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Sarah Hall

Stories by Sarah

State Board of Regents approves new graduation options

In the hopes of both improving graduation rates, the New York State Board of Regents last week approved a plan to add flexibility to its graduation requirements. On Monday, Oct. 20, the Board of Regents agreed to create a 4+1 pathway option, which would allow students to opt out of one of the social studies exams currently required for graduation. Instead, they could take a "comparatively rigorous" assessment in career/technical education (CTE), science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), the humanities, foreign languages or the arts.

EDITORIAL: Vote yes on Prop. 1

For too long, New York’s system for drawing electoral maps has been broken. Under current legislation, members of the New York State Legislature draw the lines for legislative and congressional districts. Those lines are redrawn every 10 years by a committee made up of sitting legislators. That means that the people responsible for drawing the lines are the very people who benefit from how the lines are drawn.

Clay budget proposes 3.38 percent tax increase

If the town of Clay’s 2015 budget remains unchanged, residents will see a 3.38 percent increase in their property taxes, which amounts to $10.21 per household on a $100,000 house outside the village of North Syracuse. Residents inside the village will see a decrease of $5.58 a year.

Justice center to offer help to inmates with pets

Inmates at the Onondaga County Justice Center can now be assured that any pets they leave behind while incarcerated will be taken care of.

On the campaign trail: Mahoney endorses Katko

Republican Congressional candidate John Katko has received the backing of Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney.

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Born too soon: One in nine babies is born premature

Cooper Smith came into the world screaming. “He screamed like no baby I’d ever heard before,” said mom Nikki Smith of Baldwinsville. It might not sound like much — many babies are born testing out their little lungs — but for Cooper, it was a big deal. After all, Nikki and husband Eric weren’t sure if Cooper would even survive long enough to be born. “The doctor turned to me — he had this really dry sense of humor,” Eric said, “and said, ‘I think he’s going to make it.’”

BCSD tops in county in administrative efficiency

The Baldwinsville Central School District has been named one of the most efficient in the state for administrative efficiency, according to a Western New York publication. Business First, a Buffalo-based magazine, annually examines data from the New York State Department of Education for 432 Upstate school districts, looking at district spending, staffing levels and debt service to rank districts according to administrative efficiency. Baldwinsville ranked No. 11 statewide, making it the top school in Onondaga County. It beat out 97.7 percent of schools in the state, earning a five-star rating for being in the top 10 percent. Liverpool (No. 25) and North Syracuse (No. 22) also ranked in the top 44 districts statewide, earning five-star ratings, as well.

SAS to hold annual walk this weekend

For three years, Stand Against Suicide has been working to end the stigma associated with mental illness. In order to help further that mission, the Elbridge-based nonprofit holds a walk every year at the Syracuse Inner Harbor. This year’s event will take place at 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 18; registration begins at 10 a.m. The event also includes music, raffles, face painting and other

Hallowrun is this weekend

Have you signed up to be chased by zombies yet? The second annual Hallowrun for Hunger will take place at 11 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 5, at the Aspen Shelter at Oneida Shores. Organized by Cicero-North Syracuse High School junior Liz Westfall, the event features a 5K run-walk in which student zombies from C-NS 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.

LBE celebrates annual Pinwheels for Peace event

Long Branch Elementary celebrated the International Day of Peace on Tuesday, Sept. 23 (the actual date was Sunday, Sept. 21) by participating in Pinwheels for Peace, a program developed by two art teachers in Florida. Students designed their own pinwheels using a premade template, then planted them in the school’s front yard in the shape of a peace sign.

5K at Oneida Shores remembers stillborn Cicero baby

Jaclyn Gangloff had a normal pregnancy – until the end. “She had gone full term. She was at 38 and a half weeks,”’ said Audrey Gangloff, Jaclyn’s mother-in-law and former Gillette Road Middle School principal. “She’d just been to the doctor on Thursday [March 13], and everything was fine. On Friday [March 14], her water broke. They got to the hospital, thinking they’re having the baby, and there’s no heartbeat.”

On the campaign trail: DeJoseph will have a ballot line

Judge Brian DeJoseph has earned the Conservative Party nomination in his bid for reelection to the New York State Supreme Court. DeJoseph’s name will appear on Row C this year along with other highly qualified Conservative candidates. This position will appear on ballots in Onondaga, Oswego, Jefferson, Lewis, Oneida and Herkimer counties.

