Michaels Farms LLC is once again looking to construct a senior complex on Morgan Road near Waterhouse Road in the town of Clay. The developer is looking for a zone change from RA-100 Residential Agricultural to R-SR Senior Residence District at 8073 and 8097 Morgan Road, on the west side of the street opposite Waterhouse. Michaels Farms has previously applied for the zone change on these parcels twice; both times, they withdrew their application amid widespread criticism of their plans.
After a woman was murdered and a child raped at knifepoint at Great Northern Mall March 14, residents have been clamoring for a way to protect themselves. A number of free classes have been introduced to help women, in particular, learn techniques to use in a similar situation. But the free self-defense classes provided by some local martial arts studios aren’t new offerings in response to the tragedy. Both Impact Martial Arts and Karate John’s have offered free women’s self-defense classes for years.
The town of Clay is preparing for its second season of Project Green, its 60-plot community garden located off Black Creek Road. Plot reservations are due to the town by March 28.
According to local traffic experts, I-81 is nearing the end of its useful life. The highway was originally constructed in the 1950s and 1960s to provide an alternative to I-95 for traffic from Canada to Pennsylvania through New York state, as well as to provide a route for local traffic in and out of the city of Syracuse. Now, the roadway, particularly the elevation portion running through the city, is deteriorating, and within the next decade, significant action needs to be taken to repair or replace it. Onondaga County Legislator Kathy Rapp, who represents the fifth district, spoke to the Salina Town Board Monday, March 25, about the various options to reconstruct the I-81 bridge. In addition to representing a portion of the town of Salina, Rapp is policy chair of the Syracuse Metropolitan Transportation Council (SMTC), which has been researching the project for several years.
Lori Bresnahan was among the best. A dedicated parent, she loved her daughter, whom she adopted from China. She cared for her aging mother. She was passionate about her career as a school librarian, having worked in the Liverpool schools for several years, bringing such celebrations as Chinese New Year to the school and inspiring a love of reading in her students. Lori died terrified and in pain. She deserved so much better.
A note written in a child's scrawl joined several bouquets of flowers underneath a stream of police tape on VerPlank Road at a makeshift memorial for Lori Bresnahan. "I personally think you were the best librarian and you always helped me," the note read. Those words are typical of those used to describe Bresnahan, who was attacked the night of Thursday, March 14, while leaving a gymnastics class at Great Northern Mall with a 10-year-old child. David Renz, 29, of Cicero, forced his way into Bresnahan’s car, bound her and sexually assaulted the child, then drove them to VerPlank Road, where his car was waiting. The child was able to escape and was helped by a passing motorist. Meanwhile, Bresnahan suffered several stab wounds and later died at Upstate University Hospital. The child is currently recovering from her injuries.
Clarence Rycraft was one of the good guys. “If our representatives in Washington were more like Clarence, there would be less gridlock,” former Clay Town Supervisor Mark Rupprecht said. “Clarence would argue his points effectively and passionately but no matter how the vote turned out or whether he prevailed or not, after the meetings he was as friendly and cordial to his colleagues as possible.” Rycraft, known to colleagues and friends as “Rye,” passed away Saturday, March 9. He was 85.
In order to help more people struggling with eating disorders, Ophelia’s Place in Liverpool has added two new support programs. Breaking Free is a group that caters to teens struggling with body image. The Parent Partner Program is for parents and caregivers of youths with eating disorders.
When it comes to playing, even pennies can make a difference. That’s the idea behind the “Pennies for the Playground” campaign at Roxboro Road Elementary in Mattydale, which encourages students and families to donate change to the effort to build a new playground at the school. The campaign is one of several fundraising efforts to help construct a new play structure. According to Lisa Courtright, third grade teacher at RRE, member of the RRE Parent-Teacher Group (PTG) and chairperson of the RRE Playground Committee, an upgraded playground is necessary for the safety of the children. The school was built in 1956, and the playground has had several upgrades since then. RRE underwent significant renovations in the early 2000s. When those were completed, the school was an entire wing larger, and the North Syracuse Central School District redistricted, giving RRE more than 200 more students.
To the baby I will never know: When I found out I was pregnant on Valentine’s Day, I was over the moon. I’ve wanted you for so long, a little niblet to complete our family. Your dad and I couldn’t wait to meet you. And you were due right around my birthday; you could have been the third generation born on Oct. 23.
