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September 20, 2018

2015 In Review: August – Remembering Julian Thomas Ross


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

Julian Thomas Ross was diagnosed with Stage IV Neuroblastoma on August 4, 2011, when he was just 6 years old.

During his battle with cancer, he said he would beat the bad army – and hundreds upon hundreds of supporters vowed to fight along side him.

Julian was born on May 14, 2005. He was called home on August 8, 2015, at 3:30 a.m. He had been in the final stages of Neuroblastoma and had been in hospice care since early this year.

Julian’s obituary: http://oswegocountytoday.com/julian-thomas-ross-10/

He may be gone, but his spirit lives on in all of us. Julian never stopped fighting. He packed more into his short lifetime than most adults do in decades.

EEE found in Oswego County
The Oswego County Health Department reported Aug. 4 that the Eastern equine encephalitis virus was found in three mosquito samples collected during routine testing near the village of Central Square and the Toad Harbor Swamp near West Monroe.

The samples were collected July 27 and July 29 by the Oswego County Health Department and tested at the state health department’s Wadsworth Center Laboratories near Albany.

The samples of mosquitoes are the first to test positive for the EEE virus in Oswego County this year.

Due to these findings, plans are now under way for the Oswego County Health Department to conduct aerial spraying in the target area. The location of the intended spray zone, as well as the date and time of spraying, will be announced as soon as plans are finalized to ensure that the public will have ample opportunity to prepare for the event.

Search Under Way For New OHS Principal
The unexpected resignation of Oswego High School Principal Erin Noto left the district scrambling to find a replacement prior to the start of the new school year.

“It was unexpected and we are in the process of considering an interim for that position while we conduct a search for a new principal,” Superintendent Ben Halsey said.

It was a “professional decision on Ms. Noto’s part,” he added.

Halsey said they had already planned on interviewing for the OHS assistant principal positions.

“But, given the circumstances now, it’d be inappropriate to hire assistant principals prior to hiring a principal to take over that building first. That person should be part of that process (assistant principal search),” he explained. “That is why my recommendation is to go to an interim until we have hired a new principal.”

The district was also looking to hire a new director of technology. Brendan Fear retired from that position earlier this summer.

Noto just finished her first year at OHS in June.

OFD Pulls 6 From Breakwall
Oswego Fire Department crews responded to the Oswego Harbor on Aug. 5 for people is distress on the breakwall. What appeared to be a calm day in Oswego turned dangerous, as 6 people walking on the breakwall began to get struck by waves approximately 100 yards south of the lighthouse.

A witness on shore called 911, and emergency crews were dispatched at 4:41 p.m.

The Oswego Fire Department rescue boat, Marine One, was quickly under way and manned by personnel from the west side station.  Lt. George Bennett, the officer in charge of the rescue operation, stated that the “waves were crashing over the breakwall, and prevented 6 people from walking back to shore safely.”

One person was thrown off the top part of the wall by a wave just as the rescue boat was approaching. The man was not injured and was assisted onto the boat.

Five others were assisted to safety from the breakwall and brought to shore. By 4:52 p.m., the rescue operation was complete with all parties accounted for.

Three More Rescued From Breakwall
For the second time in a week, the Oswego Fire Department rescue boat, Marine One, was pressed into emergency service in the Oswego Harbor.

On Aug. 11, firefighters responded quickly and rescued two people off the breakwall, and a third person who had been struck by a wave and thrown into the water.

A concerned citizen called 911 from Breitbeck Park around 5:45 p.m., stating that three people were on the breakwall possibly in danger.

The Oswego Fire Department was dispatched at 5:46 p.m., and the personnel from the west side station responded directly to Marine One and headed quickly to the scene. Fire Captain Allen Chase, in charge of the rescue operation, stated that all 3 people were safely in the boat by 5:54 p.m. – just eight minutes after being dispatched.

The three people rescued were reportedly not from the area, and friends encouraged them to take a walk on the breakwall during their stay in Oswego.

No injuries were reported.

