2018 In Review: December – Oswegonian Sings At President’s Memorial, Cousins Donate To Port City’s History, Boxing Club Gets A Boost

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

Barlow Announces $75,000 Grant To YMCA, Boxing Club
OSWEGO – Before a sell-out crowd in the lower level of the Oswego YMCA (home to the Oswego Boxing Club), Mayor Billy Barlow announced that the Oswego YMCA’s Boxing Club and the Oswego YMCA will receive $75,000 in grant funds from the city.

The funds will be used to expand, renovate and assist with the YMCA’s expansion project, the mayor said.

More than 150 people, of all ages, crowded around the ring and out into the hall to hear the mayor’s announcement.

The boxing club will receive approximately $30,000 for renovations and improvements to the existing boxing ring, facility and lighting.

Currently, all the work at the boxing club is done by volunteers; no one is getting paid. So, part of the $30,000 will be used to hire a program administrator to do outreach and spend more time at the ring so more kids can take part in the program, the mayor said.

The remaining $45,000 will go towards the on-going pool connector project, connecting the current YMCA building to the pool area of the former site next door.

Oswego Native Part of Historic Farewell For President George H. W. Bush
WASHINGTON, DC – Some of those major moments in life come at the most unexpected times.

In early December, Oswego native David Artz found himself in the National Cathedral Choir in Washington D.C. for the memorial service for the nation’s 41st President, George H. W. Bush.

However, he certainly didn’t plan on being there. Reached at his home in the District of Columbia area, David said, “I am on the substitute list for the National Cathedral Choir and I got a call on Sunday asking if I could come to rehearsal that night and be in the choir for President Bush memorial service.”

“I hadn’t been expecting it as I did not get a call for the (Senator John) McCain funeral. However, it was two or three on Sunday afternoon and I had just gotten back from my normal church job at the Bradley Hills Presbyterian Church in Bethesda, Md. I was getting ready to do some things with some friends when I received the call. It was going to be a special event to be part of and a huge honor to be chosen for this type of service,” he added.

The Port City Lights Up For The Holidays
OSWEGO – The Port City officially lit up for the holidays on December 1. The air turned colder and the threat of rain loomed just before sunset, but it did little to dampen anyone’s spirits.

Hundreds of people throughout the day enjoyed the community-wide, all-day event that welcomed the holiday season in Oswego at myriad locations.

The 31st annual event featured a variety of events and vendors, children’s activities, food and holiday music.

Many families lined up outside City Hall hours early to await Santa Claus’ arrival. The line stretched from City Hall across the plaza for nearly three hours.

“This is a great event. It just keeps getting bigger and better each year,” Mayor Billy Barlow said.

“I want to give a big thank you to all the city departments who worked so hard to make this great for us! Without all the volunteers, it would not have been this successful!” said Jennifer Losurdo, who organized the annual event, told Oswego County Today.

A children’s parade wound its way to City Hall. Members of the Oswego Police and Fire departments ensured the youngsters had a safe route. The guest of honor – Santa Claus, was helped out of a fire truck and escorted to City Hall to greet the youngsters.

Cousins Help Complete Oswego’s Historic Collection
OSWEGO – Two pieces of Oswego’s history were donated to link the city’s catalog of historic documents.

Cousins Ron and Mark Tesoriero worked together to preserve the Port City’s history.

The city has dozens of books that document laws, events and pivotal moments dating back 170 years.

But, its collection wasn’t complete, said Ron, Sixth Ward Councilor.

A portion of history documenting Oswego City Council activity from 1868 to 1871 was missing.

A local antique dealer got in touch with Mark, the city clerk, and asked if he’d be interested in acquiring the book.

He called Ron and asked if he wanted to buy them so the city wouldn’t have to.

The cousins split the cost and donated the books.

They also purchased a pristine copy of the original city charter. The city’s copy was in bad condition.

Body Worn Camera Program for OPD
OSWEGO – Mayor Billy Barlow announced the implementation of body worn cameras for members of the Oswego City Police Department.

Using funds secured through asset forfeiture proceedings administered by the Oswego County District Attorney’s Office, OPD received 31 new body worn cameras that personnel began using in December.

The Body Worn Camera project was spearheaded by OPD’s Lieutenant Charles Searor Jr.

Mayor Barlow said, “In addition to their evidentiary value in many cases, the implementation of the camera systems was important to Chief (Tory) DeCaire and to me to help protect the officers who help to protect our community.”

According to Chief DeCaire, “Earlier this year, with input from the members of the Police Department and as one of Mayor Barlow’s goals for 2018, we had planned to have the Body Worn Camera Project fully implemented before the end of the year. After careful consideration, the cameras were purchased, training conducted and the cameras are now being used in the field by the majority of our personnel.”

Oswego County Adopts 2019 Spending Plan
OSWEGO – If you liked 2018’s county budget, you’ll probably like 2019’s spending plan as well.

The county legislature approved the budget for next year at its December meeting.

The budget is $210,894,532 and includes a real property tax levy of $48,431,424.

That works out to a generic tax rate of $7.70 per thousand dollars of assessed value, which is unchanged from 2018.

The application of fund balance is $1.9 million as it was in 2018.

Oswego, Firefighters Agree On New Deal
OSWEGO – The Port City and the Oswego Fire Department began a new chapter in December.

