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OSWEGO COUNTY

BUSINESS August / September 2018

$4.50

OswegoCountyBusiness.com

A. $2.5 Million Bet New owners want to turn their Thunder Island into a a CNY top destination that they say will rival Darien Lake’s theme park.

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Why Oswego County residents die younger

August/September 2018

SPECIAL HEALTHCARE ISSUE $4.50


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In addition LPN or Certified Nurse Morningstar is a family owned and Morningstar is a family owned and Morningstar is a family owned and active and comfortable environment LPN or Certified Nurse LPN or Certified Nurse LPN or Certified Nurse Contact: Paula Whitehouse Contact: Paula Whitehouse a clinician and would like to work in houseily owned and operated Assisted Living clinician and would like to work in housey owned and operated Assisted Living uality and independence. In addition and independence. In addition yality owned and operated Assisted Living lity and independence. In addition dapt to their physical and cognitive Residence in Oswego, NY. Our missionthat is to provide ourand residents apt to their physical and cognitive New York. Our mission is to provide iduality and independence. In addition uality and independence. In addition uality and independence. In addition Morningstar is aAide, family owned and operated rehabilitation center provides Aide, PT, PTA, OT, COTA –at PT, PTA, OT, COTA Morningstar is a family owned als to join our team. als to join our team. Aide, PT, PTA, OT, COTA ––you (315) 343-0880 or als to join our team. activities or dietary. Please give us aindividucall. We ieve their individual best quality ofto life. residents to our fourth floor! We have LPN or Certified Nurse to our fourth floor! We have pwhitehouse@gardens-alf.com pwhitehouse@gardens-alf.com sidents to our fourth floor! We have pwhitehouse@gardens-alf.com and most qualified individuand most qualified et you! you! Thank you Oswego and Onondaga County! If or aThe loved one isaisaconsidering are services and general support help eality services and general support to help would love to meet you! would love to meet you! and most qualified individuyou! eesidents services and general support to help would love to meet you! Whether you are an RN, and benefit package, comfortable and family owned and operated skilled nursing and operated skilled nursing and and independence. In addition operated skilled nursing and Aide, PT, PTA, OT, COTA – Aide, PT, PTA, OT, COTA – Aide, PT, PTA, OT, COTA – rehabilitation center that provides , New York. Our mission is to provide New York. Our mission is to provide Aide, PT, PTA, OT, COTA – Aide, PT, PTA, OT, COTA – competitive and comprehensive wage New York. Our mission is to provide competitive and comprehensive wage Aide, PT, PTA, OT, COTA – at (315) 343-0880 or rehabilitation center that provides Gardens a family owned and operated Assisted Living The Gardens is family owned and operated Assisted Living competitive and comprehensive wage activities or dietary. Please give us a call. We The Gardens is family owned and operated Assisted Living ieve their individual best quality of life. e services and general support to help services and general support to help active and comfortable environment ervices and general support to help at (315) 343-0880 or are services and general support to help eadapt services and general support to help or dietary. Please give us a in call. We ve individual best quality of life. general support to help mily owned and operated Assisted Living ly owned and operated Assisted Living with an active and comfortable environment thatand promotes yactivities owned and operated Assisted Living operated skilled nursing and operated skilled nursing operated skilled nursing and operated skilled nursing and operated skilled nursing and skilled nursing and rehabilitation center that Contact: Paula Whitehouse Contact: Paula Whitehouse residents to our fourth floor! 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LPN or Certified Nurse services general support to help competitive and wage The Gardens is a family owned and operated Assisted Living ed nursing and n active and comfortable environment active and comfortable environment active and comfortable environment operated skilled nursing and Contact: Paula Whitehouse Contact: Paula Whitehouse Contact: Paula Whitehouse residents to our fourth floor! We have ot a clinician and would like to work in housea clinician and would like to work in houseContact: Paula Whitehouse clinician and would like to work in houseContact: Paula Whitehouse pwhitehouse@gardens-alf.com a clinician and would like to work in houseuality and independence. In addition clinician and would like to work in houseet you! adapt their physical and cognitive adapt to their physical and cognitive Residence in Oswego, NY. Our mission is to provide our residents Residence in Oswego, NY. Our mission is to provide our residents apt to their physical and cognitive dapt to their physical and cognitive o, New York. Our mission is to provide Residence in Oswego, NY. Our mission is to provide our residents New York. Our mission is to provide apt to their physical and cognitive New York. Our mission is to provide sidents to our fourth floor! We have pwhitehouse@gardens-alf.com Morningstar is a family owned and operated Morningstar is a family owned and operated Morningstar is a family owned and operated rehabilitation center that provides you! rehabilitation center that provides individuality and independence. We provide healthcare services rehabilitation center that provides first six months and greatly appreciate supportive team atmosphere and high competitive and comprehensive wage Morningstar is a family owned and Morningstar is a family owned and The Gardens is a family owned and operated Assisted Living at (315) 343-0880 or at (315) 343-0880 or Morningstar is a family owned and Morningstar OUTPATIENT PHYSICAL AND OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY! PLEASE CALL FOR INFORMATION at (315) 343-0880 or ry, activities or dietary. Please give us a call. We , activities or dietary. Please give us a call. We chieve their individual best quality of life. ieve their individual best quality of life. provides a competitive and comprehensive wage LPN or Certified Nurse LPN or Certified Nurse activities or dietary. Please give us a call. We ieve their individual best quality of life. LPN or Certified Nurse Contact: Paula Whitehouse adapt clinician and would like to work in houset! Thank you Oswego and Onondaga County! If you or aloved loved one isconsidering considering Thank you Oswego and Onondaga County! If you or a(315) one isOswego, Thank you Oswego and Onondaga County! If you or arehabilitation loved one is considering Whether you are an RN, Whether you are an RN, and benefit package, comfortable and and benefit package, comfortable and competitive and comprehensive wage to their physical and cognitive Whether you are an RN, and benefit package, comfortable and The Gardens is a family owned and operated Assisted Living Aide, PT, PTA, OT, COTA – a family owned and family owned and family owned and duality and independence. In addition ality and independence. In addition ality and independence. In addition Residence in NY. 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We ieve their individual quality of life. ve their individual best quality of life. ctivities or dietary. Please give us aaacenter call. We ve their individual best quality of life. with an active and comfortable environment that promotes with anoperated active and comfortable environment that promotes with an active and comfortable environment that promotes st six months and greatly appreciate sted living community being developed in Oswego NY. We are accepting t! Thank you Oswego and Onondaga County! If you or aMorningstar loved one isor considering and benefit package, comfortable and skilled nursing and rehabilitation that skilled nursing and rehabilitation center that Residence in Oswego, NY. Our mission isowned to provide our residents skilled nursing and rehabilitation center that gdence residents to our fourth floor! We have residents to our fourth floor! We have a family owned and and general support to help people overcome or adapt to their pwhitehouse@gardens-alf.com pwhitehouse@gardens-alf.com to our fourth floor! We have rehabilitation center that provides pwhitehouse@gardens-alf.com meet you! et you! Aide, PT, PTA, OT, COTA –atyou Aide, PT, PTA, OT, COTA et you! Morningstar is abest family owned and operated Aide, PT, PTA, OT, –– at (315) 343-0880 and benefit package, comfort and supportive team is a family owned and Morningstar is a family owned and activities or dietary. Please give us call. We eve their individual best quality of life. Morningstar is a family and we would love to meet you. ence we would love to meet you. ence we would love to meet you. LPN or Certified Nurse LPN or Certified Nurse LPN or Certified Nurse re services and general support to help services and general support to help Contact: Paula Whitehouse a clinician and would like to work in houseservices and general support to help Residence in Oswego, NY. 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We have tdapt aservices clinician would like to work in houseafirst clinician and would like to work in houseContact: Whitehouse pwhitehouse@gardens-alf.com clinician and would like to work in houseyou! rehabilitation center that provides competitive and comprehensive wage adapt to their physical and cognitive competitive and comprehensive wage toskilled their physical and cognitive The Gardens is family owned and operated Assisted Living The Gardens is a family owned and operated Assisted Living atmosphere and high quality care service. competitive and comprehensive wage dapt to their physical and cognitive Aide, PT, PTA, OT, COTA – Aide, PT, PTA, OT, COTA – The Gardens is family owned and operated Assisted Living Aide, PT, PTA, OT, COTA – at (315) 343-0880 or dence we would love to meet you. activities or dietary. Please give us a call. We eve their best of life. individuality and independence. We provide healthcare services Residence in Oswego, NY. 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We are accepting sted living community being developed in Oswego NY. We are accepting ort! Thank you Oswego and Onondaga County! If you or a loved one is considering t! Thank you Oswego and Onondaga County! If you or a loved one is considering st six months and greatly appreciate ted living community being developed in Oswego NY. We are accepting t! Thank you Oswego and Onondaga County! Ifteam you or arehabilitation loved one isor considering and benefit package, comfortable and and benefit package, comfortable and ence we would love to meet you. individuality and independence. We provide healthcare services and benefit package, comfortable and Residence in Oswego, NY. Our mission is to provide our residents Residence insupport Oswego, NY. Our mission to provide our residents enter that provides is a family owned and Residence in Oswego, NY. Our mission isis to provide our residents a family owned and and general to help people overcome or adapt to their and general support to help people overcome or adapt to their supportive team atmosphere and high center that provides rehabilitation center that provides a family owned and and general support to help people overcome or adapt to their rehabilitation center that provides rst six months and greatly appreciate provides a competitive and comprehensive wage Morningstar is a family owned and operated Morningstar is a family owned and operated at (315) 343-0880 or at (315) 343-0880 or Morningstar is a family owned and operated ed nursing and and benefit package, comfort and supportive and benefit package, comfort and supportive team at (315) 343-0880 y, activities or dietary. Please give us a call. We activities or dietary. Please give us a call. We hieve their individual best quality of life. eve their individual best quality of life. and benefit package, comfort and supportive team activities or dietary. Please give us a call. We eve their individual best quality of life. sisted living community being developed in Oswego NY. We are accepting best quality of life. Contact: Paula Whitehouse Contact: Paula Whitehouse residents to our fourth floor! We have ot a clinician and would like to work in housea clinician and would like to work in houseContact: Paula Whitehouse pwhitehouse@gardens-alf.com a clinician and would like to work in houseResidence in Oswego, NY. Our mission is to provide our residents Residence in Oswego, NY. Our mission is to provide our residents and general support to help people overcome or adapt to their ort! Thank you Oswego and Onondaga County! If you or a loved one is considering t! Thank you Oswego and Onondaga County! 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We have best quality of life. a family owned and omprehensive wage pwhitehouse@gardens-alf.com pwhitehouse@gardens-alf.com quality care and service. residents to our fourth floor! We have pwhitehouse@gardens-alf.com and general support to help people overcome or adapt to their and general support to help people overcome or adapt to their eet you! et you! and general support to help people overcome or adapt to their t you! best quality of life. age, comfortable and n center that provides center that provides and benefit package, comfort and supportive team and benefit package, comfort and supportive team individuality and independence. We provide healthcare services in NY. Our mission is to provide our residents Residence in Oswego, NY. Our mission is to provide our residents enter that provides and benefit package, comfort and supportive team Residence in Oswego, NY. Our mission is to provide our residents supportive team atmosphere and high individuality and independence. We provide healthcare services individuality and independence. We provide healthcare services a very successful first six months and greatly appreciate the community individuality and independence. We provide healthcare services supportive team atmosphere and high supportive team atmosphere and high provides a competitive and comprehensive wage Morningstar is a family owned and operated Morningstar is a family owned and operated supportive team atmosphere and high sed Practical Nurses, qualified home health aides and personal care aides. Morningstar is a family owned and operated competitive and comprehensive wage competitive and comprehensive wage provides a competitive and comprehensive wage with an active and comfortable environment that promotes provides a competitive and comprehensive wage The Gardens is a family owned and operated Assisted Living The Gardens is a family owned and operated Assisted Living UPDATE: Morningstar Care Center is working UPDATE: Morningstar Care Center is working competitive and comprehensive wage provides a competitive and comprehensive wage The Gardens is a family owned and operated Assisted Living ssisted living community being developed in Oswego NY. We are accepting sisted living community being developed in Oswego NY. We are accepting Waterville Resdiential Care Center is a 92 bed, family owned UPDATE: Morningstar Care Center is working physical and cognitive limitations so as to achieve their individual isted living community being developed in Oswego NY. 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Iffloor! you or a high loved one provides a competitive and comprehensive wage care and service. re and service. continuum based here in Central NY. Please contact Joe Murabito re and service. best quality of life. best quality of life. UPDATE: Morningstar Care Center is working best quality of life. tmosphere and high comprehensive wage omprehensive wage quality care and service. quality care and service. omprehensive quality care and service. 17 Sunrise Drive Oswego, NY 13126 • 315.342.4790 and operated skilled nursing and rehabiltation facility located The Gardens is now accepting residents to our fourth floor! We have had The Gardens is now accepting residents to our fourth We have had is considering an assisted living residence we would love to meet you. Please The Gardens is now accepting residents to our fourth floor! 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If you or a loved one 17 Sunrise Drive Oswego, NY 13126 • 315.342.4790 atmosphere and high contact Paula Whitehouse at (315) 343-0880 or pwhitehouse@gardens-alf.com is considering an assisted living residence we would love to meet you. Please w.morningstarcares.com continuum based here in Central NY. Please contact Joe Murabito continuum based here in Central NY. Please contact Joe Murabito Community Outpatient Therapy Service Open continuum based here in Central NY. 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Apple Cider Freshly pressed all year No presservatives added. All natural Garden Center n Vegetable Plants Annuals n Greenhouses n Perennials

U-Pick Apples n Feat. 28 Varieties Locally Grown Produce Harvested Daily From Our Farms & Local Growers

Homemade Pies n Muffins Candy Apples n Cookies Bead n Doughnuts

AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2018

OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

3


Y O SW EG O C O U N T

BUSINESS $4.50

August / September

2018

ess.com OswegoCountyBusin

AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2018 Issue 157

A. $2.5 Million Bet turn New owners want to into a their Thunder Island that a CNY top destination n they say will rival Darie Lake’s theme park.

+

Why Oswego County residents die younger

RE ISSUE

SPECIAL HEALTHCA August/September 2018

$4.50

COVER STORY

Thunder Island Rolls — Thunder Island’s new owners are investing $2.5 to buy and turn the local water park into a top destination that they say will rival Darien Lake’s theme park 69

Tourism Special Issue • Brennan Beach: Population: 6,000 — Third most populous place in Oswego County • AirBnB vs. Hotel Industry — Hotel owner says industry is hurt by AirBnB • Staycations — They boost local destinations • Bed Taxes Up 50 percent • Tailwater Lodge doubles its size • Pulaski: Gateway to the Tug Hill

PROFILE RODMON KING The new chief of diversity at SUNY Oswego talks about his career, his years growing up in Rochester, his most recent job at Centre College in Kentucky and what he plans to work on in Oswego.................14

SPECIAL FEATURES How I Got Started RiverHouse Restaurant owner Frank Catanzarite talks about how he got started in the business ................. 9 Where in the World is Sandra Scott? Spending time in Beijing, home to 20.5 million people....................................................... 18 A 19th Century Entrepreneur New book reveals the life of one of Oswego’s most prominent former residents...................................... 40 One Block at a Time Linda Egan is the force behind a project that helps local residents improve their homes..................................... 43 Is Syracuse a Worst City? An online story shows Syracuse among the top 20 worst cities in which to live....................................... 46 ‘Little Lake’ Gets Big Help Reclamation efforts ramp up at Lake Neatahwanta in Fulton.............................................................................. 75

SUCCESS STORY Physician Padma Ram follows lifelong dream; Her growing practice, which emplyoys 35, cares for 17,000 patients in Oswego.......................................91

Healthcare • ConnextCare: Defragging health care • Federally qualified health centers critical lifeline for many • Number of same-day surgery centers surging in NYS • Why Oswego County residents die younger • High smoking rates continue to plague the region • County continues to face shortage of health care professionals 4

DEPARTMENTS On the Job How do you reward your best employees?........................... 9 Newsmakers................................................................................................... 20 Dining Out Alex’s On the Water, Oswego............................................... 26 Business Updates................................................................................................................................ 28 Economic Trends OCO honors those who make a difference................ 48 My Turn A dangerous time to be a journalist ........................................ 51 Guest Columnist Leadership is influence ................................................. 51 Last Page Jiancheng Huang, Oswego Co. Health Department ......... 98 OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2018


Nationally Recognized Stroke Care. Say “Take Me to Crouse.” As one of just 10 hospitals in New York State to have earned Comprehensive Stroke Center certification, Crouse Health is proud to provide the full range of stroke care services.

Minutes Matter Comprehensive stroke centers are the best-equipped medical centers in a geographical area that can treat any kind of stroke or stroke complication. At Crouse, receiving fast stroke diagnosis and treatment starts even before patients arrive at the Emergency Room. Once on the scene, our Emergency Medical Services partners start communicating with our ER and stroke teams, providing information vital for immediate treatment. Working together, we’re consistently meeting — and exceeding — aggressive door-totreatment times that surpass the U.S. average. Crouse provides options for post-stroke rehabilitation, as well as continuing education to patients, our EMS partners and the community about the risks factors and signs of stroke.

Advanced Stroke Rescue Crouse is the only hospital in the region equipped with two hybrid operating room suites, allowing our multidisciplinary stroke team to provide the most advanced endovascular stroke rescue capabilities 24/7.

Exceeding Stroke Treatment Standards Median Time (minutes)

37

2016

38.5

2017 2018

35

YTD

Source: AHA/ASA Get With the Guidelines

If tPA is given within three hours of symptoms, the effects of stroke decrease significantly. Crouse has earned the American Heart/Stroke Association’s Target: Stroke Honor Roll Elite Plus recognition for meeting — and exceeding — AHA guidelines for giving tPA within 45 minutes.

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As a New York State-designated Primary Stroke Center since 2007, we’ve worked to raise awareness in our community about the warning signs of stroke. With our designation as a DNV Comprehensive Stroke Center and home to the region’s newest ER, Crouse Health continues to deliver superior stroke care to Central New York patients.

STROK E ? C A L L 911. crouse.org/stroke AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2018

OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

5


Affordable Business Solutions............................15 Allanson-Glanville-Tappan Funeral Home...................46 ALPS Professional Services.22 APFW Law.............................30 Amerigas................................23 Ameriprise Financial............13 Apple Country Retreat.........17 ARISE......................................81 BarclayDamon.....................100 Bond, Schoeneck & King, Attorneys at Law..............10 Borio’s Restaurant.................31 Brennan Beach.......................59 Brewerton Pharmacy............81 Brookfield.................................8 Builder’s FirstSource............21 Burke's Home Center............25 C & S Companies..................29 Canale's Italian Cuisine........31 Canale’s Ins. & Acc.........22, 25 Central Sq. Apple Festival.....6 Century 21 - Galloway Realty.................................21 Century 21 Leah Signature....6 Chase Enterprises..................39 Child Care Dev. Council.......88 Community Bank..................45 ConnextCare............................7 Crouse Hospital.......................5

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Dental Health Solutions.......39 Eis House................................31 Exelon Generation.................47 Farnham..................................85 Financial Partners of Upstate...............................50 Fitzgibbons Agency..............22 Foster Funeral Home............80 Friends of Oswego County Hospice..............................85 Fulton Community Development Agency......15 Fulton Savings Bank.............37 Fulton Tool Co.......................45 Gartner Equipment...............11 Greater Oswego Fulton Chamber of Commerce...17 Harbor Lights Chem Dependency......................81 Haun Welding Supply, Inc...23 Hematology-Oncology Associates of CNY............89 Hope for the Bereaved..........85 JP Jewelers..............................17 Johnston Gas..........................25 Laser Transit...........................30 Lindsey Aggregates..............21

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Port of Oswego Authority......8 Press Box.................................31 RanMar Tractor......................25 RiverHouse Restaurant........31 Riverside Artisans.................17 Rudy's.....................................31 SBDC – Small Business Development Center........83 Scriba Electric.........................21 Speedway Printing................59 Springside at Seneca Hill.....74 SUNY Oswego, Business and Community Dev...............71 Tailwater Lodge.....................71 Technology Development Organization (TDO).........29 The Gardens at Morningstar .2 Tobacco Free Network of CNY...............................85 Valley Locksmith...................23 Vashaw’s Collision................25 Vernon Downs.......................16 Volney Multiplex...................21 Watertown Industrial Center of Local Development.....71 White’s Lumber & Building Supply...............22 William Barclay.....................37 Wingate by Wyndham..........13 Woodland Acres....................11 WRVO.....................................90

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OswegoCountyBusiness.com Editor and Publisher Wagner Dotto

Associate Editor Lou Sorendo

Columnists

L. Michael Treadwell Bruce Frassinelli, Sandra Scott Jamieson Persse

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Deborah Jeanne Sergeant Payne Horning, Christopher Malone, Kenneth Sturtz

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Oswego County Business is published by Local News, Inc., which also publishes CNY Summer Guide, Business Guide, CNY Winter Guide, College Life, In Good Health– The Healthcare Newspaper (four editions), CNY Healthcare Guide and 55PLUS, a Magazine for Active Adults (two editions) Published bimonthly (6 issues a year) at 185 E. Seneca Street PO Box 276 Oswego, NY 13126. Subscription: $21.50 a year; $35 for two years © 2018 by Oswego County Business. All rights reserved. Third class postage paid at Ithaca, NY. Permit Number: 476

How to Reach Us

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OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

P.O. Box 276 Oswego, NY 13126 Phone: 315-342-8020 Fax: 315-342-7776 Email: Editor@OswegoCountyBusiness.com

AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2018


ON THE JOB

How do you reward your best employees? “Quarterly, we recognize top sales performers with an awards meeting. We highlight them and include that in an internal newsletter. We also post to social media regularly when we have an above-and-beyond accomplishment. It could be a store, for example, like our Porche dealership became the No. 1 for customer satisfaction nationwide. We had recognition at the store level and put it out in the press and social media to brag on that store’s accomplishment. We also have regular bonuses we offer to our staff when they hit exceptional levels based on performance and sales. Last week, we had a technician appreciation week. We closed for a few hours, had a tent on the lawn and had prizes and games. We believe that our employees are like family and we work very hard to reduce employee turnover. We go the extra mile to retain our employees. We want them engaged and happy because that makes for happy customers.” Ken Elander Director of customer marketing and relations and events, Driver’s Village, Cicero

celebrate when they hit that goal. It could be something like a mani/pedi, dinner out or golfing outing.” Emmey Crossett Account manager, AEROTEK, Syracuse “If someone gives a compliment for an employee, we pass it on. We try to always give positive feedback to the technicians. Beyond that, we have so many departments that rewards are personalized within each.” Mary Barnello Office manager, AHR Mechanical, Inc., North Syracuse “We have several different ways to reward employees. We have quarterly meetings at each office where we recognize employees for performance and annual awards. We have seven locations throughout the country and we host virtual awards events. We give them trophies. They were designed in the past few years. They look pretty nice. We take photos and get it up on our social media. It’s been something we’ve done since we started in 2000. It’s the Avalon Award and an award a team member gives to another team member, not just management types. I think it differentiates ourselves. We work hard for clients and have demanding deadlines and we want to recognize them for going above and beyond.” Shawn Thrall President, Avalon Document Services, Syracuse

“When it comes to recognizing employees who go the extra mile, our favorite way to show our appreciation is through providing them with unforgettable experiences. Not only do we provide experiences such as courtside seats to Syracuse University games, exhibit passes to museums, and VIP tickets to shows at the Lakeview Amphitheater; we take our employees’ interests and personalities into consideration when giving away these special prizes. We know that without them, our institution wouldn’t be where it is today.” James Dowd Executive vice president, chief operating officer & chief financial officer, Pathfinder Bank, Oswego

“The way I treat my top agents is when they meet a certain production level, I pay for their trips for conventions and top agent training in the Bahamas. The agents really enjoy this and we both benefit from the additional training that they are receiving.” Bill Galloway Broker/owner Century 21 Galloway Realty, Oswego

“When our employees have a goal or milestone, what we do is let them choose what they want to do to

“Because we operate mainly with a staff of volunteers, we make sure we reward them with a complimentary

AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2018

OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

luncheon and certificate once a year. We couldn’t operate without them.” Sue Brown Treasurer, Friends of History, Fulton. “I am proud to say that we find it very rewarding ourselves to be rewarding those who work with us. We offer rewards of gifts, extra cash incentives, a cruise, tablets, iPhones, or extra points towards our international conference each year, all expenses paid. We also reward them by being by their side, coaching and mentoring them, helping them in the daily routines of reaching out to find suitable volunteer host families. We reward them by stepping in to help out whenever needed for monitoring issues. Or by being by their side and teaching them the skills needed to do this work and feel good about what we do.” Linda Germain Regional director, Greenheart International, Oswego “We keep all our employees involved in monthly and yearly sales figures. Their reward is higher year-end bonuses, matching 401k contributions and low deductible health plans. We also work hard to pay them competitive wages so they can remain a vital part of our community. Our work force average is well over 20 years.” Chuck Handley Owner Burkes Home Center, Oswego and Fulton “I find that one of the most appreciated rewards that employees respond to is public praise for a job well done. I find it helps people 9


a pleasure to work with all of the different folks who volunteer their time and talent with us. My job as a business owner is to be their cheerleader and their champion. I am ever adamant about communicating my gratitude and making folks feel loved and appreciated. I believe you have to lift people up and continue to highlight the positives and most importantly, provide treats. There is never a shortage of treats at the TDJ art loft.” Tammy Lynn Wilkinson Artistic director, Theatre Du Jour Dinner Theatre Experience, Oswego

feel a greater sense of belonging, and to know that the work they do contributes to the success of the organization.” Jamieson Persse Executive coach and corporate trainer, JC Persse Consulting, Hastings “Bonus and buy them lunch throughout the year.” Patrick Furlong, Jr. President Furdi’s Homes, Fulton “I reward my employees with annual performance bonuses and a staff retreat. The retreat is an opportunity for our staff to have fun together outside of the office and for staff to provide input regarding ways we can be more efficient and improve the legal services we offer to our clients. We are looking forward to a cooking class during this year’s retreat.” Allison J. Nelson Owner, Nelson Law Firm, Oswego “Acknowledging desirable behavior and rewarding ‘above and beyond’ efforts goes a long way toward motivating employees and inspires their loyalty. Most employees do not want or need a ticker-tape parade, but they do appreciate their manager noticing and acknowledging with a sticky note, text, email or personal compliment. For above and beyond, I keep a stock of $15 to $25 gift cards and slip them into a thank you note to let them know I appreciate the extra effort or outstanding job.” Leslie Rose McDonald President Pathfinders CTS, Inc., Liverpool

“Instead of rewarding individual employees, we promote a team environment and have frequent morale boosters to show the staff our appreciation, such as ordering in lunch for everyone or organizing afterhour/weekend activities. We also make a point of acknowledging each employee’s birthday by having an office lunch with cake for their special day. By adopting these practices, no one feels they are in competition with a co-worker as everyone benefits from these events, and that results in a happy work place.” Joanne L. Scruton Office manager, Amdursky, Pelky, Fennell & Wallen, P.C., Oswego “Theatre Du Jour is a collaborative endeavor and it truly does take a village. Our TDJ family is everything. It is an honor and

“Each month, our partners are rewarded through an incentive program when their shop has growth over the previous year. The shop managers make additional money based on how much net profit the shop has made in that month. We offer numerous internal growth opportunities for our strongest partners in addition to having a 100 percent company-paid ESOP/ retirement program. We find having these incentive programs in place gives our top performing partners immediate rewards while increasing the ownership of their role within the company and, in the end, these programs benefit both our partners and the company.” Jeff Vigliotta Marketing coordinator, Stewart’s Shops Corp., Saratoga Springs.

