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Doris E. Scott, 92

Doris E. Scott

Doris E. Scott

Doris E. Scott, 92, of Fulton, died Sunday at The Manor at Seneca Hill.

Born in Fulton she was a life resident. She was predeceased by her husband, Norman Scott who died in 1990; sons, Norman Scott, Jr. and Robert Scott; brothers, Wayne, Kenneth, Donald and Lester Jenkins, Jr.

Surviving: son, Marvin Scott of Minetto; siblings, Margaret Wiggs of Fulton and Warren Jenkins of Fulton; half brothers, Raymond Jenkins of Oswego, Richard Jenkins of Ohio and Gary Jenkins of Pennsylvania; half sisters, Sandra Fields of Florida and Florence Erb of Fulton; four grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; several nieces and nephews.

Services are 10 a.m. Friday at Foster Funeral Home, Fulton. Burial will be at Mt. Adnah Cemetery, Fulton. Calling hours are 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday at the funeral home, 910 Fay Street, Fulton.

Foster Funeral Home, Inc.
www.fosterfuneralhome.com

Sheila A. Scott, 67

Sheila A. Scott

Sheila A. Scott

Sheila A. Scott, 67, of Fulton, passed away unexpectedly Monday at University Hospital, Syracuse.

Born in Fulton, she was a life resident. She retired in 2005 from Oswego County DSS after 15 years. Sheila enjoyed bowling, traveling and spending time with her family.

She is survived by: children, Diane Blasczienski, David Zischke, Donna Barbagallo, Bill Zischke, Gidget Stevens, Rick Scott; companion, Phillip H. Blair; 20 grandchildren; one great-granddaughter.

A Mass will be celebrated 9:30 a.m. Friday at Holy Trinity Church, Rochester St., Fulton. Calling hours will be 1 to 3 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday at Foster Funeral Home, 910 Fay St., Fulton.

Foster Funeral Home, Inc.
www.fosterfuneralhome.com

Guilty Verdict ‘Bittersweet’

OSWEGO, NY – Alan Jones’ conviction on second-degree murder by “depraved indifference” drew strong reactions this afternoon (Sept. 24).

From left, attorney Sal Lanza, John Jones, Lynn and Lindsay Maxwell leave Oswego County Court on Thursday afternoon.

From left, attorney Sal Lanza, John Jones, Lynn and Lindsay Maxwell leave Oswego County Court on Thursday afternoon.

Jones, 28, was found guilty of killing his 11-year-old stepsister Erin Maxwell last August.

It took the jury about 12 hours, over two days, to come to a unanimous verdict shortly after 4 p.m. Thursday.

“Nothing can bring Erin back. She suffered an awful fate. But this is a step in the direction of making him responsible for what he did to her,” Oswego County District Attorney Donald Dodd said outside the courtroom. “The jury spoke clearly, they spoke loudly; they said he did it, he’s guilty. And he was properly convicted.”

“There certainly was a lot of emotion, that’s for sure,” Dodd continued.

“I know I should be saying that we got justice for Erin,” said Colleen Scott of the Justice for Erin group. “But, I still feel that Erin will never have justice because Erin can never have her life back. She can never go back to being that 11-year-old girl.”

“I know you guys (media) probably all thought I’d be out here doing some kind of dance. But, it’s sad because one person is dead and another person’s going to spend the vast majority of their life in prison,” she continued.

“It’s difficult. I was a little bit surprised, but you know this is just a start of the appellate process,” said defense attorney Sal Lanza. “Remember all the cases the judge quoted … we’re talking about a depraved indifference case that was prosecuted as an intentional murder. Now, we’re going to see what the appellate division is going to do. We’re going to see what happens on appeal. But, was I surprised? Yeah, I’m a bit surprised.”

Lanza maintained that there was no DNA linking his client to the crime, “absolutely no evidence tying Alan to the crime; no confession, nothing.”

Jones was in shock when the verdict was read, his attorney said.

When the foreman of the 12-man jury announced the verdict, he looked directly at Jones, who sat down and covered his face with his hands.

“He is upset. He is in shock right now,” Lanza said of Jones.

Alan Jones' mother, Lynn Maxwell, speaks to the media after her son was found guilty of murder.

Alan Jones' mother, Lynn Maxwell, speaks to the media after her son was found guilty of murder.

Outside the courthouse, Jones’ mother, Lynn Maxwell, said her son was innocent and they’d continue to fight the charge – even if it takes 100 years.

