2013 In Review: In May Oswego Teachers Participate In Nationwide Educational Program

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

“Common Core” has become a common phrase in education. New standards have been introduced and what has been created is a nationwide network.

In early May it was announced that two Oswego Middle School teachers Suzanne Fox and Sarah Therrien have become immersed in the “Core Curriculum” through LearnZillion Inc.

LearnZillion Inc. is a social mission company committed to supporting the work of teachers and improving educational outcomes for all students. The web-based learning platform combines video lessons, assessments, and progress reporting. Each lesson highlights a “Common Core” standard, starting with math and English Language Arts in grades 3-9.

Therrien noted, “I am excited and honored to have been selected for the “Dreamteam for LearnZillion. Not only will I be able to create math video tutorials for the LearnZillion website, but I will be collaborating with teachers from all over the country.”

LearnZillion flew the two Oswego teachers to San Francisco for “Teachfest” which is a four-day workshop where the goal of the all expenses paid trip was to train and work with coaches.

Therrien said, “We have already begun getting to know one another through on-line social sites so it will be awesome to meet each other and delve into our content for four days.”

Fox noted, “Sarah and I were assigned to the new algebra core curriculum. I am honored with the opportunity to meet and work with teachers from around the country.”

County Legislature Names New Chair, Vice Chair

New leaders were named for the Oswego County Legislature at its May meeting.

James Weatherup was sworn in to fill the seat vacated by Fred Beardsley (District 9).

Beardsley was also the chairman of the legislature.

Vice Chairman Kevin Gardner and Legislator Margaret Kastler were nominated to fill the chairman’s seat.

Gardner won the vote.

Legislators Terry Wilbur and Amy Tresidder received nominations to fill the vice chair position.

Wilbur garnered the most votes.

Exploring the waters of Lake Ontario goes hi-tech

An autonomous underwater vehicle was in Lake Ontario shortly after 8 a.m. May 17 for an approximately 7-hour mission. The high-tech, remote-controlled equipment produced intensive data for analysis of nearshore-offshore interactions, fish productivity in Lake Ontario, changes to the lower food web, and algal abundance.

Russ Miller, AUV operator, Great Lakes Observing System Regional Association, described the unit and its mission. Mike Satchwell, senior research specialist with SUNY ESF, helped Miller deploy the unit into the lake.

“This isn’t that long of a mission. So, he probably has it set about as fast as it will go to collect data,” Satchwell said.

The 42-pound AUV is 6.5-feet long and resembles a small torpedo.

It has side scan sonar, multiple sensor payloads, 10 Beam Doppler Velocity Log for bottom tracking, and EcoMapper technology for high-resolution water quality monitoring, Miller said.

The 2013 mission in Lake Ontario will focus on measuring water temperature, organic matter in the water and algal abundance, he said.

“This research is conducted as part of the Cooperative Science Monitoring Initiative between the US and Canada called for under the Clean Water Act of 1972, explained research leader Dr. Greg Boyer, chair of the SUNY ESF Department of Chemistry and director of Great Lakes Research Consortium. “Once every five years, the CSMI rotates through the five Great Lakes to conduct intensive monitoring activities; 2013 is Lake Ontario’s year. The focus now has shifted from the offshore waters to nearshore-offshore interactions, fish productivity in Lake Ontario, and changes to the lower food web.”

Data collected in 2013 will be evaluated with original survey data collected in 2008 NYS Dept of Environmental Conservation Nearshore Nutrient Study.

In 2008, they discovered there was a thermal barrier, which was forming right across the mouth of the river. It is a seasonal/spring temperature barrier that impacts nutrients in nearshore aquatic environment.

“That was blocking nutrients from going off shore, trapping them on the beaches,” Dr. Boyer explained.

Autonomous Underwater Vehicle Mission Complete

The Autonomous Underwater Vehicle, or AUV, brought to Lake Ontario by the Great Lakes Research Consortium at SUNY-ESF, Great Lakes Observing System, and New York Sea Grant for an intensive data collection mission completed its mission – with the exception of reaching shore.

The AUVs are often retrieved by boat, so, when the AUV battery power ran out after making the turn for shore, the project partners called on the Port Authority of Oswego for retrieval assistance.

The AUV was safely back on shore by 6 p.m. after 10 hours in the lake collecting thousands of datapoints for analysis of nearshore-offshore interactions related to the thermal bar – a seasonal temperature barrier.

OFD, Animal Control Rescue Stranded Deer

Near the end of May, the Oswego Fire Department units along with Animal Control personnel responded to a report of a deer stranded on the rock wall in the center of the river.

Fire Department personnel responded in the fire/rescue boat and carefully eased the deer to shore to awaiting animal control personnel.

Oswego Council Seeks To Implement A Bed Tax

In an effort to bolster the city’s flagging revenues, the Oswego Common Council sought authorization from the state to implement a bed tax in the Port City.

Council President Ron Kaplewicz brought the matter up for discussion at May’s Administrative Services Committee meeting.

There are three primary purposes for such a tax (General Fund, Economic Development or Tourism), he explained.

“I know in Oswego County’s case, the bed tax that they collect is used exclusively for tourism,” he said.

In 2012, they collected somewhere around $368,000, he said. The city of Oswego contributed about $219,000 to that figure, he added.

“That is 61 percent at the three percent level,” he said. “That is what we could expect if we went to a three percent bed tax surcharge on behalf of the city.”

“This is a way to generate revenue from folks who come and visit the city of Oswego,” Kaplewicz said. “It’s not at the expense of our taxpayers.”

