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Oswego Council OKs Funding For Softball Season

OSWEGO, NY – At this week’s meeting, the Common Council OK’d expenditure of funds from the Softball Accounting Reserve Fund. The DPW commissioner was authorized to spend up to $20,000 to operate Legends Softball Complex for the 2014 season.

They also approved transfer of funds from within the Department of Public Works. A total of $8,000 was moved to cover the anticipated cost of seasonal employees at the softball complex. The funds will be reimbursed from the Softball Accounting Reserve Fund.

A new fee schedule for rental of the Legends Softball Complex (Oswego Pride Youth Softball Program) was enacted.

The fee for league games will be $30 per day per field. For tournaments, it will be $60 per day per field.

Funds will be deposited in the Softball Accounting Reserve Fund.

The council rescinded Resolution No. 99, Dated March 24, 2014. Then, they approved a new fee schedule for the 2014 City of Oswego Softball Season at the Legends Softball Complex.

The fees for the 2014 season are the same as adopted last month:

Men’s Fast Pitch – team fee $215, sponsor’s fee $175, forfeit fee $75, player card fee $120 per team
Men’s Modified Fast Pitch – team fee $215, sponsor’s fee $175, forfeit fee $75, player card fee $120 per team
Men’s Slow Pitch – team fee $200, sponsor’s fee $175, forfeit fee $60, player card fee $120 per team
Women’s Slow Pitch – team fee $200, sponsor’s fee $175, forfeit fee $60, player card fee $120 per team

Add on player fees for all leagues will be $20 per player.

The new resolution included – all funds generated from operating the complex and from the city softball leagues shall be deposited in the Softball Accounting Reserve Fund with the exception of the refundable forfeit fee, which will be deposited in a trust account.

The councilors approved a five-percent reduction initiative.

Due to the current economic climate, the city is continuing to strive for economic stability. The administration is seeking the cooperation of all department heads and city employees.

The council wants to adopt the initiative encouraging all city departments to reduce their budgets by five percent as of September 2014.

The council also approved use of public space and city properties for:

  • Fort Ontario Park for the Safe Haven Museum 70th Reunion of the Emergency Refugee Shelter. It will be held June 19 – 22, in conjunction with the Jewish Motorcycle Alliance.
  • The Veterans’ Council of Oswego for its annual Memorial Day Ceremony to be held on May 26. The city will also provide the bandstand, a podium and up to 40 chairs for the service at Veterans’ Memorial Park.
  • Washington Square Park (East Park) by the Oswego County Federal Credit Union to host a series of “Movies in the Park” evenings to be held on June 18, July 16 and August 21. The films will be family appropriate movies.
  • The Oswego Bookmobile 2014 summer program. The program will utilize city parks and the Gallagher Pool parking area for the program.
  • And, Breitbeck Park for a wedding ceremony to be held on June 29.

A donation of a forfeited vehicle for use by the Police Department was accepted.

The mayor was authorized to:

  • Execute all documents necessary for the Intermediary Relending Program.
  • Enter into a one-year renewal lease agreement with the Ontario Center for Performing Arts for its use of the McCrobie Building for 2015. Saturday evenings from Jan. 10, 2015, through Dec. 5, 2015; for an open mic series on Friday evenings from Jan. 9 to Dec. 4. The rental fee shall be a flat rate of $150 per show for the Saturday dates.

Councilors also approved the proposal submitted by CZB, LLC to revise the current zoning ordinance. The total cost is not to exceed $68,136.

Four requests to travel were also approved:

  • Attendance at the New York State Conference of Mayors and Municipal Officials meeting to be held May 4-6 in Saratoga Springs. Re: Request of Thomas W. Gillen, Mayor.
  • Attendance at the Animal Control Conference to be held April 29-30 in Webster. Re: Request of Caroline Anderson, Animal Control Officer.
  • Attendance at the Bivona Summit on Child Abuse Training Conference to be held April 22-23 in Rochester. Re: Request of Tory L. DeCaire, Police Chief.
  • Attendance at the Aerosol Subject Restraint Instructor course to be held May 15-16 in Rochester. Re: Request of Tory L. DeCaire, Police Chief.

