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Chamber Seeks City Approval To Extend Farmers’ Market

OSWEGO, NY – The summer will continue a little longer downtown.

At its meeting this week, the Administrative Services Committee gave a favorable recommendation to a request to extend the Oswego Farmers’ Market by two more weeks.

Mayor Randy Bateman said he received a request from Beth Hilton, executive director of the Greater Oswego-Fulton Chamber of Commerce, to extend the Farmers’ Market for two more weeks, Oct. 20 and 27.

“We have spoken with the vendors and they have expressed an interest in extending the market through the end of October,” Hilton told the committee.

They hadn’t planned any more entertainment and thought the city bandstand wouldn’t be needed.

However, the chamber has been working with the downtown businesses about the possibility of a children’s parade on Oct. 27, she noted.

“So, we would need the stage for that evening,” she said. “It would be a Halloween-related children’s costume parade and contest.”

And, the hours for the additional markets would be reduced to 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

The market has enjoyed a very good summer season, Hilton said.

“We’re seeing good sales all around and certainly we’ve been full every week. We’ve had a lot of positive feedback this summer from the farmers and vendors,” she said.

Tory L. DeCaire, police chief, requested authorization to send three recruit officers to Canton for a 19-week Basic Course for Police Officers, Jan. 9 – May 18, 2012.

The committee sent the request to the full council for consideration.

Jeff McCrobie, fire chief, requested authorization to make an intra-departmental transfer of money from the following accounts:

$2,600 from Account A.3410.0200 (Equipment) to Account A.3410.0102 (Personal Services)
$7,000 from Account A.3410.0450 (Fees for Service) to Account A.3410.0102 (Personal Services)
$5,000 from Account A.3410.0101 (Personal Services) to Account A.3410.0450 (Fees for Services)

The first two transfers are to cover short shift overtime for the Fire Department due to various injuries, illnesses, transfers and vacant positions.

The last transfer is to make payment to our Emergency Services Medical Director Derek R. Cooney, M.D. contracted through Upstate Emergency Medicine, to oversee the delivery of emergency medical services provided by the fire department.

The committee sent the request to the full council as well.

Council Designates Farmers’ Market A ‘Tobacco-Free Zone’

OSWEGO, NY – Starting this week, smokers will be asked to refrain from using Tobacco products at the Oswego Farmers’ market.

The Tobacco Free Network of Oswego County, with the support of the city of Oswego, the Oswego County Health Department and the Greater Oswego-Fulton Chamber of Commerce, announced the market will be a tobacco-free event starting Aug. 25.

According to a resolution passed by the Oswego Common Council on Monday, “from this date forward:” no tobacco products are to be used between the farmers’ market barriers.

“The decision to create a tobacco-free zone at the Oswego Farmers’ Market helps create healthier spaces in Oswego, which in turn creates a healthier community,” said Council President Ron Kaplewicz.

The tobacco-free zone will be designated in the area between the farmers’ market barriers, including sidewalks, on West Bridge and West Oneida streets as well as the Civic Plaza between City Hall and the John O’C. Conway Municipal Building during the hours of farmers’ market operation.

People who wish to use tobacco products during these hours asked to go outside of the barriers.

“We have a great farmers’ market that brings the community together, Kaplewicz said.

The move will make it safer for young children at the market, he said, adding that currently, they are in danger not only of being burned by a cigarette or its ashes but also from secondhand smoke.

“I’m pleased that the city of Oswego is making great strides to protect its residents and the spirit of our farmers’ market” Abby Jenkins, program coordinator for the Tobacco Free Network of Oswego County, told Oswego County Today. “There is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke, even if outdoors. In a survey conducted in 2010, 91 percent of Oswego County residents considered secondhand smoke to be harmful. Furthermore, 75 percent of Oswego County residents favor restricting or completely eliminating cigarette smoking at public outdoor recreation areas or events.”

