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2012 In Review: In August, Charter School Organizers Decide To Wait

OSWEGO, NY – Here’s a glimpse of the some of the news from the past 12 months.

A public hearing in early August to discuss the proposed charter school in Oswego closed without a single comment.

Oswego City School District Superintendent Bill Crist announced that he had been notified shortly before the hearing that the application for the proposed Renaissance Charter School had been withdrawn.

“The Charter School Project is my personal initiative, after I decided to homeschool my daughter. I watched a video entitled ‘Stupid in America’ and the last 15 minutes of that movie dealt with public charter schools as an alternative to existing ‘standard’ public schools,” Rodica Ieta said at an informational meeting in late November 2011.

“I received news that the application was not convincing enough in certain areas and it looked like it was not going to be forwarded for approval,” she told Oswego County Today in August. “So, we decided to withdraw it and fine tune it and resubmit next year.”

OFD Responds To Report of People on Breakwall

Also in early August, the Oswego County 911 center received a call of two people on the breakwall at the Oswego Harbor, according to the Oswego Fire Department.

Fire Department units as well as Oswego Police Department and United States Coast Guard personnel were deployed. This was just after the predicted winds and rains arrived in the area, Fire Chief Jeff McCrobie pointed out.

OFD personnel responding in its department jet sled “Beau,” navigated in high winds and heavy rain to the area on the southern side of the breakwall as well as conducting a foot search on the breakwall in very difficult conditions.

Multiple reports of the two breakwall walkers were received.

After an extensive search and investigation, it was determined that the two walkers had exited the breakwall on their own although their identities remain unknown, McCrobie said.

New Violation Makes Selling, Possession of Synthetic Drugs a State Crime

Assemblyman Will Barclay said the plan to further penalize synthetic drug users gives law enforcement a necessary tool to combat synthetic drugs in our communities. The State Health Department also created a hotline for the public to report tips to police 1-888-99SALTS (1-888-997-2587).

“This is another step in the right direction.  With these regulations, local law enforcement can penalize more users and make someone think twice about trying synthetics for the first time,” said Barclay. “Synthetic drugs continue to be a problem and our law enforcement need more tools to send messages to those who sell and possess that these substances are not OK.”

According to Governor Cuomo’s press release, the regulations will allow for the first time an owner of an establishment and/or an employee selling synthetic drugs to be charged with possession of an illicit substance.

Further, to support enforcement, the regulations will increase the criminal penalties for those who violate the rules. Violators will face fines up to $500 and potentially up to 15 days in jail. New civil penalties will include a fine of up to $2,000 per violation.

Ironically, a few days later, Victor O. Woolson, 19, of 1019 County Route 29, Lycoming, was pulled out of Lake Ontario on August 9, according to Oswego police.

He was transported to the hospital where he was pronounced dead. His family blames the incident on synthetic drugs and has begun a grassroots effort to educate the public about the dangers of these materials.

Heidi Allen’s Sister’s Book Set To Be Published April 2013

Lisa Buske announced on her blog that her book, Where’s Heidi? One Sister’s Journey, is slated to be released in 2013.

“I am happy to announce Where’s Heidi? One Sister’s Journey is tentatively scheduled to be released in April 2013!” she wrote. “We, my husband, daughter, and parents are so excited to share this book with all of you. The ultimate goal is a release date of April 3, 2013.”

The story invites the reader to join Buske on a journey no one ever expects to take –
a journey through abduction and the loss of hope, family, and faith.

“With a soft and comforting tone, I speak to the sibling left to deal with the stress and grief experienced when their brother or sister is tragically taken from their lives,” she said in her blog. “Through my experience, you will recognize similar emotions with new or renewing perspective; you aren’t alone, someone else understands, and there is hope to get through with joy.”

In Heidi’s honor, the cover was revealed on Sept. 14, 2012, Heidi’s birthday.

Oswego Police Search 5 Businesses As Part of Crack Down on Synthetic Drugs

The Oswego City Police Department executed five simultaneous search warrants on city businesses Aug. 15.

The investigation began as a result of the new regulations made effective on August 7 by the New York State Department of Health to crack down on the increasingly widespread use of bath salts and other synthetic drugs.

Officers of the Oswego City Police Department conducted their investigations at various locations that have been alleged to sell these types of products, or various other paraphernalia related to the use and/or distribution of illegal drugs.

According to Police Chief Tory DeCaire, “The execution of the search warrants today are really just a part of the overall investigation. We will continue our investigation and, based on the totality of the evidence, make a determination regarding pending arrests and appropriate charges. Our goal today is not to adversely impact legitimate businesses, but rather to get dangerous items off of store shelves, educate the public, and hopefully help to make Oswego a safer place.”

Oswego School Board Updated On Big Picture School Plan

The hats may be red. But the students are true blue Oswego Buccaneers.

At the August Oswego board of education meeting, Debra Smith handed out the baseball caps with The Buc on the front to the board members as she began her update of The Buccaneer Junior-Senior High School.

The school opened for its inaugural academic year in September.

“The Big Picture philosophy is to educate one student at a time in a community of fellow learners,” she told the board members. “They definitely stress the three R’s – Relationships for the students; making it Relevant to what they would do in the real world; and Rigors, making sure that the curriculum that they provide is not a watered-down curriculum.”

“Anything with a low student-teacher ratio where you have people that care about you and you have people you are in contact with every day really helps with the personalization factor and makes kid want to come to school,” Smith explained. “We are going to provide internships in grades 11 and 12.”

College courses will also be available to the students, she added.

Students in grades 7 through 10 will be actively involved in community service projects, “as well as providing other project based learning opportunities in the community,” she said.

“So, basically what we are talking about is authentic experiences with real life mentors – less paper and pencil tasks,” she pointed out.

New College Apartments Holds Ground-Breaking Ceremony

Ground was broken for a project on the west side of the Port City in August that has the potential to improve the quality of life in several neighborhoods elsewhere in Oswego. The groundbreaking ceremony at Premier Living Suites, an apartment complex designed for college students, was held shortly after noon at 247 W. Utica St.

Premier Living Suites is an affiliate of Furlong Properties, a collection of housing facilities located within the city of Oswego.

The project has been in the works for more than three years and is to be completed by August 2013.

“We saw a need for better quality housing for SUNY Oswego students,” said co-owner Patrick Furlong. “Our aim is to bring the students and the community together.”

The fully-furnished suite-style apartments feature four bedrooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen and a living room with a 40-inch flat screen TV; all amenities including wash and dry, cable, wireless Internet and other utilities are included in the rent.