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Compassion and awareness are the first steps in understanding autism

Last month, I read an article in The New York Times entitled “Reaching My Autistic Son Through Disney,” by Ron Suskind (nytimes.com/2014/03/09/magazine/reaching-my-autistic-son-through-disney.html?_r=0). As the title suggests, the article chronicles Suskind’s experience with his son, Owen, a lover of Disney movies who was diagnosed with autism. At the time of his diagnosis, Owen, 3 years old, was non-verbal. But through memorizing the dialogue and inflections from the various Disney characters in the movies he loved, over the course of a number of years, he created his own language that he used for communicating and connecting with others. As a parent of a child with special needs, I found his story to be moving and very inspirational. The article is an excerpt from Suskind’s book that was released this month called “Life, Animated.” The timing seemed particularly apt since April is Autism Awareness Month in New York.

Nelson establishes historic structures survey and registry

The Nelson Town Board last week approved a resolution to establish a historic resources survey and registry, the purpose of which is to not only help recognize and preserve historic properties, sites and areas in the town but will also allow designated properties to receive certain code exemptions during renovations and repairs.

County, municipal leaders see new state ‘tax freeze’ for municipalities as political ploy

The New York State Legislature finalized its annual budget recently, and local municipalities are not happy with a new “tax freeze” incentive included by the governor and retained by the legislature. Elected leaders of all four municipalities in the Cazenovia Republican coverage area — Cazenovia village and town, Nelson and Fenner — as well as the county board of supervisors, all declared the move to be election year political theater that does nothing to benefit citizens, demands municipalities to take actions most of them already do and would cost citizens more than they would purportedly save.

Cazenovia Town Board schedules special meetings on chemical treatment of lake

The Cazenovia Town Board has scheduled two special meetings to discuss the environmental impact and statement of findings concerning 2014 treatment of Cazenovia Lake with Renovate weed killer.

Complaint filed against Zambrano

According to a Cicero resident, Supervisor Jessica Zambrano has committed misconduct as a result of her relationship with the town engineer.

Village of Skaneateles makes annual appointments

The Skaneateles Village Board of Trustees voted to approve its annual resolution with committee and other appointments at a reorganizational meeting held Monday, April 7. Mayor Marty Hubbard makes the appointments, with the approval of the village board.

Trustees approve $5.2 million budget for North Syracuse

At its April 10 meeting, the North Syracuse Village Board of Trustees approved a $5.2 million budget for 2014-15. At a brief public hearing before the meeting, Village Clerk-Treasurer Dianne Kufel said that although the budget calls for a zero percent tax increase, village property owners who live within the town of Cicero will see a nominal increase of approximately $2 more than last year, while village taxpayers in the town of Clay will see a nominal decrease of less than $2.

Village of Skaneateles corrects billing errors; announces more detailed utility bills

Village officials took time to address recent emails, letters and calls expressing concerns about electric bills, at the April 10 Village Board meeting.

Education aid and tax relief needed for CNY

Times are tough, and families are doing everything they can just to make ends meet. The particularly harsh winter didn’t help, driving utility bills through the roof and making the cost-of-living even less affordable. Central New York families have struggled for long enough. That’s why I fought for a state budget that includes funding for vital programs and initiatives to relieve the burden on hardworking families.

Madison County given ‘disaster’ designation due to agriculture losses caused by winter freeze

Madison County was one of three counties in Central New York to have been designated “disasters” due to losses caused by a freeze that occurred this winter, U.S. Rep. Richard Hanna announced Wednesday, April 9. A Secretarial disaster designation makes farm operators in both primary and contiguous counties eligible to be considered for an assistance from the Farm Service Agency (FSA) provided eligibility requirements are met. This assistance includes FSA emergency loans.

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Village board gets Chenango Street zone change request update, schedules public hearing for May

The Cazenovia Village Board of Trustees has scheduled a public hearing for May 5 to discuss the requested zone change for Eric Burrell’s building at 4 Chenango St., which would, if approved, allow Alicyn Hart to move her restaurant Circa to that location. The hearing was scheduled last week after Burrell gave the board on update on his proposed building expansion project.

Who is John Katko?

At the request of the Dewitt Republican Committee, I met with John Katko to discuss his views on a number of issues related to the 24th Congressional race. The committee, and even our non-political neighbors, have been concerned that candidates are too often being defined by the negative ads and sound-bites provided by their opponents. This is an effort to have Katko define who he is and how he will represent the people.

Tax incentives are being misused

It is no secret that New York’s residents and businesses are over taxed. For years, businesses and residents have been leaving New York for tax-friendly states. The fiscal problems the State of New York faces are no different than other states across the country; yet, New York continues to over spend and goes so far as to ask local municipalities to shoulder much of the financial burden from those decisions. Local representatives at the state and federal level are desperately trying to change the business climate in New York by offering tax credits and incentive packages for relocating businesses to New York, creating jobs, and improving the skill level of employees. As an advocate for the free market approach to business, I applaud the intent underpinning these programs (the encouragement of business activity in New York state), but I am apprehensive about the precedent and disparate treatment the tax credits and incentives are creating.

East Syracuse police vote to be held on April 16

Village board decides to enter into a shared services agreement with DeWitt

The East Syracuse Village Board held a public hearing on April 2 for residents to share their thoughts about the amended shared services agreement for its police department with the town of DeWitt.

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Reduced state aid means increased budget cuts for Cazenovia school district

With the passage of the state budget last week and final state aid to school districts now known, the Cazenovia school district budget received $200,000 less in aid than it expected. This fact, combined with the limited revenues allowed to the district through local taxes due to the state tax levy cap mandate and the dwindling amount of district fund balance reserves available to plug budget gaps, means that the 2014-15 district budget will reduce district staff by 9.4 positions (full-time equivalent positions) rather than the six previously planned.