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County Prepares To Squash Flu Bug

OSWEGO, NY – In early October, Dr. Dennis Norfleet, Oswego County Public Health Director, asked the county Health Committee to allow him to use funds from a Public Health Emergency Preparedness grant to fight the flu.

“As you know, it’s a very dynamic situation with pandemic flu, Swine Flu; and we don’t know when or exactly how much Swine Flu vaccine we’ll be getting. When it does come, we’ll have to move very quickly in order to get it out to the selected population,” Dr. Norfleet said.

The county was working with the state health department and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to monitor this outbreak, Dr. Norfleet added.

After a third place finish in 2007 and runner up last year, Alan Nesbitt of Canisius (south of Rochester) won top honors Oct. 3 at the 2009 Oswego Great Pumpkin Fest.

After a second place finish in 2007 (with a 1,149.5 pounder), Joe Pukos took home the top prize in 2008 with a 1,219.5 entry. Nesbitt was right on his heels with a 1,141-pound pumpkin.

In 2009, Nesbitt pulled away from the competition and won the crown with an entry that tipped the scales at 1,229.5 pounds.

Matt VerSchneider of Freeville (south of Cortland) had taken the top spot with a weight of 1,089 with one pumpkin left to go . . . Nesbitt’s.

He looked over at the hulk, glanced at the official weight of his entry and remarked, “There’s your winner. That’s 1,100, maybe 1,200 easily.”

The other three pumpkins to crack the 1,000-pound plateau at this year’s festival were Randy and Deb Sundstrom with 1,028 followed by Brian Staring with 1,048 and Tim Finn at 1,079.

State Sen. Darrel J. Aubertine announced on Oct. 6 that he had secured more than $1.02 million for the city of Oswego.

The funding will enable the city to purchase equipment needed to better serve city residents without increasing property taxes to do so.

“This equipment will meet some immediate needs for the city of Oswego, to help the city maintain services, including road construction and snow removal,” Sen. Aubertine said. “In Central and Northern New York, we all know the difficulties that our cities face, balancing the need to provide services and keep property taxes from rising. The equipment this funding will purchase will help the city Department of Public Works continue operating efficiently for city residents without adding to the property tax burden. I want to thank the mayor, the council and city employees for their work to secure this funding.”

Bill Owens, the endorsed Democratic Congressional candidate in New York’s 23rd District, met with volunteers and local candidates on Oct. 3 at the grand opening of his Oswego field office on East Bridge Street.

The candidate welcomed supporters and talked about his plans for job creation and protecting veterans.

Owens would go on to win the election in November.

The Oswego Middle School was evacuated after a threatening note was found in the building on Oct. 7.

Students were moved to a safe, sheltered area while city police and district officials searched the building.

Nothing suspicious was found.

Students at the middle school and the high school were evacuated on Oct. 13 due to a bomb threat at each building.

District officials along with police searched the middle school. Nothing suspicious was found,

Following a search of the high school, students returned after authorities determined the building was safe.

It was the second bomb scare at OMS in less than a week.

On Oct. 7, a threatening note was found in the building. Nothing suspicious was found after a search of the school then, either.

Oswego Middle School was evacuated for the third time in a little over a week on Oct. 15 as yet another bomb threat was discovered in the building.

Students were evacuated at approximately 1 p.m., at which time they were released to go home because it was late in the school day.

Both the school district and Oswego City Police Department were continuing to investigate all of the incidents.

Also in October, Oswego High School student Kristen Bartholomew (trumpet) found out she had been selected for the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.

Kristen and 96 others will perform during halftime of the nation’s premier high school football game on Jan. 9 in San Antonio, Texas.

The OHS senior was recognized recently in a ceremony at Faust Theater in OHS.

Sal Lanza, defense lawyer for Lindsey and Lynn Maxwell, filed paperwork in Oswego County Court on Oct. 13 to allow the Maxwells to be freed from jail while their appeal is considered.

Earlier in October, the couple was sentenced to two years in Oswego County Jail after being found guilty of four counts each of endangerment of a child, a misdemeanor.

They were later released but have since returned to jail to begin serving their sentences.

On Oct. 20, city police and school district officials announced the arrests of two suspects in the recent bomb scares at Oswego schools.

One suspect was a student; the other a district staff member.

Regarding the Oct. 7 bomb threat at Oswego Middle School, the suspect is a 15-year-old girl.

The suspect in the Oct. 15 bomb threat at OMS is 23-year-old Aleicia M. Stancliffe. She was identified by Superintendent William Crist as a teacher’s aide at OMS, working as a sign language interrupter for special needs students.

Stancliffe has since resigned from her position with the district.

On Oct. 20, at approximately 1:18 p.m., members of the Oswego County Sheriff’s Office were dispatched to a motor vehicle accident on State Route 3 in the Town of Hannibal between County Route 7 and Pollard Road.

A 1999 Jeep being operated by Sal Licciardello, 72, of 139 Emilia Circle, South, Rochester, crossed the center line striking a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt nearly head on, deputies said.

The Cobalt was operated by Tanya Mellon, 24, of 326 Sharp Road, Fulton. Mellon was pronounced dead at the scene.

Liccardi was transported by Menter Ambulance to Oswego Hospital where he was later pronounced dead.

A passenger in the Jeep was airlifted by State Police Helicopter to Upstate University Hospital in Syracuse.

During an Oct. 26 visit to the Port of Oswego Authority, US Sen. Chuck Schumer unveiled legislation he hopes will help prevent another case like the death of Erin Maxwell.

Schumer’s plan, the “Erin Maxwell Memorial Grant Program” would provide federal grants to social services agencies so they can hire enough caseworkers to handle suspected cases of abuse or neglect.

Two members of the city’s fire department were facing misdemeanor forgery charges in connection to an Oct. 3 incident.

Brian Conzone, 43, and Brooks Hourigan, 39, were charged on Oct. 26 with third-degree forgery and second-degree falsifying business records.

They allegedly signed a person’s name to the Oswego City ambulance service transport report.

Late this fall, charges against the pair were adjourned in contemplation of dismissal.