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2014 In Review: In November – Newcomer Leads Incumbent In Oswego’s Second Ward Race

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

Political newcomer Pat McLaughlin (Dem – WTR) was looking to unseat incumbent Mike Myers (Rep -Con – Ind) in the race for Oswego’s Second Ward council seat.

Unofficial vote totals Nov. 4 showed McLaughlin in the lead, 50.97% to 48.86%.

The candidates were separated by a dozen votes. Both agreed, the final result would be determined by the absentee ballots.

“We’ll just have to wait and see,” McLaughlin said. “This is my first time; I’m cautiously optimistic.”

“With the absentee votes, it’s going to come down to the wire,” Myers told Oswego County Today. “I’m happy with the good turnout. I ran a clean race, met a lot of good people. I’m very happy with the support I received.” It was a good turnout tonight. Now we just have to wait for the absentee votes.”

There were about two dozen absentee votes to be counted.

The council’s reorganizational meeting is set for Jan. 5.

In other races of note: John Katko, Republican, unseated Democrat Rep. Dan Maffei. And, Jim Eby defeated Lou Anne Rucynski Coleman in the race for Oswego County Family Court judge.

Oswego Pauses To Honor Its Veterans

Just as they had done for nearly a century, Port City veterans, their friends, families and others gathered to pay tribute to those who have gone before them – especially those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

The large crowd in Veterans’ Memorial Park stood by reverently as the appointed hour neared. The temperature was around 60 degrees Monday, making one of the warmer Veterans’ Days in recent memory.

Veterans’ Day is celebrated on the 11th day of the 11th month at the 11th hour; that’s when the (World War I) truce was declared, according to LTjg George Hoffman, USNSCC, of the U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corp Truxtun DDG-103 Division in Oswego.

A chaplain offered the Veterans’ Day prayer and the flags at the center of the park were lowered; the Oswego City flag was first. It was solemnly folded. The Prisoners Of War flag was next. Then, the American flag was retired as well.

The mayor accepted the colors on behalf of the city.

“Today we honor our veterans who have sacrificed both in war and in peace to protect America and the American way of life,” Hoffman said. “We are here to honor our brave men and women who have proudly served this great nation, for they are the fabric from which our flag has been woven.”

Armistice Day commemorates the Armistice back in 1918, after World War I, Hoffman said. It was signed at 11 a.m. on the 11th day of the 11th month, he explained.

Mayor Presents Fiscal Year 2015 Operating Budget Message

The Fiscal Year 2015 proposed budget is $43,316,588 for all funds; an increase of 1.407% compared to the original Fiscal Year 2014 budget of $42,059,851. This reflects an increase of $1,256,737.

In 2014, we committed to acknowledging the financial reality of a slow economy and the rising expenses that our city had to deal with. This proved to be unpopular but it was the responsible thing to do. The practice of avoiding making tough financial decisions over the years had placed our city in a financially vulnerable situation.

The economy of the city of Oswego has begun to emerge from the overall financial malaise experienced throughout the country. We begin 2015 with the continuing challenge of controlling our spending as well as a strong commitment to growing revenue and improving the quality of life for our residents.

Our current Consent Decree has placed a significant financial hardship on every one of our residents.

It is our moral duty as well as a legal mandate that we provide a safe and clean environment for all residents of our city.

And, I am happy to state that there will be no increase in the Enterprise Fund rate for 2015. This means that there will be no increase in water and sewer rates.

On a continuing positive note, there are no layoffs or any loss of services to our residents.

Gone With The Wind Fundraiser At Oswego Cinema

The “Gone With The Wind” fundraiser event for the Oswego County Historical Society/Richardson Bates House Museum took place Nov. 13 at Oswego Cinema 7.

The movie started at 6:30 p.m. and was sold out.

There were door prizes and even a Confederate soldier handing out souvenir programs to mark the anniversary.

SUNY Oswego earns Military Times ‘Best for Vets’ ranking

Military Times named SUNY Oswego to its “Best for Vets” colleges ranking for 2015.

Owner of newsweeklies focusing on each branch of service, Military Times weighs colleges’ and universities’ array of services, special rules, accommodations, campus culture and financial incentives for veterans through detailed surveys and comparative national data to arrive at the ranking.

SUNY Oswego is No. 69 among 100 four-year colleges and universities on the list. Oswego is one of only two SUNY institutions on the Military Times list; Plattsburgh is the other.

“As with all Best for Vets rankings, ‘Best for Vets: Colleges 2015’ is an editorially independent news project that evaluates the many factors that make an organization a good fit for service members, military veterans and their families,” Military Times said in announcing the ranking.

Ben Parker, veterans services coordinator at SUNY Oswego, said the Military Times ranking carries clout, since it weighs in detail how a college has responded to the unique issues that face veterans enrolling in college during or following military service.

Parker said he has helped many veterans cut through red tape and frustration — the college has 130 vets enrolled this semester in undergraduate and graduate programs, both full- and part-time — and has trained people in key departments to do likewise.

Last year in Hewitt Union, SUNY Oswego unveiled a Veterans Lounge with a refrigerator, microwave, TV, computer, printer, comfortable seating and resources to help veterans navigate campus and community life.

Car Over Embankment Near Lake Ontario

Two people escaped injury Nov. 20 as their car went over an embankment and landed precariously on the shore of Lake Ontario, according to the Oswego Fire Department.

The accident occurred just before 3 p.m. at Fourth Avenue, near SUNY Oswego, in a parking lot adjacent to “Flatrock.”

According to officials, the driver lost control and the vehicle went over the bank and landed on the rocky shore just a few feet from the water.

According to OFD officials on the scene, the vehicle was stabilized and two people were assisted to safety. The pair was then evaluated and released.

Salvation Army’s Annual ‘Red Kettle’ Campaign Under Way

The Oswego County Salvation Army kicked off its ‘Red Kettle’ campaign recently prior to the Oswego County Legislature’s November meeting at the County Office Building.

The campaign is the biggest fundraiser for the Salvation Army and its proceeds go toward serving those in need of assistance.

During a brief ceremony, Oswego County Legislature Chairman Kevin Gardner presented a proclamation in support of the ‘Red Kettle’ campaign.

Before the event, many of the legislatures discreetly stuffed cash into the red kettle on display in the front of the chamber.

“We appreciate the support of the legislators. In the summer of 2012, my wife (Major Kathryn Purvis) and I were asked by the Salvation Army to come to Oswego, as we merged Fulton and Oswego, to oversee the whole county – 1,400 square miles. It’s full of wonderful people; but there is also a great need. The upcoming year will be challenging with increased needs within the county and the success of this campaign is critical to our operations,” Major James Purvis told the legislators.

He and his wife serve as executive director of the Salvation Army of Oswego County.

Because of last December’s heavy snowstorms and bitter cold, many of the Salvation Army kettle volunteers were unable to set up in their communities, said Major Donald Hostetler, divisional commander of the Empire State Division of The Salvation Army. With that type of weather, the shoppers weren’t out either, he added.

This year’s goal of $106,000 is needed to fund the agency’s operating budget.

The drive ended Dec. 24; but The Salvation Army is continuing to accept donations.