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Roker Shines National Spotlight on Oswego

OSWEGO, NY – Hundreds of students lined up outside SUNY Oswego’s Marano Campus Center today (Oct. 16) in the chilly fog and sporadic showers.

Al Roker enjoys a bite from the Oswego Sub Shop sandwich that was named in his honor.

Al Roker enjoys a bite from the Oswego Sub Shop sandwich that was named in his honor.

Many of them arrived several hours before the guest of honor. Some even gave up a night’s sleep to ensure themselves of a spot at the head of the line so they could catch a glimpse of one of the college’s most famous grads – Al Roker.

He returned to campus to do some live broadcasts as part of the Today Show. At 5:30 a.m., he broadcast his “Wake Up with Al” show on the Weather Channel from the college TV station. Then, it was out into the main hallway for Today Show (7 – 9 a.m.).

The huge crowd clogged the hallway. Some stood on chairs, counters or whatever they could find. Dozens more watched through the glass doors from outside.

Several hundred students, area residents and alumni, many waving signs and photos featuring the guest of honor, crowded around Roker. Many took selfies, with the 1976 grad in the background. Throughout the morning, Roker mingled with the crowd for some up close selfies as well as signing dozens of autographs.

The crowd was so large, that many climbed on top of things to get a better look at the Today Show’s Al Roker Thursday at the Campus Center.

The crowd was so large, that many climbed on top of things to get a better look at the Today Show’s Al Roker Thursday at the Campus Center.

During Roker’s broadcast, dozens of signs were held up behind him. The messages ranged from “Oswego Loves Al  Roker,” “Once a Laker Always a Laker Welcome Home, Al” to “Hi Mom – Send $.”

In between broadcasting national weather reports, including reports of a potential hurricane heading toward Hawaii and people on the tiny British territory of Bermuda hunkering down for Hurricane Gonzalo, which was roaring toward them as a Category 4 storm, Roker offered some lighter fare.

Roker said he lived in Onondaga Hall, one of the college’s first co-ed dorms, one year. “It didn’t really do me any good,” he quipped.

“The food is pretty good in the dinning hall,” he said. “Back in the day when I worked in the dinning hall, we had Salisbury steak. It was so bad once that they started sticking it onto the bulletin boards.”

He also shared a short video of a tour he took Wednesday around campus and downtown – including one of his favorite haunts during his college years … the Oswego Sub Shop.

“Yes, this is the Al Roker Sub! It’s got plenty of ham!” he joked as he took a bite of the sandwich that bears his name.

Kirby Socker of Baldwinsville shows Al Roker a sign describing her dream job during part of Thursday’s broadcast of the Today Show.

Kirby Socker of Baldwinsville shows Al Roker a sign describing her dream job during part of Thursday’s broadcast of the Today Show.

“I’m a big Al Roker fan. In fact one of his roommates was from my hometown (North Tonawanda). I was at Oswego when Al was at Oswego. I graduated in 1974 and he graduated a couple years later,” Mike Midura said.

It took about two and a half hours to get to Oswego from Buffalo, he said.

“I stayed overnight on Wednesday. I wanted to get here early. By the time I got here around 5:30 a.m., there just people all over the place,” he said. “But it was great to be back here and see all the people turn out to see Al.”

He is a member of Psi (sigh) Phi (fie) Gamma (gam-ah).

The fraternity was established in 1925 and is the oldest fraternity in Oswego, he said.

“This is our 90th year. Our house burned down in the late 1990s, by an arsonist. This year we are going to join together with the Make A Wish Foundation and set a world record playing Twister at Oswego. Hopefully it will raise a lot of money for them,” he said.

Kirby Socker may be just a freshman at SUNY Oswego, but the Baldwinsville native has a clear view of the job she wants after graduation.

SUNY Oswego President Deborah Stanley chats with some students during a break between broadcast segments Thursday.

SUNY Oswego President Deborah Stanley chats with some students during a break between broadcast segments Thursday.

“That’s my goal. I’m just a freshman, but my dream job is getting a job on the Today Show,” she told Oswego County Today.

She is a broadcasting major, but is thinking about going for a double major in journalism.

“It was really exciting to see an actual broadcast from right here on campus. I’ve never been to the Today Show, so this is the closest I’ve ever been. I was really excited,” she said.

Larry Rapshaw remembers Roker as always smiling.

Rapshaw was a music major at the time Roker attended SUNY Oswego.

“What I remember most is his beaming face. He stood there like he was going to make a great announcement of some sort,” Rapshaw told Oswego County Today. “He was always very happy. When he’d say hi to you, he’d say your name and ask how you were. He hasn’t really changed at all over the years. He was just a very nice guy, and still is.”

Oswego Opts To Market Great Lakes Veneer Site

OSWEGO, NY – At its meeting Tuesday night, the Common Council approved amendments to the City of Oswego Foreclosed Property Disposition Procedure Policy.

