2018 In Review: July – Harborfest Rocks Oswego, Renewable Energy Project Launched, Former Refugees Return

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

Oswego County Launches Major Renewable Energy Project

OSWEGO COUNTY – In early July, after several years of planning, project construction and some additional necessary upgrades to National Grid’s distribution system, the County of Oswego energized its largest solar project June 29 as officials gathered at the site in Volney to make the final connection to the grid.

The project, which originally began in 2014, is part of the NY-SUN program administered by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.

The 2-MW system, which covers about 10 acres next to the Bristol Hill Landfill site on NY Route 3, came at no cost to the county and is predicted to save nearly $5 million over the next 20 years.

County officials said that in addition to the financial benefits generated by this initiative, the energy produced will have significant environmental impacts as well.

Oswego School Board Gets Reorganized – Kind Of
OSWEGO, NY – The Oswego Board of Education held its annual reeorganizational meeting.

The vote to name a new president ended in a tie due to the absence of board member James Bell.

Instead of holding a re-vote, the board decided to postpone the vote until next week’s regular meeting.

The vote for a new vice president was also postponed for a week.

The board swore in its two new members Tom Ciappa and Kathleen Allen.

Barlow Recommended To Chair Onondaga County Metropolitan Water Board
OSWEGO – Chairman Ryan McMahon announced July 10 he recommended Billy Barlow as chairman and presiding officer of the Metropolitan Water Board.

Barlow’s appointment was considered by the Onondaga County Legislature’s Environmental Protection Committee, where it passed unanimously.

The appointment required confirmation of the full Legislature at the August 1 session.

“I’m thrilled to be appointed to the Onondaga County Metropolitan Water Board and very much appreciate the opportunity from Chairman McMahon and the Onondaga County Legislature to be involved in the regional partnership between the city of Oswego and Onondaga County,” Barlow said. “I look forward to contributing to the entire Central New York area as we work on improving our infrastructure and continue providing clean, quality water to our local communities.”

Don Hilton Candidate for Oswego County Sheriff
OSWEGO – Hastings native Don Hilton had been gathering signatures from voters to have his name on the ballot for the Primary election September 13. Working to appear on the Republican and Conservative Ballot, Hilton spent weeks talking to voters and gathering the needed signatures.

Touting more than 30 years of law enforcement experience Hilton hoped to return his career to the Oswego County Sheriff’s Department, where he began nearly 30 years ago when he served as a Corrections Officer.

In November, he was elected sheriff.

Aimee Callen Wins Re-election to BOE President
OSWEGO – Aimee Callen won re-election to president of the Oswego City School District Board of Education by a 4-3 vote.

Brandon Lagoe was named vice president by the same margin.

Cousins Return To Visit Safe Haven Site
OSWEGO — A SUNY Oswego faculty member, Juliet Aires Giglio wanted to share a piece of her family’s history with the world. The story has international appeal.

So, Giglio, a professional screenwriter and SUNY Oswego Assistant Professor in the English and Creative Writing Department, enlisted the aid of one of her former students and a December 2018 SUNY Oswego graduate.

Giglio was the director of the short documentary. Senior Mic-Anthony Hay was the cinematographer/editor. Victoria Jayne was the sound engineer and she’s a May graduate of SUNY Oswego with a degree in Cinema Screen Studies.

The documentary will preserve the memories of two cousins who were 7 years old when they fled Europe for Fort Ontario’s Safe Haven to escape the Holocaust.

The subjects of the story are Rikica Giglio, 81 (formerly Rikica Levi) and David Levi, 81 (first cousin to Rikica and her sister, Ella Levi, 73, who was born at the Fort Ontario site on March 12, 1945).

The stories the Levis tell are personal for Giglio — Rikica Levi is her husband’s mother; David, his cousin once removed.

The Levi cousins and other family members were among the 982 European, mostly Jewish, refugees who were allowed into the United States as “guests” of President Franklin D. Roosevelt from August 1944 to February 1946.

They returned to Oswego from their homes in the New York metropolitan area to be interviewed for the documentary: “A New Home in Oswego: The Story of Two Refugees.”

“For 30 years I’ve heard the stories my mother-in-law has told about the time at Fort Ontario. If Fort Ontario had not been available for the Levis, my husband (Keith Giglio) would not be here,” Giglio told Oswego County Today. “I want to preserve Rikica’s and David’s memories on film.”

Nik and the Nice Guys, Almost Queen Get Harborfest 31 Rocking
OSWEGO, NY – Harborfest turned 31 in July.

The festival was greeted by some clouds, humidity and some sprinkles. The hundreds of people, young and old, crowded into Breitbeck Park, didn’t seem to mind.

Nik and the Nice Guys rocked the stage at 7 p.m. as the crowd continued tp grow larger.

There was a slight intermission at 8:30 p.m. for the very brief opening ceremonies.

“I really have to thank the community and everybody here for their support,” said Chuck Handley, president of the Harborfest Board of Directors. “Very few admission-free festivals last 31 years. We are really, really lucky to live in this great community of Oswego.”

Almost Queen kept opening night rocking

And, as always, the fireworks were the highlight of the weekend.

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