2012 In Review: In March, Sports Were Making Headlines

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

In early March, state champions Drake Becksted and Cory Keefe returned to Oswego High School celebrating a day which qualified them as the elite among their peers in their respective events.

Becksted captured the 50 Free and 100 Free swimming crowns at the New York State Public High School Athletic Association State Championship meet in Buffalo.

Keefe proved to be the best in the state in the 55 meter hurdles at the NYSPHSAA Indoor Track Championship at Cornell University.

Laker Hockey Receives Bid For NCAA Division III Tourney

In other sports news, The Oswego State men’s ice hockey team was one of three teams to receive an at-large bid into the 2012 NCAA Division III Men’s Ice Hockey Tournament.

The Lakers (22-3-2) would host a quarterfinal game against the Elmira Soaring Eagles (15-8-3) on March 10. Oswego State won the opening season series over Elmira by the scores of 7-3 and 6-2.

Oswego State is in the same half of the draw as Amherst and conference rival Plattsburgh square off in another quarterfinal game.

Laker Hockey Team Bound For Frozen Four

The third-ranked Oswego State men’s ice hockey team (23-3-2) punched its third straight ticket to the NCAA Division III Men’s Ice Hockey Championships behind the strength of four third-period goals in a 5-0 quarterfinal win over 11th-ranked Elmira. The victory marked the first time in program history that the Lakers have reached the Frozen Four in three consecutive seasons.

Oswego School Board Wrestles With Budget Plan

The Oswego school board has challenged the superintendent to present a 2012-13 budget with zero percent tax levy increase, or better.

“A rollover budget would be $77 million. Somehow, some way, they’ve got to get that budget down to $75 million to $76 million to have a zero percent tax levy increase,” Board President John Dunsmoor said.

Superintendent Bill Crist provided board members with information regarding each building and department’s budget.

“The budget supervisors, building principals, department heads and the like came back with some other requests, if you will,” Crist told the board. “They prioritized those. We’ve gone through and looked at ways that we can provide some of those items – or not.”

United Way Salutes Goal, Salutes Its Volunteers

The United Way of Greater Oswego County paused briefly in March from its humanitarian efforts to honor those who make such work possible – their legions of volunteers.

The organization’s 74th annual meeting and salute to volunteers was held at The American Foundry.

“This is our opportunity to say ‘thanks’ to all of the dedicated, hard-working individuals in our community that work together to make the 2011 – 2012 United Way campaign such a success,” said Melanie Trexler, executive director of the United Way of Greater Oswego County.

The Leadership and Commitment Award was presented to Fulton Savings Bank, for being leaders in educating their employees on the needs of the community and inspiring them to support the United Way.

The Company Team of the Year Award went to Oswego County Government for volunteers whose extraordinary commitment, energy, enthusiasm and talent contributed to the success of their organization’s campaign.

Catholic Charities of Oswego County was presented with the Company Coordinator of the Year Award. It is given to the campaign coordinators whose enthusiasm and creativity go above and beyond what is expected. Employees respond to their efforts contributing to the success of the campaign.

The Spirit of the Community Award was bestowed on Cayuga Community College. The award is given to volunteers who care and want to make a difference in their community.

A Rite of Spring – Rudy’s Opens

Rudy’s welcomed back dozens of its closest friends. Even though the calendar said the vernal equinox would not take place for another week, local residents knew better. Spring returns when the historic little restaurant nestled on the shore of Lake Ontario at The Loop throws open its doors.

This year, customers were greeted with mild weather, with the promise of even warmer weather in store for the weekend.

Cars began lining up in front of the eatery shortly before its scheduled 10 a.m. opening.

The first patrons to place an order this season were Gabrielle Corwin and Grant Davis.

“This is the first time we’ve been the very first,” she exclaimed. “We weren’t able to make (opening day) last year.”

F-M names next director of physical education and athletics

According to a press release from the Fayetteville-Manlius School District, the F-M Board of Education approved hiring Scott Sugar as the school district’s director of physical education and athletics, effective July 1.

Sugar was currently the director of physical education and athletics for the Oswego City School District.

F-M’s current director of physical education and athletics, Rich Roy, retired as of July 1 after 22 years with F-M.

“I want to thank the members of the interview committee, most importantly, Dr. Kaiser and Mr. Gordon, for selecting me for this position,” Sugar said. “I am truly honored for being chosen to be the next director of physical education and athletics for the Fayetteville-Manlius School District. I look forward to meeting and working with all the students, coaches, faculty and staff, administrators, parents and community members of this great district.”

Hotel Zone Change Request Approved By Council In Re-Vote

The Common Council voted 4-3 to allow a zone change for 134 and 140 E. 13th St., from R-3 Residential to B-1 Neighborhood Business. Two weeks prior, the council voted 4-3 against the change.

The difference was a change of heart by the Fifth Ward councilor.

