Raises OK’d For 2 administrators As Hoefer Returns To School Board

OSWEGO, NY – After a five-year absence from the school board, Fran Hoefer picked up Wednesday night right where he left off.

Hoefer voted no for several extra-compensatory positions, salary adjustments for two administrators and the reappointment of the district’s attorney.

He also proposed money-savings ideas for the district.

Hoefer and newcomer Tom DeCastro took the oath of office during a 30-minute reorganizational meeting.

Sam Tripp was named board president for the coming term and Jim Tschudy was named vice president.

During the regular meeting, the board voted 4-3 to approve the raises for Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Cathy Chamberlain and Assistant Superintendent for Business Pete Colucci.

Tripp and board members John Dunsmoor and Hoefer voted no.

Tschudy and board members Dave White, Sean Madden, and DeCastro voted yes.

The raises bring Chamberlain’s salary to $104,681 (from $101,632) and Colucci’s salary to $101,713 (from $98,750).

“We’re being nice guys by giving 3 percent. It’s a nice thing, it really is. But, we’ve got to stop being quite so nice and quite so generous with other people’s money,” Hoefer said.

“Nothing against Pete or Cathy. They’re both doing a great job, but Pete has told us that next year we’re going to be facing a $7 million deficit in our budget,” Tripp said. “I think now is the time to start working toward that $7 million deficit.”

“We’re giving raises, cutting workloads, making things easier for everybody and our kids are failing. One in three is not making it through the system. We’re paying more and getting less,” Hoefer said. “Our kids are being failed by this district. First off, we need to get our teachers to earn the paychecks we’re paying them.”

They need to have more time on task, he said, adding they don’t spend enough time in the classroom.

“Let’s go to a seven period day. We can extend the class day and get five hours out of them, and we don’t have to negotiate that. It’s an immediate solution to a problem; we’re getting our money’s worth, at least to a larger degree. We don’t have to negotiate with a bunch of junk yard dogs to do it,” Hoefer said.

“Time out, none of that!” White interrupted. “C’mon, none of that.”

“Let me finish,” Hoefer replied.

“I don’t mind you finishing. But, you don’t need to call people junk yard dogs,” White pointed out.

More time on task would go a long way to improve the economic situation of the area, Hoefer said, “So we don’t have a crumbling community under a failing school district.”

If they can cut the tax levy it would bring businesses and homeowners back to the district, according to Hoefer.

Tripp pointed out that the district has been working on that for a long time.

“We’ve talked about it for the last six, seven months,” he said. “Hopefully, we’re moving forward. We’re concerned about the graduation rate, too.

Dunsmoor noted that winning sports teams help instill school spirit, using the past football season as an example. The athletic field, he added, is in need of repair.

“I totally agree with you, Fran,” Dunsmoor said. “I think what Oswego’s lost is our winning edge. We need to respect the things that we have and appreciate the things we have and make them all better and don’t settle for less. And that does take some money in certain things, but you get it back tenfold.”

“You have to feel good about what you do in this world. It just doesn’t come overnight, it doesn’t come easy,” Dunsmoor continued. “These kids need a kick in the butt. And sometimes, other people, too. We need to go back to a little bit of old fashioned tough love.”

There isn’t money for the football field, Hoefer said, because it was spent on “team leaders that we don’t need.”

Superintendent Bill Crist noted that the possibility of more periods during the day has been discussed.

“It’s going to take some time. It’s going to take some time to evolve into that,” he said.

The district’s graduation rate (67 percent) and dropout rate is an embarrassment, Crist admits.

“We’re adding counselors, we’re adding social workers, school psychologists. We’re adding people because we know, we found kids dropping through the cracks,” Crist said. “We are doing something to fix those kids, we are filling in those cracks.”

The students who get their GEDs or take five years to graduate aren’t considered to have graduated, according to state figures, the superintendent pointed out. Yet, many of those kids have gone on to college, he added.

“We are making gains. We’re not making them at the speed that I’m satisfied with and it’s nice to hear that not anyone here is satisfied (with the numbers). This is a district-wide problem. This is not a high school problem,” Crist said.

The district has been showing constant and steady gains on the grades 3 – 8 state test results, Crist noted.

