Families have mixed emotions on first day


Bob Ellis/staff photographer
Kindergartner Madeline Stamm gives her mom, Kari, as kiss goodbye this morning at Groton Elementary School. Groton, DeRuyter and McGraw started the school year today.    

Staff Reporter

GROTON — Shantel Anderson rode the school bus with her 5-year-old sister this morning on her first day of kindergarten.
Anderson, 17, of Groton, a senior at Groton High School, said her sister, Danielle, was nervous about starting school.
“She’s a really big momma’s girl,” she said. “She doesn’t like going anywhere.”
Shantel Anderson was among family members who were escorting the kindergartners to their classrooms this morning in Groton, DeRuyter and McGraw. Other area districts start their school years Wednesday.
Some families were sad and nostalgic while others were more than ready for the transition.
Debra Mascara, of Groton, had a hard time leaving her 5-year-old son, Konnor. As she kissed him goodbye, tears streamed down her face.
“It’s so hard to let go,” she said.
Mascara said the separation was harder for her than for her son. Her son has been ready for kindergarten for a while, she said.
Michael Rumsey, of Groton, said his son, Joshua, 5, has also been ready for kindergarten for a long time.
“He’s too ready,” he said. “He’s been talking about it for months.”
Rumsey said his son sees kindergarten as a milestone that gives him more privileges. For example, he will be able to ride a bike without training wheels.
Rumsey said he’s not as ready as his son is.
“There’s more preparation I want to give him,” he said. “More education.”
Rumsey said at least he knows Marcy Eldred will be his son’s teacher. Eldred and Rumsey attended Groton schools at the same time, he said.
Other parents said the transition was not difficult at all.
Shawna and Alvin Howell, of Groton, said they’re not worried about leaving their son, Jaden, 5. As they said that, Jaden trounced merrily around the room in his camouflage John Deere shirt and black pants.
The Howells said Jaden is familiar with Groton Elementary School; he attended pre-kindergarten there last year. Also, the Howells know the school well, they said.
“We graduated from the school so we’re pretty familiar with it,” Shawna Howell said.
Virginia Wulf, of Groton, said she also was relaxed about the first day of school. Her daughter Allyssa, 5, has attended pre-kindergarten at Groton Elementary School and feels comfortable there, she said.
“I’m not worried at all,” Wulf said. “She’s my fifth child. I think she’ll do amazing.”




School supply lists get longer

Staff Reporter

CORTLAND — When Terri Delacuadra was a kid, she said, she just bought the basics for school.
But now that she’s a mother, she’s buying her daughter the specialized items that are on her class list. Those include five composition notebooks, four two-pocket folders, two file folders and one portfolio for seven subjects.
“Way too long?” Delacuadra said. “Yes.”
Delacuadra and her daughter, Amanda Cochran, a fifth-grader at Homer Intermediate School, are among many Cortland County residents who say this year’s list of supplies is longer and more specialized than those of years before.
Parents, students and store managers say reasons for the longer list include schools preparing for the entire school year, technology changes and new teacher habits.
Moniqua and George English, of Freeville, were shopping for school supplies with their four children Saturday at Wal-Mart on Route 13, Cortlandville. The children attend school in Dryden and span grades one through nine.
Moniqua English said the schools are asking parents to buy items in bulk so they’ll last throughout the school year.
For example, one of her sons must buy eight glue sticks, she said. Despite the school’s good intentions, she said, many of the supplies don’t get used by the end of the year.
“They tend to have a lot left over,” she said.
But that’s OK, she said, because her children just use the leftovers the next year. Plus, it’s good for some students to have too many items so they can share them with less fortunate classmates, George English said.


Many shoppers prefer Cortland

Staff Reporter

CORTLANDVILLE — Jean Frerk lives closer to Syracuse than Cortland but prefers to shop in the Cortland area, she said.
“’Cause people down here are friendlier than in Syracuse,” she said. “In Syracuse you can never find anyone to help.”
Frerk, of Fabius, and her son, Jacob, who will start kindergarten at Fabius-Pompey Elementary School Wednesday, were shopping for school supplies Saturday at Big Lots on Route 281 in Cortlandville.
They were among several families interviewed who said they prefer to shop in the Cortland area.
Martin Crapo, of Cuyler, said he lives the same distance from Syracuse as Cortland — 20 miles — but prefers shopping with his family in Cortland. There’s not as much traffic, which makes the shopping experience less stressful, he said.
“It’s not as busy as Syracuse,” he said. “It’s easier to get in and out of here.”
He and his wife, Carrie, were shopping with their daughter and son, who go to school in the Fabius-Pompey School District, Saturday at Wal-Mart on Route 13 in Cortlandville.
Beth Lawton and her daughter, Gail, who will be a senior at Tully Junior Senior High School, also were shopping for school supplies at Wal-Mart Saturday. Beth Lawton said that although she works in Syracuse and typically associates herself with that city, she almost always shops in Cortland.
She likes that many stores, such as Wal-Mart, Kmart and Big Lots, are so close to one another in Cortlandville.
Her daughter agreed, adding she thought the Cortland area has more local color than Syracuse.
“It’s more interesting,” she said. “And it’s simpler here.”




Workers care for seized felines


Bob Ellis/staff photographer    
SPCA Cruelty Investigator Don Sooter holds Mickey-Bo, one of the 274 cats removed from a Wheeler Avenue house Friday. The cat suffers from a variety of ailments including a broken jaw. The house and another building on the property were owned by Purr Fect World Inc., which had originally intended to use the second building as a spay and neuter clinic. The cats were taken to the former Cortlandvillle fire station on Route 281.

Staff Reporter

CORTLANDVILLE — Rows of cages filled the former Cortlandville fire station on Route 281 and a dozen volunteers moved between them Monday evening as they attended to the 274 cats that were removed from a Cortland  house on Friday, Saturday and early Sunday.
Bill Carr, SPCA cruelty investigator, said the last of the cats were removed between midnight Saturday and 1 a.m. Sunday from the clinic behind the house at 7 Wheeler Ave. where Eugina Cute lived.
Veterinarians have medicated and examined the cats that were the most critical, said SPCA shelter Director Eden Avery.
“It’s kind of like a MASH unit — it’s kind of like triage,” SPCA Director Kathy Gilleran said at the temporary shelter Monday night. “The vets are eyeballing every cat.”
At a press conference Saturday, Bill Cadwallader, the Homer veterinarian who supervised the removal of the cats, said many of the animals had respiratory illnesses and infections of the eye.
A veterinarian associated with Cute had been examining some of the animals and had visited the premises as recently as Thursday night, Cadwallader said, but was unable to properly attend to all of the cats.
Purr Fect World Inc., owns both of the buildings, and had originally intended to use the clinic building as a spay and neuter clinic.
Purr Fect World Inc. is a not-for-profit organization that was incorporated in March of 2004 by Cute, Lisa Alderman, of Liverpool, and Susan Mix, of Freeville.
Nobody from the organization has been available for comment.
“The person who was harboring the animals was trying to treat them and get them healthy enough to be adopted … So it’s not surprising that there were a number of (unhealthy) cats,” Cadwallader said, adding it was too early to tell which animals might be carrying feline AIDS or leukemia. “This is something that we need to go through with each one of those cats, individually.”