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Sarah Hall

Stories by Sarah

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North Area YMCA day camp encourages daily reading

The North Area Family YMCA on Wetzel Road is offering kids the full camp experience: swimming, arts and crafts, field trips… and reading? This year, the Y’s Camp Y-Noah, which serves kids who have completed kindergarten through sixth grade, has launched a new program to encourage literacy. In addition to traditional camp activities, the roughly 150 campers stop what they’re doing twice a day to read for 15 minutes.

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Sharkey’s to host country music festival for Clear Path for Veterans

Too often, veterans returning home from combat zones aren’t getting the support they need. That’s especially true if they suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), an often silent disability triggered by a traumatic event. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event. While PTSD can happen to anyone who has experienced trauma, it’s particularly common in veterans; while it occurs in approximately 7 to 8 percent of the general population, 11 to 20 percent of Afghanistan or Iraq vets, 10 percent of Gulf War vets and 30 percent of Vietnam vets suffer from PTSD. In order to support these veterans, a group of volunteers has organized a benefit called the Victory for Vets Country Music Festival to take place Aug. 16 at Sharkey’s in Liverpool. The proceeds from the event will go to Clear Path for Veterans, a nonprofit based in Chittenango that provides support for returning veterans, including peer-to-peer support, classes, service dogs and more.

On the campaign trail: Maffei releases first TV ad

Congressman Dan Maffei (D-Syracuse) has released his first television campaign ad, sparking sharp criticism from the opposition. Maffei’s ad, a 30-second spot entitled “Hard Work,” features the congressman visiting with small businessmen and –women, chatting with senior citizens and posing with his family. The ad asserts that Maffei, too, is sick of Congressional gridlock and perks and is working hard to get rid of them.

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Annual basketball tournament is this weekend in Cicero

This weekend, basketballers from around the country will descend on the town of Cicero for the fifth annual Gus Macker 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament. The tournament, which includes 716 players on 179 teams, will take place from Friday, Aug. 8, to Sunday, Aug. 10 next to Drivers Village.

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Howie Hawkins challenges Cuomo, Astorino in gubernatorial race

Howie Hawkins is hoping to change the political landscape of New York state. “If you do public polling, the majority is very progressive on economic issues, but they never get what they want,” Hawkins said. “A study just came out, the oligarchy study, looked at 1,799 federal issues. They went to the top 10 percent. Any time [the top 10 percent] wanted one thing and the 90 percent wanted the other, of course, they got their way on every issue there was conflict. This goes back to 1979. That tells you. They say, is this a democracy or a plutocracy or an oligarchy? And I think it is [an oligarchy] until we organize a party that can speak for the majority of the people. That’s been the thing that I think we need to do, what we’re trying to do.” That’s why Hawkins is running for governor, taking on the Democratic political establishment and Gov. Andrew Cuomo, as well as his Republican challenger, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino.

Soccer tournament coming to Clay

Four locations in the town of Clay and one in the town of Salina will host the 2014 Salt City International Soccer Tournament this weekend.

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North Syracuse launches community summer reading program

For many students, school-assigned summer reading is a thing to dread, something boring and time-consuming that interrupts the carefree fun of summer. But the North Syracuse Central School District is trying to change that.

Cicero to host Little League championships

The town of Cicero will play host this week to the 2014 Major Division Little League State Championship. Games were set to start at 11 a.m. Monday and run through Saturday, July 26, at Cicero Central Park. Players ages 12 and under will compete for a chance at the New York State Little League Championship title. The tournament will include two games a day and will conclude with a championship game on Saturday (Sunday, if weather forces cancellations). The event also includes a picnic and a home run derby.

Carnival to benefit C-NS JV tennis team

The girls’ junior varsity tennis team was cut from the North Syracuse Central School District’s 2013-14 budget, but that wasn’t the end of the team. With the help of the North Syracuse Education Foundation (NSEF), the team was able to raise enough money on their own to be reinstated last season. They’re looking to do the same for the 2014-15 school year.

On the campaign trail: Katko named Republican ‘Young Gun’

Congressional candidate John Katko has earned the status of “Young Gun” from the National Republican Congressional Committee after reaching the third and final tier of the group’s recruitment program. Founded in the 2007-08 election cycle by Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA), Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), the Young Guns program provides financial support to candidates in races across the country.

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Northern suburbs offer plenty of swimming options

If you’re looking to beat the heat, you can lock yourself somewhere air-conditioned — or you can get outside and into the water. The northern suburbs offer a number of swimming holes to help you beat the heat, from sandy beaches to public pools. Read on to find one in your area.

Cicero looks to revise sign code

In order to make their town more business-friendly, members of the Cicero Town Board are looking to revise the town code pertaining to signs.

