Symphoria outlined its first-ever full season for 2013-14 at a press conference down city at the Mulroy Civic Center on May 15. Fifth District Legislator Kathy Rapp (R-Salina) spoke at the press confab, reflecting on how far Symphoria has come in the single year since the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra sputtered out of business and into bankruptcy.
Pete and George have been best friends forever.
Before I even started kindergarten, my family lived in Liverpool on Salina Street in an upstairs apartment rented by Mary Landers and squeezed between two thriving businesses, Steve’s tavern to the north and Irish Jack Murphy’s auto repair shop to the south. Jack was a master mechanic, but I knew, even as a 5-year-old, that he was much more than that. Jack was a champion race-car driver! On May 2 at St. Joseph’s Hospital, Jack crossed his final finish line. He was 85 years old.
More than most civic groups, the Masons really respect and honor history. This weekend, the local lodge will celebrate some annals of its own. And as usual, the Masons will do it in style. The Liverpool-Syracuse Lodge No. 501 of Free & Accepted Masons will mark its 150th anniversary at 3 p.m. Saturday, May 11, by erecting a four-foot-tall obelisk monument in front of its building at 608 Oswego St., across from Johnson Park in the village. New York State Grand Master James Sullivan is expected to attend.
Last month, my buddy Joe Romano gifted me with a quart of homemade maple syrup made from sap from old maple trees growing right here in the village. Actually, the syrup blends drippings from Liverpool silver maples and sugar maples down in DeRuyer, where Joe has a camp and a sugar shack. Anyhow, what you need to know is that the syrup’s sweet as sugar cane. A barely transparent chestnut brown, it pours evenly with consistency like soft honey. My pancakes never tasted so good! And it made me feel proud to know that this superlative confection comes from some of the same trees into which I’d carved my initials so many years ago.
In 1969, a sweet-voiced flower child from Queens, N.Y. named Melanie Safka performed a short solo set at the legendary Woodstock festival in the middle of a rainstorm. Now 66 years old and still going strong, Melanie will appear on Sunday, May 5, at the Catherine Cummings Theater, 16 Lincklaen St., in Cazenovia, following an opening set at 7:30 p.m. by Syracuse songwriter Larry Hoyt.
The crime occurred near Buffalo. The perp’s vehicle had been rented in Fulton. The suspect’s family lived in Syracuse. In spite of the disparate locales involved, Liverpool Police Officer Jerry Unger played a crucial role in cracking the case.
Central New York boasts a rich history of social activism, and the Alliance of Communities Transforming Syracuse (ACTS) keeps that tradition alive. More than 300 ACTS members, honorees and supporters filled the ballroom at the Holiday Inn at Electronics Parkway on Thursday, April 25, at the group’s sixth annual spring banquet. “This is an incredible sight,” exclaimed Mark Spadafore as he gazed out at the crowd from the podium. “There are people from different communities, people from different races and people from different faith traditions. Everyone coming together like this shows us that we have power, and power can change things.”
Caz native Siobhan Fallon-Hogan rants and rambles about life as a sought-after actress
Whether you’re a member of her family or a member of her Film Talk audience, an evening with Siobhan Fallon-Hogan can be intense, uproarious and sometimes unsettling. Raised in Cazenovia before pursuing a successful career as one of Hollywood’s most versatile comic character actresses — the woman has an absolutely manic gift of gab. More than 180 film fans and students turned out April 16 at Le Moyne College’s Coyne Performing Arts Center to hear what the fast-talking Fallon had to say about her three decades in show business.
In August 2008 several Third Street residents appeared before the Liverpool Village Board to complain about skunks inundating the neighborhood. In April 2011 in two separate incidents, Liverpool Police officers shot and killed two skunks which had been behaving strangely in village yards in broad daylight. Last summer, two longtime Liverpool residents complained to the mayor and trustees that the odious infestation had become unbearable. Salina’s animal-nuisance wildlife trapper told one resident that he was “overwhelmed” by the extent of the skunk problem across the town and unable to prioritize village properties threatened by the pesky polecats.
