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SU and CNY Go Purple for Domestic Violence Awareness Month
October 18, 2017, 9:28 pm | Source
Orange and blue are the colors you normally see on the Syracuse University campus. But Thursday and for the rest of the month, purple will also be seen both on campus and around Central New York to raise awareness about domestic violence. While the effort ramps up in October, director of the office of health promotion at SU Katelyn Cowen says information and support resources are available year-round. "We have a counseling center available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for students to call who are in need of any sexual or relationship violence support services. And we have a number of other resources on campus, and we really make sure to keep in touch with those offices to get a good sense of the number of students seeking support. Unfortunately, there are students who are impacted, but we always want students to be seeking services and resources as they need them." Cowen says her office has partnered with a number of peer volunteers, who work together to create an open space where

Refugees Pleased That Long-Awaited Soccer Fields are Coming to Schiller Park
October 17, 2017, 8:26 pm | Source
Residents of Syracuse’s Northside are about to get a soccer field, but they’ll have to wait until next spring. The new fields were unveiled at Schiller Park Tuesday. The space is large enough to hold two youth-sized or one regulation soccer field. The sport has been gaining steam throughout the city, thanks to its popularity among the refugee community. Mayor Stephanie Miner says she realized how important the game is to that community and that it was about time they had a field to play on. “A couple of years ago on International Refugee Day, they had a soccer tournament here. And you could see, when they hit the ball, it would hit divots in the ground and bounce up in unpredictable ways. But nevertheless, they were still active in playing that.” Despite those divots, Miner says the game still had a firm hold over the Northside community. “I can’t tell you how many times I came over to this park and saw little kids playing on the playground over here, and the bigger kids and adults

Local Job Fair Connects Job Seekers with Retail Employers for Upcoming Holiday Season
October 13, 2017, 7:48 pm | Source
Local residents dressed to impress today as they either applied for jobs with on-the-spot interviews or inquired about opportunities at the Southwest Community Center in Syracuse. Build To Work Program Coordinator Twiggy Billue says the majority of companies are looking to hire for retail and customer service jobs. “So those jobs that are traditionally starting to fill up between August and September, getting ready for the seasonal shopping and some of the holidays that are coming up. We decided to focus on those areas that were actually looking to hire people right now.” Billue adds that the retail industry fuels the economy. Getting the right skills and job experiences through the program has allowed 18 year-old Shamsi Muhina to work her way up to a mid-level paying job within two years. She came to the U.S. from Kenya. “I just wanted to be in my own little corner and just to be left alone, but being in that program made me turn into the person that I am today. I’m outgoing now,

SU Chooses to Celebrate Indigenous People on Columbus Day
October 9, 2017, 7:09 pm | Source
It might be Columbus Day on the calendar, but students and staff at Syracuse University spent Monday celebrating Indigenous Peoples’ Day. The events were led by Regina Jones, Assistant Director in SU’s Office of Multicultural Affairs. Jones is a Native American who has lived in the area her entire life, and says she wants to spread awareness of the University’s day of celebration, which it adopted last year. "It's not really about Columbus. It's about our survival throughout war, genocide, and boarding schools. We're still here, we still have our ceremonies, our language, our sovereign government, our clan system. So we celebrate that we're still here." Diane Wiener is director of the disability cultural center at SU. "We are not not vanishing. And the indigenous peoples in this city, in this community, and on this campus are not vanishing. If they do vanish, it's because of oppression and that we can't be idly watching that occur. We have to do something about it." Wiener stresses the

Syracuse Joins Dozens of Countries in Celebrating Those with Cerebral Palsy
October 6, 2017, 10:14 pm | Source
The City of Syracuse joined more than 60 countries today in recognizing World Cerebral Palsy Day during a ceremony on the steps of city hall. CP advocate Cora True-Frost’s eight year-old son is one of the 17-million people worldwide living with the condition that affects body movement, muscle coordination, and communication. True-Frost says World Cerebral Palsy Day gives people with CP the opportunity to be seen and heard. “Even though cerebral palsy is the single most prevalent disability in childhood, the public just doesn't hear enough about it. Even now in 2017, people living with CP are among the least understood and most stigmatized communities in the world.” True-Frost says that she hopes World CP Day will spark curiosity and create a connection between those with and without disabilities. Long-time CP advocate and author Kathy O’Connell explains the difficulties of living with Cerebral Palsy in a world designed for people without disabilities. “We may walks slower, or we may

