Ask any parent, and they’ll tell you: a baby changes everything. And no more for an unwed teenage mother carrying the child of God. That’s the message behind the musical the North Syracuse Baptist Church (NSBC) is putting on this year as it annual Christmas pageant. “A Baby Changes Everything” is based on the popular Faith Hill song, which came out in late 2008.
Helping others around the holidays doesn’t have to mean breaking the bank. It can be as simple as cleaning out your linen closet or picking up some extra pet food. Joelle Litz of Liverpool is conducting a donation drive for the Humane Association of CNY and the CNY SPCA from now until Dec. 22. Both shelters are always in need of supplies (see the sidebar for their wish lists), and Litz said every little bit counts.
Ethan Bramoff went into the Target in Cicero the morning of Sunday, Dec. 1, with a $100 gift card, a list and a mission: to purchase Christmas gifts for everyone in his family. “Usually I go with my mom and dad,” said Ethan, 6, a first-grader in Mrs. McAvoy’s class at Cicero Elementary, “and I get everything with them.” But this year, Ethan had a different shopping buddy: Cicero Police Officer John Fortino.
In a couple of years, about a quarter of Liverpool’s students will attend a different school than they do now. At its Dec. 2 meeting, the Liverpool Central School District Board of Education voted to go ahead with redistricting. However, it won’t happen as soon as originally planned. “The board talked at length about the implementation date of September of 2014,” BOE President Patricia DeBona-Rosier said. “That date is fast approaching. Because we want to make sure this is done thoroughly and done well and we want to have sufficient time to make everyone informed, the board has come to a consensus. That consensus is that we will hold off on implementing this until the fall of 2015.”
With little fanfare, the towns of Cicero, Salina and Clay have passed their 2014 budgets. All include minimal tax increases, and none include cuts to programming or resident services. Read on for specifics for your town budget.
A childhood friend of the woman killed Sunday afternoon on Route 57 has launched a fundraiser to help her family pay their medical expenses and funeral costs.
The common core conundrum: Are the new standards the best thing to happen in education, or are they setting the bar too high for teachers and students?
Laura Leitch kept her daughter home from Nate Perry Elementary School last Monday. Leitch’s daughter wasn’t sick, nor was there a family emergency. She wasn’t playing hooky. No, Leitch kept her daughter home in protest of New York state’s Common Core education standards. “I have to say, the school is great and her teachers are wonderful,” Leitch said. “The reason I kept her home on Monday was strictly in protest of Common Core.”
Amanda Hebblethwaite was literally woken from a sound sleep one night by a drive to help others. “I woke up in the middle of the night one night and thought about how awful it would be not to be able to have your parents be able to give you gifts for Christmas,” Hebblethwaite said. “The next morning I talked to my mom about it, and she suggested I start a donation drive for some place like the Rescue Mission.” Hebblethwaite ended doing just that. The Liverpool High School junior is conducting a toy drive for the Rescue Mission, collecting new and gently used toys for children in need.
At the Liverpool Central School District’s Board of Education meeting Monday, Nov. 18, the Redistricting Committee gave its final presentation to the board, offering recommendations on how to redraw the district’s lines for the first time in decades.
In order to commemorate her life, Frieda Weeks has organized a social media campaign on the anniversary of her daughter Heather’s death. She created an event, “Random Acts of Kindness in Memory of Heather Weeks,” on Facebook that, as of Wednesday evening, had more than 1,200 people attending from as close as Liverpool and as far away as Nigeria.
For 15 years, Terri and Vince Cook thought they had a daughter. But as they watched their child change from the vibrant, happy kid they’d always known to a withdrawn, depressed and ultimately suicidal teen, they knew something was very wrong. “We’d been through the hard teenage years with [our older son], and we’d seen this,” Terri Cook said. “This was different. This was someone who was just struggling and nobody could figure out why.” It took years of turmoil before the Cooks could determine the root of the problem: Drew Cook was transgender, which meant that although he was physically female, he identified mentally and emotionally as a male.
