In May – State Funds Parks, Historic Sites; New Fire Chief Named In June

OSWEGO, NY – The following are just a few of the stories that made news in and around the Port City the past 12 months.

The first of nearly three dozen “Trees for Vets” was planted in early May on East Bridge Street, a few yards west of the chamber office.

The program is for veterans and their families – and anyone else – according to co-chairs Tom Galloway and Bill McCarthy.

In September 2009, the Common Council passed a resolution recognizing the Trees for Vets program as a means to honor local veterans and to enhance the city’s opportunities to become a “Tree City USA” member.

“This thing is taking on a life of its own. This is the first of more than 30 trees that have been ordered already,” Galloway said.

“There are going to be a lot more to come,” added McCarthy. “We hope to have trees planted all the way from the city’s east line to the west city line; like things were years ago.”

To find out more about the program, call 342-5262.

Mayor Randy Bateman was appointed to the eight-member nominating committee of the New York State Conference of Mayors.

NYCOM President Gary Vegliante, mayor of the village of West Hampton Dunes, made the selection.

In announcing the appointment, Vegliante said, “Mayor Bateman has been an active participant in NYCOM programs and is well suited to serve on this important committee. His commitment to quality public service in New York State will ensure that the continued leadership of the Conference of Mayors remains in good hands.”

Also in May, Mayor Bateman appointed a new Downtown Parking Committee to address issues relating to parking in the downtown business district.

The committee reviewed the Downtown Parking Plan and current parking regulations and proposed changes to the Common Council for consideration.

The committee, chaired by Councilor Cathy Santos, includes councilors Shawn Walker and Mike Myers, Police Chief Mike Dehm, DPW Commissioner Mike Smith, Beth Hilton, director of the Oswego-Fulton Chamber of Commerce and Norma Barnes, Marilyn Boyzuick, Tonya Crisafulli, Mike D’Amico and Ann Marie King.

Questions or concerns for the committee may be addressed to the mayor’s office at 342-8140 or Santos at 342-8496.

Tax payments for 2011 for Nine Mile Point Unit I will increase from $4 million to $11 million under a tentative tax agreement reached this spring.

A negotiating team for Scriba, Oswego County and the Oswego school district reached a tentative tax agreement with Constellation Energy, owner of Nine Mile Unit I. However, only the county and town approved the deal. The school district is challenging it.

“As part of an agency-wide effort to achieve savings through operational reductions, Fort Ontario State Historic Site will not be opening this weekend for the season,” fort officials announced in early May.

The announcement came as New York State continues to face a historic fiscal crisis.

Objects used to furnish historic rooms in the officer’s quarters were moved to the barracks for safe keeping.

Artifacts which weren’t related to the history of Fort Ontario were moved to a climate controlled facility at Peebles Island State Historic Site in Waterford, NY, where they can be accessed if necessary.

Scheduled events including the June 11 Flag Day commemoration with local schools and the National Encampment of the Brigade of the American Revolution on Aug. 13-15 were canceled.

Kathleen Allen earned one of the two open seats on the Oswego school board with an unofficial tally of 1,961.

Incumbent Jim Tschudy maintained his seat, finishing second with 1,889 votes.

The district’s 2010-11 spending plan was approved 2,031 to 1,735. And, voters OK’d the purchase of new buses, 2,129 to 1,504.

Jeff Carson finished third with a tally of 1,433; John Dunn received 1,142 votes and Sam Sugar 990 votes, according to the unofficial results.

The Oswego Salvation Army dedicated its new home in May.

Captain Kenneth Hayes and Major Corinne Hayes welcomed a huge crowd to the newly renovated Oswego Salvation Army, 73 W. Second St.

Approximately 100 people took part in the building dedication ceremony, worship service and tours of the new facility.

Special guests were Salvation Army commissioners (territorial commanders) Lawrence R. and Nancy A. Moretz and Major Donald and Captain Renee Lance.

“I’d say we had between 75 and 100 for the morning worship service,” Major Hayes said.

It was a day long in coming, she added.

The Citadel offers not only something for the body of those in need, but also something for the soul, Capt. Hayes added.

The new facility is nearly twice the space of the former location.

At the end of May, investigations of two separate sites in Oswego County turned up no human remains.

Earlier in the month, the Sheriff’s Department received information from someone regarding the possible discovery of human remains.

State Sen. Darrel Aubertine joined his colleagues on May 28 in passing legislation that ensured state parks and historic sites were fully operational for the summer 2010 season.

“From the day this was first proposed, I have worked with my colleagues in support of keeping our parks and historic sites open,” said Sen. Aubertine. “The Thousand Islands and the Eastern Basin of Lake Ontario depend on these parks and historic sites for tourism. These attractions generate some $60 million to $80 million in economic activity in this region alone, so it is just financial common sense to make this $6 million investment statewide to keep our summer economy moving.”

Oswego Lost, Gained A Fire Chief In June

In early June, Constellation Energy Nuclear Group filed a grievance with the town of Scriba concerning the $600 million assessment placed on Nine Mile Point Unit I.

The notice was filed in late May to protect the company’s legal rights if Scriba, Oswego County and the Oswego City School District voted down a one-year tax agreement officials with the three entities negotiated with Constellation.

The town and county approved the one-year plan; the school district rejected it.

Constellation would pay $11 million in taxes for 2011 under the tax agreement. The 10-year payment in lieu of taxes, or PILOT, agreement with Constellation expires at the end of this month (December).

