2018 Review: March – Rudy’s Welcomes Spring, Barlow Proposes Tax Exemptions, A $1 Million Gift from Shineman Foundation

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

Mayor Barlow Proposes Tax Exemptions For Property Improvement Projects
OSWEGO – Mayor Billy Barlow announced March 1 his proposal to make permanent the city of Oswego Residential Home Improvement Tax Exemption, a tax break to encourage home improvement projects.

The exemption, which was set to expire in April, was initiated by Barlow in 2015 as a member of the Common Council.

Mayor Barlow also proposed a new local law that provides a similar tax exemption for businesses within the city of Oswego that improve, expand or renovate their property.

The Residential Home Improvement Tax Exemption encourages homeowners to invest in their property by temporarily exempting the value of the improvement project from being fully taxed for eight years, including a 100% exemption in the first year.

Mayor Barlow’s proposed Business Investment Tax Exemption requires a $10,000 improvement project and temporarily exempts the value of the improvement project from being fully taxed for 10 years.

Mayor Barlow Proposes Blight Reduction Loan Program For Vacant Property
OSWEGO – Mayor Billy Barlow announced March 2 a proposed piece of legislation that he believes may be the most effective code enforcement measure yet to address vacant and blighted property in the city of Oswego.

The legislation would allow the city of Oswego to repair property cited for exterior code violations and bring the property back into compliance with city rules and laws.

The cost associated with the repair work would be charged to the property owner’s tax bill with a surcharge and interest, allowing the city to establish a revolving loan repair fund to administer and continue the program with no additional cost to city taxpayers.

The city of Oswego will utilize $44,000 from a New York State grant to start the program.

“The Blight Reduction Loan Program will be the ultimate code enforcement tool for the city of Oswego to use to reduce blight and quickly bring properties in violation back into compliance, while drastically reducing the negative affect these properties have on city neighborhoods,” said Mayor Barlow.

The Blight Reduction Loan Program was incorporated in Chapter 85 in the City Code, which addresses vacant buildings.

Oswego Nominated For Best Short Track, Series Social Media in ’51 Awards’
OSWEGO, NY – For the second year in a row, Oswego Speedway was nominated by Speed51.com for Best Short Track/Series Social Media in the United States.

After winning the category in 2016 to beat out the World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series, NASCAR Home Tracks, PASS, and Madison International Speedway, new public relations director Camden Proud was excited to be in the running again.

“As part of last year’s 51s, Oswego Speedway was able to capture both the ‘Best Short Track’ and ‘Best Social Media’ Awards,” Proud said. “Less than a year into my new position at the track, it’s an honor to be in the running again and we encourage all of our fans to visit Speed51.com and vote for Oswego. Speedway management gives our hats off to the staff at Speed 51 for doing a great job with these awards each season. It’s great to see everyone get on and support their favorite short track or series.”

Proposed School Capital Improvement Plan Fails
OSWEGO – The Oswego City School District’s proposed $60,180,000 capital improvement project was soundly defeated by voters.

The unofficial count was 905 no to 572 yes.

The no votes outnumbered the yes votes in all four districts.

“We don’t have a contingency plan yet. But the facilities committee is going to meet to discuss things,” Superintendent Dr. Dean Goewey told Oswego County Today.

A revamped proposed was approved in December.

Security, Safety Paramount On School, College Campuses
OSWEGO – The news had been saturated with reports of threats of violence, lockdowns and, in some places, active shooters in March.

“A lot of things have been happening over the last few weeks; there’s been much discussion about safety and security,” Oswego School Superintendent Dr. Dean Goewey said at Tuesday night’s board of education meeting.

He had attended a safety summit at Onondaga Central School, which was actually planned before the tragic events in Florida, he pointed out.

“We spent the day listening to a great presenter about safety and security of students in schools. Many of the things we currently have put in place in our district were talked about and there were some very good suggestions for other things that we’re going to try to incorporate into our district,” he said.

The district is looking to purchase a system that will scan a visitor’s driver’s license and create an identification. At the same time it is creating the identification sticker, it does a quick background check on that individual.

The district hosted an administrative council, attended by representatives of the fire and police departments.

Forget The Snow, Rudy’s Opening Heralds The Arrival Of Spring
OSWEGO TOWN, NY – Old Man Winter conspired with Mother Nature to thwart the arrival of “Spring.” This year, however, they failed.