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11


Started How I Got

Frank Catanzarite

Owner of RiverHouse Restaurant in Pulaski keeps tradition alive for both residents and visitors alike

Q: You opened the RiverHouse Restaurant in 2007. What motivated you to take over a restaurant that had been on that particular site since the 19th century? A: The property I purchased was vacant and we built brand new from the ground up. The site has a history of having a restaurant on it, going back all the way to 1804 when a settler built a log cabin tavern where men could find lodging and food. It was the longtime site for the Log Cabin restaurant, which was built in the mid-1960s but burned down in 2001. I bought the parcel in 2006. Q: Did you have any experience in the business? A: I was never in the restaurant business, but did not enjoy what I had been doing anymore and saw an opportunity in Pulaski at the time. I was an engineer, and what I was doing became very boring, so I decided to make a change when I was 46 years old. Pulaski always had a restaurant such as the Log Cabin, and there was always a place to go. When I started doing the paperwork to calculate whether this was going to work out, I realized there was nothing in town at all. I thought it was a good opportunity to get something started, and that’s what we did. Q: What did you do prior to establishing the restaurant? A: I used to work for National Grid, and now I am back working full time for the company. I was in nuclear before and now I am in downtown Syracuse. They actually called me and asked if I was interested in coming back. They were looking for some people, and I took the opportunity because of the dependable people I have running the restaurant. So I said, “Why not?” I spend some time there during the week but not very much, and usually Fridays and Saturdays are the days I am there. The staff can handle things when I’m not there and we have good lines of communication. Q: In taking a look at your menu, it’s obvious that it is quite extensive. How did you create and sustain your menu? A: We try to accommodate everyone’s taste buds, and also feature a wide price range. As a restaurant, we try to offer a little bit of everything. One of our more popular items is our seafood and haddock, but we also offer some tradi-

12

OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2018


tional plates such as chicken parmesan that customers love. I’ve been in the area since the mid1980s and have a good feeling for what works after dining at different restaurants in the area. Q: How did you finance the launch of the business? A: We went through Community Bank and the United States Department of Agriculture, and the county of Oswego Industrial Development Agency also helped. It cost about $1 million to launch the business. Among the more challenging aspects of launching the business was the financing. It’s a risky business, and you have to come up with a good business plan in order to appease everybody and make folks feel comfortable with what you are trying to do. Q: What are some of the more gratifying aspects of what you do? A: We are a big part of the community. Our largest base is people that come into the area. You figure salmon season is always big, but in the long run, we’ve met a lot of people who continue to come back and we have grown to get to know them over the years. That part of it is really nice. People really have an understanding of what they are going to get when they come in. Another source of gratification is the people that work for me. I could not do this alone. Employment levels vary. We’ve gone from 15 to 25 workers, and right now, we have about 18. We might need to add a few more people to get ready for the fall salmon season. We only have a few family members who work here and use a lot of outside sources. There are a lot of things I am happy about. This is our 12th year and we’re still open. It’s never easy to run this type of business, but I think just being able to establish yourself and still have people coming back is the upside of it. The financial end is never easy because we are in a tough climate. That’s been the difficult part. Q: What does the future hold for you and the business? A: My wife just retired from her job, and I’m looking down the road toward retirement myself. We’re looking at those options now. Initially, my wife helped to get us started the first summer, but she really hasn’t been involved. Now that she is retired, she’s going to be back involved. AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2018

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OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

13


PROFILE By Lou Sorendo

RODMON KING SUNY Oswego’s new chief of diversity highly regarded in the practices of diversity and inclusive excellence

B

eing a Buffalo Bills’ fan has its upsides. While the team’s history has been marked with a bit of disappointment, for some, its players have provided their share of inspiration. Take lifelong Bills’ fan Rodmon King for example, the new chief diversity and inclusion officer at SUNY Oswego. One of his favorite players is Kyle Williams, the team’s veteran defensive tackle. When he was drafted by the Bills in the fifth round of the 2006 National Football League draft and arrived in Buffalo, Williams was touted as having a “motor that never quits.”

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The same can be said for King. “My father passed away in January, and among the things he impressed upon me was, ‘you’re not always going to be the smartest person in the room or even building necessarily. But you can outwork anybody if you put your mind to it,’” King said. “I work endlessly, and that’s one of the things that has helped me. If there is work the community wants to do, I will be 100 percent in getting in on that,” he noted. While his job is technically 9 to 5, King is normally in the office by 7 a.m. “I stop when the work stops,” he said. Being the youngest of three growing up in Rochester, King said he had no choice but to learn patience “because my older brother and sister were bigger and stronger than me.” “I had to push my way in front of them if I had to, and learned to wait my turn,” he said. “Patience is one of those things I value that life has given me.” In his new position at SUNY Oswego, King is responsible for setting and meeting the college’s diversity and inclusion goals, while promoting an environment of equity and inclusion for everyone at SUNY Oswego and in the greater Oswego area. He said with a unified effort, community members can bond

OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

together to find answers to whatever problems arise. “That’s the kind of work I’m looking to do with folks in Oswego,” he said. King said the SUNY Oswego community is advanced in terms of having already established a solid strategic diversity plan. “My job is to continue to move those initiatives forward,” said King, noting there will be work on existing programs as well as efforts to promote ongoing dialogue with the community. King will be advocating for students to express themselves and find community with others who believe the same way, as well as opportunities to learn from those from different cultures and backgrounds. Colleges and universities promote diversity in several ways. Institutions are expected to continue making an effort to hire a varied faculty to teach students. ‘Centre’ of attention King and Sarah Berry, his fiancé, formerly resided in Danville, Ky., which has as its slogan “Quite Simply the Nicest Town.” Similar in population to the city of Oswego, the Danville area is anchored by Centre College, a hospital, and is surrounded by horse and family farms while featuring a largely service and recreational economy. King, 50, joined Centre College as associate vice president for academic affairs and diversity initiatives three years ago. Prior to his time at Centre College, King was a member of the faculty at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, where he spent nearly 10 years teaching as a full-time instructor and assistant professor in the department of philosophy. Among his many activities, King also served as the faculty adviser for AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2018


Lifelines

Name: Rodmon King Position: Chief diversity and inclusion officer, SUNY Oswego Birth date: Oct. 24, 1967 Birthplace: Rochester Recent Work History: Associate vice president for Academic Affairs and Diversity Initiatives at Centre College in Danville, Ky., faculty at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva Current residence: Oswego Education: Bachelor of Arts degree in religion and philosophy from Roberts Wesleyan College, Rochester; master’s degree and doctorate in philosophy, University of Rochester Affiliations: National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education; American Philosophical Association Personal: Fiancé Sarah Berry; four sons Hobbies: Music, woodworking HWS’s Black Student Union. That is when he began to gravitate toward the administrative end of higher education. “My career moved away from teaching toward more administrative work because that seemed to be where one can make really large-scale institutional and community changes. That’s where a lot of the big initiatives are,” he said. He previously served as an adjunct instructor at his alma maters — Roberts Wesleyan College and the University of Rochester. King received his doctorate and master’s degrees in philosophy from the University of Rochester and a Bachelor of Arts degree in religion and philosophy from Roberts Wesleyan College. “I miss teaching a lot, but I don’t miss grading,” he said. King said his leadership style is anchored by inclusive collective decision-making. “If you look around the world, autocrats and dictators get stuff done, but when they are out of power, all that stuff falls apart. You get more done when you actually have people believing in the work they are doing,” he added. “If you empower them, you can get a lot of great, fantastic work done by listening to people, empowering them, building upon their strengths, and helping them shore up whatever weaknesses AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2018

they may have,” he said. Back home in NY After spending several winters in a warm-weather state, King said he hopes that time has “not ruined me.” King recalls the first winter spent in blue grass country. “There was like a 30 percent chance of a half-inch of snow, and my administrative assistant came over and said, ‘Whatever you do, don’t go to the grocery store. Go home right now. It’s going to be crazy out there!” he said. “I’ve been through blizzards growing up in Rochester, so this is nothing,” King recalled saying. One winter, he walked into a grocery store to grab some paper towels, and someone had taken all the eggs and filled two shopping carts with them. “You would think there was some horrible catastrophic event coming,” he said. “They just don’t have the infrastructure to deal with large amounts of snow, because they don’t get it and there’s no reason to invest in it,” he said. “I’m hoping to be prepared for a good Central New York winter and that my blood hasn’t thinned too much,” he added. King has enjoyed playing guitar since he was 17. He loves music in general and enjoys going to concerts. “One thing about being in Kentucky is I missed being around places like CMAC [Constellation Brands-Marvin Sands Performing Arts Center in Canandaigua] and other venues in the area,” he said. He is looking forward to the annual Oswego Porch Fest event that occurs in early autumn. King said he grew up in a household that listened to a lot of music. “Music can be a way to create community and understanding,” he said. He said the most popular and beloved songs — whether they are old school rhythm and blues, country or rock ‘n’ roll — are powerful “and say something genuine about the human experience.” The timeless tunes “all share that,” he said. “It’s a great form of expression and is a way for communities to pass knowledge along and keep stories alive,” King added. “It’s relaxing and energizing.”

Continued on page 96 OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

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Publisher’s note

T

ourism is pretty hot in Central New York — and is the main theme of this issue of Oswego County Business.

Three stories in this issue show how important the industry is. • Thunder Island Water Park and Family Entertainment Park near Fulton. This park was built from scratch by Harry Perau, a local entrepreneur who devoted decades of his life building the park. His efforts paid off. He sold the business for $2.5 million. The new owners, Ron and Elizabeth Falise, plan to invest an additional $10 million in the park in the next 10 years. They want to build something that will rival Darien Lake Theme Park Resort in Western New York, which gets 1.5 million visitors a year. Thunder Island now gets about 31,000 per year. • Tailwater Lodge in Altmar. The Woodbine Hospitality Group of Syracuse bought a vacant elementary school in Altmar and

16

By Wagner Dotto turned it into an upscale resort in 2013. The company is now doubling the size of the project — it’s adding 46 rooms, an indoor pool and a spa. The business recently became part of Tapestry Collection by Hilton. • Brennan Beach RV Resort. Because of its amenities and location — on the shores of Lake Ontario in Pulaski — the park continues to draw thousands of people. Ed Hillenbrand, who manages the campground for Encore RV Resorts & Communities, told me the park becomes the third largest “city” in Oswego County (after Oswego and Fulton), with a population of more than 6,000 on some weekends. It gets people from all over and many spend the entire summer there. Hillenbrand is the stepson of Richard “Dick” Brennan, who started the business in the 1960s with a handful of campsites. The impact of these three businesses on the local economy is tremendous. When people visit, they

OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

buy fuel, shop at local stores, eat at restaurants — their spending helps the economy substantially. Statistics show the growth of the tourism industry more clearly: Bed taxes are up nearly 50 percent in five years and revenues from the industry have grown 22 percent since 2008, according to reports. In 2016, tourism generated $8.2 billion in state and local taxes. The local tourism industry is very strong, but the potential ahead is unbelievable. It has the potential to be the No. 1 industry in all Upstate New York.

WAGNER DOTTO is the publisher of Oswego County Business Magazine

AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2018


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Where in the World is Sandra Scott?

Beijing By Sandra Scott

The city, home to 20.5 million people, was built in 1420 and remains the largest ancient palatial structure in the world

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he city of Beijing is more than 3,000 years old and for most of that time it has been a capital city of China. The name means “Northern Capital.” With a population of 20.5 million it is the considered the world’s second largest city in population after Shanghai. Much has been written about Beijing’s pollution problem — it is similar to LA’s smog decades ago. The government has recognized the problem and is trying to deal with it. They have set up emission

standards, building satellite cities with industries that will draw people from Beijing, and are eliminating the burning of coal. Some of the problem comes from the sand blown in from the Gobi Desert. To lessen the problem and stop the encroaching desert they are creating the “Great Green Wall” along the desert’s 2,800 mile border by planting 66 billion trees — so far. The Forbidden City, constructed in 1420, is the largest ancient palatial

structure in the world. It was home to 24 emperors, the last of which was Pu Yi who was enthroned at the age of 2 and abdicated at the age of 12. The movie of his life — “The Last Emperor” — is fascinating and a must-see for visitors. Pu Yi, when he was released from prison, worked in the Forbidden City’s botanical gardens. In the middle of the massive Soviet-style Tiananmen Square is the Memorial Hall of Chairman Mao, inside of

Started in the third century B.C. the Great Wall of China stretches 13,000 miles. 18

OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2018


which is the tomb of Mao, with his body on display similar to Lenin’s in Moscow. Check to make sure it is open as it is often closed when dignitaries want to visit. There are a variety of hop-on bus tours that, depending on the one chosen, stop at the Olympic sites, the Panda Zoo, and several famous monuments such as the Temple of Heaven. One place to get a flavor of Chinese culture is at Lao She Teahouse where you can savor a selection of Chinese teas and snacks while enjoying a variety of shows that include the famous face changing show, Beijing Opera, gymnastics, comics and more. If you visit on your own, it is best to arrange for your hotel to pick you up.  The most popular day trip from Beijing is to the Great Wall of China. Started in the third century B.C. the structure was ultimately 13,000 miles of walls and fortifications built to prevent invaders but like most walls it wasn’t successful. There are a variety of tours to the wall including ones lasting a half-day to three days. A couple sections of the wall are open to tourists with the Mutianyu Great Wall, which is currently the longest section. A cable car eliminates most of the steps to where the wall can we accessed but there are still many steps. Interestingly there is a Subway restaurant at the bus drop-off spot along with many vendors. Beijing is one of several visa-free cities. It offers a 144-hour visa-free transit between Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei. There is also a 72-hour visa available. The catch is that one must depart to a city other than from where their flight originated. There are often reasonable fares to Beijing and there are many good budget Asian airlines to other destinations.  English is spoken in most hotels but carry the hotel name card to facilitate returning to hotel. Try some of the local food. There is one main dining no-no: don’t plant your chopsticks upright in a bowl of food. Learning how to say “hello” and “thank you” will go a long way to make your visit more enjoyable. Sandra Scott, a retired history teacher and the co-author of two local history books, has been traveling worldwide with her husband, John, since the 1980s. The Scotts live in the village of Mexico. AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2018

Forbidden Garden in Beijing.

An actor during a show at the Beijing Opera. OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

Yes, you can get a sub at Subway on the way to the Great Wall. 19


NEWSMAKERS NEWS BRIEFS ON LOCAL BUSINESSES & BUSINESS PEOPLE

Barton & Loguidice Earns “Best Firm To Work For” Award Barton & Loguidice (B&L), an engineering, planning, environmental and landscape architect firm with more than 250 employees throughout the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, has been named one of the “Best Firms to Work For” nationally in the multi-discipline category, according to Zweig Group, the industry’s leading research and benchmarking firm. The 2018 “Best Firms to Work For” award recognizes the top multi-discipline architecture, engineering, landscape architecture, planning and environmental consulting firms in the United States and Canada for creating an environment where employees feel valued, can make a difference, and contribute to the overall mission and success of the firm. 

“We are honored to make the Zweig Group’s list of ‘Best Firms to Work For’ for the first time, given that a record number of firms applied,” said President and CEO John F. Brusa, Jr. “Achieving this significant industry honor is directly correlated to our employees. We are grateful for all they do to help provide a culture of excellence to make B&L one of the best places to work and an employer of choice.” Through the use of independent surveys, firms were evaluated comprehensively on workplace practices, employee benefits, retention rates, professional development, work culture, and more — both from the management and staff’s perspectives. “This is such an important designation right now because the hiring market is so competitive and these firms really stand out from the rest of the industry, said Kyle Ahern, awards manager with Zweig Group.

Staff of Burritt Motors and General Motors officials celebrate the Mark Of Excellence’ Award the Oswego dealership recently received.

Burritt Motors Earns ‘Mark Of Excellence’ Award

B

urritt Motors recently earned General Motors (GM), Mark of Excellence (MOE), awards. The award is presented to Chevrolet dealers from across the country who achieve outstanding sales performance and customer satisfaction. “I’m extremely proud of our whole team who worked so diligently in 2017 to earn this award, “ said Rich Burritt,

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owner. “Our team won this award last year, and it’s a testament to their consistent efforts to strive for a superior customer experience.” Natalie Taylor, Chevrolet zone manager, said: “This award is a testament to the entire team’s dedication to making sure every touchpoint we have with our Chevrolet customers exceeds their expectations.” OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

Visions FCU Adds Medicare Consultant Visions Federal Credit Union based in the town of Endwell near Binghamton, recently announced Jennifer Ford as the newest member of its Medicare team. Ford brings more than 20 years of insurance experience to Visions, having served the Broome, Tioga, Chenango and Ford Chemung County regions with their Medicare needs for the past 12 years. A lifelong Southern Tier resident, she is a 25-year life member with the Campville Fire Department. As a Medicare consultant, she maintains a strong belief in building member trust and doing what is in the member’s best interest, according to a press release issued by the credit union.

Tombolillo Interns With Chirello Advertising Johnna M. Tombolillo, a senior marketing major with a graphic design minor from SUNY Oswego, has joined the Chirello Advertising team as an intern for this summer. To m b o l i l lo, an Oswego native, will be assisting with writing news releases, radio Tombolillo and television commercials, as well as working on research and creating marketing campaigns. Media will include social media, newspaper, brochure, TV, radio and web for a variety of clients. At SUNY Oswego, Tombolillo was part of a rebranding project for Artswego. Artswego is an assortment of on-campus cultural art events ranging from dance to concerts, to Mandala sand painting. Tombolillo was in charge of developing a marketing plan as well as helping to AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2018


redesign the logo for the organization. Tombolillo also works at the American Foundry as a server and bartender, as well as a server and volunteer at St. Francis Commons assisted living facility in Oswego and at a variety of stores and cafes located on campus. Tombolillo was promoted to the position of group leader within her first year working at SUNY Oswego where she oversees and trains 42 employees. Recently, she implemented a marketing strategy to increase the number of surveys taken by customers to better their experience in and outside the campus store. Tombolillo remains on the dean’s list consistently while maintaining these three jobs.

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Harris Beach PLLC has named Julian B. Modesti as senior counsel, serving clients in business and commercial litigation, appeals and alternative dispute resolutioninstate and federal courts. Modesti will be located in the firm’s office in Syracuse and comes to Harris Beach with a long track record in resolving c om p lex d is putes either in court or through Modesti mediation. Modesti’s practice encompasses shareholder/partnership disputes, leases, land-use matters, finance agreements, unfair competition, trade secrets and business torts. He also represents New York attorneys in disciplinary matters. Modesti handles appeals in both state and federal courts on a variety of civil law issues. He’s often retained as mediator in conflicts ranging from aviation claims to employment conflicts, environmental damage, personal injury and professional malpractice. “Julian Modesti is a perfect fit as we continue to expand our capabilities in support of small-to-medium sized and family-owned businesses, as well as financial institutions, developers and others,” said David M. Capriotti, managing partner of the Harris Beach Syracuse office. “His success in resolving commercial disputes fairly speaks for itself. His expertise will be crucial as

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Katie Regan has recently been promoted to a new and expanded leadership position at OCM BOCES as director of educational Technology. In her new position, she will be in charge of planning and implementing technology at OCM BOCES for its 1,100 employees. She will also colRegan laborate with the organization’s instructional and technical staff to support quality teaching and learning in OCM BOCES’ 23 component districts. “I’m really excited about this position and what my team can accomplish for our districts and our own staff,” said Regan, whose office will be housed at the OCM BOCES Main Campus in Salina. Regan primarily worked with 22 schools in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse as a technology integration specialist for the Central New York Regional Information Center (CNYRIC), which falls under the direction of the Onondaga-Cortland-Madison Board of Cooperative Educational Services (OCM BOCES). Before joining the CNYRIC in 2015, Regan performed similar work for two years as a model schools coordinator for the Mohawk Regional Information Center (MORIC) in Verona. Before her job at the MORIC, Regan worked seven years as an English teacher in the Altmar-Parish-Williamstown and Jordan-Elbridge school districts. AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2018


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Pathfinder Bank Announces Promotions

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Pathfinder Bank, a New York state chartered commercial bank headquartered in Oswego, recently made the following announcements: • April Phillips has been promoted LOCAL KNOW-HOWTM vice president, We live where you live. So we know exactly what you need. core systems andHours: Store Location: Contact: Store Hours Location Contact deposit operaMonday-Friday • 7am-6pm 2721 State Route 3 315-592-2063 Monday-Friday • 7am-6pm Northern Ace Phone: Phone: 315-592-2063 tions manager. Saturday • 7am-5pm 2721 State Route 3 Find us on Saturday • 7am-3pm Fulton, NY 13069 Find us on Phillips’ duties Sunday • 9am-4pm Fulton, NY 13069 Sunday • 8am-3pm will be to maintain core banking systems to en(315) 598-9709 sure alignment with Pathfinder Bank objectives and strategic plan. She will Rick Rebeor Phillips registered safe direct, administechnician ter and coordinate the daily activates of the organization’s deposit operations, while working closely with branch ad“Mobile Service to N. Onondaga, Oswego, ministration to ensure that policies, N. Cayuga Counties Since 1994” procedures are followed and goals and objectives are achieved. To prepare for this new role, in 2016 and 2017, she rick@valleylocksmith.net • www.ValleyLocksmith.net worked closely with recently retired Melissa Miller to support the transition to deposit operations manager. Phillips earned a certificate of completion from the Leadership Richmond Program in 2000 and six years later, • FLEXIBLE PAYMENT OPTIONS ... including began her career at Pathfinder Bank as Automatic Delivery • Automatic, Online & Telephone payments. a loan servicing specialist. She was later • Local DEDICATED EMPLOYEES • 24 HOUR Fully Staffed promoted to sales support supervisor in Emergency Service • World Class Safety 2008, followed by assistant vice president / sales support supervisor in 2011. Phil lips currently resides in Oswego with her husband, Dan. • Joseph McManus has America’s Propane Company • Reliable, Safe, Responsive been promoted www.amerigas.com to vice president, GUARANTEED Price Programs computer operations manager. Call Today! 1-800-835-7182 He will oversee all core processing routines, netMcManus work infrastructure, application servers and database management solutions.

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McManus has a bachelor’s degree from SUNY Oswego in information science. He has more than 15 years of experience in information technology, previously working as senior network technician for Oswego County National Bank and as a senior information systems architect for PCC Information Services. McManus began his career with Pathfinder Bank in 2008 as a computer operations manager. McManus resides with his wife and son in Oswego. In his spare time, he is a deacon at the Oswego Alliance Church. He also serves as the board president of Friends of the Oswego Public Library, a Pathfinder Bank Money Smart educator for the “Keeping Safe in an Electronic World” curriculum, and a volunteer network administrator for Oswego Community Christian School. In 2013, he was named one of Oswego County’s “40 under 40” and graduated from Leadership Oswego County. • Karri Hibbert has been promoted to vice president, facilities. She will oversee various construction and renovation projects, as well as the daily oversight of the maintenance staff and operations. She will continue her daily oversite of Hibbert all activities related to purchasing and facility-related expenses, and be the primary point of contact for contractors and vendors for all facilities and maintenance-related issues. Hibbert first began her career with Pathfinder Bank in 1999 as the trust administration officer, a title which she held previously at HSBC. A graduate of Bryant and Stratton College, Hibbert holds an associate’s degree in microcomputer systems management. She currently lives in Oswego and has two sons, Chris and Jake. • Mary McConkey has been named vice president, electronic commerce manager. She will oversee the bank’s electronic delivery channels to maximize the customer experience. She will also develop and maintain policies related to electronic banking activities and provide leadership to electronic commerce staff. McConkey first joined Pathfinder Bank in 2007 as a teller and has worked her way up through the electronic com24

merce department. McConkey resides with her hus band, Brad, and son, Trey Elliot, in Scriba. She serves as a board member for the Friends of the Oswego Public Library and The Oswego County Humane Society. In her spare time, McConkey enjoys spending McConkey time with her family and friends, advocating for animals, reading and being outside.

AmeriCU Announces New Hires AmeriCU, a Rome-based financial

institution serving nine counties in Central and Northern New York, recently hired Channing “Chip” Harwood, III, CPA as chief financial officer. A graduate of Towson State University, he brings more than 25 years of experience in the financial services industry, most recently serving as senior vice president, chief financial officer at Signal Financial Federal Credit Union in the Maryland, Washngton, D.C., area. Ron Belle has joined AmeriCU as chief experience officer. Most recently, he was wealth and asset management region executive, senior vice president, northwestern Ohio and southeast Michigan regions for Fifth Third Bank, based in Cincinatti. He holds a degree from Utica College of Syracuse University. In his role at AmeriCU, he is responsible for for developing and enhancing the organization’s retail and operational processes, member delivery channels and infrastructure to deliver outstanding programs and member experiences.

Thomas Liseno, vice president, underwriting, for the Wayne Cooperative Insurance Co., center; with Kelly Isabella, ESA vice president, personal lines; and Eryl Christiansen, ESA president.

E

Liseno Earns Eastern Shore Associates’ Annual ‘Partnership Award’

astern Shore Associates Insurance (ESA), a Trusted Choice agency, has awarded its annual Personal Lines Partnership Award to Thomas Liseno, vice president, underwriting, for the Wayne Cooperative Insurance Co. “This award was established to recognize individuals from our insurance carriers for their outstanding performance and relationship with our agency,” said Eryl Christiansen, ESA president. “Tom and ESA have had an outstanding working relationship and we are delighted to present him with OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

this award. “ ESA employees who work with Liseno nominated him for this award. Among their nomination comments were: “Tom is always available and quick to respond.” Another wrote: “Tom is one of my favorite underwriters to work with by far. He responds promptly and is always extremely helpful…I believe he made me a better agent through the years as I’ve learned so much about liability risks, appetites, and coverages that I didn’t know before coming to Eastern Shore and working with him.” AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2018


Ameriprise Financial Office Promotes Jessica Jimenez Jessica B. Jimenez has recently been promoted to financial adviser with the practice of Randy L. Zeigler, private wealth adviser with Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. As financial adviser, Jimenez will be responsible for providing financial services to clients based on their financial situation and for supporting ZeiJimenez gler’s financial services practice. Jimenez graduated from SUNY Oswego with a degree in business administration. She has 14 years of experience with Ameriprise Financial. Zeigler has provided financial advice in the Central New York area since 1986. For more information, contact either Jessica Jimenez or Randy Zeigler at 315342-1227 or visit the Ameriprise office at 97 W. Utica St. Oswego.

Beardsley Announces Hire, New License Beardsley Architects + Engineers announced that Chelsea Armstrong has earned her professional engineering license in the state of New York. She is a graduate of Clarkson University and has been employed by Beardsley since 2013. Armstrong is currently working on multiple projects for the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation including a new camping loop at Southwick Beach State Park, and marina improvements at Sampson State Park. The company also announced Ryan Mumby has joined the firm as structural designer. Mumby graduated from Clarkson University in 2018 with a degree in civil engineering. In the summer of 2017, he was an intern at Beardsley working alongside the structural engineering team. At Beardsley, he will be working on projects for its governmental, educational, municipal, and state clients. AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2018

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DiningOut By Christopher Malone

Restaurant

Guide

Alex’s On the Water Great food with great views of Lake Ontario, Oswego River

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hen days get too hot during the Upstate New York summer, taking a break from the kitchen is as necessary as it is a treat. Whether in the county or looking for a short trip, Oswego’s Alex’s on the Water, 24 E. First St., presents dining service with a view that looks over the historic Oswego harbor. Alex’s on the Water and its Dockside Bar opened in 2013 as part of the Broadwell Hospitality Group, which also runs, among other things, Bay Shore Grove Weddings & Events, Lake Ontario Event and Conference Center and GS Steamers. The restaurant sits where Oswego River meets Lake Ontario. It is also attached to the Best Western Plus, which puts a

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little extra weight on its shoulders when it comes to attracting new visitors and bringing back returners. My new relationship with Alex’s started off a little strangely. When trying to figure out what time to head to Oswego I found the listed hours inconsistent. The information found at end of this article are as noted on Facebook and Yelp. A Google search says the restaurant is open from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. every day, but the website says the restaurant is open Monday through Saturday, 5 p.m. to close. The website and internet sources say reservations are strongly recommended. The phone number given by Google brings a caller to Alex’s manager’s office. To test the service, I left a message OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

in the afternoon, requesting to make a reservation and to please call me back. Unfortunately, I did not hear a reply. We arrived at Alex’s around 6 p.m. with no reservation and were seated immediately. In fact, we were given the option of sitting indoors or outdoors. The patio, also known as the Dockside Bar, features a circular bar and several tables throughout the expansive area. Large green ferns hang from the ceiling and several beds throughout the space boast bright flowers. The view of the harbor is beautiful and the odor wasn’t briny. Across the harbor a live band played, which was loud enough to figure out the songs, but did not disrupt the atmosphere or experience. This AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2018


restaurant does feature live music, too, but no one was performing that evening. Our server Kelsey was very attentive, consistently checking in with us and constantly refilling our water glasses. The temperature and humidity were up there. The refills were simple courtesies that spoke highly. While our food was being prepared, a basket of bread was presented with a dish of dipping oil and homemade whipped butter. The bread and oil were wonderful, but the flavor and creaminess of the butter caught our attention. I’m not huge on buttered bread, but I slathered on the butter. Oswego is easily associated with water; and where there is water, there is seafood. Cue the plethora of options on Alex’s American cuisine menu. The menu offers a variety of reasonably priced options across three pages, offering a variety of appetizers, sandwiches, tacos, burgers and entrees. We kicked off the meal with the shrimp and scallop skewers ($14). The barbecued seafood, three skewers with one shrimp and one scallop on each — was seasoned well and not over-charred. They were presented over a petit Caesar salad. The side salad that came with the entrée — we chose the grouper; salads come with all entrees — came out at the same time as the appetizer. As my girlfriend consumed the Caesar salad with the standout super creamy and flavorful dressing, I dove into the side salad with Italian dressing. Both salads boasted bright, crisp vegetables. Nothing soggy could be found. The cattleman’s burger with sweet potato fries came out with the grouper. The brisket chuck burger topped with barbecue sauce, pulled pork, applewood bacon, onions, gherkins and lettuce in between the halves of a brioche bun. The menu said that the burger also had cheddar cheese, which is always a great pairing with barbecue-anything burgers, but we tested the waters to see if we could get pepper-jack cheese instead. Sometimes menu items are as-is and with no substitutions. It’s a great thing a restaurant takes confident ownership of their creations. But Alex’s made it happen with the pepper-jack. They also cooked the burger as requested, medium-rare. The result was an explosion of flavor from this massive, two-handed burger. It was as bold as the grand finale of a fireworks show. The grouper, a white fish, was seasoned with herbs and topped with AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2018

The shrimp and scallops proved to be a light and flavorful appetizer.

