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Celebrate Earth Day and Arbor Day by volunteering in the community

Here in Central New York, April brings days of spring rain, sprinkled with a few glimpses of the summer sun. The changing weather reminds us that Earth is a beautiful place, and we need to be doing everything we can to keep it that way. This year, Earth Day is April 22, and Arbor Day is April 25. While these commemorations bring us together to revitalize our community after a long, bitter winter, they are also important reminders of the conditions and vulnerability of the world around us. There is a critical need for ongoing education, action, and change when it comes to our environment. This year’s Earth Day theme is “Green Cities.” By improving conditions in our cities, we can improve conditions for future generations around the world.

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Dream Factory of Syracuse gives Liverpool youth a trip to Philadelphia and Lancaster

Sarah Hamlin was surprised with a trip to Pennsylvania on Friday, April 11, by The Dream Factory of Syracuse. The 18-year-old, who is living with cerebral palsy, arrived at Flamingo Bowling Friday evening with her parents and was shocked to find dozens of family members, Dream Factory representatives and others eagerly awaiting her arrival. “I thought I was coming for a BLT,” she said.

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Human Library events bring people together at local libraries

Twenty curious people turned out Tuesday evening, April 15, at Liverpool Public Library to check out the “Human Library,” a scheduled 20-minute one-on-one with a person who has a certain expertise to share or a compelling story to tell. A Human Library is a living, breathing library where humans are the “books” and the stories are their lives.

Sure sign of spring: robins’ eggs in Christmas wreath

When former Liverpool Mayor Jon Zappola and his family returned from a recent sojourn in the Sunshine State, he went to remove the Christmas wreath from the house, and discovered a mother robin had laid five eggs in a nest she’d fashioned in the wreath. No wonder the Zappolas’ holiday wreath will remain up for a while on their First Street home! A former baseball coach and art teacher, Zappola now serves as chairman of the Liverpool Village Housing Authority, which oversees the House at 807 that has provided affordable housing for elders since 1999. The House at 807 on Oswego Street currently has two vacancies. If you’re interested in an apartment there, visit house-at-807.org,‎ or call 457-1334.

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Painter Maureen Lemko loves local landmarks

They may not be many, but the five oil paintings that comprise Maureen Lemko’s ongoing exhibit are certainly memorable. The artist colorfully depicts a quintet of familiar scenes in her work hanging through April at the Liverpool Public Library lobby. All artists aspire to show us our world through a new pair of eyes, and Maureen succeeds as she brings a fresh perspective to Old First, the village’s iconic burnt umber brick edifice. Other local landmarks Lemko rendered include Liverpool United Methodist’s famous purple door, an old willow basket barn, Liverpool Cemetery and Baldwinsville’s Abbott Farms.

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.

In spring a young man’s fancy turns to…baseball!

Ready or not, here comes baseball. Syracuse Chiefs groundskeeper John Stewart and his crew worked overtime last week scraping ice out of the dugouts at NBT Bank Stadium, where the local International League entry hopes to open its season at 2 p.m. Thursday, April 3. The top farm club of the Washington Nationals, the Chiefs will face New York Yankees Triple-A affiliate, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Railriders, who remain in town for games at 5 p.m. Friday, and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; 474-7833; syracusechiefs.com.

Next year, where will village put its piles of snow?

After that withering winter, especially that season-ending two-day blizzard March 12 and 13, most of us would like to forget about snow for the next six months or so. But Bill Asmus can’t afford to forget. He’s already worried about winter 2014-15. The superintendent of the village Department of Public Works since 1996, Bill needs to find a place to dump all the snow his crews plow from our streets and sidewalks.

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WCNY-FM offers special radio service for blind and visually impaired

For more than three decades, WCNY-FM has been serving the blind and visually-impaired residents of Central New York with a special radio service called READ-OUT.

Dick Powell shines on Cinefest’s silver screen

Every March, the Syracuse Cinephile Society’s annual Cinefest draws hundreds of vintage film fans from around the world to little ol’ Liverpool. The attendees view rare movies, most of them shot during the first half of the 20th century.

OCC to host business conference

Onondaga Community College is more than just an asset for students seeking an associate’s degree in one of the numerous programs they offer. OCC is home to the NYS Small Business Development Center (SBDC). The SBDC provides one-on-one advisement to start up and existing businesses. OCC staff at the SBDC consists of small business advisors who can advise an entrepreneur on making their business a success. The SBDC works with businesses of all varieties; home based, e-commerce, manufacturing firms — small to large. Services provided by the SBDC are free and confidential. Additionally, the SBDC partners with statewide agencies which provide a strong network of support. Some of the support the SBDC can assist with is business plan development, small business start-ups, organizational structures, exporting, cost analysis, marketing, financial management, financing strategies, training programs, business expansion, selling a business and research.

Library director to retire

On March 6, Liverpool Public Library Executive Director Jean Armour Polly announced to her staff that she would retire 30 days later, on April 6. Polly, 61, was appointed director in July 2009. Prior to that, from 2002 to ’09, she was assistant director of the library in charge of its systems and technology department. She previously worked at the library from 1976 to 1992, when she left to pursue Internet-related projects and write books.

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Local artist blooms in Baldwinsville

When you walk into Baldwinsville’s Canal Walk Cafe, you’re surrounded by the talents of local artists in a variety of media: culinary, crafting and paintings just to name a few. What you may not know is that one of those artists responsible for the eclectic and eye-catching decor is also involved in dishing up your palate’s preference. Meet your server, Jackie Colello, a gifted painter whose passion involves another kind of palette: color.

Two-fingered typist became our best writer

Marylee Manson Armour knew how to turn a phrase. She was one of Liverpool’s most gifted writers ever. Her crowning achievement was a book about a Fourth Lake mail-boat captain, “Heartwood: The Adirondack Homestead Life of W. Don Burnap.” Marylee died Feb. 20 at age 89, but she had continued journaling up into her 87th year, this time in the form of a blog. Her favorite topics were nature, spirituality and homespun Hoosier humor. Born in Terre Haute, Ind., Marylee had resided in Liverpool since 1947, spending summers at the family camp at Fourth Lake.

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As testing regulations increase, more and more parents choose to homeschool their children

As controversies over Common Core and mandated standardized tests become more and more prevalent, many parents are choosing a new option in educating their children: homeschooling. Once the sole province of the very religious, homeschooling is becoming more popular every day, with a growth rate of 7 to 15 percent per year. Nationwide, about 2 million children learn at home instead of in a brick-and-mortar school, up from about 1 million in 2003. According to the U.S. Department of Education, about 88 percent of U.S. homeschool parents express concern about the school environment, citing drugs, negative peer pressure and general safety.

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