Former Hotel Syracuse Wins One of Industry's Highest Awards
October 6, 2017, 9:05 pm | Source
The Marriott Syracuse Downtown has been open a little over a year, and it’s already earned one of the most meaningful awards in the industry. It was recently recognized as the Best City Center Historic Hotel in the nation by historic Hotels of America. “When we were putting this old girl back together there was never a thought that this would be an award or an honor that this hotel would have any time soon, so it really is a great surprise.” Ed Riley is the managing member of the Hotel Syracuse Restoration. He says it was up against some tough competition: well-known hotels in San Francisco and Washington D.C. Riley says many things stood out to jury members, including the care taken to restore old ceilings, artwork and chandeliers. But they also looked at the impact on the community. “The way the community has embraced it and come back. Also what this has meant to the community was also part of the application in terms of the amount of jobs we’ve created. The way it’s become a major

Ribbon Officially Cut on Factory Turned Apartment and Commercial Space
October 6, 2017, 7:03 pm | Source
The renovation of the RE Dietz factory into apartments and commercial space is an example of the renaissance in downtown Syracuse expanding outward. Developers and government officials cut the ribbon on the development today. Developer Matthew Paulus is excited to contribute to the redevelopment of the Westside neighborhood. “This is an old lunchbox community. It had all the old factories: the RE Dietz, the Marsellus Casket, the Rock West factory. So, that has kinda transitioned over from single family homes to this unique area that has people living in apartments. Some of those initial established businesses are still here, like Middle Ages, so there’s a really great diversity amongst this community.” The Dietz factory sits just off of Erie Boulevard West, about five blocks from downtown. The other side looks onto Leavenworth Park and the old Victorian homes there. Paulus explains the mixed-use of the building is already drawing interest. “92 lofts that we have on floors two, three

La Liga in Syracuse Holding Relief Drive to Support Puerto Rico Post-Maria
October 4, 2017, 10:51 pm | Source
It’s been more than two weeks since hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, and Syracuse-area Hispanic residents say family and friends on the island are struggling to recover. The Spanish Action League, or La Liga , is supporting Puerto Ricans here as they cope with the impact. Executive director Elisa Morales says social media is helping to play a role in connecting people with information about whether or not their loved ones and home villages are ok. Morales explains, “a lot of people don’t understand that when someone says ‘we’re ok,’ it means they survived the storm and they’re safe; it doesn’t mean ‘we’re not hungry’ or ‘we don’t need things’ – they do.” Morales says the need for resources on the island is dire. She also says figuring out how to transport these resources to tiny villages in mountainous areas is just as important, and that the experience has been traumatizing for the family members she’s been able to reach. “We have family members who have told us they’re hungry,

CNY Episcopal Churches Toll Bells to Commemorate Victims of Las Vegas
October 3, 2017, 9:45 pm | Source
The bells at more than two dozen Episcopal churches rang out across Central New York at noon Tuesday in a show of solidarity with the people of Las Vegas. Church leaders hope it can mark the start of a healing process. The bells tolled at Trinity Episcopal Church in Fayetteville just as they did across Nevada at 9 a.m. their time. The Rt. Rev. Dr. Dede Duncan Probe is Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Central New York. " The ringing out is a celebration of someone's life passing and that they made a difference in the world. Then also the ringing of the bells is a signal or sign of a new time of hopefully a calling of attention of respecting and honoring one another." She says Christians and people of all faiths are reaching out to their places of worship. " Really looking for ways..first internalizing this tragedy and processing it, but then some clarity or solidarity in how we respond as a people to a senseless tragedy. I know people who have relatives who were killed in Las Vegas.

World Canals Conference Preview: Restored Aqueduct is Centerpiece of Camillus Erie Canal Park
September 22, 2017, 4:01 pm | Source
Attendees of the World Canals Conference starting Sunday in Syracuse will take a number of study tours of the Erie Canal system, including the Camillus Erie Canal Park. The seven mile stretch of canal likely wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for a husband and wife who saw its potential. WAER's Scott Willis met up with Liz Beebe at the restored aqueduct…the centerpiece of the park and a crowning achievement in 2009. " Since our conception of this park 45 years ago, it was always one of our goals." The $1.9 million project restored the trunk, or trough that carries the canal over Nine mile creek. " Then we were able to re-water and connect these links of canal; one running from Sims Store to the aqueduct, and from the aqueduct to route 173. It meant we had two miles of continual navigable waterway through the park." Liz Beebe and her husband David were avid birders. He was president of the local Audubon Society, and was looking for areas to preserve in the early 1970’s. " We saw that they