Under the PILOT, Constellation paid $4 million in 2010.

At about 10:30 a.m. June 4, Oswego Police were on the scene of a property damage motor vehicle accident on West Second and Bridge streets. The Oswego Fire Department ambulance and rescue crews were also dispatched to the scene.

Upon investigation, it was preliminarily determined that the operator of a 2006 Ford pickup truck was headed west on West Bridge Street between West First Street and West Second streets when the operator suffered from an undetermined medical condition.

The vehicle accelerated, striking a second vehicle which was parked and unoccupied.

The parked vehicle then struck several street signs and came to rest in the intersection of West Bridge and Second streets. The initial vehicle continued upon the north curb and sidewalk of West Bridge Street.

The vehicle then crossed West Second Street striking, and coming to rest against, the east wall of the building on the northwest corner of West Second Street / West Bridge Street.

At the time of the collision, there was one clerk in the Verizon Wireless store who was uninjured, and the Club House Tavern was closed and unoccupied.

The operator of the vehicle, 35-year-old Keith E. Rappleye of Hannibal, was conscious at the scene upon the arrival of EMS and was transported to Oswego Hospital by the Oswego Ambulance for evaluation.

Girl Scouts (of NYPENN Pathways) from the Oswego Service Unit held its year end award ceremony to honor exceptional Girl Scouts.

Girl Scouts receiving “You’ve Made A Difference” Leadership Awards were: Katelyn Clary, Haley Closs, Sabrina Fredenberg, Cassandra Hondro, Miranda Miller, Sierra Palmer, Leanna Restani, Ashley Richmond, Hunter Smith and Rebecca Waggle.

These scouts planned and led numerous events for Oswego Service Unit Girl Scouts of all ages.

Two Girl Scout Gold Award recipients, Allison Carmody and Danielle Mather, were recognized for their outstanding contributions to the community.

The Gold Award is the highest award in Girl Scouting and involves more than 100 hours of preliminary requirements, as well as a minimum 65-hour community service project.

Allison Carmody also received a Girl Scout Scholarship as an Oswego High School graduating senior.

At the June 14 Common Council meeting, Oswego Fire Chief Joe Perry was recognized for his 33 years of service with the department.

He was appointed in 1977 and retired on June 26.

Perry was promoted to lieutenant on May 24, 1998. On Nov. 11, 2000, he was promoted to captain, deputy fire chief training officer on Jan. 3, 2005 and acting fire chief. He was named permanent chief on April 24, 2008.

“We wish him all the best in his retirement,” Mayor Randy Bateman said as he presented the chief with the certificate of appreciation.

Perry thanked the mayor and councilors for supporting the department over the years.

“Also, I’d like to say thank you for all the support from all my officers and firefighters for the last 33 plus years that I’ve been on the fire department,” he said. “The citizens of the city don’t realize what a great group of people they have in the fire department. No matter what the emergency is, whatever the circumstances, they can always depend on them. And mostly, I’d like to thank the citizens. For 33 years, it’s been a great job.”

Oswego’s first-ever Festival of Sail was greeted by pleasant June weather and a large crowd.

Close to 800 people attended the opening of the three-day festival, according to Mercedes Niess, executive director of the H. Lee White Marine Museum. The crowd continued to be large throughout the day.

They expected about 6,000 visitors over the weekend, she added. The grand total was more than 7,000.

The public was able to check out the Marine Museum’s LT-5 Tug and visiting vessels the Unicorn, the Pride of Baltimore II and the Lynx.

A portion of the proceeds from the event benefited the H. Lee White Marine Museum.

On June 24, Mayor Bateman announced that he has appointed Jeffrey M. McCrobie as Chief of the Oswego Fire Department.

McCrobie replaced Chief Joseph Perry who retired June 26.

McCrobie is a 25-year veteran of the department. He had served as First Assistant Fire Chief since April 27, 2008.

Mayor Bateman also announced that Donald T. Dowd II would replace McCrobie as First Assistant Fire Chief.

Dowd has been in the Fire Department since June 19, 1989. He had served as a Fire Captain since December 2, 2007.

Near the end of June, the Oswego City Fire Department was mourning the loss of one of its own.

Firefighter Scott Davis died suddenly while downstate.

“It was a complete shock to all of us,” McCrobie said. “We were notified by some family members.”

Davis was a veteran firefighter – critical care technician.

He had just come off duty and was visiting family, according to John Geraci, president of the local firefighters’ union.

At 10:50 a.m. June 27, they were still Oswego High School seniors. Just 25 minutes later, they were nearly 300 freshly-minted OHS alumni.

Graduation day 2010 was a day to reflect on the past 13 years, and more importantly, look toward the future.

“The events of an average day don’t stand out in our memory. But, something out of the ordinary may as well have a flashing neon sign in our minds,” Lindsay Johnson, OHS class of 2010 valedictorian, told her fellow graduates.

Their four years together in high school were filled with many such special memories, she added.

“It was a timeline of memorable classroom scenes, sporting events, practices, concerts, school musicals, rehearsals, clubs, field trips, assemblies, proms, homecomings and time with friends,” she said. “And though the words to Mr. Canale’s songs may get fuzzy and the many lessons that were sat through will be coated with fog, the classmates you were next to and the teachers that taught you more than they had to will remain clear. In 30 years, an average high school day will be much harder to recall; but the experiences we had may seem like yesterday.”