Fire Chief Jeff McCrobie spoke harshly of the recent water incidents.

“People need to use better judgement before venturing out onto the breakwall. Both incidents over the last week luckily resulted in no injuries, but on both occasions people were struck by waves and tossed from the wall,” he said.

OFD Rescue Crews Respond To Breakwall – Again
Apparently the lure of the breakwall on a warm summer’s day was just too much to resist.

It was a hat trick. For the third time in about a week, the Oswego Fire Department was dispatched and Marine One headed out to the Oswego breakwall for a report of several people in distress.

Shortly after 5 p.m. Aug. 12, a concerned citizen called 911 stating that eight or nine people were on the breakwall. Rescue crews were dispatched at 5:22 p.m.

Two were reportedly knocked into the water by large waves crashing over the breakwall, according to an Oswego Fire Department spokesperson.

“We responded with the rescue boat. But, they managed to get out before we arrived,” Lt. Paul Conzone told Oswego County Today. “There were no injuries.”

“We respond to the breakwall and harbor quite often,” Conzone said. “I think we have taken nine people in over the last few days. It’s such an inviting spot and the first few hundred feet are easy to walk – almost like a sidewalk. The terrain changes dramatically the closer you get to the lighthouse. That’s where we run into problems. It becomes more like rock climbing and gets very dangerous with waves crashing over the wall.”

OFD Knocks Down Fire at Wade’s Diner
The Oswego Fire Department responded to a structure fire at Wade’s Diner on Aug. 10. The single story commercial diner, sustained significant damage and was expected to remain closed for some time.

Fire investigation personnel were still at the scene that night, searching for clues of what caused the blaze at the popular Oswego diner.

Oswego Fire Department crews were dispatched to the fire at 5:23 p.m., and first arriving units reported heavy smoke coming from the attic area.

The business was closed at the time of the fire and officials stated firefighters determined there were no occupants after an initial search.

Crews reported heavy smoke and heat conditions that worsened quickly, forcing them to back out of the structure. Firefighters were forced to cut holes in the roof and side of the structure to allow heat and smoke to exit and make conditions more tenable for an interior fire attack.

Crews were then able to pull ceiling material to access the seat of the fire and knock it down.

The fire was declared under control at 6 p.m.

Oswego Fire Chief Jeff McCrobie said that the firefighters faced some unique challenges with regard to the construction of the building.

No injuries were reported.

The preliminary cause of the fire was deemed to be electrical.

“After an investigation by the city of Oswego Cause and Origin Team, the fire appears to be electrical, then spreading to the attic of the structure. The make up of the building with multiple roofs and a low ceiling held in an intense amount of heat, making this a challenging fire to fight, as well as causing much damage damage to the kitchen, dining and serving counter areas of the diner,” Chief McCrobie said.

Throughout the year, the owner went about rebuilding the business. By late December it was nearing re-opening.

EPA Awards $6.5 Million to Monitor Great Lakes Contaminants
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded Clarkson University a $6.5 million five-year Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grant to continue its partnership with SUNY Fredonia and SUNY Oswego to conduct the Great Lakes Fish Monitoring and Surveillance Program.

This EPA grant continues funding for the surveillance program to monitor Great Lakes fish for contamination from legacy pollutants such as PCBs, banned pesticides, mercury and from emerging chemicals of concern like flame retardants and personal care products.

James Pagano, director of the Environmental Research Center in the Department of Chemistry at SUNY Oswego, and Professor Michael Milligan in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry at SUNY Fredonia, are also principal investigators in this study.

“Protecting our Great Lakes water resources for both recreation and commerce is of vital importance to both our nation and state,” said Clarkson President Tony Collins, co-chair of the North Country Regional Economic Development Council.

More EEE, West Nile Virus Found in Oswego County
A sample of mosquitoes recently collected in the north-central area of the town of Palermo has tested positive for the Eastern equine encephalitis virus, the Oswego County Health Department reported.

EEE was also found in three additional samples of mosquitoes collected from Toad Harbor Swamp.

