2018 In Review: September – Remembering 9-11, Refueling Outage Under Way, United Way Campaign Starts

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

School Open, Despite Summer’s Tenacity

OSWEGO – “School can’t be starting today,” lamented one youngster outside of Oswego Middle School. “It’s still hot; it’s still summer!”

Despite what the thermometer said, schools in the Oswego district threw open their doors and welcomed thousands of students back to the classroom.

“Our first day of school has been wonderful! Many teachers arrived early this morning to put balloons out at all of our entrances!” said Fitzhugh Park Elementary Principal Donna Simmons.

They also wrote positive messages in chalk on all the sidewalks such as “You were missed!” “Welcome back!” “You are fantastic!” “It’s going to be a great year!” “Always be humble and kind!” “Shine your light, believe you can.”

Four Wheelchair Charging Stations Placed in Oswego
OSWEGO – Mayor Billy Barlow announced the placement of four wheelchair charging stations throughout the city of Oswego in an effort to better serve those who rely on battery powered wheelchairs and scooters as transportation in the Oswego community.

The installation of the charging stations follows a pledge by Mayor Barlow to improve the city of Oswego for people with physical disabilities by improving public space accessibility and offering more accommodations.

The city purchased four charging stations to allow individuals with wheelchairs and battery powered scooters to easily explore the Oswego community without limitation.

The four power stations are placed in Don Hill Civic Plaza in downtown Oswego, Veterans’ Stage along the West Linear River Walk, the Breitbeck Park pavilion and in Washington Square.

Oswego Police Department Earns Reaccreditation
OSWEGO, NY – Mayor Billy Barlow announced on September 6 members of the Oswego City Police Department traveled to the state capital of Albany for a ceremony recognizing the department’s reaccreditation by the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services.

Lieutenant Craig Bateman was also presented with the “John Kimball O’Neil Certificate of Achievement” for serving as the Department’s Accreditation Program Manager.

The Oswego Police Department has been an accredited agency since 2003 and is reassessed by a team of DCJS Assessors every five years with the most recent assessment having been conducted in June of 2018.

United Way Kicks Off Annual Campaign
OSWEGO, NY – United Way of Greater Oswego County officially began its 2019 Annual Campaign with a kick-off breakfast on Sept. 12 at the American Foundry in Oswego.

The event introduced the theme to this year’s United Way Campaign, “We Live United…United We Live.”

The theme for the United Way’s 2019 campaign focuses on the fact that United Way’s impact is felt throughout all of Oswego County.

“Administered through our partner agencies, United Way supported programs serve people of all age groups in every community in Oswego County; from Hannibal to Central Square, Pulaski to Phoenix, and everywhere in between,” said Lexie Wallace, United Way resource development director.

FitzPatrick Nuclear Plant Refueling Outage Under Way
OSWEGO, NY – Operators removed Exelon Generation’s James A. FitzPatrick Nuclear Power Plant from service early September 10, beginning a planned refueling and maintenance outage that brings more than 1,500 additional workers to the region.

The refueling outage will help ensure the plant runs safely and provides consistent, reliable power to the region for another two-year operating cycle.

During the outage, Exelon employees and supplemental workers will perform maintenance activities and replace nearly one-third of the reactor’s fuel to keep the unit running safely and efficiently.

Oswego Pauses To Remember September 11, 2001
OSWEGO – Representatives of the Oswego Fire and Police departments, the Coast Guard and other first responders gathered for a solemn memorial at the Fire Department’s headquarters.

On display near the podium was a chunk of a steel beam from the World Trade Center – a grim reminder of the Port City’s connection to the September 11, 2001, terrorist attack.

“Although difficult to conceive even today, yet even harder to watch play out at the time, what came from that tragedy should not be lost,” Fire Chief Randy Griffin told the large crowd of officers, firefighters and many other others.

About a block south, two flag bearers stood at the edge of East Park displaying a large flag and a remembrance sign.

Mayor Billy Barlow said it was an honor to “remember and honor the lives of that we lost on September 11, 2001.”

SUNY Oswego Earns High Rankings, ‘Best Value’ Nod From U.S. News and World Report
OSWEGO — SUNY Oswego once again earned a top 50 ranking in the 2019 “Top Regional Universities in the North” from U.S. News and World Report and a top-10 regional nod among Best Value Schools.