In 2017, a winter state of emergency delayed the opening of Rudy’s by one day.

This year, dozens of hungry patrons shrugged off the snow, ice and wind to welcome the iconic restaurant back for another season.

Doug Appleman has been a member of the Rudy’s family for more than 22 years.

“We’re looking for another great year,” he said. “We’re always excited for opening day, to welcome back people we haven’t seen all winter.”

Local residents know that Spring really returns as soon as the historic little restaurant nestled on the shore of Lake Ontario at The Loop, throws open its doors.

“The food tastes good now; it’ll tastes even better when you can sit outside and enjoy the summer,” said one of the first customers to arrive, Debbie Gilmore.

Councilor: Local Law An Opportunity For Neighbors To Help Neighbors
OSWEGO – The Common Council approved Local Law #1 of 2018.

The law aggressively increases the enforcement, fines and penalties for property maintenance issues such as tall grass, un-shoveled sidewalks, exposed garbage and the tidiness of property visible from city streets.

The legislation is part of Mayor Billy Barlow’s continuing effort to reduce neighborhood blight and “address some of the most unsightly and reoccurring violations in our community.”

It allows the Code Enforcement department to be more proactive in addressing these nuisance violations, the mayor explained, adding that by increasing enforcement and implementing higher fines, the city hopes to prevent these violations from occurring in the first place.

United Way Salutes Volunteers, Presents Awards
OSWEGO – The United Way of Greater Oswego County held its Salute to Volunteers and Leadership Giving Luncheon at The American Foundry.

The Outstanding Special Event award was presented to Dufores Jewelry. The award notices a collaborator who has for a period of time established an event that brings significance to the organization through awareness or annual giving.

“This year’s recipient of the Special Event award goes to a local business that has been a prominent figure in our community for more than 60 years. The have contributed a source of pride and community in the downtown (Oswego) area,” said Rob Rolfe of the United Way Board.

Burritt Motors was the recipient of the Spirit of Community award.

The honor is given to the organization that demonstrates a strong commitment to improving the quality of life in Oswego County.

Budget Process Under Way In Oswego School District
OSWEGO – The Oswego School Board got started on the 2018-19 budget process. Members received an overview of the capital component of the budget at March 20’s meeting.

“The budget process is really a three-pronged process,” Dr. Dean Goewey, superintendent, told the board Tuesday. “The first step is to gather data.”

The administration will project salaries from payroll, analyze the three-year history of revenue and expenditures, and analyze the Governor’s preliminary state aid runs.

“Historically, and it will be true this year, we anticipate, that the legislative budget will come out in a few weeks, hopefully, and usually gives us more money than the Governor’s proposed budget,” the superintendent said.

Then, he said, they will meet with the shareholders in the district. That includes building principals and department heads. After that, the superintendent will meet with his cabinet on internal requests.

Sheriff Reuel Todd Step Down
Reuel “Moe” Todd is not running for county sheriff, his daughter announced at the GOP Committee meeting March 15.

He’d stay on to finish his term.

Maintenance Work Completed NM-1 Returns To Full Power
OSWEGO, NY – Exelon Generation’s Nine Mile Point Nuclear Station Unit 1 returned to full power at 11 p.m. on March 20, after removing the unit from service on March 17 for planned maintenance that helped ensure reliable summer operations.

Nine Mile Point Nuclear Station is located seven miles northeast of Oswego and 50 miles north of Syracuse.

The station can produce more than 1,937 megawatts of carbon-free electricity – enough to power nearly two million homes.

Oswego’s Police Chief Completes Training At FBI National Academy
OSWEGO, NY – Mayor Billy Barlow announced that Oswego City Police Chief Tory L. DeCaire, along with 222 other law enforcement officials, graduated March 16 from the FBI National Academy Program in Quantico, Virginia.

According to a March 16, 2018 U.S Department of Justice Federal Bureau of Investigation press release: “The 271st session of the National Academy consisted of men and women from 48 states. Included in the class are members of law enforcement agencies from the District of Columbia, 18 international countries, five military organizations and five federal civilian organizations.”

The program offers 10 weeks of advanced communication, leadership and fitness training for selected officers with proven records of professionalism within their agencies.