“There was a lot of emotion in the county about this case, a lot of emotion,” Lanza said. “I don’t know, I just don’t know what the jury talked about. But, they’ve rendered their verdict. Now, it’s time for the appeal process.”

It’s hard to be in a position like a juror, he pointed out.

“It’s very difficult for people under a stressful situation, when you have maybe eight people against you, to try to defend your position. People start dropping like flies,” Lanza said. “They want to get out. They can’t stand the pressure.”

Lanza said he was “pretty confident” that the case will be reversed by the appellate division, like the other cases the judge had mentioned.

Lynn Maxwell said she was “expecting it.”

“This has been a hot case ever since it first started. The New York State Police blew it up into a huge case within hours of the accident,” she said. “Alan is 100 percent innocent. We just go until we prove it.”

Jones claims Erin accidentally hanged herself. The jury, however, believed the DA’s claim that Jones strangled Erin.

His mother said she believes the jury tried to do the right thing, “but this is a very emotional case. When you’ve heard other things, you just can’t unhear something; once something is said, once something is read, seen, it’s there.”

Scott said she did want someone held responsible, but the trial’s outcome is bittersweet, she admits.

“I had the same reaction here that I did in Palermo,” she said. “It made me sad; it made me want to cry.”

Erin’s father and stepmother, Lindsey and Lynn, were convicted of multiple child endangerment charges in August following a trial in Palermo Town Court. They are to be sentenced next month.

Their convictions are under appeal.

Colleen Scott, right, of the Justice for Erin group described the verdict as "bittersweet."

Colleen Scott, right, of the Justice for Erin group described the verdict as "bittersweet."

“Like Mark Moody (the assistant district attorney who prosecuted the Maxwells) said, it is a bittersweet victory. For the main reason that a child has been killed,” Scott said.

The group will continue, she added.

“We’ve made a lot of good friendships. And, it’s made us a lot more aware, too. More aware of how evil the world can be,” added Allison Ryder, another member of the group. “We all know, still, that Social Services need to be held accountable.

The county DSS has been under heavy fire since the death of the 11-year-old. The department’s handling of the case has been strenuously criticized, and many have sought to have the DSS commissioner removed.

“We all know what to do now, and I don’t care if you put this in the paper. We will never call DSS,” Ryder vowed. “We’ll call code enforcement and animal control. We have no faith in DSS.”

According to the police, the Maxwells’ lived in “deplorable” conditions with more than 100 cats living inside the home along with chickens and other barnyard animals.

The home was beset with piles of garbage and feces everywhere, authorities said.

The animal people would have taken the animals away – and in the process would have taken Erin away as well, Ryder noted.

“It’s sad that under our laws, something can be done quicker to help an animal than it can for a child,” she said. “That’s terrible.”

Jones is scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 6.

He faces a maximum sentence of 25 years to life in state prison.

Scott Announces Retirement From Oswego Newspaper

Submitted

OSWEGO, NY – Paul R. Scott, publisher of The Palladium-Times since July 1, 2003, has announced his retirement, effective Dec. 31, 2008. His last day of work will be Nov. 30.

Scott, 65, says this is a logical time to retire since the paper was recently acquired by a new owner. “I am looking forward to relaxing and enjoying some of my hobbies and Rotary-related activities,” Scott said. “The newspaper business today has become all-consuming,” he added, referring to the impact on media companies because of the national economic trends.

The Palladium-Times was acquired on Sept. 1 of this year by the Sample News Group, a Pennsylvania-based publisher which specializes in community newspapers, from GateHouse Media Inc. of Fairport, N.Y.

“We’re very excited about the investment we’ve made in Oswego and the changes being planned at the newspaper, said Kelly Luvison, new co-owner of the The Palladium-Times. “And while Paul’s experience and commitment to the paper will certainly be missed, we’re also happy that’s he’s in a position to wind things down over the next few weeks and to begin enjoying more time with his family and the other things he loves to do.”

Luvison said a new publisher has been named for the Palladium-Times, with an announcement forthcoming later this month.

Scott, who resides in Baldwinsville with his wife, Gladys, came to Oswego after a three-year stay as publisher of Cheboygan (Mich.) Daily Tribune. Prior to that, he was publisher of three weekly newspapers in Saugerties and Catskill, N.Y., from 1995 until 2000.

Before entering the newspaper business, Scott was director of marketing at North Coast Health Care, Cleveland, Ohio; overseas product manager of Oneida Ltd., Oneida, N.Y., Kiawah Island, S.C. as a PGA of America head professional.

Scott will become governor of Rotary District 7150 of Central New York on July 1, 2010. This year, he is serving as district governor nominee and assistant governor and will become district governor-elect on July 1, 2009.