At the Feb. 28 meeting, Matt Kerwin, an attorney, representing Chris LaBarge, who wants to build a four-story hotel in the neighborhood, described the area as not one of the city’s “pristine residential areas.”

That upset several councilors, including Dan Donovan; and he voted against the change.

However, he brought the issue back to the council floor where it was approved – causing one audience member to blurt out, “This is sneaky!” and then storm out of the council chamber.

“The last time, when the lawyer was speaking he said a few things about this don’t that I didn’t like and I let it get the best of me and I voted no,” Donovan told Oswego County Today. He was originally in favor of the zone change, he added.

‘It Was A Heck Of A Hockey Game’ – Lakers Survive In OT

It was going to be a happy ending that would never be forgotten for one team while for the loser it will be an outcome that will linger for years.

In Mid-March, Oswego State and Amherst met on the ice at the Herb Brooks Arena in Lake Placid; the winner would move on to the national championship game.

It was a game of two gigantic heavyweights standing toe to toe and slugging it out for nearly three and a half periods before Laker Paul Rodrigues was on the receiving end of a Luke Moodie pass. Moodie battled along the boards for the puck and got it out of a crowd to Rodrigues who was breaking in on All-American, Division III Players of the year Jonathan LaRose.

The Laker junior raced in, beat the defense and LaRose committed. It appeared that Rodrigues would not have enough space to get the shot off, but he patiently put a backhand over the outstretched Larose for a 2-1 Oswego victory.

The past two years the Lakers had reached the national semifinals only to lose to St. Norbert and Adrian.

Lakers Come Up Short Against Green Knights

For the fourth time in the history of the Oswego State hockey program the team earned a berth in the NCAA Division III title game. However, the Lakers lost to St. Norbert’s 4-1 and collected its third runner up finish.

After the loss in the title game Coach Ed Gosek said, “St. Norbert played a great game defensively. The majority of the glaring mistakes we made they capitalized on. The effort on our part was there, but we did not have the same jump as last night.”

Mom Shaves Head To Support Her Son

The only thing stronger than cancer quite possibly could be a mother’s love.

Kristi Thompson-Ross cut her hair in support of her son, Julian. The Kingsford Park Elementary School first grader is suffering from cancer and is spending a lot of time in a hospital bed.

The KPS Student Council and Home and School came together and raised enough money for an iPad for him. The special presentation was made just before Christmas by members of the KPS Student Council.

The youngster arrived at the 2012 St. Baldrick’s fundraiser at the SUNY Oswego Campus Center aboard an Oswego fire engine.

He said he wants to be a firefighter – or maybe a cop – when he grows up. The Oswego firefighters were helping coax him down the right career path.

The St. Baldrick’s Foundation is a volunteer-driven charity committed to funding the most promising research to find cures for childhood cancers and give survivors long and healthy lives.

Mayor Gillen’s 2012 State Of The City Address

The art of good policy cannot exist in a vacuum where no debate exists and at times we have had honest disagreement about individual policies, it has never concerned me as mayor that we all don’t have the best interests of the city in mind. So, I say again, thank you councilors for your dedication and passion.

We’re going to keep working to make city government more productive and cost efficient because, first and foremost, I believe in a leaner government that works smarter.

I made a promise to the citizens of Oswego to be fiscally responsible and we are delivering on that promise.

I respect the fact that the people of this great city work hard for their money, and it’s my job to make sure their hard-earned dollars are being utilized in an ethical and prudent fashion.

We need to be a resource driven organization, living within our means, just like every Oswego family.

Council Approves Reinstating Oswego’s Zoning Enforcement Officer

The Common Council voted to approve reinstatement of the city Zoning Enforcement Officer.

The handful of residents who spoke during the public session, however, was in support of the position. They pointed out several reasons why the city needed this position.

Health Department Takes Action To Halt Sale, Distribution of Synthetic Marijuana

The Oswego County Health Department on March 29 began the process of notifying businesses that they are prohibited from selling, distributing or giving away synthetic marijuana products.

New York State Health Commissioner Nirav R. Shah issued the order banning the sale and distribution of synthetic marijuana or synthetic cannabinoid products March 28.

“The Oswego County Health Department is serving notice and orders today to businesses known to sell synthetic cannabinoids,” Oswego County Administrator Phil Church told Oswego County Today. “We will continue to notify businesses as they are identified.”

Synthetic marijuana products consist of plant material coated by chemicals that mimic THC, the active ingredient in marijuana.

Commissioner Shah ordered that sales and distribution of synthetic marijuana products cease immediately in New York State.

Local health officials were directed to distribute the commissioner’s order and check for compliance.

“It is certainly about time we step back and made financial gain secondary to the health of our children. Earning the almighty dollar, by selling stuff that’s killing our children, isn’t more important than the health of our children,” said Oswego County Sheriff Reuel Todd.

To report an Oswego County business that is selling, distributing or giving away synthetic marijuana, call the Environmental Division of the Oswego County Health Department weekdays at 349-3557 or 1-800-596-3200, ext. 3557.