Property owners in the city of Oswego were hammered last year with a 43 percent property tax increase. But this year, the city's mayor says he expects a much more pleasant result for the city's taxpayers, citing several positive changes in the city.
Nearly one year ago, Mayor Tom Gillen and the Oswego Common Council were heavily criticized for their passage of the massive tax hike.
Residents living in the city of Oswego have been making small changes to the exteriors of their houses in an effort to beautify neighborhoods. The goal of the program isn't just to restore property values, but to restore pride as well.
Catharine Early has lived in her home on the corner of West Third St. for about eight years. But it wasn't until this summer that she took action to repair an old retaining wall near the side of her house.
The Port of Oswego has spent the summer replacing rail lines and creating a rail yard east of its main site in Oswego to help the facility continue its planned expansion. But the project has some Oswego residents worried that those changes could prevent them from visiting a stretch of shoreline along Lake Ontario that has been accessible for years.
Rocco Saya created a Facebook page to gather supporters of an openly accessible shoreline. He says the Port of Oswego has not fully communicated its intentions for the area with citizens.
The city of Oswego is taking the first step toward restoring peace and quiet to residents living near the Oswego River.
Last night, the Oswego Common Council voted unanimously to terminate an agreement with Brookfield Renewable Energy allowing the company to post warning signs. Brookfield also uses an alert system with sirens meant to warn fisherman about rising water levels near a dam that the company operates. Homeowners say the sirens are too loud and go off too frequently, including one resident who said he can't open his windows because of the frequent noise.
The Oswego Common Council is expected to vote tonight on a resolution taking away Brookfield Renewable Power's right to regulate an area of the Oswego River near a hydropower dam it operates. Third Ward City Councilor Michael Todd says if the resolution is successful, it could also help the city address problems with the company's use of warning sirens for fishermen that are causing residents to complain.
Republican candidate for governor Rob Astorino was in Oswego Tuesday to meet with supporters, including Assemblyman Will Barclay, to discuss his plans for office if elected. One of the many topics he covered was the need to regrow the upstate economy, including leveraging the region's residents and location to help spur economic development.
Community leaders, business representatives and educators met in Oswego recently to discuss ways to reduce bullying in schools and provide students with the tools to become successful citizens. The "Inspire 14" program was hosted by the non-profit organization Wisdom Thinkers Network, and attempts to prepare children for the future through story telling.
Ralph Singh, chairman of the Wisdom Thinkers Network, says the program fosters collaboration between students and their communities.
The United States Geological Survey has added a new research vessel to its Great Lakes fleet, which will help monitor the health of Lake Ontario.
The new boat replaces a boat that was in use for fifty years and was finally decommissioned a couple years ago. The Research Vessel Kaho, which means searcher or hunter in Ojibwe, was commissioned and christened in Oswego Wednesday morning, even though it's been in use since last year.
A small crowd gathered near downtown Oswego Monday morning in support of Gary Thibodeau, who they believe was wrongly convicted of kidnapping 18-year-old Heidi Allen from a convenience store 20 years ago.
More than two dozen people held signs along Route 104 in Oswego, urging motorists to honk if they believe Gary Thibodeau should be free. Thibodeau's brother, Richard, and niece Amanda Crawford organized Monday's "Gary the Innocent" rally to make people aware of what Crawford calls an injustice.
The Sheldon Ballroom at SUNY Oswego was packed to capacity recently, as residents learned how to survive on their own in the case of an emergency.
As visitors watched a PowerPoint presentation, a member of the New York National Guard explained to them the types of disasters that could devastate a community like Oswego. It's this kind of preparation that Master Sgt. Peter Towse, with the National Guard, says can help someone in the case of an emergency.
For the past month, members of the Oswego community have been rehearsing a historical play based on real events, commemorating the 200th anniversary of the area's involvement in the war of 1812. WRVO's Mark Lavonier met with members of the production team to learn more about the play.
The play "The Great Rope" will be performed inside the grounds of Fort Ontario tonight at 6pm in Oswego.
Hundreds of people came to Oswego's Nine Mile Point Nuclear Learning Center to get a better understanding of how the power plants work and what employees do each day to keep the plant working properly.
The event allowed visitors, including nine-year-old Ethann Browne, to see first hand how employees are trained in its two reactor simulators.
"I already like researching nuclear power and learning much about it, but I'm here today to learn more about nuclear power from the professionals."
Harborfest, an annual four-day event that brings more than 100,000 people to the city of Oswego, begins Thursday.
The Oswego Police Department says they are beefing up patrols to prepare for the influx of people and to try to keep everyone safe, but Police Chief Tory DeCaire says they always need extra help.
"We rely heavily on outside agencies and the law enforcement assistance that they provide," DeCaire explained. "We are going to have officers on foot, on bike, on ATVs, as well as marked police cars, and officers detailed at specific venues."
Novelis Inc. is in federal court in Syracuse to defend itself against charges by the National Labor Relations Board. The case stems from allegations by the United Steelworkers Union that the Oswego aluminum manufacturer interfered with a vote by its workers to unionize.
