Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Your Money

President Bush and Congressional Leaders have voted on the Tax Rebate Plan, a plan formed to help consumers and the economy, because many fear that it is close to a recession. The plan includes approximately $600-$1200 going out to individuals and families, plus an additional $300 per child in a household. About $160 million households are expected to get the tax rebate, but about $19 are expected to get partial rebates under the plan. The plan also includes up to 50% in business tax cuts.

The plan would only work if consumers actually put the money BACK into the economy, which is what the government is hoping for, but in reality consumers may use the money to save instead of spend.

The plan would include money going out as early as April but as late as July.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Hometown Neighbors

Syracuse lacrosse players Mike Leveille and Katie Rowan often joke no one in the Syracuse area grew up together.

"We were always saying there's not a lot of attention brought to it at Syracuse," Leveille says.

It's surprising considering Leveille and Rowan are key cogs for Syracuse. Leveille leads the Orange with 12 points and Rowan leads the SU women with 14 points. Leveille was recently placed on the Tewaaraton Watch list, which is college lacrosse's version of the Heisman Trophy. Inside Lacrosse magazine ranks Rowan as the fifth best player in college lacrosse.

The accolades for Rowan wouldn't have happened were it not for Leveille. They grew up in Delmar, N.Y. in Albany and often played lacrosse with each other. When it came to choosing a college, Rowan wanted Leveille's advice.

"When I was making my decision about Syracuse, I asked him for advice on how he liked Syracuse and everything," Rowan says.
Her presence has been invaluable. Rowan led the Orange with six goals in its season-opening win against Canisius. Although she scored two goals against Dartmouth last Sunday, she took on a feeding role and provided three assists. Rowan moved into third place among Syracuse's all-time points leaders.
" What can you say?," SU women's coach Gary Gait says. "Katie Rowan scores goals. She makes things happen. "That's what you look for out of your offensive stars, players thatknow when to go and when not to go and what shot to take."
Leveille plays the same way. Syracuse attackmen
Kenny Nims and SU midfielder Dan Hardy think he understands each player's tendencies. That's why Leveille is the team's leading feeder with six assists.
SU head coach John Desko finds Leveille valuable for more important reasons. Police arrested Syracuse midfielder Sean McGonigle in connection with an off-campus assault last February. SU midfielders Pat Perritt and John Carrozza faced disorderly conduct and resisting arrest charges when police arrested them in downtown Syracuse last March. Desko thinks Leveille's leadership has helped prevent any similar incidents so far this year.
"I think he's always been there," Desko says. "He's done the right things and said the right things. He understands the offense very well and the rides.He's a bit of a quarterback with him out there. He's doing a good job off the field too with our guys keeping everyone in line and doing the right thing."
Rowan and Leveille have their friendship to thank for helping their dream to play at Syracuse possible.
"She's a phenomenal player and a great person," Leveille says. "I'm so glad she's doing well here."

Future is Bright for Syracuse Ronald McDonald House

After several weeks of heated debates and delayed meetings, the Syracuse Common Council finally came to a decision - the house at 1100 East Genesee Street did not qualify as a historical landmark.

Seems like an insignificant decision, in the grand scheme of things right?


The Ronald McDonald House Organization of Central New York has been eyeing the property on East Genesee Street for months, and has had plans in the works to tear the existing building down in order to erect an annex to their current McDonald House down the block - the only thing standing in their way was the possibility that the house could be declared a historical landmark, preventing them from demolition.

Syracuse residents and leaders were in an uproar - support the preservation of a historical 19th century house? Or support the humanitarian efforts of the Ronald McDonald organization?

The Ronald McDonald House opened its doors in Central New York back in 1982. They pledge to assist and provide temporary homes for families whose children are seriously ill or injured and are being treated in the area. Their current house has room for 16 families, not nearly as much room as one would find sufficient for a house serving three large area hospitals: University Hospital, St. Joseph's Hospital Health Center, and Crouse Hospital.

