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Family Court Room Mural Project Unveiled

OSWEGO, NY – People entering a courtroom don’t normally expect to see children’s artwork hanging from the walls.

But, visitors to the Family Court courtroom at the Oswego County Public Safety Center are now greeted by the warm and bright colors of children’s drawings and paintings, thanks to a unique project initiated by Family Court Judge Kimberly Seager and the Youth Advocate Program of Oswego County.

Artwork created by students at Kingsford Park Elementary School in Oswego hangs from the walls of the County Family Court courtroom.

Artwork created by students at Kingsford Park Elementary School in Oswego hangs from the walls of the County Family Court courtroom.

The completed art mural project was recently unveiled at a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

The mural features the “Youth Bill of Rights” and picture frames painted on walls around the courtroom to display children’s artwork. The first art exhibit was created by students at Kingsford Park Elementary School in Oswego.

New artwork from schools across the county will be rotated once a month.

“When I first took office, I envisioned a courtroom that would be more welcoming to youth from Oswego County,” Judge Seager told youth, advocates and guests. “The court is a place where young people can grow and a place where they can learn to be better citizens. I wanted the room to reflect that, and now it does.”

Youth volunteers and YAP staff spent several months and many hours planning the design and painting the room.

At a recent ribbon-cutting ceremony, Judge Seager praised the efforts of all who were involved in the mural.

“The goal of the project was to make the courtroom more child-friendly,” she said. “Often families are in crisis when they come to court. If we can assist in making court a warmer environment, it is better for everyone.”

Brandi Weaver, advocate who coordinated the art mural, explained that the project began in early summer.

Using a projector, they displayed designs of picture frames onto the walls, brought in paints, brushes and other supplies, and worked during evenings or weekends when court was not in session.

David Canfield, director of the Youth Advocate Program, said youth were invited to volunteer for the betterment of Oswego County and spent “many, many hours” working on the project.

The project involved “Time Dollar Banking” where youth give back to their communities.

When asked about his involvement, Tony Martin, age 13, of Oswego, explained that working on the mural was “pretty fun” because he enjoyed meeting Judge Seager and was spending time in court for a good purpose.

“I was not in court on a bad level,” he said.

Another student, 14-year-old Janelle Freeman of Central Square, stated that her favorite part was coming and seeing everybody involved in the project, along with knowing that the courtroom’s new appearance will make it more comfortable for kids going to court.

The project was funded through a grant from former Congressman John McHugh, which was administered through the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention and approved by the NYS Office of Court Administration.

Canfield thanked McHugh, members of the County Legislature, City-County Youth Bureau Director Kathy Fenlon, and the County Buildings and Grounds Department for their support and assistance.

Joan E. Seager, 74

Joan E. Seager, 74, of Washer Rd. (Hinmanville) Phoenix, died on Sunday August 8, 1936.

Born to her late parents, Harry and Josephine (Ball) Jordan on June 28, 1936. Joan graduated from Phoenix High School, class of 1954. She was a postal clerk for U.S.P.S, Phoenix, and ran her ceramic shop as well.

Joan was a member of V.F.W. Post 5540 Auxiliary; and Phoenix Fire Dept. Auxiliary. Pre-deceased by her husband, William H. “Wimp” Seager on March 26, 2000. Surviving are her sons, Mitchell L. (Kim) Seager of Volney and Matthew J. Seager of Phoenix; one grandson, Matthew J.Seager, II; several nieces, nephews, cousins.

Calling hours are on Tuesday from 4 to 7 pm at the Allanson-Glanville-Tappan Funeral Home, 431 Main St., Phoenix, NY. Services are on Wednesday at 11 am at the funeral home, with the Rev. Terrance E. Millbyer officiating. Burial to follow in Phoenix Rural Cemetery.

Contributions: American Diabetes Association, 6390 Fly Rd. E. Syracuse, 13057 or the Auxiliary of the Phoenix Fire Dept., 457 Main St. Phoenix, 13135.


Seager’s New Post Will Bring Legislative Vacancy

OSWEGO COUNTY, NY – As longtime legislator Kimberly Seager prepares for her new position as Oswego County Family Court Judge, she is also preparing to step down from her seat on the Oswego County Legislature.

Kimberly Seager

Kimberly Seager

Seager ran in this month’s election as the only candidate on the line for the judgeship. She won the Republican Primary against incumbent Family Court Judge David Roman in September.