Key Federal Tax Credits Holding up $4.2 Million S. Salina St. Project
September 20, 2017, 9:56 pm | Source
Local developers want to turn two of downtown Syracuse’s oldest…and most blighted buildings into apartments and a restaurant. But developer Ryan Benz and his partners are having a hard time securing key federal historic tax credits. “These buildings along with the block at-large were added to the national registry of historic places in 2009, opening up specific historic tax credits that allow redevelopment possible at all. They have largely contributed to the revitalization of downtown over the last decade.” Benz’s $4.2 million Whitney Lofts project at 321 South Salina street includes 16 apartments with full amenities. Senator Chuck Schumer says there appears to be some confusion on the part of the National Park Service over Benz’s plan to restore the building’s exterior… “The original facade was called Italianate style. Large windows and beautiful brick frontage. As downtown's commercial district began to decline, so did much of the historic character of South Salina. The building saw

From Undergarments to Apartments; Crescent Commons Comes to Life in Cortland
September 14, 2017, 3:52 pm | Source
Re-purposing old factory or office buildings in Syracuse into mixed use residential and retail space is nothing new. But in Cortland Wednesday, officials broke ground on one of the first developments of that kind…the $16 million Crescent Commons on Main street. Developer David Yaman says retail tenants and 47 apartments will fill some of the massive 150,000 square foot space that was once home to Crescent Corset when it opened in 1923. " They made all of the undergarments...the bras and girdles for JC Penney at that time. Of course, they evolved to more modern garments for women." Yaman says the company was bought and sold a few times starting in the 1960’s, and eventually abandoned the building about 15 years ago. He says it began to fall into disrepair, threatening recent efforts to turn around what he calls a neighborhood in transition. " If this building were to be left to its own demise, it would be a blight on the neighborhood. It takes up a block. To see a building that large..

Syracuse Agencies Partner to Prevent Suicide
September 11, 2017, 10:33 pm | Source
The Onondaga County Suicide Prevention Coalition is using the occasion of Suicide Prevention Week to partner with the Syracuse VA to raise awareness about how the community can help save lives. Suicide is the 10 th leading cause of death in the U.S., and in Onondaga County, 58 people committed suicide in 2015. Syracuse VA suicide prevention coordinator Sabah Ocasio says says suicidal thoughts may begin due to events in people’s lives. "Often times, the thoughts might begin with a situational crisis, including a pending divorce or legal problems. Also factors such as mental illness will play a role." Ocasio says of the 20 veterans who commit suicide each day in the U.S., only six ever receive any VA care. Head of the Onondaga County suicide prevention coalition Stephanie Grandjean says warning signs can include the use of words such as “hopeless” and “trapped” as well as abnormal behaviors. " When people start giving things away, or when they start talking about death a lot. Some of the

Road in Front of Hancock Airport Terminal to Close Monday as Crews Demolish Canopy
September 8, 2017, 9:18 pm | Source
Starting Monday, crews at Syracuse’s Hancock Airport will begin removing the canopy between the parking garage and terminal. It’s the first phase of a $49 million project to upgrade the airport’s appearance and functionality. Airport Authority Executive Director Christina Callahan says the canopy project will force the closure of the roadway in front of the airport’s entrances. " We're going to be redirecting passenger drop-off and pick-ups to the north and south terminals. The open lot and the garage will still be accessible, as well as rental car return." She says signage will in place along Eileen Collins Blvd. leading to the airport. Airport Authority Board Chair Patrick Mannion noted during Friday’s annual meeting that the canopy is just the beginning. "Over the next 12 months, you'll notice a lot of changes. We'll redo the outside of the airport itself, and everything from what we like to call curb to security will be changed quite significantly." While they improve the facility

Re-capping the NYS Fair; Clean-up in Full Swing After More Visitors Spend More Time and More Money
September 6, 2017, 9:42 pm | Source
Another New York State Fair is in the record books thanks to strong attendance, and that has acting fair director Troy Waffner reflecting on how things went, and how to pull off the same feat again next year. He says he and his team have been working hard to find ways from big to small, mundane to outrageous to make the fair fun and cool to spend more than just a day. " We're seeing more and more people coming for multiple days. Some of that is...we're making it cheap for people to get in. Some people think we're insane. Once people are on the grounds, they spend money. If it costs them $1 or $3 to get in, they spend $50 on food, drink, merchandise, or midway rides. That helps drive the biggest part of our revenue, whether it's licensing fees, the vendors, midway revenue.” Growing the fair and its impact is one priority, and Waffner says adding a 13 th day is one of the few ways to build on capacity. “We can put 120,000, 125,000 people on the fairgrounds every day. But at some point if