ISMA Supermodified Roster Continues to Build Leading to Oswego Speedway Opener

OSWEGO, NY – As the International Supermodified Association season opener continues to draw closer at Oswego Speedway, the winged traveling series roster continues to grow with a mixture of returning vets and interesting new combinations for the coming season.

One of the most intriguing combinations that will debut at Oswego on May 3 will be the recent teaming of defending ISMA Supermodified champion Lou Cicconi with veteran car owner Clyde Booth.

Defending ISMA Supermodified champion Lou Cicconi will team with Clyde Booth in 2014, debuting at Oswego Speedway on May 3. (Bill Taylor)

Defending ISMA Supermodified champion Lou Cicconi will team with Clyde Booth in 2014, debuting at Oswego Speedway on May 3. (Bill Taylor)

Cicconi claimed the 2013 ISMA Supermodified championship by 70-markers over Ben Seitz, including a June 8 victory at Oswego, driving for another veteran owner in Vic Miller.

With Miller not committing to a full-time franchise commitment with ISMA in 2014, Cicconi now moves to the Booth No. 61 with the ‘Steel Palace’ first on his racing calendar with the ISMA series on May 3.

While Miller has not franchised for 2014, his team does intend on competing through the New England portion of the ISMA schedule including all four Shea Concrete ‘Steel Palace’ ISMA Super Series events at Oswego Speedway.

Chris Perley is expected to again be behind the wheel of the familiar No. 11 machine, looking to add win number nine to his career listing at the Speedway. Perley’s last win at Oswego came just one year ago, winning the 56-lap running of the inaugural ‘Irish’ Jack Murphy Memorial over Cicconi and Canadian Mark Sammut.

Mike Lichty was no doubt the ‘King’ of Oswego Speedway winged racing in 2013 earning the Shea Concrete ‘Steel Palace’ ISMA Super Series championship as well as victories in the King of Wings title event and the Bud Light ISMA Super Nationals on Budweiser Classic Weekend.

Lichty is again franchised for the 2014 ISMA Supermodified season and will again walk through Oswego’s steel gates on May 3.  While victory lane will no doubt be in Licthy’s sights, he also plans to set aim on the Speedway’s track record of 14.972 seconds at 150.282 mph set by Dave Shullick Jr. last season.

Last year Lichty had the goal of becoming the first driver in the 14-second bracket at Oswego Speedway, but fell just short to Midwest rival Shullick.  In race trim Lichty would go on to defeat Shullick on two occasions at the Speedway, with Shullick starting deeper in the starting field.

‘The Shoe 2’ will return to Oswego on May 3, looking to knock off Lichty and ISMA’s best, and return to Oswego victory lane for the first time since May 4, 2008.

Shullick now has two Jim Bodnar built Supermodifieds in his shop, looking not only to head to victory lane, but to lower his existing 14.972 track record circuit.

While Shullick and the Bodnar No. 94 have become the talk of winged Supermodified racing in the last year, the Ohio racing veteran also plans to run at the Home of Supermodifieds without a wing yet again, team with Otto Sitterly and John Nicotra.

Shullick plans to make his 2014 Novelis Supermodified debut on Memorial Day Weekend at the Speedway on May 24.

On ISMA’s returning list for 2014 is last season’s Rookie of the Year, Alison Cumens.

Cumens, who became the first woman driver to earn a top 5 finish in a Supermodified at Oswego during last year’s running of the Bud Light ISMA Super Nationals, will return to Oswego on May 3 driving the same No. 39 Vic Miller chassis.

The former TQ Midget racer ended her 2013 campaign in grand style with tremendous runs at both Oswego and Thompson International Speedways on her way to a 6th place finish in the final driver standings.

Joining the list of returning ISMA threats will be series runner-up Seitz in the Bien Racing No. 17.  Seitz looks to debut a brand new Allegresso chassis in 2014 and continue his run of great finishes at Oswego, which includes a victory back on September 6, 2010.

Jeff Locke will also return weekly with ISMA in 2014 behind the wheel of his bright red No. 37 machine.

Locke, who ran sparingly with Oswego Speedway’s Novelis Supermodified division in 2013, will also field a non-wing Supermodified full-time for Randy Ritskes to compete with at Oswego in search of his first Speedway championship.