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Phase I of Brewerton Revitalization Project unveiled

After eight years of waiting, the residents of Brewerton are finally seeing progress on the revitalization of the hamlet. Town and state officials held a ribbon-cutting ceremony July 2 to commemorate the completion of Phase I of the Brewerton Revitalization Project, which includes picnic tables, new streetlights, a 400-foot brick walkway and benches along the riverfront. The improvements cost a total of $102,400, which was made possible through matching grants to the town of Cicero, in-kind services from local businesses and town departments and donations from Brewerton residents.

On the Campaign Trail: Katko calls out Maffei; Kessner backpedals on primary

At a press conference on July 2, Republican Congressional candidate John Katko criticized Democratic opponent Dan Maffei, the incumbent representative for the 24th Congressional District, for his grandiose infrastructure plan as well as his vote against a House measure that encourages oil drilling within the U.S.

When E. coli strikes Oneida Shores

With summer in full swing, many residents will be looking to public beaches to keep cool. But what happens when the beaches are closed? It’s a problem we’ve seen several times over the last couple of years at Oneida Shores in Brewerton, as well as other beaches along Oneida Lake. The park was closed to swimmers late last month by the Onondaga County Department of Health because E. coli bacteria had been found in unacceptable levels during routine sampling.

RRE dedicates new playground in memory of late teacher

Jeanelle Cross was the kind of teacher other teachers aspired to be. “Jeanelle was beloved by everyone,” said Jackie Grace, principal of Roxboro Road Elementary in Mattydale, where Cross was the resource teacher. “She clearly loved her job and loved what she was doing. She loved kids. She was such a joy to be around, such a positive force.” Cross lost her battle with breast cancer in September of 2012, not long after she initiated an effort to construct a new playground at RRE. When the school dedicated that finished playground on June 23, they did so in her memory.

LCSD BOE continues to work on redistricting

The Liverpool Central School District Board of Education continued to move forward with plans for redistricting by the fall of 2015 at its regular meeting Monday, June 23.

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AAGS seeks funding to build low-cost spay/neuter clinic

Every year, more than 1,000 cats and dogs are euthanized purely because the shelters have no place to put them. According to the Animal Alliance of Greater Syracuse (AAGS), an animal welfare agency that serves all of Central New York, the Syracuse area has a higher rate of euthanasia than any other area in Upstate New York. In the meantime, hundreds of homeless pets die on the streets.

Clay Community Festival is this weekend

If you’re looking for something to do this weekend, look no further than Clay Central Park. From 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturday, June 21, at the park on Wetzel Road, the town will host its fourth annual Clay Community Festival. The event includes a

You can still help Angelina and the MDA

I’m going to tell you a story. Angelina was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) type 2 when she was 9 months old. The little girl, who lives with mom Erin and dad Frank in Liverpool, never sat up independently. She never crawled. She never walked. She’ll have to rely on a power wheelchair to get around.

Redistricting discussed again

The Liverpool Central School District Board of Education is continuing to deal with questions pertaining to the redistricting project set to go into effect in September of 2015. At its last regular meeting, held June 9, the board made decisions on several matters with regard to the plan.

Vietnam veterans’ organization seeks photos of those killed in war

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund seeks to locate photos of all those killed during the conflict in Vietnam. So far, organizers have collected nearly 34,000 photos of 58,286 casualties. The photos are being displayed on a virtual “Wall of Faces,” which can be found at vvmf.org/Wall-of-Faces.

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Youngsters raise money for The Molly Project through lemonade stand

On June 7, two young philanthropists hosted a lemonade stand where they sold lemonade, water, cookies and other treats to raise money for The Molly Project, a Cicero-based nonprofit that recruits professional photographers to take on-location portraits of women with cancer and their families.

Help me help the MDA

I need your help to make bail. No, not that kind of bail. I’ve never been arrested. But I am going to “jail.” I’ve been recruited to help the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) with their annual Lock-Up fundraiser. Such events occur nationwide all year long. Business owners and community leaders (and, apparently, weekly newspaper reporters) agree to be “put behind bars for good.” We’re asked to raise money from friends, family, co-workers and, in your case, readers to help make “bail,” which will then benefit the MDA’s research, medical clinics and summer camp experiences.

Parade of Homes once again comes to town of Clay

It’s the hope of every builder to be a part of Central New York’s Parade of Homes, where they can show off their distinctive style to discerning buyers and designers. But it’s also the hope of every municipality to be the home of the prestigious tour, meant to showcase not only construction techniques and interior design, but neighborhoods and local amenities.

Cicero families raise money for The Molly Project with lemonade stand

Sometimes, a glass of lemonade is more than just a glass of lemonade. In the case of Madison King and Nadia Greco, it’s a chance to raise money for an important cause and help people suffering through an illness. From 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, June 7, the Cicero neighbors will host a lemonade stand where they will sell lemonade, water, cookies and other treats to raise money for The Molly Project, a Cicero-based nonprofit that recruits professional photographers to take on-location portraits of women with cancer and their families. The charity was founded by Kristin Atkinson, after whose mother Molly the charity is named, as well as Kristin Johnston and Tara Polcaro.