Beth Hilton, executive director of the Greater Oswego-Fulton Chamber of Commerce said, “By adopting a tobacco-free policy, the farmers’ market will become a safer, healthier environment for market vendors and patrons and make the market a truly family-friendly venue.”

“We are also dealing with food stuffs at the market. I think having it smoke free in that regards is a good idea,” the council president added. “We’re not asking anybody to quit smoking. We would just like the market area to be smoke-free, just one block on Thursday night for a couple hours.”

Jenkins said there are several reasons to go smoke-free, including:

  • Secondhand smoke leads to many serious illnesses including asthma, respiratory infections and cardiovascular disease.
  • When children see adults smoking in family-friendly places such as parks and playgrounds, they see the behavior as acceptable and are more likely to mimic the behavior.
  • Cigarette butts are hazardous to children, animals and the environment.  Children who ingest discarded cigarette butts are at risk for toxic poisoning, choking or burning themselves.
  • 66.7% of Oswego County smokers believe that smoking at public outdoor recreation areas should be restricted or eliminated.
  • In Oswego County, 77% of the adult population does not use any tobacco products.
  • Nearly 90% of adult smokers began at or before the age of 18.
  • It’s common sense to protect children where they play and socialize

The Oswego Farmers’ Market, located at West First Street, between West Bridge and West Oneida streets, is open Thursdays through Oct. 13 from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. It provides Oswego residents and visitors with fresh, local, healthy foods.

It acts as Oswego’s weekly “block party,” featuring live entertainment, fresh-picked fruits and vegetables direct from the farm, arts and crafts and homemade delicacies.

The Tobacco Free Network will provide signage to designate the boundaries of the smoke-free area at the farmers’ market.

Additionally, compliance cards will be provided to any patron requiring additional information about where they may and may not use tobacco products.

For more information on Tobacco Free Outdoors, call 315-343-2344 ext. 21 or visit tobaccofreenys.org

Youngsters Perform Nutrition Skit

Youngsters Perform Nutrition Skit

Youngsters Perform Nutrition Skit

FULTON, NY – On Aug. 13, children who attend Firenze Family Day Care put on a Nutrition Skit at the Fulton Farmers’ Market.

The children dressed up as various fruits and vegetables, sang and danced, and distributed information on healthy eating choices.

The event was organized by Debi Firenze, owner of Firenze Family Day Care in Fulton, and Maria Vasquez, an Oswego AmeriCorps member.

The Fulton Farmers’ Market runs every Saturday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. through the end of October.

Fulton Farmers’ Market Nutrition Skit

FULTON, NY – On Aug. 13, the Fulton Farmers’ Market in partnership with Oswego County AmeriCorps and Furenzi Family Day Care, will host a Nutrition Play in which various children from Furenzi Family Day Care will be dressing up as fruits and vegetables.

The children will be in costume from 10 a.m. until noon.

They will be educating the public on healthy eating habits.

This event is free and open to the public.

The Fulton Farmers’ Market runs every Saturday from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m. until the end of October.

It is a wonderful opportunity to purchase healthy and local produce.

Oswego Farmers’ Market Kicks Off New Year

By Nicholas Cafalone, Contributing Writer
OSWEGO, NY – It would have been hard to ask for better weather on the opening day of the Oswego Farmers’ Market.

A woman purchases baked good from a vendor that traveled from Fulton to join the market. Fulton’s market is held on Saturdays.

A woman purchases baked good from a vendor that traveled from Fulton to join the market. Fulton’s market is held on Saturdays.

An hour before the event started, West First Street was much quieter than a regular day; but by the new 4:30 p.m. starting time it was clear that people were excited to see what vendors were offering.

Evan Atkinson and a group of friends decided to visit the farmers’ market, despite predictions of poor weather for later in the evening.

“I was a little worried at first because of some dark clouds, but it was terrific” said Atkinson.  “It was nice and warm with good energy and atmosphere.”

A vendor tops off a Sno-Cone for a young girl who is waiting patiently.

