2012 In Review: In June, The Buc Bulletin’s Award-Winning Tradition Continued

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

In early June, the New York Press Association honored the Oswego High School Buccaneer Bulletin as the 2011 Best High School Newspaper in the state.

The “Celebrating Newspaper in Excellence Awards” were presented to scholastic publications from across the state.

The Oswego High School Buccaneer Bulletin walked away with top honors in the New York Press Association Better High School Newspaper contest. The Buc Bulletin earned 50 points in the contest including first place awards for “Design” and “Photographer.” The paper also earned second place for the best sports stories.

According to the NYPA, “The judges praised the newspaper’s illustrations and well-cropped photos-nice job!”

In the area of “design” the Buc Bulletin co-editors Jasmine Davis and Christina Buckingham, 2011 grads, presented, according to the judges, “Lovely large front page photo with perspective. There were creative spreads” and the publication “used fewer Google images and more original art.”

In the area of photography Monek Cullen, another 2011 grad, earned first place for “photography.”

Sports writer Carlie Morley was also recognized as she earned second place in the “Best Sports Story” category.

Traditionally the Buccaneer Bulletin is one of the leading scholastic publications in New York State. Each staff attempts to duplicate or improve upon what the previous staff had achieved.

Police: Car Speed Was 81 mph Prior To Fatal Crash

The New York State Police Collision Reconstruction Unit released the results of its preliminary investigation into the early June triple fatal MVA.

Tire mark evidence at the scene indicates the 1999 Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera, operated by Robert L. Senke at the time of the accident, was traveling at approximately 81mph when it lost control on the curve near the Oswego Speedway on June 6 shortly after 8 p.m.

The victims of the one car MVA were identified as follows: Robert L. Senke, DOB: 2/14/1987, 270 W Eighth St Oswego, Justin M. Purdy, DOB: 3/17/1988, 7433 SR 104, Oswego and Antonio Mendez, 9/17/1983, 17 Yates Ave., Oswego.

The survivors of the crash Donald M. Odin, 1/11/1986, 23 Butternut Drive, Oswego, and Jeremy W. Tassie, 4/17/1990, 77 Eisenhower Ave., Oswego, were treated and released from the hospital.

Senke, Purdy, and Mendez were declared dead on the scene.

Reports indicate that the group had left Tassie’s residence a few minutes prior to the accident and were heading to apartments on City Line Road.

The Oswego City Police were assisted on scene by the Oswego City Fire Department, NYSP Accident Reconstruction, US Border Patrol, Oswego County Sheriff’s Department and Oswego Speedway staff.

“You’ve seen the mock DWI crash (put on during prom-graduation season at area high schools) programs, and you just don’t have … that,” Oswego Fire Chief Jeff McCrobie told Oswego County Today as he gestured toward two young girls hugging as the consoled themselves in front of a makeshift memorial near the crash site the following morning.

“I’ve seen different motor vehicle accidents. This is the first one I think I’ve seen so many people (who died) in one car,” Oswego Police Captain David Lizotte said that night. “I don’t know if I could describe (the crash). It’s pretty difficult.”

Renee Ferlito said she was best friends with the victims and “hung out with them all the time. They’re amazing people.”

Legislators Tell Joint Commission To Reconsider Water Level Plan

At its June meeting, the Oswego County Legislature voiced its opposition to the International Joint Commission’s plan (BV7) to regulate water levels on Lake Ontario. It wasn’t a unified voice, however. After a lengthy debate, the vote was split along party lines.

The resolution was sent to the legislature from the Economic Development and Planning Committee earlier in the evening. It wasn’t the same resolution that had been tabled at the regular committee meeting and earmarked to return to the full legislature on June 14, Legislator Mike Kunzwiler pointed out.

After a recess of several minutes, the resolution withdrawn by Legislator Louella LeClair and then properly reintroduced on the floor.

Kunzwiler said the legislator should consider all the available information regarding the plan.

“I’ve received 50 to 60 pages of reports in the last two or three days saying we should support the plan,” he said. But, we are putting this out; where is that going to leave us?”