After a brief public hearing on April 15, the Village of Liverpool Board of Trustees approved a 2013-14 budget of $2,306,565.32. The tax rate for village property-owners will stand at $12.25 per $1,000 of valuation, the same as it was for the 2012-13 cycle. In 2012-13, a home assessed at $100,000 received a village tax bill of $1,225. All properties in the village are also assessed a $150-per unit sewer rent charge.
A new gymnasium will open for business later this year on Old Liverpool Road. It’ll be located a stone’s throw from Onondaga Lake, but its name will pay homage to a faraway ocean. Pacific Health Club, Inc. of Oswego received approval from the town of Salina Planning Board to open a facility at 604 Old Liverpool Road, where the old Bresee Chevrolet and Burdick Chevrolet dealerships sold thousands of cars and trucks. In November 2011, town voters rejected a proposal that would’ve allowed the town itself to buy the property for a new town hall and town highway operations.
Property tax rates in the village of Liverpool will remain the same as last year if the Village Board of Trustees approves a proposed $2,328,210 budget for 2013-14. Village residents and business owners are invited to comment on the proposed budget at a public hearing set for 7:01 p.m. April 15, at the Village Hall, 310 Sycamore St. The budget will be available for review at the Village Hall starting on April 9, Sims said.
The Barking Gull becomes the baking gull in May after a state-of-the-art wood-fired pizza oven is installed. For the better part of a decade, the Barking Gull, at 116 S. Willow St., has operated exclusively as a venue for private parties, but it will finally open to the public this spring, said John Gormel, Liverpool’s most prominent tavernkeeper – the man with the mile-wide smile. The Gull will specialize in gourmet pizza, he added.
An unusually full agenda kept village of Liverpool trustees busy at their monthly meeting on March 18. The 22 agenda items included the unveiling of the proposed 2013-14 village budget, discussion of Johnson Park and discussion about property concerns. Later, the board entered into an executive session to talk about personnel issues. Village Clerk Mary Ellen Sims said the total tentative 2013-14 village general fund is set at $2,306,565.32, about $24,000 more than this year’s budget which came in at $2,282,663.10. The 2013-14 village sewer fund budget is $207,313, as compared to this year’s sewer fund budget of $253,305.
Things change faster than the speed of light here in the 21st century. We’ve heard plenty of talk about changing the Liverpool village election from June to November, but that won’t happen this year. No, that change will roll around at the somewhat slower speed of sound, no earlier than autumn 2014.
We all enjoy Ophelia’s Place in its incarnation as Café at 407. It’s easy to dig the scene — couches and recliners complement the usual table-and-chairs — and the menu features gourmet coffees and baked goods, healthy soups, salads and sandwiches spiced by live music three evenings a week. But let’s not lose sight of the original purpose of Ophelia’s Place. Established about a decade ago, the non-profit organization aims to empower individuals and families to redefine beauty and health. Ophelia’s Place Director Jodie Wilson-Dougherty keeps the effort focused on increasing self-esteem, improving body image and introducing alternatives to what she calls “dangerous desires for perfection.”
It may have been last century, but it wasn’t that many years ago when the Christmas season started on Thanksgiving. Then Santa Claus began appearing immediately after Halloween. And before long the malls all decked their halls the day after Labor Day… Now the same thing is happening to other — how shall we say it? — less-portentous holidays such as St. Patrick’s Day.
Rock’n’roll will forever be identified with passions of youth, but that doesn’t stop aging rockers from strummin’ and shakin.’
Former Liverpool High School band director Jim Spadafore will be honored as Music Educator of the Year this week at the Syracuse Area Music Awards show. Spadafore, who lives on Second Street in the village, will receive his special Sammy at the 2013 Sammys Hall of Fame Induction dinner, at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 7, Upstairs at the Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, 246 W. Willow St. at the corner of North Franklin Street, in downtown Syracuse.
Monica’s becoming a fixture on First Street. Also known as Mona Leah Ridgeway, she worked for several months at the deli counter at Nichols Supermarket up at 327 First. Now instead of serving cold cuts, she’s piercing body parts at Black Sea Tattoo & Piercing down on Lower First Street, not far from the ever-popular CNY Yoga Center. “It’s a great location — 105 First St. — because we’re getting business from the yoga people,” Monica said last week. Apparently, there’s a relationship between dharma and dermals.
