OSWEGO, NY – Here’s a glimpse of the some of the news from the past 12 months.
The Port City officially lit up for the holidays on Dec. 1. It was a pristine December evening. The temperature lingered in the upper 30s. The only thing missing was some snow – not that anyone really minded.
Hundreds of people huddled in Civic Plaza to witness the city’s 24th annual Children’s Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony.
Oswego Mayor Randy Bateman officiated at his final ceremony as mayor.
Pastor Bruce Schrader presided over the lighting of the Nativity scene and Rabbi Yossi Madvig officiated over the lighting of the menorah to welcome the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah.
The first day of Hanukkah began at sundown on Dec. 20.
Santa Claus made his arrival a few moments later aboard a city fire truck – his eight tiny reindeer rested up for their whirlwind worldwide Dec. 24 mission.
He asked the children to help him increase the size of his “nice” list and make the “naughty list as small as possible.”
Students Get Taste Of Real Life Business
The Oswego High School Bake Sale Competition took place in early December; just in time for a horde of people to descend on the high school.
OHS was packed with people, from parents participating in the open house to those enjoying the Buc Softball Team’s benefit dinner. Several other activities were under way as well.
As the students prepared for the event, members of the local business community joined them and acted as “consultants” for the teams, adding real life perspective to the experience.
“This is a great example of project based, constructivist, learning being emphasized by the new NY State Standards,” explained Ben Richardson, the students’ teacher – and chairman of OHS Inc. “It is also a classic example of business and schools working together to make education happen for our youth.”
OHS Inc. is the corporation run by students to facilitate the event.
Students receive a grade from the paper they write after the bake sale. The event provides content for the paper.
Even a student who has a terrible bake sale can still get an “A” since the grade is based on the quality of his or her analysis of what happened, according to Richardson.
The proceeds from the bake sale go to OHS Inc. school store and the Travel Club.
Legislature OK’s Nuclear Tax Agreement
At its meeting Dec. 15, the Oswego County Legislature voted to authorize the chairman of the legislature to execute the proposed tax agreement regarding Nine Mile Point Unit I and Unit II on certain terms pursuant to RPTL – 485 with Nine Mile Point Nuclear Station.
The new pact with Constellation, owner of the power plants, is for three years.
Oswego County will receive payments of $10,000,000 the first year and $10,186,000 the second year. It will receive $10,376,000 the final year.
Also receiving payments will be the town of Scriba and the Oswego City School District.
The legislature recessed until 7 p.m., at which time it will reconvene and conduct a public hearing regarding the tentative county budget for fiscal year 2012.
Oswego County OK’s Spending Plan For 2012
Following a few changes to the 2012 spending plan Dec. 15, Oswego County Legislators approved the $193 million budget.
The vote was 20-4-1. Voting against the budget were the four Democrats Mike Kunzwiler, Amy Tresidder, Doug Malone and Jacob Mulcahey. Legislator Mark Fruce was absent.
Legislator Arthur Ospelt, chair of the Finance and Personnel Committee, thanked everyone for coming together to create a budget that slightly reduces the tax rate.
“We’ve done all this good for the taxpayers,” he said, adding what taxpayers paid this year should be about the same as what they’ll pay next year.
The tax agreement with the nuclear plants was signed earlier in the day by the county and Thursday evening by the Oswego City School District.
It will increase the revenue side of the budget by $10 million, and thereby decrease the tax levy by the same, according to County Administrator Phil Church.
The budget reduces the generic tax rate by 4 cents per $1,000 of assessed value, from $6.99 to $6.95 per $1,000.
The tax levy is down below the (2 percent) tax cap, he added.
Attempts by the Democrats to make further cuts in the budget failed.
Battle Of The Bulge Book Available
Sixty-seven years ago, they fought in the greatest land battle that was ever fought. In December, they gathered to keep alive the memories of those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
More than a dozen members of Oswego County’s surviving veterans of the Battle of the Bulge met at Bridie Manor for a holiday gathering – and book sale.
The event was spearheaded by former Oswego city councilor and World War II veteran John Canale. He believes Oswego’s veterans deserve more credit for their service to this nation; it is his personal mission to ensure that happens.
To that end, with the help of several members of his group and the general public, he has published a book (“A Life’s Journey”) detailing the ordeal they faced from Dec. 16, 1944, through Jan. 25, 1945.
“The main parts of this book are real life stories,” he told Oswego County Today. “This is a book of real life stories – told by the brave men who fought there! This is a true story, this isn’t fiction. It doesn’t read like a textbook, either. I tell the stories in a very folksy way.”
Oswego Veteran Finally Receives His OHS Diploma
Harold Woods turned 87 years old on Dec. 15. On Dec. 20 he did something he hasn’t done in his entire life. The veteran of World War II and the Korean War finally received his high school diploma.
The lifelong resident of the Oswego-Minetto area has received 19 service medals for his military achievements.
But, they had no idea what the medals actually meant, his daughter, Liz, said.
“So, we wrote to them (Veterans’ Affairs) to find out what all these medals mean,” his daughter explained. “We have them, but there was no explanation. So they sent me an explanation as to what they all are; and said that he is missing nine (other medals). They told us they would arrive within the next 90 days, and that was a month ago.”
While she was doing her research, her boss became interested in her efforts. She is the office assistant for the school district’s clerk, William Foley.
“He told us about Operation Recognition and helped us be able to finally get a diploma,” she said.
Operation Recognition began back in the 1990s to recognize World War and Korean veterans who never took part in graduation ceremonies with their high school classes, according to Foley.
Woods left after only two years of (high) school, Foley noted. He joined the military and served in World War II and then the Korean War.
“I got out of regular school, the newly minted OHS graduate told Oswego County Today. “I had asthma real bad. I was 18 when I was drafted. Nobody expected them to take me. They gave me this new medicine so it was possible for me to breath pretty good. I was in the Minetto Union School.”
Instead of graduating, he found himself in Germany.
From 2001 to 2010, there were three green Christmases. This year made number four.
The high hit 41 degrees on Christmas Day 2011. The low slipped to 18 degrees. There was no new snow and no snow on the ground either.
Things were shaping up for a mild New Year’s Eve as well. However, much colder temperatures were expected for the first part of 2012.