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OCM BOCES opens new Innovation Tech high school in Liverpool

For too long, we’ve been doing education the same way — and it’s doing our students a disservice. At least, that’s what the administrators at Onondaga-Cortland-Madison BOCES believe. And they’re trying to address the problem by introducing a new kind of instruction in Central New York. OCM BOCES held an official grand opening for its new Innovation Tech high school Wednesday, Sept. 17, at the facility at the Lee G. Peters Career Training Center in Liverpool. Classes began Sept. 3.

Landfill debt will impact Salina’s 2015 budget

The time has come for Salina residents to start paying back the debts incurred for remediation of the town landfill.

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Second annual Hallowrun for Hunger to take place Oct. 5

Don’t let the zombies fool you; the organizers of the Hallowrun for Hunger don’t want to eat your brains. But they do want to feed people. The 5K run, now in its second year, aims to raise money for the Food Bank of Central New York. Founder Liz Westfall hopes to raise enough this year to fund 20,000 meals.

On the campaign trail: Maffei agrees to debates

During the 2012 season, Rep. Dan Maffei participated in just two debate. He's upping that number this time around. The Democratic incumbent running for the 24th Congressional District has announced a series of debates and joint appearances with Republican challenger John Katko. Four debates will be televised by local stations, and two will be broadcast on public radio.

On the campaign trail: First responders endorse Maffei

Rep. Dan Maffei (D-Syracuse) announced last week that he had earned the endorsement of local public safety officials in his campaign to keep his seat in the 24th Congressional District. Several first responders joined Maffei at a press conference to announce their support for the incumbent, who is running against former federal prosecutor John Katko of Camillus.

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Sixth annual Teal Ribbon Run to benefit Hope for Heather

For the sixth year, some 800 teal-clad runners and walkers will take to the streets to raise awareness for ovarian cancer. The Teal Ribbon Run/Walk benefits Hope for Heather, a Liverpool-based organization dedicated to helping women with ovarian cancer and raising awareness about the devastating disease. The nonprofit was started by Frieda Weeks to honor the memory of her daughter, Heather. In November of 2008, Heather lost her battle with an aggressive form of colon cancer. But before her passing, she worked for the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation, making it her mission to eradicate the disease. After her death, her mother started Hope for Heather to carry on that mission.

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Family offers reward for information leading to whereabouts of missing Clay man

Since May 23, no one has seen or heard from Edward Weslowski. Now, in hopes of bringing the Clay man home, his family is offering a reward for information leading to his whereabouts.

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Bridgeport Food Pantry to hold sixth annual duck race

Every year in early September, Chittenango Creek in Bridgeport gets clogged with brightly colored ducks. It’s not some new kind of invasive species; this particular invasion is temporary. These ducks, made of colored plastic, are part of the Bridgeport Food Pantry’s annual “Don’t Duck Hunger” duck race, which raises money to support the pantry’s mission. The event typically raises about $25,000.

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Humane Society of the U.S. to host New York symposium in Syracuse

Cat rescuers, animal advocates and veterinarians, along with other animal lovers, will gather on Tuesday, Sept. 9, at the Genesee Grand Hotel in Syracuse to discuss issues surrounding cats as part of the Humane Society of the United States’ symposium, “Rethiniking the Cat.” The free, day-long event, co-sponsored by PetSmart Charities, will provide training in two tracks: “adoptable” cats (i.e., shelter cats and rescues) and “community” cats (the feral cat population).

On the campaign trail: Katko responds to allegations: ‘I was the victim of a crime’

Republican Congressional candidate John Katko is fighting back against accusations of wrongdoing relating to a gun crime that took place in April of 2000. According to the Syracuse Post-Standard, Katko purchased a personal firearm to protect the safety of his family in late 1999. On April 3, 2000, Katko and his wife attended an event at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church on the city’s west side. He left the gun, loaded, out of view in his car. While Katko was inside the church, someone broke into his car and stole a duffel bag, which contained the gun.

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Heading back to school: What’s new in your district this year?

It’s once again time for kids across Central New York to start getting ready to head back to school. Both Liverpool and North Syracuse students head back Thursday, Sept. 4. Both districts had some changes in store for students and staff; read on to find out what’s new.

LCSD issues ‘Parents Bill of Rights’

One of the major concerns expressed by parents with respect to the Common Core learning curriculum is the safety of student data. In order to address that concern, the Liverpool Central School District, along with districts statewide, has implemented a Parents Bill of Rights for Data Privacy and Security.

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North Area YMCA day camp encourages daily reading

The North Area Family YMCA on Wetzel Road is offering kids the full camp experience: swimming, arts and crafts, field trips… and reading? This year, the Y’s Camp Y-Noah, which serves kids who have completed kindergarten through sixth grade, has launched a new program to encourage literacy. In addition to traditional camp activities, the roughly 150 campers stop what they’re doing twice a day to read for 15 minutes.

