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Summer rains chased eight bands from Johnson Park

This may not have been the wettest summer on record, but it sure seemed to rain every Monday and Wednesday. Those are the evenings on which free concerts are scheduled at Johnson Park. As the program director for Liverpool Is the place, a sub-committee of the Greater Liverpool Chamber of Commerce, I book those concerts and present the bands.

Take precautions against mosquitos

Every year, the Onondaga County Department of Health begins surveillance and control of the mosquito population in May. They monitor more than 20 traps across the county, testing mosquitoes for West Nile and EEE. EEE was identified in the Cicero Wildlife Management area in early July which prompted an aerial spraying on July 22 after obtaining the necessary approval from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. This helped to reduce the mosquito count, but with the recent wet-weather, additional spraying throughout the neighborhoods surrounding the management area was authorized and the truck spraying occurred Aug. 17. This will continue to be monitored by the department of health.

Visit the Great New York State Fair on a budget during Special Fair Days

Here in Central New York, we have the benefit of being right next door to The Great New York State Fair, which brings a wide variety of attractions and events for the entire family and showcases the best products our state has to offer. This year, consider taking advantage of Special Fair Days that can enhance your experience at the fair and even save you money.

Café’s revamped kitchen inspires culinary creativity

During the second week of this month the Café at 407 at Ophelia’s Place was closed in order to install new state-of-the-art stoves and ovens. The popular coffee shop re-opened Aug. 11. The café is located at 407 Tulip St., in the village of Liverpool.

Gus Macker tournament a success

By all accounts, the Gus Macker event held Aug. 8 and 9 at Drivers Village was a huge success. It was the fifth year of what has become an annual event. It was well-organized and events proceeded like clockwork. There were 178 basketball teams that participated, many travelling from distant communities like Buffalo, the Southern Tier and the North Country.

LETTER: Fifth Gus Macker tournament a success

Well, we just wrapped up our fifth year of the Gus Macker 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament held at Drivers Village, and what a weekend it was. The weather cooperated beautifully and that provided us with extremely large crowds which included at times three generations of family members. We also maintained a quality event for the 178 four-person teams that registered to participate. Our volunteers, 145 strong, the backbone of this event, put in almost 1,500 hours. These highly enthusiastic volunteers allow us to continue the Friends of the CanTeen’s ultimate mission of raising much needed funds to operate the CanTeen teen center.

Composting will help cut waste and promote a clean environment in Central New York

Recently I had the pleasure of visiting the Onondaga County Resource Recovery Agency’s (OCRRA) Amboy compost site, where we discussed their efforts to cut waste in our community. After becoming a pilot location for food composting, OCRRA upgraded its facility at the Amboy site to compost over 9,000 tons of commercial and institutional food waste every year, generating 30,000 cubic yards of compost. Instead of filling up landfills and potentially harming our environment, the waste that makes this compost goes toward creating healthier, nutrient-rich soil to grow great local produce and cut greenhouse gas emissions. It can also help improve stormwater controls, keeping our community safe.

Sea Scouts tented on Onondaga Yacht Club lawn

There’ve been plenty of friendly sailing excursions at the Onondaga Yacht Club this summer including a rare visit by nearly 30 young Sea Scouts from across the Northeast. They were here participating in the first-ever Erie Canal Flotilla Sea Scout Regatta Aug. 1 through 3, on Onondaga Lake.

From the supervisor’s office: Town of Cicero resident communications

Whenever I’m speaking with residents, it is not uncommon to hear comments such as, “I never know what’s going on in the town,” or “Why doesn’t the town send us information?” Legitimate questions, I agree, and I am strongly committed to the town maintaining active involvement with residents. Although I would like to tell people that we mail newsletters to households, the budget just doesn’t support that. Instead, we rely on the Star-Review and on internet services that have no fee.

Tips to help make college more affordable

For many, higher education is the key to a bright, successful future. The college experience can open doors and create better opportunities for our kids. While preparing for college can be daunting for parents and students, New York State has many great programs to help make the process easier.

Guest column: A model TNR program at Casual Estates

We’ve written before about TNR, or trap-neuter-return, in dealing with feral cats. Feral or “community” cats are those cats that roam free and are frequently too wild (unsocialized) to adopt. If left alone, they reproduce, and the sheer numbers may make them a nuisance. With TNR, they are trapped humanely, neutered and vaccinated, and returned to the area they came from. An established colony will keep new, unaltered cats out, and because they can’t reproduce, the colony gradually gets smaller instead of quickly getting larger.

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.

Rat Packer rolled strikes at Flamingo Bowl

The village welcomed the swingin’ Sixties because George Tortorelli knew how to swing. The former boxer who lived in Liverpool on Tulip Street near the cemetery had become a musician, a bass player who excelled as a bandleader and master of ceremonies. Using the stage name George Orelli, he worked at all of Central New York’s top nightclubs, from Andre’s Tic Toc Club down city to Three Rivers Inn north of here where he accompanied touring stars such as Connie Francis, Louis Armstrong and Jimmy Durante.

The state fair is a Central New York tradition

Some of my fondest summer memories are of time spent at the New York State Fair, and each year, I look forward to making new memories with my family. In fact, my 89-year-old mother-in-law still goes to the fair every day. For her, the tradition is what’s important. While the fair has certainly stayed true to its roots, there is always something new to see, hear or taste. That’s why I’ll be heading down to the Great New York State Fair from Aug. 21 to Sept. 1. I invite you to join me. The iconic fair provides an opportunity for all of us to revisit old memories and make new ones as we celebrate “Summer’s Best in Show” — this year’s theme.

LETTER: Volunteers made Little League event a success

To the editor: I had the distinct pleasure of witnessing a very professionally run baseball tournament held at Central Park in Cicero last week. For those who missed it, it was spectacular. Six Little League teams from all over the state of New York, including Colonie, East Meadow, Wappinger Falls, Throgs Neck, Grand Island and Whitestown, competed in the New York State Little League Championship to gain entry to the Mid-Atlantic Division in the 2014 Little League World Series. The event went off without a hitch — well, maybe until the rains on Sunday morning that dampened but didn’t deter the enthusiasm of volunteers set on getting the field in condition to play the championship game.

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