Although Oswego's residents are facing a nearly 82 percent increase in their property taxes, the city's lawmakers say there isn't much fat left to cut from the proposed budget. They say the changing economic atmosphere in the city is weighing heavily on this year's budget.
The city of Oswego is trying to regain what years of population decline and lost manufacturing jobs have taken away. According to Mayor Thomas Gillen, part of that reclamation means revitalizing the city's neighborhoods.
Gillen said the Oswego Renaissance Association is speaking with local banks to secure funding for small loans, grants or matching funds to assist homeowners in making needed repairs.
The money would also be tied to neighborhood development, encouraging neighborhoods to take on projects together.
Away from the hustle and bustle of Destiny USA and Great Northern Mall, mom and pop shops throughout the region are working hard to promote their own version of Black Friday -- Small Business Saturday.
The city of Oswego is no different. Bill Riley, owner of the River's End Bookstore, has embraced the event since its creation several years ago. His store is hosting two local authors on Saturday, including former political cartoonist Frank Cammuso and award winning author Laurie Halse Anderson.
Following the tragic deaths of several high school football players across the country, the sport's rules and practices are being scrutinized. Recent rule changes are protecting helmetless players, and some coaches in the region say it's bringing common sense back to the game.
On a chilly evening, the Oswego Buccaneers varsity football team hustles down the field against the Nottingham Bulldogs, its quarterback lobbing a well placed ball to an open receiver.
A small crowd gathered at Oswego's Veterans Memorial Park earlier today for a Veterans Day flag lowering ceremony and memorial dedication for members of the military lost in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The cold, rainy weather did not stop veterans and their families from attending the event, where the national, state and POW/MIA flags were lowered, folded and given to Oswego Mayor Thomas Gillen for safe keeping through the winter months. The flags will be raised again on Memorial Day.
William "Billy" Barlow, Jr. says age has not been a major factor during his campaign for Oswego's fifth ward Common Council seat.
Two candidates from vastly different backgrounds are attempting to become the new voice of Oswego's 5th ward, after Common Councilor Dan Donovan's retirement. It's the only open Common Council race in the November 5 election.
One of those candidates is William "Billy" Barlow, Jr., 23, who is a small business owner and recent graduate of Arizona State University. Barlow, a Republican, says the city could benefit from making Oswego's downtown more vibrant and welcoming to out-of-town visitors.
Novelis' aluminum plant in Oswego commissioned a new $200 million expansion, and created 100 jobs for Oswego County. The addition of two new production lines increased the company's North American capacity for producing aluminum sheet for cars by 240,000 tons.
Plant manager Chris Smith says the expansion features two new aluminum automotive sheet finishing lines, which will increase the company's ability to provide lighter material to address the automotive industry's need to improve gas mileage in the cars they produce.
Oswego Mayor Thomas Gillen and Cortland Mayor Brian Tobin are taking part in a six-week energy reduction challenge, developed by the Central New York Regional Planning and Development Board and NYSERDA.
Energy Challenge Coordinator Samuel Gordon says the idea is to reduce wasted energy.
"It's really not about competing against one another to reduce energy consumption," Gordon said. "We're really competing against ourselves, because about 30 percent of the energy that we use in our homes is wasted."
Rep. Dan Maffei observed a maritime exercise using unmanned aerial vehicles for civilian search and rescue in Oswego on Wednesday. Members of the U.S. Coast Guard and the 174th Attack Wing of the Air National Guard participated in the training.
Maffei, D-Syracuse, says the UAVs, called MQ-9 Reapers, used in the training rescue missions could save more time, money and lives compared to the current search measures.
The federal government has an $8 billion harbor maintenance trust fund, but only $8 million of that has allocated for spending in this year's budget.
Central New York's congressmen are calling for more of that money to be released in order to pay for upgrades to the Port of Oswego and other shipping hubs. The money isn't being spent in order to make the budget deficit look smaller, they charge.
The city of Oswego's Harborfest began last night, and is estimated to draw more than 100,000 people to the area for a weekend of music, food and fireworks. For Oswego Mayor Thomas Gillen, it's also a boon for the city's coffers.
"We hope to make probably $50 million for the weekend," Gillen said. "It's a big impact on the entire community within ten miles of the city of Oswego. Hotels, restaurants, just general sales tax revenue is dramatically impacted over this. So, it's an incredible economic boon to the city and the community. It comes at a cost, though."
Jonathan Daniels warns it's about to get real loud just as a fork lift drops a huge block of aluminum. Sure enough, the block creates a thud as the forklift goes back to pick up another piece.
Daniels, the executive director of the Port of Oswego, is making his rounds. Despite the port's prime real estate at the end of the Oswego Canal and the first deep water port on Lake Ontario for ships coming in from the St. Lawrence Seaway, there aren't any ships docked here this day.
It won't be a physical structure like some incubators. And it won't be trying to churn out startup businesses. Instead the incubator SUNY Oswego is launching this month will try to create an "innovation ecosystem."
There's a public hearing Monday night for the proposed Oswego city budget, which includes cuts to various programs to deal with a budget shortfall. One of the loudest voices against the cuts has been the Oswego Fire Department. If the budget is passed, the Fire Department could see their ambulance corps reduced, fewer firefighters assigned for each shift, and one fire station closed.
John Weeks recounts the delicate choral movements that can be heard when listening to, what he calls, a "symphony" of bird sounds. He urges us to seek out the dawn and dusk choruses while they still ring out, before they fade away forever.
Two developers are proposing to construct a massive floating building on Lake Ontario that would incorporate residential space, science labs, and entertainment and business venues. The city of Oswego is considering this fantastic vision for inside its harbor’s break wall.