Dave and Cheryl Vermilya:
By Zachary V. Zagger
Cheryl Vermilya sat at the dining room table on the third floor of the Town Shop Youth Center cutting cloves of garlic for a future meal or cooking lesson. She was still indignant.
Only recently a man getting coffee next door accused her of "cooking the books" for the Town Shop, which she and her husband have run for the past 36 years. She was infuriated by the accusations, but tried to stay calm. She told of the volunteer work the teens do around the village of Camillus, at places like the St. Paul's Samaritan Center, the Sunshine Horse Rescue and soup kitchens in Syracuse.
But she said the man was not appeased. At the next village board meeting, he stood up and said Cheryl had approached him, angry and yelling. She was not at all happy how he portrayed her to the community.
"Where does this depth of hatred come from?" she asked. "I don't know."
Teens not a "problem"
Since the Town Shop opened in 1971, the Vermilyas have understood that some dislike the Town Shop because it sits on the main street. But the Town Shop has been at its current location for almost its entire 36-year history, and Dave and Cheryl think the teens are not the problem some portray them as.
"They're nice kids but they are not the athletes or the national honor society students for the most part," Dave said. "But they are still good kids, kids who in other places are under served."
Some have told the Vermilyas the teen center is bad for local business. Others have said they just do not like the look of the teens standing outside the building.
"Is this not America?" Cheryl asked. "Can't people stand on the street and talk?"