12 Schools To Share $100,000 For New Garden/Farm Program
Senator Patty Ritchie announced March 29 that 12 schools in Jefferson, Oswego and St. Lawrence counties would share $100,000 to start or expand school gardens as part of the Senator’s new “Seeds of Success” agricultural education program.

“School garden programs not only help students learn how to grow their own food, they help grow young minds too. Students are able to apply lessons from throughout their curriculum, from learning about soils, biology and nutrition to better understanding the management and economics of a farm or agriculture business. Along the way, a few just might be inspired to continue their studies to become farmers, or successful agriculture entrepreneurs,” Senator Ritchie, who chairs the Senate Agriculture Committee, said.

The list of school districts receiving “Seeds of Success” funding is as follows:
Oswego County
Central Square Central School District
Hannibal Central School District
Fulton City School District
Oswego City School District

Council Approves Pair Of Tax Exemption Plans
OSWEGO – The Common Council approved two local laws that Mayor Billy Barlow hoped would encourage revitalization in the Port City’s business community as well as in the private sector.

Earlier that month, the mayor proposed to make permanent the City of Oswego Residential Home Improvement Tax Exemption, a tax break to encourage home improvement projects.

And, he also proposed a new local law that provides a similar tax exemption for businesses within the city of Oswego that improve, expand or renovate their property.

The exemptions for each are based on a scale and go down each year of the pact, the mayor pointed out.

“We are trying to encourage participation,” the mayor said. “I encourage people to pick up an application and take advantage of it.”

Several Hundreds Descend On Breitbeck For Egg Hunt
OSWEGO, NY – Four months before Harborfest, egg-citement reigned supreme for hundreds of children in Breitbeck Park.

Approximately 850 children “hunted” for colorful plastic Easter eggs scattered around Oswego’s Breitbeck Park – mostly in plain sight. The eggs contained a variety of goodies.

Scores of parents were also on hand. Some crossed the caution tape to assist their children in egg hunting.

This year’s event was conducted by the Kiwanis Club in concert with the Oswego City-County Youth Bureau.

When things quieted down, an extra egg hunt was conducted at 1 p.m. this year for special needs children.

“It looks like we have a lot more people than last year,” said volunteer organizer Jennifer Losurdo of the Youth Bureau as she looked over the huge crowd of children at the registration table.
By the end of the event, the crowd had swelled to more than 1,120.

St. Lawrence Seaway Begins 60th Navigation Season
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation joined with the Canadian St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation to mark the opening of the Seaway’s 60th navigation season on March 29.

The official opening ceremony of the binational waterway took place in St. Catharines, Ontario, with Canadian Transport Deputy Minister Michael Keenan attending as honored guest and SLSMC President and CEO Terence Bowles and SLSDC Associate Administrator Thomas Lavigne addressing the gathering.

“The Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway System is a key maritime corridor,” said U.S.Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao. “We look forward to another successful year of moving commerce through this dependable and safe maritime transportation system.”

More than 227,000 jobs and $35 billion in economic activity are supported by movement of various cargoes on the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway System.

Shineman Foundation’s $1 Million Gift To Expand, Name College’s ‘Sheldon Institute for Barbara Shineman Scholars’
OSWEGO — SUNY Oswego’s popular summertime educational enrichment program will touch the lives of many more schoolchildren for generations to come, thanks to a $1 million gift from the Richard S. Shineman Foundation to expand the institute and rename it the “Sheldon Institute for Barbara Shineman Scholars.”

SUNY Oswego professor emerita and alumna Dr. Barbara Palmer Shineman helped establish the Sheldon Institute 40 years ago this summer. She personally developed its curriculum for young students and delivered teacher training for those leading the institute’s programming each year.

The institute currently serves 130 children in second through 10th grades during its annual two weeks of academic and cultural programs.

The gift to the Oswego College Foundation, from the Richard S. Shineman Foundation that Barbara Shineman established in her late husband’s memory, will generate $40,000 annually — more than doubling the program’s operating budget, enhancing the learning experience, growing its reach and increasing access through need-based scholarships.

“I cannot think of a more fitting tribute to Barbara — one of our most loyal and dedicated alumni and an exceptional teacher,” said college President Deborah F. Stanley.
Stanley noted that applications for the institute grow each year, as children and parents hear about its exemplary model for advancing educational experiences across disciplines.

The gift and the institute’s naming were timed to honor Barbara Shineman on her 90th birthday in April 2018.

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