The West Nile virus was found near the county health department’s mosquito monitoring field station in West Monroe, marking the first confirmed presence of West Nile virus this summer in Oswego County.

County Public Health Director Jiancheng Huang said the county and state health departments are collecting additional data and monitoring mosquito activities to determine the need for additional aerial spraying.

Aerial spraying of 10,000 acres in the towns of Hastings, West Monroe and Constantia was scheduled to take place.

Oswego Council (Unofficially) Agrees On Tentative 2016 Budget
The Oswego Common Council agreed on a budget proposal for 2016. The council would present the tentative budget with a 1.6 percent tax hike later in August month.

That’s 1.6 “pending proofing,” the city chamberlain explained following a marathon budget workshop.

Councilors had gathered at City Hall at 9 a.m. and began dissecting several departments’ budgets. At two previous workshops, they had made sizeable cuts to the mayor original proposed spending plan. The workshop ended around 5:30 p.m.

Councilors had sliced the tax hike to just below 5 percent just before 5 p.m. However, they decided to trim some more.

They then cut more funds from the Harborfest overtime budget lines of the fire, police and DPW among other cuts.

The council finalized the budget proposal and scheduled a public hearing on the plan. A special council meeting was called for the full council to vote on the budget as the deadline to adopt a budget for the city was Sept. 1.

Oswego Teen Places First In Hurricane Junior Golf Tournament
On August 8 and 9, the Hurricane Junior Golf Tour traveled to beautiful Baldwinsville to host the Western New York Junior Shootout at Timber Banks Golf Club.

Winners in all five-age divisions received an automatic bid to the HJGT National Championship on December 5 and 6.

In the Boys’ 15-18 division, Oswego resident Eric Demidowicz took home the first place trophy as he really showed off his talent on the putting green.

Out putting his competition on almost every hole all weekend, Demidowicz ended the tournament just 19 strokes over par.

Yearly Salt Delivery In Port City Begins
Algoma Central’s Capt. Henry Jackman unloaded a six-story road salt cone in Oswego on Aug. 12.

Launched in 1981 as the Lake Wabush, Capt. Henry Jackman was one of three vessels acquired by Algoma Central Corp., Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., from Hanna Mining on March 27, 1986.

Algoma named the vessel after Captain Henry Jackman, who, with his brother, Frank, commanded and owned several Lake Ontario schooners sailing in the grain trades during the 1850-1870 time period.

Thanks to a mild start to the snowy season, the salt wasn’t needed that much.

Little Free Libraries Popping Up Around Oswego County
The Oswego City-County Youth Bureau was accepting donations of gently used books to support Little Free Libraries in Oswego County.

Little Free Libraries are small public boxes which hold books for the community’s use. Anyone is welcome to borrow a book from a LFL and readers are encouraged to return books to keep the libraries stocked for others’ use.

The project is sponsored by the Oswego City-County Youth Bureau.

“LFL boxes are located in Oswego, Mexico and Phoenix and are being placed in other areas of Oswego County,” said Dawn Metott, (then) youth services specialist for the Oswego City-County Youth Bureau. “The goal of the project is to promote literacy and the love of reading. The libraries also work to build a sense of community as we come together to share skills, creativity, and wisdom.”

The libraries house primarily children’s books and teen or young adult books.

Van Fire On SUNY Oswego Campus
A vehicle fire was reported behind the Lonis Moreland dining hall on Sixth Avenue on the SUNY Oswego campus. It happened shortly before 1 p.m. Aug. 28.

Westside units from Oswego Fire Department responded to a working cargo van fire near Mackin Dinning Hall.

There was some billowing smoke and a few small explosions reported by bystanders. The dorms were evacuated.

Firefighters made a quick knockdown. There were no injuries. However, the van was a total loss.

Its contents were damaged, but some were saved.

Katko, Chamber Kick Off Economic Development Roundtable Series
US Rep. John Katko helped the Greater Oswego-Fulton Chamber of  Commerce to launch its series of monthly economic development meetings with members of the Oswego County business community.