On the Rotary Zone level, Scott is a faculty member of the Rotary Leadership Institute and a Paul Harris Fellow and Rotary Bequester. Scott also serves as district foundation chair of Rotary’s Polio Plus initiative and district chair of Rotary’s Leadership Institute.

Scott has been extremely active in the Oswego community during his tenure as publisher. He is a past president, secretary and member of the board of directors and Foundation of the Oswego Rotary Club and has been a member of the boards of directors of the United Way of Greater Oswego County, the Greater Oswego/Fulton Chamber of Commerce and Harborfestivals Inc.

“Paul Scott has immersed himself into the greater Oswego community with impressive results,” said Bruce Frasinelli, Rotarian and former publisher of The Palladium-Times. “It has been my pleasure to watch Paul as he has negotiated some of the roughest waters that newspapers have had in their history, and he has acquitted himself with distinction for his paper and its staff. It is my hope that his retirement is filled with the best that life can offer.”

Born in New Rochelle, N.Y., Scott is a graduate of Potsdam High School, He earned a Bachelor of Science degree, with a major in economics, at St. Lawrence University, and an MBA from Syracuse University.  He served in the US Air Force.

“It has been a pleasure working with Paul during my years here,” said managing editor Debra Robillard. “I’ve learned a lot from him and respect the tough decisions he has had to make in these tough times. I wish him all the best as he begins his new journey and look forward to working with the new publisher.”

Residents Ask Lawmakers To Remove Social Services Commissioner

OSWEGO COUNTY, NY – Residents in Oswego County are officially calling for Department of Social Service Commissioner Fran Lanigan’s job.

Jackie Siver and Colleen Scott each approached the Oswego County Legislature Thursday to present petitions asking to have Lanigan removed from her position in response to the death of 11-year-old Erin Maxwell.

Erin died during the early morning hours of Aug. 30 from injuries she sustained in her Palermo home Aug. 29. The Onondaga County Medical Examiner ruled Erin’s death a homicide; the result of asphyxia with sexual trauma listed as a contributing factor.

Erin’s step-brother, 27-year-old Alan Jones was charged with second-degree murder in her death. Her father, Lindsey Maxwell, and step-mother, Lynn Maxwell, were also arrested and each charged with six counts of endangering the welfare of a child.

The petition started to circulate around the county last month. It reads:

“To The Legislature of Oswego County,
“We the residents of Oswego County, want to inform you that, we no longer feel, that Frances Lanigan, is fulfilling her duties as Commissioner of the Oswego County Department of Social Services. Instead of her saying that her department did not handle the Erin Maxwell case effectively, she continues to state that DSS, did everything they could to ensure the safety and well being of Erin. This is contrary to overwhelming evidence that has been released to the public by credible witnesses.
“We the undersigned, are demanding her resignation or removal immediately.”

Siver explained how she came to know Erin and how much she was affected by the conditions of the child’s home two years ago.

“I was horrified by the things I saw. … I saw nothing but filth,” she said.

Siver said that Erin made a lasting impression on her and that she was devastated when she heard of her death. She said that she is looking for accountability from DSS.

“Tell me that what I saw two years ago what not what they found her in two months ago,” she said. “Somebody tell me that it is okay to dig in the garbage for food. … In this instance, we didn’t do enough.”

Siver said that she was asked to help put together Erin’s Law in an effort to protect other children from the conditions that Erin lived in.

“It’s a start,” she said. “It’s a place to jump off. … We need to be accountable. Everybody needs to be.

“When my leaders don’t show accountability, I’m going to ask for new leaders,” Siver added. “If we didn’t do what was right, then we failed. There are thousands of Erin Maxwells out there. … We need to save them.”

Siver presented petitions with 277 signatures to Legislature Chairman Barry Leemann. Scott later presented another stack of petitions.

“We need to make sure this never happens to another child,” Scott said. “When the DSS report came out, I was looking for answers. I found none.”

Scott said while she doesn’t hold DSS responsible for Erin’s death, she is unhappy with Lanigan’s response to the incident.

“Fran Lanigan has never once said something went wrong. … She said they did everything right,” Scott said. “No you did not.”

Scott said that she believes the case workers who were involved with Erin in the past should be named and disciplined. She added that DSS should undergo a complete overhaul.

“(DSS workers) are public employees,” Scott said. “Our tax dollars pay their salaries.”

After the session, Leemann said that the petitions will be reviewed by the county’s legal office.

