For nearly 20 years, the town of Clay has been working on fixing up the Three Rivers site where the Seneca, Oneida and Oswego rivers meet. “It’s been a long process,” said Clay Town Board member Naomi Bray, who has made it her mission to see the project to fruition. “It gets frustrating. But it’s definitely an ongoing process.” The town is ready to move into the next stage of that process with a meeting to be held from 1 to 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 27, in the meeting room at Town Hall, 4401 Route 31, Clay. The meeting marks the next phase of the execution of the Brownfield Opportunity Area (BOA) grant received by the town in the early 2000s.
While a few northern Onondaga County Legislature districts are unopposed this time around, a couple of districts feature contested races. In the fourth district, Democrat Carol Sinesi takes on incumbent Republican Judy Tassone, while Democrat Gary Brisson will try to unseat long-term incumbent Republican Kathy Rapp in the fifth district. Read on for candidate profiles.
Several Cicero Volunteer Fire Department members and Cicero police officers were honored for their lifesaving efforts at an awards ceremony Saturday, Oct. 19.
For some 27 years, the village of North Syracuse seal adorned the front of village hall. But the effects of 27 winters, summers, springs and autumns took their toll, and the wooden sign began to fade. “The sun hits this site pretty good, so it gets pretty weathered,” said Mayor Mark Atkinson. “We knew we had to do something to bring it back.” On Wednesday, Oct. 16, the village unveiled the newly restored sign. The seal depicts the plank road that once ran through the village, the first in the country; that road is now Route 11. The road, once made of hemlock, served as the inspiration for L. Frank Baum’s Yellow Brick Road in the “Wizard of Oz” books. Also on the seal is the structure that now serves as the North Syracuse Community Center — a former functioning trolley station — as well as a trolley car being pulled by horses. Along the bottom are the words “Yesterday’s Road to the Future” along with the village’s year of incorporation, 1925.
Don’t miss your chance to get chased by zombies — and help the hungry at the same time. The first-ever Hallowrun for Hunger, organized by Cicero-North Syracuse High School sophomores Liz Westfall and Megan Cuculich, will take place at 11 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 20, at the McKinley Shelter at Oneida Shores Park in Brewerton. The 5K course will feature student zombies from Cicero-North Syracuse High School, who will chase runners as they make their way along the course. The event will raise money for the Food Bank of Central New York, the main food supplier to 268 emergency food programs in 11 counties in the state.
Voters in the North Syracuse Central School District overwhelmingly approved a $2 million referendum to make repairs to the Michael J. Bragman Athletic Complex at Cicero-North Syracuse High School, as well as security upgrades at the same building. A total of 1,650 votes were cast, with 1,331 votes in favor of the referendum and 319 against.
In Salina, it's a typically heated race. All but two seats are opposed, with many familiar faces again throwing their hats in the ring. Read on to learn more about the candidates.
This year is an important one for anyone concerned with local government and looking to make a choice that they feel will benefit the community. On Nov. 5 the residents of Cicero, Clay and Salina will elect new town officers.
The smell of Laurie Farrell’s daughter is starting to fade from the box of mementos she brought home from the hospital five years ago. The contents of the hand-painted box — a Beanie Baby, a receiving blanket, a small knitted cap, a crocheted blanket, a tiny gold ring and a bracelet — is all Farrell has left of her little girl. Emily was stillborn in November of 2008. “These are things she wore, and these are amazing mementos for me as a parent,” said Farrell, of Onondaga Hill. “Every year when I open it up on the anniversary date, I can still smell her.”
There is no compelling argument against voting for the upcoming referendum to replace the turf and running track at the Michael J. Bragman Athletic Complex at Cicero-North Syracuse High School, as well as make repairs to the field’s drainage system and upgrades to the high school’s security system. The project will cost a total of $2,020,000. The local share of $302,000 would come out of the district’s C-NS Athletic Complex Reserve Fund, which was approved by district voters on Oct. 14, 1998, according to Assistant Superintendent for Management Donald Keegan.
The upcoming town of Clay elections will feature, for the first time since 2007, Democrats on the ticket. Two Dems are vying for town board seats. The remaining seats - supervisor, town clerk, tax receiver and the remaining board seat - are uncontested. Read on for profiles of all the candidates.