Several councilors noted that it was important, in this case especially, to keep personal feelings out of the decision making and focus on the law.

"Our job is to take the emotion out of this and look at the city charter," said Councilor Kathleen Joy.

Unfortunately, the vote didn't sway her way. The councilors needed seven "yes" votes to declare the building a historical landmark. They fell short by one.

The Ronald McDonald House of CNY has served nearly 17,000 families since opening their doors almost 30 years ago, and it looks like after today's vote, they'll be able to serve many more.

Monday, February 25, 2008

A Close Race

Pics Provided by

In less than 24 hours the 48th district will vote on a new state senator. Both candidates are out campaigning today in a final attempt to get votes.

Aubertine started his day in Pulaski and then headed to Watertown and finally Canton. Barclay was at Watertown's Public Square and then stopped at a few diners in the district.

Democrat Darryl Aubertine and Republican Will Barclay are competing to replace Republican Senator Jim Wright. With only a day to go-- there's no indication who will win tomorrow.

At the Home Town Diner in Pulaski today, voters are still talking about both candidates and the issues. The race for the for the 48th district senate seat is expected to be close-- it even has two family members divided. Molly Yerdon says Aubertine will win by a slim margin, but Mary Yerdon is supporting Barclay.

These women are sister-in-laws and best friends-- but Molly always votes Democrat and Mary only supports Republicans. Molly wants to see changes made in education and health care-- while Mary's main concern is keeping the senate Republican. Mary and Molly disagree on the issues-- they both say this campaign has been expensive and negative.

Molly says, "I think everybody agrees the commercials on TV especially, we get two or three pieces of mail from eahc candidate almost every day."

Mary adds, "It's not very nice at times."

The question is: how does a staunch Republican and a Democrat stay friends during such a major election?

Both women agreed on a truce. They are not going to talk about the election.

Tomorrow-- Molly and Mary will be casting votes for opposing parties. But they say no matter who wins they'll stay friends and keep meeting for breakfast everyday at the diner.

Syracuse Residents adjust to rising gas prices

Syracuse residents are starting to become more efficient in saving their gas. That's because gas prices have continued to rise at an alarming rate. According to a Lundberg Survey done Sunday, gas prices have risen 16 cents over the last two weeks. Gas prices on Erie Boulevard were at $3.10 just two weeks ago, but today they're at $3.27 for unleaded gas.

Valerie Dunn, a Manlius resident, said with her three kids she's used to driving around. But recently she organized a carpool to save her and her friends gas. But while she was at the pump today, at the Sunoco on Erie between Seeley and Midler avenue, in the hour I spent there just 5 cars arrived to get gas. That's something all too familiar to Customer Service Manager Albert Vargas.

"Some days are slow, it's like dead," Vargas said. "Some days are a little bit busy. One Friday it could be real busy and the next Friday it could be dead. Where [are] the people at? Where [are] the customers at?"

Many customers like Dunn, are avoiding the gas pumps at all costs. But those that aren't avoiding gas stations are trying to find a discount any way they can. For the last few months, Price Chopper has offered a discount card called "Fuel Advantage" which allows shoppers to receive as much as $1.10 off each gallon of gas. Vargas said the card is being used more than ever at Sunoco now, so customers can ease the burden of paying for expensive gas.

Unfortunately, gas price relief won't be coming soon. Vargas added that gas prices will continue to rise into the summer months. In fact, he said gas prices could be as high as $4 to 5 per gallon by late summer.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Low Turnout to Film Festival

Lack of adverstising and location were the downfall of the Community Folk Art Center's "Keep It Reel Film Festival" this past weekend. With a low turnout of people interested in the films being offered for viewing, it seems as though the Community Folk Art Center isn't reaching the audience that they had hoped to.

With Black History Month in full swing, Syracuse's Community Folk Art Center decided to have a film festival to celebrate and enlighten the community about Black culture through filmmaking.

The "Keep It Reel" Film Festival began last Thursday and ran original works by Black filmmakers through Sunday afternoon. But it seems as though publicity and community outreach are two major problems.

