New York state briefs

Staff reports

School district promises to try harder

GREECE — Though taxpayers lost millions of dollars because former Board of Education members didn't do their jobs, that doesn’t mean the law was broken.

Superintendent Steven Achramovitch has pledged his district will operate on the up-and-up: no moving money, better checks and balances, no hiding information from the Board of Education.

But he’s not so sure whether past employees who the state said misused millions of dollars will face any reprisal. During a press conference last Friday, Achramovitch was asked whether a crime had been committed.

“I don’t know if that’s the case,” he said.

The state Attorney General’s Office said there was nothing for it to pursue, Achramovitch said. The Monroe County District Attorney’s Office has said it would wait until the final report came out before it took action. Achramovitch said Friday that the district is waiting to see if that office pursues it.

Greece Central School District spent nearly $2.5 million more on a capital project than voters approved; paid more than $300,000 extra to administrators and missed out on $560,000 in revenue. That’s according to State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, whose office released a scathing audit on Greece Central last Friday.

Amo Houghton backs Ordway for Steuben County Sheriff

CORNING – Steuben County Chief Deputy Joel Ordway received the endorsement of the area’s political icon Wednesday in his bid for county sheriff.

“He’s almost too perfect,” said former U.S. Rep. Amory Houghton Jr. moments before showing Ordway how to throw his hat into the ceremonial political ring at Donna’s Restaurant on Market Street.

Ordway is a Canisteo native whose local roots, experience in the department, and service as a fellow Marine made him a worthy successor to retiring county Sheriff Richard Tweddell, Houghton said.

Ordway will meet retired Maryland State Trooper James Waight and county Undersheriff David Cole in the Sept. 9 Republican Primary.

Ordway, 45,  said Houghton’s endorsement is a “huge shot in the arm ... he’s Mr. Republican.”

The son of a former county undersheriff, brother of a former deputy and 24-year veteran of the sheriff’s department, Ordway is best known in the western and central sections of the county. He worked his way up through the corrections and law enforcement ranks to the third spot in the department.

His current duties include supervision of the county District Attorney’s Drug Task Force. Ordway also has secured $1 million in grants for the department, and oversees security at the Corning LPGA.

Houghton said later it was a pleasure to support someone he feels is right for the job and has the right motivation.

“You’ve got to believe in it, deep down,” Houghton said. “It’s not an ego trip. There’s a real sacrifice you’ve got to be prepared to make.”

A bay gets a roomful of attention

IRONDEQUOIT — A full house came out for the Wednesday, April 23  public hearing on a proposed new local law written to provide uniformity for the entire Irondequoit Bay area.

If approved, a harbormaster would be hired to oversee the day-to-day operations of the bay.

Many of the waterskiers, boat owners,  hunters and bayside residents who came out for the hearing on the proposed new Irondequoit Bay Harbor Management Law appeared to favor at least part of the document, but all had questions and concerns.

The law is a recommendation of the Irondequoit Bay Harbor Management Plan, which was adopted by the towns of Irondequoit, Penfield, and Webster in 2003.

Gregory Devlin, who said he owns a small sailboat he operates on the bay, said the “no wake” zones recommended in the law should be extended to areas around sailboats, and that non-motorized boats should have the right of way over power crafts.

Patty Brody applauded the law and the collaboration of the three towns.

“Now I can only hope the rules that are set down will be followed,” she said.

Mike Allen of Seneca Road, however, said he was opposed to most of the law.

Allen said that at least four agencies — the Monroe County Sheriff's Department, the U.S. Border Patrol, the state Department of Environmental Conservation and the U.S. Coast Guard — already patrol the bay now and enforce existing laws.

“But when I say there are a lot of enforcement agencies out there, it's not to say there's enough enforcement,” he added. “I wouldn't mind more enforcement.”

Mohawk introduces new Web site

MOHAWK – People in the Mohawk and the rest of the world have a new option to turn to when trying to find information on the Mohawk Central School District – its new Web site.