Brianna Stone Waryan is more than just a pretty face. The 8-year-old third-grader in Mrs. Montalto’s third grade class at Donlin Drive Elementary in Liverpool will compete in Saturday’s Miss Jr. Pre-Teen Syracuse/Binghamton pageant, vying against numerous other young ladies in such categories as talent, casual wear, formal wear and interview. But Waryan, who is autistic and deals with sensory processing disorder, has a more important message she hopes to spread at the pageant. “People should not be bullying in school,” she said. “It’s kind of mean. I’ve been bullied before. Kids should be able to grow up and stick up for their friends without being bullied or getting their feelings hurt.”
Several emergency responders from Cicero will receive awards for their efforts to save lives at a ceremony later this month. Members of the Cicero Fire Department, Cicero Police Department and North Area Volunteer Ambulance Corps (NAVAC) will be honored at 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19, at the Cicero Fire Department, Station No. 1, 8377 Brewerton Road (Route 11), Cicero, CFD Chief Jon Barrett announced.
Taxpayers in the town of Clay will likely face a slight increase in taxes in 2014, according to the tentative budget presented Monday, Oct. 7. Town Clerk Jill Hageman-Clark presented the budget proposal to town board members at the regular board meeting. There was no discussion of the proposal, as this is the first they’ve seen of it. Additional discussion of the budget will take place in the future. According to Supervisor Damian Ulatowski, the budget proposes a 1.62 percent tax increase, which equates to roughly $1.67 per household.
Despite tough financial times in the past, Cicero’s financial future looks rosy. Extensive growth within the town coupled with fiscal responsibility has substantially boosted the town’s fund balance. This year’s budget also benefits from the town’s strict accounting last year. “With strict oversight last year, we were able to close the books $1.5 million under budget, which allowed us to add [more than] $400,000 to our savings account rather than deplete it by $900,000,” Supervisor Jim Corl said in his budget address. “Since we have had the benefit of experiencing these savings, it is time that we invest in the future of the town of Cicero.”
According to Salina Supervisor Mark Nicotra’s preliminary 2014 budget, residents in the town are looking at a tax increase of less than a dollar per $100,000 of assessed value per month. Residents in the village of Liverpool would see a $2 increase per $100,000 of assessed value per month. Nicotra presented his proposed 2014 budget at a special town board meeting Tuesday, Oct. 1.
Save your cans and bottles for a good cause. This weekend, Oct. 5 and 6, Liverpool High School senior Kerry Bartholomae and several of her classmates will be conducting a drive for the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), one of the largest animal welfare and conservation charities in the world. One of its most well-publicized efforts is an attempt to end the Canadian seal hunt, which has been ongoing since its founding more than 40 years ago.
The town of Cicero elections in November feature a hotly contested supervisor race between former colleagues Jessica Zambrano, now running on the Republican ticket, and Democrat Judy Boyke, who lost the supervisor's seat in 2011. Read on for profiles of all the candidates.
Sometimes, all it takes to be a hero is to strap on a helmet and hop on a bike. Some 175 riders took part in the Syracuse Ride for Missing Children Friday, a 100-mile ride made by bicycle riders or "Friends of Missing Children" that raises funds to support prevention education programs and to remember all missing children. The event, sponsored by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children/New York (NCMEC/NY), featured stops at several area schools, including Nate Perry Elementary and Soule Road Elementary in Liverpool, where students greeted them with cheers and handmade signs.
In a world where the drums of war seem to beat louder every day, peace seems like a far-off dream. But at Long Branch Elementary in Liverpool, students made it clear it’s a dream worth reaching for. Students observed International Day of Peace Monday, Sept. 23 (the actual date was Saturday, Sept. 21), by planting hundreds of pinwheels on the school’s front lawn in the shape of a giant peace sign as part of Pinwheels for Peace, an international art installation project started by two art teachers in Florida. The LBE project was guided by art teacher Jennifer Matott, who learned about the effort from its website, pinwheelsforpeace.com.
Residents of the North Syracuse Central School District will head to the polls next month to vote on a $2 million referendum to renovate the Michael Bragman Athletic Complex at Cicero-North Syracuse High School, as well as make improvements to the high school’s security. The project, which will have no local tax impact, will cost a total of $2,020,000. The local share of $302,000 would come out of the district’s C-NS Athletic Complex Reserve Fund, which was approved by district voters on Oct. 14, 1998, according to Assistant Superintendent for Management Donald Keegan.
