We want your news! Send us: News release |Letter to the Editor | Share a picture | Newborn | Birthday | Engagement | Wedding | Other Milestone
Today







New superintendent brings high expectations, wealth of knowledge to Pulaski

With high standards and a passion for education, Pulaski Academy and Central School District Superintendent Brian Hartwell hopes to build on the strong foundation established by his predecessors.

Hartwell started his duties as the district’s leader in August, taking over for longtime Superintendent Dr. Marshall Marshall, who retired after a distinguished career.

New Pulaski Academy and Central School District Superintendent Brian Hartwell brings high expectations, decades of experiences and a team mentality to the district.

New Pulaski Academy and Central School District Superintendent Brian Hartwell brings high expectations, decades of experiences and a team mentality to the district.

“It’s not that it is tough to be the new guy, but it’s tough to be the new guy following Dr. Marshall,” Hartwell said. “Change is tough when you’re used to the same leadership and leadership style, but everyone from every entity has been very supportive, genuine and welcoming.”

While Hartwell humbly noted that he has big shoes to fill, he is confident that his career as a teacher, coach and administrator will be beneficial to PACS.

The 42-year-old superintendent has spent nearly two decades in education.

He graduated from LeMoyne College in 1995, where he majored in economics and minored in education.

Armed with a certification as a seventh through 12th grade social studies teacher, he taught at North Rose Wolcott and Oswego High School.

A self-admitted lifelong learner, Hartwell continued his own education at SUNY Oswego, where he earned his Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction and his Master’s in Education Administration.

“I realized I had a passion for administration. I really enjoyed my time in the classroom and I really enjoyed my time as a coach, and administration takes a little bit of both,” Hartwell said.

For Hartwell, his passion for administration was recognized by the Oswego City School District, and he was hired as an assistant principal and later as executive principal at Oswego High School, where he served until his recent appointment as the new PACS superintendent.

Whether he was teaching at North Rose Wolcott, serving as principal in Oswego, or presiding as the new superintendent in Pulaski, Hartwell said he has been fortunate to have worked with many outstanding educators who aided in his success.

Although he is still new to PACS, he is already fully immersed in the district and the community.

In addition to attending school and community functions, Hartwell is in the process of buying a home in Pulaski.

“I’m moving my life here because this is where I plan on spending my life for the foreseeable future, and the payback is to be part of this community,” the superintendent said. “To really be part of the community, you have to be invested.”

Being involved in the community is just as important as being invested in the students within the district, Hartwell said.

“I’m passionate about what I do and I’m passionate about creating meaningful learning opportunities for students – and learning opportunities can happen anywhere; it’s in the classroom, it’s on the fields and courts, it’s on the stage and all the things that are extra-curricular and co-curricular,” he said.

That all-encompassing collaborative mentality is reflective of Hartwell’s leadership style.

Quoting Aristotle, the superintendent acknowledged that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

“For me that’s how I approach leadership,” he said. “It’s inspiring a team of people to achieve great things. We’re always looking forward and honing in on the importance of teamwork. Individually we only have so much that we can do, but when you start working together for that common goal, there’s just not much that we can’t accomplish.”

To establish definitive, lofty goals for PACS, the superintendent has instituted a learn-and-listen approach.

He is creating an entry plan by interviewing different school personnel, documenting their input on student performance, obstacles, areas of success and areas that need improvement.

“We will look at this and determine what two or three things we want to get better at, and then we will use that knowledge and those relationships that are created in the listening and learning phase to collaborate and develop a shared vision,” he said. “Nothing is going to happen because of my vision … it’s a vision that comes from so many people. Everyone has a voice, everyone is represented and all the stakeholder groups come together to develop our vision to create a greater Pulaski – that’s bigger than PACS. That’s our community at large.”

From an academic standpoint, Hartwell said he is working with teachers to ensure that student achievement remains a priority.

With the Common Core Learning Standards firmly in place, Hartwell said he is confident that the district will see continued growth in all subject areas, which will help create college and career-ready students.

“Teamwork, problem solving and creativity are 21st century skills that we really need to help our students grow in,” Hartwell said. “The Common Core develops students’ problem-solving skills — differentiated learning, team situations, etc. The faculty and staff have developed an excellent foundation that will allow our district to continue to move forward with Common Core implementation.”