The Riverside Banquet Room at the Quality Inn was packed with county business leaders, politicians and other interested county residents.

The meeting provided Katko an opportunity to share his work on initiatives in Congress to strengthen Central New York’s economy, as well as gain valuable feedback from business owners, managers and community residents, explained Greg Mills, chamber director.

“We will continue these discussions as we move forward and hopefully have very productive conversations and opportunities to bring issues to the table,” he added.

The purpose of the monthly business roundtable meetings is to bring the community and the businesses together to further ideas and issues and to have a dialogue with the Congressman.

Through local business owners and community members listening to Rep. Katko and asking questions about issues they face, it gives Katko a better idea of changes that need to be made, Mills added.

Local Businessman Says He Can Save Cahill Building
Hundreds of people in and around the Port City have expressed the desire to save the former Cahill’s Fish Market. Local entrepreneur Tony Pauldine said he is the man for the job.

An Oswego native, Pauldine has been a developer and contractor for more than three decades. One of the larger projects he’s done is the King Arthur project.

In late August, in the conference room in the lower level of Canal Commons, he addressed his plan to save the historic Cahill Building. Nearly two dozen people were on hand to hear his plan and offer comments.

As far as finances, Pauldine said, “We have in-house the finances currently to save the building. We’re not at this point looking for additional loans or funds.”

The cost of the project is likely to be about $1 million, maybe even a little more, he added.

Pauldine said he recently restored a building that “believe it or not” was in worse shape than the Cahill Building. He is confident that he can save it.

For the last eight months, they have had a signed purchase offer for the building in to the city, he said. He met recently with the community development director and some of the city councilors to explain what he wants to do with the building.

What he foresees with the Cahill Building is a 12-suite boutique-hotel. He’d call it something like “Cahill’s Landing,” he said. “I like the idea of keeping the memory of its recent past. It’s potentially a gorgeous building. It deserves to be saved.”

E-9-1-1 Calltaker Receives Regional Award For Saving Woman’s Life
During the six years that she’s been working as a public safety telecommunicator for the Oswego County E-9-1-1 Emergency Communications Department, Cassie McGinley has received several commendations recognizing her outstanding performance as a calltaker in the Oswego County Public Safety Center.

But it’s her most recent award, recognizing McGinley’s extraordinary actions during an incident on the afternoon of April 10, 2014, and the teamwork that allowed her to successfully work with others on the scene, that she is most proud of.

She answered an incoming call requesting emergency assistance for a 40-year-old woman who was unresponsive, experiencing difficulty breathing, and possibly having a seizure. The patient stopped breathing during the process and lapsed into cardiac arrest.

McGinley’s next actions are credited with saving the woman’s life. She immediately proceeded to follow emergency dispatch protocols by providing the caller with cardio-pulmonary resuscitation instructions while waiting for Northern Oswego County Ambulance to arrive.

With McGinley on the other end of the line, the caller was able to successfully perform CPR. The patient began breathing on her own on the way to the hospital.

After the incident, NOCA members contacted the E-9-1-1 Emergency Communications Department to make sure that McGinley was credited for her actions.

“The EMS providers who contacted our department are certain that Cassie’s superb Emergency Medical Dispatch performance, coupled with the caller’s CPR performance, saved this patient’s life,” said Michael Allen, director of the Oswego County E-9-1-1 Emergency Communications Department.

“The public safety telecommunicator who provided pre-arrival EMD instructions did a stellar job,” said a representative of the NOCA staff. “The fact that we brought this patient back while transporting is directly attributable to the public safety telecommunicator determining the patient to be in full cardiac arrest and providing the associated pre-arrival medical instructions.”

The EMS Communications Specialist of the Year Award is presented to a dispatcher or call taker in one of the five-county (Oswego, Onondaga, Cayuga, Tompkins and Cortland) agencies who shows dedication, responsibility, professional behavior or special skills or insight to pre-hospital communications.

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