Homeowners in the city of Oswego will be able to voice their opinions at a pubic hearing on a proposal to reinstate the city's five percent property tax cap. The original limit was removed in 2011, but after the city's common council approved a 43 percent property tax increase in December, support has been growing to bring it back.
But Oswego Mayor Tom Gillen says this year's tax hike was unavoidable.
Oswego's Safe Haven Museum is marking 70 years since Fort Ontario served as a camp for Jewish refugees fleeing Europe during World War II. To celebrate the event, one Oswego resident who lived near the fort at the time talked about what it was like and tells the story of her long-lost friendship with one refugee.
Beginning Thursday, the Safe Haven Museum in Oswego is celebrating the 70th anniversary of when 982 Jewish refugees were first housed at Fort Ontario.
In 1944, President Franklin Roosevelt allowed 1,000 Jewish refugees to enter the United States as guests, and they lived at the decommissioned Fort Ontario base in Oswego until 1946, when they were allowed to stay as American citizens or return home. The refugee camp, known as "Safe Haven," was the only location of its kind in the U.S.
Oswego Mayor Tom Gillen has vetoed one of the two resolutions passed just days after this year's controversial Bridge Street Run. The Oswego Common Council unanimously passed a measure to bill SUNY Oswego for overtime costs accrued by police, fire and public works department associated with the unsanctioned annual pub crawl.
Nearly 30 people were arrested and two were injured during this year's event. Three students also overdosed on heroin during Bridge Street Run, but police say the event is not to blame.
A rising demand for automotive aluminum to meet federal fuel mileage standards is helping Novelis in Oswego plan for the next five years, including spending millions of dollars on infrastructure and building projects and creating up to 250 new jobs.
Plant Manager Chris Smith says this is the first time in the plant's 51 year history that it has been able to provide employees with an extended plan. He says it's because the company's recent automotive contracts are longer than the majority of Novelis' prior business agreements... which lasted between one and two years.
Students on the SUNY Oswego campus have been taking to social media to voice their concerns about proposals to change the tradition of Bridge Street Run, an unsanctioned bar crawl that draws hundreds of students and others to the city to celebrate the last day of classes.
The city of Oswego Police Department has arrested two men in connection with the heroin overdoses that occurred in the early Saturday morning hours in Oswego.
Brian Tumolo, 21, of Manorville, N.Y., has been charged with selling heroin to two people, who later were taken to Oswego Hospital and treated for suspected heroin overdoses. Tumolo was arrested early Saturday morning.
One of the individuals Tumolo is alleged to have sold the heroin to is Gabriel Gonzalez, 22, of Bridgeport, Conn. Gonzalez was arrested Monday evening and also charged with selling heroin.
The city of Oswego Common Council voted unanimously Monday night to ban the Bridge Street Run, a decades-old pub crawl that draws hundreds of SUNY Oswego students to downtown Oswego each spring on the last day of classes.
Today is the last day of classes for the school year at SUNY Oswego, a day that some Oswego students treat like a holiday. That’s because every year Oswego’s Bridge Street explodes with hundreds of people for the bar crawl called the Bridge Street Run, also known as BSR. Participants wear white t-shirts that are signed by friends and fellow classmates as they go from bar to bar.
For some students the event has become a staple of their time at SUNY Oswego.
Oswego's Common Council was recently presented with a petition seeking to add a five percent tax cap back to the city's charter, which was removed in 2011. The city of Oswego continues to deal with resident complaints about last year's 43 percent property tax hike, and struggle with balancing its budget.
Lawyer Kevin Caraccioli got more than 500 people to sign the petition. He says the tax cap would work in the same way as it does in school budgets, requiring city voters to approve budgets that surpass the tax cap.
Seventy years ago, nearly 1,000 European refugees came to Oswego to escape the Holocaust during World War II. Now the city's Safe Haven Museum is collecting and cataloging stories from those living in the city at the time, for what it calls the "Neighbors Project." The refugees, many of them Jewish, were housed at Fort Ontario from 1944 until 1946. The camp was the only one of its kind in the United States.
The Oswego Common Council has voted five to zero to amend its taxi cab law, after working on it for more than a year. The law originally barred people convicted of felonies from driving taxi cabs within Oswego city limits, but sparked a lawsuit from the Workforce Advocacy Center, a group opposing job discrimination.
Many upstate New York municipalities are struggling with higher taxes and are scrambling to find additional revenue sources. The city of Oswego is no different and the mayor is trying several approaches to raise money.
Mayor Tom Gillen says the city is examining every nook and cranny of the budget to try to find ways to save money or bring in revenue.
It's been about six months since the city of Oswego launched a mobile app allowing residents to report problems directly to city departments. The app, which cost $5,000 to build and $2,000 to maintain, has had a reduced number of reports recently, but Common Councilor Eric VanBuren said it has still been helpful for the city.
VanBuren helped get the app passed by the city last fall and said there are more than 400 users of the program. He said the app has been a good investment even though the winter season has reduced the number of reports received.