Dec 27, 2006 Margo Frink Uncategorized
2006 was a banner year, literally. The Madison County Bicentennial Commission had banners made that represented each town and the city of Oneida. With yearlong bicentennial activities planned for the entire year, the city of Oneida was the first community to bring in the celebration with a New Year’s Eve ceremony and events throughout the city.
But the city had more on its plate than the bicentennial, and the Oneida Press was there. The Oneida Common Council discussed zoning. Zoning was changed, and then zoning was discussed some more.
The city also made a deal with the Oneida Indian Nation, despite opposition from county leaders.
We enjoyed the columns of Doloria Chapin and read of her travels around the world and the many cultures she visited in countries such Scotland, Iceland and the Philippines.
We said goodbye to some old friends including Oneida Healthcare Center’s Chief Executive Officer Richard G. Smith, who said so long after more than 29 years.
We endured the passing of Frank Rinaldo and mourned with his family. And we congratulated Undersheriff Doug Bailey, selected as officer of the year by the New York State American Legion Department.
A city landmark, the former Oneida Casket Factory and Stanton Paper Box Company was destroyed by fire, and just a few weeks later, Lowe’s opened, giving us hope of real growth.
As we close the books on 2006, we look ahead to upgrades on the city’s water supply system, a pilot energy initiative that would make the wastewater treatment plant self-sufficient and Mayor Leo Matzke’s proposed dog park.
The city will persevere. The city will prosper.
Out with the old
The Oneida Common Council said farewell to Fourth Ward Councilman Army Carinci in December. At its first meeting of the New Year, it welcomed the new fourth ward councilman, Marcia Rafte, who had served before as a council member as an Oneida supervisor at the county level.
Deputy Mayor Ted Hanifin announced the need to elect a new deputy mayor. Hanifin, who has spent six years serving as deputy mayor — four under James Chappelle and two under Matzke — asked the council for nominations, and announced that he wished to retire the position and did not want to be considered for the job, as he hopes to spend more time with his family. Third Ward Councilor Erwin Smith was chosen by his peers to serve as the mayor’s new deputy mayor.
Public comments change maps
Oneida’s planning director Cassie Rose announced at the Oneida Common Council’s pre-meeting work session Feb. 7 that public input has lead to changes in the city’s proposed zoning map.
The comments of residents and business owners in the city were studied, leading to the removal of “rural residential” zones that would have replaced some agriculturally zoned areas in the outer district. The category “rural residential” had been completely eliminated from Oneida’s zoning maps.
To expand on the uses of agricultural land, Rose said, townhouses and condominiums have been added to the bounds of the agricultural zone, allowing the benefits of agriculturally zoned land to remain, but with more options for use.
Zoning changes in ward one undecided
Oneida planning Director Cassie Rose addressed the Oneida Common Council March 7 regarding the opposition of some Ward 1 residents to the proposed change of zoning on a section of Glenwood Avenue.
Under the current zoning, the land is designated as Manufacturing-Industrial, which residents and businesses in the area would just as soon see remain. The changes proposed would change the M-I zone to a commercial zone, matching the property on the opposite side of Glenwood.
Oneida strikes a deal
News cameras flashed and rolled March 20 as Oneida Mayor Leo Matzke shook hands with Oneida Indian Nation leader Ray Halbritter.
The city and Nation had reached an agreement by which the Oneida Indian Nation would pay the city over $5 million in past-due property taxes and the city would waive any further demand as to principal, penalties or interest with respect to previous property tax bills.
“Choosing a path of cooperation with the Nation has always made sense,” Matzke said.
“This agreement demonstrates that all of these issues can be resolved if people want to resolve them,” Halbritter said.
“I don’t feel very happy about it,” said Madison County Board of Supervisor’s Chairman of the Board Rocco J. DiVeronica. “[Oneida] has given [the Nation] what it wanted for a few dollars.”
City zoning map approved
The Oneida Common Council vote unanimously April 18 to approve the city’s new zoning map, though not all the councilors were pleased with all the changes being made to the map.
Rick Woodcock spoke up against changing the manufacturing-industrial-zoned area on Route 46 to commercial. He expressed concern that such a change could serve to devalue the property and limit the potential “buying” audience.
Lynch receives standing ‘o’
Kids Educational Youth Services presented the first of three Music Teacher of the Year Awards to Roselle Lunch, Otto Shortell Middle School music teacher and choral director. Lynch was the winner for the Madison-Onondaga County region.
‘A huge project’
It’s been four years since Oneida’s housing inspector: certified Code Enforcer Ted Walters, visited the backyard property of 119 North Warner St. The site of a former junkyard — still licensed but no longer in use — the yard was a bit of a mess.
Walters spoke to property owner Florence Segal, whose late husband was proprietor of the junkyard beginning in the late 1960s and asked her to clean up the property.
Vernon Downs opens for racing
Harness racing is back at Vernon Downs. The State Racing and Wagering Board approved the track’s harness racing application last week, and the grand opening for the shortened 2006 season was Aug. 31.
The track celebrated with a ribbon cutting, followed by an outdoor barbecue and live music.
Special meeting heats up
Mayor Leo Matzke said the numbers resolving around the city’s senior and disabled transportation service are skewed. He called a special meeting Aug. 30 to review his findings with Parks and Recreation staff.
“I called this special meeting as part of the process to determine whether we should bring back the part-time van,” Matzke said.
Best foot forward
Former Mayor Army Carinci asked Oneida Common Councils Oct. 3 to replace the media tower at Vet’s Field. Carinci stated numerous safety problems with the structure. Mayor Leo Matzke said there would be a new tower next year. Oneida Pop Warner President Angel Vargas said after his request to the Oneida Common Council, some improvements have been made at Vet’s Field, such as the repair of the fence.
Policies need work
Councilman Ted Hanifin asked Supervisor Michel DeBottis (Oneida Wards 1, 2 and 3) to attend a Parks & Recreation Commission work session with the Oneida Common Council Oct. 12 Hanifin wanted DeBottis to explain why the county no longer was reimbursing the city for its senior transportation program.
DeBottis said the county agreed at a Planning Committee meeting to sponsor the program through this year.
Zone change discussed
Oneida Common Councilors took questions and comments about a zone change request from Upper Lenox Avenue residents at their regular meeting Oct. 3.
“All we’re doing is receiving and placing on file a zone change request for Upper Lenox Avenue. We’re not taking any action tonight, but we welcome comments, if that’s what you’re doing.
Warehouse up in flames
Several fire departments battled a warehouse fire in the city of Oneida. The building is on the corner of North Warner and West Railroad Streets and once belonged to the Oneida Casket Factory.
Despite its not being an agenda item, seniors and the disabled packed the room to argue for the part-time van at the Oneida Common Council’s public budget hearing Nov. 21.
Jane Wentworth was the first to attack budget decisions that superseded restoration of the part-time second van to the senior transportation program. She said she was appalled and disturbed to read an article in the paper earlier this month that reported the second van and part-time driver were removed from the mayor’s budget.
Up in smoke
Brad Dixon, owner of the Hotel Solsville in Madison goes over some of the Health Department documentation at the bar in his establishment. Dixon could be the first Madison County restaurateur to lose his liquor license due to smoking law violations.
Arrest made in building fire
Jeffrey E. Truman Jr., 20, of Oneida, was charged Dec. 13 with third-degree arson for intentionally setting fire to the former Stanton Paper Box Company and Oneida Casket Company building. The investigation continues.