The big, beefy cattleman’s burger requires eaters to stretch their jaw before taking a bite. Vidalia onions and roasted tomatoes. The size of the portion was generous, and the fish itself wasn’t cooked bone-dry. However, there was a distinct fishiness, which was a tiny bit deterring, but it was easily hidden by the flavor of the tomatoes, sweetness of the onions and the side of wild rice. The latter was not bland, nor was it overly salty. Our three-course meal came to $59.40 before 20 percent (and a little extra) gratuity. The experience was great, the food was satisfying, and we’ll probably revisit Alex’s on the Water down the road. If people are reluctant to enjoy a restaurant attached to a hotel, it’s time to quash whatever hesitancy they may have. OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

The grouper fish entree paired with the wild rice is definitely one for the fish lovers, plus roasted onions and tomatoes add wonderful flavor.

Alex’s on the Water ADDRESS 24 E. First St, Oswego, NY 13126 PHONE 315-343-7700 WEBSITE/SOCIAL www.alexsonthewater.com/ www.facebook.com/TheOwlHouseNY www.instagram.com/ alexsonthewater/ HOURS Monday – Thursday: 4 p.m. – 9 p.m. Friday & Saturday: 4 p.m. – 10 p.m. Sunday: 4 p.m. – 9 p.m. 27


Nine Businesses Still Vying for $50,000 Biz Plan Competition Award

T

he Next Great Idea (NGI) competition kicked off in March when a record 33 submissions were received into the program with ideas ranging from manufacturing, tourism, agri-business, and technology services. Those 33 applications were evaluated and the judges selected semi-finalists to continue to the second phase. In July, nine semi-finalists submitted a full business plan with detailed narrative and financial projections to NGI’s panel of judges to evaluate. In August, the judges will return their evaluations and a group of Finalists will be announced to compete in the final round of competition on September 14th. The winner of NGI will be announced at an awards luncheon on Sept. 18 at the Lake Ontario Event and Conference Center. • Eleven Brewing Company, and the

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Oswego-based business team led by Tom Millar is a micro-brewing company with plans to expand production into canning their signature beers for regional distribution, and to increase their presence in Oswego County. This company prides itself on using locally sourced ingredients and local talent to build a brewing company from the ground up. Eleven Brewing Company would use the $50,000 NGI funding towards acquiring equipment to can beer so it could be sold in retail stores, expand their marketing efforts, and open a third satellite tasting room and restaurant location in Oswego County. • Beer Bites, owned by Amara Ercums, is a dog biscuit manufacturing company looking OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

to reboot and rebrand its operations in Oswego. The product gets its name from using up-cycled spent grains from the brewing process mixed with other natural ingredients to make healthy dog treats. The woman-owned business would use the NGI funding to expand into a larger production space, acquire baking ovens and other specialized equipment, rebrand the product’s packaging and develop a national marketing campaign. • Charta, a digital and social media platform, led by SUNY Oswego graduate student Fabio Machado, will empower the millennial demographics to both travel and explore local culture utilizing their technology for a more fulfilling experience and to save money. The business team will utilize resources at SUNY Oswego to develop the technology as well as a test market for the business. Charta would use the NGI funds to offer paid internships for the initial technology talent at the college, to start a sales team, and develop marketing materials. • Hope Springs, a health and wellness beverage company led by Matthew Cullipher, will bottle emoliente, a popular South American beverage with huge potential for growth in the US market. The company is an expansion of a successful café in Central New York and will bring their own twist on this beverage to a wider audience through state-wide and eventual national distribution. Hope Springs plans to reinvest their profits into local and international community outreach programs. If selected, Hope Springs would use the NGI funds to lease production space, acquire bottling equipment, and purchase raw materials. • King of Hops, led by Fred Davies, is a hops farm and hops processing facility being developed in Phoenix. Seeing an opportunity due to the explosion in growth in the craft brewing industry in New York State and the ideal conditions to grow hops in Central New York, Davies developed this business with his son Rick who has a horticulture background. King of Hops has plans to develop ideal strains of hop plants in the Central New York climate for their farm and to also provide local farmers with everything they need to grow, harvest and process their own hops. King of Hops would use the NGI funds to leverage a larger AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2018


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business loan to build out their facilities and production capacity to be fully operational within two years. • Oz Angling, led by Jake Metcalf and Kevin Spillett, is a recreational fishing business that will sell bait, tackle, apparel and fishing accessories and value-added fishing services to the greater Oswego market. The business will develop high quality online content on social media and other digital platforms to differentiate itself from competitors and to market Oswego as a high quality fishing destination increasing local tourism. The NGI funding will help Oz Angling reach their operational goals faster and also help them launch their own fishing tackle product and apparel line which has the potential to create local manufacturing jobs. • Rail Guard, led by Nadar Majlaton and Tom Millar, is a specialized rail safety device engineering and manufacturing company that uses technology to solve the issue of rail crossing accidents. There is a strong market for an effective and scalable solution due to Federal mandates to improve rail safety and this business and their technology meets both of those requirements. This company would utilize existing local machine shops and fabricators to manufacture the products and keep initial production costs down. Rail Guard would use the $50,000 for proof of concept to install prototypes on multiple rail lines to prove its effectiveness in real world situations and lead to contracts. • Security and Electronic Technologies, owned by Shane Thompson,

provides customized fire and security alarm services along with specialized barcode and RFID software technology to the Oswego County and Central New York market. This company is unique in that it can meet all security technology needs unlike competitors. The company expects rapid growth due to their knowledge and expertise in emerging technologies that are currently not locally available. If selected, the company would use the funds to increase capacity immediately by purchasing a specialized work van, tools, OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

hiring employees, and marketing. • Wired, the business team led by Ed Alberts and Ryan Baldwin, provides specialized IT and communication services focused toward medium and large commercial chain and franchise businesses. The business grew out of necessity as Alberts’ own businesses could not find reliable IT solutions so they developed an in-house solution which proved so successful they believed it could be scaled into a business of its own. Wired would use the $50,000 NGI funding to purchase special equipment and hire more employees to allow them to scale and serve the entire East Coast. Other than awarding the winning business $50,000, some of the anticipated outcomes from the Next Great Idea program include but are not limited to: developing a culture of innovation and entrepreneurism in Oswego County; improving the quality of life for the community by bringing innovative and needed businesses and services to Oswego County; fighting the ‘brain drain’ by encouraging the best and brightest to stay local; creating new job opportunities and markets; and expanding the tax base. The Next Great Idea competition, originally started in 2008, is the result of business and community leaders joining together to launch an initiative that encourages entrepreneurs to commit to new business development. The winner of the 2018 NGI competition will receive $50,000 towards starting or expanding their business in Oswego County. Support for NGI comes from Operation Oswego County, the Richard S. Shineman Foundation, the SUNY Oswego Business Resource Center, the Greater Oswego-Fulton Chamber of Commerce, C&S Companies, the City of Oswego Economic Development Office, and Chirello Advertising.

More Information The NGI web site at www. oswegocounty.org/NGI/index. htm includes an overview of the event, a competition timeline, guidelines, details on the $50,000 prize, sponsors, partners and contact information. AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2018


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Fastrac Opens New Pulaski Store Full menu, new pumps, indoor/outdoor seating offered at the new location

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astrac Markets, a locally owned company, has recently opened a contemporary new state-ofthe-art store in Pulaski that marks the company’s continued investment in the Central New York state region. With 53 locations across Upstate New York, Fastrac is a fast-growing chain of convenience stores that employs more than 450 people. The Pulaski store sits on 4,500-sq-ft. area on Rome Street near Interstate-81. It features a full Fastrac menu, the latest touch screen ordering options, indoor and outdoor seating and eight fueling stations, including four diesel pumps and ethanol-free 90 octane fuels for the boating and snow mobile community. It follows the opening of a new Queensbury store the previous month. “The previous Pulaski location was taken over by Fastrac Markets in the fall of 2017 and needed major repairs,” said Fastrac Vice President of Marketing Jim Allen. “Rather than remodel, we thought it was smarter just to take a bulldozer to the building and build a brand new store. We’ve only been open a couple weeks but our fans already love it.” The bright and airy new location opened June 29. It features from fresh, made-to-order pizza, subs and sandwiches, to hot breakfast and lunch, smoothies, milkshakes and more. The new store also features 20 cooler and freezer doors, providing a large selection of grocery and convenience items, of which many can be found in other format discount stores such as dollar stores. Fastrac carries 17 flavors of cold beverages on the fountain drink system including several teas.

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OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2018


Jill Fudo and Kim Fortin recently started a lingerie business in Cayuga County. The pair had felt frustrated about the lack of undergarment options for professional women, they said.

Fierce With Love Lingerie Company Launches

Owners say Weedsport business fills a need in the lingerie market

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ecessity is the mother of invention — and, apparently, a lingerie shop in Weedsport that opened in June. Kim Fortin and business partner Jill Fudo, of Throop, named it “Fierce With Love,” drawing on a quote from Rudy Francisco, “Perhaps we should love ourselves so fiercely that when others see us, they know exactly how it is done.” The pair had felt frustrated about the lack of undergarment options for professional women. They lamented the woes of brassiere shopping, especially for women who don’t fall into the “average” sizes available. “We thought there was a hole in the market,” Fudo said. “They carry

average sizes. If you’re small or larger busted, there aren’t a lot of options for you. I’ve heard repeatedly women say it’s discouraging to go into a shop, see all these beautiful things and see nothing that fits them because they don’t fall into average sizes. It is really important for us to carry a really wide range of sizes. If we don’t have it, we’ll special order it.” Many shops don’t offer many choices for maternity or nursing bras, either. Shops also lack a comfortable experience for shopping for a girl’s first bra and a selection of classy apparel for young shoppers. Many lingerie shops orient toward sexual experiences, not an

BUSINESS UPDATE

AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2018

OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

environment where parents want to have their pre-teen girls shopping. Department stores can seem impersonal and there’s always the chance that shoppers will bump into someone else not brassiere shopping, which can embarrass girls. “We wanted a place that would make it comfortable for women to shop for bras and that they would leave feeling good about their body,” Fortin said. “Our objective is to provide everyday wear that is both beautiful and reflective of self.” Fortin and Fudo learned about the garment industry’s underbelly, the sweatshops where many clothing items are made. That led the duo to launch their own lingerie shop, which sources only from manufacturers who treat workers ethically. “We carry lines from US and some from Europe and the UK or else the sources we use have factories that are vetted,” Fortin said. They looked at several other boutiques that are similar to their model, but found no exact match. Fierce offers fittings, consultations, and special orders, as well as space and registries for bridal showers and baby showers in the 1,100 sq.-foot shop. They funded their business through a Pathfinder Bank loan. Fortin also works as a mental health therapist and operates 4 Tin Fish Farm, a goat dairy in Conquest, Cayuga County. Fudo works as an architect at her own firm, Jill E. Fudo Architect in Weedsport. Together, they also operate a property management firm in Weedsport, JiKi JeAn Properties, LLC. Their retail business seems an odd choice for their backgrounds; however, Fortin’s understanding of customers stems from her work as a therapist. Fudo uses her artistic eye for creating displays. Still, Fortin admitted, “it’s been a learning curve. This was never on my radar as something to do.” Fudo agreed, but added, “There’s a good opportunity for us to be timeless and meet our clients’ needs. We’re looking to curate our collection to meet that bigger need in our community.” The business employs three. Fortin and Fudo hope to expand into more brands and roll out online sales this fall.

By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant 33


A satellite image of the county’s 10-acre solar farm on state Route 3 in Volney. Google Earth image. Photo provided.

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Large Solar Field Already Generating Power in Volney

fter several years of planning, project construction and some additional necessary upgrades to National Grid’s distribution system, the County of Oswego energized their largest solar project June 29 as officials gathered at the site in Volney to make the final connection to the grid. The project, which originally began in 2014, is part of the NY-SUN program administered by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). The 2 MW system, which covers about 10 acres next to the Bristol Hill Landfill site on state Route 3, came at no cost to the county and is expected to save nearly $5

million over the next 20 years. County officials said that in addition to the financial benefits generated by this initiative, the energy produced will have significant environmental impacts as well. When compared to the same amount of electricity produced over 20 years using fossil fuels as the energy source, this solar project will help avoid the production of more than 39,000 tons of CO2, 27 tons of NOx, 6.6 tons of SO2 and 7.9 tons of particulates; this is roughly the equivalent of driving 1,693,174 cars 50 miles a day for one year. The Volney project will be the eighth solar project initiated by Oswego County. The other seven

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OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

each generate 50kW or less. In total, these renewable energy projects have the capacity to generate more than one-third of the electricity used on an annual basis by Oswego County government facilities. “It is important that we remember today former Chairman Barry Leemann, who is largely responsible for our initial ventures into renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. It was under his leadership that our management team was first directed to explore every opportunity that was mutually beneficial to our taxpayers and the environment. I am excited to be a part of continuing his mission,” said Shane Broadwell, chairman of the Oswego County Legislature.

AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2018


locations, even going so far as to drive them there herself. She provides games, activities and snacks for the commute. And she also makes sure to give those on the bus a complete rundown of where to go and what to do once they arrive at their destination. And while other bus companies strictly adhere to their scheduled departures, regardless if everyone is on board, Duvall leaves no one behind. To her, the people on the bus are more than just customers. Family vibe

Joyce Duvall, second from left, is the owner of Bingo Babes. She takes a charter bus multiple times a week to area casinos. She is posing with unidentified clients.

Bingo Babes’ Owner Logs 50 Years of Trips Scriba resident businesswoman taking clients to area casinos for five decades

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oyce Duvall has been organizing bingo trips to local casinos since she was old enough to play the game. Duvall, 70, started booking people for the visits part time for a Syracuse-based bus company after graduating from high school. Eventually, she built up a large enough client base that she started her own group known as the Bingo Babes — a small, tight-knit community of seniors from the Oswego area. Although their membership has changed over the years, Duvall has always been there to keep the buses running and seats filled. The Bingo Babes — and dudes — take a charter bus multiple times a AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2018

week to surrounding casinos for full-day bingo and gambling trips. They most often travel to Turning Stone Resort & Casino in Verona and del Lago Resort and Casino in Waterloo. Special out-ofstate trips are made as well to casinos in Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Atlantic City, but Duvall says the demand for them has declined in recent years as more casinos have opened in Central New York. While many charter bus services run casino routes, few offer coordinators who accompany the customers. Duvall is present for every trip, and she offers “perks.” Duvall ensures her regular clients have transportation to the pickup OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

“They’re my family,” Duvall said. “I always tell people: We watch over one another, we take care of one another because I run a family bus.” The Bingo Babes also consider themselves more than just fellow passengers. They have become close friends over the years, bonding on the commutes and dining together during their stay. Carol Sturgis of Fulton says that makes these bus trips superior to any others on the market. “You’ve got people to talk to and hang out with,” Sturgis said. “You watch out for each other and you just kind of make extra friends that way. We have fun and do things that you wouldn’t be doing if you were sitting in a car.” Sturgis, who has been riding with the Bingo Babes for more than a decade, appreciates the service because she couldn’t make the trips alone due to her failing eyesight. That’s something Duvall hears often and is why she has occasionally driven members to casinos herself when the bus fell through. “They enjoy what I do for them — getting them out,” Duvall said. “Otherwise, they don’t drive and wouldn’t be able to go anywhere.” Duvall says by taking these seniors to different casinos, she’s also honoring her parents who taught her bingo. “I was always close to my mom and dad and liked taking them places,” Duvall said. “I’m doing the same thing now.” For her services, Duvall takes a small cut of the fees she charges to those who ride with the Bingo Babes. But there have been many years, Duvall says, where she did not make anything at all because of the extra she paid out of pocket to make some trips happen. It was a small price to pay, she says, for the friends and memories she has made along the way.

By Payne Horning 35


programmatically,” Bostwick said. “Are there areas where there could be further collaboration? These are separate organizations with similar missions.” Effective go-between

Rebecca A. Bostwick, LLC, of Syracuse, has launched her business in May. She currently working with health-related projects.

Consultant Launches Company, Uses Networking to Her Advantage

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ow can you know if your organization is really meeting its goals and improving outcomes? A new business, Rebecca A. Bostwick, LLC, of Syracuse, wants to help “connect the dots” as Bostwick put it. Established in May, Bostwick’s company works on many types of consulting projects, developing, initiating and measuring initiatives for nonprofits, for-profits, government entities and academic institutions. “I have varied interests and consulting allows me the flexibility to work on a portfolio of engaging and different types of projects,” Bostwick said. She has a master’s degree in public education and is working on her Master of Business Administration. At present, she specializes in community health and development. And when she says “community health,” she means more than just health care. “It’s a broader definition than

that,” she said. “It’s where health happens. Health care isn’t just one partner. It involves business, city and county government and residents. The type of work I do is helping with cross-spectrum collaborations and helping initiatives start up.” For example, in a past role with Syracuse University, she worked extensively in a neighborhood looking at ways to improve neighborhood health such as encouraging people to park their cars and walk instead. Networking with other entities that pertain to health — from nutrition to fitness to preventive health — might also help allocate the resources to support neighborhood health. Currently, she’s working on a project with local community centers to develop collaborative ways to improve how they serve residents, the community and how they function. “It’s an exploratory project to see administratively how they could work better together and

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In a sense, she functions like a liaison and facilitates conversations to separate groups that could benefit through working together. Of course, organizations could simply reach out and develop collaborations on their own, without a consultant. But they may lack the time or awareness of one another’s objectives. They may not understand how they could benefit one another. “Oftentimes, having new eyes on a question or on a topic brings out the ideas that just weren’t there before,” Bostwick said. She views her work as holistic, as it takes a bigger-picture approach to solving issues facing communities and the organizations serving them and doing business within them. “Nonprofits need to know how to take a grant and do what they need to do with the grant,” Bostwick said. “For an academic institution, what does it mean to be respectfully engaged with the community they’re in? How do you do respectfully research in the community? That can be applied to government entities, too. From the for-profit organizations’ standpoint, how can you be a good corporate citizen?” She works with small companies and larger ones, too. “Just because you’re a big company doesn’t mean you have all the right people in place to accomplish your goals,” she said. In some cases, it makes more sense to contract a project out rather than pile more onto the desk of existing staffers. Bostwick wants organizations to understand what they want to do, set quantitative short-term goals and achieve measurable outcomes. While many companies engage in data collection, Bostwick wants to take it a step further and make sure it’s actionable. “How are you using it?” she posed. “You need to collect — and use in the right way — the right kind of data to help you complete your goals.”

By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2018


Facebook’s ‘Employee No. 25’ to Come to Syracuse

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hris Kelly, former chief privacy officer of Facebook and Silicon Valley investor, will speak to an audience of 250 members of the CNY technology and manufacturing community this November at NEXT 2018. This one-day conference held in Syracuse each fall features the latest trends in business and technology with a focus on manufacturing excellence, law and commercialization as well as innovations in biotech. The event features keynotes from global thought leaders, a technology showcase of cutting-edge research and innovation, and workshops where attendees gain an up-close view of state-of-the-art technologies and strategies, learning from experts and one another. With cyber security trending in international news, Kelly’s appearance in Syracuse couldn’t have better timing, according to organizers. His keynote will address the latest challenges and advances in cyber

security, as well as paint of picture of the future of technology from his unique perspective as an active investor in companies looking to move the mark in media, finance and technology. NEXT 2018 will also feature Rob Shepherd, from Cornell’s Organic Robotics Lab. NEXT is a collaboration between four organizations focused on expanding economic opportunities: Syracuse University’s CASE (The Center for Advanced Systems and Engineering), NYS Science+Technology Law Center at Syracuse University College of Law, CNY TDO and CNY Biotech Accelerator. Robert Kocik, director of CNY TDO’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership, said the event as a complete package that offers attendees the chance to engage with nextgeneration companies and products and develop new channels for growth

and innovation. “The NEXT event is always an exciting and inspiring day for the attendees and our four NYSTAR designated centers. It brings together all the elements needed to support our joint mission to help CNY companies drive regional innovation, growth, and competitiveness.” Through generous sponsors and grant funding, the full day event costs only $25 to attend. For more information and to register, visit nextsyr.com.

ASSEMBLYMAN WILLIAM A. BARCLAY

Proudly Representing Oswego County in the State Assembly

A VOICE FOR UPSTATE

For Answers to All Your Questions, Call or Email

AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2018

OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

37


New owners of former Vellas’ Market and Vella’s Home Center in Constantia: Tim Buckingham (left) and his brother Todd Buckingham (right). In the middle is grocery manager Ron Chapman, who has been working there since he was 16 years old.

Brothers Take Over Vellas’ Constantia Businesses New owners at longtime grocery, home center in southern Oswego County

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he names have changed, but the culture remains the same. It’s no longer Vella’s Market and Vella’s Home Center on Redfield Road (state Route 49) in Constantia. The businesses have been renamed Buckingham Market and Buckingham Home Center. After three generations of ownership by the Vella family, brothers Tim and Todd Buckingham acquired the businesses in January of this year and embarked on their first joint venture.

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The market and home center are continuing a tradition of business excellence established by their former owners. Three generations of Vellas owned and operated the stores. Cousins Joe and Lance were the third generation owners. Tim was formerly vice president of operations, manufacturing-distributing for Revlon, and worked in the corporate arena for about 27 years. He started as an engineer and

worked his way up from there. “I was looking for a change and doing something on my own. This opportunity came up, so we jumped on it,” Tim said. He said working in the corporate world — especially with private equity firms — is challenging, particularly with stringent security measures. “Until you try it, you don’t know what’s on the other side. It’s been an interesting journey so far,” he said of his new venture. “There are pros and cons to everything. I like the fact that everything you put into it, you’re going to get out of it,” Tim said. He noted building a strong team with good people is what the Vella family surrounded itself with. Todd has been in the retail business for 25 years, and started by establishing Buckingham Hardware & Great Outdoors in the family’s hometown of Croghan. He established a second location in Blossvale — Bucks & Bolts Hard-

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AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2018


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29 Crossroads Drive, Fulton, NY 13069 ware & Outfitters — several years ago. “My background is hardware. The grocery end is a little bit new to me but it’s still business,” Todd said. He said the main difference is on the grocery end, where there are lower margins and spoilage. “The big thing is to watch losses and control expenses, because margins are very low,” he said. NY state of mind Tim lived and worked in Florida for 26 years after being transferred from Syracuse. “I wanted to get back up to New York,” he said. “The other thing was finding the right opportunity. We looked at a lot of businesses and a lot of P&Ls [profit and loss statements]. What made this different is the P&L was very understandable. The Vellas knew their P&Ls, and it was about a two-and-a-half to three-year deal to get to where we are. But the Vellas are great people with family values.” “We have big shoes to fill,” Tim said. “But really, it was the Vellas that sealed the deal. Numbers are just ink on paper, AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2018

and the Vellas bridged the gaps and answered all the questions.” The Buckinghams retained all employees at the stores as well as the Vella’s management structure and culture. Anchoring the grocery end is manager Ron Chapman, who has been working there since he was 16 years old. That culture emphasized friendly customer service and involvement in the community. “We have really taken their successful business model and kept it in place. We are going to tweak small things here and there, and maybe seek out ways to improve stuff, but in the long run, we are keeping the same structure,” Tim said. Some product upgrades have already been made, including the addition of Milwaukee Tools and Accessories, as well as Benjamin Moore paints. “We have family values. It’s about knowing your name when you walk through the door,” Tim said. The business owners draw customers from a wide area, and even deliver building supplies in the Watertown area because of their competitiveness and existing relationships there. There is a large population of elderly OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

folk in the area that winter in Florida, but they are back in the spring. “I would say the population grows by a third during the summer,” he said. “A lot of the same things in the corporate world are not that much different in retail,” Tim said. The brothers received lending assistance from Wells Fargo to purchase the structures on the 25-acre site as well as inventories, which are much more expensive in the home center. “It was a multi-million dollar project, and not a small transaction,” Tim said. “What the Vellas really prided themselves on, and what is the same model we use — is outstanding customer services and good quality products,” Tim said. He said the home center sells a lot of premium lumber that can’t be found at big box stores. “We give great service when it comes to pole bar, house and deck designs,” he added.

By Lou Sorendo 39


SPECIAL REPORT By Payne Horning

A 19th Century Entrepreneur New book reveals the life of one of Oswego’s most prominent former residents, Onondaga County native Malvina Guimaraes

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s an Oswego native, Ann Callaghan Allen has heard her fair share of rumors about Malvina Guimaraes, the 19th century woman who allegedly catapulted to wealth as the mistress of the man who founded the Singer Sewing Machine Company, and later lost everything she had.

“I thought that was a darn good story,” Allen said. “But that ended up not being true at all. In fact, her story is a lot more interesting than that.” Allen attempts to set the record straight in the book “The Madame’s Business: The remarkable life and tragic death of Malvina Guimaraes.” The 159-page biography profiles Guimaraes, an astute entrepreneur who achieved great success despite the limitations for women of her era. She was born into obscurity on a farm in Fabius, in southern Onondaga County, in 1828. But Guimaraes would go on to acquire vast wealth by the time of her death in 1882 after introducing the South American market to the sewing machine, and investing in the first public transportation system in 40

Lisbon, Portugal. The fortune she amassed afforded her a luxurious lifestyle. Guimaraes was a globetrotter, living and working in three separate continents in her lifetime. She resided in immaculate estates and homes in Portugal, New York City and Oswego — such as the Oswego Elks Lodge historic house. And she owned large amounts of property, including nearly an entire block of downtown Oswego. In addition to covering Guimaraes’ business exploits, Allen’s book details what was a very eventful life. Guimaraes was one of the few who survived the harrowing and infamous wreck of the steamship San Francisco, and would go on to gain international fame as a massive and acrimonious OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

legal battle for her estate unfolded in different courts. The 13-year fight accumulated more paperwork than any other at the time in New York state. “I uncovered a lot about this woman along the way,” Allen said. “Her story really is like fiction.” Allen was inspired to write the book after looking for a way to honor another remarkable Oswego woman. In 2017, Oswego civic leaders started encouraging city residents to give back to the community with their time, talent or treasure. It was part of a campaign to commemorate Ruth Sayer, a former teacher and beloved community advocate, on her 100th birthday. For her project, Allen decided to do something about the crumbling Guimaraes gravesite. The ornate AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2018


Book written by Oswego native Ann Callaghan Allen, “The Madame’s Business: The remarkable life and tragic death of Malvina Guimaraes” focuses on the extraordinary life of Fabius native and Oswego resident Malvina Guimaraes.

AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2018

OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

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SPECIAL REPORT stone memorial sits on a 32 lot-area in Oswego’s Riverside Cemetery. Stone walls and steps surround the full-size stone portrait of Malvina that cost $15,000 when it was erected in 1877 or about $328,590 in today’s currency, according to Allen. Sayer and her late husband, Frank Sayer, were longtime benefactors to Riverside, and Allen said Ruth has long lamented the deterioration of the monument. “It’s really a sight,” Allen said. “It was beautiful once, and it could be beautiful again.” So, Allen set out to write a book about Guimaraes, hoping the story would raise awareness and subsequently funds to restore the gravesite. The retired Le Moyne professor had never written a book before; however, she had plenty of writing experience as a former Syracuse Newspapers reporter. Though Allen would soon discover that it was the research, rather than the writing, that proved to be challenging. “Because she was a woman in the

The 159-page biography profiles Malvina Guimaraes, an astute entrepreneur who achieved great success despite the limitations for women of her era. 19th century, even here in New York state, there’s not much I can find about her,” Allen said. “There are all of these profiles of all of these famous men like [Thomas] Kingsford. Even her lawyer and her agent are profiled. She’s barely mentioned, but she was the one who employed them all!” To track down the information on

her subject, Allen traveled to the Hagley Museum and Library in Delaware for Singer Sewing Machine Company records, and to Connecticut where Guimaraes was married. But her most productive trip was to the Oswego County Surrogate’s Court office. There she found a brown, metal box that contained the handwritten documents from Guimaraes’ divorce and estate court cases. The proverbial treasure chest supplied Allen with much of what she needed for the largest section of the book. The documents detailed the extensive legal proceedings that took place in courts in two different countries. It was the result of Guimaraes’ third husband, Antonio Ribeiro Seabra, who tried to wrest her fortune away. “He was the villain of the story,” Allen said. “He was much younger, came to Oswego, tried to convince her to marry him and she eventually did. That was really the biggest mistake of her life.” Seabra was unfaithful to his wife, abused her — including with a wild monkey — and later took advantage of the sexist laws of the time to drag out the legal saga. Learning what she endured gave Allen a new appreciation for Guimaraes. “Reading her story made me appreciate what kind of courage you needed to be an independent, successful woman in the 19th century,” She said. “It was tough going, but she did it. Now sadly this monument, which is really all that’s left of her — the knowledge of her or any vestige of her in Oswego is crumbling.”

Book’s Sale to Help Restore Monument in Riverside Cemetery

Ann Callaghan Allen, a former LeMoyne professor and journalist, is the author “The Madame’s Business: The remarkable life and tragic death of Malvina Guimaraes.” 42

OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

“The Madame’s Business: The remarkable life and tragic death of Malvina Guimaraes” is available for sale at The Richardson-Bates House Museum and at the River’s End Book Store in Oswego. Proceeds will go toward restoring the monument honoring Malvina Guimaraes at Oswego’s Riverside Cemetery. AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2018


Linda Egan is the force behind Fulton Block Builder, a project that helps local residents improve their homes.

Fulton Revitalizing Neighborhoods One Block at a Time Fulton Block Builders has raised more than $300,000, helping hundreds of Fulton residents renovate the exterior of their houses By Payne Horning

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s a member of the Fulton Sunrise Rotary Club, Linda Egan has invited a lot of people to come give guest lectures at her group’s meetings. But it was one visit in 2016 that changed her life, and is doing the same for the entire city of Fulton. Egan asked Paul Stewart, founder and director of the Oswego Renaissance Association, to speak. He told the group how his grassroots campaign to improve Oswego’s houses with microloans was transforming the city’s neighborhoods. The speech lasted only 20 minutes, but Egan says that’s all it took for her to be hooked. “I’m like — I can do this,” Egan AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2018

said. “This is Fulton.” Egan went to work, raising money and public interest for their own renaissance. And in just two years, Fulton Block Builders has raised more than $300,000, helping hundreds of Fulton residents renovate the exterior of their houses. But the movement has become something much more meaningful than just the beautification of Fulton’s residential districts. It’s building a sense of community, Egan says. In order for people to participate in the program, they must come together as a block and submit a joint application. That requires communication and OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

collaboration, not only on plans for individual houses but also neighborhood projects. One block of homeowners on the west side of the Oswego River is working together to fix and mount a concrete sign from the old Phillips Street School that was formerly located in the neighborhood. Egan says they were happy to help fund a community project that will honor a piece of Fulton history while bringing together a group of relative strangers. “It’s a beautiful little neighborhood in the city, but it didn’t have a sense of neighborhood and that was really what we were trying to bring 43


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about here,” she said. “When they sent in their application, they spent a lot of time talking about last year we just waved to each other. We didn’t really know each other. But by the end of the Block Builder process, we had friends, we had next-door neighbors, we had people that we could count on. Those are exactly the kind of stories we want to hear. We want to hear that community involvement.” Most of the grants Fulton Block Builders awards are for smaller exterior improvements, ranging from fixing stairs, front steps, sidewalks or putting in new mailboxes, windows and gutters. Even smaller cosmetic changes like a new coat of paint for the front door count. Nothing that removes greenspace, such as trees or yards to make way for bigger driveways, receives funding. The average award is $1,000, although more is available if someone uses historic paint colors in their work or has a corner house, since it affects the aesthetics of more than one neighborhood. Fulton resident Peter Holmes received one of the grants for the work he’s doing on a dilapidated house, including three stone pillars on the front porch. “The grant made the stonework possible,” Holmes said. “Although the stonework wasn’t in the grant, we didn’t buy the stonework until later but we had the funds because of the grant, because it adjusted our budget we already had in place for the renovation we were doing.” Through press coverage and word of mouth, the interest in Fulton Block Builders has spread like wild fire. More than 200 people applied for funding in 2017. This year, it’s nearly doubled. And some people are even submitting applications without actually requesting any money just as a way to support the work their neighbors are doing. But this wide spread buy-in from the Fulton community wasn’t always there. As Egan and a dozen volunteers were first launching block builders, they met some reluctance. Property owners were worried that any home improvements would lead to a subsequent reassessment from the city. “People said ‘I was working on the interior all of these years,’” Egan said. “’I didn’t want to do anything to the outside because I thought they would just raise my taxes.’ So I talked AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2018


to the city about that and the city said we 100 percent promise that if you clean up the exterior of your home as part of this block builder project, we will not raise your taxes for doing that. That was a clear message from the city and it really resonated very strongly with residents.” For her part in making Fulton Block Builders possible, Egan has received numerous awards. The 2018 Amelia Earhart Woman of Achievement award from the Zonta Club of Oswego; a certificate of recognition from the Oswego County Legislature; the 2017 Positive Community Momentum award from the Greater Oswego-Fulton Chamber of Commerce and the Community Service Award from the Fulton Sunrise Rotary Club where her project got its start. Despite all of the recognition for her efforts, Egan is modest. She gives credit to Paul Stewart and Steve Phillips, founders of the Oswego Renaissance Association, who have mentored her as she set out to replicate their model. Egan also says it would not be possible if not for the dozen or so core committee members who act as ambassadors to blocks as they work through the application and execution of the grants. But mainly, Egan credits the community for what has been achieved these past two years. From homeowners investing their time and resources to corporate sponsors like Pathfinder Bank making large donations, to businesses like Chirello Advertising designing a logo for the organization for free — Fulton Block Builders is truly one large community initiative, Egan says. “It’s very heartwarming to know that our individuals and our local businesses really do care about the city and do want to see good things happening,” Egan said. That community driven aspect is key to the organization’s long-term success according to the “recipe book” of best practices Egan says she learned from the Oswego Renaissance Association. It’s too early to tell if Fulton Block Builders will go the distance, Egan says, but she’s encouraged by what she’s seeing thus far. “The increase in the number of businesses, applications, the buzz around the city, people saying “I can feel the change happening” all of that gives me great hope that this is a winning formula,” Egan said. AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2018

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recent story online indicated that Syracuse, Buffalo and Rochester are considered among the top 20 worst cities in which to live nationwide. That’s three Upstate New York cities on a list of only 20 U.S. cities. While hardly a scientific study, the story did offer some notable criticism of these cities. Of Syracuse, the story stated that a high percentage of the city’s residents live in poverty, about double the state’s percent. The latest U.S. Census Bureau statistics back that assertion, indicating that 33.6 percent of Syracuse residents live in poverty, compared with 14.7 percent statewide. The online story also states that locals are “struggling to find jobs, and people struggle to find affordable homes. Danny Liedka, CEO of Visit Syracuse, Inc., takes the negative references in stride. “You can buy an incredible home or rent for affordable rates in Syracuse,” Liedka said. “The price of real estate is extremely low compared with many other regions.” He also cited the short commute most workers enjoy — just 10 to 15 minutes —and the city’s vibrant nightlife and eclectic restaurants. “I think they’re way off the mark,” Liedka said. “You can make numbers say whatever you want them to say. A lot of larger media outlets look for people to click and comment and it’s unfortunate. The art of journalism has declined. It’s all about clicks and comments. I couldn’t disagree more.” On a personal note, he added that he has experienced many opportunities to leave Central New York and live elsewhere; however, he thinks that the area is “a great place to raise a family,” he said, and that’s why he has chosen to remain. “Syracuse has lots of great, local colleges,” Liedka added. Janet Clerkin, coordinator of tourism and public information for Oswego County Promotion and Tourism, also discredited the article and believes it won’t influence outsiders much as to where they want to live or vacation. “Personally, I don’t believe that online articles about the worst places to live in New York state have that much influence on a person’s decision on where OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

to go,” she said. “People do their own research and usually choose based on their favorite activities, affordability, transportation logistics and recommendations from friends and family.” Alice Maggiore, communications manager at Downtown Committee of Syracuse, echoed that sentiment. She also said that she has read many lists lauding Syracuse as one of the best places to live, such as one published annually by U.S. News & World Report. “Syracuse moved up on the list to number 48,” Maggiore said. “That holds much more clout.” That’s compared with 124 other metro areas. U.S. News writer Lauren Levine states, “Syracuse is more affordable than other major U.S. metro areas, making it a popular place to live for families and retirees. Young professionals also enjoy the region, both for its prices and because there’s plenty to do.” Levine also lauded the city’s improvements, including cleaning up Onondaga Lake, the short commutes, equidistance to major cities, and many family-oriented attractions. Maggiore said that improvements in downtown such as additional affordable housing in venues like the former Post Standard building, will only help Syracuse. “Many people in surveys have said they’d like to see more affordable downtown housing opportunities,” Maggiore said. From July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018, 18 new businesses came to the downtown area, which Maggiore defines as the 82 blocks bordered by Interstate 690, Interstate 81, Adams Street and Onondaga Creek. Maggiore hopes more area businesses would use her organization’s resources to promote their businesses and spread the word about Syracuse’s assets. “Downtown is a great place to live, work and do business,” she added. To read the full article on the worst places to live, visit http://buzz.auntyacid.com/top-20-worst-places-live-usaannounced-2/. The U.S. News & World Report article is at https://realestate.usnews.com/places/new-york/syracuse. AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2018


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L. Michael Treadwell ooc@oswegocounty.org

OCO Honors Those Who Make a Difference Operation Oswego County recently recognized businesses and organizations for their contribution to the community

L. MICHAEL TREADWELL, CEcD, is executive director of Operation Oswego County based in Oswego. To contact him call 315-343-1545 or visit www.oswegocounty.org. 48

Three business organizations, a suc- Huhtamaki, Interface Solutions, the Port of cessful entrepreneur and a long-standing Oswego, CiTi BOCES, SUNY Oswego, Exelon, economic development advocate have been Cayuga Community College Fulton Campus honored for significant contributions to and EJ USA; and for its ongoing support of economic development and job creation in several community initiatives. • The Business Excellence Award for 2018 was Oswego County. The event took place during the Operation Oswego County (OOC) 66th presented to 1886 Malt House in recognition and appreciation of the innovative transformation annual meeting June 15. • The Ally Award for 2018 was presented to of 41,000 square feet of the former Miller BrewC&S Companies in recognition and appreci- ery into the largest malt house operations in ation of its significant contribution to the the northeast to produce 2,000 tons annually overall economic development process in of malted barley for the craft beer brewing Oswego County; for its outstanding coop- industry; for investing $14.2 million to create eration, support and for being an essential the state-of-the-art malt facility; for the creation partner in advancing and diversifying the of eight manufacturing jobs and hundreds of economy and enhancing the quality of life in indirect jobs in agriculture, transportation and Oswego County; for playing an integral role in the rapidly growing craft brewing industry in such key economic development initiatives across New York state. • The 2018 Jobs Award, was presented to Mornand projects as the Oswego County Indusingstar Residential Care Center/ trial Park, the Regional Economic Trends The Gardens by Morningstar in Wastewater Treatment recognition and appreciaSystem Feasibility Study, development of site profiles, support of the tion of the significant contribution and impact development of the Oswego County Airport, that these two health care facilities have had on the Next Great Idea Business Plan Competi- the Oswego County economy and health care tion, engineering support for Novelis, Sunoco, system; for operating a 120-bed skilled nursing

From left, Joe Hartnett, business development manager at C&S Companies; L. Michael Treadwell, OOC executive director; John Trimble, president & CEO of C&S Companies; John Camp, municpal services group manager at C&S Companies; Barbara Bateman, OOC board president; John Spina, Sr., vice president and chief administrative officer at C&S Companies; Terry Hopkins, community relations manager, C&S Companies; and Joe Nadzan, industrial buildings department manager at C&S Companies. OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2018


L. Michael Treadwell, OOC executive director; Joseph Murabito, owner/operator of Morningstar Residential Care Center/The Gardens by Morningstar; and Barbara Bateman, OOC board president. facility since 2010 and a 106-bed assisted living facility that opened in 2016, both in the city of Oswego; for employing 190 workers; and for providing people in the community with quality health care to help them achieve their best quality of life. • Physician Padma Ram received OOC’s 2018 Dee Heckethorn Entrepreneur Award in recognition and appreciation of exceptional entrepreneurial spirit, creativity, and dedication to fostering the growth and development of Dr. Padma Ram Medical Services, LLC, an internal medicine practice that is composed of a primary care practice and an urgent care facility located in the city of Oswego; for having over 37 years in medical practice; for starting her business in 2000 and in 2013 doing a major expansion by acquiring a 26,000-sq.-ft. building; for growing employment by 95 percent to 35 jobs; for serving a combined 17,000 patients in 2017. • David Turner was honored with the 2018 Martin Rose Economic Developer Merit Award in recognition and appreciation of his outstanding and visionary record of exhibiting leadership, support and cooperation in advancing economic development initiatives that have significantly enhanced the business climate, economic progress and quality of life in Oswego County; for serving as the City of Oswego Community Development director during 2000-2006 and the director of the Oswego County Department of Community Development, Tourism and Planning since 2006; for serving on the board of directors of Operation Oswego County for 23 years; for his leadership roles in the Oswego County Economic Advancement Plan and growing the tourism industry. AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2018

Barbara Bateman, OOC board president; David Turner, Oswego County Department of Community Development, Tourism and Planning; Veronica Turner, David Turner’s wife; and L. Michael Treadwell, OOC executive director.

Physician Padma Ram wins of the 2018 Dee Heckethorn Entrepreneur Award (center).

From left, Ben Harvey, Malt House operations manager at Sunoco Agri-Business; Barbara Bateman, OOC board president; Erin Tones, marketing & logistics manager at Sunoco Agri-Business; Tim Hardy, general manager at Sunoco AgriBusiness; Kelly Higgins, marketing and sales analyst at Sunoco Agri-Business; L. Michael Treadwell, OOC executive director; and Guy Clemons, production manager at Sunoco Agri-Business. OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

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Bruce Frassinelli bfrassinelli@ptd.net

A Dangerous Time to Be a Journalist The killing of the five employees in Annapolis should be a wake-up call not only for journalists but for the public.

‘Trump stunned journalists and many other Americans when he called the news media the ‘enemy of the people,’ a characterization often used by dictators and autocrats’

BRUCE FRASSINELLI is the former publisher of The PalladiumTimes. He served as a governor of the Rotary Club District 7150 (Central New York) from July 2001 to June 2002. AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2018

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ntil recently, it was pretty much a given that journalists in foreign countries were those who feared for their safety and their lives, but the June killing of five employees of The Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis, Md., has upped the ante for media workers in this country. A number of columnists have attempted to make a connection between this shocking event and the anti-media environment championed by President Donald Trump. We have to be careful in trying to make this quantum leap, because the alleged shooter in the Annapolis killings had a long-standing grudge against the newspaper because of an article written about him, and there is no indication that he was motivated even in the least to carry out this unthinkable act because he was egged on to do so by the words of the president and his equally anti-media partisans. When I was a reporter, editor and publisher, the idea of some aggrieved subject of a news article appearing at our doorway with a weapon and gunning down innocent employees never even crossed our minds. During my 58 years as a journalist, fists have b e e n shaken at me, obscene words were spewed at me, I have had anonymous phone threats, and I have had really angry people who didn’t like what I wrote get in my face

as I was trying to do my job, but I have never been assaulted, let alone shot at. Among hundreds of other colleagues at other papers, there was only one incident with which I am familiar where an assault occurred. An angry reader, who had been the subject of a news article written by a reporter at the paper, punched Jim Sachetti, editor of the Bloomsburg (Pa.) Press-Enterprise in the mouth. He was not seriously injured, but it took us journalists by surprise. For a few months, we had our guards up, but things went back to normal. There was no security in the newspaper buildings in which I worked. I retired from full-time newspaper work at the end of 1998. Twenty years ago, we never felt we needed protection. Any person who wanted to enter, either to do business or to discuss news coverage or anything else was free to come and go without restrictions. I used to joke with my colleagues at The Palladium-Times in Oswego, where I was pub-

My Turn

OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

Contuined on the Next Page 51


SUNY Oswego’s Kristen Eichhorn Earns Distinguished Teaching Award

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eaching ability, helpful mentorship and service to the field of communication have earned Kristen Eichhorn, SUNY Oswego’s dean of graduate studies, the Eastern Communication Association (ECA) Distinguished Teaching Fellows award. Eichhorn attended her first ECA conference nearly two decades ago, as an undergraduate at Canisius College, and since then has served in capacities including on its executive council, chairing several interest groups and directing the annual undergraduate conference. She is also proud of bringing more than 100 students to the annual gathering, many of whom also presented. With a Ph.D. from Miami University and a master’s from West Virginia University — where she attributes learning the importance of ECA and of professional service — Eichhorn started teaching at SUNY Oswego in 2007. In her time at Oswego, she has also served as professor and chair of communication studies, an American Council on Education Fellow (at Cornell University), interim dean of extended learning, a Presidential Faculty Fellow and a SUNY-wide faculty senator before becoming dean of the college’s graduate studies in 2017. Her many publications include two editions as co-author of the “Interpersonal Communication: Building Rewarding Relationships” textbook, as well as research in such journals as the Journal of ComputerMediated Communication, Human Communication and International Journal of Leadership Studies. “Her caring for her students is obvious,” said Matthew M. Martin, professor of communication studies at West Virginia University, her former teacher who became a mentor and a supportive colleague. “I have also witnessed Dr. Eichhorn interact with her students at conferences. She spends considerable time with these students, introducing her students to scholars they read about and supporting them when they present their own research at the conference.”

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lisher, that if an angry reader wanted to take it out on the newspaper by physical confrontation, mine was the first office he or she would encounter. Today, I am sure that Pall-Times Publisher Jon Spaulding, who occupies that same office, would not consider my off-handed remark funny, nor for that matter, appropriate. Raised voices? Sure, I encountered them lots of times; four-letter words and angry denunciation of the newspaper for publishing a story someone didn’t like? Occasionally. But it never came to pushing, shoving or throwing punches, let alone violence or gunfire. But times have changed. During the time he was president of the National Press Club, Jeff Ballou, whose term ended in January, said that there was scarcely a day when he didn’t need to deal with some serious challenge to members. “The steady deterioration of civility and common decency, of outright unconstitutional behavior toward journalists, is deeply worrying,” Ballou said. Trump’s now famous declaration of “fake news” came shortly before his inauguration on Jan. 20, 2017 when the then president-elect refused to take a question from well-known CNN senior White House correspondent Jim Acosta. “Your organization is terrible,” Trump told Acosta as his disdain for CNN was growing. Undeterred, Acosta pressed forward trying to ask his questions. Trump told him, “Don’t be rude. No, I am not going to give you a question. You are fake news.” Trump then took a question from Breitbart News, one of the president’s chief media supporters. Trump stunned journalists and many other Americans when he called the news media the “enemy of the people,” a characterization often used by dictators and autocrats in other countries who systematically did away with their opponents. The concern is that it sets the stage for events such as the one that happened in Bozeman, Mont., on May 24, 2017, when multimillionaire Republican Congressional candidate Greg Gianforte body-slammed reporter Ben Jacobs of the Guardian newspaper to the ground, jumped on him and started pounding him with his fists. Gianforte was annoyed by Jacobs questions. Gianforte pleaded guilty to an assault charge and was sentenced to 40 hours of community service, 20 hours of anger management consultation, a 180-day deferred sentence, and a $300 fine along with an $85 court fee. As part of his settlement with Jacobs, Gianforte OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

donated $50,000 to the Committee to Protect Journalists, which used the funds to support the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker. Gianforte also apologized to Jacobs. He went to win the congressional election and is now serving in the U.S. House of Representatives. Trying to equate negative news coverage with “fake news” is a dangerous development. When Trump mobilizes his forces at rallies with attacks on the press, and they respond in a chorus of boos and shaken fists at CNN and other mainstream media, it sets the stage for some of his supporters to carry out assaults and other forms of attacks against journalists and their news organizations. In fact, Trump has openly encouraged the assault of people who do not agree with him and his supporters at his rallies. He once offered to pay the legal fees of anyone arrested. Several journalists were threatened, and several others were assaulted and wound up with minor injuries at Trump rallies while he was on the campaign trail. This barrage of early-morning tweets vilifying news organizations that do not agree with the president and other attempts to isolate journalists in favor of more sympathetic outlets, such as Fox News, has had a chilling effect on some journalists. Reporters have a target on them, and some have refused to dig into major news stories involving the administration for fear of making an error which could destroy their careers. Journalists are fearful that Trump’s constant singling out of the news media is going to prompt one or more of his supporters to take his words as a green light to harm them or their colleagues. Last year was the most dangerous year ever for journalists. Eighteen were killed around the world, and a record number were imprisoned. Threats against journalists and their news organizations have become commonplace, even here in the United States. The killing of the five employees in Annapolis should be a wake-up call not only for journalists but for the public. Journalists now realize that they don’t have to be working for a highly visible, top-ranked media outlet such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN or MSNBC. If it can happen at a small paper such as The Capital Gazette (circulation about 33,000), it can happen at your community newspaper, too. And this is a scary thought. AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2018


TOURISM SPECIAL

TOURISM Special Report

n Brennan Beach RV Resort. Population: Over 6,000 n Motel Owner: AirBnBs Hurting Hotel, Tourism Industry n Staycations Boost Tourism Industry n Tourism Vital to CNY Economy n Bed Tax Up Nearly 50 Percent n Tailwater Lodge to Complete Major Expansion n ‘Gateway to the Tug Hill’

Brennan Beach, Oswego County. Photo by Ken Sturtz. AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2018

OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

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Photo by Kenneth Sturtz

TOURISM SPECIAL

Brennan Beach RV Resort. Population: Over 6,000 Resort is top destination in Central New York. Guests talk about the family feel of the campground and liken a summer here to a slice of paradise By Kenneth Sturtz

O

n a scorching, crowded day at the beach, a little boy in a bathing suit has set his sights on digging. Plastic shovel and bucket in hand, he wanders toward a spot near the base of a lifeguard tower. He sinks his shovel into the sand. Whether he’s treasure hunting, castle building or testing the perpetual myth about digging to China, he doesn’t get far. Moments after starting, the boy’s father calls to him, saying it’s time to go. But he doesn’t seem to hear. Finally, the father walks over and takes him by the hand. As he leaves, the boy casts a

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backward glance toward the beach. With nearly 1,400 sites on 150 acres overlooking Lake Ontario, Brennan Beach RV Resort becomes a miniature city five months of the year. On busy summer weekends the campground swells to more than 6,000 people. Richard “Dick” Brennan started here in the 1960s with a handful of campsites and spent several decades growing the business. He sold the business in the early 2000s. Today, the campground is owned by Encore RV Resorts & Communities, which has similar properties around the country. Brennan’s stepson, OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

Ed Hillenbrand, manages the campground for Encore. Hillenbrand came here in 1999. At the time he was an Army colonel working on intelligence systems at the Pentagon. He hadn’t spent much time at the campground, but was preparing to retire and asked his mother if she could use his help. He came for the summer to try it out. “I fell in love with the place,” he says. He moved his wife and kids back to Upstate New York and never left. Developing intelligence systems and running an RV campground wouldn’t seem to have much in common, AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2018


Total revenue from Brennan Beach this year will be around $4 million. It comes from site rentals, camp store and vendors operating the laundromat and the arcade games. but Hillenbrand says both involve managing budgets and people. He oversees 70 seasonal employees, and he and his head of maintenance work all year. Hillenbrand is clearly proud of the experience he and his staff provide. On a busy weekend, as he gives a tour, it’s hard to find an empty spot among the 1,200 seasonal sites, 171 temporary sites and 13 rental cottages. Maybe it’s due in part to a sense of safety from the 24-hour security and the swipe card needed to enter the front gate. Or maybe it’s the amenities that make it popular. Hillenbrand — who seems to know every employee and guest, from those who’ve been here decades to the newest newcomer — points out the pools, all three of them. They’re popular on days like today. There are also the tennis courts, softball field, basAUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2018

ketball courts, an arcade, a homemade mini-golf course, a children’s library and snack stands. And then there’s the campground’s focus on family-friendly activities. “We try to cater to the kids as much as we can because if the kids are happy, Mom and Dad are happy,” Hillenbrand says. The activities director has a seemingly endless schedule of events planned: karaoke, bingo, group exercise, golf cart drive-in movies, and a sprawling craft fair and flea market. And there’s a theme for just about every weekend: Pirates Weekend, Christmas in July, Car Show Weekend, Halloween Weekend, Western Weekend. And, as if that weren’t enough, there’s live music on the bandstand in the courtyard every weekend. Joanne Lagoe helps organize the car OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

show and last year more than 150 vehicles turned out. Lagoe has spent the last six summers here, first in a camper and now in a park model trailer. She and her husband got married at Brennan Beach last year and were surprised with a golf cart procession around the campground. Golf carts are everywhere at Brennan Beach — ranging from the mundane to the elaborately tricked out — and are the preferred way to get around. Lagoe says the golf cart procession is the sort of thing that keeps her coming back to see her fellow “Brennanites.” “For me it’s definitely a sense of community,” she says. “People help each other out.” The sense of community is evident from the endless rows of neatly maintained sites. RVs and campers of every size and shape fill sites adorned with flowers, flags, welcome signs and wind chimes. They’re the kind of lawn ornaments that might be considered tacky if they didn’t make everything feel so homey. It’s hard for a place like this to not feel homey with children riding bikes, parents calling after the children and grandparents calling after the parents. In interviews, guests talk about the family feel of the place and liken a summer here 55


to a slice of paradise. But even paradise doesn’t come for free. Most of the campground’s revenue is derived from site rentals. A two-person site with hookups starts at $2,619 for the season and goes up depending on location. They also rent sites by the month and week. Cottages are available for rent. Adults visiting for the day cost $8 per person; children cost $3. The campground also gets a share of the profits from the companies that operate the laundromat and the arcade games. Total revenue from Brennan Beach this year will be around $4 million, Hillenbrand says, and about $2 million of that is profit for the company. And then there’s the camp store. No bigger than a modest convenience store, it sells the necessities, things people forgot at home and souvenirs like Brennan Beach T-shirts. On a busy weekend the store brings in thousands of dollars a day. Hillenbrand says the most popular item is the ice and points to a hulking ice chest in the back as a man grabs two bags and waits in line. But no one comes for the novelty T-shirts or the ice — the beach is the star attraction. A sidewalk lines the half mile of beach, which is mostly hidden by foliage. A steady line of people trickles onto the beach searching for spots. They arrive toting towels, beach bags and coolers. They set up beach chairs, inflate water rafts and erect umbrellas and popup tents. The smell of freshly applied sunscreen wafts over the beach. Many choose to soak in the sun or perch under an umbrella with a book as country music plays. The more adventurous swim. Several stand in the water, playing catch with a football. Beyond them is a sprinkling of rafts. Farther out, power boats and jet skis zip by. Two boys wearing goggles stand waist deep in the lake as the waves roll in. They laugh as they squirt each other with pump water guns. In the middle of the melee a wave steals the younger boy’s water gun, leaving him defenseless. He’s sprayed mercilessly until the older boy finds his foe’s gun and hands it back. Then it begins all over again. Sand on the beach is mixed in with a sea of rocks leftover from last year when flooding damaged part of the beach. Workers made repairs and have been trying to remove all the rocks ever since, Hillenbrand says. On a day with heat so stifling, that doesn’t seem to matter. Most spots, sand or rocks, are occupied. Stacie Rogers chats with friends on 56

A sample of RV that calls Brennan Beach RV Resort home for the summer.

