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March 12, 2007

Benefit raises nearly $10K for abused boy

Cornell

Joe McIntyre/staff photographer     
Tom Noble, a Cornell student volunteering at the Project Dryden Child Benefit Saturday, writes words of encouragement to the family of a 3-year-old boy and 1-year-old girl who were abused, police said, over the New Year’s weekend by Jacob Carter, 23, of Dryden. The boy was in critical condition after the alleged assault, undergoing emergency surgery and spending more than a month in the hospital. Saturday’s benefit raised nearly $10,000 for the family.

By SASHA AUSTRIE
Staff Reporter
saustrie@cortlandstandardnews.net

DRYDEN — A 3-year-old boy in a red plastic fireman’s hat and boots ambled around the Dryden fire station Saturday as family, friends and well-wishers came together to lend emotional and financial support to him and his family.
Approximately 70 people from surrounding communities attended Project Dryden Child Benefit at the fire station on Route 13. The event was a fundraiser for the family of the boy and his 1 1/2-year-old sister.
Jacob Carter, 23, of 7 Anchor Drive, Dryden, is accused of stomping and punching the boy in his abdomen and also sexually abusing him and the girl while he babysat the children at his home on New Year’s weekend. Police arrested Carter Jan. 2.
He is scheduled to plead guilty this afternoon to predatory sexual assault against a child and first-degree assault, felonies. Under a plea bargain agreement, he would be sentenced to up to life in prison.
The children’s cousin, Sarah Kimball, 19, said the family was “overwhelmed” by the show of support at Saturday’s fundraiser.
“It’s really exciting to see everyone here,” Kimball said. “I thought it was just going to be family and I see so many people that I just didn’t know. It’s been real emotional for the entire family.”
Dawn Potter, one of the coordinators of the benefit, said the boy had a disconnected intestine, a ruptured spleen and had to have total bowel reconstruction. She said he would need additional surgeries, but she was unsure how many. Potter was also unsure of the extent of the girl’s injuries.
The mother of the children declined to comment.
Potter said the 3-year-old boy’s medical bills have put a financial strain on the family.
“There’s been a tremendous impact on their financial status,” Potter said. “We are hoping this will help relieve them of their financial trauma they’ve endured. And help them, not only just financially, but emotionally and supportively as well. We want them to know that we care about our community, especially when it comes to our children.”
Potter, Valerie Drake and Stacey Caskey have been organizing the benefit for the past six weeks. Fundraising included a loose change round up, spaghetti dinner, silent auction, used book sale and bake sale.
“We have a well-wishers table, which is a spread of sheets that we’re making a scrap book from for the mom and the little children so that we can send our good wishes and write little notes to them,” Potter said.
The goal of the benefit was to raise $10,000; approximately $3,500 had already been raised before Saturday’s event.
“I’m just thrilled to death,” Potter said of the effort.
She said this morning that $6,000 was raised on Saturday alone and contributions are still coming in.
“I have no doubt that we will reach our goal,” she said.
The firehouse was filled with the songs of Bill Sherwood’s Round and Square Dance Band singing such tunes as “Out Behind the Barn” and “Moonlight Bay.” The Seven Valley Chorus of the Sweet Adelines also provided entertainment, singing many of their songs a cappella.
Community businesses and residents also volunteered their time and services. The Comfort Inn donated a complimentary night’s stay in a Jacuzzi room for the silent auction, and area restaurants such as Applebee’s in Ithaca and Garcia’s in Cortland donated gift certificates.
Students at Cornell University also came out to show their support. Members of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity helped park cars and manned the used book sale table.
Sue Yin, 19, a member of Kappa Phi Lambda, said her sorority just wanted to help.
Linda Brainard, who stood watch over an assortment of cakes, and cookies, said that many people who purchased goods did not want their change back. “They just wanted to donate it to the family.”
Brainard said she felt sorry for the children and the injuries that they suffered.
“I can’t talk about it,” she said as she wiped tears from her eyes. “It’s too emotional.”
Cam Viall, of Dryden, sat in front a plate of spaghetti and meatballs, a salad and slice of bread.
“I feel very sorry this had to happen to any child. I shouldn’t say this, but I hope he gets what’s coming to him,” Viall said of Carter.
Viall said she saw the event advertised in the news media and felt compelled to attend.
“I wanted to support this family that’s been hurt so badly,” said Viall, who has raised 10 children of her own.
Kimball said Carter’s girlfriend was the original babysitter for the children, but she got a job elsewhere and Carter took over the responsibilities.
Potter said she would be disappointed if Carter received a sentence less than life in prison.
“I believe that for the pain and trauma he has inflicted upon these two children and this family, I hope he rots behind bars,” Potter said.
Kimball said the children were doing well.
“I haven’t seen (him) since he was in the hospital a while ago so to me he is doing really great,” said Kimball. “He is running around and he loves playing with the fire truck and he is so cute. It’s really good to see him running around and being the hyper kid that he is.”