“I appreciate what’s happening here. I appreciate the discussion that is happening here. I have got to be honest with you; it is like moving the Titanic. We’re all pulling the same rope and that ship moves slowly. I’m frustrated by it, just like everybody else,” the superintendent said.

Leighton Elementary School Recognizes Sixth Graders

OSWEGO, NY – Seventh grade is the next stop for the sixth graders from the Frederick Leighton Elementary School.

Recently students were recognized for their accomplishments.

Earning the President’s Education Awards for “Outstanding Academic Achievement” were Alaina Celeste, Heather Eastman, Evan Eshan, William Hogan, Benjamin McCrobie, Karl Mosbo, Jordan Oatman, Brenna Riley, Kayla Volkomer, Nikolas Whiteside, Siara Wilson and Vanessa Wiltsie.

Earning the President’s Education Awards for “Outstanding Educational Improvement” were Anthony Donabella, Devin Higgins, Cheyenne Sanchez and Tyree Varner.

Leighton sixth graders advancing to seventh grade included Meghan Bivens, Eric Butler, Tyler Cary, Emily Domicolo, Heather Eastman, Michael Edwards, Harley Grant, Nicholas Hulbert, Travis Johnson, Julie Keytack, Matthew Marshall, Karl Mosbo, Jordan Oatman, Julianna Pilat, Collin Samson, Cheyenne Sanchez, Carlie Stoebner, Anthony Wetzel and Vanessa Wiltsie.

Other students who will be attending the Oswego Middle School next year were Erica Bivens, Bentley Brosch, Zachary Bush, Cassidy Carpenter, Michael Carpenter, Taylor DiGregorio, Timothy Durham, Evan Eshan, Stephen Geers, Devon Hillman, Steven Larkin, Caitlyn Leone, Benjamin McCrobie, Brenna Riley, Margaret Rowe, George Schroeder, Robert Swan III, Adam Thompson, Tyree Varner, Kayla Volkomer and Nikolas Whiteside.

The remaining FLS students leaving sixth grade for the next level are Sarah Abtey, Austin Batchelor, Andrew Boone, Alicia Carvey, Alaina Celeste, Anthony Donabella, Merry Dowling, Devin Higgins, William Hogan, Lillian Motyka, Juan Rodriguez, Brianna Savage, Skylar Shepard, Robert Sherman, Richard Smiedy, Jonathan Stevens, Austin Swindon, Daniel Wallace and Siara Wilson.

Willow Tree Farms Offering Summer Camps

OSWEGO TOWN, NY – Willow Tree Farms, an Oswego-based equestrian center located on West Lake Road in the Town of Oswego, will be offering a series of summer camps beginning July 6.

“We are very excited about our upcoming summer camps,” said Willow Tree Farms owner Kristin Shanley. “The response we had at our spring open house was very positive, and we are excited to provide the series of camps in July and August.”

The 2009 Willow Tree Farms Summer Camp Program is for ages 5-14, and runs from July 6 through Aug. 14.

There are spots still available for the camps.

A full-service equestrian center, Willow Tree Farms offers 19 stalls, an indoor/outdoor arena, multiple outdoor paddocks for daily turnout, a heated tack room with observation area, full bathroom, and an apple orchard.

Willow Tree Farms, located at 523 West Lake Road, offers stalls available for boarding and year round riding lessons for individuals of all ages and families throughout the region.

“We encourage people to consider the camps this summer, or stop out and learn more about Willow Tree Farms and our equestrian programs,” Shanley added.

This year’s summer camp schedule is as follows:

READ AND RIDE

July 6 – 10 (9 a.m. – noon daily)
Ages: 6 – 12
Improve literacy skills by reading to the horses and participating in horse-related activities (including crafts, riding and caring for the horses).

Reading aloud is a critical component of early childhood literacy.

At this summer camp, every child will have the opportunity to read aloud to a horse daily.

Research has shown that reading to an animal increases confidence and generates excitement about reading.

Combined with horse-themed books and writing assignments, the horses bring the sessions to life and provide text-to-world connections.

Along with practicing their reading skills, children will learn about horsemanship, taking care of horses, and riding horses.

They will participate in horse-themed games, activities, and crafts, and have many opportunities to pet the horses daily.