While education is ever-changing, Hartwell said he has all of the right pieces in places to help meet the evolving requirements – students, parents, teachers, support staff, administrators, faculty and the community.

“There’s an expectation of success and that’s the team I want to be a part of,” Hartwell said. “I’m so ecstatic with the opportunities and the possibilities to continue in the footsteps of some great people, and I’m very thankful.”

Looking Glass Events Opens in Fair Haven

Looking Glass Events, a boutique event planning business, just opened in Fair Haven.

Looking glassWe plan all events, from birthday parties to weddings.

We had our soft opening on Labor Day, and our first public event will be a “Through the Looking Glass” costume party in celebration of Halloween.

Tickets for this event are $50 and include an hour of open bar which consists of craft beer, wine and our signature cocktail, transportation within 30 miles of the venue, an open appetizer bar, and a D.J. so you can dance all night.

It will be held in the 1902 room above Fulton’s Red Brick Pub at 224 W. First St., South.

We hope to create a wondrous experience for all and we’ll be dressed as our favorite Alice in Wonderland Characters.

To purchase tickets, call (315) 702-4653 or use eventbrite by visiting http://lookingglasscostumeparty.eventbrite.com

Staff from Across the St. Luke Healthcare Campus Complete Emergency Preparedness, Safety Training

OSWEGO, NY – September is National Preparedness Month and staff at St. Luke Health Services, St. Francis Commons and Bishop’s Commons recently completed annual emergency and safety training exercises across the healthcare campus. Russell Phillips & Associates, a Rochester-based consulting firm with expertise in fire and disaster preparation and prevention provided the training.

St. Luke Health Services Nurse Manager Jackie Winterhalt (standing) practices extinguishing a controlled lap fire with Fire and Emergency Management Consultant Jon Taluba (seated), from Russell Phillips and Associates. The exercise was a part of an emergency preparedness and safety training program conducted annually with staff at all three facilities located on the St. Luke healthcare campus in Oswego.

St. Luke Health Services Nurse Manager Jackie Winterhalt (standing) practices extinguishing a controlled lap fire with Fire and Emergency Management Consultant Jon Taluba (seated), from Russell Phillips and Associates. The exercise was a part of an emergency preparedness and safety training program conducted annually with staff at all three facilities located on the St. Luke healthcare campus in Oswego.

The instructional curriculum for staff consisted of fire suppression and evacuation techniques, effective disaster response and a review of procedures for addressing potential emergencies that may be encountered in our area.

Some of the exercises conducted were hands-on drills for staff, including fire suppression, bed evacuations and building evacuations.

“The safety of our residents and staff remains the most important priority at each and every residence on our healthcare campus,” said Greg Osetek, director of community relations. “The emergency preparedness training staff took part in covered situations that we never hope to encounter, but that we regularly practice and prepare for. Ultimately, we believe our residents and their families appreciate our diligence as an organization in this area. This training is just one piece of staff education or exercises that takes place year-round in our effort to maintain a safe environment for everyone.”

Strengthening Teacher and Leader Effectiveness Grant boosts Fulton City School District

As part of a Strengthening Teacher and Leader Effectiveness Grant, educators in the Fulton City School District will benefit from job-embedded skill coaching and additional professional development opportunities throughout the school year.

According to Mary Ann DeMar, instructional program coordinator and grant facilitator, the grant is multifaceted and allows the district to implement teacher-to-teacher coaching by entrenching instructional coaches in the buildings and developing a career ladder that supports research-based implementation of the Common Core Learning Standards.

“The grant is really focusing on creating career ladders to empower teachers to be leaders,” DeMar said. “One layer of that teacher leader effectiveness component is bringing in coaches that work directly with the instructional staff within the district.”

Along with DeMar, the newly formed team includes Nathan Murray, the Common Core technology/STEM coordinator, and instructional coaches Gina Salerno, Pamela McHenry and Lynnette DePoint.

The team will be actively involved at each building. Each new teacher will work with one of the coaches on a weekly basis.

“We’re really going in to help teachers become highly effective teachers. This will, in effect, increase student achievement,” DeMar said.

The student achievement aspect is the ultimate area of focus for the instructional coaches.

“Although we are supporting teachers, it is always with the kids in mind,” DePoint said. “We are very, very student focused. By supporting the teachers, we are reaching the students. We’re helping teachers find ways to reach all of their learners.”