Cicero resident files complaint alleging malfeasance by top town officials

An attorney has filed a complaint with several state agencies against current and former leaders in the town of Cicero. Robert D. George, of Brewerton, lodged a similar complaint with the Cicero Town Board last month, alleging that Supervisor Jessica Zambrano’s relationship with town engineer Doug Wickman constituted a conflict of interest. The 87-page complaint he filed May 16 with the New York State Comptroller’s offices in Syracuse and Albany and the state Attorney General’s office in Syracuse, as well as the town board and ethics board, takes that allegation a step further.

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LBE raising money for new playground

Kieran Williamson runs the risk of filling his hands with splinters every time he plays on his school playground at Longbranch Elementary. “The school has been talking about the need for a new playground since Kieran was in kindergarten,” said Carolyn Willamson, Kieran’s mother. She also has a 5-year-old and an 8-year-old who attend LBE. “He is now in fourth grade, and we still do not have the funds.” The existing structure is not only an injury risk, but it doesn’t offer much to the students.

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Camp Good Days flooded out

Heavy rains in Western New York have done significant damage to a camp that provides a respite for kids and young adults touched by cancer. Camp Good Days and Special Times in Branchport experienced more than $160,000 in damages in last week’s floods in and around Penn Yan, in Yates County, and that number is expected to climb as workers continue to assess the camp. The damage was so catastrophic that the camp has had to cancel its first sessions of the spring.

Liverpool Public Library to hold budget, trustee vote May 20

The Liverpool Public Library will hold its budget vote in conjunction with the school budget vote on Tuesday, May 20. In addition, voters will choose one of two candidates to serve as trustee.

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Motorcycle ride for Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital celebrates 20th year

For several years, Tony Testa and his wife, Becky, participated in the Miracle Ride for Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital. Both were motorcycle enthusiasts, and they enjoyed helping to raise money for the children’s hospital. But in 2004, it got personal. “My stepson, Jim, had a child who was born in 2004, Aiden,” Testa said. “Aiden was born with quite a few challenges.” Aiden Snell was born with Pierre-Robin Syndrome (PRS), a birth defect that causes cleft palate, smaller-than-normal or underdeveloped jaw, a tongue that sits back too far in the throat, obstructing breathing, and several other issues. The genetic condition affects approximately one out of every 1,500 children. In Aiden’s case, the disorder required surgery just a few days after he was born.

Christ the King Church celebrates 50th anniversary

Christ the King Church in Bayberry is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, having opened its doors in 1964. In order to commemorate the occasion, the church will hold an open house this Sunday, May 18, after its 10:30 a.m. Mass.

Liverpool Central School District board of education candidates

In the Liverpool Central School District, five candidates are running for four seats. The election will take place from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday, May 20.

North Syracuse Central School District board of education candidates

The following individuals are seeking a seat on the North Syracuse Central School District Board of Education. Four candidates are seeking three seats; Board President Pat Carbone is not seeking reelection, and the seats of Scot McClintock and Michael Mirizio are also up for renewal. The election will take place from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday, May 20.

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LCSD presents first-ever Bresnahan Book Award

Lori Bresnahan loved children’s books. It was a love she sought to instill in all of her students as an elementary school librarian for the Liverpool Central School District. So it was only fitting that the district should honor Bresnahan with a children’s book award in her name. The district presented the inaugural Bresnahan Book Award at a ceremony May 2 at Barnes and Noble in Clay. The award was selected by kindergarten through sixth-grade students districtwide from a collection of nominees for the Charlotte Award, a children’s book award whose winner is selected by students throughout the state.

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C-NS holds annual Poetry Slam

Self-expression is one of the most important — and one of the hardest — things a teenager can do. Cicero-North Syracuse High School has created a forum in which students can do just that. At the school’s annual Poetry Slam, held April 30 and May 1, students are able to share their own poetry as well as that of famous poets in front of a large group. They can also sing a song; one student performed an original piece and played the ukulele. Students are judged by a panel of volunteers, teachers at the school, who determine a first-, second- and third-place winner. Each winner receives a Barnes and Noble gift card. This year, staffers also joined the event; the winners of the student event had the opportunity to judge the faculty on their readings.

Eagle editors honored

Editors at Eagle Newspapers were honored for their work at two recent awards ceremonies that celebrate the best journalism in Central New York and statewide.

Village tutoring center seeks volunteers

If you’ve got an affinity for math, there’s a tutoring center in the village of Liverpool that could use your help. The Tutoring Center at St. Joseph the Worker Church, located at 1001 Tulip St., is an all-volunteer service that provides free tutoring to kids and adults throughout the community from 3 to 5 p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday. And since the advent of Common Core math, tutors with expertise in that field are in high demand.

