2013 In Review: In March Cancer Survivor Joins Fight Against Childhood Cancer

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

Eric Gates has advanced final stage bone cancer (multiple myeloma). He is also fighting a few other nagging ailments. And, yes, he complains, a lot. It’s not about what’s wrong with him. It’s about the injustice of childhood cancer.

“No child should have to go through that. No family should have to go through that kind of pain,” he said.

He and his family, over the years, have been involved with the Walk America to fight birth defects as well as different cancer agencies, he pointed out.

“Everybody in my family, it seems, died of cancer. My mother did, my father and a cousin at 39. So, I’ve been involved in a lot of cancer stuff. Then, in 2011, I was diagnosed with bone cancer. I got to see the kids upstairs in the Golosonio hospital and I said, ‘No kid should have to go through this stuff!'”

The St. Baldrick’s Foundation, a volunteer-driven charity dedicated to raising money for childhood cancer research, hosted one of its signature head-shaving events at the Lake Ontario Event and Conference Center on March 27.

His team, rgrampa’s kids, took part – again.

Maffei Announces $38,095 Federal Grant for Oswego Town VFD

On March 6, Rep. Dan Maffei announced that the Oswego Town Volunteer Fire Department would receive a grant totaling $38,095 in Round 16 of the FY2012 Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program which is administered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The AFG grants are designed to help firefighters and other first responders enhance their ability to protect the health and safety of the public and to obtain critically needed resources, personal protective equipment, firefighting and emergency vehicles, and training to improve the capability to respond to fires and emergencies of all types.

The Oswego Town Volunteer Fire Department plans to use the funding to purchase new extrication equipment to help bring car accident other accident victims to safety faster.

“This funding will help keep Oswego Town volunteer firefighters safe and help them bring accident victims to safety faster,” said Rep. Maffei. “It is critical that the brave men and women who volunteer to put their lives on the line every day to keep Oswego families safe have the equipment they need to most effectively do their jobs.”

Greg Herrmann, Fire Chief, Oswego Town Volunteer Fire Department, said, “We appreciate Rep. Maffei’s support for the Oswego Town Volunteer Fire Department, and his efforts to secure funds for critical investments that help the men and women who volunteer to put themselves in harm’s way every day to protect our community.”

A Little Snow Couldn’t Stop Rudy’s From Opening

Rudy’s welcomed back dozens of its closest friends in early March.

Even though the calendar said the vernal equinox wouldn’t take place until March 20, local residents know better. Spring returns when the historic little restaurant nestled on the shore of Lake Ontario at The Loop throws open its doors.

This year, early customers were greeted with mild weather. The lunchtime crowd saw some wet snow flurries.

“Yeah, so what? It’s snowing, who cares?” one customer said. “It’s opening day at Rudy’s; it’ll take a lot more than a little snow to stop me!”

More than a dozen cars lined up in front of the eatery shortly before its scheduled 10 a.m. opening.

The first patron to place an order this season was Debbie Gilmore.

“This is the first time I’ve been the very first,” she exclaimed. “Usually I come here around lunchtime. I have a busy day. I was out early doing errands.”

SUNY Oswego achieves national distinction for community service

SUNY Oswego was named to the 2013 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction, one of only two SUNY campuses to achieve the national designation this year.

It is the third consecutive year the Corporation for National and Community Service has accorded the “with Distinction” title to Oswego, though the college has been on the honor roll for community service since its inception in 2006.

“It’s a pretty prestigious honor,” said Alyssa Amyotte, the college’s coordinator for service learning and community service. “Only about a hundred other schools are named to the (with Distinction) list every year — it shows good things about SUNY Oswego.”

Colleges chosen for the list “reflect the values of exemplary community service and achieve meaningful outcomes in their communities,” wrote the Corporation for National and Community Service. The honor recognizes volunteer activities in the 2011-12 school year.

Amyotte said SUNY Oswego — which has received the Carnegie Foundation’s Community Engagement Classification for embedding community service throughout the institution — totaled 44,000 hours of service among at least 1,500 students in 2011-12.

Oswego State men’s ice hockey team headed to championship game

The No. 3/5 Oswego State men’s ice hockey team (25-4-0) earned its spot in the NCAA Division III Men’s Ice Hockey Championship game for the second straight year after the Lakers defeated No. 2 Norwich (24-4-1), 6-3 in March.

Oswego State, which was making its fifth overall NCAA title game appearance and looking for its second national championship, was set to play UW-Eau Claire in Lake Placid. UW-Eau Claire defeated Utica, 5-1, in the other semifinal contest.