In addition to the instructional coaches, there are also several other key players who make up the career ladder.

Other roles include Common Core technology leaders, subject area specialists, professional development coordinators, principal leaders, and administrative coordinators.

The grant also helps revitalize the mentoring program, which allows teachers to work with mentees and receive professional development. Furthermore, it promotes data-driven instruction and puts the district on track to developing and retaining the most effective teachers and school leaders.

Family Academy aims to boost parent engagement

The Fulton City School District is launching a series of events throughout the school year that aim to boost parent engagement in their child’s education.

Funded through a combination of The Community School Grant, Strengthening Teacher and Leader Effectiveness Grant funds and Title 1 grant money, the initiative — called the Family Academy – is a collaborative effort between the school district and community-based partners.

Through these partnerships, the Family Academy will stress the importance of family involvement in student achievement and ensure that parents are well-equipped to help their children succeed academically and in other ways as well.

The academy sessions will cover a broad range of topics, which will be beneficial to students and parents alike, according to FCSD STLE3 program coordinator Mary Ann DeMar.

Academic areas that will be highlighted include math, English language arts, technology, science and social studies.

Community and social issues such as drug use, sleep deprivation and student safety will also be discussion topics.

“Parents will learn different strategies and ways to help them support their students,” DeMar said. “We give them tools and teach them how to access information to help their child at home.”

The Family Academy will primarily be for families with students in kindergarten through 12th grade.

There will be activities for kids to do while their parents attend the academy.

Other academy nights will be for parents only.

During the Family Academy nights, the Title I Parent Advisory Committee will meet separately to talk about family engagement and the Regents Reform Agenda.

The group is facilitated by Betsy Conners, executive director of Instruction and Assessment.

By scheduling the events to happen on the same night, district officials hope more parents will become engaged and provide feedback about their child’s academic experiences.

The first Family Academy is slated from 5:30 – 7 p.m. on Sept. 30 in the Fulton Junior High School cafeteria.

Parents of students in all grade levels are invited to attend the presentation, titled “The 411 on Drugs in Our Community.”

Fulton Junior High School ramps up robotics course

With a successful robotics program in place at Fulton’s G. Ray Bodley High School, the district is looking to spark an interest in technology among the younger students, thanks to a new robotics course at Fulton Junior High School.

The class will span the entire school year and is part of Gateway to Technology, a nationwide feeder program for Project Lead the Way.

Fulton City School District student Korey Tyler makes a few adjustments to the robot he created during a summer program offered at the junior high school. This year’s eighth grade technology curriculum includes a newly implemented robotics unit.

Fulton City School District student Korey Tyler makes a few adjustments to the robot he created during a summer program offered at the junior high school. This year’s eighth grade technology curriculum includes a newly implemented robotics unit.

As part of the program, eighth-graders will design robots that can be used to perform tasks during natural disasters.

According to FJHS technology teacher Patrick Armet, the robots will be designed to search for objects, recover items and take water samples for testing.

While the course may sound different from traditional classes that are offered, robotics is an infusion of several subject areas. Students use applied physics, mathematics, computer programming, digital prototyping and design, integrated problem solving, teamwork and thought leadership to develop their robots.

“The academic, social and planning skills the students will apply in all these classes as part of this unit will hopefully help them see the application of what they are learning and how all pieces of the educational experience come together,” Armet said. “The overlap between the classes when working on a unit like this is huge. Measuring, calculating wheel circumference, calculating battery life under certain loads are just examples of the math and science skills the students will apply during robotics.”

By incorporating a variety of skill sets and academic areas, district officials are placing students on track to be college and career ready, according to FJHS Principal Ryan Lanigan.

“This is a vital component to our desire to meet the needs of students that will be working in careers in the 21st century,” he said. “This is one of the many things we are looking to do to enhance our engagement of students and foster critical thinking. We are looking at implementing more cross-curricular projects to allow for students to focus on the soft skills they will need to be successful in life as well as understand the ‘why’ and not just memorize facts.”

Although the school year has just begun, Lanigan said he is confident that the robotics unit will push students to think in a more critical way and to analyze situations more thoroughly.

“I have observed our students asking higher-level questions of their teachers and I have witnessed our students engaged in high-order thinking as a result of the more rigorous curriculum,” he said.

