February 26, 2008


Homer science teacher keeps it interesting

Creative use of technology in the classroom earns Hal Fuller outstanding teacher award


Bob Ellis/staff photographer    
Homer High School physics teacher Hal Fuller creates a small electric current during a demonstration with seniors Mike Riehlman, right, and Trevor Caughey in a Regents physics class Monday afternoon. Fuller is a recipient of the Outstanding Teacher Award from The Technical Alliance of Central New York. Fuller will receive the award at a Board of Education meeting tonight.

Staff Reporter

GROTON — Hal Fuller had a successful engineering research career in Virginia, getting patents for technology improving the efficiency of papermaking, but in 1992 he left that to take over the family homestead in Groton.
His three siblings were not interested in coming back to take it over, and he wanted to see it passed on to the family’s sixth generation.
“If there hadn’t been that longevity it probably wouldn’t have made much of a difference,” said Fuller, 45.
Three years later Fuller got a job teaching physics at Homer High School, and since then he has excited students about physics through hands-on experiments and real-life analogies, co-workers and students say.
“He’ll talk about stuff going on in the world,” according to Homer senior Lance Graffius, noting electricity production at Cayuga Lake as one example.
Fuller, who got his teaching certification at SUNY Cortland upon returning to Groton, is being recognized for his teaching method with an Outstanding Teacher Award from The Technical Alliance of Central New York. The award, which Fuller will receive from the alliance at tonight’s Board of Education meeting, recognizes Central New York kindergarten through 12th-grade teachers who use technology in the classroom.
There were 30 nominations this year and five award recipients, according to Vernon Tryon, the alliance board’s chairman.
Fuller, who will receive a plaque and $1,000, was nominated by High School Principal Fred Farah, district Director of Technology Ted Larison and high school chemistry teacher Paula Jones.
Larison said Fuller is always coming up with new ideas of how to use technology in his classroom. One time, for example, Fuller hooked a compact disc player up to a homemade contraption made from a Bunsen burner and pipe with little holes cut into it.
“He’s demonstrating how sound waves can actually be measured in many ways,” Larison said. “As you turn on a Bunsen burner and have flames going out of little holes in a pipe, the sound is actually impacting the amount of gas through the pipe, so the flames are dancing based on the frequency from the sound.”
On Monday, Fuller showed students how electricity can be produced from just a magnet and wire.
Graffius and fellow seniors Trevor Caughey and Talon Sprouse said they never feel bored in Fuller’s class, with all the experiments they do.
“He tries not to give a lot of notes,” Sprouse said.
Fuller said he is excited about some technological initiatives he has planned for the future. He and Jones, for example, will be doing a joint lab later this year with a potato cannon.
The lab will teach about physics, with students calculating the best projectile angle to launch the potato the farthest, and about chemistry, with students learning how the potato is launched.
“If I always teach the course the same way, I’m going to be burnt out and bored,” Fuller said.
Another initiative is going to more elementary schools to teach science lessons with special equipment. The goal is to get young children interested in science and technology, Fuller said.
Farah said he believes the Homer school district is blessed to have Fuller, who has been voted by the district’s student body to speak at graduation three different years.
“The first year I was working with him we went to the Cayuga Lake power plant and there were 20 people on the shoreline, and no one was catching anything,” Farah said.  “Hal waded into the water and started catching fish, and everyone looked at him like who the heck is he.”




Main Street Gallery to open spring show March 14

The Main Street Gallery will open its sixth season with its annual Spring Group Exhibition from March 14 to April 20. There will be an opening reception from 5 to 8 pm. March 15. Light refreshments will be served and the event is open and free to the public.
The gallery is located at 105 Main St., Groton. Regular hours are noon to 6 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday. 
The gallery stands by its commitment to bring contemporary art to the Main Street. The twenty artists invited to participate in this season’s Spring Group Exhibition are Jeremiah Donovan,
Pamela Rozelle Drix, Anna Velkoff Freeman, Mary Giehl, Claire Harootunian, Gail Hoffman, Nicolai Klimaszewski, Paul Kline, Kumi Korf, Harry Littell, Marie McCann-Barab, Wendy Menzie, Crista Pisano, Lin Price, Flora Rocco, Victoria Romanoff, Adrienne Bea Smith, Roger Smith, Buzz Spector and Christa Wolf.
Groton’s own Jeremiah Donovan will show ceramics from his walnut series, which evolved from his fascination with nature. Local artist Pamela Rozelle Drix’s monoprint and gum transfer print “Native Dance” embraces the dichotomy of past and present in landscape in one image, finding what is universal in the particular. From Norfolk, Va., Anna Velkoff Freeman’s food safe ceramic cups and bowls depict germs of mass destruction. Mary Giehl, from Syracuse, will show her cast bronze children’s shoes influenced by her work experience as a registered pediatric nurse. Also from Syracuse, Claire Harootunian will exhibit dolls that are clothed in the artist’s vision. Gail Hoffman’s bronze sculputure “Messenger” gives a contemporary view to mythology. Nicolai Klimaszewski, of Groton, will show his uniquely executed digital photography.
From West Hartford, Conn., Paul Kline will exhibit a triptych called “Into the Light” using encaustic as a medium. Ithaca artist Kumi Korf will show “Birds Conversation” a gestural Intaglio print on Japanese paper. Another Ithaca artist, Harry Littell, will show digital photographs, which are abstracted views from a local salvage yard.
You will marvel at the egg tempera painting technique of artist Marie McCann Barab from West Plains. The Rochester area artist Wendy Menzie will delight with her painting narrative using humor and expressive color. From Nyack, Crista Pisano brings back the art of en plein air landscape painting with warmth, passion and an understanding of traditional technique. Local artist Lin Price will show paintings, which combine common things like crows, insects and rocks with a more abstract notion of painting using layers of waxy flat colors. Flora Rocco from Astoria will exhibit a digital photograph of a dessert case of many pleasures.
Victoria Romanoff’s paper mosaic will add a bit of whimsy and sensual pleasures. Adrienne Bea Smith’s abstract painting in oil “Living Space” investigates the relationship between objects, space, movement and color. Roger Smith will show his whimsical recycled sculpture. The Smiths are directors of the gallery.
Buzz Spector’s large Polaroid transfer print “Creeley’s Creeleys” memorializes the American poet Robert Creeley. Local artist Christa Wolf will be exhibiting her expressive monoprint of her local Upstate surroundings.
The Main Street Gallery will show all the works of the exhibition online, but encourages all to see the works in person.
For information call (607) 898-9010 or visit the gallery Web site at



Dryden library adds e-books

DRYDEN — The Southworth Library, through the Fingerlakes Library System, now offers 175 downloadable audio books and 36 e-books available for one-week checkouts.
A valid library account is required to download the materials but they can be accessed at any time through your own home computer by logging on to and clicking on the downloadable media link. Once the Overdrive or e-book software is installed on your system, the materials are only a few clicks away!  They can also be transferred to CD when permitted or to MP3 players with Windows Media compatibility. Our library staff has been trained to assist you any time you would like to know more about the ins and outs of downloadable materials. No fines, no late notices, no overdue fines.
 We are also pleased to announce that the Southworth Library now offers wireless Internet Connection within its building.  The WIFI connection is available during open library hours for those who have their own laptops and want to connect to our high-speed network. Users are asked to comply with our Internet usage policy before logging on. 
As always, if you have any questions call (607) 844-4782 or look us up on the web at