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.
The lack of available help from senior care agencies is just one of the reasons New York state was ranked 48th in a 2011 national report by AARP’s Public Policy Institute, the Commonwealth Fund and the SCAN Foundation out of 50 states with regard to support for its family caregivers. Caregivers also face extensive waiting lists for adult day care programs and rehab facilities, a lack of support for in the work environment, limited or no access to transportation and inadequate informational resources regarding care options for their loved ones. And with the Baby Boomer generation moving into their golden years, the problem is only going to get worse.
Shutdown won’t deter local veterans’ visit to DC memorials
Volunteers and vets with Honor Flight Syracuse tore down a roadblock at the Iwo Jima Memorial and crossed the barrier at the Lincoln Memorial during their trip to Washington on Saturday, Oct. 5, refusing to let a government shutdown bar them from visiting national memorials to themselves, their comrades and their military branches of service.
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.
A large group of politicians, citizens and businessmen and –women have launched an initiative to encourage the state to keep a 1.4-mile stretch of Interstate 81 as it is instead of turning it into an arterial boulevard. Savei81.org revealed itself at a press conference on Thursday, Aug. 1, in downtown Syracuse, where supporters spoke out against the New York State Department of Transportation’s proposal to turn I-81’s viaduct stretch, the elevated portion of the highway that runs through the central business district, into an arterial boulevard through the city with stoplights and cross streets, something the group said would irreparably damage the city’s economy by creating a backlog of traffic. The group also issued a press release after the conference outlining its goals.
Liverpool resident Mark Spadafore was honored as Towns Democrat of the Year by the Onondaga County Democratic Committee at its annual awards dinner June 13, at the Oncenter in downtown Syracuse.
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.
Citizens that have served our country in the military are deserving of, at the very least, recognition. To serve your country during perilous times is a great honor and a great sacrifice. The Oncenter War Memorial Arena is more than a place where the Syracuse Crunch play hockey, it is a living memorial to those that have served, and in some cases, those that have given their lives for our freedom. It is important to honor the individuals that have made the ultimate sacrifice.
Five years from now, the Syracuse skyline could look very different. Instead of an elevated highway heading into the city, the New York State Department of Transportation could construct an arterial boulevard. Or an underground tunnel. Or an iconic bridge. Truthfully, the DOT isn’t sure yet what the new Interstate 81 will look like. They just know that something needs to be done to replace the existing structure. “Bridges are designed to last for a certain period of time,” said Beau Duffy, public information officer for the NYS DOT. “The I-81 viaduct in Syracuse is reaching this point in time. Because repair and refurbishment of the bridge involves a significant investment, it makes sense, from a cost-benefit perspective, to look at potential alternatives for the future of the corridor.”
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.
From no positive reported cases in 2010 to 16 in 2012, the spread of the animal-borne disease has made its way into the Champlain Valley.
With a $20 million budget gap facing Syracuse, the city’s busiest fire station may be on the line. City officials have floated the idea of closing down Syracuse Fire Department Engine Company No. 7, located at 1039 E. Fayette St. But the members of Local No. 280, the firefighters’ union, say that would be a very bad idea. “In the past two years, we’ve had several incidents of multiple fires in the city. We were stripped, using every resource,” said Paul Motondo, vice president of Local No. 280. “Losing an engine company, especially this one because of where it is and what its responses are, it’ll create a huge void.”
Cicero Supervisor Jim Corl’s name is on the short list of candidates being considered for an appointment to the Onondaga County Legislature. With Third District County Legislator Bill Meyer leaving for a county appointment, the seat will be left open for a replacement to be decided by County Executive Joanie Mahoney. Mahoney appointed Meyer as assistant director of the Veterans Service Agency last week in a shakeup that also left the ninth district seat open; Legislator Mark Stanczyk will be the new deputy commissioner of community services. She also appointed her campaign manager, Ben Dublin, as her chief of staff and communications director Marty Skanen as deputy commissioner of parks and recreation.
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.
Ursula Rozum won’t be Central New York’s first Green congresswoman, but she’s still pleased with the results of last week’s election. “I am very pleased with the results. An overwhelming majority in Central New York rejected Ann Marie Buerkle’s extreme right-wing views and an unprecedented number decided to vote against the policies of the corporate parties,” Rozum said. “Of course, we don’t know how many would have voted in support of my progressive policies if we had a truly democratic voting system. But it’s heartening to know there are so many people in our district that support a positive progressive program and who are fed up with the bipartisan policies that are not addressing the serious problems we’re facing.”