2018 In Review: January – Oswego City, County Prepare for New Year; Local Resident Attends State of the Union

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

Five New Councilors Sworn In
OSWEGO, NY – In the middle of a blizzard, the new Oswego Common Council was sworn in at City Hall.

At the council’s organizational meeting Jan. 1 night, five of the seven members sworn in by Oswego County Supreme Court Judge James W. McCarthy were freshmen.

Rob Corradino was appointed president of the council. Kevin Hill was named vice president.

As council president, Corradino will assume the mayor’s duties in his absence; and, if he becomes incapacitated for any reason, he would take over as the acting mayor.

The 2018 council includes:

Sue McBrearty (D) in the First Ward, Linda DeMassi (R) in the Second Ward, Kevin Hill (R) in the Third Ward, Robert Wilmott (R) in the Fourth Ward, John Gosek Jr. (R) in the Fifth Ward, Ron Tesoriero (R) in the Sixth Ward and Robert Corradino (R) in the Seventh Ward.

The winter storm dumped 31 inches of snow on Scriba by 9 p.m. Also hit hard was Mexico with 16.0 inches, Hastings with 10.5 inches and Oswego with around 22 inches.

County Legislature Gets Organized For 2018
OSWEGO, NY – In a brief meeting Jan. 4, the Oswego County Legislature got ready to tackle business in 2018 with some new legislators and a new chairman.

Former chairman Kevin Gardner was sworn in as the new county tresurer.

Shane Broadwell, majority leader in 2017, was named as the chairman of the Oswego County Legislaturefor 2018.

Legislator Terry Wilbur nominated Broadwell. Minority Leader Frank Castiglia nominated Dan Farfaglia.

The vote was split along party lines with two legislators excused.

Castiglia questioned whether there’d be any conflicts of interest due to Broadwell’s business ventures.

“I’m just looking for some transparency,” he said. “If there is any, we need to know about it.”

“Point of order! We’re looking for a nomination, not an explanation to why he’s opposing somebody,” Wilbur said.

Broadwell won the chairman’s seat in a roll call (voice) vote.

Fellow Republican Linda Lockwood was re-elected vice chair.

Oswego County Joins the Fight Against Manufacturers of Prescription Opioid Painkillers
OSWEGO – Simmons Hanly Conroy, one of the nation’s largest law firms focused on consumer protection and mass tort actions, on Jan. 4 filed a lawsuit on behalf of Oswego County against pharmaceutical companies and physicians over the aggressive and fraudulent marketing of prescription opioid painkillers that has led to a drug epidemic in the county and throughout the nation.

The county seeks relief in the complaint that includes compensatory and punitive damages, for the millions of dollars it spends each year to combat the public nuisance created by the drug companies’ deceptive marketing campaign that misrepresents the safety and efficacy of long-term opioid use.

The defendants in the lawsuit are: Purdue Pharma L.P.; Purdue Pharma, Inc.; The Purdue Frederick Company, Inc.; Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc.; Cephalon, Inc.; Johnson & Johnson; Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Janssen Pharmaceutica, Inc.; Endo Health Solutions Inc.; Endo Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Insys Therapeutics, Inc.; Dr. Russell Portenoy; Dr. Perry Fine; Dr. Scott Fishman; and Dr. Lynn Webster.

The filing followed similar action taken by Simmons on behalf of 8 other counties in New York last year. The lawsuits, which were initially filed in each counties’ state supreme court, would be consolidated to state supreme court in Suffolk County Supreme Court and heard by State Supreme Court Justice Jerry Garguilo.

“Oswego County is the latest in an expanding list of New York counties to conclude that drug companies must be held responsible for their fraudulent and deceptive role in causing the worst drug epidemic the country has ever seen,” said Simmons Hanly Conroy Shareholder Paul Hanly, lead counsel for the county in this case.”

“Today’s action builds upon the important work of addressing the opioid crisis in New York,” said Richard C. Mitchell, Oswego County Attorney. “Oswego County, like many others across the state, has suffered great losses due to the defendants’ recklessness and negligence about the long-term effects of opioid use.”

According to the complaint, at least 67 Oswego County residents died from opioid-related overdose fatalities between 2009 and 2014.

In 2014 alone, there were 245 opioid-related emergency department admissions in Oswego County, a 113% increase since 2010.

Gov. Cuomo Announces $20.5 Million For Infrastructure, Safety Improvements At Airports Across NYS
Governor Andrew Cuomo on Jan. 8 announced $20.5 million in funding for 29 airport projects under the Aviation Capital Grant Program.

This state-funded program supported strategic investments at public-use airports across New York to ensure safety, modernize aviation-related facilities, leverage private investment, and sustain and create well-paying aeronautical-related jobs.