“I can’t tell you what we will do about it because I don’t know yet,” Leemann said. “I do know that we won’t ignore them.”

The county is also waiting for the results of the state’s review of the Maxwell case. When complete, the county will make that document public, as well.

Scott D. Walker, 53, 11/02/2008

FULTON, NY – Scott D. Walker, 53, of Fulton, died at his home on Nov. 2, 2008, after a long illness.

He was born in Oswego, NY, and he had been a resident of Fulton all of his life.

Mr. Walker worked for Tempco, NY, with his most recent position at Budweiser in the maintenance department.

He enjoyed working and spending time with his family, friends and co-workers.

He was predeceased by his parents, Peggy Walker in 1999 and Winifred Walker in 2006; his siblings: Michael Walker in 2000, Inez Walker in 2002, and Kelvin Walker in 2006.

He is survived by his brothers, Robert Walker of Florida, Ronald Walker of Illionis; his sisters, Nina Regan of Fulton, Mavis DeMott of Hannibal, Maureen Walker of Arizona, and Sheila Walker of Minetto; and several nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews.

Memorial services and burial will be private.

Calling hours will be conducted Wednesday, Nov. 12 from noon to 2 p.m. in the Sugar Funeral Home, 224 W. Second St. S., Fulton.

Petition Calls For Commissioner’s Job

OSWEGO COUNTY, NY – A petition has started to circulate around Oswego County, calling for the commissioner of the Oswego County Department of Social Services to step down or be removed from her position.

The petition was launched in response to the department’s handling of the Erin Maxwell case.

Eleven-year-old Erin died during the early morning hours of Aug. 30 from injuries she sustained in her Palermo home Aug. 29. The Onondaga County Medical Examiner ruled Erin’s death a homicide; the result of asphyxia with sexual trauma listed as a contributing factor.

Last week, Erin’s step-brother, 27-year-old Alan Jones was charged with second-degree murder in the death of the child. Her father, Lindsey Maxwell, and step-mother, Lynn Maxwell, were also arrested and each charged with six counts of endangering the welfare of a child.

Colleen Scott, a Granby resident who maintains a Web site under the title of “Justice for Erin,” says while the arrests were a start in delivering justice for the child, it is time for the county to take responsibility for not removing Erin from the home when it had the chance.

Scott, who works with children, said that she has been significantly affected by Erin’s case.

“I didn’t know her but the whole thing broke by heart,” Scott said. “I couldn’t stop thinking about her.”

As more information began to circulate, Scott said the community’s reaction prompted her to take action beyond her Web site.

The department released a report two weeks ago, detailing three separate investigations that were conducted at the Maxwell home from 2003-2006. In each case, the report said that the investigations were closed after determining that Erin was safe.

“In no way, shape or form do I hold DSS responsible for Erin’s murder,” Scott said. “I hold the department responsible for not removing her from the home. They are really two separate issues. No one could have known that this would happen to her.”

Scott pointed out that the investigation in 2006 determined that the child’s “housing fails to meet minimum standards.” The worker determined that Erin was not being negatively affected, however. The case was indicated and closed.

In all three investigations, workers found live poultry kept in cages inside the home. In the first investigation, the allegation of “Inadequate Guardianship” was indicated because geese were kept inside the home.

“How many times did DSS have to tell them to remove chickens from the home because it is a safety concern?” Scott said. “Every time they started a new investigation, there were chickens inside again.”

Scott noted that DSS Commissioner Frances Lanigan’s response to the Maxwell case prompted the petition.

“Her attitude from the beginning has been that DSS did nothing wrong,” Scott said. “She is a public official and serves at the pleasure of the Legislature. Our opinion is that she does not want to accept any responsibility for her department allowing Erin to stay in those conditions. … I find it hard to believe that our restrictions are so loose that what she lived in was acceptable.”

The petition, which started to circulate Sunday, reads:

“To The Legislature of Oswego County,

“We the residents of Oswego County, want to inform you that, we no longer feel, that Frances Lanigan, is fulfilling her duties as Commissioner of the Oswego County Department of Social Services. Instead of her saying that her department did not handle the Erin Maxwell case effectively, she continues to state that DSS, did everything they could to ensure the safety and well being of Erin. This is contrary to overwhelming evidence that has been released to the public by credible witnesses.

“We the undersigned, are demanding her resignation or removal immediately.”

Scott pointed out that both Jackie Siver, who says she made a report to the State Central Register about the conditions in the Maxwell home, and Bill Salmonsen, who says he tried to make a report earlier this year, tried to help.

