Mayor Joseph R. Fusco Jr.’s first state of the city address included six awards for city employees, citizens and groups.
¿ The Frank J. Clark Jr. Award for Career Achievement was present to Water Pollution Control Facility Chief Operator Bill Baynes.
The facility has taken "big steps" toward energy savings and cost avoidance, saving $2,400 in fuel costs and $166,285 in energy savings and cost avoidance. The staff refurbished older vehicles from the fleet, saving $9,500. Electrical upgrades increased treatment capacity of water and sludge with decreased operating costs. With additional capacity, Rome can take waste water from other communities, creating "a very profitable revenue stream." Rome also obtained new equipment through lease agreements. "We are seeing guaranteed, measurable cost savings of $166,000 per year in energy costs alone. Coupled with increased permits and fees paid by haulers, the revenue stream is also increasing."
Fusco thanked Working Supervisor Dave Marino and the staff for making the facility more efficient.
Baynes, a city employee for 33 years, received the award given for many years of dedicated service.
¿ The Community Excellence Award was presented to Lisa Matte.
Matte, Jervis Public Library’s director since 2005, "has been a champion of environmental conservation and collaboration." She and her staff have partnered with organizations to improve infrastructure and outreach while facing budget cuts. The semi-annual Recycling Day earned the library the designation of Oneida County Recycling Champion.
Matte has volunteered at both Stokes and Staley in school plays. She also plays the flute in the pit orchestra for the Rome Community Theater and Capitol Theatre. She and her daughter also volunteer at the Humane Society of Rome.
¿ The Joe Dundon Memorial Public Safety Award was presented to Rome Patrolman Frederick Carnevale.
On Sept. 27, 2011, Carnevale saw a large crowd gathered in what appeared to be a dispute on Lawrence Street. He saw an unconscious male who had been stabbed and a person fleeing the scene. After calling for rescue services for the victim, who later succumbed to his wounds, the patrolman and canine partner, Uki, attempted to track the fleeing man without success. Upon returning to the scene, Carnevale observed a male matching the description of the suspect wearing different clothing. He apprehended Terrence Dames, who pleaded guilty to first degree manslaughter and is serving a 24-year sentence in state prison.
"Officer Carnevale, your actions that night are a source of great pride for our community and a testament to the professionalism and capabilities of our accredited police force."
This award honors the memory of Capt. Joe Dundon as a model of public service.
¿ The Key to the City of Rome was presented to the Staley Upper Elementary School Green Team.
"Becoming more green is a community-wide effort and one of my main initiatives moving forward. A terrific example of sustainability planning has been ongoing at Staley Upper Elementary School in east Rome. Partnering with Oneida-Herkimer Solid Waste Authority’s School Recycling Coordinator, Jamie Tuttle, fifth grade teacher Alicia D’Alessandro and (Parent Teacher Group) President Tanya Davis have, over the past two years, taken the initiative to elevate school recycling to the next level."
Staley has reduced waste by 32.5 percent and was named Top Green Elementary School in the state by the Department of Environmental Conservation — "a spectacular achievement by any organization."
The Green Team is run by the students, "an even more remarkable achievement." Staley has become "a model for other schools to follow," and "the City of Rome is certainly proud of you."
¿ The Shirley B. Waters Civic Award was presented to the Rome Main Streets Alliance.
The Alliance is a volunteer-run, non-profit organization that works with the city to promote Rome. Its mission is to promote, to revitalize and to showcase Rome’s downtown main street corridors. "Ten years in, and the results of the Main Streets Alliance’s efforts are real and continuing."
The Alliance’s annual garage sale has grown each year, and 161 vendors from across the area set up shop this year.
The Alliance is rehabilitating the former Aquino’s Restaurant building at 416 N. James St. The plan is to fix it up, sell it and get it back on the tax roll by the end of the year. "Their efforts to improve, beautify and trumpet our downtown are second to none."
Members are Joe Ferlo, Grace Bottini, Mike Bottini, Joanne Bush, Donna Pekola, Heidi Ambrosius, Ann Lynch, Mark Mutz, Scott Smith, Ashley Crofoot, Ron Colangelo and JoAnne Jarrett.
¿ The new Many Hands Make Light Work Award was presented posthumously to Bob Miller.
Created by Fusco to honor his father, Joseph R. Fusco Sr., who recently passed away, the award showcases volunteerism, because, as Joseph Sr. said: "Giving back to your community is something you do when the opportunity presents itself. A community with people who help out where and when needed is important."
Miller subscribed daily to that philosophy, and was "a compassionate, unselfish, caring and patient person who volunteered the majority of his life toward helping others. Bob dedicated 40-plus years of his life as a volunteer coach, board member, scheduler, equipment manager, official and all-around keeper of the flame for Rome youth hockey."
Miller was instrumental in the Think Rink fundraising project for Kennedy Arena renovations. "He was a man who lived for the arena. Any time of the day you could find him there, counting jerseys, volunteering to help paint the ice, helping to repair the Zamboni, opening the building for those early morning hockey practices. Bob was a true treasure to this city and a mentor to hundreds of kids and adults alike."
¿ Fusco also announced his intent to recommend that the former New York State armory at 1106 Black River Blvd., recently conveyed to the city by the state, be renamed the Anthony E. Darcangelo Community Center in honor of the member of the Common Council who passed away this year.