When the matter was first broached at a previous committee meeting earlier this spring, there was some concern that an additional tax could actually hurt business for Oswego hotels. People may opt to stay elsewhere to avoid paying any extra.

The councilor admited it will be an uphill battle to get this through at the state level.

Voters OK Oswego School Budget – Elect Incumbents and Newcomer to the Board

The Oswego City School District’s 2013-14 budget was overwhelmingly approved by the voters. The unofficial results were 1,131 yes to 407 no.

Voters also returned two incumbents, Kathleen Allen and Jim Tschudy to the board.

Unofficially, Allen was the top vote-getter with 1,024. Tschudy received 916.

Newcomer Heather DelConte received the second highest vote total, 970.

“I am a little shocked, definitely,” DelConte told Oswego County Today. “It’s going to be an adventure and a meaningful journey. I going to have to learn and grow as we go.”

Tschudy was to finish the unexpired term of William Myer.

Myer resigned the board and his term expires on June 30, 2014.

Mike McLaughlin received 849 votes.

However, Tschudy also resigned shortly after the election and McLaughlin was appointed to fill the seat.

Port City Pauses To Thank Its Fallen Heroes

Once again, the Port City paused to honor and thank the men and woman who fought and died for our freedoms. Members of the area veterans’ and service groups spent the morning visiting various parks and cemeteries paying tribute to our nation’s veterans.

A few onlookers lined the abbreviated parade route. A large crowd, many decked out in red, white and blue, ringed Veterans’ Memorial Park under the clear skies with mild temperatures greeted the group as it marched into the park.

The Snowbelters opened the ceremony by singing The Star Spangled Banner.

Memorial Day is sacred to all veterans and families of veterans, according to George Hoffman, the master of ceremonies.

He was joined on stage by Sixth Ward Councilor Eric VanBuren (representing Mayor Tom Gillen and the city), Holly Carpenter (from Senator Patty Ritchie’s office) and Oswego Tourism Director Fred Crisafulli.

“Today is the unofficial first day of the summer season. However, let’s not forget who gave us these times of pleasure and enjoyment. This day is in memory of those who made the supreme sacrifice, laying down their lives so you and I and our families have the opportunity to enjoy the freedoms that we have today,” Hoffman told the crowd assembled in the park. “Memorial Day is a time to reflect on (veterans’) service and sacrifice; even as our armed forces are performing difficult and dangerous missions in distant lands.”

Retiring Superintendent of Schools Recognized

For more than three decades, Bill Crist worked with students and community throughout the Oswego City School District.

Crist was presented a “Certificate of Recognition“ in appreciation for his service as Superintendent of Schools, Assistant Superintendent for Human Resource and Personnel, Oswego Middle School Vice Principal and long-time music teacher.

Presenting him with the certificate were Board of Education President John Dunsmoor and Board of Education Vice President Kathleen Allen.

Crist has impacted thousands of people during his service to the Oswego City School District.  He would go on to become the superintendent for the Catholic schools in the Syracuse Diocese.

Local YMCAs Collaborate to Strengthen Communities

At the Y, strengthening community is their cause. That’s why the Fulton Family YMCA, the Oswego YMCA and the YMCA of Greater Syracuse signed a one-year agreement to work together to serve the Fulton and Oswego communities.

YMCA of the USA, the national resource office for the country’s 2,700 YMCAs, facilitated the new agreement at the request of the Oswego YMCA and Fulton YMCA boards.

Under the agreement, the Fulton YMCA and the Oswego YMCA will share administrative services and key staff. The YMCA of Greater Syracuse would hire and supervise an executive director who will oversee the collaboration.

The agreement calls for the executive director to understand the specific needs of each community and to organize the collaboration to best meet those needs.

Each YMCA will retain its own board, its own finances and its own identity.

At the end of the one-year agreement, the three associations will evaluate their partnership and decide whether to modify, extend or end the agreement.

“Our community needs the Y,” said Steve Osborne, chairman of the Fulton Family YMCA Board of Directors. “This new agreement will only strengthen the Y here in Fulton, ensuring that it will be a community institution well into the future.”

The Oswego YMCA will benefit from the expertise and creativity that the Syracuse YMCA will bring, said Michael Segretto, chairman of the Oswego YMCA Board of Directors.

He said he expects new efficiencies and fresh ideas, enabling the Oswego YMCA to serve more people and to serve them better.

“This agreement gives us the stability we need to look forward, so we can meet the changing needs of our community,” Segretto said. “This is an exciting time for us.”

The Oswego YMCA is currently conducting a $3 million capital campaign to expand and improve its facilities.

All of the capital campaign money will remain with the Oswego YMCA.

The agreement took effect June 1.

Maffei Announces Large Grant Award For Area Fire Departments

Firefighters in several area departments can breathe easier thanks to US Rep. Dan Maffei (D-NY).

He was greeted at the eastside Oswego Fire Station by Fire Chief Jeff McCrobie and representatives of other departments.

Thanks to Maffei’s efforts, the Oswego City, Oswego Town, Granby Center, Minetto, and Cody fire departments will receive grants totaling $514,553 in Round 20 of the Fiscal Year 2012 Assistance to Firefighters Grant program, which is administered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The departments’ reps said the grants will be used to purchase 121 new Self Contained Breathing Apparatuses. The new SCBA air packs will replace obsolete units which are more than 20 years old.

Within the next year, Chief McCrobie said his department would have been looking at a price tag of more that $200,000 to replace the worn out units.

“This funding will help keep our local firefighters safe,” Maffei said.