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Music meant the world to Mike Casale

Born with spina bifida in 1949, Mike Casale spent his entire 64 years wearing various contraptions designed to hold his body upright to offset the effects of the congenital spinal disorder. A naturally affable fella, Mike often commented frankly on his disability. “I’m 64 years old, 4-foot-3, and I use a cane,” he said, but he never complained about it and never let it hold him back. A talented bass guitarist who lived in Liverpool, Mike became of the most recognizable entertainers in Central New York. He made his initial mark on the local music scene from 1970 to 1985 as one-half of the duo Neighborhood Friends alongside six-string guitarist Gary Sprague.

Limp Lizard hosts feral feast on Sunday

The Limp Lizard BBQ specializes in Southern-style delicacies such as pulled pork, barbecued chicken, catfish, ribs and jambalaya. And no, despite the business’s name, the cooks there never grill iguana. This Sunday afternoon, however, one of the Limp Lizard’s regular customers, Joe Romano, will host a wild game dinner at the little bar and restaurant at 201 First St. There’s no lizard meat on his menu, but Romano will prepare plenty of venison, pheasant, duck, wild turkey and fish. Romano, who lives in Liverpool, is a 21st-century Renaissance man. A talented sculptor and carpenter with a shop on North Cypress Street and a home on Hickory Street, Romano’s also a gifted gastronome. For instance, he makes his own maple syrup and his own homemade wine, although I’m sure he’s careful not to mix them.

Local high school students memorize monologues for competition

Two local high-school students will be among 19 contestants in the 26th annual Shakespeare Competition from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, March 1, at Archbold Theatre at Syracuse Stage. The public-speaking contest conducted by the Syracuse branch of the English-Speaking Union of the United States will commemorating William Shakespeare’s 450th birthday.

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LMS orchestra composes piece for upcoming Symphoria concert

Over the last few weeks, members of the Liverpool Middle Orchestra have been hard at work composing an ode to nature. As part of Symphoria’s educational outreach program, the seventh and eighth grade musicians from LMS were asked to think about the sounds they hear in nature and write an eight-measure phrase using the New York State School Music Association’s Level 1 and 2 sight-reading guidelines. Once the phrases were compiled, the students sight-read each one and selected two themes — one written by LMS seventh-grader Zoyie Baldwin and the other by eighth-grader Catrina Tulowiecki — to use as the foundation for their own musical composition.

City crime encroaching on the village

Back in the late 1990s, the North Side of Syracuse became overrun with drug addicts and prostitutes. Burglaries and muggings were common there. Shootings and stabbings increased as crack dealers fought turf wars over street corners. Before long, the blight spread to Eastwood, East Syracuse and Mattydale. How long, Liverpool folks wondered, will it be before it affects us too? The answer was, oh, about 10 or 15 years.

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LHS junior to release debut EP at Sharkey’s on Valentine’s Day

Since childhood, Joey Esce has aspired to a career as a professional entertainer. This weekend, he’s taking the first steps toward making that happen. The 17-year-old Liverpool High School junior will be holding a release party for his debut EP, “Songs from the Heart,” from 6 to 10 p.m. Friday, Feb. 14, at Sharkey’s Sports Bar and Restaurant, 7240 Oswego Road in Liverpool. There he’ll perform songs from the CD, along with friend Justin Bertolero, who will provide bass accompaniment. Admission is free.

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Pour it on

Learn the art of maple sugaring

For most people, Valentine’s Day calls for last minute stops to local flower and candy shops. For others, the holiday is a target date for an entirely different purpose, yet still yields sweet results: maple syrup.

GOP candidates line up to challenge Maffei

Congressman Dan Maffei, a Democrat, has never won a midterm election. So the line forms on the right as no less than eight local Republicans have announced their willingness to oppose Maffei in November. Last Tuesday, Jan. 28, the eight GOP hopefuls all appeared here at a town of Salina Republican Committee meeting at American Legion Post 188 on South Cypress Street in the village of Liverpool. Organized by Bill Tassone, chairman of the town of Salina GOP and vice-chairman of the county Republican committee, the Jan. 28 meeting drew 140 party members. Because our 24th Congressional District includes all of Onondaga County, Tassone also invited party members from the towns of Clay, Cicero and Van Buren. “We had 140 people,” Tassone said. “I’d been hoping for at least 100, so I was very pleased with the turnout.”

