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Russ Tarby

Stories by Russ

Nichols now flies with Eagle Newspapers

As summer’s heat lingered through August, Nichols Supermarket installed five dozen six-foot-high swinging-door beverage coolers. The new glass doors not only look spiffy, they allow you to get a good look at the groceries before you open the door and grab ’em. As a bonus for store owner Mike Hennigan, the coolers actually save energy! And here’s some more news about Nichols. Around the same time the swinging doors swung open, the supermarket started printing its weekly flyer at Eagle Newspapers, the same company that publishes the Star-Review.

Recalling Syracuse’s Stratocaster master

When Dan Elliott reminisces about Syracuse’s History of Rock’n’Roll at Liverpool Library this week, I hope he’ll tell the story of guitarist Ron Lauback, who influenced the formation of rock bands like Elliott’s own Monterays. Ron was born on Sept. 11, 1942 in Syracuse, to George and Helen Lauback. His mom, Helen, taught music teacher in the 1940s in the East Syracuse school district, and so young Ron was exposed to jazz, classical and pop music as a child. Ron’s first musical instrument was a ukulele.

Gendercide a brutal method of social control in China

Just as the Nazi genocide resulted in the wholesale murder of millions of innocent Jews, Gypsies, Poles and homosexuals, gendercide now takes millions of female lives in the country of China. Government-ordered abortions of female fetuses are enforced by Family-Planning Police who routinely arrest pregnant women on the street and deliver them to abortionists.

Personal ‘Project’ — Director dedicates ‘Laramie Project’ to his late brother

theater review

In early-July, as Justin Polly prepared to direct “The Laramie Project” for CNY Playhouse, he learned that his troubled 26-year-old brother, Christian, had gone missing outside of the city where he lived and worked, Jackson Hole, Wyo. On Sept. 4 — a week before the play opened at Shoppingtown Mall — Christian’s decomposing body was found by construction workers at the base of Snow King Mountain. In his director’s note, Justin Polly likened his brother’s untimely death to that of Matthew Shepard, the 21-year-old murder victim who is the subject of the play.

American Diner now serves entrees and opinions

Jenn works as a waitress at the American Diner along the railroad tracks at 214 Oswego St., but Friday afternoon she served a welcome side of good news along with the daily specials. The bright-eyed bespectacled brunette clearly has a flair for marketing. “I don’t know if you’ve heard,” she hinted to each customer as he finished his meal, “but we’re now open for dinner Monday through Friday.”

L’pool Village Board also updated on roadwork, recent police incident

At the Aug. 18 meeting of the Liverpool Village Board, Mary Rhea, of 204 Brow St., cited five problems she wanted the trustees to address.

Training, patience and stealth add up to avert tragedy

In 2011, according to data collected by criminologist Jim Fisher, a former FBI agent, police officers in the United States shot 1,146 people, killing 607. About 25 percent of those killed were suffering mental illness or emotional disturbance. In New York state alone, 49 persons were shot by police, including 23 fatally. The mortal danger swings both ways. That same year, 73 police officers were shot to death in the line of duty. Last week, three Liverpool police officers faced death on Sycamore Street when they were confronted by a 43-year-old man who had openly threatened to “take out” a village cop. A witness said the man appeared to be armed with a handgun.

Zogg Building sold

One of Liverpool’s most historic buildings, the A.V. Zogg Building at 800 Fourth St., has been sold by its current owner, the Liverpool Community Church. On Wednesday, Sept. 10, Joe Frega, chairman of the church’s Exit Committee, informed village officials that the new owner was in no rush to make changes to the former high school building.

Brass Inc. brings horn-driven rock to Carnegie Café

Trumpeter Brian Burke blows hot and sings cool. Burke and his band, Brass Inc., will bring its energetic funk-rock  to the Carnegie Café at the Maplewood Inn, 400 Seventh North St., starting at 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 12.

Now that school’s in session, L’pool police chief urges motorists to be aware

While Liverpool’s elementary and middle school students learn reading, writing and ’rithmetic, village Police Chief Don Morris urges local motorists to bone up on safe driving. Liverpool Central School District began its 2014-15 school year on Sept. 4, and the village has a school speed zone on Second Street at the Liverpool Elementary School entrance.  The speed limit in the school zone is 20 MPH on school days from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. 

Tobacco-addiction therapist abandons plan for 101½  Birch St.

After being confronted by more than three dozen neighbors at an Aug. 25 public hearing on her application for a special permit to operate a home-based business, Wellness on the Lake, at 101 ½ Birch St., tobacco treatment specialist Janet Marie Urban withdrew her application, according to Liverpool’s deputy village clerk, Sandra Callahan.

