The 2014 DeVesty-Williams Scholarship will be awarded in early May by members of the Syracuse Press Club at its annual awards banquet. This $2,000 scholarship will be given to one full-time undergraduate student, who is majoring in print or broadcast journalism at a college/university in the Syracuse Press Club service area. The student scholarship recipient also must be a permanent resident of one of the following counties: Onondaga, Madison, Cortland, Cayuga, Oswego, Jefferson, St. Lawrence, Lewis, Herkimer, Oneida, Otsego, Delaware, Chenango, Broome, Tioga, Chemung, Tompkins, Wayne, Seneca, Schuyler and Yates. A student’s college residence is not considered a permanent residence. All students who fit the above criteria are encouraged to apply.
School districts in Central New York and beyond are in trouble, and it’s time we do something about it. That’s the message behind a pair of forums to be held Feb. 4 and 5 in Auburn and North Syracuse by the Central New York School Boards Association (CNY SBA) in conjunction with the Onondaga-Cortland-Madison, Cayuga-Onondaga, Tompkins-Seneca-Tioga and Oswego County BOCES. The forums, which will take place at Auburn West Middle School and North Syracuse Junior High School, respectively, will focus on the major factors causing those financial issues and how school administrators, teachers and community members can make a difference.
Local voters have agreed to OCM BOCES’ proposed facilities referendum with a 93 percent approval. One thousand four hundred and one votes were cast, with the final tally being 1.293 yes votes and 105 no votes on the referendum, which called for the purchase of the former Nationwide Insurance building in Salina and which will not increase costs for any of its 23 local component school districts.
On Thursday, Jan. 23, voters in 23 school districts across three counties will be asked to go to the polls to approve a building purchase that will have no impact on their wallets. Onondaga-Cortland-Madison BOCES is looking to purchase the former Nationwide Insurance building, located at 110 Elwood Davis Road in the town of Salina. According to BOCES information officer Laurie Cook, the purchase would allow OCM-BOCES to relocate several programs now housed in leased space.
On Thursday, Oct. 3, the Rosamond Gifford Zoo will host, “Twilight at the Zoo Special Edition: A Life in the Wild with Jim Fowler.” The evening lecture begins at 6:30 p.m., and is sponsored by Mutual of Omaha.
At first, Melissa Lowell thought her son Nate was just tired. “This time last year [he started getting sick],” Melissa said. “It started off, he just had a cough. It was the end of the school year and he seemed fatigued. It was nothing out of the ordinary. I just figured it was because school was over. He was leaving a teacher he loved. He gets emotional with change, as any kid does.” But the cough didn’t go away. Nate, then 10, was complaining that he couldn’t breathe, couldn’t swallow. After a couple of weeks, Melissa and her husband Jimmy took him to an urgent care facility near their home in Herkimer County. He was diagnosed with asthma and given prednisone and an inhaler, which helped at first, but soon proved ineffective. A visit to Nate’s pediatrician July 3, 2012, suggested pneumonia.
The clean-up and improvement of Onondaga Lake continues to be a top priority this year. Many projects are underway as a result of the findings contained in the FOCUS Greater Syracuse study. The loop-the-lake trail continues to expand along the western shoreline, and improvements are being made to the existing trail and Onondaga Lake Park. Spring is in full swing, and with the great weather we have been having, it is wonderful to see the park full of bikers, walkers and children playing on the playground. One of the major findings in the FOCUS report was a desire to connect with the lake from an historical standpoint. Several people surveyed emphasized that they would like to see a cultural center, as well as historical markers and informational kiosks, along the lake.
It is estimated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that autism has risen to one in every 88 births in the United States. In order to raise awareness about the programs and services available to families affected by autism, the New York State Senate has commemorated April 2013 as Autism Awareness Month.
Up-and-comers in the Central New York music scene will compete for prizes as well as the coveted title of “Best Band” this weekend, and they’ll support a good cause at the same time. Stand Against Suicide will host its inaugural Battle of the Bands on Saturday, April 20, at the SRC Arena at Onondaga Community College. Doors open at 11 a.m. and bands begin competing at noon. Tickets are $7 for students and $12 for adults. Eighteen bands will compete for a chance at the title as well as prizes.
More than 20 years after losing her mother to cancer, Kristin Atkinson is channeling her grief into helping other women. Atkinson of Cicero, Kristin Johnson of Cicero and Tara Polcaro of North Syracuse started The Molly Project as a way to provide comfort to women affected by cancer and their families. Named after Atkinson’s late mother, The Molly Project got its start a year ago when Johnson’s sister called her, looking for a way to help a co-worker with cancer.
This year, for the first time, Ophelia’s Place has the opportunity to participate in one of Syracuse’s premiere charity events. The Syracuse Auto Dealers Association will host their 15th annual Charity Preview starting at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 13. In 2012, the event raised $213,000, bringing the all-time total to more than $2 million. “The non-profits do not incur any cost associated with this, so it is a wonderful opportunity to use this event to help fill the gaps in our budget,” said Jodie Wilson-Dougherty, executive director of Ophelia’s Place. “Our time and energy are all in trying to sell tickets. SADA does all the work on logistics.”
The Animal Alliance of Greater Syracuse has been selected to receive a $20,000 grant from the Central New York Community Foundation to purchase start-up equipment for a mobile spay/neuter clinic, which will move around to various city locations altering both dogs and cats belonging to low-income residents.
As we enter the New Year, many of us are pledging to get healthier — to lose weight, exercise more, eat more fruits and vegetables. But possibly the healthiest resolution, and one of the most enduring, is to quit smoking. But given that tobacco kills more people every year than alcohol, car accidents, cocaine, heroin, homicide, suicide, fire and AIDS combined, wouldn’t it be better never to start?
There’s a lot of conflict in education these days, but experts agree on one thing: something needs to change. “New York State has high academic standards and spends more money per student than any other state in the nation,” said a report by the New NY Education Reform Commission issued last week. “However, we are not seeing enough return on investment, especially for the large number of students from a background of poverty. New York lags far behind most states in graduation rates; only 74 percent of New York’s students graduate from high school, and only 35 percent are college ready.” That’s why Gov. Andrew Cuomo convened the the 25-member commission last April: to better prepare New York’s 2.7 million K through 12 students for the future. The commission issued its preliminary recommendations last week to mixed reviews.
I have always been proud to be a teacher, and I have always been proud of teachers. I have a button that says, “Teachers are my heroes.” It takes courage to teach. Teaching requires conviction. It requires self-confidence and a sense that one is doing the right thing in the right way for the right reasons. It requires people to do the right thing at the right time. It requires the resolve to stand up to the fact that we live in a society that is all too ready to assign blame to teachers when the artificial standards that society sets are not met. We are all too ready to declare that things need to be fixed, that we could do a better job, and that we could solve the problems of education. And now we must mourn the loss of six of our colleagues who died doing not what teachers do, but doing what heroes do.