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Sharkey’s to host country music festival for Clear Path for Veterans

Too often, veterans returning home from combat zones aren’t getting the support they need. That’s especially true if they suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), an often silent disability triggered by a traumatic event. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event. While PTSD can happen to anyone who has experienced trauma, it’s particularly common in veterans; while it occurs in approximately 7 to 8 percent of the general population, 11 to 20 percent of Afghanistan or Iraq vets, 10 percent of Gulf War vets and 30 percent of Vietnam vets suffer from PTSD. In order to support these veterans, a group of volunteers has organized a benefit called the Victory for Vets Country Music Festival to take place Aug. 16 at Sharkey’s in Liverpool. The proceeds from the event will go to Clear Path for Veterans, a nonprofit based in Chittenango that provides support for returning veterans, including peer-to-peer support, classes, service dogs and more.

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.

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Annual basketball tournament is this weekend in Cicero

This weekend, basketballers from around the country will descend on the town of Cicero for the fifth annual Gus Macker 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament. The tournament, which includes 716 players on 179 teams, will take place from Friday, Aug. 8, to Sunday, Aug. 10 next to Drivers Village.

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Howie Hawkins challenges Cuomo, Astorino in gubernatorial race

Howie Hawkins is hoping to change the political landscape of New York state. “If you do public polling, the majority is very progressive on economic issues, but they never get what they want,” Hawkins said. “A study just came out, the oligarchy study, looked at 1,799 federal issues. They went to the top 10 percent. Any time [the top 10 percent] wanted one thing and the 90 percent wanted the other, of course, they got their way on every issue there was conflict. This goes back to 1979. That tells you. They say, is this a democracy or a plutocracy or an oligarchy? And I think it is [an oligarchy] until we organize a party that can speak for the majority of the people. That’s been the thing that I think we need to do, what we’re trying to do.” That’s why Hawkins is running for governor, taking on the Democratic political establishment and Gov. Andrew Cuomo, as well as his Republican challenger, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino.

Soccer tournament coming to Clay

Four locations in the town of Clay and one in the town of Salina will host the 2014 Salt City International Soccer Tournament this weekend.

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North Syracuse launches community summer reading program

For many students, school-assigned summer reading is a thing to dread, something boring and time-consuming that interrupts the carefree fun of summer. But the North Syracuse Central School District is trying to change that.

Cicero to host Little League championships

The town of Cicero will play host this week to the 2014 Major Division Little League State Championship. Games were set to start at 11 a.m. Monday and run through Saturday, July 26, at Cicero Central Park. Players ages 12 and under will compete for a chance at the New York State Little League Championship title. The tournament will include two games a day and will conclude with a championship game on Saturday (Sunday, if weather forces cancellations). The event also includes a picnic and a home run derby.

Carnival to benefit C-NS JV tennis team

The girls’ junior varsity tennis team was cut from the North Syracuse Central School District’s 2013-14 budget, but that wasn’t the end of the team. With the help of the North Syracuse Education Foundation (NSEF), the team was able to raise enough money on their own to be reinstated last season. They’re looking to do the same for the 2014-15 school year.

On the campaign trail: Katko named Republican ‘Young Gun’

Congressional candidate John Katko has earned the status of “Young Gun” from the National Republican Congressional Committee after reaching the third and final tier of the group’s recruitment program. Founded in the 2007-08 election cycle by Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA), Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), the Young Guns program provides financial support to candidates in races across the country.

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Northern suburbs offer plenty of swimming options

If you’re looking to beat the heat, you can lock yourself somewhere air-conditioned — or you can get outside and into the water. The northern suburbs offer a number of swimming holes to help you beat the heat, from sandy beaches to public pools. Read on to find one in your area.

Cicero looks to revise sign code

In order to make their town more business-friendly, members of the Cicero Town Board are looking to revise the town code pertaining to signs.

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Phase I of Brewerton Revitalization Project unveiled

After eight years of waiting, the residents of Brewerton are finally seeing progress on the revitalization of the hamlet. Town and state officials held a ribbon-cutting ceremony July 2 to commemorate the completion of Phase I of the Brewerton Revitalization Project, which includes picnic tables, new streetlights, a 400-foot brick walkway and benches along the riverfront. The improvements cost a total of $102,400, which was made possible through matching grants to the town of Cicero, in-kind services from local businesses and town departments and donations from Brewerton residents.