At the final Common Council meeting of 2018, Mayor Billy Barlow presented a proposed deal with firefighters to the City Council. It was unanimously approved.

The new agreement takes firefighters through 2022 and wraps up the last open city bargaining unit contract to be settled.

The contract ends a nearly two-year impasse between the city and firefighters, after the 2016 cuts to the department to meet city financial obligations.

Ceremony Remembers Those Buried At Fort Ontario
OSWEGO – “We shall remember.”

Lt. Colonel Robert Ormsbee, US Army, made that pledge to Lt. Basil Dunbar (1759) to S. Sgt. Robert T. McEwen (1943) and all the others in between that have been laid to rest in Fort Ontario’s Post Cemetery.

The Post Cemetery joined the effort to “Remember, Honor and Teach” as an official location of the national Wreaths Across America program Dec. 15.

The ceremony began at noon in front of the Enlisted Men’s Barracks inside the historic old stone fort with guest speakers.

Then, volunteers escorted the wreaths to the Post Cemetery where 77 officers, soldiers, and family members who served at Fort Ontario are buried. The wreaths were solemenly placed on the graves.

Every December, thousands of wreaths are escorted from Columbia Falls, Maine, to Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C., for national Wreaths Across America Day by way of volunteer tractor trailer trucks.

Capital Plan Approved by Oswego Voters
OSWEGO – Voters approved the Oswego Scholl District’s $63.1 million capital improvement plan on December 18.

The unofficial vote was 1,800 Yes and 933 No.

The $63 million project broken down will see $24.7 million at Oswego High School, $13.1 at Oswego Middle School. $12.7 for Leighton, $4.1 for both Kingsford and Fitzhugh, $3.1 for Minetto and $1.1 for Charles E. Riley.

The capital project shows 11.3% of it going toward athletics.

The project will be done in four phases. Phase 1 would commence in June of 2020. Phase 4 would start in June of 2030 and be completed in December 2031.

City of Oswego Wins $934,200 in Governor’s REDC Grants
OSWEGO – The city of Oswego was awarded grant funding through the CNY Regional Economic Development Council for the state’s Consolidated Funding Application process for the Wright’s Landing Marina Boater Services Improvement project.

The city has successfully been awarded more than $20 million in grant funding since 2016.

“I am excited that the city was awarded funding from New York State through the competitive consolidated funding application process,” Mayor Billy Barlow said December 18. “This is a testament to the outstanding work of the economic development team in strengthening and capitalizing on the momentum of progress, and we as a city have a lot to be proud of as the past two years and moving forward has been and will continue to be remarkable. I am proud of the Wright’s Landing Marina Improvement project as my administration has been strategically focused on revitalizing our waterfront and downtown areas.”

Additionally, $800,000 was awarded to Sutton Real Estate Companies for the development of the East Lake Commons Mixed-Use Redevelopment.

This is the redevelopment of the Midtown Plaza site, which was identified in the Downtown Revitalization Initiative as one of 12 priority projects.

International Jewelry Business Relocating To Oswego
OSWEGO – An international jewelry business is set to open on Oswego’s west side early in 2019.

LeRoi (fine body jewelry) announced that it plans to relocate from its current Fulton facility into a much larger site at 212 W. Second St., Oswego.

It will bring 40 employees with it, and is likely to add 10 more with another 10 possible by 2020.

The relocation was incentivized by the city of Oswego offering a $130,000 grant from program income through the NYS Community Development Block Grant program administered and managed by the city’s Office of Economic Development.

SUNY Oswego Student-Faculty Team Wins National Competition
OSWEGO — Five SUNY Oswego students under the mentorship of graphic design faculty member Rebecca Mushtare recently won the national AIR-U competition for accessibility in web design for the team’s inclusive work on the Vote Oswego site.

Knowbility, an Austin-based nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting the independence in technology of children and adults with disabilities, sponsored the University Accessibility Internet Rally to encourage students to work toward a more inclusive digital web for all.

Mushtare served, essentially, as creative director of a team that included students Mariana Diaz, Kimberly Grunden, Nicole Lightfoot, Nick Long and Heng-Hao Pu.

The team worked with a client, political science faculty member Allison Rank’s “Vote Oswego” class, which promotes electoral and political participation by all, regardless of affiliation.

The AIR-U competition’s judges provided feedback to entrants, and the Oswego team excelled in areas Mushtare focuses on in a course that combines “Web Media II” for undergraduates and “Graduate Web Design” for master’s degree candidates.

While it takes work to make sure web content and design are accessible to people with auditory, cognitive, neurological, physical, speech and visual disabilities, the students on SUNY Oswego’s team found it an enjoyable, motivating project.

Did we miss any of your favorites? Let us know in the comments section.

1 Comment

  1. I think Mayor Barlow is doing a wonderful job as Mayor. This is exactly what Oswego needs. The delegation of funds to stimulate business in Oswego cannot go underestimated. Oswego has lost many opportunities during the 40 odd years I have lived in my chosen city because there was much ‘tabling’ of support money. To make money, as any businessman or woman knows, you have to spend money. IDEALLY, it pays off, but there are no guarantees (as any business investor ALSO knows). Oswego City IS a business, and its CEO is Billy Barlow!

    Now, next on the agenda COULD be the businesses on the Eastside of Oswego, which isn’t looking as well-maintained as the Westside businesses. HOPEFULLY, some money will come our way, CEO! :0)

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