2015 In Review: May – Incumbents Maintain Their School Board Seats, Budget Passed

The parade heads toward Veterans' Memorial Park.

The parade heads toward Veterans' Memorial Park.

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

Voters in the Oswego City School District returned two incumbents to their seat on the board of education. The proposed budget for the coming year was approved also.

Garnering the most votes was Lynda Sereno, the current board vice president, with an unofficial count of 1,398. Tom DeCastro tallied the second most votes with an unofficial total of 1,310.

In third place was former board member Fran Hoefer with an unofficial tally of 1,027.

The final count for the budget was 1,150 yes, and 1.079 no.

“I am so excited,” Sereno told Oswego County Today. “I am happy to be able to serve another term. I am also so thankful that the budget passed. It was close for a while.”

“I am happy to be coming back for another term,” DeCastro said. “Everything passed, thank God.”

The two board members agreed that the budget process must start earlier for the 2016-17 school year.

Oswego Boxing Club’s Nitzke Wins Championship Fight
The Oswego Boxing Club is now home of a champion. Thomas Nitzke Jr. from OBC recently competed in the Golden Gloves Championship. He won the 123-pound class.

“Tommy did a great job using his jab against a shorter opponent and capitalized with his right hand. I want to thank my friends at the Rochester Fight Factory for stepping in to work Tommy’s corner,” Derrick Falcetti, co-owner of the Oswego Boxing Club, said in early May. “To think, we have only been open a little over a year and we already have our own champion is amazing.”

Nitzke is a good kid who brings a lot to the gym, Falcetti said, adding, “He has positive energy. I don’t think I have ever seen him in a bad mood. He truly deserves this victory. We are expecting to make big moves in 2015.”

“I want to start by thanking Derrick Falcetti, Derek Brietbeck, Brad Vangorder and Bret Falcetti for turning me into a boxer and Sydney LeCeur and everyone else that I train with at OBC that push me to my limits,” Nitzke said.

In January, LeCeur was the club’s first competitor to fight and win. He boxed at an event held at West Area Athletic and Education Center, a gym run by Ray Rinaldi and Chris Burns in Syracuse.

LeCeur fought at 165 pounds in the main event and won a unanimous decision.

Chancellor Honors Two SUNY Oswego Innovators For Professional Service
SUNY Oswego staff members Andrew Michaelis, systems administrator and Oracle database administrator, and Gary Morris, director of career services, were recipients of the 2015 Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Professional Service.

Michaelis, a 1991 SUNY Oswego alumnus and 23-year college employee, received praise from supporters at Oswego and across SUNY as a technological visionary, an admired and emulated innovator, ingenious problem-solver and selfless collaborator.

President Deboarah Stanley, in a letter forwarding his award nomination, called Michaelis “a futuristic thinker” who “maintains a fierce commitment to keeping our campus ahead of technological changes.”

In 2014, Michaelis was one of the first six members to receive the Student Information and Campus Administrative Systems organization’s Partner Award for Outstanding Service. In addition to his SUNY Oswego computer science degree, he has numerous systems and database certifications and has made several presentations at SUNY-wide conferences.

In a letter forwarding Morris’ award nomination to SUNY, President Stanley lauded innovations that have advanced Career Services’ reach and effectiveness, including the annual Health Care Conference, his longstanding commitment to globalization efforts and a multifaceted approach to gathering first-destination data on the college’s graduates.

“Gary has moved our campus forward in several ways,” the college president wrote. “He routinely masters cutting-edge technology, staying abreast of new technological advances and using them strategically to enhance his department’s program and service delivery. He is well-known on campus as a collaborator, regularly bringing together faculty and staff to engage in discussions that ultimately benefit our students and overall campus community.”

Morris, a 1988 alumnus, a 19-year college employee and the career services director since 2011, oversees career and major exploration, career development, senior transition and alumni support. A summary of his own career for the SUNY award notes he “has worked tirelessly to integrate career planning into classroom experiences through activities such as curricular infusion, classroom presentations and demonstrations.”

Among his innovations, Morris has created or coordinated NYC Career Connections, Backpack to Briefcase, the Etiquette Dinner, Online Professionalism and Sophomore Year Experience. He introduced such technological tools as Optimal Resume and Candid Career. School of Business Dean Richard Skolnik praised Morris for bringing recruiters and faculty together, developing “strong ties with numerous firms.”

Chancellor’s Award Honors SUNY Oswego’s Longtime Electrical Supervisor
John Ferlito, a 38-year SUNY Oswego employee and, since 1998, the campus electrical supervisor, will receive the 2015 SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Classified Service.

In day-to-day operations and in preparation for special events, Ferlito’s hallmarks are customer service, dedication and personal follow-through, according to utilities manager John Bricker, who nominated his Facilities Maintenance and Operations colleague for the award.

“Customer service is his strong point,” Bricker wrote. “He makes sure everybody’s needs are met, by using a personal touch. He will dedicate whatever time is needed to make sure events go off without a problem. He makes himself available and talks to people to see if he can do anything more to help.”

With primary responsibility for electrical distribution system maintenance on campus, Ferlito also has taken on many other tasks.

Springside’s Teresa Ferlito, Long Time Leader Retires
Teresa Ferlito has been introducing premier retirement living to the community for the past 15 years and now it’s time for her to enjoy that carefree lifestyle.

Ferlito, the Oswego Health Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Springside at Seneca Hill retired April 30.