Thanks to video technology, a man suspected of swiping three bottles of expensive vodka on Feb. 6, at Nichols Discount Liquor store in Liverpool, has been identified. An arrest warrant has been issued for Michael Bertrand, 55, who allegedly stole three bottles of Grey Goose vodka from the store at 301 First St. He can be seen on the store video recorded that Wednesday afternoon stuffing the bottles down his pants before stopping at the cash register to pay for an inexpensive liqueur bottle. The cost of the stolen bottles was about $125.
Bob Rotella was a real man-about-town. For more than 20 years I’d worked with Bob at WCNY-TV on Old Liverpool Road where I was a cameraman and he was engineer. Whenever something went wrong with my camera, Bob or one of his colleagues from Master Control would rush into the studio to fix it. Back in the 1970s, I’d run into Bob after work at Erie Boulevard East nightspots like Soo-Lin or Casa di Lisa where he enjoyed listening to jazz and rhythm & blues. Years later he became a fixture at the Dinosaur Bar-B-Que which was co-founded in 1988 by his son, Mike Rotella.
Skaneateles native Greg Wanamaker will be presenting his chamber-music tribute to the late Libba Cotten at the Everson Museum of Art in Syracuse on Feb. 24.
Skilled cast fuels unstoppable ‘Streetcar’ at Shoppingtown
Tennessee Williams wrote “A Streetcar Named Desire” 66 years ago, but the play continues to transfix audiences with its unapologetic depiction of a family wracked by secrets and rocked by strife. Set in a lower-class New Orleans flat in the summer of 1947, “Streetcar” pits the “king of the castle,” Stanley Kowalski, against his visiting sister-in-law from Mississippi, Blanche DuBois.
When a young life ends abruptly because of illness, accident or murder, the tragedy of a life unlived haunts us all. Could there possibly be anything worse? Ask that question of Kristin Conway’s friends and family members. She had studied to become a medical assistant, but last fall her 28-year-old life essentially came to an end. But it didn’t. After a bone-crushing auto accident in which her brain stem was injured, Kristin fell into a coma. Neurosurgeons at Upstate University Hospital told the family that the young woman would never regain consciousness. Never.
A couple of guys from the northern end of the county here were honored by the Syracuse Chiefs at the ballclub’s 53rd annual Hot Stove Dinner and Silent Auction last Friday, at the Holiday Inn Convention Center on Electronics Parkway.
At their monthly meeting on Jan. 23, Liverpool trustees appointed two new directors to the Liverpool Housing Authority which oversees the House at 807. The village board unanimously approved the appointments of Beverly and Douglas Wernet and Sandra Lovell, each to a term of five years.
Onondaga County Board of Elections’ new Democratic Party commissioner, Dustin Czarny, is on a mission to move village elections to November. State law, he points out, gives villages the option of conducting elections in March, June or November. “The villages could all save money by moving their elections from March or June to the fall,” Czarny said. “We’re already running an election every November anyway.” In January, Czarny sent a letter to all 15 of Onondaga County’s villages requesting that they make the change.
Ever since Election Night 2008, millions of Americans including thousands here in Central New York, swell with pride at the fact that a black man now resides in the White House. Given our nation’s abysmal history of slavery, lynching, Jim Crow and countless other inequalities, it is rather amazing that a black man with a white mother and a Muslim name now leads our land. But those dazzled by the racial significance of his presidency remain blinded to one important fact: the color most important to Barack Hussein Obama is green.
For 22 years, Randy Mobley has served as president of baseball’s International League. Mobley is scheduled to appear at The Syracuse Chiefs’ 53rd annual Hot Stove Dinner on Friday, Feb. 1, at the Holiday Inn Convention Center, on Electronics Parkway, in the town of Salina. The event begins at 5:30 p.m. with a silent auction of sports memorabilia, and the dinner program starts at 7 p.m.