Though Roman hosted a write-in campaign against Seager for the seat, Seager walked away from the race with almost 20,000 more votes. Unofficial totals gave Seager 22,116 votes to Roman’s 2,657 write in votes.

Seager explained that the new position requires her resignation from the 10th District chair, which she has held since February 1997. She has also served as Majority Leader since the beginning of this year.

“It isn’t an option,” Seager said. “I have to resign by Dec. 31 but I haven‘t decided yet when I will submit my resignation.

“A family court judge can’t be political,” Seager explained. “Also, the position is so intense that you really have to focus all of your attention on that one job.”

Seager was first appointed to the legislative seat to fill a one-year vacancy. February would have marked her 12th year on the Legislature.

“It has been a phenomenal challenge,” she said. “I like to think that I have made a difference on a variety of issues. … Even when an issue didn’t go the way I wanted, I hope that I have brought a voice to the reasons why I decided to vote one way or another.”

Seager said that she would encourage anyone who serves on the Legislature to research the issues and bring a strong and educated position to the floor.

“It is important to always be certain why you are taking a certain action,” Seager said. “When you make a decision, stick with it.”

Seager said she is looking forward to her new position on the bench, which is a 10-year term.

“I am incredibly excited,” she said. “I am motivated by a lot of wonderful people around me and I believe that I am ready for the challenge.”

When she resigns, the 10th District will have a one-year vacancy that will have to be filled by appointment. Seager said she has told the Republican committees in both Volney and Schroeppel that “wants nothing to do with” the decision of who will fill the vacancy.

During last week’s Legislature meeting, the group presented Seager with flowers and a gavel in appreciation of her service to the county. A constituent also presented her with flowers.

GOP-Backed Judge Candidates Lose On Primary Night

</p>Judge Walter Hafner

Judge Walter Hafner

Republican voters refused the advice of the party on Tuesday, voting for two candidates who did not get the party’s official backing.

Oswego County Court Judge Walter Hafner beat Robert Genant in the Republican party primary on Tuesday night, with 56% of the vote.  He also won the Conservative Party’s endorsement.

Back in May, the county Republican committee snubbed Hafner, who has feuded with the District Attorney’s office.  The committee gave its backing to Genant in a close vote.

</p> <p>Kim Seager</p>

Kim Seager

The other countywide race on Tuesday pitted three lawyers in a battle to win the Republican endorsement to become the county’s next Family Court judge.  County Legislator Kim Seager won the fight, with 2400 votes.  David Roman finished second with 2004 votes.  He’s the current Family Court judge and won the party’s backing at the meeting in May. Fulton lawyer Sal Lanza carried just 640 votes.

In a county where Republicans outnumber Democrats by a nearly 2-1 margin, winning the Republican primary almost guarantees a win in the November general election.

In local races, Mary Flett beat Melvin Holliday in the Republican primary to serve the unfilled year left in the late Len Ponzi’s term on the County Legislature from the city of Oswego.

Former county legislator Carl Rusaw won both the Republican and Conservative primaries for a seat on the Volney town council.

Terrance Smith won the Republican primary for a one year term on the Scriba town board, and Frank Tomaino won the Republican primary for a one year term on the Constantia town board.

Judicial Candidates Visit Oswego Sunrise Rotary

Submitted Article

OSWEGO, NY – Oswego County Court Judge Walter Hafner spoke to the Oswego Sunrise Rotary Club on Thursday, Sept. 4.

Walter Hafner, left, and Kim Seager are greeted by Rotary president George Reed.Judge Hafner told of his experience as a young professional being sent to Australia by Rotary District 7150.

He has fond memories of the Rotarians he met on the trip.

One farmer from the Outback visited his family farm several times.

The most satisfying part of his job occurs when people he has sentenced to prison turn their lives around and thank him.

The judge said he has met men that have appeared before him and have told him they are grateful that they were forced to look at their life.

Substance abuse was a frequent factor in criminal behavior.

Kim Seager, candidate for Family Court Judge, also visited the club.

She noted a primary election will be held on Tuesday, Sept. 9.

The Oswego Sunrise Rotary meets each Thursday at 6:30 a.m. at the Oswego Tea Company.

For more information on Rotary, contact President George A. Reed, at (315) 216-4266.

County Moves Forward With Capital Project Plans

OSWEGO COUNTY, NY – Spending nearly a million dollars now, the county is working to create a system to recover ferrous metals from the ash at the Energy Recovery Facility.

