an opportunity to tell Superintendent Bill Crist and the other administrators what they would like to see, or not see, in the coming school year’s budget.
Governor-elect Andrew Cuomo had proposed a two-percent property tax cap (the previous cap was four percent), according to Assistant Superintendent for Business Pete Colucci.
“Things aren’t really clear in the (state) legislature’s proposals yet that would impact the schools,” Colucci said, adding that the levy increase could amount to $694,000.
“There aren’t as lot of details,” he said. “The election was only a couple weeks ago.”
“The administration needs to come up with some innovative ideas on how to run the district without destroying the educational programs. To me, the bottom line comes down to dollars and cents,” board member Sam Tripp said.
Lakeside Artisans’ Cooperative was named the 2010 “Next Great Idea” Oswego County Business Competition winner at a reception held Nov. 10 at The American Foundry.
The company was awarded $25,000 to start its business in Oswego County.
Lakeside Artisans is a start-up, for-profit cooperative that plans to develop a unique retail showcase to promote local artwork and artisans’ crafts.
Their expanded vision will include selling art supplies, consignments, facilities for art classes and demonstrations, and an art gallery.
The goal of the business is to help retain the local artist population, attract others and contribute to Oswego County’s tourism industry.
In late November, Oswego County Clerk George Williams announced that he was stepping down as the Oswego County Republican Committee chairman.
He had held the position since April 2003. His last day was Dec. 2.
Oswego County Legislature’s Majority Leader Fred Beardsley, R-Hastings, expressed interest in filling the position.
Oswego City, Town Renew Ambulance Pact In December
On Dec. 3, at about 2:08 p.m., as a result of a “sting operation” conducted by the Oswego City Police Department, three suspects were arrested on felony drug charges.
According to Oswego City Police Chief Michael J. Dehm Jr., “These arrests are a direct result of our investigative efforts targeting drug sales in our community. I would like to compliment the investigating officers for a job well done and I fully anticipate additional arrests based on our ongoing drug related investigations.”
The Oswego County Sheriff’s Office, in conjunction with the Oswego County Fire Coordinator’s Fire Investigation Team, concluded the preliminary investigation of the fatal fire that occurred at 6 Beech Drive in the town of Scriba on Dec. 8.
The preliminary cause was determined to be accidental during the food preparation in Apartment B.
Disaster Action Team members of the American Red Cross of Central New York Chapter assisted the four families left homeless by the fire.
The DAT is a group of volunteers trained in administering to the needs of victims of disasters.
The apartment complex consisted of four apartments that were occupied by 16 people at the time the fire was reported at approximately 11:09 p.m. Dec. 8
Fifteen occupants, including seven children, ages six and under, were able to escape the fire.
The one victim was identified as Robert P. Rose, age 25, of Apartment B.
The victim was transported to the Onondaga County Medical Examiner’s Office.
Oswego County residents will see another decrease in their taxes in 2011.
On Dec. 9, the county legislature adopted the 2011 county budget. For the seventh consecutive year, the tax rate has either stayed the same or decreased, according to Legislator Art Ospelt, chair of the county’s Finance and Personnel Committee.
When first proposed, the 2011 budget contained a tax rate of $7.02 per $1,000 of assessed value, down slightly from 2010’s $7.16. The tax rate in the budget adopted by the legislators is $6.99.
In mid-December, a local Girl Scout’s project gave to a group that truly deserves the attention.
Camille Graham, of Girl Scout Troop 41, is working towards her Gold Award. She hosted a Soldier Appreciation Day at the Oswego Public Library. More than three dozen people packed into the Community Room for the event.
“I guess my gold award project is called ‘Miles of Smiles’ and it is designed to raise awareness and support for our service men and women overseas,” she told Oswego County Today.com “The goal is to bring awareness to the needs of our troops serving overseas.”
The project will help get the service men and women items that they want and/or need and also includes a letter writing campaign.
“I hope to get people (especially young children and teens) to write to the men and women overseas to tell them that their work is appreciated and that our thoughts are with them and hoping that they will be home soon,” Camille said. “I thought that this was especially appropriate this time of year with the holidays.”
Science students at OHS received an early Christmas gift.
Dr. Scott Steiger, assistant professor of meteorology, and Distinguished Service Professor Al Stamm at SUNY Oswego received an $86,000 National Science Foundation grant that included the loan of one of the foundation’s three flatbed-mounted Doppler radar units (DoW).
The deal also included a probe truck bristling with additional data-gathering gear and two “tornado pods” to plant in the path of powerful lake-effect snowstorms.
On Dec. 21, Steiger brought the DoW and his high-energy love of “active weather” to Oswego High School.
The week before, the NSF delivered the trucks and other gear to SUNY Oswego from Boulder, Colo., Steiger said. He didn’t get the chance to train on it yet. Just about immediately on being delivered, the equipment was put to work during the lake-effect storms that hit the area, he explained.
The Doppler-on-Wheels’ sophisticated radars are capable of distinguishing among precipitation types inside storms: raindrops, graupel and snowflakes, he said, adding they collected some interesting data during the storm.
To celebrate Oswego Hospital’s complete renovation of its emergency room, the region’s gateway for the treatment of serious illness and injuries, the healthcare facility held a brief ribbon cutting ceremony Dec. 22.
The hospital’s new state-of-the-art emergency room provides the region with the latest technology for the treatment of illnesses and injuries in attractive patient comfortable areas.
The project was being funded in part by a $14.4 million federal HEAL (Health Care Efficiency and Affordability Law of New York State) grant, as well as other funding sources including a $3 million HUD-Insurance loan.
The total project cost was $18 million. This includes ER construction costs and the other areas that were built/improved.
The newest members of the Oswego High School Athletic Hall of Fame were inducted on Dec. 29.
The third “class” to be inducted included:
The 1991 Oswego High School Boys’ Varsity Bowling Team earned the New York State crown as team champions and finished the year with a 31-9 record.
Veteran coach, physical education teacher and Oswego City School District Director of Physical Education and Athletics Ted Kerley.
David Maniccia a three-letter winner in football, hockey as well as track and field.
Charles Hutcheson the Oswego High School boxing coach from 1935-39 when the team captured not only the Pioneer League in each of the four seasons, but also earned the tournament championship those four consecutive years.
The Oswego City School District’s board of education continued to wrestle with the tentative 2011-12 budget as December drew to a close.
According to board vice president John Dunsmoor, chair of the BOE’s finance committee, the tentative budget might include a two-percent tax levy increase. It won’t, however, close any school building in the district, he added.
A math teacher at Oswego High School was placed on administrative leave late in December.
The teacher reportedly got physical with a female student and “is on administrative leave pending an internal investigation,” according to a district spokesperson. City police are also investigating the matter.
Two days after the Oswego Town Board accepted a proposal to reinstate ambulance service in the town, the Common Council voted unanimously Dec. 29 to authorize the mayor to execute a one-year agreement with the town.
The $20,000 contract, double the previous agreement, restores service to the town immediately.
It will expire Dec. 31, 2011.