The DSA of CNY offers a number of activities for families of those with Down syndrome, but its biggest event — and the only one it offers that’s open to the entire community — is the Buddy Walk, which celebrates its 15th year this fall. “At our Buddy Walk, we do not focus on the therapies, doctor appointments, etc., that is a part of their daily life. We celebrate the joy of having them in our lives and family,” Bottego said. “Most of the committee members have worked on the Buddy Walk from the beginning. We have volunteers who come back year after year because it such an uplifting event.” The Buddy Walk will take place on Sunday, Sept. 29 at Long Branch Park in Liverpool. Registration starts at 9:30 a.m.; walkers who have pre-registered can pick up their preordered shirts. Walk-in registration is also available. T-shirts are available to purchase. Children’s games are open from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and only shut down while the walk is in progress. Attendees can purchase raffle tickets The walk starts at 10:30 a.m. The walkers follow the path out of the Longbranch Park area into the Willow Bay section of Onondaga Lake Park.
All three buildings on the Liverpool High School campus - Liverpool High School, the Liverpool High School Annex, and Morgan Road Elementary (currently housed at Wetzel Road Elementary) were placed on lockdown for less than an hour Thursday morning after receiving a “verbal threat.”
Patrick Oneill was already facing multiple counts of animal cruelty when he allegedly left his Labrador retriever, Ali, in his car for more than four hours on Sept. 2 while he enjoyed the New York State Fair with his girlfriend. Ali, left in the 100-degree car with no water and one window barely cracked, died despite the efforts of state troopers and bystanders who tried to save her. Animal advocates are saying she didn’t have to die.
For the third time in two years, Michaels Farms LLC is withdrawing its proposal for a zone change to construct senior housing on Morgan Road in the town of Clay.
UPDATE: The lockdown at the LHS campus has been lifted as of 9:45 a.m. We still do not know the nature of the verbal threat that caused the lockdown, but we will continue investigating and bring you that information as soon as we can.
In a secure courtyard near Syracuse’s Inner Harbor, on a daily basis, you can find a gathering of people engaged in any number of activities. They might be playing Bingo or trivia. They might be working on a small building project. If you head into the indoor area, you might find them baking or preparing snacks. What might surprise you is to find that all of these men and women have Alzheimer’s disease or some form of dementia. The Kirkpatrick Day Program is a social adult day program provided by the Alzheimer’s Association of Central New York. The program, which dates back to the early 1980s, came under the auspices of the Alzheimer’s Association in 1987.
More than 5,200 ducks took to Chittenango Creek in a race for more than glory — these ducks raced to raise money for the Bridgeport Food Pantry, which serves families in the towns of Cicero, Manlius and Sullivan. The Don’t Duck Hunger duck race, the brainchild of food pantry coordinator Patti Hedrick, typically raises about $25,000 for the pantry and is its major annual fundraiser; totals for this year’s race were not yet available at press time.
School is once again underway across Central New York. North Syracuse students headed back Wednesday, Sept. 4, and Liverpool schools opened their doors Thursday, Sept. 6. Both districts had some changes in store for students and staff; read on to find out what’s new.
Social media — sites like Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook and LinkedIn — are meant to connect us, to link us to others with similar interests and backgrounds. But too often, it has the opposite effect; people hide behind the technology, losing the personal connection those sites are intended to encourage. Tim Ehrhart of Liverpool wants to change that. That’s why he, along with his father, Mike, and his uncle, Chris, created Beautiful Mess Online, a production company that uses multimedia performances, music and its website to help people “live connected lives.” The faith-based site, Tim Ehrhart said, aims to “share a message that connects people to the important things in their lives.”
Lauren Dodge knows all too well the pain of losing someone to suicide. “I got involved with [Stand Against Suicide] because of the friends that I lost to suicide growing up,” said Dodge, who lives in Liverpool. “I not only felt the direct heartbreak of losing a friend, but I also saw what their families had to go through after losing their child.” The worst part was that no one was able to talk about it. “Experiencing the loss of a friend to suicide when it was a ‘hush-hush subject’ in high school made the loss very difficult to cope with,” Dodge said. That’s why Dodge became secretary of Stand Against Suicide (SAS), which was founded in 2010 by Tara Dennee in memory of her father, Wayne Olmstead, who died by suicide in 2008. The Elbridge-based organization gained nonprofit status in 2012. It seeks to raise awareness about the risks of mental illness and to encourage those in need to get help. Through a grant from the Pepsi Foundation and local fundraisers, Stand Against Suicide seeks to erase the stigma surrounding the discussion of mental illness and suicide. SAS hosts support group meetings every Tuesday at the Elbridge Community Church for those who have lost a loved one to suicide, for those struggling with depression or other mental illness and their family members and for volunteers looking to help.