“New York’s airports are the front door to the Empire State, and in order to build on our efforts to attract new businesses and visitors, we will invest in these regional gateways to provide the best and safest travel opportunities for everyone,” Governor Cuomo said. “Modernizing our airports and transforming them into state-of-the-art transit hubs will keep New York competitive in today’s global economy, while providing an improved, more efficient means of travel for residents and visitors for decades to come.”

$1,080,000 went to Oswego County Airport for Terminal Building Construction.

The State Department of Transportation began to work with airport project sponsors on the delivery of the planned improvements.

Mayor Barlow Announces Decline In City Overtime
OSWEGO – Mayor Billy Barlow announced Jan. 18 that, for the second year in a row, city overtime expenses declined.

Total overtime for all city of Oswego departments combined in 2017 was $857,395.

The total for 2017 was significantly less than the official total for 2016 at $1,008,502, the first year of Mayor Barlow’s administration, and significantly less than the total in 2015 at $1,228,384.

All three major Oswego city departments, including the Department of Public Works, Oswego Fire Department and Oswego Police Department reduced their amount of overtime usage in the last year with the most substantial savings in the Department of Public Works, reducing overtime from $375,604 in 2015 to $242,762 in 2016 to $169,225 in 2017.

“Since taking office I have identified city overtime as an area to save money by making our departments more efficient, effectively using on shift personnel and properly allocating our resources. After trying new, innovative ideas and pushing for increased productivity we have managed to reduce our overtime expenditures by $371,000 in just two years,” said Mayor Barlow. “Moving forward we will continue to focus on managing our overtime and working on behalf of all taxpayers to control our spending and cut obvious waste in city government. We need to have the Oswego taxpayers’ interests at the forefront of our decision making and ensure we do our best to manage our departments while maintaining the quality of service our residents are accustomed to.”

Gosek Earns 300th Victory
OSWEGO, NY – The No. 5/5 Oswego State men’s ice hockey team defeated Cortland, 5-1, on Jan. 19 to clinch Head Coach Ed Gosek’s 300th career win.

The win moved Gosek’s career record to 300-88-26 and the Lakers’ season record to 12-3-1, while Cortland fell to 7-10-0.

With a winning percentage of .756, Gosek had the highest winning percentage of all current Division III coaches.

The Oswego graduate was also the second winningest Division III coach of all time, trailing only Tim Coghlin of St. Norbert.

Group Builds Home For Injured Local Vet
MEXICO – On January 27, an army of volunteers gathered at the VFW Post #369, 5930 Scenic Ave., Mexico.

They joined Homes For Our Troops as it kicked off the build project for Army SPC Ryan Wilcox’s forever home.

“First of all, I know of this very generous gift from HFOT because I am Ryan’s very proud mother,” Donna Wilcox told Oswego County Today. “This is a great opportunity to celebrate Ryan and welcome him to the community!”

Spc. Wilcox, a local wounded soldier, was the recipient of a specially modified, mortgage-free home for wounded soldiers from Homes for Our Troops.

Ryan was selected as a recipient almost two years ago and the work for his home in Mexico started in November (2017).

He was first wounded in 2007, when he was struck by enemy fire while on a route clearance patrol in Iraq, his mother said. “Ryan was just 18 at the time,” she added.

NRC Assigns New Resident Inspector To FitzPatrick Nuclear Plant
OSWEGO – Nuclear Regulatory Commission officials in King of Prussia, Pa., have selected Gregory F. Stock as the new resident inspector at the James A. FitzPatrick nuclear power plant.

He joins Senior Resident Inspector Ken Kolaczyk at the plant in Scriba.

The plant is operated by Exelon Generation.

Stock was most recently a resident inspector at the Nine Mile Point nuclear plant in Scriba.

Prior to joining the NRC in 2013 as a project engineer, Stock worked at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard, specializing in propulsion machinery.

January marked 6 months of Uber in Oswego County
“In six short months, Uber has helped New Yorkers earn money on their own schedules, move around their communities with ease, and for those who choose to drink, get home safely,” said Danielle Filson, Uber spokesperson. “It has been an exciting ride and we look forward to the years to come.”

Oswego County Top Drop off Destinations
1. SUNY Oswego
2. Walmart Supercenter
3. Alley Cat

Longest trip: 125 miles from SUNY Oswego to Potsdam, NY

Avg. rider rating: 4.87
Avg. driver rating: 4.90

$5,368.06 In Grant Funding Awarded To 2 Counyt Schools
Frederick Leighton Elementary and Paul V. Moore High School were named recipients of Capacity Building Grants from Terra Science and Education, Inc. for a total of $5,368.06 in grant funding going into Oswego County Schools.

Leighton Elementary and Paul V. Moore High School were among 11 organizations across New York State being awarded Capacity Building Grants from Terra Science and Education.

A total of $47,752.66 in grants have been awarded to schools and educational non-profits in 2018 to increase educational opportunities for students throughout the state.

Leighton, a school within the Oswego City School District, was awarded $4,037.65 to expand STEM curricula.