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Team Believe raises money for area charities through running

Running a 10-mile race is a tremendous challenge. But if you’ve got the right motivation, those 10 miles can feel like nothing at all. That’s the idea behind Team Believe, a grassroots organization that brings together local runners to help the Central New York community. The group, which got its start in 2009, asks participants to help raise money for local children’s charities while training for the Dunn Tire Mountain Goat Run in Syracuse in May.

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‘Les Mis’ luminescent!

B’ville Theatre Guild stages a sensational version of the classic musical 

Few musicals engage the mind and excite the senses as does “Les Misérables.” Even more rarely does a community theater group expertly blend the epic story, the grand spectacle and the soaring music to deliver a seamless and sensational show. Director Korrie Taylor, music director Abel Searor and producers Mark and Sandy Baker, however, have done just that with the current Baldwinsville Theatre Guild production of “Les Mis,” running through Feb. 8.

If we ever needed a Hot Stove, now is the time

How do you feel about this deep-freeze? Myself, I’m shivering like a mobster in an Internal Revenue office. It’s so cold that I’m warming up the house by leaving the refrigerator door open. Yeah, it’s so cold the pipes froze solid in the foyer of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Church on Beechwood Avenue in Galeville. In fact, it’s so cold that the snow angel on Second Street is begging to come in and get warm. Over on Hiawatha Path, it’s so cold that Christina Fadden Fitch had to chisel her dog, Nicky, off a fire hydrant. Yeah, it’s so cold that Gena and Phil de Anguera over at the Family Music Center had to cut a piano up for firewood. They only got two chords. And it’s so cold that Balsam Street resident Jason Smorol, the new general manager of the Syracuse Chiefs, scheduled the team’s 54th annual Hot Stove Dinner for this Friday, Jan. 31, at the Holiday Inn Convention Center on Electronics Parkway. Proceeds will go to the Challenger Baseball League of Syracuse.

LETTER: Thanks to Scouts for help with book and bake sale

To the editor: The Friends of the Library, from Cicero's Northern Onondaga Public Library, would like to extend a big thank you to Boy Scout Troop 116. Scoutmaster Scott Watterud and his troop volunteered to help us with last October's sale, and they have happily agreed to help us again with our upcoming Valentine's Day Book and Bake Sale from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 8.

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Is ‘Ash for Trash’ the way to go?

Public opinion split on idea to import trash from Cortland County

For 20 years, the waste-to-energy facility on Rock Cut Road in Jamesville has been Onondaga County’s answer to waste management. However, starting in 2015, Cortland County may also have the opportunity to bring its trash to the site through a potential agreement called “Ash for Trash.”

CNY athletes invited to test their mettle at the Indoor Warrior Triathlon

The Alzheimer’s Association, Central New York Chapter will hold its second annual Indoor Warrior Triathlon on April 6 at Gold’s Gym, Liverpool, in honor of the 1 million caregivers in New York state and 15.4 million caregivers nationwide. Athlete registration is now open at alz.org/cny.

Routine traffic stop raises eyebrows

It was the night after Christmas, and Liverpool Police Officer Jerry Unger saw an automobile driving 44 miles per hours in a 30 mile-per-hour zone along the 800 block of Oswego Street. His partner that night was Marcus Lukins, a new part-time police officer who recently completed his course-work at the Public Safety Training Center at Onondaga Community College. Unger was demonstrating for Lukins the proper way to conduct traffic stops. The officers pulled the car over along Onondaga Lake Parkway. The speeding driver was a young woman who said she’d enjoyed a single beer at a local bowling alley. Unger detected the odor of alcohol on her breath and noted that her speech was somewhat slurred. He ran her through a sobriety test and eventually arrested her for driving while intoxicated.