At the end of each year, we bring you a roundup of the events that made headlines during the previous 12 months. Read on and remember with us.
Sweetheart Corners gets new sign
Workers from Syracuse Signage Inc. refurbished the Sweetheart Corner sign. Originally the company planned on having the sign up last week, but seeing a break in the weather in the forecast which prompted them to hold off on the completion of the remodeled sign.
Richard Hubeny, owner of Syracuse Signage Inc. said that all of his men had spent time working on the sign throughout the course of it’s refurbishing.
“This is a landmark, an institution of the North Syracuse area,” Hubeny said. “We had to strip the old neon lights and wiring, we cleaned up the outside, re-painted and re-lettered the sign. For a single sign it’s one of the bigger privately owned ones that we’ve done.”
SECNY opens state-of-the-art facility
SECNY Federal Credit Union, located at 3819 Route 11, opened this month. The building boasts the first enclosed drive-thru teller lanes and ATM in America. The enclosed lanes are part of the building’s newly redesigned features, completed by Schopfer Architects, LLP and renovations completed by the Hayner Hoyt Corporation. Originally, the building and property were part of Burdick Lexus.
The enclosed drive-thru has an advanced exhaust system that automatically starts when carbon-monoxide levels become too high. But the drive-thru is only one of the new features that the building offers. A wide open-lobby, a self-serve coffee bar and coin counting machine add to the uniqueness of the building.
The lobby features a fireplace that is the focal point of four “cozy-overstuffed chairs” according to a press release by the company. A wall-mounted flat-screen TV rests above the fireplace.
On the other side of the lobby is a showroom of sorts. The wide-open lobby allows for display opportunities. National brands such as Enterprise Car Sales and Starbucks, along with local businesses, Shane Gatto Custom Cycles, Sport-Mann Suzuki and Aramatic vending have placed products in the showroom. Shane Gatto Custom Cycles put a custom chopper on the floor. Sport-Mann has a snowmobile on display and self-served “Quarter Cup” coffee is available thanks to Aramatic vending. Next to the coffee bar is a coin-counting machine and a brand new Ford Mustang from Enterprise is the centerpiece of the whole area.
You could literally walk into the credit union, grab a cup of coffee, check out a vehicle, finance it there and drive out of the building.
Furthermore, as part of the “going green” effort, SECNY incorporated the “green” elements wherever possible according to the company. Energy efficient lighting, Shred-It recycling containers and the use of optical imaging are just some of the features that help to reduce energy and supplies.
C-NS increases rate of Advanced Regents grads
C-NS Principal James Froio announced that, over the course of the past few years, C-NS High School students graduating with Advanced Regents Diplomas has been on the rise.
“I am particularly pleased with the increase in enrollment for Math 11 by 129 more students than last year, this represents a 27 percent increase in one year,” Froio said.
Froio said he believed that Math B was clearly the major hurdle for students in regards to obtaining an Advanced Regents Diploma in 2006-07 and believes the same for 2007-08. During that time he stated that in order to increase the number of students eligible for AD diplomas the school must increase the number of students following the traditional math track, Math 9, 10 and 11 and on the same hand decrease the number of students going into the Math Applications track. As the enrollment data showed, this is happening. Froio also believes that the district is making great strides fostering a more rigorous academic track that leads to an Advanced Regents Diploma.
Salina gets Bitzer
Gov. Eliot Spitzer announced last week that Bitzer Scroll Inc. will invest $30 million and create 289 new jobs over the next five years in the town of Salina.
The manufacturer will make scroll compressors for air conditioning units in the Salina Industrial Power Park, located off Military Circle. The Bitzer manufacturing plant will take 60,000 square feet of space in the 800,000 square foot building.
The company received Empire Zone tax breaks and several grants, including $1.4 million from the Syracuse Center of Excellence for Environmental and Energy Systems, in exchange for locating in the town of Salina.
Bitzer joined several other top-notch businesses at the Salina Industrial Power Park. The former General Motors plant is now home to FRALO Plastech, Carpenter Industries, New Venture Gear and Reva Plastics Corp., among others.
“This means we’re getting jobs, good jobs,” Salina Supervisor Mark Nicotra said. “These are high-paying jobs, not minimum-wage jobs. We’re getting more bodies in the town and spending money in the town. It’s definitely a great thing.”
NSCSD proposes reconfiguration
The Demographics/Facility Utilization Committee was formed to make a recommendation to the board of education relating to future enrollment and the utilization of school buildings. Made up of parents, teachers, community members, school board members, administrators and C-NS students, the committee met eight times between September of 2007 and February of 2008.