Rachel’s Challenge teaches students the value in a simple act of kindness

Though they may not have been born in April of 1999 when tragedy struck Columbine High School in Colorado, students at Fulton Junior High School were recently challenged to show kindness the same way one of the fallen students at Columbine once did.

Students at Fulton Junior High school lined up to sign their names and pledge to make an effort to be kinder and more compassionate as part of Rachel’s Challenge. Pictured from left, students Ashley Jackson, Justice Carvey and Mackenzie Birdsell accept the challenge.

Students at Fulton Junior High school lined up to sign their names and pledge to make an effort to be kinder and more compassionate as part of Rachel’s Challenge. Pictured from left, students Ashley Jackson, Justice Carvey and Mackenzie Birdsell accept the challenge.

Rachael Scott, the first person killed in the Columbine massacre, believed that one person could make a difference in the world by a simple act of kindness. Rachael also believed that a simple act of kindness could start a positive chain reaction throughout a community.

Realizing just how many lives Rachel impacted by using this philosophy, her father created Rachel’s Challenge, which challenges millions of students each year to live their lives the way his daughter once did, with kindness and compassion.

The challenge recently came to FJHS, providing students with a background on Rachel’s life leading up to the Columbine tragedy, and sharing excerpts from journals and diaries Rachel kept and wrote in daily.

Nicole Voelkel, a presenter for Rachael’s Challenge, introduced students to Rachel’s beliefs through family photos and videos of those who knew Rachel best. Voelkel said the goal of Rachel’s Challenge is to make a positive impact and change the culture throughout schools by reminding students that they can make a difference.

“Kids are looking to know what they can do to make a difference,” Voelkel said. “And at Rachel’s Challenge, we don’t curse darkness; we shine a light.”

Students at Fulton Junior High School accept Rachel’s Challenge. From left are: Principal Ryan Lanigan, Rachel’s Challenge presenter Nicole Voelkel, English teacher Emily Paglia, and students Anthony Bennett, Eric Miller and Maddie Baum show their support of Rachel’s Challenge.

Students at Fulton Junior High School accept Rachel’s Challenge. From left are: Principal Ryan Lanigan, Rachel’s Challenge presenter Nicole Voelkel, English teacher Emily Paglia, and students Anthony Bennett, Eric Miller and Maddie Baum show their support of Rachel’s Challenge.

The presentation also included Rachel’s challenges for students. The challenges included leaving a legacy of kindness, showing compassion, practicing pre-acceptance and not to pre-judge, learning from your mistakes and forgiving yourself and others.

Throughout the presentation, Voelkel asked several questions to see how many students could relate to Rachel and the five challenges. At one point, Voelkel asked students if they ever had a fight with one of their siblings.

The question was based on Rachel’s brother, Craig, who had a fight with Rachel on the day she died. In a video shown during the presentation, Craig said he was mad at Rachel for badgering him about being late for school. When Rachel dropped him off at school, he slammed the door shut without saying anything. The next time Craig would see Rachel, it would be at her funeral.

Craig said he struggled greatly with the guilt, but noted that Rachel would have forgiven him, so he also needed to forgive himself.

At the end of the presentation, students that chose to accept Rachel’s challenges to become kinder and more compassionate took turns signing a banner to note their support of the cause.

For more information on Rachel’s Challenge, visit www.rachelschallenge.org

Pulaski students to participate in Area All State Music Festival

Four students from Pulaski High School were selected to participate in the New York State School Music Association Area All State Music Festival on November 14 and 15tat SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music.

Kneeling is Brittany VanDuzer, trumpet. Standing from left are: Andrew Lapp, drums; Delilah Mehallow, clarinet; and Lydia Marino, oboe. The students were selected to participate in the NYSSMA Area All State Music Festival.

Kneeling is Brittany VanDuzer, trumpet. Standing from left are: Andrew Lapp, drums; Delilah Mehallow, clarinet; and Lydia Marino, oboe. The students were selected to participate in the NYSSMA Area All State Music Festival.

The students auditioned for the honor and were recently informed of their acceptance into the prestigious music festival.

Three students, Andrew Lapp, Delilah Mehallow and Lydia Marino will perform with the All State Band and Brittany VanDuzer will perform with the All State Orchestra.