Cost of camp – $150/child
Contact Person: Meredith Furlong (343-3424)

BE KIND TO ANIMALS
MINI CAMP (in conjunction with the Oswego County Humane Society)

July 20 – 22 (9 a.m. – noon daily)
Ages: 5 – 12

Back to Basics. Learn about friendship, trust and courtesy for all living things. Plus, daily interaction with the farm animals, including horses, goats, dogs, cats and rabbits.

Cost of camp – $90/child
Contact Person: Kristin Shanley (561-1124)

RIDE

August 3 – 7 (9 a.m. – noon daily)
Ages: 6-14

Do you love being outside, games, art and most of all animals? This is the camp for you.

Spend each morning on the farm playing, doing art projects, learning to ride and all about caring for horses. Come to the farm for a week of fun.

Cost of camp – $150/child
Contact Person: Kristin Shanley (561-1124)

RIDE FOR LITTLE KIDS

August 10 – 14 (9 a.m. – noon daily)
Ages: 5 – 8

Do you love being outside, games, art and most of all animals? This is the camp for you. Spend each morning on the farm playing, doing art projects, learning to ride and all about caring for horses.

Each day we incorporate children’s literature into our projects and snacks. Come to the farm for a week of fun.

Cost of camp – $150/child
Contact Person: Christine Stepien (342-1628)

For additional information on Willow Tree Farms or the summer camp program, contact Kristin at (315) 561-1124.

Oswego PD 06/26/2009 to 97/01/2009

Provided by Oswego City Police

Branden W. Matott, 23, of 49 E. Ninth St., Oswego

The subject was charged at about 12:20 a.m. July 1 with fourth-degree criminal mischief.
According to the police report: the defendant allegedly damaged property belonging to another person on West Third Street.
He is to appear in court on July 23.

Martin J. Leyva, 29, of 208 Utica St., Apt. #1, Fulton

The subject was charged at about 11:35 p.m. June 23.
According to the police report: the above defendant was arrested on an active warrant issued by Oswego City Court for original charges of fifth-degree criminal possession of stolen property and theft of services.
He was arraigned and remanded to Oswego County Jail in lieu of $250 bail.
He is to appear in court on June 30.

Harold F. Corradino, 39, of 10 Beech Drive, Scriba

The subject was charged at about 11:35 a.m. June 25 with second-degree menacing.
According to the police report: the above defendant was ticketed after an investigation determined that he allegedly placed a victim in fear of injury by displaying an axe handle in a threatening manner on East Avenue.
He is to appear in court on July 23.

Tyler J. Pluff, 20, of 419 W. Fifth St., Oswego

The subject was charged at about 1:54 a.m. June 24 with DWI, driving with a blood alcohol content greater than .08 percent, third-degree aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, and an equipment violation.
According to the police report: the above defendant was observed operating a motor vehicle which was subsequently stopped by police at West Second and Utica streets for an alleged equipment violation.
Upon investigation and field testing, it was determined that the defendant was allegedly operating the motor vehicle while in an intoxicated condition and while the defendant’s license was suspended.
He is to appear in court on July 23.

Patrick R. Miller, 29, of 202 W Second St., Oswego

The subject was charged at about 8:23 p.m. June 24 with violating the open container.
According to the police report: Mr. Miller was allegedly carrying an open can of Milwaukee’s Best Ice Beer while walking on West Utica Street at West Seventh Street.
He is to appear in court on July 21.

Christopher R. Hart, 24, of 7 James St., Phoenix

The subject was charged at about 2:29 a.m. June 27 with third-degree AUO and speeding.
According to the police report: Mr. Hart was stopped at West Bridge and Second streets for allegedly driving in excess of the posted speed limit.
Mr. Hart was also found to allegedly be operating the vehicle with a suspended driver’s license.
He was released on $100 bail.
He is to appear in court on July 23.

Kodie A. Gaebel, 17, of 173 W. Cayuga St., Oswego

The subject was charged at about 4:23 p.m. June 19 with second-degree harassment.
According to the police report: Mr. Gaebel allegedly contacted the victim by telephone 16 times with no legitimate purpose.
He is to appear in court on July 23.