A sidewalk lines the half mile of beach, which is mostly hidden by foliage.

One of the vendors at Brennan Beach. OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2018


Aerial photo of Brennan Beach RV Resort in Pulaski. Photo by Kenneth Sturtz.

the beach as she watches her neighbor’s son play. Her neighbor does maintenance here and Rogers, whose granddaughter has just left after a two-week visit, helps out by keeping an eye on the child. Rogers says her mother-in-law used to have a site at Brennan Beach. Now she and her husband are spending their fifth season here. Although they live in Ellisburg, Rogers says she and her husband stay at Brennan Beach all summer, commuting to work from here. “My favorite part is coming here and meeting new people,” she says. Farther down the beach, Linda Mahoney is peering at the ground. She’s hunting for rocks, but not just any rocks. She fishes through some debris and collects several perfectly smooth rocks. She’s made a hobby of painting flowers and other things on them. Mahoney, of Syracuse, started staying here in 1991 and has friends and children who make their homes here. She sold her house and now spends summers here and winters in Florida. Mahoney spots a couple more rocks and picks them up. She laughs, saying she can’t imagine anyone will mind if she takes them. AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2018

Just up from the beach, Nancy and Tony Hroncich are outside their park model trailer. She dunks a brush into a bucket of soapy water, scrubs the side of the trailer and then rinses it with a hose. Then she rearranges her potted flowers. The couple first started coming to Brennan Beach in the 1980s. They parked a 26-foot camper in the same site for two weeks every August. Then about eight OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

years ago they bought a park model trailer that sits right on the beach. She and her husband, who are from Amsterdam, enjoy staying here for the beach and the relaxation, she says. The neighbors often become like family, she says as she waves to a group of people driving by on a golf cart. “It’s very homey,” Nancy says. “If you like the beach, this is the place to be.” 57


TOURISM SPECIAL

Steve Hoepfl, owner of Christy’s Motel in Old Forge: rooms rent at AirBnB causing distress among hotel owners, he says.

Motel Owner: AirBnBs Hurting Hotel, Tourism Industry By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant

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irBnB.com, the website that allows homeowners to list their spare rooms to rent to travelers, has been a bane to owners of hotels, motels and bed and breakfast accommodations. These homeowners can undercut the prices of rooms. A recent visit to AirBnB.com featured places to stay in Oswego for example, for $37 a night (for two guests); and in Syracuse and Clay for under $40 as well. Prices are so inexpensive because these property owners don’t have to pay for a business license or pay taxes required of owners of lodging. They can also skirt legal considerations for health, safety, commercial building codes and zoning. Steve Hoepfl, owner of Christy’s Motel in Old Forge, said AirBnB participants and under-the-radar short-term rentals are cutting into his profits and affecting his bottom line. While managers and innkeepers typically work on-site overseeing their places of lodging, some AirBnB owners

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don’t, according to Hoepfl. “There always have been homes managed by local management companies,” Hoepfl said. “But all the people who lived around it knew who managed it and owned it so if there was an issue, they could pick up the phone. Now, we literally have people who live on the other side of the U.S. who buy property in Old Forge and they have no intention of living here and being part of the community.” This trend departs from the original AirBnB model, where families rented a room in their private home or purchased the house next door to rent out. Without an on-site manager, vacationers may ignore local noise ordinances and cause other disturbances in the neighborhood. “It used to be people like a cousin or a friend would rent it and the owners knew them,” Hoepfl said. Hoepfl said this is happening in areas with few other rentals. Short-term rentals also differ from leased homes because the former aren’t a vested part of the neighborhood. They don’t know OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

their neighbors, join local organizations and work to create a sense of community. “They’re here for a good time,” Hoepfl said. “They may stay up late at night. The larger the group gets, the faster it can get out of control.” The house may not be part of commercially zoned area. “In a strictly residential area, I can’t knock down five houses and put up a hotel,” Hoepfl said. “How is it different if someone buys the houses and have someone different there every day? Won’t people be thrilled to buy a home to retire in and have someone buy a house next door who someone is renting it all the time?” He added that a short-term rental home may hold as many people as care to share it, causing possible problems with sanitation and safety. The owner may set up bedrooms in a basement without an exterior exit, lack sufficient fire alarms and extinguishers, or skip installing exit signs. “The homes aren’t being inspected under the same scrutiny as me or a B and AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2018


B,” Hoepfl said. “These people who buy homes on wells, no one is inspecting the water. Imagine what 16 people living there at a time are doing to the septic.” For a group that size, he would rent a minimum of four rooms. But in a shortterm rental, all of those people could have a place with a single bathroom. Replicate that scenario many times over, and the burden on the sewer system multiplies as well. Hoepfl has attended village board meetings to address the issues. He said that a town official had recently attended a statewide conference on zoning where he learned it’s a statewide problem. “They’re looking into it, but it will be a while before something will be done,” Hoepfl said. He encourages other owners of lodgings to do the same and said that officials may be most interested in the fact that short-term rentals mean municipalities miss out on the permit fees and taxes that lodgings must pay. He also speculated that many AirBnB owners may not pay income tax on the money they’re making, which can be in the thousands per week for frequently rented properties. Though not a widespread trend in Central New York, owner-absent shortterm rentals may become more popular as out-of-state investors realize the low housing costs of the region, along with its attractiveness to vacationers. “Our industry is tourism,” Hoepfl said. “Very easily, people could keep buying up houses for the sole purpose of renting them.” Danny Liedka, CEO of Visit Syracuse, Inc., said, “The issues are endless” regarding remotely owned AirBnB rentals. “They’re not regulated like a B&B and they don’t have to tell law enforcement there’s an issue,” Liedka said. He added that AirBnB offers municipalities a boilerplate agreement that says they’ll pay tax, but it’s not a room occupancy tax. “They should pay bed tax, which promotes tourism,” Liedka said. “It puts heads in beds and that’s the purpose.” Liedka has worked for a major hotel chain and thinks that zoning will provide one means for municipalities to curb remotely-owned AirBnB houses. “It starts at the state level,” he said. “They need to continue to put pressure on state level officials for taxing occupancy. They need to know how much revenue is being missed out on.” AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2018

www.speedwaypress.com Speedway Press P.O. Box 815 1 Burkle Street Oswego, Ny 13126 Phone: (315) 343-3531 Fax: (315)343-3577

www.speedwaypress.com

Land & Water Activities for the Whole Family

RV RESORT ON LAKE ONTARIO • 3 Pools & Sun Decks • 3000 Ft. Sandy Beach • 2 Giant Rec Halls • Arcade • Tennis • Basketball • Shuffle Board • Playground • Rental Units

Reservations 315-298-2242 Route 3 • Pulaski

OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

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TOURISM SPECIAL

Staycations Boost Tourism Industry By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant

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any people choose to vacation locally — that means taking a “staycation” and remaining at or near home while taking daytrips during time off from work. Why is the staycation booming? Time and money: for many people it seems like there’s never enough of either to go on exotic vacations. The staycation provides a compromise that saves money while offering a break from work. Since a staycation doesn’t involve expensive or complicated travel arrangements (no booking flights, no passports, no vaccinations, etc.), people can take shorter, more frequent vacations. Instead of two solid weeks at once, they can take several long weekends, for example. This strategy allows families to de-stress more often. Staying at home for vacation can also prove even more stress relieving than traveling. Instead of hurrying to pack, hoping you didn’t forget anything, worrying about travel safety, rushing to keep reservations, trying to adjust to different time zones, languages and cultures, and getting lost in a strange

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city, staycationers can truly relax. They can enjoy the gems in their hometown and sleep in their own beds each night (or in a bed not far from home, a plus to homebodies). Staycationers can also know that they’re boosting the local economy by keeping their vacation spending closer to home. “Staycations definitely have an impact in Oswego County and the Central New York area,” said Janet Clerkin, coordinator of tourism and public information at Oswego County Promotion and Tourism in Oswego. “Data in a recent regional visitor study showed there was significant amount of travel for recreation, shopping, museums, restaurants, and entertainment among residents throughout the Central New York area to neighboring counties.” Clerkin added that the big “draws” to Oswego County include year-round outdoor recreation such as fishing, boating, snowmobiling and cross-country skiing. The county’s historic museums and sites such as Fort Ontario also attract local visitors. OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

“Restaurants such as Rudy’s and the Tailwater offer unique experiences and are popular destinations in themselves,” Clerkin said. Danny Liedka, CEO of Visit Syracuse, Inc., lauded his area’s state and county parks. “They’re incredible,” Liedka said. “We’re blessed with them.” He highlighted Onondaga Lake Park as a top-shelf park, with its finished trails, lake views, picnicking amenities, Wegmans Good Dog Park at one end and, at the other, the Salt Museum. The Syracuse area also boasts a thriving craft beverage and winery industry. Visit Syracuse promotes the Sip On Syracuse (SOS) Beverage Trail, which includes 13 breweries, five wineries, two distilleries, eight pubs and a cidery. “There’s shopping, athletics, art, and theater,” Liedka said. “Anything you like: we have it all here. There’s lot of treasures here. They’re under-utilized compared with Destiny and the Carrier Dome.” He said that the art scene, which includes Broadway shows, draws plenty of crowds as well. “As life becomes busier and budgets become tighter, many people are looking to book short getaways closer to home,” writes Rachel Bale in “The 2018 Travel Trends You Should Be Taking Notice Of” at www.departmentofwandering.com. “People still want to feel like they’ve had a break but without the stress and planning that often comes with it.” AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2018


Janet Clerkin, coordinator of Tourism and Public Information for Oswego County Promotion & Tourism

Tourism Vital to CNY Economy Officials from Onondaga, Oswego, Finger Lakes: Tourism brings money, jobs, growth By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant

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ourism is big business in New York. The sector grew 2.7 percent in 2016, according to the “Economic Impact of Tourism in New York” report (the most recent data available), reaching a new high of $64.8 billion in traveler spending. This represents 22 percent growth since 2008. The report further states that tourism sustains more than 780,000 jobs directly and one in 12 jobs in the state directly (such as service industries and entertainment) or indirectly (including suppliers to tourist locations). In 2016, tourism generated $8.2 billion in state and local taxes. “Tourism is considered a major economic driver in Oswego County and was identified as one of the targeted AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2018

industry groups in the Oswego County Economic Advancement Plan which was adopted by the county legislature last year,” said Janet Clerkin, coordinator of Tourism and Public Information for Oswego County Promotion & Tourism. “Tourism employment has increased steadily over the past decade, and now comprises 9.3 percent of employment in Oswego County. This equates to 3,153 jobs with $63,444,000 labor income in 2016 in Oswego County.” Generating return visitors is integral to success in the tourism industry, according to Alice Maggiore, communications manager with Downtown Committee of Syracuse. “We’re always delighted when people come to visit our downtown OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

restaurants,” Maggiore said. “It’s super important. When someone visits downtown, our hope is that it impresses them enough to return and bring their families back.” She believes that to continue the growth in tourism, businesses need to continue to generate publicity for their organizations through word-of-mouth and in a variety of media. They should also remain open later so that downtown workers might remain in town for dinner or entertainment after work. Maggiore wants downtown workers to enjoy downtown enough to return on evenings and weekends, too, to attend festivals and dine out. Danny Liedka, CEO of Visit Syracuse, Inc., said that tourism “is huge for the local economy.” He cited $1 billion annually in tourism money that’s spent in Onondaga economy, and that tourism involves 12 to 13 percent of local jobs. “It keeps people working,” Liedka said. “It’s something we have to keep working at to keep it growing. We have a lot to offer here.” From Rochester to Syracuse and down to the Pennsylvania border, the Finger Lakes Tourism Alliance tracks the economic impact of tourism. Cynthia Kimble, president of the organization, said that tourism represents a $3 billion business for the 14-county area, which includes numerous wine trails, among other attractions. “Tourism is vital,” she said. “It is big business here — there is no question about it.” She wants tourism venues to continue their marketing efforts, especially online marketing. The Alliance is also working to secure legislation to acquire a feasibility study to see if the Finger Lakes could become a National Heritage region. Kimble said of the Finger Lakes, “It’s spectacular in its beauty with a wide range of offerings and a wine region that’s getting recognition on the global stage.” The National Heritage designation isn’t just for prestige. It can bring more dollars to an area. Kimble said that a study revealed the Erie Canal National Heritage Corridor received an incremental increase in tourism income because of its designation. She hopes that works for the Finger Lakes as well. 61


TOURISM SPECIAL

Best Western Plus in Oswego.

Bed Tax Up Nearly 50%

In five years, occupancy tax revenues in Oswego County increase 43 percent — extra revenue enables county to promote tourism By Lou Sorendo

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ounty tourism officials are wakening to the reality of how significant occupancy tax revenues are to the region’s tourism scene. Oswego County along with other counties, cities and towns across New York state charge an additional tax on hotel occupancy commonly known as a bed tax. The tax is applicable at hotels, motels, inns, bed and breakfasts, ski lodges, apartment hotels and certain bungalows, condos, cottages and cabins. The rate of the tax is 4 percent of the per diem rental rate for each room provided. Lodging facilities with less than six rentable units are exempt from the tax. Over the last decade, Oswego County has successfully used these funds to grow the tourism sector by nearly 60 percent, according to David Turner, director of the Oswego County Department of Community Development, Tourism and Planning. He said overall, without considering the additional 1 percent that was added in fiscal year 2016-17, the collections have increased by about 3.3 percent annually over the last five years. In 2012-2013, occupancy tax receipts were $316,344.75. In 2016-2017, that

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number escalated to $546,931.23. That is about a 43 percent increase over a five-year span. Oswego County does not track occupancy tax on hospitality venues by municipality. Rather, the numbers are available on the countywide basis. “This is part of the process in place to protect the proprietary information of each respective business covered under the law,” said Turner, noting the law provides that individual businesses’ tax returns and sales information are confidential. Driving tourism industry The bed tax on hospitality venues was established by the Oswego County Legislature in 1988 and subsequently authorized by the state of New York. “Its purpose under the law is to reimburse the county for its efforts to promote all that there is to see and do here,” Turner said. “The ultimate goal is to get even more people to visit.” “Given that the amount of tax collected does not fully cover our expenses, there are no extra funds remaining to distribute to others,” Turner said. In addition, when this was attempted in the past, it was discovered that the OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

funds distributed were not always being used for purposes consistent with the intent of the law and the practice was discontinued, he added. “It is imperative that these funds are used properly or we risk the state revoking our authority to collect this tax,” he said. “The best way to do that is to keep them in-house as originally intended.” Turner said it is important to note that occupancy taxes are collected on all overnight stays in qualified facilities and that not all overnight stays are tourism related. “Major construction activities in the county also have an impact on these collections,” he said. “In addition to the new and enhanced promotional campaigns that we have implemented, our major employers’ investments in the maintenance and growth of their facilities also play a role.” Turner said it is difficult to project what future occupancy tax revenues will be over the next year or so. “There are too many factors that influence the final numbers,” he said. “So far this year, given that there was a short outage [at Exelon Generation’s Nine Mile Point Nuclear Station Unit 1] this past spring and another scheduled for the fall AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2018


Oswego County Occupancy Tax Receipts 2016-2017:

$546,931.23

2015-2016:

$470,641.44

2014-2015:

$346,836.06

2013-2014:

$369,938.60

2012-2013:

$316,344.75

First quarter 2017-2018: $77,140.12 (latest figure available) [Exelon’s James A. FitzPatrick nuclear power plant], and the fact that fishing on Lake Ontario has been above average for this time of the year, we are hoping to see numbers for this year somewhere in the same range as last year.” Smaller venues may be taxed There has been discussion in the past regarding collecting occupancy tax from short-term lodging facilities with fewer than six rental units. “As far as I know, the initiative is still being considered but given that it requires state approval, it will not happen in this calendar year,” he said. “Since we do not currently collect from these smaller facilities, we really don’t know how many of them exist or the volume of business that they do. So there is no way to predict the revenue that might be generated. Perhaps the state will approve this next year.” The city of Oswego features several hotel brands, including Holiday Inn Express & Suites, Home2 Suites by Hilton, the Best Western Plus Oswego Hotel and Conference Center, and Quality Inn & Suites Riverfront Hotel. Turner said by law, occupancy tax funds can only be used to promote the county in an effort to drive more visitor traffic. According to data collected by consultants engaged by Empire State Development, visitor spending in Oswego County in 2016 totaled more than $146 million. The same study reports that the tourism sector supports an estimated 3,153 jobs in the county, which is about 9.3 percent of total employment. Turner said the tourism industry generated nearly $17 million in state and local taxes in Oswego County in 2016. “That means without the revenue generated by tourism activity, the average household in Oswego County would pay an additional $372 per year in taxes if everything else were to remain even,” he said. AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2018

Brochures Unlimited Keeps Tourist Racks Stocked Business specializes in brochure distribution throughout Upstate New York

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By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant

hen you dine at a popular restaurant or visit a museum, historic site or other attraction, do you grab a handful of travel brochures on your way through the lobby? If so, they might have passed through the hands of Tom Reiter, owner of Brochures Unlimited, a Hilton-based business that refills literature racks for tourist attraction and service industry companies. Instead of a museum or restaurant or theme park mailing out hundreds of postcards to random potential guests, only those with genuine interest pick up a card. Plus, Reiter’s company can place them in racks for mere pennies each, which includes the cost of printing and placement. Reiter said that the company began in 1969. John Dailey, owner of African Safari, a Canadian attraction, drove his brochures to racks all around the Great Lakes. He began to network with friends who also owned attractions. Dailey said that for a fee, he would take their brochures with him, too. Eventually, Dailey asked Reiter and his brother and business partner, Harry, to join him and they brought their sister, Cindy Meidenbauer onboard as well. At the time, Reiter worked at Kodak as an inventor and was moonlighting with brochure placement. In 1991, Dailey died and the Reiters bought out the New York side of the business, as they didn’t want to go back and forth to Canada. Once he retired, Reiter focused on the business. The Reiters grew the business to include Niagara Falls, Rochester, Syracuse, Utica, Albany, Binghamton, Corning and the Thousand Islands region. Tom Reiter realized that they OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

were holding back the business’ potential by doing all the work themselves. He began hiring contractors, like paper boys, to distribute travel literature to clients. Distributors photograph each rack upon arrival and after filling it as evidence of a completed rack and to keep track of how often racks need refilling. This kind of quality control is important to Reiter. “Some companies doing this work out of the back of their car,” he said. “We’re a member of the International Association of Visitor Information Providers.” Reiter said that some distribution companies bag brochures and simply leave them on the floor near the racks, hoping the business owners will restock the racks. “Others order 100,000 brochures and distribute 20,000 and recycle 80,000,” he said. “The clients don’t realize that people aren’t getting the brochures. Those companies go by the wayside. They don’t typically last.” He said that many spot an interesting brochure that lists a website and then gains more information online, as if the brochure is a larger version of a business card for a tourist site. “The brochure rack is important, even to millennials,” Reiter said. His company services around 1,400 racks in New York and western Pennsylvania. Reiter also offers designing and printing services through a subcontractor so that Brochures Unlimited can facilitate the entire travel brochure process. “You can reach a lot of ‘A’ leads for a very low amount of money,” Reiter said. “It’s the number one way to reach tourists effectively.” 63


Aerial view of Tailwater Lodge in Altmar. Photo provided.

Tailwater Lodge to Complete Major Expansion Project doubles the size of Altmar hotel, adding 46 rooms, a spa and an indoor pool. It should be complete in September

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f you know what an olive wooly bugger is and you’re keen on water flow measurements, then high-tail it to the Tailwater Lodge in Altmar on the Salmon River this fall and winter. The lodge has been in business since 2013 as an upscale resort for fishing enthusiasts. It’s now putting the final touches on a multi-million dollar expansion that will add 46 rooms — including two suites, plus an indoor pool and spa that will serve to pamper more families and the sports-minded business traveler alike. Though known as the Tailwater Lodge Altmar, the hotel is part of the Tapestry Collection by Hilton and will have a total of 88 rooms when the new project is completed. There’s no “roughing it” here, not with the Hilton Hotel Group’s brand name and guarantee of quality. This is where luxury and comfort are synonymous with relaxation and fun times. If past and present business are any indication, the expansion will prove to

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By Lou Sorendo be as popular as hooking a salmon in the cold, swirling waters nearby. “Our guests told us they wanted more amenities, such as a pool and spa,” said Tom Fernandez, chief operating officer for the family run Woodbine Hospitality Group of Syracuse, as he toured the three-story construction site. The pool and spa will be on the ground floor, where a tunnel will connect the addition to the main lodge. Construction began last October. Dixon Construction is the general contractor and expects to complete the work in September. Located a stone’s throw from Interstate 81 and state Route 13, just 38 miles from Syracuse, this is the only resort in the Woodbine Group. Woodbine is the owner-operator of three additional hotels in the Syracuse region. The Hotel Skyler in Syracuse became part of the Tapestry Collection by Hilton about a year ago, but Fernandez said Tailwater Lodge and Skyler retain their OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

individual identities “We’re part of the Hilton platform and brand, but we’re still independent,” he said. “We will keep the Woodbine identity, but leverage the Hilton network.” Nevertheless, representatives from Hilton have been at the construction site several times already to make sure the lodge continues to meet its quality assurance standards. “We always operate at a high level, so this transition to Hilton is not a big difference for us,” Fernandez said. “I think if you stayed here before we became part of Hilton, you would not notice a big difference.” Tailwater Lodge enjoys an average occupancy rate of 60-70 percent with rooms starting at $125 to $130 a night in summer and $200 and up in the fall. Salmon run anchors fall In peak season, which runs from September through November, the hotel AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2018


Tom Fernandez, chief operating officer for the family run Woodbine Hospitality Group of Syracuse. rooms will be booked solid every weekend because the Salmon River sees epic runs of chinook (king) and coho salmon. Anglers can try their hand at some of the largest freshwater game fish in the world. Fishing for steelhead is a major draw throughout the winter and early spring because the river never freezes over completely. Cross-country skiing and snowmobiling are also available and now the lodge will be able to provide room and activities for more sports-minded families. “Winter is a big time for us,” Fernandez said. “Cross-country skiing has helped to drive occupancy. Summer has been off-season, but now we have more amenities to woo travelers.” The expansion plan also calls for nine holes of disc golf. In summer, when the tourist traffic is lighter than at conventional resorts, the lodge’s guest rooms offer a perfect getaway for weddings and business conferences. The Tailwater Lodge features The Barn, an event space designed to host events such as corporate retreats, weddings and social parties. The Barn’s spacious dining room features roughhewn beams, and wood such as birch harvested from nearby forests. The Tasting Room at Tailwater Lodge offers 24 beers on tap, the vast majority from New York state, including Empire Brewery in Syracuse and Beak & Skiff apple cider from Lafayette. The local touch is evident throughout Tailwater Lodge, starting with the main lodge that was originally the AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2018

Expansion at Tailwater Lodge will add 46 rooms, a spa and an indoor pool. The lodge opened in 2013 after Woodbine Hospitality Group of Syracuse turned the vacant Altmar Elementary School into a resort area.

The Woodshed, a small shop in the main lodge that stocks fishing gear, clothing and gifts to complement Patagonia sportswear. Altmar Elementary School. A concrete archway dated 1935 is incorporated into the lodge’s main entrance. The contractors try to employ local labor and buy supplies locally, said Fernandez. The local connection extends further. Fernandez first spotted the property in 2011. “I came up here to go fishing and I saw the for sale sign on the school,” he said. He then took his novel concept for developing the property into a fishing resort to the other members of the Woodbine Group. Norman Swanson is president of Woodbine, a privately held commercial real estate holding and development company founded in 1978. Fernandez’s mother, Louise Swanson, is director of human resources; his stepsister, Charity Buchika, is the firm’s interior designer, and his brother, Joseph Fernandez, works in the communications and inforOSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

mation technology department. Woodbine owns and operates Genesee Grande and Hotel Skyler, both in the University Hill neighborhood, as well as the Parkview Hotel in downtown Syracuse. Tailwater Lodge also features The Woodshed, a small shop in the main lodge that stocks fishing gear, clothing and gifts to complement Patagonia sportswear. The world-famous Orvis Company of Vermont endorses The Woodshed. Fishing, hunting and hiking enthusiasts can also team up with local guides to enhance their enjoyment of the Salmon River. So what is the fly of the day? That happens to be the olive wooly bugger, which Fernandez hoped would land him some smallmouth bass on a recent warm summer afternoon. 65


TOURISM SPECIAL

Paul Holliday, owner of Agency Specialists of Mexico in Pulaski, working with Pulaski-Boylston Snowmobile Club to bring more snowmobilers to the region.