School's Back, and so are the Buses and School Speed Zones
September 6, 2017, 3:27 am | Source
Summer is coming to a close and that means school is back in session as we head into September. Along with new books, pencils, notebooks and other must-haves comes an often overlooked essential of the school year: Road safety. Police and traffic authorities from all over Onondaga County are reminding motorists of the forgotten rules of the road as school buses start making their rounds. Sheriff Gene Conway says people need to temper their summer driving habits now that school zones are back in effect. “Those require people to greatly reduce their speed, and what we see coming off the summer months, failure to adjust to slow down enough once they’re in a school zone.” School zones in smaller towns, villages and quiet neighborhoods are obvious areas for drivers to slow down or stop and pay attention to their surroundings. But Sheriff Conway finds that many motorists outright ignore busses that are dropping children off in more high traffic areas. “When schools near a four-lane highway,

Boat Launches at the NY State Fair? You Can Build Your Own Boat and Take it Home
September 1, 2017, 1:54 pm | Source
The state fair is known for many things, but probably not boat launches. That’s what happened Thursday at the new pond on the western end of the fairgrounds. Richard Bush launched a hand-made kayak he and dozens of fairgoers helped to build during the first half of the fair. It’s part of a family boat building class he coordinates at the H. Lee White Maritime Museum in Oswego. " They're simple designs, easy to construct, and anyone can do it. A positive attitude is all you need. We'll work with the rest. We provide the tools, you provide the time, and you get a boat." Bush says workers range in age from 6 to 87, and hundreds of people stop by per day. The next boat is well underway. New York Sea Grant Recreation Specialist Dave White says the water feature opens up several opportunities to showcase history, shipwrecks, boating, and safety that they didn't have at their former location at the reflecting pond in the state park exhibit. " It's a nice draw for folks. We can show water

Bloody Mary Mix Vendor is One of Many Local Farmers and Entrepreneurs at the NYS Fair
August 24, 2017, 9:34 pm | Source
The New York State Fair is back which means the Horticulture Building is filled with local farmers and vendors selling their products, talking about produce, and promoting small business. Volunteer at the New York Apple Association Tami Baken explains why buying local is important. "There is a real desire for people today to understand their food and see where it comes from. Farm markets are places for people to experience their food firsthand." One vendor who turned her small local enterprise into a successful statewide business is Rachel Pohl. She’s creator of Rachel’s Raquette Lake Elixir Bloody Mary Mix. " I started out bottling it all myself. My family has a dinner boat on Raquette Lake, and I was bottling it myself in our commercial kitchen. But after a few years, I could no longer keep up so now I do have a cold packer who bottles it all for me." Pohl says she’s now selling thousands of cases of her bloody mary mix every year. She sells her original or medium spice level mix to

Gov. Cuomo Opens State Fair; Announces Expo Center to Make Fairgrounds Year-Round Destination
August 23, 2017, 9:51 pm | Source
A number of additional improvements are greeting visitors to this year’s New York State Fair, but what’s planned for next year that could transform the venue year-round. Governor Andrew Cuomo helped open the fair this morning, and says while he’s impressed by this year’s new midway sky tram, there’s something else he says will truly boost attendance and tourism. "I'm even more excited for the new Expo Center next year...130,000 square feet...the largest convention expo center north of New York City...in the entire Northeast," Cuomo said. The Expo Center will be a multi-use venue for car shows, equestrian events, trade shows, auctions, and more. The State hopes to begin construction on the center this November, generating over 700 jobs and finishing just in time for its big debut at the 2018 State Fair. Cuomo finds that such an epicenter for shows and events could bring vital revenue to Central New York’s hospitality industry. "You bring people to come see car show, a horse show, or an

What's New and Improved at the New York State Fair? Here's a Sampling
August 22, 2017, 10:58 pm | Source
The New York State Fair opens Wednesday morning to start an extended 13-day run through Labor Day. WAER News joined a media preview of some highlights. It wouldn't be the fair if we didn't mention food, so we start right inside the main gate, where Syracuse-based Recess Coffee now greets visitors at the main information building. Communications director Cathy Roosa says they’re experimenting with different foods. " We really wanted to make everything very local-focused. It all started with the breakfast sandwich. We got our doughnuts from Geddes Bakery. While we were rolling with our New York cheddar and New York bacon, we figured...might as well add it to everything else!" Next door in the Center of Progress Building, director of tourism with I Love New York Ross Levi says their new exhibit showcases all 11 of New York’s vacation regions. " You'll see the big video screens around you. The two on either side are showing you great places and attractions across New York State. It

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