A vendor tops off a Sno-Cone for a young girl who is waiting patiently.

The market is more than a place for friends and family to come and enjoy the beautiful Port City weather.

In one person’s mind there was only one thing she could think about. “I came for all the awesome produce,” said Lidia Alechina. “I feel like it is fresher here and that it is important to buy locally.”

Each Thursday through the summer, the market hosts a different band at 6 p.m. and throughout the season has a variety of different theme nights.

A woman selects fresh spinach from a vendor.  The table had an assortment of different fresh produce.

A woman selects fresh spinach from a vendor. The table had an assortment of different fresh produce.

Beth Hilton, executive director of the Greater Oswego-Fulton Chamber of Commerce, was especially excited for the Strawberry Shortcake Night on June 16. Unlike previous years they held back the date to allow for only local strawberries to be featured.

At the request of vendors, the market is going to last until at least Oct. 13.

Hilton said the market could last longer as long as the weather was permitting.

The market is every Thursday from 4:30-8:30 p.m. and is located on West First Street between Bridge and Oneida streets.

The Balloon Lady twists balloons for a mother and her daughters.

The Balloon Lady twists balloons for a mother and her daughters.

Although every vendor did not participate in the first week, opening night at the market still had a lot to offer.

There were vendors selling fresh produce, bread, flowers, jewelry, bottles of wine, hot food and an assortment of other things.

At least 50 different vendors have signed up to participate this year.

To protect visitors, the use of bicycles and skateboards are prohibited on West First Street during market hours.

Animals are also not allowed inside the market area.

Committee Paves The Way For Summer Events

OSWEGO, NY – The Greater Oswego-Fulton Chamber of Commerce wants to reverse this year’s Independence Day Parade.

At Monday night’s meeting of the Physical Services Committee, the chamber requested a parade permit for the 2011 Independence Day Parade, closure of Bridge Street, waiving of the hawking and peddling ordinance and use of the city’s bandstand on July 3.

“The theme of the parade this year is ‘Back In Time.’ We are requesting to reverse the parade route. So we’d actually start at the high school, which I’ve already gotten permission for, and we would end at the fort,” said Beth Hilton, executive director of the chamber.

The bandstand would stay in the same place, she added.

“It will allow us an opportunity to spotlight the fort,” she explained. “The Friends of Fort Ontario are working on having a fund-raiser that day. There are some other activities for the fort that are in the works for after the parade.”

Lining up for the parade at the high school is safer because they would be off the street, Hilton said.

The chamber also requested use of East Park for the 18th annual Great Pumpkin Fest on Oct. 1 and 2.

The event would be conducted the same as in previous years, Hilton pointed out.

And, the chamber requested use of public space, the city’s bandstand and street closure for the Oswego Farmers’ Market to be held on Thursdays from May 26 through Oct. 13.

The 2011 edition of the market will be held from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. on West First Street between Bridge and Oneida streets.

The chamber also asked permission to use the Port City’s bandstand for the 2011 Fulton Jazz Fest on Aug. 12 and 13.

That prompted a caveat from Don Goodness, who heads up the Do Good Swingband as well as the City Band.

“What I’m concerned about is the longevity of the bandstand, how long we’re going to be able to use it we keep taking it to places like Fulton,” he said. “I am also a little concerned that this is setting a precedent, so other groups may also come and request to use it somewhere outside the city. I would just like you to really take that into consideration.”

There were major improvements made to the bandstand last year, Councilor Connie Cosemento pointed out.

“And, we’d like to keep it that way,” Goodness added.

“I know there was some discussion about that last year,” Hilton said. “But, because this is a chamber event and we are a combined chamber between the two cities, the council at the time felt comfortable with letting it go for that.”

Also, because of the travel, the chamber paid $500 instead of the normal rate, she added.

Jazz Fest is the only combined event between the two cities fostered by the chamber, Cosemento said.

It was very well received at the event last year, Hilton pointed out.