Liberty Tanner was getting her life on track when it ended tragically in January. “She was a great person,” said Amy D’Uva, with whom Tanner had lived. D’Uva’s son, Ed Horning, was Tanner’s fiancé; the two had been together for five years. “She had a lot of dreams, a lot of things she wanted to do. Things were just getting started for her. It was so exciting to watch her. Things were starting to click for her.” Tanner, 19, was on her way home from the Continental School of Beauty in Mattydale when her 1996 Dodge Neon broke down in the center lane of I-81 northbound north of Hastings (on the Brewerton Bridge between exits 31 and 32) around 10:15 p.m. Jan. 16. The car had stalled and its lights had gone out. Tanner was on the phone with Onondaga County 911 reporting the matter, when her vehicle was struck in the rear by a 2002 Buick Century operated by 17-year-old, Alex B. Mills of Altmar. A 1998 Plymouth Breeze, operated by 17-year-old Michael R. Edinger of Parish, slowed as it approached the accident scene and was rear ended by a 2007 Chevy Cobalt driven by 20-year-old Emily Smith of Pulaski. A 2006 Nissan driven by 28-year-old Stefanie Wooding of Fulton entered the accident scene and collided with the rear of the Chevy Cobalt.
Three years ago, the Liverpool Central School District eliminated foreign language, also referred to as Languages Other Than English (LOTE), in seventh grade in order to save money. The move was a mistake.
The Liverpool Central School District has officially begun its effort to find a new superintendent. The district has formed nine stakeholder groups and held a community meeting to determine the qualifications the new super must possess, as well as the challenges he or she will face in the next three to five years. The new superintendent will replace Dr. Richard N. Johns, who will retire July 31. Johns came to Liverpool in 2009. About 10 students and five adults attended a community meeting hosted by Dr. Lucy Martin of Castallo and Silky Education Consultants on Wednesday, Feb. 27, the day after Martin met with members of the stakeholder groups. At both meetings, participants described what they felt the district’s strengths were — these included items like its teaching staff, its fine arts program, its full-day kindergarten program and its universal busing, among other things — as well as the challenges it faces, such as finances and budgetary concerns, a lack of communication between the administration and the staff, APPR and other state mandates and the community’s perception of the district. The groups also came up with lists of qualifications the new superintendent must possess in order to maintain the strengths and address the challenges.
North Syracuse Central School District Superintendent Dr. Kim Dyce Faucette presented a bleak picture of the district’s financial future if the state doesn’t make serious changes to its school aid policy at a meeting of the board of education Monday night. “Our sources of funding are inadequate,” Dyce said. “Operating costs... are growing significantly faster than our revenue. Our state aid is the same as it was five years ago. The tax cap discourages our taxpayers from covering the deficit caused by increased costs and insufficient state aid. Our financial model is not sustainable.”
When Caryn Daher’s son, Jon, was little, he was into everything — even more than the average toddler. “He was… constantly bumping and crashing into things and people and seeking-jumping type activities,” said Daher, a Cicero resident. “He had difficulty in regulating and responding to movement activities appropriately. It went far beyond a ‘busy’ toddler.” In addition, Jon struggled with a variety of sounds, often withdrawing or avoiding certain situations because of the noise level. He had higher-than-average sensitivities to food, temperature and touch. In addition, his speech was delayed. It was that delay that led to help for his other issues. Through his speech therapist, Jon was diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder.
Liverpool Central School District Superintendent Dr. Richard N. Johns presented his $135.7 million budget proposal to the board of education and about 35 members of the public Monday night. Johns’ 2013-14 proposed budget, which represents a $2,044,983 increase from last year, makes some cuts and restores some items previous budgets have cut. It relies heavily on the district’s reserves to close a $9 million gap. “This year, the… gap that we faced… was a chasm that would require cutbacks equivalent to 100 positions,” Johns said in his budget message. “Such a reduction would necessarily cause the district to have to tell current students that some of the opportunities provided to past generations of Liverpool students would no longer be available to them.”