‘Gateway to the Tug Hill’ Pulaski snowmobile club mobilizes to enhance village’s tourism appeal By Lou Sorendo

I

t’s a slice of serenity for winter recreationists. The Tug Hill Plateau, located roughly 60 miles east of Pulaski, is not only known for its epic snowfall, but also for its appeal to those who are passionate about snowmobiling and all-terrain vehicle action. The Tug Hill region covers portions of Jefferson, Lewis, Oneida and Onondaga counties. It averages more than 200 inches of snow per winter. Paul Holliday is the business agent for the Pulaski-Boylston Snowmobile Club, and is intent on making the village “the Gateway to the Tug Hill.” In fact, that is the new slogan for an

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organization that is revitalizing both its leadership and brand. The club has approximately 700 members. In Oswego County, there are more than 360 miles of trails that provide access to the Tug Hill and Adirondack Park regions. Holliday, owner of Agency Specialists of Mexico in Pulaski, said his nonprofit club cares for more than 100 miles of trails in Oswego County. “What we do is provide an economic conduit for snowmobilers to come into the other regions,” Holliday said. While there may frequently be scant OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

snow in the Pulaski area, one only has to travel to Tug Hill to realize several feet of snow. “There was snowmobiling going on well into mid-April this year,” he noted. Many snowmobilers go through Pulaski on I-81 on their journey to the Tug Hill. “What we are trying to do is capture some of that economic business here into Pulaski,” he said. He uses Old Forge as a model for an area that features a flourishing snowmobile industry. The club also intends to work with village leaders to advocate for the use of the “Gateway to the Tug Hill” slogan. Eventually, Holliday said the club wants to pitch the same concept to Oswego County tourism promoters. “At the end of the day, in the town of Richland, really what we have are fishing, snowmobiling, summer campers, four-wheelers and all-terrain vehicles,” Holliday said. “Honestly, the next Silicon Valley is not coming to the town of Richland,” he said. “We need to focus on what we have here. We have similar items here as Old Forge, such as bed and breakfast establishments, restaurants and a trail corridor system,” he added. The club features many volunteers who engage in what can be “a never-ending process,” Holliday said. “Our biggest volunteers handsdown are our landowners and the help they are able to provide,” he said. “They volunteer their land for us to put trails on, and they get little to no benefit in return. They do it simply out of the goodness of their hearts.” he said. Ninety percent of the trail system is on private property. The trail system in Pulaski allows snowmobilers to travel anywhere across the state’s 10,000 miles of trails. The state’s Parks and Recreation Department funds clubs based on work they do on trails and miles covered. The New York State Snowmobile Association has a master insurance policy to protect landowners up to $1 million, while a general obligation law also protects property owners. The club also works with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and state Parks and Recreation to obtain permits for trail locations on state property and within AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2018


TOURISM SPECIAL wildlife management units. Servicing trails on state land also creates access for physically challenged hunters and recreationists, Holliday added. Action-packed agenda A major project on the club agenda is to create a parking area north of its clubhouse on Jefferson Street. Holliday is working with International Union of Operating Engineers and John Leeman, who is in charge of its apprenticeship-training program. Massive amounts of dirt from the recent construction of Dunkin’ Donuts were donated, and now grading needs to be accomplished. Holliday is hopeful that union members will provide grading services. “It will provide a good place for apprentices to come in and practice with machinery,” he said. Officials in the towns of Boylston and Redfield do not want snowmobilers parked on side roads because it creates a burden for snowplows in the winter. Holliday said creating a spacious parking lot would eradicate that issue while enabling snowmobilers to unload and be able to travel from the Pulaski site. The business agent’s main focus is on fundraising and grant writing, as well administrative duties that include marketing and social media. A new leadership team is led by Brian Wallace, president; Dave Reeves, vice president; Margaret Cummins, secretary; and George Cummings, treasurer. Holliday has been an avid snowmobiler since he was 3 years old. “I am basically a community volunteer,” said Holliday, noting he has coached Little League baseball for nearly 10 years. “It’s my nature,” he said. Holliday was a diesel mechanic during a six-year stint with the U.S. Army. “I have a lot of background on the maintenance side, and I’ve been in the insurance business for 20 years now. I have a lot of background in contractual language and the business end of it,” he said. Economic impact While no quantitative numbers are AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2018

available, Holliday said the economic impact of snowmobiling in Oswego County is significant. “When you have a weekend when there is vicious snow, this town is flooded with snowmobilers, who use gas stations, businesses and restaurants,” he said. There used to be a trail system connected to the village, but that was discontinued years ago. Now, the club is in the process of opening that trail back up and welcoming snowmobilers into the village. Holliday said he wants to see traffic enhanced even more, and the key is making people aware “of the fact that once you are in Pulaski, you don’t have to go anywhere else.” He noted the majority of people who come to northern Oswego County for snowmobiling are from out of the region and even state. New York state has made it mandatory for out-of-state snowmobilers to be registered in New York state. Those funds are then disbursed among the various snowmobile clubs. In addition, out-of-staters and local folks as well can earn a discount on their registration if they belong to a club. “For instance, if you do not belong to a club, the standard snowmobile registration is $100 a year,” he said. “If you belong to a club, that drops it down to $45.” A typical club membership is around $25 a year. Registrants can select which club they want their money directed to as well as which club they want to be a member of. There are 10 snowmobile clubs in Oswego County, some of which cover multiple counties. That includes the Oswego County Snowmobile Association. The association’s website provides trail maps; clubs, food and beverage sites; where to access gas, parts and supplies; accommodations; and trail heads and parking information. There are more than 200 snowmobile clubs in the state. Grooming a future Holliday said the most significant challenge facing the club is having the correct equipment to groom trails. The club has three groomers and OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

is looking to add a fourth pending approval of a grant through New York State Parks and Recreation. Each groomer has four tracks, with each costing about $20,000. A new groomer costs upward to $200,000. Along with that equipment comes related payments and a rigorous maintenance schedule. The club must deal with frequent breakdowns of equipment as well, Holliday said. “This year, we should have a brand new groomer in place,” he said. “When you have more groomers, that means better grooming and better trails. When you have better trails, all of that branding and word of mouth takes care of itself.” The club is also in the process of rebuilding several bridges and widening trails. “We want to make things more flowable for snowmobile traffic to come in and out of Pulaski,” he said. Snowmobile registrations in New York state were up approximately 5,000 last season, while global sales of snowmobiles are also up, Holliday noted. “People should be joining a club as soon as possible instead of waiting until the fall or winter like they normally do,” Holliday said. This way, clubs procure funds sooner to help them with vital maintenance and groomer expenses. Holliday said snowmobiling becomes a family event — much like summertime camping — and snowmobilers frequently visit different hotels and motels. They can also do day trips. “It’s not uncommon for some snowmobilers to ride up to 200 miles a day,” he said. “As soon as you bring a recreationist into one location, it automatically affects everywhere around there, because they do not just stay in one location,” Holliday said. “If we bring someone into Pulaski, it’s going to indirectly affect businesses in Lewis County. So the idea is to get snowmobilers to the Tug Hill Plateau region, and then from there, it becomes a shotgun blast effect on the economy,” he noted. The club is also upgrading its social media presence on Facebook and its website — http://pulaski-boylstonsnow.com/. Snowmobilers can be informed of trail conditions via the Internet. 67


Ron and Lisa Falise of East Syracuse are now the owners of Thunder Island Water Park south of Fulton. Photo of Chuck Wainwright. 68

OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2018


COVER By Lou Sorendo

Thunder Island Rolls W

Thunder Island’s new owners are investing $2.5 to buy and turn the local water park into a top destination that they say will rival Darien Lake’s theme park

e don’t know how to fail.” With those words, the husband-andwife business team of Ron and Lisa Falise are embarking on an ambitious plan to transform Thunder Island Water Park and Family Entertainment Park in the town of Granby into a stateof-the-art destination point for both local residents and tourists alike. Thunder Island has become iconic in Oswego County since it began as a go-cart track back in 1979 under the ownership of Harry Perau. It features a water park, go-karts, jungle-themed mini golf, zip lining and a game room. It also offers The Oasis indoor banquet hall and outdoor pavilion. Thunder Island is located just off state Route 48 on Wilcox Road and sits on 113.5 acres. “Our goal is to keep rebuilding it. I tell people all the time, and they laugh at me a lot, that when I am done and satisfied, Darien Lake will have nothing on us. People will want to come to Thunder Island instead of going to Darien Lake,” Ron said. Darien Lake is about two hours west of Fulton in Darien and attracts about 1.5 million patrons annually. Thunder Island draws about 31,000 visitors a year. While that may seem like a lofty goal, Ron is known for constantly looking toward the future while developing innovative business ideas. The Falises also own and operate Chestnut Event Services and Chestnut Street Security in East Syracuse. When combined, their businesses employ 150 people. Ron, originally from Oswego, said the business is not going through a rebranding. “My goal is to always have it family oriented. I am not going to allow it to become a corporate park where there is somebody on the other side of the AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2018

country owning the park and we just run it for them,” he said. “When we opened Chestnut Event Services in 2011, Ron and I decided from day one that we wanted to have a family friendly customer-oriented business,” Lisa said. “Our credo is we are a professional company with the benefits of a family business. We have brought that credo to Thunder Island as well.” The County of Oswego Industrial Development Agency assisted the Falises on financing. The entire project costs $2,495,000 and the IDA has provided help with an $892,000 Small Business Administration loan and a $1,250,000 loan from Pathfinder Bank. According to the county, the expansion will result in 20 jobs being retained and 10 jobs being created, with an estimated annual payroll of $133,000 and estimated annual sales taxes of $80,700. About 60 percent of their customers come from within a 20- to 30-mile radius of the park, while the remainder comes from Downstate, the Rochester area and Canada. The demographic the park attracts most is families with kids 17 and under. OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

Ron said that is because the park does not feature the “super duper” rides at some of the larger parks. However, as part of the water park expansion, there will be more rides added that are geared toward the teenager to mid-20s population. Ron said he has done sufficient research to know what rides he wants to bring in. Lisa noted The Thunder Rush water slide, more affectionately called The Toilet Bowl, is unique to Central New York. “My wish list is to have another slide that is unique to the region,” she said. Ron worked with Perau for a year prior to embarking on his own two years ago. “We are constantly doing changes and updates,” said Ron, noting that issues facing Perau included outdated facilities. “He didn’t want to put anything more into it,” he said. One of the Falises’ goals is to create an RV park along Ox Creek, and when that occurs, they intend on expanding the water park and making it completely handicapped-accessible. “When I was in the teaching field, I worked with the handicapped quite a bit,” Ron said. “Both my wife and I have a special place in our hearts for them. Lisa said the business gets many requests from guests about overnight accommodations, especially from wedding parties. “With the RV park, guests can camp all night and continue the fun the next day,” she said. Another goal the couple has is to create a small concert venue at the site. “I have a strong background in concerts and working with national acts,” Ron said. His vision is to have everything 69


accomplished within a 10-year period, including having an indoor water park. However, over the next year or two, the Falises will be focused on fixing and re-establishing what is already there. “Right now all of the profits are being put back into the park in the form of upgrades,” Lisa said. “There are some aesthetic upgrades that the public might notice but the bulk of the changes are behind-the-curtain, so to speak.”

Thirsting for Oasis

‘We are family’ Throughout many years of doing business, the Falises learned the importance of having a solid infrastructure and backing of a team. They refer to staff as family. “If we’re going to do more, we must have the right team players on board,” Ron said. They will be adding new attractions, such as a rock climbing wall and private cabanas. Lisa said there are tentative plans to add indoor laser tag and indoor mini golf. “We want to become a four-season business, not just one or two seasons,” she said. Ron said when people visit the park, they want to see cleanliness, updated equipment and facilities, safety and a family friendly atmosphere. “We make it a point to not allow profanity and any kind of negative vibe,” he said. In terms of pricing, the Falises said the cost must be realistic for families. “If Mom and Dad want to bring their two kids to some of the other water parks in the region, that is their major thing for the summer and they end up dumping around $350,” Ron said. “If they come here, they might spend $100-$125, but they can come back and do it again,” he said. It costs $20.95 to enter the park, and there are discounts for large groups as well. “If it’s not something a family of four or a single mother or father can afford, then it’s not going to work,” he said. Ron grew up with three brothers and a single mom. “We weren’t allowed to come to places like this because we could not afford it. My goal is to keep it so families like that can go,” he said. Ron spent 25 years as an emergency responder and owns and operates a security business. “We take a lot of pride and satisfac70

Mini golf at Thunder Island. tion in making sure the park is safe,” said Ron, noting that his crew does drills that exceed requirements. “We run them on a daily basis to make sure our guards and attendants are on point,” he said. “I’ve set myself up to have very high standards.” “One of the great features of Thunder Island is the boundaries and visibility. Parents can let kids go up and down slides while still maintaining visuals on them,” Lisa said. There is only one entrance-exit and no child is allowed out without a parent, she added. The Falises reside in East Syracuse. Ron is a nephew of the late Marg Falise, who owned McDonald’s Fashions in downtown Oswego for many years. He attributes his leadership skills to when he was a youngster in the Boy Scouts. “I grew up without a father, and the Boy Scouts taught me right and wrong and pushed me to become a leader,” he said. “When I became an Eagle Scout, I took others under my wing to help them.” Lisa said both she and her husband stress the importance of communication and patience. “Being patient with each other as well as having open communication lines is essential,” she said. “She is an accounting major and is constantly watching the numbers. My job is to imagine what I want, design it, build it and fix it,” Ron said. “Some people think I am nuts, but in my head, I am already moving onto the next project and always looking ahead to the next business,” he added. OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

The first year that the Falises took over, they had 15 events planned at The Oasis. This year, they have 38 events planned to date, including weddings, retirement and graduation parties. The couple hired an events planner with the goal being to have 100 different events in one year, whether it involves shows and activities involving crafts, cooking or training. Lisa said the goal is to make the Oasis one of the premier wedding and banquet destinations in Oswego County. “Ron is a phenomenal chef and prime rib is the house specialty,” she said. “Between the food quality, the team of employees we have and the attention to detail, we are hoping the Oasis sells itself via word of mouth,” she added. The Oasis is open year round for all events. Ron said nowadays, the bride and groom pick up 80 percent of the wedding tab. “A lot of people want to have a wedding they can afford, while some want to go out and drop $60,000 on a wedding,” he said. “In my eyes, that is ridiculous.” By making it more affordable, return business is guaranteed and volume increases, he noted. “I would rather pick up slow nickels all day than pick up a fast dime,” he added. Ron said success will be attained at Thunder Island largely due to his wife and staff. “Without my wife and staff, I would be nothing,” said Ron, noting his water park manager has been there for 30 years. Lisa said the business has increased its radio and print advertising, and those avenues have resulted in a broadened client base. “Once we begin expanding, we are hoping the word will spread quickly and the community will come check out changes as they happen,” she said. Ron said he is up and ready to go at 4:30-5 a.m. and talking to staff on his drive to Thunder Island. “Is it possible to do mostly everything yourself? Yes, but it consumes you after a while,” he said. “People helped me when I was down 25 years ago. My wife and I had nothing, but we kept building and had people reach down and help us. Now, our thing is to help people in return. It’s all about karma.” AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2018


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AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2018

OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

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Jamieson C. Persse Leadership is Influence, Part I

A ‘The good news is that your leadership skill can be developed, through work, effort and perseverance.’

Jamieson C. Persse is the founder and CEO of JC Persse Consulting. For more information, visit jcpersseconsulting.com or send an email to jamie@ jcpersseconsulting.com. 72

fter a brief hiatus, I’m happy to be back as a contributing columnist to the Oswego County Business magazine. After many, many positive comments from readers, my goal is continue to offer some simple, yet practical nuggets for you to use in your life and business. And the key word here is “use.” See, as Einstein once said… “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results.” So, the moral of the story is, if you find something in these articles of interest, don’t just claim it as knowledge, but instead, do something with it. Often, the greatest gap that exists toward success in anything is the difference between knowing and doing. Today, I’d like to revisit a basic yet sometimes complex topic: Leadership. I just Googled the word “leadership.” Here’s what I got….”About 1,990,000,000 results (1.20 seconds)”. Isn’t that astonishing? Over two decades ago, I met a gentlemen who has been a mentor to me ever since. His name, Dr. John C. Maxwell. He has written more books (around 107) on the subject of leadership and development than anyone alive today, and he continues to do so. Maxwell instilled in me a couple of very basic thoughts on leadership. First and foremost, everything rises and falls on leadership. Second, that leadership is influence, nothing more, nothing less. See, in reality, the subject doesn’t have to be as complex as we seem to want to make it. So, if you stick with me for a few minutes, I’d like to camp out on this idea that leadership is influence. Earlier this year, Maxwell released a revised version of a book he originally wrote more than 25 years ago. The revised version: “Developing the Leader Within You 2.0.” I do training and consulting with a number of companies that want to develop their “leadership bench.” And the principles in this book serve as an excellent starting point, because it offers simple and practicable concepts, that if put into action, can get people started in the right direction of developing their leadership abilities. And please make no mistake, leadership is a skill that can and should be developed. Leadership is about people skills, where management is about tasks, systems and processes. While all of the forementioned are important to an organization, when we develop our ability to lead people, we have a tendency to get better results. So if we buy into this notion that leadership is influence, OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

it’s important to dispel with a handful of ideas about the subject (I call them leadership myths): 1. “I’m not a ‘born leader’, so I can’t lead” While all leaders certainly are born, not all are in fact blessed with natural leadership skills. That is, in fact, a very true statement. The good news is that your leadership skill can be developed, through work, effort and perseverance. 2. “A title and seniority will automatically make me a leader” While title and seniority may grant certain amount of leadership influence, your influence will never rise above that “positional” level, if your people don’t feel you care for and about them, and their needs. There’s a notion known as your “leadership lid.” Simply stated, you can never lead beyond the level of leadership that you personally possess. Hence, developing your abilities allows you to influence in a greater capacity. 3. “Work experience will automatically make me a leader” No need to restate it other than how Maxwell stated it. And sorry, but for some, this may sting a little: “Leadership is like maturity. It doesn’t automatically come with age. Sometimes age comes alone. Tenure does create leadership ability. In fact, it’s more likely to engender entitlement than leadership ability.” 4. “I’m waiting until I get a ‘position’ to start developing as a leader” This begs the question…”what if you never achieve a “leadership position”? Well, the reality is, you already have. Why? Because everybody influences somebody, at some point of their day. The question is, is the influence good, or is it destructive? Think about your social media accounts. Aren’t you influencing those you are connected to? Are you an employee, a parent, a sibling, a son or daughter, or a friend? Sure you are. And on the subject of achieving a leadership “position,” the best time to start developing your leadership skill is before achieving that position, not after. Hopefully, you’re starting to get the picture. Leadership is not a complex notion. It is a skill that can, in fact, be developed. Like Maxwell says: “If you start learning about leadership now, not only will you increase your opportunities, but you’ll also make the most out of them when they arrive”. In my next article, we’ll take a deeper dive into some insights about leadership/influence, and why “positional leadership” is the lowest level of leadership. AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2018


SPECIAL REPORT Lou Sorendo

‘Little Lake’ Gets Big Help Reclamation efforts ramp up at Lake Neatahwanta in Fulton

N

eatahwanta means “little lake near the big lake” in Iroquois. In Fulton, Lake Neatahwanta is in store for large-scale revitalization in a huge way. Stevenson and North Bay beaches were closed in 1988 due to high levels of fecal coliform bacteria, and have remained closed for nearly 30 years. Despite tough odds, the city of Fulton and town of Granby are making concerted efforts at dredging sediment from the lake in hopes of restoring it back to its natural state and opening it up for recreational use once again. The 715-acre lake is located in the town of Granby, partially within the city limits of Fulton. Lake Neatahwanta reportedly has the most significant blue-green algae problem of any body of water in Upstate New York. Blooms of algal species have the potential to produce toxins that are harmful to humans and animals alike. AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2018

“I think you are going to see one of the cleanest lakes around.”

- Fulton Mayor Ron Woodward about the dredging project underway for Lake Neatahwanta in Fulton. It is the same reason why Sylvan Beach in Oneida County closed this year. For more than 25 years, the beaches on Lake Neatahwanta have been closed due to poor water quality resulting from excess sediment clogging natural springs. Excess sediment carried phosphorus, resulting in an overgrowth of blue-green algae on the lake, thus reducing oxygen levels and making it difficult for wildlife to OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

thrive. Experts claim years of sediment build-up caused the lake to become shallower and warmer, becoming a catalyst for bacteria and blue-green algae. The Fulton-based Lake Neatahwanta Revitalization Corporation and the city acquired a dredge from Illinois-based Groh Dredging and Marine Construction last year for about $200,000 to enhance cleanup efforts. State Sen. Patty Ritchie (R-Oswegatchie) was instrumental in securing $400,000 in funding to help the city of Fulton and town of Granby in their work to dredge the lake and ultimately make the body of water usable again. The Granby-based Lake Neatahwanta Reclamation Committee is also a main player in the fight and is in its fourth year of dredging on the southern shore of the lake. Granby received an equal amount of state funding for the project along with the city. 73


In search of expertise In early July, Fulton Mayor Ronald Woodward was in the midst of finding a person who could provide training on the new dredge. Woodward said the focus remains on removing sediment, which is packed with nutrients that feed bluegreen algae blooms. However, the mayor said once dredging is complete, there will still be nutrients in the water. In response, he is looking at the possibility of acquiring floating islands such as the ones manufactured by Floating Island International. Floating islands feature a mass of perennial plants native to wetlands. Once in place on the island, the plants suck up nutrients and provide more clarity to the water. The roots, meanwhile, sustain fishing habitat, Woodward noted. Another measure that may prove feasible are the use of SolarBee mixers. Using solar power and motor mixing drive systems on a 24-hour basis, the SolarBee pulls in water and provides effective mixing.

Woodward said the system can re-circulate water over a swath of 34 acres in a 24-hour period of time. Woodward noted turning over water and increasing oxygen levels in such a manner kills blue-green algae. “I think you are going to see one of the cleanest lakes around,” he said. “It’s doable. We just have to raise the money to do it,” said Woodward, noting the city’s only financial obligation in terms of the present-day project is paying a dredge operator $20,000 to cover labor costs. The balance of funds will be accumulated through fundraisers, Woodward said, using the nonprofit status of the reclamation committee. Meanwhile, volunteers are needed, particularly in partaking in the Geotube process. In the dredging process, the city uses piping and Geotubes, special containers used to store and remove water from the sediment and sludge removed from the lakebed. After churning up sediment to form a sludge-like watery mix, polymer is added to water being pumped out and separates contaminated solid

Coney Island of Upstate New York

Springside is the premier retirement community in Oswego, offering cottages, duplexes, one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments.

Fred St. Onge, a member of the Granby committee, said the city of Fulton is striving to open up Stevenson Beach. Back in the early 20th century, Stevenson Beach was the place for community to gather and enjoy attractions such as a dance hall and carousel. In fact, it was commonly referred to as the “Coney Island of Upstate New York.” “We were down there last year, and we dredged right from six feet of water up to the shore with our dredge. We have a smaller dredge that can get into shallower water than the one Fulton uses,” he said. The city also owns North Bay Campgrounds, and plans call for cabins to be added to the site as well as other improvements. “I think we owe it to future generations,” Woodward said. “I used it as a kid, and my mom and grandparents used it.” It was common for the mayor to frequent the beach to swim and fish as a youth.

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material from the water. “The water that returns to the lake looks just like drinking water,” Woodward observed. Volunteers are needed to oversee the filling and switching of dewatering bags and tubes. The last two times the lake was dredged used the same type of equipment the city owns now, operators with Groh Dredging and Marine Construction cleared 20,000 yards of area, sufficient to fill about 800 dump trucks. “That cost us $200,000 each year for them to do that,” he said. With its own dredge and an operator going all summer up until frost, the city can clear 120,000 yards, Woodward said. At that pace, he projects the cleanup project to be done in four to five years. The mayor said the city is awaiting word on whether the lake will be classified as a designated inland waterway. If granted that status, the city and town of Granby will be eligible for funding through the Environmental Protection Fund.

OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2018


healthcare Special Report

n Defragging Health Care n Connecting to Care n Is There a Doctor in the House? n Breaking Old Habits n Number of Same-Day Surgery Centers Surging in NYS n Where There is Smoke … n HealthCare Briefs

AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2018

OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

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HEALTH CARE By Lou Sorendo

Defragging Health Care ConnextCare in step with changing health care landscape in Oswego County

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tart with the patient; end with the patient. That is the mantra of ConnextCare, formerly known as Northern Oswego County Health Services, Inc. based in Pulaski. The largest health care organization in the county not only is undergoing a name change, rebranding campaign and expansion, but is honing in on some of the more critical health care issues facing Oswego County in an integrative fashion. In January of 2017, the organization started the process of developing a different name that is more reflective of its services and not limited geographically. “Northern Oswego County is no longer what we are anymore. We are all over the county,” said Tricia Peter-Clark, newly promoted to executive vice president/chief operating officer at ConnextCare. “We want our staff to be proud that they are representing the largest primary care provider in the community and that we are servicing a large group of individuals that would not have access to care,” she added. “We want them to know they are part of a larger system, so the ‘next’ in ‘ConnextCare’ talks about that connection across the county.” It’s not only health care that ConnextCare provides. According to projections from the last study done, the organization has an economic impact of at least $30 million. “Anytime you add a new site or you expand services, everything around where that originates benefits from it, whether it be local grocery stores, gas stations or local vendors. They all benefit from that,” said Peter-Clark, who also serves as a member of the board of directors at Operation Oswego County. Daniel Dey has served as president and CEO of the organization since 2007, and is now overseeing a robust transformation. “The focus is not on episodic care anymore, where you come in to see your doctor, leave to go to a specialist, and then get your social services met at

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Leading ConnextCare: Daniel Dey, president and CEO, and Tricia PeterClark, executive vice president/chief operating officer.

ConnextCare will now expand toward a more fully integrated health system, starting with dental health, behavioral health and substance abuse. another location,” Dey said. Numbers over the last five years tell the tale of ConnextCare’s value to the community. In 2012, it had 68,000 patient visits; OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

in 2017, that number nearly doubled to 125,000. ConnextCare had 15,000 patients in 2012; last year, 28,000 patients sought treatment. AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2018


On the labor front, ConnextCare had 127 employees in 2012, while today that figure stands at about 240. It is the 16th leading private employer in Oswego County. Dey said ConnextCare’s approach is focused on looking at the entire well being of the patient population and finding ways to coordinate services in a comprehensive fashion to meet all needs of patients within the most seamless system possible. “That’s the underlying culture and goal, and our name ties into that because we are connecting all those parties together for the benefit of the community,” he said. In 2013, the organization took over and consolidated six primary care centers in Fulton, Mexico, Oswego, Parish, Phoenix and Pulaski. It also operates six school-based health centers located in the Altmar-Parish-Williamstown, Mexico, Pulaski and Sandy Creek school districts. The current phase of the project involves a billboard campaign being featured through August with the message that NOCHSI has become ConnextCare. Also, internal marketing has been changed, including an updated website, new labeling and communicating the message to patients. Three-pronged attack Dey said now that the primary care piece has been connected, it’s time to expand toward a more fully integrated system, starting with dental health, behavioral health and substance abuse. In order to increase access to needed dental health services in the county, state Sen. Patty Ritchie (R-Oswegatchie) was instrumental in securing $250,000 in state funding to provide those resources. The funding will establish a new dental clinic in Oswego and connect more people, especially children, across the region with easier access to dental health care services. Dey said dental health tends to be underestimated. “There is a strong correlation between dental health and overall medical health,” he said. “We made that a priority in terms of expansion by opening up the Fulton Dental Health Center last June and again moving forward with Sen. Ritchie’s grant to expand even further in the Oswego area,” he said. ConnextCare is not only expanding its facilities, but is looking to also upgrade and enhance its existing resources. AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2018

ConnextCare By Numbers Patient visits 2012:

68,000

2017:

125,000

Number of Patients 2012:

15,000

2017:

28,000

Number of Employees 2012:

127

2018:

240

Locations ConnextCare operates six primary care centers: Fulton, Mexico, Oswego, Parish, Phoenix and Pulaski. It also operates six school-based health centers located in the Altmar-Parish-Williamstown, Mexico, Pulaski and Sandy Creek school districts. It has a site in Phoenix that is expanding due to increased demand, and ConnextCare intends to work with Oswego Health to try to discover ways to establish facilities that will meet that demand in that area. “We’re looking for particular funding to do that,” Dey said. The original NOCHSI location is now tenant space, with tenants being those that provide ancillary services such as lab work and radiology and specialty services such as cardiology, podiatry and physical therapy. “We are on the verge of receiving funding to upgrade those facilities for our complementary services,” Dey noted. The next phase will involve behavioral health expansion. ConnextCare now has a licensed clinical social worker at each of its facilities at least on a weekly basis, and is bringing services from central services in Pulaski to all of its sites so patients no longer have to travel for services. “In addition to that, we have expanded psychiatric services within our behavioral health program. We have a psychiatric nurse practitioner along with a psychiatrist that we work with to provide support and care to patients either here in Pulaski or in one of our additional sites in our system,” Peter-Clark said. “We want to continue to grow to meet the needs of the community, beOSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

cause they are not stopping; they are unrelenting,” she said. ConnextCare offers a suboxone program at its Pulaski location, anchored by two certified providers who administer medicine-based therapy for opioid abusers. Gov. Andrew Cuomo visited Farnham Family Services in Oswego recently to address the opioid epidemic that is ravaging not only Oswego County, but the state and nation. Peter-Clark said it is impossible for one individual or organization in the community to address the issue alone. “It’s a partnership between us providing one part of assistance and patients getting some sort of alternate therapy provided at a partner organization,” Peter-Clark said. ConnextCare is exploring ways to partner with other community players so the county can feature a seamless system that extends beyond what ConnextCare provides and creates a sense of one unified system with easy access for patients, Dey said. That goal is enhanced by organizations such as the Oswego County Integrated Delivery Network, where leaders of various human service and health care agencies meet on a regular basis to discuss urgent needs in the community and integrate services. The key players are ConnextCare, Oswego Health, Oswego County Department of Health, Oswego County Department of Social Services and Oswego County Opportunities. “That is one intra-community activity that is leading us to that more integrated system,” Dey said. Patient-provider bond The most critical relationship in health care is between the patient and provider, Dey said. “If a patient enjoys seeing their provider and develops a strong relationship, then that is going to lead to sustainability of services and relationships over the long term. What we have focused on is having a stable, secure employment and practice opportunity for providers.” Dey said his providers are well credentialed and trained and have excellent technical as well as interpersonal skills. “That’s what draws patients and keeps patients. We track patient satisfaction, as well as transfers out of the system in regards to why they might have transferred out of the system,” Dey said. 77