Two projects designed to improve drainage on village streets are being planned for April. Liverpool Deputy Mayor Nick Kochan outlined the proposed work at the Jan. 23 village board meeting and suggested that trustees establish a $200,000 reserve fund to prepare to pay for the projects expected to cost between $575,000 and $600,000. At the corner of Balsam and Third streets, 1,500-linear feet of piping will be installed along with curbing, gutters and catch basins at an estimated cost of $250,000. Along Hiawatha Trail sanitary sewer repairs will be made, the road will be resurfaced and drainage maintained, at a cost estimated at between $287,000 and $350,000.
She may have been raised in Russia, but vocalist Luba Lesser has a natural flair for the sounds of Brazil.
‘Drowsy Chaperone’ is a mirthful musical about musicals
“The Drowsy Chaperone” is anything but sleepy.
When she was an eighth-grader at Wellwood Middle School in Fayetteville, Emily Meidenbauer wrote her first novel. The initial chapters of “Right Where My Heart Should Be” were scribbled by hand into the middle-schooler’s spiral notebook. It took her three weeks to finish the 272-page story. That was four years ago. Since then Meidenbauer has penned two sequels to her touching story about a teenager named Eliza and her Aunt Brooke, a talented touring musician. Together, the older woman and her niece overcome tragedy by learning to how to heal and how to keep hope alive. Now a senior at Fayetteville-Manlius High School, Meidenbauer will be among three published authors appearing from 3 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 26, at Liverpool Public Library, 310 Tulip St.; lpl.org.457-0310. Meidenbauer’s second book is “A Little Different,” and her third is titled “Identity.”
“The Drowsy Chaperone” is anything but sleepy. In fact, as staged by the Baldwinsville Theatre Guild, the show is as perky as a caffeinated chorine gushing with personality and pizzazz. Set in the Roaring Twenties, the Tony Award-winning musical showcases 17 upbeat performers directed by Stephfond Brunson and a swinging septet conducted by pianist Abel Searor.
Syracuse trumpeter Jeff Stockham – who performed at the Liverpool is The Place summer concert series last August in Johnson Park as a member of the Bear Cat Jass Band – now appears in the Academy Award-nominated movie “Lincoln” directed by Steven Spielberg. The widely acclaimed film is now showing in theaters across the country. In the movie Stockham portrays a musician in a 12-piece U.S. Marine Band performing at a 1864 flagpole dedication ceremony at which President Abraham Lincoln (played by Oscar-winner Daniel Day-Lewis) delivers a short speech. Several of Stockham’s friends and colleagues from the Federal City Brass Band and the Kentucky Baroque Trumpets completed the ensemble. The tune they perform in the flagpole scene is “We Are Coming, Father Abra’am.”
Liverpool Police Office David Sturtz has received the Onondaga County Traffic Safety Advisory Board Overall Performance Award for his traffic enforcement efforts in the village last year. Sturtz accepted the award at the safety board’s Jan. 9 luncheon in Syracuse.
In all cultures, dances inevitably inspire the composition and performance of music which befits the form and force of the dance. From primitive tribes to sophisticated societies, dances are an important part of courtship rituals, celebrations and artistic public performances. Without music, the expression of human movement — from bolero to ballet — would be all but impossible. With ensembles representing four ethnic dance traditions — African, Irish, Hispanic and Jewish — the sixth annual Liverpool Public Library Folk Music Series will both educate and entertain its audiences be presenting musicians rarely showcased in the suburbs of Upstate New York. All concerts at the library are free.
Many people consider unrequested advice paternalistic and patronizing and as a result they not only ignore it, they’re actually offended by it. That’s how County Executive Joanie Mahoney reacted to the unsolicited advice offered in November by the three ex-commissioners of Onondaga County Parks. Still “dismayed” by Mahoney’s 2009 appointment of her cousin, Bill Lansley, as parks commissioner, the three former parks czars wrote the county exec an open letter. They pleaded with her to appoint someone with real parks experience as deputy commissioners.
Ah, the white stuff! As Dean Martin warbles “Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow,” Old Man Winter dumps a foot on us the night of the day after Christmas. The past year came in like a lamb and went out like a lion. So wake up! Winter’s here! Smart mammals hibernate. Humans shovel.