Unfortunately it seems that a lot of people didn't see advertisements for the film festival in the newspaper, or they just are not aware of what goes on in their community.

SU Graduate Student, Elizabeth Green said, "You need to have these types of places like the Community Folk Art Center in the 'hood', in areas where people don't usually attend and go to galleries. It needs to be there so they can see it and pass it every day, and know that they can go in and that it's an open and welcome place."

There were only three people that attended the last day of the film festival and Green believes that the day of the week affected people not coming out to support the film. She also made it very clear that with the Community Folk Art Center being at the bottom of the SU Hill and no street advertising, it might turn people away who might be interested in programs that the Community Folk Art Center has to offer.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Big East Lacrosse for Syracuse?

Syracuse University's men's lacrosse team never wanted to be in conference.  But when the perennial lacrosse power failed to reach the post-season for the first time in 25 years, it decided joining a conference could be a viable option.

If the Orange joined the Big East conference, the team would have an extra chance at an NCAA tournament bid.  If they were to win the conference championship, they would earn an automatic berth to the post-season.  Currently Syracuse must qualify for an at-large bid.

In the past, Syracuse has relied on it's independent status to schedule the toughest competition in the country each and every week.  Usually the Orange has been a strong enough team to overcome it's challenging schedule and earn a berth in the NCAA tournament.  If they were ever on the "bubble", they would rely on their strength of schedule and high RPI (ratings percentage index) to push them into the tournament and qualify for a chance to win it all.  Last year the team's schedule was apparently too tough, and the Orange finished below .500, which disqualified them from NCAA tournament consideration.

Some critics have expressed concerns that joining the Big East would compromise Syracuse lacrosse's storied tradition of playing rivals Virginia, Johns Hopkins, Princeton, and Cornell each year.  But Head Coach John Desko told the media last week that he wouldn't join the conference unless he would still have room on his schedule for their rivals.  His ideal version of the schedule would have the Orange facing six conference opponents each year, and six games slated for Syracuse's traditional rivals.

Players like sophomore midfielder Max Bartig, and senior defenseman Evan Brady support the idea of joining a conference.  Bartig told the media before Sunday's win over Villanova that he'd love to be part of a conference, since most other college teams have such an affiliation.  Brady said he'd love a shot to win a Big East championship, but concedes he's more focused on giving Syracuse more chances at a chance to win the NCAA championship.

Students on the other hand don't seem as excited about the idea.  While some students have expressed mild interest to seeing familiar conference opponents at the Carrier Dome, some worry that Big East games would result in less competitive lacrosse for students to watch.  Senior Ashley Stites, a magazine journalism major at Syracuse University says she enjoys seeing the best lacrosse teams at the Carrier Dome each week, and would rather see competitive lacrosse games than easier games for SU to win.  Scott Spinelli, a senior broadcast journalism major, said since he's not a big lacrosse fan, his level of intrigue in the sport comes from seeing the top competition in the country.  He added that seeing Syracuse beat up on a lesser potential Big East team, like Villanova, (which Syracuse beat 21-6 on Sunday), wouldn't interested him.

In order for the Big East to become a conference in Division I men's lacrosse, six teams must qualify economically to join.  Currently, Syracuse, Rutgers, Georgetown, St. Johns and Notre Dame can meet minimum scholarship requirements.  Villanova and Providence have expressed interest in joining the conference, but are not certain they can provide necessary scholarship money to qualify.

"Winter" Fest 2008

For the last 23 years, the city of Syracuse has celebrated Winterfest in various ways. This year, the festival finally had the opportunity to take advantage of the new ice skating rink downtown in Clinton Square. Opening this past Thanksgiving, the Clinton Square Ice Arena hoped to attract many people to Winterfest this year, unfortunately, the unpredictable Central New York weather did not help.