The Liverpool Central School District may join the ranks of other districts to take a stand against standardized testing. At its regular meeting Tuesday, Aug. 27, the board of education discussed a resolution calling for New York state to develop an accountability system that relies on something other than excessive standardized testing. The resolution also asks Congress to overhaul No Child Left Behind and to reduce testing mandates.
Doris Connor died after complications from a brain aneurysm in the summer of 2003. Now, her daughter, Hope Bednarski, has made it her mission to memorialize her mother as well as raise awareness of this scary disorder. For the second year in a row, she’s organized the Doris A. Connor 5K Race/1 Mile Walk in her mom’s honor.
Ophelia’s Place is once again partnering with the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) as a network member so that the smaller organization can better spread its message. Next Saturday, August 24, in conjunction with Ophelia’s Place, NEDA will hold its second annual Syracuse area walk at Longbranch Park in Liverpool. Registration begins at 9 a.m., with a special kick-off at 10 a.m. Live music, raffles, vendors and a food truck, along with special guest, Jenni Schaefer, author, speaker and eating disorder survivor, will be featured. Schaefer is author of “Life Without Ed,” “Goodbye Ed, Hello Me” and her latest release, “Almost Anorexic.” Schaefer will also be featured at a pre-walk coffeehouse talk at 7 p.m. Friday at the Café at 407, 407 Tulip St., Liverpool.
It wouldn’t be out of line to say that the fate of the Bridgeport Food Pantry rests on the back of a plastic duck — or a whole creek full of them. The pantry will hold its annual “Don’t Duck Hunger” duck race fundraiser at 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 7 in the parking lot of St. Francis Parish in Bridgeport. The race typically raises approximately $25,000 for the pantry.
Math, ELA results still well above state average
According to this year’s math and English Language Arts (ELA) tests administered by the state of New York, less than a third of students in grades three through eight are performing at grade level. In Skaneateles, closer to 50 percent were proficient, though much work must be done to get school up to par with new Common Core learning standards.
If you’ve ever wanted to be chased by zombies, now’s your chance. On Oct. 20, you can be part of the Hallowrun for Hunger at Oneida Shores, which kicks off at 11 a.m. at the McKinley Shelter. The 5K course will feature student zombies from Cicero-North Syracuse High School, who will chase runners as they make their way along the course. But it’s not the zombies’ hunger that race organizers Liz Westfall and Megan Cuculich care about.
According to this year’s math and English Language Arts (ELA) tests administered by the state of New York, less than a third of students in grades three through eight are performing at grade level. The scores, released Wednesday, Aug. 7, represent a significant drop since last year, but State Education Commissioner John King insists there’s no cause for alarm.
According to this year’s math and English Language Arts (ELA) tests administered by the state of New York, less than a third of students in grades three through eight are performing at grade level.
As it turned out, Erin Hannagan was one of the lucky ones. Hannagan was 16 when she was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease May 25, 1993. But she would beat the disease. “I had been coughing for quite some time and had been diagnosed with multiple ‘colds,’” Hannagan recalled. “It finally got so bad that my mom took me to an urgent care center where a chest X-ray was done that revealed a large mediastinal [cavity containing the heart, esophagus, trachea, thymus and aorta] mass.”
A large group of politicians, citizens and businessmen and –women have launched an initiative to encourage the state to keep a 1.4-mile stretch of Interstate 81 as it is instead of turning it into an arterial boulevard. Savei81.org revealed itself at a press conference on Thursday, Aug. 1, in downtown Syracuse, where supporters spoke out against the New York State Department of Transportation’s proposal to turn I-81’s viaduct stretch, the elevated portion of the highway that runs through the central business district, into an arterial boulevard through the city with stoplights and cross streets, something the group said would irreparably damage the city’s economy by creating a backlog of traffic. The group also issued a press release after the conference outlining its goals.