Last year, the North Syracuse Central School District released a strategic plan outlining the district’s goals for the next three years. However, according to Superintendent Annette Speach, many people felt the plan wasn’t working for the district. “The comments that I’ve gotten, the general feeling was that it encompassed too much and we weren’t able to prioritize,” Speach said. “We wanted something we could focus on for this year, something we could give everyone in the community — teachers, students, parents — as a common focus, at least for this year.” At its Nov. 4 meeting, the NSCSD Board of Education approved a new list of goals for the 2013-14 school year.
Liverpool High School’s Casting Hall will stage "The Laramie Project" at 7 p.m. Thursday, November 14, and Friday, November 15, at 7 p.m. in the LHS Auditorium. General admission tickets cost $8 and will be available at the door. Some people may find the subject matter and some of the specific language of the play unsuitable for children under the age of 13.
In a repeat of the 2011 election, Salina Supervisor Mark Nicotra, a Republican, defeated Democratic challenger Patrick Foster by a margin of 3,754 to 1,725 votes. “As an elected official, you get a report card every two years, and that’s Election Day,” Nicotra said. “Obviously, we had a favorable report card.”
In a heated race, former allies Jessica Zambrano and Judy Boyke battled to the last for the supervisor’s seat in the town of Cicero. In the end, the seat went to Republican Zambrano, who received 2,685 votes to Democrat Boyke’s 2,547. Zambrano said she was obviously pleased with the outcome of the election and planned to continue the work she had begun as deputy supervisor.
Brandy Dallas had an order of protection against her estranged husband, but it appears it didn’t do her any good. In July, Justin Dallas was arrested after allegedly holding her against her will. He was charged with unlawful imprisonment, second-degree menacing, fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon and endangering the welfare of a child. A judge issued a temporary order of protection, ordering Dallas to stay away from Brandy Dallas. But he didn’t heed the order. According to the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Department, Dallas’s estranged husband, Justin Dallas, 26, went to the home where she was staying at 915 Second St. in the village of Liverpool, owned by Samantha Rainwater, 30, on Monday, Oct. 28. Deputies say he then argued with his wife and stabbed both Brandy Dallas and Rainwater multiple times. A third woman in the home, who has not been identified, received superficial wounds, as well as minor injuries when Dallas pushed her down the stairs. Dallas was apprehended by Liverpool Village Police and Onondaga County Sheriff’s Deputies. He has been charged with murder in the first degree, two counts of murder in the second degree and criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree. He pleaded not guilty and is being held without bail. So what good is an order of protection? Is it worth any more than the paper it’s printed on?
One of Liverpool’s most popular restaurants went dark temporarily the night of Oct. 30 as Heid’s shut down so that its staff could pay respects to owner John Parker. Parker, who has owned the hot dog hotspot since 1995, lost his battle with cancer Oct. 26.
When you hear about problems on college campuses, you tend to think of binge drinking, budget cuts or fraternity hazing. But one of the biggest problems these days is hunger. A growing population of college students is struggling to make ends meet, unable to make tuition payments and pay for meals. There’s no comprehensive data available, but a City University of New York survey found that “39 percent [of students] had either gone hungry for lack of money, skipped meals, or been unable to afford balanced meals” in 2009. In order to help its students through the struggle, Onondaga Community College has joined a number of colleges nationwide in starting a food pantry.
The first-ever Hallowrun for Hunger, organized by Cicero-North Syracuse High School sophomores Liz Westfall and Megan Cuculich, raised more than $5,000 for the Food Bank of Central New York and attracted more than 300 runners.
Every year, as a way to give back to the community, the Liverpool High School girls’ volleyball teams hold a craft fair at the high school. This year, they’re doing a little something more. The teams will be collecting fabric to make blankets for the children at Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital.
UPDATE: The North Syracuse Junior High School was briefly placed on lockdown Thursday afternoon while state police searched for a suspect in a nearby armed robbery.