Angel M. Lackey, 29, of 84 W. Second St., Oswego

The subject was charged at about 1:46 p.m. June 20 with disorderly conduct.
According to the police report: Ms. Lackey was allegedly yelling profanity towards another while in view of pedestrian traffic causing alarm on West Fourth Street.
At about 11 p.m. June 28 she was also charged with petit larceny for allegedly stealing a 24-ounce can of Keystone Light beer, valued at $1.44, from Paul’s Big M.
She is to appear in court on July 23.

Richard A. Hockey, 37, of 276 E Second St., Oswego

The subject was charged at about 3:02 p.m. June 26 with fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon.
According to the police report: Mr. Hockey was found to allegedly be in possession of a set of brass knuckles.
He is to appear in court on July 23.

Michael D. Levison, 21, of 46 Herrick St., Oswego

The subject was charged at about 2:54 a.m. June 27 with disorderly conduct.
According to the police report: Mr. Levison was allegedly yelling profanity in view of pedestrian traffic causing alarm at West Bridge and Second streets.
He is to appear in court on July 23.

Angel Lopez, 17, of 215 Dutch Ridge Road, Oswego

The subject was charged at about 9 p.m. June 25 with second-degree criminal contempt.
According to the police report: Mr. Lopez allegedly violated an order of protection by communicating a threat towards a protected person.
He is to appear in court on July 23.

Steven F. Douglas, 27, of 23 Lincoln Ave., Oswego

The subject was charged at about 7:20 p.m. June 23 with DWI, third-degree AUO, obstructed view and unlicensed operator.
According to the police report: the above defendant was observed by police to be operating a motor vehicle which was subsequently stopped at Route 481 and Woodridge for an alleged driver’s view obstructed violation.
Upon investigation and field testing, it was determined that the defendant was allegedly operating the vehicle while in an intoxicated condition.
He is to appear in court on July 23.

Timothy S. Wawro, 39, of 917 Onondaga Road, Camillus

The subject was charged at about 7:23 p.m. June 19 with DWI, driving with a blood alcohol content greater than .08 percent and an illegal signal.
According to the police report: the above defendant was observed by police to be operating a motor vehicle which was subsequently stopped at East Bridge and Second streets for an alleged illegal signal violation. Upon investigation it was determined that the defendant was allegedly operating the vehicle while in an intoxicated condition.
He is to appear in court on July 23.

Jennifer A. Davies, 28, of 225 Syracuse Ave., Oswego

The subject was charged at about 12:23 a.m. June 26 with DWI, refusal of a breath test and driving the wrong way on a one-way street.
According to the police report: the above defendant was observed by police to be operating a motor vehicle. Which was subsequently stopped at Water and West Cayuga streets for allegedly wrong direction on one-way street violation.
Upon investigation and field testing, it was determined that the defendant was allegedly operating the vehicle while in an intoxicated condition.
She is to appear in court on July 23.

Race Into Good Health With OCO And Oswego Speedway

OSWEGO, NY – Oswego County Opportunities and the Oswego Speedway want to help those 50 years of age and older ‘Race Into Good Health.’

OCO’s Cancer Services Program and the Oswego Speedway have teamed up to offer uninsured men and woman age 50 and older free colorectal cancer screening kits and free tickets to the speedway.

“We not only want to raise awareness of the importance of men and woman aged 50 and older getting screened for colorectal cancer, but also offer these incentives to encourage men and woman not to wait, get screened today!” said Carolyn Handville, coordinator of OCO’s Cancer Services Program.

Upon request, OCO’s Cancer Services Program is distributing free of charge to all uninsured men and women 50 years of age or older, the InSure Fecal Immunochemical Test (FIT) Kit for colorectal cancer.

“The test is totally private and easy to use. There is no need to stop into our office and no doctor visit. Just give us a call and we will mail the kit, complete with instructions and a self-addressed stamped envelope to return the results. It’s fast, easy, and done in the privacy of your own home,” explained Handville.

The new, highly accurate, InSure FIT test for colorectal cancer detects hidden blood in the stool that could be associated with colorectal cancer.

Completing this screening kit is the first step in early detection of colorectal cancer.

“It is a fact that colorectal cancer is 90% curable when detected early, which makes completing your colorectal cancer screening kit of greater importance since early detection is the best prevention against colon cancer!” added Handville.