Maureen Humphrey lost her child to cancer, but not in the traditional sense. Humphrey was pregnant in June of 2001 when she learned that she had clear cell adenocarcinoma, a rare and aggressive cervical cancer that necessitated a radical hysterectomy as well as the removal of 28 lymph nodes. “No one ever expects that cancer or illness will happen to them, and we certainly felt the same way,” said Susan Bertrand of Baldwinsville, Humphrey’s older sister. “Maureen's cancer diagnosis was a shock, but worse than the diagnosis was the grief she felt knowing she was going to lose her unborn child and never again have the chance to conceive or carry her own child again.”
Chris Arnold and Ellen Yeomans thought a bone marrow transplant would cure their daughter’s leukemia. Paige Yeomans Arnold was diagnosed with chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) in June of 1993. The cancer is typically found in adults, not children, who are more likely to get acute myelogenous lymphoma (AML) or acute lymphocytic lymphoma (ALL). At first, she was treated with an experimental drug called Interferon, which put her into a brief remission. But a few months later, the cancer returned, leaving the family with just one choice: a bone marrow transplant.
According to the severance agreement between the North Syracuse Central School District and former superintendent Dr. Kim Dyce Faucette, Dyce will continue to get her salary payments for up to the next year and a half. The agreement, released Friday, outlined the buyout agreement between Dyce and the district after Dyce announced her resignation July 12. It states that Dyce will continue to receive salary payments totaling $182,000 until July 12, 2014. Dyce must make a “good faith” effort to find a job that pays at least $165,000; if she is unable to do so by July 12, she will continue to receive salary payments for six months, not to exceed $91,000.
Things looked bleak for Emma Brooke Whitehead. The 6-year-old had acute lymphoblastic leukemia, and the cancer looked terminal. Two years of chemotherapy had little effect. Doctors at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) estimated that she had a month to live. Because of her unlikely chance for survival, Emma’s doctors decided to take a huge risk: They injected her with a genetically modified HIV stripped of its capacity to induce AIDS and modified to turn millions of Emma’s T-cells into so-called “serial killer cells” that would destroy the cells ravaging her body. The modified cells attached themselves to the cells possessing a cancer antigen called CD-19, which attach themselves to the lymphocytes in leukemia patients, and destroy those cells.
At a special meeting of the North Syracuse Central School District Board of Education, the board announced that Superintendent Dr. Kim Dyce Faucette has resigned. After a 30-minute executive session, Board President Pat Carbone made a resolution to approve the separation agreement between Dyce and the district. The board unanimously approved the resolution.
A Change.org petition calling for the North Syracuse superintendent’s firing has garnered more than 100 signatures. The petition, started by James Smith, asks the North Syracuse Central School District Board of Education to terminate the contract of Dr. Kim Dyce Faucette, who became the district’s superintendent in August of 2011. Her contract is set to expire next summer.
At the heart of the village of Liverpool, there’s a little café with a big mission. The Café @ 407, located at 407 Tulip St., opened in 2009 as a way to help fund Ophelia’s Place, a support and resource center for individuals and families impacted by eating disorders. The café’s sales of food and coffee provide a good portion of the money to help the center function. Now, to better serve that mission, the café is looking for your help to complete a necessary expansion. “We definitely underestimated what we would need [when we built the café],” said Mary Ellen Clausen, founder of Ophelia’s Place. Clausen stepped down as executive director in 2012 to become its funding director. When the café opened, it used donated equipment, including a residential refrigerator and stove with only three working burners. Since then, it’s become a community hotspot, necessitating an upgrade to its facilities.
At first, Melissa Lowell thought her son Nate was just tired. “This time last year [he started getting sick],” Melissa said. “It started off, he just had a cough. It was the end of the school year and he seemed fatigued. It was nothing out of the ordinary. I just figured it was because school was over. He was leaving a teacher he loved. He gets emotional with change, as any kid does.” But the cough didn’t go away. Nate, then 10, was complaining that he couldn’t breathe, couldn’t swallow. After a couple of weeks, Melissa and her husband Jimmy took him to an urgent care facility near their home in Herkimer County. He was diagnosed with asthma and given prednisone and an inhaler, which helped at first, but soon proved ineffective. A visit to Nate’s pediatrician July 3, 2012, suggested pneumonia.
With the help of Warner Energy LLC, a Clay-based business that designs and develops solar project for clients nationwide, Clay officials are planning the installation of a 99kW solar array at Town Hall and the highway garage to reduce and stabilize energy costs.