They are students of Jack Jennings, band director, at the high school.

Tailwater Lodge Partners with Stash Hotel Rewards

ALTMAR, NY – Tailwater Lodge, located on the banks of the Salmon River, today (Sept. 22) announced a partnership with Stash Hotel Rewards, the nation’s largest point-based rewards program for independent hotels. Joining Syracuse properties, Hotel Skyler, Genesee Grande Hotel and Parkview Hotel, Tailwater Lodge becomes the fourth hotel in The Woodbine Group portfolio to partner with Stash.

Tailwater Lodge

Tailwater Lodge

“Hundreds of new guests have discovered our hotels as a result of being part of Stash,” said Tom Fernandez, Director of Business Development at The Woodbine Group. “Being connected to a network like this is a win-win.”

Boasting 2,000 feet of reserved frontage on the Salmon River and hundreds of acres of land, Tailwater Lodge provides guests with world-class fishing and outdoor adventure opportunities. The on-site Guide Concierge is available to set guests up with everything they will need – from the tools to catch a Chinook during the fall Salmon season or the blades for a run on New York’s network of snowmobile trails this winter.

Formerly home to the Altmar Elementary School, Tailwater Lodge is an adaptive reuse project. Drawing inspiration from the local surroundings, the Lodge blends rustic accents with the school’s original architecture. The gymnasium now holds Tailwater Restaurant, and a pool table accented with locally sourced rough-hewn timber has taken the place of plays on the stage.

“This is an intense experience of outdoor adventure – from world famous fishing to whitewater rafting,” said Jeff Low, Founder and CEO of Stash Hotel Rewards. “And it’s all made seamless by guides who know everything and a pro-shop right in the Lodge.”

Guests of Tailwater Lodge can join Stash for free at www.stashrewards.com

Stash members earn five points for each dollar spent on eligible room rates and can redeem them at nearly 200 unique independent hotels across the U.S. Stash points never expire, and redemption is simple, without blackout dates or category restrictions found in many chain programs.

Stash partner hotels also provide members with access to exclusive travel deals.

Sandy Creek Middle and High School Hold Open House

Students were once again eager to bring their parents to the yearly Sandy Creek Middle and High School Open House to introduce them to their teachers and show them what a day in middle/high school looks like.

Pictured is 10th grader Lacey Donahue with mother, Lisa Donahue, and 10th grade English teacher Shelbie Pelton.

Pictured is 10th grader Lacey Donahue with mother, Lisa Donahue, and 10th grade English teacher Shelbie Pelton.

Families toured the building and classrooms and enjoyed light refreshments along the way.

Presentations in the auditorium covered information about testing, grading policies and hall passes.

Search Our Archives:

‘It Is amazing what you have accomplished!’

As the year draws to a close, and as director of CNY Arts Center, I get to reflect on all that has happened in a year that ended on an upswing! I am humbled and grateful more than I can express for the passion and encouraging participation of this community. It’s my privilege to acknowledge the heart and commitment of an army of volunteers who continue to show up!

Continue reading


Kiplinger’s Names SUNY Oswego A 2015 Best Value College

SUNY Oswego has been named to Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine’s list of 100 best values in public colleges for 2015. The ranking cites four-year schools that combine outstanding academics with affordable cost.

Continue reading


Holiday History Shop Extended to Dec. 24

The shop features item from the H. Lee White Maritime Museum, Fort Ontario, Richardson-Bates House Museum, Oswego Railroad Museum, Scriba Historical Society and more. The hours are noon – 5 p.m. from now until Christmas Eve with the exception of Sunday when the shop is closed. The shop offers souvenirs and memorabilia from museums and historical societies from around the county.

Continue reading


Second Live Love Life Blood Drive in Honor of Cooper Levine

The Live Love Life blood drive in honor of Cooper Levine will be held for the second time on December 30. This year’s event is slated for the Oswego Elks Lodge at 132 W. Fifth St., Oswego, from noon to 6 pm. More than 1.6 million people were diagnosed with cancer last year. Many of them will need blood, sometimes daily, during their chemotherapy treatment.

Continue reading


William Andrew Malone, 50

William A. Malone, 50, of Phoenix, passed away Friday December 19, 2014, at University Hospital in Syracuse.

Continue reading



v3_2014_64