In a surprise move, Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney appointed former Cicero Supervisor Chet Dudzinski to replace outgoing Legislator Bill Meyer, just hours before the Cicero Republican Committee unanimously nominated current Supervisor Jim Corl for the position. Corl said he was notified of the decision in an email that was also sent to Dudzinski and Michael Becallo, who had also expressed an interest in the seat.
WCNY has launched a new effort aimed at helping local nonprofits. “Won’t You Help a Neighbor?” uses the public broadcast station’s many media resources and connections to promote causes near and dear to Central New York residents.
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.
Two years ago, Damon “DJ” Villnave saw a news broadcast that would change his life. “It was before the holidays [two years ago]. The Rescue Mission had a van going around and they were showing all the homeless people and people out on the streets having frostbite because last winter, unlike this year, it was so cold,” said mom Sara Villnave. “So he was very serious, and he was very upset, and he said, ‘They can’t be cold. I don’t want anyone to be cold.’ Then he decided, ‘Everybody needs a blanket,’ because when he’s cold, he gets a blanket.” So DJ, a fourth-grader at Karl W. Saile Bear Road Elementary in North Syracuse, decided to organize a blanket drive for the men at the Rescue Mission.
More than 20 years after losing her mother to cancer, Kristin Atkinson is channeling her grief into helping other women. Atkinson of Cicero, Kristin Johnson of Cicero and Tara Polcaro of North Syracuse started The Molly Project as a way to provide comfort to women affected by cancer and their families. Named after Atkinson’s late mother, The Molly Project got its start a year ago when Johnson’s sister called her, looking for a way to help a co-worker with cancer.
With a $20 million budget gap facing Syracuse, the city’s busiest fire station may be on the line. City officials have floated the idea of closing down Syracuse Fire Department Engine Company No. 7, located at 1039 E. Fayette St. But the members of Local No. 280, the firefighters’ union, say that would be a very bad idea. “In the past two years, we’ve had several incidents of multiple fires in the city. We were stripped, using every resource,” said Paul Motondo, vice president of Local No. 280. “Losing an engine company, especially this one because of where it is and what its responses are, it’ll create a huge void.”
There’s no excuse to keep your pets unaltered. The Animal Alliance of Greater Syracuse, based in Liverpool, is the recipient of a $20,000 grant from the Central New York Community Foundation that will allow the organization to to purchase start-up equipment for a mobile spay/neuter clinic, which will move around to various city locations altering both dogs and cats belonging to low-income residents. And they’re not alone. The CNY SPCA also received a grant for low-cost spaying and neutering. This grant applies only to residents of the 13211 zip code and is good for 2013-14. All surgeries will take place at the CNY SPCA on East Molloy Road.
This year, for the first time, Ophelia’s Place has the opportunity to participate in one of Syracuse’s premiere charity events. The Syracuse Auto Dealers Association will host their 15th annual Charity Preview starting at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 13. In 2012, the event raised $213,000, bringing the all-time total to more than $2 million. “The non-profits do not incur any cost associated with this, so it is a wonderful opportunity to use this event to help fill the gaps in our budget,” said Jodie Wilson-Dougherty, executive director of Ophelia’s Place. “Our time and energy are all in trying to sell tickets. SADA does all the work on logistics.”
In response to the dissolution of the Friends of the Liverpool Public Library on Jan. 14, LPL Board of Trustees President Mark Spadafore issued the following statement: “Though we are disappointed by the decision of the Friends of the Liverpool Public Library, Inc. to disband, the Board of Trustees and administration are moving forward with plans to continue to provide the highest level of service at the lowest possible tax rate to the Liverpool taxpayers.”
As we enter the New Year, many of us are pledging to get healthier — to lose weight, exercise more, eat more fruits and vegetables. But possibly the healthiest resolution, and one of the most enduring, is to quit smoking. But given that tobacco kills more people every year than alcohol, car accidents, cocaine, heroin, homicide, suicide, fire and AIDS combined, wouldn’t it be better never to start?
About 75 people attended the meeting Friends of the Liverpool Public Library Monday night at the Ramada Inn in Salina. There was significant discussion as to why the dissolution was taking place, and Friends board members took questions submitted on index cards. At the close of the 90-minute meeting, the membership voted 63 to 9 to dissolve the group.