 

 


County to craft policy on workplace violence

A new state mandate from the Department of Labor will require that the county analyze all of its operations in an effort to curb workplace violence.
Each county program will begin the process in the next few weeks of identifying any and all aspects of each county job that could potentially lead to violence, County Administrator Scott Schrader told the Personnel Committee at its meeting Thursday.
The county must then put into place measures to mitigate against potential workplace violence, Schrader said, in the form of a comprehensive workplace violence policy.
Details of how the policy should be set up are still unclear — the Department of Labor is scheduled to release rules and regulations regarding the drafting of a municipal violence prevention plan this summer — but Schrader said the new mandate could lead to difficult decisions for legislators.
“How much do we infringe on convenience to the public in order to mitigate against threats of violence to our workforce?” Schrader asked, using as an example the concept of metal detectors at the entrances of all county buildings. “It’s a difficult policy to draw for a lot of reasons.”
The potential for liability is also a concern, Schrader noted, as the county could be open to litigation on the grounds that it did not properly deal with identified threats, or that it did not go far enough in mitigating against threats.
Ultimately all municipalities with a workforce will require such a plan, Schrader said.
Committee Chairman Larry Cornell (R-Marathon and Lapeer) said that he would discuss the issue at the next meeting of towns and villages committee, scheduled for March 22, after the legislative session.
Legislators consider recording meetings
The occasional discrepancy over accuracy and a desire for more transparency prompted three legislative committees last week to discuss recording county committee meetings, either with audio and visual equipment, or just audio.
The General Services Committee on Tuesday, the Health Committee on Wednesday and the Personnel Committee on Thursday each discussed the possibility, with most legislators agreeing that recording the meetings was a good idea, with the only issue being cost.
County Administrator Scott Schrader told the General Services Committee, and subsequently the other two, that the cost of running audio/visual capabilities from the Legislature’s main chambers to two committee meeting rooms next door would be approximately $10,000 per room.
The high price tag gave members of each committee pause, and suggestions for reducing the cost, included only wiring the rooms for audio recording, or simply holding any committee meetings where recording was desired in legislative chambers.
Most legislators seemed to agree that recording the meetings was a good idea, and each committee agreed to discuss the issue further next month.
“That’s where a lot of the work is really done, in committee,” said Legislator Sandy Price (D-Harford and Virgil). “It’d be really nice if it was something we could get broadcast, so the people would be able to see it.”
Meetings on river trail, Jennings Creek bridge
The county Highway Department will host two public information meetings in the coming months, one to discuss the replacement of the Jennings Creek Bridge in Marathon, and another to lay out preliminary plans for the River Trail Project in Homer, Highway Superintendent Don Chambers told the Highway Committee at its March 6 meeting.
A “considerable amount of design work” has been done on the River Trail project, Chambers said.
This includes the exact location and track of the trail, which would run along the east side of the Tioughnioga River from Yaman Park to Albany Street in Homer, along with survey data, elevation data and information on any other potential impacts, Chambers said.
The meeting will be held sometime in mid-April, he said.
“There’s also going to be some photo simulations, so people can see what the trail would look like,” Chambers said.
Similarly, the Highway Department will be laying out preliminary plans for a new bridge on Jennings Creek Road in Marathon at a meeting at 6:30 p.m. March 26 at Marathon Town Hall, Chambers said.
Essentially the plans call for a total replacement of the Jennings Creek bridge at the same location. The structure will look similar to the current structure, Chambers said, but will meet modern design standards.
Chambers was not sure of the cost of the bridge, but said a price estimate would be available at the meeting.

 

Legislators consider recording meetings

The occasional discrepancy over accuracy and a desire for more transparency prompted three legislative committees last week to discuss recording county committee meetings, either with audio and visual equipment, or just audio.
The General Services Committee on Tuesday, the Health Committee on Wednesday and the Personnel Committee on Thursday each discussed the possibility, with most legislators agreeing that recording the meetings was a good idea, with the only issue being cost.
County Administrator Scott Schrader told the General Services Committee, and subsequently the other two, that the cost of running audio/visual capabilities from the Legislature’s main chambers to two committee meeting rooms next door would be approximately $10,000 per room.
The high price tag gave members of each committee pause, and suggestions for reducing the cost, included only wiring the rooms for audio recording, or simply holding any committee meetings where recording was desired in legislative chambers.
Most legislators seemed to agree that recording the meetings was a good idea, and each committee agreed to discuss the issue further next month.
“That’s where a lot of the work is really done, in committee,” said Legislator Sandy Price (D-Harford and Virgil). “It’d be really nice if it was something we could get broadcast, so the people would be able to see it.”

 

Meetings on river trail, Jennings Creek bridge

The county Highway Department will host two public information meetings in the coming months, one to discuss the replacement of the Jennings Creek Bridge in Marathon, and another to lay out preliminary plans for the River Trail Project in Homer, Highway Superintendent Don Chambers told the Highway Committee at its March 6 meeting.
A “considerable amount of design work” has been done on the River Trail project, Chambers said.
This includes the exact location and track of the trail, which would run along the east side of the Tioughnioga River from Yaman Park to Albany Street in Homer, along with survey data, elevation data and information on any other potential impacts, Chambers said.
The meeting will be held sometime in mid-April, he said.
“There’s also going to be some photo simulations, so people can see what the trail would look like,” Chambers said.
Similarly, the Highway Department will be laying out preliminary plans for a new bridge on Jennings Creek Road in Marathon at a meeting at 6:30 p.m. March 26 at Marathon Town Hall, Chambers said.
Essentially the plans call for a total replacement of the Jennings Creek bridge at the same location. The structure will look similar to the current structure, Chambers said, but will meet modern design standards.
Chambers was not sure of the cost of the bridge, but said a price estimate would be available at the meeting.