“Is this data legitimate? We don’t know. We’re going back and forth with these documents, whose is right and whose is wrong?” he continued. “The right thing to do would be take this thing and put it back on the shelf where it belongs until there are more facts out there.”

Fred Beardsley, chairman of the legislature, pointed out that the resolution, in part, urges the IJC to “immediately enact a moratorium on any further proposals to modify the range of water levels on the lake until the completion of a thorough, objective and all-inclusive analysis of the potential economic damages on tourism, recreation, business and residences along the south shore of the lake…”

“In essence, what this resolution is saying is we are asking them to go back and take a better look,” he said.

“In opposing the BV7 plan what we are doing is providing feedback to the Joint Commission,” Legislator Jack Proud explained. “So that they may further consider this plan. We’re rejecting the current plan that they have and we’re saying take this back, look it over and make some corrections and then, resubmit a plan back that people can live with.”

Oswego Dedicates Its Peace Garden

Nearly 80 people showed up in Leotta Park along East First Street to officially dedicate Oswego’s Peace Garden in June. A huge American Flag, with 15 stripes, fluttered in the breeze.

“This is the only (US) flag with 15 stripes,” Tony Leotta pointed out. “The 14th and 15th stripes represent Vermont and Kentucky. This flag was used until, I think, 1822. When the other states were added, they realized they couldn’t add a stripe for every new state. So, they returned to the 13 stripes and added stars instead.”

The garden was originally developed in 2003 by Leotta, the city engineer, and the Jay Saternow family, and several volunteers from the community.

“It was named a ‘Peace Garden’ by the late Frank Clavelli Sr., former member of the Oswego Common Council,” Leotta pointed out.

New signage will be installed to identify the garden as an official site of the War of 1812 Bicentennial Peace Garden Trail. The garden route covers more than 600 miles in the U.S. and Canada and includes 17 peace gardens in communities where events took place during the War of 1812.

Joyce Lorraine, USA project manager of the International Peace Garden Foundation said the first gardens were in recognition of sharing the longest undefended border in the world since the War of 1812.

“Since then, these peace gardens have been going around the world, from country to country,” she said.

Paula Savage, president of the organization added it was originally “only going to be three or four gardens along the Niagara River on the Canadian and on the American side.”

But, she said, there is a lot more to the War of 1812 than just the Niagara River. And so, it became a much larger project.

“We’re celebrating 200 years of peace between the United States and Canada,” Savage noted.

Paul Lear, superintendent of Fort Ontario State Historic Site, said Oswego was an important military site during the War of 1812, sometimes referred to as the second war for independence.

He provided the large crowd with a brief look at Oswego’s significance during the war.
There were two battles here, one in 1813 and the other in 1814.

Oswego, Brookfield Implement New Personal Flotation Device Zones at Varick Hydropower Dam

The city of Oswego and Brookfield Renewable Energy Group jointly announced the immediate implementation of personal flotation device zones below the Varick Dam on the Oswego River.

These mandatory zones are clearly indicated on signage in the Oswego River and visually monitored via video security cameras. Individuals not wearing a personal flotation device are prohibited in these zones, and those failing to comply with these requirements are subject to prosecution for trespass.

It is also prohibited to remain in or enter into the PFD zones – whether wearing a PFD or not – following the activation of the siren or while the red warning light is illuminated, indicating water flow changes nearby the Varick Dam and powerhouse.

Implementation of the PFD safety zones follows Brookfield’s introduction of enhanced safety tools, signage and warnings at the Varick Dam.

“It’s important that we be vigilant and take a ‘whole community’ approach to public safety.  The new life jacket zones have been developed to provide the highest level of safety for anyone recreating on or near the Oswego River, especially nearby Brookfield’s Varick Dam and powerhouse,” said Oswego Mayor Tom Gillen. “While the public may be familiar with water safety and the precautions already in place at the Varick Dam, the safety message is having a positive impact on our community and bears repeating all season long.”