Oswego moved up to 11th among public master’s-level universities in the North Region, tied for 48th overall, among institutions in the U.S. News and World Report ratings, based on rankings released Sept. 10.

The college also kept its place on the A+ for B Students list.

The college’s ranking as eighth (first among public colleges) in the north on the list of Best Value Schools takes into account Oswego’s academic quality and “net cost of attendance for a student who received the average level of need-based financial aid,” U.S. News wrote on its website. “The higher the quality of the program and the lower the cost, the better the deal.”

The Next Great Idea 2018 Business Plan Competition Winner Announced
OSWEGO – Wired Telecom was named the 2018 “Next Great Idea” Oswego County Business Competition winner at a reception held September 18, at The Lake Ontario Event and Conference Center, Oswego.

The company was awarded $50,000 to expand its business in Oswego County.

“It was a great honor to present our fourth NGI award,” said Austin Wheelock, NGI chair and Deputy Director of Operation Oswego County.

Wired Telecom, an early stage company owned by Ed Alberts and headquartered in Oswego, provides standardized IT and communication services focused towards medium and large sized commercial franchise companies nationwide.

The business grew out of necessity as Alberts’ other businesses could not find a reliable IT service so they developed an in-house solution which proved so successful they believed it could be scaled into a business of its own.\

Mayor Barlow Announces Oswego’s First Electric Car Charging Station
OSWEGO – Mayor Billy Barlow announced September 20 the implementation of an electric car charging station in the city of Oswego.

The charging station, located near Oswego City Hall at the West Second and Oneida streets intersection in downtown, is the first electric car charging station placed in the city of Oswego and is part of Mayor Barlow’s pursuit of making Oswego a NYSERDA Clean Energy Community.

“Introducing an electric car charging station to downtown Oswego will accommodate our residents who own electrical powered vehicles and continues our progressive pursuit of becoming a clean energy community,” said Mayor Barlow. “As a city, we must do our part to invest in clean transportation infrastructure and encourage our residents to consider cleaner and greener energy initiatives to protect our environment and keep our community clean.”

New Kingsford Park School Playground
OpensOSWEGO – In April 2016, dozens of Kingsford Park Elementary School students marched to City Hall to advocate for a new and safer playground at the park adjacent to their school.

On September 21, they saw the results of their efforts.

Mayor Billy Barlow officially opened the brand new Kingsford Park School playground with a ribbon cutting event with school administrators, staff, students and many others.

In 2016, three second grade classes took a field trip to City Hall to advocate for a new playground at Kingsford Park. Those students, now fourth graders, were on hand to help the mayor officially open the playground.

“We have with us today the classroom teachers who actually were the teachers in charge of these now fourth grade students who were second graders when this whole thing started,” Kingsford Park School Principal Mary Volkomer said.

“This all started with these three teachers doing a writing piece and (the students) thought they really needed to see come improvement so they wrote letters to the mayor,” she said.

Players’ Production of ‘Dracula’ Wins State-Wide Recognition
OSWEGO – The Oswego Players’ recent production of “Dracula” received state-wide recognition for excellence after being adjudicated by a representative of the Theater Association of New York State, (also known as TANYS).

Paul Nelson, the TANYS, VP for Adjudication Services, reviewed the show on September 9 and met with the cast and crew after the show.

The Players received an email informing them that as a result of the quality of the production, Nelson had recommend to the board of trustees the following special awards.

These include awards for excellence in acting to Derek Potocki for his portrayal of Abraham Van Helsing, excellence in ensemble acting to the cast, excellence in direction to Troy Pepper, excellence in scenic design to Morgan Fazzio and a meritorious achievement in sound design to Ryan Benson Smith.

Lighthouse Volunteers, Restoration Efforts Applauded
OSWEGO, NY – It had all the elements of a perfect birthday party. There was a large crowd of friends, a rousing rendition of the Birthday Song, cake and other refreshments.

However, Oswego Mayor Billy Barlow hit the pause button on his birthday celebration to fete the Oswego West Pierhead Lighthouse instead.

The Oswego Yacht Club building was jam-packed by city, county and state officials, historians, lighthouse committee volunteers and dozens more who just wanted to celebrate the on-going preservations efforts at the Oswego landmark.

“We are honored and privileged to work on this lighthouse on behalf of our community and our region,” said H. Lee White Maritime Director Mercedes Niess.

The lighthouse is iconic and a very special piece of the Port City’s history, the mayor agreed.

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