Year end Dec.
1st — The Rome school district may switch from steam to natural gas for heating at Rome Free Academy, which would halt service from a utility company that the district has taken to court in a separate tax-break dispute. The move would save the district at least $50,000 a year, says Superintendent Jeffrey P. Simons.
2nd — The anniversary gathering for the Pearl Harbors Survivors Association Central New York chapter will be held for the 21st consecutive year at the Arthur S. Moran Post of the American Legion in Camden, but chapter representatives say the national association is disbanding effective Dec. 31 as its members decline in numbers due to advanced age.
3rd — The need remains, but state and federal funds to help pay for day care for low-income families continue to decrease. "This is the opposite of what we should be doing," said Oneida County Social Services Commissioner Lucille Soldato. "We have too many cases and not enough money." Her department has sent letters to about 425 families informing them that their subsidy for child care ends Jan. 1.
4th — In October, Republican incumbent Mayor James F. Brown continued to outspend his Conservative challenger Joseph R. Fusco Jr., by a wide margin. Brown shelled out more than $15,000 to Fusco’s just over $4,000 according to figures filed for that reporting period.
5th — A trial date of Jan. 30 has been set for the Knoxboro man accused of shooting and killing Sheriff’s Deputy Kurt B. Wyman. Christian M. Patterson, age 40, of Knoxboro, had been scheduled for trial today, but the attorneys asked for more time to complete psychological examinations and other evidence collection.
6th — Rome resident Gregory J. Amoroso has been selected as Oneida County’s new top attorney, a position that is currently the highest paid in county government. Amoroso, a partner in the Saunders Kahler law firm in Utica, will replace Linda M.H. Dillon, who is retiring at the end of the year.
7th — Renewal of the county’s 2 percent occupancy tax charged most visitors who spend a night or more in Oneida County lodgings is pending. The tax is added to the bills of hotel, motel and bed-and-breakfast customers, with the money being used to promote tourism. The levy generated nearly $800,000 in the last fiscal year with Oneida County Tourism as the only recipient of the money.
8th — It’s over. The city’s 39th chief executive, Joseph R. Fusco Jr., will be sworn to office at high noon on New Year’s Eve. A final attempt by Mayor James F. Brown’s campaign to get a full recount was denied in state Supreme Court Wednesday, allowing the Oneida County Board of Elections to certify Conservative candidate Fusco as the winner in the mayoral race by 81 votes.
9th — Rome is getting almost $1 million in state money to improve the canal, streetscape and walkways from Mill to East Dominick streets, and it’s exactly what the old neighborhood needs, says Italian specialty grocer David Gualtieri, owner of Rocco Gualtieri Market at 294 E. Dominick St.
10th — Army veteran Richard Cook couldn’t believe his eyes when he saw that every pupil at Francis Bellamy Elementary came out to help brighten the holidays for his brother, U.S. Army Sgt. Dane Halligan, and his unit who are currently serving in Afghanistan. Cook, who served with the 230th Military Police Company in Iraq, thought he was going to the school to pick up some cards that his son’s kindergarten class had made.
11th — More than 3,500 residents of Oneida County residents have applied for help with their heating bills through the Home Energy Assistance Program. HEAP assists eligible, low and fixed-income households with heating costs, emergency heat-related utility costs and applicant-owned heating equipment repair or replacement.
12th — Rome mayor-elect Joseph R. Fusco Jr. today announced the composition of his 18-member transition team. Assisting Fusco, are: Basil "Buzz" Ariglio, William R. Fleet, Brandon Lovett, Jackie Izzo, Robert Page, Roberta Cavano, Kimberly Rogers, Mike Del Piano, Tom Panych, Ron D’Amore, John Keys, Timothy Benedict, John Nash, Tom Nelson, Jackie Nelson, Kristi Bowers, Marci Bilton and Joseph Ferlo.
13th — A white male wielding a knife and hiding his face robbed the Country Store on Oswego Street in Camden Monday night, and police are searching for him. No one was hurt, police said. The knifepoint heist was the first armed robbery in Camden in at least a decade, police officials said.
14th — The 167-year-old Harden Furniture company in McConnellsville is selling over 9,000 acres of local timberlands that have long been a source of materials for its products — but CEO and owner Greg Harden emphasizes that it will continue to make furniture.