“We also do peer reviews among our providers so they can check each other to make sure they are meeting quality standards,” he added. “But it’s all about that one-on-one relationship. If you look at turnover of patients relative to our practices, it’s very small. If you look at patient satisfaction, it is consistently at the highest levels,” he said. Peter-Clark said the most gratifying part of her job is the relationships with staff. “Our provider teams are so willing to do anything extra you ask them to do, whether it is working an extra shift, covering on a weekend, coming in a little early or staying a little late. And they are doing it because if they didn’t, patients would not have care,” she said. In other systems, she noted, providers are reluctant to go the extra mile. “We don’t have that mentality with our team,” she said. Peter-Clark said ConnextCare’s senior vice president and chief medical officer, physician Patrick Carguello, sets the tone for that. “He works so hard to do anything he can to squeeze an extra patient in, work an extra shift, do a weekend thing or go out to dinner with a med student,” said Peter-Clark, noting that precedent is observed and copied by staff. Another measure taken involves ConnextCare centralizing its weekend services at its Mexico Health Center. Centralizing weekend services at the Mexico Health Center from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. each Saturday allows ConnextCare to more efficiently staff and fill available patient slots in a location that is more centrally located to all patients. Saturday hours have traditionally been in Pulaski. “We have a population that expects everything to be done on demand, quick, prompt and they don’t want to wait for it,” Peter-Clark said. “We have to be responsive to that.” ConnextCare recently launched its automated confirmation system so patients will receive a text, email or voice confirmation for correspondence purposes. “That’s another technology change that younger generations are looking for,” she added. The campaign is leading up to the organization’s 50th anniversary celebration in 2019. To celebrate this significant milestone, a gala will be held at the Tailwater Lodge in Altmar on May 16, 2019. 78

Connecting to Care Federally qualified health centers critical lifeline for many

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By Lou Sorendo

rom disarray comes order. ConnextCare, formerly Northern Oswego County Health Services, Inc., is a federally qualified health center. The organization is one of 650 in the state that serve approximately 2 million patients. Federally qualified health centers were borne of social unrest in the mid1960s, according to Dan Dey, president and CEO of ConnextCare. “One of the things that was recognized during the social unrest of the ‘60s was that segments of people did not have access to good, comprehensive primary health care,” he noted. Predominately, it was in the inner cities and in rural areas. Two pioneering physicians adopted a model from rural South Africa, where they would send health care workers out into the community to engage the patients in care, Dey said. “They used that model to establish neighborhood health centers under the Office of Equal Opportunity, and the first two health centers were in rural Mississippi and inner city Boston,” he said. “Those were storefronts that started out as neighborhood health centers, which then evolved into community health centers. They in turn evolved into federally qualified health centers, of which there are 1,700 across the country,” he noted. There are 10,000 access points that serve 27 million people. ConnextCare has six practice locations along with six school-based health centers, or 12 access points. ConnextCare is also a member of the National Association of Community Health Centers as well as the Community Health Care Association of New York State. “It’s a very well developed, long history of support to assure that folks in remote areas or underserved areas get access to effective primary health care,” Dey added. He said ConnextCare has benefitted from this status because the concept is well accepted on a bipartisan level. “If you have a rural community health center in a Republican-controlled OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

area, and you have one in an inner-city area that tends to be Democratic, you will still see the advantages to the population,” Dey said. “We are both in rural and urban areas.” Dey noted that FQHCs serve as economic generators for communities. “It’s more than just care. It’s also salaries, spending and bringing professionals into our neighborhoods,” he added. “Because of that, there has been significant bipartisan support over the years. With our advocacy at our national and state levels, we are able to accrue a variety of benefits that allow us to continue to sustain ourselves and remain financially viable and effective,” Dey said. Changing perspectives He noted there is irony in how folks perceive FQHCs. “Sometimes folks look at these health centers as where poor people go. But they are multi-purpose, and care for multi-insured, privately insured, uninsured, and government-insured mixed populations,” he said. The centers provide a national database as those 1,700 health care centers report on what medical and clinical indicators they are looking at and what progress is being made to improve those. “We compare ourselves with each other and report and demonstrate improved outcomes, which you don’t find in an institutionally based or private practice,” Dey said. “The irony is, it’s a more progressive mode of care and more progressive mechanism for reporting quality indicators than you will find in any other system,” Dey added. He noted wherever there is a federally qualified health center, the Medicaid costs in that community are 25 percent less than in others where an FQHC is not located because of the way they utilize integrated, comprehensive care and support services, he said. Dey said advantages of being an FQHC include having malpractice claims covered through the federal tort AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2018


claim act. “If one of our providers is sued, they are defended aggressively by the federal government at no cost to us,” he said. The National Health Service Corps also offers loan forgiveness because the county is considered a medically underserved area. “Providers can come and work for us for a set number of years and get their loans forgiven for medical school,” Dey said. “They tend to stay on because they enjoy it so much.” In addition, reimbursement — particularly from Medicare and Medicaid — is enhanced because ConnextCare provides additional support services other than one-on-one encounters with a physician. “For example, we do facilitated enrollment and make our own referrals to specialists to assure that patients get to a specialized level of care,” he said. A model for care The focus is on care management, which is a set of activities intended to improve patient care and reduce the need for medical services by enhancing coordination of care, eliminating duplication, and helping patients and caregivers more effectively manage

Four FQHCs in CNY There are other federally qualified health centers in Central New York besides ConnextCare. The other three are the Family Health Network in Cortland, the Syracuse Community Health Center, and East Hill Family Medical in Auburn. They all operate within an independent provider association. The association uses data to simplify and integrate systems toward identifying and improving patient outcomes in coordination with Fidelis. health conditions. About 12 percent of ConnextCare’s budget is a federal grant that is designed specifically to provide sliding fee scale discounted care to folks who are uninsured or underinsured. “We use those dollars prudently in terms of addressing population health in an integrated fashion within a care management model,” he said. ConnextCare’s 340B Drug Discount Program is a federal program that requires drug manufacturers to provide outpatient drugs to eligible health care organizations and covered entities at significantly reduced prices. Tricia Peter-Clark, vice president and chief of operations at ConnextCare,

said FQHCs must adhere to significant regulatory compliance. “We have an operational site visit that happens once every three years. They come and make sure we are meeting all the programming requirements from a federal perspective,” Peter-Clark said. She noted ConnextCare elects to be Joint Commission accredited, which is not required as an FQHC. This provides an additional set of clinical patient safety standards it is expected to meet. “We have more elective reviews than you would have with a private practice,” Peter-Clark said. “When patients come in, we are making sure they are getting the safest quality care with the most up-to-date standards and treatment we can provide, because we are being regulated so frequently,” she added. “It does bring about a different sense of safety and security.” A 15-member community-based board of directors oversees ConnextCare. As an FQHC, at least 51 percent of the board must be actual users of the services of the health center. “That allows us to understand what we can do to be better to meet the needs of the community, because the board is our community,” Dey said.

Patrick J. Carguello, D.O. ConnextCare’s chief medical officer talks about growth of organization, new name and the services it provides to rural Oswego County Q: Tell us some of the changes taking place at ConnextCare? A: We’ve gone through a lot of changes over the past few years. ConnextCare is a really exciting place to work. We’ve expanded throughout Oswego County after working on stabilizing other healthcare facilities that were having financial difficulties. Our federal designation gives us some financial stability and gives us a lot of federal dollars to take care of patients regardless of their ability to pay. So this helped us assist some health centers is Fulton, Oswego, Parish, Mexico and Phoenix. Now we’ve really become this network with 13 locations throughout the county. We all now share this federal designation and that financial stability that allows us to help patients who are uninsured or underinsured. This rebranding AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2018

OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

is meant to show that we’re not just northern Oswego County anymore. We’re a bigger entity connecting the entire county. Q: Can you elaborate on what the federal designation is? A: It was a few-year process that evolved. Due to their financial struggles, they recognized that our federal status would be beneficial to them. They’ve more or less fallen under our governance, so we’re all the same team now. It used to be Oswego Hospital running some clinics, Oswego County Opportunities operating some clinics. Now we’re all running under the original Northern Oswego County Health Care location, but are now known as ConnextCare. And we’re all part of the same federally qualified health center. 79


ConnextCare Fighting Shortage County continues to face shortage of health care professionals By Lou Sorendo

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hile Dan Dey is navigating through a rebranding and expansion process as president and CEO of ConnextCare, he is also dealing with a shortage of providers, particularly in the primary care arena. This “universal health care issue” stems from not having enough teaching residency slots for the training of primary care physicians, he said. Dey said it isn’t just a shortage, but also a mal-distribution of specialists.

“There may be a sufficient number of specialists, but they tend to congregate in more affluent and more appealing geographic areas,” Dey said. “That leaves a shortage in other outlying areas. “What you face in Oswego County is a shortage of primary care physicians because of the supply,” said Dey, whose task is to find ways to compensate for specialists who tend to congregate in urban areas. “We’ve been very successful in doing

that relative to other rural areas that face the same dilemma,” he said. An overlooked strategy when it comes to recruitment and retention is to tout one’s strengths, Dey said. “If you have a system that is well respected, provides demonstrated quality care and provides an environment where they care to work and where there is good family-life balance and quality of life, and they have confidence that you are able to provide a secure living, that

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AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2018


is the No. 1 appeal for providers who want to work in the system,” he said. He said people tend to overlook that. Dey said ConnextCare has had at least 12 years of consecutive surpluses, eliminated all of its debt, and continues to be financially viable. “The more financially secure we are, the more opportunity we have to be able to provide competitive benefits and salaries so we can attract folks to work here,” Dey added. “Another thing that we align ourselves with are teaching programs. We teach a number of nurse practitioner candidates through programs at SUNY Upstate Medical University and Le Moyne College in Syracuse,” Dey said. Dental residents are affiliated with the St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center in Syracuse. Both medical and dental residents visit and rotate at ConnextCare. “That tends to be a channel for recruiting medical and dental residents,” Dey said. Tricia Peter-Clark, vice president and chief of operations at ConnextCare, said a significant challenge is recruiting licensed clinical social workers in the area of behavioral health. “The needs for behavioral health in our community are growing tremendously,” Peter-Clark said. “We can’t meet the needs because the supply of licensed clinical social workers is not there. Currently, our longest vacancy in professional staffing is related to that.” Dey said there tends to be a supply and demand issue in the general environment. “One of the ways we have bridged that is by hiring licensed master social workers because there isn’t a significant supply of advanced practice professionals like nurse practitioners who are specialized in psychiatry,” Dey noted. “Then you have the psychiatrists themselves where there is a shortage of supply and the salaries are increasing dramatically because of demand,” he added. Dey noted one of the challenges in recruiting is finding available and suitable housing. “We are recruiting professionals who are high-salaried folks. Where do you find housing for those individuals? And when those individuals move in, how do they recognize that we do have good schools for their children and this is a good place to raise their family? It’s a combination of finding the supply to house those folks and then promoting all the favorable aspects of living in this community,” he said. AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2018

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Number of Same-Day Surgery Centers Surging Ambulatory surgery centers are popping everywhere. And that’s not good for local hospitals By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant

admittance. “Independent surgery is also a lower cost because we have a stand-alone building that just needs to be outfitted for the scope of work done here,” he said. ACSs add capacity into the health care system, which can reduce waiting time for patients. They also often provide better convenience than hospitals, according to Humphrey. Surgery centers’ size makes parking and navigating inside the building easier than hospitals. Patients won’t have to worry as much about scheduling problems, since ACS physicians don’t treat emergency cases — a possibility for many types of surgeons operating in a hospital. Humphrey also sees the growth of ACSs as competition to improve service. “If it’s just hospitals, there may not be that competitive spirit and they’ll be longer waiting times,” he said. Humphrey thinks that ACSs will continue to improve clinical outcomes as ACSs are moving toward value-based care. “In our surgery center, we have high patient satisfaction,” Humphrey said. “We have consistent staffing throughout and there’s a hierarchy throughout. It is a small, intimate care.” New York Medical Society’s Rothberg said that physician ownership has made ASCs appealing to providers. Most ASCs are physician-owned, which enables doctors to control their schedule more and feel more vested in their business. “This is unlike hospitals in New York state, which have to be nonprofit,” Rothberg said. “Physicians can actually invest in something they’re working toward.”

Sapping profits from hospitals

T

he NYS Department of Health lists 112 current ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) in the state as of February. These same-day, outpatient surgery facilities have been increasing in numbers dramatically. In Central New York patients can choose from 11 locations, most built within the last decade or so. Only 40 years ago, nearly all surgeries took place in hospitals. What happened to cause such transformation? Many factors have contributed to the growth in ASCs, according to experts. ACSs focus on specific procedures for efficiency. It makes for a small, intimate surgical team and improves patient

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experience. Physician Charles Rothberg, CEO of the Medical Society of New York, said that patients can get scheduled faster and recover in comfort at home. The chances of complications related to infections are lower, since the surgical center treats only patients who are healthy enough for surgery, not people who need medical care because of illness. Since patients don’t stay overnight, they experience shorter exposure to germs as well. Michael Humphrey, CEO of Syracuse Orthopedic Specialists in East Syracuse, said that not staying overnight saves patients and insurance companies money since they don’t need those extra hours of care and the overhead of OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

Rothberg also views ACSs as removing “a good source of revenue from community hospitals. They’re taking away these procedures that are less complicated, the outcomes are more certain and they’re very predictable. They’re leaving hospitals the more costly cases. Hospitals provide services that aren’t profitable like emergency care. While I support the model of independent surgery centers, it may have adverse effects.” Since ACSs take only straightforward surgical cases, they sap hospitals of revenue as well as possibly reducing the hospital’s outcome ratings. More complicated, sickly patients go to hospitals for surgery because they’ll be admitted AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2018


after surgery. According to the VMG Health Intellimarker ASC Benchmarking study conducted in 2016, about 20 to 25 percent of ASCs have some hospital ownership. Rothberg said that Downstate, larger hospitals are buying surgery centers to generate more revenue and perhaps attract physicians. In Central New York, Upstate Gastroenterology, LLC in Syracuse and Upstate Orthopedics Ambulatory Surgery Center, LLC are two examples of hospital ownership of surgery centers. St. Joseph’s Health is another, as it owns two ambulatory surgery centers. Mark Murphy, senior vice president for system development and ambulatory care administration at St. Joseph’s Health, said that the movement of patients from in-patient to out-patient settings is an expected movement. “Medicare has historically identified certain procedures as being required in-patient only,” he said. In the past, all surgery was in-patient, but now, physicians can decide if the patients are good candidates for out-patient surgery. “There is a reasonable expectation that this evaluation of procedure by Medicare and other payors will continue in to the future,” Murphy said. “I think on the fee-for-service side, it is the movement of revenue and business outside the hospital.” Murphy thinks the movement also highlights the need for better post-surgical care and the coordination of transition of care. Patients immediately sent home may need more help, for example. While it may seem like moving more surgery outside the hospital would help relieve excessive demand for services on hospitals, Murphy said it won’t. “Ambulatory procedures will continue to increase into the future as the population ages,” he said. “The rate in the ambulatory setting will also increase. It allows physicians to do more procedures outside the hospital.” More health systems, like St. Joseph’s, operate independent surgery systems to offer more options to surgeons and patients and avoid losing the revenue from performing surgery. “It can be the right thing to do for the patient and for the health system,” Murphy said. “The onus is on the health care system to structure care to meet that objective of high quality of care, decrease complications and negative outcomes and provide care in the most cost effective manner possible.” AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2018

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Shorter Lives By Lou Sorendo With community health rankings that are shocking at best, Oswego County continues on a road toward poor health behaviors and premature death. In terms of life expectancy alone, Oswego County is ranked 55th in the state with a rating of 76.36. Meanwhile, American’s average life expectancy dropped for the first time in two decades from 2014-2016 from 78.9 to 78.6. Brandy Koproski is the programs coordinator for the Child Care & Development Council, a division of Integrated Community Planning of Oswego County, Inc., and said the number of poor health behaviors that lead to this unfortunate decrease in Oswego County is “overwhelming.” According to Koproski, these troubling rankings could potentially be remedied by additional investments in the community’s youngest members: the children. Integrated Community Planning of Oswego County, Inc. is the umbrella organization for several different programs aimed at bettering quality of life. The Child Care & Development

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On average, Oswego County residents die sooner than residents living elsewhere in the country Council of Oswego County works primarily with child care providers and parents with the goal being to provide children access to quality early learning and caring environments so they are getting the best possible start with proper nutrition and quality interaction. The Tobacco Free Network develops policies and provides community education regarding tobacco use. The third division is the Oswego County Traffic Safety Board, which focuses on bicycle and pedestrian safety as OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

well as aspects including infant car seats. “Looking back over the last several years, you can see a clear indication as to why Oswego County has experienced a decline in our health ranking,” said Koproski, noting the county is among the three worst in the state for poor health behavior. In the 2018 community health rankings, Oswego County is ranked 52 out of 62 counties. In terms of health outcomes such as length of life and quality of life, the county ranks 52nd as well. In fact, in terms of health outcomes, Oswego County’s ranking has plunged from 31st to 52nd since 2015. In terms of factors such as health behaviors, clinical care, social and economic factors and physical environment, the county ranks next to last at 61. Koproski said when looking at health factors, Oswego County ranks significantly higher when it comes to smoking, physical inactivity, excessive drinking, food insecurity and limited access to healthy foods, high unemployment, and higher numbers of children living in poverty. AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2018


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three worst in the state for poor health ven the Grim Reaper is uncon- behavior. vincing. With community health In the 2018 community health rankrankings that are shocking at ings, Oswego County is ranked 52 out of best, Oswego County continues on a 62 counties. In terms of health outcomes road toward poor health behaviors and such as length of life and quality of life, premature death. the county ranks 52nd as well. In terms of life expectancy alone, In fact, in terms of health outcomes, Farnham Family Services Oswego County is ranked 55th in the Oswego County’s ranking has plunged 282 W, 2nd St Suite 200 state with a rating of 76.36. from 31st to 52nd since 2015. Oswego, NY 13126 Meanwhile, American’s average life In terms of factors such as health Tel: 315-342-4489 expectancy dropped for the first time in behaviors, clinical care, social and ecoFarnham Family Services two decades from 2014-2016 from 78.9 nomic factors and physical environment, Schuyler Commons to 78.6. the county ranks next to last at 61. 113 Schuyler st, Suite 1 Brandy Koproski is the programs Fulton, NY 13069 coordinator for the Child Care & DevelTel: 315-593-0796 Root of the matter opment Council, a division of Integrated www.farnhaminc.org 315.349.8259 Paid for by Friends of Oswego County Hospice www.co.oswego.ny.us/health/hospice.html Community Planning of Oswego CounKoproski said when looking at ty, Inc. Koproski said the level of poor health factors, Oswego County ranks health behaviors that lead to disaster significantly higher when it comes to in Oswego County is “overwhelming.” Ready smoking, to make your physical inactivity, excessive According to Koproski, these dis- drinking, food insecurity and limited worksite grounds Tobacco Free? mal rankings can only be remedied by access to healthy foods, high unemployinvesting in the community’s youngest ment and higher numbers of children members: the children. living in poverty. Integrated Community Planning Poverty appears to be an underlying of Oswego County, Inc. is the umbrella factor in several of the socioeconomic for several different proNew Support Grouporganization for Newissues Support Group and health behaviorfor challenges grams aimed to bettering quality of life. facing Oswego County. Those left Behind These programs are: Those leftsaid Behind Koproski her office is involved • The Child Care & Development in the Oswego County Anti-Poverty Task After a Death by Drug Overdose After a Death by Drug Overdose Council of Oswego County. It works Force as well as the City of Oswego Povprimarily with providers and parents erty Task Force known as LIFT Oswego 1st Thursday of Every Month 1st Thursday of Every Month to enable children access to quality (Learn, Identify, Focus and Transform) 6:30 pm — 8:30 pm early learning and caring environments 6:30 pm 8:30 pm poverty is so JoinJoin thethe growing trend improve in efforts to— discover why growing trend toto improve so they are getting the best possible Join the growing trend to improve employee health and your bottom line: employee health and your bottom line: Join the growing trend to improve rampant in the county. State St. United Methodist Church Statehealth St. United Methodist Church employee and your bottom line: health start with proper nutrition and quality employee health andfrom your bottom line: with the county Protect employees & Partnering visitors secondhand smoke Protect employees & visitors from secondhand smoke interaction. 357 State St. 357 State St. Care Reduce tobacco litter department, the Child & DevelopProtect employees &&visitors from secondhand smoke Protect employees visitors from secondhand smoke Reduce tobacco litter • The Tobacco Free Network. It deSave money ment Council is looking into potential Fulton, NY 13069 velops policies and provides community Reduce Fulton, NY 13069 tobacco litter Reduce tobacco litter money Earn pointsSave towards LEED Certification avenues in a quest to improve health Save money Save money For more information education regarding tobacco use. Earn points towards For more information LEED Certification behavior. We are grant funded by NYS to towards help worksites successfully adopt and implement Earn points LEED Certification Earn points towards LEED Certification tobacco-free policies. Free resources are available including custom signage, technical Safety call Kelly Wells at 315-475-9675 • The Oswego County Traffic call Kelly Wells at 315-475-9675 “We have so many programs to assistance, model policy language, implementation toolkit and resources. We are grant funded by NYS to help worksites successfullycessation adopt and implement Board. It focuses on bicycle pedesWe are funded grant funded by NYS helpworksites worksites successfully adopt and implement We areand grant byresources NYS to to help successfully adopt and implement tackle these things on an individual batobacco-free policies. Free arefor available including custom signage, technical Or contact Hope for Bereaved at 315-475-9675 Or contact Hope Bereaved at 315-475-9675 tobacco-free policies. Free resourcesare areavailable available including custom signage, technical tobacco-free policies. Free resources custom signage, technical trian safety as well as assistance, aspects including model policy language, toolkit and cessation resources. sis, implementation whether itincluding involves smoking or the assistance, policy language, implementation toolkit andand cessation resources. assistance, modelmodel policy language, implementation toolkit cessation resources. Or kbermel@hopeforbereaved.com Or kbermel@hopeforbereaved.com infant car seats. Women, Infants and Children income (631) 415-0949 | BreatheFreely.org “Looking back over the last several The space is donated by State St. UMC The space is donated by State St. UMC the improgram that strives to underline years, you can see a clear indication portance of proper nutrition,” she said. This is a non-religious meeting. This is a non-religious meeting. (631) 415-0949 | | BreatheFreely.org BreatheFreely.org 415-0949 as to why Oswego County is in the(631) (631) 415-0949 She| BreatheFreely.org noted the current focus is lookpredicament that we are in,” said Kotobaccofreecny@gmail.com ing at underlying causes. proski, noting the county is among the However, what is the basis for all 315-343-2344x26

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periences are leading to specific physical and mental illness as well as negative coping mechanisms that can involve overeating and drug and alcohol abuse. These factors lead to low performance in school, disengagement, and even higher mortality and lower life expectancy levels.

Brandy Koproski is the programs coordinator for the Child Care & Development Council. Poverty appears to be an underlying factor in several of the socioeconomic issues and health behavior challenges facing Oswego County. Koproski said her office has participated in discussions with the Oswego County Anti-Poverty Task Force as well as the City of Oswego Poverty Task Force known as LIFT Oswego (Learn, Identify, Focus and Transform) in efforts to discover why poverty is so rampant in the county. Partnering with the county health department, the Child Care & Development Council is looking into potential avenues in a quest to improve health behavior. “Oswego County has many programs that help tackle these individual factors, whether it involves Smokefree for My Baby and Me, an incentive program to aid mothers looking to quit smoking, or the Women, Infants and Children nutrition education program 86

that strives to underline the importance of proper nutrition,” she said. She noted the current focus is looking at underlying causes. What is the basis for all these poor behavioral patterns? What is leading the community down this path? She said one explanation is science based and “is an eye opener.” It involves the impact of toxic stress or adverse childhood experiences. “Are kids getting the best possible start? Are they getting protective factors? Are they getting nurturing in a stable environment?” she asked. “Are they getting this in the earliest years, even before they get to school? If they are not and are being exposed to situations such as abandonment, estranged parents, not having sufficient amounts of food to eat or clean clothes, these are all adverse child experiences,” Koproski noted. What child care advocates are finding through this research is that these exOSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

Damage to developing brain “When you have these stressors, they can damage the structure and function of the developing brain. This is happening in the early years if children don’t have a nurturing, protective environment to offset exposure to stress,” noted Koproski, adding that ultimately, these factors damage the actual structure of one’s brain and intensify cortisol — or stress hormone — levels. “They learn different coping mechanisms, and their social, emotional, and cognitive development is impacted,” she noted. “That can lead to many different disorders, including diabetes, cardio-vascular disease, anxiety and depression.” “When you look at things like risky behaviors, or the opioid epidemic, suicide and a lower life expectancy, they are finding this science can lead to each of these,” she said. She said when examining Oswego County’s poverty rate, more than 50 percent of kids are eligible for free and reduced lunches. “There are kids out there that might not get the nutrition they need. They have a scarcity of resources available to them, and that is stressful for them,” she added. Youngsters experience stress in situations such as having parents who are struggling to find work and housing. “Then you have to consider the external stressors that may not even be within the family household,” she said. “You look at the fact that whether it’s child care, preschool or when they get into the older grades, they are doing safety drills which include those in response to a violent threat. Although they are necessary and a preventive measure, these types of drills are stressors as well. It is unfortunate that our children have to worry about whether or not there is a violent threat and to have these lockdowns and shelter in place [procedures],” she said. “These are all examples of things that impact our kids’ brains and development,” Koproski added. “However, this impact can be countered by nurturing, protective relationships that they need.” She said there is a strong possibility AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2018


that these underlying causes can contribute to kids being overweight, why there is a lower life expectancy in the county, and why there is dependence on drugs that is taking place. “Looking more into those early development years could help break the cycle,” she said. Koproski said this research has been around for many years, but it is “just coming into the forefront now.” Through its partnership with the health department, Koproski said The Child Care & Development Council of Oswego County is looking to feature training and ways to shed more light on how to view trauma and adverse childhood experiences and the youngsters going through it. This will include a screening of the film “Resilience” which delves into the science of ACEs and how to treat and prevent toxic stress, building a more resilient community. Schools that have implemented a trauma-informed approach have recognized a decrease in school suspensions and expulsions. It’s important to look in to reasons why that behavior is taking place and build resiliency through trauma-informed care, she said. “So much brain and child development happens in those earliest years at such a rapid rate,” she said. Child-care providers are counted on to create a protective environment and take advantage of the council’s childcare food program where providers can get reimbursed for providing healthy, nutritious meals. Data show that obesity begins early in life. Nearly half of all elementary school children and Head Start children are not a healthy weight. “These providers also encourage physical activity and create curriculum to build brain development,” she said. “By working with child care providers, we want to give children the best possible start so when they get into preschool or elementary school, they are in a much better place to have educational attainment and academic success,” she said. She said by investing in the early years and preventive measures, it will save in the long run in interventions, whether they are academic, medical, or mental-health related. She said there is even a cost for businesses that experience employee absenteeism because of child-related issues. “Whatever the health behavior or outcome, early interventions can make such a difference in the long run,” she AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2018

said. Studies show that individuals with six or more adverse childhood experiences die approximately 20 years earlier than individuals who do not have such circumstances. Break the cycle Koproski said the focus is on stopping the cycle of generational poverty and risky behavior that is taking place. She said like any other investment, it takes time before a reward is realized. “The nice thing about our county is that we have many programs in place to help parents and families,” she said. “If we can continue to help them with resources we have in place while implementing a trauma-informed approach, as well as investing in our youngest population, then we might see these health rankings start to improve as we progress.” The council recently joined forces with the health department’s Healthy Families Oswego County program. The program works with prenatal women and new parents to identify a range of services and supports that are key to improving health and social outcomes for the entire family. Koproski said the program works collaboratively with the Maternal Child Health Program to offer assistance to families. Koproski said there is a lack of access to behavioral and mental health services in Oswego County, and efforts to enhance those services by Oswego Health and Connextcare can only bode well for the future. The suicide death rate of Oswego County (11.69 deaths per 100,000 population) is higher than that of the state average (7.11). “The more services we have available and the more we understand what’s going on in our community, the better we are able to combat these issues and see some positive outcomes in the future,” she said. Koproski has been with Integrated Community Planning since 2001 and coordinator for the CCDC the last three years. Koproski noted her agency provides consumer education resources to parents seeking child care which can include information about immunizations, financial assistance for child care, and nutrition-food programs. Meanwhile, area school districts are getting involved in the county’s “Healthy Highways” initiative. The program combats childhood OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

obesity by using traffic metaphors to teach students a common language regarding healthy choices in food and physical activity. The council administers the Child and Adult Care Food Program that reimburses child care providers for serving nutritious meals and snacks that meet U.S. Department of Agriculture requirements to kids in care. Currently, 67.9 percent of Oswego County adults are overweight or obese, with 34 percent of the adult population falling into the obese status (a body-mass index of 30 or above). That is significantly higher than New York state’s 25 percent. Addressing smoking issue Currently, 28 percent of Oswego County residents are smokers, compared to 18 percent statewide. In terms of confronting the tobacco issue, Koproski said it is a multi-pronged approach. “One key factor is education across the board, especially as we are starting to see vaping and e-cigarettes, which is of concern,” she said. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States. Another key piece is policy making to help create and institute policies that ban smoking in public space. Another vital approach is through Reality Check, administered through the Tobacco Free Network, which works to establish smoke-free residential housing, less exposure to tobacco marketing, limit smoking scenes in youth-rated media, and create tobacco-free outdoor space. Koproski said she gets great gratification seeing child-care providers receive training to ensure high-quality child care is available. In order to maintain an adequate supply to meet the needs of families, the council assists child-care providers in becoming regulated “so families have access to quality environments for their children.” “It’s also gratifying to help parents who are calling us and searching for child care for their kids, knowing we are able to connect them with quality, regulated providers,” she added. “We hate to see those instances when we speak with a parent that has placed their child in an unregulated care situation where there may not be proper health and safety standards, or with a person whom they do not know that well and does not have training or experience in early care or learning, Koproski said. 87


Where There is Smoke … High smoking rates continue to plague Oswego County, add to high cancer levels By Lou Sorendo

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hile smoking rates appear to have decreased in Oswego County over the past several years, they are still unacceptable, according to standards set by health care advocates in the region. Tobacco use remains the single-leading preventable cause of disease and death in the United States and despite recent decreases in adolescent smoking rates for the U.S, Oswego County’s smoking rates are almost double (28 percent) the state rate of 15.6 percent. Erica Ward, the tobacco-free community specialist at the Tobacco Free Network, a division of Integrated Community Planning of Oswego County Inc., said there are many factors contributing to such a high smoking rate. “These include social norms, socioeconomic status, race and ethnicity, and we see these numbers increase in disparate populations,” she said. “We know that deceptive marketing tactics such as bright, kid-friendly colors as well as size and shape of the packaging are all factors to entice our youth in Oswego County to become replacement smokers.” Hence, the Tobacco-Free Network embraces the “We’ve Seen Enough Tobacco Marketing” campaign. “Continued education in our

Child Care & Development Council of Oswego County

High quality early childhood experiences prepare children for success in school, job training, employment & community life.