On the Campaign Trail: Katko calls out Maffei; Kessner backpedals on primary

At a press conference on July 2, Republican Congressional candidate John Katko criticized Democratic opponent Dan Maffei, the incumbent representative for the 24th Congressional District, for his grandiose infrastructure plan as well as his vote against a House measure that encourages oil drilling within the U.S.

When E. coli strikes Oneida Shores

With summer in full swing, many residents will be looking to public beaches to keep cool. But what happens when the beaches are closed? It’s a problem we’ve seen several times over the last couple of years at Oneida Shores in Brewerton, as well as other beaches along Oneida Lake. The park was closed to swimmers late last month by the Onondaga County Department of Health because E. coli bacteria had been found in unacceptable levels during routine sampling.

RRE dedicates new playground in memory of late teacher

Jeanelle Cross was the kind of teacher other teachers aspired to be. “Jeanelle was beloved by everyone,” said Jackie Grace, principal of Roxboro Road Elementary in Mattydale, where Cross was the resource teacher. “She clearly loved her job and loved what she was doing. She loved kids. She was such a joy to be around, such a positive force.” Cross lost her battle with breast cancer in September of 2012, not long after she initiated an effort to construct a new playground at RRE. When the school dedicated that finished playground on June 23, they did so in her memory.

LCSD BOE continues to work on redistricting

The Liverpool Central School District Board of Education continued to move forward with plans for redistricting by the fall of 2015 at its regular meeting Monday, June 23.

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AAGS seeks funding to build low-cost spay/neuter clinic

Every year, more than 1,000 cats and dogs are euthanized purely because the shelters have no place to put them. According to the Animal Alliance of Greater Syracuse (AAGS), an animal welfare agency that serves all of Central New York, the Syracuse area has a higher rate of euthanasia than any other area in Upstate New York. In the meantime, hundreds of homeless pets die on the streets.

Clay Community Festival is this weekend

If you’re looking for something to do this weekend, look no further than Clay Central Park. From 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturday, June 21, at the park on Wetzel Road, the town will host its fourth annual Clay Community Festival. The event includes a

You can still help Angelina and the MDA

I’m going to tell you a story. Angelina was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) type 2 when she was 9 months old. The little girl, who lives with mom Erin and dad Frank in Liverpool, never sat up independently. She never crawled. She never walked. She’ll have to rely on a power wheelchair to get around.

Redistricting discussed again

The Liverpool Central School District Board of Education is continuing to deal with questions pertaining to the redistricting project set to go into effect in September of 2015. At its last regular meeting, held June 9, the board made decisions on several matters with regard to the plan.

Vietnam veterans’ organization seeks photos of those killed in war

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund seeks to locate photos of all those killed during the conflict in Vietnam. So far, organizers have collected nearly 34,000 photos of 58,286 casualties. The photos are being displayed on a virtual “Wall of Faces,” which can be found at vvmf.org/Wall-of-Faces.

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Youngsters raise money for The Molly Project through lemonade stand

On June 7, two young philanthropists hosted a lemonade stand where they sold lemonade, water, cookies and other treats to raise money for The Molly Project, a Cicero-based nonprofit that recruits professional photographers to take on-location portraits of women with cancer and their families.

Help me help the MDA

I need your help to make bail. No, not that kind of bail. I’ve never been arrested. But I am going to “jail.” I’ve been recruited to help the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) with their annual Lock-Up fundraiser. Such events occur nationwide all year long. Business owners and community leaders (and, apparently, weekly newspaper reporters) agree to be “put behind bars for good.” We’re asked to raise money from friends, family, co-workers and, in your case, readers to help make “bail,” which will then benefit the MDA’s research, medical clinics and summer camp experiences.

Parade of Homes once again comes to town of Clay

It’s the hope of every builder to be a part of Central New York’s Parade of Homes, where they can show off their distinctive style to discerning buyers and designers. But it’s also the hope of every municipality to be the home of the prestigious tour, meant to showcase not only construction techniques and interior design, but neighborhoods and local amenities.

Cicero families raise money for The Molly Project with lemonade stand

Sometimes, a glass of lemonade is more than just a glass of lemonade. In the case of Madison King and Nadia Greco, it’s a chance to raise money for an important cause and help people suffering through an illness. From 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, June 7, the Cicero neighbors will host a lemonade stand where they will sell lemonade, water, cookies and other treats to raise money for The Molly Project, a Cicero-based nonprofit that recruits professional photographers to take on-location portraits of women with cancer and their families. The charity was founded by Kristin Atkinson, after whose mother Molly the charity is named, as well as Kristin Johnston and Tara Polcaro.

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