New Liverpool library director hired

On Sept. 3 after conducting a nationwide search and interviewing three candidates, the Liverpool Public Library Board of Trustees chose the library’s new executive director. He’s Syracuse native Daniel Golden, who recently served as assistant director at the Onondaga Free Library on West Seneca Turnpike, south of downtown Syracuse. “We have extended an offer to an individual for the director’s position,” LPL Board President Tim Dodge wrote in an email last week. Dodge declined to identify the successful candidate, but reliable sources said that Golden will accept the appointment.

We’re still learning hard lessons from 9/11

Sometimes it takes a while before it all sinks in. Now, on the 13th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on America, maybe we can finally reflect upon the horror and try to learn something from the tragedy. At Nichol’s deli counter a couple weeks ago I bumped into Donna Marsh O’Connor – the former Liverpool Central School District Board of Education member. We chatted about her work, teaching writing and rhetoric at Syracuse University, and about her husband’s book-in-progress.

Three dozen residents attend public hearing on therapist’s plan for Birch St. home

It’s a gorgeous three-level, 14-room home at the base of Birch Street facing Onondaga Lake Park. Since it was constructed by Liverpool businessman Val Lamont two decades ago, the house has remained vacant. Lamont initially planned to move his family into the mini-mansion at 101½ Birch St., but when his late wife, Victoria, decided against it, he put it on the market for more than $500,000. Known by many as “the Christmas Tree house” because a holiday fir stands year-round in one of the home’s many expansive windows, the property attracted interest but no serious offers. Now a potential buyer, Janet Marie Urban of Nedrow, says she’ll purchase the house if she can secure a special permit from the village to allow her to operate a home-based business there. A tobacco treatment specialist, Urban’s permit application is presently under review by the Village Planning Board.

Village police get grants

At the Aug. 18 meeting of the Village of Liverpool Board of Trustees, Police Chief Don Morris updated the board about recent grants and donations he has secured, totaling more than $17,500. Grants received from the State Law Enforcement Terrorism Prevention Program have equipped each LPD vehicle with digital cameras, binoculars and flashlights. The funds also paid for the installation of a license plate reader on the department’s new patrol car and for enhancement of security at the Village Hall, at 310 Sycamore St., where police headquarters is located.

Sept. 11 turned a journalism professor into a playwright; ‘The Guys’ opens Aug. 29 at ShoppingTown

Anne Nelson, the director of International Programs for the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University, had never written a play.

Summer rains chased eight bands from Johnson Park

This may not have been the wettest summer on record, but it sure seemed to rain every Monday and Wednesday. Those are the evenings on which free concerts are scheduled at Johnson Park. As the program director for Liverpool Is the place, a sub-committee of the Greater Liverpool Chamber of Commerce, I book those concerts and present the bands.

Folk Strings back on the hill

Acoustic quartet stretches the definition of “folk” music

When they first got together in 1992, the founding members of Folk Strings realized that they had a lot in common.

Café’s revamped kitchen inspires culinary creativity

During the second week of this month the Café at 407 at Ophelia’s Place was closed in order to install new state-of-the-art stoves and ovens. The popular coffee shop re-opened Aug. 11. The café is located at 407 Tulip St., in the village of Liverpool.

North Syracuse Village Center streetscaping specs approved

At their Aug. 14 meeting, North Syracuse village trustees approved specifications for the Village Center’s Streetscape Improvements project funded by $850,000 from Onondaga County’s Save the Rain Program. The trustees also extended the deadline for bids from contractors to Sept. 3.

Sea Scouts tented on Onondaga Yacht Club lawn

There’ve been plenty of friendly sailing excursions at the Onondaga Yacht Club this summer including a rare visit by nearly 30 young Sea Scouts from across the Northeast. They were here participating in the first-ever Erie Canal Flotilla Sea Scout Regatta Aug. 1 through 3, on Onondaga Lake.

Rat Packer rolled strikes at Flamingo Bowl

The village welcomed the swingin’ Sixties because George Tortorelli knew how to swing. The former boxer who lived in Liverpool on Tulip Street near the cemetery had become a musician, a bass player who excelled as a bandleader and master of ceremonies. Using the stage name George Orelli, he worked at all of Central New York’s top nightclubs, from Andre’s Tic Toc Club down city to Three Rivers Inn north of here where he accompanied touring stars such as Connie Francis, Louis Armstrong and Jimmy Durante.

Limp Lizard to expand

After nearly a year and a half more than a dozen meetings — some lasting as long as three hours each — on July 28 the village of Liverpool Planning Board unanimously approved plans to build a 38-seat back deck at the Limp Lizard Barbecue, 201 First St. and a 48-space parking lot behind that property to be shared by the White Water Pub, 110 S. Willow St.