15th — The official end of the Iraq war brings "a sense of finality" that is "deeply emotional...because of the cost," says Donna Parker of Camden, whose son Marine Sgt. Elisha R. Parker, 21, was killed in action. The cost of nine years of war in Iraq: 4,500 American dead, 32,000 wounded, $800 billion, and 6 sons of Oneida County — Army Pfc. Gregory P. Huxley Jr. Army Capt. George A. Wood, Army Sgt. Michael A. Uvanni, Parker, Army Sgt. Christopher P. Simpson, and Army Cpl. John P. Sigsbee.
16th — Strong west winds gusting to nearly 40 to 50 mph blew through the area before sunrise today, knocking down trees and utility poles in all corners of Oneida County.
17th — Property taxes and other payments made to Rome, the city school district and Oneida County by Griffiss business park tenants topped $4 million this year.The largest recipient of property taxes, payments-in-lieu-of-taxes and service fees was the Rome School District at nearly $1.8 million. The city followed at $1.3 million while the county received $996,000.
18th — Oneida County legislators are asking Albany to share more of the money collected from the state’s monthly surcharge on cellphones. Revenue generated through the $1.20 levy on each cellphone bill is retained in large part by the state despite county responsibility for 911 services. When enacted, the levy was sold as a vehicle to raise money to support 911 operations.
19th — PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) - North Korea announced the death of supreme leader Kim Jong Il and urged its people to rally behind his young son and heir-apparent Monday, while the world watched warily for signs of instability in a nation pursuing nuclear weapons.
20th — Oneida County Republican Party Chairman George Mitchell is calling for the resignation of Republican county Board of Elections Commissioner Pamela Mandryck of the Town of Lee.
21st — Seven Rome Free Academy students have been disciplined by the Rome school district for being under the influence of alcohol at RFA’s "Snow Ball" dance Saturday night at the high school gym, Superintendent Jeffrey P. Simons said today.
22nd — Christmas layaway "angel" donors who have been visiting Kmarts across the country have spread their benevolent wings to the Kmart store in New Hartford. In the last three days, about 14 people have come to the Commercial Drive site and anonymously paid for all or some of the balances on Christmas layaway accounts, focusing on items for children, store manager Chris Reese said today.
23rd — DENVER (AP) — Santa already is piling up big numbers on social networking sites this season, so the volunteer Santa-trackers at NORAD are bracing for tens of thousands of calls and emails when their operations center goes live on Christmas Eve. Last year, NORAD Tracks Santa volunteers answered 80,000 phone calls on Christmas Eve, Creech said.
24th — Fire erupted and engulfed a two-story residence on East Carter Road, Westmoreland, leaving one man homeless for Christmas. Rich Swiderski will be staying with family, fire officials said. He was not injured.
25th — Christmas was made merrier for local families as Rome Rescue Mission surpassed the number of meals served during the holiday by more than 150 compared to last year. Executive Director Matthew Miller said the mission served 552 dinners on Christmas Day Sunday.
26th — Oneida County leaders reacted with sadness to the death of county legislator Patricia A. Hudak, D-29, Rome, and also expressed praise and admiration for her as a person and an elected representative. Hudak, 63, who passed away Saturday Dec. 24 after an illness, served more than 11 years on the Board of Legislator.
27th — NEW YORK (AP) — Sears Holdings Corp. plans to close between 100 and 120 Sears and Kmart stores after poor sales during the holidays, the most crucial time of year for retailers.
28th — The city will end 2011 slightly more than $600,000 under budget, Mayor James F. Brown said today. This year’s spending plan was approved by the Common Council at $40,660,191. A big savings will be in the reserve account. The initial plan called for use of nearly $700,000 in reserves.
29th — Icy snows blanketed the area Wednesday, leading to dozens of motor vehicles accidents in all corners of the county. Law enforcers from multiple agencies responded to about 71 accidents throughout the day.
30th — Premier Aviation & Overhaul Center announced a "significant" new maintenance contract with the Air Canada airline that will help sustain employment at Premier’s 14-month-old Griffiss park operations, a company official said.
31st — Happy New Year!