A newcomer to ISMA Supermodified racing and Oswego Speedway will be Ryan Gath, a graduate of 350-Supermodified racing at Lee Speedway.

Gath will be driving for Lane Racing in 2014, piloting the No. 97.

Other current franchise listed racers are Dan Bowes, Tim Ice, Sammut, Rob Summers and Eddie Witkum Jr.

ISMA’s deadline for franchise commitments is not until April 30.

Other drivers that have verbally committed join the ISMA regulars for the Oswego Speedway opener on May 3 include a new comer and a returning veteran.

Oswego Speedway’s 2013 Novelis Supermodified Rookie of the Year Tony Steiner will strap a wing on his Muldoon chassis No. 07 machine for the ‘Irish’ Jack Murphy Memorial.  Steiner ended the 2013 season at Oswego 15th in the overall driver standings with one top 5 finish.

Steiner has never before competed with a winged Supermodified.

Expected to return to Supermodified racing in 2014 is veteran Keith Gilliam.

A longtime weekly Novelis Supermodified competitor with his No. 87 machine, Gilliam intends to run the Shea Concrete ‘Steel Palace’ ISMA Super Series at Oswego, staying close to home.

Gilliam looks to return to the ‘Steel Palace’ with the same Supermodified he has competed with in past seasons, most recently in 2012.

Two-time Oswego Speedway Novelis Supermodified main event winner Shaun Gosselin is also among the drivers looking to throw his hat into the ISMA ring at Oswego on May 3.

Gosselin, who surprised many with a 3rd place overall finish in the Novelis Supermodified driver standings at Oswego in 2013, is no stranger to winged racing.

Midwest Supermodified ace Moe Lilje is also expected to be on hand with the No. 08 Supermodified, which carried him to a top 5 finish at Oswego in June of last season.

On track activity begins at Oswego Speedway on April 26 with the annual open test session for all racing divisions.

Testing will run from 1-5 p.m. on April 26 and is free for spectators to sit in the main grandstand.

Racing action at the Speedway begins on May 3 with the 64th annual Gater Racing News Opening Night featuring the Shea Concrete ‘Steel Palace’ ISMA Super Series ‘Irish’ Jack Murphy Memorial 56 and the opening round of the Pathfinder Bank SBS Road to the Championship.

The Speedway’s flagship non-wing Novelis Supermodified division will kick-off its 53rd consecutive season of racing at the Home of Supermodifieds on May 10tpresented by Mitchell’s Speedway Press and Planet Fitness of Oswego.

Nearly 30 Novelis Supermodifieds are expected in be in action including defending champion Otto Sitterly, Indianapolis 500 veterans Joe Gosek and Davey Hamilton, and Novelis Supermodified Rookie of the Year contender Jessica Zemken.

For more information on Oswego Speedway be sure to visit www.oswegospeedway.com

You can also FOLLOW on Twitter @OswegoSpeedway and LIKE on Facebook at www.facebook.com/OswegoSpeedway.

Weather Notebook For April 16, 2014

Weather Notebook For April 16, 2014

According to Fulton’s weather observer, the area received .44-inch of pecipitation on April 15.

The monthly total is 2.42 inches.

The total for the year is 13.35 inches.

Fulton received 0.8-inch of snow on April 15.

Total snowfall for the month is 1.1 inches.

For the winter the total stands at 177.6 inches.

Mainly clear with near record cold tonight. Low in the 20s.

Mostly sunny skies and milder on Thursday. High 45 to 50.

Weather Notebook For April 15, 2014

Weather Notebook For April 15, 2014

According to Fulton’s weather observer, the area received 0.31-inch of pecipitation on April 14.

The monthly total is 1.98 inches.

The total for the year is 12.91 inches.

Fulton received no snow on April 14.

Total snowfall for the month is 0.3-inch.

For the winter the total stands at 176.8 inches.

Mostly cloudy and cold tonight with snow possible. Low in the 30s.

Partly cloudy and cold Wednesday. High near 35.

Oswego Approves Amendments To Taxi Cab Law

OSWEGO, NY – At its meeting Monday night, the Common Council fine tuned its local law regarding taxis.