Because of the extremely warm temperatures on Monday, the annual Winterfest celebration did not quite go along as hoped. Although most people had the day off today due to President's day, including children off from school, attendance at the rink was not an all-time high. Starting around eleven in the morning, people slowly started to come and skate, despite not having optimal conditions. Patrick Gerstler, the rink attendant, used a squeegee to shuffle excess melted water off of the ice so people could skate. Not exactly a typical sight at an ice rink.

Tom Anelli brought his four-year-old daughter, Paige to the rink to skate for the very first time. The two didn't stay long, but were happy to take advantage of this new opportunity downtown. Check out more information and a schedule of events for the week-long Winterfest at their website:

Monday, February 18, 2008

Winter Break is in, and travelers are out

Winter break is here and Central New Yorkers are heading out of town. Winter break started today with President's Day and Hancock International Airport in Syracuse is receiving alot more business this time of year. The airport has had a significant increase in passengers starting this weekend as well as today.
Children aren't the only ones out, with school not in session teachers are also on break.

But, with the increase in numbers will come slight problems. There is limited parking spaces being that passengers are flying out and leaving their cars at the airport. On a good note, all flights are on time with the good weather we have been having and there are little to no delays.

The MOST dominates Winterfest

Today marked the first day of the second week of Winterfest in downtown Syracuse, and the Museum of Science and Technology apparently was the place to be. Long lines formed at the entrance of the museum and people had to wait their turn to see all of the different new exhibits that the MOST is now offering.

The MOST opened three new exhibits. An earth Science and Discovery Cave, a Science Playhouse, and Techno Town. Kids ranging from the ages of 3 at the youngest and 15 at the oldest we're running around the Museum and making the most of the new exhibits.

The museum opened their doors on Monday and Tuesday, days which they are normally closed, and extended their hours from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. to help give parents a place to take their kids during the week long winter break from school.

The MOST is in the middle of a $8.9 million dollar campaign. They are hoping to raise enough money to build six new exhibits and two hundred new hands-on experiences.

For more information on the MOST you can visit

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

SU Coach Looks to Take on Gladiators

Veronica Dyer competed as a track athlete for four years as an undergraduate at SU and she's been involved in body and figure building competitions for several years now and yet she's still looking to do bigger and better things.

This past weekend, the SU Strength and Conditioning Coach drove to New York City to try out for American Gladiators. NBC reintroduced the show this year and ever since the premiere, Dyer's friends have been begging her to try out. "And then it was on TV and I had friends emailing me and contacting me like 'Oh you know you should try out.' But I had never heard of the tryouts so I was like, 'I guess I missed it' and literally two weeks after that I saw the casting call for tryouts," Dyer says.

Dyer's daily workout already consisted of forty-five minutes of strength exercises followed by forty-five minutes of cardio. In order to prepare for the tryouts, she added more short sprints to her workouts because she says she'll probably need to be lighter on her feet.

If Dyer is chosen to be a contender on the second season of the show, she'll have to take a few weeks off for the taping in March, but she's not thinking that far ahead yet. "I don't expect to make the show, but I just expect to be in the tops of whatever tests they throw at us. That's just the competitor in me. I don't want to walk away feeling like nobody even noticed I was there."

Water Conservation Order

Employees hired by the Onondaga Water Authority and the Metropolitan Water Board are working around the clock to repair the corroded pipeline under Minoa Road in Manlius with new steel. On Monday, the water supply of 17 homes was cut off, while 19-thousand other residents in eleven Eastern Onondaga communities were asked to cut back on their usual day to day water use.
People living in the Villages of Fayetteville, Manlius, Chittenango, Canastota, Sylvan Beach and the Towns of Manlius, Pompey, Sullivan, Lenox, Verona, and Vienna are being affected by the water conservation order.

Picture provided by OCWA.

The Metropolitan Water Board Director David Fitch said it is important for people living in the Eastern Onondaga communities to follow the new regulations because the current water supply is limited. Until the pipeline is fixed, additional water cannot be pumped into the eastern reservoir.
A Manlius resident, Kimberly Sloan, who lives on Minoa Road said, “her biggest concern was not the inconvenience of relocating to a Double Tree Hotel for a couple of days with her family, but once the pipeline is fixed and officials give her the okay to drink the water, will it actually be safe to consume”. The pipeline is expected to be fixed by tomorrow.