Sunshine Friends Inc. (SFI) provides training for therapy dogs (and cats) and leads excursions to schools, nursing homes and the Golisano Children’s Hospital. “Therapy dogs provide comfort, humor and affection to those who need it the most,” said SFI President Danielle Basciano. “There are a variety of ways in which therapy dogs can be used to improve a person's quality of life, but the common thread is the unconditional and non-judgmental affection a therapy dog provides.”
Cicero Supervisor Jim Corl’s name is on the short list of candidates being considered for an appointment to the Onondaga County Legislature. With Third District County Legislator Bill Meyer leaving for a county appointment, the seat will be left open for a replacement to be decided by County Executive Joanie Mahoney. Mahoney appointed Meyer as assistant director of the Veterans Service Agency last week in a shakeup that also left the ninth district seat open; Legislator Mark Stanczyk will be the new deputy commissioner of community services. She also appointed her campaign manager, Ben Dublin, as her chief of staff and communications director Marty Skanen as deputy commissioner of parks and recreation.
After months of negotiations, the Liverpool Public Library board of trustees and Friends group were unable to come up with a memorandum of understanding that would formalize the relationship between the two entities. As a result, the Friends group will hold a vote on its own dissolution at its Jan. 14 meeting.
The North Syracuse Central School District Board of Education and the North Syracuse Principals’ Association have reached an agreement on the principals’ contracts from 2012-15.
There’s a lot of conflict in education these days, but experts agree on one thing: something needs to change. “New York State has high academic standards and spends more money per student than any other state in the nation,” said a report by the New NY Education Reform Commission issued last week. “However, we are not seeing enough return on investment, especially for the large number of students from a background of poverty. New York lags far behind most states in graduation rates; only 74 percent of New York’s students graduate from high school, and only 35 percent are college ready.” That’s why Gov. Andrew Cuomo convened the the 25-member commission last April: to better prepare New York’s 2.7 million K through 12 students for the future. The commission issued its preliminary recommendations last week to mixed reviews.
A 2-year-old girl who was the victim of an assault on New Year’s Eve has died.
For some, the post-holiday blues are worse than for others. In addition to the general stresses of finding the perfect gifts, struggling with holiday finances, cleaning the house for guests and family arguments, the holidays and the time after are especially difficult for those taking care of a loved one with a serious illness. “Holidays are packed with emotions for most people, so when you add in the stresses of caregiving it can often be a tipping point,” said Jared Paventi, chief communications officer, Alzheimer's Association, Central New York Chapter. “All of a sudden, a houseful of people on Christmas day becomes an empty house again. It's like going from 60 to zero in a heartbeat. This is difficult for people who aren't caregiving, so you can imagine what a caregiver feels.”
Read on to recall the biggest stories of the past year in Liverpool, North Syracuse, Clay, Cicero, Salina and Mattydale.
It’s that time of year — time for New Year’s resolutions. And while many of us are committing to getting organized or living a healthier lifestyle, our local municipal leaders are also resolving to provide better services, more efficient government and more value for our tax dollars. Read on to find out what your town and village leaders have to say about the changes coming in 2013.
The North Syracuse Central School District voted to approve a contract with the North Syracuse Principals Association Wednesday night, clearing the final hurdle in its efforts to put in place a teacher evaluation system mandated by New York state. The details of the contract were not immediately available, but the Star-Review has filed a Freedom of Information request for the document.
On Saturday, Dec. 15, Moyers Corners Fire Department Station No. 1 opened its doors to a different kind of crowd. In addition to the usual crew of firefighters and first responders, several burn survivors and their families also came to the station in order to enjoy the holiday celebration of the Burn Foundation of CNY, to which the department volunteered to play host.
Things got a little hairy at North Syracuse Junior High School the week before the holiday break. But it’s okay; it was all for a good cause. Thirty members of the staff at the school signed up to grow beards in support of NSJHS’s Beards for Bread fundraiser, which aimed to raise money for the Community Food Pantry at St. Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church. The idea came from math teacher Zach Mekker and science teacher Jason Shannon, according to Assistant Principal Chuck Yonko.
In order to ensure that her memory survives, Taylor Fleming’s family is conducting a blood drive from noon to 6 p.m. Friday, Jan. 4, at Drivers Village in Cicero. To sign up for an appointment, go to redcrossblood.org and enter sponsor code 8630. You can also call 1-800-REDCROSS and use the same code. The family has also set up a Facebook event for the drive at Facebook.com/events/569445799737936/?fref=ts. Donors get a coupon for a free pound of coffee from Dunkin Donuts.