The site,, which went live over spring break, contains a host of information ranging from news, calendar items, documents, a staff directory, athletics information and more.

When putting the site together, web site creator Greg Soposki researched sites of other school districts and through his research, he added information other districts had as well as pertinent information related to Mohawk.

Superintendent Joyce Caputo said systems are in-place to have the site updated daily with new information and events.

She said the district is very concerned with safety and security on the site and there will be limited pictures of students on the site. Photos on the site will be general photos and will not specifically name students.

His focus is on people, not money

GREECE — When Ralph DeStephano Jr. left his pre-medicine plan for business, he wasn’t quite sure how his life would play out. He would try it for one year, he thought, and see what happened. He got a medical degree just in case.

But the call of business won out. DeStephano followed in his father’s footsteps, carving out his own legacy at the same time. For his work, DeStephano is being honored as the Greece Chamber of Commerce’s Business Person of the Year.

“We couldn’t believe he hadn’t won this yet,” said chamber President Jodie Perry. “He’s just made such a big impact on the community.”

Ralph DeStephano Sr., now 96, helped shape Greece. He helped found Park Ridge Hospital. He ran Buckman’s Dairy and built up one of the town’s most prominent corners, at West Ridge and Long Pond roads.

“He used to say to me, ‘Ralph, See all these people coming into thestore? These are people that are putting money in your pocket. You have to give back to these people,’” he said.

So, he started out on small committees, meeting people, helping them here and there, all the while building his business and his family.

DeStephano and his wife have two sons, a daughter and nine grandchildren. Often, he’ll come home and tell his wife he’s joined a committee or is helping out on a project. “Another one?” she’ll ask. “You can’t say no?”

“I say, ‘No, I can’t say no,’” he said, chuckling.

Bomb scare closes Cayuga Community College

OSWEGO – The Fulton Police Department responded to a bomb scare Wednesday morning at Cayuga Community College located at 806 W. Broadway St.

“We got a call right about 9 (a.m.) that a threat had been made,” said Lt. Ken Sheldon of the Fulton Police. The call came in from the Oswego County 911 Center, which declined to comment, instead referring comment to the Fulton Police Department.

Sheldon said five officers were dispatched to the scene where they conducted an investigation in conjunction with the Fulton Fire Department. By the time both departments arrived at the college, the building had already been evacuated.

“It turned out it was nothing,” Sheldon said. The lieutenant stated that there are currently no suspects and the bomb threat is still under investigation. Sheldon noted that he still has to interview a few more people and should be sending out a press release today.

No one was available to comment at Cayuga Community College Wednesday afternoon. All of the offices closed early.

Anyone with information regarding the bomb scare should contact the Fulton Police at (315) 598-2008.

World-renowned artist to lecture at Keuka College

KEUKA PARK – Yankel Ginzburg, a world-renowned contemporary artist whose influence extends beyond the art world, will deliver the 20th Annual Carl and Fanny Fribolin Lecture Friday, May 2 at Keuka College. The lecture, which begins at 6:30 p.m. in Norton Chapel, is free and open to the public.

The lecture series carries the names of Geneva resident Carl Fribolin, an emeritus member of the College’s Board of Trustees and the recipient of an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree in 2004, and his late wife.

The first Israeli artist to exhibit in Cairo, Egypt, he is a respected authority on Middle East politics and has been called on to discuss the peace process with such world leaders as Golda Meir, Richard Nixon, Anwar Sadat, Menachem Begin, Jimmy Carter, Boris Yeltsin and Bill Clinton.

In addition to founding new art movements and creating monumental sculptures, Ginzburg is a major philanthropist and advocate of charitable causes.

His work has been shown worldwide and he has been commissioned to produce works for the American Bicentennial, President Ronald Reagan, President George Bush and many museums and institutions throughout the United States.

This marks Ginzburg’s second visit to Keuka College in less than a year. He received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree at Keuka’s 2007 commencement. His artwork is featured in the Robert S. and Rebecca Bannan Aben Gallery, located in the Lighter Library.