“It was more than a year ago when we introduced this local law and there was a question from (the Workforce Advocacy Center) that had to do with the law’s legality as it related to how you would treat convicted felons and others who have already done their time and whether or not what we were trying to do was discriminatory against those individuals,” Council President Ron Kaplewicz explained.

The council has since had the state of New York go through the legislation and made it legal; so the local language is consistent with state statue and other law, he added.

“So, now it will regulate taxi cabs, taxi cab drivers, will require individuals to submit to a host of questions regarding their background. What we’re really looking to do is if your mother or father, brother, sister whoever hops in a cab, they have the right to know who is driving and be safe,” Kaplewicz said. “That’s really what it comes down to.”
The code was amended so that it reflects the state’s Correction Law, which has the appeals process for this type of thing spelled out.

So if someone feels they have been wrongfully treated, the appeals process is now clearly marked, according to Sixth Ward Councilor Eric VanBuren.

Originally, the law barred persons with felony convictions from driving taxis in the city of Oswego.

Depending on who you talk to right now (regarding taxis), the market in Oswego “is pretty unregulated,” Kaplewicz pointed out.

According to Third Ward Councilor Mike Todd, the law will make things safer for those using taxis.

“If you’re a registered sex offender you could (drive a cab and) show up at the Oswego Middle School to pick up girls leaving the school dance and give them a ride home,” he said, adding that there were nine registered sex offenders he knew of that were driving cabs.

Two of them, Todd said, both served over eight years in prison; “One for raping an 11-year-old girl and the other for sexually abusing his five-year-old daughter.”

Theoretically, the new law should prevent these people from driving a cab, he said.

Todd pointed out that the Workforce Advocacy Center’s representative said that child abusers are the least likely of criminals to repeat.

“Any law enforcement agent I ever knew says (sex offenders) are the most likely to repeat and probably have usually done it 40 or 50 times before they get caught,” he said. “No one with a history of sexually based offenses should ever be in the position to be alone in a vehicle with a child, or a young woman who is inebriated, or a young man for that case. They shouldn’t be allowed to legally operate in the city of Oswego if they’re a sex offender; you should never be allowed out of prison if you’re a sex offender.”

The proposed Local Law No. 1 of the Year 2014 – A local law amending Chapter 228, Taxicabs, of the Code of the City of Oswego, NY, was approved 5-0-2 with councilors Mike Myers and Shawn Walker being excused.

Weather Notebook For April 14, 2014

Weather Notebook For April 14, 2014

According to Fulton’s weather observer, the area received 0.04-inch of pecipitation on April 13.

The monthly total is 1.67 inches.

The total for the year is 12.60 inches.

Fulton received no snow on April 13. (maybe some tomorrow?)

Total snowfall for the month is 0.3-inch.

For the winter the total stands at 176.8 inches.

Partly cloudy and mild overnight. Low in the 40s.

Cloudy and cooler Tuesday with showers likely. High near 50.

Weather Notebook For April 11, 2014

Weather Notebook For April 11, 2014

According to Fulton’s weather observer, the area received no precipitation on April 10.

The monthly total is 1.54 inches.

Thursday's high winds blew a lot of dust and grit and churned up the water in Oswego River as well.

Thursday’s high winds blew a lot of dust and grit and churned up the water in Oswego River as well.

The total for the year is 12.47 inches.

Fulton received no snow on April 10.

Total snowfall for the month is 0.3-inch.

For the winter the total stands at 176.8 inches.

Mostly clear skies and cold tonight. Low in the 30s.

Sunny and warmer on Saturday. High near 70.

Legislators OK Funds To Deal With Jail Over-Crowding

OSWEGO, NY – The Oswego County Legislature continues to be held prisoner by the over-crowding situation at the Oswego County Jail.

On Thursday night, the legislature approved transferring $500,000 from the appropriated fund balance into the prisoner charges – other facilities budget line in order to meet the expense already incurred and to cover the estimated expenses during the remainder of 2014.

Sheriff Reuel Todd answers questions during Thursday night's debate.

Sheriff Reuel Todd, standing, answers questions during Thursday night’s debate.

In the first two months of the year, the expense to house inmates elsewhere amounted to $130,000. That exhausted the adopted 2014 budget amount of $100,000.