Once established, the system will allow the county to rake in revenues that have been poured into the county landfill for years. In line to receive a recycling grant for the project, officials say the system will pay for itself in a short amount of time.

The Oswego County Legislature voted to establish a capital project for a Ferrous Metal Recovery System at ERF during its August meeting. Discussions about the system started approximately a year ago, under the advisement of Frank Visser, director of the county’s solid waste department.

Visser explained that revenues for the metals were conservatively estimated between $250,000 and $350,000 per year based on the market value of ferrous and the predicted amount of metals that could be recovered from the county‘s ash.

The project is considered a recycling project and is eligible for matching funding through the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation recycling fund. Visser noted that it has been put on a waiting list for a grant.

“It may be two to three years before this money becomes available,” Visser said in an informational memo that was sent to county lawmakers. He pointed out, however, that the county needs to fund the project up front to be eligible for state’s 50 percent reimbursement.

Under current market conditions, the anticipated revenues coupled with the grant money are anticipated to pay for the costs of the project in less than two years. Visser noted that the county will also increase its recycling rate by approximately 2,000 tons per year and eliminate that amount of material from the landfill.

The total of low bids received for the system came in at $852,710. The cost for the construction administration by the consultant is $18,800. Factoring in a 10 percent contingency allowance of $88,490, the total capital project cost came in at $960,000.

County treasurer John Kruk recommended paying for the project from the unappropriated general fund balance, rather than bonding.

“Since it appears there is a short payback and since the interest on the county’s fund balance is at 2 percent, it does not appear prudent to spend $150,000 to $250,000 on a bond issue at approximately 4 percent,” Visser explained.

Legislator Kimberly Seager, R-Phoenix, said that other counties would not have that luxury.

“Because of the foresight of this legislature, we are able to fund this, rather than borrowing,” Seager said. “It makes more sense to pay now, instead of borrowing… and paying additional money.”

Legislator Michael Kunzwiler, D-Oswego, cited additional benefits.

“This also adds a revenue stream,” Kunzwiler said, noting that it is another step the county can take to make its solid waste department self sufficient.

“We are always looking for revenue streams that are not coming through taxes,” he said.

The county unanimously supported the request, authorizing the transfer for the capital project with a maximum allowance of $960,000.

County Supports State Efforts To Reduce Deficit; Pushes Matching Effort On Mandates

OSWEGO COUNTY, NY – Oswego County lawmakers have lent their support to Governor David Paterson’s efforts to cut more than a billion dollars from the state budget. Local officials stressed last week, however, that any decisions must consider both sides of the coin.

State lawmakers will convene for a special session in Albany today. In preparation for the decisions that will come from the session, Oswego County legislators asked the County Administrator to draft a letter to the state last week to point out a costly concern.

Together, the Majority and Minority Leaders presented the request on the floor of the Oswego County Legislature Thursday.

Majority Leader Kimberly Seager said that the county applauds Governor Paterson for his efforts to reduce the state deficit. She pointed out, however, that his proposal could translate to an additional six percent cut in funding that would come to Oswego County in the coming year.

“We applaud and would support (Paterson’s efforts), Seager said. “But we ask that he’d likewise cut state mandates.”

Minority Leader Michael Kunzwiler echoed her sentiments.

“The state has to get its fiscal matters in order,” Kunzwiler said. “There is agreement on both sides of the aisle. … But if (the state) cuts aid, they also have to cut mandates.”

It would only be fair, Kunzwiler said.

Kunzwiler pointed out that Oswego County has worked for several years to bring it own finances in order.

“We’re here to the help the state also,” he said. He noted, however, that the state needs to be cognizant of the burden of unfunded mandates on local municipalities.

The county Legislature unanimously agreed to send the letter to the state.

Monday, Paterson convened a Council of Economic Advisors. The 18-member council met to review the State budget to provide Paterson with additional recommendations to address the fiscal crisis.

“In this difficult fiscal climate, I am grateful that so many of our nation’s most gifted and renowned economists have agreed to serve on our Council of Economic Advisors,” Governor Paterson said in a news release that is posted on his Web site.

“The men and women who have joined our council are seasoned experts from around the State and across the nation,” he added. “Facing deteriorating economic times and declining revenues now, more than ever, we need creative ideas and solutions. I can think of no better collective group to help steer us back to fiscal health, and I look forward to hearing their recommendations.”

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