The grant project, led by James Hartmann, was designed to deepen problem solving skills for students in grades K-6 through science labs, science experiments, and extracurricular science explorations, culminating in a school wide science fair showcasing the work students have been completing throughout the school year.

The grant aimed at increasing student achievement on technology and science standardized tests while also raising motivation for students to enter STEM fields and pursue STEM careers.

Paul V. Moore, within the Central Square school district, was awarded $1,330.41 toward the school’s Trout in the Classroom project.

Oswego State Athletes Recognized For Community Service
OSWEGO, NY — The 24 Oswego State athletic programs were recognized once again for their outstanding commitment to community service, as they were recently awarded the second place Award of Merit from the National Administrators of Division III Athletic Directors, sponsored by Jostens.

The award was the 11th earned by the Laker teams in the past nine years.

In that time, the athletic department received six first place awards, two second place honors, and three honorable mention finishes.

Highlighting the department’s activity during the 2016-17 school year were some 54 different projects and events, including annual support of the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, Special Olympics events both in Fulton and on campus, the annual Yards for Yeardley and Teal Walks, fundraisers for Trinity Catholic School and Buc Boosters and many more.

Approximately 37 different charities and organizations were benefitted by Oswego’s community service efforts.

Two of the most impactful events of the year were last April’s annual St. Baldrick’s Day in Oswego fundraiser and the fourth annual For the Kids event.

Oswego Players Kick Off 80th Anniversary Season
OSWEGO – The Oswego Players celebrated 80 years of service to the community with a membership drive and fundraiser.

This year, the Players launched a new annual membership format which included four levels of participation.

These included student membership at the discounted price of $15, regular membership at $20 per year, family membership at $35 per annum along with the new patron level of membership at $100.

As it is said in a popular commercial, “membership has its privileges.”

That is to say that along with voting rights as a member, each level of participation will be provided with exciting incentives and advantages including a membership booklet, a quarterly newsletter, e-mail notifications of upcoming performances, auditions and events, and new this year permission to join the Oswego Teacher’s Federal Credit Union.

In addition, for participation in the top three levels of membership a member received complimentary tickets to future productions.

Mayor Touts Port City’s Progress In State Of The City Address
OSWEGO – Mayor Billy Barlow painted a bright vision of the Port City’s future. The mayor delivered his State of the City address Jan. 30, outlining recent accomplishments made by the city and announced several upcoming projects, initiatives and goals for 2018.

The mayor presented his remarks in the large meeting room at GS Steamer’s on East First Street instead of the Council Chambers at City Hall.

“We are in a state of progress, resurgence and revival,” the mayor told the standing-room-only crowd. “There are positive signs of progress that are undeniable and we must seize the opportunity, keep pushing forward and capitalize on the improvements we have made.”

Before he took office in 2016, the city was “plagued with years of indecision and inaction,” Barlow said.

“City property taxes increased nearly 60% over four years along with significant increases to water and sewer fees. Our code enforcement program and permitting system was ineffective and in complete disarray,” he said. “Our city infrastructure and roads were deteriorating, our municipal buildings were neglected, neighborhoods were losing value and the same problems persisted and compounded year after year, mayor after mayor, council after council.”

Except for a few motivated groups and individuals, community pride was relatively absent, residents were lacking a reason to get engaged and the bottom line was city government was not sending the right message or pulling its own weight, he added.

Things have begun to turn around, he pointed out.

CNY Advocate Teresa Woolson Joins Katko For State of the Union Address
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. John Katko was joined Jan. 30 for the President’s State of the Union address by Teresa Woolson, an Oswego County mother who lost her son, Victor, to synthetic drugs in August 2012.

Following Victor’s death, Woolson created the Victor Orlando Woolson (V.O.W.) Foundation in his honor.

Since then, she has worked tirelessly on a local, state, and federal level to advocate for stronger policies to raise awareness about the dangers of opioid addiction and combat the rise of synthetic drugs.

Partnering with Woolson and the V.O.W. Foundation, Representative Katko has prioritized combating the heroin and synthetic drug epidemic that has plagued Central New York.

Tuesday afternoon, ahead of the President’s State of the Union address, Katko and Woolson met with House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (OR-2) to tell Victor’s story.

Chairman Walden shared that the Committee would begin the process of holding legislative hearings on measures to combat the opioid epidemic.

“I’ve been honored to work alongside Teresa in the fight against synthetic drugs and opioids and am truly privileged to have her as my guest for this evening’s State of the Union address,” said Katko.

Woolson said, “The synthetic drug that killed my son was identified as XLR-11 and this chemical compound continued to cause harm for another 4 years before it was added to the Controlled Substance List. This bill would create a much-needed tool to help law enforcement stop the spread of these deadly drugs in our Country. I applaud Congressman Katko for his continued efforts to combat this drug crisis and I’m grateful to Chairman Walden for prioritizing this bill.”

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