“It was great to see Oswego allowing us to use the stage for an event in Fulton. It was greatly appreciated. And, it certainly improved the quality of the event,” she said.

Ron Nelson, race director, and Shane Broadwell, assistant race director, requested use of several city properties for the Tri-Oswego 2011 Triathlon on June 25 and 26.

Broadwell said since turning 65, his father has done about five Triathlons and said, Oswego would be a great place to hold such an event.

That has evolved into Tri-Oswego, he noted.

The event would have a family fun day on Saturday with the competition on Sunday.

The transition area is in Wright’s Landing for the swimming, biking and running event.

“We’re really excited about this event,” Broadwell said. “Hopefully, it will continue as an annual event.”

More information can be found at www.tri-oswego.com

The committee sent all the requests to the full council for consideration on Feb. 14.

DOERS – Chamber Needs To Do Better Job With Farmers’ Market

OSWEGO, NY – At its meeting this week, the Administrative Services Committee recommended the chamber be funded for programs benefiting the city.

Beth Hilton, executive director of the Greater Oswego-Fulton Chamber of Commerce, requested approval of the proposed 2011 agreement between the city and the chamber for the support of the chamber’s various programs designed to encourage and promote economic development and commerce in the city of Oswego.

The city, “in consideration of the promises and covenants of the chamber,” agrees to pay for the specialized services and skills of the chamber for the operation of programs $23,500 for the fiscal year 2011.

The programs include the Independence Day Parade, Veterans’ Stage concerts, Pumpkin Fest, Taste of Oswego, Project Bloom, and the Oswego Farmers’ Market.

There was, however, quite a bit of discussion regarding the DOERS (Downtown Oswego Energetic Retailers) attempting to re-take control of the Oswego Farmers’ Market.

Beth Hilton, executive director of the chamber, provided information to the mayor and council addressing issues that were brought up by the Farmers’ Market Federation.

“We have absolutely no issue with the downtown merchants reforming the DOERS group,” she said. “However, we do have a number of concerns with some of the concerns that were in the letter that supported the request by the DOERS to have the farmers’ market removed from the chamber of commerce.”

Several years ago, the DOERS were a group similar in mission to the chamber. It was comprised of mainly the large cluster of merchants who, at the time, inhabited many of the shops in the downtown area.

The group conducted the weekly farmers’ market.

Over the years, the DOERS evolved into the OCBD (Oswego City Business District) and eventually disbanded to have (some of) its members swallowed up by the chamber.

“We aren’t trying to ‘take’ the market from the chamber. But, there are a lot of downtown merchants who feel they aren’t being helped by the chamber as much as they should be. The chamber is doing a good job (with the market), but the past couple of years things haven’t gone so well,” Oswego business owner Sean Pelkey told Oswego County Today.com

Pelkey, owner of Flowers by Mr. John on West First Street, is spearheading the drive to resurrect the merchants’ organization. They will be meeting again later this month.

Hilton said she didn’t want the city to make a decision on whether or not to provide the chamber with funding to support the market based on “misinformation.”

For example, she said the federation alleged the market was decline.

Prior to 2009, the Oswego market averaged about 50 vendors; in 2009, the market only averaged about 47 vendors, Hilton said.

“In 2010, which is the year that is in question, we did average nearly 60 vendors per week,” she said. “So, we do feel that we are growing the market. One of the things we’re doing for the 2011 market is bringing back the market committee, which we had several years ago. And we would like very much to work with the DOERS and actually have representatives from that group on the farmers’ market committee.”

Administrative Services Committee chair and council president Ron Kaplewicz suggested a meeting of the two groups to iron out the issues.

“That’s entirely possible. But, the only issue I have is there is a sense of urgency; we are already getting calls from vendors. We typically have all our letter out to the vendors by the middle of January. People want to secure their spot, they want to get their season permit. Farmers’ market planning basically starts the day the market closes. So, time is definitely of the essence,” Hilton said. “We’ll put the committee together as quickly as we can. But time is definitely an issue.”