Oswego State trailed on two separate occasions, but showed its experience and composure to tie the game each time before taking the lead for good in the third period on the first of two Chris Muise (Sr., Oakville, Ontario) goals.

Oswego State men’s ice hockey team comes up short

The Oswego State men’s ice hockey team (25-5-0) nearly overcame a two-goal deficit in the third period, but came up short in the end as the Lakers lost to UW-Eau Claire (24-5-2), 5-3, in the NCAA Division III Men’s Ice Hockey National Championship at Herb Brooks Arena.

Bobby Gertsakis (So., Pickering, Ontario) pulled Oswego State to within one goal with 10 minutes remaining, but the Lakers could not force overtime as the Blugolds added an empty-net goal 58.1 seconds on the clock.

Backus Named Co-Chair of NYS Clerks Association Legislative Committee

Oswego County Clerk Michael C. Backus of Mexico was named co-chair of the New York State Association of County Clerks legislative committee by Association President Betsy Larkin.

“Michael is a young, recently elected County Clerk who has great ties within the New York State legislature and the federal government,” said President Larkin, who also serves as Cortland County Clerk. “It’s exciting to have his rolodex available to us and hopefully he can bring some helpful perspectives to the association.”

“I am looking forward to working with my fellow co-chair Sandy DePerno and advocating on behalf of the Clerks Association,” said Backus. “There is certainly no shortage of issues that we can continue to fight for in Albany and I thank President Larkin for her confidence in me.”

Backus was named co-chair of the legislative committee along with Oneida County Clerk Sandy DePerno who is in her third term.

Bald Eagles Sighted Along the Oswego River

Sightings of Bald Eagles were reported along the Oswego River. Several were spotted in the Minetto area starting by Gray Road to just before Midway Drive-In.

“Bald eagles are known for congregating near areas with open water and Oswego County has several pristine natural areas, such as the Salmon River corridor, that attract our national bird,” said David Turner, director of the Oswego County Department of Community Development, Tourism and Planning.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service removed bald eagles from the list of Threatened and Endangered Species in 2007 but they are still listed as threatened on the New York State Endangered species list.

“In the 1960s there was one nest reported, and as of now there have been 130 to 140 nests reported,” said ornithologist Gerry Smith, former president of the Onondaga Chapter of the National Audubon Society. “There are more bald eagles in our parts of the world, which includes Lake Ontario and the Oswego River area, than there has been for at least a century or possibly more.”

Bald eagles are resourceful feeders who hunt fish, waterfowl, shorebirds, small mammals and reptiles. They will also search for deer carcasses in the winter.

The best time to see the bald eagles is in the early morning, even before sunrise, when they are looking for food in the open waters.

Car Crash Claims Four Lives

On March 26 at about 11:27 a.m. members of the Oswego Town Fire Department and the Oswego County Sheriff’s Office responded to a one-car motor vehicle accident on Engles Road in the Town of Oswego.

Further investigation revealed that the vehicle was traveling westbound on Engles Road at a high rate of speed, police said.

The vehicle left the north side of the roadway, became airborne before striking a tree then flipped onto its roof killing the driver and three passengers.

Oswego School District Approves Lease Deal to Site Big Picture School

After executive session the Oswego Board of Education acted upon a resolution after reconvening for public session, in March.

They approved a lease agreement for property, owned by John Dunsmoor, to be used for the Big Picture School.

The resolution was approved 5-0 by the board. The motion was made by Thomas DeCastro and seconded by Kathleen Allen.

“Mr. Dunsmoor (school board president) wasn’t present during the discussion of the conditional agreement during executive session or at the time of the vote,” according to Bill Foley, district clerk.

The district eventually decided to house the school on the lower level of the Education Center on East First Street.

New Haven VFD To Honor 60-Year Veteran

A couple weeks after his 18th birthday, Norm Fischer joined the New Haven Volunteer Fire Department.

He has actively participated in the department for the past 60 years. He’s held many offices, including chief, and still responds to alarms.

In honor of this amazing accomplishment, members of the department held an open house in his honor on March 2 at the Eis House in Mexico.

He joined when he turned 18; but he was actually involved form the very beginning of the department, even though he wasn’t old enough to join.

“It all started in 1946. Salisbury’s Tavern used to be a working farm. In January or February of 1946, the barn burned. The town had no fire protection back then,” Fischer explained. “Mexico (VFD) came with one truck and 500 gallons of water. What does that do on a burning barn with hay inside?”

And then in 1948, the Legion started talking about forming a fire company, he said.

A couple men came and gave a presentation; they invited all the men in the town to attend, Fischer said, adding, “And of course, being a kid, I had to be there and see what was going on.”