Petition asks LCSD to reconsider snow removal policy on turf field, allowing student athletes earlier access

A local youth sports league has drafted a petition asking the Liverpool Central School District to reconsider its policy regarding removing snow from the turf field at the high school. The Liverpool Youth Lacrosse Association (LYLA), led by Liverpool resident Earl Hall, posted the petition on GoPetition.com. They seek to get 1,000 signatures by the end of July in an effort to encourage the district to remove snow from the turf rather than letting it melt on its own.

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LCSD to expand universal breakfast program

Middle school students in the Liverpool Central School District now have access to free breakfast at school. The district announced last week that, starting April 28, universal breakfast will be available to students at Chestnut Hill Middle and Liverpool Middle. All CHM and LMS students will have the option of eating breakfast at school each morning for free, regardless of income.

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Solar panels finally active; system will save town of Clay about $16,000 a year

The irony wasn’t lost on Damian Ulatowski. On Earth Day, April 22, when dozens of residents and local dignitaries gathered to hear the Clay supervisor talk about the town’s new solar panel array, the sun was nowhere to be seen. Despite the gloomy weather, the town unveiled its new 99kW solar array at Town Hall and the highway garage to reduce and stabilize energy costs. The project was launched through a partnership with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and Warner Energy LLC, a Clay-based business that designs and develops solar project for clients nationwide.

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.

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.

Dinner memorializes Cicero couple while raising money for St. Jude

For Dominic and Patricia Rossi, life was about family, community and service. “I am biased, but I feel my parents were great people,” said their son, Joe Rossi. “They put family first, they gave back to their community through service, they stood up for what they believed in and they weren't afraid to get their hands dirty.” That dedication to serving the community in which they lived —Cicero — has been reflected in the way that community remembers the Rossis nearly two decades after both passed away. There’s a street in town called Rossi Court, named after Dominic, and a garden in front of NOPL @ Brewerton planted in Patricia’s memory. In addition, Joe Rossi holds a fundraiser dinner every year that serves a dual purpose: it memorializes his parents while raising money for an important cause close to their hearts.

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LHS group seeks to break down barriers, cliques, end bullying

I Am Norm is an extracurricular group at Liverpool High School that aims to promote inclusion and end bullying by bringing together kids of all different backgrounds.

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Cicero PD launches prescription drug giveback program

The Cicero Police Department is now home to a MedReturn box in which town residents can drop off expired or unused prescription drugs any time from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. The drug collection unit is produced by MedReturn, LLC of Grafton, Wis. The box is located in the police department’s administrative offices at 8236 Brewerton Road, behind Town Hall. Drugs should be placed in a clear plastic bag. The department cannot take liquids or needles. As the box fills up, the CPD will clear it out and remove the drugs to their evidence room. When the DEA does its giveback program twice a year, the department will turn them over for safe destruction.

OCM BOCES to host Common Core academies for educators

Central New York educators can take advantage of courses designed to help them implement the Common Core curriculum at OCM BOCES next week. From 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. March 27 and 28, educators in the Syracuse area can attend Discovery Education’s Common Core Academies at BOCES’ Central New York Regional Information Center, 6075 East Molloy Road, Syracuse. The courses will be lead by Common Core state standards expert Dr. Karen Beerer and hosted by Discovery Education, a publisher and content provider that offers textbooks and multimedia content that support Common Core implementation.

North Syracuse proposes cutting more than 30 jobs

The North Syracuse Central School District is looking at cuts to more than 30 positions as part of its 2014-15 budget, according to a presentation given at the NSCSD Board of Education’s March 24 meeting. The district’s 2014-15 budget, totaling $145,297,379, is up 1. 2 percent from last year. Most of that increase comes from salaries, benefits and other contractual obligations, over which the district has little control. The budget also includes a reduction of 9 percent in supplies, fuel and other costs.

OCC child care faces cuts

Community college students may soon have a harder time finding child care while they go to school. In his 2014-15 executive budget proposal, Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed cutting $653,000 from the state’s operating grant to the State University of New York’s child care centers. The cut would come in addition to a reduction in the federal Child Care Block Grant, which subsidizes care for children of needy student-parents. While the New York State Senate restored Cuomo’s cut in their budget proposal, advocates say the cuts faced by SUNY centers in the last several years are still devastating and need to be restored. And it’s community colleges that will likely see the most damaging consequences.

Liverpool voters approve Phase II construction referendum

Voters approved a Liverpool Central School District capital project referendum held March 20 by a margin of 959 to 641. The $39.7 million construction project represents Phase II of the Phase I to V Long Range Facilities Plan laid out for the 2010-20 decade. The project will take on several repairs throughout the district.

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