New York state briefs

Staff reports

Hammondsport middle school to close in 2010

HAMMONDSPORT –  Faced with sharply declining enrollment at Hammondsport Central School, district officials will close the Glenn H. Curtiss Middle School in September 2010.

District Superintendent Christopher Brown said Monday school officials are now looking at ways to use the school as a community center, with classrooms rented out for BOCES or college satellite classes.

Other plans include using grants to renovate the gym and stage area into a community wellness site, Brown said.

“It's important to note we plan on keeping the building open and leasing out rooms,” Brown said. “I want to stress there are no plans to sell the Curtiss school in the foreseeable future.”

Last year, Brown warned declining enrollment in the district could mean students in grades 4-6 would need to be housed in the Main Street school campus with elementary and high school students.

According to a recent report, Hammondsport's enrollment currently stands at 557, down 25 percent compared to a student population of 669 in 2001-02. Enrollment is expected to drop by another 90 students in two years, with 467 children expected in 2010-11.

The move will save the district more than $120,000 annually, according to the report.

Feds push traffic diamond

BRIGHTON — Never heard of a traffic diamond? You’re not alone. The only other one is in France.

This one involves a proposed interchange on Interstate 590 at Winton Road, creating a crisscrossing traffic flow that the world has not seen since the 1970s, when the first diamond project was constructed in Europe.

While transportation officials have provided the town with seven other options, Supervisor Sandra Frankel said the federal government has told the state it will only provide funds for the diverging diamond. An estimate for the overall cost wasn’t available.

Here’s how the “diamond” intersection would work: Northbound traffic would travel on right-hand lanes along Winton Road to a stoplight near the 590 on ramp. The northbound traffic would then follow those lanes through the intersection as they crossed southbound traffic to the opposite side of the road on the left. After a short distance, traffic would arrive at a second light and cross back to the right side.

Frankel said she doesn’t want the town to be a guinea pig for an exotic construction project.

“This design may be a solution to congestion points in urban areas where there really isn’t any available land for other types of traffic relief, so they want to experiment here,” she said. “But, it seems to me that this area does have land available and if there are heavily congested areas elsewhere, why aren’t they trying it in those locations first?”

Mexico hit with armed robbery, vandalism

MEXICO – The village of Mexico fell victim to a crime wave this past weekend when a gas station clerk was robbed at gun point and an American flag was burned outside a local shop.

The Fast Trac on State Route 104 in Mexico was the location of a robbery that occurred at approximately 1 a.m. Sunday. According to sheriff’s reports, the lone suspect entered the gas station, displaying a small handgun, and demanded money from the clerk. The suspect is described as a white male between the ages of 18-25. He is approximately 5 feet, 8 inches to 5 feet, 11 inches in height and weighs between 150 and 170 pounds.

Prior to the robbery, Mark Kelcinski Sr., owner of Dynamic Designs, returned to work Sunday to find one of his American flags burned. Dynamic Designs has been located on the corner of Main and North Jefferson streets since 2000. Kelcinski has had his shop vandalized before and believes this type of deviant behavior is on the rise in Mexico.

“It’s a very nasty situation,” he said. “Mexico is not as good as it used to be.”

Oswego County Sheriff Reuel Todd stated that his department has noticed an increase in vandalism all over, noting that the rise in complaints is not  exclusive to Mexico.

College waits for OK on arts center

PITTSFORD — Nazareth College is almost set to begin work on renovating its Arts Center.

The $6 million project is slated to begin in mid-March.

The project is awaiting final approval from the town Planning Board, which will discuss it at its Feb. 11 meeting.

The work includes a 900-square-foot patron’s lounge on the front of the existing Callahan Theater and an art gallery,. Other additions include increasing wheelchair space and staggering seating in the theater, which will decrease the total amount of seats by about 130.

If work begins in March, the renovations could be complete by next January.

Prescription discount program begins for Oswego County residents

OSWEGO – The Oswego County Legislature has partnered with ProAct, Inc., a pharmacy benefit management company based in central New York, to offer residents a prescription drug discount card that will help defray the rising cost of prescription medication.

ProAct, Inc. will mail more than 50,000 drug cards to households in Oswego County. The cards are scheduled to arrive in residents’ homes this week.

“The prescription drug discount card can provide significant savings for uninsured and underinsured residents of Oswego County,” said Oswego County Legislature chairman Barry Leemann, R-Amboy.

Any Oswego County resident, regardless of age, can participate in the discount program. One discount card may be used for all family members.

Participants will save an average of 10 to 20 percent on brand name prescriptions and 20 to 50 percent on generic drugs, according to Oswego County Administrator Philip Church. “There is no cost to the county or its residents,” Church said.

The discount card will be available at participating pharmacies, as well as the following county government agencies: Office of the Chairman, Oswego County Legislature, 46 E. Bridge St., Oswego; Office for the Aging and Oswego County Health Department, 70 Bunner St., Oswego; Veterans’ Service Agency, 200 N. Second St., Fulton; and Department of Social Services, Spring Street, Mexico.

People with questions about the program or who would like more information may call the ProAct, Inc. help desk toll free at 1-877-776-2285.

Rec program gets national spotlight

HENRIETTA — Dave Moriarty has kept the Henrietta Recreation Department on top of its game. Late last year, he received more affirmation telling him his department is tops.

Henrietta’s chapter of the National Youth Sports Coaches Association was honored with national recognition from the alliance — the governing body of the coaches’ association — for its more than 20 years of service. In 1999, Moriarty’s chapter was recognized for more than 10 years of service, which is operated out of the Henrietta Recreation Department.

Only 10 chapters nationwide received the recognition last year, according to a letter Moriarty received from Michele Ramirez, chapter management specialist for the alliance.

The organization trains and certifies volunteer youth sports coaches, said Moriarty, who is the chapter director and senior recreation supervisor for the Henrietta Recreation Department.

“The better trained the volunteer coaches are, they’re just going to better service the kids in those programs,” Moriarty said.