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2013 In Review: In April Gov. Cuomo Visits Oswego To Sign State Budget

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

Assemblyman Will Barclay argued against the New York SAFE Act at Syracuse University on April 5.

He and John Lott, a political commentator and author of “More Guns, Less Crime,” questioned the law’s effectiveness at increasing public safety.

Barclay voted against the bill in the Assembly and has been a vocal opponent of the law.

“This law does nothing to make our streets safer. If this is in direct reaction to the terrible mass killings that occurred in Colorado and Connecticut, we failed the public. We should focus the millions of dollars being spent to implement the law instead on our mental health services and improving reactions to those who exhibit homicidal behavior,” said Barclay. “The New York SAFE Act instead targets legal gun owners when, statistically, most violent gun crimes are committed with stolen or illegal weapons.”

Arguing against Barclay and Lott was Leah Barrett, executive director of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence and Robert Spitzer, a SUNY Cortland professor and author of The Politics of Gun Control.

The debate was organized by Syracuse University Professor Grant Reeher, director of Campbell Public Affairs Institute at S.U.

The debate was archived at www.campbellinstitute.org

Gov. Cuomo Visits Oswego To Sign State Budget

Governor Andrew Cuomo visited SUNY Oswego to sign his state budget and vowed to keep the Empire State moving forward

SUNY Oswego President Deborah Stanley thanked the governor for his “passion to the State University of New York and higher education.”

“Over the last two years, Gov. Cuomo has taken bold steps to ensure that colleges and universities of the State University of New York play a key role in revitalizing our upstate economy,” she told the large crowd in the Sheldon Hall auditorium. “He knows that our SUNY system is one of the jewels of this state.”

Lt. Gov. Bob Duffy quipped about the governor’s powers, saying, “There is no snow in Oswego. There is snow in Syracuse and snow on the Thruway – but no snow in Oswego.”

When he was mayor of Rochester, there was a saying, “The best thing about going to Albany to lobby is getting in the car and going back home,” he said.

“It was frustrating. But, in two years, this governor has transformed the place. It’s people working together, both sides of the aisle. It’s getting things done,” he said. “People come together and it’s the way that government should work. Leadership matters. It maters a great deal because (Gov. Cuomo) has lead this change.”

“I just want to mention the professionalism that the governor has brought to Albany. It’s something that has been desperately needed … and even though I’m on a different side of the aisle from the governor and lieutenant governor, there’s a lot of things I don’t agree with them, but I have got to say they have brought professionalism and leadership to New York State government. So, thank you very much,” Assemblyman Will Barclay said. “They’re very good guys, I enjoy working with them. I like them both and that makes working in government much easier. They’re very sincere and want to move this state forward. I appreciate that type of leadership.”

Senator Dave Valesky noted that this is the third consecutive on time budget.

“Shouldn’t be a big deal. But, in New York State it’s a huge deal because you have to go back 30 years before you find in our state history the last time we had three budgets in a row time,” he said.

After signing the budget, the governor presented the guests with three hockey pucks, as a nod to SUNY Oswego’s status as a collegiate hockey powerhouse and the fact that this was his “hat trick” (a hockey term for a player scoring three goals in a game).

Hundreds Turn Out To Support Girl Battling Cancer

For about the past six months, Makayla Walker had been battling an abdominal desmoid tumor. It is, in fact, so aggressive – it’s classified as a cancer.

In early April, it was apparent she wasn’t in this fight alone.

Hundreds crowded into the American Legion on West Bridge Street to give the Oswego youngster some emotional support as well as financial.

There were myriad items to bid on, ranging from Adirondack furniture, large screen TV, gift certificates for foods, autographed sports memorabilia (including stars with ties to the Oswego area like Brian McCann and Erik Cole), fishing charters, yoga sessions and much, much more.

“All of the volunteers have been working really hard. We have received a lot of support from everybody,” said Jennifer Losurdo one of the event organizers. “It’s just amazing how this community pulls together to help someone.”

Makayla said she appreciated the support, too.

Instead of just sitting around, she was working along side everyone else at the benefit.

“I want to work,” she said. “I want to be involved, doing something. I don’t want to just be sitting around.”

Lt. Chetney Retires from Oswego Fire Department

The Oswego Fire Department announced the retirement of Lieutenant Christopher Chetney after more than 20 years of service. He was appointed to the department on June 18, 1992, and retired on March 31, 2013.

Lt. Chetney spent the majority of his career assigned to “A” shift being promoted from Firefighter to Lieutenant on December 15, 2004.

He also served the department as a temporary captain.

Lt. Chetney was also a member of the Oswego Fire Department’s Rapid Intervention Team.

He served in various capacities for both the Oswego Firefighters Association as well as Firefighters Local 2707 including chairman of the Annual Firefighters Ball.

“It’s with mixed feelings that I think about Chet’s retirement. I am happy for him as he enters the next phase of this life, and he will be missed here by the OFD,” said Jeff McCrobie, fire chief. “I think Lt. Chetney’s greatest asset was his interaction with the public as well as his fellow firefighters. He could always be counted on to deliver what we refer to as excellent ‘customer service,’ be it on the fire ground, EMS calls, or many details where we interact with the public.”

Oswego entrepreneur ‘steps up’ to fight cancer, help local family

It took Bob Natoli two minutes to set two Guinness world records – one per minute. It took Kristi Thompson-Ross just a second to break into tears of joy.

Natoli, a six-time Guinness World Strength and Fitness Record holder, entrepreneur and author of  “True Vision 4 Success,” dedicated his seventh World Record attempt and at least $4,200 to Julian Ross “to step up community support for Julian’s fight against Stage IV Neuroblastoma.”

Natoli personally pledged $100 per step for the cause and asked others to help Julian by making their own donations.

The Oswego youngster watched, via Skype, from his hospital bed in Philadelphia.

His mother, Kristi Thompson-Ross, was on hand at TimeBuyer to witness the world record attempts in person.

With both world records firmly in hand, Natoli presented Kristi with a check for $9,900. As she dabbed away tears, Julian’s voice could be heard through the speakers in the background, “Thank you!!”

“Hey, Julian. We did it!” Natoli shouted at the computer screen. The youngster replied by flashing two thumbs up.

In between record attempts, Natoli opened two coconuts and shared the cold fresh coconut water with some members of the audience and media (yum, and good for you). He used a blade to bore into the tops of each.

From Julian’s vantage point, it appeared as if Natoli was using his bare hands.

“Mom!” the youngster exclaimed. “He must really be strong. He can squeeze water out of coconuts with his bare hands!”

In an effort to help Julian and his family raise money and awareness for this devastating form of childhood cancer, Natoli took on the most prolific strength and fitness record setter in Guinness World Record history, Paddy Doyle of the UK.