She had led the success of Springside ever since the first shovel of dirt was turned for the project more than 15 years ago.

While now a popular concept that retirement can bring a whole new lifestyle, in the late 1990s, the independent living and healthy retirement lifestyle concept that Springside offers, was a rather new idea locally.

“When Springside was first introduced to our community, I believe the initial reaction was both interest and relief that a living option was presented to active seniors that also provided immediate access to the Oswego Health continuum of care, including a hospital and nursing home,” said Pamela Caraccioli, Springside’s first board president.

The Bridge Street Run That Wasn’t
Last year’s (2014) Bridge Street Run seemed to be the event to end all others, and apparently it did. To combat participation in the BSR this year, SUNY Oswego’s Student Association Programming Board and the Student Association created OzFest.

From 2 to 6 p.m. free activities, including bungee jumping, stuff-a-buddy, a mechanical bull, and a dunk tank booth, to name a few, were offered to students, along with free food from the school’s auxiliary services. And college students, many of which will graduate with a substantial amount of debt for a degree that will not land them a job in their field of study, appreciate free stuff.

On top of the free activities and food, SAPB and the Student Association also brought big name artists Big Sean, Mac Miller, B.o.B., and Timeflies to the school with the disclaimer that students were not permitted to bring alcohol and that students who appeared drunk would not be permitted entry into the concert.

Although, on campus, before the actual day of Bridge Street Run, students were all in agreement that the college had gifted them a near-perfect BSR. It seemed that most students would attend OzFest, BSR and the concert.

OzFest and the concert not only kept most students on campus, but also reduced the number of participants in Bridge Street Run dramatically.

Even with some students taking advantage of OzFest before heading to the bars, the number of white shirts on Bridge Street was so few that by nighttime one bar eliminated its cover charge to entice students to come inside.

Tresidder Seeks To Become Port City’s First Female Mayor
Amy M. Tresidder announced her candidacy for mayor of the city of Oswego.

Currently serving the city’s taxpayers as a county legislator, Tresidder, a Democrat, has been dedicated to community service in Oswego for more than 30 years.

Her campaign was focused on efficient and accountable city government, stimulating economic development, and revitalization of the city’s neglected neighborhoods and infrastructure.

If elected, Tresidder would’ve become the first female mayor in the city’s history.

Shineman Foundation, County Legislature, School Districts Tackle Health, Poverty Issues
The Oswego County Legislature announced May 6 that the board of directors of the Richard S. Shineman Foundation has approved the funding of the County Legislature’s grant application, making them a one-third partner in a courageous effort to reverse worsening trends regarding health and poverty in Oswego County.

“The foundation board members were very intrigued by the county’s application,” said Karen Goetz, executive director. “Our mission is to use our financial resources to be a catalyst for change in the community, and we feel that this initiative has the potential to result in collaborative projects that will be truly transformative for Oswego County.”

The special task force, called the Community Health and Poverty Reduction Task Force, consists of four legislators, four representatives from the county’s school districts and a long list of advisors from across the spectrum of public, private and not-for-profit service providers in Oswego County.

The task force will serve as a steering committee to guide a comprehensive study of programs and services in Oswego County as well as a data analysis of trends regarding temporary assistance and other social services in the county. The study will be conducted by CZB, LLC, of Alexandria, Va., the same consulting group that conducted the “Comprehensive Neighborhoods Analysis” for the Oswego Renaissance Association in 2013.

Billy Barlow Declares Candidacy For Oswego Mayor
“This event here tonight isn’t about me. It’s about us as a community,” the curent Fifth Ward councilor said. “It’s about the future of our community and where we want to take our city.”

Voters have an opportunity for change, “the ability to go in in November and start fresh on Jan. 1,” he said. “Now is the time to do something different, something drastic. It’s time to really, really shake up City Hall and finally allow our city to reach its true potential, capitalizing on the positives and aggressively addressing the negatives.”

Michael Backus, chair of the Oswego County Republican Party, introduced Senator Patty Ritchie and Assemblyman Will Barclay to the large crowd gathered in Montcalm Park in the First Ward.

“I’m thrilled to be here today to support Billy. He may be a fresh face, but he’s certainly not a newcomer. His family has lived here in this community for over four decades.” Ritchie said.

“I think the city of Oswego is at a crossroads. We have to move forward with young and energetic leadership,” Barclay said. “Billy’s young and energetic and I think he has a great vision for the city of Oswego.”

Barlow, who turned 25 in September, said his age, business experience, and time on the council prepared him to lead in city government.

The Port City Pauses To Say ‘Thank You’ To Its Fallen Heroes
Once again, the Port City paused to honor and thank the men and women who fought and died for our freedoms. Members of the area veterans’ and service groups spent the early morning visiting various parks and cemeteries in Oswego and surrounding communities paying tribute to our nation’s veterans.

A few onlookers, several with flags and cameras, lined the parade route from West Park to Veterans’ Memorial Park shortly before 11 a.m. They applauded as the group marched by.

A large crowd, many decked out in red, white and blue, ringed Veterans’ Memorial Park under the clear skies and warm temperatures greeted the group as it marched into the park.

Memorial Day is sacred to all veterans and families of veterans, according to George Hoffman Jr., of the Oswego City Veterans’ Council and the master of ceremonies.

“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.

He told everyone to pass along the reason the veterans died so those who never knew them would understand the reason for observances such as Memorial Day. “If we don’t instill in our youth the importance of this day, it will soon be forgotten,” he warned.