The options the committee put forth were as follows:
Option A: K-4/5-8/9-12
Full-day kindergarten would be implemented in all six existing elementary schools and a new K-4 school would be constructed. The junior high school would then house grades five through eight, as would Gillette Road Middle School and Roxboro Road Middle School. The ninth grade would move to C-NS.
Option B: K-5/6-8/9-12
Full-day kindergarten would be implemented in all six existing elementary schools. Roxboro Road Middle School would be changed into a K-5 elementary and 16 classrooms would be added to the existing elementary schools. Gillette Road and NSJHS would house grades six through eight. The ninth grade would move to C-NS.
Option C: K-6/7-8/9-12
Full-day kindergarten would be implemented in all six existing elementary schools. Roxboro Road and Gillette Road would become K-6 elementary schools. NSJHS would house grades seven and eight. The ninth grade would move to C-NS.
Option D: K-3/4-6/7-8/9-12
Full-day kindergarten would be implemented in all six existing elementary schools. Gillette Road and Roxboro Road would house grades four through six and 18 classrooms would be added to the two schools. NSJHS would then house grades seven and eight. The ninth grade would move to C-NS.
Senior housing causes a stir in Salina, Clay
Affordable Senior Housing Inc. approached the towns of Clay and Salina to request zone changes to build senior apartments in two locations, one at the corner of Bear and Davis roads and one at the corner of Buckley Road and Patricia Drive. The company has built four senior citizen apartment buildings near Buffalo and want to build one on this site. The project would begin as one building of 131 one- and two-bedroom apartments. The apartments would be available to adults 60 years of age or older. Other housing for seniors is either subsidized by the government or is too expensive for this group to afford.
But residents and politicians in both areas objected to the proposals, citing traffic concerns. Both proposals were voted down, over the objections of County Legislator David Stott.
“As elected officials we are tasked by the community to be in the know,” Stott said. “This project is a gift to the community. For the most part seniors drive slowly. No commercial development can fit in the space. Those who will be living there are able-bodied seniors, not people who need assistance.”
The developer ultimately found another location in the town of Salina to construct the apartment building.
Cicero calls for repeal of ‘discriminatory’ law
Cicero Town Councilor Jim Corl and Supervisor Chet Dudzinski called for New York State legislature to repeal a law that they claim is discriminatory.
“This law is inherently discriminatory, it’s archaic, it’s mean-spirited and should not even be on the books,” said Corl. “What this law does basically is if somebody wants to move into a community, and they have developmental disabilities, they have to approach the municipality in which they want to reside.”
The issue came to the forefront at the town’s March 26 board meeting after Community Options approached the board about purchasing a house on Snowshoe Trail to be used as a group home for three men with disabilities. About 15 people living in the area spoke on opposition to the project, citing traffic issues and concerns about “people they didn’t know” coming and going from the home.
Dudzinski again expressed his disappointment in the residents’ response to the proposal.
“It’s very unfortunate that we had some criticism on the whole idea. It really bothered all of us on the town board,” Dudzinski said. “I can never remember people talking about other human beings like that, and it was very troubling for me. It’s bothered me for the last week, how people can actually treat other people that badly, and say some of the things that were said.”
C-NS closes turf because of high lead levels
The district decided to shut down the turf at Michael Bragman Stadium at C-NS after a local engineering firm confirmed that it had toxic chemicals.
The district learned that the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services (NJDHSS) had requested that a federal agency investigate artificial turf used on athletic fields. Several samples of turf fibers from the state’s high schools were found to contain high lead levels. The turf from those schools was marketed by the same organization that provided the turf for C-NS’ field.
Samples of the turf at C-NS were collected by representatives from O’Brien and Gere and analyzed in their laboratory. Those tests confirmed that lead was present in the samples.
According to the NJDHSS, lead is contained in the pigments that color the turf field green. The lead contained therein is not in a form that is easily absorbed into the body but is encapsulated within the fibers and as such does not present a high risk to athletes or others using the field.
“Nevertheless,” Melvin said in a letter sent home to parents, “to ensure that we fully evaluate the level of risk presented, if any, it is prudent to discontinue use of the artificial turf field for the foreseeable future.”
But in August, the turf was reopened after the CPSC issued new recommendations.