Double murderer gets 46 years

When Judge Thomas Miller asked Justin Dallas if he had anything to say before he was sentenced to 46 years in state prison for stabbing to death two women in Liverpool, the 27-year-old defendant said nothing. The mothers of Dallas’ two victims, however, had plenty to say at his July 28 sentencing at Onondaga County Courthouse in downtown Syracuse. “You are not a human being, you are an animal,” said Sherry Jones, mother of Dallas’ 24-year-old estranged wife, Brandy Dallas. “You will be locked up in a cage like an animal.”

Liverpool Cemetery committee pursuing historic designation

Mike Romano brought the Liverpool Village Board of Trustees some good news at its July 21 meeting. The chairman of an eight-member committee formed last December to study the 168-year-old Liverpool Cemetery, Romano told the trustees that the cemetery could be eligible for designation as a national historic destination.

First Street’s newest biz caters to furry friends

First Street is going to the dogs. And cats. But seriously, folks, a new business called Furrever Friends celebrated its grand opening Saturday, July 26, at the corner of First and Tulip streets. Owner Odean Dyer is anxious to meet your pets and improve their lives with healthy foods, cool accessories and professional groomings.

Critical Link V-P leads septet Saturday at Northeast Jazz & Wine Festival

Dave Rice is co-owner of Critical Link, a prominent town of DeWitt electronics product development company on Brooklawn Parkway, but he’s also a talented saxophone player and bandleader. His group, Tradewind, which also features his daughter, Lauren, will be showcased at the 2014 Northeast Jazz & Wine Festival at 3 p.m. Saturday, July 26, in downtown Syracuse’s Clinton Square. Admission is free.

Live music makes life worth livin’ in Liverpool

The village was rockin’ like it was sittin’ on top of the world last Wednesday, July 16. The BlackLites, one of Syracuse’s top rhythm and blues groups, boogied on the Amish-style country gazebo in front of a vintage-vehicle audience at Washington Park while the Black Water blues band plugged in two blocks away in the brick-lined amphitheater at Johnson Park where Liverpool Is The Place stages its free summer concerts. More than 400 folks enjoyed each band under the sunshine.

Tease photo

Catchy ‘Catch’

Imposter thriller makes for murky musical at CNY Playhouse

Based on a film which was based on a ghost-written autobiography by an admitted scam artist, “Catch Me If You Can” is a far cry from your usual feel-good musical. But the venturesome CNY Playhouse dives right in, doing its level best to wring some sense of the offbeat blend of tunes and trickery.

Upside-down flag at American Diner signals distress

According to the United States Flag Code approved by Congress in July 1976, “The flag should never be displayed with the union down, except as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property.” Well, there’s nothing dangerous about eating home fries and hash browns at the American Diner, 214 Oswego St., so why is its Stars and Stripes hanging upside down?

Trustee hopes streetscaping starts soon at North Syracuse Village Center

North Syracuse Village Trustee Gary Butterfield is anxious to get the Village Center’s streetscaping project underway. Earlier this year, the village received approximately $850,000 from Onondaga County’s Save the Rain Program to pay for the Village Center Streetscape Improvements. At their July 10 meeting, village trustees declined to approve specifications for the work which will focus on a half-mile stretch on Main Street from Fergerson Avenue north to Gertrude Street.

Bringing the Swing Era into the 21st century

The future of the Bear Cat Jass Band may be a bit cloudy right now, but one thing’s clear as day: the hot octet will swing with abandon at 7 p.m. on Monday, July 14, at Johnson Park.

Change is the name of the game in banking

This month, Seneca Federal Savings and Loan Association, celebrating 85 years of service locally, will change its name to Seneca Savings. The old hometown bank has locations at 105 Second St. in Liverpool, 201 N. Main St. in North Syracuse and another one in Baldwinsville.

County-village agreement OKs public use of Griffin, Salt Museum lots

At its June 16 meeting, the Liverpool Village Board of Trustees approved two measures designed to encourage development on the basin block bounded by First and South Willow streets and Lake Drive. They passed a local law allowing site review applicants — who must demonstrate that enough nearby parking exists to accommodate customers — to count parking spaces located on-street and/or in municipal parking lots within 500 feet of the site. The new law, Local Law C, allows site-plan applicants to count up to 50 percent of their required parking that way.

Chicken gives new twist to Nicholini sausage

For decades, savvy shoppers have flocked to Nichols’ Supermarket at 327 First St., in Liverpool for its wide variety of quality meats. Well, that variety grew a bit wider last week, as the Meat Department proudly unveiled three new chicken sausage products. Not pork. Not turkey. Not country ham. Chicken!

New clerk in North Syracuse

Village Clerk-Treasurer Dianne Kufel has worked for North Syracuse for a dozen years, and now she’s getting some permanent part-time help. At their June 12 meeting, village trustees approved the hiring of Julia Getman as the village’s new part-time clerk.

