Only A Few Changes Following November Elections

OSWEGO, NY – The core of the Oswego Common Council remained intact. All five of the incumbents would return to the council for a new term, according to the results of the November general election.

In the Third Ward, Cathy Santos (D) beat Miles Becker (R) to gain the seat vacated by Sue Sweet (R).

Seventh Ward alderman Mike Joyce (R) campaigned for the county’s 15th District seat. He lost the three-way race to Jacob Mulcahey (D).

Lee B. Walker Jr., the incumbent legislator of the 15th District, sought the Seventh Ward seat in the Port City.

He lost the three-way race to Ron Kaplewicz (O, I).

The Oswego County Legislature remained a 21-4 majority in favor of the Republicans.

Art Gearsbeck lost his reelection bid to another Republican, John Martino.

The Democrats gained a seat as Amy Tresidder ousted incumbent Republican Paul Santore in the 16th District.

That was offset as incumbent Democrat Phil Vasho lost his 22nd District seat to Republican James Karasek.

Also in November, the county’s Finance and Personnel Committee approved the tentative 2010 budget.

The budget called for a county tax rate of $7.18 per $1,000 of assessed valuation; that’s the same rate as this year and last year. It wound up being $7.16.

If the voters approve this version of the budget, they won’t see any increase in their county taxes, Phil Church, county administrator, told the comittee.

The 2010 budget, if approved as is, would be the seventh consecutive budget where the tax rate has gone down or stayed the same, Church added.

The spending plan then headed to the other legislative committees that dealt with various parts of the budget specific to them; and then to the full legislature.

“The recommendation of this committee is to leave the budget as is,” said Art Ospelt, committee chair. “Now it will go back to the other committees. Hopefully, if they do anything at all to the budget it will be to make cuts.”

In early November, Judge Walter Hafner agreed to adjourn Jones’ sentencing until later.

Sal Lanza, Jones’ defense lawyer, had filed a motion to have the jury’s guilty verdict overturned.

In late September, Jones was found guilty of second-degree murder in connection with the death of his 11-year-old step-sister.

However, a member of the Jones jury “reached out” to him, expressing concern about what transpired in the during the deliberations, Lanza said.

The juror said he believes Jones is innocent, Lanza added.

Erin Maxwell died in August 2008 after being strangled by Jones.

Later that month Jones returned to court

After listening to Lanza present his arguments, and a response from the District Attorney the judge denied the motion to set aside the jury’s verdict.

Jones was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.

DA Donald Dodd said “the sentence imposed by the judge is absolutely warranted, absolutely justified. An 11-year-old girl will never breathe another breath. The circumstances were very, very difficult for her in terms of where she lived. And, this man caused her death – killed her. He deserves every day of 25 years in prison.”

Assistant District Attorney Mark Moody responded to Lanza’s claim that the juror now believes Jones is innocent by characterizing it as “a case of buyer’s remorse.”

A mixed martial arts training facility in Oswego, is a work in progress.

Its tentative opening date was Nov. 10, according to owner Bill Ruggio Jr. The opening has been delayed.

“This is the newest up and coming sport,” Ruggio said. “It is very big in just about every state, except New York, right now. But the problem is, you can only train, you can’t actually compete. But it is the fastest-growing sport there ever was. It’s actually bigger than boxing.”

The fierceness of the sport has some people opposed to it.

“A lot of people think that this is just something for the thugs,” Ruggio said.

However, he adds, he would welcome everyone, including ruffians, to train at the school.

“That’s the thing, we aren’t going to be teaching how to go out and take advantage of someone else. We are all about respect and control,” Ruggio explained. “We teach how to stay controlled, not how to be aggressive.”

At its Nov. 3 meeting, the Oswego Board of Education unanimously accepted the resignation of Aleicia M. Stancliffe.

She had been arrested in October in connection with one of the four bomb threats that occurred in the school district.

She’s facing one count of first-degree falsely reporting an incident.

On Nov. 10, at approximately 6:42 p.m., police responded to 207 E. Seventh St., Oswego, to check on the welfare of an elderly couple that resided at that address.

Upon entry to the residence, police discovered the couple’s bodies.

They were identified as 89-year-old Richard Hyse and his wife, 86-year-old Josephine Hyse.

Dr. Hyse was an emeritus economics professor at SUNY Oswego. His wife was a well-known local graphic artist and watercolorist.

In late November, fire investigators searched for the cause of a fire at the vacant Palermo home of Erin Maxwell.

The fire was reported at 1:37 a.m. and extinguished in about 10 minutes.

There were no injuries reported.

The state’s largest tire dump is no longer in Oswego County.

On Nov. 19, state, county and local officials gathered at the Fortino Tire Yard to announce that cleanup of the site is nearly 100 percent complete.

For years, the Pinnacle Road Spur site in West Monroe had been considered home of the state’s largest tire dump.

According to the state Department of Environmental Conservation, there were 11.4 million waste tires removed from the 50-acre dump.

“We are very pleased that it has been cleaned up,” said Barry Leemann, chair of the Oswego County Legislature. “This is definitely a big step forward in making Oswego County a better place.”

Saratoga County now has the dubious honor of having the state’s largest waste tire dump (a site with ‘just’ five million tires), Leemann said.

Carl Palmitesso served the Oswego City School District students and community in many ways.

The Oswego Middle School’s mini theater was dedicated in his memory Nov. 19.

During his decades in education, Palmitesso taught earth science and driver’s education at Oswego High School. He served as a vice principal at OHS, also.

When the Oswego Middle School opened, he was named its first principal.

He retired in 1986 but didn’t walk away from education or the district and its students. He was elected to three terms on the board of education, serving from 1987 to 1996.