Fundraiser announces scholarship, honors retirees

A new scholarship in the works will honor a man who devoted his life to Manlius. The Town of Manlius Republican Committee announced last Thursday at its annual dinner that it's creating the Arkie Albanese Scholarship Fund, which will benefit students in the Fayetteville-Manlius and/or the East Syracuse-Minoa school districts.

While details still need to be ironed out, committee chairman Ed Theobald said the first recipient will be awarded in 2010.

Arkie Albanese served 35 years as a public servant in Manlius, first as a village trustee, then as mayor. After completing his last mayoral term in 2001, Albanese published a small autobiography in which he referred to his school years as the time when he really "came to life." His love for education was evident throughout his political career.

"Arkie was very supportive of all the schools in the district," Theobald said. "Hopefully, this [scholarship] will become a staple every year."

Albanese, 85, died July 15 of lung cancer. His daughter Lisa Cunningham and her husband Dana led the Pledge of Allegiance at the committee's annual dinner.

Longtime public servants honored

Two longtime officials of Manlius announced their retirement this year and the Town of Manlius Republican Committee honored both: Manlius Town Councilor John Curtis and Highway Superintendent Bill Bennett.

Prior to serving 26 years on the town board, Curtis served as a village trustee in Minoa, where he currently resides. A public servant at heart, Curtis is known to put aside his personal life at the drop of a hat to help residents in their time of need -- a trait Curtis describes as being innate.

"That's my nature, to help people," he said. "I've given up church on Sunday mornings to go and help somebody with a sewer problem."

Even after retirement, Curtis won't slow down. He plans to stay active on committees and in the community, living out his long held philosophy that, "if you want to know what's going on, you get involved."

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