The council voted to bring back Resolution #420-B dated Sept. 22, 2014, onto the floor for council reconsideration. That resolution had authorized the mayor to execute an agreement of purchase and sale of 375 Mitchell St., formerly owned by Great Lakes Veneer, to Jeff Holbrook for $490,000.

At Tuesday night’s meeting, councilors resolved not to sell the property to Holbrook.

Instead, in accordance with the city’s updated Foreclosed Property Disposition Procedure Policy, “the property shall be appraised by a qualified appraiser of commercial property and shall be listed with the Fitzgibbons Real Estate for sale for its fair market value pursuant to the policy and procedures of the city of Oswego for foreclosed property disposition.”

The mayor was authorized to execute all necessary documents for listing the property for sale. The final acceptance of any purchase offer shall be made by the Common Council.

In other action, the council:

Approved use of public space for:

– Trinity United Methodist Church, in order to place advertising signs for upcoming events. The placement sites will be West First and Utica streets (northeast corner), East Fourth and Bridge streets (southwest corner) and East Fourth and Utica streets (church site).

– Residents of the First Ward, in order to plant seven flowerbeds. The residents are participating in a neighborhood pride grant for the Oswego Renaissance Association. The flower beds will be located at the intersection of West Fourth and Schuyler streets; the intersection of West Fourth and Seneca streets; between the sidewalk and curb at 53 W. Seneca St.; and between the sidewalk and curb at 58-60 W. Schuyler St.

Residents who will be caring for and maintaining the flower beds include: Tanya Miller, Dianne Restuccio, Dan Allen and Joan Kolp, Patti Domicolo, Phil and June MacArthur, and Steve Phillips.

The council accepted the donation of park benches to be placed in Breitbeck Park in memory of Anthony Sulfaro and Teresa Reedy.

And they accepted the donation of a new park sign and other amenities from the Oswego Renaissance Association to be placed in Kingsford Park.

The mayor was authorized to:

– sign change order No. 3 with W.D. Malone Trucking and Excavating for project modifications to the Combined Sewer Rehabilitation – First 25% Project in the amount of $0 dollars for repairing defective pipe and associated lateral connection on West Third Street.

– enter into a renewal agreement with Hunt Underwater Specialties for maintenance services at the water intake structure and tunnel.

– execute all documents necessary to effectuate the sale of property located at 150 W. Schuyler St. Lee Walker has offered to purchase the property (formerly owned by Trinidad Sanchez) for $5,000.

– execute the Court Security Contract Agreement with the New York State Unified, Fifth Judicial District, wherein reimbursement is made to the Oswego Police Department for costs associated with providing OPD security at the Oswego City Court for the period of April 1, 2014, through March 31, 2019.

The city chamberlain was authorized to complete a service agreement with Moody’s Investor Services with regard to the bond issue.

The fire chief was authorized to hire Peter A. Aiello as a temporary building and codes consultant to teach a certified codes technician course to various personnel from the city of Oswego and other municipalities. The total cost for training is $5,149.89.

Councilors also approved:

– expenditure of funds not to exceed $8,000 from the Ice Rink Capital Reserve Fund for expenses related to the operation of the Crisafulli and Cullinan rinks for the 2014-15 season.

– transfer of $1,600 from the Contingent Account to the Police Department to cover cost relating to code enforcement.

– transfer of funds from within the Fire Department. The fire chief requested permission to do an intra-departmental transfer of $2,600 from Account #A3410.0460 (Training Account) to Account #A.3410.0410 (Materials and Supplies) and $1,500 from Account A.3410.460 (Training Account) to Account #A.3410.0200 (New Equipment). The transfers would cover 150 new stainless steel hydrant markers and the purchase of a new thermal imaging camera.

A request from the fire chief to send two personnel to the Fire Marshals and Inspectors Annual Seminar to be held October 21-24 in Montour Falls was OK’d.

The council also approved attendance at the Train the Trainer Course to be held December 10-11 in Clinton, NY. Gary Hallinan, wastewater superintendent, requested approval for Phil Fazio (maintenance supervisor), Joseph Tullo (senior operator) and Matthew Hallinan (operator) to travel to Clinton for the purpose of acquiring required annual contact hours of training towards Operator Recertification.

Councilors approved two solid waste licenses for the year 2014; for JWJ Industries, 305 E. Seneca St., Oswego ($500 major hauler), and Doty Construction, 135 Howard Road, Fulton, ($50 – minor hauler).

Steven Canale, owner of The Press Box, 29 E. First St., was granted a variance of the Noise Ordinance for events to be held on November 1 and 15. They will be hosting a fundraiser for the Humane Society from 7 – 11 p.m. both dates and there will be live entertainment.

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