Meanwhile, the Onondaga County Water Authority released a series of tips for those asked to conserve water to follow:

1). To check for and fix leaks in your plumbing

2). Postpone washing your vehicle

3). Limit or postpone doing laundry

4). Only run your dishwasher when completely full

5). Cut down on the length of when your showers

6). Turn off your faucet when washing dishes or brushing your teeth

For additional information go here:

Local Leader is Laid to Rest

Usually when people attend funerals there is a somber tone that creates tension that could be cut with a knife. But this was not the case at Our Lady of Pompei Church late Monday morning where Armond Magnerelli's funeral was held.

Magnarelli's impact was obvious as cars lined the streets, squeezing into any spot available, so that mourners could pay their respects to this well know, well respected public figure.

Armond Magnarelli was a radio personality for WFBL and from 1979 until 1985 he served six years as Syracuse's Common Council president. But one of Magnarelli's pastimes that some knew him for was his acting with the Pompeian Players.

Syracuse resident Dick Mancini knew Magnarelli for fifty years as a fellow Pompeian Player and said, "We did lots of shows together. One specifically that I remember was My Fair Lady where he was Alfie Doolittle, and I was his sidekick."

Mancini went on to say that Magnarelli was an amazing performer with great timing and natural ability.

Mancini also said that he looked at Magnarelli as a mentor since he had known him since he was a child. He said that Magnarelli taught him and the other children how to be better performers once they hit the stage. And his final sentiment was this, "It was great. He was a great guy, and I'll miss him."

Local leader Armond Magnarelli died last Friday after having suffered a stroke. He was 83 years old.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Making Valentine’s Day Memorable

Roses will eventually die, a box of chocolates will be eaten, and a card will just be thrown away. The Spirit of Syracuse Chorus has the perfect gift idea to make this Valentine’s Day more memorable-- a singing valentine.

Chorus member Kathy Totman says, “It’s just a great expression to people and we find that it’s something people will never forget.”

The 80 member barbershop choir divides into small groups to deliver singing valentines all over Syracuse. The singers perform at restaurants, homes, offices, schools.

Delivering singing valentines is just as memorable for the singers as it is for the recipient.

Chorus member Rhonda Spoelstra’s favorite part is going out with her friends and seeing peoples’ reactions. Some people cry, some laugh, some get nervous, and others just smile.

Another chorus member remembers one man who was especially confused.

“One man in an office received two valentines from two different women, he wasn’t too happy,” says Maria Manzare.

The singers’ favorite deliveries are proposals. Last year—a group of the women drove through a snow storm to make one of these very special deliveries.

“It was phenomenal because he got down on one knee at Denny’s, she was a waitress, and it was really sweet.”

To order a singing valentine or find out more about the Spirit of Syracuse Chorus, check out their website:

Centro Buses Delayed By Weather

A storm with high winds and a lot of snow hit Central New York on Monday causing some Centro public transportation delays. Centro delayed bus service in some towns and completely suspended service in others.

Buses in Owsego County were only operating on Bridge St. Services in Mexico and Fulton were completely suspended. The city of Syracuse was only slightly affected by the minor delays on routes traveling to and from oswego.

Centro Communications Manager Steve Koegel said that visibility problems were the main cause for the delays and suspended bus routes. He stressed that he doesn't lay any of the blame on the Department of Public Works, and he stressed that the Central New York DPW crews are some of the best in the world.

Koegel said that the safety of the passengers, drivers, and Centro employees is of the utmost importance to the company, and that they will continue to delay and suspend service as they feel necessary.

Service was back on schedule throughout Central New York by Tuesday morning.

Bad winter weather can occur at anytime, and users of Centro should check for up to the minute information on delays.