“Lead is present in the pigments of some synthetic turf products to give the turf its various colors,” the report stated. “Staff recognizes that some conditions such as age, weathering, exposure to sunlight, and wear and tear might change the amount of lead that could be released from the turf. As turf is used during athletics or play and exposed over time to sunlight, heat and other weather conditions, the surface of the turf may start to become worn and small particles of the lead-containing synthetic grass fibers might be released. The staff considered in the evaluation that particles on a child’s hand transferred to his/her mouth would be the most likely route of exposure and determined young children would not be at risk.”
Senior housing proposed for Toll Road Park
The village of North Syracuse asked the state of New York to remove Toll Road Park from the state parks registry to free the land for development. Shortly after the request was made to remove the land from the registry, Two Plus Four Construction Company approached the village with a $9 million proposal for a 60-unit senior housing complex on the site.
The senior housing proposal includes the restoration of some of the historic buildings currently at Toll Road Park, as well as a “walkable” path to local stores, restaurants and other businesses.
The proposal has since been approved and the village is looking at site plans for the complex.
C-NS named among nation’s top high schools
Newsweek magazine released its annual list of the top high schools in the country, and Cicero-North Syracuse High School joined the ranks at No. 1,352.
“It’s an honor,” C-NS Executive Principal Jim Froio said. “We were very pleased to make the list. It’s something we’re very excited about.”
The 1,358 schools on the list represent the top 5 percent of schools in the country. The rankings are based on the number of Advanced Placement (AP) tests taken by all students in the school divided by the number of graduating seniors.
Froio said C-NS offers 14 AP classes. New additions last year were psychology and English 11. He indicated that the new offerings helped C-NS’ ratio in the Newsweek rankings. Froio said Newsweek’s method of ranking schools is a good indication of the rigors of a school’s advanced programming. Students with passing scores on AP exams receive college credit for the course.
Former Clay supervisor dies
Ernie Casale, who served the town of Clay in a number of positions over the last four decades, passed away June 3 at his home.
“He was like the Abraham Lincoln of the town of Clay,” said Trish DiDomenico, widow of former supervisor Pat DiDomenico. “He did so much for this town.”
A veteran of the Second World War, Casale began his career in Clay politics as a deputy town clerk from February of 1963 until 1967. In January of 1968, he joined the town board as a councilman, where he served one two-year term before leaving to act as the town assessor. In 1975, he took over the supervisor’s office, serving in that position until the end of 1982. In 1983 he headed up the Zoning Board of Appeals, then reclaimed the assessor’s office from December of 1983 to July of 1992.
Though his career as an elected official ended there, Casale remained active in politics, participating in the Clay Republican Committee. He also owned Suburban Hardware on Route 57 and Megan McMurphy’s next door, where the Republican Committee holds its regular meetings.
“I’ll be talking about Ernie Casale for the rest of my life,” said Naomi Bray, head of the committee and a councilor on the town board. “He was a great Clay citizen. We all have so many wonderful memories of this man.”
Clay gets rid of PD
Residents in the town of Clay voted overwhelmingly in favor of a proposal to eliminate the Clay Police Department and instead merge services with the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Department.
Under the proposal, all 16 full-time Clay officers kept their jobs, becoming sheriff’s deputies instead of Clay police officers. The sheriff’s department guaranteed dedicated patrols in the town and converted the department’s headquarters on Route 31 to a substation.
The measure saved taxpayers about 20 percent, or $50 per household.
Benefit for Bianca
St. Rose of Lima Church hosted a benefit for 7-year-old Bianca Bresadola of Liverpool, a second-grader at Chestnut Hill Elementary School with osteosarcoma. More than 1,500 people attended the benefit, which raised more than $30,000 for Bianca and her family, mom Stephanie, dad Marc and twin sister Mia.
Bianca was diagnosed in June with the disease, a form of bone cancer common in children. By then it had already spread throughout her bone structure.
The community continued to rally behind the Bresadola family. Multiple fundraisers were held over the next several months, including a basketball game between CHE and Liverpool High School staffers. At that game, Syracuse University basketball players Eric Devendorf and Arinze Onuaku presented the family with a basketball signed by the team. The ball was auctioned off to help the family.
Sadly, Bianca lost her battle on Dec. 3.
“Bianca touched so many lives and to see
Sarah Hall is the editor of the Eagle Star-Review and the Baldwinsville Messenger. The 2012 winner of the Syracuse Press Club's Selwyn Kershaw Professional Standards Award, she has been with Eagle Newspapers since 2006. She is a Liverpool native.