“We haven’t heard anything from the chamber regarding getting together for a meeting,” Pelkey said.

According to Pelky, the market hasn’t been as productive in recent years.

“We (downtown business) rely on the additional business the market attracts Thursday nights,” Pelky said. “That’s why small businesses need to get the DOERS back together.”

“The chamber is hot to keep (the market) and we’re fine with that,” he continued.  “We don’t want to fight and argue. We want to work together, with everyone, and improve things. We would just like to see them run the market more effectively. We want to get back to the basics, bring people back downtown; keep the city active and make a more comfortable environment for the merchants.”

One of the things that upset some of the downtown merchants in 2010 was the change in time for the market.

The chamber moved the time without seeking input from the majority of either the merchants or vendors, Pelkey said.

Marilyn Boyzuick owns a business on West First Street.

There was some good and there were some negatives, she said of the changes to the market last year.

A lot of people came down to the market in the evening only to find that is was over with, she pointed out referring to the 8 p.m. closing time.

“They stopped by around 7:30 and the vendors are already picking up and leaving,” she said. “The other (negative) was taking away two weeks from the market in the fall.”

According to Hilton, the time change “did what we hoped it would” in allowing more senior citizens access to the market before it got too congested and alleviated many of the problems associated with some teens. The YMCA’s programs, directed at teens during the same hours as the market, were also a big help, she added.

If the chamber could get something organized with the DOERS, “that’s a plus,” Boyzuick said. She added that she believes all the downtown merchants would like to be involved and get more information/input regarding the planning of the market.

Some of them feel they can’t go to the meetings because they aren’t chamber members, she said.

“Set up a time when everyone can meet. Let’s do it right away. We do need to work together. We have some good businesses downtown. We need your help; downtown is suffering,” she told the councilors. “Everything about having a downtown farmers’ market is a plus. The worst thing you could do would be to move it elsewhere. Keep it on (West) First Street, involve Second Street sometimes. Do something that we can all be part of.”

“We’re just a small group with some big ideas,” Pelkey said. “The chamber needs to communicate with all of the businesses, including the small businesses.”

Ambassadors Of Good Health

OSWEGO, NY – Representatives from Oswego County Opportunities’ Cancer Services Program Partnership and the Facilitated Enrollment Department were at the chamber booth at the Oswego Farmers’ Market recently to discuss health insurance options with the community and to raise awareness of the importance of women receiving regular screenings for breast, cervical and colorectal cancer.

Ambassadors Of Good Health

Ambassadors Of Good Health

Pictured are Katie Batchelor (left) and April Miano.

They spoke with market-goers and distributed information on Family Health Plus, Child Health Plus, Medicaid and the free cancer screenings that are available through the Cancer Services Program to uninsured men and women aged 40 and older.  For more information on health insurance options offered through OCO’s Facilitated Enrollment Department or the free cancer screenings available through OCO’s Cancer Services Program Partnership.

You may contact them at 342-0888 ext. 1454.

Enjoy “Three Cups of Tea” at Oswego Farmers’ Market

Nancy Prarie, right, and Wynette Dhose, members of a local book club in Minetto, host the Oswego Reads “Three Cups of Tea” table during Thursday’s (June 17) Oswego Farmers’ Market. Each week, members from area book clubs will be available at the table at Farmers’ Market to answers questions about the first community read and the selected book, “Three Cups of Tea.”

OSWEGO, New York – Local book clubs have joined forces with the newly formed Oswego Reads to help spread the word about the first community-wide reading initiative. Each week, a table with information about the community read and the Pennies for Peace project as well as the selected book, “Three Cups of Tea,” will be at the Oswego Farmers’ Market, in front of the river’s end bookstore. Book club members will be on hand to help with questions about the book, which is available for three age levels – adult, young adult and children – as well as the Pennies for Peace project.