The resolution sparked a lengthy debate on the floor of the legislature, with some legislators questioning the county’s budgeting practices.

“Capacity at the Oswego County Correctional Facility continues to exceed its limits due to a variety of factors. This results in inmates being housed in facilities in other counties at the expense of our own,” Sheriff Reuel Todd explained. “I don’t put people in jail. Judges put them in, judges take them out.”

The sheriff pointed out that he has no way of knowing from month to month how many inmates will have to be housed our-of-county.

“I have no problem with paying the bill. But I do have a problem with the budgeting,” Legislator Doug Malone said. “That’s our job. It’s day to day, month to month, year to year. It should have been budgeted.”

“We submitted that budget back in June. We went through three or four different committees and no one made a motion to put it back in there then,” Todd pointed out.

“I really find it offensive that we have to put the sheriff through this; and we go through this a couple times a year,” said Legislator Shawn Doyle. “This is our fault. This is one of the reasons I didn’t vote for last year’s budget.

It’s irresponsible for the legislature to not budget responsibility, Legislator Mike Kunzwiler agreed.

“It’s not the sheriff’s fault. What the problem is, nobody’s solving this problem,” he said.

Some of the factors associated with overcrowding at the county jail include more local arrests for drugs and other felonies, longer jail sentences, the number of days defendants await sentencing, and the closure of state prisons. These closures have created a rise in the number of state parole violators being housed at the Oswego facility, Todd said.

This is an unfunded state mandate which, along with the state’s denial of a housing limit variance, has compounded the problem and forced the county to house prisoners at other counties’ prisons at local taxpayer expense.

Kunzwiler said Oswego County should form a committee with other NYS counties facing this same crisis, “And tell each of our (state) representatives that we elected to solve this problem. It’s both sides of the aisle not taking responsibility for their actions and (the county) has to pay for it.”

“But to sit here and not budget for it when we know it’s there, that’s our fault,” he continued. “We have to look at places where we’re not mandated to do something and make cuts there.”

Legislator Frank Castiglia Jr. said the county needs to solve the problem, or else “What we’re doing is trying to urinate on a forest fire.”

This is a huge state problem, Doyle said. The ankle bracelet program is a good program, “But it is not a panacea to this whole problem.”

Electronic monitoring has helped decrease overcrowding at the county jail and housing inmates out-of-county. The program began in December 2012 and has steadily grown to become an accepted and meaningful sanction. Since its inception, electronic monitoring has saved county taxpayers $290,300.

Last year at budget time there was an idea that the program was going to clear up the over-crowding problem, he said, adding “It isn’t. Both parties, we need to push our state officials to try to help solve this problem. But, despite that, we’ve got to budget properly.”

“Over the last two years, I’ve heard probably a dozen different solutions on how to address this problem,” said Legislator Jake Mulcahey. “It’s important that we all get on the same page and then we do create a committee to look into this. And figure out the best way to do this. After we address the immediate concern, we also have to look at what’s causing the problem.”

“We have to fight crime. It’s something we all agree on; it is expensive. We have to figure out how we’re going to budget for this,” Legislator Amy Tresidder said. “We should all be grateful that these people are being put in jail. We can’t invite criminals here by not doing that.”

The county can’t control New York State government; it has to focus on what it can control, Kunzwiler said.

“Yes, what they do will affect us. But we have to do what we can do here every day,” he said.

Malone moved to increase the transfer to $700,000 to make sure all costs would be covered for 2014. Doyle seconded the motion.

The motion failed.

The original resolution was then approved.

Weather Notebook For April 10, 2014

Weather Notebook For April 10, 2014

According to Fulton’s weather observer, the area received no precipitation on April 9.

The shoots of what will be dazzling red tulips peek through the ground at Indian Point Park recently.

The shoots of what will be dazzling red tulips peek through the ground at Indian Point Park recently.

The monthly total is 1.54 inches.

The total for the year is 12.47 inches.

Fulton received no snow on April 9.

Total snowfall for the month is 0.3-inch.

For the winter the total stands at 176.8 inches.

Clear and cold tonight. Low 25 to 30.

Cooler and not as breezy on Friday. High in the mid 50s.

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