2018 In Review: August – Barlow Proposes Tax Cut, Oswego and Army Sign Deal, Audrey Munson Remembered

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

Players Present ‘Accolade to Audrey’

OSWEGO – On August, 18 and 19, the Oswego Players presented the one-act play”Accolade to Audrey.”

“Accolade to Audrey” tells the story of Audrey Marie Munson, an American artist’s model and film actress, who was considered “America’s first supermodel.

She was the inspiration for more than a dozen well known statues displayed in prominent places in New York City.

Born in 1891 in the Oswego County town of New Haven, Munson remains a local legend.

Raised in humble circumstances, she made a meteoric rise to fame, then faded as quickly back to obscurity. In later life, she was plagued mental illness and spent the remainder of years in an institution where she lived to be 104 years old, and died in1996.

The show was presented by the Oswego Players as a fundraiser in addition to the regular season of productions.

Written by local playwright Dr. Michael S. Nupuf and and his kinsman, Stephen Wolf, the play chronicles the life of this fascinating woman through flashbacks, unique staging and stunning acting.

County Health Department Reports EEE Found in Mosquitoes in West Monroe
OSWEGO COUNTY – New York State Department of Health informed the Oswego County Health Department on August 7, that the Eastern equine encephalitis virus was detected in two pools of bird-biting mosquitoes collected last week from the field station at Toad Harbor Swamp in the town of West Monroe.

“We are working closely with state Department of Health to monitor mosquito activity around the county and will take actions as deemed appropriate based on consultations with state and regional partners,” said Oswego County Public Health Director Jiancheng Huang.

The two pools wee the first positive EEE reports in the county this year.

Mayor Barlow Proposes First Tax Cut in 20 Years for City Residents
OSWEGO – Mayor Billy Barlow proposed a 2.1% reduction in city property taxes in his 2019 Operating Budget, the first tax reduction for city residents in 20 years.

Barlow’s budget is the first city budget since at least 1969 that results in a reduction in property taxes without using the city’s reserve fund to offset operating costs.

The budget reduced the general tax rate from $15.67 per thousand dollars of assessed value in 2018 to $15.33 in 2019, saving approximately $26 per year on an $80,000 house.

The 2019 budget is the third budget constructed by Barlow, his first two consisting of deep personnel cuts to the city workforce, a significant reduction in city overtime and large investments made to the city wastewater facilities, Department of Public Works and creation of a Code Enforcement Department.

The real property tax decrease is largely due to Barlow’s $1.5 million reduction in spending since taking office in January of 2016, and his administration’s return-on-investment-driven strategy bearing tangible results.

Stuff A Bus Program Benefits Hundreds Of County Students
OSWEGO, NY – Residents, groups and businesses from around the county helped ensure students who need school supplies when they head back to classes next month will find a bus load of donations, thanks to the United Way.

Made possible through a partnership with United Way, school districts throughout Oswego County and several local business and organizations, the Stuff-A-Bus Campaign collects donations of school supplies for distribution to less fortunate students throughout Oswego County.

The program culminated Aug. 17 with eight buses, at different places around the county, being stuffed full of school supplies. Items donated included plain old pencils to calculators and more – much more.

Kristin Gublo of SUNY Oswego’s SEFA United Way Committee visited the bus located at the Oswego Wal-Mart. She had a car full of bags, boxes and plastic containers over-flowing with various school supplies.

“We donate every year. And, we usually have a lot. This year, we added more drop-off sites and saw an amazing increase in donations,” she said.

Additional EEE Found in Oswego County
OSWEGO COUNTY – The Oswego County Health Department announced August 14 that four additional samples of mosquitoes, collected Aug. 6 and Aug. 8 from the Toad Harbor Swamp, have tested positive for the Eastern equine encephalitis virus.

The county was working with the state Department of Health to schedule an aerial spraying of the Toad Harbor Swamp area.

The county was awaiting test results from tissue taken from a horse in West Monroe that died Aug. 9. The horse was a vivtim of encephalitis.

Oswego County Plans Aerial Spraying Aug. 20
OSWEGO – In an effort to reduce the population of mosquitoes carrying the Eastern equine encephalitis virus, the Oswego County Health Department planned to conduct aerial spraying of approximately 10,000 acres in portions of the towns of Hastings, West Monroe and Constantia.

Gary Thibodeau Died 8-12-18
OSWEGO, NY – Gary Thibodeau died Sunday August 12.

He was 63 years old.

Thibodeau was serving a 25-year-to-life sentence in state prison for kidnapping Heidi Allen in 1994.

His defense attorney said his health had been declining recently.

U.S. Army and Port City Partner Up
OSWEGO, NY – Historic Oswego wrote another chapter in its centuries old relationship with the U.S. Army.

Representatives from the Army and the city of Oswego signed a partnership agreement August 23 as part of the Army’s Partnership for Youth Success program.

The ceremony was attended by several elected city and county officials and members of the public – several of whom were veterans.

The PaYS Program is a strategic partnership between the Army and a cross-section of private industry, academia and state and local public institutes.

It guarantees U.S. Army veterans a job interview when they apply for any city government job opportunity, Mayor Billy Barlow explained.

The veterans represent “the very best of the United States of America and it will only be advantageous to our local government and the Oswego community to include you in our workforce,” Barlow said.

Mayor Barlow Officially Opens Renovated Oswego Harbor Trail
OSWEGO – As a young boy, Billy Barlow would view the vista from Breitbeck Park overlooking Lake Ontario and say, “What if …?”

In August, Mayor Billy Barlow gazed out over the same panorama and said, “That’s more like it!”

The mayor hosted a ribbon cutting event officially opening the newly renovated Oswego Harbor Trail along the shoreline of Lake Ontario.

The Oswego Harbor Trail is a $225,000 project, transforming the over-grown, underutilized area of public space of Barlow’s youth into a desirable walking and recreational trail on the shoreline of Lake Ontario.

Additionally, a dock was added allowing pedestrians to walk onto Lake Ontario. Two other seating areas along the lakeshore were created to view the Oswego sunsets and sit, relax or fish on the waterfront.

The mayor displayed posters showing what the trail looked like just six months before and how it currently looks.

West Nile, More EEE Found at Toad Harbor Swamp
OSWEGO COUNTY – Oswego County Public Health Director Jiancheng Huang reminded people that it is essential to remain vigilant in protecting themselves from mosquito bites during the remainder of summer.

On Aug. 23, the NYS Health Department confirmed three new EEE positive mosquito cases, bringing the number of EEE positive mosquito cases this summer in Oswego County to nine.

In addition, the state reported that one sample of mosquitoes tested positive for West Nile virus.

All of the samples were collected prior to the Aug. 20 aerial spraying.

Tops To Close Underperforming Stores; Fulton On List

FULTON, NY – Tops Markets August 30 provided an update on the progress it is making on its financial restructuring process.

The West First Street, Fulton, store was one of the company’s targeted “underperforming stores.”

The target date for closing was by the end of November.

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