Pennies for Peace is a program through Central Asia Institute (CAI), which was founded by Greg Mortenson. Mortenson, co-founder and executive director of CAI and co-author of Three Cups of Tea, will make an appearance in Oswego, October 28th.
Tickets to see Mortenson are slated to go on sale in mid-July and will be available through a link at www.oswegoreads.com.

When the tickets go on sale, visitors to the the Oswego Reads table will be able to take a chance to win a pair of tickets to hear Mortenson speak at the SUNY Oswego Campus Center. Three winners of a pair of tickets will be drawn at the kick-off event, August 31st, in the Community Room at the Oswego Public Library.

The community-wide event is sponsored by Pathfinder Bank and initiated by Oswego Reads, which was created with the goal to create a community-wide experience that can be enjoyed by all segments and all ages of the community by embracing the same book. As part of this initiative, community events and activities will be held to promote literacy, discovery, sharing and dialogue of the issues and themes presented in these books.
For more information, go to www.oswegoreads.com.

People Settling Into Market’s Earlier Schedule

By  Alma I. Hidalgo, contributing writer
OSWEGO, NY – Last week, at the fourth farmers’ market of the season, many people enjoyed the beautiful weather and the products the market has to offer; though some concerns linger regarding the new, earlier schedule.

This year, the Oswego Farmers’ Market is held from 4-8 p.m. instead of the traditional 5-9 p.m.

West First Street is also closed at 3 p.m. to allow vendors time to set up.

Francisco Aguilera and his son put out some fresh strawberries.

Francisco Aguilera and his son put out some fresh strawberries.

“The vegetables and the fruits are less expensive here than at a super market,” said Betty Lou Allen, an Oswego resident.

People were also enthusiastic about the handmade arts and crafts available at the market.

“I usually look for handmade things such as silver jewelry,” said Linda Henry. “And, dog biscuits because I have two dogs.”

Others, however, were checking out the food, plants, and just enjoying the opportunity to go out and see their friends.

“When kids are out from school, they can come to the farmers’ market,” said Naomi Greco, a high school student.

The new 4-8 p.m. schedule has irked some business people while pleasing some vendors.

Some business owners along West First Street would like to see farmers’ market returned to its previous schedule.

One reason is the inconvenience the earlier time represents for people coming from different places such as Syracuse.

“People typically come out from work around six by the time they get home, get ready and come down to the market, they only have an hour to look around the market,” said Marylin Boyzuck, owner of  Ontario Winds.

Other business people, such as Lana Goodwin, agree the new schedule doesn’t consider people that are coming from work.

Some acknowledge this problem; They stay open a little bit longer.

“A few people were a little disappointed about the new schedule,” said Kellie Finnegan of Manipulation Massage Therapy. “Some people are not aware that the farmers’ market is closing earlier instead of later. So we try to stay open for those people.”

Vendors see the new schedule as a positive change towards improvement of the farmers’ market.

Alyssa Davis concentrates on making handmade jewelry and accessories.

Alyssa Davis concentrates on making handmade jewelry and accessories.

“I feel very good because before we used to leave very late at 9 p.m. and it used to be very dark by the time we left, because the streets lights will go off slowly. By the time I got home, it would be 10 p.m.,” said Gisela Schneider, a Maple Grove farmer.

Other vendors support the new schedule, because it gives more time to prepare their products.

“I like the new schedule because you have more time to prepare yourself and you are more efficient. I think is great,” said Jeff Halstead owner of Halstead Harvest.

Located on West First Street, between Bridge and Oneida streets, the market will continue every Thursday from 4-8 p.m. through Sept. 30.

This week, June 24, will be Polish Night.

Live entertainment is featured weekly and several theme nights will also be held throughout the summer.

For the safety of the pet, as well as the general public, animals are prohibited from the market.

Bicycles and skateboards are also not allowed on West First Street during market hours.

For more information, call market manager Julie Stanka at 343-7681.

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