Free colorectal cancer screening kits are available by calling OCO at 342-0888 ext. 1454.

Those who complete the test and mail it back to the lab by July 31 will receive two free grandstand admission tickets to a race at the famed Oswego Speedway during the 2009 season.

“We are pleased that the Oswego Speedway has joined with us in the effort to encourage men and woman to do their preventative health screenings. We are looking forward to distributing plenty of colorectal cancer screening kits and tickets to the Oswego Speedway,” said Handville.

OCO is a private, non-profit agency that has been supporting communities throughout Oswego County since 1966 and touches the lives of more than 20,000 people annually.

OCO is a United Way of Greater Oswego County member agency.

For more information, visit http://www.oco.org

Harborfest Seniors Concert Features Two Exciting Performances

OSWEGO, NY – Harborfest continues its tradition of seniors concerts with a free concert featuring two exciting performers, Fritz’s Polka Band and The Sinatra Show.

Scheduled for July 26, the Harborfest Seniors Concert will be begin at noon with one of Central New York’s most honored and unique musical acts, Fritz’s Polka Band, bringing its famous ‘polka sound’ to the Family Stage at Fort Ontario.

Formed in 1978, Fritz’s Polka Band has 16 recordings to the its credit as well as numerous awards and accolades from both the Syracuse Area Music Awards (SAMMYS) and the Cleveland-Style Polka Hall of Fame in Euclid, Ohio.

The band has performed with B.B. King at the Blues Club & Grill in New York City; were the first polka band to perform at The China Club in New York City; made history as the first polka band to perform at the famous Metropolitan Club in New York City; and performed at the United States Military Academy at West Point.

It has also had the pleasure of performing with America’s Polka King, Frankie Yankovic and Canada’s Polka King, Walter Ostanek.

Fritz’s Polka Band provides a one of a kind performance that will leave you wanting more.

Following Fritz’s Polka Band will be the swinging sounds of The Sinatra Show, starring the Grammy nominated, Joey Thomas Big Band and the smooth sounds of vocalist Bob Father.

In a celebration of ‘Ol Blue Eyes, The Sinatra Show is a tour de force of the most memorable music and songs of Frank Sinatra.

A true tribute to “The Voice,” The Sinatra Show features the Joey Thomas Big Band performing to perfection, all the original arrangements made famous by Frank Sinatra on his recordings with the Harry James, Tommy Dorsey, Count Basie, and Woody Herman orchestras.

This powerful compilation of Sinatra hits, performed as they were meant to be by a live big band with a true vocal stylist, makes for a moving concert experience that music fans of all ages will not want to miss.

Harborfest is slated for July 23 – 26.

For more information, visit http://www.oswegoharborfest.com

Oswego Pre-K Spots Still Available

OSWEGO, NY – The Oswego City School District is gearing up to welcome next year’s class of Pre-Kindergarten students.

Applications for the Oswego City School District Universal Pre-Kindergarten (UPK) program are still available as 20 slots remain available.

The program is designed for children who were born between Dec. 2, 2004 and Dec. 1, 2005 and is offered at no cost to children who are selected by lottery, according to Cathleen Chamberlain, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction.

The UPK teachers and staff strive to create a warm and nurturing environment for all the four-year-olds.

The goals of the program are to meet the individual needs of four-year-old children in the areas of social, academic, language, emotional and physical development.

This prepares them to successfully enter kindergarten the following year. The UPK teachers and district work closely together to deliver the best first educational experiences for your children.

Sessions are available at the five elementary schools: Charles E. Riley, Fitzhugh Park, Frederick Leighton, Kingsford Park and Minetto.

The program runs in conjunction with the regular school district calendar.

“There will be a maximum of 18 students in each class and the classes will be taught by a certified teacher and teaching assistant,” said Chamberlain.

Morning and afternoon sessions are available.

The program runs from 9-11:30 a.m. for the morning session and 12:30-3 p.m. for the afternoon session.

A meal program will be instituted this fall. However, transportation is not provided.

Anyone who would like their child considered for the program can complete an application that is available at all elementary schools, or the Office of Curriculum and Instruction on the first floor of the Education Center or call 341-2013 for an application form or for more information.