For more information visit www.icpoc.org A Division of Integrated Community Planning of Oswego County, Inc.

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community is important, particularly prevention education for our youth,” Ward said. Other effective programs are in place in Oswego County, such as “Smoke Free for my Baby and Me,” which is an incentive program for mothers trying to quit smoking that offers support and incentives to earning diapers for their quit attempts. As opposed to other counties in New York state, cancer is the leading cause of death in Oswego County, and it is mostly attributable to tobacco smoking. The latest data shows that for every 100,000 people, there are 184 deaths caused by cancer in Oswego County, compared to a statewide average of 149. Ward said deceptive marketing tactics are not allowing tobacco users to see instant and harmful effects of tobacco use. “We know that illnesses that include cancer, lung disease and chronic asthma are all associated with tobacco use, but often occur many years later,” she said. “We continue to educate the community that the tobacco industry has and is continuing to use deceptive marketing tactics to increase the number of smokers.” Ward said targeted areas and pop-

Erica Ward ulations and generational patterns add to the number of tobacco users. The Tobacco-Free Network features its youth-led movement, titled Reality Check. Youth aged 13-18 spread the message in their communities to stand up and speak out about deceptive marketing tactics. Youth in their communities educate residents and decision-makers about the importance of smoke-free outdoor space, point-of-sale marketing tactics, smokefree content in movies and smoke-free housing. “These peers use education days to promote leadership, public speaking and events to spread their message,” Ward said. 

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MAURO-BERTOLO THERAPY SERVICES, P.T., P.C.

Mauro-Bertolo Physical Therapy in Offers Specialized Pelvic Rehab Pelvic rehab physical therapists offer a wide range of services to restore optimal pelvic health

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elvic rehabilitation is a specialized physical therapy service offered at Mauro-Bertolo Physical Therapy. The practice’s physical therapists perform evaluations and develop individualized treatment programs for pelvic floor dysfunction, pelvic pain, groin pain and hip and low back pain. Pelvic floor dysfunction can occur in men and women of all ages. It occurs when the muscles in the pelvic area responsible for control of the bladder, bowel or sexual function are not working properly. Pelvic floor dysfunction can cause urine leakage, urine urgency/frequency, pain with urination, constipation, pain with bowel movements or pain with sexual relations. At Mauro-Bertolo, PT, physical therapists with specialized training in pelvic floor dysfunction provide muscle release techniques, education and patient-centered exercises individually crafted to improve the coordination, mobility and strength of the pelvic floor, hip and low back muscles. Pelvic floor yoga classes are also offered at Mauro-Bertolo, PT, to enhance pelvic floor health through gentle, restorative movement. Together, the team of pelvic rehab physical therapists offers a wide range of services to restore optimal pelvic health for full participation in life. Mauro-Bertolo Therapy Services is conveniently located at the Cicero Professional Building, 6221 state Route 31, suite 3, in Cicero. For more information, call 315-699-1009. AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2018

Physical Therapy providing the most advanced and up-to-date treatment techniques in: Spine Care • Chronic Pain • Orthopedic & Sports Injuries Hand & Wrist Therapy • TMJ & Craniofacial Pain One of the few practices with specialized rehabilitation for Women’s and Men’s Health Issues, including Incontinence • Pelvic Disorders • Post Prostatectomy • Obstetrical Pain • Cicero Professional Building – 6221 State Route 31, Suite #103 – Cicero, NY 13039

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Health Care BRIEFS ConnextCare announces leadership promotions

ConnextCare, a private, federally funded nonprofit organization that provides Oswego County and surrounding county residents with a variety of comprehensive health care and related services, recently announced the following promotions among its leadership team: Tr i c i a P e t e r Clark, the organization’s vice president/chief operating officer, was promoted to executive vice president/chief operating officer; Nancy Deavers, the vice president/chief nursClark ing officer, was promoted to senior vice president/chief nursing and quality officer; Tracy Wimmer, controller, was promoted to vice president/chief financial officer. “ Tr i c i a , Nancy and Tracy Deavers have been invaluable recruits for ConnextCare’s leadership team and their promotion is recognition of their outstanding performance and our commitment to retaining them as valuable leaders,” said ConnextCare’s Wimmer President/CEO Daniel Dey. Dey said a key goal was to update the health center’s recruitment, retention and succession plan. According to 90

Dey, these promotions reflect efforts in addressing that goal. Clark previously served as director of health center operations for Oswego County Opportunities and coordinator for the Rural Health Network of Oswego County prior to joining ConnextCare six years ago. Deavers was previously director of clinical services for East Hill Family Medical and vice president/chief operating officer for Oswego Hospital. Wimmer served as director of internal review and finance for Upstate Cerebral Palsy in Utica prior to joining ConnextCare two years ago. Established in 1969 as Northern Oswego County Health Services, Inc. (NOCHSI), the organization recently changed its name to ConnextCare. It operates health centers in Fulton, Mexico, Oswego, Parish, Phoenix and Pulaski. It also operates six school-based health centers located in the APW, Mexico, Pulaski and Sandy Creek school districts. ConnextCare is accredited through the Joint Commission and is recognized by the National Committee for Quality Assurance as a Level 3 Patient-Centered Medical Home.

clot-busting medication. The American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline program’s goal is to reduce system barriers to prompt treatment for heart attacks, beginning with the 9-1-1 call, to EMS transport and continuing through hospital treatment and discharge. The initiative provides tools, training and other resources to support heart attack care following protocols from the most recent evidence-based treatment guidelines. Crouse earned the award by meeting specific criteria and standards of performance for quick and appropriate treatment through emergency procedures to re-establish blood flow to blocked arteries in heart attack patients coming into the hospital directly or by transfer from another facility. “Crouse is dedicated to providing optimal care for heart attack patients,” said Lynne Shopiro, cardiac services administrator. “We are pleased to be recognized for our dedication and achievements in cardiac care through Mission: Lifeline.”

Oswego Health medical imaging locations pass Crouse gets American Heart Association award inspections Oswego Health’s four digital mamCrouse Health has received the Mission: Lifeline Gold Receiving Quality Achievement Award for implementing specific quality improvement measures outlined by the American Heart Association for the treatment of patients who suffer severe heart attacks. Every year, more than 250,000 people experience an ST elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI), the deadliest type of heart attack, caused by a blockage of blood flow to the heart that requires timely treatment. To prevent death, it’s critical to restore blood flow as quickly as possible, either by mechanically opening the blocked vessel or by providing OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

mography imaging sites recently passed the Mammography Quality Standard Act (MQSA) inspection with 100 percent compliance, and not one issue or concern was noted on the inspection. The MQSA requires mammography facilities across the nation to meet uniform quality standards. The MQSA assures high-quality mammography for early breast cancer detection, which can lead to early treatment, a range of treatment options, and increased chances of survival. The health system’s four mammography locations are in place in the Oswego Health Services Center, the Fulton Medical Center, the Central Square Medical Center and the Pulaski Health Center. “Our medical imaging staff is highly trained and very knowledgeable of the MQSA’s high standards,” said Arlene Young, Oswego Health’s radiology manager. “Just as important is ensuring that each patient has a comfortable, high quality patient experience.” AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2018


Success Story

Dr. Padma Ram Medical Services, LLC Physician Follows Lifelong Dream; Her Growing Practice Cares for 17,000 Patients in Oswego

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ftentimes, one moment in time can spark a lifetime of caring. Physician Padma Ram, born and raised in southern India, recalls such a snapshot in time. “I was 5 years old, and I still remember my 10-month-old sister dying on my mother’s lap,” she said. Without the use of public transport and after a long walk to the hospital with the deceased child, her father returned. “When they came back, I was mad at my dad. I asked, ‘Where is she?’ He replied, ‘She wasn’t well and is now a star in the sky,’” Ram recalls. “At that time, I decided I was going to be a doctor, and my dad encouraged it. When other children were playing with dolls, I played as a doctor,” she said. AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2018

“To this day, I look up at the stars and say she is there,” Ram said. That particular memory helped inspire Ram to attain her medical degree at Coimbatore Medical College, Madras University, India. Fast forward to the year 2000, which is when she initially opened an internal medicine practice in Oswego. Today, the award-winning business owner is enjoying her latest location at 300 state Route 104 East in the city of Oswego. She has grown to employ a staff of 35 people that saw a combined 17,000 patients in 2017. Ram is providing both primary care as Dr. Padma Ram Medical Services, LLC and also operates Lake Ontario Prompt OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

By Lou Sorendo

Medical Care, PLLC, which offers urgent care in the same building that has 26,000 square feet of space. Ram recently received Operation Oswego County’s 2018 Dee Heckethorn Entrepreneur Award in recognition of her exceptional entrepreneurial spirit in growing and developing her business. She also earned a Small Business Administration Small Business Excellence Award recently. Ram said she is surprised at her rise to success, noting teamwork plays an integral role. “It’s a dream,” she said. “It’s quite amazing. I could not have done it alone,” said Ram, noting that staff and lending institutions — particularly Pathfinder Bank and Alliance Bank (now NBT Bank) in Oswego — play instrumental roles in her continuing success. Key Bank also stepped up during her first year in business, providing assistance during a critical period being that Medicare did not reimburse her because she had changed locations. “I’m very grateful to this community. When I came here in 1995, my family 91


Physician Ram and her staff at Dr. Padma Ram Medical Services, LLC in Oswego. was accepted and my three children did well. To get achievements like these feels good. More than anything, it tells me I did the right thing,” she said. She has been living on West Lake Road in Oswego since 2012. “Medicine is not a business, but you need business to practice medicine. Both have to be equal in order to provide service,” said Ram, who has been practicing medicine for more than 37 years. Ladder of success Ram, 62, came to the United States in 1981, and completed her residency at St. John’s Episcopal Hospital in Far Rockaway, in 1985. She worked in the emergency room in Queens, and then in 1993, became a single mother of three children ranging in age from 4 to 12. “My parents helped me a lot because I worked a lot of nights,” said Ram, noting her father died in 2013. In terms of the ER, Ram said she liked the pace, environment and opportunity to care for children. “However, burnout is high, so after two years, I moved to a community hospital,” she said. Ram relocated her family to Watertown, where she worked at Samaritan Medical Center for a year. She would then relocate to Oswego in 1996 where she worked at Oswego Hospital’s emergency department for two years. 92

“I came here and liked it. The first day I started working, I just connected with the nurses. It was just so familyoriented,” she said. It was then that physician Michael Nupuf, an internal medicine specialist, asked Ram to join him in his practice. In 1999, Ram decided she wanted to go into business for herself. She was greatly aided by now retired Oswego Hospital CEO Corte Spencer, as well as Nupuf, who even supplied Ram with a staff member to serve as her office manager. Pathfinder Bank, meanwhile, provided a loan to help her and three colleagues practice independently. “I was thinking of the future and what I wanted to do,” said Ram, noting besides practicing in Nupuf’s office, she was also working in the ER to make ends meet being that her eldest son was preparing to attend college. She then decided to work a few shifts in the primary care unit at the hospital, and enjoyed it. “But the thing I didn’t like about it was I had no control,” she said. Nupuf allowed Ram to take over her patient caseload she had already established, so she started with a full slate. After three years, she outgrew her practice at the hospital and moved into a building adjacent to Raby’s Ace Home Center on Washington Boulevard in Oswego that would feature nine exam rooms. She signed a 10-year lease and even entertained the thought of being OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

in position to retire once the agreement was fulfilled. However, her practice continued to grow, and she set her sights on a more spacious locale. “So we looked at a couple of places and I looked at our present building, but said I just couldn’t afford it,” she said. However, one of her medical assistants said, “Just see it, Dr. Ram, just see it!” Ram followed her queue. “I thought this would make a very good medical place. The main reason is I am getting older. The way primary care is going in the rural areas, it’s going to be run by nurse practitioners and physician assistants. So I had NP interns, and hired those who were living locally,” she said. “We have a good team. Even if something happens to me, they have a place and can continue to still practice. Patients still have a place as well. That was the main concern,” she said. Ram said she was helped immensely by the Small Business Development Center, which is co-sponsored by the SBA and SUNY Oswego through its Office of Business and Community Relations. She said the late Larry Perras, senior business adviser, was instrumental in providing guidance and the tools to build a workable business plan. Crash business course Ram had to virtually learn the business end on the run, taking advice from AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2018


those in the know, particularly former CEO Corte Spencer and a team of professionals that included Barb Bateman and Tom Roman of NBT Bank. They not only helped on the financial end when Ram moved into her new location, but also shared accounting advice that proved invaluable when it came to consolidating loans. “The turning point that has allowed me to relax this year and know this is going to work was the meeting with Bateman and Roman. I can never forget that,” she said. “It’s not only money; you need that good business advice in terms of where to go and who to call.” “Banks don’t just give you money; they give you advice. That happens in a small town,” said Ram, noting she was also aided by Operation Oswego County and a payments-in-lieu-of-tax agreement. During the first six months, the center was open for 12 hours six days a week, and Ram was there from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays and Saturdays. “This year, I started slowing down. I’m available and here, but I’m not rushing to see patients,” she noted. Ram has been focused on making sure she is available for her five advanced-care providers and patients, and to ensure the business’s success. In terms of work-life balance, Ram said it wasn’t a concern until this year. “It didn’t bother me because I enjoyed what I did. This is the way I knew myself. This was life,” she said. However, her 60-year-old sister died March 11 of this year. Ram spent a week with her prior to her death, and began rethinking about work-life balance. “That’s what I am doing now. My hobby is gardening,” said Ram, noting she is engaged in growing vegetables. Ram began with a small garden last year and has increased its size this growing season. Room to grow Ram is working with Oswego Health to feature physical therapy and lab services, while she leases space to St. Joseph’s Imaging Associates for radiology. “We are able to see more people,” she said. “There is such a need for medical care in this city and county, it’s incredible. We have a big waiting list.” She said the local health care industry is finding it difficult to hire physicians, and her building offers the opportunity to expand. AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2018

Room to spare: Padma Ram is working with Oswego Health to feature physical therapy and lab services, while she leases space to St. Joseph’s Imaging Associates for radiology. “We still have some space downstairs which the hospital has looked at, and I told them they can still open up another primary care office,” Ram said. “So there is still potential.” The doctor noted she models what the American Medical Association characterizes as the method to run a successful private practice. That includes having sufficient administrative support to free doctors up to attend to health care and see patients promptly. The addition of Ram’s son, Sunil, as office manager, has been a relief to her from an administrative standpoint. In his fourth year, Sunil has kept his mom well informed. His official title is vice president. “He’s learning a lot and doing a good job,” Ram said. “We all follow the same pattern of taking care of the person rather than just the illness,” said Ram in regards to the holistic approach her practice takes. Bruce Pecorella, registered physician assistant, and family nurse practitioners Terry Salmonsen, Katrina Bonnie and Jessica Kimball joined Ram at the practice. The key to being able to handle a robust patient load is having a topOSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

notch support team that includes nurses, medical assistants and scribes, she said. Ram trains medical assistants studying at the Center for Instruction, Technology & Information (Citi). After six weeks and depending on their comfort level, the interns are then eligible to be hired. “Some medical assistants are moving on to do nursing, and I support them and allow time to do that,” Ram said. Ram said she has a rather unorthodox managerial style. “I tell them I am one of them, and everyone of them is important. I cannot get this reputation — which is pretty good — without them. It starts at the front office,” she said. “We believe in family first, work is next,” she said. “I am a caring person and listen well, which patients like. I don’t see the disease but rather see the person, and the staff are all very good in that respect,” she added. Ram also enjoys her four dogs and two cats, walking and hiking. She went backpacking recently with a friend for the first time. She has enjoyed the assistance of a home helper since 1996. “She literally takes care of us,” Ram said. 93


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RODMON KING The opportunity came up, and when [SUNY Oswego President Deborah F. Stanley] called me with the offer, I was ecstatic. It’s an honor to be selected to work with this community.” Continued from p. 14 One of his other hobbies is woodworking. When he had the time, he would make guitars, but nowadays his focus is on making things like bookshelves. “It’s really cathartic,” said King, noting a lot of what he does involves handwork such as sanding and sawing. “It teaches you patience. You must take your time because you can’t uncut something once you saw it,” he said. “You have to take your time and double and triple check your measurements. It teaches you to take your time and carefully plan,” he said. King is not a vegetarian or vegan, but he makes it a point not to eat red meat and makes efforts at keeping fat content down. “I do tend to work out regularly to try to keep myself in shape,” said King, noting that heart disease runs through his family. “I’m cognizant of that and you really have to consciously make time to do those kinds of things and to rest,” he said. SUNY Oswego bound Several factors steered King in the direction of SUNY Oswego. When he attended the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education 2016 annual conference, he noted that Carlos Medina won the individual leadership award for his outstanding contributions to research, administration, practice, advocacy and/ or policy. Medina is the vice chancellor and chief diversity officer for the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at SUNY. King was impressed that a SUNY administrator earned the prestigious award. “I saw that system-wide, there was a really coordinated effort to do work in diversity, equity and inclusion on a 96

really large scale,” he said. King would file that in his “mental Rolodex,” thinking it would be great to join that effort. SUNY Oswego got on his radar because his niece attends the college and will be a senior this fall. “When she was a kid coming out of high school, I told my brother that she really needs to find a place that is a combination of enough structure to keep her from wandering off into nowhere but enough freedom for her to discover herself,” King noted. “Over the past several years, I have watched her really mature into a young woman who has got a real career plan and increasing sense of self,” he said. While this was a limited sample of one person, King determined that there was “really great stuff going on at SUNY Oswego,” he said. When the opening occurred, King tossed his hat in the ring. “I was very happy with my position at Centre and it wasn’t like I was doing an all-out job search. The opportunity came up, and when [SUNY Oswego President Deborah F. Stanley] called me with the offer, I was ecstatic. It’s an honor to be selected to work with this community.” King will glean valuable knowledge from his past work experiences that will serve him well in his current capacity. Past experiences By navigating through the massive entity known as the U.S. Postal Service for a year, King learned to understand how organizations worked. “I fall back on the things I learned there constantly in terms of understanding how systems function and how different kinds of things work or don’t work. That experience has really been helpful to me,” he said. King said it was a learning experiOSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

ence to get to know some of the mid-level managers who directly supervised him. “You look back and reflect on those experiences, and how they used different ways to allocate resources to meet needs, and how systemically you can do that,” he said. King said there is a real method and plan to the way the post office works, and that structural thinking has helped him. “Working at the post office is no joke,” King noted. He worked at the general mail facility on Jefferson Road in Rochester, which served as a main hub for Monroe County and saw a “ton of mail.” “It was a lot of experience and knowledge in just a year,” he said. King also benefitted greatly from his experiences as a psychiatric case manager at Strong Memorial Hospital and at Heritage Christian Services in Rochester. “I think that helped me more than anything else, particularly in terms of learning patience,” he said. “Also, there are ways in which you can lose sight of people’s humanity in dealing with those who are really struggling with mental illness,” he said. “You can talk about them diagnostically as a person with an affective disorder, and that illness and challenge becomes the way you think about them. That’s troubling because you lose sight of their humanity,” he said. King said among his skill sets, listening is perhaps the most vital. “The most important thing that I can do is listen,” said King, noting that when he arrived at Centre College, the first thing he did was talk and listen to as many different people in as many different positions in the institution as possible. That’s when he gets the opportunity to discover their concerns, hopes and dreams, and what motivates them. “Because if you don’t do that work, your chance of missing the mark increases,” he added. King is divorced and has four sons ranging in age from 16 to 24, all of whom reside in New York state. His fiance’s family also resides locally. Her parents live in Baldwinsville, her brother lives in Auburn and her sister is from Corning. King and his fiancé are renting a home on West Fifth Street in Oswego while he sells his house in Kentucky. The couple then plans to buy a home.

AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2018


Best Business Directory AUTO SALES & SERVICE Bellinger Auto Sales & Service — Third generation business. Used Cars, Towing, general auto repair & accessories, Truck repair. Oil, lube & filter service. 2746 County Route 57 Fulton, NY 13069. Call 593-1332 or fax 598-5286.

BUILDING SUPPLIES Burke’s Home Center. The complete building and supply center. Two locations for your convenience: 38 E. Second St. in Oswego (343-6147); and 65 N. Second St. in Fulton (592-2244). Free deliveries.

CONSTRUCTION Dunsmoor Construction Inc. – Residential-Commercial Construction. Serving Oswego County. Home Improvement Contractor. 315-343-4380 or 315-591-5020.

DEMOLITION Fisher Companies. Commercial & residential demolition. Great prices. Fully insured. Free estimates. 48 years of experience. Call Fisher Companies at 315-652-3773 or visit www.johnefisherconstruction.com.

EXCAVATING Gilbert Excavating. Septic systems. Gravel & top soil. Septic tank pumping. 685 County Route 3, Fulton, 13069. Call 593-2472.

FIREWOOD Northern Firewood & Earth Products – www. northernfirewood.net 315-668-9663 – Seasoned and Unseasoned split hardwoods. Block or Log Length.

FREE DELIVERY! We Accept all major credit cards and HEAP. Call today to place your order.

KILN-DRIED HARDWOODS Lakeshore Hardwoods. We stock kiln-dried cherry, walnut, maple, butternut, ash, oak, basswood, mahogany, cedar figured woods, and exotics. Also, hardwood flooring, moldings, stair parts & woodworking supplies. 266 Manwaring Rd. Pulaski. 298-6407 or visit www.lakeshorehardwoods.com.

LAND SURVEYOR Robert M. Burleigh, licensed land surveyor. Quality land surveying. Residential, subdivision, commercial, boundary surveying. 593-2231.

LUMBER White’s Lumber. Four locations to serve you. Pulaski: state Route 13, 315-298-6575; Watertown: N. Rutland Street, 315-788-6200; Clayton: James Street, 315686-1892; Gouverneur: Depot Street, 315-287-1892.

OUTBOARD MOTORS Arney’s Marina. Route 14 Sodus Point, NY. Honda four-stroke motors, 2 hp to 250 hp. Repower your boat with the best! Call 483-9111 for more information.

TRACTOR/LAWN EQUIPMENT RanMar Tractor Supply, Sales and Service of New and Used Tractors and Farm Equipment – 5219 US Rte 11 Pulaski, New York – 315-598-5109.

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Jiancheng Huang Health department director explains why public health in Oswego County is among the worst in NYS and what he is doing to reverse the trend Q: Oswego County is ranked 57th out of the 62 counties in the state for premature deaths. Why such a high ranking? A: According to 2018 county health rankings, Oswego County is ranked among the worst in the state in terms of life expectancy. Premature death is defined as death that occurs before 75 years of age. In terms of years of potential life lost before age 75, Oswego County lost 7,200 years per 100,000 people from 2014-2016. This compares to the state average of 5,300 and the best number in Putnam County, 4,000. If somebody dies at 74, the community loses one year. If an infant dies, we lost 74 years. The key factors are high smoking rates, deaths caused by drugs and suicide

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among young people, and unnecessary deaths involving young children and infants. Oswego County has the highest suicide rate in Central New York. In this county, we don’t have enough mental health providers, and teenage health is a big issue. Teenagers who die either by suicide or drugs skew longevity numbers tremendously, although the full extent of those issues is somewhat blurred because many of these cases are underreported. Q: Why is the level of cancer deaths so high in Oswego County? A: If you look statewide, the leading cause of death in many counties is heart disease, while cancer and stroke are second and third, respectively. But if you look at Oswego County, the leading cause is cancer. I have been here for six years, and many people have asked why so many people die from cancer and whether or not there is an environmental issue. In speaking with public health experts, if we remove smoking-related cancer, the county rate is no different than other counties. SUNY Oswego did an investigation, and found that

OSWEGO COUNTY BUSINESS

By Lou Sorendo smoking is the cause of many lung cancer cases in Oswego County. The latest data shows that for every 100,000 people, there are 184 deaths caused by cancer in Oswego County, compared to a statewide average of 149. I see our smoking-related cancer rates remaining high as we will carry this burden for decades. Q: What is Oswego County doing to improve the area’s health rankings? A: As a health department, we are focusing on physical activity, proper nutrition and smoking. We have a successful pilot program called “Healthy Highway,” an initiative that combats childhood obesity by using traffic metaphors to teach students a common language regarding healthy choices in food and physical activity. The pilot is successful at two schools, and after summer break, we will promote it to all 24 elementary schools in the county. We encourage kids to be active and teach them proper nutrition. Oswego is a rural county with a population that is economically disadvantaged. We work with CNY Food Bank and also have our mobile food pantry to reach communities that are regarded as food deserts, or places that have insufficient food access. We are also actively engaged in the community efforts to stem drug abuse, and have a very successful smoking cessation program called “Smoke Free For My Baby and Me.” The nationally recognized program offers clinical, online and social media support for women in their cessation process. Hopefully these types of measures will impact life expectancy numbers.

AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2018


Modern Medicine People you know and trust

Surgical Services — right at home Modern Medicine — Michael Miceli of Fulton, has been able to return to his normal lifestyle following a successful surgery requiring complex abdominal wall reconstruction performed by Oswego Health Surgeon, Jai Singh MD. Oswego Health’s surgical services team is committed to providing the highest-quality care to our patients. Our Surgical Services Include: • Bariatric • Gallbladder • Breast Care • General • Colonoscopy • Laparoscopic • Endoscopy • Oral/maxillofacial • ENT

• OB-GYN • Orthopedic •Thyroid • Urological

Oswego Health For more information please visit oswegohealth.org/services/surgical-service


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OCBM #157 August/September 2018  
OCBM #157 August/September 2018  
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