New York state briefs

Staff reports

Painted Post native wounded in Afghanistan

PAINTED POST — A Painted Post native and Corning West High graduate was wounded last week in southern Afghanistan.

David Ryall said his son, Jonathan Ryall, 27, was wounded Friday while trying to disarm a bomb. Jonathan Ryall is a sergeant in the U.S. Army and the team leader of an explosive ordinance disposal team.

David Ryall said his son was disarming a bomb when a secondary bomb was detonated, resulting in Ryall’s injuries.

“The second bomb was hidden, a booby trap,” the father said. “When you approach one bomb, they set off a buried bomb with a cell phone or another triggering device. We think it was something like a Bouncing Betty, which comes out of the ground and explodes.”

The younger Ryall suffered a broken left arm, a broken nose, fractured sinuses, eye socket, cheekbone and forehead.

He also received second-degree burns to his face.

Jonathan Ryall was flown to Landstuhl military hospital in Germany Saturday and then transferred to Brooks Army Hospital in San Antonio, Texas, Sunday.

David Ryall said his son is facing a lengthy hospital stay.

“We believe he has to have reconstruction surgery on left side of his face,” he said.

Ryall said his son enlisted in the Army in 2003 after graduating from Messiah College. He had been stationed in Afghanistan since September.

Jonathan Ryall was due to come home in November. His father said his son had just taken a teaching position in explosive ordinance disposal at the Redstone Arsenal in Georgia.

Jonathan Ryall is the second West High graduate who was injured or killed while serving in the Middle East. In 2005, Sgt. Christopher M. Pusateri was killed in a small arms fire fight in Mosul, Iraq.

School district adopts whistleblower policy

GREECE — A Greece schools employee who wants to report wrongdoing in the workplace can do so now without fear of reprisal.

The Board of Education voted 8-0 last week to institute a whistleblower policy, which was one of the checks-and-balances recommendations included in a state audit of the district’s finances.

The original policy had employees reporting problems to people in Greece Central, such as Superintendent Steven Achramovitch and the internal auditor, but that proved unpopular.

“There was input from different parts of the community including the unions and residents,” said board Vice President Pat Tydings, who crafted the policy. “They told us that we needed somebody from outside the district in order to take these calls initially.”

The district hired Security Voice, a tipline, to field the calls for $2,000 a year.

Here’s how it works. When a call is made, the reporter gets a cause number. He or she calls back a few days later to see if the agency has further questions.

“That connection’s going to be very important for the caller to follow up with the call. Otherwise it will hamper the investigation,” Tydings said.

The information then is passed on to Ed Knaak, the district’s head of security, for investigation. A copy of Knaak’s report, once finished, will be given to District Clerk Lynne Armstrong for record keeping.

The school board will also get a monthly report of a summary of the calls made to the agency. Throughout the process, the whistleblower remains anonymous.

Don Palozzi, president of the Greece Teachers Association, said the board really listened to the suggestions his union made. The union was concerned that the original policy included employees going to their supervisors with problems, he said.

“Will it help members? I guess that remains to be seen,” Palozzi said. “Hopefully we won’t have to use it.”

SUNY Oswego president eyed for top spot at Va. university

OSWEGO — SUNY Oswego President Deborah F. Stanley may be the new president of Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va.

Julie Harrison Blissert, director of public relations at SUNY Oswego, said Storbeck/Pimental and Associates, a private executive search firm, contacted Stanley earlier this year about applying for the position of president.

“Our role is to help manage the search committee in identifying, screening, recommending and reviewing candidates,” said Steve Leo, a representative of the firm. “We also set up initial interviews and work with interfacing with candidates,” he added.

The Virginian-Pilot recently reported that Stanley was one of two finalists for the position. The other finalist was reported to be Richard Davenport, president of Minnesota State University. Jennifer Mullen, director of media relations at Old Dominion, said she couldn't confirm the finalists.

“I have spent my entire academic career so far at Oswego and it is my home, so I do not consider leaving lightly,” Stanley said in a recent news release. “At the same time, I am honored to be considered by Old Dominion…but (it) does not affect the exemplary work that continues on at Oswego.”

Stanley has been the sitting president at SUNY Oswego for 13 years and before that served as provost and vice president for academic affairs. She also taught in the School of Business for 11 years.