April is Autism Awareness Month. This month-long observation aims to educate the public about autism and the many services available to help the 1.5 million American individuals and families dealing with this developmental disorder. There’s a growing incidence of autism spectrum disorders across the state and across the country, and we need to ensure we’re making the proper accommodations for those individuals. This month draws needed public attention to a serious and often under-treated condition.
Things change faster than the speed of light here in the 21st century. We’ve heard plenty of talk about changing the Liverpool village election from June to November, but that won’t happen this year. No, that change will roll around at the somewhat slower speed of sound, no earlier than autumn 2014.
For the past few weeks I enjoyed profiling three women who express themselves through art. Engaging in artistic work is our way of finding first, capturing next and ultimately sharing beauty. Beauty, when we experience it, makes us look up in awe, makes us stop and pause and reflect, and it makes us feel sated. It takes us away from the usual. In all my travels I have seen many sights of beauty, but none really as surprising, as rich and as real as those evenings driving home or to one of our local shops on Route 31. Stopped at a traffic light at the right time of evening, in the right season, the most glorious sunsets suddenly, it seems, appear. From nothing. From nowhere. The orange/blue/purple sky is a reminder that sometimes, we have enough.
Violence and crime are big problems in many regions of the country and the world. In Onondaga County, specifically within the city of Syracuse, crimes take place on a daily basis, many of which are committed with a firearm. As a community, we have become desensitized by the gun violence that takes place within the city. The city of Syracuse, Onondaga County and the state of New York need to invest in real solutions to the escalating crime and gun violence. The New York SAFE Act is not a solution to the gun violence that takes place in the city of Syracuse. If I thought for one minute the SAFE Act would make the public safer, I would have been in full support. Unfortunately, without the input from law enforcement officers, mental health professionals and the general public, a hasty law was adopted that does little to prevent violent crimes and turns law-abiding citizens into criminals.
We all enjoy Ophelia’s Place in its incarnation as Café at 407. It’s easy to dig the scene — couches and recliners complement the usual table-and-chairs — and the menu features gourmet coffees and baked goods, healthy soups, salads and sandwiches spiced by live music three evenings a week. But let’s not lose sight of the original purpose of Ophelia’s Place. Established about a decade ago, the non-profit organization aims to empower individuals and families to redefine beauty and health. Ophelia’s Place Director Jodie Wilson-Dougherty keeps the effort focused on increasing self-esteem, improving body image and introducing alternatives to what she calls “dangerous desires for perfection.”
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.
Tougher for HS coaches in era of increased scrutiny
When New York Mills boys basketball coach Mike Adey picked up career win no. 500 last Sunday as his Marauders won yet another Section III Class D title at the Carrier Dome, he entered a territory few might ever trod upon again.
It may have been last century, but it wasn’t that many years ago when the Christmas season started on Thanksgiving. Then Santa Claus began appearing immediately after Halloween. And before long the malls all decked their halls the day after Labor Day… Now the same thing is happening to other — how shall we say it? — less-portentous holidays such as St. Patrick’s Day.
Onondaga Lake is one of the most valuable assets in our community. Millions of taxpayer dollars have been dedicated to the clean-up and renewal of this lake. As the county gets closer to improving the lake’s quality, questions of the lake’s usage and mission have become important components to its recovery. FOCUS Greater Syracuse, Inc. was commissioned by the county to sort through 54 previous studies. FOCUS then conducted interviews and surveyed stake-holders on their aspirations for the lake. Taking into consideration the 54 previous studies, combined with the new information from the current stake-holders, they compiled an all-encompassing report that clearly defines a mission for Onondaga Lake moving forward. This report is not meant to be a final plan, but a guideline for determining the future of the lake.
As you may know, March is Women’s History Month, a time when the contributions of women around the world, both past and present, are recognized. Many of the women and events that have shaped women’s history came from, or occurred in, Central New York.
Just recently, the Cicero Town Board passed a resolution that will clear the way for a new development called Lyons Farm just west of the hamlet of Bridgeport. I began working with the developer of this project several months ago to pave the way for this approval. This is exciting news for the Bridgeport area and the town of Cicero as a whole.
Monica’s becoming a fixture on First Street. Also known as Mona Leah Ridgeway, she worked for several months at the deli counter at Nichols Supermarket up at 327 First. Now instead of serving cold cuts, she’s piercing body parts at Black Sea Tattoo & Piercing down on Lower First Street, not far from the ever-popular CNY Yoga Center. “It’s a great location — 105 First St. — because we’re getting business from the yoga people,” Monica said last week. Apparently, there’s a relationship between dharma and dermals.
College hoops, NCAAs could be crazier than normal
More than 35,000 souls gathered under the Carrier Dome top to fete Carmelo Anthony and the championship team from 10 years ago (10 years already?), and to see the current Syracuse lot battle Georgetown one more time as a Big East rival. Only one other basketball crowd will be bigger this season – the one on the first Saturday and Monday in April, under another dome roof, this one in Atlanta.
Bob Rotella was a real man-about-town. For more than 20 years I’d worked with Bob at WCNY-TV on Old Liverpool Road where I was a cameraman and he was engineer. Whenever something went wrong with my camera, Bob or one of his colleagues from Master Control would rush into the studio to fix it. Back in the 1970s, I’d run into Bob after work at Erie Boulevard East nightspots like Soo-Lin or Casa di Lisa where he enjoyed listening to jazz and rhythm & blues. Years later he became a fixture at the Dinosaur Bar-B-Que which was co-founded in 1988 by his son, Mike Rotella.
Attention seniors! Do you find it difficult to cover the cost of heating your home in the winter? Costs to heat our homes are constantly increasing. The good news is there is help, whether you are a senior citizen living on a fixed income or a single family on a budget, the Onondaga County Department of Aging and Youth oversees the Home Energy Assistance Program more commonly referred to as HEAP. HEAP is a federally-funded program that issues heating benefits to reduce a household’s annual energy cost.