Oswego

Two-hour course teaches people emergency survival

Aug 4, 2014
Gino Geruntino / WRVO

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.

Gino Geruntino / WRVO

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."
 

Oswego increases security in preparation of Harborfest

Jul 22, 2014
Takashi Nishimura / Flickr

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."

Gino Geruntino / WRVO/file photo

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.

Gino Geruntino / WRVO News File Photo

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.

Gino Geruntino / WRVO

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.

Gino Geruntino / WRVO

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.

Cassandra Genua

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.

Novelis announces five year plan for company growth

May 23, 2014
Gino Geruntino / WRVO

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.

Leah Landry / WRVO

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.

Gino Geruntino / WRVO

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.

Leah Landry / WRVO

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. 

Gino Geruntino / WRVO

Story updated on Monday, May 12 at 8:00 a.m.

On the SUNY Oswego campus, students say they are still coming to terms with the weekend's heroin overdoses, in which one student died and two others were hospitalized.

Many students say they are uncomfortable talking about the subject. One student, Jessie Brandt, said she was scared when she first saw the emergency alerts on her phone.

Cassandra Genua

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.

Gino Geruntino / WRVO

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.

Amended taxi cab law passed by Oswego Common Council

Apr 17, 2014
Gino Geruntino / WRVO

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.

Gino Geruntino / WRVO

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.

Jason Smith / WRVO

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.

Even after difficult winter, rock salt supplies are OK

Mar 4, 2014
Gino Geruntino / WRVO

It's been a tough winter so far this season, even for the hardiest of upstate New Yorkers. But what do all these snowy days and icy conditions mean for the area's rock salt supplies?

"We were fortunate to have a fairly good supply at the beginning of the season and we are still OK," says Oswego Department of Public Works Commissioner Michael Smith. "If winter lasts at a normal length or if we can say maybe through the next month we'll be out of the worst of it, we'll be OK with our salt and sand mix."
 

Gino Geruntino / WRVO

Potholes aren't anything new for upstate New York drivers, but the sheer number of them this year is wreaking more havoc than usual.

Steve Pacer, with AAA of Western and Central New York, says calls to their roadside service because of pothole-caused flat tires have increased this year. Other weather related problems like dead batteries and cars stuck in snow banks have also increased this winter.

Two plays are the thing in Oswego

Feb 26, 2014

A group of up and coming actors are performing two plays rarely produced together as part of a nationwide tour stopping at SUNY Oswego. On Wednesday night, The Acting Company will perform Hamlet, then tomorrow the group of 12 repertory actors will perform Tom Stoppard's "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead." The shows follow the same story line, but from different perspectives.

Josh Johnston, who fills several roles in the plays, says the group focuses on giving the audience universally relatable moments.

Oswego County mother takes head shop owner to court

Feb 24, 2014

An Oswego County mother is taking a local head shop to court following her son's death after smoking synthetic marijuana he allegedly bought from the store.

Teresa Woolson, whose 19-year-old son, Victor, drowned in Lake Ontario after smoking a form of synthetic marijuana, wants the shop's owner, the drug manufacturer and the distributor held accountable.

In August 2012, Victor Woolson drowned in the lake soon after smoking "K-2 Avalanche," a form of synthetic marijuana he apparently bought from Xtreme Underground.

Novelis workers decide whether or not to unionize

Feb 21, 2014
Gino Geruntino / WRVO

UpdateAccording to published reports, the vote to unionize failed by a total of 14 votes. 

Earlier coverage:

Employees of Novelis Aluminum in Oswego are voting today to determine whether or not 600 employees at the plant will unionize.

James Ridgeway, an international union representative for the United Steelworkers Union, says workers from Novelis contacted him in mid-December to begin the unionization process, citing several changes that have occurred since Novelis purchased the plant.

Although it doesn't have a permanent home, for the last year the Children's Museum of Oswego has brought its exhibits to local events like Harborfest and the Great Pumpkin Festival. But last week, the museum's board of trustees set its sights on finding a fixed location in the city.

Oswego decides against employee furloughs

Jan 31, 2014
Doug Kerr / Flickr

The city of Oswego is making some changes to the budget it passed in December, by moving away from the city-wide furloughs it had previously imposed.

The furloughs included in this year's budget would have equated to about a four percent pay decrease to every city employee in Oswego. But now those mandatory days off aren't taking place, following the Common Council's decision to dip into the city's enterprise fund.

Port of Oswego receives new equipment

Jan 23, 2014
Gino Geruntino / WRVO

Sen. Charles Schumer was in Oswego Wednesday to announce that the city's port has received some much needed equipment.

Schumer helped port officials secure a new container reach stacker, along with a dump truck and two generators from the federal government's surplus equipment program. He says the reach stacker will help the port be more efficient and save money.

The Oswego City Common Council is pushing a more aggressive agenda to help prevent a repeat of last year's 43 percent property tax increase.

Common Council president Ron Kaplewicz says the prospect of another year with massive tax increases scares everyone at City Hall, and is prompting the council to get more creative with the decisions it makes and the revenue sources it taps.

Gino Geruntino / WRVO

Oswego's Common Council, mayor and department heads saw firsthand what Gov. Andrew Cuomo's 2014 agenda will look like, during a recent presentation of his State of the State address at city hall.

The mayor of the city of Oswego says in general he supports Cuomo's budget plan for 2014, but the city's Common Councilors say rising costs and unfunded mandates make it hard to stay within the state's two percent tax cap.

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