For nearly 20 years, the town of Clay has been working on fixing up the Three Rivers site where the Seneca, Oneida and Oswego rivers meet. “It’s been a long process,” said Clay Town Board member Naomi Bray, who has made it her mission to see the project to fruition. “It gets frustrating. But it’s definitely an ongoing process.” The town is ready to move into the next stage of that process with a meeting to be held from 1 to 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 27, in the meeting room at Town Hall, 4401 Route 31, Clay. The meeting marks the next phase of the execution of the Brownfield Opportunity Area (BOA) grant received by the town in the early 2000s.
While a few northern Onondaga County Legislature districts are unopposed this time around, a couple of districts feature contested races. In the fourth district, Democrat Carol Sinesi takes on incumbent Republican Judy Tassone, while Democrat Gary Brisson will try to unseat long-term incumbent Republican Kathy Rapp in the fifth district. Read on for candidate profiles.
Several Cicero Volunteer Fire Department members and Cicero police officers were honored for their lifesaving efforts at an awards ceremony Saturday, Oct. 19.
For some 27 years, the village of North Syracuse seal adorned the front of village hall. But the effects of 27 winters, summers, springs and autumns took their toll, and the wooden sign began to fade. “The sun hits this site pretty good, so it gets pretty weathered,” said Mayor Mark Atkinson. “We knew we had to do something to bring it back.” On Wednesday, Oct. 16, the village unveiled the newly restored sign. The seal depicts the plank road that once ran through the village, the first in the country; that road is now Route 11. The road, once made of hemlock, served as the inspiration for L. Frank Baum’s Yellow Brick Road in the “Wizard of Oz” books. Also on the seal is the structure that now serves as the North Syracuse Community Center — a former functioning trolley station — as well as a trolley car being pulled by horses. Along the bottom are the words “Yesterday’s Road to the Future” along with the village’s year of incorporation, 1925.
Don’t miss your chance to get chased by zombies — and help the hungry at the same time. The first-ever Hallowrun for Hunger, organized by Cicero-North Syracuse High School sophomores Liz Westfall and Megan Cuculich, will take place at 11 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 20, at the McKinley Shelter at Oneida Shores Park in Brewerton. The 5K course will feature student zombies from Cicero-North Syracuse High School, who will chase runners as they make their way along the course. The event will raise money for the Food Bank of Central New York, the main food supplier to 268 emergency food programs in 11 counties in the state.
Voters in the North Syracuse Central School District overwhelmingly approved a $2 million referendum to make repairs to the Michael J. Bragman Athletic Complex at Cicero-North Syracuse High School, as well as security upgrades at the same building. A total of 1,650 votes were cast, with 1,331 votes in favor of the referendum and 319 against.
In Salina, it's a typically heated race. All but two seats are opposed, with many familiar faces again throwing their hats in the ring. Read on to learn more about the candidates.
This year is an important one for anyone concerned with local government and looking to make a choice that they feel will benefit the community. On Nov. 5 the residents of Cicero, Clay and Salina will elect new town officers.
The smell of Laurie Farrell’s daughter is starting to fade from the box of mementos she brought home from the hospital five years ago. The contents of the hand-painted box — a Beanie Baby, a receiving blanket, a small knitted cap, a crocheted blanket, a tiny gold ring and a bracelet — is all Farrell has left of her little girl. Emily was stillborn in November of 2008. “These are things she wore, and these are amazing mementos for me as a parent,” said Farrell, of Onondaga Hill. “Every year when I open it up on the anniversary date, I can still smell her.”
There is no compelling argument against voting for the upcoming referendum to replace the turf and running track at the Michael J. Bragman Athletic Complex at Cicero-North Syracuse High School, as well as make repairs to the field’s drainage system and upgrades to the high school’s security system. The project will cost a total of $2,020,000. The local share of $302,000 would come out of the district’s C-NS Athletic Complex Reserve Fund, which was approved by district voters on Oct. 14, 1998, according to Assistant Superintendent for Management Donald Keegan.