The informal agreement between the villages of Liverpool and East Syracuse which returned Don Morris to Liverpool as its part-time chief has been favorably reviewed by officials from both villages. East Syracuse Village Attorney Robert Germain is now writing an inter-municipal agreement to formalize the shared-services arrangement. Before becoming official, the new agreement will need to be approved by both Liverpool and East Syracuse village boards.
When Central New Yorkers turn out for First Night on Monday, Dec. 31, at Onondaga Lake Park, they’ll be entertained by three up-and-coming pop groups including Louisiana native Taylor Mathews who was a finalist on television’s “America’s Got Talent.” Headlining the third annual AmeriCU Credit Union First Night here will be R5, a Colorado quintet whose young musicians have ties to the Walt Disney Company. Guitarist Ross Lynch, one of four Lynch siblings in R5, stars in the hit Disney Channel sitcom “Austin and Ally.” Bassist Riker Lynch has a recurring role in Fox TV’s musical drama, “Glee.”
Music has always filled the Condon family’s Fourth Street home. Patriarch Don Condon plays chromatic harmonica, matriarch JeanEllen plays piano, as does daughter Colleen. Daughters Ellen and Nan performed in school bands, and sons Don. Jr., Mark, Keith and Paul harmonized barbershop tunes. Nowadays Don Jr. teaches music in Indiana, Paul sings opera professionally and Keith vocalizes with the Syracuse’s Mario DeSantis Orchestra.
Three days after a deadly school shooting in suburban Connecticut, officers from the Liverpool Police Department volunteered to patrol two village schools during the five days preceding Christmas break. On Monday, Dec. 17, after the Friday, Dec. 14 tragedy in Newtown, Conn., Liverpool Mayor Gary White contacted Liverpool Central School District Superintendent Nick Johns, who welcomed the mayor’s offer to have officers assigned to Liverpool Elementary and Liverpool Middle schools last week. Liverpool Police Chief Don Morris and the department’s Police Benevolent Association president, Officer Sean Pierce, immediately responded by contacting off-duty officers who volunteered for the non-paid extra duty. “Several of our members are working shifts of various lengths at those two schools,” Pierce said.
Singers and dancers bring an ‘Irish Christmas in America’ to Catherine Cummings Theater
Killarney’s a long way from Cazenovia, but this weekend musicians and dancers from Western Ireland will celebrate the season at the Catherine Cummings Theater.
Two performers who live in Liverpool — Colleen Deitrich and Tom Minion — are appearing in an uproarious revival of “The Man Who Came to Dinner,” now playing at the new CNY Playhouse at Shoppingtown Mall, in DeWitt.
Upstate forecast calls for a ‘White Christmas’": Syracuse Stage musical based on a movie based on a song
A beloved and heartwarming musical based on a movie that was based on a popular holiday song is now playing through Dec. 30, at Syracuse Stage.
My Aunt Mary Jane died last month at Oswego Hospital. After living in Galeville for five decades, she spent her final months at a Port City nursing home. She was 88 years old. Born Mary Jane Korthas in 1924, she had married my mother’s brother, Ed Egloff, sometime after World War II.
With his smoothly shaven head, Luther Everson vaguely resembles Lex Luthor, Superman’s arch-enemy. But our Luther, who works at Bayberry Service Center on Route 57, cares more about carburetors than Kryptonite. I don’t know what those Hollywood casting directors were thinking, but Luther himself would certainly have been a better choice to portray Luthor than a fey Kevin Spacey who played the villain in “Superman Returns.” Liverpool’s Luther makes Michael Rosenbaum’s Luthor in “Smallville” look absolutely wimpy. But let’s be clear, there’s nothing at all villainous about our Luther. He simply happens to share a name and a haircut with Superman’s Luthor. Not only is Everson a master mechanic working with Bayberry Service owner Matt Rahalski, Luther is a U.S. Army veteran of Desert Storm. Between tune-ups he recalls “eight months of sitting around the desert before we finally saw some action.” And by the way, he pronounces his last name with a short E. “Not Eeeverson, like the museum,” he insists.