Dallas admits double murder

Justin Dallas, the 27-year-old Syracuse man accused of murdering two women in Liverpool last October, pleaded guilty on June 19 in County Court to two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of second-degree murder and one count of second-degree assault.

Ballplayer ejected at first, steals home anyway

For decades, the Syracuse Chiefs have been relegated to the cellar of the International League North Division. Not anymore. A serendipitous convergence of circumstances — timely hitting paired with pitching that refuses to give up walks — have landed the hometown nine in first place.

Tease photo

Femme fatale

Alicia Bronzetti makes impressive debut in CNY Playhouse mystery

Dame Agatha Christie – who wrote more than five dozen mystery novels and a dozen plays – thought “And Then There Were None” was her best piece of stage “craftsmanship.”

Curbing, new streetlights to spiff up North Syracuse Village Center

Mayor Mark Atkinson presided over a public hearing at the North Syracuse Board of Trustees June 12 meeting regarding the Village Center Streetscape Improvements project.

Ken Hurst recalls the days of ‘willow willpower’

Next month — God-willing — Ken Hurst will turn 95. But before he does, he’ll sit down to reminisce about livin’ in Liverpool in the 1920s at 7 p.m. Thursday, June 19, at Liverpool Public Library, 310 Tulip St. 457-0310; lpl.org. Admission is free and open to the public. I first got to know Ken when he ran the S&K, a quintessential mom-and-pop grocery store on Second Street where I would buy bottles of White Rock soda pop, comic books, bubble gum, Pez and plenty of penny candy.

Liverpool village trustee candidates run unopposed…again

Liverpool village trustees Nick Kochan and Jim Rosier are up for re-election on Tuesday, June 17, and unless someone mounts a surprise write-in campaign, the incumbents’ victory is assured. As usual, they are both unopposed. Rosier first took office in 2002 while Kochan, the former chairman of the Village Planning Board, became a trustee in 2006.

Eagle Ridge hosts Society for New Music fundraiser Saturday in Chittenango

The Syracuse-based Society for New Music is one of the few community-based new music organizations in the United States and the only such year-round group in New York state outside Manhattan. On Saturday, June 7, at 6 p.m. the society celebrates its 42nd consecutive season with an elegant supper served at Clear Path for Veterans at Eagle Ridge in Chittenango. The gala is called “From the Heart of New York.”

Mangicaro: hero of the football field

During his 20 years of coaching football at Liverpool High School George Mangicaro proved he was a winner, a dedicated educator who could motivate and organize his young gridders and turn them into men. Some of them, such as defensive end Tim Green and tight end Chris Gedney, went on to pro careers.

Will county lots accommodate overflow parking from basin block businesses?

When a new business files a site plan with the Liverpool planning board, they’re required to show that they have enough parking spaces to accommodate their staff and customers. The Liverpool Village Board of Trustees is mulling a change to the village code which will allow applicants to count parking spaces in adjacent municipal parking areas in addition to on-street parking spaces and whatever spaces they have on their own site.

Katko comes out swinging

As a federal prosecutor, John Katko took on Mexican drug cartels in El Paso and helped develop a gang task force in Syracuse. Now, as the Republican candidate for Congress in Central New York’s 24th District, he’s taking on the Democrats in Washington, D.C. “If I can get through to those gangbangers, I can get through to those knuckleheads in Washington,” Katko said in Liverpool on May 22.

Katko kicks off campaign tour at Post 188

Political pundits see November’s mid-term election as a referendum on Obamacare. John Katko, the Republican candidate for Congress in our 24th District, thinks the election will be much more than that. He looks at it as a chance for voters to lodge their objections to the overall ineffectiveness of the federal government.

Johnson Park hosts 24 free concerts again this summer, June 2 to Aug. 20

The Liverpool Is The Place Committee never fails to book a wide variety of musicians, singers and bands for its 24 free concerts presented on Monday and Wednesday evenings every summer at Johnson Park.

George Tortorelli returns to CNY May 17 to recall his work as boxer and bandleader

In the 1950s, George Tortorelli was a professional boxer trained by Syracuse’s renowned light heavyweight Ralph DeJohn. In the early-60s, George quit prizefighting to work as a professional musician, although he continued teaching the sport and boxing in exhibitions.

The Color Industry memorializes musician with ‘Harvestman’ CD

Everybody loved Collin Anderson. Blonde and brilliant, witty and warm, cultured and creative, the substitute teacher from Trumansburg seemed to have the world on a string. Even his pre-teen students knew he was something special. Instead of calling him “Mr. Anderson,” the fifth-graders called him “Mister A-plus.”

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