The upcoming town of Clay elections will feature, for the first time since 2007, Democrats on the ticket. Two Dems are vying for town board seats. The remaining seats - supervisor, town clerk, tax receiver and the remaining board seat - are uncontested. Read on for profiles of all the candidates.
Brianna Stone Waryan is more than just a pretty face. The 8-year-old third-grader in Mrs. Montalto’s third grade class at Donlin Drive Elementary in Liverpool will compete in Saturday’s Miss Jr. Pre-Teen Syracuse/Binghamton pageant, vying against numerous other young ladies in such categories as talent, casual wear, formal wear and interview. But Waryan, who is autistic and deals with sensory processing disorder, has a more important message she hopes to spread at the pageant. “People should not be bullying in school,” she said. “It’s kind of mean. I’ve been bullied before. Kids should be able to grow up and stick up for their friends without being bullied or getting their feelings hurt.”
Several emergency responders from Cicero will receive awards for their efforts to save lives at a ceremony later this month. Members of the Cicero Fire Department, Cicero Police Department and North Area Volunteer Ambulance Corps (NAVAC) will be honored at 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19, at the Cicero Fire Department, Station No. 1, 8377 Brewerton Road (Route 11), Cicero, CFD Chief Jon Barrett announced.
Taxpayers in the town of Clay will likely face a slight increase in taxes in 2014, according to the tentative budget presented Monday, Oct. 7. Town Clerk Jill Hageman-Clark presented the budget proposal to town board members at the regular board meeting. There was no discussion of the proposal, as this is the first they’ve seen of it. Additional discussion of the budget will take place in the future. According to Supervisor Damian Ulatowski, the budget proposes a 1.62 percent tax increase, which equates to roughly $1.67 per household.
Despite tough financial times in the past, Cicero’s financial future looks rosy. Extensive growth within the town coupled with fiscal responsibility has substantially boosted the town’s fund balance. This year’s budget also benefits from the town’s strict accounting last year. “With strict oversight last year, we were able to close the books $1.5 million under budget, which allowed us to add [more than] $400,000 to our savings account rather than deplete it by $900,000,” Supervisor Jim Corl said in his budget address. “Since we have had the benefit of experiencing these savings, it is time that we invest in the future of the town of Cicero.”
According to Salina Supervisor Mark Nicotra’s preliminary 2014 budget, residents in the town are looking at a tax increase of less than a dollar per $100,000 of assessed value per month. Residents in the village of Liverpool would see a $2 increase per $100,000 of assessed value per month. Nicotra presented his proposed 2014 budget at a special town board meeting Tuesday, Oct. 1.
Save your cans and bottles for a good cause. This weekend, Oct. 5 and 6, Liverpool High School senior Kerry Bartholomae and several of her classmates will be conducting a drive for the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), one of the largest animal welfare and conservation charities in the world. One of its most well-publicized efforts is an attempt to end the Canadian seal hunt, which has been ongoing since its founding more than 40 years ago.
The town of Cicero elections in November feature a hotly contested supervisor race between former colleagues Jessica Zambrano, now running on the Republican ticket, and Democrat Judy Boyke, who lost the supervisor's seat in 2011. Read on for profiles of all the candidates.
Sometimes, all it takes to be a hero is to strap on a helmet and hop on a bike. Some 175 riders took part in the Syracuse Ride for Missing Children Friday, a 100-mile ride made by bicycle riders or "Friends of Missing Children" that raises funds to support prevention education programs and to remember all missing children. The event, sponsored by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children/New York (NCMEC/NY), featured stops at several area schools, including Nate Perry Elementary and Soule Road Elementary in Liverpool, where students greeted them with cheers and handmade signs.