Salmonsen told News10Now that his car broke down in front of the Maxwell’s house in April. The following day, Salmonsen said he called DSS to report the conditions that Erin was living in but was told that the department couldn’t tell people how to live before the person on the other end of the line hung up.

“I believe (Lanigan) should be having a meeting to find out who he talked to,” Scott said. “I think it is likely that the wrong person answered the phone that day. … Instead, anything that people bring up, she says, ‘I don’t know about that.’

“We feel very strongly that she should lose her job,” Scott added. “The attitude in a department comes from the top. … Don’t just defend your department; admit that someone didn’t do what was right and say that you are going to get to the bottom of it.”

Oswego County Administrator Philip Church said that while Scott and others have every right to present a petition, it is not likely going to cost Lanigan her job.

“There are no discussions going on about the commissioner’s job,” Church said. “She has responded professionally to this situation and done more than what was expected to get to the bottom of what happened.

“I understand people wanting to voice their frustrations through a petition,” Church said. “That’s their right. But we are not going to lop heads to make people feel better.”

Though not unanimously, Lanigan was reappointed to a new five-year term earlier this year with overwhelming support of the Legislature. Church said that there is “a lot to look at” before there would be any decision at the county level.

“Ending someone’s career to make people feel better is not the solution,” he said. “We want to get to the bottom of what went wrong. … Anyone would want to be treated fairly. But we have to make decisions based on fact.”

Church explained, too, that as the administrative head of the agency, there are many people below Lanigan who directly oversee the division of child protective services, support collection and the like.

“There is a whole organizational tree of people between CPS workers and the commissioner,” Church said. “It is possible that Fran never saw this case herself. The department investigates thousands of cases.”

Church noted that while the Maxwell case may have never come across Lanigan’s desk before Erin‘s death, the three previous reports would have been reviewed by supervisors in the departmental chain of command and ultimately reported to the state.

Church said that the county is awaiting the results of the state review of the Maxwell files and waiting to find if Cornell agrees to conduct a review of the Department of Social Services’ policies and procedures.

“There has to be a thorough review… to find out what may have been done differently and find out if the rules need improvement,” he said.

“We would ask people to recognize that any responsible government or employer has to make decisions on fact and evidence; not on rash judgment or a need for vengeance,” he said.

Scott maintains that she believes there is more than sufficient evidence to suggest that DSS failed Erin Maxwell.

“Our opinions do matter,” Scott added. “Frances serves at the pleasure of the Legislature. We elect legislators and they appointed her. Our opinions have to be heard.”

Judge Reserves Decision On Motions To Suppress Evidence

FULTON, NY – A judge has reserved decision on several motions to dismiss evidence in the case against a Constantia woman who is accused of killing a motorcyclist in September 2007 while driving drunk.

Cathy Scott of 1818 state Route 49, was indicted in February on charges of:

Cathy L. Scott

Cathy L. Scott

  • aggravated vehicular homicide – a class-B felony
  • first-degree vehicular manslaughter – a class-C felony
  • second-degree vehicular manslaughter – a class-D felony
  • leaving the scene of an incident – a class-E felony
  • aggravated driving while intoxicated – a misdemeanor
  • driving while intoxicated – a misdemeanor
  • reckless driving – a misdemeanor

Scott is accused of driving her vehicle drunk Sept. 29, 2007 and striking the back of a motorcycle driven by Joseph Valley of Syracuse. Valley was ejected from the motorcycle. According to police, Scott subsequently left the scene without checking on Valley’s condition.

Friday, Scott appeared in Fulton City Court before acting Oswego County Court Judge Spencer Ludington.

According to Oswego County Assistant District Attorney Mary Rain, the aggravated vehicular homicide charge — the charge that carries the harshest penalty from Scott’s indictment — was dismissed.

“The crime was committed on Sept. 29, 2007 and she was indicted in February,” Rain said. She noted, however, that the legislation that resulted in the charge against Scott was not enacted until Nov. 1, 2007.

“Because the crime was committed before the law was enacted, it was dismissed ex post facto,” she said.

The defense presented motions to suppress the defendant’s statement, identification testimony and the search warrant application. Ludington ultimately held off any decision on the motions to allow the defense an opportunity to submit its closing statement in writing.

Rain explained that the defense will first order the transcript of Friday’s proceedings. Once that is done, Ludington will set a timeframe for the closing statement. Once that is received, the prosecution will have two weeks to respond before Ludington renders a decision.

“I anticipate we will not see a decision sooner than the end of November or the beginning of December,” Rain said.

Scott has been free on bail since her arrest.

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