Sarah Hall, editor of the Eagle Star-Review, has been named third vice president of the Syracuse Press Club.
Operation Southern Comfort, as well as Operation Northern Comfort, its locally-active counterpart, has sent volunteers to areas affected by Sandy twice since the beginning of November. Norm Andrzejewski, a Liverpool resident who has been to the hardest-hit areas of the Gulf Coast more than 40 times since Katrina struck, said it’s an all-too-familiar scene. “It’s a lot like New Orleans, a lot like Mississippi, especially in some of the harder-hit areas like Rockaway,” he said. “There’s a lot of sand, a lot of homes that need to be mucked out. There are a lot of families hurting.” That’s why ONC and OSC are teaming up in a new effort, one Andrzejewski is calling Operation Sandyland, to help those affected by the latest disaster. A team, led by Andrzejewski’s granddaughter Kristin, will be heading down with a rental truck on Dec. 22 to help out wherever they can.
This Christmas, Ava Leahey wants every family to be together like hers will be. But, given the fact that the U.S. still has numerous troops stationed overseas, she knows that’s not a possibility for many. So instead, she thought she’d provide those troops with a little comfort to remind them of home this holiday season. The Cicero 10-year-old collected teddy bears, as well as other donations, to send to soldiers in Afghanistan. She sent several boxes of stuffed animals, as well as hygiene items, phone cards and other donations, to several different units on Monday, Dec. 17.
In what experts are calling the one of the worst school shootings in history, a gunman opened fire on a Newtown, Conn., elementary school, killing 27 people and injuring at least three more. The majority of the victims were children. In the early stages of the investigation, police have not yet said how the shooter, tentatively identified as 20-year-old Adam Lanza, entered the school. They believe his target was his mother, Nancy, a teacher at Sandy Hook Elementary. Nancy Lanza was one of six adults killed in the shooting. Inevitably, in the wake of such a tragedy, parents in Central New York will wonder what their children’s schools are doing to prevent something similar from occurring here. In North Syracuse and Liverpool, administrators want parents to be sure that all measures are being taken to protect their children.
New York state schools stand to lose an average of $243,000 in federal funding next year if Congress and the White House can’t reach a compromise to avoid the “fiscal cliff” by Jan. 2, according to an analysis of federal grant allocations to school districts completed by the New York State School Boards Association. “The consequences of lawmakers not reaching agreement on the fiscal cliff are severe for students in New York schools, especially those in city school districts,” said New York State School Boards Association Executive Director Timothy G. Kremer in a release.
They might look like something out of “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” but the gigantic light displays on Carmel Drive in Fairway East and Harriet Fisher Drive in Lawton Valley Hunt serve a greater purpose than setting records for electric usage. The displays house the first-ever residential Salvation Army Red Kettles, allowing the homeowners who operate the light shows to capitalize on their success for a good cause.
Parker Vavra thought about his approaching birthday and decided he didn’t want traditional presents like video games or toys; instead, he asked his family to donate any money they would spend to the CNY SPCA or the Humane Association of Central New York.
Want to get the people on your gift list something unique this year? Why not try something from one of Central New York’s many locally-owned businesses? To get you started, here’s an A-to-Z primer, with descriptions and suggestions. Got your own favorites? Feel free to share on our Facebook page.
When you put some of Central New York’s most popular bands under one roof with the goal of having them compete for the title of “Best Band,” it should make for some good entertainment. When you do it for a good cause, it should make for a great fundraiser.
On Sunday morning, Onondaga County Parks Director Bill Lansley and several of his co-workers ran into Oneida Lake in their suits. Had they gone mad? Nope. Lansley, along with Kim Hall, Nate Stevens, Bob Ellis and Meg Belovich, plus hundreds of others, were participants in the sixth annual Polar Plunge for Special Olympics New York (NYSO), a fundraising event at Oneida Shores that included live entertainment, prizes, face painting, hot chocolate and coffee from sponsor Dunkin Donuts and more, along with the signature dip in the chilly waters of Oneida Lake.