In a world where the drums of war seem to beat louder every day, peace seems like a far-off dream. But at Long Branch Elementary in Liverpool, students made it clear it’s a dream worth reaching for. Students observed International Day of Peace Monday, Sept. 23 (the actual date was Saturday, Sept. 21), by planting hundreds of pinwheels on the school’s front lawn in the shape of a giant peace sign as part of Pinwheels for Peace, an international art installation project started by two art teachers in Florida. The LBE project was guided by art teacher Jennifer Matott, who learned about the effort from its website, pinwheelsforpeace.com.
Residents of the North Syracuse Central School District will head to the polls next month to vote on a $2 million referendum to renovate the Michael Bragman Athletic Complex at Cicero-North Syracuse High School, as well as make improvements to the high school’s security. The project, which will have no local tax impact, will cost a total of $2,020,000. The local share of $302,000 would come out of the district’s C-NS Athletic Complex Reserve Fund, which was approved by district voters on Oct. 14, 1998, according to Assistant Superintendent for Management Donald Keegan.
The DSA of CNY offers a number of activities for families of those with Down syndrome, but its biggest event — and the only one it offers that’s open to the entire community — is the Buddy Walk, which celebrates its 15th year this fall. “At our Buddy Walk, we do not focus on the therapies, doctor appointments, etc., that is a part of their daily life. We celebrate the joy of having them in our lives and family,” Bottego said. “Most of the committee members have worked on the Buddy Walk from the beginning. We have volunteers who come back year after year because it such an uplifting event.” The Buddy Walk will take place on Sunday, Sept. 29 at Long Branch Park in Liverpool. Registration starts at 9:30 a.m.; walkers who have pre-registered can pick up their preordered shirts. Walk-in registration is also available. T-shirts are available to purchase. Children’s games are open from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and only shut down while the walk is in progress. Attendees can purchase raffle tickets The walk starts at 10:30 a.m. The walkers follow the path out of the Longbranch Park area into the Willow Bay section of Onondaga Lake Park.
All three buildings on the Liverpool High School campus - Liverpool High School, the Liverpool High School Annex, and Morgan Road Elementary (currently housed at Wetzel Road Elementary) were placed on lockdown for less than an hour Thursday morning after receiving a “verbal threat.”
Patrick Oneill was already facing multiple counts of animal cruelty when he allegedly left his Labrador retriever, Ali, in his car for more than four hours on Sept. 2 while he enjoyed the New York State Fair with his girlfriend. Ali, left in the 100-degree car with no water and one window barely cracked, died despite the efforts of state troopers and bystanders who tried to save her. Animal advocates are saying she didn’t have to die.
For the third time in two years, Michaels Farms LLC is withdrawing its proposal for a zone change to construct senior housing on Morgan Road in the town of Clay.
UPDATE: The lockdown at the LHS campus has been lifted as of 9:45 a.m. We still do not know the nature of the verbal threat that caused the lockdown, but we will continue investigating and bring you that information as soon as we can.
In a secure courtyard near Syracuse’s Inner Harbor, on a daily basis, you can find a gathering of people engaged in any number of activities. They might be playing Bingo or trivia. They might be working on a small building project. If you head into the indoor area, you might find them baking or preparing snacks. What might surprise you is to find that all of these men and women have Alzheimer’s disease or some form of dementia. The Kirkpatrick Day Program is a social adult day program provided by the Alzheimer’s Association of Central New York. The program, which dates back to the early 1980s, came under the auspices of the Alzheimer’s Association in 1987.
More than 5,200 ducks took to Chittenango Creek in a race for more than glory — these ducks raced to raise money for the Bridgeport Food Pantry, which serves families in the towns of Cicero, Manlius and Sullivan. The Don’t Duck Hunger duck race, the brainchild of food pantry coordinator Patti Hedrick, typically raises about $25,000 for the pantry and is its major annual fundraiser; totals for this year’s race were not yet available at press time.
School is once again underway across Central New York. North Syracuse students headed back Wednesday, Sept. 4, and Liverpool schools opened their doors Thursday, Sept. 6. Both districts had some changes in store for students and staff; read on to find out what’s new.