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Sept. 27, 2010

Tourism Council Presents Three with Ambassador Awards

TOURISM AMBASSADORS - Barbara Lighthall, Fran Verdoliva, and The Palladium-Times newspaper received the 2010 Oswego County Tourism Ambassador Awards. From left are County Legislator Morris Sorbello, chairman of the Legislature's Economic Development and Planning Committee, Lighthall, Verdoliva, Palladium-Times publisher Jon Spaulding, and County Legislator Margaret Kastler.

The Oswego County Tourism Advisory Council recognized two long-time tourism workers and a local newspaper on Tuesday with the 2010 Tourism Ambassador Hall of Fame Awards. Barbara Lighthall and Francis Verdoliva, both of Mexico, and The Palladium-Times daily newspaper were named the 2010 Tourism Ambassadors of the Year. The annual awards recognize extraordinary support and commitment of time and energy to the Oswego County tourism industry.

County Legislator Morris Sorbello, District 23, Granby, chairman of the Legislature's Economic Development and Planning Committee, and Legislator Margaret Kastler, District 1, Sandy Creek, presented the awards.

"Barb and her husband Ed have operated Yogi Bear's Jellystone Park Resort and Campground for 40 years," said Legislator Sorbello. "They have graciously served thousands of families who have chosen Oswego County as their vacation destination. Barb served as president of the Campground Owners of New York and has held several officer positions in the Greater Mexico Chamber Commerce as well as being involved in the Oswego and Pulaski area chambers. Barb has been a strong advocate for tourism on the state level and has made several trips to Albany over the years to meet with our elected representatives and inform them of legislative issues affecting the tourism industry. When the Lake Ontario Bird Festival needed a hand, Barb stepped up and offered to host and help organize the event. Her friends and guests know her as a warm and gracious person who is truly an ambassador for Oswego County.

"Fran Verdoliva, Salmon River Program Coordinator for the NYS DEC, generously shares his professional expertise and love for the river with visitors, local citizens and community groups. An expert angler, Fran is dedicated to preserving the pristine nature of the Salmon River Corridor. He has created many opportunities to educate visitors, the news media, and local residents about the unique qualities of the Salmon River. Fran has organized the annual open house at the fish hatchery for 15 years. He works with Project Healing Waters and many other groups to provide opportunities to enjoy the Salmon River," said Legislator Sorbello.

Publisher Jon Spaulding accepted the award on behalf of The Palladium-Times.

"The Palladium-Times daily newspaper in Oswego is awarded the Tourism Ambassador Award for its excellent coverage of Oswego County's tourism industry," said Legislator Sorbello. "The paper faithfully covers local fishing tournaments, Fort Ontario, Oswego Harborfest, the Oswego Speedway, Festival of Sail, and museums, attractions and cultural events across Oswego County. They generously share photos to help promote the county in ads and brochures, and explore Oswego County history every week through feature articles and guest columns. The staff consistently goes above and beyond to inform the community of the importance of tourism to our local economy.

"On behalf of the County Legislature and the Tourism Advisory Council, we thank you for your dedication to our community," said Legislator Sorbello.

The Tourism Advisory Council has given the award since 1995. Past recipients include Margaret Clerkin, County Legislator Louella LeClair, and Mercedes Niess, 2009; David Rath and James Wright in 2008; Paul Lear, 2007; Mike Redding, 2006; Doug Ververs, Donald Feck and Hank Cosselman, 2005; Fred Crisafulli, 2002; Capt. Dick Pfund, 2001; Shirley Guenthner, 2000; Jim Walker, 1999; Tim Nekritz, 1998; Barbara Egelston and Charles Krupke, 1997; Sandy Resnick, 1996; and Helen Chetney and Edwin Lighthall, 1995. The council presented an honorary lifetime achievement award to Krupke in 2007.

Members of the Tourism Advisory Council are appointed by Legislature Chairman Barry Leemann and represent tourism businesses, museums and attractions throughout Oswego County. The Legislature's Economic Development and Planning Committee oversees the County Department of Community Development, Tourism and Planning. In addition to Legislator Sorbello, members include Louella LeClair, vice chairwoman, District 25; Shawn Doyle, District 3; Douglas Malone, District 20; Jacob Mulcahey, District 15; Arthur Ospelt, District 12; and Ronald Sakonyi, District 5.

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